#NCFarmTour | Where NC Agriculture Meets Educational Fun ~Recap by SobeSavvy.com

On June 27-29, 2018, I joined a group of bloggers on a fantastic tour of northeast North Carolina. We were invited by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to experience the diversity of eastern North Carolina including cucumbers, white potatoes, wine, beer, brats and seafood. Here is a recap of what I learned, where we traveled, who we met and of course, what I ate along the way!

Day 1- Wednesday, 6/27

Stop 1 on the #NCFarmTour – Lunch at Nothing Fancy Café, Edenton

Locally owned, Nothing Fancy Café features made-from-scratch southern home cooking. The restaurant also features a variety of retail items including antiques and baked goods. I left with a beautiful $5 pineapple candle holder and an appreciation for this restaurant who serves field to fork food. The collard greens I enjoyed as a side came from a local NC farmer and tasted like my grandma made it! Nothing Fancy Café is also my new favorite place to enjoy a burger. When the beef comes from a local farmer, trust me you can taste the quality and the difference.
Facebook: @NothingFancyCafe

Stop 2- AJ Smith and Sons Farm, in Edenton, NC

Did you know that Edgecombe County is #1 in growing of cucumbers in NC? We visited a farm started by AJ Smith and is now run by his four sons + grandsons. The farm is extremely diversified. They grow clary sage, peanuts, soybeans, corn,watermelons, cucumbers, and snap beans. The farm also has cattle and hogs. We got to pick some cucumbers at AJ Smith and Sons Farm as well as learn about the process of preparing them for packaging. And just in case you were wondering..yes, they do get waxed for preservation purposes. All cucumbers are not created equal. However, curved or straight if they were grown in NC they will taste great!

SobeSavvy Tip: When selecting a cucumber, look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded right to the ends.

Stop 3 on the #NCFarmTour is a tour of Historic Edenton

PLAY | Thanks to the Chowan County Chamber of Commerce, we took a horse and wagon tour of historic Edenton. We learned alot of history, enjoyed nature, and viewed beautiful architecture in the “South’s Prettiest Small Town”. WATCH my youtube video of highlights from this tour:

EAT | Ended Day 1 of #NCFarmTour at Cypress Creek Grill, a family-owned restaurant is in downtown Elizabeth City, one block from the Pasquotank River. Their meals feature
fresh seafood and local ingredients. Executive Chef Bradley Chambers created a special menu that showcased the best of what Northeast NC has to offer and combined an amazing array of flavors!

STAY | We stayed in nearby Elizabeth City overnight at Fairfield Inn, which offers guest FREE breakfast with stay plus this comfy, modern hotel has an indoor pool/jacuzzi and mini fridge+ microwave in the room.

Day 2- Thursday, 6/28

Day 2 of #NCFarmTour started off at TCOM, LP

Look up in the sky..it’s a bird, it’s a plane..no it’s a blimp that has been assembled and tested at TCOM,LP located in Elizabeth City,NC. It was so cool to tour the 225-acre facility that manufactures and test aerostats (airship or hot air balloon, especially one that is tethered). The hanger is 150 feet tall and 1,000 feet long and can hold six fully-inflated 71-meter aerostats. Their blimps are used for sporting events, by the US Military and for national security. TCOM,LP
is not a blimp manufacturing company however they do make the envelope and assemble them without the mechanics on it. It was so fascinating to see up close!

SobeSavvy Tip: Here’s an interesting connection to agriculture: The first aerial applicator was not a plane,
but a hot air balloon. It was used in 1906 to spread seed over a valley in New Zealand that had flooded.

Day 2,Stop 2 #NCFarmTour John E. Ferebee Farms

This seventh-generation family farm focuses on potatoes, each year growing and packing red, white and yellow flesh potatoes. John E.Ferebee Farms potatoes are shipped across the US. They’ve also worked with many of NCDA&CS marketing programs. We met both sisters but it was Martha took us on the tour around the facility, which have washed bulk capabilities/cold storage, and onto the potato fields. I learned that summer potatoes of eastern NC come from farms situated alongside well nourished soil beside saltwater sounds/freshwater river beds. Did you know that NC produces over 16,000 acres potatoes? This farm grows 350 acres of North Carolina Potatos.

Day 2 #NCfarmtour Lunch and Tour at Weeping Radish

If you are hungry for bratwurst, beer and knowledge just talk to Uli Bennewitz, owner of Weeping Radish, a brewery, restaurant, butchery and farm that celebrates craft! He came to NC in the early 1980s, from Bavaria, Germany, established a microbrewery and worked with lawmakers to change the NC laws to allow microbreweries to sell beer directly to consumers. In addition to brewing beer, cattle and hogs are sourced from local farms and processed on-site into sausage and charcuterie. The retail counter sells sausage, pastrami, bacon and beer. The Pub serves lunch and a housemade draft root beer that you must try!

Day 2 #NCFarmTour ..a look at our visit to Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg, NC

The Wright family-owned vineyard grows a variety of grapes on 10 acres. All grapes are picked by hand and the use of french oak barrels gives their NC wine a wonderful taste. We toured the vineyards and learn how world-class wine is made at Sanctuary Vineyards. I purchased a bottle of Morton which is a red wine blend that I can not wait to enjoy!

Jennette’s Pier, Outer Banks

PLAY | Jennette’s Pier is the oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks and has been a landmark since 1939. Fisherman catch a variety of fish from the 1,000 foot pier including red drum, speckled trout and croaker. We bloggers took advantage of the opportunity to cool our heels from all the farm tour walking at the pier since you get access to the beach!

