Girls Trip Travel Guide @WilmingtoNCoast @CarolinaBeachNC

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I love to travel and am very fond of NC’s coast. Specifically Wilmington NC’s Historic River District & Island Beaches. I have visited and enjoyed many of it’s family friendly options, so I was really excited to plan a Girl’s Trip. After reading my prior blog posts about Wilmington, my friend wanted to experience it together. Here is a look at our 24 hour itinerary that I organized via TripIt app.

STAY | Aloft Wilmington Coastline Center

My Top 3 reasons for choosing ALOFT Wilmington are as follows:

1. It’s new (just opened Nov 2021) and modern

2. It’s convenient to the Riverfront, Downtown Wilmington, so could walk to most places

3. Full service– has gym, restaurant, bar, rooftop bistro and a coffee bar onsite

DINE | Sips & Eats

If you are a seafood lover like me, then you must dine at Seabird in Wilmington, NC

My friend and I are both foodies, so we were looking forward to dining out during our trip. Our number one focus for cuisine was seafood. We knew that being on the coast was going to be our opportunity to eat local and enjoy fresh seafood. But first…. coffee. Casa Blanca Coffee Roasters (in addition to their amazing coffee, we loved the avocado toast) , Aloft Coffee Bar, and Bespoke Coffee and Dry Goods are just a few places where you can enjoy a great cup of coffee and more in Wilmington.

Casa Blanca, Aloft Coffee Bar, Bespoke Coffee

Dinner reservations are a must at Seabird in Downtown Wilmington. We enjoyed wine perfectly paired with NC oysters, fresh seafood dishes created by Chef Dean Neff and great service at this restaurant.

Raw & Baked NC Oysters + SoftShell Crab at Seabird

For after dinner cocktails, we headed to Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar. There was live entertainment in addition to a nice atmosphere. If you want a small bite, they have a bar menu also. We could walk back to our hotel from there, which was a plus.

Chilling on Cloud 9

At Carolina Beach, we enjoyed lunch at Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar. With oceanfront views, a fun bar area and delicious coastal fare, this restaurant combines the best of beach eats.

Eat and Drink Local at Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar

PLAY | Things To Do

From strawberry picking, shopping local and having fun at the beach~ there’s so much fun to be had in Wilmington,NC and Carolina Beach

We arrived on National Strawberry Picking Day, so the first thing on our to do list was to visit a pick-your-own strawberry farm just outside the city limits Lewis Nursery and Farms with homemade strawberry ice cream and a plant shop.

That evening we checked out a comedy show at Dead Crow Comedy Room and the next day got our steps in along the Riverwalk.

Downtown Wilmington~ Dead Crow Comedy Room & Riverwalk

What’s a girls trip without shopping?! We both love to shop local and picked up some artisan goods at the Riverfront Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

Shop jewelry, teas,candles and more at the Riverfront Farmers Market

No trip to the coast is complete without spending some time near the water. As we made our way to the sand, we stopped at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to take in the sights and have a classic glazed donut from Britts Donuts.

B is for Boardwalk and Britts Donuts

Spending a relaxing day at the beach was just what we needed. No chairs, no problem. Being able to rent an umbrella and chairs from Tony Silvagni Surf Schools was such a convenience for us. They provided great customer service and made our time at the beach very comfortable.

Getting some Vitamin Sea at Carolina Beach

Grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to share this trip guide with you! I hope you are inspired to make your way to Wilmington,NC & Carolina Beach soon. For more ideas be sure to visit https://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/

STAY Relax -Dine -Play at @HyattCentric SouthPark Charlotte #HyattCentricExplorer

STAY | Hyatt Centric SouthPark Charlotte

Conveniently located in SouthPark’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment district, Hyatt Centric invites you to enjoy a fun, sophisticated stay in the heart of some of the best Charlotte has to offer. Being able to walk to SouthPark mall to go shopping, get pampered at Sassy Nail Bar and being steps away from Steak 48 made staying at this Hyatt Centric location ideal for my weekend getaway.

This 175-room lifestyle hotel features an all natural modern design that reflects Charlotte’s history and beauty. As soon as you walk in the lobby, there is a gorgeous curved centerpiece staircase, a colorful, metallic six-foot-tall peacock statue, and eclectic art such as a mural by local artist, Hillary Siber Edwards that features β€œ100 porcelain gold ceramic mining pans intended to represent the 100 counties in North Carolina and the region’s history as the first documented gold discovery in the United States.”

There are two on-site dining options : MIZU, a rooftop restaurant where you can catch the sunset while enjoying dinner and bar service in a lounge setting …

…..and IRO, the hotel’s lobby restaurant where I enjoyed a tasty breakfast during my stay. Order the omelette your way or any of the other healthy options on the menu.

I also enjoyed the intentional details that went into making the rooms comfy for guests like dedicated reading lights on either side of the bed, USB outlets for device charging, large 55” televisions, rainfall showerheads, and more! Additional hotel amenities include meeting and event spaces, complimentary on-site parking, complimentary Wi-Fi and a rooftop fitness center featuring Peleton bikes.

I would definitely return and recommend for a wonderful place to relax, play, work, dine and stay >> @HyattCentric

For more info and to book your rooms go to hyattcentricsouthparkcharlotte.com

Family Travel | Fun Tips For Your Mountain Weekend Winter Vacay in Asheville, NC


In our home, we try to apply this rule Long Weekends = Family Vacay
..and since we all had MLK Day off Monday + our daughter had no school on Tuesday due to a teacher workday,Β 
it was the perfect reason to take a roadtrip and enjoy a change of scenery! This time we made plans to drive to Asheville, NC.

