A Local’s Guide to Cary

Thanks to Money Magazine, my own little piece of the Triangle is the #5 best place to live in the whole country! If you’re thinking of relocating here, or if you’ve already planted your roots, I wanted to share some of my favorite things I’ve discovered since moving here. Without further ado, here’s my top list! Anything I missed?! Let me know in the comments!

Where to Stop in Cary, NC (3)

Red, Red Wine

The Best Stain-Fighting Tips for a White Couch

As a family that loves red wine, black labs and white couches, something terrible was destined to happen to us. Seriously, it was only a matter of time. Now, if you know me offline, it’s easy to assume that I was behind this Cabernet display. I can’t legally name names, but y’all, this was actually, really, truly, not my fault.

I DID place the wine on a table of suspect sturdiness, but ultimately I was not responsible for its unruly end. That’s all I got to say about that.

And unruly it was. There was wine dripping from the mantel, in between the fireplace grates, down the walls, and covering the arms and the cushions of our couch. I had to act fast. Here’s how:

  1. I started by BLOTTING the spots with a dry towel to remove as much as I could. I followed with the same motion using a towel drenched in ice cold water. No scrubbing, no rubbing, just consistent up and down motions. Keep in mind, at this point for some reason the couch was turning BLUE because it’s got feathers in it?! There was a lot of sweat and outdoor voice action happening.
  2. Once I had removed as much as I could, I reached for my Dryel pen. This is the craziest component, because it comes as part of an at-home dry cleaning kit. This specific pen was recommended to my mom for upholstery by a long-time patron of JoAnn’s Fabrics, and those ladies don’t PLAY. I have since used it on all stains and it is an absolute wonder.
  3. For the walls,  I actually let the red wine dry, much to the absolute terror of my husband. Once it dried, I hit them with a Magic Eraser and it looked as good as new.
  4. The carpet trick came from something I learned in college during an “informative speech” day in my public speaking class. I taught the class how to make breakfast in bed, and James Adams taught everyone how to remove a Jungle Juice stain from the carpet. MAY GOD BLESS YOU JAMES! Please note, I have since verified this with ApartmentTherapy and Bob Vila and all parties agree that it’s legit.

The Best Stain-Fighting Tips for a White Couch (1)

You simply fill a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Next, plug in your iron to the highest steam setting. While it’s heating up, spray the stain liberally with the vinegar mixture and lay an old white towel over top of the stain. Press the hot iron over top of the stain and move it around until you see steam appear. When you move the iron, you should see that the stain transferred on to the towel like MAGIC. Continue moving the towel around and repeating until all of the stain gets transferred.

The last thing that I will rave about during this stressful time is our amazing furniture company, Discount Furniture of the Carolinas. When we purchased our couch, the owner Bradley advised us about this program called Guardian. It’s an insurance that cost us a whopping $150, and lasts for 5 years. It covers rips, tears, stains, pet mishaps, you name it. There’s no deductible, so I thought there HAD to be a catch. After sending a picture to Bradley (that I’m sure is up on their Wall of Shame), he sent out a whole brand new half of our couch. Normally they’d try to replace or repair cushion by cushion, but ya know, we really brought the house down with our stain.

I can NOT say enough good things about Bradley and this company in terms of selection, customer service, integrity, communication, and the list goes on.

I hope this never ever happens to you, but if it does, I hope this helps!

Countertop FAQs with Geo’s Marble & Granite

graniteFrom the minute I heard another agent in my office say “I like to quiz myself on different granite types in my spare time”, I knew I was in the right place. In my opinion, nothing can change the whole look of a kitchen faster than new countertops. However, when my husband and I were looking at homes, I was totally overwhelmed trying to determine what material was in a kitchen, how easily I could replace it, and what that might entail. So, when I got the chance to sit down with the team at Geo’s Marble and Granite, I got right to the bottom of it all. The company has been in business since 2012 and came highly recommended, so I knew they’d be the ones who could answer my burning questions.

What are the most common materials you might find in a kitchen? How could someone tell the difference when they walk in a home?

