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Best place to bank. In North Carolina, we have a “best of” list for everything. For hikes, many say it’s Black Balsam Knob near Asheville. For barbecue, people love Prime Barbecue in Knightdale. For credit unions, Forbes Magazine says it’s us for the last 4 years in a row. Experience why at bankbetter.org.
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ICONIC TRIANGLE HOLIDAY EXPERIENCES
DECK THE PORCH
WARM UP WAKE
SLEIGHING THE CHRISTMAS SPREAD
on the cover: SISTERS NOELLE SALEH (LEFT) AND SIMONE LAWSON SERVE UP A TRADITIONAL LEBANESE HOLIDAY SPREAD ALONGSIDE THEIR FATHER, MOUNIR SALEH. READ MORE ON PAGE 92. PHOTO BY JONATHAN FREDIN.
10 WAKE LIVING
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 11
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
18 OUT & ABOUT IN WAKE COUNTY
wakeliving NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023
GROUP PUBLISHER PUBLISHER MANAGING EDITOR & CREATIVE DIRECTOR STAFF WRITER STAFF WRITER COPY EDITOR SOCIAL MEDIA
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DURING THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, we are often told to never forget the “reason for the season” or the “true meaning” of the holidays. It’s good advice, given our (very real) struggles during this time of year — it’s easy to grab a cart on Black Friday and get caught up in consumerism, and seasonal magic can be hard to find when your bank account is dwindling and your winter bod is getting a little too wintery. But, as you’ll read in this issue, the “reason for the season” is different for everybody. Page 34: For members of the Triangle Woodworkers Association, the holidays are about giving back to their community via the Toys for Tots program — and if you ask them, IT’S TOUGH BEING MANAGING every single splinter is worth it! EDITOR — SNUGGLING PUPPIES Page 68: The Raleigh Firebirds, our own local LUCKY AND SADIE WHILE THEY professional basketball team, gives tirelessly to the HELP STYLE PORCH DÉCOR. youth in our area, teaching them life skills on and off the court. Go check them out this year! Page 74: For many homeless in the Triangle, the team at Oak City Cares shows the true meaning of the holidays during this season and beyond. All year, Oak City Cares provides individuals and families who are experiencing the worst years of their lives with some much-needed support. Page 92: For the Saleh family, owners of the Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant Sassool, the holidays are about sharing laughter and treasured moments with family over homemade recipes, passed down through generations. For the team behind Wake Living, the holiday season is about gifting our readers with a thoughtful and unique issue that inspires you, delights you, and even gives you a gift idea (or two). Whatever your “reason,” may your holidays be filled with love, laughter, and magic of your own making.
Photos: Chelsea Santos
Photos: Richard Barlow Photography
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North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival
Vintage Market Days presents Merry & Bright, an upscale vintageinspired indoor market with over 120 of the most curated vendors from the area and across the US! Nov. 10–12 at the NC State Fairgrounds. Get your tickets today! vintagemarketdays.com/ market/nc-triangle/
One of Raleigh’s oldest holiday shopping events is back! The 49th Annual Visions of Sugarplums Holiday Art & Gift Show will take place from November 9–11 at Quail Hollow Swim Club. A selection of unique and handcrafted items like Santas, snowmen, wreaths, and holiday decor will be for sale. Admission and parking are free. visionsofsugarplumsraleigh.com
The NC Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Cary from Nov. 17 to Jan. 14 for its eighth year, with more than 40 all-new larger-than-life lanterns on display! In addition to the magic of lights, cultural arts performances will take place every night. Last year, more than 200,000 attended. Don’t miss out! Tickets required. boothamphitheatre.com Raleigh Christmas Parade
4 Vintage Market Days
It’s not a holiday to-do list without the Raleigh Christmas Parade! This year’s festivities are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, in Downtown Raleigh. An annual tradition for many families in the area, spectators can watch streetside or on ABC11, the ABC11 streaming app, and the ABC News Hulu channel. grma.org/christmas-parade/
Temple Beth Or will be sponsoring and hosting a Handmade Hanukkah Market on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the perfect opportunity to support local Jewish artists and purchase handmade crafts, artwork, and other unique gifts for the holidays! hanukkahmarket.com
The Rink, presented by UNC Health, is coming back to Red Hat from Nov. 18 to Jan. 15. Enjoy the thrill of ice skating with views of the Raleigh skyline, as well as private igloo lounges (new this year!), fire pits, hot beverages and snacks, cozy outdoor lounge furniture, and a 20foot tree for the perfect photo op! redhatamphitheater.com/the-rink
