Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014!

Thankful for a great 2013 filled with wonderful moments with family, friends (old and new), and the opportunity to travel and to be a part of this great city of Raleigh, NC. All the best in 2014!
Keep shopping, eating, drinking and playing local!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Warm Raleigh Spots on a Cold Winter's Night!

So last Saturday night was cold and wet and generally not a desirable night to be out. Roads were dark and dangerous and honestly, the thought of staying in and going nowhere weighed heavily on my mind.

BUT, I am glad we decided to go out and brave the elements ! We happened on a rare night where both teenagers were at sleepovers so no way should we waste a "kid-free" night!

I had an agenda, as I usually do, of places that I wanted to check out or just be at. Every single one of the spots we hit were ultimately perfect for a wet, dark, cold winter's night. As soon as you entered each place, it was warm, friendly, cozy and delicious. So, I now whole-heartedly support going out on miserable nights...and if you are going to do that, definitely put one of these spots on your hit list!

Crafty Beer Shop is located in Five Points area nestled in among the shops above Glenwood Avenue. It's a cozy spot with a nice bar and a locals vibe. You can sample some local brews on tap or just pop in and grab a six pack to go. We enjoyed the great music, the cozy fireplace and the delicious stout on draft. Fun spot to meet up before dinner downtown or just to chill and have a beer with friends after a long day at work.  It was great to get out of the rain and into Crafty Beer!

Second Stop: STANBURY
Where do I even start? I had heard about Stanbury but had no idea exactly where it was located or what it was about. I knew their menu was small but adventurous and I was excited to get to the bottom of this mystery.  We literally GPS'd our way into a Raleigh neighborhood (it's located at 938 N. Blount St.), parked across the street and ran inside to escape the rain that was pouring down by now. We did not have reservations but we were lucky to find two seats at the bar. Warm, cozy and inviting, we sat down and browsed the cocktail and dinner menus.

The staff was friendly and helpful. We ordered a beautiful maple leaf cocktail and a glass of red wine from Rhone, France.  A delicious Gouda and Robiola cheese plate with toast, marcona almonds and a wonderful fig compote, was a great start. We shared the NC Black Bass dish that had so much flavor and goodness we couldn't get enough. Just as we were finishing up, there was a line at the door and the place was getting busy. We look forward to coming back very soon to Stanbury.

Stanbury bar

Earthy red wine and a Maple Leaf cocktail (yum)

Cheese plate

Large plate: NC Bass

After the Stanbury, I immediately thought of Foundation. It seemed like the perfect place to follow dinner and the rain was starting to ease off a bit. After running literally straight into the SantaConda Pub Crawl on Fayetteville Street, we slipped quietly into Foundation and enjoyed a beer at the bar. This is another great spot you can disappear and forget about the terrible cold weather going on outside (or the SantaConda Santas...! ;-) ). 

Fourth (and final) Stop: TROPHY BREWING
OK. I admit it. I am a HUGE Trophy Brewing fan. I bring everyone here, I always suggest it for meeting up with friends or when we crave an awesome beer and pizza night. It's also one of the coziest spots in town. Always friendly and fun, we love Trophy Brewing. This is a great nightcap spot and we enjoyed our last beer for the night here. If you haven't been, you need to go soon!

Rain or shine!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday and The Rock & Shop Market!

Today is Small Business Saturday!
If you are shopping today, please try and support the small businesses of Raleigh and the Triangle!


A really cool event happening in Durham today featuring artists/businesses from Raleigh is The Rock & Shop Market. The event is being held from  11-5pm at the Durham Armory, Durham, NC. The Rock & Shop Market is a hip shopping event that features over 75 artists and small businesses from the Southeast and beyond. Bands, djs and food trucks will also be at the event! See you there!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MetLife Global Technology Hub coming to Raleigh!

The opening of MetLife's new campus in Cary, North Carolina means a lot of new job growth and opportunity for Raleigh. They are breaking ground this month on a state of the art campus that will allow for possibly as many as 2600 new jobs by 2015 and will continue to make Raleigh and the Research Triangle a highly sought after career and technology destination.

