Spring Family Travel Guide | STAY, EAT, SHOP & PLAY in Fairfax, VA @MosaicDistrict @VisitFairfax

Did you and your family stay home or travel for Spring Break? Since the pandemic, many of us have not travelled. My family has not left the state of NC for the past year! But since our daughter is out of virtual home school for her spring break, it was the perfect time to plan for a quick getaway.

We took a road trip from Raleigh, NC to Fairfax, VA. It took us approximately 4 hours and was an easy drive especially since we arrived on a Wednesday. The staff greeted us warmly at check in and we were ready for our mini family vacay to begin!

STAY | Hyatt House Falls Church /Merrifield

Looking to visit Fairfax,VA soon? My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed a two night stay at Hyatt House Falls Church. It was comfortable, clean and convenient to everything in the Mosaic District.

I would recommend this property because of all of it’s wonderful offerings like:
• SPACIOUS one bedroom suites with full kitchen (upgrade to a room with a balcony!)
• FREE grab n go breakfast • AMENITIES: fitness center
• ACCESS to all of the Mosaic District’s shops, restaurants, services and more right outside of the hotel doors!

SobeSavvy Tip: 👀 WATCH this YouTube video for a tour of the hotel room and more!

EAT | bartaco & more!

We loved having so many dining options withing walking distance of the hotel. In fact, one of the reasons we chose the Mosaic District was to be near one of our favorite restaurants: bartaco! With their new/ improved app, ordering online for pickup or delivery was so easy and convenient. We ordered all our fave scratch made tacos and sides and even got their ‘reviver’ cocktail to go! We also tried the 🆕 #bartacosecret taco: chile-lime shrimp taco,which launched on 4/1 and available through 5/5. It’s the perfect combo of spicy + tangy! With plenty of space in our hotel to dine in our room, we were able to enjoy #bartacoathome away from home!

SobeSavvy Tip: If pizza is your kiddos love language, then deliciousness awaits! Our daughter, #outandaboutAva enjoyed cheese pizza for dinner from Oath Pizza & a chicken pesto pizza for lunch at Matchbox, located in the Mosaic District! I think it is safe to say, you will be in pizza heaven when you visit here!

SHOP | Mosaic District

The Mosaic District is described as an urban district with curated boutiques, restaurants and Angelika Film Center. For us, it was a one stop shopping district, where we could enjoy a short vacay with so many conveniences near our hotel stay! From Target, to boutiques & everything in between, there are plenty of places to shop in the Mosaic District.

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are looking for quality body/skincare, shop LATHER! Their products are natural & smell amazing! The perfect selfcare treat while on vacation!

PLAY | Muse Paint Bar & more !

When we checked in on our first night, I encouraged my husband to do something he has never done before ( attend a sip/paint by himself )! Muse Paintbar was the perfect place for him to sip wine, paint, play and enjoy some alone time because parents need a Spring Break too! He had fun painting ‘Bob Marley’ and creating this unique souvenir from our getaway!

SobeSavvy Tip: Create more #mosaicmoments by checking out the beautiful art murals in the Mosaic District and don’t forget to stop by the Gratitude Post for a chance to send someone (or yourself) a note on a postcard expressing your gratitude! #7wordstories

Although our visit was short and sweet, I am “Super Grateful” to have spent this time with family exploring Fairfax, Va’s Mosaic District. There is more to explore, so I know we will be back to stay in this area especially when the temps warm up and as things get back to normal! Until next time, keep wearing your masks, social distancing, washing yours hand and staying grateful! Peace Out!

Have you ever visited Fairfax, VA or Mosaic District before? Please share with me a place I should check out during my next visit. Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to travel to this area this Spring!

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#SobeSavvyPresents ..Gifts By Leslie! Find your fave #selfcare #love #gifts here 🎁 #giftsbyLeslie

“Gifting” is a love language and while the many online quizzes have shown me that gifting is not my primary love language, I have always liked creating “Thank You” gifts for friends/family. Combining my love for making gifts for others as well as treating myself to some self care love is how “Gifts By Leslie” came to be!

