Spend a Weekend at Darien Lake!

This post is sponsored by Pepsi and Darien Lake Theme Park Resort. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

We all know that life can get a little (or a lot!) hectic sometimes. Work, school, chores, kids, pets, significant others, family…as “adults” we have a lot to deal with. But while people have a lot of responsibilities to handle on a day to day basis, is it so wrong to want to throw a little bit of fun into the mix?

My life has been pretty busy lately, and I am SO grateful for the wonderful folks at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort. Recently, myself and a few of my favorite humans spent the weekend at Darien Lake, and this could not have come at a better time. Technically on paper, we are considered to be adults, but thanks to this amazing experience, we definitely felt like kids again!

 photo 84F1CCF5-395F-41A3-A283-188C065B237C.jpg

Darien Lake had provided myself and my friends with cabins for the weekend, as well as some killer swag.

 photo 252D0235-9455-4CB2-8199-8F1EB3F6C28A.jpg

Some of us looked better in the tees than others…

 photo 716D3931-BC91-4D34-8DF4-68535219E493.jpg

The Cabin

So I’ll be honest, I’ve never been that big of a camper. The whole staying in a tent and possibly getting eaten by bears thing never sounded appealing to me. But this…THIS I absolutely can get used to.

 photo 68014B19-1BB7-4D62-B293-93BBBD65C4D7.jpg

Guys, you don’t understand. The cabins at Darien Lake are incredible. Like, I would stay here every weekend if I could.

First of all, they have air conditioning AND heat. It was a little bit chilly the weekend that we were there, and it was so warm and toasty inside the cabin after we turned the heater on. Definitely a great way to warm up on a cold night. Second of all, they have super comfy mattresses…like a real bed inside a real house type of mattress. So much better than a sleeping bag inside of a leaky tent. Third of all, and the most important, a bathroom, shower, electricity, and running water. Seriously!! It’s glamping at its finest, and I couldn’t have been more excited.

 photo 6EA8FE55-BA48-419C-905C-6ED8EF862155.jpg

As you can see from my super awesome (not!) cell phone pic below, each cabin has their own picnic table, fire pit, and charcoal grill. We were most excited about building a fire in the pit in the evening and roasting up some marshmallows for smores….

How toasty do you like your marshmallows? I like to light mine on fire. Yep, I’m THAT girl.

 photo 5BDBD4EF-D299-4EE1-8A3F-6F5875D90DE9.jpg

The Food

Speaking of food…isn’t amusement park food the best?! Obviously, we scarfed down all of the yummy things that we could find.  From chicken fingers and fries to cotton candy and pizza, we actually ate everything.

Not pictured: the ice cream that I ate so fast that I totally forgot to take a photo of until it was too late.

Sorry not sorry.

 photo 2C1EAB0C-4027-4E76-91D1-868C486833B9.jpg

 photo FDBB90B1-5BB9-44F9-BC59-1F4153F6D178.jpg

The Games

I would like to think that I am good at games, but I’m not good at games.  Like, at all. I’m actually pretty terrible. But I have so much fun playing them!

 photo 1F1A344D-AC5D-4702-A11A-95C6244D8B70.jpg

 photo D6E60468-1939-4256-8F10-660E438DEF43.jpg

I attempted to win this insanely adorable troll creature, but alas, luck was not on my side. She still looked cute with my outfit, though, so hello perfect photo op!

 photo F2FA3EC3-1BDE-4219-9708-773A30B350B5.jpg

 photo 18739968_10155116752905837_7463579112286199651_n.jpg

 photo 2B20943F-5943-46EE-AD52-52D7AF2C0A24.jpg

The Rides

As I had mentioned in my first post, Darien Lake is a ride lover’s paradise! My personal favorite is the ferris wheel.

