Do You Believe in Miracles?

And here it is–my attempt at keeping a New Year’s Resolution.  Ideally I’ll fall into the 8% of people that actually keep their resolutions, but let’s be realistic, shall we?  Blogging once a week will likely be a stretch, and this post will make 2 in one week, so I’m setting the bar a little high, huh?

Okay–back to the topic at hand.  The day after Christmas we headed to Brockport so that Mr. Bunches could relive his glory days–as a member of Brockport High School’s Hockey Team, but this time playing in an impromptu alumni game.  In preparation for the big day, Mr. B thought it best to prepare Mini B with a viewing of his favorite movie of all time: Miracle.

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Speaking as a non-hockey-playing American, this movie is great.  So even if you’ve never played, watched, or even cared about hockey, you can still like Miracle.  I’m not sure what Mini B thought of it, though; Mr. B will tell you she loved it, but truth be told–it only held her attention for a whopping 5 minutes.  However, it may be a new holiday tradition for us–an annual viewing of Miracle before Christmas.  A little unorthodox maybe, but it works for us.

Having seen Miracle, let’s just say that the BHS alumni game was nothing like it.  :) It was, however, fun for Mr. Bunches, his cousins, and his friends.  And that’s what really matters, right?  So now I’ll let some pictures tell the rest of the story . . .

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Thrilling, eh?  I’d like to say I could tell you what the score was, but I honestly wasn’t paying attention; and I’m not entirely sure anyone else was either.  But, it was great to see Mr. Bunches out there with some of his old teammates, even if they were a little, er, slower than in their younger days.

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And having his cousins there was an extra treat.

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A true family affair.

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And a nice chance to see some good friends as well . . .

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It was the first time Mini B got some up-close and personal time with a hockey player (not counting her dad).  She was absolutely fascinated with her cousin’s jersey . . .

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But Jason wasn’t the lucky one that night.  Nope, Chad was the one that Mini B really took a shine to . . .

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Oh yes–she has learned to give kisses!!!!

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Her kisses are the absolute best.  THE BEST.

Happy New Year’s!  And here’s to keeping resolutions.

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Brockport’s Top Ten

Now that we’ve finally moved into our new home, it’s time to pay tribute to our temporary home and say goodbye to Brockport.  For me, this was my first Brockport goodbye; for Mr. Bunches, his second (his first being when he left for college).   So to do it right, we thought a Top Ten list was in order, although it was hard to limit what we’ll miss most about Brockport to only ten items, but whoever heard of a Top Fifty-Four list, right?  Right.  So let’s get to it . . .

#10 FOYOFOYO is the Fountain of Youth Organics store in downtown Brockport that Mr. B and I were totally pumped to discover.  Who knew Brockport was so progressive?  We didn’t.  But luckily we stumbled into FOYO one day and found a great spot to buy local eggs, meat, flour, and every possible natural supplement you could imagine.  They even had CLO (that’s Cod Liver Oil for all you folks still not in the know)!  And the owner was so fantastic and friendly; each time we shopped there it felt good to know we were supporting a local business.

Image from here.

#9 Our Borrowed Home — Thanks again to my M-I-L for letting us borrow her house!  It was such a relief to know that we had a place to call home even while we were in between houses of our own.  And even though most of our stuff was stored away in Moose’s warehouse . . .

. . . luckily the Mr.’s mom left us all the essentials (which, sadly for us, meant a bed, couch, treadmill, and TV–not sure what that says about us–totally lazy?  couch potatoes?  well, at least one out of four involved something active, right?!).  The house was such a treat for us–moving from a 900 square foot condo (1,200 square feet if you count the basement, which they do in Boston . . . ya’ know, so that everything seems bigger) to a 3 bedroom home with a garage!  We barely knew what to do with all that room!  So thank you, thank you, thank you–we had so much fun in Brockport, and much of that was due to having such a great home base (nothing quite like my M-I-L’s new home, but that house is in a league of its own!).

#8 The Strand and Cinemark Movies 10 So this isn’t exactly cheating since it’s really one category and just two specific locations within the same category (see how I just worked that?  good).  Yep–The Strand is the local Brockport movie theater located right on Main Street and it’s totally got that whole vintage vibe thing happening (and as long as you don’t live in a cave, then you know that vintage is all the rage at the moment) . . .

And since The Strand movies cost only $7.50, it’s quite the bargain considering you’re getting to not only see an of-the-moment film, but you’re also getting to do it while feeling all hip and vintage-y at the same time.

