While I am really looking forward to Raleigh Supercon, I am also super excited about getting some great food while I am there! Raleigh has some amazing places to eat, and the Convention Center has some pretty tasty places right outside its back door like Fire Wok, Happy Hole (a pizza joint), Shish Kabob, and Jimmy John’s. While those places are good, they tend to get crowded very quickly especially when events are going on. That is why I went on a mission to find some super tasty, affordable, and off the beaten path but still walkable places for you to enjoy while at Raleigh Supercon. The best part of my round up? All these places are less than a 10-minute walk from the Convention Center!
My top choices that won’t break the bank are
The Remedy Diner: Remedy is one of the few places downtown that offers diverse vegan and vegetarian options. They also offer selections for the meat eaters like myself. I tend to get their Cuban sandwich, and it is amazing! Also, their desserts are delicious! Chocolate cake for the win!
Walking Time: 7 minutes
The Mecca Restaurant: This place is great! They offer a late night menu, so when the con is winding down and you have the munchies, head to Mecca for the Pig in a Pup appetizer. It is hushpuppies stuffed with bbq pork! Culinary genius! Mecca also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the hushpuppies are a late night menu item only.
Walking Time: 7 minutes
Carroll’s Kitchen: Not only does Carroll’s have great food, but they also support a great cause. This non-profit restaurant strives to help the female homeless population by giving them job training, life skills, and housing. Definitely try the kolache, which is a sweet roll stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Walking Time: 7 minutes
Calavera Empanadas and Tequila: This place is seriously one of my favorite places downtown. The empanadas are perfectly crisp, and the flavors are amazing. Also, you have to try the street corn! The flavor is completely worth getting corn stuck in your teeth. The drinks are also delicious. But be warned, the place is affordable as long as you don’t order a drink. It is the drinks that push this place out of the cheap eats range, but if you can swing it, order the Caipirinha.
Walk Time: 7 minutes
Some honorable mentions that are a little bit more expensive are
Jose and Sons: A unique blend of Mexican and Southern cuisine. The brunch is one of the best around!
Walk Time: 8 minutes
The Pitt: A Raleigh restaurant staple. This place has been written up numerous times for its barbecue and for good reason!
Walk Time: 8 minutes
Bare Bones: Rustic atmosphere with great burgers. Seriously, the Bear Claw Burger is amazing.
Walk Time: 5 minutes
I remember visiting The Blowing Rock as a child. My mother would never let me go to the edge of the rock in fear that I would fall off. I also told her I would be fine because the wind would just carry me back up. She never bought it.
The Blowing Rock became a tourist attraction due to its distinct wind pattern and the legend that explains that wind flow. Due to the rock formation’s shape and the gorge where the rock is located, the wine blows upwards at that particular point. But according to legend, it is the Great Spirits who changed the laws of nature for love. The legend tells of a Cherokee brave being in love with the chief’s daughter.
After much debate, my husband, Trae, and I decided to get a hotel for Raleigh Supercon. The thing is we live about an hour away. We have done cons before where we drive home for the night and return the next day, but considering that Raleigh Supercon is slowly morphing into our seventh wedding anniversary celebration, we both figured treating ourselves to a hotel was the right decision.
But our wedding anniversary wasn’t our only reasoning for getting a room. Some other reasons we decided to get a hotel were:
Let’s be real for a second: Life is hard, and sometimes a girl just needs to escape to the mountains. I hadn’t been writing on the blog as much and in general, just feeling overwhelmed, so I did something a little unexpected for me. I booked a treehouse cabin/tiny house in Boone, NC for a whole week. Just me and the trees. And ya’ll, it was incredible. I started this post while in Boone, writing while I was drinking coffee, listening to the Moana soundtrack (my newest obsession), and looking at the mountains. My soul couldn’t have asked for more.
I booked the cabin based off of seven atrocious, blurry photos on VRBO and a gut feeling that this place was meant to be mine. I am so happy I listened to my gut. Trees surrounded the cabin, and each morning I have had my coffee while sitting on a giant rock. Friday I didn’t even leave the cabin but instead sat in the hot tub while the rain sprinkled down, sipping wine. Pure bliss.
I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a sewing newbie. My first true cosplay costume, Arrietty, brought on several (0kay…a lot) of tears. I honestly wanted to give up. But just like anything else, sewing takes practice to get good at it. Even if you don’t have sewing goddess status, you shouldn’t let your lack of skills keep you from making some pretty epic cosplays. I managed to pull off Mrs. Potts from the animated Beauty and the Beast without using the sewing machine once.
My number one hack is stitch witchery, which is at almost every craft store. Stitch Witchery is like sewing tape; you just lay it down between your fabric, apply an iron, and BAM! fabric is “sewn” together. For my Mrs. Potts costume, I added all the ribbon and china pattern to my skirt just using stitch witchery, and it is still holding strong. When you stitch witch ribbon, you will have to do two layers of ribbon so the stich witchery doesn’t show through.
