September//October 2022 Buffalo Home Magazine

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2022SEPT//OCT Women-RunBusinessesMakinganImpact featuring the teacher’s desk and sweet buffalo Sip & Dine Buffalo’s most famous bites with local foodies Meet the Women Meet the faces behind these women-run businesses - Luxury in every detailpg. 6 elevate your garage with Apollo Concrete Coatings! back cover



4 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR THE ELECTRIC ERA IN BUFFALO Stay Tuned! THE ALL-NEW 2023 EQS SUV FROM MERCEDES-EQ 8185 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221 | (716) 391-3035 European images shown.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Sarah Christ PRODUCED BY GENESEE VALLEY PUBLICATIONS Genesee Valley Publications, Inc. will make every effort to see that all advertising copy, which is neatly presented, is correctly printed. We will not be responsible for print quality of any advertising not created by Genesee Valley Publications, Inc. personnel. We take no responsibility for statements or claims made in any advertisement. We reserve the right to refuse any and/or all advertising. on the cover 6 • Julie Muscato Home | Gifts Owner Julie Muscato shares how to elevate your home! features 9 • From the Artists’ Desk hey, girl! women-run pg. 10 15 • Buffalo Boss Babes Danielle Pietrocarlo talks about empowering Buffalo Babes 22 • Marie Rachelle Makes an Impact for Freelancers 28 • JaLisa Conyers: Fashion with a Purpose for the home pg. 30 34 • West Seneca Police Participate to Help Rescues with Sweet Buffalo 40 • Buffalo Autumn Bucket List 46 • Supporting our Students The Teacher’s Desk Nonprofit sip + dine pg. 54 54 • Good Food. Good Mood. Taking a look at Buffalo’s Famous Bites

that is the word which leaps to mind when entering Julie Muscato Home & Gi fts. Beautifully situated on the banks of the Erie Canal in Historic Lockport, the lifestyle store is centered around it s origins of interior design. Developing from the original 2, 000 sq ft showroom, the new showroom boasts 8,000 sq ft of exquisitely curated furniture vignettes and unique home décor and gifts.


Home décor is at the center of the store, and the heart of home décor is Julie Muscato. With experience ranging from early freelance work and independent consulting, to establishing her own team of designers, Muscato offers refined d esign options for every taste. From traditional to mid-ce ntury to modern and all the styles and variations in between , guests can find just the style they seek whether to add fl air to a space or to renovate an entire room. Beautiful home décor vignettes add interest while browsing and help pique the imag ination.

As a team of interior design experts, the welcoming staff at Julie Muscato Home & Gifts are delighted to guide clients as they peruse a wide assortment of gorgeous furniture, fabrics and wallpapers to make decisions for their unique home spaces. Looking for custom draperies, bedding, pill ows and upholstery? Julie Muscato Home & Gifts can facilitate with their very own custom workroom, as well as being a showcase dealer for Hunter Douglas. The Julie Muscato Design Center boasts over several hundred resources for fu rniture, accessories, wallpaper, fabric and more.


Around this impressive interior design array, a collection of lifestyle gifts and décor has grown. Complementing the store’s focus on the home, Muscato began composing an appealing assortment of fine quality home décor items, gifts, jewelry, clothing and more. This past year has seen tremendous growth for Muscato, and her store has added highly curated lines of hand creams, women’s clothing, foaming soaps, room sprays, serving ware, elegant stemware, gorgeous chinoiserie, highly exclusive candle lines, stationary, and many other fine Fromgifts.its


whimsical location on the Canal, to its captivating showroom, visiting Julie Muscato Home & Gifts is a unique and very enjoyable lifestyle shopping experience. Highly curated home décor, interior design goods, and gift s are threaded throughout the store in a pleasantly cohes ive fusion of fabulous finds.


Owner, Julie Muscato and SeniorKathyDesigner,Dixon


While you’re here, stop in and visit our new outdoor bar, Rusty Nail, opening this September! Take advantage of plenty of outdoor seating to gather round and watch the game while you enjoy the best of everything local – local wines, local beer, even local vodka. Bring your friends and sample our beer flights, wine flights, and vodka flights!

Come experience the magic of fall harvest wonder all throughout our three buildings as we stroll into fall. Wreaths are a quintessential fall favorite, and many wreaths, florals, and accents can be found throughout Rustic Buffalo. One of our specialty artisans focuses on wreaths, whether those are seasonal autumn wreaths or sporty wreaths to cheer on your hometown team. Your place for fall finds, Rustic Buffalo has everything and anything fall décor and has been recognized as the most unique gift shop in Western New York.

Pick up your Rustic Buffalo Passport when you visit our Vintage Boutique, Vintage House, and Rustic Buffalo Barn. Get a stamp in each building to enter your full passport in our $200 drawing!

We’re kicking off fall—and football season— here at Rustic Buffalo with everything Buffalo Bills! As your licensed, registered NFL retailer, we have everything Bills from in-demand jerseys to popular tailgating accessories and souvenirs, right down to Bills toothbrushes, and much more! Overflowing with NFL items, Rustic Buffalo was recently named the Buffalo Bills store destination of Western New York.

Don’t miss any of the amazing deals, events, and exclusive offers ever again! Stay connected with the Rustic Buffalo app! Let the Rustic Buffalo app elevate you to a VIP shopping experience with notifications and select discounts brought right to your phone. As a Rustic Buffalo insider, you can shop online, get the scoop on what’s up at Rustic Buffalo, upcoming specials, exclusive deals, our Rustic Buffalo Live: From our Home to Yours! broadcast streaming live every Thursday from 7pm-8pm, and more.

