A Buffalo Girls’ Day Out

Brunch. Shopping. Coffee shops. Ice cream.

When Chessa of Vintage Lillies and I plan a girls’ day, we don’t mess around.

I first met Chessa in high school, where we were both in yearbook club and scholastic bowl like the nerds we are. We crossed paths a few times after graduating, but it wasn’t until we both ended up in the Buffalo Blogging Network that we really had a chance to catch up. What better way to reconnect than with a collaboration between our blogs, filled with all the best things Buffalo has to offer?

Whether you’re a Western New York native or taking a weekend trip, spending a day in the city with good company is always relaxing. Follow our footsteps for the perfect girls’ day out in Buffalo:

Stop 1: Brunch on the West Side

It’s basically impossible to have a girls’ day without brunch. Breadhive was our choice, and it was buzzing with friends and families. The decor is perfect, with a painted tin ceiling, stained glass and paneled walls. We ordered sandwiches (me from the breakfast menu and Chessa from the lunch menu), headed outside and chatted about what the rest of our day would look like.

While on Connecticut Street, stop by Burning Books for a beautifully curated and displayed collection on titles on feminism (this is a girls’ day after all), political activism, diversity and history.

Stop 2: Shopping on Elmwood Ave.

Elmwood Ave. is a treasure-trove of shops, with everything from secondhand scarves to upscale coasters. I’m not normally a thrift store shopper, most likely because my fashion sense is pretty basic. I’m way more comfortable upcycling furniture than repurposing clothes. Shopping with Chessa was eye-opening! We made stops at both Scoop Shop and Second Chic (which is seriously adorable).

Everything Elmwood, Fern + Arrow and Anna Grace were also stops on our shopping spree. So much for doing this girls’ day on a budget…

Buffalo Girls Day Out | Locals Guide | Succulents and Sunnies

Buffalo Girls Day Out | Locals Guide | Succulents and Sunnies

Stop 3: Coffee in Allentown

There’s so many good coffee shops in Buffalo, but we settled on Grindhaus Cafe for a post-shopping pick-me-up. We went for lemonade instead of coffee, which was delivered to us in huge mason jars. This was exactly what we needed to carry on.

Buffalo Girls Day Out | Locals Guide | Succulents and Sunnies

Stop 4: Ice Cream on Hertel Ave.

Carry on to ice cream, that is. I’ve mentioned before that Hertel Ave. is seriously the place to be for amazing ice cream. We tried Churn, and it was so darn good. I went for the De la Lloyd, a massive amount of chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, all on a waffle cone, which they make in house.

Buffalo Girls Day Out | Locals Guide | Succulents and Sunnies

In a small attempt to make ourselves feel better about eating ice cream for dinner, we walked down to Bunnie Reiss’s beautiful addition to the Buffalo public art scene at Joe’s Deli.

Our entire journey is mapped out for you here 👇

Make sure you check out Vintage Lillies for incredible street fashion, the best thrift shops, weekend getaways and groovy playlists. You can also follow Chessa on Instagram (and you definitely should!).

Tequila-Infused Coffee and a Milkshake for Dinner

Hertel Ave.’s growth into a destination of its own within Buffalo’s city limits continues to impress, and this summer 3 (yes, 3) new ice cream shops opened, among other great additions. These are among the reasons Hertel Ave. was my #1 bucket list priority this summer. So when my friend Melanie was in town last week, I suggested we head south to catch up over “dinner”:

Usually when I tweet, I expect my words to disappear into oblivion with zero recognition, so when other people clearly related, I wanted to share how amazing our meal really was. (Also, sorry for the typo. Twitter could introduce the ability to edit any time now…)

We met at Lloyd’s Taco Factory and headed straight to the bar, which had a pretty impressive list of amazing sounding cocktails (duh, what else would you expect?), along with wine and beer. Melanie went for a draft Lagunitas IPA and I chose the Gennaro’s COLDbrew, a delicious mix of cold brew coffee, tequila, cacao and Averna, topped with fresh cream and cinnamon. Cold drinks, a perfect summer night and the adorable puppy behind us on the patio made this first stop perfect.