From Raleigh, NC it took us about 4 hours to arrive. Our 9 year old was so excited to have a mountain vacay and so were we! Although this is not our first time visiting AVL, it has been quite a few years and she doesn’t remember much. Our experience will be different, new memories will be made and a balance of fun and relaxtion is always on the agenda.
If you are planning a family trip to Asheville, NC this winter, take a look at our family vacay experience featuring some kid-friendly and family fun tips for you to enjoy!



Arrive | Saturday


SEE & SIP: We made a pit stop in Black Mountain, NC to see the Roberta Flack Mural located on the side of the Black Mountain Brewing building. I am a big fan of her music and was excited to see how they paid homage to this African American female artist! While there, make sure to have one of their unique beers that are brewed daily and see why this area is known for it’s craft beer culture and breweries. For the kids, they have chips and a food truck on the outside patio to grab snacks from.Β 

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are bringing the family pet along, no worries… friendly dogs in leashes are allowed!


EAT: We were ready to eat lunch when we arrived to Asheville and Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas fit the bill because the menu offers something for the whole family. We started with some tasty tapas (my kid loved the Itto gyoza dumplings and Itto Buns were perfect for my family of 3 because you get 3 to an order). If you enjoy sushi, the Yellowtail Jalapeno is a must try! Want something deliciously fried: order the Crab Rangoon or Takoyaki Balls!


Also on the menu are salads, cocktails/drink menu, wine, beer, sake, desserts as well as signature ramen. It was nice to warm up with a bowl of ramen that features broth that has been cooked for 7 to 9 hours!
They make 3 vats of broth daily that make 300 broth bowls. If your kid loves slurping up noodles like ours, then you must try their house-made ramen. I tried the Itto House Special Ramen, which is brothless but still full of amazing flavors! I am still dreaming about how good that dish is.
There are many gluten free and vegan options on the menu and they are proudly serving local fresh veggies, pork from Hickory Gap Farms and local beer also. My husband and I ordered from the Itto cocktails menu and made a toast to celebrate our safe arrival to Asheville and this amazing dining experience at Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas.





STAY: After hearing about our friends and their 2 kids stay at the Asheville Cottages, I knew it would have the right mix of rustic & luxury that my family would be satisfied with. Wifi for the hubby, a fire pit to make s’mores for the kid and a private hot tub for me! Our vacation rental cabin exceeded our expectations and we felt right at home. We stayed in The Chestnut, which is one of their 1 bedroom cottages. Overall, it was clean, cozy, and comfortable. We loved the location and surrounding views of the woods. Having a full kitchen along with a gas grill on the back deck allowed us to enjoy making meals together just like we would at home. A few things I don’t have at home that I wish I did now that I’ve experienced it here are the King -sized Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed and heated bathroom floors/toilet seat/towel rack. With so many extras, I most definitely would recommend Asheville Cottages for your next stay!


SobeSavvy Tip: Before you go, we shopped for a few hot tub accessories on Amazon to bring with us like this hot tub light that changes colors and some inflatable drink holders !

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPeOOBgDQX/?igshid=9iynztbgzvna


Sunday Funday


SEE:Β  Located in Downtown Asheville, the Asheville Art Museum showcases 20th/21st century American Art along with a concentration on work with significance to the Southeast. After learning of it’s 24+ million expansion in 2019, this museum was on my must see list!Β  From the glass facade to The Oculus, which features a 15 foot viewing window and all the amazing art, photography, crafts and glass being housed here amongst the galleries, there is so much to see!Β  We spent our time looking at the various artworks in 10 different Exhibitions and learning about it’s Collection. Did you know that the Asheville Art Museum is a collecting institution and serves all 24 counties in Western NC? You can explore this museum both in person and virtually via their website!

SobeSavvy Tip: Families, make sure to take advantage of the programs and some of the fun activities available for kids while there. We printed their downloadable coloring sheets and note cards for the whole family to enjoy!



SobeSavvy Tip: CafΓ© access is free for Members or included with Museum admission. Members get a 10 percent discount with code AAMMember.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKUGJi9nmnl/?igshid=q9ztcov8f038

DO: Add Hummingbird Candle Co. to your must do list when you visit Asheville for a unique candle-making experience. Shop and/or book an Interactive Candle Making Experience, with over 32 Scents to choose from using products that are earth-friendly. It’s the perfect Family (for kids age 7+) or Couples Date Night, Girls Night or Me Time fun anytime!
SobeSavvy Tip: Join the Insider Group for an Exclusive First Look at ALL of their NEW Items and Sales! You’ll receive 10% off your First Purchase TOO!

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CKKYNNvnXg6/?igshid=1cpfw4wawj4ms

Depart | Monday

READ: During our stay, I got to relax, relate and read! Here is a book recommendation to pick up before your next trip to Asheville: πŸ“—EVEN AS WE BREATHE, the 1st novel published by a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is partially set in Asheville,NC during WWII and tackles difficult social/cultural/ethnic divides.
Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle has definitely written a fictional page- turner and is a wonderful writer! I started reading this book before plusΒ  during our trip and it was the perfect vacation read.


SHOP: Ladies, (and all those who like to save & shop) I was happy to discover the Asheville Outlets were just minutes away from where we were staying. After we checked out of our cottage at 11am, we headed there to see what bargains we could find.Β Β  I got a belted puffer coat with faux fur hood on clearance at Banana Republic orig $189.99 for just $25‼️ Old Navy had something for the whole fam and our kid loved her new combat boots from Famous Footwear. There were so many quality brands to shop from but so little time (since we were departing from Asheville). However, it will be at the top of my list our next trip here!


SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure to check out these coupons from the Asheville Outlets for extra shopping savings!


Honor MLK: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ” We know that to bring justice, love and friendship, we must build strong communities that foster these things.”
We learned via Facebook that the Burton Street Peace Gardens, where they have an area of art dedicated to
Dr. King, would be a good place to visit to see how they honor his words and legacy, while supporting the community.

