Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Khaleesi’s Garden: A Targaryen Needs Her Dragons…

Daenerys Targaryen may very well be my favorite television character since the maddening and moody Fox Mulder. Much like Mulder, she is both maddening and moody, but she has reason to be – she is the Mother of Dragons, after all.

Our favorite Khaleesi hatched her three dragons into the World of Ice and Fire and, like most mothers, had little luck controlling her growing “children.” I pray that I won’t have that problem in Khaleesi’s Garden – see, my dragons are made of metal…

standing and resting dragons

I curse Plow & Hearth some days – and QVC too, for they now carry P&H, making it much too easy for me to buy things. The first dragon I picked up was from the Q, the standing dragon. I then discovered on the P&H website a resting dragon, and of course, I needed a third, so that one – I’ll call him Balerion, after the Black Dread – came from a P&H sister site, Wind & Weather. Of course, the Q then debuted P&H’s baby dragon, who was just so stinkin’ cute I had to have him.

"Balerion" and Baby Dragon
So now I have four dragons, currently waiting for the ground to thaw and a new garden to be built, ready to join a number of other sci-fi and fantasy-related plants and ornaments.

Is it wrong that I’m scouring the internet for instructions to make dragons’ eggs?

photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five Things to do in April 2015

credit: freedigitalphotos.net/fotographic1980
Sooooo…March has been a lot better than February, but I still see snow…on the ground and falling…here’s hoping April brings us some warmer weather and plenty of things to do! Check out these five things for some schedule inspiration!

Celebrate spring at the Botanical Gardens – there’s still time to get to the Gardens’ Spring Flower Show, which is on-going until April 12th, at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, located at 2655 South Park Ave. in Buffalo. Check out beautiful flowers, have fun at the petting zoo, and meet the Easter Bunny next weekend before he hops away until next year!

Dyngus Day! – if you’re from Buffalo, it needs no explanation – if you’re not, then learn all about it here.

Batter up! – the Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays, open up their season on Thursday, April 9th against Thruway rivals the Rochester Red Wings. I’m hoping to get to a Bisons game sometime this year – I’m always heading to Toronto or Cleveland for games, why not hit one in my own city?!

Endulge – beer aficionados can check out Beerology on Saturday, April 18th at the Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy. in Buffalo, from 7 to 10 p.m. Prefer wine? Catch the Buffalo Wine Festival on the same day at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Franklin St. in Buffalo. There are two sessions for this one – 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Like both? That’s an option too!

Sweet treats – nearby Franklinville hosts the 53rd annual WNY Maple Festival Saturday and Sunday, April 25th and 26th. Grab an all-you-can-eat Pancake and Sausage breakfast both days, attend the Maple Festival Parade on Saturday (11 a.m.), check out the craft show (both days), bring out the classic car or bike for the show on Sunday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and lots more.

2015 Easter Brunch and Dinner Ideas in Buffalo-Niagara

freedigitalphotos.net: potowizard
Easter is on Sunday, April 5th, and many families will head straight from church services to brunches and dinners. Here are a few of the restaurants serving traditional Easter brunches and dinners.
  • Hyatt Regency Buffalo – located at 2 Fountain Plaza in downtown Buffalo, the Hyatt will offer brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Atrium Bar and Bistro featuring omelet , pancake and waffle, and carving stations, assorted breakfast and lunch items, gourmet salads and champagne at noon. Cost is $34.95 for adults, $20.95 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for children under 4. Call 716-855-4830 for reservations.
  • Salvatore’s Italian Gardens – located at 6461 Transit Rd. in Depew, Salvatore’s will offer Easter brunch with the Easter Bunny. The brunch will feature omelet and carving stations, salads, numerous hot selections, a children’s buffet and assorted desserts and gourmet confections. Cost for brunch is $31 for adults and $19 for children ages 5 to 11, $11 for children ages 3 and 4, and free for children under 3; reservations can be made at 716-683-7990.
  • La Galleria – located on Southwestern Ave. near Abbott in Orchard Park, La Galleria will offer its 39th annual Easter buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., featuring baked Easter ham, chicken breast Supreme, fresh vegetable medley, baked pasta and meatballs and more, plus a large assortment of desserts. Cost is $23.95 for adults, $10.95 for children 5 to 11, and free for children 4 and under. Call 716-648-4880 for reservations.
  • Glen Iris Inn – located in Letchworth State Park in Castile, the Glen Iris Inn will offer Breakfast with the Easter Bunny featuring a breakfast buffet. Seatings are available from 8 to 10:30 a.m.; cost is $12.95 for adults and $6.95 for children – make reservations at 585-493-2622.
  • Italian Village – located at 6354 Transit Rd. in Depew, the Italian Village offers an Easter buffet from noon to 8 p.m. featuring a carving station, hot items including roast chicken, macaroni and cheese and more, soup and salad and a dessert station. Cost is $21.95 for adults, $13.95 for children ages 6 to 13, and free for children 5 and under – make reservations at 716-634-1804.
  • Pane’s Restaurant – located at 984 Payne Ave. in North Tonawanda, Pane’s serves an Easter buffet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring carved ham, turkey and roast beef, prepared omelets and waffles, breakfast items, desserts and pastries and much more. Cost for brunch is $22.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 6 to 11 and $8.95 for children ages 2 to 5. They will also offer a dinner buffet from 2 to 8 p.m. – cost is $26.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 6 to 11 and $8.95 for children ages 2 to 5. Reservations are recommended – 716-692-7076.
  • Ramada and Embers Restaurant – located at 2402 N. Forest Rd. in Getzville, the Ramada will offer an Easter brunch with two seatings available – 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; cost is $21.95 for adults, $10.95 for children 4 to 12 and free for children under 4; call 716-636-7500 for reservations. Embers Restaurant at the Ramada will offer a special Easter dinner menu from 2 to 8 p.m. as well.
  • Grapevine Restaurant – The Grapevine will offer brunch at both of its locations: 333 Dick Rd. in Depew (The Grapevine Banquets) from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 45 S. Ellicott Creek Rd. in Amherst (Ellicott Creek Banquet Facility) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Amherst location will also offer a dinner buffet from 2 to 8 p.m. Cost at both locations is $25.99 for adults, $10.99 for children ages 6 to 11, $7.99 for children ages 2 to 5 and free for children under 2 – make reservations for either location at 716-691-7799.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