Dinner on Hertel Ave | Buffalo | Succulents and Sunnies

With 3 new ice cream shops to choose from, heading across the street to Hertel Ave. Poutine and Cream was a difficult decision, but we’re glad that was our pick. (We’re from Lockport, so we’ve had Lake Effect since high school, and it didn’t seem fair to visit Churn after spending time at Lloyd’s. Gotta spread the love!)

Poutine and Cream has been filling my Instagram feed since opening this spring, so I had high expectations for our Freak Shake. Melanie and I split The Chocolate Mouse, described as “peanut butter-chocolate ice cream with crushed Reese’s Pieces & Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ‘ears,’ drizzled with chocolate & caramel sauce.” So yeah. There’s that.

Dinner_Hertel_Ave_1

Both shops are in perfect people-watching spots with plenty of outdoor seating for breezy summer nights. There were so many people and puppies out which highlighted how inviting this neighborhood really is. I’m crossing off this item from my summer bucket list, but I’ll definitely be back!

The Ultimate WNY Summer Bucket List

I love summer in New York and making a bucket list every summer helps me make the most of it! There are a few things that make it on my list every year, as well as some new adventures I’ve been waiting for warmer weather to try. Buffalo is an incredible city in the summer and Rochester has so much to offer too!

I never make it 100% of the way through my summer bucket list. But I do love having lots of options to choose from when WNY offers us a beautiful breezy afternoon with plenty of sunshine!

Buffalo City Hall

Common Council Chambers at Buffalo City Hall

You can step onto the observation deck from 8 am to 4 pm during the week. Preservation Buffalo Niagara offers daily tours (Monday through Friday) at noon that cover the lobby, common council chambers, the mayor’s office and observation deck.

Camping

It isn’t summer without a couple of nights in the tent. This year, I think I might try hammock camping… Wish me luck!

Chestnut Ridge Park

I’ve never hiked to the eternal flame, which is the biggest reason Chestnut Ridge Park is on my summer bucket list. There are also a few miles of trails for hiking or biking.

Chimney Bluffs

Drive east for a couple of hours along Lake Ontario and you’ll arrive at Chimney Bluffs State Park. I think this dramatic landscape will be worth the drive.

Farmers’ Markets

No WNY farmers’ market will ever be as good as Ithaca’s. But the bustling Elmwood Village Farmers’ Market, Rochester’s Public Market and, our neighborhood option, the Kenmore Farmers’ Market, are worth visiting.

Fitness at Canalside

There are so many (free!) classes scheduled at Canalside this summer. I want to take advantage of the nice weather with an outdoor workout at least a few times this year.

Fishing

Fishing on Lake Erie with Brookdog Fishing Company

Whether it’s a trip on the lake with Brookdog Fishing Company or an hour at the pond near my parents’ house, it’s not summer without a little bit of fishing.

Food Truck Tuesday

Hanging out in Larkinville with friends after work on Tuesday never gets old. Between the food trucks and nearby restaurants, there’s something for everyone here.

George Eastman Museum

I love photography and I love upstate NY history. Naturally, the George Eastman Museum is calling my name.

Highland Park

Just like Buffalo’s park system, Rochester’s Highland Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. I really want to spend a few hours wandering through Lamberton Conservatory and the acres of gardens and trees.

Kayaking

We never seem to kayak as often as we want to during the summer. This year, I’m determined to get out on the water at least a few times. Oak Orchard Creek is my personal favorite for a day-long paddle.

Silo City

Every summer there’s something new at Silo City. I will make it to at least one event in this historic venue.

Spruce Lake

Did you know there’s a lake at Holiday Valley? You can kayak and paddleboard on Spruce Lake after arriving by car, chairlift or your own two feet.

