Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

So I’m not going to lie…I don’t cook.  It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I don’t like it.  I’m not that type of person who can just look at a basket of ingredients and come up with something off the top of my head.  I would get eliminated in the first round of Chopped.  That’s why I love baking so much, because it’s super structured and you need to follow a recipe for the end product to come out perfect…and also because I have a massive sweet tooth.

On those days when I am feeling ambitious and decide to tackle a savory recipe, I like to stick with one-pot meals.  Minimal cleanup, no fuss, good food.  I’ve made this soup a few times, and it’s always one of my favorite things.  It’s really filling and not super heavy, and it’s an homage to the Olive Garden soup that we all know and love.

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Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup  (adapted from THIS recipe)

2 large bunches Kale, Picked Over, Cleaned, And Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
7 large Red Potatoes, diced
1 whole Onion, Chopped
1-1/3 pound Hot Italian Chicken Sausage
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 cups 2% Milk
3 cups Half-and-half
Italian Seasoning

Instructions:  Prepare the kale and set it aside. In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage with the onion and little bit of olive oil. Drain as much as the fat as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Add the potatoes.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Buffalo Black Book Magic Release Party

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It’s no shock to any of you that I go to a lot of events…and by a lot I mean a metric shit ton. You’ve seen me post about everything from art festivals to fashion shows to store openings.  I always say that if there is an event, any kind of event at all, GO TO IT!  It doesn’t matter if it might not seem of interest to you in that moment. Just go.  You never know who you will meet!  I’ve met some of the best people and really networked my ass off this way.

If there is one event in the city that you should definitely attend, it’s absolutely the upcoming Buffalo Black Book release party!  You might remember that I posted about the last party in September, and it was one of the most fun events that I’ve been to.  It also was the very first time that I connected with Elizabeth, the creator of the BBB.  Just a reminder that you can read her Nickel City Gritty interview HERE!

This party is celebrating the recent launch of their second issue Magic (still available to purchase on their website).  This issue is brilliant, and full of some of my favorite people!  If you are in Buffalo, near Buffalo, or just feel like coming to Buffalo for the weekend, join me at Hydraulic Hearth this Saturday to celebrate Elizabeth and Buffalo Black Book.  It’s going to be an awesome party!

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Tribute to Spain Rodriguez

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I think that this mural has to be one of my favorites out of my Buffalo Public Art series so far.

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This beauty was created in 2013 by a group of artists under the direction of Ian DeBeer as a tribute to Buffalo-born comic artist Spain Rodriguez.

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The actual story behind this mural is definitely interesting and worth reading about.  It was inspired by a Spain Rodriguez comic about a fight he got into at Nietzsche’s, which is across the street from the mural.  You can find a lot more information on this piece by clicking HERE!

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You can find the exact location of this graphic piece, as well as plenty of other local works of art on my Buffalo Public Art page!

Nickel City Gritty: Two Guys Good Buys

At the beginning of November, I attended a Two Guys Good Buys pop-up shop (you can view my post about it HERE)  This was my first time meeting the duo, Frank Fina and Tyler Annalora.  After talking to them for a short while, I quickly learned a few things: they were super passionate about their vintage clothing business, they loved traveling across the country in their van, and they were suckers for a good adventure.

After randomly running into them multiple times since our first initial meeting, I just knew that they had to be the next subjects in my Nickel City Gritty series (check out my first post about Elizabeth of Buffalo Black Book!)

After my interview with Frank & Tyler, I quickly learned a few more things:  Tyler’s spirit animal is a zebra, Frank is terrified of bears, and they are still suckers for a good adventure…and an amazing playlist.

This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Frank & Tyler of Two Guys Good Buys.

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Describe your style to me.

Tyler:  Laid back, not trying too hard to be comfortable and relevant, always try to be fashion forward…it’s actually tough.  I don’t really think about it too much!

Frank:  Yeah, that’s it.  It’s like, I guess, pretty simple.  Not thinking too much about it.

T:  I try to stick with a timeless aesthetic…the basics.  You can’t go wrong with a nice plaid, but I think simpler is better for sure.  So solids, and right now I like neutral tones and earth tones.

F:  As far as clothing, for me, I’m pretty simple.  Ty is definitely more fashionable than I am.  Clothing wise, I’m most comfortable in jeans and a tee shirt and a jacket. I like stuff that works, I like stuff that lasts.  Especially with doing things in the outdoors, it’s worth buying something that’s gonna last you.  You’re using it every day and you want it to withstand the test of time.

T:  Yeah, that’s the thing, for us we don’t have so much space for clothes, so things that will work day in and day out is really what we’re looking for.