Today was filled with so much to learn, see and do, here are some of my fave moments from the #NCFarmTour Northeast North Carolina Day 2 w/@nc_agriculture @gottobenc ——————— •A visit to @jennettes_pier_official gave us access to the beach and a chance to see the oldest fishing pier in #OBX • We got to see who makes the envelopes for blimps and learn this history of #TCOM ,LP •John E. Ferebee Farms gave us an inside look of how they grow and pack red, white,yellow potatoes •@weepingradish is where we celebrated the craft of cooking, butchery amd farming. We had lunch at this microbrewery before taking the Beee and Brat Tour • i enjoyed tasting some NC wines from Sanctuary Vineyards and learning about their wine making process •Beautiful views from my balcony room at The Oasis Suites Hotel • Lastly, Dinner @lonecedarcafe Where their fried soft crab was some of the best I ever had caught fresh here in #NC.

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EAT | Dinner at Basnights Lone Cedar Café, located on the Roanoke Sound, is family owned/operated and serves only seafood caught in NC by local fishermen. Pork, poultry and vegetables are sourced from local farms. Herbs are grown on-site. Deserts are made from scratch daily on-site by the pastry chef. Everything we tried was delicious, especially the soft shell crab!

STAY |The Oasis Suites Hotel is the only boutique hotel on the Outer Banks. All rooms have private balconies with water views and are very spacious! Take a LOOK at my room reveal video to see for yourself how lovely this hotel property is:

Day 3-Friday, 6/29

Everything tastes better with bacon right? If you like savory and sweet, try the Maple Bacon Donut from Duck Donuts, Nags Heads

After enjoying breakfast from Duck Donuts, we started Day 3 of #NCFarmTour at O’Neals Sea Harvest in Wanchese. Sara Marabilio, who is the Fisheries Extension Specialist at NC Sea Grant, met us at the family owned and operated
seafood wholesaler to lead the tour and provide more information about NC Seafood. At O’neals Sea Harvest, you can purchase locally caught, fresh
seafood daily. The also sell fresh and frozen seafood (crab, variety of fish, shrimp & scallops) through their retail store and Monday-Friday they serve the fresh catch at their restaurant on-site.

Next stop, was nicknamed by me as Crabmeat Lover’s Heaven because Captain Neill’s Seafood, in Columbia is the largest domestic crab processing (by hand-picking) plant left. Owner Phillip Carawan started buying hard/soft-shell crabs, then opened (in 1997) a facility to process wild caught crabs caught from NC waters and purchasing daily from crabbers that dock behind their facility. Captain Neill’s processes a variety of crabmeat products in
addition to oysters, cocktail fingers and ready to eat steamed crabs.
They sell to a variety of markets, including grocery chains, under the
names Capt. Charlie’s and Capt. Neill’s. I learned that aprox 11 pounds of crab yield 1 pound of crabmeat and that an emplyee can pick the meat out of the crab in aprox 15 seconds! I left there amazed at the efficiency of the process and hungry for crab. SobeSavvy Tip: If you are a member of Sam’s Club you can purchase their crabmeat there.

EAT |Our last stop and final lunch on #NCFarmTour was at Garden Spot Café in Plymouth,NC. Located in a building built around 1900 on the banks of the Roanoke
River, this restaurant is owned by three sisters and known locally for their home-style cooking. They offer a variety of menu items to meet every taste preference. I tried the fried shrimp platter/flounder because after all that time learning more about NC seafood I was craving it!

All of these stops on the tour are just a short drive from the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. I encourage you to take the to time to explore more of NC, shop at your local farmers market, support restaurants where you can eat local foods and buy local goods. There are so many fun ways to support our state’s number one industry, AGRICULTURE! I am so inspired to incorporate what I have learned when it comes to food that my family consumes and make sure it comes from a North Carolina Farm!

Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com on the #NCFarmTour

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TRAVEL | Top Family #SundayFunday Activities To Do In @BaltimoreMD #MyBmore

Dear Baltimore, I ❤ You. You may be misunderstood sometimes but anyone who has ever visited will discover that you have a whole lot of heart.

Recently, I was there to cover the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival and spent a ‘Sunday Funday‘ in the heart of Charm City at The Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore. It is a one stop place for family fun and a great city to travel this summer. Growing up here always makes it so surreal to return with my daughter and its beautiful to see her learn more about the city where her Mom and Dad where born.

Today, I am sharing my Top Family Sunday Funday Activities To Do In Baltimore,MD ! I am grateful to Visit Baltimore who provided passes to these attractions which allowed for me to review the experiences to be shared with you. Special thanks to BRIO Tuscan Grille for hosting my #HeighPartyof3. Hope you are inspired to visit this family friendly city soon! ❤

1. MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER

We started our Sunday Funday skipping up the steps of the Maryland Science Center yelling, “Let’s Science!” Science is fun,factual and actual! If you agree, then check out the Maryland Science Center where there are so many cool things to do,learn and see! This attraction is known for its major exhibits that focus on dinosaurs, earth science,the human body and space exploration. With three floors of hands-on exhibits, the Davis Planetarium and IMAX Theater, families really could spend a whole day here.

2. INNER HARBOR

One of my fondest memories growing up in BMORE is strolling and hanging out at the Inner Harbor. Now I get to do it with my daughter and show her the beauty of Baltimore’s waterfront. The Inner Harbor is the heart of downtown and many of the top attractions, as well as hotels and restaurants, are located here.