Fall is also for foodies! Stop by our gourmet foods area and café to peruse over 30 kinds of oldfashioned candies and fudge, gourmet cocoa bombs, and local favorites. Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of our gourmet peanut butter cups or sooth your soul with one of our hearty flavorful soups with a side of freshly baked bread or one of our many other richly satisfying comfort foods. We now carry Lewiston Jams and Jellies, a gourmet jams and jellies selection with more than 20 flavors available.

Fresh pies are available to order and are delivered daily. The holidays are right around the corner, so don’t forget to start planning your holiday pie orders. Holiday order forms can be found in our café!

Rustic Buffalo features 110 Buffalo area artisans and a wide variety of home décor, including candles, handmade soaps, custom pillows, wooden signs, custom glassware, metal art, wreaths, shabby chic and vintage décor, concrete art, beverage coasters depicting scenic Buffalo, locally made food items, official Buffalo Bills gear, and much more. Rustic Buffalo also offers textiles such as handcrafted gloves, scarves, dresses, hats, handcrafted wreaths, and more. Back to school? We have backpacks, pencils, notebooks, and other items to help you get ready.

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Market is more than a SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, WE are a DESTINATION!”

Fall is also an excellent time to tackle that last minute project to make your home your dream home before the cold weather of winter sets in, and Julie Muscato Home & Gifts is a perfect spot to stop and take a peek if you have a room (or two, or an entire floorplan) that’s missing that certain spark.

It’s that time of year again: the air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and we’re preparing to welcome fall back once more. Here at Home, we’re gearing up to celebrate the season and all it entails, whether that’s a cozy sweater or an extra cup of coffee!

Be uplifted and inspired as we revisit Sweet Buffalo and their venture with a police animal rescue calendar, working to benefit the Ten Lives Club & Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue, along with the heartwarming nonprofit, The Teacher’s Desk, supporting students in our area.


585.226.8111 |



- from the artists’ desk -

Don’t forget to join a few locals to explore the fall foodie scene with some of the Queen City’s most famous bites! Come and join us as we dive into autumn and all the beauty it has to offer.

Local women are inspiring us each and every day, including Marie Rachelle who’s making an impact for Buffalo’s female freelancers, and JaLisa Conyers who is talking fashion with a purpose along with some tips! Danielle Pietrocarlo, the Buffalo Boss Babes’ Director, is working to empower women by creating an authentic community.


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Go�To Drink Order: When I’m not drinking tea, I enjoy sipping a good quality Bourbon

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Taylor Schiappa Licensed Real Estate Agent at Envision Real Estate

Go�To Drink Order: Rosé!

Kayla Clark

Go�To Drink Order: Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Go�To Drink Order: Morning: coffee with cream Night: gin and tonic with extra lime All day, every day: seltzer

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Fave Genre/Song When Working: Relaxing massage music

Favorite Local Food: Rin Thai (next door to us!)

JD Brummer Cuppa Culture

Favorite Local Food: Dairy Queens Peanut Buster Parfait w/ Chocolate Ice Cream

Fave Genre/Song When Working: If you’ve ever been to Spruce you know we are huge Harry Styles and Taylor Swift fans

Go�To Drink Order: Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks

Go�To Drink Order: Anything cold... enjoyed at the Buffalo Waterfront!

Favorite Local Food: Housemade Nancy’s Ice Cream Sandwich at Ballyhoo in Buffalo

Favorite Local Food: Dark Chocolate Sponge candy

Women in Buffalo bring a power and creativity to the business arena that is changing the landscape of both small and large businesses in our community today.

Fave Genre/Song When Working: “Faith” by George Michael

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Bonnie Raitt or Dave Koz

Go�To Drink Order: Hot Maple Oatmilk Latte

Fave Genre/Song When Working: ‘90s Dance/Hiphop

Krista Sobon Spruce on Main

Favorite Local Food: New City Cafe

Favorite Local Food: Chicken Wings from the Anchor Bar!

Favorite Local Food: Twisted turkey sandwich from Taste Bistro & Coffee Bar

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Anything Taylor Swift

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Christian Contemporary

Sash Moreaux Meaux Co Pro.

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Any song by Joywave

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Jock Jams

Go�To Drink Order: Black Coffee

Favorite Local Food: Too many incredible restaurants to choose from! Buffalo is known for its food and cocktails! But if I had to pair it down it would be Mothers for late night dinner and drinks, Jack Rabbit for patio hangs, and Carbones for pizza!

Julie Muscato

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Depends on the mood I am in... can be Classic Frank Sinatra, ‘90s Hip Hop or good old Rolling Stones

Go�To Drink Order: Old Fashioned

Favorite Local Food: Pizza and wings

Go�To Drink Order: Mojito

Jennifer Kuhn Hamburg Overhead Door, Inc

Favorite Local Food: Have to go with pizza!

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Uptown Funk!

Favorite Local Food: Flying Shrimp have been a staple on the menu at the Buffalo Chophouse for 20 years & is my favorite appetizer to order every time I have dinner there!

Jennifer Barton

Nickel City Wax and Wane

Go�To Drink Order: Mint Hot Chocolate

Favorite Local Food: Mojo Market in Kenmore, NY!

Go�To Drink Order: Coffee? Nonfat misto. Wine? All of it.

