6 Fun Activities Taking Place in February

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We’re into the second week of February and we’ve been pretty lucky in the weather department this winter {knock on wood}. Below are 6 fun activities that caught my eye, that are taking place at some of my favorite places in town this month.

Queen City Escape – an activity for friends and family – try to escape a 90’s themed room by solving puzzles and figuring out the clues.

SEALed with A Kiss at the Aquarium of Niagara.

Buffalo Museum of Science – not only do they have daily activities taking place, the Family Fit Fest on 2.27 sounds like a lot of fun for the whole family.

The Buffalo Zoo – is another fun place to visit with a lot of daily activities on grounds. Some other special events taking place this month are the Wild About You Valentine’s Day Dinner and a new fundraising event – Arctic Whiteout taking place on February 18th.

The Labatt Pond Hockey Tournament – taking place towards the end of February, the event will be held at Buffalo Riverworks this year.

 

 

“Join Our Journey” My Trip to the Aquarium of Niagara

The Aquarium of Niagara – one of Niagara Falls, NY’s gems. While I personally feel like the Aquarium doesn’t get enough recognition from its neighboring suburbs, it has so, SO much to offer! A short 30 minute drive from the City of Buffalo, their are multiple sea mammal shows, talks with the keepers and feedings that take place throughout the day and are free with admission.

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Last week I was lucky enough to sit down and snag some time with Ilene Strober the Director of Development and Marketing at the Aquarium, she told me about their Capital Campaign and fun things taking place, so I won’t waste any time and will jump right into it.

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“Join Our Journey”  – is a $3.2 million capital campaign featuring an interactive exhibit with classroom, smart boards and a beautiful, one of a kind home for the Humboldt Penguins.  The Aquarium of Niagara is above code in everything, but in order to receive accreditation with the AZA {Association of Zoos and Aquariums} a new exhibit needs to be built for the Humboldt Penguins. This new exhibit will be an exhibit for people of all ages.

Currently the Aquarium is $1 million short of their goal – so they are calling on the community for support. The Aquarium has visitors from all over Niagara County, Erie County, Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Southern Ontario. A non -profit that does so much for the community, now will the community help them?

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One thing that opened my eyes during my interview with Ilene is how big the Aquarium is on conservation, not only here at home, but all over the world – from local lakes and rivers to ocean life. We play a huge part in these animals lives and habitats and we have to learn to do a better job on sustainability.

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{These Humboldt penguins are the cutest!}

While walking through the building I learned a lot from talking with Ilene. There are 23 new/refurbished exhibits on hand. Penguins have their own personalities and have strong bonds with one another- they come out in pairs. All of the sea lions, including seals that are at the Aquarium of Niagara are rescued and non-releasable into the wild. The shows that are held for the guests actually help the trainers teach them things and to help them learn enrichment.

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{Ripple – a fun interactive video game for kids to play when they visit}

Some other fun facts I learned from my visit -Octopus only live for 3-5 year, use their brain and are very smart. Sturgeon fish have a 100 year life span, but are endangered because they are hunted before they are sexually mature, because of this there is no reproducing taking place – going back to the whole sustainability topic I mentioned earlier.  We can throw off the ecosystem if we have to much of one thing.

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{Trainers Hallie and Colleen with sea lions Kia and Arie}

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{Sea lions are extremely curious and playful}

And how about this – the Aquarium of Niagara has one of the most poisonous and deadly fish there is – a lion fish. If you ask me they look pretty cool though!

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What other fun things can you do at the Aquarium, do you ask? {obviously call ahead to make an appointment for these activities}

Public Touch Tank, Meet a Seal, Behind the Scenes Tour {there is so much more to the animals exhibits that the public doesn’t see}, Humboldt Penguin Interactive Program, the list goes on. For more info on any of these activities click here. And for a complete list of upcoming events go here . SEALED with a Kiss is coming up on Valentine’s Day weekend and that looks to be a fun event to take part in.

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A few summers ago I took my niece to feed the seals and she had such a fun time and thought it was the coolest thing. For a couple of dollars she got to experience something not a lot of people say they do. The Aquarium of Niagara is such a fun place to go, all year round.

If you want to help be a part of the journey contact Ilene to see how you can help.

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-B

{All photos: Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

Exploring the Winter Celebration event

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{On stage at Sheas}

Last week my Dad and I attended Explore Buffalo’s Winter Celebration at Sheas. One week after Sheas celebrated their 90th anniversary, making it a great venue to host an event. There was much to celebrate. Auctions filled with lots of Buffalo art and history, voting on new Explore Buffalo tours for the 2016 year and behind the scenes tours of the theater were offered during the night making it a pretty nice night out.

