Shop Local Rochester: Merry Merry – Food + Drink + Play!

{ Left to Right: Archimage bad ass key chain, Abundance, Roc Brewing, + Hart’s. }


look good


feel good


#Roc the holiday


{ HAPPY HOLIDAYS! It is officially The Holidays. What better way to keep that flame alight than … to finish your holiday shopping!? Be it stocking stuffers + last minute gifts or snacks + party menu meals … Shop Local in Rochester, NY has you covered. }

I heart that Hart's is in The Holiday spirit.

I heart that Hart’s is in The Holiday spirit.

Last minute. Final touches. Do any of the following describe you??

  • Need stocking stuffers!
  • Buying last minute gifts
  • Finishing the holiday menu

Whatever you have left – these final days before The Holidays are critical. Best part is – they can also be simple! This past weekend, I traipsed around 2 compact, navigable, + diverse #Roc neighborhoods. Both have an incredible, quality selection of:

  1. food
  2. beverage
  3. gifts
  4. toys
Enjoy urban scenes while you eat deliciously prepared foods at Hart's.

Enjoy urban scenes while eating deliciously prepared foods from Hart’s.

Here is what I found to help fill you with jolly + joy:


ARCHIMAGE | 668 Monroe Avenue, 14607 | TOYS + GIFTS
Archimage, which was bustling on Friday afternoon, is nestled in the Oxford Mall (between Oxford + Goodman Streets on Monroe Avenue). Convenient off-street parking is located just off Oxford street! (Turn right if heading toward Monroe.)

  • ToysStep away from the Big Box store. Step into Archimage. You will find it. You will probably find more than one of it. And it will be well received. By child or adult.
  • GiftsBe it – jewelry, clothing (including baby clothing!), scarves, socks, candles, journals, instruments, speciality books, novelty items, soaps, trinkets, ethnic, natural, upcycled, handmade, unique. … Whatever it be, Archimage has.
  • 1-Stop-ShopThe entire store is a gift shop. Find your gifts + your cards + your wrapping papers here. { Find your happy place here. Truly. }
Wall upon wall of toys for the kid in everyone!

Wall upon wall of toys for the kid in everyone!


{ BONUS: Also visit – Aaron’s Alley. Huge selection of unique gifts, i.e. Gods ‘N’ Gladiators Roc T’s. Buy some thrift/vintage for yourself! }

Abundance, tucked off of Marshall Street { after Owl House } and with its own parking lot, is my go-to, small grocery store. I love their products, their deals, their mini-market + cafe, and that I always find every single thing I’m looking for, even if it is different or new!

  • FoodAn abundance of sales! From Abundance Sails { deals until January 6, 2015 } to Coop Deals … make your holiday happy + healthy, while giving back directly to our community.
  • Drink. Ideal for non-alcoholic beverages. Looking for a the local refreshment? Ouzon Soda is pristine, locally made, + refreshingly unique! What about the naturally sugar-free soda pop? Stevia options abound.
  • Gifts20% off stocking stuffer sale until Christmas Eve – Wednesday, 12/24! Abundant options include: hats + mittens, glass water bottles { my personal pick }, hand cut soaps, an alluring array of bath + beauty, and so much more!
Locally Made hand salve made by Rochester Roots!

Locally Made hand salve by Rochester Roots!


{ BONUS: You should know – Abundance sell items that are solely: Non-GMO, Natural, Fair Trade, Local, Organic, and/or IPM. }


ROC BREWING | 56 South Union Street, 14607 | DRINK + GIFTS
Roc Brewing is 1 of 2 bars in Rochester I can confidently walk into, without anyone else, grab a pint, and drink. Which is exactly what I did this past Friday. The doors open at 5pm. On Friday, I walked in at 5:03 + the bar was packed. Talk about holly, jolly, + merry. Roc Brewing #Rocs it.

