There's something about a fresh manicure that makes you feel like you can conquer the world, am I right?! I used to only get neutral colors, like Bubble Bath (which is still a great color IMO), but over the last year, I've enjoyed switching things up a bit! Let's start with the photo above! If you want a neutral that's a little bit darker than Bubble Bath, Don't Bossa Nova Me Around may be your new go-to. Check out a few more of my favorites below.
Wedding Day - for my wedding day, I always assumed I'd go with Bubble Bath because it is a wonderful neutral. But I came across Mod About You and it was the perfect light pink that added a little personality to a traditional neutral manicure!
Valentine's Day - I never get nail art, but I couldn't resist adding a cute little pink heart to my nails for the month of love.
Summertime is calling me - My favorite summer? Hot pink! My go-to color is from OPI's Fiji Collection - Two Timing the Zones. 
The perfect neutral - when fall rolled around, I was ready for a change from hot pink, so I mentioned to my manicurist that I was looking for something kind of grey, kind of pink, kind of purple, kind of white. He nailed it with OPI's Frenchie Likes to Kiss. 
Emerald vibes - When it comes to a manicure, I normally don't go for colors that aren't in the pink, red, neutral tones, but this year, I was ready to switch tings up! I opted for Amazon-Amazoff for something different for fall.
Blue For You - A blue mani for this gal? Never, would've been the answer a few years ago. But this color has be sold. Less is Norse is a color I always receive compliments on. 
Cherry Cola - How gorgeous is this rich raspberry color? It was part of OPI's CocaCola collection and it's one I'm keeping in my mani favorites because I love the hue! The color? Get Cherried Away.
Green with envy - Similar to my other green manicure, I chose this one for Christmas instead of a traditional red and I love how it turned out. This color is OPI's Is There a Spear In Your Pocket.
I wrote a post on lash extensions a few years ago but wanted to share some updated FAQs on my experience, where I go, what to expect, and more! I first tried them while competing for Miss North Carolina back in 2013, as it alleviated the need to apply lash strips each time I went on stage. I definitely fell in love with them but ultimately decided to switch back to mascara. 

Since 2013, I've had them off and on and each time, I love them more than the last! At first, you may think whoa, those are some serous lashes, but you quickly get used to the ease and volume of your new lashes. I've had the most comments, inquiries, and questions in regards to this beauty secret -- so here's the skinny on lash extensions. 

Who does your lashes?
I have found two people in Wilmington who I absolutely adore, and this is key! Remember, the person doing your lashes is touching the area around your eyes, so you need to make sure that a) they are certified and b) that the application will work for you. I currently see Maari at Beauty Bar Boutique, located in The Forum, which is in the same shopping center as my store. 

I cannot stress how important it is to find a great person for lashes. Not only is safety important, but so is professionalism. In full transparency, the person I was seeing a few years ago ended up being very un-professional in a variety of ways, and I ultimately had to make the switch for the sake of my eye-safety, time, etc. 

How long does it take to get them applied?
For a full set, it can take anywhere from 2 to three hours, depending on the look you are going for. I've fallen asleep in both a full-set application and a fill-in. It goes by more quickly than you think. A fill in takes a little more than an hour.

How does it work?
With my classic application, Maari individually applies a lash to my each of my lashes. Right now, I'm going for length. 

How long do they last?
Two to three weeks on average. I get fill-ins every two-three weeks but I'm very careful in not touching my lashes. 

What kind of lashes do you have?
They are Sugarlash Pro and in length, they range from 4 - 13mm. 

How much do they cost?
This isn't a cheap endeavor - a full set can run between $150-300 depending on where you are located. Fill-ins are generally less than $100, between $40-$85 in this area.

Don't your lashes fall out?
You may not realize it, but you naturally lose lashes every day. So yes, you will see some shedding, but not a ton more than you normally would (should you go to the right technician). After stopping application the last time, I didn't notice a huge difference in the fullness in my natural lashes - though I of course missed my extensions! I will say that I used Rodan and Fields Lash Boost and it did help my natural lash length growth. 

