#BestNine of 2017 + Welcome to 2018 #SobeSavvy #LifestyleBlog

Happy New Year everyone! In my opinion, 2017 flew by which is why its so important to value time, cherish moments and  capture memories because before you know it a new year is here. I have enjoyed sharing the savvy of my life and inspiring others to be savvy via my lifestyle blog, SobeSavvy.com. In case you missed it, here are the BEST NINE 2017 (from left to right in photo above):

1. Family Travel Guide to Arlington,VA Read this #soTravelsavvy post about where to eat, stay, play for a weekend of fun in Arlington,VA

2. Jill Yoga Girls and Ladies Activewear  ~ Thru my #getLovelyfit fitness journey, my daughter and I had the opportunity to collaborate with a company that combines two of our interests: yoga + fashion. Check out our Mommy & Me moves and learn more about JillYoga.com  >>here.

3. Whispering Angel Rosé Wine       ~Hello, my name is Leslie and I love wine. Not only did I share how to host your own wine tasting at home tips on the blog, but started a #SobeSavvySips series where I share recipes and reviews for not only wine but spirits/beer too. In honor of National Rosé Day, I featured this wine on Instagram. It has been one of my favorite wines to introduce to others. Read wine review >>here.

4. ‘808 Converstion Starters for Couples‘ ~ This book featured on my Instagram and later reviewed on the blog sparked an interest amongst singles that were dating and couples who have been married for awhile. The art of conversation is a dying art with all the texting and ‘sexting’ going on, so I believe this book was refreshing and fun to explore. This book is available to buy >>here.

5. Polished Nail Bar’s Grand Opening      ~ I had a blast at this VIP event for media/bloggers here in Raleigh,NC and have since returned to get my nails ready for the holidays. I highly recommend you treat yourself and a loved one to a mani/pedi for Valentine’s Day (which is right around the corner). Read more about Polished Nail Bar >>here.

6. Our Visit to the North Carolina Zoo       ~My husband ,daughter and I planned a Sunday Funday to the North Carolina Zoo and shared a recap of the visit. Our daughter, fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, loved the experience. I also shared some #SobeSavvyTips on why a visit to the zoo during the Fall season should not be missed!

7. Luxury Family Travel to Atlanta,GA    ~ We have enjoyed several family trips to Atlanta because there is so much family fun to be had there. In 2017, we road tripped to the ATL for our daughter’s Spring Break and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta. That was a delightful (and relaxing) experience where we enjoyed making many family memories.

8. NC Farm Tour in Asheville,NC        ~This mom got a chance to getaway for a few days and joined other food and travel writers on an agritourism trip to Asheville,NC to get a true farm to table experience. We all left with a greater appeciation of our NC Farmers. That was my first visit to Asheville and staying at a bed and breakfast. I gave readers a #soNCsavvy full recap of the trip on the blog and also shared an inside look of the Sweet Biscuit Inn

9. byKikisol in store Fashion Event with Torrid + Groupon Promo                              ~if you ever had the pleasure of attending a byKikisol blogger event here in the Triangle, then you know it’s going to be a fun time for creatives, influencers , bloggers and fashionistas. I got my model on in the dressing room at their Torrid Fall Fashion event and shared a Groupon Promo encouraging readers to grab a deal!

For 2018, as always I do a detox ( which I have shared online in the past..you can read posts here). However, this year I will take the whole month of January to unplug, reset and prepare to bring you more Lifestyle|Food|Travel|Fun stories on the blog! 

Thank you for a wonderful 2017..here’s to all the best in 2018!

#FoodieFriday Feature | Where to Dine in #Baltimore Inner Harbor PART II @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove

When seeking a family friendly brunch while in Baltimore, make sure to place Miss Shirley’s Cafe at the top of your list. I was visiting family and friends during Thanksgiving and wanted to enjoy non-traditional Thanksgiving food during Brunch where I could indulge in some regional cuisine featuring my fave: SEAFOOD!

Miss Shirley’s Cafe | SobeSavvy.com shares #ShirleysLove for Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch

During our stay in Baltimore, we dined at two restaurants that not only feature delicious food, but served as the perfect family friendly places to fuel up for holiday shopping. Phillips Seafood (which you can read PART I of my #FoodieFriday here) and Miss Shirley’s Cafe are both Maryland favorites that should be on your Where to Dine in Baltimore list. Here’s what my experience was like at Miss Shirley’s: 

Upon arriving at Miss Shirley’s Inner Harbor location at 750 E.Pratt St. you will see that this place is popular for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The original location in Roland Park was started in 2005 so Miss Shirley’s simply spread their perfection here {and an Annapolis location}.