Why?

 photo 3718692C-2D25-44E8-B9AE-37040609F088.jpg

Check out the view from the top…so beautiful!

 photo 497B4B6B-7AA2-4775-8FF9-F901D2DD47A2.jpg

And of course, roller coasters are always the fan favorite. My friends’ absolute favorite coaster in the park is the Boomerang.

 photo 16A176FA-D016-47A1-A3E9-15A558F19C44.jpg

This intense ride shoots you forward AND backward…talk about a thrill, right?

 photo 18740641_10211388751348625_1409894869596761959_n.jpg

And speaking of thrill….oh dear.

Have you guys seen this one?

This is the RedHawk. This bad boy brings you up 180 feet off the ground, and once you pull the rip cord, you soar through the air like its namesake.  I was WAY too chicken to do this one, but my friends said that it was an amazing experience!

 photo B296250B-E30D-4003-882D-C5AFA17AFC56.jpg

 photo 231A8462-0844-463B-9AD6-A261F975256D.jpg

 photo DF8E1BB9-7628-4851-9B98-70859249CA46.jpg

 photo 18739642_10155116751895837_3278850847262682549_n.jpg

 photo 4E79B3D9-5407-4933-88EF-B3BF1CDFB9D5.jpg

I found my favorite form of excitement by riding the pretty ponies on the Merry Go Round 🙂

 photo 18697969_10211388752148645_7647336759752617626_n.jpg

 photo 18767468_10211388751588631_4994965974001896452_n.jpg

The Fun

Well, we only had one casualty of the weekend…

 photo 88DAC365-F893-4E0B-A9C8-6087146582FC.jpg

Just kidding! He’s totally fine…or is he?

 photo 93818098-8379-4213-AC61-B09EA25D5B93.jpg

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the Ignite the Night Colorblast laser light show! The is a nightly laser show that includes pyrotechnics, fireworks, music, and multi-colored laser effects.  It was so beautiful!

 

 photo 7323E84E-CB22-4197-A452-882A15321103.jpg

 photo A66B4742-291E-4A64-AB5B-04607EC69040.jpg

And of course, the boys had WAY too much fun with their glow swords. Want to see a grown man act like a child? Give him a light up sword…bonus points if the sword also makes noise (these did!)

 photo 80266452-C2DF-4642-9A7F-B066181A2CC1.jpg

 photo 635A0B86-EC51-4676-857C-3A6B9CCBCE5F.jpg

The Friends

I’m sure everybody says this, but I actually mean this next statement with my whole heart: My friends are the greatest friends in the entire world.

Not to sound sappy, but this weekend was actually so incredible because of the people I was with.  I’ve been blessed with incredible friends who know how to have a great time no matter what we are doing.

My final tip for having the best time at Darien Lake is to bring a group of your besties with you. Sure the park is a blast on its own, but it will be even better if you have your people with you.

 photo 2300DC59-688E-4B73-A5DC-24C63F6222F7.jpg

 photo 12E64E7D-ABBA-4F17-9623-EA19384E8498.jpg

 photo C2E9B7C8-88F2-465E-90D2-D692333E5931.jpg

 photo E41B2596-83F6-4E75-B4D9-54DEFB07F6C2.jpg

 photo 18671218_10155116753130837_395583993854233131_n.jpg

BONUS: The Views

While walking back to our cabins to relax before the light show, we had to stop and marvel at the beauty of the actual Darien Lake. The sunlight, the slight fog, the reflection of the roller coaster in the water…I’ve never seen anything like it.

 photo 7BC22BE1-B026-412A-B1BA-F5FC0F322A22.jpg

 photo 5A93701E-E63E-4344-901B-993150B60CD7.jpg

 photo C4925A55-253D-4276-8BE6-C5DE86990871.jpg

 photo 2140602C-78C0-49A6-BD2E-BFAC0774DF51.jpg

I just wanted to give a gigantic THANK YOU to Darien Lake Theme Park Resort and Pepsi for this opportunity. My friends and I had so much fun! And just a reminder, visit http://www.darienlake.com/pepsi and buy one full price admission & get one free when you use code PEPSI. Offer ends June 25th, so take advantage of this ASAP!

 photo BE47DFCC-5068-4C41-940E-FA3C6DF3B012.jpg

Photos by Ryan Kell & Nicholas Robson

Let’s Go On A Mural Tour!

 photo EEEA41CF-D0C0-4508-BA29-BFB6840E694B.jpg

All photography by Ryan Kell

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know just how obsessed I am with public art.  So much so that I have an entire page on my blog dedicated to public art in Buffalo and I list the locations & artists so you can check them out for yourself.  This is an ongoing project that I’m updating regularly so keep stopping by for more!