Before you go, check out ExploreAsheville.com for some insight ahead of your trip. You can find the latest roundups and newsy tidbits with updated information for the current world we live inΒ here.


This winter family vacay was enjoyed by all! From the joy our daughter had just being in the mountains, to my husband spending so much time in the hot tub that I nicknamed him Jacuzzi Joe to me having fun remaking this ” Let It Snow ” video, we truly enjoyed our time in Asheville, NC.

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Family Travel Tips for Visiting the @NCZoo in @TheHeartofNC during COVID-19

Disclaimer: Thanks to all at NC Zoo who work so hard to keep the visitors and animals safe. Media tickets & lunch were provided in exchange for review of our visit.

Family Travel Tips for Visiting the NC Zoo during COVID-19 | SobeSavvy.com

During these uncertain times, finding fun safe things to do with a child has been challenging to say the least. Lucky for us the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC comes in very high on the fun and safe things to do list. Most folks know this is not only one of the nations greatest zoos but it is THE largest natural habitat zoo in the world. Being only 90 minutes from the Triangle makes this day trip easy for well over a million residents here. Since a couple of years have passed since our prior family visit to the zoo, (which you can revisit that blog post >> here), me and my #HeighPartyof3 were very excited to return!

What To Know Before You Go

Due to COVID 19 the zoo has made some major changes in how they do business to ensure everyone has a safe time. Guest must now buy their tickets in advance on a timed basis. This helps to spread out any crowds during their operating hours so there is no overcrowding at any point of the day. Although they can accomadate up to 15,000 people daily they now limit only 2,000 guests per day. All guests have the room to social distance.

Guests are also strongly encouraged to wear mask coverings during their visit. Walkway paths are now designated one way only and they have added dozens of sanatizing stations and signage throughout the zoo. The majority of indoor exhibits are closed and all guests must enter through the “North American” section only.

NC Zoo is committed to the #NCZooCares & #StayStrongNC initiative and is reminding everyone to don’t forget your Ws! Wear. Wait. Wash.

WEAR a face covering.

WAIT 6 feet apart from other people.

WASH your hands often.

Learn more at nc.gov/covid19

KIDZONE

The Kidzone play area just reopened and my daughter was excited to check out that space. After being indoors nowadays for virtual homeschool, she enjoys any chance to play outside. They have many ways the kids can creatively explore the world of play by using their senses. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the entrance of the Kidzone with items such as hand sanitizer, disposable masks if needed and encouraged to grab chalk to write a message on the wall. They only allow a certain number of kids in at a time as a safety precaution.

Playing in the KIDZONE at NC Zoo | SobeSavvy.com

Lunch at NC Zoo

Located in the North America Plaza, The Iron Hen (while currently closed to the public) is an on-site restaurant where we met PR Officer, Moriah Angott (who filled us in on upcoming events, plans for Asia, and Covid -related initiatives they are taking.) We also met a representative from their food partner, SSA, to learn more about their nutritious and delicious options for providing visitors with food from local and sustainable ingredients.

We were treated to lunch which consisted of chicken quesadillas with a side salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing made in-house, and grilled chicken drizzled with Chipotle mayo, rice and grilled seasonal veggies. Our daughter had the chicken tenders (which are hand breaded and made with chicken breast from local farm, Joyce Farms) plus fries! She said it was really good and that you can tell the chicken tenders were better than processed chicken nuggets. For dessert we had their pumpkin parfait and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, which we devoured! Everything was flavorful, sustainable and made with care. I would definitely return just to eat there! For more info on dining options and catering for events, read >>here

Tune in for more NC Zoo

On October 31, 2020 get ready for the premiere of “Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina”, which will be shown on the Nat Geo Wild Channel. The eight-part series features stories of every kind β€” from emergency and routine animal procedures and animal husbandry to rescue, rehabilitation and release.

Viewers will get an inside look at North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, home to the largest zoo in the world. Spread out over an enormous 2,600 acres, this AZA accredited zoo has thousands of individual animals, more than 212 species and a diverse range of landscapes, including swamps, prairies, rivers, forests and even a desert. It’s more of a wildlife reserve than a traditional zoo, and many species share habitats as they would in the wild. At a time when the traditional concept of a zoo seems out of sync with animal welfare, the North Carolina Zoo leads the way and has achieved global recognition for setting zoo standards.

SobeSavvy Tip- Shoutout to the always helpful and resourceful Susan Dosier (@SDosier) at DK Communications Group for providing me with the following tips that I’ll kindly pass on to you:

β€’ Make sure everyone is in comfortable shoes and clothes. (the zoo is huge, and you guys will walk a lot.)

β€’ If it’s chilly or raining, the animals are actually more active. Be sure to put rain gear in your backpack in case of an unexpected shower!

β€’ Don’t miss the videos from the North Carolina Zoo. See their suite of options on Facebook like this video of the second baby rhino of 2020 learning to stand.

β€’ The North Carolina Zoo is also offering a Facebook Live EDVentures Online Series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, children and adults will learn more about a species living at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

πŸ‘€Watch this recap video from our fun day at NC Zoo !