After being warmly greeted, we were seated at a booth where the hostess handed an old school etch-a-sketch to my 6 yr old. What an awesome throwback for the kiddos to occupy themselves with while waiting for their food! I absolutely loved their kids menu. My little one ordered the silver dollar pancakes and they come served in a cute bento box! We adults occupied ourselves with Mornin’ Cocktails. I recommend the Miss Mimosa & Southern Ruby Crush.

My Mom started with the “Loaded Southern Fried Deviled Eggs” which she LOVED! I ordered their soup of the day, which was a gumbo that was packed with shrimp, sausage and plenty of flavor.

For entrees we feasted our eyes on the Miss Shirley’s House Favorites like “Get your Grits On” which is their take on Shrimp {Or Salmon} and Grits. It features Blackened Shrimp on top of Grits + Fried Green Tomato and tastes as awesome as it sounds and looks! 

Hubby opted for the “Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict.” Jumbo lump crabmeat with poached eggs & Old Bay hollandaise sauce. He said it tasted EXACTLY like he imagined actually … BETTER!

The “Crab Happy Chesapeake Chicken Sammy” was what my Mom ordered. Here is what’s on it per the menu ..

She thought it was AMAZING and even though it had alot going on, it all surprisingly went well together. This dish definitely fit the Miss Shirley’s motto: Southern Inspired with a Maryland Twist!

Service was very good as well as the entire meal. It was a great way to bond with my family over good food in a locally owned, upscale-casual, yet kid-friendly restaurant.

SobeSavvy Tip: Miss Shirley’s Cafe has a special called “Family Time Tuesdays“. All Miss Shirley’s Cafe locations are offering 50% OFF* Kids Bento Boxes ALL DAY on Tuesdays from November 7th – December 12th, with the purchase of an entrée of $11.99 or more. Make sure to mention this ad to your server while dining, to redeem your discount!

Holiday Promotions

Make sure you make Miss Shirley’s Cafe a favorite of yours and also your company. This holiday season Miss Shirley’s Cafe is offering a special party promotion that’s available for a Limited Time Only! Book your upcoming Holiday Party or Event for a WEEKDAY between Monday, November 27th – Thursday, December 21st & receive a $20 Bonus Card* for every $200 spent during your event!

Missed Cyber Monday?! No worries at Miss Shirley’s, it’s Cyber Monday all season long! Order Miss Shirley’s Cafe gift cards online & receive a $10 Bonus Gift Card* for every $100 in gift cards purchased! *Promotion valid through 1/2/18. See website for restrictions.

Digital E-Gift Cards are also available online throughYiftee.com.

Remember to Follow @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and make plans to dine there soon and taste the award winning breakfast, brunch, lunch dishes for yourself! 

 

#FoodieFriday Feature | Where to Dine in #Baltimore Inner Harbor PART I @PhillipsSeafood #PhillipsSeafood

Recently my family and I spent Thanksgiving in Baltimore and stayed in the Downtown/Inner Harbor area. We enjoy visiting ‘Charm City’ mainly because there are plenty of things to do and great restaurants where we can enjoy my favorite food: SEAFOOD! During our stay, we dined at two restaurants that not only feature delicious food, but served as the perfect family friendly places to fuel up for holiday shopping. Phillips Seafood and Miss Shirley’s Cafe are both Maryland favorites that should be on your Where to Dine in Baltimore list. Here’s why:

PHILLIPS SEAFOOD

Phillips Seafood Baltimore Inner Harbor | #outandaboutAva is ready for Lunch at Phillips Seafood

Phillips Seafood | Lunch in Baltimore means seafood to my family. And seafood means a visit to the world famous Phillips Seafood Restaurant. Located at the
Inner Harbor, Phillips has been a Baltimore iconic brand for decades. It had been a little while since our last visit so we were excited about trying their seasonal specials.

One Winter special we ordered was an appetizer called “Local Oysters and Crab Claws“. For THE  low price of $5 we received a platter with 4 raw
oysters and a cluster of individual crab claws. Fresh and good are two words to
describe this wallet friendly appetizer that promptly disappeared.

Our waitress Z recommended I try one of their new cocktails on the menu. I was glad that I did because their “Crabby Tea” was both refreshing and a great drink to toast to the holidays with! 

