AC Hotel: Raleigh, North Hills

A few weeks ago we were able to enjoy a staycation at the lovely AC Hotel by Marriott in the North Hills section of Raleigh. This is the perfect spot for a weekend of fun and with the addition of the AC Hotel to North Hills, you can now stay and play with the added bonus of parking your car and not needing it again til you are ready to check out.  This is one of the best ways to weekend. Raleigh has long been overdue for a boutique hotel with panoramic views. 

The AC Hotel is conveniently located for anyone traveling to Raleigh for business or pleasure. Locals will also love it for its access to all the shopping, dining, and nightlife that is North Hills.  The hotel is a quick drive to downtown and is situated in the heart of the Oak City so you can easily get to wherever you need to be in no time. The rooftop bar is the perfect spot for European inspired tapas or craft cocktails with stunning views. 

We chose our staycation on a Friday in December and our room was the perfect place to unwind and relax after a long week at work. The lobby was all dolled up for Christmas and the tree was gorgeous and over the top gold and I totally loved it! The AC Hotel is sleek and modern but with a homey feel. The beds are so comfortable I had a hard time getting up to indulge in breakfast the next morning. I love that the floors aren't your typical hotel carpeting but a more urban feel with hardwoods. The tv is massive which made my husband rather happy and probably my favorite part of the rooms is that each bed has a light for reading which I love. I almost always fall asleep after indulging in a good book and often hotels have the huge lamps that light up the whole room and these small reading lights let me read and my husband sleep. Way to score some points with me! 

Friday night we lounged in our room for a bit, we had the upgraded king with an additional sofa which offered us plenty of space to relax for a time before we headed upstairs to Level 7, the gorgeous rooftop bar located on the 7th floor. We had originally planned to have dinner at one of the many restaurants located in the bustling North Hills but we were so satiated from our many dishes that we ended up catching a movie at the theater instead of having dinner somewhere else. 

You can read my previous post here about our meal and cocktails at Level 7 but keep in mind it is a fabulous option for an event; large or small. Birthday parties and girls weekends will be made better with a stay at AC Hotel and Level 7!

The hotel comes with a gym on the first floor along with a small library. I really love the local touches that the hotel offers. Off of the lobby is a small shop with wine, drinks, a few snacks and, best for last: Lumpys Ice cream! Lumpys is known for the decadent homemade ice cream. I also love that they offer these hand poured candles that you can purchase and they are made by a local Raleigh girl. She makes each one herself! They are a very soothing teal color that reminds me of the ocean. 

Tony and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about our stay at The AC Hotel in North Hills and I am already looking for dates to have a girls weekend this spring! This winter weather we have recently had has me dreaming of spring nights on the rooftop with breathtaking sunset views!

This post was done in a sponsorship with AC Hotel Raleigh but all opinions are my own. 

Level 7 Rooftop: Libations & Tasty Tempations

North Hills in Midtown Raleigh is one of my favorite areas of the city. There is so much to do and see.  You can grab a bite, shop at many of the boutiques, catch a movie at the theater. One of the options that was missing from North Hills was a really good rooftop for views and drinks with friends. Level 7 rooftop fulfills this need and more. We have been a few times and always enjoy ourselves, especially if we are able to catch the sunset. Level 7 is located in the sleek AC Hotel by Marriott. The hotel is fabulous and perfect for if you are visiting Raleigh and want a central location. The AC is hip without being overly sterile as some newer hotels can be and that is most likely due to the European inspired design that was used in building this lovely hotel. 

When you take the elevator and get out on the 7th floor you are met by an open space with lots of windows, numerous seating options and a fun, colorful bar area. If you are able to arrive and catch sunset, you will not be disappointed! The outdoor seating is spacious and the perfect gathering spot with friends before a night out. They also have heaters on the patio so you can enjoy the view for more than one season.   One of my favorite aspects of Level 7 is that they create quality cocktails in a fabulous ambiance. They truly have put thought into each of their cocktails and the tapas menu has a variety of options for just about everyone's palate.

I am a bourbon girl and that is what my taste buds gravitate towards.  My bartender asked me a few questions and led me to order the Level 7 Old Fashioned. This is typically one of my go to cocktails but I was slightly skeptical as it is made with Rye and I am not usually the biggest fan of Rye. Wellll, this drink changed that. I also loved the final touch of the cinnamon stick as it added a slight hint of favor that enhanced my drink. My husband is more of a gin fan and would normally go for simple and order a gin rickey or gin soda but went with the midnight martini. 