Go�To Drink Order: Glass of Pinot Noir

Favorite Local Food: Lockport’s Famous Pizza Oven Pizza

Kasia Cummings Buffalo Organics Inc

Favorite Local Food: Anything from Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora

Fave Genre/Song When Working: ‘90s pop

Nora Saintz Gardenette

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Show tunes, of course!

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Fave Genre/Song When Working: ‘90s grunge

Fave Genre/Song When Working: Classics that I can sing along to!

Fave Genre/Song When Working: ‘90s Country

Go�To Drink Order: French 75 and Fitzgerald! I’m a gin broad through and through!

Go�To Drink Order: Basil Hayden

Favorite Local Food: Pizza


Kara Ivison Printing by Penny Lane

Favorite Local Food: Abbott Hot Wings from the FlipSide in Strykersville

Kelly Copps & Kristin Bentley Second Generation Theatre

Kristi Mora Bella Kids

Julie Muscato Home and Gifts

Go�To Drink Order: Lemon Drop Martini

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Empowering Women One Babe at a Time


By Trish Pino


Five years ago, Carrie Rinehart attended a networking event in Rochester and immediately knew that something similar was needed for women in the Buffalo community. From this, the idea for Buffalo Boss Babes was born. She set out to create a group where women could feel empowered, motivated, and inspired. That vision still holds true with Danielle Pietrocarlo, who currently runs the organization and strives to connect with other women and share ideas – but this community of remarkable women has become so much more than that.

For Danielle, this wasn’t a new endeavor, but rather an extension of what she had already been doing through her studio – working with and hearing the stories of amazing women in the community. Her business had been a platform to do that, and this simply evolved into her next chapter.

A Place to Turn

A Bright Future

From Speaker to Director

to do next… there are no stupid questions because everyone has been there and likely someone else attending has something to offer you,” shares Danielle.

empowering moment she had was when she was asked to speak at her first Buffalo Boss Babes event, sharing it was the first time she really became vulnerable and shared her entire story. Following her remarks, a woman from the audience came up to her and told her she was so inspired by her comments that she was going to quit her job and start her own business. At each step of the way, Danielle was there cheering her on and reminding her that she could do it. That woman is now a successful business owner who still attends the events and is touched by the difference it has made in her life.


to build something that is genuine and authentic to help women in Buffalo to connect without judgement or incentive. It takes courage to go somewhere when you don’t know anyone. We don’t want to make it more difficult, so we try to make it a natural environment without a high cost,” shares Danielle.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them.”

Buffalo Boss Babes started as a blog and social media feed that featured local women and grew from there. The group now hosts monthly events and quarterly speaker panels where women share their stories with the hopes of inspiring and empowering others. Different from other networking groups and events, there is no membership fee and little to no cost to attend the



nominated and speaking at an event in 2018, she recalls “it was all very natural from there.” As the owner of Dani-Fit, a gym geared towards women, she unfortunately had to make the difficult decision to close during the pandemic. At the same time, Carrie Rinehart was also looking to make a transition and it was a natural fit to hand the reins over to Danielle.


“You have to do what makes you happy. You can’t just keep running on this hamster wheel waiting for the right time – there is no right time. You just have to do it and know that we will be the ones cheering you on, saying ‘Yes, you can,’ and reminding you of who you are, how powerful you are, and what you can do,” she shares. Whether it’s over a quick call, a text, or at a speaking engagement with Danielle, she is a motivational force who helps give women the confidence to follow their

Whether it is at one of the events or through the organization’s Facebook group, they’ve created a place where women can turn to be vulnerable and ask any question – no matter how big or small it is. “Guests are encouraged to be themselves and come with questions, whether they don’t know how to start something or what

Her favorite stories from the group are of women who come from the corporate world or are moms who are looking to start something but don’t know how. As someone who is a firm believer in doing what makes you happy, she hopes to motivate and inspire women to make the changes in their lives that are needed.


In the Beginning

Although there is still so much to be done with Buffalo Boss Babes, Danielle admits she is just taking it one step at a time as she navigates the post-Covid world and evaluates the needs of the community. She hopes to one day turn it into a nonprofit organization that can provide financial support for women to get access to the education and resources they need. For now, she is enjoying connecting with and learning the stories of women throughout the community and finding ways to encourage and support them as they figure out and follow their dreams.

Know a Boss Babe?

Boss Babes is a platform where strong, successful women who are doing remarkable things in and out of work are showcased. People from throughout the community nominate someone as a “Boss Babe,” and those who are selected are then featured on the blog, on social media, and often asked to attend or speak at upcoming events, which is how Danielle first got

Nominate someone by filling out the form on their website:



What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a change or start their own business?

I grew up in Buffalo and originally worked for the newspaper. I always knew I wanted to own a business but wasn’t sure what it would be. I started teaching fitness classes and quickly discovered I could use that as a platform to empower and motivate others. I opened my own studio and did that for about 10 years before I took on the role with Buffalo Boss Babes.


GET TO KNOW Danielle

What inspires you most about the Buffalo community?

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.


Was there an experience that shaped who you are today?

My divorce. I didn’t want to do it for so long because there is such a stigma around it. I have 3 children and didn’t want to ruin their lives, but in reality, I was ruining myself, so I had to make a change. You have to be happy in life.


“Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” I don’t let my kids say they can’t do something. So often we get in our own way of what we can and can’t do. It is usually just that we are stopping ourselves, and we actually are capable of doing anything we believe we can do.

