Best Desserts of CNY: JUST DONUTS

To kick off the start of my “Best Desserts of CNY” Mini-Blog Series comes one of the finest donut places around! I will be releasing ONE new dessert location every day this week. Like the name says, they sell JUST DONUTS. Despite the name though, they are not just any donuts. They have fresh donuts daily. The best part? They dream up a different kind of donut every day! They gladly accept ideas from customers! One day they may have red-velvet and blueberry as the base, one day may be sour cream and banana bread. This is a small-town mom & pop shop, but far from typical. The presentation is incomparable, as you see in these blog-worthy photos. Some options include: Kit-Kat, Maple bacon, Fruity pebbles, Canoli, Peanut-butter Oreo, and almost any combination you can think of. What is even better than all of that? They are all made-to-order — freshly topped or glazed with whatever your heart desires. They even do catering for weddings or events, so if you want to be UNpopular, do donuts instead of cake for your wedding or event!! The donuts are cut into cute little pieces and again, pretty much any combination you can think of to please different tastes. They are the only one that exists thus far — and I personally hope it stays that way! Craving donuts and a road trip? Head to Phoenix, NY and I promise it will be well worth it. If you weren’t hungry, I bet you are now!

 

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Click here to see JUST DONUTS Facebook page 

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Ways To Adventure On A Budget

One of my favorite quotes is “Create a life you don’t need a vacation from.” And so I shall. Quarter of a century old and having the time of my life. Every day is a new adventure. What if the best vacation, or rather STAYcation was in your own backyard? Sometimes it doesn’t take a trip to the Bahamas to feel like you’re winning in life. I came up with this blog because not everybody (including me) have the funds to permanently vacay, so why not appreciate your own town as well as surrounding towns.

#1 Go for a drive

Sometimes when I have nothing better to do, I go for a drive in hopes to stumble across a new place to adventure. Thus far, I have had pretty good luck. I found an abandoned train and watched an EPIC sunset. Pink and blue skies and not a care in the world. They say the best things in life are free.

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#2 Waterfallin’

As it turns out, NY has a ton of waterfalls to see. So, I packed a lunch with my boo, and had a picnic right in front of a 137-foot waterfall. This picnic included a sandwich, pasta salad, mini blueberry pie, and red wine which I happily drank out of my favorite “wine bitch” glass. Who says you can’t be fancy in the middle of the woods? If there were ever a statement to describe me better than the previous one, I don’t know what it would be. My family can attest.

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Pratt Falls -Manlius, NY

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Salmon River Falls -Pulaski, NY

 

#3 Run a 5k or 10k

I LOVE running and what better way to stay in shape than signing up for a 5K? It gives you an excuse to train and gives you something to look forward to. The feeling afterward is one of accomplishment, plus you usually get a free pint of beer. WIN-WIN. Getting a team of friends together like I did for the annual cider run was so much fun! If you’re not an avid runner, I almost encourage you to try it even more because you will feel so amazing afterwards. Scenic views and running for a good cause — practically spells adventure.

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We were feeling amazing after this 5K

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..Yay Free Cider, SUCCESS.

 

#4 Explore the outdoors & take lots of pics

Snapping a picture on a railroad track with an oncoming train? Checked that one off the bucket list. I enjoy walking around the closest downtown city and appreciating the architecture of the buildings, the graffiti, and the simple fact that there are homeless people out there playing saxophone on the streets. I also enjoy exploring the country-side just lying in a field of dandelions just for an epic picture. Leaning out on the top of a parking garage downtown? Been there, done that, and took some photos, OBV. Find happiness in all things.