Do you still wear eye makeup?
I personally hardly wear eye makeup now - if I'm going somewhere special, I'll add a little liner to my top lashes, mascara for my lower lashes, and some shadow, but for the most part, I'm sans-eye makeup with lash extensions.

How do you wash your face?
The same as I normally do aside from staying away from my lash line. I keep any oil-based products far, far away (oil will loosen the bond), and gently use a q-tip to get any hard to reach places around my lashes. There are also certain makeup removers that are created just for eyelash extensions.

Where should I get them done?
You'll see ads for lash extensions all over the place - nail salons included - but I would highly recommend seeing a certified technician. Because these are going by your eyes, double-check before your technician gets started and make sure you are 100% confident in the person who will be doing them.

Anything else?
I would definitely recommend taking photos of what you want and getting advice from your technician as to what works with your features. That will eliminate any surprise or confusion when you look in the mirror!
January felt like the slowest and quickest month all at the same time, if that even makes sense! The days seemed short but the month seemed long, but that being said, it's hard to believe that we're already heading into February! It's been freezing here in North Carolina (though not as cold as some of our mid-west counterparts, that's for sure!) so it's safe to say that I'm beyond ready for cold weather. 

This little top/skirt combo arrived at ZIA last week and it is easily one of my favorite looks we've ever had. I love the ruffle detail and the fun spotty cropped top - and I love sets that you can easily wear separate or together. It would also be the cutest little Valentine's date night look - can't you see an adorable little faux fur wrap with it?!  You can shop the top here and the skirt here - for sizing reference, I'm wearing a size 6 in both. I think the top would also be so cute to pair with cropped pants and/or a blazer for work! While the skirt is a little short for most work environments, the top can definitely give you that work-to-play option. 
I also wanted to include a few cute Valentine-themed pieces that I've had my eye on! There are so many cute heart sweaters and tops out that I can't pick a favorite!

Shop Accessories and Similar Pieces:


I'm often asked where I find my workout clothes and the answer is always everywhere! I love Lululemon, Alo, and Beyond Yoga (some of which I buy online and some at my local athletic store/Pure Barre), but I have also found some great options at places like Forever21 and Old Navy. 

Both of the pieces shown in this look are super affordable. I wanted a pair of Alo moto leggings but bought the Spanx motos the same week, so I knew I didn't need to spend over $200 on two pairs of leggings... lucky for me, I found these from Old Navy and they are very well made, super comfortable, and have the compression factor that I always look for in my workout leggings. There's nothing worse than leggings that stretch out!

I also can't say enough about this adorable cropped workout bra. It is a mix between a sports bra and a workout tank and it is honestly so comfortable. It comes with built in support which is great so you can skip two pieces and just opt for this one item. For sizing reference, I got the medium. 

For sports bras, I love Alo as well. I normally opt for light to medium support as I really don't need much more than that, and this bra is great if you're looking for something in that level. It also comes in a lot of great colors!
Workout Looks Under $50:


Other Favorites:


As we dive into the new year, I want health to be a priority. It's very easy with my schedule to slip into terrible habits: pizza for dinner, skipping workouts because of a long day at the shop, etc. One thing I'm trying to do more of is building my workouts into my schedule. This time of year is difficult because it gets dark so early and it is so cold! Summertime makes it easier because I love getting outside with Sophie and I'm much more motivated after work. Despite all of that, scheduling my workouts in is making me commit a little bit more, but I'm also trying to extend grace when I've had a full work at the shop and just need a few minutes on the couch. 

Right now, when I put on a swimsuit, I'm not 100% confident. I think we can all relate to that in various points of our lives. For this spring, I'm focusing less on the number on the scale (which I have often gotten way too caught up on), and instead, I want to think about how I feel. I hope to have a stronger core by the time summer rolls around for two reasons: 1) abs are always great and 2) when I have a stronger core, my back hurts a lot less, which should of course be a priority!

