WNY Living

Inside the Darwin Martin House

Darwin Martin House reception room

Reception room

A few months ago I gushed about my adoration for architecture when I recapped my trip to the Darwin Martin House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School masterpieces. So when the Martin House staff kindly invited me to return in February, I replied immediately with an enthusiastic yes.

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Awesome Buffalo Launch

Awesome Buffalo LaunchWell hello there, all you dreamers, doers, and creative thinkers! Back in September, I wrote about bringing a chapter of The Awesome Foundation to Buffalo. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Awesome Buffalo has officially launched, and grant applications are open! From the applications, our trustees will select five finalists to pitch their projects at a live event on Tuesday, March 28th, at 7pm in downtown Buffalo. A winner will be selected that night and will walk away with a no-strings-attached $1000 prize.

If you live in the Buffalo area and have an awesome and quirky idea that could use funding, please consider applying for one of our grants here. We’ll be accepting applications for the Spring event through March 14th.

And if you’re not a Buffalonian, but have the most totally awesome idea ever, there are 83+ chapters across 18 countries; check to see if the Awesome Foundation has a chapter in your area!  If not, maybe you will want to consider starting one, too. 🙂 

{To learn more about Awesome Buffalo, visit our chapter page on the Awesome Foundation site. To keep up with what’s happening, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.}

A Wintry Trip to the Darwin Martin House

Darwin Martin House

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House – 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY

Since about third grade, I’ve been fascinated by architecture and, for some reason, Frank Lloyd Wright especially caught my eye. While other kids were getting Barbies and Legos for Christmas (just kidding, I was still getting Barbies too), I received books about Frank Lloyd Wright. Later, I decided architecture was more an interest than career for me, but my best friend ended up pursuing architecture in college. So, a few weeks ago while she was visiting, we took her to see one of the many architectural treasures of Buffalo, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House.

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A Buffalo Staycation

Hotel Lafayette Junior Suite

Our room at the Hotel Lafayette

On Friday, Steve and I celebrated seven years together. It was his idea to head to our former stomping grounds in downtown Buffalo for a little staycation getaway.

We moved to Buffalo in early 2012, not long before the Hotel Lafayette reopened after many years of dilapidation and, ultimately, renovation. We’ve read about it, seen lots of pictures, and heard about a gazillion weddings hosted there, but neither of us had ever been overnight guests. So, we decided to change that.

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Awesome Buffalo

Awesome Buffalo
Hi, friends! I hope you’re having an awesome Tuesday. I know most of you tracing paper readers aren’t Buffalonians, but I wanted to share a little bit about a project I’m working on anyway.

As said in my About page, I was really hesitant when I first made the move to Buffalo. I mistakenly took negative rumblings and opinions about this city as truth. Over the last four and a half years that I’ve called Buffalo home, I’ve realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong.  This city is full of hard-working, artistic, and kind people. There is beautiful, old architecture to be seen, and new shops and restaurants are popping up everywhere you look.

Recently, I was introduced to a phenomenal organization called The Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time. With the help of some new friends, we’re bringing a chapter to Buffalo! Our city is the perfect Awesome fit as we experience a renaissance of sorts.

We will function as a fully autonomous chapter, supporting awesome projects through micro-grants, given out a few times per year at pitch events. These micro-grants come out of pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are awarded on a no-strings-attached basis to people working on awesome projects.

Here at Awesome Buffalo, we’re currently looking for chapter trustees, who participate fully in the grant selection process. If this intrigues you, please fill out our interest form and join us in making Buffalo even more awesome: tinyurl.com/awebufform

I’m sorry in advance for using the word awesome so much. More to come!

My Weird Week

Mansion on Delaware Ave

The Mansion on Delaware Avenue, where last week’s Creative Mornings was held

Everything got a little out of whack last week after losing Owen. I did a lot of ugly crying and was feeling less than inspired to write. Grief from the loss of a pet sure doesn’t compare to the overwhelming sorrow felt when losing a person you love, but damn, it still hit me hard.

A highlight that helped turn my week around was attending my first Creative Mornings talk on Friday morning. Creative Mornings, as described on their website, is “a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.” I heard about it a couple years ago, but I can’t recall how or where. I must’ve inadvertently signed up for their emails because my inbox was suddenly full of promos telling me all about these intriguing, inspirational talks coming up in cities too far from me, like Brooklyn, DC, and so forth. I unsubscribed from the email list at some point, probably out of jealousy that I couldn’t attend.

Then a few months back, I read that someone here in Buffalo started a local Creative Mornings chapter. Thrilled, I debated attending, but my social anxiety got the best of me, as it often does, and I chickened out of going by myself. Cue meeting Ashley from Morning Glory blog. We met a couple months ago, and she brought up how inspiring the Creative Mornings talks have been. She was going to be photographing the talk this month and reminded me to sign up. I’m so glad she did.

Mansion on Delaware Ave

The gorgeous Mansion on Delaware Avenue again

The speaker on Friday was 16-year-old Buffalo entrepreneur Zandra Cunningham. She started her own line of beauty products when she was just 9 years old. When she’s not in class at her high school, she’s working in her studio or touring the country speaking about entrepreneurship. Jokingly, but truthfully, Zandra admitted that if it’s not on Google calendar, it doesn’t happen—including going to the movies with her friends.

Everyone kept marveling at her age, but she was impressive regardless. Zandra’s talk was phenomenal; she nails public speaking. I was impressed with her story, the business she’s built, and how she carries herself. Talk about an inspiring woman!

At the end of the talk, during a Q&A session, someone asked about her next project or next idea. She hesitated, and then casually mentioned that she might want to start a fashion line. Or sell the business. A true entrepreneur.

This month’s theme for Creative Mornings was ‘weird.’ Something Zandra said near the end of her talk really resonated with me, shown below.

Zandra Cunningham Quote

Sometimes life is weird. It’s up to us to choose how we’ll handle it. To those I met at Creative Mornings, to Ashley, to Zandra, and especially to everyone who reached out to me last week—thank you for helping me to pick myself back up and embrace the weird.