Of course, if you’re more concerned with the bargain than with the hip vintage piece, well then, Cinemark Movies 10 is for you.  And, er, it’s basically for me (when have I ever been that concerned with being cool?  I mean, one look in my closet will pretty much sum that up for ya': never).  At Cinemark the most you’ll pay to see a movie is $2.50!  Yes–$2.50!  And that’s for Friday and Saturday nights.  Matinees and weeknights can cost as little as ONE DOLLAR!  You can find that much money in your seat cushions!  Basically, Cinemark Movies 10 had me at hello.  Of course, Cinemark doesn’t show the recent releases, but rather it has movies that have just left the big screen and are en route to On Demand, but who cares?!  You know the Mr. and I don’t!  Oh, and I thought the theater was going to be all skeevy and sketcherific (look it up), but it totally wasn’t.  It was just like a regular theater.  Only cheaper.  Okay, ‘nough said.  Although–quick disclaimer: Cinemark Movies 10 is actually located in Rochester, but since it’ll be too far for us to drive to from Buffalo, we’re lumping it into Brockport.  You may or may not see that happening in other categories as well.  On to #7 . . .

#7 Springdale Farm Yes, I do mean this Springdale Farm of We Got a Goat fame.  Who knew that so many of you would be so upset enraged that we did not, in fact, get a goat?

Although, I still totally wish we did . . . but we have gone back to visit this little guy.  How could we not with that face?!

#6 Jimmy Z’s Now, I’m going to have to tread lightly here as I know many Rochesterites out there probably have a strong opinion on the topic of Garbage Plates.  But first, let me bring everyone up to speed; if you’re not from Western NY, you’re probably wondering, ‘Mrs. Bunches, what is a Garbage Plate?!  Surely it can’t be something you eat.  Not with a name like Garbage Plate?!’  And there, my friends, is where you would be wrong.  For a Garbage Plate is in fact a plate of food.  Or, more precisely, a large styrofoam container of assorted food stuffs.  Kind of like this:

Looks a little like cat vomit, doesn’t it?  Or at least, that’s my opinion.  Of course, the Mr. (and Idiot Nation) might disagree, but why don’t you be the judge . . . here’s a breakdown of what’s in a Jimmy Z’s Garbage Plate (while the basics of a garbage plate are all pretty much the same, each restaurant has some unique options, so these are what’s available at Jimmy Z’s) . . .

First, you pick two of the following:

  • Home Fries
  • French Fries
  • Baked Beans
  • Mac Salad

Then, you choose one of the following to go on top (or mix and match as you like):

  • 2 hamburgers
  • 2 cheeseburgers
  • 2 white hots (translation for non-Western NYers: two white hot dogs)
  • 2 red hots (yep–that means two red hot dogs)
  • 2 chicken fingers
  • 3 fried eggs
  • 2 mozzarella sticks
  • 2 pizza logs

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the plate is topped off with a “special” meat sauce (that’s the stuff that looks like cat puke), onions, and mustard.  As an example, the one pictured above was home fries, french fries, two white hots, meat sauce, mustard, and onions.  And this guy thought it was the bee’s knees . . . just check out that look of longing as he waited for it:

Even Pauly was so excited for it to arrive that he could barely contain himself . . .

In short, Mr. Bunches thinks Jimmy Z’s has the BEST Garbage Plates in Rochester . . .

Even beating out the apparent inventor of the Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou’s . . .

I can’t really compare as I’ve only eaten one Garbage Plate.  It was at Nick Tahou’s and let’s just say it didn’t go so well for me.  Or for the Garbage Plate.  But, with such an extensive menu at Jimmy Z’s, I was sure to find something I liked . . . or at least something not fried?

But to finally end #6 . . . my fave was the Pulled Pork Sub.  Sub–not sandwich.  It’s delish.

#5 Abbotts Custard and Esther’s Country Market Well, while we’re talking food, we might as well talk dessert.  And if you know the Mr. and I, then you know we love us some ice cream/frozen yogurt/custard (in case you missed it, the Mr. debuted his first dessert masterpiece right here).  Luckily for us (and unluckily for our waistlines), there was an Abbotts located just down the street from our borrowed home in Brockport.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup with chocolate sprinkles in a cone?  Um, yes please!

Of course, it was only after a few months of being in Brockport that the Mr. remembered Martin Farms’ ice cream stand, Esther’s Olde Tyme Country Market, which not only sold some of the best custard around, but also some healthy stuff too . . .

Nothing like buying some tomatoes to offset eating ice cream, huh?  Their ice cream was killer, though.  Especially the soft-serve!  It even rivaled the stuff we had in the Adirondacks (sorry D, but it’s true).

#4 Wide Open Spaces It was such a nice change of pace to be surrounded by so much space (stop rhyming–I mean it!  Anybody want a peanut?  Ten points to anyone who can name that film).  From riding bikes along the Erie Canal . . .

. . . to hitting balls at any one of MANY local driving ranges . . .

. . . the Mr. and I couldn’t get over just how much space Brockport had to offer.  And with the SUNY Brockport campus right in town, we took full advantage (mostly by pretending we were in college again when we went for runs around campus, but whatever).  It’s amazing how much being surrounded by space can really lower your blood pressure.  Sigh.

