Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Many of them have already been chosen, but if you would like to be considered for a fundraiser, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My day job is part fundraiser, part public relations so I would be happy to figure out an event for your organization!
To kick this off, I am going to be offering a "Lose it in '12" weight loss contest for the students of Bodyshaping By Sandy (the fitness company I work for). To enter they just need to bring in items on the wish list, and they will be entered in a chance to win some great prizes. For students of Bodyshaping By Sandy, the contest will run for 10 weeks, and the students who lose the most weight (percentage wise) will win great prizes. It's a win-win. You help a local organization out, and you find the motivation and inspiration to lose some weight to start 2012 off right.
Furniture (great need for couches, chairs, dining sets)
Garbage cans (small for kitchen)
House hold cleaners
Diapers (larger sizes)
First aid kits
Personal hygiene products
Here's to making 2012 a year to remember for many of the organizations in Buffalo who do such good for our community!!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Working as a fundraiser and community relations director, I’ve come in contact with many organizations and people who are very charitable in the
Quota International has its roots in the
From the very beginning, the mission of Quota International has been to serve the community. The
While many organizations will write a check (and that’s always appreciated), Quota International of Amherst takes it one step further. Members attend fundraising events for the groups they help, “check in” with the organizations to see what they are up to, and give up their free time to volunteer at events and outings the organizations they serve have.
I’ve been fortunate through my job at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf to meet and get to know the extraordinary women and men who truly make a difference in the
Over the past 10 years, Quota International of Amherst President
During the holiday season they pick one local organization and ask them to provide the members with a “wish list” of items they need. During their December meeting, each member brings their personal donations and items are displayed on a table. A representative from the recipient organization gives a presentation about the mission, and it is always a very moving night.
In June, they have their service awards dinner where they present checks to the charities they support. Again, each organization receiving a donation makes a short presentation about what is going on. I’ve been at three of them now, and made the presentation about St. Mary’s School for the Deaf once, and it always brings me to tears. I feel fortunate to be a part of a community as giving as Buffalo is, and am lucky to share in that special night with Quota International of Amherst.
Though their work is primarily focused on helping organizations in the
When I spoke with Quota President Kathy about what Quota means to her, she had this to say; "It’s a fun and talented group of people who are extremely committed to the club’s mission. Our members are busy people but we have joined to help others and to enjoy the camaraderie and friendships developed with each other that will last a lifetime. In addition, Quota offers opportunities to travel and make new friends from around our country as well as abroad. In Quota, we also enhance our personal growth and network with interesting people while learning management and leadership skills that carry over into our personal and professional lives."
The Quota members I have gotten to know (Kathy and her sister Robin Miller being two of them) are a talented, fun, kind and caring group of women and men who genuinely want to make a difference in the lives of Buffalonians. While they don't often receive the public recognition they deserve, they truly have made a difference, and I've seen it firsthand.
For those wanting to make some new friends and help out a lot of great organizations in
Membership is open to women and men of all ages. You can find out more information about becoming a member by logging onto their website www.quotaofamherst.webs.com or by calling 716-799-0981. I truly hope you do give them a few minutes of your time to learn more about what they do.
Quota members (and sisters) Robin Miller (left)
& Kathy Bucierka (right) volunteer their time
to support St. Mary's School for the Deaf at
a rally in Albany in March 2011.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Although the program is pretty new, there have been many "success stories". Chantele reflects on one in particular: " One of our “original” girls was 13 years old when the program first started. She was shy, quiet, very few friends, and had very low self esteem. She was hesitant to engage with her peers. She expressed being very unhappy with her appearance, and often expressed suicidal thoughts. Today, that same young lady is very involved in her church, community, and school. She has taken a leadership role in all of her extra curricular activities and has reported having several close friendships. She has attributed her growth to her involvement in Eniola Sisters and working with her mentor."
Thursday, November 24, 2011
1. The people. I seriously mean this too. No matter where I go, people are just friendly in Buffalo. Okay, okay, so I occasionally run into someone having a bad day or someone who is just rude, but whether I'm in the line at the grocery store, paying my toll at the toll booth or walking around the park on a summer day people say hello, smile, strike up a conversation and Buffalo truly does live up to its nickname "The City of Good Neighbors."