Sunday Brunch

It is not summer without brunch on a patio, or three. Bring on the mimosas.

Sunset Drive-In

Our favorite drive-in is a good 45 minute drive from our house, but it’s so worth it. Stop on the way to pick up snacks, or get ice cream after picking the best spot in the parking lot.

WNY Book Arts Center

Buffalo isn’t always sunny and warm, even during the summer. WNY Book Arts Center is a unique indoor option!

The Answer is Yes: Made in Buffalo with Seth Godin

Buffalo was once a center for industry and innovation, and as this city moves into the future, it is also remembering that past. Don’t believe me? Then clearly you weren’t a member of the sold out crowd gathered at the Albright Knox to hear Seth Godin speak at the first event in the Buffalo Jewish Federation’s Made in Buffalo speaker series.

I was lucky enough to attend as a guest of Telesco Creative Group, who created some truly amazing deliverables for the series. I really owe the team at Telesco, especially Julia, so much. Not only for the opportunity to attend Seth’s Made in Buffalo event, but for taking a chance on a barely-out-of-college graduate who randomly emailed them and making me feel like a part of Buffalo’s growing creative community.

Seth Godin sees the world differently, and he’s really good at encouraging other people to do the same. Nothing Seth said was new in a “groundbreaking research” kind of way, but everything he shared felt exciting and fresh because of how he said it. Who else would start a marketing presentation at the Albright Knox Art Gallery with pictures of bats? No one. Why pictures of bats? Because bats look like bats, until you turn the pictures upside down, and then they look like the coolest partying animals EVER. Who even thinks like that?!

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Seth Godin. The view from here.

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Seth does, and for an hour on Thursday night, he made 350 other people think like that too.

Seth’s focus on community, or “tribes,” is reflective not only of his Jewish heritage but of his Buffalo upbringing as well. All around the world, including Buffalo, people are flattening the bell curve. Instead of mass marketing products to the masses, successful companies are innovating products that appeal to smaller groups of people. The proof is in organizations like Instagram, Warby Parker and Chobani (all brands I LOVE, by the way), all making billions of dollars because they don’t need to appeal to everyone. Just a community of people who will become brand champions. Who needs traditional marketing when you have the power of word-of-mouth testimonies? These products and brands are “remarkable,” or “worth making a remark about.”

You can see this phenomenon in Buffalo too, as specialty shops pop up on Main Street, Hertel Ave. and Elmwood Village. Do I stop into the home goods stores? You bet, and I tell other people about them. The punk-rock jewelry shop? Maybe not, but they don’t need me, because they have their own community of brand champions.

Seth calls this take on business the connection revolution, an economy based on coordination, trust, permission, the exchange of ideas, generosity and art. Instead of products made for average people, which led to a “surplus of stuff and a shortage of attention,” there are brands for weird people, focused on interesting change for the better.

This new economy needs us to be fully present, in a way that is hard in today’s society. It needs us to act as if we won’t be judged. It needs us to live by the Italian phrase “salto mortale.” This translates literally as “deadly jump,” but Seth doesn’t want us to die, just take a risk. He’s asking us to put our emotions into our work, to innovate now. Not when we think we’re ready, because we’re never really ready (and it’s “always too soon,” but when we’re prepared.

We can’t do these things alone; we need our tribes of weird people who are just like us. When similar people connect, when they feel special and recognized, they have a power that a mass of average people can’t begin to imagine.

Seth asked us to clap slowly together, which took us around 7.5 seconds, similar to most audiences. It reminded me of something my college ballet professor would have us do: standing in a circle, eyes closed, she asked us to all jump simultaneously. No cheating with heavy breathing or moving around. Just feel each other and jump. It sounds bizarre (and very Ithaca College theater arts) until it works. And then it feels like magic. That’s the power of connected people with something in common.