3. SUNDAY BRUNCH AT BRIO

Baltimore was voted America’s Hottest Food Cities on the Coast and has so many great dining options. We chose to experience the flavor of tuscany at a restaurant conveniently across the street from the Inner Harbor. Page 66 of the Visit Baltimore Summer-Fall 2018 guide led us to BRIO tuscan grille. It’s a delicious family-friendly restaurant that offers weekend brunch,lunch & dinner. We started off with two refreshing Brunch Beverages: White Peach Sangria & Italian Mule and for Starters: Bruschetta Sampler. I absolutley loved the presentation of the sampler as well as the fresh ingredients used and combination of flavors. My daughter ordered pasta of the kids menu, my husband customized a veggie omelette and I enjoyed a Strawberry and Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinegarette. Save room for dessert and get the BRIO TRIO. You won’t be disappointed by the food or the great service here!

4. RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Baltimore

So our daughter has a love/hate relationship with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Sometimes she is freaked out by the weird displays, other times she finds the unusual items funny. We had a really good time going thru the Mirror Maze as a family and finding our way out to enjoy more of Baltimore. Our daughter left saying “I love Ripley’s now, I’m not afraid anymore. It’s so much fun!”

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium offers unique fun!

5.PORT DISCOVERY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

My cousin and I are both in our 40’s with young girls under the age of 7. We wanted to meet up at a place where the girls could play and our families could catch up. Port Discovery Children’s Museum, voted one of the ten best childrem’s museum, proved to be a fun spot for us all! Make sure you get your kiddos to see the Dinosaurs Land of Fire and Ice exhibit before it ends on September 9th. Port Discovery is a great place for kids to enjoy interactive exhibits and creative play!

There is really a diverse array of attractions for you to enjoy with family and friends in Baltimore. I would recommend a long weekend up to a week to enjoy Baltimore’s attractions museums, tours and historical sites. The next time you are looking for a city with things to do and places to enjoy a ‘Sunday Funday’, consider planning a vacation to Baltimore for the entire family! Read more of my family fun ideas to enjoy this summer in Charm City>>>here and watch this video to see more ways to have fun and explore BALTIMORE!

Have you ever visited Baltimore? What was your favorite family friendly attraction?

Event Recap|5th Annual Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival @DrinkEatRelax #Baltimore #Crabs #Beer #Fun

You know it’s summertime in Baltimore when steamed crabs are celebrated at festivals all around Charm City! I recently attended Drink Eat Relax’s “Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival” and had a crabby good time! This is the 5TH ANNUAL Maryland Tradition and compared to the past years of this fun foodie event, it just keeps getting better! The Festival is an ALL-YOU-CARE-TO-TASTE extravaganza complete with over 30,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts & crafts, live music, family fun and so much more! Take a look at what over 30,000 people have come to enjoy.

•LOTS OF SUMMERTIME FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Families and Friends came out in fun hats and custom made tees to enjoy this festival. There is a beach area for kids to play in the sand, yard games for everyone to enjoy, live music to dance to and so much more! This family friendly event is popular because KIDS 3 AND UNDER ARE FREE! However, there was a KID’S CRAB ONLY PACKAGE (AGES 4– 20): $29 Advance (plus taxes & fees) This option offered guests ages 4 -20 an ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE experience of Crabs, Corn on the Cob, Cole Slaw and Potato Chips. (Ticket purchasers with VIP ticket holders will be GUARANTEED communal seating under a tent.)

•ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE BEER/WINE

Over 50 beers and wines and a few spirits were available for unlimited tasting during the festival! All of your favorite craft beers and some great wines were served to highlight summer. Nothing says summer like a glass of rosé and I especially enjoyed sampling the variety of rosé wines that were offered.

•ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE CRABS.

Enjoy all the crabs you can handle during the four hours of the show. The crabs vary in size from medium to large and will be offered at 6 crabs at a time, per person. ALL CRABS ARE SEASONED! *ALA CARTE CRABS OPTION WILL BE SOLD 6 CRABS (1/2 dozen) AT A TIME PER PERSON FOR $35 (WHILE SUPPLIES LASTS)

I attended the ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE VIP experience. Guests received a souvenir mug and mallet, unlimited tastes of the beer and wine on-site. This includes ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE Crabs, Corn on the Cob, Cole Slaw and Potato Chips.* Ticket purchasers are GUARANTEED communal seating under a tent.

•BEER MUGS.

Beers are served in our mug so you can sit and enjoy the day. If you are not a crab lover you can opt to buy a ticket for the ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE BEER experience. Guests will enjoy a souvenir mug, unlimited tastes of the beer and wine on-site. Any food will be purchased ALA CARTE.* Ticket purchasers cannot enter the VIP Crab & Beer Tents, but some limited seating is available first come, first serve.

OTHER GREAT FOOD.

There are Crabs and MORE CRABS and MORE CRABS and even MORE CRABS – but there will be other great food options as well available for purchase. There are no vegetarian options available. Unless outlined – all food is sold ala carte. I got the chance to finally try Urban Oysters. This creative pop up restaurant is the brainchild of a young entrepreneur Jasime. Thanks to her dad, she grew up with a love for oysters. I had been following her on IG and was excited to finally try them out. Chargrilled is their preferred way to make them. Using creative yet familiar toppings makes them very accessible for those who may be trying them for the first time. Just look at these beauties!

•LIVE MUSIC.

Sit back or get up and dance to the fun summer sounds from area bands!

THOUSANDS OF TABLES AND CHAIRS AND HUGE TENTS

Plenty of seating for crackin’ to your heart’s content. They even ordered enough crab paper to stretch all the way across the Harbor and back. ALL SHOW FEATURES are undercover – so Rain or Shine – we were all fine.

All in all, we had a crackin’ good time! If you missed the event it is coming back in August at the National Harbor in DC. For more details go to www.mdcrabfest.com!

Do you enjoy MD steamed crabs? Let me know in the comments below!🦀

Thanks Trigger Agency for hosting SobeSavvy.com! I really enjoyed my dining experience and looking forward to next time!

