This past weekend, we stayed at a boutique hotel in Durham, Unscripted, and I wanted to share a little about our stay.
The hotel is located in Downtown Durham, a few minutes away from the Durham Bulls stadium. The property was actually built in the 60’s and the retro pool and decor give this hotel serious charm. I’d heard of the hotel as a hot spot in the summer time with a fab pool, so I was excited to check out what kind of fall events they offered. Spoiler Alert: I wasn’t disappointed.
We arrived Saturday afternoon and were greeted by the friendliest staff with a champagne welcome (always a plus). Check in was a breeze, I always judge a hotel by how painless their check in and out process is. After checking out our room – head to stories to see this – we went straight to the bar.
The bar in the hotel is called The Studio and it’s located right in the lobby. It definitely gets crowded at night, so plan accordingly. For the entire month of December, the hotel is featuring live music. See below for the complete series.
My favorite drinks were the Drink Cider Unscripted (tastes like an adult hot apple juice) and the 14k (see below – it literally has edible gold on top). During the month of December, Unscripted is having private holiday cocktail tastings. There are two dates left for this private event – December 11th and December 18th from 6-8 pm.
After more than a couple drinks, we walked a few blocks to dinner. We ate at Mother and Son’s Trattoria and HOLY GOOD. Probably one of the best Italian restaurants in the triangle. 10/10 recommend.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast at Unscripted’s diner, Jack Tar and the Colonel’s Daughter, and it was yummmmy. They even had homemade donuts and crullers. I had the avocado toast and it was fresh & delicious. The service was fast, the food was good and the coffee was hot – all hallmarks of a good diner.
&&& the hotel has the best selfie mirrors around! Does it get better? If you live in the Triangle and are looking for a staycation or if you are visiting the area, I can’t recommend Unscripted enough. Head to https://www.unscriptedhotels.com/offers_en/to book your stay.
I am team get ready in under 30 minutes in the morning. Forever looking for ways to cut down on my morning routine. Aren’t we all?
A few months ago, I decided I wanted to try Microblading. & it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. You probably saw this on my stories, and were like is Heather ever going to talk about this? The truth is, I never jump on here and sing praises until I’ve really vetted the process and results.
I don’t have any tattoos, so the idea of semi permanent makeup freaked me out for the longest time. So, I’m here for tell you it is 100% a good idea if you do your research.
Let’s jump right in.
Why did you want to try microblading? Good question. My brows pre-microblading weren’t thin or a weird shape. I didn’t hate them, but I was looking for a more defined shape without eyebrow fill. Now, my brows look picture perfect everyday and I do nothing to them.
Where did you go / Where should I go? In my opinion this is HANDS DOWN the most important part of the process. & You need to do some research/ ask some questions. The studio itself needs to be licensed to tattoo by the Board of Heath and you want a certified cosmetic tattoo artist. Pick someone who’s experienced and who is consistently being trained on how to perfect their craft. It’s great to have a bunch of pretty before and after pictures, but remember anyone can tailor which pictures they show you. Always, always go for a consult and if you get a weird vibe, move on. This person is working on your face and I’ve heard tons of horror stories.
I chose Jen at Altered Aesthetics. If you’re in Raleigh this is where you need to go. Jen is a perfectionist and I was BEYOND impressed with her work. She is consistently flying all over the world (yes, world!) to be trained on new techniques in the semi-permanent makeup world.
Does it hurt? This is everyone’s first question. A topical numbing cream is applied prior to the procedure. I always think pain is a personal experience (L O L). I have a pretty high pain tolerance and didn’t think microblading was painful at all. The worst part to me was the sound the blade makes. Jen warned me about this and I got used to it pretty quickly.
How long does it take/ What should I expect? The entire process takes between 2-3 hours. Prior to the actual microblading, eyebrow mapping is done. The shape, arch, length and width of your brows are determined during this process. Jen gave me lots of sneak peaks during this process. You will okay the map before the process starts. The mapping took about 30 minutes for me, but will vary from person to person.
While the topical numbing cream is working it’s magic, you and your artist will pick a color. I trusted Jen and she really came through. After all, she’s the one that does this all day long and what do I know about brow color (nothing, actually).
For the week following mircoblading, your brows will look darker and wider. This is because the pigment hasn’t fully settled into your skin. Pigment will fade and become more natural looking over time. Honestly, I never thought my brows looked ridiculous or overdone at any point in the process.
Some clients scab during the healing process. I heard this and was super nervous about it. I never scabbed or even had dry patches. But, I was super, super diligent about the aftercare process.
How long does it last? This also varies from person to person. Typically results last between 12-36 months. Lighter colors fade faster and sun exposure also causes the pigment to fade faster.
Maintenance? After the initial session, Jen recommends you blot your brows with cottons swabs every 15-30 minutes to remove any fluid. Jen gave me an aftercare kit with very specific instructions. Following after care guidelines is really important to ensure lasting beautiful brows. You’ll wash your brows twice a day with a fragrance free antibacterial soap.
About 6-8 weeks after your initial appointment, you will go back for a touch up appointment. This is where Jen really works her magic. My brows looked good after the first appointment, but my brows look AMAZING after the perfecting session. I get compliments on them all the time.