Most often you will find quartz (which is manmade), granite or laminate. Occasionally you might see marble but it’s not usually recommended for a kitchen. To quickly tell which type is installed, look underneath. Naturally occurring stone like granite or marble isn’t often altered on the bottom, whereas laminate or quartz will have some factory markings or be smoother and more finished.

What do you need to consider when replacing countertops in my home?IMG_1913

At Geo’s, you’ll need to set aside about 5-7 business days for measuring and installation (this can vary greatly from business to business). As a rule of thumb, summer is better for installation as the winter months get extremely busy in the industry. Always ask if they are willing and able to remove old countertops as well. Geo’s is happy to help for an additional fee, but other companies may not offer disposal.

Which material is the easiest to care for?

Let’s start by saying marble is NOT the easiest, and is often discouraged in kitchens. Many styles can stain and etch easily when they come in contact with things like wine, coffee and even styrofoam. Marble is much better in a bathroom where it’s less likely for these things to come in contact with your surface. Quartz and granite are actually extremely easy to care for and they only require sealing once a year, which is just a simple spray (which you can purchase at Lowes or Home Depot) almost like cleaning and wiping down your counters. As long as you maintain the sealing, they are able to withstand heat, cutting, liquid, and all kinds of other kitchen mishaps. Another great thing about granite is that even if there is some accidental staining, the pattern will often camouflage it.

What happens if my kitchen is oddly shaped or requires a very long countertop?

No problem! While they try to have the fewest seams possible, they are often required in lengths over 10ft. Curves, rounded spaces and overhangs are no issue either.

What determines the cost of different countertops?

At the core, it’s all about supply and demand and what’s the most popular. Besides that, the main factors are material and square footage. Cost also fluctuates based on the amount of waste it takes to get a beautiful pattern. Granite pricing is tiered, so a “level one” granite would be a builder-grade material that starts around $29/ square foot. It has repetitive, even patterns that allow for one piece to be cut after another. Conversely, a complex piece of marble might require a lot of waste in order to get to that perfect design element on a piece, driving up the price. If humans can make more of it (quartz and laminate), it is often more affordable than things we rely on nature to produce (granite, quartzite, marble).

IMG_1231What are the biggest countertop trends right now?

The light, bright pieces are flying out of the store. Many people are going for the look of marble but prefer quartz or granite with that same design. For styles, waterfall countertops (where the counters extend over the sides all the way to the floor, like a table) are increasing in popularity.

I hope that helped clear up some of the questions out there about counters! The best part about this conversation was meeting someone that knew their stuff and loved what they did. They had a wonderful selection (much of it was imported from Brazil- fun fact!) and they were incredibly knowledgable about the varieties, nuances and trends. The team helped me understand how affordable and simple it could be to install and maintain these beautiful additions. If you have any other questions, I’d love to pass them along for answers!

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Doggone Good Weekend Recap

Y’all know I can’t resist a good pun.

Or a terrible pun.

Anywayyyy, this weekend was a doozy for us! We entertained for the first time in our new house, hit the town for our first official Raleigh holiday, and tried tons of new restaurants (our favorite!).

Saturday, we pushed the limits of #basic and threw our puppy Dorothy her first birthday party. Did I go overboard? Probably. Do I care? Nope.

On the menu, I had PAWncake skewers and chicken and WOOFles, a biscuit bar for humans and pups, sausage and grits casserole, and zucchini bread (“grass clipping bread”- our dog’s favorite!). I had been feverishly inviting humans and dogs to our house for weeks, blatantly ignoring the fact that it could rain or be cold in March, we had no fence yet, we have a white couch, etc. etc. Leave it to my sweet husband to always shine the logistical light on my decisions… but get dragged along for the ride anyway. It turned out to be the perfect day!

Saturday afternoon, we retired briefly to our porch for mimosas and March Madness. When we channeled our inner 19 year olds and decided that we could rally, we made our way to meet friends on Glenwood South. We were greeted with a sea of green, all people who had been enjoying the festivities much longer than we had.