I launched in February 2021, just in time for Valentine’s Day to remind others to not only show some love to others but also to themselves! Take a look at what I am offering as of March 2021:

Self-Care Love Gifts by Leslie

♥️ Made With Love to Inspire Self-Care ♥️

“Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” -Unknown

Treat yourself or someone else with a unique gift basket filled with items to enjoy while practicing self-care! ♥️

Tea Lovers Basket: includes chamomile tea, a mug, a mini scented candle, and a sweet treat

💲10.00

A Bin of Zen: includes a mini soy candle, 100% Himilayan Bath Salt (lavender scented), Buddha art, meditation mood stone, incense holder 💲15.00

Here’s some BTS..behind the scenes of how I make the Rose/Lavender Infused Bath Salt:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CMUii9SHB-i/?igshid=1mtlri4ybgj40

Candle Gift Mini Box- includes mini scented candle in a decorative keepsake box 💲5.00

Paint Night Basket: includes canvas, display easel holder, apron, paint, 2+brushes, brush holder, chocolate candy kisses 💲18.00

• Zen Garden Gift Set: includes Zen Garden Kit & mini Healing Stone candle 💲8.00

~currently out of stock (ask to be added to Wait List or request substitute items)

..but don’t worry, we have 🆕 Gifts By Leslie items added to the shop every month‼️ Here’s what’s new for March 2021:

I Love Paris Gift Set: includes 2 Stemless ( clear or smoke) “I Love Paris” Wine Glasses, 4 chocolate truffles, Fleurs & Jardin (which is French for Flowers & Garden) metal bin 💲20.00

***All gifts include a FREE Self Care Bingo printable to remind you of some ways to practice self-care!

Ready to order your special gift?! 🎁 DM me, leave comment or email SobeSavvy@gmail.com for any questions and order requests!

Payments accepted via:
CashApp $giftsbyLeslie

Paypal: Leslie Heigh/lesheigh@aol.com

Get ready to feel the love and place your order today! 🥰 Follow along with #giftsbyLeslie #selfcarelovegifts!

Sharing is caring..so don’t forget to tell a friend 🗣️

Effective March 23rd, I’ve added Easter Baskets! Take a look:

🆕 APRIL 2021 Inventory

Zen Spa Basket, perfect gift for Administrative Professionals Day 4/21, Mother’s Day or anytime for yourself!

Includes Buddha Tealight Candle Holder, Lime/Coconut Tealight Candle, Citrus Loofah Soap, Rose/Lavender Pink Himalayan Bath Salt, Tropical Shower Cap, Face Mask Sponges, & Faux Succulent Arrangement, in a Straw Basket wrapped with love 💲22.00 ‼️

————–

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Here’s how I hosted my #Gals for #GalentinesDay with a @dunkin Brunch Board + a ‘Hey! It’s Your Day’ @mangopublishing Book Review/Giveaway! Enter to Win ♥️

My #Gals + Galentine’s Day Book Swap × Dunkin’ Brunch Board x Hey! It’s Your Day Book Giveaway

Galentine’s Day falls on February 13th and it’s a day to let your gals know how much you appreciate them. Last year I hosted a “Galentine’s Day” party and shared How to Host a Fun Book Swap with my readers. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to host another #GalentineBookSwap this year!

THE INVITE

#GalentineDayBookSwap Invite | SobeSavvy.com

#GalentineDayBookSwap Invite | SobeSavvy.com

What do you do when it’s a pandemic among us but you still want to get together with some girlfriends? You take the necessary precautions, send an invite to a chosen few and mask up! I used a group pic from the last book swap and created a collage invite to send. Between the cold rain and Covid-19, I was thankful to still celebrate Galentine’s Day!

SIPS

Now Pouring ..Shoe Crazy Wine | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Now Pouring ..Shoe Crazy Wine | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

I received a wine gift from Shoe Crazy, which is owned by a African American female. So I was happy to serve their Peach Mango Sparkling Wine as a welcome cocktail. This fruity, sweet wine was the perfect blush color to cheers to Galentine’s Day!