Overall, we were impressed with how well they are doing to ensure guests are safe, surprised by the crowds(and their willingness to follow rules and wear masks) and appreciated the technology of being able to scan out map via QR code which provided support for a better guest experience!We had an amazing time at the zoo and it was such a great way to spend a beautiful fall day! I would definitely recommend visiting for a safe family fun activity. Stay connected and follow @NCZoo and @TheHeartofNC on social! For driving directions and more information about the NC Zoo, visit www.nczoo.org

πŸ“North Carolina Zoo

4401 Zoo Parkway Asheboro, NC 27205
1.800.488.0444

http://www.nczoo.org

Kid-Friendly Ideas For Festive Family Fun In Raleigh NC

Hello December! We’ve officially kicked off our holiday season in our home and ready to spread some cheer. The Christmas tree is up, we’ve already started drinking eggnog and Motown Christmas songs are on repeat on Spotify. My #HeighPartyof3 (which consists of my spouse, our daughter and me) are in the Heigh-liday spirit {get itπŸ˜‰} and have began some of the holiday traditions that we enjoy.Β So today I am sharing my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Family Fun In Raleigh,NC ~


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES


πŸŽ„ RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL


𝙍π™ͺ𝙙𝙀𝙑π™₯𝙝 π™©π™π™š π™π™šπ™™-π™‰π™€π™¨π™šπ™™ π™π™šπ™žπ™£π™™π™šπ™šπ™§: π™π™π™š π™ˆπ™ͺπ™¨π™žπ™˜π™–π™‘, is now playing at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts until DEC 24th in downtown Raleigh. My family has enjoyed this live performance for the last few years now and it just keeps getting better! They’ve even added something new this holiday season to the beloved TV classic.
See all of your fave characters: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon CorneliusΒ and, of course, Rudolph, as they sing and dance their way to your heartsΒ while teaching kids of all ages to celebrate what makes you different because its your special superpower!πŸ’ͺ🏽❀ πŸŽ‰

SobeSavvy Tip: The fun continues in the lobby with great photo ops next to larger than life inflatables and cool photo props. Get your kids face painted before the show or shop for some holiday gifts during intermission!


πŸŽ„ CINDERELLA


Continuing my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Famiy Fun in Raleigh, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella! Celebrating its 36th year, Cinderella runs December 6 – 22.
This amazing production has
* a sparkle of magic ✨
*Β  a delightful blend of comedy and romance πŸ’‘
* elegant scenery and costumes πŸ‘—
* outstanding singing & dancing πŸ•ΊπŸΌπŸ’ƒ
….and great actors to bring this timeless story to life! We loved all the modern updates and twists that were added to this classic tale, plus there is some audience interaction that everyone enjoyed!Β  Make plans to see #RLTCinderella for the holidays and
Get your tickets today!

SobeSavvy Tip: Stay after the show and get a chance to meet The Fairy Godmothet or snap a pic with King Darling! There’s also merchandise available to buy for your little prince or princess in the lobby. Plus, RLT is collaborating with WRAL and accepting donations for Coats For The Children.


***SAVE THE DATE & GET TIX NOW for these upcoming shows at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts:

β€’ DEC 13th and 14th Holidays with the North Carolina Symphony |HOLIDAY POPS features the holiday songs everyone knows and loves at Meymandi Concert Hall. With falling snow, hot chocolate, carolers, and an audience sing-along, this festive concert is the perfect holiday tradition. Audiences are invited to come early to meet Santa!

Β 

β€’ DEC 18th – 29th ‘The Nutcracker’ Carolina Ballet | From the moment the curtain rises, the magic of this Holiday classic is mesmerizing. Take a journey to a land of whimsical characters featuring magical illusions, magnificent sets, and beautiful costumes. Listen as a live symphony orchestra plays Tchaikovsky’s famed score.Β The NutcrackerΒ is the perfect story ballet for the young and young at heart.


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HOLIDAY EATS & SWEETS

πŸŽ„ SANTA BRUNCH at STIR

If you saw my Instagram story/post this past weekend, then perhaps you caught me and my Heigh Party of 3 hanging with ole Saint Nick aka Santa at STIR, located in North Hills. BRUNCH WITH SANTA at STIR is a recurring event happening every Sunday in December and is on my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas For Festive Family Fun In Raleigh because of the good food and intimate moments with Santa. Saint Nick works the room like a pro and is so kind to take photos with everyone. Enjoy $1 Mimosas πŸ₯‚ + a buffet bar filled with goodness is included with your entree! My daughter loves their avocado toast customized to her liking and I am all about the fresh seafood selections like Oysters and Shrimp & Grits! Santa was quite jolly and dapper in his suit, so get ready for your close-up with ole Saint Nick! Just take a look at these photos to see some tasty highlights at STIR! πŸŽ…πŸ½

SobeSavvy Tip: While at the brunch, take advantage of the Gift Card Sale! Give $50 or more and get 20% at STIR for yourself! 🎁


πŸŽ„ DUNKIN Holiday Treats


Do you like to ride around and see neighborhood Christmas lights while listening to holiday tunes? We do and we like to enjoy it while sipping on a warm beverage and eating snacks. So we stopped in our local Dunkin for some holiday treats. My daughter and I both had hot chocolate and their newΒ Holiday Brownie Crumble Donut, which features a vanilla frosted yeast ring donut dipped in brownie crumbles and drizzled with dark green icing. My husband enjoyed the eggnog latte with a yummy glazed donut. I think we may break tradition of leaving Santa cookies this year and give him a plate full of donuts with coffee on the side from Dunkin!

SobeSavvy Tip: Download the Dunkin app, earn DD perks and skip the line if order on the app before you go! Not sure what to get someone this holiday season, check out some of the cool merch offered by Dunkin inside the store and online or a DD gift card is always a great idea!


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

Holiday Movies


πŸŽ„ ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE RALEIGH


Going to the movies is always a good idea for a family date. Make plans to see a feature film or catch one of the holiday themed films now showing at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE RALEIGH. This is our go to theater for movies because of the Alamo Family program. The perks for parents with kids are great and you have the ability to watch a movie and eat/drink at the most comfy seats.

SobeSavvy Tip: Gift cards make perfect stocking stuffers. Give the the gift of Alamo, which is good for tickets, food, drinks and merchandise!