We dived into the main portion of their menu and so many things looked SO
GOOD it was hard to decide on a nice steak or continue with the seafood theme. The good news is my husband chose something that was the best of both worlds. 

For a limited time they have a Surf & Turf special. For only $19.95 they served a 6 oz. broiled lobster tail and a tender 6 oz. filet mignon cooked to order. The lobster and filet were both superb! No sides are included, however my hubby was pleased and glad he ordered it. 

Did you know Phillips has a special kids menu? Our daughter, #outandaboutAva loves their kid sized crabcake slider. It comes with fries and a drink in a fun, keepsake cup. 


A visit to Phillips would not be complete without ordering one of their infamous crabcakes. I ordered the “Ultimate Crab Cake“, described as.. “the
best of the best, made with 100% jumbo lump crab; with crab macaroni &
cheese & asparagus. 

IT WAS BEYOND GOOD!!  Delicious is even an understatement. I wanted to kiss the Chef…not just for the oversized crab cake but also the scrumptious Crab Mac & cheese.

  

Saving room for dessert is a must when dining at Phillips because they have a variety of choices that will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul! Take a peek at this menu and the spread:

Taste a bit of history and order the ‘Smith Island Cake‘ -an 8 to 11 # layer cake with fudge frosting, a Maryland recipe you must devour! In 2008, it became the official dessert of the State of Maryland and available at Phillips Seafood Restaurant

SobeSavvy Tip : Be sure to visit phillipsfoods.com to stay informed with recipes, promotions, specials and more. Dont’t forget the holidays are upon us and the best gift for a foodie would be a gift card from Phillips Seafood! 

PHILLIPS SEAFOOD



601 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202


Travel | Top 3 Reasons to Stay at #HyattPlace Hotel in @BaltimoreMD #InnerHarbor #HarborEast 

The holidays are the perfect time to getaway and visit your relatives & friends and just gather together to give thanks. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 went back to our hometown Baltimore for Thanksgiving weekend and wanted a hotel that would be convenient to shopping, great restaurants and things to do for the three of us. We chose the Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor because we had such a great experience our last visit, we hoped that it would be a comfortable stay again…and it truly was!

Located in the eastern section of the harbor near Fells Point, this property has everything a visitor to Baltimore would ever need. Super comfortable stylish room and modern and airy public spaces. They have 24/7 dining on site, a great workout room with state of the art equipment and a heated indoor pool.

Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor has an incredible staff who were very welcoming upon check-in. Micah, a Front Desk rep, had local knowledge which was well appreciated since we left Baltimore in the late 90’s and so much had changed {for the better}. In their modernly designed lobby is where you can read a newspaper, collect pamplets of things to do (like holiday shopping at the Christmas Village in Baltimore), plan your day via a touch screen Concierge Center and print out any necessary info via the Business Center. Oh and while you are sitting in one of the comfy lounge chairs, don’t forget to grab a green apple. Yes, they are real and fresh I might add!

Our King bed suite was spacious with a beautiful L shaped sofa that converted into a bed for our little one. The room we had was shower only so keep that in mind. Also there were shampoo and conditioner provided but lotion was not. So be prepared to bring your own bath products or shop nearby CVS, Whole Foods or Lush stores which are within walking distance from the hotel. In fact all the magic of Harbor East is just a mere 2 blocks away. 

If you asked me my Top 3 Reasons to Stay at Hyatt Place in Baltimore with my family it would be : 1. Comfort 2. Convenience and 3. Complimentary Breakfast! We really enjoyed this hotel’s ever changing breakfast choices. Gourmet touches on traditional fare were a refreshing change from most hotels ho hum breakfast choices. Bananas foster on oatmeal? Avocado salsa on eggs? Yes, this is what breakfast possibilities look like at the Hyatt Place.

You can also satisfy any late night hunger or sweet tooth with their 24/7 dining options. Hot soup or salads can be had at 3AM! Also calling my name were some incredible cupcake selections in their glass display case. But we opted out of trying those because we had plenty of foodie adventures during our stay, along with a Thanksgiving Feast to enjoy. Stop back tomorrow in the blog for my #FoodieFriday series and read about the restaurants we checked out during our visit which were conveniently close to our hotel. Dining options on site include: Nando’s Peri Peri, Jimmy Johns and Cava Mezze.

If you have upcoming plans to travel to Baltimore for business or pleasure, with family or alone…make Hyatt Place Baltimore /Inner Harbor YOUR ‘where to stay’ on your next trip to Charm City. 