EATS by Dunkin’

Dunkin' Brunch Board | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

I made a Dunkin’ Brunch Board! | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Feast your eyes on my Dunkin’ Brunch Board! Since I was hosting the ladies late morning/early afternoon on a Saturday, I thought why not share some of my favorite snacks from Dunkin’! With charcuterie and cheese boards being all the rage, I hoped my guest would enjoy the presentation and they did! I added items from the Dunkin’ Snacks menu : hash browns, snackin’ bacon, stuffed bagel minis, munchkins and their speciality heart-shaped Valentine’s donuts (Cupid’s Choice & Brownie Batter)! It was all so delicious!

Leslie of SobeSavvy.com serves up a Dunkin' Brunch Board

Leslie of SobeSavvy.com serves up a Dunkin’ Snacks Board for Brunch!

I also got a Box of Joe to go from Dunkin’ with their Original Blend of coffee and a shot of Hazelnut. It serves 10 ppl and comes with cups, kids, sugars, creams,and stirrers. It was convenient and brewed to perfection. Definitely order one for your next gathering!

Box of Joe to go from Dunkin

Enjoy a Box of Joe from Dunkin’ at your next gathering! | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Book Swap + Review + Giveaway

Book Swap Ready!

Book Swap Ready | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

After we sipped, snacked and shared stories, it was time to swap books. Guests are welcome to bring whatever type of literature they want to exchange. As a thank you gift, I gave each guest an uplifting book from Mango Publishing titled Hey! It’s Your Day written by June Cotner.

Hey ! It's Your Day  by June Cotner - Review/Giveaway by SobeSavvy.com

Hey! It’s Your Day by June Cotner – Review/Giveaway by SobeSavvy.com

Hey! It’s Your Day! is a collection of quotes, personal essays, and aspirations for anyone to live by, making it the perfect reminder of how valuable these life events are. June Cotner is an author well equipped in helping people rediscover excitement in life, with millions of books sold on momentous occasions such as marriage in Wedding Blessings and special events in Graces. Featuring multicultural lessons, thought-provoking compositions, and gorgeous pages, Hey! It’s Your Day! will remind readers that life isn’t just living in the moment, it’s also about looking forward to the future.

This book provides so many inspirational reminders to live your best life! I enjoy reading positive affirmations and quotes from some of my faves such as Rumi, Oprah, The Obamas..just to name a few. There is an eclectic mix of people as well as nearly 50 topics that cover subjects like love, friendship, family, growth, happiness, success, creativity and more! Hey! It’s Your Day! would be a great gift for anyone at anytime but I can see me gifting this for some upcoming celebrations such as Mother’s Day or Graduation. But I don’t want to wait that long…I am excited to partner with Mango Publishing to host a giveaway and gift someone this wonderful book! Head to my Instagram @SobeSavvy to enter there:

*No instagram.. no worries..leave a comment here on the blog and share a favorite quote!

RECAP

For this to be my first time having guests over inside the house since the pandemic, I think it went well. I made everyone feel safe, comfortable and we all had fun! Take a look at my video recap, here:


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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, 
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. 

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:  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!  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!  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: Café 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: 📗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 plus  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.   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 in 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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Daddy Diaries VOL II | The #Inauguration2021


2020, as we all know has been “one for the books” to say the least. the election has been a welcomed diversion for me. I was a political Science major at Morgan{Go Bears !}and growing up watched my dad read two newspapers a day, so politics was always a discussion in my home. 15 years from now my daughter may be able to say the same exact thing. My dad’s two newspapers may have replaced by Politico.com and C-Span but the impact is the same.

I am truly blessed that 9 years ago she was born in a world where a black president was just a matter of fact normal. She had no knowledge or background to realize just how momentous his election was to the world. Over the last few years of course she has come to realize just how amazing having a President , a fellow #girldad, with her daddy’s skin has been.

We have always taught her the black history IS American History and people actually died to participate in this experiment we call America. In February we all went to see Biden here in Raleigh at ST Augustine’s College. Her first political rally and she enjoyed the energy and sense of one common purpose in that gymnasium. Fast forward to Nov 3. Leslie voted early a week before I voted early. Ava went both times to witness the right that far too may people take for granted. She was excited election night. We had a election party for 3 in our living room. We danced happy dances only to see the night end in well, what can only be described as TBA.