An old-world celebration certain to get you in the spirit of the season, the Scandinavian Christmas Fair at the NC State Fairgrounds is an authentic celebration of the traditions of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Held on Dec. 2, this year marks the 28th anniversary of the Julmarknad (Swedish for Christmas fair). You might even pick up a few words in a local tongue and develop a taste for traditional herring! scanfair.org
Handmade Hanukkah Market
Together at Kwanzaa Celebration
The African American Dance Ensemble will perform at the Together at Kwanzaa Celebration in Raleigh on Thursday, Dec. 28. This family-friendly event will feature music, dance, a candle lighting ceremony, shopping, and more. aadekwanzaafest.com/ First Night Raleigh
This is your opportunity to tour the interior of some of Raleigh’s most historic homes during the holidays! On Dec. 9 and 10, enjoy the feeling of a small-town community right in Downtown Raleigh at the 52nd Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour. The immaculate care of the exteriors of the homes is only a prelude to the beauty and attention to detail given to the interiors. Homes are staffed with docents to enlighten you on the rich history of each property. Tour the properties at your own pace in any order. Tickets are required and usually sell out. historicoakwood.org The Rink
It’s time to ring in the new year at First Night Raleigh! Festivities begin on Dec. 31 with City Plaza outdoor musical performances in the afternoon and the Children’s Celebration at 2 p.m. Performances and activities will continue throughout the evening across multiple indoor venues throughout Downtown Raleigh. The night is capped off with the famous Raleigh Acorn Drop and a spectacular fireworks show. firstnightraleigh.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 19
Iconic Holiday Experiences IN THE TRIANGLE WRITTEN BY EMILY UHLAND
Holiday magic exists in abundance in Wake County, with many seasonal experiences returning time and again to spark holiday joy and memories in thousands of Triangle-area residents. These five signature local traditions mark each passing of the most
20 WAKE LIVING
wonderful time of the year — how many have you experienced?
Ira David Wood III’s
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THEATRE IN THE PARK
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens penned A Christmas Carol in 1843, but in the Triangle, Ira David Wood III’s adaptation of the classic tale is nearly as ubiquitous. Performed every year since 1974 by Theatre in the Park, a longtime Raleigh-based theater company, the show celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. From the outset, Wood expected the show might stick around for a few years. “Only because nothing else was being offered in the city at that time. Most theaters were closed down during the holidays, and it always seemed strange to me, because I thought Christmas time was the time that families would love to do something together,” recalled Wood. Adding his own blend of humor and mischief to the stage adaptation, Wood created a unique experience for Triangle-area audiences. “I wanted audiences to identify with Scrooge. I didn’t think he was as accessible as he could be the way Dickens portrayed him — so morose and dark. I wanted this to be a comedy,” said Wood. “I landed on the idea that here’s a guy who just enjoys wrecking Christmas for people, and it’s just this twisted delight. I think there’s a little bit of Scrooge in everybody around the holidays.” Wood plans to retire after this year’s production, but his son, Ira, and many talented local actors will continue performing the beloved tale that has become a centerpiece of the local holiday season. “After almost 50 years, there’s so many beautiful stories attached to the experience we’ve had with this production,” said Wood, recounting meeting descendants of Charles Dickens, performing the play in England, and many nowfamous actors who graced the Raleigh stage early in their careers. “We are lucky that people have allowed us to become part of their celebration of the holidays. That’s a great honor,” said Wood. A Christmas Carol December 9–11 Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts December 14–18 DPAC theatreinthepark.com
After almost 50 years, there’s so many beautiful stories attached to the experience we’ve had with this production.
– Ira David Wood III
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 21
EACH DINING AREA HAS A DIFFERENT THEME, ADDING INDIVIDUAL HOLIDAY FLAIR THROUGHOUT THE ANGUS BARN. OWNER VAN EURE ADDS NEW THINGS EVERY YEAR, AND MAINTAINS AN OFF-SITE WAREHOUSE TO STORE IT ALL.
ALICE MILLER IS PART OF A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS, AFFECTIONATELY CALLED THE HOUSEWIVES OF THE ANGUS BARN, WHO HELP HANG THE DECORATIONS.
