3.31.2016

Raleigh, NC is Home to New HGTV Smart Home

My love affair with English/Tudor/Craftsman style homes goes back to my childhood. This style is truly my dream home. I was invited to attend the official unveiling of Raleigh's HGTV smart home tour, but with kids home on spring break and my not feeling 100 percent well, I was able to get the scoop for your virtually.  And honestly, their photos will be a lot better than mine anyway. I never claim I'm a photographer. I'm a writer. 

Are you ready?

HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.


Constructed by locally owned builder, Homes by Dickerson, the home is part of a grand prize package valued at more than $1.2 million that will be awarded this summer. In addition to the home and all its furnishings, the grand prize package includes a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC and $100,000 from national mortgage lender Quicken Loans®. The three-level traditional craftsman home is approximately 3,300-square-feet, with four bedrooms and five bathrooms, cleverly constructed with tech gadgets and smart solutions to enhance entertaining and everyday living.


“When we look for locations for the HGTV Smart Home, we are challenged with finding a neighborhood and a city that has the combination of technology and culture that makes it a great place to live. Following the homes in Nashville and Austin, Raleigh was a perfect choice,” said Ron Feinbaum, General Manager, and SVP, Home Promotions, HGTV. “As a hub for technology and a vibrant destination for those seeking family fun, it was a ‘smart’ selection all around.”
HGTV Smart Home 2016 host and interior designer Tiffany Brooks brought touches of rustic oak, metals and stone to this year’s home and combined them with a cool color palette that provides an unexpected contrast of traditional materials juxtaposed with modern and eclectic touches. In addition, she sourced art and sculpture from many of Raleigh’s local talent to further extend the custom flair of this stunning home.
The home is near Research Triangle Park and is very close to Briarcreek.  It's in a new community called, Haywood. If you do a quick real estate search, the homes on the market in this new neighborhood average about $850,000 as the asking price. 

Let's go inside. The Living Room is open


HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved
The Kitchen:



Kitchen of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, NC.


Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 


Kitchen of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.
Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 

This is a pantry with an organized office space.


Pantry in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC  The Mudroom


Mudroom

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 


The Master Bath 



Master Bath of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved
The Master Bedroom 


Master Bedroom in HGTV SmartHome
Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved


The Media Room 


Media Room in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved


I love that the dining room is open to the  living room and kitchen. That's a great house for entertaining. 


Dining Room in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, NC.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

The home features three levels that provide plenty of room to either spread out or gather for family fun. The main level features a master bedroom suite, open kitchen, dining room, living room and screened porch. Downstairs, the home includes an additional bedroom suite as well as a media room and exercise room. Completing the layout, the upper level houses a home office and two additional bedrooms.
The fully furnished HGTV Smart Home 2016 is Energy Star 3 certified and Bronze-level Green certified and features products provided by national advertising partners including Bassett Furniture, Mercedes-Benz USA, Quicken Loans, Bush Brothers & Company, Daikin, LiftMaster, Farmers Insurance®, Gorilla Glue, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams, SimpliSafe, Sleep Number®, ICON Health & Fitness, VELUX, and Simonton Windows & Doors.
During the giveaway period for the HGTV Smart Home 2016, which begins at 9 a.m. ET on April 12 and runs through 5 p.m. ET on June 2, 2016, eligible viewers can enter twice per day on HGTV.com and can sign up for daily email reminders. HGTV Facebook and Twitter fans can check in for ongoing updates and new details (#HGTVSmart).
You can view additional photos on the HGTV website.   All photos used today were in partnership with HGTV. and as a media member, I was given permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Disclosure: Thank you to HGTV for inviting me as a media guest. This post is editorial only and this blog continues its editorial content through the support of my socials and sales with Beautycounter.  I do not do ads on this site and occasionally will write a sponsored post if it aligns with my brand. I am passionate about the movement to get safe personal care products in the hands of everyone. If you would like to have an online social like this one, contact me. Take a moment to watch this video. It will cause you to think about the beauty products you put on your skin. 