30 Things to do Before Memorial Day

credit: paulathompsonfreelance.com
A couple months ago, I posted 50 things to do before spring. Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to see what we can knock off the “to-do” list before Memorial Day – some of these are similar to the previous list, but that’s because there are so many year-round things to do in the Queen City!
  • Get your taxes done!
  • Visit Canalside – because there’s so much to do the whole year through!
  • Springtime in the Country – the juried artisan show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds takes place March 27th through 29th.
  • Spring Flower Show at the Botanical Gardens
  • Broadway Market – the place everyone goes at Easter time, but it’s open year-round!
  • Easter egg hunts – check out this round-up of Buffalo-area hunts!
  • Bagels and Booze Brunch at Hydraulic Hearth.
  • Get some ice cream – doesn’t matter that it’s still hovering in the 30s – you know you want some!
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Find your summer patio – scout out your summer hang out before everyone else finds it.
  • Beerology – April 18th at the Buffalo Museum of Science.
  • Try a new recipe.
  • Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival – taking place May 2nd through 9th at the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park (behind the Buffalo History Museum).
  • Take a spring walk.
  • Take a Buffalo tour – there’s so much you can learn on guided tours, especially about this great city.
  • Take a trip to Rochester.
  • Visit the Lilac Festival in Rochester – taking place May 8th through 17th at Highland Park in Rochester.
  • Visit Forest Lawn Cemetery – check out the remaining weeks of Sundays in the Cemetery.
  • Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site – located at 641 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, there’s free admission on April 18th and 19th as part of Free Entrance Days in the National Parks.
  • Buffalo Bisons – the Bisons open their 2015 season on April 9th – catch a game at Coca Cola Field.
  • Kick off auto racing season – the Race of Champions Modified Tour opens the season at Lancaster National Speedway on April 19th! Drag racing aficionados can hit the track the day before for their season opener.
  • Watch the NHL Draft Lottery –since when has the entry draft lottery been “must-see TV?” Since the race for McEichel is on!
  • Visit a nearby MLB park – check out the ballparks in Toronto, Cleveland or Pittsburgh.
  • Get the car or bike ready for car shows and cruise nights – check out rodandpiston.com for an updated list.
  • Spring cleaning – boring, but it has to be done.
  • Yard work – now that we can find our yards…
  • Take a gardening class – even if you’re not a beginner, you can always learn something new in a class.
  • Visit a garden center (or two…or 10) – I’m guilty of the latter…
  • Plan a veggie garden – eat what you grow!
  • Start planning your summer – it’s never too early to start planning vacations, day trips, concert outings – it’s Buffalo, the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Every Garden Tells a Story: Plantasia, March 21st, 2015

“Every garden tells a story” was the theme of this year’s Plantasia garden and landscape show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. The show, which coincides nicely with the start of spring, offers dozens of vendors and a number of different garden ideas under one roof – whether you’re looking for a high-end golf green (really!) or just some new plants for your container garden. There are also daily seminars by some of the area’s gardening gurus.

On Saturday, Connie from buffalo-niagaragardening.com offered up some of her favorite crafty ideas for the garden – here are a few of the projects she shared:

Enjoy a few more photos from the show – and think spring!

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 Buffalo Bucket List

Last year, I made myself a Buffalo Bucket List of places I wanted to explore in the area – I made it to five of the 10 places listed. Here’s my updated list for 2015 – five from last year and five new ones!