I grew up here and have a great appreciation for all that Buffalo has to offer. I lived in Charlotte, NC, for 4 years and it just wasn’t the same. In Buffalo, you have the history, the Bills, family, and great food. I want my kids to grow up here and would never leave this city again.

Chautauqua Lake is my go-to… it is a beautiful and secret getaway. I grew up going there in the summer, and I now own an Airbnb in the area. My favorite thing to do is wake surfing, which is off the back of a boat with no rope. I am also an avid Buffalo Bills fan!

What is your favorite quote that sums up who you are and what you believe in?

Just do it. I am here to help you. Ask yourself what is stopping you. Write it down and figure it out. Is it you stopping you or something else? Most of the time it is just yourself, so knowing that you can is half the battle.

What are some of your favorite hobbies and places to explore in the Buffalo area?

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BUFFALO GAL organic skincare + beauty


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Kasia has been hand-crafting Buffalo Gal OrganicÊs products in small batches for over a decade and now sheÊs created a new product line that you simply have to try. We asked her which of the newest M4 Magic Mushroom products she recommends to her customers most often. from nature. for all.

Skin health. Science

Buffalo Gal Organics has launched its latest product·the M4 Magic Mushroom line·as a natural solution for those looking for a truly down-to-earth skincare regimen.

Founder and holistic practitioner, Kasia Cummings is a true advocate for skincare that starts on the inside. Her mission is to provide quality, plant-based skincare that is good for your body inside and out. A chemist, Kasia makes each and every one of her products in-house!

“Skincare can be very trendy and sometimes it moves away from its designated purpose of treating your skin. Buffalo Gal Organics believes in creating mainstay beauty products that are good for your body and go beyond the surface to give your skin the clean, non-toxic nourishment that it needs.”


Buffalo Gal OrganicÊs latest M4 Magic Mushroom line continues to showcase extracts and botanicals found in nature, free from KasiaÊs „dirty dozen‰ ingredients list which includes phthalates, parabens, and others. All products are cruelty-free, plant-based and vegan, with some exceptions for goatÊs milk and honey.


Use code: HOME22 at checkout.

What’s next for Buffalo Gal Organics?

If youÊre new to natural skincare or have been hesitant to try it, The Best of Beauty Skincare Discovery Set is the perfect place to start. These best-sellers include six skincare heroes: beautiful skin oil cleanser, sea flower cleansing milk, glowing skin toner, magic mushroom serum, velvet H2O cream, and visionary eye cream. Now on sale for $59, these sample sizes arenÊt a one and done trial. Each product can last up to 3-4 weeks with proper use. Buy them for yourself, share with friends, or give as a giftset to your skincare-loving friend or family member!

Valid in-store & online.

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M4 Magic Mushroom Beauty Potion The Best of Beauty Skincare Discovery Set

Expires 10/31/22

Follow Buffalo Gal Organics on Instagram for live updates!

Buffalo Gal Organics is now a member of the Conscious Beauty Collective, a group of womenowned businesses with a sole focus on clean beauty products. Kasia spent time earlier this year promoting her products with like-minded female beautypreneurs in San Francisco, CA. Next, you can find them at their pop-up in Boston, MA, at Natick Mall, 1245 Worcester St., from September through December 2022. Kasia is especially excited for this new venture with fellow beauty businesses who believe in the power of clean beauty and wellness brands.

As its name suggests, Magic Mushroom serum for the face helps adapt to what your skin needs and can be used on all skin types. It boasts the power of shiitake, maitake, cordyceps, and chaga mushrooms to revitalize skin texture, vibrancy, and tone. Paired with skin-loving oils of argan, maracuja, camellia, and watercress, this magical potion is perfect for skin that needs deep repair, hydration, and relief from sensitivity. This product is especially helpful for skin that is exposed to blue light during the day from devices like cell phones, computers, and televisions.


Companies expect workers to have several skills for little pay when they can, alternatively, hire people who are experts in their skill sets for a more cost-effective term. In other words, why not hire freelancers who have extensive experience and talent in their field instead of hiring one worker who has little to no experience in a particular aspect of their job? She states that the viewpoint needs to change, and a result, more freelancers will be hired. Not only will this help the freelancing community, but corporations and startups will actually be more successful in the long run.


MARIE RACHELLE: Making an Impact for Buffalo’s Female Freelancers

Marie is the Buffalo go-to for all things freelance. Ten years ago, Marie Rachelle Pazych started her freelancing career in marketing, writing, and social media. As she’s learned more about the industry and faced challenges herself, Marie has become an advocate for freelancers’ rights throughout New York State and across the nation. Her mission is to create and assist the local freelance community in her hometown of WNY, and she hopes to see a ripple effect as she seeks to educate and provide resources for freelancers, and more specifically, females in the industry. Women in the workplace face many challenges, and the freelancing industry isn’t any different. Marie points out that freelancers are the smallest of the small businesses, and those in the industry deserve to be heard.


Three Lack of understanding from outsiders. There is a general lack of understanding and education surrounding freelance work; freelancers are business owners who should be paid fairly.

Four Discrimination. Freelancing can be your first, second, or third career. It doesn’t matter what age or sex you are - anyone can freelance with the unique skillset they have, and discrimination shouldn’t hold anyone back.

Six Isolation. Many freelancers work from home or in a remote setting, which can be isolating, especially for freelancers who don’t have a sense of community within the industry.