HYATT PLACE Baltimore/Inner Harbor

511 S Central Ave.

Baltimore, MD 21202

Enjoy Holiday Shopping, Food & Fun thru Dec 24th @BmoreChristmas @BaltimoreMd #BmoreChristmas

Christmas Village in Baltimore | SobeSavvy.com

Are you ready to shop, dine and be entertained this holiday season? If you are local or have plans to Visit Baltimore, make sure to go to Christmas Village in Baltimore for an experience you will never forget! Celebrating its 5th Anniversary Season, this Authentic German Christmas Market is open now thru December 24, 2017. I went with my husband and our daughter on opening day (Nov. 23 Thanksgiving) and we had so much fun at the Christmas Village, located at the Inner Harbor/West Shore Park. (Between the Maryland Science Center and Visitors Center.) 

You’ll find places to explore both outside and inside at the Christmas Village which has over 50 vendors where you can shop from a truly distinct selection from hard to find international items to seasonal and holiday gifts. We picked up some wooden ornaments from Myroslava Creations for a $1 that our little one can not wait to hang from our tree!

Christmas Village in Baltimore | SHOP for the Holidays

This festival features all things that Germans find dear about celebrating the holidays the German way.  And if you work up an appetite while shopping, you can nosh on Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Gluhwein and more! A hot chocolate with deluxe toppings of whipped cream/ marshmallows served in a collectors mug is a must have for everyone to take home. On weekdays they have wine tastings with Boordy Vineyards and  a “Ho Ho Ho Happy hour” where you can hang out for drinks and snacks with your friends and catch live performances daily!

Christmas Village in Baltimore | FOOD – Enjoy European Specialities & Beverages

In addition to daily live entertainment on the event stage, Christmas Village in Baltimore has a weekend line up of events. SobeSavvy Tip: Admission is free weekdays and this 1st weekend! Today for the opening weekend, you can meet the original German Christkind. Since I knew we would miss it, we took advantage of the fun photo op to turn into the German equivalent to the American children’s Santa Claus. She represents the spirit of Christmas in Germany and will be at the opening ceremony on Saturday, November 25, 2017. 

Christmas Village in Baltimore | FUN for everyone!

So grab the entire family and go experience the German way of celebrating the holidays. See for yourself why this has quickly become a Baltimore favorite. Go to WWW.BALTIMORE-CHRISTMAS.COM for more information. Fröhliche Weihnachten….which means Merry Christmas in German! 

Check out my video photo recap >>> here and make plans to visit this authentic German Christmas market for an experience you will never forget!

Christmas Village in Baltimore

501 Light St

Baltimore, MD 21230

Event Recap|Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival @drinkeatrelax @theyardsdc #oysters #beer #fun

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Hi, my name is Leslie and I am a seafood lover. Considering I was born in Maryland and lived there for 23 years of my life, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay is most likely in my DNA! So when I heard about the Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival, I knew this was going to be a shucking good time!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC -Capitol Riverfront/The Yards DC

It all went down on October 21, 2017 from noon-6pm at the Capitol Riverfront, next to Nationals Stadium at The Yards Park in Washington,DC . It was the perfect day..sunny skies, high 70s..for an outdoor festival filled with seafood and libations. There were over 30 wines, beers, and spirits to sample along with over 15 types of oysters. The motto of the day was SHUCK. SLURP. REPEAT..oh and watch out for the Angry Mermaid!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC “Shuck,Slurp,Repeat” ..and 1 Angry Mermaid

FOOD

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Oysters served Raw, Grilled, Steamed

Whether you like oysters raw, grilled, or steamed (or if you are like me and enjoy them in all ways), then this festival is for you! Some of the world’s best shuckers were there handling the 1000’s of bivalves with care at this All You Care To Taste event. If oysters are not your thing, there were food truck options, restaurant samplings and other types of seafood such as mussels, clams, shrimp and lobster*(if you were one of the lucky ones to get some). 

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | New England Clambake, Charleston Seafood Boil & Lobster Steam

Per the Oyster listing, these were served at the festival:

Double T’s ● Shore Things ● War Shore Oyster ● Battle Creek Oyster ● Rocky Shores ● Tatamaguche ● Malpeques ● Fire lakes ● Caribous ● Blues points ● Delaware Bays ● Shooting points ● Bullseye’s ● Salt ponds ● Well fleets ● Duxburys ● Naked cowboys ● Sugar shacks ● Arrow heads ● Caraquets

If I had to choose one (which is a blasphemy to a seafoodie like me) the Blue Points were my favorite served raw. There was a condiment station with lemons, cocktail sauce and horseradish to add to the taste of those briny beauties. The Grilled Oysters with Goat Cheese +BBQ and Garlic +Parmesean were also amazing! I hope to recreate those at home to serve sooner than later.