Every morning for 3 days she awoke and asked me the same question, “Is Biden President yet?”. On that 3rd morning I gleefully told her he got it ! She proclaimed ” Good”! Seeing a VP who looks like a family member matters, representation matter. For all the trials and tribulations of 2020, it is still a amazing time to be alive to witness America slowly, finally living up to it’s lofty ideals.


Ava asked me what does she have to do to be President one day. I went down the line of college, probably law school and running for maybe local offices and maybe state offices etc ,etc, etc, and I laughed at myself and said ” BUT FIRST, just finish the fourth grade!


Now we are here together on January 20th watching #Inauguration2021 of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., where history has been made today, as he was officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. Alongside him, Kamala Harris made history as the first female Vice President, as well as the first black and first south Asian VP!


We also got to watch and listen to Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, recite a poem on unity in the U.S. at #Inauguration2021. Again, representation and diversity matters. As we watched the new President and Madame Vice President enter the White House, it was good to see that the America that I am raising our daughter in decided to let sanity, and decency prevail.

To read more Daddy Diaries: see here. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Later Y’all.
Barry

Want a change of scenery? Here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in @WilmingtonNCoast! #travel #familytravel #WilmingtonNC #CarolinaBeachNC #SobeSavvy

2020 has been a unique year to say the least. Challenges that none of us could have guessed a year ago have filled all of our lives since March. Like many of you, home school and working from home has become a mainstay. My #HeighPartyof3 family were in need of a change of scenery, so we opted for a roadtrip to Wilmington, NC over this past Thanksgiving Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Wilmington, it’s an iconic coastal city that is both urban and beachy at the same time with a down home friendliness and great food and hospitality scene. We have visited this destination a few times (read about past visits: here) and our familiarity made the choice that much easier. If you are in need of a change of scenery, here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in Wilmington, NC!

STAY

Social distancing is a invented term due to COVID-19 and picking a place that takes that seriously led us to Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront. They have instituted a industry leading room cleaning sanitation program called Clean Stay. They have partnered with Lysol to ensure the highest level of cleanliness at the property.

This hotel’s proximity to the riverwalk and historic downtown makes this a awesome choice for those wanting to explore this part of Wilmington on foot. Hubby took a jogging map the hotel has and went for a birthday morning 3 mile run! We had a spacious modern suite with a enviable Cape Fear River view. Great stay at a nice property!

STEAM Restaurant & Bar, located inside the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront had a special Thanksgiving Brunch. The STEAM staff served the buffet with socially distanced tables and sanitized protocols in place. We had a table with no one in our immediate area so we got a chance to relax and enjoy a turkey dinner along with some locally sourced oysters and shrimp! Great service and wine/cocktail list made this a great choice.

EAT

In addition to STEAM , there are amazing family dining options in the area that offer takeout as well as dining in with Covid safety measures in place. Here are some places we enjoyed:

Hops Supply Co.: We had eaten a heavy “thanksgiving” at lunch time and didn’t quite think about the fact that almost NOTHING is open after 3 or 4 on Thanksgiving and needed a place to get something light. Enter Hops Supply Co. A restaurant that happens to be THE place in Wilmington for craft beer, wine on tap and food of course !We opted for curbside pickup of their Bistro Salad and a side order of asparagus. The.salad.was.everything !! Enough for two and incredibly good. The candied walnuts and blue cheese crumble combined with their incredible balsamic vinaigrette equaled perfection. When times get more back to normal I look forward to returning to try their beer and other food selections.

Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub: Everyone likes pizza but my husband and daughter LOVE pizza. Lucky for them {and me} that one of the best pizza places ever at Slice Of Life. Voted Best Pizza and Best Late Nite Eatery in Wilmington for several years in a row, Slice Of Life got the unofficial stamp of approval from a 9 year old. You can customize a pizza with their myriad of toppings. We opted for half cheese and half Pineapple ham and mushroom. Simple perfection. We will definitely return!

The Basics: Located in the heart of everything downtown on Front street is The Basics. This mainstay has been a dining favorite for years. Everything from a casual breakfast to a dress up for dinner party can be had in this one restaurant. We had celebrated my birthday here a few years ago abd returned for breakfast this time. Shrimp and Grits, Chicken Biscuit and pancakes for the not so little one were ordered up this time. A few daytime cocktails included a Tequila Sunrise that was simply perfect.Yum Yum Yum. Just look at these pics and they say it all. There is nothing Basic about The Basics!