  • DrinkNine–nine–beers on tap when I arrived. Glutinous Maximus is gluten-free { and has a 7.1% ABV, holler } + it satiated by taste for the beers I’ve missed so much. Buy any of these beers for someone you love. They will respect you for it. And probably love you back. { Though I make no promises on matters-of-the-heart. }
  • GiftsWhich leads us to … The Greatest Gift Deal of the Century. { Kid not. } The Holiday Grumbler Special. That’s 2 Roc Brewing pint glasses, 1 empty mini-grumbler, + a gift certificate to have that grumbler filled on-tap … for JUST $22!!!!! Oh – then there are the T’s + the hoodies, the glasses + the art. Also ask about the Mug Club. { Which might be kicked … as in full! }
  • Unwind This past Friday, I learned that:
    • Roc Brewing now serves food!!!!!!
    • Roc Brewing serves the best gluten-free beer I have ever
    • Roc Brewing is doing a fundraiser for Verona Street Animal Society { which involves coloring books, it’s only $2, and you know I participated } Roc Gives Back in so many other ways, too.
An entire wall of gift ideas, for every occasion.

An entire wall of gift ideas, for everyone + every occasion!


{ BONUS: You should know – Roc Brewing has trivia for An Epic Trivia Extravaganza, from 5pm – 8pm Christmas Eve evening! }

HART’S LOCAL GROCERS | 10 Winthrop Street, 14607 | FOOD + DRINK + GIFTS
I Heart Hart’s. Hart’s Local Grocers will induce a nirvana-like state, and can best be described (by me) as a Wegman’s – Trader Joes’s – Specialty Market – Trifecta. This grocery, which rests just off East Ave on Winthrop St. and hosts its own off-street parking lot, is captivating. Mesmerizing. My only excuse for just having gone?? I get super excited for things I know I’ll heart … and so delayed gratification. I cannot wait to become a local in Hart’s Local Grocers! 

  • FoodDollop Frosting! I finally found it. As East Ave Wegmans has opted not to carry the gourmet, gluten free/dairy free/soy free/nut free/corn syrup free/organic frostings … I’m much, much elated to find that Hart’s does. Along with a myriad { understatement of the century } locally produced products. In fact, here’s a quick recap of the various food items I heart at Hart’s:
    • great gluten-free selection, along with accommodating other allergies
    • local items in isles + featured at the front, near the cash registers
    • all of your favorite, go-to brands
    • delicious sales
    • a cafe + a deli + a butcher + a coffee shop + a great place to sit, eat, + enjoy the #Roc views!
  • DrinkGet your craft brew here. And your favorite brand name, including a myriad of Rohrbach varieties. Especially delectable for picking up last minute host favors, party gifts, or regular gifts. If you can’t decide upon 1 local brew, check out Hart’s + let their selection entice and suede.
  • GiftsName a local food merchant in Rochester. They probably also sell at Hart’s. From Eat Me Ice Cream to Ouzon Soda to Hedonist Artisan Chocolates to Fuego Coffee to Coffee Connection to Dollop Frostings … that’s not even a fraction of your options. Hart’s is a 1-Stop-Shop, + it will mend any aching hearts you might have incurred throughout this holiday season. { This matter-of-the-heart, I do guarantee. }
Dollop frostings! Local products featured in the front + sold throughout the store.

Dollop frostings! Local products featured in the front + sold throughout the store.


{ BONUS: You should know – Hart’s features special Build-Your-Own Gift Baskets. Customize your own or buy one Hart’s made. What a great gift! }

Roc Brewing knows how to top { off } their Christmas tree.

Roc Brewing knows how to top { off } their Christmas tree.

As you finish your holiday shopping, remember to take a pic + hashtag #shoplocalroc to be auto-entered into the Shop Local Rochester Contest! { It’s best to post pictures to Instagram. When in doubt – also post to Facebook or Twitter. }


Glutinous Minimus { I love that } gluten-free beer. INCREDIBLE.

Glutinous Minimus { I love that } gluten-free beer. INCREDIBLE.

So much love –




Fall For Your Favorite Snacks: French Fries!!




{ It’s no surprise that french fries are one of my favorite snacks, meals, medicines, + general past times of all time. But I especially find them appealing in the fall. Fall, in general, is a capital time to snack. For one – it’s #back2school, which pretty much fuels the snack industry. For two – it’s getting just a tad bit cooler, which begs us to whip-up heartier combos. }

My fall snack staples include:

  • hot coca with marshmallows
  • popcorn with evoo, salt, pepper, + a sprinkling of cheese
  • homemade french fries!