Here are some of my pictures from the night.

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{Lights, camera, action}

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{Balcony seating}

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A Hidden Gem in the Heart of the West Side Neighborhood: Tipico Coffee

Calling all Coffee Lovers! Have you been to one of the newest places on Buffalo’s West Side? Tipico Coffee opened a few short months ago and it is A-Mazing!!!

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I was lucky enough to sit down with the owner Jesse Crouse and talk about how he got started and what made him open a coffee shop in the heart of the west side neighborhood.

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From coffee to lattes to tea and more, Tipico rotates their coffee on a regular basis and on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays they have pastries from local vendors such as Breadhive and Butter Block, they also have an ever so tasty and popular avocado toast! Jesse started his passion for coffee while he was studying poetry in Chicago. Down the street from him was Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, a high end specialty coffee shop that drew him in and over the last 5+ years he has worked with coffee farms studying the supply aspect of the business.

After having children, Jesse and his wife Kristen {originally from Western New York} were trying to find an affordable place to open a business and decided to move to the area, after being on the west coast for a while. “Buffalo felt right” The couple along with Jesse’s in-laws wanted to help influence and shape the community they are living in. Their love for making food and the idea of homesteading offers a unique gift to customers as well. Bringing in 80-90% of their produce and milk from New York State their menu may be small, but is nice and compliments the drinks they serve. Jesse’s goal is to offer a revolving menu once the spring time comes and host more casual gatherings and events throughout the year.

Having the largest masonry stove, an iced coffee window that will be offered in the warmer weather months, being one of the first walking destination businesses in the middle of the West Side’s residential neighborhood, hosting brunches from time to time {the list goes on}; if you think you’re going to walk into the same old coffee shop, you’re wrong – Tipico is not your average café, its more than that. It’s a place where you go and the staff remembers your name, says thank you for stopping by and see ya soon when you leave. During my interview with Jesse he said hello and goodbye to every person that walked in and out of the door. That is what a small business owner in my opinion is. They know their customers, care about them and want to build a relationship with them.

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Starting on a shoe string budget, Jesse thought of doing a pop up shop, but just so happened to stumble upon his current location through his landlord. Everything was built out and the only thing he had to focus on was the equipment, putting a menu together and finding employees. It took 2 months to open and it wasn’t an easy process, but when you have passion for something you care about so much, it helps get you through. When I asked Jesse what he loves about the area, he said he loves the community. The warm welcoming he receives from the customers and community is what he and his staff give back to the area. The West Side of Buffalo is turning into the walking side of the community and having it be a walking destination gets people who may not be familiar with the area, out and about, seeing all the great things taking shape.

Tipico is really in the heart of the west side of Buffalo – the “hidden gem” in the neighborhood. To me, seeing a business like this in an area that is developing is really exciting. As someone who enjoys going to new places, it’s nice to meet local business owners who have a passion and believe in the area they work in. To see them excited, makes you get excited to see the growth of the community. If you enjoy coffee you should definitely make a stop to Tipico. And if you aren’t a coffee lover you don’t have to worry, Tipico also carries a wide variety of teas for tea lovers. It really is a one-of-a kind café in the area.

-B

tipico latte

{Latte- YUM!}

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{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

Sip n’ Stretch

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{Much deserved Mimosas after class}

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

It was a Sunday Funday for 60+ people who attended the Sip n’ Stretch event with Stretch Pilates at Marcy Casino. A continental breakfast with Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas followed the hour long pilates class. What was nice about the class was that each instructor took a part of it so you got a taste for each one. Hoping to be a regular event, it was $32 after service fees and included the class, brunch and two drink tickets. You also could help yourself to a coupon for a free half hour pilates session at Stretch Pilates Studio. For being the first one, there are some minor kinks to work out; the space was a little crowded, so if you didn’t get there early enough you didn’t get a good spot, but I think if 10 less tickets were sold, people would fit comfortably. For a Sunday during the winter, it was a nice activity to do indoors, if you missed out on this first one I encourage you to check out the next session they do!

-B

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{Before and after class}

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Women Who Move Buffalo: Holly & Emily from Lace & Day

“Every girl is a little bit lace and a little bit day.” – Lace & Day

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Emily and Holly owners of Lace & Day

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

Last week I was lucky enough to sit down with the sister duo – Emily and Holly from Lace and Day. We chatted about the space, product, and service and why they chose to open their own business. They also shared some exciting news with me!

Read more below!