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#FoodieFriday Feature| Dinner For Two Review @bukuwakeforest! Eat Global,Support Local and Celebrate Grand Opening 6/28 in Wake Forest, NC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com was invited to a hosted dinner at the new bu•ku Wake Forest, a restaurant that is recognized for its global street food menu thanks to its flagship establishment in downtown Raleigh,NC. Their website states they are inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors from all over the world. I was excited to taste what they offered and hoped it would remind me of my experiences abroad as well as introduce me to something I’ve never had before.

If you are asking yourself… what is global street food?..It is basically no frills food native to the area it originates from. It tastes exactly like they would make these dishes in their home for their families. My introduction to street food was sudden and unexpectedly delightful. The year was 2006 in Phuket Island, Thailand. My friend who lived there at the time was taking my husband and I around and showing us the sights. We were hungry and he said “Let’s go by noodle stand #5”. Not quite sure what that was so we went along with it. We pulled up to a side street where an elderly woman had set up a plastic table on the back of her bike with a steaming contraption alongside. To our western sensibilities this was strange. We had one of the best meals of our lives right there in the alley. That unique dining experience shaped my willingness to try different foods and made me ready to enjoy dinner for 2 at bu•ku.

RESTAURANT VIBES

Since this locally owned and operated restaurant is celebrating global street food in an elevated way, you will not find plastic tables here. The decor is modern and the ambiance is inviting yet intimate. You have the option to dine inside or outside on the patio but as soon as I walked thru the doors at bu•ku Wake Forest, I knew I would enjoy dining in the serene, beautifully designed dining space. I had an early dinner reservation at 6p but soon the restaurant was bustling with quite a few large dinner party celebrations as well as friends casually meeting for drinks after work at the bar. There were even families with children enjoying dinner and couples enjoying a dinner date night. No matter how busy it got, service was welcoming and attentive throughout the evening.

COCKTAILS ANYONE?

If you are one that enjoys a good drink before, during or after your meal, then you will be quite satisfied with the wine list, beer and cocktail menu at bu•ku Wake Forest. Whether you choose to enjoy on their patio, at the bar or with your dinner, I do suggest this restaurant for their interesting selection of wines, beers and craft cocktails. Here are two drinks that you must try on your next visit to bu•ku:

Sangria Roja at bu•ku is the perfect Summertime Sip!

My new favorite bubbly cocktail: The Secret Garden at bu•ku

DINNER MENU

Per bu•ku Wake Forest, their Global Street Food menu is ..”a new type of dining, designed for the type of mix & matched tasting and plate-sharing that sparks conversation.” If you’ve ever been to the Raleigh location owned by culinary visionaries Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, you will notice some menu differences. The team partnered with longtime friend, Todd Ohle, owner of the second bu•ku Wake Forest, and each restaurant has its own Chef that develops their own creations while still supporting menus and programs for the entire restaurant group. Just like the Raleigh location ( which is moving to Cary in 2019), bu•ku offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. Feast your eyes on the small plates, large plates and big bowls we enjoyed for dinner:

Small Plates | Chinese Steamed Buns at bu•ku | 2 per order- Braised Pork, hoison sauce, pickles and scallions. Served on a perfectly warm “steamed” bun. Perfection in it’s simplicity yet complex in it’s flavors. Yum!

Small Plates | Edamame + Ostras Asadas at bu•ku | Edamame has a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of peppercorn. The grilled local oysters are some of the best I have had in the Triangle because of the flavorful toppings!

Large Plates | NC Catch at bu•ku | Local Seafood meets Global Flavors on a plate! The flounder was perfectly cooked and served on a bed of cauliflower,rutabaga mash, pistachio and topped with fennel-shallot confit. My favorite part was pouring the parmesean beurre on top!

Big Bowls | Vietnamese Phô at bu•ku | The seared filet mignon was so tender and my favorite part about this dish. I wanted more flavor from the broth and plan to do some spice additions to my leftovers at home!

Dessert | Tres Helados at bu•ku | You get a trio of chefs selection of gluten free sorbet and ice creams, toasted coconut flakes, and fresh berries. It was my first time having avocado ice cream and I loved it!

SobeSavvy Tip: EVENT ALERT A celebration for the new bu•ku Wake Forest will take place Thursday, June 28th with a cocktail hour and ribbon cutting for media and city officials on Thursday, June 28th. Dinner service will begin at 5pm and feature live music from Joe O’Keefe’s “3 Second Rule” band (who owns neighboring Wine 101), as well as complimentary sangria for all guests. As founding members of A Place at the Table, Degnan and Hopkins will donate a portion of proceeds from this evening to this charitable cause!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to make dinner reservations for 2 at the new bu•ku!

bu•ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100, Wake Forest, NC 27587

3 Summer Break Books to Intrigue, Inform, Inspire Your K-2nd Grader #outandaboutAvareads #books

Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Can you believe Summer’s here? I have been asking myself where has this year gone and what shall I do to keep my child from being bored during Summer Break? While my daughter is ready for some time off, I know the importance of keeping her mind active. Ever heard of the “summer slide” where kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year? Well, I plan to avoid that by encouraging my child to read. However, because my daughter loves to read, I really don’t have to do much encouraging. In fact, you may have seen her #outandaboutAvareads series on my Instagram!

Recently, some authors/publishers have contributed to her summer reading list and she is excited to read these books at home, by the pool, or in the car during our family roadtrips!If you are looking for things for your child to do this summer, remember reading is a great way to keep kids engaged over summer break!

