Hip and Hot!

October 16, 2009

wsjI just love it when my perception of things lines up with the ‘experts’! Check out what the Wall Street Journal had to say about Raleigh, NC.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this place!!! I live in Cary…my home is an easy 15 minute drive to downtown Raleigh, 20 minutes from RDU (Raleigh Durham Airport) and about 30 minutes from RTP (Research Triangle Park). I can get to a Carolina Hurricanes game in about 15 minutes or to a Durham Bulls game in 40. The NC Symphony performs in downtown Raleigh. I have Kolka Booth Amphitheatre right here in Cary.

As this short article points out…we have amazing weather and an ever-increasing population of well educated young people who come here to attend one of the many top quality universities and then STAY!!! They stay because they’ve found good jobs, a relatively low cost of living and a quality of life they want. While Raleigh may be smallest city on the list…there’s no question about it, the best gifts come in small packages!


It’s only FAIR!!! But, really…fried BUTTER?

October 15, 2009

state fair 2

Yippee! It’s time for the NC State Fair!

It seems that it’ll be a little damp for opening day today but no worries…the sun is sure to come out to make the yearly trip into gluttoney…fried candy bars, fried twinkies, turkey legs, funnel cakes, funnel cakesweet corn, cotton candy, hot dogs…..well worth the digestive misery that’s sure to accompany it! What about all the great shows? Jason Michael Carroll, Third Day, Kellie Pickler and that’s just the first three nights! Then there’s the pig races, tractor pulls and horse shows…Livestock displays, decorated cakes (no cakes by Claire this year), quilts and youth exhibits. One of my personal favorits is the photography and art displays…I could easily spend a few hours in that building. Rides, rides and more rides! Don’t forget the commercial exhibits…sure to include the Sham-Wow and the Ginsu knife! Here’s a state fair map  for you to help plan your attack!

By the way, if you go on a really busy day…consider the park and ride options. Here’s all the parking info you’ll need to make your decision. I live near the Cary park & ride lot and have taken the bus the last few years…for me, it’s worth the cost. Riding in on a full city bus (instead of jockeying for position for that one parking spot that’s about to open up), talking with everyone around you only adds to the anticipation!

So, this year…I think they may have gone a little too far but I see there is actually ‘Fried Butter’ available. What? Really? Hmmmm. But, hey…it’s the fair, right? ENJOY!!!!

Road Trip!!!

October 8, 2009

The Real Estate Grandma is headed west this weekend…along with my daughter Bethany and her daughter, Mackenzie! We’ll be spending a long weekend with Jim’s sister and her husband in Ooltewah, TN. This is about a 7.5-8 hour car ride from Cary over the Appalachian and Smoky mountains. I’m hoping for decent weather because the driving can be tricky if its foggy or rainy. AND, if the weather is clear…the scenery should be spectacular!aumtum mountains I’m really looking forward to relaxing and getting a change of scene after a few stressful months getting my parents settled into their new home, finishing up my real estate licensing class, taking/passing the  state licensing exam and then getting knocked down by a crazy intestinal infection.

Since it is Columbus Day weekend, you may have a little extra time to wander around too…check out this website for weekly fall color reports and other interesting things to do while spending time outdoors in North Carolina.

I’ll just have a sandwich…

October 7, 2009

So, are you like me? Are you a member of the sandwich generation…responsible for your children and taking on an ever increasing role in your aging parents’ lives? Even if you haven’t found yourself in this position yet, I promise that if you have parents, you will one day face some difficult decisions related to either their health care, their living situation or their quality of life.

As I was driving around Cary and Wake county today, I was noticing how many truly top-notch retirement communities, senior centers and assisted living facilities we have here. I know first-hand about a large number of them since I have just finished the long, sometimes painful process of placing both of my parents in an assisted living facility. Since this area is particularly known for it’s wonderful climate, exceptional health care, stable economy and great real estate market…it has enjoyed the unique phenomenon of parents (grandparents) following their grown children and their families here. This is, of course a wonderful situation for the families who can enjoy the multi-generational bonds that are so rare these days. However, as the parents age…their ability to live on their own diminishes, leaving their children in the difficult ‘sandwich’ situation. The good news is that Wake County has done an exceptional job of providing access to resources and information which can help families navigate these difficult waters.

Resources for Seniors is an exceptionally useful website with a staggering amount of information to guide and direct you and answer any questions you may have! I couldn’t have even started my search without it…I hope you’ll find it useful too!resources for seniors

Everyone LOVES a Parade!

October 5, 2009

Well, it’s that time of year…high school football on Friday nights, brisk mornings followed by warm sunny days AND the Wake County Parade of Homes! Really, life is good!

