Instagram: Instafun! How to Be in the Know, Be Present, + Be Local.

SUMMERTIME IS

Instagram.

HERE.

You might say Social Media is the Antithesis / Antichrist of all things … Social. Like: Being Present, Being Active, Living your Real Life, just to name a few. Au Contraire. Social Media, when used responsibly, enhances all things Social. I’m going to provide 3 Simple Guidelines { because who like Rules } + use Rochester, NY to tell you how! Because, after all, #YOLO.

Vibe With Your Community

How does one strike that delicate balance between SM junkie + SM savvy?? Listen here:

1. Be Discreet. Only check Instagram when on the toilet.

  • Insta picture junkie, I am + I admit. I have a very narrow filter for when I do + don’t post pics because, well … Instant. { However, anything that requires major editing, I wait. }
  • Scrolling / Liking / Commenting junkie, on the other hand, I abstain. I save the big-read for very private, alone times. Such as when I first wake-up. Or when I pee and … Just kidding! But you get what I mean. { And also, don’t do that. That’s gross. }

Why is this important? We don’t want SM to consume our actual social lives. Talk to your friends. Listen to their conversations. It’s fun. Promise — real socializing is pretty great.

2. Be Free. Let Instagram reflect the most pure you.

  • No one’s judging. Unlike Twitter, Instagram has no lists. Give yourself permission to be select with who you do + don’t follow! It’s also okay to Follow individuals who post incredible content, even if you don’t know them.
  • Wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s also okay to Like! Tap that heart, baby. Leave comments when inspired. Don’t be shy. This is what SM is for.

It’s for getting to know your fellow community.

{ And for anyone — me! — who is confused about Post Notifications + the new Inst-algorithim-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or Understood, … read here. }

Why is this important? For several reasons. The biggest being: Social Media should enhance our identity + individuality. You have control over that. Harness SM to hone You. 

3. Follow Local. Restaurants, Organizations, Stores, Events, Local Bloggers — follow, follow, follow!

Why is this important? Because the more you know, the more you grow. The more you share + interact, the more your community grows.

So get on it! 
Follow your community on Instagram.

And Follow Me! Because Child, there’s even more than that happening in the Roc this week!

  1. South Wedge Sip & Shop: This Thursday!! And every 3rd Thursday until October. { Thank you Thread for this Insta. }
  2. South Wedge Third Thursday Concerts: Also this Thursday + every 3rd until October. { Thank you South Wedge + Star Alley Park … next to Lux. }
  3. Lux Lounge Events: Always a Party! Game Nights, Dance Parties, PB+J, B Movie Wednesdays. { If you’re bored, you’re boring because Lux + Chill. }

So … Go Out, Get Out, Insta-Responsibly, Be Present. And, always, Be Local.

#YOLO.

#bepresent.

#belocal.

Shop Like an Urban Local: Farmer’s Market Tips You Don’t Know … Yet.

{ What are your Saturday plans?! Check out your local Public Market + come back with a haul like this. Shout out to Heather Saffer + her frosting empire, better known as Dollop Frosting! }

FARMER’S MARKETS

The Rochester. Public. Market.

AND EVERYTHING YOU DON’T KNOW.

I think by now — in this age of Farm-to-Table, Save Money, + Organic/Local Eating — we all know:

It’s the whole: haggle, baggle { bring your own tote }, shop around, find a tomato-guy spiel. Done + done. So whether you’re an O.G. of the underground or a Late Bloomer, I’m going to share some tips you might not know.

The pay-off?
Guaranteed, you will have more fun + find more value.
You will become 1 with the experience of your local Public and/or Farmer’s Market
.