Last weekend, I had planned to do an Instagram story and Snapchat takeover about local murals for Step Out Buffalo, and coincidentally, two of my favorite humans in the world, Billy & Pat, had asked if I was free the same day as they were filming a video all about Buffalo public art.  With our forces combined, plus the sick photography skills of Ryan Kell, we set out on a day full of art adventure.

Peep on some of these great photos of our fun-filled day of urban exploration.  Because I love you, I’ll post the locations of these pieces on top of the photos, just in case you would like to visit and take some bomb ass selfies (make sure to tag me in any of those selfies on Instagram!)

1221 Main Street, Buffalo

 photo urbex-publicart-4.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-8.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-14.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-15.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-10.jpg

710 Main Street, Buffalo
 photo urbex-publicart-22.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-24.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-34.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-27.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-29.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-44.jpg

461 Ellicott Street, Buffalo
 photo urbex-publicart-51.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-53 1.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-67.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-58 1.jpg

Nacho Break at Deep South Taco!
 photo urbex-publicart-70.jpg

515 Main Street, Buffalo (side of building)
 photo BC1C08A4-9621-4D1F-8769-559660B02A14.jpg

 photo 2BA5380B-3D0D-4021-BFC4-D5D31B7993AA.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-99.jpg

515 Main Street, Buffalo (back of building)
 photo urbex-publicart-75.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-79.jpg

 photo CB055FE4-5220-4F77-9D57-2CC41434D6B0.jpg

 photo FB0898E3-7FB8-4E8B-BAE0-064473FDE765.jpg

233 Allen Street, Buffalo
 photo 8D0250C5-56AB-419E-8F7B-D82261A5F893.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-104.jpg

 photo BAD858EB-5333-4FF4-BA6F-A436B147F3E4.jpg

245 Allen Street, Buffalo (side of building)
 photo AC5F7563-C630-4D4E-A7AC-687ED4D49057.jpg

 photo 988FD088-7C28-4A6C-A696-95B58EE2A7F2.jpg

Albright Knox Art Gallery
 photo ED8E0AE4-5E26-4AF0-98A9-524968843612.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-124.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-125.jpg

72 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
 photo urbex-publicart-127.jpg

 photo urbex-publicart-129 1.jpg

45 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
 photo F2BFC886-3B86-4FC8-A1F9-F194E2497209.jpg

 photo E9759F13-8528-4D29-8531-11CB396469D1.jpg

 photo E1D39537-B1F5-4D20-8FFA-F14BD030D3B0.jpg

I had SO much fun with these guys.  Make sure to check out Billy & Pat’s video below to follow along with our adventure!!

Nickel City Gritty: We Must Dash

How amazing would it to be to be able to travel across the world with some incredible people and have everything taken care of for you from tours to accommodations to transportation?  The definition of worry-free travel.

Well thanks to Brandon & Stephanie Zarbo, this dream is now a reality.  The husband and wife team own their own active travel business called We Must Dash, and they are doing some incredible things.  Brandon & Stephanie take care of absolutely everything that you could think of, and make sure that you will have the time of your life.  All that you need to do is show up and have a blast.

I recently sat down with the duo, and we chatted about travel, music, and everything in between.

This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Brandon & Stephanie of We Must Dash.

Travel photos c/o We Must Dash

 photo image3-8.jpg

Tell me a little bit about how you started your business.