EXPLORE

Wilmington Riverwalk: Wilmington’s iconic riverwalk has been under construction for a few years now. It’s popularity had taken a toll and they are now renovating and expanding this wonderful walkway that doubles as a jogging route. We enjoyed taking walks during our stay here and made a fun IG reels video (that you can watch: here) to take you along the Riverwalk with us! Hugging the Cape Fear River this walkway gives visitors a great way to experience what I call the “backside” of downtown. Restaurants, shops and hotels line the riverwalk as well and you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets from here. You could also book a cruise tour aboard The Henrietta riverboat to learn more about Wilmington.

Carolina Beach: One of the best features of Wilmington is it’s proximity to many beach areas within a 30 min drive from downtown. Carolina Beach is one of them. We took a stroll along the boardwalk, enjoyed gelato while sitting in one of the swings and simply enjoyed being outside with nature. A walk on the beach is all that we needed to get some relaxing time together and a change of scenery.

Wilmington Tours: History is everywhere in Wilmington and sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to start when it comes to exploring historic Wilmington. Enter the Wilmington Tours App. Located in the Google Play store, this app features 5 full length city tours that include: African-American History, Pub Crawl Wilmington, Civil War Wilmington, 2nd Street to the River, and 3rd Street & East. We downloaded the African American Tour and since it was raining we drove to some of the historic sites that included the home of one of Wilmington’s most prominent black families, a rare intact urban slave quarters and different street corners of significance. This interactive tour is highly informative and literally made history come to life. I highly recommend this app for any visitor to learn about the history of Wilmington. Next time we will choose another tour from this amazing app!

Airlie Gardens: These public gardens are 67 acres of natural historic beauty. Airlie Gardens are a treasure not just of Wilmington or Hanover County but a treasure of all of North Carolina. While these gardens are beautiful any day of the year, we went for their annual “Enchanted Airlie” Holiday light spectacular. This is the hot ticket since 2005 and this year, while a little different still was as popular as ever. Timed tickets ensured it was not too crowded. Over a million lights adorned natural and man made things throughout. Different themes could be found everywhere. We all loved “Swan Lake” and the butterfly house exhbit. So many colors and with Holiday tunes playing, everyone was into kicking off the Christmas season! It even “snowed”. My daughter simply loved the whimsical atmosphere of it all and it will be a treasured memory.

👀Watch my full recap of opening night at Enchanted Airlie>> here.

We are thankful and grateful to be able to spend some quality time together and get a change of scenery in a neighboring city that we love to explore. This was our first time going to Wilmington,NC as a kick off to the holiday season and we may just make this a new family tradition! Before you go, be sure to check in with Wilmington and Beaches to plan your vacation. We hope that you are inspired to visit soon!

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Event Recap | #WitchesandWines ft. @thechocboutique @shoecrazywine @MercerEstates @dunkindonuts

Event Recap | #WitchesandWines | Hosted by Leslie @SobeSavvy

For the past few years, for Halloween I have hosted ladies to a wine tasting. It is a great way to connect, discover new wines and celebrate a fun holiday in an adult way. I have shared tip on hosting a “Hallo-wine” tasting at home here on the blog, but this year I had the challenge of finding a way to entertain outside of the home while keeping safety precautions in mind due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence #WitchesandWines was born! An event created and hosted by me for women who love wine and Halloween.

THE INVITE

An intimate group of 8 ladies were invited to join me for this fun night out. Canva was the perfect way to make a simple invite and Facebook is what I used to contact the ladies and keep them updated on the event. I found funny memes via Pinterest to have us laughing leading up to our witches night out!

The Venue

I held my gathering at a unique spot called The Chocolate Boutique, a local, small black-owned business located in North Raleigh’s Lafayette Village. This wondeful store is best described as a chocolate and wine lovers dream. From hosting chocolate making classes to wine and craft beer tastings, this fabulous store also creates an attractive and outdoor space for intimate small events. The ladies and I relaxed on a warm early fall evening while sipping on Chandelier sparkling wine as a welcome drink! This wine as well as others are available for purchase to enjoy on site as well as throughout the shopping village. I highly recommend you buy a bottle or 2 for your next gathering or to simply keep on hand for anytime you want to celebrate you.