We acted quickly and made a mobile reservation at Vidrio, realizing it was one of the only places on the road that partygoers might miss. Y’all, I am SO glad that we tried this place! It’s a Mediterranean tapas restaurant with absolutely breathtaking decor. It’s great for a date or happy hour because you can get several small plates, delicious wine, and never run out of topics to discuss with the art surrounding you. Vidrio means “glass”, and nearly every inch of the restaurant is adorned with gorgeous pieces. We loved the beef skewers, hanger steak, Brussels sprouts (with BACON JAM), and the jet black colored risotto.

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We tuckered out early that night, but managed to rouse ourselves for brunch at Lucky 32 down the street from us in Cary. I was so pleasantly surprised by the whole concept- the name comes from the fact that the menu refreshes every 32 days. I got the Suffolk Chicken Breast on the best grit cake of my life, and the cornbread was to die for as well!

I hope y’all had a great weekend, I’d love to know if anyone got into any more mischief than we did!

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Galentine’s Day Special: Articles Club!

In honor of Galentine’s Day, I wanted to share about a group of friends who has grown dear to me in the short time I’ve been in Raleigh. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a “joiner” at heart. I tend to over-extend myself, so I was looking for the perfect balance of meeting some friendly faces without committing to be president of a club and chairing weekly meetings. IMG_1074

I stumbled upon Em for Marvelous and was thrilled to see that she not only called the Triangle home, she was recruiting for the coolest idea- an articles club! They met monthly around the same date (so important for herding vivacious, over-scheduled cats/millenials!). The only commitment was to read a handful of articles, sign up for a fun potluck, and show up and chat. The first night I came, there were about 5 of us who were brand new as well- all fans of Emily’s blog!

Each month I’m amazed at the awesome conversational paths we meander down. We are all from totally different walks of life (but have many things in common!) and everyone has such unique perspectives on the articles we read. We have even implemented “show notes”- stemming from our love of podcasts- to detail the book suggestions, TV show recommendations and life advice that comes out of our discussions.

It was a huge honor to get to pick the articles for tonight’s club, so I wanted to share them with you all. Our theme was “love” of course, so I broke it up into self love, loving your job and romantic love (with a twist!).

(Note: These have some PG-28 language and topics in them, reader beware!)

Self Love: Be Your Own Best Friend (via Elite Daily)

Love Love: 6 Relationship Habits Most People Think are Toxic (via Mark Manson)

Loving What you Do: Screw Finding Your Passion (via Mark Manson)

Check out a longer list of articles we have discussed in the past on Emily’s blog here. Let me know what you think of my picks this month!

Cocktails and Cookies with SkillPop!

I have always been a “joiner”. I’m guilty as charged. I have no problem showing up for activities alone, and I’m always down to gain a new skill or test out something exciting and fun. I stumbled upon SkillPop in December, and enrolled in their holiday cocktail class faster than you could say “Hot Toddy”.

SkillpopDrinksTheir goal is to make experiential education available through pop-up classes. They have a TON of variety of classes ranging from art to business to culinary. They are taught by people in your own community, and held at unique venues around the area. All the classes I’ve taken have been at the Mayton Inn, and it’s been a blast to check out the hotel, bars and restaurants they have. IMG_1788

Last night, I checked a box off of my 101 in 1001 list and learned to decorate sugar cookies! The girls from Southern Sugar Bakery were patient, approachable and extremely skilled instructors. I left feeling super confident and full of sugar, my absolutely favorite way to feel.

SkillPop began in Charlotte, and has expanded to offer classes in the Triangle, Greenville and Nashville. Many of y’all have expressed interest in getting involved, so keep an eye on their site (or come visit me!).

Introduction Part Two: The Key Players

In my life, I choose not to rely on my own strength and wisdom to make decisions and kick it from day to day. I do NOT have all the answers, but I pride myself on my ability to meet friends, make connections and surround myself with a team of trusted advisors. I want Flying Pig to feel like a home away from home for y’all, and that includes introducing you to my squad.

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First up, meet Mark. He’s my husband, he’s the Excel to my Pinterest and the Swiffer to my glitter. We got married on June 3rd, 2017, went on a honeymoon to Greece and Italy and moved to Raleigh ONE day later. We are both still coming back to earth and being regularly-whelmed. Expect to hear from him on organization, sports, finance, date nights & local gems.