B:  We were taking our honeymoon and we wanted to spend a good amount of time in Southeast Asia, and I had been doing research about companies such as Contiki and Intrepid Travel, and I was completely dumbfounded at how many people were traveling to Thailand, and we had really fallen in love with the area. Ever since the first time I had been there, I was trying to get people to come with me, and then me and her (Stephanie) went, and we had done about five months in Southeast Asia, and that morphed into us saying, “We’re having our honeymoon, why don’t we just bring a bunch of people to Thailand with us?” I think at the peak we had about 24 people. It went really well, and everyone was raving about it. so we said, let’s just organize it and put the website up, and that’s that!

Describe your style of personality to me.

B:  I am a challenger.  I think that everyone wants to do things, they just need the motivation to do it, so I’m constantly the one to challenge you to do it. Do it, you are gonna enjoy it.  Sometimes people need that little bit of a push. I would say, like, my style is more of a friendly challenge. It’s just the little bit of motivation that you need. I’m super outgoing, really an extrovert. I want everyone to get along with each other and have fun, and this was another reason why this was kind of like, just fell into our laps, I think.  She is very analytical, and that’s not in a negative way, and I’m just jumping off the cliff like let’s do it and we’ll learn as we go.  So mine is leap first then ask questions later.

S:  I think we both are really strong in the mentality of creating fun.  Always trying to find a reason to have fun in any situation you’re in. I feel like it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can jump a little more than I used to because I’ve had a lot of loss in my family and learning that, and realizing that at no point is anything going to get worse.  There’s been things in my life that have been the worst situations, and I’ve been able to always come back out of them with growth and a new perspective.  I’m a little bit less scared than I used to be.  The fact that we’re freelancers, never in my life could I imagine this. I would have wanted some kind of safety net to fall back on.  At the end of the day, learning through all of this and the craziness to come out on the other end and say, “We’ll figure it out.”  We’re resourceful and passionate about this and I’d much rather throw my passion into something than wait ten years and go, “What the hell did we do?”

B:  I think that’s why we work well together.  Not just in this business but our relationship has been really strong because I’ve always been the one to be like, well *laughs* I guess peer pressure is a bad word, but in a positive way.  That’s why I say I’m more of a motivator and she’s the one to always take people aside and talk to them, and that’s why I said analytical.  She always more of the friend that you can confide in.  This has kind of been a push with our brand, because we’ve seen other travel companies that are like “Washboard abs! Boobs and butts and look at the beautiful travel!” and we really just want to radiate those friends that you can always confide in no matter what.  We want you to feel ultimately comfortable.  If you ever want to travel, just ask us questions. We just want people to get out there and experience the world.  A smile is the best currency that you can have.

 photo Bangkok 1 of 44.jpg

What is on your playlist?  What do you both love to listen to?

S:  We just started a We Must Dash Spotify actually! We are tailoring it specifically to certain moments in travel.  I’m a big closet EDM fan…that’s pretty much all I listen to.

B:  Yeah, we listen to a lot of Trop House and stuff like that.

S:  That’s the island thing, because immediately for us it’s like we’re back in a villa.  Also, right now, Lord Huron, we could listen to them all day, they’re just great, and easy to listen to.  Not too distracting and great background music.

B:  I just listen to such a wide variety of music.  I’m such a fan of corny 80’s music, though. It’s what I listen to all the time, and she hates it!  I also like to make playlists for every situation I’m in.  So, like, when I’m having some drinks around the fire, I’ll have a mood for that.  When I’m trying to get amped up to go out, I have a mood for that. And then I have one that’s silly when I’m trying to make her laugh.

S:  So yeah, I could listen to EDM at any moment on any day at any circumstance.   And that’s totally a post-cheerleading thing. I would make the mixes for cheerleading and yeah it’s bad sometimes.  Sometimes I’m like, “This makes no sense why I’m listening to this and how it fits this moment.” but it just works.

What is your most memorable or favorite concert you’ve ever been to?

S:  Mine was Edgefest 2006, and we were both in high school, Taking Back Sunday was playing and Anberlin, and it was like my mecca of high school bands, I was so excited.  And he goes, “We’re gonna go backstage!” and I’m like, “Get the hell out of here, who is this dude?” And we ended up watching the show backstage! He literally just walked backstage and was like, “Oh I’m here with the crew.” And they were like, “Okay!”