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#5 Try a new restaurant

New parks, new restaurants, new dessert locations, and new coffee shops as you will see in my future blogs. I’ve found some amazing restaurants in surrounding areas. I cannot wait to share them with the world. Every restaurant is unique in its own way. It is especially fun to speak with the owners just to get a taste of their different personalities. One restaurant I’ve recently discovered has a pasta man in his own little bubble cranking out fresh pasta right in front of you! It’s like they imported him straight from Italy. I will follow up with a detailed blog with that one. I. Love. Food. Exploring new restaurants every now and again is completely affordable and super fun as long as you appreciate the details of everything it takes to successfully run the place. Remember, you are paying for the environment and the service, not just the food! SO tip your servers!

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#6 Winery/Brewery

So many wineries and breweries to choose from. They are all a blast. Do some research in your surrounding area and go for it. Grab a group of friends, split a bus or limo, and prepare to have a hangover that will be well worth it — I promise. Just don’t be silly and think that you can drive just because it is just a few wine and beer samples. You cannot and should not. Some samples turn into full glasses for some reason. It is no surprise that I have an unhealthy obsession with wine. I recently bought a shirt that has a T-rex and it is holding two glasses of wine. The wording states “WINO-SAUR.” For a taste of my style, you can look forward to unique style blogs here. 💁🏼

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Tailwater Lodge -Pulaski, NY

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#7 OH CANADA

Ok, so there are so many things to see in Canada. If you want it to feel like a real vacation, what better way than technically being out of the U.S.? Niagra falls really is beautiful, especially if you walk over to the Canadian side when there is nicer weather. If you are close enough to go for the day, super cheap. If not, Airbnb.com is a great option. I did that while visiting Toronto, check out my experiences in Toronto here.

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Niagara Falls

 

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Rooftop life -Toronto, Canada

 

Moral of the story: if your life is lacking adventure, make your own. While its more fun to venture out with another, it’s also fun now and again to venture out by your lonesome.   It takes me back to green beer Sunday and my cab ride home with Mr. Osirus (the amazing ninja cab driver), if you haven’t read it — here it is.. Cab Ride With the Man-Bun. Spark some of your creativity and E-mail me all of your favorite adventure spots!

Another day, another adventure.

XO

 

-E

Life is a Trip.

Toronto, Canada treated me very well. If you were talking to someone for just a month (give or take) and they asked to take you on a surprise trip, what would you say? Me a year ago—NOPE. No way José — need more details, more notice. The “not enough money” excuse would have come into play, or the “I’m just not comfortable with it yet” cop out. Living fearlessly takes less effort than you think. You just say yes — and that’s exactly what I did. I call him B, his name is Brandon though.

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(Posing in the middle of the road in high traffic area — “We do it for the photos, for the memories.”)

He had to tell me the night before we left where we were headed (so that I could bring my passport), though that didn’t make it any less exciting. Road trip was around 4 hours. While going through the border to Canada, the customs officer said “Any firearms or drugs in your vehicle?” B looks in the back all sketchy …and then says no. The officer is like “Why are you looking in the back, is there something you want to tell me?” LOL OH DEAR. Yea so we definitely ended up having to get out, no surprise there. Face palm. We made it through though! We jammed out to old songs, new songs — everything from Blink 182, to matchbox 20, to Ariana Grande. Thankfully we have the same all-over-the-place taste in music. I guess it matches our up-for-anything attitudes.

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(Exploring downtown where we vibed to a song with a homeless woman at a cafe called Second Cup Coffee.)

We have arrived — the view from the room on the 30th floor was breathtaking. We got all settled in, then decided to hit the town. King St. W. was pretty bumping, considering it was a Thursday. It was probably 20 degrees out — or less. Absolutely coming back when it’s warmer to explore more of DT Toronto!

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(Drunken admiring of the city lights in my own little world.)