Today on the blog, SobeSavvy.com, I am sharing some new children’s books to add to your child’s summer reading list that will Intrigue, Inform and Inspire! Take a look at these three books:

*INTRIGUE | THE CASE OF THE PINCHED STRADUVARIUS by Elaine Loeser

#outandaboutAvareads

The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is a unique whodunit – a mix of television script and comic book presented in a fun way! This picture book shows kids how using their brains and working together can solve problems. Miles and Fargo are your average turtles. They swim, lounge around and fight over the one rock in their tank. But Miles and Fargo are different in one major way: like Jimmy Stewart’s character in the iconic 1954 film “Rear Window” or Dr. Anna Fox in “The Woman in the Window,” they witness a crime from the window of their NYC apartment and manage to solve it – without leaving their tank.

The story is told in an all-dialogue format, with icons representing the characters in the story so kids can identify with them more closely. It’s written by Elaine Loeser – former writer for the long-running NBC drama “Law & Order” – with wonderfully vibrant illustrations by Greg Arvanitakis. Elaine’s husband acquired the real-life turtles while they were living in Los Angeles and they spent their first months living in their tank in Pasadena, overlooking Dodger Stadium.

In The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius, while looking out the window one day, Miles and Fargo witness a little girl’s violin stolen by a bad man, who snatches the instrument and runs away. After watching carefully, the turtles enlist the services of Bogie and Bandit, the dogs who live in the apartment with them, to do the investigative legwork during their walks. The dogs get all the credit when the violin is found. But that’s ok with Miles and Fargo. They did the thinking. The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is the story of how they manage to solve the crime and bring the thief to justice, thus becoming: Miles and Fargo, Turtle Detectives!

For kids, parents and teachers alike, it’s a fun story that introduces readers to Miles and Fargo, their background and how they become the Holmes and Watson of the reptile world. It also teaches kids about introverts (the turtles) and extroverts (the dogs.) The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is ideal for readers ages 3-10 and is available on Amazon.* Learn more about the book on turtledetectives.com, Facebook and Instagram.

*INFORM | LIKTOON’S BOAT by Radha Rai

Liktoon’s Boat is an endearing and educational book to help promote financial literacy among children. Written by North Jersey financial expert, blogger, mom and author, Radha Rai, this book provides introduction to basic mathematical and financial concepts. Liktoon’s Boat takes children of all ages to a make-believe world of adventure, entrepreneurship and challenges, where dreams are accessible with the right financial planning.

For more information on Liktoon’s Boat visit Liktoon.com, or visit Rai’s blog at Missfingy.com/. Liktoon’s Boat is available at Amazon* as well as other fine booksellers.

*INSPIRE | JUST BE YOURSELF by Karen Stone

Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey is a new children’s book written by Karen Stone to inspire kids to be happy with who they are and build a positive perception of self. As children grow up, they will face various challenges and struggles, author Karen Stone wants to make sure a negative self-image will not be one of those issues.

In “Just Be Yourself,” Stone introduces readers to a unique story that follows an unsure ladybug in the Happy Peaceful Forest. The ladybug questions why she is the only one in her family without a special crown and sets out to reach the shiny purple castle to find her answers.

Along the way she meets various animals that impart lessons of self-assurance and empowerment. At the end of her journey, she realizes that to receive her crown, she simply needs to find confidence and happiness in her own heart.

“I want to enable children to build a foundation to be happy with who they are for the rest of their lives,” Stone said. “Just Be Yourselfteaches children to be confident with their own attributes, skills and appearance so they can build a positive self-image.”

For more information, please visit www.kstone11.com. “Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey” by Karen Stone is available at Balboa Press, Barnes and Noble and Amazon*.

📚What Books Are You or Your Child Reading This Summer?📚

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#BeautyFinds | Five Summer Beauty Essentials Under $15

Summer Beauty Essentials Under $15 | SobeSavvy.com

Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Summertime for me means:

• random family road trips (like the one we took this Father’s Day Weekend to Asheville,NC to see the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. (Catch a glimpse of it’s beauty in my instastories on Instagram)

• finding ways to beat the heat

• enjoying more outdoor fun!

Today on the blog, SobeSavvy.com, I am sharing some Summer Beauty Essentials that will help you stay fresh, dry, protect you from harsh sun and make those bugs fly on by!
Since they are all under $15, you can save money and have more to spend on summertime fun!

* John Frieda® Beach Blonde Sea Waves® Sea Salt Spray, $10.99

I am by no means a natural blonde, but I do have a fun wig that I rock sometimes in the summer. You can get the ultimate beach waves with Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray. Infused with an ocean-fresh coconut fragrance, this sea-salt spray provides subtle volume and fullness for an effortless, matte-textured style. Suitable for all hair types and shades, including color-treated hair. Shake well before use and mist product thoroughly into towel dried or dry hair, combing through to distribute.

*Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin, $14

Yesterday, my family hit the hiking trails but not without applying Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard! I definitely won’t leave home without this. Don’t let bugs get in the way of your summer fun. Protect your family when mosquitoes are most active with this fast-drying, dependable insect repellent. The non-greasy, DEET-free formulas provide long-lasting protection against deer ticks (that may transmit Lyme disease) and mosquitoes (that may transmit West Nile Virus). Available as Aerosol Spray, Pump Spray and travel-friendly Towelettes. Available at www.avon.com.

* Nubian Heritage’s 24-Hour Aluminum-Free Deodorants, $8.99

I love using Nubian Heritage’s line of skincare and bath products. They use organic, fair trade shea butter as well as other natutal ingredients. Their deodorants are available in seven of the brand’s best-selling all-natural fragrances, as a healthier alternative to feeling fresh and smelling great! Available at The Vitamin Shoppe and online at vitamineshoppe.com.