#3 Goodwill Finds There’s something about being in small-town America that just makes Goodwill hunting so much better.  From finding steals in the neighbor’s yard sale . . .

. . . to little gems at the local Volunteers of America . . .

. . . and even to the one that got away from Carriage Place Antiques (I’m still kicking myself about this one) . . .

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Brockport was such a great place to find those hidden gems.  Hmm . . . maybe with all the brownie points I’ve earned from hosting Idiot Nation, maybe the Mr. will be up for a quick trip to some of those Brockport hot spots?  Waddya’ say Mr. B?

#2 Carnival Nation Living in Brockport over the summer meant that we got to experience our fair share of carnival craziness–it seemed like there was a carnival every weekend!  From our first Fourth of July . . .

. . . with its introduction to one of the more interesting local characters . . .

Scariest Ice Cream Man EVER

I’m still having nightmares about that one.

Next was the Monroe County Fair, where we got to learn a little about some chickens . . .

. . . and have some fun playing carnie games (one of the Mr.’s favoritest pastimes mind you).

But possibly one of the best carnivals was the Hilton Carnival–you know, the one with a different sort of zoo . . .

And some serious fried goodness (anyone else noticing that a lot of our top 10 seems to involve food?).

And while we didn’t necessarily go on any rides (we don’t have a death wish–I mean, seriously, have you seen the people that operate those things?), they were still fun to photograph.

So yeah–we partook in our fair share of carnivals, but next year maybe we’ll challenge ourselves to go to one every weekend!  Can we do it?  YES WE CAN!

#1 Ralph & Rosie’s If you’ve hung in this long–congratulations.  1,700 words (so far) is probably a bit too long for a top ten post, but, well, we clearly had a lot of love for Brockport, so you’ve got to forgive us.  Alright, but now onto #1 . . . and, of course, we’re back to food.  Remember back when we first got to Brockport and we did a pizza and wings review?  Well, if you do, then you’ll remember that our winner at the time was Mozzeroni’s.

But you better believe that we didn’t just stop there.  Oh haaeeyyll no!  We tried Mozzeroni’s again (okay, maybe multiple times), and each time the wings were horrible, although the pizza remained a strong contender.  So we had to try others.  Starting with a Western NY chain, Mark’s Pizzeria, with the absolute worst jingle ever “Mark’s Pizzeria, we’ll treat you like family . . . Mark’s Pizzeria!”  Trust me, it gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop singing it, and you just want to scream!

And their pizza was just okay.  Same with the wings.  Nothing to write home about.

Oh well, we tried; but turned out their food was on par with their jingle.

Up next?  Krony’s Pizza in Hamlin.  Despite being located in the middle of nowhere, this place was packed.

And for good reason!

Particularly the wings.  Check out that meatiness:

So yeah, it was good, but not exactly super convenient.  So, in search of convenience, where do you go?  Well, to a convenience store, of course . . .

Doesn’t really look like the type of place that you would choose to eat, right?  More like the type of place you’d go to grab a bag of ice.  But, upon some sage advice from Moose, the Mr. and I decided to try the pizza at Ralph & Rosie’s in Bergen (I had a bit of trepidation at first, but if there’s one thing Moose knows, besides carpet that is, it’s good pizza).

Ralph & Rosie Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Of course, there’s no menu inside, so you just have to make a guess and order.  Oh, and I’m not sure what the whole ‘Mexican Food‘ thing is all about, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have any; my guess is maybe they just don’t want to change the sign?

The only trick to ordering pizza is what sauce you want: regular or sweet.  Both are tomato-based, and both are excellent.  However, the sweet sauce is by far their best-seller.

And they cut their pizzas into squares.  Not sure why we like that so much, but we do.  Maybe because you don’t feel like you’re eating as much, so there’s less guilt involved?  Regardless, their pizza is BY FAR our hands-down favorite.

And the wings?  Oh yes.  Yes please.

And they sell them by the pound!  Gotta love that, right?  Overall, I’m still a little in shock at how much pizza and wings we ate . . . I think it’s best if we just don’t mention it anymore.  So let’s keep it our little secret, okay?  Okay.

So there you have it–our Brockport Top Ten, and a little trip down memory lane to remember our ~6 months in Mr. Bunches’ hometown.  Aww . . . how sweet it was!  Did I miss anything?

Aloha!

Aloha kakahiaka! (Translation: Good morning!)  I hope everyone had as exciting of a weekend as Mr. B and I, but I seriously doubt you did.  Unless, that is, you magically transported to the ninth Hawaiian island, aka a little place I like to call Brockport.  But Saturday night, it should’ve been called Holoholo (that translates to to walk or travel for fun and really it was the only somewhat-related Hawaiian word I could find in less than two minutes via Google; if you can come up with a better word, I’m all ears) . . . you see, Mr. B and I were invited to a LUAU party by our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Holoholo (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

That’s Mrs. Holoholo doing her welcome dance for us.  Somehow Mr. Holoholo managed to dodge my camera all night, so instead I’ll just include a picture of Mr. Bunches in his full Luau regalia (disclosure: he picked this outfit out all by himself, so I’m taking no blame credit):

Mr. and Mrs. Holoholo put on quite the spread.  The LUAU was an uber festive occasion.  Upon arriving, we were immediately leid . . .