Freelancing Females began as a Facebook group out of Brooklyn, NY in 2017. As more and more women began using the platform to share their experiences, ask questions, and network, the organization began offering a paid membership option. Memberturned-new Director of Partnerships, Marie’s job is to partner with companies that are interested in paid partnerships, which will provide more opportunities for freelancers in terms of developing working relationships and referring businesses to one another. Some members have even teamed up to start their own companies! Now, Freelancing Females has a membership of over a quarter of a million women, making it more powerful than ever before.


Seven Running a business. Freelancers are not only running their own businesses; they’re also working for their own businesses! This dedication deserves to be applauded and well-compensated.

As a freelancer turned entrepreneur, Marie has extensive knowledge of the industry. The pros of the job quickly stand out: you can work when you want and set your own prices. Easy, right? Not so much. Freelancers face many problems, and female freelancers face a particular set of challenges:

Another significant issue in the freelancing industry is nonpayment. To combat this, Marie was involved in getting the “Freelance Isn’t Free” bill passed in New York State in 2022. This bill establishes and enhances the rights of freelancers in New York, which will protect freelancers from being financially jilted.

Five Finding clients. It’s easier to take jobs offered to you than it is to wait for opportunities that will pay you fairly for your work. Know your worth!

One The wage gap. Women are so used to earning less than men, but it’s important to remember your worth and charge what you deserve.

Two Stigmas. There are stigmas that make freelancing out to be an “easy” career choice - but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Three Work with good people you’re passionate about. You may be tempted to pick up any job, but it’s more important to work with people who value your partnership and pay you for your worth. You’re a service provider (not an employee!) who deserves to be treated with respect.




Connecting people through creative classes, workshops, and events.

Her involvement in Buffalo’s local freelancing community has inspired Marie’s leadership in Freelancing Females as well as Freelance Buffalo & Beyond and Convergence Coworking. As a trusted freelance businesswoman, Marie shares three important tips for female freelancers:



One Know your value. Women are used to earning less than men, so it’s important to consider value-based pricing. Earn the rate you’re worth! Research your skillset, take what you think you should earn, and double it.

Marie continues to make a difference in the Buffalo area with her newest business endeavor: Convergence Coworking. She purchased a building in the midst of the pandemic to develop it into Buffalo’s first coworking space for freelancers in the area to work alongside each other. Now, Convergence Coworking hosts Freelance Buffalo & Beyond!


We highlight local artisans and inspire the transformation of the places we live to the spaces we love. Home.

Marie grew up near Ellicottville and is a true Buffalonian. She loves Buffalo and everything the city has to offer. Specifically, she sees this traditional city growing to be more progressive. She hopes to continue this trend with her up-and-coming coworking spaces and wants to see it spread to Rochester and other nearby cities! Marie seeks to help pave the way for more innovative business ideas in Buffalo, too. She states that we need to tell, teach, and prove to Buffalonians that these opportunities are worth it. Most importantly, she wants to help provide freelancing resources to her community that she didn’t receive.

Marie was inspired by Freelancing Females to bring a freelancing networking event to the Buffalo area. So, in 2019, she hosted the very first week-long Freelance Buffalo event, a conference she plans to host yearly as the Executive Director. The purpose of Freelance Buffalo & Beyond is to help freelancers make connections that will positively impact their businesses such as meeting one another, developing working relationships, and growing their businesses through connections across upstate New York!

A community arts studio providing creative experiences for all ages, abilities, and walks of www.nickelcitywaxandwane.comlife.464AmherstStreet,BuffaloIG@nickelcity_waxandwane

Two Treat yourself as the business owner you are. You’re running a female-owned business, so you should be earning money to treat yourself as such.



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Conyers, who notes she is “one of the most popular American female sizes,” felt that attractive items should be available in a wider variety of sizes. After working at a popular plus size store, she was more convinced than ever. “I knew I needed to get into retail because I enjoy helping women find things they look good in, and so much of what was available was not cute at all,” she observed.

JaLisa Conyers takes her opportunity as a role model seriously, speaking to young people when possible and developing a young entrepreneurs’ curriculum for afterschool programs. “If I could speak to middle school girls who are curvy, I would tell them to love what they have,” she said. “Hold your head up high. It does get better. You have to love the body that you have. It is your sacred temple. You have to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will.”


The day JaLisa Conyers graduated from college, a huge milestone in and of itself, she started her own brand. Unapologetically PHAT has already been a game changer. “The plus size representation you see is not realistic,” said Conyers. “I struggle to buy clothes. I can’t walk into a store and buy jeans; I never could. Real plus size women have a stomach, chunky arms, and calves. So, I find people with bodies people can relate to, people who look like them, not people who are modelesque and photoshopped.”

High waisted is IN! High waisted jeans and leggings are my go-to in the fall. Unapologetically PHAT carries high waisted leggings for ALL sizes for the fall, so be on the look out.

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Even people half my size struggle with a lot of body issues. You should love yourself whether you are a size 2 or 22 or whatever!”

Conyers’ vision is catching on. “So many people say that when they put on my clothes, they feel good,” said Conyers. “My clothes are for everyone. I want to teach people to love themselves with my brand, with my name. I want to change lives.”

Buffalo businesswoman, fashionista, and entrepreneur JaLisa Conyers has known what it is like to struggle with confidence. From the time she was a young girl through college and founding a company of her own, Conyers has always loved fashion and the fashion industry. Finding that several “average American sizes” are often excluded only challenged her to do something about it, not only for herself, but for others, as well. Today, JaLisa Conyers’ brand, Unapologetically PHAT, celebrates people of all shapes and sizes with stylish, quality clothes anyone can wear.

