6/22/15

Farmers Market Finds: Fetch Gourmet Dog Treats





Alright, I have a confession to make: In most cases, I like animals more than I like people. Whew. Now that that’s out in the open, let’s get on with today’s post…

While perusing the farmers market a couple of weeks ago, I came across a local vendor who was selling dog treats. Now, when I was at said farmers market, I had my dog Nessie with me, who had just turned five a week before, so how could I not spoil her (okay…she get’s spoiled on a daily basis)?!

Fetch Gourmet Dog Treats is a local dog treat company that, according to their site, has been around since 2012. What caught my eye was that their tent mentioned organic treats and I’m all about aiming for organic for both the human and dog members of our household! Not only are these locally made and organic, they’re also made 100% within the US, which is incredibly important to me. I like to know as much as possible about the treats (and food of course!) that I am giving my babies!

Before we made a purchase Nessie was given some treats (actually, she made out well that day because she received treats at a few different vendors throughout the market!) and with her approval, we picked up one of almost every treat to try. 




 These pretzel treats smelled SO AMAZING!!! It was hard to believe that they weren't for humans (also, we were jealous)!

I loved that for these particular treats, they donated towards WNY Heros - helping veterans with PTSD.

If you're looking for treats where you can pronounce every ingredient, then these are perfect for you and your furry friends! I love that these are also made with salmon oil, which is great for a nice shiny healthy coat. All of the different treats we picked up smell great and have plenty of health goodness in them. I will definitely be hitting up their booth the next time I am in need of treats for our gang and strongly urge you to do the same if you are local. For those who aren't in the WNY area, have no fear! You can order directly from their website as well!


Oh and don't worry - the treats were enthusiastically approved by our three dogs. This is Dakota, he "helped" me snap some photos for this blog post - for a fee of course! 

6/19/15

Oh Kale Yeah! - Easy Container Garden


Not only do I love to garden, but I'm also a huge foodie so during the warmer months, I can't stop myself from adding to the garden throughout the season. This year I'm currently growing garlic, roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, tomatillos, yellow tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, pumpkins, artichokes, edamame, zucchini, beans, peas, lettuces, arugula, a slew of herbs, and of course annual and perennial flowers. If I could...I'd grow even more!

One of the great things about gardening is the flexibility. You can just grow one plant - or plant hundreds. You don't need to have a large yard, or even a yard at all. Depending on your climate, or your home, you can even extend the growing season or grow plants that are out of character for your region. It's fun to experiment and see what works and doesn't and of course, it is extremely rewarding when you've grown something that you can then turn into an amazing meal!

Today I wanted to share a quick and simple project that can work for anyone looking to get into gardening, and no matter the space you have to work with. Container gardening is a great way to grow vegetables if you're short on space, and it also is a nice way to spruce up your outdoor space. You don't have to plant exclusively flowers on your porch/deck/patio - be creative!

You can plant practically anything in a container garden but today I'm doing kale for a few reasons: it's hardy and easy to grow, can be harvested all season and will keep growing, doesn't mind a bit of cold weather (so if you're in the Northeast like me, it will have a longer season than other plants), and it looks actually rather pretty!


I chose two different types of kale - Red Russian and Westlander. A bonus was that both were grown by a local farm and certified organic. It's not always easy to find organic starts so I was super excited when I found not only organic starts but also locally grown ones. A+!




While kale does get pretty big, you can actually grow quite a bit in one container - especially if you are continually harvesting! I love the colors of the two types I'm growing!


With just a few supplies you can have a nice little garden that anyone, despite experience or skill can grow fairly successfully! I would love to hear what you grow in your gardens, or even, what you'd like to grow - please share in the comments!

6/15/15

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War: Coffee Shoppe Reads (REVIEW)




Being a lover of books, I’m not all that picky about what types of books I will read. I can appreciate books of many different genres, but there are certain types of books that I generally gravitate towards more than others. Given that I am a sociology major, it makes sense that some of my favorite books are those that highlight different cultures, conflicts (both personal and in general) and various issues that effect society. I love experiencing places and cultures through reading that I may not have a chance to experience first hand (though I hope to experience them first hand in the future – one of my biggest desires is to travel more!). Lynsey Addario’s book It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War hit all the marks for me when I first heard about it and I immediately went out to purchase it. 