Another area I'm trying to improve is my food choices. For the longest time, I was pretty conscious of what I ate, but as of late, I have opted for more fast food and less cooking at home. Cooking is not something I overly enjoy, but I've been exploring more recipes to see if I can find things that are great to cook but also great for my body. 

I'm also thankful that we have a Chopt in the same shopping center as my store. I absolutely love their salads and most recently tried one of their warm bowls. It's a healthy lunch that I actually look forward to. I'm still trying to find that perfect "take-to-work" lunch, so if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!

One other thing that I've found is that when I deprive myself, I end up having cravings that outweigh the healthy efforts I put in throughout the day. I've definitely added on some "holiday fluffiness," and need to lay off the cheese croissants and sugary coffee drinks, but I do think life is about balance, which is one area I'm working to achieve. When I make healthier choices during the day, I feel less guilty having that small piece of candy and I will say, I never, ever turn down a piece of cake. 
Shop the Post:


jumpsuit from ZIA Boutique

With a year and a half of store ownership (and two years since I began putting my business plan into action), I still have so much left to learn. It gets easier, that's for sure, but things happen just about every day where I think, "Hmm, what should I do in this situation?" or where I use Google or my mentoring resources to solve a problem.

I definitely feel like I'm finally at a place where I don't second-guess every decision I make and where I've finally come to terms with some of the inevitables of retail (like the fact that you just can't predict store traffic). I'm fortunate to have mentors and collaborators in the industry that I can "talk shop" with and that is always incredibly helpful. It's also important to have those collaborators instead of viewing every other store owner in your industry as competition - it's helpful for no one.

The following doesn't even begin to encompass everything that comes with opening a retail business, but it will give you a brief overview of what my experience was like! (And as a reminder, this is my personal experience so I can't speak for what is like for other business owners).

How did you get started?

This is the #1 question I'm asked in regards to opening ZIA Boutique. From the time I was a little girl, I told my parents I wanted to open a store. I remember seeing an article in a local magazine about a new boutique opening and I was both inspired and envious as I desperately wanted to tackle that for myself. I remember it clearly - I was sitting on the floor of my parents' kitchen after working out and I said to them, "I just really want a store." I had said it for years but this time, my dad said, "Well, if this is something you really want, now's the time to do it." I was newly engaged, working in a job I really loved, so I was overwhelmed at the thought of planning the wedding & quitting the security of a "normal" job, but I decided to at least investigate.

I put together a business plan - it looked very professional, though the realities of what things are like vs. what I imagined are laughable! Despite the fact that some of my numbers weren't quite realistic, I did my research. I looked at brands that weren't in Wilmington, I read tons and tons of articles about store ownership and the retail industry, and I even visited my prime location (and the shopping center where I ended up) so I could have an accurate idea as to what rent would cost. I presented a portfolio to my business advisor and while he warned of the hardships of retail, he was was supportive and on board with my concepts and so we made the move to get things rolling. 

Location scouting began after that. I had a hard time committing to a space as I knew where I wanted to be, but it's also a premium location so rent is a huge factor. There were several space options and the one I liked ended up getting leased by someone else as I wasn't quit ready to commit. Finally (several months later), we locked in the space with a target open date of mid-summer. The space I ended up with was actually where I really wanted to be, but was a bit larger which made me hesitant. However, I can't imagine the shop being anywhere else (at least right now)! I first looked at it on January 27th and fell in love with the bright light and large wall of windows. 

As I began to work on build-out concepts, brand scouting, etc., I realized my timeline just wasn't going to work. I was planning a wedding (August 5th) and was the maid of honor in a June wedding, and a bridesmaid in a July and September wedding. I realized that the ideal time would be to push opening until September (exactly one month after I got married.) Between all of that, here's a brief look at how things worked:
  • Research and business plan creation
  • More research
  • Location "scouting" - non-committed, just research
  • Met with business advisor
  • Loan approval
  • More location scouting
  • Point of sale research
  • Brand scouting
  • And more...
  • Market trip
  • Lease negotiations
  • Point of sale purchase
  • Store build-out plans
  • Another market trip
  • Build-out begins
  • Hiring
  • Inventory arrives
  • Set up store - inventory in system, steaming, tagging, store layout, furnishings, etc. 
  • Opening
There is so much more to the above timeline, but that's a brief overview of how it went!

