Nickel City Gritty: Caralyn Mirand

I’m sure many of us have had this experience- you come across a person online who looks interesting, decide to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, or any various social media sites, and become fast internet friends.  From this point on you either keep the friendship digital, or decide to meet up in person, in which that could go incredibly well or you could totally end up getting catfished.

Fortunately for me, I ended up having a wonderful experience with my next Nickel City Gritty interviewee Caralyn Mirand.  Looking at Caralyn’s Instagram account, you’ll see that she is a successful plus size model, securing campaigns with huge clients like Macy’s.  Not only is she a model, she started her own business called Buffalo Beautiful.  She could have easily moved to New York City to work full-time, but instead stays true to her roots and is a Buffalo girl through and through, living here and commuting weekly for jobs.  She is a beautiful person both inside and out, and I’m so happy to share this fun interview with you all.

This is Nickel City Gritty and this is Caralyn Mirand.

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How did you start modeling?

I started when I was a senior in High School.  I applied and was accepted to Clarkson University.  My mom told me to go online and look up scholarship information, and instead I posted my pictures on the Tyra Banks website.  She was having a teen plus size modeling competition. So if you were a size 12 and you were a teenager, you were eligible.  So the next day I received an email saying “Please submit the correct images.” and I was like “Woah, that’s crazy!” because when you were posting the pictures, people were posting them so quickly that my picture went from page one to page ten when I refreshed it.  It was crazy that somebody noticed mine!  So the next day I posted the correct ones and was told “Congratulations, you are in the top 100!” and I was like “Oh my god, that’s crazy!” Next day top 50, then top 25, then top 10…things happened very fast.  They flew my mom and I to New York for about a week to compete on the Tyra Show.  It was a total whirlwind experience and we filmed two episodes.  We did three photo shoots and we did a model walk that had to be creative. We also did a video about Tyra’s beauty campaign that was all about exposing your natural beauty.  So long story short I was the runner up of the competition, and being 17 years old I was heartbroken!  But it’s kind of crazy, I’m the only one out of two cycles of this competition that’s still a working model.  After the show, I met with a modeling agency and they said if you’re not willing to move to New York  then you don’t really have a future, call us after college and maybe we could work something out.  That was kind of a bummer, but I was still able to negotiate myself to work with Seventeen magazine, so I would say “If you could pay for my flight, I would work for free.” and that’s how I got my start! I was feature in Seventeen four times, which was really fun.

How long have you been doing your side business, Buffalo Beautiful?

Living in Buffalo, post college, I thought okay I wasn’t modeling full time, what’s my passion?  What do I want to do? And I wanted to start establishing something here, so that I didn’t need to rely on modeling.  So, to not necessarily fall back on, but to put some roots here again.  So it’s so cliche, but it came to me in a dream.  I woke up and was like, Buffalo Beautiful! And I started writing stuff down in the middle of the night.  That’s how it was born.  It is a consulting company, but that idea is evolving, for sure.  I kind of threw everything at the wall to see what would stick and I’m in the process of updating my website.  I launched it in 2015.  Right now I’m focusing on helping people develop their confidence from the inside out.  So you could wear great clothes, but if you don’t feel good on the inside, you’re not going to feel good on the outside.  I love working with women and men of all ages and helping them become the best versions of themselves.

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Describe your style to me.

Oh gosh. Okay, my style would be classic, easy but polished.  And versatile.  And always evolving.  I think my favorite thing is to invest in pieces that will never go out of style.  Jeans, a leather jacket…I like to buy trends cheaply.  I don’t invest in trends unless it’s something that I’m really stuck on.  One of my goals this year is to invest in better basics.  Better white shirts, better pairs of jeans and getting them tailored.  Being smarter and not just buying to buy, but to actually curate a wardrobe that will last.

Do you have a favorite outfit or favorite piece of clothing?

Right now, I don’t know what it is, I’m all about my black jeans.  Whether it’s regular black jeans or ripped black jeans.  I bought like six pairs of black jeans this year…it’s crazy.

