Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was full of old favorites, new discoveries and fun times in Raleigh. Friday night we kicked things off with dinner at Dos Taquitos (a local north Raleigh favorite!). 

Dinner at Dos Taquitos

On Saturday, the girls had a Girl Scout event at the Museum of History, so we decided to make an afternoon and evening out of it.  Our first stop was to check out the new upstairs outside patio at Raleigh Times. Totally love the new edition to the bar that includes a bar downstairs and a full bar upstairs with outside seating. It all overlooks the corner of Hargett and Wilmington and you can watch all the action from above.  Definitely a new favorite hangout spot!  I especially love that the new bar opens directly into Moon & Lola's store. Future plans could include a take out window from Raleigh Times...

View from the new outside patio at Raleigh Times Bar.

Window shopping at Moon & Lola

More window shopping at Stitch, below the new upstairs patio
at Raleigh Times.

Took the kids to dinner at Chucks for burgers and fries. Delicious dinner and the kids especially got a kick out of the  old fashion soda pops in a bottle.

Dinner at Chucks.

Checking out the Trolley Pub as it rolls past Raleigh Times.

After dinner, we headed to Red Hat Amphitheater for a FREE show featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead. Talk about an amazing night, the weather was perfect, the crowds were minimal and we were able to enter the venue FREE and with kids. Michael Franti put on an amazing show. His music is upbeat, fun and totally the right fit for the whole family. It was so great to take the "tweenagers" to a fabulous outdoor concert and have as much fun as they did! Beach balls were flying, people were singing and dancing and what a great opportunity to share a great night out with my kids. Thanks again, Raleigh.

 Shimmer wall behind Red Hat Amphitheater at the Convention Center.

Michael Franti & Spearhead on stage at Red Hat Amphitheater.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sample Raleigh's "Visual Feast" @ the NCMA!

This past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to enjoy an exclusive social+media preview of the new Still-Life Masterpieces exhibit at the NCMA, opening this weekend. This eclectic collection is a  "visual feast" for the eyes, meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages at a relaxing, leisurely pace and to enjoy the art of still-life paintings as it was interpreted from 16th century artists through modern day.

The exhibit features work from greats such as Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Georgia O'Keefe, and reflects their take on still-life art. There is plenty to look at and enjoy, including glass cases featuring an assortment of decorative objects used throughout the ages, each with a fascinating history of their own. The exhibit features interesting and clever artist pairings with a focus on the use of different mediums, color palettes, themes and techniques.

Still-Life Masterpieces is a collection from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the NCMA is the only US venue for this show, making this a very special opportunity for Raleigh and the local community. The collection features over 70 paintings  and decorative arts spanning 400 years.
Still-Life Masterpieces is an amazing opportunity to see some of the greatest artists of all time, featured in one collection. And it's here. In Raleigh!

SPECIAL EVENT: Octoberfeast at the NCMA on Sunday, October 21 is a family festival and will allow for free admission kids under 12 to this exhibit. Get more info by clicking here.

OCTOBER 21, 2012 - JANUARY 13, 2013

NCMA's real life "still life". A delicious assortment of breakfast treats.
Stanton MacDonald-Wright.  1923.
Paul Cezanne. 1890-94.

Levi Wells Prentice. 1892.

Sam Taylor-Wood.  2001.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir. 1869.

Akira Arita. 1980.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fab Fall Day @ Cooke Street Carnival

Cooke Street Carnival was the perfect Fall day out last Saturday in downtown Raleigh. This has become an annual neighborhood event, and Cooke Street was packed with vendors, food, drinks, music and fun stuff for people of all ages.  Saturday was the epitome of the cool, hip local vibe that is defining Raleigh. Organic in nature, there is a real feeling of a unique urban scene going on in Raleigh these days. From creative types, to young craft beer loving hipsters, artists and musicians,  couples pushing baby strollers, cyclists, and political types, Cooke Street embraced them all. 

Advice Booth.

Creative Photo Opp boards using the carnival theme this year.

Interesting People.

Fabulous local jewelry by

Great handbags by Iro.

Raleigh photos by

Knitted hats by Designing Impressions

Lonerider Brewing Company serving up amazing beverages.

Fun activities.

Unique tees featuring Raleigh artwork by
Couldn't resist these photo opps!

For a complete list of artists and food and drink vendors  and musicians who were at Saturday's Carnival check out  Each year the neighborhood selects a local charity to sponsor and this year's charity was the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Cooke Street was a great discovery. Can't wait to do it again next year!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How I Spent my Summer Staycation.