After graduating high school, Conyers pursued fashion marketing at Conesus before transferring to fashion textiles and design techniques at Buffalo State. She particularly enjoyed the creative aspects, designing her logo herself. During her junior year, she studied abroad. “In Italy, we had to do a fashion project involving going into different stores and trying on clothing,” Conyers said. “There was nothing I could try on except a pair of sunglasses.”

JaLisa Conyers & Unapologetically PHAT: FASHION WITH A PURPOSE

“Since I was a little girl, I have always been fascinated with colors and been vibrant in the way I dressed,” said Conyers. A self-described super shy girl and an average reader who stayed to herself, Conyers couldn’t avoid the spotlight.

“I have been bigger my whole life,” she explained. “I was definitely overweight, and I struggled with weight, body issues, and confidence. I was also taller than the rest of my peers, so I always stood out.”

It would have been easy for Conyers to become discouraged and to give up on her dreams. “There were never really any clothes for me that were attractive,” she recalled. “I even had a teacher in middle school who told me I would never make it in the fashion world because I didn’t know how to sew.”

would change lives, young and old, she would have said, ‘No way.’ Admittedly, it’s not an easy process, and it’s not meant for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline. However, when you have supporters and clientele who really believe in you and when you realize you are an entrepreneur inspiring other young entrepreneurs to believe in themselves: those are some of the most rewarding things to me.”

Fortunately, JaLisa Conyers had a cheerleader: her mother. “If it wasn’t for my mom always supporting me and pushing me, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today,” she confided. At the same time, Conyers grew tired of feeling ashamed because of her shape and size. “This is my body,” she realized. “This is who God made me. I have to love my body exactly how it is.”

To all young people she adds, “People are going to talk about you until the day you die, whether you are skinny, fat, tall, or short. They are always going to have something to say, so you might as well do what you want…unapologetically. You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t expect others to believe in you for you. Believe in yourself.”

Styling Tips x Josie


This breakthrough became Conyers’ message. “This is what you’ve got, and you gotta love it,” she said. “I see a lot of the self-esteem challenges people have.

Sometimes, Conyers can hardly believe her childhood dreams have really come true. “If you would have told young JaLisa that her clothing


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If that isn’t sweet enough, the o��icers also par�i cipated in a special calendar photo shoot with Tailor Mayde Photography to help raise funds for Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue dogs and Ten Lives Club cats. The o��icers had a ball taking photos with th e rescue dogs and cats, all for a good cause.

This summer Sweet Bu�falo teamed up with the West Seneca Police Depar�ment and Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue to help rescue dogs get adopted. Through the K9 For A Day program, o��icers walked rescue dogs out in the community and called it “Bark, Walk & Talk.” O��icers interacted with families and chil dren and told them all about their special rescue dog friend. Several rescue dogs were adopted because of this program.


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fall festivities we can’t wait for you to experience. The changing of the seasons opens up a whole new array of experiences in Western New York, and there’s no better way to appreciate all that Autumn has to off er than by checking off these bucket list items. From tailgates to trick-or-treats, the crisp air of autumn is upon us so get out and get festive!ew

Just because Summer in Buffalo has ended doesn’t mean that the fun has to come to an end as well. Of course, the cool breeze of autumn means that football season is back in full swing, but it also means there are countless festivities to be found in the city! Tailgating and pumpkin spiced lattes hold a place on an enormously long bucket list of




One must-do on any fall bucket list is getting spooked. Whether a haunted hayride or walk through a house is on your list, there’s nothing like a good scare to get you in the spirit of haunted fun! Experienced all the classic spooky seasonal activities and looking to spice things up a bit? Visit a real haunted place. There are some truly well-known haunted spots in the area that will take you off the beaten path and transform your traditional spooky season into an adventure all its own! You can also sign up for a guided tour of some of these scary places around the city.

What would fall in Buffalo be without the delicious flavors of apple and pumpkin? Apple picking is such a classic autumn activity that will never go out of style. Get the family out of the house for the day, or even take a little day date to one of Buffalo’s well-known farms. Apple picking doesn’t just mean going home with a bushel to bake your famous apple pie. You can spend some time at the farm, taking a horse-drawn hayride, sipping on some cider, and indulging in a delicious apple cider doughnut, too! There are a couple places in the area famous for their cider doughnuts, and they serve them a variety of ways. Add in a corn maze and a pumpkin patch, and you’ve got yourself the quintessential fall day.

Find a Festival

three. Get Spooky


Soak in the Scenery

four. Imbibe in Autumnal Lib�tions


Every Saturday in October, Everhaunt will host Family Fall Festivals! Here, you can enter a costume contest, get your face painted, and sample some eats from the variety of food trucks in attendance. Erie County Fall Fest also has a ton of family fun in store with a number of local vendors and live entertainment! Into arts and crafts? Check out the Fall Fest Craft and Vendor Fair. Located at Elks Lodge, this fair will host some of the best local vendors and artists around. Do some shopping, enjoy an array of yummy goods, and support your local businesses in a fun and festive way!