We were somewhat hungry and wanted to check out the tapas menu and ended up ordering a variety of plates. My husband really enjoyed the charcuterie board. He loved the quality of the cheeses and meats.  He added the olives and more than once commented how he appreciated that the olives were pitted, this always garners points from us when a restaurant serves them this way.  We also ordered the crisp potato wedges (these aren't your mamas potato wedges;) and the roasted wings.  The potatoes were perfectly cooked and had just a subtle flavor of olive oil, truffle and salt. So decadent.  The major hit for me however was the wings. They were so good I could have ordered more but decided to try and pretend to be classy while indulging at this trendy spot;) 

Level 7 is also a fabulous location to host your next gathering. They have plenty of space for a small get together or a larger event. They can stage the lounge to meet whatever your need is. They are more than willing to walk you around the space and work with you to get the most out of their location so that it works best for whatever event you may be planning. Just be sure to invite me as well. That seems fair. 

If you find yourself in the North Hills area, are looking for a place to plan a staycation or have friends/family visiting and looking for a place to stay that will double as your entertainment for the evening, check out the AC Hotel in North Hills and the Level 7 Rooftop . Be sure to follow along on their social media for any upcoming events they have planned!

Kiss My Boots

 A few weeks ago I took the quick trip from Raleigh to the small and charming town of Wendell to check out a distillery, Oaklee Distilling and their new release; Boots Vodka Troop Strength. Their space is small but the product and equipment used in the process is of highest quality. Obviously, if you follow my blog at all then you know my love language is bourbon. I enjoy a quality vodka in a cocktail but I have rarely sipped a vodka and found myself enjoying the flavor profile. Boots changed all that and I believe it is due to many reasons but the two main ones would be this is a much higher proof vodka at 90 proof and the fact that they use a "hybrid" of sweet potatoes and corn.  Lee was so pleasant and helpful and you can tell how much love and passion is behind this spirit. In 2018 Oaklee plans to release a gin and bourbon as well. I cannot wait to try them out as I know they will be outstanding. You know I'll be the first in line when the bourbon is released!

To find out even more, check out their website that offers a more thorough backstory and information along with a video. I am really excited to bring you guys this holiday inspired cocktail and I think you will really enjoy it. Boots pairs really well with the flavors I chose but Boots will serve you well as the vodka choice for any cocktail you make!

I chose to name this fun cocktail "Kiss My Boots"

This is a simple cocktail with a twist on typical holiday variations but one that goes down easy (maybe a little too easy so watch how much you pour in grandma's cup;) I used cranberry pomegranate but if you cannot find them together. just buy them separate and use about 1 1/2 oz of each. You should be able to find pear nectar in most grocery stores. I added a little more flavor by making my ice cubes of the cranberry pomegranate juice so not to water the cocktail down as it melts.

Kiss My Boots

*Makes 2 servings

3 oz Cran/Pom juice
2 oz Pear nectar
3 oz Boots Vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Ginger Beer

In a shaker with ice, combine the first four ingredients and shake vigorously. Fill two glasses with ice and pour the cocktails in the glass. Top each one with ginger beer and serve. You can also use Sprite if you are not a fan of the spice of ginger beer.

I *may* have enjoyed this tasty libation this while watching a Hallmark movie and wrapping presents.

Have a very Merry Christmas and I definitely recommend you purchase a bottle of Boots to ring in the New Year or even just 'survive' the holidays;)

Pumpkin & Prosciutto Gluten Free Pasta

When I first heard about TresOmega Gluten Free pasta options I will admit I didn't have the highest of hopes. GF pastas haven't been friendly to me in the past and the taste and texture of TresOmega was a pleasant surprise! It was as delicious as eating grain pasta and it is not only gluten free, it is organic as well. Score! While no one in my household is gluten free we have many friends who are due to varying reasons and I have purchased many products before trying to find a pasta that tastes similar to wheat pastas. Most have failed or been outrageously expensive. I am happy to know about TresOmega Organic & Gluten Free Pastas for the next time I cook for my friends who are Gluten Free.  Since it is organic as well, I will make it for us as well. Who doesn't want to be healthy when they can and not lose out on taste. It is a win-win!

