Recent Purchases: Vintage Buys in NYC

One of my main goals as a fashion blogger in Buffalo is to find ways to connect the local fashion scene to the larger fashion scene in larger cities like New York. I was able to do this and discover more about the vintage fashion scene in the city when I went home this last weekend to visit family and such.

I bought 3 items when I went home this time: two items from Think Closet and one from a new store I discovered called Stella Dallas, both located in the Village. Quite frankly, I have been really frustrated with the current fashion scene. There just seems to be nothing new and no new ground breaking trends. I am sick of the “bohemian” look that has been popular for about two years now. I also haven’t been purchasing much this year because of not seeing anything new or interesting. As I started shopping in the city over the weekend I came across this problem in almost every store I went to. Eventually, I found myself in Think Closet (located at 159 Prince Street as well as many other locations). I have been to Think Closet many times before and always find something interesting and new there. It is one of the few stores in the Village that offers more unique designs for a palatable amount of money. This time I purchased a green floral dress with flutter sleeves and a white lace top with bright flowers on the bust area. The dress fits very well and is super flattering for only $90. The top I also love and was only $60. Before going to Think Closet one should just be aware that the store only carries a couple, if not only one, versions of an item and all are designed to fit a size small woman.

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The next store I went to I have passed many times but never actually had the time to stop in. The store is called Stella Dallas and is located at 218 Thompson Street. It is a collection of 40s – 60s second hand vintage items. As you know, I love second hand stores and could not help but purchase something. I bought a pair of brown leather sandals with a leaf pattern design engraved in them. They were $50 and fit amazingly. And it makes me so much happier to know that I am walking in someone else’s shoes as someone wore them before me.

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These two stores are great if you are looking for affordable vintage style clothing in the Village. And if you’re looking for similar fashions locally, Second Chic and Anna Grace would definitely be the Buffalo versions of the two (both of which can be found in the Elmwood Village).

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@H8WhiteRabbit

I think just about everyone is fed up with Buffalo’s instant fetishization of local FroYo by now, so let me end this on one final note: we all know they suck in varying degrees, one (or both) of them will close relatively soon, and I’m personally pissed a better frozen yogurt place didn’t pop up next door to my apartment.

emptyBased on the last two days’ depressing “research”, White Rabbit is somehow the worst of them all. I’m not sure what it was – maybe the dripping machines, the ridiculously icy and grainy yogurt, the boring-as-fuck flavors, or the irritatingly long and claustrophobic wait for FroYo, topping, and checkout. What a disappointment.

icyIf you still want to visit, knowing very well that you’re in for a pathetic experience, I have one suggestion: do what we did and bring a bottle of cheap, throat-burning vodka to douse over your creation*.

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* Kidding?

WHITE RABBIT FROZEN YOGURT on Urbanspoon

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ready to read the millionth hummus recipe on the Internet? Good.

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I really shied away from posting this because it’s not too groundbreaking and actually pretty basic. But two important things are making me: 1.) I’m obsessed with hummus (ahem) & 2.) this really is the perfect conglomeration of brilliant parts of many different hummus recipes. Trust me – there is no better way to easily make homemade hummus with canned chickpeas than this recipe. The end result is Better Than Sabra (can I trademark that?): just as smooth, more natural in flavor, larger in quantity, and (much) cheaper in price. By the way, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by getting your ingredients for hummus at a market like Guercio’s; for example, their tahini is about $9 cheaper than at places like Dash’s and equal in quality.

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The things that make this hummus so great are extremely nuanced and can seem petty, but the few extra minutes of prep work pays dividends in the end, resulting in ethereally smooth hummus with addicting flavor. And with a great new technique I read in Cook’s Illustrated the other day, the process is simpler than ever. It’s worth this post, and it’s even more worth making yourself.

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Local Fashion News

As you probably have heard by now, there have been many changes and growth in the local fashion scene, particularly in the Elmwood Village. Some of these changes include the major expansion of Second Chic and the move of Lotions & Potions / Fierce.

Captured by Second Chic

Captured by Second Chic

Second Chic, one of my favorite second hand stores in Buffalo, was able to re-organize their entire store and expand greatly after D’Avolio moved next door and they were able to take over its space. I had a little time the other day to take a look at the new store and was amazed to see how big it now is. The original Second Chic is now only the “Sale Room” while you can look through all of the new arrivals in the rest of the building. The store also now has a larger mens’ section and more, larger dressing rooms. The store now features more local creations from designers such as Katie Gariepy. I really appreciate the fact that local designers are now being showcased in vintage boutiques across Buffalo. The store is having it’s “Expansion Re-Opening” event tomorrow, Friday, June 28th, where customers are welcome to shop discounted items while enjoying cool music, wine, and snacks.

Captured by Second Chic

Captured by Second Chic

In addition, the move for Lotions & Potions is another great change for the fashion scene in the Elmwood Village. The store moved from it’s location on the corner of Elmwood & Auburn to the storefront where Plum Pudding used to be. This is a great move for the store as it now has some street presence on Elmwood and is more likely to take in by passers from the street. Although still new, the store looks great in its new location and is showcasing a lot of cool new designs. The store Fierce that was previously on Elmwood took the corner store of Lotions & Potions on Elmwood & Auburn. I’ve never been in Fierce but will find out how it’s doing in its new location soon enough.

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The Vintage Fashion Scene: Recent Purchases

Well, it has been quite some time since I’ve posted a fashion blog on this site, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping my eye out for new trends and growth in the local as well as global fashion scene. Now that Matthew and I are living together in the Elmwood Village we thought it would be an appropriate time to bring the blog back.