This new Global Technology Hub in North Carolina features adaptive and responsive workplaces. Employees will have the ability to work in various ways maximizing employee potential and in a variety of environments instead of the typical work desk. This will support many of the newest ways of working and collaborating in environments such as Think Pods, Focus Rooms and Telepresence Rooms. The campus will be wired to enable people to work seamlessly through the campus. There will be areas on campus similar to many colleges, specifically designed for employees to relax and interact in a more creative environment. Much of this reminds me of the new Hunt Library on the NC State Campus.

Sustainability is a key feature as well. Not only will the building be constructed using the latest LEED standards, the spaces within the buildings will also allow for natural light and for employees to enjoy the beautiful NC outdoors as well.

This is  an amazing opportunity for our community and will continue to put Raleigh on the map for being a city of innovation and forward thinking. It is also a great opportunity to provide new industry-leading careers for the people of Raleigh and surrounding areas. And for newcomers, they will quickly see how truly unique this city is with its many beautiful greenways and parks, locally owned restaurants,  craft breweries, fabulous museums and performing arts centers.

I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Metlife GTO. This could include MetLife Global Technology and Operations group providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

#metlifeGTO, #spon

Monday, November 18, 2013

Twisted Fork: Celebrating 10 Years with a New "Twist" on their Menu!

Last week I was happy to be invited to try out Twisted Fork's new menu along with some other Raleigh Foodies.  

Twisted Fork is located at the outdoor commons at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh. I remember going there when they opened and now they are already celebrating 10 years! Locally owned by Dean Ogan from Rocky Top Hospitality group (includes Dean’s Seafood Grill in Cary and The Daily Planet CafĂ© in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences) is celebrating by adding all sorts of new flavor "twists" to the menu.

I enjoyed my opportunity to meet Dean and he was more then happy to talk about all the new and exciting (and fun!) menu changes and additions. I was really pleased to hear his emphasis on using many locally produced sources for their dishes and putting a fun and unexpected spin on popular menu items.

We were presented with several menu items from the appetizer menu and the main courses to sample. Some of my favorite items we sampled were the different burger options with unique toppings...like the Soccer Mom's Masterpiece. This burger offers double bacon, tomato, lettuce and caramelized onion with a helping of peanut butter and housemade strawberry jam on top! Surprisingly delicious and a fun and flavorful twist from your ordinary burger!

 My favorite burger is the King of the South which is topped with house made pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and thick smoked bacon.  All their bread and buns are baked in their own bakery and this burger was 100% North Carolina!

A couple other favorites were the Beer Can Chicken which includes a half chicken, beer brined, slow smoked and doused in BBQ Sauce over a wood fire. And the BBQ Pork Ribs literally fell off the bone and were fantastic!

Tasty tacos with a twist and NC BBQ also are included on the new menu and all feature loads of great flavors and a unique blend of fresh ingredients.

Fried green tomatoes were tasty with added goat cheese and homemade orange-mint marmalade.

We sampled some tasty treats including Red Velvet Cake, their world famous Tia Maria cake and there is also a Gluten-Free Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake! They did not disappoint.

Twisted Fork has also expanded their draft beer selection with over 30 taps including several local NC brews.  All pints $3 every day!  If fancy drinks are your thing, unique twisted cocktails are fun and fabulous as well!

If you have children, they have a great kids menu. Meals include drinks and dessert and there are several meal choices, all for $6.

I really enjoyed our night out at the "new" Twisted Fork, I congratulate them on the success of ten years in business and we will be happy to be back soon for another great NC meal experience!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Homemade Orange-Mint Marmalade

Nachos with Tinga Chicken, Pepper Jack Queso, Guacamole, Chipotle Adobo, Green Onion, Jalapeno, Pico de Gallo, Black Bean and Corn Salsa
The delicious King of the South burger!