Shoe Crazy Wine

A featured wine brand of the evening was for the lovers of sweet wines, called “Shoe Crazy”. This wine is the brainchild of Gwen Hurt, an African American woman who is the founder of this private label wine. Sweet Bella, is a low alcohol sweet red created for her Mom, Sweet Harmony, is a sweet white that has a black/white label to reflect the need of harmony needed in our nation and Sparkling Peach Mango, which was fruity and festive. For celebrations big or small, Shoe Crazy Wine has something for all!

Mercer Wine

I also informed the guests about one of my favorite wine makers called Mercer Wine. Located in Eastern Washington State, Mercer offers all the major varietals with their Mercer Bros. line. The Edge Of Heaven Red Blend has become one of my new favorite reds. Barrel aged for 16 mos, this pairs great with goat cheese. This wine leads with aromas and flavors of bursting ripe, black cherry and plum with notes of milk chocolate, coffee and sweet smoke. Their Chardonnay has notes of vanilla and marshmallow with a touch of acid and went lovely with some herb grilled shrimp that was served.. Mercer Bros. label also offers a Cabernet Sauvignon that is wonderful with steak, lamb or gouda cheese and has aromas of ripe red fruit, blackberry pie, dried cranberries with hintsof brown sugar and warm baking spices. You simply cannot go wrong with any of these choices. Mercer also won the 2010 environment stewardship award so respect for the the land that makes superb wine is a win win!

SobeSavvy Tip: For an adult Halloween, skip the candy & give ICAN Hard Seltzer, also available from Mercer Wine❗I shared these in my Thank You swag bags for my #WitchesandWines 🧙🏽‍♀️🍷🧙 event.What I like about this hard seltzer brand is that it’s gluten free, all natural , & vegan friendly and come in these flavors:
🍒 Black Cherry
🍉 Watermelon
🍑 Peach
🍇 Wild Berry

The Treats/ Giveaway

Guess what pairs great with wine? DONUTS! I offered up some Spooky Treats courtesy of Dunkin. This year to celebrate Halloween they introduced a pair of doughnuts coined “Crave Worthy Creations”. Ghost Pepper and Spider Specialty being the two stars. Some stores still have these in stock so hurry and get yours now!

I also hosted a giveaway for one witchy guest to receive a $10 gift card from Dunkin. I randomly chose a winner and Ms.Tiana, owner of On Board Char , known for their elevated cheese/charcuterie boards/boxes, won! Congratulations 🎉

👀Watch my full recap video here on YouTube ⤵️

Thanks to all who helped to make this Halloween themed wine mixer a success! #WitchesandWines may have been held with Oct.31 in mind, but you can gather with a few friends anytime to enjoy new ways to discover new wines! I encourage you to check out these brands that I mentioned and of course, drink responsibly. CHEERS🍷

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TRAVEL | Stay, Eat and Play in #ColorfulFay! My 2 Day Travel Guide to Fayetteville, NC @VisitFayNC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com along with 8 other travel writers & photographers from around NC were hosted for a weekend in Fayetteville, NC. We got to  see some of the most beautiful and diverse places in Cumberland County for a 2 day #ColorfulFay tour. Here is a look at the itinerary ( which was slightly adjusted for us due to rain), as well as my recap of where to Stay, Eat and Play! I hope it inspires you to pay a visit to Fayetteville, NC soon.