Where’s your favorite place to buy jeans?

I used to be a die hard Gap person, but not as much anymore.  This is crazy to say this, but I’ve actually had a lot of luck at American Eagle this year for jeans.  I recently bought jeans there, and I wear a lot of Fashion to Figure jeans and they start at a size 12.  Every once in a blue moon I will have good luck at TJ Maxx and Marshalls but I don’t really count on it.  I’ve also been all about the little white sneaker.

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Do you have a style icon?

Ummm…I feel like I should.  This is hard, because I really find my inspiration through street style.  I love looking on Pinterest, and let’s say that if I buy black jeans, I’ll type in “black jean outfits” on Pinterest and I’ll search that and get inspiration from that.  I also love to look at magazines and finding inspiration through normal people, as silly as that sounds.  It’s hard because there are people who I love the way they dress, but it wouldn’t look good on me.  Like Olivia Palermo, I love all her outfits, but I could never wear it.  Also, people that I work with, too,  Like everyone is always dressed so cool.  And it’s funny, because they’re not wearing anything crazy.  It’s simple and classic.

What is currently on your playlist?

I am obsessed with The Highway on Sirius Radio.  Backstory, never loved country music, moved to the furthest point north in New York State, fell in love with country music up there somehow.  I love Top 40 pop music, stuff you can jam and move to.  I love being able to sing along.  My boyfriend and I have bonded over country music.  Drake White is so good, I listen to him on repeat.  I like feel good music and the old early 2000 jams.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable concert?

It’s a tie between my first concert ever, which was Britney Spears at Darien Lake or every year my boyfriend and I like to get to Pittsburgh to see Kenny Chesney, he does the stadium tour.  It’s a fun vibe in the summer and a fun atmosphere.  Everyone’s drinking beer and tailgating.  It’s the kickoff of summer.

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Do you have a celebrity crush?

So, I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always loved Adam Levine.  I’m not really even that into tattoos, but I think he’s really good looking.  Blake Shelton’s personality really cracks me up, and it’s funny because I don’t even watch The Voice that much, but those two are good looking.  I’m all about the tall, dark and handsome, though.  It’s kind of my jam.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Buffalo?

I love Sinatra’s in Kenmore.  You know you’re going to get a good Italian meal. I love Acropolis and La Nova.  Tempo I love for the fancy date night.  I also love Andersons, is that bad? Also, I will gladly get a health problem for Paula’s Doughnuts.

What’s your favorite place to grab a drink?

I would say Vera is a really good place to get a drink, and my boyfriend and I would go to Templeton when we first started dating.  That’s more for scenery.  The patio with the fire pits…that’s where my  boyfriend and I fell in love.  We go once a year on our anniversary.  Or even just Canalside or Liberty Hound…that area is just fun.

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What’s your spirit animal?

A turtle.  So I was a Delta Zeta in college and turtles were our mascot.  Ever since then my parents would buy anything with a turtle for me, to the point where it got a little excessive. I have my spare bedroom that’s tastefully turtle themed.  I have this really beautiful turtle keepsake box from Room and I have little turtles all over my house.  And slow and steady wins the race, I guess!  So yes, a turtle.  Or my dog is my spirit animal, because he doesn’t get out bed until noon and really has one hour of active time…so maybe he is.  His name is Walter.  He’s a 30 pound pitbull mix.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

I’ll tell you the best and the oddest.  The best one, I’d have to say, is that I know how to make people feel good, and that relates back to my Buffalo Beautiful.  Helping people feel good about themselves after I help them.  The oddest one is that makeup artists tell me all the time that I have really good spacing between my eyes and my eyebrows for makeup.  So I’ve never thought about that, but that’s cool!*

*Editor’s note: The instructor who taught me in makeup school called this orbital space*

And, always my last question.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