B:  I had played in bands for a while and all throughout high school, so you just know. It’s just confidence.

S:  So I was thinking, like, what is the worst that could happen? They are going to send me out into the crowd? That’s not even that big of a deal! What did you like, jingle your keys and pretend there was a pass on it?

B:  Yeah, I just grabbed my keys and was like, “Oh here” *waves keys quickly* And I did it so fast so they couldn’t actually see anything.

S:  Yes, we’ve been to some great shows but this was definitely the most memorable.

 photo image3-6.jpg

What were you guys like in high school?

B:  I was a complete spaz.  Just Dr. Detention all the time.

S:  I was a pretty good student! So I was a weird one, because I was an art student, and president of band, and I was also the cheerleading captain.  I could never specialize in something, because I always had my hands in a million different things. And nothing’s changed, because I’m just used to trying a little bit of everything and never excelling at one thing, just always being moderately okay at a lot of things.

If there was a movie about your life, what actor would play the role of you?

S:  I’m trying to think of the person who I most identify with…Ellie Kemper from the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt…I feel like she’d do a good job for me.

B:  Vince Vaughn.  I don’t talk as fast as he does, though.  He’s just somebody who I identify with because he started out by writing his own movie and then he made his own way into the movie world. And he’s a Libertarian too, which I identify with…the only Libertarian in Hollywood pretty much.

 photo Untitled_HDR4a.jpg

What is your spirit animal?

B:  Bald Mothafuckin’ Eagle. *laughs*

S:  You would say that.  I’m starting to think that my dog is.  In a past life I would have said something like a fennec fox, and I don’t really have a reason for that other than I just like them…they’re adorable.

B:  I would say a lion, but that sounds to conceited, so we’ll go with a mountain lion and/or a cougar.  Because I don’t want to call myself a lion, because that’s like, “I’m a fuckin’ lion” and it’s so big headed. It would definitely be a big cat of some sort, because there’s a certain amount of viciousness to them but only when it’s warranted, but then there’s gracefulness to them.

S:  So I think I would probably say a butterfly. I’m fascinated by the caterpillar to butterfly transformation, the whole thing…like I have a butterfly garden and keep the caterpillars and let them go.  And I love the idea that science doesn’t even know  why they shift and how that whole process happens, but they are becoming something else.  And the migration for monarchs blows my mind too, that they just instinctively know.

B:  Just born to travel!

What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?

S:  Our five month trip was out of this world.

B:  Yeah, we did so much in five months.

S:  That was life changing.  I know that for a lot of people that type of experience is not just something that they can do.  But, I shouldn’t even say that.  They think that it’s not possible.  But there are a lot of scenarios that a lot of people could make it work.  That trip just changed our lives.  We lived out of backpacks for five months and the people we met, the experiences we had, we stayed with families and to see how they live on a day to day, it’s just so polar opposite of what we do and the things that we worry about. And after I was overwhelmed just walking into a grocery store.  People don’t have these options.  It really opened my eyes that we have way more control in our lives than we think we do and it really comes down to prioritizing what’s most important.

B:  I think mine was this past trip with everyone, because we were taking such a leap and trying to expose people to something so different.  The Honeymoon trip.  We had a lot of people who meant a lot to us.  I had one of my best friends in my entire life who’s had a lot of shit happen to him and he took a chance to go on this trip, and just seeing how he changed from the first day to the end of the trip.  That happened to a few people.  And it was something coupled with us taking such a chance on kickstarting this business, and using something like our honeymoon, it was very personal, it’s like your time as a couple to go out and do what you want to do, and for us to take a chance and invite all these people.  It could have gone so horribly wrong, or so we thought.  And I think it opened our eyes that this could really work.  We were ready.  This does change people and it really does make people reevaluate themselves.

Where is your happy place?  Where do you go where you need to get away from the craziness?