And offered our choice of quite a few beverages (Cotton Candy juice, Whipped Cream juice, Mixed Jim Boeheims, assorted juices and sodas and the list goes on and on in total PG fashion) . . .

Not too shabby, eh?  I was pleased . . .

Too early in the morning for that shot?  Sorry.  I was just excited (and sort of dancing–yeah, sometimes I dance a little like Elaine.  Deal.)  Anyways, the decor was quite nice . . .

And there was even some mood lighting . . .

I wish I had some pictures of the flamingo drink straws, but I think I may have been too focused on the drinks themselves.  Oops.

The party was an excellent time.  There was entertainment, including dancing by Mrs. Holoholo and her partner-in-crime, Mrs. Rockstar (you’ll understand the name later when you see her husband).  Here’s a little fishing demonstration . . .

And a Zumba presentation:

And there was even a guest appearance by . . . . wait for it . . . . you’ll never guess . . . . are you ready?!?!  No seriously–are you?

All the way from . . .

Washington, D.C. . . .

Making his first 2011 LUAU appearance . . .

How ’bout a nice big cheer for . . . a one Mr. Deenie!

Now that’s a party!  Of course, Deenie had to get a little stretch in before he showed the ladies how it’s really done on the dance floor . . .

It was wild.  W-I-L-D.  But, it was really just the opening act for what was to come next . . . but first, intermission (I know–is the suspense killing you already?  Sorry, but I’ve got to get all these pics in somehow).

That’s right–some good ol’fashioned chillaxing, luau-style.  which apparently means that Mr. Rockstar (just wait for it–it’s good) needs to sit on Mr. B’s lap doing his best Olsen impression . . .

But there was also some normal chillaxing too.

Yeah, pineapples chillax.

Okay, but then it was time for the big show!  Oh the excitement . . .

Can I get some hands in the air?  Maybe waving from here to there?

Let’s welcome to the stage . . . Mr. Rockstar!  Here the crowd was supposed to cheer, but somehow it was eerily silent.  Wonder why?  First, of course, Mr. Rockstar needed to warm up and tune his guitar . . .

Luckily, it had recently been tuned, so he was all set.  Let the show begin!

If tomorrow all the things were gone,

I’d worked for all my life.

And I had to start again,

with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,

to be livin here today.

‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,

and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,

where at least I know I’m free.

And I wont forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

God bless the USA.

Can I get a round of applause please?!  Fantastic.  Truly a performer through and through.  I’m pretty sure a performance like that requires that the guitar then be retired.  Well played my friend.  Well played.  Rest now.

But the entertainment didn’t stop there!  Nope–then it was time for the laser light show!  That’s right–LASERS!  Performed by Deenie himself all the way from our Nation’s capital . . .

Yeah, so the show mostly involved circles.  Of course, that is, until Mrs. Rockstar got into the act . . .

Then it was time for the interpretive dance portion of the show.  This time, again, led by Deenie himself.  So go on–interpret.

So what did you get out of that?  I got Magnum PI, an accountant, and a Jedi knight.  You?

Alright, so that pretty much wraps up the best LUAU party ever.  And here’s Mrs. Holoholo with her goodbye dance for you (yes, I agree, it’s pretty similar to the welcome dance we saw earlier, but that’s pretty Hawaiian–you know, since Aloha means hello, goodbye, and everything in between):

So thanks again to Mr. and Mrs. Holoholo (who not only throw a mean party, but are also two of Bunches of Joy’s biggest supporters–thanks you two!  If you want to be cool like them, then you should subscribe like them.  I’m pretty sure they’ve learned everything they know since subscribing . . . the previous 20+ years of their lives were just kind of a lost cause.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Subscribe now.  Ha.)

Oh, and if you’re waiting for a patio update, well, it’s finished.  Er, sort of.  Pics tomorrow–I promise!

Don’t Pet the Animals

Already you must know how much we love animals.  We’ve seen a lot of them since moving to NY, but none quite like the specimens in the Hilton Zoo . . .

Totally different kind of zoo.  With music, gambling, beverages, you name it–the Hilton Zoo had it!

A few weeks ago our friends Braden and Amber took us here for some good times, good fun, and of course, some liquid refreshment.  I kind of love that the entrance sign (because of the balloon) implies that only one person under the age of 21 can be admitted–could you imagine the fights over getting to be THAT one?!

Yes sir–I had my first Genny Light.  Nothing but the best for me and the Mr., eh?

Our friends knew better and steered clear of the Genny (wise decision B&A) . . .