I’ll eat anyone’s french fries. But I’ve just discovered that I can fry my own! This tickles me. Before we talk recipe, check out my quick tips for all of these delectable + comforting snacks:

  • Hot Coca with Marshmallows: Healthy for your World.

I buy Fair Trade Equal Exchange cocoa mix + vegan marshmallows from Abundance Cooperative Market. The coca is more expensive. … But so is craft beer, and even I {the woman who can no longer drink beer} know it’s worth it. Plus, Fair Trade Equal Exchange ensures an “economically just and environmentally sound” world. I’m down.

  • Pop Corn: Healthy for You.

I pop my own … in a microwave! Yes. This is true. Scoop 1/2 cup of un-popped, regular kernels into a brown paper lunch bag. Micro as per usual. (I do 2.5 minutes or until the popping slows.) Pour into a bowl + season. How. Much. Fun. Is. That. … And you control the toppings. Recently, I made garlic infused butter and poured this overtop with parmesan cheese. … Instant gourmet snack, in literally 2.5 – 3 minutes.

Homemade Fried French Fries

I cannot find the recipe I used last night. It was that magical.

These are neither healthy for you nor healthy for your world (unless you buy local or organic or IPM … you get the point). But they are flippin’ fun. I recommend looking up your own recipe. (There are a ton!) Here’s my informal version and the tips + tricks I used:

  1. Ingredients + Materials – dutch oven (or huge sauce pan) | canola oil (or peanut oil – any oil with a high smoke point) | russet potatoes (most sites recommend these or any high starch potato) | paper towel | plate | salt | mesh spoon (whatever that’s called) | recommended – thermometer | optional – bowl, water, strainer
    • tips + tricks Mr. Potato Head. It’s a funny thing while stove-top frying instead of deep frying. Most recipes encourage you to buy high starch potatoes for crispy, sturdy, meaty fries.  The recipe I used last night instructed to use a high starch potato, but to draw the starch out, exactly because this is a stove-top fry. I’ll speak more to that soon. In the meantime, I say – use whatever potato you got. (Look up separate recipes for sweet potatoes.)
  2. Prep – slice potatoes to desired thickness (1/4 – 3/8 in.) | soak potatoes if doing so | if not or while potatoes drain + dry: add oil to pot + heat
    • tips + tricks Practice Safe Frying. One time my mom fried a chicken wing and almost burnt her face-off. It’s because we underestimate how much oil bubbles once something’s dropped in. IE – If you’re waiting for your oil to bubble so you can guess how hot it is … DON’T. First – make sure whatever pot you use is no more than 1/3 – 1/2 filled. Second – This is why a thermometer is highly recommended. (Goal temp: whatever your recipe says.) … I didn’t use a thermometer (because I don’t own one), + I felt comfortable eye-balling it. But I was lucky I didn’t overfill my pot with oil. Phew. Once I added those fries, it really got a bubble going.
  3. Recommendation – Add to bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. If you use a red potato, white, or new potato (low starch), try 10 – 15 minutes. This draws out the starch.
    • tips + tricks – The Starch Factor. Apparently high starch is best when frying. But, according to the recipe I used last night, high starch might not be best while stove top frying. I soaked a low starch potato, and the result was perfect. (To my taste buds.) Though I can see how it could have been crispier. Solution? Try something in between: i.e. soak, and then thoroughly dry, a high starch potato.
  4. Fry – When oil reaches frying temp, use wire mesh spoon to gently add potato slices to oil. Flip slices mid-way through. Fry for 5-6 minutes. Drain on rack or paper-towel lined plate when finished. Salt to taste.
    • tips + tricks – Give Them Their Space. Do not add too many at once – fry in batches. This ensures even coloration and crispness. If you happen to pull some before desired doneness, add them back! (Worked for me.)
  5. Rest – Most recipes call for 10-15 minute cool time. … Just don’t burn your fingers or your tongue.
    • tips + tricks – Worth It. I wasn’t that patient. But I also didn’t burn myself. Maybe clean up some of your surroundings while the fries cool. This way, your will power isn’t totally … fried.
  6. EAT – Enjoy salted and plain. As a snack or with a meal. Dress up in a cute cup. Or eat off the grease-stained plate.
    • tips + tricks – You Think You Fancy, Huh. I would include a photograph of my plated fries … except that I devoured them instead. But I did make a garlic mayo (veganaise) and pair it beside ketchup, both of which I placed in bowl and plated amongst my salty, savory, fresh french fries.