My go-to answer to this is usually a stay at home dog mom.  I actually want to be happy and be able to travel and have a family and improve my cooking even more…I’m an amateur chef.  I want to find happiness and laughter every day, and family for me is number one.  As long as you have your health and your happiness  and family…that’s all I could ever ask for when I grow up.  I wish I was funnier *laughs*  It’s never been about where I am, it’s who I’m with.  I would rather be sitting with someone like you in a shack than being with low quality people in the most beautiful place in the world.  It’s important to surround myself with good people, especially in the industry that I’m in.  I want to continue to surround myself with people who challenge me to do better and to care about important things.  That’s all I could ever want and ask for.  Man, that got me in the feels!

Queen City Fashion Week: The Designer Show

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Check out my post on the Boutique Show HERE!

After the Boutique Show and a short intermission, the Queen City Fashion Week Designer Show was ready to begin.  The designers included B Layne, Vingt Cinq Rashaad, Noey Sunday, Dovi & Girls, Anna Dusza, Bureau and Franci Jewelry.  I absolutely loved that all of the designers showcased were local.  This is just a testament to all of the incredible talent that we have in this city!

Before I get into the beautiful fashions, I just have to give a shoutout to the emcee of the evening, Crista Botticello-Cimino.  She was the perfect person to do the job as she has a long history of being in the Buffalo fashion industry.  She looked gorgeous and did a fantastic job!

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Now, the moment that you’ve all been waiting for…here are some of my favorite looks from the designer portion of the evening!

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Insane, right?  Now you see just how incredibly talented these Buffalo designers are!  I loved all of the pieces, but I was DYING over that maroon coat from Bureau…I would wear that in a heartbeat.  Also, all of Franci Jewelry’s pieces were so stunning.  I would rock any of those with a sleek black dress.  SO GOOD.

Thank you again, Rachel and the Queen City Fashion Week team for having me at the event.  I am so impressed with both shows and I can’t wait until next year’s event!

Queen City Fashion Week: The Boutique Show

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No matter how many local fashion shows that I attend, large or small, each and every one makes me so excited to be a part of something huge in this city.  Generally when someone thinks of Buffalo, fashion is not the first thing that comes to mind.  Well, I am proud to be a witness to the explosion of the fashion industry in Buffalo, and the main runway show at Queen City Fashion Week showcased this beautifully.

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With the help of their amazing team, Queen City Fashion Week was the made possible by Rick Warne and Rachel Good.  After a few years without a fashion week, this was just the thing that Buffalo needed to showcase some of the incredible boutiques and talent that this city holds.

The show was held at The Foundry Suites on Elmwood. It’s such a beautiful location…I’ve been there a few times and it was the perfect space for this event. The mixture of the industrial ceiling, the beautiful lighting and stunning clothing created the perfect fashion storm.

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There were two parts to the show:  The Boutique Showcase and The Designer Showcase.  The Boutique Showcase included Atelier, Blush, Second Chic, Village Designs, Turnstyle, Visualeyes, and Half & Half.  Here are some photos of my favorite looks from the Boutique Show!

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Major props to all of these wonderful boutiques for putting together these looks!  If you enjoyed these fashions, stay tuned to my next post where I will be showcasing the incredible designers whose looks graced the runway…you are going to be impressed!

Cooking with Hyatt Regency Buffalo

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I love cooking shows…like, I love LOVE them.  Okay, well I’m actually pretty much obsessed with them.  Food Network and the Cooking Channel are my two favorite channels on tv, to be honest.  But, to be even MORE honest, I can’t cook.  Like, at all.  I’m a killer baker, but cooking is a completely different story.  I would much rather watch other people cook than do it myself.  But when the Hyatt Regency Buffalo reached out to me to see if I would like to have a cooking lesson with their new Executive Chef, I jumped at the chance!

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The Hyatt was getting ready for their Mother’s Day brunch, and invited me to help make a dish off of their brunch menu.  I got the honor to cook alongside their brand new Executive Chef Rachid Lahik and Executive Sous Chef Kevin Hudson, and it was one of the most fun experiences that I’ve ever had!