Of course, there was more fun to be had than just in the Zoo.  This was the Hilton Fair after all!  There were rides . . .

Refreshments . . .

Mmm . . . fried dough.

Oh, and we had our FIRST fried oreos . . . which basically means we got to experience heaven in a crispy shell.

We also had fun playing some carnival games . . .

(They’re trying to knock a kid in the water from about a million miles away.  No joke–I’m pretty sure no kids got wet here, but it was all for the boy scouts, so it was worth it.)

We had more success at this game:

It’s like BINGO but with rubber balls.  Genius.

Amber and I both ended up big winners.  What did we win?  Well, you’ll just have to wait a few more weeks for the big prize’s debut . . . riveted, aren’t you?

Overall, the Hilton Fair was a great time, so thanks B&A for a fun night out!

Of course, we weren’t thanking you the next morning, but that’s another story . . .

Still not sure how the patio project’s progressing, but we’ll definitely have updated pics for you on Monday–until then, enjoy your weekend!  You know we’ll be enjoying ours . . . painting, digging, planting, ya’ know–all-around-home-owning kind of stuff.  Joy.

We Got A Goat!!

Can you believe it?!?!?!?!?!?!  Yep, the Mr. finally caved and let me get the pet I’ve been dreaming of . . . a little baby goat!  It was actually an early housewarming gift from him–isn’t that sweet?  He totally surprised me.  Sigh.  I love the Mr.

My plan is to house-train her once we move into our new place.  And then hopefully learn how to milk her and use the milk to make homemade goat cheese (just like the Tipsy Baker).  Such a good idea, right?  Isn’t she just the sweetest?  We’ve named her Ashley H after the one that got away . . .

So how did this happen?!  Well, it all started Saturday morning–the Mr. woke up bright and early with lots of surprises up his sleeve (unbeknownst to me).  First up?  He made me breakfast!  Yep–fresh eggs from Fountain of Youth Organics (the Organic Shop right in Brockport) scrambled up with organic chicken sausage (also made locally), peppers, onions, and goat cheese.  Yum!  Little did I know that the goat cheese was a hint . . .

It was out-of-this-world good.  Especially because I didn’t have to make it :).  And then he told me he had even more surprises planned, and we had to head out . . . to where?  He wouldn’t tell!!!  Cheeky Monkey.

But I found out soon enough–the Mr. took me to a local joint: Springdale Farm.  It was AAAAAA-wait for it-DORABLE! And FREE to boot!  Only the petting zoo cost money . . . guess how much?  ONE DOLLAH!  That’s right.  Cuz that’s how they roll in Western NY . . .

So there I was, totally just thinking that the Mr. was taking me to experience yet another of his growing-up-in-Brockport memories (apparently all the area schools take the kids there for field trips).  And it was great–I love me a good ol’ fashioned farm any day.  We saw sheep . . .

. . . and pigs . . .

(the picture doesn’t do that big guy justice–no joke, he was the size of me and the Mr. put together!)

(doesn’t that new mama look like she has a smile on her face?)

. . . and we saw roosters . . .

(I’m a little bit in love with the effect the chain link fence had on those pictures . . . pretty rad, huh?)

. . . and some peacocks (noisy little buggers that they are) . . .

. . . and even some horses . . . check out how much Mr. B has grown since moving west–those are regular riding horses!  I swear, it must be something in the water out here . . .

Okay, so maybe they’re miniatures . . . too cute, huh?

But the best part of the farm?  The goats of course!!!!  There were itty-bitty baby ones . . .

. . . regular grown-up ones . . .

. . . and THEN . . . the toddler ones that were up for ADOPTION!!!!  That’s when the Mr. sprung it on me–I had my pick!  But of course, Ashley H stole my heart right from the get-go.  Just look at how cute she is, and she kept following me around!

And she even had some love to spare for the Mr. . . .

Of course, it wasn’t the easiest decision.  This little guy stole the Mr.’s heart . . .

He even started crying when we left (the goat, not Mr. Bunches) . . .

But we could only take one goat home (for now . . . I’m hoping the Mr. will soon let me get another–fingers crossed!).

So are you so excited for us?!  Are you shocked?  Did you see it coming?  Want to see pics of Ashley H at home?  Well . . .

Okay, so we didn’t get a goat, but wouldn’t that have been AMAZING?!  If you don’t agree, then apparently you’re in the Mr.’s camp.  Boo on you.  For the past few years, I’ve really wanted to get a goat–not quite sure what my fascination is or why I love the dang things so much.  Maybe because I see my own goat as my own personal goat cheese supply?  And I love me some goat cheese–you can put that s%@& on everything!

Happy Monday kids.