F:  With being on the road, style wise, it’s like you’re really falling in love with these few items that you have, you know?  Back home, I have way too many clothes, and when we spent the 9 months on the road I had a bin of clothing that I wore and everything was really useful.  There was a point about 6 months in where I actually sent some stuff home because we weren’t using it.  It’s like, now we know what works and what’s lasting and what we’re staying warm in. So we sent a few things home and simplified things even more.  So all this, and our personal style, also relates to the clothing that we sell.  Stuff that’s been around, these companies haven’t been around for 60 years because they don’t work.  People trust the quality.  We definitely wear a lot of what we sell, too.

T:  That’s what we’re going for.  A simpler lifestyle.  No frills other than the necessity.

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

T:  This jacket, for sure.  I’m not sure what type of jacket it is…denim or maybe canvas.  It’s definitely warm.

F:  I’d say, for me, a Pendleton shirt as of lately.  The past couple years.  It always wasn’t my favorite piece of clothing, but now I think a Pendleton wool shirt is something I would not leave behind wherever I went.  I’m just like, so confident on how warm it’s gonna be.  I just trust it.  I actually have Ty to thank for liking certain brands so much.  He definitely has more of a fashion background.

T:  I think we’ve been more or less interested in a certain look or aesthetic.  Sometimes brand specific but just trying to understand certain fibers.  Very elementary level, but to understand, like, wool.  And what type of natural fiber that is.  And then understanding what brands now days still carry on the tradition that was started over a hundred years ago.  It might be made in a different place, but the integrity of the fabric…I’d like to think it’s the same.  Just trying to focus on that more.

F:  Even before we really started getting into the older, vintage stuff, just like in High School, Ty was always going to New York City and he was digging different clothing than other people.

T:  Just goofy stuff. Just being aware of what’s going on in places besides here in Buffalo, whether it be in Europe or Japan. People are doing different things and obviously style is different.  Keeping a keen eye on what’s going on in fashion and style. I’ve always been interested in big cities and like what they’re doing in New York.  So it just kind of opened my eyes to other things.  Going to New York was always fun.  We would do weekend trips quite often.

F:  We would take trips to New York, and at the time I was working full-time.  So I would work until 4:00, hop on a megabus after work, get there Saturday at 5am, meet up with Ty and we would pretty much just walk around the city for two days straight and I would leave Sunday night at like 10pm and get back to Buffalo Monday morning.

T:  Remember that?  We would stay at the hostel on 27th and 3rd. You’d call me at like 5:30 in the morning, wake up, get a coffee, and we’d walk like 60 blocks.

That’s so fun!

F:  We would just go and walk around and take photos.  It’s really sweet to think back to those trips, and this was probably 2010 or 2011, and just to look back and we were just like hanging out.  It’s just crazy how it evolves into this now and our love for photography and traveling and just seeing new things and seeing new faces and seeing new styles.  It’s always been there, just now it’s evolved.

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Do you guys have any style icons?

F:  *laughs* Yeah, Ty.

T:  I can’t say that I do, but I get my eye from my mom.

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Where do you look as your source of inspiration?

F:  Being on the road is a constant inspiration for me.  Just seeing so many new things, whether it is the scenic views  or just talking to different people from all over the country.  Just a lot of different walks of life.  It’s cool because the traveling community is a huge thing for me.  I didn’t know how amazing it would be.  It’s amazing to meet up with strangers.  Back home, before leaving, you know I had a group of friends but I wasn’t the type of person to like, go out to a bar and meet all new people.  So now I’m much more open to meeting new people and finding out similarities.  Automatically when you’re on the road, I feel like there’s just a connection right away that’s so much quicker.  We’re away from home, and traveling and sitting around the fire and cooking breakfast together.  You just automatically have the connection and that’s really inspiring to me.  We always say strangers become friends so quick.  I feel like you gain trust and grow to like these people.

T:  Yeah, and moving around, it’s not just “Wooooo we’re gonna go crazy and start driving somewhere!” You have to have a general plan.  Just being exposed to more is inspiring, because you see just so many more possibilities and different ways of life.  Not everything is so glamorous, but there’s different possibilities out there in other places than in Buffalo or New York or wherever you are.  I think once you move yourself from one specific place, it just opens your eyes naturally.  For me personally, that’s a huge inspiration.  I want to continue to push what we’re doing here because right now it’s working and I know we’re not gonna fail, and if we do there’s many more things that we can go and pursue and continue to do what we’re doing.

F:  Yeah, you just see all these different opportunities and all these different people that are able to travel full time and are doing all these different things.  Whether it’s a traveling nurse or substitute teaching or people running their own brands or blogging or photographers.  All these people are doing things and they have their shit together, they’re making a living, they’re traveling full-time.  They’re not just out there doing whatever.  It’s hard work to travel full-time, so there’s just other ways to do it and make a living other than working 40 hours a week 9 to 5.  There’s ways to do it.

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What’s on your playlist?