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First, I wanted to do a quick overview of some of my favorite recent purchases. I’ve recently purchased a pair of tie dye sneakers from Artists & Fleas, a spaghetti strapped, bow embezzled dress from ModCloth, and a maxi dress from Anna Grace. As you probably know from previous posts, I always enjoy taking a stroll over to Artists & Fleas (located in Williamsburg in Brooklyn) for new original and vintage pieces when I’m home. This time I went I purchased a pair of vintage, purple tie dyed “sneakers” (pictured above). They fit great, are 100% comfortable, and were quite affordable for only $25. Artists & Fleas has a really great way of incorporating local artists into their retail scene. Everything I’ve ever purchased from the flea market is always super unique, affordable, and helps the local business scene in Brooklyn.

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My second purchase, the “Pinafore Your Thoughts” dress from ModCloth (pictured above), might in fact be one of my favorite purchases of the year. The dress is fully lined with an enclosed zipper and is composed of 100% polyester, lined with cotton. The dress is a striking burnt orange color and made adorable with a ruffled sleeve and bow centerpiece below the bust. The dress is perfect for basically any occasion as you could dress it up with tights, heels, and jewelry or down by just wearing the dress itself and sandals. Most importantly, it’s super cute and fun for the summer season.

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Yotality FroYo: Not Totally Good

As everyone involved in Buffalo’s social media scene surely knows, FroYo has finally arrived on Elmwood. Over the last few months, two shops – Yotality and White Rabbit – have been going through their (seemingly long) interior construction phases on Elmwood while simultaneously opening shops in the suburbs (Williamsville and Tonawanda, respectively). While White Rabbit hasn’t opened yet, Yotality did just a few days ago. We stopped by yesterday with a friend to finally try it out.

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As we approached Yotality, we were immediately taken aback by the large, brightly colored patio that has been added outside of the storefront. Compared to the very classy and lounge-y feel that Chow Chocolat had months and months ago, Yotality presents itself as a typical FroYo establishment: lots of saturated colors and strong lighting with touches of stainless steel and translucency.

Cosmetic changes aside, we were really excited to see a dedicated FroYo shop open only blocks away from our apartment. Aside from occasionally getting Red Mango in Manhattan’s LES or the few times I went to Snog while living on the King’s Road in London, Megan and I aren’t really frozen yogurt fanatics; I rarely even make it to the acclaimed Plum Dandy down the street from my college.

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Yotality offers 10 different flavors each day, certain pairs of which can be blended (for a total of 15 “different” total choices). There are also two separate toppings areas – one with sweets and candies (pictured above) and another with fresh fruit, granola, etc. We ended up getting the espresso flavor, the salty caramel pretzel flavor, and the blend of the two: caramel macchiato.

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Since all of the flavors we tried were of the sweet variety, our toppings followed suit; for example, I put chocolate covered pretzels and crushed Butterfingers on mine. At $.52/oz, my medium-sized amount of FroYo & toppings above came to about $3.50. And since it was one of the first warm weathered days Buffalo had seen in a while, we sat outside on the patio and ate.

Overall, we enjoyed the combinations we made (how could one not enjoy FroYo for breakfast) – but with a few important reservations. While the flavors we chose tasted good, they could have been more intense: I think “vanilla caramel latte” would sum up the flavor more precisely than “espresso + salty caramel pretzel”; it’s the same idea, but with one lacking in execution. The texture also left a little to be desired. While FroYo is supposed to be a low calorie dessert, Yotality felt light: a bit too icy and just not creamy enough. Suspecting that maybe Yotality was in fact healthier than other chains like Red Mango, I double checked the calorie contents online only to find out that they’re almost exactly the same. This leads me to believe that Yotality’s texture and flavor woes are rooted in their yogurts’ preparation and freezing – not from lack of stabilizers or a lesser fat content. And one final note: we haven’t yet tried any of their tart flavors which we suspect will vary a least a little in texture and taste from the sweet ones we tried. When we return to try those out, we’ll update this post with our opinions.

In the meantime, we’ll be waiting for White Rabbit to open up and continue hoping that Yotality will improve over time.

Yotality on Urbanspoon

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Scampi Milanese

I’m not sure how many rules I broke with that title, but I’m also not sure that it even matters.

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I’ve always loved cooking simple lemony pasta dishes; the effort:result ratio never disappoints. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to take a simple dish and make it extraordinary. Kinda like when Ina Garten says she’s taking things “Back to Basics” and then proceeds to make filet mignon with homemade onion rings. (We’re all in on the ‘secret’ together.)

So that’s what I did with this dish: make it the best possible version of itself – even if it takes a bit more effort and time. While a scampi sauce is intentionally basic, I came up with one solid idea that really ties the whole dish together (and gets of rid of leftover waste while we’re at it). After peeling and deveining my raw shrimp, I utilized all of the leftover shrimp shells by creating a simple stock. One scant cup of this intense shrimp stock adds some necessary depth to the traditionally lemon, butter, and wine flavored scampi sauce.

But what about the shrimp themselves? Breaded and fried, obviously. Anyone who’s familiar with the Milanese method of preparing chicken or eggplant will feel right at home here. With a dash of lemon zest and cayenne pepper mixed in with the panko breading and a quick shallow fry in olive oil, the shrimp become downright addictive – the perfect topping for pasta with scampi sauce. And the best part is that the shrimp can be breaded and stored in the refrigerator ahead of time, ready to be fried as the pasta approaches al dente.

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