Fireworks Photography

I know, I know–this post is basically a week late.  Fourth of July is a distant memory now for most of you, but I’ve only just gotten around to taking a look at the 200+ pictures I took at Brockport’s festivities from last weekend.  But don’t worry–I’m not going to show you all 200.  Nope–I’ve edited it down to my 10 favorites (and deleted the rest–taking 15 MP pictures eats up computer memory like you wouldn’t believe!).  So why am I sharing completely untimely pictures with you?  Well, because that’s what we do here; and by “we” I mean me (with Mr. Bunches standing firmly in support behind me).  And plus–this was my first attempt at night photography with my new camera (despite owning the camera for 7 months–oops), and I think some of them came out not completely horrible.  How’s that for talking myself up?  Anyways, here goes . . .

First up: the world’s scariest Ice Cream man.   ‘Nuff said.

Scariest Ice Cream Man EVER

Is it just me or does the red “ICE CREAM” look like it might possibly be written in blood?

And now for the big show–I played with lots of different camera settings and actually shot in full Manual Mode for the first time (trust me, that’s a big step for this new-to-DSLR-cameras-with-lots-of-settings-and-no-photography-knowledge-whatsoever girl), so please go easy on the judging . . .

Okay, okay, so I know they’re not great or even really all that good.  But they’re mine and I can’t wait to compare them to next year’s (which hopefully will be much improved).

Happy Belated Fourth Everyone!

Goodwill Hunting

Another great thing about moving to small town America (aka Brockport) from Boston is that there are still great finds to be had in the local Goodwill (unlike Boston where it’s so picked over).  Now, many of you may choose to never set foot in a Goodwill store–whether it’s the odd smell that is uniform to all such stores (a certain mix of old people stink, dust, and a too-weak cleaning product of some kind), or it’s that the idea of buying someone else’s discarded stuff is just gross–but sometimes, and more often in smaller towns, there are some great things just waiting to be discovered (albeit usually underneath a bunch of really tacky tchotkes).  Oh, and you can also leave there with a double feel-good whammy: you probably scored a bargain AND you helped people in need.  So no, this is not a post about a great Bean Town movie–sorry.

Instead, it’s about our Goodwill hunting trip.  This weekend we not only checked out our local Goodwill in Brockport, but we also stopped at the area Volunteers of America store.  Both were quite the pleasant surprise.  Why the hunt this past weekend?  Well, I needed a white leather belt, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I thought those would be good places to try.  Why did I need a white belt?  Because I had an old-lady 80s party to go to?  Unfortunately, no.  I needed a white belt so I could make handles for a dresser I’m refinishing.  Duh.  More on that later this week, though.  So did I find a white leather belt?  You betcha I did (with some help from the Mr.):

White Belt

Oh, and bonus: anything in Goodwill with a blue tag was 50% off!  So that stylish belt only cost me $2.50.  I know you’re jealous.   And maybe confused since the belt isn’t actually white?  No worries–you just have to flip it over.  Genious, aren’t I?  Of course, we didn’t leave with just the belt–how could we?  This was a pretty new Goodwill–very spacious and with only a hint of that special scent.  So we poked around, and then I found this:

Totally rad, right?  It needs a lamp shade, and I’m a bit undecided on whether to leave it as is or paint it, but either way, I’m digging it.  And since it has a mid-century modern vibe happening, it should fit right into our 1962 house.  Plus–the price was right–only $8.99, so I just couldn’t pass it up.  The Mr. even thought that the tag was blue, but apparently it was teal–so no dice on an extra 50% off.

What do you think?  Should I paint it?  Or just polish it up and leave it as is?  Any suggestions for what type of shade?  I was thinking a simple white drum shade–maybe one that’s a bit long and slender vs. fat and wide (that’s what she said).  Thoughts?  Here’s an attempt at what it would look like painted white:

So what do you think?

Next, we headed to Volunteers of America to see what else we could discover (I think at this point even the Mr. had caught the thrifting bug).  Well, our luck continued.  I found this glass dome and teak cutting board set for only $2.99:

It reminded me of this one from Crate & Barrel (for $29.95):

Not bad that I paid only 10% of what the Crate & Barrel one cost, right?  Mine originally came with a metal plate with Goodwood inscribed on it, but I took that piece off and threw it away since it’s not really my style . . .

. . . but then I did some Google searches to see if I could find out how much similar items were worth.  Turns out a lot more than the $2.99 I spent.  Check out this one on Etsy for $35:

And I found similar ones on eBay for up to $90!  So, of course, I then dug the Goodwood metal plate out of the trash, washed it off, and put it back in the dome.  Who knows if I’ll keep it, or maybe start my own vintage store on Etsy to sell this and all the other great Western New York finds . . . there was even another one of these at VOA that I passed on (the Mr. doesn’t like me to accumulate too much “garbage” as he likes to call it), so maybe I’ll go back and snag that one to sell online?  What do you think–have I found my new calling?

