Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Shopping Ideas (that don't include the mall!)

Looking to shop this weekend but don't want to fight the masses at the mall? Every year we trek over to one of our favorite spots in Cary for a little holiday inspiration. This unique spot is the Garden Supply Company. Located on Old Apex Road, this place has an amazing selection of holiday decorations and is always a warm, cozy place to shop in. The owners and staff are always helpful and there's usually a warm cup of coffee or cider to sip on while browsing their unique and eclectic selection of holiday decor. We usually pick up a few new items for decorating each year and always enjoy checking out the selection of new items. When the kids were younger, we used to go eat donuts and listen to Mrs Claus read a story, now we all enjoy picking out new ornaments or something festive to hang on the wall or give as a gift (teachers, friends, etc). I've included a few photos from our recent trip. If you are looking to get out and shop for some special gift or decor ideas this holiday weekend, put the Garden Supply Co on your list and stay away from that crazy mall! ;-)
Koi fish pond outside

Front door

love these chalk boards

holiday bulbs

beautiful year round decor

clever wall art

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weekend Ideas - Part 2: Raleigh Christmas Parade, Pullen Park Grand Re-opening

Busy weekend all around for Raleigh downtown. The 67th annual WRAL Christmas parade is happening this Saturday starting at 10am. Weather looks pretty good (cold though!) so put on your hats and gloves  and coats and head downtown with the kids for some Christmas cheer!

Another big opening this weekend is Pullen Park! Who doesn't have memories of  riding the boats or the train around the park? The whole thing has been under renovation for the last two years complete with a new cafe and all updated amenities. The  grand opening is Saturday, November 19th at 2pm. The cafe owners includes the chef from Zely & Ritz of Glenwood South fame. Music and entertainment from 3-6pm. Go out and find your inner kid!

Weekend Raleigh Plans: Idea 1 - Dillon Fence

Greg Humphreys from Dillon Fence at Hopscotch 2011

I may be showing my age a little, but looking forward to seeing Dillon Fence this Friday night at the Lincoln Theatre. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 8pm. Always a guaranteed fun time. A popular band that were big in the late 1980s to 1995, Dillon Fence originated from Chapel Hill and get together occasionally to perform in different NC venues.

Lincoln Theatre is always a fun spot, so looking forward to getting out and catching up with them Friday night!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kickin' in the Season with the Rockettes

Last night was opening night at DPAC for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. I have to say, this show definitely got me feeling the Christmas spirit (and I'm not one to really start until AFTER Thanksgiving!) What a FANTASTIC show. Run, don't walk to get your tickets to this show before its gone. Only 36 more shows through November (the show only runs in November). The costumes were dazzling, and the 50 foot LED video screen behind the whole thing added such a cool new dimension to the stage production. At one point, there is a double decker bus touring the streets of NYC including Rockefeller Center and Times Square and you really feel  like you are moving along with the bus, through the city streets. One of my favorite scenes was the many, many Santas that came out and did a spectacular dance. SO fun. They cover the gambit of holiday cheer, including an absolutely stunning nativity scene at the end, complete with  a real camel, donkey and sheep that were bahhing, you couldn't help but be a little moved by it.

The show runs just under two hours so not too long for the kiddies! Great for all ages, take your Grandma, your mom (I did!) or take the kids, everyone will love it. DPAC is a great performance venue...a gem in the center of  the American Tobacco District in Durham. I have to say I felt a little guilty seeing it without my kids, so they will definitely come along the next time. Any aspiring dancer daughters?? They will be thrilled.  Catch it before its gone!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SATURDAY: NC Beer & Band Festival

@Lincoln Theatre presented by NC Brewers Guild
Happening this Saturday, November 12 ! Unlimited samples of beer from lots of great local breweries such as: Natty Greene's, Carolina Brewing Company, Mother Earth, Foothills, Lone Rider, Triangle Brewing, Count Craggie, Roth, Carolina Brewery, Duck-Rabbit, Mash House,and others. Bands will be playing on stages inside and outside from 3-8pm. Tickets at Lincoln Theatre. If you like good music and great beer,  this could be a fun Fall day out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hooray for Parks!

The Mayor takes time out with us for a photo
This past Saturday we attended the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newest neighborhood park in Raleigh...Strickland Road Neighborhood Park. We strolled over on freshly laid mulch to find Mayor Meeker and Mayor-Elect McFarlane there along with several other Raleigh folks, preparing to cut the ribbon and introduce the new playground area. Several families, boy scout and girl scout troops, donated their time and effort to help plant shrubs, lay mulch and add the finishing touches to a project that has been in the works for a couple years. After the ceremony, I had a nice chat with Mayor Meeker about how many great parks, greenways, etc that Raleigh folks have available to them. Its true, between many neighborhood parks, bike paths and of course Umstead State Park, Raleigh is very lucky to have so many wonderful outdoor places to go play, stroll, run, check out wildlife, picnic, throw a ball, whatever you feel like. This is definitely one of my favorite things about living in Raleigh. I appreciate all of Mayor Meeker's efforts over the past 10 years to help create and maintain many of these beautiful outdoor spots and I hope people continue to enjoy these great places for years to come. The weather is perfect in Raleigh now, so get out and PLAY!

cutting the ribbon
More info: Strickland Road is a 37 acre neighborhood park located on Strickland Road between Ray and Leesville Roads in NW Raleigh. The Strickland Road Master Plan was adopted by the Raleigh City Council on March 17, 2009 and funded by the 2000 Parks and Recreation Bond Referendum.
checking out the new playground

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ready to "Kick" in the Holiday Season @ DPAC!