What was the process of renting space?

I touched on this a little bit in the above but I had a pretty decent idea as to where I wanted to be located based on the brands I wanted to carry, price point, etc. I spent a lot of time searching through online rental listings but even more time driving around town and looking at spaces that looked vacant. Several times I came up empty handed because the spaces were empty but spoken for. Some didn't work due to being too large or too small. One space I liked, but I didn't like the parking situation, so I skipped that one. Ultimately, I kept coming back to the center where my store ended up and though it took some time negotiating lease space, coming up with a timeline, and figuring out the exact right spot, I'm happy with where we are. 

What could one expect to spend when opening a boutique? What was one expense you overlooked or that you weren't expecting?

The first part is a tough one as it honestly depends on location, cost of inventory, lease terms, etc. My ballpark number for what I thought it would take to get started was not quite right, as there were certain things that I under (and over)-estimated. Insurance costs are definitely one of those much needed but pesky expenses that I never even thought about in the beginning. I also definitely underestimated the cost of what my ideal build-out would be. I ended up scaling back on a couple of my initial build-out ideas so that I could have better quality on some of my bigger projects (like my custom cabinetry and cash wrap).

How do you acquire brands for your store?

Prior to attending market, a lot of what I did was scouring Instagram and online to find brands that I liked. I hit a lot of dead ends at first, and it made it frustrating. Thankfully, brands offer distribution protection, meaning that in most situations, the store next door can't carry the exact same things as you. As a store, I'm thankful for that! But that also meant that I couldn't carry a lot of my favorite brands because other places were already carrying them (even if it was only one or two pieces). That being said, it made me dive deeper and try to find brands that had either never been found in Wilmington or that maybe had previously been in another store but were no longer being carried.

My first market trip was in April 2017, and very few people even knew I was opening a business, so I was carrying the weight of all of it on top of literally having no clue what I was doing. Mom and I went to Atlanta for our first market and I remember her looking at me and saying, "Are you going to be okay?" I thought I was going to be sick at some points because I was signing my name to thousands of dollars of inventory with no clue if I would develop as to if I would have any customers! It was a very overwhelming experience. Despite that, my mom and I had a great time diving into our first market trip and finding brands that we felt would be a good fit for the shop.

What are the legal things you have to do?

The legalities of owning a business was one of the things that stressed me out the most! I wanted to make sure I had everything correct. I created my business as an LLC and that was the very first thing I did. I have to provide my EIN to every new vendor I work with to prove I am a valid business and I also have to have my NC Resale Certificate. I provide that as well and it is also displayed in the store as evidence that I am a valid retailer.

Did you have a mentor to work with you in the beginning? Starting a brand new business is hard!

I definitely had some mentors, though I didn't really have anyone to reach out to that was in my direct industry. My parents were huge resources for me as they have both been business owners (my mom owned a dance studio for years and years and my dad is a general contractor & part-owner of a boat company). Despite being able to pick their brains, they didn't have specific retail knowledge which was difficult at times, so I felt like we were all learning together. My business advisor was (and still is) a huge resource for me. He helped me get my business plan tailored, walked me through QuickBooks, helped me with tax documents and made sure I had correct legal documents. I still will randomly call or text him with a random question I should probably know the answer to, but he's always quick to give me the correct answer. I also consider my husband a mentor throughout all of this - he is much more "math-minded" than I am, so he helps me with a lot of numbers things and he's also my sounding board (along with my parents) for just about every business decision I make.