Addario’s book is presented beautifully from cover to cover. The images she chose to include with her writing help to further connect readers to the experiences she shares in the book. Her writing is fantastic and the book is written in such a way that I struggled to put it down. My only complaint for this book would be that it ended. It is the type of book I would read over and over again if I did not have a stack of other books I want to get through this summer.

In the book Lynsey shares her experiences as she grew up and followed her passion of being a photographer. The way in which her talent brought her from one place to another is inspiring. She has shot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and captured the experiences of women and children in Africa. Her photographs are beautiful and powerful and have become some of my favorites. Her work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and Life magazine, among other influential publications.

It isn’t just her images that make this book a must-read in my opinion. It is also her writing. Addario tells a story well captivating her readers. The book is an account of her life not only in terms of her work, but also her personal life, which for someone in her profession is heavily influenced by what she does for a living. Her work leads to finding love, which seems like quite the contrast to the harsh realities she exposes through her photography.

I also found her perspective of conflict to be refreshing. Given that she has seen first hand what war does to communities, she presents some brilliant commentary. I think that everyone should give this book a shot as it’s a beautiful book despite the often dark material it documents.

There is also talk that It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War will be turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg and WarnerBrothers. I sincerely hope they do it justice and cannot wait to go see it! I want more of this story!

I’m always on the hunt for new books to read so please share any suggestions with me in the comments!

6/12/15

Farmers Market Finds: Dennis Scherer Studio




There are a million reasons why the summer months are my favorite time of the year. Warmer temperatures, playing in the gardens, the sound and sights of the birds (my fight with the squirrels would fall under the negative column), summer concerts, camping, just the general opportunity to spend more time outside…. it’s the time of year where the world seems to come to life. Farmers markets are just another positive during the summer.

I recently went to the opening day of the Clarence farmersmarket in Clarence, NY and while it’s still early for much of the fresh produce you expect from a farmers market, it was still a great experience due to the many local vendors, live music and the beautiful weather we were graced with.



One of the vendors that we checked out was Dennis Scherer, a local artist who is making unique metal jewelry. According to his website, Scherer has been working with metal in some fashion since the 1970’s so he certainly has experience. He started to venture down a more artistic road in the 90’s and I will say that I’m glad that he did because his work is not only unique but also incredibly gorgeous.

I’m not much into the traditional jewelry you would find at a jewelry store. I appreciate more interesting pieces…pieces that are vintage or natural in some way are generally the ones that catch my eye, so his work was right up my alley! 






I picked up two bracelets, one for myself and one for my mom and I could easily see expanding on that in the future. If you’re into more unique jewelry and want to support a small-scale artist, I suggest giving his work a look! If you're in the WNY area, his work is also in various retail locations.


6/10/15

The Buffalo Zoo: Coffee Shoppe Travels (Buffalo Series)



I remember quite vividly my trips to the zoo when I was younger. The polar bears, the lions & tigers and of course, the buffalo! My grandfather would always point out the buffalo and the giraffes when we would pass by the zoo and I was always excited for a glimpse at these exotic animals. I recently took a trip back to the zoo with my sister who is home on break from college and despite some issues, it was fun to spend a day among the animals.

If you're a Buffalo or WNY native, I encourage you to make some time for a visit to the zoo. If you're anything like me and haven't been in years - a lot has changed! If you're traveling to Buffalo I would suggest giving the zoo a try - it might not be as large as other zoos around the nation, but in a way, that works out because it's a more manageable amount of space. You could easily pair a trip to the zoo with other sights such as Delaware park or Hoyt Lake.

We got to see most of the animals we hoped to during our visit, with the exception of the polar bears who are not on display pending the completion of their new exhibit. Also, the elephants were only viewable indoors as the construction happening nearby for the polar bears meant that their outdoor space was off-limits to the public. I have to say that this part did disappoint me as elephants are one of my favorite animals. Additionally, I found the gorilla habitat to be a bit sad in all honesty. It was exactly how I remember it (dark...rather small given their size) and I often question why their space is indoors only. It would be nice to see them able to enjoy the outdoors when the weather permits! I think the new additions to the zoo will/are nice but I hope that the original animals receive the same sort of thought as well. Just my two cents!





































The Buffalo Zoo is open from 10am until 5pm during the summer, with late hours on Fridays in July and August until 730pm (you can remain in the zoo for an hour after close). Regular adult admission is $10.50 and there are various discounts for children and senior citizens, as well as various membership packages that can be quite beneficial if you're visiting more than once in a season!