Seth sums up his focus on connections with this: “People like us do things like this.” This statement is what gives brands like Harley Davidson their power (and revenue). They make millions promoting not products, but a way of life. They tell “people like us” how to “do things like this.” Harley Davidson became the leader of this group of motorcycle misfits.

Buffalo has “people like us” – both as a whole (we are the City of Good Neighbors, in good times and bad), and in our smaller tribes. We need leaders to tell us what to do, how to come together. Seth called on us to be those leaders, in a time when Buffalo is recreating itself as a better version of its past glory.

As Lenard Bernstein said, and Seth reminded us, “I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is yes.”

Keep Walking, Keep Talking

Every year, 50,000 new cases of HIV are reported and at this rate, AIDS will become the worst epidemic in human history as it claims as many as 100 million lives by 2020. HIV and AIDS affect communities around the globe, including Western New York. Let’s keep walking and keep talking in our fight for a world without HIV and AIDS!

AIDS Walk Buffalo | Keep Walking Keep Talking | Succulents and Sunnies

This year is the 25th Annual AIDS Walk Buffalo. On May 6th, walkers will gather to raise both funds and awareness in a celebration of life and strength at Hoyt Lake. The walk’s goal is to raise funds that help members of our community who live with HIV or AIDS with medical care, case management, counseling, housing assistance and nutritious meals.

Interested in participating? Learn more about walking or donating on AIDS Walk Buffalo’s website: bit.ly/AIDSWalkBFLO!

AIDS Walk Buffalo | Keep Walking Keep Talking | Succulents and Sunnies

A Winter Wonderland

Winter finally arrived in Western New York today. Here in Niagara County, snow totals are fast approaching 18 inches and the snow is showing no signs of stopping. We haven’t had this much snow in a long time, so of course the first thing I did when I got home was cover my camera in a plastic bag and throw on the Bean Boots for a little trek around the yard.

Winter Storm Stella | WNY | Succulents and Sunnies

Winter Storm Stella | WNY | Succulents and Sunnies

Winter Storm Stella | WNY | Succulents and Sunnies

Winter Storm Stella | WNY | Succulents and Sunnies

Thinking Spring 🐥

The weather has dipped back into the teens, but our early taste of balmy weather has me thinking spring! I love the refreshed feeling that comes with the rainy, warming weather of April and May. There are so many parts of spring that make me happy, from the chicks at Tractor Supply to the days warm enough to take a run in shorts.

Buffalo has so many great restaurants with rooftop patios and outdoor seating that goes to waste for half the year. The first weekend that outdoor tables are set feels like a city-wide party filled with string lights and gorgeous sunsets. This spring, I’m excited to enjoy the patios at Templeton Landing, Deep South Taco and A. B. V.

Last Wednesday I stopped at Tractor Supply solely to check on the chick situation. There weren’t any chicks yet, which meant the time I spent on the drive there crafting an Instagram caption was for naught. But lucky for me and my springtime obsessions with all cute little animals (baby cows, baby bunnies and baby goats 😍), Tractor Supply is both on the way home from work and right next to the gym!

Warmer weather makes me want to never step foot on a treadmill again. I can’t wait until a few miles on the canal doesn’t leave my nose feeling like it’s going to fall off. I know Murphy is excited for days that stay lighter longer so he gets a walk more than once a week. The first few weeks of open windows, open barn doors and no winter coat are always welcome, especially in Buffalo.

Succulents_and_Sunnies_Thinking_Spring_Murphy

While some parts of spring cleaning aren’t so fun, I love taking everything off the shelves to dust and putting photos, books and keepsakes back in a completely new way. I stopped at Target yesterday for face wash and walked out with half the homeware department, I swear. I then spent hours changing out stacks of books and frames. My next step is printing new images for all these frames; currently, I’m looking at a cute child I’ve never seen before eating a dripping ice cream cone.

What are your favorite parts of the new season? Let me know in the comments below! 👇