Anyways, after our luck at the VOA and Goodwill, I thought we should take a look at a local antiques super store, The Carriage Place.  I’ve driven by signs for it every day on my commute, and so what better time to take a look than over a long weekend, right?  It was actually pretty cool–it’s a large warehouse that has divided space for different vendors to rent and stock as they see fit . . . kind of like Leaping Lotus out in Solana Beach, CA except with a focus on antiques instead of art and home decor (btw–next time you’re in Southern California, definitely spend some time browsing around Solana Beach–you won’t be disappointed).  The Mr. and I enjoyed poking around and checking out some interesting items . . .

. . . old hardcover books to line your shelves and make visitors think you like to read . . .

. . . vintage tins, baking supplies, and cooking tools that would look charming in a country kitchen . . .

. . . wood boxes that would be perfect for a casual centerpiece if filled with flowers or maybe grass (Carrie–they were only $5 each, so let me know if you want me to go back and get them for you) . . .

. . . JOANNE–check out the old Cod Liver Oil bottle!!!  How great is that?! (Joanne is the one that’s behind the Mr. and I taking our daily dose of CLO, so of course I thought of her immediately when I saw this.)

Cod Liver Oil bottle

CLO Dosage Instructions

. . . the Mr. enjoyed some of the vintage comics . . .

. . . while I got a kick out of these old-school postcards that folded out accordion-style . . .

Postcard Portfolio

Postcard pics

Aren’t those great?  They had ones for just about everywhere–I loved the vintage fonts and pictures.  We decided to buy one from Lake Placid since that was one of our first vacation spots together, and one of the Mr.’s favoritest places in the whole wide world.  Awww . . . aren’t we just too cute?

My other favorite piece was this rocking chair, but at $150, and in desperate need of some reupholstering, I just couldn’t justify it . . .

Rocking chair

So that completes our first Goodwill hunting trip, but based on our successes, you can bet there will be more!

Yard Sale Memories

A few weeks ago, the Mr. and I helped his mother with a yard sale of epic proportions.

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but trust me–there was a lot of stuff.  And that pic above was taken near the end of the second day.  Yep, I said second day–the sale went on for three days!  Apparently that’s the norm here in Brockport–yard sales start on Thursdays and end Saturdays; who knew, right?  In the end it turned out to be totally worth it for my MIL (I’m not sure what the final total was, but it was definitely over $600), so we were glad to help out.

Plus, the best part was that it was like a mini trip down memory lane.  How’s that possible when none of the stuff belonged to the Mr. or to me?  Well, mostly because of this:

Mom and Devri–do you remember that?!  See, when I was growing up, we had that exact same TV mounted underneath the corner cabinet in our kitchen.  It was black and white, and you had to twist the knobs on the right to change the channel . . . totally wild, right?!  Oh, the olden days . . .

Of course, we weren’t the only house on the block hosting a yard sale.  It just so happened that the neighbors next door were having one as well.  Now, even though their’s was quite a bit more focused on antiques, we still had to go over and scope out the competition.  But instead of it being a strict reconnaissance mission, it may have turned into a plain old shopping outing.  Yep–seeing greener grass is always dangerous–it led to me begging asking the Mr. to go back over and buy me something . . . what, you ask?  Well, I have a slight addiction to mirrors.  Yep, mirrors.  I’m not sure if that says something about me (narcissistic personality disorder maybe?), but there it is–I just like ‘em.  So when I saw this one, and the price tag (only $25), I knew I had to have it.

And seeing how the Mr. lives and breathes to make me happy (right Bunches?!), he went and got it for me.  But, being the shrewd businessman that he is, he talked the guy down to only $20!  Not bad, eh?  Can’t you just see it with the frame painted in a high gloss white?  or maybe black?  or maybe even a bright poppy yellow?

Anyone else doing yard sales this summer?  I have a feeling this won’t be our last foraging adventure–now that we have to furnish a whole house, I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of the Mr. showing off his newly bargained-for wares . . . stay tuned!

Oh, and seriously–what’s your vote on what color I should paint the mirror frame?

Spring has Sprung!

Yet another housing update.  From yesterday, you know that we finally heard back on our offer.  And, like we thought yesterday, we did end up making a counter-offer of $178k for the Carport Castle (I’m thinking that might be its new name . . . sounds classy, right?  or wrong?).  So thus far this isn’t much of an update, but more of a regurgitation.  So here’s the actual update: we’ve heard nothing.  Consider yourself updated.  But, we do have an appointment to see it again this Saturday, and this time we’re bringing flashlights and a critical eye (not sure if it will be mine or the Mr.’s yet).  Maybe we’ll even get more pics to share . . . but, until then, here’s a little post to disprove my family’s theory that Buffalo is covered in snow year-round.

Yes–this is a thermometer.  Yes–it works.  Yes–it’s in Fahrenheit.  Yes–the reading is 102 degrees.  And YES–it made that reading while being outside in Brockport, NY just this past week!  Take that naysayers!!

Brockport Reaches 100 Degrees!