My other top hack is the glue gun. Never underestimate the power of a glue gun. Glue guns are a thing of beauty. My Toad hat was held together by the strength of the glue gun. Just be careful with what fabric you use a glue gun on because the glue will seep through the fabric.
Another hack is more advice than hack, and that is to splurge on good fabric scissors. I use to think my mother was nuts because she was so protective of her fabric scissors. It wasn’t until I got my own pair that I realized why she treasured them so. Seriously, a good pair of fabric scissors makes cutting so much easier because they are so sharp and get a cleaner cut than regular scissors. Just make sure you maintain your scissors and only use them for fabric. I keep mine in their own container, so I don’t accidentally use them for something else.
This really isn’t a post. It is more of a “Wow. North Carolina can be a super random state!” When Trae and I went to Bath, I found myself telling Trae to make u-turns because I just had to get a shot of this most bizarre/ random/ awesome thing for Instagram.
It wasn’t until after the trip and I started editing my photos that I realized I just had to share them on the blog. So please, enjoy this “not really a post, but more of a visual journal with some commentary” post!
This Yogi Bear, located on some twisty backroads, was the mascot for a defunct storage unit business.
Before going to Bath, we ended up in Belhaven, which happens to be the perfect setting for a Twilight Zone episode. The town has an apocalyptic feel with a few upscale boutiques spread out among the abandon storefronts. Everyone walking around was either multi-colored from finishing a color run or wearing wife beaters with cut-off jeans.
One of the reasons I enjoy doing theater is the costumes. I love how putting on a costume can transform you into someone you have always wanted to be. Want to be a Disney Princess or Super Woman? Or heck a Jedi Ewok? A costume allows you do to that. I have always wanted to live in an area where I could do cosplay because my costume wearing was always limited to Halloween and theater. I know that I will never be like Brittney “Chiki” Fischer from the FanDames Initiative, but that doesn’t keep me from having fun with cosplay. Seriously, her Disney cosplays make me swoon. The level of detail is gorgeous. You really should go check out her Instagram too @chikicosplay. The Frozen Anna with antlers is just amazing. (It really, really makes me want to finish my own antler headpiece project, which is so far the biggest cosplay piece I have attempted to make.)
Truth be told, I don’t have extensive sewing skills. I am working on improving them, but I have had a lot of cosplay success with McCall’s M7313 dress pattern. The pattern is very simple; the fact that the sleeves, top, and skirt are all separate pieces make the pattern extremely easy to manipulate.
As a kid, I always took field trips to Old Salem. I guess since my routine was to visit Old Salem, I never really have given much thought to other historic towns in North Carolina. So I washistoricexcited when we accidently found ourselves in Bath, NC a couple of Saturdays ago.
Bath is North Carolina’s oldest town. This minuscule town was founded in 1705 by John Lawson. Lawson also founded the town of New Bern, NC, which is another quaint place to visit. Bath was the capital of North Carolina until 1722. But what people remember about Bath is the notorious pirate Blackbeard lived there. Apparently, Bath was the town he retired to, but he got bored and returned in piracy. I can image a town of about 50 residents would be boring compared to pirating.
Today the town is still very small. In 2010, the population was about 249. I honestly think my neighborhood has more than 249 people! With such a small population, the town gives off a relaxing and lazy vibe. We picked up a Historic Bath Walking Tour brochure at the Vistors Center, the only somewhat modern looking building in Bath, and proceeded to wandered down the middle of the street, rarely having to move for cars. We would have walked on the sidewalks, but there were none to be found.
I saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie on opening night, and of course, I went in costume with a group of friends. We had a blast and ended up being featured on the movie theater’s Facebook page. And yes, we were the only five people dressed up in the theater. I will take any opportunity to wear a costume. I love dressing up, which is why I jumped to do my first cosplay at last year’s OakCity Comicon.
Problem was I had never really sewed before. I am a wiz at thrift-find transformation, but sewing from scratch? Not my thing. I own a sewing machine, so at least I had that going for me. Armed with YouTube sewing tutorials, I was determined to make something, especially since I saw that the con had a novice category in the cosplay contest. After racking my mind and look at all the patterns I foolishly (but cheaply) purchased when Jo-Anna Fabric closed, I decided to make an Arrietty costume from the Ghibli film The Secret Life of Arrietty.
Lavender is my latest baking ingredient obsession. I love the way it smells as well as how it can sweeten a dessert without being overpowering.
I came across this obsession when I tried lavender shortbread cookies at a Seattle bakery. It didn’t add a perfumey, floral taste like roses can. I couldn’t wait to get home from my trip and start experimenting with my own lavender baked goods.
In my trials and errors, I have found the easiest way to infuse lavender into recipes is with lavender simple syrup. Lavender infused sugar is also easy to make, but it takes a lot of the infused sugar for the lavender taste to come out. Instead of baking with it, I am using the lavender sugar to sweeten hot tea.