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For many Western New York families, the much-needed respite following a brutal winter means a trip to central Florida. With direct flights from Buffalo to Orlando and days of fun to be had at major theme parks, what’s not to love? For many families, it’s the cost: the average week with Mickey and the princesses will set you back $5,000 for a family of four. But there …

Somewhere in my life I must have picked up a few bad habits, given the number of improvements I think I need.  The question is: when? I’d like to believe that I started out sweet and relatively flawless. But through the years, likely beginning when I was a teen, the seeds of defiance, impatience and extreme sassiness were planted. In turn, they germinated into stubborn…

Hey there, potato chips. It’s me, Greg. Chips, you and I have had some times together over the years. From movie nights with the family to half-conscious midnight cupboard raids, you’ve been a big part of my life. I’ve taken you in by the handful. I’ve submerged you in dip. I’ve put you on pizza. I’ve eaten you as a meal. You never griped when I snuck you in…

In an age when the words on the screen reign supreme, it’s a wonder we even remember what it feels like to turn the page of an actual book. But there’s something about the weight in your hand, the smell of the pages and the fantastic feeling of anticipation that comes with holding a real book. For readers who like their words the old-fashioned way, here’s a short l…

Al Bella lay on his kitchen floor as the muscles in his neck convulsed, leaving him unable to speak and struggling to breathe. His panicked daughter called to her mother, “Daddy is sleeping on the floor.” Bella – a fit marathon runner – was having a stroke at age 39. Carin Stahlka thought someone stabbed her in the back of the head. When she turned around, no one…

‘Tis the season: the shopping, cooking, baking and, oh yes, the decorating. While some find holiday prep overwhelming, other homeowners and professional decorators truly love the season — and show us how they make their homes beautiful (and how you can, too). Kim and Bob Greiner As board members for the Festival of Trees, the annual fundraiser to benefit Women and Ch…

In the 1950s, 20 percent of marriages in the U.S. were interfaith unions. By the first decade of the 21st century, they grew to 45 percent. These statistics from ‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America are underscored by the fact that while interfaith marriages may be more common, they also come with a unique set of challenges. These inclu…

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Santa when the kids are young. But eventually the day comes when logic overrules blind faith: How can he possibly fit all of those presents in his sleigh? Or fly millions of miles…being pulled by reindeer? Then there are the neighborhood kids or friends at school who gladly spill the beans. This was the experience for Whitney Mc…

Twenty-five years ago in a house on Sycamore Street in Buffalo’s East Side, Elizabeth Triggs began the first of many Thanksgiving dinners that were free and open to the community. Fueled by donations of food from local businesses and volunteer manpower, her organization – None Like You Community Outreach – put a wholesome meal on the table for many who would have gon…

Introduced in 1966 to reaffirm bonds and honor African heritage, today millions of people celebrate Kwanzaa worldwide. But what makes the holiday special for Western New Yorkers? We asked some local people to share their favorite tradition or aspect of the holiday. Sharon and Kenneth Holley, who were instrumental in the formation of Buffalo’s city-wide Kwanzaa celebra…

It’s November and the holidays are knocking … and so are family members with their overnight bags looking for a place to stay. Sounds great. What’s a few days or a little longer? It is the holidays, after all. That’s what we’re supposed to do for family, right? For some, hosting houseguests can create more turbulence at an already stressful time. And nobody wan…

Don’t let that stack of unwrapped gifts steal your holiday joy… with some creative mojo and bit of organization, anyone can master the art of fabulous gift-wrapping. Expert wrappers know that a well-stocked wrapping station — anything from a designated room to a corner of the dining room table to a portable basket that can be stashed out of sight — is the secret t…

Artificial trees may have made major headway throughout the years – 48 percent of American households have them – but fresh tree aficionados are still holding strong. There are many good reasons why 22 percent of households still select a fresh tree, despite the conveniences of their artificial counterparts. Christmas trees are big business, employing more than 100,00…

Makeup trends come and go — sometimes quickly, like Buffalo’s change of seasons. It can be a challenge to put your finger on the pulse of the latest trend long enough to wear it more than once before it is considered five minutes ago. Plus, makeup trends are often subtle. One example is the placement of blush. In the 1980s, blush used to contour the face all the way u…