STAY

The MacPherson House,  701 Hay St. Fayetteville, NC 28301

We checked in to The MacPherson House, a 5 room Bed & Breakfast, in Fayetteville, NC. It is a brand-new, large B&B, which has opened up in an historic house on the outskirts of downtown. We were hosted as part of a tour organized by Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and we stayed in a lovely room with a king-size bed,and a private bathroom.  Every room is uniquely styled and named but each one has a fireplace. One of the unique features is the on-site wellness center, where you can start your day with yoga from Hayat, who is not only the MacPherson House B&B’s manager but also happens to be one of the top yogis in Fayetteville. Another great reason to nama-stay in #ColorfulFay! Check in to peaceful views, renovated rooms, featuring unique details & private bathrooms for a #ColorfulFay vacay at The MacPherson House
**SobeSavvy Tip: Use discount code “COLORFULFAY” for 15% percent off your stay when you book between now and December 31, 2020!
👀Watch my YouTube video for an inside look⤵️

https://youtu.be/LnH41gZUQno

EAT

● GARDEN VIEW CAFE
Located at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, enjoy lunch with a view of nature on the lovely patio! They use fresh ingredients from the garden as well as quality meats to make delicious deli sandwiches. Chef Lou and his family take a creative approach to make food taste as good as it look by using colorful bread for our tour group! DIRTBAG ALES BREWERY & TAPROOM + NAPKINS RESTAURANT Looking for Beer, Food and Fun in a family & pet-friendly atmosphere? DirtBag Ales & Napkins Restaurant is where to find it! We were treated to a craft-beer tasting + snacks on the grounds and it fueled us for a fun day ahead!PHARAOH’S LEGACY: MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE & BAR
In the mood for authentic Mediterranean food? Pharaoh’s Legacy: Mediterranean Cuisine & Bar is the place to feast on the most delicious eats combining flavors of Egypt, Greece, Lebanese & Turkey!BLUE MOON CAFÉ
Having Sunday Brunch inside or on the patio at Blue Moon Café is truly delightful! Kick of brunch with Bottle Service Mimosas and start off with the crab dip. It is addictive and amazing!  I also recommend their Monte Cristo which was the perfect mix of sweet & savory! For a visual taste of our brunch experience, feast your eyes on this fun Tik Tok video I made and posted on IG ⤵️




● UPTOWN’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES
Our last stop to eat on the @VisitFayNC #ColorfulFay tour was dinner at Uptown’s Chicken & Waffles! Chef Judy puts her heart and soul into Southern/Soul Food classics like mac & cheese, collard greens, fried chicken and waffles. Get a taste of everything and order the Uptown Sampler, which includes her infamous shrimp & grits! They also feature signature cocktails that almost look to good to drink.

PLAY

CAPE FEAR BOTANICAL GARDEN
I love nature and being surrounded by all its beauty. So when I saw that a guided nature tour of Cape Fear Botanical Garden was on the itinerary,  I was excited to learn more about this attraction that features “80 acres of NC beauty”! There is plenty of open space for kids to play and explore plus a dedicated kids area. And if you are looking for a wedding venue, consider Cape Fear Botanical Garden! Make sure to stop in the gift shop for unique finds and grab a bite from the Garden View Café. HOPE MILLS LAKE
Hope Mills Lake is where locals & visitors can have fun lakeside, with snow cones on the patio from Big T’s Snoballs while enjoying some R&R. Some of us got a fishing lesson with Cedar Creek Fish Farm, while others took a sunset kayak tour on the lake with Yakalacky Outfitters. We opted for the kayak tour and had fun being one with the lake.  It’s a great way to exercise and take in the scenery while social distancing. No matter if you are a novice or expert, Yakalacky Outfitters will have you feeling comfortable on the water in no time!● HUMMINGBIRD CANDLE CO.
Get lit 🔥 with Hummingbird Candle Co., where you can shop and learn how to make your own candles from over 40 + scents. We got to experience candle-making while sipping beverages fromThe Wine Café, which is also on Hay St. Candles are just one of my love languages. These eco-friendly candles make awesome gifts as well as provide the perfect ambiance to any situation. This is a great date night, girls night or group activity idea.  Congrats to the owner Tianna for opening up her second shop in Asheville. Be sure to stop in either location to shop local and support a ‘For Women by Women’ owned business!● DOWNTOWN FAYETTEVILLE/COOL SPRING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT Cool art, murals, history, plenty of outdoor photo-ops and people who all describe the community as family.. that’s what you’ll find in Downtown Fayetteville’s Cool Spring Downtown District. A guided arts tour (thank you Sam for being our wonderful guide) is a great way to explore and when it is time to refuel, stop in for tea, coffee & sweets at The Coffee Cup. TURNER LANE’S SUCCULENT PUMPKIN CENTERPIECE WORKSHOP
We attended a succulent pumpkin centerpiece workshop, a curated experience by Turner Lane, which is a “tiny but mighty gift store” in Downtown Fayetteville. We met Elaine, who showed us how to make and care for a beautiful living Succulent Pumpkin! This makes for a wonderful holiday centerpiece and was a fun project to do with a group. Follow them on Facebook to see when the next “Made By Me” classes are happening!Our final day on this tour had me full of smiles and a few happy tears as I got to learn more about the people and their love of the Fayetteville, NC community. They have a great deal of pride and I enjoyed hearing the stories of the minority-owned, black-owned, gay-owned, female-owned businesses there. I encourage you to support & visit to experience it for yourself! Get some inspo from my ‘VisitFayNC’ Instastories highlight. No matter where you go, you will see the diversity of ‘America At Every Turn’ in Fayetteville. Check out www.visitfayettevillenc.com before you visit for many more ideas on where to Stay, Eat, and Play in #ColorfulFay!**Merci Beaucoup and Special Thanks to Jenny Bell for creating wonderful, informative memories for us. This tour has given insight to the many ways to spend a day (or 2). We enjoyed it so much, we are planning to return and take our daughter with us for the weekend!
Have you visited Fayetteville, NC before? If yes, where should I go next? If no, which one of the places would you like to visit from this blog post? Leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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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!