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Both women have a handful of talent and experience in their field. They both have lived and traveled around the world working in typical career like jobs before opening Lace & Day. Emily previously worked in a lingerie store for a few years and Holly always knew she wanted to own her own business. So in October of 2015 that dream became a reality.

Lace & Day is about bringing high end bras and lingerie items to the Buffalo area along with offering the services to fit you properly. It is about helping make the customer feel comfortable in their own skin. Most women aren’t in the right bra size and at Lace & Day they get to know you and what your daily activities are; do you work in an office all day? do you work at a gym? whatever it is that you do, they listen to their customer to help fit them properly.

When I asked if one sister focuses on a certain area of the business over another Emily said she focuses more on the buying and finances side of things and Holly focuses on the HR, operations and marketing side of things. At the end of the day, they both work together on strategy and as a team make the decisions together.

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So how did Lace & Day end up in Allentown  you ask? When Holly and Emily were looking for their space they knew they wanted to be downtown and knew Lace & Day was going to be a destination place. When they landed the building that is now home to Lace & Day, they knew it was the perfect fit. Growing up in Allentown, their business is close to their childhood home – making it a homecoming.

I asked them, what advice they would give someone who is looking to open their own business and they said you have to want to deal with the “business of the business.” As a business owner you have to love what you want to do. Owning a business is not easy, you need to have a business plan and you must be organized. They also mentioned you spend a good portion of your time running the business, its not about one particular piece of the puzzle, but the whole puzzle you need to focus on. And you should surround yourself with the right team.  Emily and Holly are exceptional women and so are the staff and vendors they work with.

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During our conversation I asked them of any exciting things taking place and they certainly did have some exciting news! On Thursday, they are headed to Paris to celebrate one of their vendors 70th Anniversary’s in the business. Along with that, they will be going to some amazing, one of a kind shows, learning about new lines and products to bring back to Buffalo. They will also be paying a visit to the headquarters of one of their product lines in Breast, France. You can stay up to date on the new and exciting things they will be learning through their Instagram and Facebook accounts!

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Lace and Day has only been open for 3 1/2 months and these women feel the love from the community. When I asked them what they love best about this area, they couldn’t say enough great things about their family and their customers. They also couldn’t say enough about the Allentown community. Café 59, Franklin Salon, Fat Bob’s, Buffalo Proper, the list goes on. The community has made them feel warm and welcoming and they feel the love. They have great neighbors and a great neighborhood and they want their customers to capture that when they pay a visit to them.

When I arrived to Lace and day, Holly gave me a tour of the store. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and beautiful. It’s classy and simple. The downstairs is filled with sleepwear, panties and men’s boxer briefs from Saxx. Upstairs is the Tree House room – a room where men and women can relax and drink a beer, read a magazine and just hang out, while your friend or loved one are getting fitted. Its a room that is their to make you feel comfortable while you wait. Down the hall from the Treehouse Room are the spacious fitting rooms, where the fittings takes place.

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Emily and Holly are truly amazing women who have brought not only product like no other, but service and experience to an area that was lacking a upscale lingerie and bra fitting store to Western New York. As a customer you will walk out feeling more support, more beautiful and more confident in yourself. And to me, that is a priceless gift these women leave you with.

For more information on Lace & Day, to host a private party {yes, private party!} and to follow along on their Paris trip make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.

Oh – and they have a parking lot behind their building! Free parking, its doesn’t get any better!

-B

A Nice Way to Watch A Film

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{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

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Did you know that when Shea’s opened in 1926 it was actually built to show silent films?!?  Sunday my Mom and I attended the silent film Sherlock Holmes there. When I first got the tickets I thought it was a play, but then my Mom was quick to point out that it was a silent film {note to myself to read better} …like no words just a pianist playing scores throughout the films 90 minutes. I was a little skeptical, I’m not going to lie. I was thinking I would want to leave halfway through the film, but it was actually amazing! It was like I experienced something from back in time – a black and white film with no words, just music. It was a nice change of scenery and something different. I highly recommend attending a short film at Shea’s if you ever can. It makes for a nice indoor activity to do when the weather isn’t so nice out outside.

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{A brief welcome and introduction before the film started}

Oh and the best part – it was free! A free film in a beautiful building that celebrated their 90th anniversary this weekend. That’s pretty cool Buffalo. Oh and for those who like popcorn and candy to munch on when watching a movie – Shea’s had their concession stands open, selling sweet treats {the popcorn and twizzlers cost $8 – that’s cheaper than a movie ticket now a days}. Just putting things in perspective, its nice to have a beautiful venue like this offer nice {casual} events like this.

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For a calendar of events taking place at Shea’s click here

-B

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