S:  In a hammock.  It doesn’t even matter where the hammock is.  A house is not a home without a hammock.

B:  I would say the property.  We have property down in the Southern Tier and I could be mowing the lawn and just hang out and watch the dog run around.  Just hanging out and cooking shit over the fire and watching the sunset.  Super duper happy place.

 photo image1-9.jpg

What is your favorite restaurant in the city?

B:  Currently, I’d say Kaydara.

S:  We really love it there.  It’s pho and it’s Vietnamese fusion, so it’s a mix of a bunch of different stuff, so we always go there.  It’s definitely pretty close to what we had in Vietnam.

B:  I would say that’s my favorite place right now. Either that or a fuckin’ taco place like Don Tequila’s or Cantina.  But Kaydara is the number one for now.

My last question that I always ask, because it’s very important.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

B:  I just want to be somebody who motivates people to be who they want to be.  That’s it. As long as I can do that, I just want to be somebody who makes it easier for people to achieve what they want to achieve.

S:  When I actually had to think about it when somebody asked me that after college and stuff, when I was asked what would be my dream job, it was something so lofty like, “Open a summer camp.” I think the about the happiest that I’ve ever been, and not to say summer camp was the end all be all, but as a general statement, all of the different things and activities and the people you are meeting, I think summer camp is a totally underrated thing that now, kids find a million reasons not to do that. That was such a defining part of growing up and learning to appreciate those things and trying stuff that you would never be able to do at home.  So I think we’re on the path for me getting to be what I wanted to be when I grow up…a camp counselor! But just in a very exaggerated form.

 photo Bangkok 73 of 80.jpg


Thank you SO MUCH Brandon & Stephanie for taking time out of your crazy schedules to meet with me.  It was a blast talking with you and I’ll definitely have to take a trip with you soon!

Are you thinking of doing a bit of adventure traveling but don’t know where to start?  Check out We Must Dash and you could find yourself on a trip that will change your life.

Upcoming Art Festivals

I’ve always been an artistic person…not so much in the painting or sculpting sense, but in theatre, music, and most currently, makeup artistry.  Since I’ve always been interested in the art scene, I’ve loved going to art shows for as long as I can remember.  Fortunately, Buffalo is a huge hub for all-things artistic.  We have three great art festivals coming up this month, and here’s all of the information that you need to know!

 photo 12928379_916827438414775_5671435014650902022_n.png

Jack Craft Fair:  Saturday, August 13th – Buffalo Central Terminal

The Jack Craft Fair is probably one of my favorite art festivals in Buffalo. The first time that I went was last year, and I purchased a ton of stuff. I love that this is more of a indie-craft fair with more eclectic artists.  Probably one of my favorite purchases was my gold T-Rex air planter from Prismatic Gardens.  I hope to add another one to my collection this year!

Here are some of my personal favorite vendors to look out for:  The Stitch Bitch, Trebird, Rusterior Designs, Prismatic Gardens, Pickled Punks, Kitch Studios,  Buffalo Cake Pops, West Side Stitchery

 photo 2016 LAF evite final.jpg

Lewiston Art Festival:  Saturday & Sunday, August 13th-14th – Center Street in Lewiston

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Lewiston Art Festival, but I remember it being fantastic.  Lewiston is a gorgeous place on it’s own, but add in over 200 artists and it’s a beautiful combination.  Definitely one not to miss!  You can find the festival map HERE.

 photo 12819466_10153464036250886_4863548360500177060_o.jpg

Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts:  Saturday & Sunday, August 28th-29th – Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo

The Elmwood Art Fest is another favorite of mine…I never miss it!  I love the fact that not only can you shop the wonderful vendors lining the streets, but you can also listen to some amazing music on the different stages throughout the festival.  Beautiful weather, great art, fantastic music…what more could you ask for?