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My #HeighPartyof3 took a day trip to @theheartofnc to visit @nczoo and had a fun time enjoying the outdoors in a safe environment. We found out so many interesting things like: • How has the NC Zoo taken safety measures for Covid-19 😷 • Why do flamingos have pink feathers 🦩 • What local and sustainable ingredients are used to make the food for visitors to enjoy 😋 Take a 👀 at my instastories where our daughter, @outandaboutava did an IG story takeover to capture some Family Fun highlights from our day. I also have a recap video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/evEHEcHVI3k Plus, you can read more Family #soTravelsavvy Tips for Visiting the NC Zoo during COVID-19 on the blog, SobeSavvy.com! Have you been to the Zoo since Covid-19? What was your experience like?

A post shared by Leslie • Lifestyle Blogger (@sobesavvy) on

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 — 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:

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

• 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!

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.

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.

👀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

📍North Carolina Zoo

4401 Zoo Parkway Asheboro, NC 27205
1.800.488.0444

http://www.nczoo.org

Top 5 Easy Meals For Kids To Make

Top 5 Easy Meals For Kids to Make | SobeSavvy.com & @outandaboutAva

Moms/Dads, raise your hand if being in quarantine and cooking all the meals has gotten old 🙋🏽‍♀️? So when our daughter, fondly referred to on the blog as @outandaboutAva showed an interest in creating dishes and sharing her meals online..we said go ‘head girl, get your cook on! She wanted to make Tik Tok videos showing off her kitchen skills and came up with a name for her cooking show: Ava Brings The Flava! She has so much fun doing these videos and we just love supporting her. One of our friends has even sent her some customized cooking utensils for her recent 9th birthday to keep encouraging this hobby of hers. Needless to say..Ava was so surprised and happy to receive this gift.

I am more than happy to sit back and let her make her own meals as long as she doesn’t burn down the house. So far, so good y’all! Ava has really grown in the kitchen and used these Covid-19 times to hone her skills while social distancing at home. These are the Top 5 Meals Easy Meals For Kids to Make presented by our 9 year old foodie/cook Ava!

Breakfast

Recipe: Ava-cado Toast

Lunch

Recipe: Pizza Piadina

Snack

Recipe: ChickPea Salad

Dinner

Recipe: Pesto Salmon

Dessert

Recipe: Mango Creamsicle

Which one of the recipes above have you made or would like to try? If you’d like to follow more of my girl’s cooking journey, follow along here:

TikTok: @leslieissobesavvy

IG: @outandaboutAva, @SobeSavvy

Hashtag: #AvaxFlava

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CE-1w54hThU/?igshid=1s1fef6hkytn0

Does your kid like to cook or do you have an easy recipe that my daughter should try next? Please share below and thanks for reading!

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