Now that I am actually up and running, I've been very fortunate to connect with bright and inspiring people in the creative and business industries. Lindsey Cheek, owner and designer for Gathered Group, was and still is a big mentor for me. She has given me so much advice in being a young female business owner and also walked me through some hard decisions I had to make early on. I also love connecting with the other boutiques here in The Forum (my shopping center) - they are all locally owned and operated and the owners are in the shop most every day, so every so often we get together to chat and brainstorm on ways we can collaborate. 

What is a hard or non-glamorous part of your job?

Though this job is rewarding, there are definitely some hard parts! One of the toughest parts to me is managing people and sticking to policies. I've had some sort of manager role for the better part of 5 years, but being the ultimate boss is still a tricky one for me. I'm a people-pleaser, so it's sometimes hard to stick to my guns and address issues that arise. It's also hard for me to stick to our policies because I want every one to have a great experience, but another friend of mine told me, "Policies is what will make you successful." You have to find the fine line of giving every one the ultimate customer experience without compromising your business.

Another hard part is the fact that retail ebbs and flows. I remember the first day we were slow hurt my heart so much. We were just off of the opening month momentum and it was quiet. Now, I've just come to terms with the fact that retail is a tough biz to be in. There are weeks when people love to shop and others where they just aren't into it. So instead of dwelling on that, I spend that time coming up with new events, working on our website, and creating new ideas to reach new customers. 

There have also been some non-glamorous parts. Many days are spent putting together furniture or clothing racks, steaming, cleaning base boards, loading up a car for a pop-up, staying at the store extra late to make sure everything gets done because you're under-staffed... Steve has also had to put together quite a few pieces of furniture and I think he's now forbidden me from anything that has more than 10 pieces (haha). There are a lot of 12-15 hour days and the work doesn't stop when you leave the store. 

Despite all of that, those things are what makes this a small business. At the end of the day, it's me and my family and my sweet employees running the show and I love the fact that this little shop has a small-business feel. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this place (literally all three) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What is your favorite thing about owning a business?

It's pretty surreal to work for yourself. I remember walking into the store early one morning not long after we had opened, and I just looked around and could hardly believe that it had all come together. Similarly, as I closed up the shop on December 23rd to be closed through Christmas, I literally had tears in my eyes. There was a great Christmas song playing, the sun was setting, and our Christmas tree was lit. I was running numbers and feeling so thankful for a blessed holiday season. I have so many incredible customers and the people I have met are so rewarding. 

I do like the flexibility of being my own boss. It's still weird to me sometimes that I set the hours, "choose" when to work, etc. Even though I work long days and often weekends - and I feel like I'm glued to my phone and email even more now - I do like that I can occasionally sneak out for a random week day errand or appointment. 

The store has also opened up so many doors to connect with incredible people. This town is filled with smart, talented people - whether they are business owners or stylists or photographers or teachers or stay at home moms - they are all people with individualized talents and I feel blessed to know them. 

What is a good piece of business advice you have received?

One of my best friend's dad is a long-time business owner and when I worked for a marketing and advertising agency as an account executive, he was also one of my clients. Every so often, he checks in, and as I was going through some difficult decision making, I said something about the fact that sometimes I'm a control freak and a little too type-A and that maybe I needed to lessen that aspect. His response is something I think about every day: "You should never have to apologize for the way you choose to run your business, if you are doing it in an honest and integrable way." From that point on, I gained a bit of confidence which has since empowered me to make other decisions.


I hope you've enjoyed reading a little bit about my business opening experience! Have more questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP!
Thanks to Kelly Starbuck for the photos. You can check out her website here.
One of the questions I get asked most on Instagram is where I like to eat in Wilmington! We are sometimes creatures of habit, and we tend to go to the same places over and over again, but one of our goals this year is to try at least one new restaurant each month! There are so many great places that I haven't tried and I'm sure I've left off a ton of favorites, but these are some that we love to frequent.