Last Saturday, I walked to the Rochester Public Market. I bought over 1 lb of locally raised ground beef, 1 dozen locally raised free range eggs, 5 lemons, 1 bunch of kale, 1 pint of cherries, 4 sweet potatoes, 1 eggplant, + I had a free tasting of locally made O’Begley’s whiskey … all for $23. Best part? I made friends + had an adventure doing it. Here’s how:

  1. Off the Beaten Path. Take the Road Less Traveled. Urban living, or not, chances are most of us live within walking distance to our local farmer’s markets. If so, don’t just walk — Explore.
    • Live a Little. I live in the NOTA section of Rochester, which means I’m probably .5 miles away from at least 5 ways to get to the Rochester Public Market. Taking the straight-and-narrow is just too damn bland.
    • Free Stuff. Last Saturday, I discovered 2 different Little Free Libraries on 2 different side streets. I even took a book!
    • Pretty Sites. I also imbibed the sites of quirky houses, colorful gardens, + cute cobblestone paths.
  2. Don’t be a Wallflower. Be Part of the Community. At the Public Market, you are family. Shoppers, farmers, sellers, buyers: it’s one big family festival of sights + sounds, tastes + smells.
    • Step Out. Crowds can overwhelm me, so last Saturday I was very guarded at first. Which is just fine! But so many cool things happened once I opened my face to the sun.
    • Talk to Strangers. I complimented a young lady on her gorgeous locks. As I walked away, she shouted to back to compliment my crazy curls! We both felt thrilled. Right after, another passerby chimed-in — That was really nice! — when she saw me pick up a stray piece of litter that swooped in front of my feet. Talk about friendly.
    • Support our Troops + Community. On the way out, I met a Vet who was giving away paper Poppy’s in request for a donation. He was sweet, funny, + he served our country. What can be more fulfilling than that?
  3. Be Curious, Not Cheap. You Don’t Always Have to HaggleThat is right. You don’t. Especially if you don’t feel comfortable, and especially if prices are already super low. Instead …
    • No Middle Man. Ask questions. Did you know that the woman who supplies all of Wegmans with their eggs has a stand at the Public Market?? Yup. She and her 700,000 { ! } chickens sell lots of eggs, including free-range, for near-half the price you’d find at the super market.
    • Local Meat. Same story for local meat from local farms. After asking some questions on quality, locality, and prices from the people at Heiden Valley Farms, I left with 1 fresh package of never-frozen, locally raised 80/20 ground beef. At these prices, it should be the only type of meat I eat. { Life goals. }
    • Seasonal Produce. Not every single last fruit + veg at your local public/farmer’s market will be from your surrounding area. And that’s okay! But, if you ask the right questions — you’ll discover that this California Kale will soon { 1 month } be replaced by locally grown NYS kale that was recently planted.
  4. Enjoy Yourself. Make Grocery Shopping Fun. The Rochester Public Market can do this. And yours can too. In fact, most public markets are more like festivals than they are chores. That’s because:
    • Brunch. You can grab gourmet, fresh coffee along with breakfast sandwiches and other brunch dishes for quick + for cheap.
    • Dine Solo. It’s super easy to still have a meal and some downtime, even when you are alone. Last Saturday, I grabbed a latte + a chair so I could sit + read before beginning my shopping spree.
    • Free Tastings. If your market is anything like ours’ here in Rochester, there’s going to be wine + liquor, and it’s going to be free. This past Saturday I tasted O’Begley’s locally made Poitin + Whiskey for the 1st time. It was great. And it was cool to learn about the product from the distiller, himself!

If you’re going to Shop Local, might as well do it like a Local. Which means laying down roots, having fun even if there’s no sun, falling in love with your City and Community, + saving a ton of green.

#RochesterPublicMarket.

#shoplocal.

Shop Local Rochester: #Roc the Holiday!

#ROC

the holidays are here

the

#shoplocalroc

HOLIDAY

{ The holidays are unofficially here. Although I say, when 20-below weather arrives along with the snow … it’s full-on shopping season! So gear-up + get ready to hear what’s good from the #ROC. Because #ShopLocalRoc is bringing it this holiday season. }

This holiday, shop with a cause.