2. I get to experience all four seasons every year. While people joke there's really only two seasons in Buffalo; winter and construction, I absolutely appreciate the weather Mother Nature gives us. People around the rest of the country don't know how good it is to see the leaves change, experience that first snowfall, see the daisies and tulips bloom in spring and bask in a gorgeous summer day. Take a look at this year alone...we have been spoiled. Even now in November, we have had so many nice fall days (and there's more on the way this weekend!)
3. The food. I've traveled a decent amount in my 28 years, and without a doubt, when I am on vacation, I miss the food. That's not to say I haven't had some good meals on the road, but when it comes down to it, the selection in Buffalo is the best.
4. My summer calendar fills up fast. Once the Allentown Art Festival hits in mid June, there's something going on in Buffalo every single weekend, and many week nights. From Taste of Buffalo, to Thursday in the Square, to free concerts half the other nights, to Bisons games, you have a chance to do something fun with family and friends every week. What's even better is that the majority of them cost nothing to get in!
I can think of a bunch more reasons why I'm thankful for Buffalo, but it's time to go eat lots of Mom's homemade stuffing, my homemade muffins and some cranberry sauce. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and happy official kickoff to the holiday season!!! If you are going shopping this weekend SHOP LOCAL! (I'll admit, I have Kohls on my list too, but Elmwood, Hertel, and all the local shops are the place to be)
I'll be back on Monday!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Indulge: Home Spa Parties is a new business that offers spa parties with massage, pedicure, manicure and waxing services.
The company is owned by WNY natives Nicole McKeone and Stacy Phillips.
Stacy became a licensed hair stylist in 2003 and received her nail technician license in 2006. In addition to being the co-owner of Indulge: Home Spa Parties, Stacy currently works at a salon in East Amherst.
Nicole and Stacy had the idea for the business a couple years ago while they were working at a salon together in Amherst. They started off small doing parties for family and friends and the feedback was great! After generating a "buzz" locally, they decided to take it a step further and became a legal business in May 2011.
If you put the words, "spa", "massage", or "pedicure" in any sentence, my eyes automatically light up, but I absolutely LOVE the concept of Indulge: Home Spa Parties. An awesome feature to this business is that they come into YOUR home and set everything up. All you need to do is provide a private space for the massages and the guests. It is perfect for girls night with some wine and appetizers, a great gift for your bridal party before your wedding, a fun bonding activity with family, or just an excuse to get pampered with your girls.
Not only are Nicole and Stacy friendly and outgoing but their prices are extremely competitive with local spas and salons (check out the website below for the costs). It is so convenient to have them come to you, and gives your party a much more intimate feel then you would get at a spa/salon.
For parents with little girls out there, they offer kids parties as well. What a fun way to "pamper" the little divas in your life.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Favorite "family" activity - I did a lot of fun family stuff this but I think my favorite thing was boarding the Miss Buffalo II with my brothers, their significant others, cousin and boyfriend on July 3rd for a 2 hour sight seeing cruise. It was a warm Buffalo day and we all had a blast. We grabbed Wegmans subs before the tour, had a picnic down by the Harbor then cruised around enjoying all the sights Buffalo has to offer. I'm lucky that the majority of my family still calls Buffalo home and those who don't get home often enough for me to not miss them too much.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The Elam Jewett Café is a not-for-profit organization involving the Episcopal Church of The Good Shepherd and St. Mary’s School for the Deaf. The purpose of the café is to provide valuable work experience to the deaf and disabled individuals in our community. In addition to this vocational opportunity, the Café will serve the Parkside Community and the surrounding areas.
The Cafe is located inside the Church Of The Good Shepherd on the corner of Jewett and Summitt. It is across the street from The Darwin Martin House.
Currently the Cafe is open Mon - Fri from 9:30am - 11:30am (when the school is in session). They are starting small, giving the kids opportunities to learn all about the "cafe" business.
They serve pastries, cakes, cookies and then hot and cold beverages (depending on the season). The pastries are $2.00 and the drinks range from $1.00 - $2.00 as well. They offer comfortable chairs to sit in and a wireless network if you need to get out of the house for a few hours to get some work done.