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

There are so many fun things to do with kids in Raleigh and throughout the Triangle this holiday season. This is just a bit of what we like to do but take a look at Visit Raleigh, Facebook, Eventbrite, and Carolina Parent for more Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Family Fun In Raleigh, NC!

What festive family fun do you plan to have this holiday? πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ½πŸŽ
CONNECT WITH ME @SobeSavvy
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Blogger Event Recap| #ScentandSipEvent in #Raleigh|Hosted by SobeSavvy.com

On Sunday March 3, SobeSavvy.com hosted an invite only event in Raleigh, NC called #ScentandSipEvent. It was a great opportunity to toast to our womanhood, a chance to network with other female Bloggers/Influencers in the Triangle [Raleigh/Durham,Chapel Hill,NC] and celebrate the spirit of female friendships, just in time for International Women’s Day/Women History Month!

We are making Herstory! | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt

INVITE

The “ScentandSip” idea came after receiving an exclusive Galentine’s Day invite to an event being held in Miami,FL. I notified the event organizers/PR my desire to collaborate/host an intimate event. Despite the weather, I was happy to have the support of Girl Bosses who are making herstory in Raleigh,NC and beyond!Leslie Heigh ~ SobeSavvy.com, @SobeSavvy
Anna Haddock ~ @annakhaddock thecoffeetableblog.com | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt

VENUE

I bought some decor from home to customize event space at AC Hotel Raleigh | Photo Credit: Barry Heigh, SobeSavvy.com


This event was held at the very stylish AC Hotel Raleigh in North Hills [Read about my staycation there>>here]. The AC Hotel has quickly become THE place to stay and play. Beautiful public spaces, awesome guest rooms and a now iconic rooftop bar, Level 7, is what most know about them. What you may not realize is that the AC Hotel also has four meeting/conference rooms that can be booked for your next event! My event was held in the Corella room and which came set up with 4 round tables covered in black tablecloths and 5 chairs per table. The room had plenty of lighting and gorgeous artwork on the walls.

Cheers to the weekend! | Photo Credit: Niki McNeill ~ singlebubblepop.com @nikimcneill


Whether you need a room with audio/visual setup or a traditional corporate setup, they do it all. Our event room also had great floor to ceiling windows with wonderful views of the North Hills area. Another selling point is that you can have catered food and drinks included with your event space booking/contract. We had small bites selected by the Chef at AC Hotel Raleigh and conveniently set up in the room.Β Everything was so very tasty and paired well with our sips.Bruschetta, Crabcakes, & Bacon Wrapped Scallops ~ Oh My! Delicious Small Bites from AC Hotel Raleigh| Photo Credit: Samuel Holt PhotographyΒ @samuelholt

SCENT

Known for their signature scents, diptyque is the Art of FragranceΒ  | Photo Credit: Barry Heigh, SobeSavvy.com


Many years ago hubby and I were fortunate enough to have spent a month living in Paris. It is there that we discovered diptyque. We had never heard of this unique brand nor were aware of their amazing and exotic scents of candles. Our favorite ended up being Jasmine. We brought a few home and all our friends asked “what kind of candle smells THAT nice? Fast forward and now diptyque is world renowned for not just their high quality candles but for all of their fragrance based products for the home and body. Each guest received a gift bag which included the fragrance/shower oil called L’Ombre dans L’Eau. I would describe the scent and floral,fruity and exquisite!

#ScentandSipEvent gifts from diptyque | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt

SIP

Sips by Chambord | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt


Chambord, is a mainstay at top shelf bars and is made in the Loire Valley of France. This liqueur uses red and black raspberries with Madagascar vanilla, citrus peel, honey and cognac. This combination can be traced back to the 1600’s when Louis XIV drank Cognac with dinner. This versatile liqueur is used to make cocktails from many different spirits. The featured cocktail was the Chambord Royale and here is the recipe for you to enjoy!

Sips and Smiles with Danae Edmonds, ~ aspiringco.com, @aspiring_co | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt


Vilarnau Brut Cava Reserva & Vilarnau Cava RosΓ© is a stunning pair from Barcelona with a sleeve inspired by the artist, Gaudi


Vilarnau Cava, a spanish sparkling wine, was also introduced to guests.

Made near Barcelona,Spain, Vilarnau provided two types of wine: Brut Reserva and RosΓ© Delicat. Both are aged over 15 mos in bottle, not tanks. This part of the fermentation method also guarantees the bubble to be more effervescent for a much longer time in your flute than other sparkling wines. I recently shared Five Things to Know about Vilarnau Cava and have found a new bubbly to celebrate with!

Vilarnau Cava is best served chilled | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt

I was honored to have Maxine Lee, CSW {Certified Specialist of Wine} to present the wine and chat with us about sparkling wines. She shared with us the difference between Champagne and sparkling wines is the orgin. Champagne comes from Champagne, France anything else from anywhere else is sparkling wine.Β  To learn mpre wine fundamentals, follow her @drinkgoodwithmax for her Wine Q & A on Monday nights.

Maxine Lee, Your Favorite Wine Specialist @drinkgoodwithmax |Β  Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography

#SobeSavvyGiveaway

Everyone loves a giveaway, so I had every guests drop their business cards into a box and at the end of the evening I drew 3 of them as winners. They all won various giftcards from three businesses in North Hills: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Kings Bowling and The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. All places that I enjoy going to with my family!Congrats to Jen Lawrence ~www.jenoni.com, @JenOni_Inc , Kiara Ruth @KiaraRuth, Anna Haddock @annakhaddock | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography

SobeSavvy Tip: Hit up the Dollar Tree and create your own DIY Selfie Station. String up some garland for a backdrop, grab some wall decals as signs, bring your own fun and strike a pose!