* Hotheads’ Mini G Hairbrush, $9.38

Good things really do come in small packages! The Mini G conveniently fits in your handbag, gym bag or travel bag. Use it with your favorite dry shampoo to refresh tired locks. It’s the perfect little brush to distribute your leave-in products before heading out into the sun. Great for detangling after a swim, the Mini G also helps remove sand debris from the scalp and hair. Finishing your day at the beach using the Mini G will reduce frizz and help create the perfect ponytail. Available at HotheadsHairbrush.com.

* Ola Tropical Apothecary Body Mist, $10

The secret ingredient in Ola Tropical Apothecary’s Deep Sea Body Mist is…the water. Found at 3000’ below the ocean surface off the Kona Coast, each Body Mist contains over 90 trace minerals, and is high in calcium and magnesium. A few simple spritzs to hair, face and skin instantly hydrates and moisturizes. It comes in 2 ounce sizes and available at HawaiianBodyProducts.com.

I packed some of these products in my travel bag along with a few of my everyday beauty essentials. Perhaps these products will make it into your suitcase to kick off Summer 2018!

Have you tried any of these products before? Do you have a summer beauty essential product that travels everywhere with you? Share below and Happy Summer 2018!

@ALAMORaleigh Launches Summer of #FAMILYFUN + Get FREE #Incredibles2 Activity Sheets for your little ones!

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE LAUNCHES AN INCREDIBLE(S) SUMMER OF FAMILY FUN
Kids are in command this summer with the return of Disney/Pixar’s first family, classic family film screenings, and free milkshakes, tattoos, & pizza!

Hey Raleigh! Are you ready for a summer of film and family fun? How about some FREE Incredibles 2 activity sheets for your little ones? Keep reading and I will share how you can enjoy all the above this summer!

Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating Disney/Pixar’s long-awaited animated sequel INCREDIBLES 2, TODAY Saturday June 16 with a fun The Incredibles 2 Family Party! If you are not able to make this event, check out what other family fun activities you can enjoy this summer at Alamo Drafthouse:

Summer Family Fun Card

The cinema-eatery is debuting their Summer Family Fun Card. The program is free, and

available now at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh or online.

What a fun way to encourage kids to track the new and classic movies they see at Alamo Drafthouse,

including the just-announced lineup of affordably priced Kids Camp and PBS Kids screenings

, plus they earn prizes!

Every film a child 12 or under sees between June 1st and August 31st is eligible for a sticker and a cute (and temporary) tattoo. The more stickers kids collect, the more prizes they’ll win, like milkshakes, pizza, free movies, and more. Plus, if it’s a child’s very first time at a theater, parents can pick up a free keepsake “My First Movie” certificate.

Kids Camp and PBS Kids
Each summer Alamo Drafthouse programs daily Kids Camp screenings of classic films that parents grew up with like THE NEVERENDING STORY and recent favorites like the recent animated musical SING for a super-affordable price — just $1, $3, or $5 — your choice! Ticket proceeds go directly to benefit local nonprofits, with an expected goal of raising $100,000 nationwide.
June

TROLLS

•HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON

THE NEVERENDING STORY

THE LEGO MOVIE
July
MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN

THE LAND BEFORE TIME
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS

SING
August

PADDINGTON 2

PRINCE OF EGYPT

KUNG FU PANDA

DESPICABLE ME
But that’s not all. Alamo Drafthouse’s continuing partnership with PBS KIDS gives families a unique opportunity to watch their favorite shows on the big screen, with proceeds going to benefit local PBS affiliates. This summer’s offerings include presentations of WILD KRATTS, NATURE CAT: SUMMER OF ADVENTURE, and a BACK TO SCHOOL compilation.
Kids Camp screenings take place every day (with occasional exceptions) in matinee time-slots, at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh from the beginning of June through August. PBS KIDS screening dates vary so be sure to check drafthouse.com/raleigh for a full schedule and to get tickets.

“We’ve seen generations of future cinephiles get their start at Alamo Drafthouse,” says Alamo Drafthouse Senior Director of Marketing Chaya Rosenthal. “And with our beloved Kids Camp and PBS Kids series and awesome new films on the way this summer like HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3, TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES, and INCREDIBLES 2, there are so many choices for parents and kids of all ages.”

INCREDIBLES 2 (#Incredibles2)

Speaking of INCREDIBLES 2, (now playing in theatres everywhere!!), families have long known that Alamo Drafthouse pulls out all the stops for Disney/Pixar titles, and the return of Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, Jack-Jack and Frozone is no exception. In addition to both 2D and 3D screenings of the film, families can attend special INCREDIBLES 2 Family Parties, with photo booths, crafts, games and more. And exclusively at Alamo Drafthouse, Pixar devotees can add two limited edition Mondo designed collectibles to their order: an INCREDIBLES 2 juice glass and a one-of-a-kind sketchbook with a gorgeous cover designed by Mondo artist Dave Perillo. Both are available with INCREDIBLES 2 ticket purchases only at participating Alamo Drafthouse box offices, drafthouse.com, and the Alamo app for iOS and Android.

ABOUT THE MOVIE

In INCREDIBLES 2, Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.

Watch Teaser Trailer https://youtu.be/i5qOzqD9Rms

SobeSavvy Tip: Print out these FREE activity sheets which include coloring pages, recipes,and a matching card game for more INCREDIBLES 2 fun!

Like INCREDIBLES 2 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarTheIncredibles/

Follow INCREDIBLES 2 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheIncredibles

Follow INCREDIBLES 2 on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theincredibles/

Visit the official INCREDIBLES 2 website here: http://disney.com/incredibles2

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INCREDIBLES 2 is now showing at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh and theatres everywhere! I plan to check it out this weekend with my incredible family. What makes my #HeighPartyof3 incredible is that we work hard, play hard and love hard! That’s our superpower.