I realize that most people might not be able to get there right now because they work during those hours but they do have plans of expanding and serving lunch. Ultimately, their goal is to be there to serve the patrons of The Darwin Martin House, since annually they get thousands of visitors and are looking for a spot to grab food before/after their tour. Currently there are really no CLOSE locations to grab food, and The Cafe is situated in the prime location.
The next step for the Cafe is to hire a full time manager. This will allow them to expand their hours and have great insight into taking the next steps with the Cafe.
Check them out on the web: www.elamjewettcafe.org.
(I have posted a lot of pictures of the renovations on the site, so please take a look)
Monday, November 7, 2011
Gabriel's Gate is a mostly bar/tavern fare serving burgers, sandwiches, wings, fingers, etc...and they are the perfect spot to go out to dinner before a Sabres/Bandits game, concert downtown, or a fun spot to hit up after work or late at night! The restaurant itself is a pretty decent size with numerous tables both in the front and back of the restaurant. They have a few big screen TVs which make it a fun place to grab some drinks and watch the game.
Gabriel's Gate is located on Allen Street in downtown Buffalo so parking can be tricky, but you can usually find something on one of the side streets. If you are going before a Sabres game, I'd suggest calling the day before and getting a reservation so you aren't waiting.
I've honestly only had a few menu items besides the chicken wings (I've tried the chicken sandwiches, fish fry and steak sandwich), but anyone I've ever gone with has enjoyed their meals as well. The meals are reasonably priced ranging from meals of $8 (burgers, sandwiches) - $16 (entrees). They have happy hour specials week nights and their alcoholic beverages are moderately priced as well.
A single order of BBQ chicken wings are my usual meal of choice (with a side of fries; super healthy too, ha!)
The only downfall is the service; although more recently when I've been there, the service has been much better. They are typically slow and don't check up on you much, but as I said, lately things have seemed to get better there.
They are open at 11:30am everyday of the week and are open late, midnight Sunday - Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday. The address is 145 Allen Street and if you are calling up for a reservation the number is (716) 886-0602.
If you are looking for somewhere to take an out of towner for dinner, Gabriel's Gate should be the #1 choice to go, especially if they mention chicken wings! And if you have been living in Buffalo your whole life and haven't tried it out, what are you waiting for? Step outside your normal "night out" places and check out Gabriel's Gate soon!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
jojoBistro is located on Sheridan right past the Wegmans. They are right next door to their partner restaurant Black & Blue (I plan on trying that place out soon, so keep an eye out for that blog!)
The decor/design of the restaurant I'd call an upscale modern look (I loved walking in to wine bottles as the door handles - call me a "wine-o" much?) There is a huge wine "cellar" that goes from floor to ceiling with a ladder. The whole theme of the restaurant is based around wine with wine labels, bottles, corks, etc...all over. It is really cozy and comfortable and the wait staff were great. It looks small from the outside, but there are a decent number of tables inside. It still does have an intimiate feel making it a perfect place for date night.
The menu has pizzas, (which are delicious and HUGE - we tried a spicy chicken one, and honestly it wasn't that spicy at all for spicy food lovers!) salads, fancier dishes like duck, red fish and short ribs, and classic chicken and burger dishes. While the menu item I had that evening (a butternut squash ravioli) is not part of the regular menu, it was delicious and very filling. The desserts didn't disappoint either. Overall, the meal was fun, the presentation was modern and clean and I will be making another stop back with the boyfriend or friends.
As for price, the pizzas are $12 (but they are a very good size), and the other entree dishes range from $12 (burger) to $23 (salmon). In my opinion it is worth it.
They have an extensive wine list and the bar area is stocked with various liquors. It is a perfect spot to stop after work for happy hour. Their appetizer list is great and would be a fun way to enjoy a few drinks with friends.
Next time you are looking for a fun night out, or if you love wine, check out jojo Bistro & Wine Bar!
(Jenny and me in the restaurant and outside)
Friday, October 28, 2011
The first organization I'm going to highlight is one I have a vested interest in (and do not mind shamelessly plugging on my blog), Danceability. I have been volunteering for this organization for a few years and this past July joined the Board of Directors.
Danceability Inc. was established in July 2007 by Robin Bishop and Christine Kwiatkowski (who both have extensive backgrounds in both dance and special education). They officially opened their doors in September 2007 and began serving families throughout Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs.
