Wednesday, July 9, 2014

City of Night - Whatever Wednesday #11

 By Vicky Nardone

 On June 28th, Buffalo held it's third annual City of Night Festival.  This was actually my first time attending but I'd talked to friends who'd been in the past and they said it was very cool to see.  I'll start with a brief history of Buffalo.  Back around the turn of the century (1900s), we were a happening city.  We were especially known for our grain elevators.  Fastforward 114 years and we're no longer the boom town that we were back then.  We still have the General Mills factory here (My city smells like Cheerios!) but a lot of the old grain silos and grain elevators  sit in disrepair now.  For City of Night, a whole bunch of artists come in and set up cool art installations in the Silos, many of them based on cool light and sound designs and people can walk through the old silos.  They also have bands and performance art and lots of food trucks.  This even was so popular we had to park about 15 minutes away from the festival.  It goes from about 4pm to 2am and it's free - there's a $5 suggested donation.

The first thing we did when we got there around 7pm was to eat.  I don't know about the rest of the country but Buffalo loves it's food trucks.  We must have 20 to 30 different food trucks that come to all the different events.  The biggest one that I've seen so far is a weekly one that they do at Buffalo's Larkin Square on Tuesdays.  Every food truck in Buffalo is there.  There was about 10 different ones at City of Night.  I got a pulled pork sandwich at R&R BBQ (right middle photo) to start.  Matt had a scallop slider from the Knight Slider Food truck.  My friend Lauren came back with a cheese pirogi and truffle brownie from the Betty Crockski (Bottom Middle photo) food truck and it looked so delicious that I had to go get one for myself.  While we were in line, they started releasing all of these mini luminaries into the air (corner photo).  They're hard to see in that photo but they looked super cool in the air.  Later a number of us got snacks from House of Munch which has carnival foods including fried dough, birch beer, lemonade and cheesy fries.  And of course a lot of our friends made trips to the beer tent.  Not pictured here but probably the best food truck in Buffalo is Lloyds Taco Truck - they've made tacos like you've never had before and they are soo delicious.  At big events like this though they usually have 30 people in line and they are definitely not the fastest food truck in Buffalo.  They have a website that tells you where they are parked every day so we usually try to hit them on week nights when the line isn't so crazy.

 After we ate, it was time to check out some art.  This mask was my absolute favorite exhibit.  It was a huge mask - probably about 10-15 feet tall and it was hung on the the wall and there was a projector constantly projecting different images onto the mask.  Some of it was video as well.  I had a couple other pictures of it but they came out a bit blurry.  The installation itself actually has a webpage if you're interested in learning more about it.

There was a ton of different exhibits in the art and sound silo.  The large picture in the collage above was Matt's favorite.  This girl had attached a circular wheel with images to the middle of the grain tube and had it lit up and spinning to project the images onto the wall.  She also painted a number of images on the wall and was dancing around projecting her own shadow on the wall.  Unfortunately all my pictures with her in them came out blurry.

In the picture on the top right you can see what one of the grain tubes looks like.  This particular one had bumpers around the edges so you could actually go and stick your head in the tub to see what it was like in there.  I didn't go in but people said it was very quiet.  In this photo, our friend Brandyn was pretending like he was getting sucked up the tube.  You can only see his feet poking out.

Below that is a cool projected image that they had high on the wall of one of the silos.

The top right photo is some neon mosaics made on recycled paper.  They almost looked like designs that I used to color in mosaic books that my mom bought me when I was growing up.

The bottom right sculpture is made out of laundry baskets.  It was starting to get really dark by the time we walked through the art exhibits but the lights from the exhibits themselves still allowed me to get some good pictures.

I also really liked the planet exhibit they had in this silo (large picture).  It was hard to get a clear picture since the light in the room was so low so I gave my camera to Matt.  Yay for filmmakers with steady hands.  The top two smaller pictures and the lower right picture were from this really neat interactive exhibit.  These pictures had strings on them that were hooked up to a speaker and you could strum the strings in different ways to produce different sounds.  Kind of like an artistic electric guitar.

The bottom left photo looked like a map.  It was in this small little tunnel in one of the silos that had a little window on either side.  They had two of the maps set up that you could look through the little windows to see.

There were also a lot of performers at the event.  The top left picture was from a couple of musicians playing in one of the silos.  The silos go up forty or fifty feet so the acoustics are really cool for music.