Well, as hard to believe as it is, Halloween is over and Christmas is less then TWO months away! This past weekend we started thinking about checking out a fun holiday production this year to "kick" off the start of the holiday season. Since we are big fans of DPAC, we are excited to see this year's holiday event they are hosting, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the world famous Radio City Rockettes! They are performing this show at only a handful of select venues this year and its guaranteed to be a great show. Not to mention they are going high tech with a 50 foot LED screen, amazing costumes, dancing, singing and of course the man in the red suit!

Shows start November 10th and this is sure to be a hot ticket event. We have always wanted to catch the Rockettes in NYC but have always had so many things on our agenda when we were there so this will be a great opportunity to see them in Durham without making the trip to NYC! This year's production sounds like it will feel as if you are in the Big Apple, with a double decker tour of the city as part of the show. I can't wait to see this!

Make this a Girls Night Out event, date night  (lots of great Durham restaurants close by) or take the whole family!   Go to now to get all the ticket and show details!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another fabulous GNO idea in Raleigh!

This past Monday night I joined a group of fun ladies to try my hand at painting my very own "masterpiece". I attended the evening class at Wine & Design located at 231 Bickett Blvd in Raleigh. It took a little venturing out from North Raleigh to find this little gem hidden just behind Underwood Elementary inside the Beltline. As soon as I walked in (with my bottle of vino), I was greeted immediately by Christy, one of the talented and friendly instructors. She immediately got my wine opened, poured and seated me at my own blank canvas. While we listened to some fun tunes, chatted, and sipped our wine, Christy proceeded to guide us step-by-step to creating our very own Georgia O'Keefe-inspired paintings. She made it easy and relaxing and it was cool to walk out with my very own canvas to hang back home.

Our finished artwork!
I got to thinking while I was there how fun this would be to bring some  girlfriends, or a mom/sister evening out. I know the kids would love to do it, but I might have to save this one just for the ladies (they do have kid classes on school holidays). I plan to go back and try out some holiday painting. Such a fun and different twist on hanging out with friends. Thanks Wine & Design for a lovely night out!

If you are interested in booking a class go to Wine and Design's website at:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Saturday Market, CAM and Boylan Bridge

Looking to get out and do something different and enjoy this great Autumn weather? Check out The Saturday Market, happening this Saturday, October 22 · 9:00am - 2:00pm. The market is located at 301 Kinsey Street in downtown Raleigh.  Located near the Boylan Heights neighborhood, this local market brings together  farmers, bakers, crafters, designers, etc. Get your drink on with coffee vendors, food trucks and even local brewers are featured. While you are there, take advantage of lunch at Boylan Bridge Brew Pub and a stroll through the new Art gallery CAM! Sounds like the perfect Saturday to me!

Main gallery

Checking out one of the exhibits

Heading in to check out Raleigh's new CAM.

Lunch and drinks at Boylan Bridge Brew Pub

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Local Brewery Score to the Raleigh Area

Word is out that there is more local beer "brewing" in....Wake Forest! Opening date set for Spring 2012. Just when you thought we couldn't get any cooler...;-)
White Street Brewing Company locating in historic downtown Wake Forest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Channeling My Inner Architect

I just came across a pretty cool event that is going on this weekend in Raleigh's Cameron Village. Cameron Village has joined with Triangle Builders Guild, and other designers, architects, businesses and individuals to help raise money for the Sassafras All Children’s playground. This seems like a really fun thing to check out with big kids as well as young children. My inner architect is totally fascinated by these unique mini-structures! They look amazing! There is quite a variety of designs, with twelve houses to explore. They will all be auctioned off later for the fundraiser. With the weather looking amazing this weekend, could be a great afternoon out with the kids. The band Sandbox is playing and there are FREE tours from 11-5pm on Saturday. Not to mention the choice of restaurants and shops to explore! With company coming in, I am going to put this on our "things to do" this weekend! Click here for more info and to preview the houses.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Raleigh GNO!

Anyone looking for a fun day and/or night out with girlfriends in Raleigh? How about drinks, shopping and quality time with your BFF's (you know who you are!)....The 27th Annual Shopping SPREE! is coming  up the weekend of November 3-6 at the Raleigh Convention Center presented by the Junior League of Raleigh. Conveniently located downtown where there are lots of great restaurants and pubs within walking distance. (I will suggest some later this month.)