F:  Music is SO huge for us!  Obviously, anyone taking road trips, it’s huge.  We’ve definitely expanded what we listen to a lot.  We pick up music from the people that we met.  Our good friend Jackie took our iPod one day and put all this music on, this was one month into our trip, and filled it up with all new music and we started listening to all these different, completely different artists that we didn’t even know about.

T:  For a while I was listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I listen to Foals.  We always listen to 70’s Smash Hits, that’s for sure!

F:  Yeah, that’s the playlist!  70’s Smash Hits.  The Lumineers are really good.  There’s just something about being on an open highway and certain music works so much better.

T:  Also been listening to a lot of J. Cole recently.

F:  I was always really really into hip hop.  Definitely went to a lot of hip hop shows and kept up on different hip hop blogs, so we continue to listen to hip hop music too, but we are listening to so much more.  I’ve always appreciated different types of music.

T:  Dan Auerbach, Black Keys, listened to Modest Mouse for a while.

F:  I listen to pretty much everything.  One thing that we don’t listen to though is country.  I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if it’s just in my head.  That’s one thing we just never listen to. Other than that we just listen to pretty much every genre.

T:  Beatles are great always and listen to the Stones for sure.  The Doors are great, listened to The Eagles for weeks.

F:  There would be long drives, I think Ty would put on a Beatles playlist, and there’d be like 25 songs and that would last a while, and I would doze off and then wake up and look over and Ty’s just jammin out to The Beatles and singing, and it’s stuff like that that’s just awesome.  We had some fun in those front seats of the van.

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

T:  It would have to be your first concert…

F:  What, mine?

T:  Yeah, Billy Joel!

F:  The first concert I ever went to, my parents took me to a Billy Joel concert.  I don’t remember it so I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite. I was young.  Growing up, my parents always wanted me to play instruments.  Which I do too, but when you’re younger, it’s different.  My mom was always like “When you’re older, you’re gonna wish that you stuck with the piano or the saxophone.” So they took me, and that’s back when I was taking the piano.  But I say my favorite one…we would go up to Toronto for a show, and saw Jay Z and Kanye West, just a huge stadium concert.

T:  Does a music festival count?

Yeah!

T:  I think that would be my favorite concert…Hangout Festival.  Gulf Coast of Alabama.  3 days on the beach.  So many people performed.  On the last night, the headliner was Paul Simon.  That was a cool performance to see.

F:  I think my favorite live show…I went to New York to see Nas at Radio City Music Hall on New Year’s Eve.  That was a few years back…that was an amazing show.  Also, right here at the Ballroom, Atmosphere.  Have you ever heard of Atmosphere?  It’s like underground-ish hip hop.  It’s all real instruments and it’s awesome.  That was one of my favorite live shows.

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Who would play you in a movie about your life?

F:  Adam Sandler!

T:  *laughs* Yeah, for sure!

F:  I don’t know why, but everyone’s always joked around that I look like him, and as a kid he was my favorite actor.  Honestly, I’m not huge into movies, but that’s who came to mind first.

What’s your spirit animal?

T:  Oh man…hmmmmm…zebra.

Zebra?  Why?

T:  When I went to the zoo as a kid, I always wanted to take the zebras home with me.

Awwwwwwww…

F:  I’ve never thought of my spirit animal.  I’m like petrified of bears.  That’s a fear  that I have.  It’s not my spirit animal, but I’m definitely scared of bears.  The first time we were out in grizzly territory out west, and we were doing hikes all over the place.  That first hike where I knew there was a chance that there could be a grizzly bear around, I was like thinking about it non-stop. Looking up and always making sure I know what to do if I see one.  But I don’t know, I never really thought about the spirit animal.

T:  I don’t think you could skip that question.

F:  A bald eagle!

T:  Ooooh that’s a good one.

F:  Forever free.  Bald eagles are sweet.  I always wanted to see one so bad, and we went months on a trip without seeing one, always talked about it.  They’re way more common out west.  We were in Oregon one day, which was 5 months into the trip, and we were at Mt. Hood and we saw two bald eagles above us.  I was filming it, and in the background of the video I’m like “This is amazing!” and I’m bugging out.

T:  It was hilarious, I’m like looking at the bald eagles doing their thing and he’s like “Oh my god!”

F:  I wanted to send it to my grandpa.  He is a huge inspiration, and the reason why I like the outdoors so much.  He’s 90 years old and I would always keep him updated on the trip. And send him videos.  He’s somehow really good with an iPhone at 90 years old, so I took that video and sent it to him.  And after that we ended up seeing a few more.

Did you see a bear?

F:  We did see a bear, our first bear in Yosemite.  That was sweet.  It was far away and there was a lot of other people around.

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What’s your favorite childhood memory?