* * *

I love fall, and fall snacks might just be my favorite snacks. They’re so comfy + cozy + crispy + yum. What are your fall favs?!?



Spotlight: Eat Local – Abundance Cooperative Market.






527 South Ave

Rochester, NY

Monday – Friday: 8AM-8PM | Saturday: 9AM-7PM | Sunday: 10AM-7PM

Newly located in the South Wedge, on South Avenue, rests Abundance CooperativeMarket. If quality fashion sets trends before they’re in, Abundance–The Co-Op for short–is en vogue.  Local + Organic since 1968. The current location of Abundance was established in 2001. Since 1968, The Co-Op has supported what big stores wouldn’t. Farmers. Orchards. Diary. Local. Organic. As a cooperative, Abundance keeps business decisions local! To learn more about shareholders, visit the Abundance website.

CONVENIENTBig enough for Choice | Small enough for quick Selection

LOCALLY OWNED: Owned by Shareholders | All decisions made Locally

HISTORICAL: Local + Organic is not just a trend | Local+ Organic is a Lifestyle

CONSISTENT: Every item is: Local, Organic, Fair Trade, IPM, +/or Non-GMO



Conscious Convenience. Where else can you consume, do it quickly, and save the world? This past winter on Tuesdays + Thursdays, I drove to Greece to tutor a friend’s son. Typically, I returned to Rochester around 7pm and, undoubtedly, a midst heaps of snow. Where could I grab a quality cup of Equal Exchange Fair Trade French Roast to keep me warm + re-energize? Abundance Cooperative Market. Whether I grab one thing, or everything, I shop quickly + I shop mindfully when I shop Abundance. Need 10 more Top Reasons to Shop Abundance: Check out their list!

{EXTRA Organic Avocados + Bananas. If you can’t Buy Local, Think Global. Abundance organic avocados + bananas are regularly competitively priced. They are affordable for us, and sustainable for our world. Good for your wallet + good for our world.}

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Like any grocery store, Abundance offers various discounts, has a prepared foods section with sit-down cafe, and Abundance sells a variety of gifts! Unlike other grocers, The Co-Op has its finger on the pulse of local events. An expansive Community Wall and targeted selection of specialty magazines tune me into sustainable activismand other social events.

“A study in 2012 found that $1000 spent in a co-op generates $1600 in a local community – that’s pretty impressive, we think.” – Chris Whitebell, Marketing Manager for Abundance Cooperative Market


Sustainable. Healthy. Affordable. Local. 4 products I will always choose through Abundance:

COFFEEEqual Exchange Fair Trade means I support coffee co-ops for the best beans + the best work environments.

MEAT – Free range. Hormone free. Local. Learn more about Standfast Farms here!

LIP BALM – Green Power + Petal Power lip balm (and hand salve) are made locally from all natural, local organic ingredients by the non-profit Rochester Roots to fund the Clara Barton Urban Farm at School No 2. To learn more, see below!

EYE GEL – Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Revitalizing Eye Gel on sale for $12.99 is less expensive + just as effective as its competitors at other grocery + drug stores.

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Does Fair Trade coffee + hormone-free, free-range meat cost more? Sure. But they taste better, they are better for me, and they are better for my world. Just like the local wines and craft beers we regularly purchase. They’re worth it! 


Affordable Options. Walk into Abundance today, without prior knowledge of specific deals or specials, and you will still find competitively priced goods + foods. Abundance is part of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). This allows for competitive pricing on fair market, quality goods. Abundance abundantly provides everyday low prices, no matter what.


1. Everyday Low Prices. In addition to naturally well-priced items, Abundance has a Basics Program. This guarantees competitive prices on staple goods. From bulk to grocery to refrigerated and frozen to supplement and health and beauty, The Co-Op commits to being “shop-able” for everyone interested in the best.

2. Co Op Deals. There are also Co-Op Deals available to all shoppers! Unlike a grocery store or market’s specialty card, these deals apply to everyone. You can visit the website or in-store in print twice per month. I recommend e-news!