#shoplocalroc

Two incredible websites + blogs, A-List Rochester + Flower City Fashionista, along with BESL { me } are bringing you access to Rochester’s best #ShopLocal spots + events, gifts + ideas. Why?? Because the holidays are about giving + getting. And that’s exactly what shopping local does for you + for our community.

be sustainable this holiday season.

give + get:

#ShopLocal is sustainable for our:

  • economy
  • environment
  • budgets

#ShopLocalRoc is a fun + festive way to make shop local a lifestyle { while giving the greatest gifts. }

look good, feel good:

#shoplocalroc 

Getting started is simple. { And you can win prizes! }

  1. Shop at a local store or event!
    • And if you want to participate in our contest …
  2. Take a photo
  3. Tag on Facebook or Instagram using: #shoplocalroc
  4. Be entered to receive great prizes from many of our prized shops around Rochester

The best way to spread Holiday Cheer,

is pledging #shoplocalroc loud for all to hear.

Take the { Polar } Pledge. Get loud about it! Why not?

  1. Write a pledge.
  2. Post on Social Media.
  3. Voice your #shoplocalroc feats.

Pledge’s are simple solutions you resolve to take while holiday shopping this season. It could be anything! Some quick ideas are:

  • Before heading to the big box store for children’s toys … I’m going to Archimage on Monroe Ave!
  • Instead of catching that sale on dish ware for the party … I’m going to try my local VOA!
  • Forget the mall for one-stop-shopping. I’m hitting South Ave in the South Wedge!

Let us know what your plans are on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, and hashtag #shoplocalroc.

{ To be eligible for the contest, include a photo of what you’ve purchased. }

make it count:

every $1 spent locally has 3x the impact!

#ShopLocalRoc makes it easy for you to make it count! For all of the best gift giving + gift guides, check-in with:

Cheers.

#shoplocalroc

XO.

Shop Local: VOA Thrift Stores – Upstate New York.

VOA

VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA UPSTATE NEW YORK

THRIFT STORES

Break The Cycle of Poverty

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER

WHO: VOA Upstate New York.  Serving: 6,000+ people plus throughout Upstate New York.

WHAT: Over 100 years old! Non-profit. Serves our community and sells some wicked good duds, home wares, shoes + accessories, and more.

WHERE: Flagship Store: Lave Ave (near downtown). 10+ Store Locations throughout Rochester. Shop Online.

WHEN: Founded in Rochester, 1901.

WHY:  Because why not. You should become passionate about VOA. See my list below. To really get it, watch this video:

Rise Out of Poverty, Move Toward Self-Reliance, Reach Toward Full Potential

1. Incredible Deals. 

  • Everyday Low Prices: Recently Dropped Prices on Most Popular Clothing Items! (Prices exclude better brands. … But trust me, those are inexpensive too.)
  1. $.99 Sunday’s + Monday’s
  2. $1.99 Regular Tanks + Tees

    IMG_7401

    Ask for your Rewards Card when you cash out! Earn + Redeem Points.

  3. $3.99 Regular Tops
  4. $4.99 Regular Shorts
  5. $5.99 Regular Bottoms
  • Sales: Change Daily.
  • SUPER SATURDAYS – Everything is 50%. Go THIS SATURDAY, 6/28!!
  • Rewards Card: Ongoing. VOA Rewards Card gives you points (turns into real $$) on each
    purchase you make. Can be used on sale items!

2. Excellent Selection.

  • Brand Names
  • High Quality
  • Unique Finds
  • Women’s Wear
  • Men’s Wear
  • Office Wear (not including Working Wardrobe)
  • Casual
  • Going Out
  • Lounging

    IMG_7400

    Neatly organized + some brand new ones to select from! Like those boots on the end.

  • Junior’s
  • Children’s
  • Children’s Books
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Accessories
  • Home Wares
  • Furniture
  • Seasonal Attire

3. Convenient.

  1. Batavia
  2. Brockport

    IMG_7379

    Spotted! 2 dresses I donated to VOA. Patterned halter from HM Toronto + black lace from Target.

  3. Canandaigua
  4. Culver Road
  5. Elmira
  6. Endwell
  7. Fairport
  8. Lake Ave Store  
  9. Lake Ave Outlet
  10. Palmyra
  11. Warsaw
  12. Webster
  • Parking is Accessible
  • Changing Rooms
  • Vending Machines at Lake Ave!