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | Freshly shucked Blue Points and Oysters from the grill

DRINK

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Souvenir Glass

Upon arrival, VIPs and General Admission guests received a Souvenir Glass to taste over 30 Beers, Spirits and Wines.  That’s right, the event is not all just beer. Included with the ticket price was access to the wine pavilion, where attendees could enjoy pairing with Champagne, Chablis, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and many more!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | Wines,Spirits,Beers

 FUN

Friends enjoying the Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival

If you have ever been to a Drink Eat Relax event or festival then you know their goal is to provide a fun, value -oriented experience that wows you and is worthy of your valuable weekend time. I can say after attending this one, between the games, music, drinks and flavorful seafood, I left feeling like the world was my oyster! 

If you saw my TwitterInstagramFacebook , I shared more photos from this fun event!  You can also click below to see the following: 

Watch “2017 Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival” on YouTube

Fun Times at Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival

Be sure to follow Drink Eat Relax on Facebook , Twitter , SnapchatInstagram and drinkeatrelax.com to find out where their next event on the East Coast (from NYC to Tampa) will be! You don’t want to miss it!

#TravelTuesday Review @BigBusDC #DC #BigBusTours #FamilyTravel 

Have you ever been on an open top, double decker tour bus? They are so much fun when visiting a city and you want to see as many sites as you can in a short time! This Labor Day weekend, my family and I took one for the first time in Washington DC aboard the hop-on hop-off sightseeing BIG BUS.

When we visited Arlington, VA earlier in the year, we didn’t get a chance to use our vouchers due to Mother Nature not being on our side. However, this weekend the weather was picture perfect for our visit to the nation’s capital. 

BIG BUS Tours Washington DC

No matter if you are a DC native or this is your first time (or you’re return visitor like me), BIG BUS Washington DC is a great way to take advantage of exploring attractions, museums and more at your own pace! Here are some of the reasons a ride on the BIG BUS should be on your ‘Things to do in DC‘ list: 

  • Unlimited Rides for 1 or 2 days.
  • Fantastic Photo Ops & Amazing Views
  • Hop Off and On at Any Stop
  • Live-guided or recorded Commentary (free headphones are provided)
  • Family-Friendly (kids under 5 yrs old travel free, age 5-15 yrs pay reduced fare)

    There are 3 Day Tour loops: Red, Blue, Yellow that will take you all around the District. You can even transfer between the routes, just be sure to know the last departure times. SobeSavvy Tip: Download the Free BIG BUS App for an interactive city guide map route planner and more >>>>here

    My #HeighPartyof3 chose the “Red Loop”, which has 22 stops and is the official tour of the National Mall including the National Memorials and Monuments. Take a look of some of what my husband, our daughter #outandaboutAva and I experienced during our tour : 

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 1- Union Station

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 2- US Capitol

    Inside Air & Space Museum | BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 4

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 5- Smithsonian Castle

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 6- Washington Monument West

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 7- Bureau of Engraving

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 8- Jefferson Memorial

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 10- Lincoln Memorial South

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 13- African American History & Culture Museum

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 19- Madame Tussauds

    There are options to complete your sightseeing experience by creating a combo and adding on extras such as top attractions like Madame Tussauds to further your Washington, DC experience. We enjoyed seeing not only seeing historical figures and celebrities in wax but also joining all 45 commanders in-cheifs in the U.S. Presidents Gallery. Check out my >>>Youtube video <<< recaping some of the fun at STOP 19 of the ‘Red Loop’, Madame Tussauds + see more photos via fun slideshow>> here.

    Where to Buy BIG BUS Tickets

    • From any uniformed BIG BUS staff
    • www.bigbustours.com
    • The BIG BUS mobile app
    • On the bus at any BIG BUS stop
    • Your hotel
    • By phone : 1-877-333-8689

    I hope to check out the other routes as well as try their night tour which offers an illuminated look at the Capital’s world-famous memorials and monuments. BIG BUS Tours are also in other US Cities like Miami, New York, Las Vegas and more. My family and I really enjoyed the BIG BUS Tour and hope you are inspired to take one soon!

    #HeighPartyof3 loves to explore & have fun ~ Thanks for the memories BIG BUS Tours !