#ScentandSipEvent DIY Selfie Station | Photo Credit: Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt


I am very thankful to guests, grateful for partnerships with brands and businesses who participated in sponsorship of giveaway. Special thanks to the staff at AC Hotel Raleigh who made my guests and I had everything we needed. Many thanks to Sam Holt of Samuel Holt Photography for doing such a wonderful and professional job capturing the event!

#ScentandSipEventΒ Sam Holt @samuelholt | Photo Credit: Barry Heigh, SobeSavvy.com

WATCH my YouTube Video photo recap of the #ScentandSipEvent. Photos by Sam Holt. Video Edit by Leslie Heigh, SobeSavvy.com

https://youtu.be/mv1B_4IU9F0

Cheers! Thanks for reading!

CONNECT WITH MEΒ 
Facebook|YouTube|InstagramΒ |PinterestΒ |Β Twitter

My Top 8 Day Date Ideas in Raleigh, NC | SobeSavvy.com

Time like money doesn’t grow on trees. Finding time to date can be challenging as parents, however creating “couple” time is something I have become good at. While having a date night out can be rare for us, going on day dates have become something we enjoy. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share My Top 8 Day Date Ideas in Raleigh,NC :

Admire Art while on a Museum Date at NCMA

Art and nature are two things I love and NCMA has a wonderful way of celebrating the beauty of both. We have not only enjoyed the exhibits inside but have spent time walking along their grassy pathways adorned with public sculptures. A memorable day date for me was during Art in Bloom, which pairs works of art with floral bouquets. This 4 day fundraiser returns March 21–24. Tickets available at ncartmuseum.org/bloom or (919) 715-5923

Relax with a Couples Mani/Pedi Spa Date at POLISHED NAIL BAR

If you read my previous post about treating your Valentine to some pampering time, then you know why I love treating myself and my loved ones to a mani/pedi at Polished Nail Bar. It’s a great place to meet your girls, take your man, treat your Mom or even have some alone time. The mimosas along with their great service and comfy throne chairs will leave you and your date relaxed!

Treat yourselves to something sweet and go on an Ice Cream Date at RALEIGH ROLLS

We scream for ice cream and now have a special place that makes me wanna shout! That place would be Raleigh Rolls, located at the new Morgan Street Food Hall. This is more than a mere ice cream place. It is a unique way to enjoy an age old favorite. Instead of β€œscooping” they β€œroll” up ice cream into your own customized concoction. They start with a base and you build on from there with your choice of toppings. This Valentine’s Day ❀ they are offering a special Red Velvet ice cream & a bottle of champagne for $15! Share with your date and let the good times β€œroll”!

Go on a Movie Date and get a drink/bite to eat right at your seat at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE

Anytime we want to catch a movie in a special setting we head down to Alamo Drafthouse. This is a retro moviehouse experience. Full bar and delicious menu items are at your disposal. You can even eat at your seat. Alamo has it all. They have a real movie rental store in the lobby. How retro and fun is that !? Did I also mention they have β€œbottomless” popcorn? Read more about my Alamo experience >>>here.

Have a Breakfast with Bae Coffee Date at MORNING TIMES

Every city needs that classic coffee shop where you can have a great breakfast in a nice atmosphere with amazing coffee. Morning Times would be THAT spot in downtown Raleigh. Read my post to see why locals love their vibe. Look carefully at that latte, it just may have a foam heart in it .

Spice up your life and have a Lunch Date at CURRY IN A HURRY

Spicy and mild is how some folks describe my husband and myself! The perfect lunch for us is Curry In A Hurry. Most people know them from their amazing food truck here. Last year, they decided to open their first brick and mortar store at the Morgan Street Food Hall. Indian/Asian curries are their specialties. Their most popular dish is their butter chicken. If that is too mild, go for something like their Green Chicken Curry which definitely has more of a kick. Read my full review>>here and make plans to spend your lunch hour at Curry In A Hurry.

Grab a cocktail or two from the NEW Social Hour menu at ORO

Do you enjoy good conversation and cocktails? Head to the bar at ORO Restaurant & Lounge in Downtown Raleigh for their new Social Hour. On Mon -Thurs, 5pm-7pm items like Truffle fries, lobster crab bites and sliders along with wine and ” The Social Butterfly” cocktail are just $5 on their bar menu. The amazing flavors in such a gorgeous space will leave you and your date impressed!

Enjoy an early Dinner Date for 2 at DRIFTWOOD

Whenever hubby and I want a taste of southern hospitality, we make our way to Driftwood Southern Kitchen in Lafayette Village in North Raleigh. Pork Rinds awaits at the table for you and your date to enjoy! They have daily drink specials and delicious food that is locally sourced when possible. My suggestions would be to start with the Brussels Sprouts and end with the Vanilla Cheesecake. Their brisket is some of the best and the Blackened NC Catfish is fantastic! You and your date will no longer be hungry but happy after dining at Driftwood.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtpXGY3HYkx/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=ge71zx7oa53u

SobeSavvy Tip: Just a few steps away from Driftwood in Lafayette Village is Watkins Flowers of Distinction. Why not surprise your date with flowers or a beautiful candle. They have so many unique gifts that would add a bit of wow to any date!

There are so many more places to explore in Raleigh. No matter what you or your date like to do, I hope this post can be a resource for you. I plan to update it as I discover other faves but these are just 8 that we feel are great!

Where is your favorite place to go on a Day Date in Raleigh, or your city? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading! ❀

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#FamilyTravel | Where to Play, Eat, Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte, NC #CLT

Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 has ended but not without making memories in Charlotte,NC. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 drove 2.5 hours to kick off our holiday season in the Queen City and had such a great time! I wanted to share some of the highlights from our visit to inspire other families who may be traveling there soon. Check out my Family Travel Guide|Where to Play,Eat,Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte,NC.