The top middle picture was this crazy interpretive dancer.  Her dancing wasn't too crazy but her outfit was.  Her hair was all in her face and she was wearing a mask over her mouth.  I saw her after the dance with her wig and mouthpiece removed and she looked totally normal!

The top right photo is a cool painted jungle gym they had set up for people to climb on.

The left middle pic, though hard to see, is from the performance of our local fire entertainers, Pyromancy.  They do fire juggling, breathing, eating, dancing.  I've seen them at a number of our artsy events.

The right middle and bottom left photos were from a really bad performance piece.  That's all I'm going to say.  45 minutes of my life I'll never get back.  Unfortunately some people in our group knew these guys so we had to stay.

The bottom middle photo is from some aerial dancers doing acrobatics.  They were really cool to watch.

The last photo is this fire torch thing they had going on at the festival.  I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on with the exhibit.  There seemed to be some reasoning behind when and why the torches lit up but I'm not sure what it was.

It was definitely a neat festival to experience.  I don't know if I'd go back next year but I'm glad I checked it out at least once.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wedding Momento Frame - Memory Monday #11

By Vicky Nardone

My dad and got married to his long time partner Louie on the Fifth of July in Chicago.  Instead of gifts, they asked people to donate to a couple of their favorite charities but I still wanted to make them something to remember their special day.  I settled on the idea of a wedding momento frame.  I knew that I would never find an overlay with holes cut out in the exact sizes I wanted to I used a piece of cardstock and measured all my items and painstakingly cut holes in the cardstock where I wanted to place the items.  It took a while!  Once I had measured out the sizes of my items, I actually used Illustrator to make paper patterns which I then cut out and laid on the frame and then used an exacto knife to cut around the patterns.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Green Goddess Juice - Smoothie Saturday #10

By Vicky Nardone

I have been obsessed with juices lately - ever since we tried the juices at Ashkers on a recent buffalo food tour.  I decided to use the juicer that Matt and I got from his parents for our wedding to try and recreate my favorite juice from Ashkers at home.  Matt and I asked for a "masticating" juicer - it chews up your fruit for you and spits out the juice.  Kind of weird right?  It produces really good juice though!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blueberry Skillet Cornbread - Whatever Wednesday #10

By Vicky Nardone

I have been wanting a skillet ever since I saw the delicious looking recipes that other bloggers have posted.  I recently got one and of course the first thing that I thought of making in it was cornbread.  But not just cornbread - blueberry cornbread!

Now I had read about how you're supposed to season your skillet before using it.  I wasn't quite sure how to do that so I looked it up online and it takes like 5 hours to season a skillet!  I didn't have five hours until the party I was throwing that I was making this cornbread for so I cheated and sprayed down the skillet with some Pam.  So maybe this cornbread was not as authentic as it should have been but it was totally delicious!  Everyone who came over for the party loved it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fourth of July Page - Memory Monday #10

By Vicky Nardone

Happy Fourth of July week!  I'm in full summer mode now.  How about you?  This year my dad is getting married in Chicago the day after the Fourth of July so Matt and I are flying into Chicago on the Fourth for the wedding.  We will be watching the fireworks on Navy Pier after the rehearsal dinner on Friday.  This will be the first Fourth of July since Matt and I met that we won't be watching the fireworks at the local park in Tonawanda NY where we used to live.  Matt's been going to that park for fireworks since he bought his house in Tonawanda back in 2007.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Moscato Sangria - Smoothie Saturday #9

By Vicky Nardone

So you may have noticed that Smoothie Saturday isn't always about smoothies.  I have been sharing some of my other favorite drinks on here too.  But Smoothie Saturday has a nice ring to it so I think I'm going to keep it.  This week I'm sharing my Sangria Recipe.  When I drink alcohol during the summer, Sangria is always one of the top choices on my list.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Homemade Salsa - Whatever Wednesday #9

By Vicky Nardone

I love going out to authentic Mexican restaurants and most of the reason is the delicious chips and salsa they bring you as an appetizer. I usually eat enough chips and salsa to make me full and then I end up being super full by the time I finish the actual meal I've ordered. Does anyone else remember ChiChis or Don Pablos? Those were my favorite Mexican restaurants to go to as a kid. Nowadays my husband and I find ourselves at the hole in the wall type places when we're looking for authentic Mexican food.