Gluten-free Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Red Velvet Cake

The delicious and world famous Twisted Fork Tia Maria cake!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Get Offline and #Checkitoff: Drinks at Foundation

Last week I finally made it to Foundation on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. I've intended to go there several times but just hadn't quite gotten there. Last Saturday after a drink at one of the local breweries, I persuaded a friend of mine to come join me at Foundation. It was great going early (around 6-7pm) because we got in easily and got a seat at the bar. Many nights you will see a line to get in since its a very popular late night location.

Foundation's specialty is  serving up seasonal, handcrafted cocktails using the best of local and diverse offerings. They also feature several local beers on tap as well. What I loved about Foundation on that quieter evening was the coziness of the space and feeling like you've escaped from the rat race for a few moments. I liked that and I will be back to escape again very soon. ;-)

I'm glad that my Bucket List is continuing to get us out actively doing things and discovering new parts of Raleigh! I am so glad to have  finally "discovered" Foundation and will be back again soon. It's so important to remember to get out, engage and DO! Life is not a spectator sport! 

To create your own Local Bucket List, go to www.get-offline.com.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Offline and #Checkitoff: NC Museum Park

I'm seriously thinking Fall is now my favorite season of the year. Especially when the temperatures cool down, pumpkin lattes are back and the leaves turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange against the Carolina blue sky.  This is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy all the wonderful Greenways that are available in and around Raleigh for biking, hiking or walking.

In my quest to continue to #checkitoff  from my Offline Bucket List, we got out last weekend and enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the NCMA Museum Park trail. We took the trail to the bridge that crosses over 440. Not only is it a nice trail to bike, there are fun things to see along the way. Lots of photo opportunities as well. I would highly recommend getting out on these trails before all the color of Fall fades away....

I'm glad that my Bucket List is continuing to get us out actively doing things and discovering new parts of Raleigh! Especially with a couple of teenagers, it's so important to remember to get out, engage and DO! Life is not a spectator sport! 

To create your own Local Bucket List, go to www.get-offline.com.

Pick up a map at the entrance to the park
Lots of photo opportunities

Chairy tree
Hitting the trail!

Reedy Creek Greenway. Longest pedestrian bridge in NC spanning over I 440

Art everywhere

Taking a break!

Iconic views on the trail

Thursday, October 31, 2013

IG SNAPSHOT: Get in Your Fast Car

One way to travel is in a very fast car. Here is a collection of my Instagram photos from the current Porsche by Design exhibit at the NC Art Museum in Raleigh. A rare one of a kind collection of Porsche cars from all over the globe. Get your tickets before these cars are gone!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

IG SNAPSHOT: Cooke St Carnival

So who doesn't love a street party?

Cooke Street does it best. Every year I am excited to get downtown to the Carnival on Cooke Street. So many fabulous local businesses representing, food trucks, breweries, live music and real atmosphere. What more could you want? I also love taking the party off of Fayetteville for a change, nothing wrong with Fayetteville Street, but it feels a little more local in the residential area.  Cooke Street Carnival happens in the Idlewood neighborhood, very close to Historic Oakwood. If you haven't been, make sure you catch it next year. Its great to be a tourist in your own town! I took my girls and they loved the food, entertainment, artists and vendors and taking pictures! AND of course running into Project Runway star, Justin LeBlanc. Can you say star struck?

Here are a few photos from a fantastic afternoon out in downtown Raleigh. 

Love these photo ops!
Enjoying a tasty Johnny Appleseed from Slingshot Coffee Co. Delicious!
Food truck action was happening!
Sampled (and bought) some Happy + Hale juices. YUM!
We loved the carrot and orange blend!
Centro booth and Day of he Dead 5k info
The community table for all to share.

Fabulous lunch here at The Humble Pig Food Truck
My delicious smoked pork taco. SO good!!
More delicious options!
Garland and House of Swank representing

Tons of shopping local options for guys and girls

Getting crowded despite the grey skies
Its not a party until there's a beer tent! (or two, or three...)
Crank Arm keeping busy!

Lumina tent
Ran into local Project Runway celeb, Justin LeBlanc
Fabulous gourmet cotton candy from Oscar Willams was a crowd pleaser
More fun photo ops
Houses were all decked out for Halloween
My photographer