First stop was Wvrst (restaurant). We walked up a flight of stairs to get there — we could hear the loud music before we walked in. Lights were hanging low and it had communal seating so that you can mingle with whoever. It is the only one that exists — which is actually pretty awesome. Being that it was a German restaurant, it served all kinds of crazy sausages like kangaroo and rabbit. Also serving a variety of craft beer, which I happen to be a HUGE fan of. We ordered a flight of beer in which you didn’t get to choose the different kinds of beer you wanted, hey we’re in Toronto — let’s do this! Their duck fat fries are legit amazing. I went the basic route and got Italian sausage with cheese and onions because wild boar, etc. was a little too gamey for my tastes. Next time maybe I’ll be more adventurous, and there will be a next time. I asked the bartender what time they closed and he replied “12:00.” I’m like “Huh, that’s a little early.” He then stated with a mischievous face “We need to go out and drink too!” LOL, MY MAN. We learned that Canadian one and two-dollar coins are called “Loonies” and “Toonies.” So of course B making me laugh, as per usual, kept saying “We got Luneys and Tuneyssssss!” Haha it was funny at the time, I swear. So I recommend going there 100%. Great time, awesome food, really unique place.

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(Goofing off at the museum.)

That was night numero Uno. The following night, we went up to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). We took in the museum, all of the culture and beauty, then headed up to the 6th floor lounge for some adult beverages, live music, and a Toronto night city view. The lounge was beautiful. The first band was a psychedelic band I think? We did not know how to vibe to it, because there was essentially no real beat. It was funny trying though. The next band included a girl whose voice was as mesmerizing and beautiful as she was. Luna Li band it was called. We had a great time laughing and enjoying the cool atmosphere. The Uber ride there was pretty amusing as well, or maybe it was the ride back to the room? Little fuzzy there. Tickets were so cheap! Great touristy thing to do while in the the six, I recommend. Fun fact: Toronto used to be broken into six cities — Old Toronto, Scarborogh, North York, York, East York, and Etobicoke. The Toronto area code is also 4-1-6. The debate continues on which one is actually the true meaning of the famous nickname “The Six.”

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(Finding warmth in each other’s arms on the walk back.)

So, on to the final day. Sigh. If only there were a better word for the euphoric feeling I felt on that epic last day. So B tells me, “Erin, I have another surprise in store for you today, we are meeting up with a couple of 19 year olds downtown.” In my head WAIT, WHAT?! I’m thinking, what could we possibly be doing meeting up with a couple of random kids in Toronto? He wasn’t telling, and I secretly didn’t want to know. We all met at union station. They are the coolest people ever, by first impression. Albert and Chris are their names. So we say hello and they say “Follow us — you’re in for a great surprise” with big genuine smiles on their faces. So I follow, confused as hell still. We go into a building and hop into an elevator. They press the Top floor. They have backpacks on, so I’m wondering what is in those mysterious backpacks the entire time. So we arrive to the top floor, walk out the door to the rooftop to a vertical steel ladder. They say ok, put your purse around you and climb up. The adrenaline rush was out of this world. What is happening right now, and WHY on earth am I saying yes to this?! So many thoughts going through my mind. So I get to the top of the cold, steel ladder and look up. I swear to you the most beautiful view I will ever see in my life. The sun, the sparkling water, the buildings, the CN tower. It was an absolute rush. I would compare it to something, but you see it was incomparable. My eyes must have been smiling because the look on Albert’s face was one of true satisfaction, and I just hugged him saying thank-you. I felt strangely close to a stranger in that moment. Funny side note—Im also scared of heights. There was another ladder higher up and less safe that they talked me into climbing. It turns out these “kids” are amazingly talented photographers. We had a photoshoot right there on that roof. It was all so so movie-esq. Like my wildest dream came true. Forever memorable. Photos below. Photo Credit Instagram.com/diu.lei and Instagram.com/chriischenn. Follow them for unique views of Toronto! The Prince Charming that made this possible … Brandon Deem

So friends, if you’re feeling like taking a chance, my advice to you is to just say yes. You never know what will happen, maybe you’ll find your rooftop.

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(Scared, but safe in his arms.)

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(Photoshoot at airport following the rooftop shoot, still on a high from the experience.)

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(Candids are the best.)

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(Too high to come down.)

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(Living on the edge, literally.)

-E