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The Angus Barn's
PHOTOS BY JONATHAN FREDIN
Holiday Decor The acclaimed Raleigh steakhouse The Angus Barn accepts dinner reservations one year in advance. By the end of January each year, the restaurant is fully booked for the holidays, said owner Van Eure. To be sure, the restaurant draws a crowd year-round to commemorate special occasions and milestones, but during the winter months, the Angus Barn transforms its guest spaces with floor-to-ceiling decorations — a feat requiring hundreds of man hours and weeks of preparation — creating one of the most sought-after settings for holiday celebrations. “There is a certain way we fluff the garland, a certain way we tie bows — it has to be perfect,” said Eure. “I have a warehouse to store all the decorations; they are organized by room.” Each year, the displays shift and change, adding new elements and inspiration gathered from establishments around the country. Last year, Eure added illuminated archways to the holiday display. Arriving guests drive under the ivy-lined steel arches on their way to the Barn. The tradition of decorating the Angus Barn started with just a Christmas tree — albeit a large one — in the lobby, until Eure visited The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, known for its luxury
accommodations and elaborate holiday displays. “If the Greenbrier can do every room like this, there is no reason the Angus Barn shouldn’t be able to,” recalled Eure. A grassroots group, affectionately called the Housewives of the Angus Barn, assists each year with hanging the decorations. The group, which has grown to more than 30 people at times and includes men as well, starts climbing ladders, installing garland, and hammering in wreaths around October 10, working around the Barn’s meal service to complete the endeavor by the second week of November. “I could not be more grateful for this group,” said Eure. Eure readily admits to experiencing moments of doubt every year. “Next year, I’m putting up a sign that says, ‘We donated all of the money we would have spent on decorations,’” she joked. But the time and effort always proves worthwhile when guests witness the holiday wonder and, inevitably, can’t wait for next year. “Our profession has the opportunity to do so much in people’s lives, to provide respite from the craziness of the world. Come in and you can be pampered and taken care of. In here, you can create memories,” she said. “When people come to you for their special occasions, it’s a real compliment to you — we take that compliment very seriously.” While reservations are hard to come by — this season is already fully booked — the Angus Barn does reserve some tables for walk-up guests. The Wild Turkey Lounge, Entrance Saloon, and The Meat Locker offer walk-up service as well. Be prepared for a wait list, especially during the holidays. Request a tour of the decorations to help pass the time. The Angus Barn Restaurant 9401 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh angusbarn.com
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 23
The Umstead Hotel’s
“It’s the hottest ticket we have, the most special event we put together,” said Umstead Hotel Executive Chef Steven Devereaux Greene of the annual Tea with Santa event. Greene, a James Beard Award semifinalist, hosts elaborate wine dinners, caviar pairings, and famous guest chefs at Herons, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. But it’s the Tea with Santa event that takes the tea-cake as the venue’s most popular event. “We have about 400 reservations spread out from the end of November through December. Those reservations sell out in about 40 minutes,” said Greene, admitting that hotel staff are advised to stay off the phone lines when reservations open up in September, in anticipation of a flood of incoming calls. Guests of the tea are seated in the elegant and beautifully decorated Umstead ballroom. Adults and children enjoy menus of tea sandwiches, freshly made hot cocoa, and sweet treats. But remember, this is The Umstead, so the grown-up menu includes hot chocolate with Grand Marnier, lobster salad tea sandwiches, and salted caramel-chocolate verrine. Younger guests receive kid-friendly delicacies, such as almond butter waffles, chocolate pots de crème, and holiday cupcakes. Santa and Mrs. Claus attend the tea and take time to visit with each table individually. Santa and his helpers bring a special holiday magic (including secrets we can’t reveal here), creating an intimate and highly personalized encounter
24 WAKE LIVING
for everyone in attendance. “Everyone gets a turn to visit with Santa and tell him their Christmas list,” Greene said. “To see – Steven Devereaux Greene, Executive Chef the expressions on the kids’ faces is priceless.” Storytime with Santa is another highlight of the event, usually attended by an elf or two, assisting Santa with his storytelling. A luxury resort like The Umstead may not typically be known as a family destination, but Greene said in this case, it’s a natural fit. “The Umstead is a family-oriented place as far as the employees and owners. The owners want it to be a place for the community, and that includes giving back to the kids, creating that experience for kids.” “The most rewarding part of my job is about giving back, nurturing people, and creating a lasting positive memory in someone’s life,” he said. Greene attends the event with his son. “It’s one of my favorite events we do at the hotel.” Reservations for Tea with Santa open in early September.
(Tea with santa) reservations sell out in about 40 minutes.