PLAY

Discovery Place & IMAX| website

Discovery Place, located in Charlotte’s Uptown area, is a wonderful hands on learning complex about technology, nature and science. Spread out over 3 floors, families can spend the day here exploring and having fun. Watch an IMAX feature, Touch a Starfish, Create Art with a hot glue gun, and Dance while learning how the muscles move in your body! There is plenty to see and do like looking at our skin cells under a microscope, crossing a rope bridge in the rainforest, playing the secret scents game and so much more! Discovery Place lets kids of all ages experience learning thru play. It is a great way to spend a fun day! To see more, watch youtube video>>here.

Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway | website

Charlotte Speedway is the annual home to “Speedway Christmas”. Every year thousands and thousands of lights takeover the infield and stands at this iconic racing venue. We got a chance to actually drive on the racetrack which my husband loved! Tune in to their own radio station and listen to Christmas tunes as you take a slow drive for a few miles. We enjoyed partaking in the tradition of seeing the unique sights and creativity used for the dozens of displays. Guests can stop at their Christmas Village for snacks, rides and shopping. Speedway Christmas is a seasonal, holiday event held at Charlotte Speedway. So pack the family up in the car and have your chance to drive on the speedway to see holiday lights! Pay one price per vehicle and sit back, sing Christmas Carols and Enjoy! Take a look at my youtube video and enjoy some of light displays at Speedway Christmas!

SobeSavvy Tip: It is recommended that visitors come in early in the season as the lines tend to get longer the closer they get to Christmas. Also going on a Thursday or Sunday night is best as the Village is open and movies are shown on the Speedway TV. On Dec.9 bring 5 Food Lion brand non-perishable food items and get $10 off admission!

EAT

Piedmont Social House | website

Looking for a place that has great food, a tap room, games and a 12 lane bowling alley? Then head to Piedmont Social House, located in the popular Ayrsley neighborhood of Charlotte. It is a one stop destination for an afternoon or evening of food,drinks and fun! The atmosphere here is energetic and lively. It is a great spot for groups or a fun date night. There is something for everyone in the family. The service was good and so were their Chicken and Waffles! Just feast your eyes on it here:

SobeSavvy Tip: Now through December 31 they have a special Gift Card Promotion. Buy a $50 Gift Card and receive a $10 Bonus Card! Just ake a look at my photos featuring good food and good vibes from our dining experience at Piedmont Social House >>here and you’ll want to give or get a gift card to this restaurant!

THE COWFISH Sushiβ€’Burgerβ€’Bar | website

With so many restaurant choices around Southpark Mall in Charlotte, it can be hard to find something that is actually different. One in particular that stands out from the rest is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Creative cocktails, innovative sushi rolls and awesome burgers is what ypu can find here. My daughter loves their kids menu choices, which comes with a Cowfish tattoo! Service is excellent and if you can, save room for dessert. See more drool worthy photos from our visit >>here and be sure to dine at The Cowfish when visiting Charlotte.

American Girl Bistro | website

SPECIAL..MAGICAL..MEMORABLE, Those are three words I would use to describe our visit to the American Girl Store/ Bistro. On Sunday, my #Heighpartyof3 enjoyed ‘Holiday Tea’ and each other during this event. Our #outandaboutAva and Luciana got all dolled up in their matching red velvet dresses for the special occasion! It was so darling! Girls got to visit the hot chocolate bar, play with a paper doll craft and we all had a chance to eat savory bites/sweet treats. Check out more photos from the Holiday Tea event>>here to see some of the holiday memories we made at this special in-store experience. With all the attention to the little details for girls and their dolls, it was a visit our daughter will never forget!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save 25% on matching dresses for girls and dolls thru 12/24/18! Find something special to make their season memorable and magical at americangirl.com

STAY


Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/SouthPark at Phillips Place| website

The Hampton Inn & Suites was a wonderful place to stay during our Charlotte visit. It is located at The Phillips Place Shops area and is within walking distance to many restaurants and even has a Whole Foods next door. The immense Southpark mall is right down the street. It has a stately lobby and public areas. Large modern and stylish suites awaits visitors. I loved the built in TV vanity mirror feature of our suite. There is complimentary Valet Parking and of course the Hampton Inn breakfast gets you ready for another day tackling the Queen City. Make this your property of choice on your next visit to Charlotte!

Here is an inside look at the Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/ SouthPark at Phillips Place:

As you can see, Charlotte is one of those cities in North Carolina that no matter the length or purpose of your visit, there are so many options for families. You can play, eat, stay and have fun along the way!

Planning to visit Charlotte this season? Which one of these places would be on your list?

Food|Celebrate #NationalCheesePizzaDay @DemosPizzaDeli in #Raleigh #NC #SobeSavvyEats #Pizza

Give me a P- I- Z- Z -A, foodies let’s celebrate #NationalCheesePizzaDay! If you live in Raleigh, hands down, DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli is a great place to enjoy some amazing cheese pizza and more! Here’s why:

βœ” Fresh, not Frozen crust

βœ” Dough made in-house

βœ” Homemade Sauce

βœ” Quality Mozzarella Cheese

But that’s not all they do great.

Pizza, Hot & Cold Sandwiches, Award Winning Chicken Wings and Delicious Desserts are all on the menu for the whole family to enjoy!

THE MENU

DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli on Glenwood Avenue in Downtown Raleigh has some of the best wings and pizza to be found anywhere.

Founded by two Raleigh natives, DeMo’s serves up everything fresh not frozen. House made dough, sauces and even the vanilla cannoli cream fillings!

But before I jump to dessert, I went there with my family in search of the best cheese pizza to have on National Cheese Pizza Day. We noticed they had comfy booth seating and our favorite foodie show ‘Chopped’ was playing on one of their flat screen tvs, so we felt right at home. We started with hot and fresh garlic rolls that was served with their house made marinara. They were soooo goood! Order these and get ready to dip, baby, dip!