My favorite vendors to look out for:  Chuck Tingley, Vegetabowls, Ginametrical, Inkwell Studios, Alpine Made, Planet Love

Exploring Wilkeson Pointe

 photo 62EA70B4-561B-46D7-876B-75EFEA051A49.jpg

This past weekend, I did a little bit of exploring at Wilkeson Pointe on the Outer Harbor. If you’re from Buffalo, you’ve probably already been there because, hello, it’s so beautiful. For some odd reason, I never made it a point to visit until now, and I’m so happy that I did!

 photo 17B6B3D6-2B7F-4BD0-A070-862DA86F63B7.jpg

 photo 0C57F958-A3EC-43EE-9E43-70CD8447F10D.jpg

The gardens are so beautiful and they have this cute little bridge.

 photo 1D7702D7-1DC8-4F8E-BD04-80D91AC79167.jpg

My favorite things in Wilkenson Pointe are the giant spoon-like metal sculptures that move so gracefully with the wind.

 photo EA43B9DC-A1AF-4101-9BEE-F0DBE868F36F.jpg

It was such a peaceful area and I definitely can’t wait to go back….especially to see views like this.

 photo 4DC61FE9-0100-4C97-BF3D-C148680FD6C8.jpg

 photo B0DF5BCC-AAAA-4E0C-851A-55D2A442DAC5.jpg

Seattle Recap

 photo 9453D1F2-D0C0-422B-9756-2C3A3A38DCC0.jpg

At the beginning of the month, we spent a week in Seattle because my little brother was getting married. I still can’t believe that it’s actually over, since I feel like we’ve been talking about it forever!

Seattle is one of my favorite places in the country.  Everything is so green and lush and the people are so friendly….my mom always jokes that it’s a city of robots because everything is just a little bit “too perfect.”

Since we were there for so long, there were so many things that we were able to do and I took SO many photos.  I’m not going to upload all of them since it would take forever, but here are a few of my favorites that highlight some of the best things that we did on our trip.

Had the most amazing brunch at Salty’s (which is where Nick & Chip got married!)

 photo 74A5B44C-D1C6-45E7-93E1-043C718D9B8B.jpg

 photo F1D323DD-0C84-4515-838F-0E9AE2CF7D36.jpg

 photo 955CC47F-3830-475A-8DAC-62D67EA13723.jpg

Took a beautiful walk around Lake Union

 photo 8C104B20-4AFB-4031-B1C6-19E12A3CD0A7.jpg

 photo 43CF35B4-92DF-44FD-ACFB-4102DA4E2B71.jpg

 photo A5C3CD7D-014C-4D1F-AFEB-37E6A81A20BA.jpg

We found the Fremont Troll! 

 photo 8E1C0EC9-2ED8-4EBB-8279-AC9F555481CB.jpg

 photo DFA44996-C6E8-4549-A347-50425DB52844.jpg

Had some life-changing tacos at Red Star Taco Bar in Fremont

 photo 9BE6F661-7536-471B-9EBE-78FA94F90EF8.jpg

Visited the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

 photo EB5AF4B4-A579-492D-B5D7-9599CCD136F5.jpg

Went to the infamous Pike Place Market

 photo D0B11EA3-D315-4B8C-9113-7F8B64F72141.jpg

Took a day trip to Mt. Rainier. It was SO FOGGY and cold that we couldn’t see the mountain, but it was still so much fun. It was about a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle proper, and if you take a vacation to Seattle and want to venture to Mt. Rainier, I highly recommend booking a tour through Tours Northwest. They picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the mountain, making a bunch of stops at some awesome hiking trails.