  • Erie Basin Marina Trial Garden – visited this on a Garden Festival bus trip a few years ago – hopefully this will still be on Garden Walk Buffalo’s drop-off route.
  • Seneca Niagara Casino – I haven’t been to the casino in over three years – therefore I haven’t seen the updates!
  • Buffalo Bisons game – I haven’t been to a Bisons game in years either – affordable fun!
  • Buffalo Bites food tour – I saw a television piece on Ch. 2 about these tours a couple of years ago – I immediately said, “I need to go on one of these!”
  • Buffalo Central Terminal – the Central Terminal is being renovated to its former glory – my uncle is one of the retired volunteer sheet metal workers who have already reconstructed some of the pieces.

New adventures:
  • Canalside – this was actually one of last year’s items, and I did make it there – but that was before the HarborCenter, (716) and Tim Horton’s opened, and all the other changes! I need to go back!
  • Lewiston Gardenfest – I always tend to hit the same Garden Walks – Amherst, Williamsville, Parkside, Capen – so this year I want to hit at least one new one, and Lewiston is such a beautiful area as it is, that’s my planned adventure (along with a few others I hope!).
  • Darwin Martin House – I’ve looked at the outside while on the Parkside Garden Tour, but I haven’t been on the inside since I was in elementary school – before most of the work was done.
  • Melting Point – a restaurant dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches? Yes please!
  • Buffalo Zoo – I haven’t been to the Zoo in a couple years, and I want to see the new giraffes and Luna and Kali’s new digs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Welcome to Khaleesi’s Garden!

You may have gathered from previous posts here that I’m a bit of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy geek…OK, maybe more than a bit. One of the places I’ve extended this love to is my garden: what started with two plants – the Jedi Free Spirit daylily and the Dark Angel Star Wars dahlia – has become something of an all-consuming quest to find other Sci-Fi/Fantasy-themed plants and garden accents. Star Wars has been joined by Harry Potter, The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones.

The quest for garden accents – or garden art, as we call it in Buffalo – took a big turn when I spotted a Plow & Hearth dragon on QVC, and when I purchased it, it put me on a mission to find a couple more – making me, as my friend Patty calls me, the “mother of dragons.”

Thus, Khaleesi’s Garden was born. The number of plants – purchased based solely on their names – is over a dozen, and desperately needs to be moved from its small spot at the corner of my garage to a larger plot in the backyard to accommodate the dragons, a cool wind spinner (in shipment) and possibly a unicorn (which will claim its spot due to being Peter’s ride in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – and because unicorns are awesome!). 

I’ll be showcasing the garden art portion of the garden over the next few posts, and when the plants start arriving and the plot is finished, we’ll move to the backyard. I hope you’ll join me on this fun journey!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Fever: Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood at First Niagara Center

I’ve been a Garth Brooks fan since the beginning – I remember being totally impressed the first time I heard “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old).” I’ve got all the CDs, the box sets and DVDs…I just hadn’t seen him live :(

Check that off the bucket list!

Mom and I went to see Garth and Trisha Yearwood last Thursday, March 5th, at the First Niagara Center, the first of six shows over four nights – I don’t know how he does it, that’s just crazy scheduling! Did we get to see the best show? I don’t know…we did in my mind, just because I was there!

The first time I looked at the stage, I looked at Mom and said, “Something’s going to happen to that stage by the end of the night” – I was right. I will never listen to “The Fever” again without thinking of that performance!

He only did three songs from the new album – the opening “Man Against Machine,” “People Loving People” and “Mom” – but as he acknowledged in the beginning of the show, he was there to play the hits…and I forgot how many there were! I was most happy to hear my favorite, “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” – that song is just too short! – and to finally hear the “lost verses” of “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places” live.

Garth and Trisha, you loved Buffalo, and we loved you back…so come back soon!

all photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

Saturday, March 7, 2015

February 2015 in review

Well, after surviving February, I have just one thing to say – I’m DONE with SNOW. Ugh…I spent more time in my snow plow than I did anywhere else – possibly even my bed! (OK, maybe not that bad, but it was close!)

This snowman is a little too happy...
credit - freedigitalphotos.net/bplanet
That said, February was kind of a bummer – I didn’t even have a chance to get to the Botanical Gardens for the Lumagination exhibit :(

March, however, has already made up for it in just one night – here’s a hint:

credit - paulathompsonfreelance.com

Monday, March 2, 2015

Buffalo Finds: Gridlock Lacquer - Loganberry

I don’t remember when I first heard of Gridlock Lacquer, but I remembered having previously heard about it when Beth at Just a Blonde in Buffalo did a feature on it. I love Buffalo-based things, and I have a slight nail polish addition, so this was right up my alley.

I finally got around to picking up my first bottle this weekend at the Hallmark store in Premier Place on Transit in Williamsville – it was tough, but I picked Loganberry, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it so far. It’s a great polish – I’m just learning all this nail polish vernacular, but it’s 5-free, which I’ve learned is a good thing, and beyond that, it’s made right here in Buffalo. It’s available in a number of stores in the area – here’s a list – and it’s sold at the Broadway Market from October through March.

There are a number of city-based collections, including Buffalo, Buffalo Neighborhoods, Niagara Falls, Pittsburgh, Rochester and Cleveland – there is also a wine and beer collection. I’m not sure what my next color will be, but I’ll definitely be trying more!

photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com