{ EXTRA Follow on FACEBOOK + TWITTER. Lots of deals publicized here, too! }

3. Coupons. Just like any grocery store, you can find additional manufacturer’s coupons. Abundance often leaves them out on the grocery shelves!

4. Shareholder Discounts. A Co-Operative means that the company is owned by shareholders where 1 person has 1 vote. These shareholders decide the fate of the company and store. To own your own share of Abundance, it costs $100, 1 time. Now you get extra deals! Check-out the perks:

  • one-time purchase of share for $100, no annual fee or recurring costs 

  • choose one day a month to get 10% off your purchase

  • get discounts on special orders

  • take advantage of owner-only deals 

  • share in the profits: receive possible 

  • dividend pay-outs relative to how much 

  • you spend

  • vote for candidates to join the Board of Directors at annual meetings 

  • vote on bylaw amendments and other items as proposed by the Board of Directors

  • run to be elected to the Board of Directors 

  • volunteer for further discounts on your purchases 

  • help build a stronger local economy and community

The Expensive Items? They also exist. Here’s the best part. You’re not paying for advertising and packaging. You’re paying because you’re changing. From environmental to economical to societal issues: your money is an agent of change. Still too much? No worries. Choose another item. All grocery stores have a vast range of prices that we choose or choose not to buy. At Abundance, an abundance of options exists.


{ EXTRA Interested in CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is an inexpensive + easy way to eat produce from and directly support our local farms! Peacework Farm CSA was at Abundance the day I visited. Greg Palmer is a farmer here. I felt humbled to meet 1 man responsible for providing us an abundance of healthful food. }


IMG_6308{ EXTRA Abundance hosts + partakes in numerous events. Check out these 2 important sustainability + awareness events for next week!! THURSDAY 4/24 – ROCHESTER ROOTS | SATURDAY 4/26 – EARTH DAY BIRTHDAY }



Rochester Roots. Green Power + Petal Power hand salve + lip balm are all-natural, locally made Rochester Roots beauty products from the organic Clara Barton Urban Farm. Proceeds raise funds for this bare-field-turned-sustainable-farm that is also a teaching tool. Who. Knew.

Who knew about Rochester Roots?? This non-profit, run by Jan MacDonald (who took over from founder Allison Clark) innovates community food systems. In partnership with Rochester Roots, Clara Barton (teacher at School No. 2) is developing an 8 week Sustainability Curriculum. Who. Knew.

Abundance Cooperative Market knows. Abundance invests in and teaches you.



Abundance abundantly supports our local and our global economies. Daily, it can support you. We can support Abundance.

Thank you to Abundance Cooperative Market and Marketing Manager Chris Whitebell for interview + tour!






Week Wrap Up: Social Media ROCs Shop Local.

(Above: Community Wall at Abundance Cooperative Market. Know your #Roc.)


Everything short of Tumblr enhanced my social calendar this week. Birthday Parties. Art Shows. Photo Shoots. Restaurants. Networking. Now, more than ever, Social Media clues me in to the Rochester I wouldn’t otherwise discover. Best tip? Visit your local hubs for community action like Abundance Coopertive Market downtown on Marshall Street! Or … Find a friend like Katie Regan who has her thumb on the pulse of Rochester. (This chick literally knows what’s up before it does, I swear.) Or … Follow. Follow follow follow. Follow businesses. Follow boutiques. Follow restaurants. Follow artists. Follow musicians. Follow your favorites. Follow those you’re curious about. Follow. I promise you: you will find fun activities you wouldn’t otherwise know. And then, you can have as rad a week + a weekend as I. (…You don’t even want to know how rad Katie’s was, btw. Woman needs a How To #Roc blog… .)






I also had the pleasure of sitting down with Marketing Director, Chris Whitebell, of Abundance Coopertive Market on Marshall Street. Spotlight Feature coming soon. Just know now that all items Abundance sells are either: Local, Organic, IPM, and/or Fair Trade. This means that every single thing you buy from Abundance is a socially conscious purchase.


Cake Pops from Scratch Bakeshop for Peppermint’s 2nd Birthday!




I was straight baller status this weekend. Why? Rochester is Rad at Social Media.