As we all know, the economy has been a bit of a drag for quite a while. And the real estate market has been sluggish, at best in many parts of the country. Here in Wake county, we haven’t seen the dramatic shifts in our market but inventory is up. Especially in the $350,000+ price ranges. I’m guessing that’s why, when I picked up the parade ‘book’ it was more the size of a magazine instead of a medium sized phone book (you remember those, don’t you?).

No matter. The homes are still stunning and full of wonderful features! Going on the parade is such an enjoyable way to spend a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I love to listen to the folks as we are wandering around a home that probably fewer than 5% of us could actually afford to live in, pick apart the design details…the choice of colors, countertop surfaces or flooring styles. But what about the actual design? I’m going to post links to 2 of the homes that we saw and just point out my very favorite rooms in each. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that if someone would build me a house with just these two rooms, and a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub…I’d have all I ever needed to be content! ; )

First, THE KITCHEN! Entry #106 in Greyhawk Landing, Cary…3005 Greyhawk PlaceGreyhawk Kitchen

Suffice it to say…this is a TRUE gourmet kitchen. It has all the amazing details you would see in a restaurant kitchen like a pot spigot on the tiled backsplash over the 6 burner range (which is dual fuel-gas range with electric oven). Two islands (one with a prep sink), another electric oven with warming tray, furniture quality cabinetry, slide out spice racks and on and on and on! Yep, this is a kitchen you can COOK and BAKE in! Funny thing is, my daughter mentioned how crazy it is because it seems that the chances of the person buying this home being a cook…well, they seem pretty remote!

And, second…the BACK PORCH (or Loggia). Entry #107….2007 Greyhawk Place, Cary

Greyhawk Loggia

The picture just doesn’t do justice to this space…it’s enormous, with 3 separate seating areas. The main area, which is pictured here has a built-in fireplace and ceiling fans. Music from the centralized sound system mingles with the sound of gently falling water from small pond just beyond the loggia. An outdoor kitchen with grill and counter space complete this outdoor oasis! Ummm, yeah I can see myself snuggled in front of the fire with a book and a glass of red wine…thank you very much!


So, yes, I recommend you get out there and enjoy the Wake County Parade of Homes!!! You still have 2 more weekends to go…October 9-11 and 16-18. It runs noon to 5pm each day. Enjoy!

Also, there is another parade called the ‘Remodeler’s Home Tour’ which takes place on October 24-25.  BE AWARE, THERE IS A $5 COST PER PERSON FOR THIS ONE. I think we’ll probably check this one out as well since we live in an older home that could definitely use a facelift, here and there.

Aeorobic Yoga?

October 4, 2009

Good grief! I’ve been out of commission for the last couple weeks…having been laid low with an acute intestinal infection. So, I haven’t been to the gym in more than 2 weeks. Thinking I would ease back into the workout routine slowly, I made my way to the Saturday morning ‘Fitness Yoga’ class at Lifetime Fitness in Cary. I should have realized I was in trouble when, during the warm up session, I couldn’t even touch my toes. What on earth? Hmmm… Well, it only got worse from there. The balance poses were a real challenge, making my legs tremble with effort but at least I made it through that section of the workout. On to the ‘strength’ portion. She had us in chair position and warrior 1 for so long that my quads were screaming and I was SWEATING! That’s not supposed to happen in Yoga class, is it? yoga classThen, we started in on this progression that wasn’t as difficult as it was ‘busy’…so many different positions and transitions that it totally kicked my butt and I had to sit out the last two repetitions. Unfortuantely, uncharacteristically, I was in the very front row so, it was also a little humiliating to have to stop like that…after-all, I’m in good shape, or so I thought. But I simply couldn’t go on without a rest. Yikes.

The kicker was that when the hour was over, I didn’t even feel particularly good, as I usually do after a yoga session. I only felt spent and tired. Wow! How could I have gotten so weak and out of shape that quickly? I don’t know the answer, but I do know I’ve got to get back to work at the gym!

Pumpkins, apples and carrots…oh my!

October 2, 2009


The cool crisp autumn air has me thinking of all the wonderful goodies I want to bake. I’m headed to the pumpkinapples and pumpkins patch with Bethany (my daughter) and Mackenzie this morning. Then, we’ve planned to bake pumpkin bread together this afternoon. So, I’m just back from buying the necessary ingredients and I couldn’t help but pick up what I’d need to make some carrot cake and some apple crisp too.apple crisp I’m telling you, I could live on that kind of stuff this time of year…not exactly good for the figure!

A first for me!