And, because this was not a one-time-flash-heat-freak-of-nature-type occurence, that means that this has finally happened:

Rochester Blooming

. . . and this . . .

Brockport Blooming

. . . and this . . .

Morning Dew

Basically, the Mr. was right–spring has EXPLODED in Upstate New York and it’s absolutely gorgeous.  We got our fill this past weekend at Rochester’s annual Lilac Festival (which is currently ongoing for anyone who’s interested–it runs from May 13 through the 22nd this year, and best of all: it’s FREE).  You can see and smell not only all different types of lilacs, but tons of other blooming beauties as well . . .

Lilacs

More Lilacs

The smell was intoxicating . . .

Stop and smell the lilacs

The flowers on this magnolia tree were bigger than my head (and that’s saying a lot)!

Huge flower

Isn’t nature incredible?

Magnolia bloom

There was also a huge array of tulips to marvel at, and marvel we did.

All in all, the lilac festival was a great time, and despite the threat of thunderstorms, there was a pretty sizeable crowd present:

Lilac Festival Crowd

So take that family–see all those tanktops, shorts, and open-toed shoes! :)

Buy Local Moose!

Every Saturday, flocks of people head to the Rochester Market to browse, shop, eat, and get a bargain.  Moose (my father-in-law) had told us about the pilgrimage, proclaiming how much we would love it because of two things:

  1. A cheese and olive shop where the owners actually made their own olive oil on a small farm in Italy; and
  2. Scores of goods from local farmers and merchants.

Now, Moose basically had us at one word: cheese.  We love the stuff so much that some days we even like to pretend we’re European and dine on a crusty baguette, a few varied cheeses, and a robust Cabernet for dinner.  Of course, we probably eat way more of it in one sitting than most Europeans, and we doubt that Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing Cheddar usually makes the cut on most Parisian tables, but still—we at least like to pretend we’re refined.  (Yancey’s Fancy is a local cheese producer located about mid-way between Buffalo and Brockport; they make a wide variety of cheddars, all of which are available at Wegman’s, so needless to say that when Mr. Bunches caught a glimpse of a combo of Buffalo Wings and Cheddar Cheese, you know it ended up coming home with us.)

So off we headed to Rochester one Saturday afternoon in hopes of snagging some awesome cheese, and maybe some local booty too.  I’ve always loved a good farmer’s market, and in Boston you can easily get spoiled by the sheer number of them that descend upon the city every April . . . I even had one right outside my office, so buying local was simple (which was a good thing since Mr. Bunches wasn’t always up for farmer’s markets—whenever I would spot one on our travels around town, he liked to say it was closed and we’d have to go another time . . . real nice, huh?  But one of our agreements upon moving to NY was that every market was going to be “open” from now on.  That’s right—Mr. Bunches was going to become a farmer’s market groupie . . . I wonder if that might look something like Vacation Bunches?)

First stop: Cheese Store (which we learned upon arriving was called VM Giordano Imports) where the sheer variety was overwhelming.  And with free tastes of anything they had, we probably could have spent hours in there!

VM Giordano Import and Cheese Shop

And of course, Moose knew the owner, so we got tastes of everything and left the place with about a pound of cheese (we chose Manchego and an aged goat cheese), a bunch of olives, and some fresh-pressed olive oil from that little farm in Italy he’d told us about.  This place was awesome—you could even order fresh made sandwiches in the back (they had a whole assortment of imported meats, pastas,  you name it . . . it was quite the gourmet find).  Score one for the Moose!

VM Giordano's

Now, Moose says it’s only open on Saturdays, the market day, but I’m not so sure he has that right . . . okay, I just checked their site and they have open hours on Thursdays as well.  Phew.  Crisis averted.

After gorging ourselves on all that is good from cows, goats, and sheep, we headed into the market to peruse the “local” goods Moose promised.  Now, since Moose already delivered on some pretty outstanding cheese, I had to cut him a little slack on his definition of local.  I don’t know if we just haven’t been to the right parts of Western New York, but I haven’t seen a single citrus tree yet . . .

Rochester Market Citrus Fruits

Sorry to burst your bubble Moose!  But all was not lost . . . some of the vendors were in fact local.  And one was our most favorite type of vendor: WINE!  Nothing like some northern NY wine to go with that pound of cheese we just picked up, right?

Thousand Islands Wine

And with free tastings, how can you go wrong?!  Moose was on quite the generous kick and bought us a bottle of our favorite: Thousand Islands Merlot.  I’m thinking it might get even better with age, so we’re probably going to hold onto it for a little while.

Thousand Islands Merlot

And yes, that’s another Mozzeroni’s box in the back . . . we just can’t seem to get enough of the good stuff!

So all in all, the trip to the market was definitely worthwhile, and I can’t wait to see how it expands during the summer months . . . with all the fertile land in WNY, I’m sure the local produce offerings will grow exponentially.  Until then, at least now I know a good place to pick up some beans:

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