Seaside Ambiance:

Bluewater - If you want a good meal with a beautiful view, check out Bluewater! It's a great tourist favorite but plenty of locals enjoy it as well. Located on the Wrightsville Beach, just over the bridge. 
What I Order: Crab Dip

Dockside - Need a quick bite to eat while out on the boat? This is a great option. Beach coverups are accepted and it's a great summer happy hour spot.
What I Order: Fish tacos

Bridge Tender - One of my family's fave places to go during the summer - or year-round, if we're being honest. Great seafood and steaks and it overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, on the Wilmington side of the bridge.
What I Order: Crab Dip Appetizer, Blackened Mahi with Mashed Potatoes and Brocollini, Key Lime Pie

Downtown/Riverfront:

PinPoint Restaurant - the menu of this downtown favorite changes daily and offers seasonal favorites that are sourced from local farmers, fishermen, and markets when available! It's been awhile since I've been but it's on my date-night dinner list for 2019!

Elijah's - Overlooking the Cape Fear River, Steve and I used to grab a bite to eat here on his lunch break when his office was located downtown. From seafood to steaks, they have something for everyone.
What I Order: Fish Tacos

Mexican:

Live Eat Surf Restaurants - this includes Tower 7, K38, K-Bueno, and Cruz. All great options! Tower 7 is located right on the beach, so it's often crowded during the summer but most definitely a crowd fave. Steve and I love checking out K-38 for half priced fajitas on Tuesday nights. You won't be disappointed. 
What I Order: Tacos in a Blanket, Queso, Wannabe Margarita

Beer Barrio - This little taco bar is located in the heart of downtown Wilmington. We love sitting at the bar for appetizers and tacos and there is always a great local beer selection available.
What I Order: Tequila Chicken Tacos, Guacamole 

Italian:

Osteria Cicchetti - fun fact: Steve got this for take-out the night we got engaged! Safe to say it's one of our favorites. Great Italian dishes with a nice atmosphere.
What I Order: Fried Mozzarella, Tortellini Michaelangelo 

Italian Bistro - located in Porter's Neck, this is one of our favorite new spots an easy dinner. We normally dine-in, but it seems as though take-out pizza is a huge hit here as well.
What I Order: Pesto Tortellini 

Brunch:

Boca Bay - looking for the ultimate brunch buffet? Look no further. There's literally something for everyone, from an omelet to eggs Benedict to salmon. 
What I Order: everything

Sweet 'N Savory - I've had SNS plenty of times (it's a great brunch, lunch and dinner spot) but I tried the french toast for the first time right after Christmas. No words. Fun fact: It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
What I Order: French toast

The Basics - Located downtown, this is a great breakfast and brunch spot. Especially when the weather is nice, we love to head downtown on a Sunday morning, grab breakfast here, and then wander around. 
What I Order: Migas Mexican Scramble

Coffee:

Bitty & Beau's - Coffee with a cause? Absolutely. Bitty and Beau's is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It's a place that leaves you happier than when you arrived and it's a must-visit in Wilmington.

Drift Coffee & Kitchen - this is the perfect spot for a coffee date with friends and is also one of my fave spots for a coffee meeting. True story, I've never had avocado toast but I've heard it's amazing here. Another true story - Drift had a shop in Ocean Isle, but, wanting to expand, they also operated a coffee cart out of Stephen's old office building here in Wilmington. Steve would stop by their cart just about every morning, and now they have an amazing spot that is perfect for meeting friends. 
What I Order: Ham, Egg & Cheese Toasty and Caramel Mocha

Bespoke Coffee - Downtown and need a pick-me-up? Walk into Bespoke for a quick cup of coffee or stay awhile in this beautiful space.

Port City Java - there are several of these located around time and some feature a drive-thru, so if you're in a hurry but want a cup of coffee, this is a great option. This is also Steve's go-to (pretty much every day). 