4. Arranged Like Retail Stores.  

  • Thoughtful Layout

    IMG_7384

    Formal Wear. Prom dresses + gowns. … I should really donate mine. Also seems like a great place for old Bridesmaid’s dresses.

  • Clothing Organized by Color / Size / Style
  • Clearly Marked Sections + Sizes
  • Enough Cash Registers

5. Specialty Selections. 

  • Formal Gowns
  1. Wedding
  2. Prom
  3. First Communion
  • Vintage

“We’re here to serve each other. We change lives. We restore hope and dignity. We put others first.”

~JoAnne Ryan, President + CEO (taken from Agency Video)

Thrifting will always have a special place in my heart. From suits to blouses to slacks and shoes to bags: I gave my mom the hardest time, while growing up, for never buying anything new. For never being like the other moms. But she was right. She scraped together just enough change to buy me McDonald’s fries {we have her to thank for this infatuation} and paid for my older brother’s and my grade school tuition. She, a newly graduated full-time engineering UR student, and full-time mom with a new baby boy in the crib, interviewed for jobs out of university. She taught me value. She taught me style. She taught me what it means to be proud of what I have, who I am,  and my community. She taught me to do what I do, whether it is popular or not. She taught me all of this. And she taught me it through thrift shopping.

My aunt, as well. Aunt Katy, my mama’s older sister, is an antique dealer and thrift shopping maverick. With just 1 scan of the perimeter, Aunt Katy knows exactly what’s treasure and exactly what’s … not. Aunt Katy’s taught me, not just the value of a dollar, but also, the value of a flea market, the value of a garage sale, the value of an estate sale, the value of a church sale, and the value of the people behind them. Shopping is fun. Fashion feels good. But thrift shopping, the values and the culture and the people behind thrift shopping, is immortal.

When we thrift shop, yes: we give immortal lives to the things no one wants. More, we give immortality to the spirit surrounding our communities. This is why I thrift shop.

I thrift at VOA because they support and empower our community.

IMG_7408 IMG_7405

VOA CHILDREN’S CENTER

Last Thursday I shopped with Marketing & Media Director, Megan, at the 214 Lake Ave. location, centrally located between Lake Ontario and Downtown. Passersby cannot miss the neatly blocked tan building with familiar red, white, and blue sign that flags down shoppers, outside of this Upstate New York VOA Flagship store. Convenient parking flanks both sides of the Retail Center.

When I finished devouring aisle after aisle of shorts, denim, blouses, tanks, dresses {I even ran into a few of my own that I donated!}, Megan was kind enough to take me next door to the VOA Children’s Center.

My jaw never closed.  A bright jungle gym set-up donated by Top’s. The Universal Preschool that is associated with RCSD. Beautiful, jubilant children, pre-school aged and up, who attentively listened to aids and harmoniously played together, both inside and out. Brightly painted, mural-ed walls. Classrooms fully equipped with sitting spaces, learning areas, bathrooms, books. A full dental center in partnership with RGH. Even more medical services, including Telemed equipment to web conference with doctors as needed.

IMG_7404

Dental Room in partner with RGH at the VOA Children’s Center.

 

My eyes squeezed in tears. Seeing these happy, healthy children and the facilities imparted to teachers and aides to keep these children happy + healthy. These are the programs that improve our world. Programs like these, with the research and altruism and partnership and innovation and heart, are what change our world.

I am so proud that the VOA Children’s Center serves 280 children, between 6 weeks old to 12 years old, 98% of whom live in the most impoverished parts of Rochester. I am so proud we have VOA to serve a number of populations and communities in this exact same manner.

SHOP LOCAL

IMG_7418 IMG_7420

If you didn’t want to shop before {and who doesn’t want to shop}, you want to shop now. {Or this Saturday, 6/28 at SUPER SATURDAY.} Ask for your Rewards Card when you cash-out. I promise, the reward to both you + to our community is not just worth it. It’s immortal.

