North Carolina

Last minute decision to go visit Raleigh, North Carolina because the tickets were under $100 for round trip. Came to check out the beautiful nature an everything that North Carolina has to offer. The town is honestly pretty lonely but being surrounded by all the trees made the trip worth wild. Here in California all I see are palm trees and being filled with gorgeous giant trees was a different surrounding. The leaves were changing colors from green to a beautiful yellow and red.

One of the first places that I check out was William B Umstead State Park and found it to be peaceful and beautiful. I got a nice stroll in walking around in a lonely woods/forest. There is a beautiful lake located inside. I wish it were summer so I could rent out a kayak and take it around to check out the beauty of this state park. The park has beautiful little wooden shelters to have little picnics in. There are tons of parks to check out all around Raleigh.

Anther place near to explore is Downtown Raleigh known for their speakeasies and delicious bbq. The BBQ here though is a lot different from the one back home. The BBQ sauce consists of two different bottles- one is tomato based and the second one is a vinegar based. When mixed together it is an interesting taste. Another thing you can find downtown is lots of free museums. These museums are huge and you could honestly spend a whole day just at the museums. If you are into history, you can check out the capital.

There is also a chocolate factory called Videri to check out that specializes in high percentage of cocoa. I had sipping chocolate which was 75% cocoa mixed with half and half. It was interesting and not what I usually picture chocolate tasting like. It was intense, dark and thick enough to be a decadent chocolate syrup.

Being an adventurous girl, one of my favorite things was checking out Treerunner Raleigh Adventures. I have always wanted to do a ropes course and the crazy part was how inexpensive this place was. I did the night time adventure and it only cost $20. There was not a lot of people and man were there lots of different courses to explore. Starting off on the easy course and seeing some of the obstacles as challenging had me thinking how are going to get to the hard course. We ended on the medium course and it was a ton of fun wish we had more time to explore this place. If you are visiting Raleigh, this is definitely one place I would recommend.

Holiday on the Bay

A holiday wonderland located on the edge of the San Diego Bay just opened at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront. This holiday wonderland is known as Holiday on the Bay. We came on the opening night to start off the holidays. Holiday on the Bay is open until January 5th. With lots of activities, you can find something the whole family will enjoy.

One of my favorite activities here was the reindeer run where you go down a two-story 100-foot ice slide on a tube. Must be difficult to keep a slide made of ice from melting here in sunny San Diego. The Slide was accelerating and sometimes it twisted around while going down. My sister and I had a blast here, we slide down quite a few times.

Another attraction was the iceberg bumpers which are bumper cars surrounded by beautiful holiday lights. I honestly thought they were also on ice until I stepped and realized the floor was just painted white.

There is a cute Yule lounge to get some snacks and signature adult drinks. Inside is cozy and decorated with a beautiful Christmas tree. Another place to hang out and warm up is at the fire lounges. You can even make s’mores if you wanted to. Inside you can decorate gingerbread cookies, stocking and even write letters Santa or our troops.

 

North Italia

A brand new restaurant just opened in Fashion Valley called North Italia. I came to try it out for myself. This place has all homemade and made at the moment food. The menu of course is Italian food. Each table has these little fresh flowers and a candle burning to add a slight romantic feel.

The first thing I ordered was a chef’s board as an appetizer. The perfect starter for anyone with the variety of choices it has including cheese, olives,┬ámarcona almond and more. The jam or preserve that came with the board was intriguing savory and sweet. To accompany the chef’s board, I ordered a Julietta cocktail. This cocktail tasted like a ginger lemonade with a twist. It also came with a real flower garnish.

As for the main entree, there was a lot of yummy sounding choices. The pizza and pasta are homemade and fresh. I had the chicken pesto and it came with gigli pasta. This pasta was delicious and soft and fresh. You can definitely taste between the dried pasta you buy in the store and fresh made. It was beautifully adorned with pine nuts and toasted capers.

After all that food, I was stuffed but I had to get dessert since I have such a sweet tooth. I got the almond and mascarpone tart. rich and decadent covered with a cranberry orange composite.

Overall I loved the experience and can not wait to go back and try some of their other menu items.