Most of the salsa I find in the grocery store doesn't come close to being the same kind as you get from the Mexican restaurants. It's too chunky for me and it has something added that gives it a flavor I really don't care for (probably all the preservatives added so that I can sit on a store shelf for a long time). The brand I liked the best from the stores was Herdez salsa and I've had no luck finding that brand in mild lately.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Girls Get Ready - Memory Monday #9

By Vicky Nardone

Matt and I had our wedding in Lake George, NY which is about 4.5 hours away from where we live in Buffalo.  Luckily we had a gorgeous house that my parents rented for us to stay in for the week and it had a gorgeous upstairs loft bedroom that the girls and I used to get ready with a private bathroom.  The lady that we rented the house from was a hairstylist and she agreed to come to the house on the morning of the wedding and do all the girls hair.  My sister-in-law Andrea is a whiz with makeup so she did the makeup of any of the girls who wanted it done, including me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Greek Bowls - Whatever Wednesday #8

By Vicky Nardone

So I have a new restaurant that I might be slightly obsessed with.  It's called Rachel's Mediterranean.  Thus far I have only tried their rice bowls and their greek fries, but they have several really good looking items on their menu that I plan to order during future visits.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On The Town - Memory Mondays #8

By Vicky Nardone

When Matt and I first started dating, he was very excited for me to meet his sister Andrea.  She still lived at home back in South Glens Falls with his parents but she was thinking of going to college near us at Fredonia.  So one weekend, shortly after I had moved into Matt's house, Andrea came to visit us for the weekend.  While she was here, she wanted to experience a little bit of the Buffalo nightlife.  Matt and I are not big into the club scene - in fact I think this might be the one and only night we have ever been to a club together.  But Matt's friend Andy knows all the best places to go out in Buffalo.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ashkers Restaurant - Smoothie Saturday #7

By Vicky Nardone

For today's Smoothie Saturday, I decided to share with you one of the spots we love to go in Buffalo for smoothies - Ashkers.  We recently discovered this spot with the help of our friend Lauren.  It's a very artsy cafe on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.  They have lots of juices, smoothies, coffee drinks and delicious salads, sandwiches and breakfast dishes.  We went for lunch last Saturday with Lauren.  I love the atmosphere of the place.  They have a cool old piano - there's an entire music room in fact, a conference room that people can rent out and lots of fun artwork hanging on the walls.  In the summer they have a beautiful patio for people to sit on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crochet Shawl - Whatever Wednesday #7

By Vicky Nardone

Oftentimes I find myself starting a knitting or crochet project and then getting bored halfway through and moving on to something else.  This shawl was a definite exception though.  The pattern was constantly new and changing the whole way through and it made me excited to keep going.  Also, it's hard to tell from the picture, but the yarn had shimmer sequins throughout and I just loved working with it so much that I was excited to have a finished product to wear made from it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Maggie The Dog Page - Memory Mondays #7

By Vicky Nardone

Today's Memory Monday page is dedicated to my dog Maggie.  Matt and I got Maggie a few months after moving into our house.  Matt had grown up having dogs and I really hadn't (we had a dog when I was really young but I don't really have many memories of him).  We had talked about getting a dog pretty early on in our relationship but Matt wanted to wait until we had a nice backyard for the dog to run around in.  Our backyard at our house is completely fenced in so it gives Maggie lots of exercise.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Creamy Fruit Pops - Smoothie Saturdays #6

By Vicky Nardone

I work in a fairly large building downtown and every so often, the building brings vendors in during the lunch hour for people to shop at.  I think my favorite one so far was a discount book seller that they had in right around Easter time.  They had all these really great cookbooks for under $15!  I got at least five or six.  One of the books that I got was a popsicle recipe book and I'm so glad it's getting warm again so that I can eat these without freezing to death. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Honeymoon to Jamaica - Whatever Wednesdays #6

By Vicky Nardone

In November of 2013, after already being married for a year and a half, Matt and I finally got around to taking our honeymoon to Jamaica.  We had decided to wait a little while after the wedding since we got married out of town and had already taken a week off of work for that.  Neither of us had ever been to an all inclusive resort and we heard Sandals was one of the best so we set aside some of the money we got for the wedding and booked a trip.  Both of us were really excited and ready for the honeymoon by the time November came - we had both been working really long hours in the months leading up to November and we needed a break.  So today I'll share with you a picture diary of our trip, just in case anyone is thinking of going to Jamaica or staying at a Sandals resort.  We stayed at the Sandals Grande Riviera in Ochos Rios.