It's officially Fall in Raleigh. Even if the weather doesn't feel like it yet.

So, quick flashback to August and what I am calling our "Staycation" in Raleigh/Durham. This was unique for us because the kids were away M-F and this allowed for some random flexible evenings to enjoy some shopping, wining and dining  (and beering) in our local area while the kids were in WV for a week of country living with their grandparents.  Following are some of the fabulous places we were able to get out and discover or revisit in one week.

While the kids are away....!

Moon & Lola on Wilmington Street
Feelgoodz on Wilmington
M&L boutique.

Our first evening out started with a stop at Feelgoodz and Moon & Lola...both new and creative boutique shopping located on Wilmington Street downtown Raleigh. We picked up some cool flip flops from Feelgoodz and then headed next door to Moon & Lola. I proceeded to pick up a very cool "RALEIGH" pendant that I have enjoyed wearing around town and out of town! You can customize your necklaces to say your name or whatever you want. They are a GREAT gift idea! Moon & Lola's store is a beautiful shopping experience and the staff are friendly and helpful.

After doing some shopping, we proceeded to Raleigh Times for a relaxing drink, located right around the corner.  Raleigh Times is currently undergoing a major renovation that will be finished hopefully soon that should include a new rooftop patio over Stitch. The seating capacity of the bar will be greatly increased and patrons of Raleigh Times may even be able to access the boutique shops from inside the bar which is a cool little feature for all...whether you are there to shop, drink or eat...or all three!

View of Raleigh from Boylan Bridge Pub outdoor patio.
Next, since the weather was great, we decided to stop off at Boylan Bridge Pub for a lovely view of Raleigh and a great summer ale. Always one of our favorite Raleigh locations and we've taken many out of town guests to this spot when the weather is good.

Food and beverages are great...try the onion rings, (they are to die for!) and the view of the Raleigh skyline is a good one.

David's Dumpling & Noodle Bar at Oberlin and Hillsborough Street.
Dinner time was quickly approaching so we headed to Oberlin/Hillsborough Street for a fantastic dinner at David's Dumpling and Noodle Bar.     David Mao was formerly of Duck and Dumpling which some "Raleigh-ites" might remember from a few years back. It had great food and atmosphere. The food was tasty at David's and the dumplings were delicious. Definitely worth checking out for lunch or dinner. Food was just as tasty as I remembered from Duck and Dumpling. They have local beers on draft and some good drink specials. We will definitely be back. (I believe you can get take out too!)

Game Time at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham.

We decided to venture West to Durham for some fun. First stop was Fullsteam Brewery for a beverage and a mean game of ping pong with some of the locals. Even enjoyed a little old school arcade style pinball action. Love that place!

After a beverage at Fullsteam, we headed to the famous Watts Grocery for dinner. I'd heard great things about it, but had never been.

Watts Grocery features fabulous dishes, all using local farm fresh foods often raised, caught or produced within two miles of the restaurant. It was busy as we guessed it would be but we were able to enjoy a delicious, quiet dinner at the bar.

Decided to stay local in North Raleigh and hit Lafayette Village. This fun European style village has lots to offer as far as shopping and dining in a unique setting. We enjoyed a casual dinner at the Village Grill topped off with a glass of red wine at the cozy Vinos Finos Wine & Tapas Bar.

Drinks at Capital Club 16
It's Thursday and Lonerider brewery was open for Happy Hour! We headed there first and ended up running into an old friend! The summer weather was perfect for hanging outside and they shared with us new plans to extend the outdoor area for more seating and hanging out. Can't wait to see when they finish that. Such a great local spot and great beer!!

Headed back into Raleigh for dinner at Poole's Diner. Being the popular place that it is, the wait to be seated was long so we headed down and across the street to check out  Capital Club 16 located on W. Martin Street. I had heard about it from several friends but never been! It turned out to be packed and we enjoyed a great burger for dinner.  I really liked the atmosphere of this bar and we will be back.  We did stop back by Poole's for a night cap before heading home.  Insider tip for the ladies: The women's bathroom in Poole's is probably one of the BEST bathrooms I've ever been in for ladies!! Check it out and you will probably agree! :-)

Sweet ladies room!
Well, kids are back in town from a great week away and there ends our week of spontaneous nights out and a fun "staycation". It was great to revisit some of our favorite spots and discover some new great places.

Back to work...oh wait, TGIF!