Lunch/Deli Spots:

David's Deli - A club sandwich is one of my fave things to get for lunch, and David's Deli is normally where I get one. They also have burgers, salads and more, and it's located right before crossing the bridge onto Wrightsville. 
What I Order: The Club Sandwich with fries

Sweet 'N Savory - I've mentioned it above, but for a delicious sandwich and an after-lunch sweet treat, stop here.
What I Order: Johnny Appleseed on a croissant

Pender's Cafe - Walking into Pender's takes you back in time. A great "mom n' pop" burger joint, this is a great lunch option for classic old-school burgers and fries.
What I Order: Cheeseburger, fries & lemonade

Trolly Stop Hot Dogs - To be honest, I actually don't like hot dogs at all, but my entire family does and their favorite place to go is Trolly Stop! I hear it's great, so stop in to get one the next time you're at Wrightsville Beach!

Steak:

Portland Grille - Steve has actually been here more than I have but it's another great weekend or date night spot. Its "progressive American cuisine" offers something for everyone and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. It's a great place for a good steak though I normally opt for seafood.
What I Order: Sea bass with pound cake mashed potatoes

Port City Chop House - this one of our fave date night spots. We love checking out their 5-7pm happy hour specials and if you have a sweet tooth, the skillet cookie is a must.
What I Order: Beef Tenderloin Tips with Grand Marnier Sauce

Burgers:

True Blue Kitchen and Butcher - this is a relatively new addition to the Wilmington restaurant scene, but it's unique in the fact that it not only serves as a restaurant but also a butcher shop. The appetizers are delicious and the burger is probably the best one I've had in Wilmington (personal preference).

JohnnyLuke's - this restaurant has a great bar area as well as a rooftop bar and seating arena that's perfect for happy hour or even a casual birthday party. Steve and I like to go sit at the bar for a quick after-work dinner.
What I Order: New Orleans The Kicker Burger

Fork 'N Cork - Located downtown, this little restaurant is tough to get into without calling ahead, but it is definitely worth the wait. Their burgers are delicious but every so often, they offer a Monte Cristo sandwich that is absolutely amazing.

AcaĆ­ Bowls & Smoothies

Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar - located on Wrightsville Beach, this is the perfect spot to grab a smoothie or bowl. I've walked the loop at WB and then stopped in for a refresher and it is (insert raising hands emoji here). We will also snag coffee here when we're staying at the beach house.

Pizza

Benny's Big Time Pizzeria - owned by chef Vivian Howard, this pizza spot is the perfect place for date night, girls' night, and all the things. The pizza is amazing as is the dessert.
What I Order: Southern Fried Chicken Parm + Tony Pepperoni Pizza

Local Neighborhood Spot:

Ogden Tap Room - this is located not too far from our house, so it's a fave spot for us to meet some of our best friends, who are also our neighbors. 
What I Order: Chicken and Waffles (burger is great, too)

Girls' Night Out/Date Night:

The Little Dipper - Looking for a great place for a girls' night or birthday? Check out The Little Dipper. I went for the first time in years to celebrate my best friend's birthday a few weekends ago and it was so good. Fondue is always a fun experience if you want to hang out and chat for a bit. The meal was delicious, but let's be honest: I was there for the dessert!
What I Order: Tuscan Sundried Tomato Cheese Fondue, "The Undecided" (I chose Filet, Ravioli, and Pot Stickers), and the Milk & Cookies Chocolate Fondue

Indochine - Love Thai food? This is your spot. It's a great place to go in the warm weather seasons so you can take advantage of the beautiful gardens and outdoor dining.
What I Order: Pork Pot Stickers, Chicken Thai Fried Rice

Ceviche's - I first tried this spot for a friend's birthday but have since gone back to meet friends. In complete transparency, I haven't tried their ceviche as I'm not a huge fan of the dish (seafood isn't always my favorite), however there are so many other great options that regardless of your favorite food, there is something for everyone!
What I Order: Guacamole Sampler, Chorizo y Goat Empanada, Arroz con Pollo

Places I Want to Try:

There are so many amazing restaurants we want to try and the list below doesn't even begin to cover it!
  • Catch
  • Manna
  • Roko
  • Rx
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