There were two sides to the resort - a beach side and a pool side.  We chose to stay on the beach side and we got a room overlooking the ocean.  This was our room.  Note the cute little swan that the maid put on our bed everytime she made it.  Every room is stocked with a bar

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wedding Ceremony Page - Memory Mondays #6

By Vicky Nardone

This scrapbook layout was inspired by this layout I found on Pinterest.  I decided to go with a blue, purple and green color scheme for this page.  I found a gorgeous lilac paper with all the right colors in it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bailey's Iced Cappucino

By Vicky Nardone

This one is definitely not for the kiddos but if you're looking for a delicious refreshing coffee drink this one is for you.  I made one of these on Saturday night without the Bailey's and then I noticed that I had a bottle of Bailey's in the fridge that I had bought around Christmas time and decided that was just what I needed to take my drink over the top.  And boy did it!  I wanted to make the drink a little more beautiful by adding some whipped cream on top but unfortunately I was at the very end of the can and I only got a tiny bit out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paris Purse: Whatever Wednesdays #5

By Vicky Nardone


I might be slightly obsessed with purses lately since the last two Whatever Wednesday posts have been about purses.  But this one is just soo cute.  I think it's my favorite one I've ever made.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All About Family - Memory Mondays #5

By Vicky Nardone

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  I hope it's nice weather where you are and that you're getting to spend some time barbequing or maybe having a picnic.  Memorial day to me is all about spending time with your family.  That's why I decided to share my family layout that I recently completed for today's Memory Monday.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Raspberry Peach Smoothie

By Vicky Nardone

I'd been paging through my two smoothie recipe books and nothing was jumping out at me.  I was mulling over possibilities in my head to make with the fruit I had on hand and one combination jumped out at me - peach and raspberry.  Raspberries are my favorite fruit but they generally need a bit of sweetness added to make a good smoothie.  Peaches work perfectly for that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recycled Jean Purse - Whatever Wednesday #4

By Vicky Nardone

Every since I saw people pinning things that they had made with old pairs of jeans on pinterest, I knew I wanted to try sewing with denim.  I love sewing purses and I had seen all these cute purses that people had made out of the top of a pair of jeans and so I decided to give it a try!  I didn't see any that fit exactly what I wanted to try so I decided to try and make it up as I went along.  I actually ended up making this purse as a gift for my sister in law, Andrea for Christmas.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Sticky on Adhesives: Memory Mondays #4

By Vicky Nardone

Today's post is all about adhesives.  When I first got started scrapbooking, I didn't really think much about what to use to stick my photos and other decorations to the page.  Glue is glue, right?  Wrong.

These were my early tools for scrapbook adhesives - Elmers glue and glue sticks.  And that's why I got results like the ones on the page in the right.  I went through a phase where I printed all my pics out on regular letter paper because I didn't want to spend the money to buy photo paper.  So between using letter paper and using elmers glue, the color from my background paper bled through and turned some of my photos green.  Also, I don't know if you can tell but my photos are a bit of a wrinkled mess because I had a difficult time getting things I used the Elmers glue on to lay flat.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Strawberry Mango Peach Pineapple Smoothie - Smoothie Saturday #3

By Vicky Nardone

I have to say that this smoothie is seriously good.  It's definitely a favorite of Matt and mine.  The recipe is based on a Jamba Juice copycat recipe that I found on pinterest.  I added some of my own special touches to it though and is both healthy and delicious!  I must admit that I have tried making smoothies in the past but they always came out just average.  I think my two  tips that I have for what you need to make a great frozen smoothie are the following.  First off, a good blender is key.  Matt and I got a Ninja blender for our wedding and it's just awesome!  Matt hates when there are ice chunks in his smoothie.  I usually alternate between chop and blend on our Ninja for 2-3 minutes and the smoothie is perfectly smooth.  My second tip is to use frozen fruit.  I think one of my biggest complaints about my past smoothies were that they were always too liquidy and not as refreshing as they should be.  Using frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit gives the smoothies some extra thickness and the smoothie stays colder longer.  Too other benefits are that the frozen fruit is a lot cheaper than fresh fruit and lasts longer too and it's already cut up for you so it's ready to go in the blender with minimum prep work.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cherry Limeade - Whatever Wednesday #3