3.27.2016

Garden Vegetables that Harvest in Spring

One of my memories from my childhood is waking up at my Grandma's home, and seeing her in the garden. She was not a farmer to earn a living, but rather I guess it was part of her heritage to grow her own food. I really have no idea.  She died when I was 13. I never asked her, "Why do you grow your own food?" My Dad is gone now, too. I never asked him either why his parents had this garden. It is just what they did.

What's Fresh from the Farm in the Spring in NC?



She grew corn, turnips, collards, strawberries, butter beans, new potatoes, and green beans. I really don't know all that she grew, but I certainly know that every day, she would cook fresh vegetables for a lunch buffet. She did it daily.  She kept me while my Mom worked when I was little and I developed a palate for fresh vegetables at a very early age. 

Farm Days
Source:  Who Remembers This? on Facebook 


This photo was circulating on Facebook this week, and it immediately took me back to summers when I would visit my Grandma. 
This is the garden harvest for spring that will be available at Farmer's markets. 

A guide to Spring Crops in North Carolina


Green Onions: Late March
Asparagus: Early April 
Strawberries: Early/mid-April
Arugula: Late April 
Lettuces: Late April 
Radishes: Late April 
Bok Choy: Early May
Salad Mix: Early May
Blueberries: Mid May
Chard, Rainbow: Mid May
Salad Turnips: Mid May
Snap Peas: Mid May
New Potatoes: Mid May
Broccoli: Late May
Squash, Yellow: Late May
Squash, Zucchini: Late May 

When I started the #OutaboutNC community last year, one of my biggest supporters has been chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, N.C.  His dream was to open a restaurant that was entirely locally sourced. Every item from the alcohol served to dessert come from North Carolina. His restaurant has been named one of the top 100 foodie restaurants on Open Table. 

I've been in Clark's company several times now but have not made it to Charlotte yet. It's on my list. for a true North Carolina culinary experience.  Photo below from HeirloomRestNC on Instagram

Newell Farms Roasted Strawberries. Come in before they leave the menu until next Strawberry Season!


Farm Fresh, NC local produce at Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, N.C.
Happy Spring!

3.06.2016

Keeping your Baby Safe: Beautycounter Launches Safe, Simple Ingredient Baby Line with each Ingredient Disclosed #BetterBeauty

Yes, my personal days of having a baby is over, but I'm entering a new phase in life where some of my friends are becoming grandparents. My college roommate will become a first-time grandmother next month. And because Liza is only six, several of her friends have baby brothers or sisters.  My days of being around babies is, fortunately, not over. I get my baby fix every Tuesday during my daughter's dance class. What we put on our baby can have an impact in the future. I made mistakes with my kids, but I'm now sharing with you on how you don't have to make the same mistakes I made when it came to skincare.

Safe products for babies: http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


Over the last few years, I've become more vocally passionate about causes.  Maybe I've matured and have become more comfortable to give my thoughts. It's kind of unlike me to take a stand on anything, really much less publicly, but I'm taking a more natural approach to my way of life. I think it started in 2014 when I began using my produce delivery service which caused me to read more about nutrition, whole foods, and the supplements we may or may not need in our lives.  I understand why milk without hormones or vegetables without pesticides are crucial. I have done my research.

I am a Young Living member, and even though I don't use all of their products, I've gone with a more all-natural approach to my home cleaning, the protein powders I use, my toothpaste, deodorant and even some supplements. And yes, I put a few essential oils in a diffuser.



Am I a 47-year-old modern hippie? I don't think so even though I went to a very liberal, environmental conscious university here in North Carolina where people could actually major in Environmental Studies. I didn't even know what that meant, much less understand the importance of a college major like that in 1991. But, fast-forward 25 years and for the first time, it feels as if my vision is clearer. Maybe becoming a parent changed me. Maybe the fact that I live in an urban, sophisticated city with largest research park in the U.S had an impact on me.  Maybe it was a friend who reads food labels. I don't know. It doesn't matter now.  What matters is that I'm moving forward from this point.

