Girls Weekend Staycation: Raleigh Marriott Crabtree

Is there a term that gets you more pumped up than "Girls Weekend"? I think not. A few weeks ago some of my best friends from home came to visit and we knew since the whole squad would be here, staying in a hotel would be our best option. Enter the newly renovated Raleigh Marriott Crabtree. I had recently attended their grand re-opening and left very impressed. I felt this would be the perfect spot for us to enjoy ourselves!

 I may or may not be obsessed with these lobby lights!

We did a lot of eating, shopping, and laughing. We may have also indulged in a few cocktails. The hotel is in the perfect location as it is across the street from Crabtree Mall and relatively close to downtown. Tony joined me for some afternoon cocktails while we waited for the girls. They have redone their bar/restaurant from a "typical" somewhat boring hotel fare to a Southern-inspired dining experience called 'Braise' 

 They have an awesome cocktail menu that uses a lot of bourbons. If you read this blog at all then you know how much I adore my bourbon! I enjoyed my prosecco based option but after I tasted Tony's whiskey based libation, I realized I chose wrong. Joel ( I hope I got his name correct because he is the nicest and our entire crew spent half our time drooling as he looks as good as his drinks. hahaha) He named this one 'Height of Fashion" and as a cocktail creator who spends way to much time coming up with names, I was left with name envy!

Alas, the gals arrived and we got straight to work with making cocktails and getting our shopping on. Five women can do a lot of damage in a very short time! The best part about our suite was that it was not a typical suite. We had the hospitality suite in the middle, flanked by our rooms on either side. I am not a big fan of wallpaper but I loved the one they chose. Plus, I had a crush on the sofa. I also love that they have a smart tv and can just catch up on any of my binges!

The ladies and I spent way too much time laughing and making snap chat videos. Yes, this is what middle aged woman who are too cool for school ( yes, I legitimately just typed that;) do to bide their time. Then we gorged ourselves on the awesome chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from the hotel. They have many additions to complete your stay at the hotel and make it memorable. 

That night we headed to one of my favorite Raleigh dinner spots: Relish. It may not be very "chic" or even "trendy" but oh my gosh the food really is just to die for and it was a quick five-minute drive from the hotel. Or, more accurately, it is if you don't get lost because your GPS is a big fat liar. oops. 

We headed towards downtown which is about a fifteen-minute ride from the hotel but I would recommend you take an uber. Parking downtown is the worst and it probably wouldn't be more than 5 bucks or so for the uber.  Then, upon our return, we ended our night we cheesecake and since they are incorporating more Southern cuisine into the restaurant, the cheesecake option was banana pudding cheesecake! Yes, you read that correctly. Banana. Pudding. Cheesecake. Also, I hate bananas and somehow this was divine!

All in all, we had a fabulous stay at the new Mariott Crabtree and our weekend hitting up some of my favorite Oak City stops: Relish, Moon & Lola, Cameron Village, and C. Grace! If you are looking to visit Raleigh, I definitely recommend it. Or, if like me, you want a staycation, it is great. I cannot wait to return this summer once the pool is open!


March Madness Giveaway

March Madness $200 Giveaway - PayPal Cash or Amazon GC!

March Madness is usually associated with basketball! But March also has some other fun events like St. Patrick’s Day which brings up images of all sorts of beer parties. March also ushers in the 1st day of Spring and Spring Breaks from school which are themselves a bit of madness. March also begins daylight savings time which can make us all crazy. I get the gardening itch and also want to get outside and do “normal” things minus the snow! What does March Madness mean to you?

A group of fabulous bloggers have come together to bring one lucky reader a March Madness $200 Giveaway - Winners choice of PayPal Cash or Amazon GC! This is a blogger sponsored giveaway which means the bloggers have donated towards the cost of this giveaway! You will the blogger sponsors as entries on the Rafflecopter form.

March Madness $200 Giveaway - PayPal Cash or Amazon GC

Open worldwide and ends March 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST.
Enter on the Rafflecopter below:
Disclaimer: This blog did not receive compensation for the published material in this post. No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are determined by the number of valid entries received. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be emailed via the email address used to enter the contest. New winner(s) will be chosen if original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification.My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life is responsible for shipment of prize. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. Disclaimer is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


We All Need Some Good Vibes

This past weekend The Mister and I visited one of our favorite places: Asheville! I could go on and on about how fantastic Asheville is and how you must visit, but I will save that for later this week. For now, here were a few sites with quotes that we stumbled onto and I just loved! 

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful weekend. The weather in North Carolina has been perfect the last few weeks and I have enjoyed being outside.


Happy Love Day

It has been a long and tumultuous journey since my car accident back in September. I am so excited to finally be back on the road to blogging and have tons of trips, tips, cocktails, and yummy eats to share with you guys in the next few weeks. 

This past weekend we traipsed around the Alleghany Mountains of Virginia and will be sharing all about that trip soon. 

In the meantime, this was one of my favorite photos I captured, just as the sun was setting. "Virginia is for lovers" has been the slogan in my home state for as long as I can remember and one of my favorite things they have around the state is the differing love signs. 

Hope everyone had a good day of "love" and a fabulous weekend!


Whimsy Cocktails: Bonfire Nights

If you read this blog at all then you know that bourbon is my go-to libation. I usually prefer it neat but when paired with ingredients that showcase its flavor well, then I am all about some bourbon cocktails! This concoction conjures up thoughts of chilly nights in the fall or winter, sitting fireside. It will warm you up quickly!

This may be one of my new favorites and it was so simple to create! The bourbon meshed well with the tang from the blood orange and the sweetness from the maple syrup. I am so excited to show you my creation for the Stirrings Cocktail Contest and I hope you enjoy!

Stirrings has so many flavor options you can use to create a unique cocktail and you can barely tell you are using a mixer.  Stirrings mixers are far smoother than the average cocktail mixer! I also love that they have multiple flavor options to rim your glass with. I chose the cosmopolitan flavor for this particular drink and added a little cinnamon to it to incorporate the season.

Bonfire Nights

2 to 3 oz of Stirrings Blood Orange Mixer
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1 to 2 oz of Hard Cider
Stirrings Cosmopolitan Sugar 

 First get your glass. On a plate, pour a little maple syrup and run the edge of the glass through it. Then, slowly rim the top of the glass in the sugar, going in a circle to make sure the whole rim is covered in the sugar.  Fill with ice. 

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine the Stirrings mixer, the bourbon, and the maple syrup. Shake well and pour into your sugar rimmed glass.  Top with hard cider.  

A few notes to make this perfect. I recommend you use pure maple syrup, no 'knockoff' syrup will do;) You can adjust the amount of Stirrings mixer you want to your taste, I also would not use more than 1 or 2 oz of hard cider to top it off with, that will dilute the true taste of the drink.  

You can find Stirrings at Harris Teeter, Total Wines, and more! Follow them along on www.facebook.com/stirrings www.twitter.com/stirringsmixers, www.instagram.com/stirrings and discover some more drool-worthy recipes at www.pinterest.com/stirringsmixers 

**I was supplied with Stirrings Mixers and Sugars for this contest but all opinions are my own.