By Vicky Nardone

Did you have extra limeade after making these margarita flavored cupcakes last week?  I've got a solution!  Try making some cherry limeade.  It's a great bbq drink - it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and it can even be made ahead of time.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Color Popping - Memory Monday #3

By Vicky Nardone

For this week's page I have a small tutorial. When I was in college for Digital Media Arts we learned about the history brush in photo shop.  The history brush allows you to take a copy of an image, do whatever you want to it, and then paint back to the copy.  One of my favorite techniques to do with the history brush is to make a photo black and white and then paint back some of the color as I did with the above page.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chocolate Monkey Coffee Drink - Smoothie Saturday #2

By Vicky Nardone

Ok, I can't claim this one is healthy but it is certainly delicious.  I think it tastes as good as the coffee houses like Starbucks make.  My dads got us an espresso maker for Christmas and I love it.  Matt, however, thinks the coffee is too strong to drink just plain but he loves it in this coffee drink.  Add chocolate and everything tastes better right?  If you don't have an espresso maker, you can substitute the espresso for a cup of coffee.  It won't taste as strongly of coffee but it will still be delicious!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Margarita Cupcakes - Whatever Wednesday #2

By Vicky Nardone

Ok, so I know that Cinco de Mayo was on Monday but here's a fun delicious recipe that really tastes good at any time.  Margarita cupcakes taste great and you won't end up with a hangover the next morning.  I paired these with a delicious cherry limeade.  Look for the recipe for that on the next Whatever Wednesday!  The below recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Photo Shapes - Memory Mondays #2

By Vicky Nardone

This is another one of the pages from my wedding scrapbook.  It's slowly but surely coming together.  Ever since I saw this picture, I knew the layout for this page had to be pink.  Oftentimes to get inspiration for my layouts, I use pinterest and I found this great layout and I knew I wanted to create my own version of it.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Strawberry Limeade Smoothie - Smoothie Saturday #1

By Vicky Nardone

Hi all and welcome to the very first edition of Smoothie Saturday!  Matt and I have been obsessed with smoothies lately.  It all started when I found a giant bag of frozen fruit and our amazing local grocery store Wegmans for only $9.  It was big enough to make like 20 smoothies!  I've been using the fruit and some sites I found on pinterest to put together some interesting combinations.  I'll be sharing them with you throughout the summer.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top Down Sweaters - Whatever Wednesday #1

By Vicky Nardone

Whatever Wednesdays are just going to be a random craft, recipe, tutorial or thought.  I'm going to try and stay away from Scrapbooking and Smoothies since those are what I talk about on Mondays and Saturdays. 

For this week's Whatever Wednesday I would like to share with you a knitting book that I really love.  I was not paid to review this book - I actually bought it on my own from Amazon.  I decided I wanted to try knitting bigger things like sweaters and I actually had a hard time finding any books with styles that I really liked.  If anyone has recommendations I love new pattern books.  Anyway, I put this on my Amazon Wishlist and my dad bought it for me for Christmas two years ago and had it sent to my house but somehow it never arrived even though it said delivered when he looked it up.  I didn't find out until weeks later when he was asking me how I liked it that he had bought it for me and by then I had already ordered it myself with a gift card I had gotten for Christmas.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Memory Monday's #1 - Paper Scraping

By Vicky Nardone

Hello everyone! I know I've been missing in action for a while but I'm trying to get back into the world of blogging.  I've been thinking of how I want to change things for the past couple of weeks so I could keep up with them and I tink I've finally made some decisions.  The format I've decided to follow is Memory Mondays - posting a scrapbooking layout, technique or tip, Whatever Wednesday - this may take me a couple weeks to get going on but it will be a miscellaneous recipe, craft or thought and Smoothie Saturdays - Matt and I have become obsessed with smoothies lately and I'm going to share our favorite recipes with you.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

By Vicky Nardone

Today's post is on one of the world's great comfort foods - macaroni and cheese.  I made two pans of this when I was doing kraft services for the film my husband was working on this past weekend.  I learned this recipe from my roommate Alicia in college and it's been my go to mac and cheese recipe since then.  I know a lot of people have their own mac and cheese recipe but if you don't, here's one for you.  This recipe can be made on the stove or in the microwave.  I'm putting the microwave version below, because the only difference on the stove is that you just don't need to take it in and out of the microwave and stir at various intervals.