I started using Beautycounter cosmetics last November after being introduced to it at a VendRaleigh meeting where I was speaking. I was at the point in my life where my current brand of cosmetics was low so I decided to try the Beautycounter cosmetics. Well, after learning why Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew, started her company, I got an eye-opening education and it is something I never thought about in all of my many years of buying personal care products.  The U.S. has not passed a federal law to regulate the safety of personal care products since 1938.  Europe has been researching and banning or restricting 1400 ingredients whereas the U.S  has banned 11 up to date. Beautycounter has developed a NEVER list of 1500 products that will not go in their products.

The Never List for Beautycounter cosmetics. Only safe products http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I've been buying cosmetics since I was 12. Back then, I wanted LancĂ´me which was about as chic as you got in 1980. As a TV reporter, I bought cosmetics more than I bought anything else. I have bought and used just about every brand of cosmetics you can think of from drug store cheap to department chic to buying directly from a make-up artist. It's the one luxury I will never do without it, and I have even joked that if stranded on a deserted island, I would be lost without my face powder, mascara, and lipstick. The beauty industry is a huge part of my life and even though I'm less superficial then perhaps in my younger years, I still want to look my best and cosmetics help me do that.  But more importantly, I want safe cosmetics for my own daughter when she wants to wear lip gloss or mascara in the future. In fact, she has to wear make up now for recitals a couple of times a year. 


#betterbeauty Beautycounter http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I bought whatever I saw in the magazines and never thought twice about what I was putting on my face, my body or even on my children.  Recently, Liza wanted a cheap Elsa and Anna fragrance because well, it had the two characters on it that she loved most. I've made better choices about food, but changes in cosmetics never occurred to me.  Her brother sprayed it on her face, and she broke out in hives. You would be shocked about all the nasty things that are hidden behind the simple word: fragrance. 



#BetterBeauty Safe Beautycounter products http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#



A friend told me about the EWG website SkinDeep and honestly, I wanted to throw up. The products, even some high-end baby lines that I purchased as a new Mom in baby boutiques were not considered safe products due to the ingredients in them.  Research shows that most Moms change their buying habits after having a child, and it may start with something as simple as looking for a safe sunscreen. 

This EWG public website helps parents and consumers buy products with safer ingredients. Luckily, there are products that have good ratings so I encourage each of you to go through your cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and see how your brand ranks.  You want to shoot for a 1 to 2 rating. The lower the better. 


Beautycounter is on EWG. Ranked high for safety. http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I've been using Beautycounter awhile and replacing my items as quickly as my cosmetic budget would allow. Beautycounter's new Baby line is in its most simple and purest form. It's fragrance-free, and developers made an important decision not to scent this baby line in order to keep it in its purest form and to keep the ingredients uncomplicated. All ingredients are listed on the website and on the product.
New Safe Baby Line with Beautycounter for Babies http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#



When learning about the product, I was told that that Beautycounter's philosophy is that newborns don't need to be washed often anyway. There is no need to strip the baby of its natural oils, but this new line with a 2-in-1 formula gentle all over wash provides a nourishing and tear-free product when you do bathe your infant. 


Gentle Baby Wash by Beautycounter: Safe, simple, uncomplicated ingredients http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I now have the passion for the change that BeautyCounter CEO Gregg Renfrew has put in motion, and is outlined in the business article. Just like actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her blog GOOP, I've become an online partner with Beautycounter as well. You can buy the same products I use daily right from my site.  And yes, I will benefit directly from your purchases, and it will underwrite all my other editorial, travel and non-sponsored content I present on this blog. I am always transparent with my disclosures and your trust in me as a source.  Beautycounter also has a very flexible return policy if for some reason you are not 100 percent satisfied with your purchases. I have never returned any of my products, but I also know the look, feel, or exact color of a cosmetic can be very subjective. 

Try Beautycounter now. Email me your needs and let's chat. 

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