Do you plan to see Incredibles 2?

•Share below something incredible about your family!

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#FiveForFriday | 5 Bargain Finds To Put In A #Disney Goodie Bag For A Girls Party

Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Today is our daughter’s last day of 1st Grade. Where did the time go? She is a little sad because not only will she miss her first grade teacher/friends but because her birthday is in August, she does not get the opportunity to celebrate her special day in class. So I decided to throw her an ‘End of School Year Celebration~Disney Dance Party‘ for her and a few friends at our home. Here’s a peek of the invite I made online:

INVITE | End of School Year Celebration for #outandaboutAva

Since this was a sort of a last minute decision, I had a very small budget to throw this party at home. The plan is to keep it simple: polish their nails, put on *Just Dance Disney Party 2 – Wii Game, order pizza and have some Disney themed refreshments like the *Pepperidge Farm Mickey Mouse Special Edition! Cheddar Baked Snack Crackers and *Good2Grow Juices.

Ready to serve these Disney inspired refreshments

There will be two hours of fun and a Disney goodie bag for everyone! Here are my suggestions of 5 Bargain Finds To Put In A Disney Goodie Bag For A Girls Party:

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1. *Minnie Mouse Party Favor Cup

Found this Minnie Mouse Party Favor cup at my local Dollar Tree

2. *Disney Mickey Mouse Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly is The Original Gourmet Jelly Bean candy that kids/parents love because it’s fat free, gluten free, peanut free, and has a variety of fun flavors.

3. *Disney Headband

I picked up these Disney mouse ear headbands from Target and added some gems in case the girls wanted to bedazzle them!

4. Disney Mickey Mouse & Friends Lollipop

I found this Disney Sweet Treat at my local Target in the seasonal 4th of July section. So pretty and pink!

5. Disney Family Crafts Mirror Kit

Just a few days ago, I caught a BOGO sale at Michael’s on all their Disney Family Crafts items. I also used Retailmenot.com for a 50% off regular priced item at Michael’s Arts & Crafts

SobeSavvy Tip: Now that you have these budget friendly items, what should you put them in? The Disney Store sells these small Reusable Bags for only .25 cents each! They are only allowed to sell 5 max per customer. So take a friend or make several trips if you need more.

Did you know the Disney Store sells these adorable reusable bags?!

The bags can be used for both a girl or boys party but since it is a girls party, I will add some pink tissue paper for fun!

All the Disney themed Goodies ..Before and….

After! The Disney Goodie Bags are all filled with fun bargain finds!

I like living conveniently close to Dollar Tree, Target and Michael’s Arts and Crafts but if you don’t, you can always find bargains shopping online at Amazon.com. When the party is all done, I am going to enjoy a Disney Dole Whip Inspired Rum Cocktail (see my recipe here) because this Disney Mom deserves it!

PS..I’m happy to have another reason to rock my Disney Mom ears that I received at #DisneySMMC, but my daughter has already requested that I please don’t wear them all day long at her party. 😂

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Will you be doing any end of school celebrating ? When was the last time you did anything Disney related? Please let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

Hey #Raleigh, If you seek Authentic Greek, head to @TavernaAgora during @TriRestweek and #TakeBackLunch

Leslie, Founder of SobeSavvy.com visits Taverna Agora to #TakeBackLunch during Triangle Restaurant Week

Greece is known for many things. The Acropolis and inventing the modern Olympic games just to name a few. Something else Greece is known for… healthy and delicious food! Whether it’s how they cook their lamb or use feta cheese in different dishes, Greek cuisine is adored worldwide. Although Greece is 5,000 miles away and eating there for lunch or dinner tomorrow is impossible for most, I have some great news. Greece is right here in the City of Oaks in the form of Taverna Agora Restaurant!

Taverna Agora is a bi-level restaurant serving authentic Greek cuisine in the heart of downtown Raleigh

Located in downtown Raleigh,NC, Taverna Agora offers old world flavors and rustic roots “reminiscent of gathering places found in Greece.” As soon as you walk in you get a feeling of traditional mixed with modern. The atmosphere is quite charming and I loved the decor both inside and on the covered rooftop patio.

At Taverna Agora, get ready to Eat, Drink,OPA!

SobeSavvy.com was invited there for lunch during the special Triangle Restaurant Week that runs from June 4 thru June 10. For a fixed price, you get to try dishes from the regular menu at a discount. Lunch at Taverna Agora during this special is $15 per person (plus tax/gratuity) for 3 COURSES! THAT is such a great deal don’t you think?!

Taverna Agora’s TRW Lunch Menu

Drinks are not included with TRW Lunch menu but I shared on my instastories two cocktails identified as “Village Favorites”. Both the Greek Mule and Greek Lemonade were refreshing!

We started with a couple of great cocktails and got down to the business of food. Our waiter welcomed me back (since I dined there before) and gave a warm welcome to my guest who was there for the first time. We ordered an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the special Triangle Restaurant Week menu as follows:

1ST COURSE

Greek Village Salad at Taverna Agora

Options were Lemon Chicken soup or a choice of two different salads. Both the Greek Village Salad and the Watermelon and Feta Salad were fresh and flavorful. I also was pleased to see that the portions were big enough to share with each other. Thanks to the quality of the balsamic vinegar combined with watermelon and feta, I have found a new fave summer salad!

Watermelon and Feta Salad at Taverna Agora

2ND COURSE & 3RD COURSE

It’s Lunchtime at Taverna Agora!

For entrees we went with the Chicken Penne and a Gyro Pita. Each of these were quite good and we were impressed again by the quality of the ingredients used. I have leftovers of the pasta that I can’t wait to enjoy! We both finished with their signature Greek dessert of Baklava.