Thank you to Megan + to VOA for hosting me this past Thursday! See you guys soon.

#shoplocal

#donate

#giveback

#breakthecycleofpoverty

#VOA

XO.

Spokes + Ink Festival: June 7, 2014.

{Photo taken from Spokes + Ink Website.}

SPOKES + INK

SAT JUNE 7

BIKE & POSTER FEST

WHO: HOSTED BY GENESEE CENTER FOR THE ARTS + EDUCATION

WHAT: “ON THE AVE. OFF THE CHAIN.”

WHERE: 317 WILCOX ST. {That’s my last name. Please do not excuse the enthusiasm.} MONROE AVE, BETWEEN OXFORD + RUTGERS.

WHY: FOR THE FUN. FOR THE FOOD. FOR THE MUSIC. FOR THE RIDE. FOR THE #ROC.

WHEN: SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 2014. 12PM-6PM.

SPONSOR: DOGTOWN

12-6PM | WILCOX ST | MONROE AVE | FREE

“It’s a Monroe Ave block party mashup of cycling enthusiasts, local artists, cold beer, live music, unique vendors, and stuff for the kids.” –Facebook Event

I have been to Genesee Center. But I’ve never been to Spokes + Ink! Both are just down the street from where I live. Genesee Center for the Arts + Education (GCAE), member of The National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts + a community based non-profit on Monroe Ave {near 490}, “transforms lives” and our Rochester community. Celebrating its 4 year this June, I am seriously excited to finally check out GCAE’s Spokes + Ink’s Festival! Aside from general dopeness, here are my Top Pics:

SPOKES + INK TOP PICKS

LOCALLY MADE POSTERS

WHO: Locally produced prints by local graphic artists, letterpress artists, + photographers.

WHAT: All $20! This year’s? See examples HERE. {ALERT : High Level of Pure Talent.}

THE PICKPOCKETS

2-4PM

WHO: The Pickpockets

WHAT: Bootleg Ass Cassette Mixtape. I gotta find out more about these guys.

WHERE: 1st saw them live at 1975 Gallery for an event in partnership with The Little Theatre.

WHY: True musicians. Haunting music … that makes you dance!

SHOW ON MONROE

1-4PM

WHAT: SCAVENGER HUNT. Sign up now!

WHERE: All along Monroe Avenue. Get your FUNK on.

ROC CITY SKATEPARK

WHO: Skateboards. BMX-ers. Fathers. Athletes. KRUDCO. Community.

WHAT: Fundraising Initiative + Advocacy Group.

WHY: To get a “well-let, safe, outdoor, community center for the entire family” up in Rochester, NY.

EAT ME ICE CREAM

WHO: Amber Odhner + Catelyn Augustine

WHAT: Local + Organic artisan ice cream. Gluten free + vegan options! So delicious!!!

WHERE: South Wedge Farmers’ Market, Thurs 4-7 | Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, Fri 6-9 | Brighton Farmers’ Market, Sun 9-1 | Abundance Cooperative Market  | { My 1st time? At Rochester Brainery‘s Brainery Bazaar. }

LETTERPRESS ACTIVITIES

WHO: Printing + Book Arts Center

WHAT: Classes + Studio Access for “letterpress printing, bookbinding, book arts, paper making, + calligraphy.”

be a spoke, leave your ink

Spokes + Ink Festival spins the wheels of collaboration + creativity within Rochester, NY. Each organization, each shop, each band, each business that contributes to this fest is another spoke in the wheel of Rochester. Growing. Thriving. Connecting. Moving. Spokes + Ink is more than a festival and more than a block party. Spokes + Ink is a lifestyle. Spokes + Ink links us to our greater Rochester community. Ultimately, Spokes + Ink helps us to spin the wheels that keep Rochester moving.

Thank you to Genesee Center for the Arts + Education and to Communications Specialist Kate Edgerton for this indelible festival!!

See ya there!

#spokesandink

#printmaking

#bicycle

#artlocal

#printlocal

#ROClocal

XO.