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Secondly, our sweet Dorothy June, named for the month we were married and her sweet little old soul personality. She was rescued from Franklin County, NC the day before she was scheduled to be put down. While she was a total surprise, she was the absolute #1 missing piece in our family. She’ll pipe up now and then about separation anxiety, training suggestions and every day celebrations.

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Next, my Mom and Dad (Betsy and Kit). They are my best friends, and I’d be hard pressed to make it through each day without their inspiration and guidance. My dad has been in the Real Estate industry for over 30 years and he inspires me, gives me tough love and love of the regular sort. Like crazy!

My mom is a HOOT. She is all of 4’11” filled with advice, ideas, and disclaimers about dangerous and terrifying things you should be aware of  in your every day life. She’s crafty, cute, and the queen of manners.

Count on them from time to time to share advice, hostessing tips, business suggestions and mom/dad jokes.

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Meet my team of #1 gals.* They keep me sane through memes, scheduled phone dates, trips to the woods and endless group texts. While this is just a snapshot of a few of the incredible women in my life, they are my core and a great visual into the wisdom I have surrounding me. I’ll interview them about their home searches, job searches, relationship advice and love on them through plenty of crafts and snail mail.

I’m also blessed by an amazing family consisting of perfect in-laws and genius aunts, uncles & cousins. You’ll hear from them when it comes to etiquette, hosting gatherings and many other golden adulthood insights.

No (wo)man is an island, and we need to lean on each other in good, bad and boring times. I love welcoming you right into my virtual living room and can’t wait for you to step inside my inner circle to hear from the people who shape my life.

*Yes, we always laugh this effortlessly

All photos are courtesy of sweet Hope Taylor Photography except the one I took on my iPhone and pitifully edited. 

Welcome, Y’all!

Hi y’all and thanks so much for visiting me here at Flying Pig House & Home. I am a Realtor, newlywed and obsessed dog mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ve wanted to start a blog for years, but for reasons out of my control (extremely easily distracted, dessert, failed diets, vacations, Netflix binges), I’ve never made it far out of the gate.

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I’m a big fan of Q&A so hopefully these next few lines will give you some insight into my plans.

First of all, why the name Flying Pig? House & Home? Huh?

Flying pigs have always been a favorite motif of mine. Society knows the cute little fellas with wings as a depiction of the impossible happening. For me, starting a brand new business, finally keeping up with a blog and hopefully helping lots of people along the way feels impossible, and I hope to conquer that. The “house” part pays homage to my career as a Realtor. I will share tips from experts, explanations of crazy difficult concepts, market trends, design inspiration, & more. The “home” part is the most important to me, in that I want this to feel like you’re walking into my apartment, moving some of the papers and Oreo Thins and black labs from the couch, and sitting down with a G&T or cup of coffee. I hope to provide approachable advice without being preach-y, and share what has worked for me in my limited adulting career.

Are you doing this to sell me stuff, Elizabeth?

No, girl (or man). I vow to only share things I love and have tried myself, most likely from Walmart, Ross Dress for Less or Trader Joe’s. Next question.

What kind of things will you be sharing?

I will admit, humbly, that I often have no clue what I am doing. I rely on a team of trusted advisors (you’ll meet some of them tomorrow) and Google to help me navigate this maze called adulthood. I have cracked the code on a couple things, and plan to share routines, articles and self-help tips that I swear by. I will focus heavily on interviews with said trusted advisors so that you and I can learn together (with G&Ts. And the coffee). I will answer any and all questions that come my way about Real Estate or life or dog motherhood or cooking or travel or anything else. I am a self-taught chef and will share recipes, and I am craft-obsessed so you can expect lots of tutorials as well. I am a huge travel and reading nerd, so you can follow along with me on staycations & vacations, and see which books I have my nose in along the way. Lastly, my husband and I are new homeowners, so plan on giving and receiving ideas, before-and-afters and lotssss of Pinterest links.

Anything else?

I promise to honestly and openly give and receive advice in this space. I will not try to advise you on things I have no experience in, and I will give you blanket suggestions just for the sake of writing content. I am ALWAYS open to kind, honest feedback (just ask my husband how great I am at taking feedback), and hope to make this as interesting and as useful as I can.