This dish is the perfect comfort food and it is rather simple to whip up. When I think of pumpkin, my mind leans towards savory as I am just not a fan of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin itself tends to just add a subtle flavor to your dish and it a paired perfectly with the salty prosciutto. The pinch of red pepper flakes added just another layer of flavor.  Make this for a group or half it and enjoy a quiet meal at home!

This recipe is for using the whole box of pasta. If you like a thinner sauce, add a little more half and half and if you prefer a thicker sauce, feel free to add a little more cheese! Just remember if you are making this recipe for friends who are gluten-free that you make sure all other products are also gluten-free. Certain cheeses often times are not so I made sure to look for brands that are safe!

Pumpkin Prosciutto Pasta

1 box TresOmega Pasta
1 cup Half & Half
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup white cheddar
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
garlic salt
red pepper flakes 
dijon mustard (optional)
sriracha (optional)
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto 

In a saucepan, start your water to a rolling boil. With Gluten Free pastas it is imperative you follow directions for cooking time and amount of water to use. It definitely makes a difference in how they taste! Once it is boiling, add your pasta. 

In a separate saucepan add in the half and half and whisk in the pumpkin. Make sure they are totally combined and add in the cheddar and parmesan making sure to continuously whisk. Add your salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. This is to taste so choose the amount you would like. You can also add a dash of dijon mustard and sriracha if you like a sharper taste with a little more spice.  Make sure to whisk thoroughly so not to let the cheese become stringy. 

Chop the prosciutto and saute til crispy. set aside. 

Once the pasta is ready; drain and place back in the pan. Pour the pumpkin cheese sauce over the pasta and toss together making sure to coat all the pasta pieces with sauce. Place the pasta in a serving dish and top with the crispy prosciutto and sprinkle on more shredded parmesan. 

TresOmega offers a lot more than just pasta, they have fantastic organic coconut oil, sugar, and flour for your healthy cooking pleasure as well!

You can purchase TresOmega at these stores on line and follow along on their social media!,,, and at

Safer Skincare & Makeup With BeautyCounter

Some people may say I have a slight addiction to anything and everything makeup and skincare. Those people would be underestimating my love. Nothing makes me giddier than new makeup or finding a moisturizer or other product that makes my skin look and feel its best. I have extremely sensitive skin and so it has been a process to find what works for my skin. I am pleased to say that Beautycounter fits that bill and is home to my absolute favorite foundation, Skin Tint. It offers medium coverage and doesn't dry my skin out at all!

 The best part is that they are a company that also takes your health into account. My friend Lindsay is hosting a party for me via facebook tonight and if you have any interest in a purchase of just learning a little bit more about Beauty Counter and all they stand for, this is your chance.

Here is a little bit about Beauty Counter and a few facts you may not be aware of!

Who is Beautycounter?
Beautycounter is a mission driven, education first company advocating for change in the personal care industry. They are leading the way in providing safer, high-performing products free of over 1,500 harmful, or potentially harmful ingredients.
  • or this is another description I like to use. It depends on what you think will be more compelling for your readers.
Beautycounter is a company that believes in making products that are safer, high-performing, and innovative with a strong corporate mission to educate and effect change.

Shocking facts about the industry (feel free to bullet these out or use the image I’m sending):
  • The European Union has banned or restricted more than 1,400 ingredients from use in personal care and beauty products. The U.S. has banned or restricted 30.
  • 1938 was the last time there was major federal legislation passed to regulate the ingredients in personal care and beauty products
  • Many of the chemicals in personal care and beauty products have never been tested for their impact on human health
    • Today, there are more than 85,000 ingredients on the market used in popular products and the majority of them have not been tested for human safety.

Beautycounter doesn’t just want to educate consumers, they are pushing Congress to pass laws to better regulate the industry - through 200+ meetings since 2014. They are fighting for change and can’t do it alone. Women of all ages want to present their best, most beautiful selves to the world, but over time they have been asked to make compromises. No woman should be harmed for making her own choices or living her own life. No woman should compromise her health and safety for beauty.

Reading this makes you think! People often spend time researching their foods and household products but don't take the time to investigate as thoroughly when it comes to their makeup and skin care!

If you decide you may want to purchase via my event, here is the link to the party and it will be open thru this Sunday. You can follow Lindsay along any day of the week and get more information and updates, plus learn about any specials and sales the company is having by joining Lindsay's Facebook group You can find it here.

Link to my party:) Let's Party!

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