 photo 8550BEBD-6634-4AF8-BBE2-45DB933FBFBD.jpg

 photo CD0847E0-AD26-446C-AFE7-9D5B30E2DB07.jpg

 photo 0538FE40-2149-49D2-ADD9-E13DAF347CFA.jpg

 photo 7C6FF763-2495-4DDF-B6AE-6D69AD271C93.jpg

 photo C58A7E18-CFB5-4FDE-ABE0-B638D7D5D43C.jpg

 photo B3AEC9F9-9361-4973-BD9E-9AF49E96BE5E.jpg

 photo E64C4A9F-31F0-40EE-A3C0-3DF0923F3E33.jpg

Fulfilled my dream of eating at Top Pot

 photo 7F6F89EC-7F94-4141-8F4F-82CF5C17D259.jpg

 photo D47C3ADB-957D-468C-A5E9-6C050235EB0A.jpg

Saw this dog

 photo C7AC8951-21E0-4CF4-ACAF-2082681B5639.jpg

Had the most INCREDIBLE chili-lime popcorn at The Pine Box

 photo 482F2AB6-763F-4B4F-975C-C41407671EA5.jpg

Road a Duck Boat around Lake Union

 photo 1D6AC89E-CBE1-4D5E-B150-779DC8B8B209.jpg

 photo 7C93F6EE-39E8-4EBF-A656-0A33ABEFE283.jpg

 photo D5F7D89B-D10F-4FF2-BFB1-C05CC834A366.jpg

Ate the most delicious Italian meal for their rehearsal dinner…I can’t remember the name of the restaurant 😦

 photo F9A5388B-4240-4D90-AC9C-21B696A29BDE.jpg

 photo B0B98A0A-6BDE-42DE-BB64-4D305876F121.jpg

 photo CAA18E5B-DE65-47BD-89F1-853EFB08277E.jpg

And watched my little brother get married to the love of his life  🙂

 photo 4D7E4DD3-536D-43D3-8B56-F7DC907E5562.jpg

 photo 440F3394-919F-4A22-A104-7ED0EDE804A2.jpg

 photo 025F8E2A-3514-4AE7-857F-010A1BE078AA.jpg

 photo B77945EB-D35C-4695-B2DC-2C62956333F1.jpg

 photo DD3D3533-3536-44CC-9B8F-E1CF2EDEFDFD.jpg

It was an absolute perfect week and I am so happy that I was able to be there for my brother and Chip.  Love you both so much!

Buffalo Skyride

 photo 052A3B8C-ADF4-43F3-90FD-76CAEFF91657.jpg

I’ve never been a big “athletic” person. Sure, I go to the gym, take workout classes, lift the occasional weight, but take notice that these are all solo things that I can do from the comfort of the indoors. Organized sports and fast-paced things were never my forte, for fear that I could hurt myself and die. Completely rational, right?

We have a local organization called Go Bike Buffalo, whose mission is to educate people about bicycle safety and make Buffalo a more bike-friendly city. They’ve done amazing things over the past few years, and organizing the Buffalo Skyride is just one of them.

 photo 4ACE7F3D-6821-495B-95CA-B05837962845.jpg

This is the third year that Go Bike Buffalo has put on the Skyride, and it was the first year that I’ve participated. I never felt like I was in good enough shape to ride up the Skyway, but since I’ve been taking weekly spin classes for a few months, I figured what the heck. So I registered.

 photo 5CC42F01-4AC3-4DBA-BB03-BD2D0C227578.jpg

Nicholas is an avid cyclist (he’s actually going to be biking 500+ miles from NYC to Niagara Falls in August!) so he helped me out with my gear and my bike. There were two options that you could do- a 10 mile and 25 mile. I opted to go with the 10 mile because I really wasn’t that comfortable yet riding long mileage through city streets. Spin class is one thing but when you combine cars with other cyclists and unpredictable weather, I needed to build up my confidence.

 photo A57A11B1-7D2C-4103-848A-287FCDA20BFC.jpg

We took off from Riverworks Park (with a great view of the giant Labatt Blue six-pack) and…long story short…I did it!

I didn’t die and I didn’t crash and I didn’t fall off the Skyway. I would say that was a successful ride! I had so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again. Here are a few photos that Nicholas took with his Go Pro.

 photo 5DBDDA06-18C8-41A9-B79D-F319DCC0D868.jpg

 photo 8B5ECCE6-4BA0-4C00-9965-569F58182791.jpg

 photo 153CC690-A3EF-4EB9-9334-1249C7326D09.jpg

 photo C1955CDF-1CB6-4ABE-B4DE-E82F100450E3.jpg