Follow local artist Shawnee Hill–among others–on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, preferably all 3, and you have an instant pass to all of their features. This week it was a free art opening at Lux Lounge with free food. Lux vibes, always. With a huge backyard, outdoor games, a fire pit, church chairs near the pool table, serious drink specials, nightly events, local art, and free bon bon lollies all of the damn time, you never beat Lux Lounge. You’re a fan after midnight? Try Lux during Happy Hour. Just as chill. And you extend the night. Now combine Lux with an art event. That’s a Friday night. And I met Shawnee Hill! This woman’s art is ethereal; meeting her, other-worldly. Thank you, Social Media. And Lux Lounge.



That’s right. Photo shoots. Plural. Aside from senior portraits in high school, I’ve only done 1 photo shoot–(also with the geniusly talented Anjolee [nee Wolfe] Eggleston of DeMaroux Photography)–so it’s not like this a regular thing for me. It’s not. But, between blogging + Social Media, on Saturday I had 2, which is–technical term–the flossy flossy. One, with Treasure Trove Vintage. The other, Rochester Brainery. I contacted Morgan of TTV. (Note: Original post w TTV accidentally got deleted. Which sucks.) I cannot wait to Spotlight Treasure Trove Vintage for you! Brainery contacted me via Twitter after I tweeted about their Brainery Bazaar. See? Social Media enhancing lives. The shoot? Baller. Not only is Lindsay Lau of Lindsay Stephany Photography a doll + her shared-loft studio at The Hungerford gorgeous, but also we had a riot. I brought friends. We played with props. There was laughter. Danielle and Stephanie from The Brainery were hilarious + helpful + gracious + fun. And, who knows, we could be plastered all over the website.  (No big deal.)

My time spent with Morgan, owner of Treasure Trove Vintage, her mother, Honey, and photographer, Anj of DeMaroux Photography, was also rich. I wore vintage dresses. That fit. Beautifully. Anj had me traipsing around the Park Ave and East End streets like it ain’t no thang. I cannot wait to share this with you!


Both photo shoots happened Saturday: Brainery in the morning and Treasure Trove in the evening. What better way to split some down time than by stopping by Shop Peppermint’s Birthday?! (It helps that Peppermint and Treasure Trove Vintage share a building on the corner of Park + Meigs.) With cute + classy h’orderves by Scratch Bakeshop and endless collections of hip + affordable jewelry, shoes, dresses, blouses, shorts, and even bathing suits … I didn’t want to pull myself away. I truly cannot believe Shop Peppermint turned 2. What on earth did I do–where did I shop–before Shop Peppermint happened to Rochester?


Lunch at The Red Fern. I got the PB+J smoothie. … Again. I want to order all of their smoothies all at one time and drink all of them one after the other without guilt. I couldmake that happen. It would be grand.

Dinner at La Casa. After at least 1 hour of prep (Anj could also be a make-up artist, PS) and 3 hours of shooting, we were famished. Both The Owl House and Cure had wait times. (Duh.) Anj brainstormed La Casa! About 1 year old, on Alexander near Boulder, I’d just driven by it earlier and reminded myself I’ve been meaning to try. IT ROCKED. I felt transported to vacation and right at home, all at the same time. Their patio space also looks rocking. La Casa will be a mainstay, especially this summer. Between the refreshing $5 house margarita, the authentic and hearty appetizers (we ordered 3…), the gracious service, that patio, South Wedge as the hood, and the vibrant energy with chill vibes: I must.


Peppermint inspired ensemb to celebrate!
Blouse – Peppermint Line
(Desiged by Tanvi Asher. Made in NYC.)
Ring | Necklace | Earrings – Shop Peppermint


Thing is? I didn’t even hit on everything this weekend. I missed the Brainery Bazaar, attended by The Knotty Owl! (Best laid plans.) Also, on Sunday I missed A-List’s Blogger Brunch at Hogan’s Hideaway, another local favorite. Super bummed. But, glad to know I can vindicate. By following Rochester on Social Media.

We all know that Rochester, NY is Festival City USA. What we need to know is that we can celebrate Rochester before the end of May. Rochester is Rad. Now follow it so you can always find it.

Oh. And make sure to follow me!