Tıckle your Tastebuds


One of the best things about living in Western New York is getting to witness the beauty of the seasons changing. What better way to appreciate the city than to get out and explore the myriad of colors that fall brings? Whether you want to get some exercise in and go for a hike or just take a scenic drive, the views can’t be beat. If you want to truly immerse yourself in nature, Hunter’s Creek will give you all the feelings of a National Park and has some easy hiking trails to explore. If a Sunday drive is more your style, traveling the Scenic Byway loop is a sure-fire way for you to lay your eyes on those vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges that fall foliage has to offer. Another beautiful viewing spot for autumn is Chestnut Ridge Park. Here, you can bike, hike, and explore expansive grounds filled with hundreds of trees changing color. You can even

Breweries are popping up all over the Buffalo area, and what better way to support your local brewery than by sampling some of their best seasonal varieties! Several area breweries create an array of tasty fallinspired beverages like Oat Cream IPAs, pumpkin brewed beers, and hard ciders. Oktoberfest is also big in Buffalo, and one way to celebrate is by visiting the Botanical Gardens for Dining at Dusk! You’ll be serenaded by authentic German music while chowing down on brats, beer, and soft pretzels.

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The first and most altruistic reason would be to help provide teachers and students with school supplies that they may not be able to obtain otherwise. The second and more personal reason is that John believes that he received a mission from God to create The Teacher’s Desk and to help underprivileged students in the Buffalo and Rochester areas. Both of these reasons have helped guide John Mika and his nonprofit organization, The Teacher’s Desk, to sustained success as the 2022-23 school year approaches.


| Buffalo



If you were to ask John Mika about why he started The Teacher’s Desk, he would probably give two reasons.


One aspect of the organization that John especially enjoys is that all donations made to The Teacher’s Desk go directly towards buying school supplies rather than towards overhead. This is because the building in which The Teacher’s Desk holds its offices is both utility and rent free. This is an important point for potential donors, John explains, because it assures them that 100% of the money they give goes directly towards helping underprivileged students.


For example, while substituting in the Buffalo school district, a young student asked John for a tissue. After searching around his desk, he realized that his classroom had no tissues in it. After giving the student his own handkerchief, John realized that he had a God-given mission to help provide school supplies to underprivileged children, to make sure that the tissue issue wouldn’t happen again.

As the new school year approaches, John says that he receives lots of requests to purchase new school items. The more common items that people buy, according to John, are facial tissue, glue sticks, and pencils. These three things are requested the most because they are used frequently in the classroom, and

The Pancho Pack contains most of the items typically sold by The Teacher’s Desk, including facial tissues, journals, pencils, and a water bottle, among other things. The Teacher’s Desk has sold around 35,000 Pancho Parks since the initiative started. They have been sold in Western New York, El Paso, and Dallas. Ezra grew up in El Paso and was living in the Dallas area at the time of his death. John said that he hopes to build 12,000 Pancho Packs this year and repeat the success they had the previous year. In the City of Good Neighbors, John’s goal is certainly possible.

One of the most special projects John and The Teacher’s Desk have been involved in was the creation of Pancho Packs in 2019. The Pancho Pack came about following the passage of Buffalo Bills superfan Ezra Castro, also known as Pancho Billa. At his funeral, Ezra asked for donations of supply-filled backpacks for students in need, instead of flowers. These backpacks would eventually become the Pancho Packs.

On the website, teachers can apply for a time to “buy” school supplies at the organization’s Buffalo location.

John Mika, the founder of The Teacher’s Desk, began his career working as an automaker and continued in this field for the majority of his adult life. After he retired from working at General Motors for 30 years, John worked as a substitute teacher in the Buffalo area. While he was substituting, John noticed the difference between the resources available in schools in the city of Buffalo and in the Buffalo suburbs.

The Teacher’s Desk is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to provide free school supplies for Western New York schools that may not be able to receive these supplies otherwise. Since opening in 2011, The Teacher’s Desk has given out around six million dollars’ worth of supplies to area schools. The organization has specifically given tissues to around 6,000 teachers in 250 WNY schools, which in turn helps around 150,000 students at those schools.

Most teachers can shop free at The Teacher’s Desk website, The only requirement for free school supplies is for each of these said teachers to work at a school where at least 70 percent of the student population qualifies for the Free Lunch or Reduced Lunch program.

Teachers can shop between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

The organization is funded through the donations of people and other organizations and through fundraisers held in Western New York. One of the biggest fundraisers that The Teacher’s Desk holds during the year is the Kingdom Bound Festival held at Darien Lake. John worked for the Kingdom Bound ministries in between working at General Motors and getting into teaching.

due to this, they run out more quickly. However, procuring these items is no longer much of a problem for educators thanks to The Teacher’s Desk where they “shop” for free on The Teacher’s Desk website.

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meet the foodies

Chicken wings, beef on weck, fish fry, sponge candy – these are just some of the tasty treats that come to mind when thinking of Buffalo’s most iconic food. Rich in flavor AND history, Buffalo is known for taking food staples and putting its own spin on it. Whether it is cooking wings in peppery hot sauce, putting roast beef on a salty bun, or creating the sweet, spongy delicacy upstate New Yorkers have come to love, Buffalo is home to one-of-a-kind foods that you can’t get anywhere else.

With its history rooted in our city, and plenty of unique varieties available throughout the town, we turned to the experts to hear how they like to enjoy Buffalo’s most unique flavors. Whether dining out, grabbing takeout or preparing meals at home, 3 local influencers weigh in on how and where they like to enjoy their go-to Buffalo fixes.

Good Food. Good Mood.

Having lived in many cities prior to coming to the area, they have tried food from all over the world and appreciate what Buffalo has to offer. They enjoy exploring new places in town and love meeting and learning about the people who run the restaurants, bakeries, pop-ups, and breweries because of the passion they have for what they do.