A fresh Ceasar Salad is a great way to ensure you eat your veggies with your pizza and their salad was crisp, tasty and big enough for my #HeighPartyof3 family to share.

I highly suggest ordering some wings to start. Not just any wings but DeMo’s offer Jumbo Wings that are seasoned, baked to perfection and fried to order perfection. They are then tossed in one their many amazing sauces or you can get the sauce on the side.

It comes served with double batch ranch sauce and blue cheese for dipping. In addition to their award winning Buffalo IPA beer sauce, DeMo’s has some other sauce choices also like Mild, Honey Chile, BBq and Teriyaki. These wings are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Our medium Cheese Pizza came piping hot out of their oven! It had the right amount of gooey, ooeey cheese that our daughter loves, the perfect amount of sauce for me and my husband, who I call a pizza crust snob (since his first job was making pizzas) gave it his pizza lover stamp of approval.

In my opinion there is nothing worse than an unbalanced cheese to sauce ratio! But DeMo’s does not disappoint and there was goodness in every bite. Their pizza is thin NY style pizza. In other words you can hold or fold. The choice is yours! My little one aka #outandandaboutAva commented it was the best pizza she has ever had!

As the pizza was disappearing we made sure to save room for dessert after learning from co-owner Anthony DeMarco that the cheesecake (my daughter’s favorite) is not only homemade but has a bit of a unique twist in its recipe that my young foodie tasted right away! Also on the dessert menu are cannolis made with their house made vanilla cream filing. Both desserts were so good and the perfect sweet ending to our meal.

SobeSavvy Tip: If you just want to order a slice of pizza from DeMo’s , check out this daily combo’s special ‡️

We left Demo’s feeling like everyday should be National Cheese Pizza Day! Our daughter waved goodbye to ‘Fat Tony’ outside of Demo’s and I grabbed a menu because you can dine in or order take out. DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli also offers delivery which I will be using since this place is now our new favorite pizza spot in Raleigh!

DEMO’S Pizzeria & Deli
222 Glenwood Ave #121 Raleigh, NC 27603

Shop Luxury Items for Less @NationalPawnNC in #Raleigh #NationalPawn #Pawn #PawnShop

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of National Pawn. Photos and opinions are 100% my own.

You see that picture above? Yep, that is me walking out of a pawn shop with my daughter. A few years ago, I would have never thought to stop in a pawn shop or even think to take my kid with me just based on misconceptions of what a pawn shop is like. One trip to National Pawn and it will dispel any misconceived notions. Who knew National Pawn could be such a great place to find luxury items!?! Read on to see why National Pawn is ranked #1 Pawn Stores….

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

SobeSavvy.com was recently invited to shop at National Pawn to see how they are “changing the perception of the pawn business“. It was quite a pleasant experience for my whole family and I am writing here to tell you all about it! Pawn shops have traditionally gotten a bad rap. Dim unkept stores with less than stellar customer service. NOT here.National Pawn has 16 locations throughout North Carolina and we shopped at their β€œRaleigh 1” location off of Glenwood/Rt 70 conveniently located on Glenwood Boulevard between Crabtree Mall and Brier Creek. The pawn and jewelry store β€œOn the Hill” is a bright and airy storeroom that has something for everyone!

AFFORDABLE FINDS

When looking for electronics, musical instruments, luxury items or piece of jewelry, the first place most people think of is a big box store or going to the mall. Did you know you could find those things and more at deeply discounted rates at National Pawn? We saw everything from luxury items to Keurig Coffee makers to the latest and greatest electronics like the Apple Watches and to high end Italian purses. We were amazed at how most
these items were in very good to new condition. Diamonds, electric guitars, rare coins and unique items like this autographed chair from the Broadway Play ‘The Color Purple’!

MY SHOPPING HAUL

Having a good camera is an essential for every blogger. Our camera had recently died and we were on the look out for a new one. Luckily for us, Lindsey was there to not only provide us with great customer service but to give us her expertise on cameras since she studied photography. She helped us compare a few models and we settled on a great Nikon Coolpix w/a zoom lens for under $70. They had a great variety to choose from and no matter your budget, National Pawn does offer layaway.

My daughter loves her Nintendo WII and after we got her off of a bike and a scooter she found a fun looking racing game for under $10. If
you know anything about video games then you realize just what a great deal that was! I immediately told my Mom friends of all the awesome finds for kids at National Pawn. I was so surprised!

I wanted something in the jewelry section and was delighted to see that had a pretty big selection of Pandora bracelet charms. Lindsey is indeed a Jill of all Trades because she used to be a manager at Pandora! She pointed out that alot of the Pandora charms were rare or discontinued. I spotted a
gorgeous wooden charm that would pair well with my other wood accessories. It was priced around $30 and I am now the proud owner of this beautiful gem.

GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Everyone was quite friendly at this National Pawn location and Lindsey went above and beyond to answer any of our questions.

Great customer service always makes for a great and memorable shopping experience in my opinion. Our purchases were kindly wrapped up and we were informed of their 3 day no questions asked money back guarantee if we needed to return any item for any reason. This alone is almost unheard of in the pawn shop business. Most places have a β€œfinal sale” policy, but not at National Pawn.

SobeSavvy Tip: Sign up πŸ‘‰ HERE to Join Rewards Program and Get Special Deals & Discounts !!

Next time you are looking for luxury items for less, shop at National Pawn.

Odds are they not only have it but they have it at a price that will keep more of your money in your pocket!

NATIONAL PAWN |Raleigh

6740 Fleetwood Dr.

Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 390-7622

info@nationalpawnshops.com