Danceability is a nonprofit dance and movement program that provides weekly instruction to children and adults with special needs. It is a family-focused approach that seeks to improve the quality of life for those challenged with special needs, as well as their families. The classes focus on each students' abilities, motivations, love for music and movement. Students get to try many different kinds of dancing including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and modern movement. The program promotes physical, social and emotional wellness.
I began volunteering for danceability in December of 2009. Throughout the few years since I have worked with kids and adults from lower functioning to much higher functioning. I've worked with kids with down syndrome and autisim, and teens with multiple handicaps.
I've absolutely loved the variety of the different classes and the different challenges and opportunities they have presented to me.
In May, the dancers perform in a recital (if they want) and it is a tear jerker. I had an absolute blast this past year performing with my class to the song "Beautiful People" by Christina Aguilera (from the movie Burlesque).
This past summer I volunteered in a class with two adults with autism. The girl I was paired up with Jessica was mostly nonverbal. The two of us really clicked. At the end of the third week of summer classes I was saying goodbye to her after class was over and said, "I hope you had fun" and she looked me right in the eyes and said one word, "Happy". I tried to contain my emotion in front of her, but when I got to my car, I lost it. It's little moments like these that sometimes make me wonder who is getting more out of the program, the students or the volunteers. That moment will stick with me for the rest of my life, and I've had other similiar moments with the different students I've been paired with.
I've seen students really come along throughout the school year and be able to express themselves in new and different ways. It is truly a blessing that there is an organization out there like danceability that makes it not about a performance, or an individual, but stresses the whole family approach.
This past summer danceability began growing beyond its limitations in the studio they were in. They chose to take the risk and expand, rather than limit the number of students it registers. They moved just down the plaza next door (they are located inside the George Urban Plaza where Tops is, on the George Urban side). The new studios are gorgeous. They added a second sensory studio, have a bigger waiting area, and more space for the co-founders and storage. In addition, they were able to secure a state of the art sprung dance floor with help from a grant from the Kelly For Kids Foundation!
On Friday November 4th they will host a grand opening celebration from 5pm - 8pm at the studios. Please join us if you can!
I'd like to invite you all to check out their website: http://www.danceabilityinc.com/ or "like" them on Facebook www.facebook.com/danceabilityinc and learn more about the organization. There are various fundraisers throughout the year, and I will post information on my Twitter account, and here when I can. If you are interested in volunteering, please drop me an e-mail and I'll get you to the right people.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
When you walk in the overall set up for the restaurant/bar is odd. It is a very long and somewhat narrow space. The bar is very nice, and has an incredible selection of liquor. When we were taken to our seats we were both surprised by how few tables there were (maybe a total of 10 tables in the entire restaurant area). There were two additional tables right outside the bathrooms and I really thought this was a weird set up.
It was a Thursday night, a fairly common going out night, but when we arrived at 7:30pm, there was only one group of three guys finishing up dinner/drinks. This should have been our first sign that we weren't going to enjoy ourselves!
For our dinner selections Geoffrey chose the duck and I had the California chicken. We also decided to get stuffed artichokes. The artichokes were the best part of the meal. They were stuffed with a goat cheese and my only complaint is that I wish there was more goat cheese. It got masked by all the other stuff!
My California Chicken came out looking like a chicken cacciatore (after being described that it was in a white wine sauce, not what I was picturing). It came with asparagus and red roasted potatoes. Geoffrey's duck dish came with the same sides. Within a few bites, all we could taste was salt. The chicken was extremely bland and the duck Geoffrey had was overcooked and hard to eat.
As for the service, it was hard to screw this up, since we were the only ones in the restaurant when we were getting our meals. Our waitress was over numerous times to check on us and fill our water glasses.
Following our bad experience, we heard from numerous other people that they thought the food was bad too (and it is pricey). Some people said if you are going there, just go for drinks. Geoffrey and I didn't get drinks that night so I am not sure on the cost of them, but based on their dinner prices I can guess they are a high.
I rarely dislike a place in Buffalo, but unfortunately Snooty Fox Lounge is a place I cannot recommend to anyone looking for a place to eat out, especially if you are looking for a reasonably priced meal (most entrees are in the $20 - $30 range).
If you have had a great experience at Snooty Fox, please comment on this blog and let me know.