We've done this for a few years now and its always proven to be a good time out. Get some good girlfriend time and holiday shopping done while supporting the Junior League of Raleigh! This would also be a good outing for mom and daughters or guests from out of town!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Friday Fullsteam Ahead!

Samantha walking into Fullsteam
Friday night we had company in town so we decided to head over to Durham for a drink at Fullsteam Brewery. Located near the corner of Geer and Rigsbee Street, its a family friendly spot that is always a pretty crowded mix of young and old. We have spent the last couple times there, teaching the girls tricks of the trade of mastering the pinball machine. They also have a ping pong table in the outside (covered) beer garden. While we were there we stood in awe as a 10 year old girl dominated the ping pong table! She was beating everyone she played. Even Matt couldn't resist and stepped up for the challenge. He's pretty good and she was hanging there right with him!  Very fun to watch. As usual, the beer was awesome and we enjoyed hanging out for a bit before heading over to Geer Street Garden for dinner.

If you are looking for a fun night out, these two places are a great pairing because you can park at Geer Street and then walk around the corner to Fullsteam. You can also check out Motorco Music Hall which is a great venue for checking out the local music scene. Plus, there is almost always a food truck or two hanging out between all these places. No lack of food, drink, music and fun here!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Invasion of the Food Trucks!

Food Truck King on Thursday, October 20th from 5 until 9:30pm in City Plaza in the heart of downtown Raleigh.

Courtesy of Raleigh Downtowner Magazine: This is a free event featuring live music, fire dancers, circus performers, giveaways, and a food truck contest with 12 food trucks (see list below) competing for the rights to be Food Truck King, complete with huge 6-foot custom metal crown created by local artist Matt McConnell. There will also be several local breweries with their savory craft beers for sale. Tickets can be purchased for sampling all the food trucks, two beers and giveaways for $25.  Who wants to cook when there's choices and entertainment for the whole family! If its good weather, this could be a fun early evening out! Nerd alert: If you are a foursquare fan, could be a chance for a new food truck badge too!

Participating Food Trucks So Far (more coming!)
Big Al's BBQ
Bukogi Taco Truck
Chirba Chirba
Farmhand Foods
Klausie's Pizza
Kona Ice
Old North State BBQ
Only Burger
Par Lez Vous Crepe
Slippin Sliders
Will & Pops

Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Coffee Day!

I'm doing my part to support National Coffee Day...are you?? In case you missed it, Starbucks just opened a new shop on the corner of Six Forks and Strickland Roads. The true joy is the fact that its the first DRIVE THRU Starbucks in the general North Raleigh area, so needless to say we are thrilled and so should all you moms with kids who don't want to stop and unload everyone just to grab your cup o' joe. Located conveniently close to the dance studio and the YMCA. Happy Coffee Day everyone. Do your part. LOL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's the number one American city to live in? Well, Raleigh of course!!

According to Bloomberg!!
checking out the city from Boylan Bridge Brewpub
Here's yet another recent accolade for voting Raleigh as the number one city in America!  Alot of what determined that title is based on the number of restaurants, bars, museums, colleges, libraries per capita. We are not a large city but one with a rich cultural life, good college sports in the area and lots of great places to eat and see bands!! (Remember Hopscotch two weeks ago??)  Other factors included reasonable cost of living, temperate climate (for the most part but not this Summer!),  not to mention the proximity to mountains and beautiful beaches. I recently read as well that Raleigh is shaping up to be one of the greenest cities in the country as well. In a short amount of time, Raleigh has really transformed itself. Way to go Raleigh!

Read the article here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Take the family out!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A little Sunday afternoon Southern Culture...

 Sunday afternoon, beautiful 70ish degree day (finally!) and we find ourselves making our way down to Chapel Hill for a little outdoor concert featuring Southern Culture on the Skids, one of our favorite local bands. They were helping to raise money for a local preschool and after the kiddy music was over, they came on "stage" and rocked the little outdoor venue of Fox's theatre on the UNC campus. Kids running everywhere, it was hilarious to sit about three feet away and watch them crank out some of the old favorites. Being so used to seeing them at little dark smoky bars, this was quite the change of pace. They were fun, funky and always friendly to chat with us after the show. Rock on SCOTS! See you again soon in OCTOBER for the Halloween Hullaballoo show at Motorco!

Raleigh is Better then Ezra!

We joined friends Saturday night to check out the popular nineties band, Better then Ezra down at the Raleigh Amphitheatre last night. What started off as a cold, rainy night turned into a ton of laughs and great hits by these New Orleans rockers. They were funny, clever and sounded amazing. You can tell they still love what they do. They really connected with the Raleigh crowd, making them a big hit with the audience. The rain stopped just before they went on stage, making for one great evening out in Raleigh!