F:  I’d say, going to the ocean once a year.  My parents would take me on little trips to Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach.  I’d say, trips to the ocean with my family.  That’s why I have the constant travel bug.  It was always something I looked forward to.

T:  I think probably doing things on the weekends with my dad.  My sister and I would go and do something outside.  Whether is be a day trip or weekend trip camping or something.  Do everything together and make dinner, start the fire and cooking out.  He would be in the country so we would go to his house and shoot bb guns and have fun outside. He was always adamant about getting my sister and I outside.

F:  I think my grandpa really got me into the outdoors.  He was the hunter and fisherman, so those were the times that we would do that- going out fishing and things like that.

What’s your favorite local place to grab a drink?

F:  So when I go out to bars, I like to have something else to do there other than just sit at the bar, whether it’s pool or darts.  I really like going to Frizzy’s  because I think the photo booth there is a blast.  So if we go there with a group of friends, I just like taking photos.  It’s such a cool little keepsake and you can have it forever for $3.

T:  Yeah, that’s the first thing that came to my mind.

Where do you go to de-stress?

F:  Nature, hikes, the Adirondacks.

T:  It’s been tough, I didn’t realize it.  Even just being in Buffalo, it’s fast enough and there’s enough lights and it’s loud enough where you can get rattled a little bit.

F:  Especially when you get used to living on the road, there really is a lot less stress, so coming back you’re just like “Woah!”

T:  We’d go to Public in the Lafayette Hotel, go around the corner and sit by the fireplace.  That’s a nice place to relax.

F:  For myself, and Ty too, just being out in nature is really calming.

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Okay, and always my last question is, what do you want to be when you grow up?

F:  I just want to be happy and successful in my own terms.  As long as I’m progressing every year in my life I’m happy with that.

T:  I think right now it’s kind of hard to put into one specific thing.  I think to be living by my own best means, I’ll be happy.

F:  You know, it’s interesting, when I was a kid and thought about that question what I wanted to be when I was growing up or what I thought I wanted to be doing 5 years from 21 even, I didn’t think I’d be doing this.  And this is what I want to be doing right now.  I want to be traveling.  It’s just crazy. I never thought it would be possible.  And it IS possible, for anybody.  Not just for us.  If there’s something you wanna do, and you just sit down and plan it and take your time with it and think about it, it’s so possible.

Personal Style: Casual Lace

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I’m normally not into lace…it’s just to stuffy and fussy for me.  But lace cutouts mixed with a comfy sweatshirt?  Now we are talking.

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I found this awesome sweatshirt recently at JC Penney, and initially on the hanger it didn’t look like much, but I completely fell in love with it when I tried it on!  Funny how that works sometimes.  Also funny how I look totally normal in these photos but in reality my teeth were chattering because it was SO COLD outside.  The things we do for a good photo!

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On a more colorful note, this beautiful background is brought to you by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  This piece is located behind the gallery and it one of my favorite pieces on the grounds.  Liam Gillick’s “Stacked Revision Structure” is a twelve-foot cube fabricated from powder-coated aluminum that was created specifically for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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I know pretty much all of the pieces on my Buffalo Public Art page are murals, but I’ll be adding this beauty for my fellow art-lovers!

The Victory Gardens by Oxford Pennant

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I have noticed that recently, especially with the Holiday season, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly more popular.  Most pop-ups last a weekend or two, but the ever-wonderful Oxford Pennant has blessed us with a month-long pop-up called The Victory Gardens.

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The Victory Gardens is located at Oxford Pennant’s shop on West Tupper in the city and runs through January 1st.  I had the chance to finally stop in a check out the shop this past weekend, and it’s EVERYTHING.

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Not only do they have some of their amazing pennants for sale, they carry some unique items from brands such as Pendleton, Juniper Ridge, Mollyjogger and even custom Hudson Hockey sticks.

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You can find The Victory Gardens at 43 West Tupper in Buffalo.  They are open all week from 12-8 through January 1st.

Make sure to check out their website for a full list of their hand-made pennants available for purchase.  I might have bought about 4 or 5 to give as gifts this year!

Want to learn more about Oxford Pennant? Check out their recent interview on Yeah! Buffalo’s blog!

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Winter Luau!

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Last week I had posted about the Maad Tiki Winter Luau, and I ended up going with my friend Angela.  We had a great time!

The party was held at Buffalo Riverworks, which is a new-ish location in the city.  It’s a great space for events, and the roller derby actually holds their bouts there, which is pretty awesome.

The party was held on the second floor. They had bands, a dj, wearable art, and artists who were selling their work as well as live-painting, which was really great to see.  So many talented people in one space!

As you know, I love dressing up, but I couldn’t find anything tropical to wear. I ended up wearing this super cute Hell Bunny sailor dress from Hot Topic and went for kind of a 1950’s pinup inspired look.

Here are a few photos from the event!

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