Right now Jen is offering $50 off her services with CODE: ATTBLOG. Trust me, if you’re in Raleigh go see her. Summer is right around the corner and think about how nice it would be to skip the eyebrow fill forever!
I could skip french fries and pizza any day, just give me some chocolate. I am always on the hunt for good desserts, and I judge a restaurant harshly on their dessert selection.
Enter Hayes Barton Cafe, one of Raleigh’s hidden gems. The restaurant recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary and is really known by locals as a Raleigh institution. The food is superb, but the desserts are even better. We head over whenever we are having a serious chocolate craving.
The restaurant itself is decorated in a 40’s theme with pictures of Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. The dessert counter is something to see. Ordering a piece of cake at Hayes Barton will feed a small army so be prepared. They lovingly refer to their hefty slices as “slabs of cake”. You could just head to the dessert counter and order a piece to go.
We started out the evening with mussels.
Some other favorites are the crab dip and the oysters. Hayes Barton also has homemade bread at the table that is seriously mouth watering. They feature a different type of homemade bread every week. When we went, there was cinnamon sweet bread that I ate way, way too much of.
For dinner, I really haven’t had a bad entree. They have weekly specials that you can find on their Facebook page. I had the pot pie which was honestly hands down the best chicken pot pie I’ve ever had. We also had the shrimp and grits, which was one of the specials. The grits were to die for.
You really can’t go to Hayes Barton without having dessert. We tried the Red Velvet cake which was so good. They are known for their coconut cake which I’ve had and highly recommend. You can also order cakes for special occasions. This past Christmas we ordered a coconut cake and it was a major hit.
Hayes Barton is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday and open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday. If you’re in the mood for some fantastic home style food or a huge slab of cake, head on over.
Dress: LuLu’s │Shoes: Jessica Simpson similar Here and Here│ Watch: Michele │Bracelets: David Yurman
I love date night….. and rooftop bars….. and good wine…. BUT most of all, I love a good little black dress. A dress with the versatility to take you essentially anywhere. From date night to dinner parties, it’s a closet staple. I swear a good LBD has super powers. And for $36, it doesn’t get much better than this one. It also comes in several colors. Dress it up like I did with a neutral heel or dress it down with a denim jacket and some boots. I like having at least a few different long sleeve LBD’s to get me through the transition from winter to spring. My shoes are almost sold out so I’m linking a few similar pairs. I also rounded up some affordable LBDs below.
If you’re in Raleigh and you’re looking for a great date night spot, you have to check out Level 7. It’s in North Hills, on the 7th floor (get it?) of the Marriott AC Hotel. The view is great and the drinks are even better. On Thursday nights they have live music on the rooftop. We head over to have a drink before or after eating in North Hills..
Welcome to my first Raleigh guide post! I’m a huge foodie and I love to be out and about, so I thought I’d do some reviews of my favorite local places. Raleigh is just overflowing with local restaurants making it hard to know where to go. So, let me be your guide! We recently had dinner at one of my favorite Raleigh restaurants, Death and Taxes. Located in downtown Raleigh, Death and Taxes is the newest addition to the Ashley Christensen restaurant group. The focus of this restaurant is wood fired entrees. Think perfectly grilled steak, pork and seafood. This is on the smaller side in terms of size, so plan on making a reservation. You can find their online reservation system here.
The drink selection at Death and Taxes is vast and you could just head there for drinks. The bar is inside the restaurant and faces the kitchen which features an open design. We always try to go a little before our reservation to have a drink and watch the chef do his thing. The wine list goes on and on and honestly, I haven’t had a bad glass there. This visit, I stuck with a trusty favorite, sparkling rose, which I highly recommend. For cocktails, my favorites are the The Stowaway and Les Sucettes.
We started the party with the roasted oysters with chili butter and preserved lemon. YUM. Those suckers lasted approximately 2 minutes after this photo was snapped. Other favorites we’ve had are the charcuterie and the beef tartar. You also have to order the bread and butter starter. The bread is freshly baked every day and it’s worth every last calorie.
For our main course, we shared the grilled shrimp and steak. I really feel like if it’s your first time at Death and Taxes you have to try the steak. It’s what they are known for and it does not disappoint. It’s always perfectly cooked to your preference. The beef is NC grass fed angus, so it’s always super tender. The shrimp entree features NC shrimp in a butter garlic sauce that is light and flavorful. Both entrees were fantastic. We’ve also had the pork chop and the fish. I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu. The sides we had this time were fried potato fonduta which resembles a fried mashed potato ball and the twice cooked mushrooms.
Did you really go try a new restaurant if you didn’t order dessert? We ended the night with an Irish coffee and lemon ice cream sandwich. Pro tip: order your Irish coffee with double Jameson and Baileys. The ice cream sandwich is made with a ginger snap cookie and it’s the perfect sweet and citrus combination. If you’re more of a chocolate fan, the dark chocolate bread pudding is heaven on a plate.
I’m linking the full menu here. Keep in mind, the menu is seasonal and changes so things we had might not always be on the menu. It is a higher end restaurant and entrees range from $24-35, but it is beyond worth it. I will also say the service at Death and Taxes is above and beyond. All of the wait staff was super accommodating while I traipsed around their restaurant taking 8 million pictures. Highly, highly recommend checking out Death and Taxes.
Questions about Death and Taxes or other Raleigh restaurants? Let me know!