October 2, 2009

My intention today, was to take in the scene around me instead of racing down to Wilmington to see my daughter, Christine. Usually, I set the cruise control at around 75mph, crank up the music and don’t slow down until I hit New Hanover county. Today, I was determined to experience a little something of the countryside that I so often had ignored. There are a few intrigueing exits on the 2 hour drive from Cary to Wrightsville Beach…among them is a place called ‘Meadow’ (I’m  just SURE it’s a serene little village). There’s the Duplin Winery. And, there are at least two Civil War battlefields. I had made up my mind to stop and experience the first one I came to. It was Bentonville Civil War Battleground  (They have an EXCELLENT website)bentonvimain01 Now, I’d like to say this, if you decide to go and you’re coming from Cary, take Exit 343 and go LEFT off the exit. Unfortunately, (or perhaps providencially) the brown sign that should have been there to indicate which way the battleground was…wasn’t. So, I went right. I took a quick little 5 mile drive in the country, in the wrong direction…but no matter, I wasn’t in a hurry or on a schedule. I did see a couple of the coolest barns and old abandoned houses that I thought, well, maybe someday I would re-visit to photograph and/or sketch. Probably wont happen, but it was a thought. Anyway, there were fields and fields of cotton. Now, I DID recognize the stuff but it’s so foreign to me that I got a little mesmerized by it and was VERY tempted to stop the car, get out and go get me some. But I resisted.

So, after turning around and heading back past the exit, I came to the first brown historic site sign letting me know I was indeed now going in the right direction. Thankfully, there were no more missing signs and I found my way to the destination after about 3 turns (after the first two, I decided to write a couple notes because I’m pretty good at finding my way TO a place but I usually have a heck of a time getting out!). The site was very nicely laid out and I took a walk across the gravel access road to the cemetary and monuments. Now, as a Northern, I had to wonder…had my southern friends learned of the battle of Bentonville in Civics class, and perhaps even come here on a field trip? To my knowledge, I’d never heard the story of this place. There were several monuments and markers…now, as I was reading the last one, I noticed the field across the road was brimming with cotton. Upon closer inspection, I saw how the plants came within just a few feet of the shoulder. I couldn’t stand it…I HAD to go over and check it out. Cotton fieldSo, I crossed the all but abandoned road and tip toed through the few feet of tall grass that separated the roadway and the cotton. I need to mention here, that I was wearing (as usual) flip flops on my feet. I walked up to the very first plant that had those sweet little white cotton balls on it and bent over to look more closely. Suddenly, my feet and ankles were under attack by some mean little red ants. Now, my friends who know me well will laugh…I just CAN’T get away with anything the least bit sketchy. I always get caught somehow ; )  Well, I grabbed one of the soft little orbs and ran away while swating those nasty stinging ants off my feet and pants legs. Sheesh!

So, a couple firsts for me…picking cotton, getting stung by ants and most importantly, a lesson on slowing down and experiencing what’s around me instead of rushing through!

I feel a good hair day coming!

October 1, 2009

Heck, it’s going to be a GREAT day!

I’m headed to Wilmington (about 2 hours southeast on I40 from Cary) to see my daughter who’s a hairstylist salon pic there…she does fantastic work and well, she’s my daughter so it’s well worth the drive! Some days, it can be a real drag to make this trip…either traffic or weather will work against my mood. Today, however is Thursday, and it is NOT the start of a holiday weekend, so I’m feeling good about the traffic part of the equation. The weather is going to be PERFECTION! High of 74 and sunny!

Now, if I only had that convertible I keep dreaming about…; )solara 

This is just another of the reasons why we have chosen to stay in Wake county. If I need a ‘beach fix’ it’s an EASY day trip from here. Same holds true for the foothills of the mountains to the west. Last year, I took a beautiful, leisurely drive up to Pilot Mt and on to Mt Airy (aka Mayberry). Left after breakfast and was home in time to go to a football game that night. The colors were spectacular and the scenery was amazing! aumtum mountainsCary is situated is in what’s called the Piedmont of the state…I like to think of it as the meat & cheese of the state sandwich. We’re right in the center…between the mountains and the ocean. Have I mentioned? I love, love, love this place!

Now I’m off to visit that magician of a daughter I have…I’ll walk into the salon a fairly tired and deshelved (from the drive, thank you very much) middle aged grandma but I’ll walk out feeling like a million bucks! Maybe I’ll even have a pedi/mani while I’m there. Heck, they even do massages. Now were talking!

Some like it HOTTT…other’s not so much

September 30, 2009

But no matter…there’s a company that makes THEEE best salsa around! Yah’s Best hangs out at the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. Everything from ‘SEARING’ to Peach/Mango Salsas! Specialty salsa’s like Salsa Verde or Ole…they’ve also got dips and seansonings. Mmmmm!yahs

If you’re new to the area or thinking about moving here, the Farmer’s Market  is a fabulous place to buy fresh produce, honey, plants, baked goods and SALSA! It’s also a premiere destination for people watching! ; ) Right now, it’s loaded with apples and pumpkins along with tons of Mums! It’s about a 15-20 minute ride from Cary Towne Center on Rte 40 east. apples and pumpkins