Save room for Taverna Agora’s dessert…the 3rd course was amazing!

SobeSavvy Tip: Make some time and join Taverna Agora during your lunchtime to #TakeBackLunch. Studies show you’ll be happier and more productive when you back away from your desk, leave the screen and take time for lunch. You could even win a midday meal for 10! Enter >>>>here.

#TakeBackLunch on June 15th National Take Back The Lunch Break Day at Taverna Agora!

Triangle Restaurant Week ends Sunday but there’s still time to experience multiple dishes and flavors and immerse yourself in the tastes of Greece. You can still get those amazing dishes on their regular menu but don’t miss this chance to try the TRW Menu at this great price! Plus service was attentive and professional and I loved the setting. For all of those reasons combined with delicious food, hurry down to Taverna Agora!

TAVERNA AGORA

326 Hillsborough St.

Raleigh, NC 27603

Thanks Taverna Agora for hosting SobeSavvy.com! I really enjoyed my dining experience and looking forward to next time!

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Shop, Eat, Play, Explore|Celebrate with a ‘Day in DC’ Family Date @American_Girl Store #charactercounts

Shop, Eat, Play, Explore | Celebrate with a ‘Day in DC’ Family Date at American Girl Store #charactercounts

Disclaimer: Thanks to American Girl for hosting my #HeighPartyof3, which consists of my husband, our daughter and me! All opinions expressed here are my own.

It’s been quite the school year for our daughter, #outandaboutAva. Besides doing so well in first grade and receiving an award for perfect attendance, she has had a busy year with after-school activities such as bowling league and gymnastics.

#outandaboutAva celebrates #GIRLPOWER with American Girl of the Year 2018, Luciana Vega

Now that the end of school year is here, there’s more time to enjoy quality time as a family. So I planned a ‘Day in DC’ family date at the American Girl store. It’s a great place to celebrate time together and I knew it would be a memorable experience for us all!

SHOP

More than just a girls’ day…Dad and Daughter get ready to shop, have fun and explore the American Girl Store

This was our first visit to the American Girl Store located in Tysons Corner Center. The first thing we noticed is that it has two floors! Compared to the Charlotte and Atlanta location, it was HUGE to us.

The American Girl Store Washington,DC has two levels!

The moment you step inside an American Girl store, you realize that everything inside has been designed with girls in mind. From dolls, accessories, outfits, and books, it’s worth it to stop by an American Girl store even if it’s just to have a look! You can plan to buy later and shop online at americangirl.com.

#outandaboutAva is an only child so she uses her imagination of having a sister American Girl Bitty Baby doll!

EAT

If you worked up an appetite after shopping in the store, I highly suggest making reservations at the American Girl Bistro. The food here is really good and I learned that while the bistros offer similar menus, they are not exactly alike.

American Girl Bistro- Washington,DC Lunch Menu

I am a fan of their ‘Design How You Dine’ format which allows you to choose a starter & a main course all for one price. This location offers cocktails and wine on their drink menu for the adults to enjoy as well as speciality drinks for the girls. Even Luciana Vega, American Girl of the Year 2018, gets a cup in case she wants a beverage!

Sip, Sip, Hooray..Parents, Girls and Dolls, too can enjoy hot or cool beverages at American Girl Bistro

More favorite moments from our dining experience at this American Girl Bistro….

Every table has a box of conversation starters on it. It’s a great way to learn more about each other!

Great customer service and dining suggestions from the staff at American Girl Bistro

Salmon for Him, Pasta for Her and for me, Asian Chicken Salad. It was all pretty tasty and filling especially after having scrumptuous starters. Can you believe we had no room for dessert!?

PLAY

Dad watches his daughter swaddle a Bitty Baby and is reminded of her own swaddling days! Time flies!

Children are so used to being told to not touch things in stores, don’t play with that, or put that toy down. But at American Girl store it’s different. They want to inspire your childs’ creativity thru play and let little girls be girls. Our daughter enjoyed learning how to swaddle a Bitty Baby doll, made silly faces like the Wellie Wishers and shared a fun secret with her Dad! Even at the Bistro there were activities to play while we waited for our meal. Check out americangirl.com/play to take play online too!

So many ways to encourage endless imagination and creativity thru play at the American Girl Store

EXPLORE

Luciana Vega, Girl Of The Year 2018, inspires girls to explore and shoot beyond the stars!

Our ‘Day in DC’ Family Date was inspired by American Girl 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, whose dream is to be an astronaut and land on Mars. We encourage STEM learning and feed our daughter’s interest in science, specifically space travel. So I thought a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum would be cool, especially since its only about 20 mins from the American Girl store and entry is FREE!

After a visit to the American Girl store, check out the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum!

It was fun to see the real space suits worn by the astronauts and compare just how much attention to detail American Girl has added in Luciana’s Space Suit. In fact, have you noticed how all of Luciana’s accessories are quite realistic? Stay tuned, #outandaboutAva will share more about Luciana Vega and her fun accessories in an upcoming post!

SobeSavvy Tip: Explore more of the American Girl world with augmented reality, exclusive videos, and activities at American Girl Stores. Be sure to download the American Girl app before you go!

If you are planning a visit to DC, I recommend going to the American Girl store, dining at the Bistro and enjoy your time together. Life is busy and kids grow up so fast, so it is so important to spend quality time and make memories that last! Remember, “Time together is a gift. Make it count.” ~American Girl

Plan your visit at americangirl.com/stores

American Girl Washington, D.C.
8090 Tysons Corner Center
McLean, VA 22102

My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed our time together at DC/Tysons Corner American Girl Store/Bistro

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