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The dish that we created was their Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole and it was soooo good.  What I love about it is that you can add pretty much anything that you would like to customize the recipe to your liking.  Any kind of veggies or cheese would be great in this dish, and you could even add chicken or sausage for those meat lovers in your life.

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It was so much fun being in an actual legit kitchen.  It felt like such an honor!  They taught me a lot of helpful tips to perfect my chopping skills, and I didn’t even cut myself once!

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Doesn’t this look delicious?  Lucky for you, Chef Lahik gave me the recipe to share with all of my readers!

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Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole

1 unbaked pie shell
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chopped blanched fresh broccoli
1 1/2 teaspoon dried fresh herbs
1 1/2 cups grated cheeses
4 egg whites, well beaten
1 1/2 cups skim evaporated milk (normal milk can be used if preferred)
salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Add chopped broccoli and dried herbs and cook for 3 minutes then remove from heat. Spoon vegetables into pie shell and sprinkle with cheese. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until center comes out clean.

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Thank you SO MUCH to Executive Chef Rachid Lahik and Executive Sous Chef Kevin Hudson for taking the time out of your busy schedules to teach me this delicious recipe!

Enjoy this little video we put together of my experience in the kitchen!

Cooking at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo from Lindsay Robson on Vimeo.

Cinco de Mayo With Templeton Landing

Now that I think about it, I never actually remember ever going out for Cinco de Mayo.  Sure, I love me some tacos, but going out on that day had never really crossed my mind, until this year!

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I was contacted again by KC You There and the lovely folks at Templeton Landing to attend their Cinco de Mayo party last night, and we had so much fun!

Okay, so first of all, they definitely weren’t lying when they said that they had “Buffalo’s Largest Coronita.”  See?

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Yeah, it was massive.  I enjoyed mine without the Corona…so that would just make mine a standard margarita, and it was GOOD.

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And what would a Cinco de Mayo party be without the tacos, chips and salsa?  Definitely much needed after finishing half of a gigantic margarita!

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While we were eating, we got to enjoy the sounds of the band Son Boricua, which added a great element to the evening.  They were fantastic!

Also, major props on the name tags…it made me feel so fancy!

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Thankfully the weather was gorgeous outside, so we were able to enjoy our drinks on their patio and take in one of the best dining views in the city.

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If you haven’t been to Templeton Landing yet, make this one of your first stops this summer. It’s definitely one of the #bestspotsinbuff!

The Buffalove Aerial Photo!

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Photo via Channel 2 News

Two weeks ago, my family and I were able to take part in the Buffalove Aerial Photo that took place Canalside in Buffalo.  I am SO happy that we decided to do this, as it is definitely an experience that I will never forget!

My mom had registered us early, and from our red t-shirts, we knew that we would be the “heart” of the Buffalo.  As you can tell, we were super excited!

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The photo took place Canalside right underneath the Skyway.  We got a chance to see how far that they’ve come with construction on the Harborcenter next the the FNC.  It’s going to be amazing when it finally opens!

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We all had to line up behind our colored balloons.  They had everything well organized, but it did take a little bit of shuffling around to get everyone in the correct position.

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There’s my parents, right next to Waldo!

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And with a 1…2…3…they snapped a few photos, and that was it!  Now it was time to get our chicken dinner and relax.  Oh, and take a few photos commemorating our experience.

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If you want to see and order the HQ version of the photo, you can visit Patty’s People Pictures website HERE!

The Buffalo Lunch Bunch Aerial Photo

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Something pretty cool is happening this Friday at Canalside!  Show your Buffalove and be a part of a human formation for an aerial photo!  For $20, you’ll get a t-shirt, chicken dinner, and get to take part in an aerial photo!  A few of us are doing this, and I couldn’t be more excited!  I’m always up for anything that gets me down to Canalside!

Have you ever been a part of anything like this before?