Local foodie Mike is the type of guy who can talk about food for hours and has loved it for as long as he can remember. He has lived in Buffalo for about 10 years and has been enjoying local food here ever since. He is passionate about the stories behind food and loves talking to restaurant owners about their backgrounds and what they love to cook.

Taking a look at Buffalo’s most famous bites

Buffalo native Courtney has a passion for food and how it brings people together. As an avid traveler and Yelp elite member, in January 2020 she started @biteofbuffalo to share her community favorites. Whether sharing a meal with family or dining with an old friend, she appreciates connecting over food and drink with the people she loves.


Tom & @Buffalo.Food.CoupleMaroneTori


As one of the country’s foremost meat packing cities for more than 100 years, Buffalo and the hot dog were a natural fit. One of the most recognizable Buffalo hot dog classics is its “Texas hot:” typically a skinless Sahlen hot dog nestled in a bun and topped with a special meat sauce. Delicious!

“Every restaurant makes and serves their fish fry differently. Most come with a variety of side dishes that are usually a bit unique to each restaurant, but they are typically served with French fries and some combination of macaroni salad, potato salad and cole slaw. My favorite one is at Jade’s. It is perfectly crispy and served with potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, fries, and rye bread.” -Courtney


Where do you get your fix? “Ted’s Hot Dogs!” -Tom & Tori

A Friday night in Buffalo wouldn’t be complete without a Buffalo Beer Battered Fish Fry. An enormous crispy-golden, beer battered filet of haddock is typically accompanied by equally golden French fries, a lemon wedge, tartar sauce, cole slaw, and a slice of bread or roll. Around 1900, Richie Roth’s fish house sold fish frys along the Erie Canal. Some suggest that to truly sample a traditional Buffalo fish fry today, you should stop into one of fewer than a dozen Buffalo area restaurants that serve the region’s freshwater yellow pike, rather than ocean-going haddock.




Hot Dogs

It would be impossible to discuss Buffalo foods without acknowledging the city’s over 150-year history with the classic hot dog. Buffalo hot dog makers include such wellknown establishments as Ted’s Hot Dogs (founded in 1927), Wardynski’s Finest Quality Meats (founded in 1919), and Sahlen’s (established in 1869).

From the Foodies

“Like most people, I love the charcoal-broiled hot dogs and the hand made onion rings at Ted’s. Toss in a loganberry too, why not? I also love a good Sahlen’s hot dog on the grill at home. They are a favorite that we make quite often. Many family parties and tailgates wouldn’t be complete without them.” -Courtney




“Our favorite places for wings are Audubon North and Beltline Brewery. Audubon fries the wing, sauces it, and then you have to ask for them to “touch it” on the grill. Get them in hot cajun.” -Tom & Tori

“Doc Sullivans serves up some of the best wings in Buffalo. It was my Dad’s favorite and is now mine, as well! They have a unique twist on Buffalo sauce they call “Smitty style.” They also serve beef on weck wings which are shaken in creamy horseradish with caraway seeds and salt sprinkled on top and homemade blue cheese. It sounds crazy but they are worth trying at least once if you’re a true Buffalonian.” -Courtney

Buffalo has been called the Chicken Wing Capital of the World…and for good reason! If you enjoy a tasty order of Buffalo wings, you can thank Buffalo pillar, the Anchor Bar. One popular story suggests that Buffalo wings were created by Teressa Bellissimo in 1964 with the now famous sauce blend of hot sauce, butter, and seasonings. Buffalo wings quickly took root in the city, and versions and sauces now abound. In fact, Buffalo wings have become so quintessentially connected to Buffalo that the city’s National Buffalo Wing Festival attracts around 80,000 people each year.  For a fun twist, don’t miss Chiavetta’s BBQ chicken wings, tantalizing Buffalo tastebuds since 1954.

“Out of all the food Buffalo is known for, I definitely eat wings the most. I’m a medium sauce kinda guy and the wings have to be crispy! And if you ask me where to go for wings, I’m sending you to Bar-Bill.” -mike

Those who think of pizza as either New York thin crust or Chicago deep dish are missing the beautifully balanced complexity that is the Buffalo style pizza. With a crust reminiscent of a focaccia and edge-to-edge toppings, which typically include a generous amount of mozzarella cheese, a slightly sweet sauce with flavors of heritage, and standout cup-and-char pepperoni—Buffalo style pizza dates back to Fioravanti “Grandpa” Santora in 1927. For nearly 100 years, unique Buffalo style pizza has delighted pizza lovers and those lucky enough to call the city home.

The Best pizza anywhere

“I love that we have these places in Buffalo. Not only does it give us an opportunity to eat some delicious food, but it also gives you an insight into these cultures.” -MIKE


Beef on Weck

“For Beef on Weck, Glen Park Tavern is my favorite place. They hand carve it right in front of you and it’s always cooked to perfection.” -Courtney

“Our other local favorite are stuffed banana peppers! They are one of our favorite apps when we go out, and it is not a common dish in other states.” -Tom & Tori


One of Buffalo’s most unique and long-standing culinary contributions is its distinctive Beef on Weck. But we bet you didn’t realize this delicious sandwich made its way to Buffalo by way of Germany, most likely via German baker and immigrant from Bavaria, William Warh or Schwable’s Restaurant founder and German immigrant, Sebastian Schwabl. This classic dish is comprised of tender, hot roast beef layered onto a fresh horseradish!Craveseed-and-salt-toppedkummelweck—rollkimmelweck—or(likeacaraway-Kaiserroll).alittlespice?Tryadding

From the Foodies




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