The Umstead Hotel and Spa 100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary theumstead.com
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE UMSTEAD HOTEL AND SPA
Tea with santa
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAROLINA BALLET
Performed in the Triangle for more than 20 years, Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker features a live symphony orchestra playing the famous score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky accompanying professional dancers from the state’s premier ballet company. Each year, Carolina Ballet incorporates a children’s cast in important roles throughout the production, offering the chance for young local dancers to participate in an exciting holiday tradition. A series of magical illusions opens the show and sets the tone for a family-friendly event. Last year, the production underwent a revamp, including new choreography, sets, and costumes. “Zalman Raffael, our artistic director, wanted to modernize our Nutcracker. Traditionally, it’s set in the Victorian Era, in the late 1800s, but he wanted to make it more accessible to the newer generations, so they could envision themselves on stage instead of watching something that is very dated,” said Terry Baker, the costume designer for the new iteration of the show. “When you see Victorian costumes as a child (in the modern era), you’re not really connecting with that. We decided to go with a mid-century Americana twist on it. That’s really been our inspiration for this new design.” Raleigh Denim Workshop co-founder Victor Lytvinenko collaborated with Baker on the reimagined design. “When we first started the design process, I would make sure the costume was danceable, but Victor would come in as someone outside of ballet. … He would look at it from a different perspective … and it was really refreshing,” said Baker.
“I feel like the way we have re-envisioned (The Nutcracker), the production still has the heart that makes people want to come see it. The music is still the same. … It’s still going to have all of the amazing magic tricks. It still has that energy and magic that makes your eyes light up,” said Baker. It’s never too late to make The Nutcracker part of your holiday traditions! Attendees of all ages will enjoy the new choreography, costumes, and sense of nostalgia — one of many reasons this refreshed production is the ballet’s most well-attended Nutcracker ever! Performances begin on Dec. 14 and run through Christmas Eve. Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker December 8–10 Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts December 13–17 DPAC carolinaballet.com
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 25
Plus one more!
Drive-Through Light Displays One of the most universal celebrations of the holidays, Christmas light displays, experienced a verifiable glow-up during the pandemic, when drive-through light shows brightened up the holiday scene. Load up the car with kids and crew, don pajamas, and sip hot cocoa while cruising through illuminated tunnels and displays — all from the comfort of your vehicle. The Magic of Lights event takes place at Coastal Credit Union Music Park, featuring digital animations and even an illuminated Monster Truck BigFoot within the display. Youngsville-area Hillridge Farms follows up its popular Fall Pumpkin Festival with a drive-through winter wonderland. Their Festival of Lights opens Thanksgiving weekend with over a million lights. Among the most unique area displays is Lights on Holt Road, in which Apex resident MG Guerra decorates his private residence, then welcomes the public, free of charge, to drive through the property and view the elaborate displays. The show opens at the end of November and runs through the day after Christmas. A few nights throughout the schedule are reserved for special groups, such as first responders and families with special needs. Guerra maintains a Facebook page to communicate updates about the light show. Through his Facebook reach, he has mobilized a huge effort to support Ukrainian refugees since 2022. Seeking donations of airline miles and money for flights, Guerra has helped families and individuals safely leave the Ukraine and connect with host families in the US. For more information, search MG Global Support Foundation on Facebook.
26 WAKE LIVING
Not a drive-through experience, but still an iconic tradition, the NC Chinese Lantern Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheatre offers largerthan-life walk-through displays made of thousands of LED lights and specially crafted lanterns, plus cultural arts performances on the amphitheatre stage. The festival returns to Cary for its eighth year. More than 200,000 guests visited last year. boothamphitheatre.com
PHOTOS BY JONATHAN FREDIN
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIGHTS ON HOLT ROAD
NC Chinese Lantern Festival
Southern with a kick? Hand-crafted. Made from scratch. Where gift-givers and treat yourselfers unite. But kicked up a few notches. That’s
Holiday Events CALENDAR
Kinston. Here, rear view mirrors are crowded by antiques and one-of-a-kind ﬁnds. Imagination comes with seven doors and even its own section of town. A toast at midnight is paired with locally made vodka in a handcrafted cocktail. History is something you learn about and something
Taste of Kinston 2 DAYS | 12 STOPS
you pop in a bag and take home. Hotel stays can transport you back in time. Or make you feel rich just by walking into the lobby. And the food...oh, the food….Biscuits as big as a cat’s head and barbecue that’s not just good...but best-in-the-nation good. Sound like a place you’d like to visit? Consider
Local & History 2 DAYS | 12 STOPS
yourself invited. Scan the QR codes to the right for quick tour ideas for Kinston and the surrounding area.
2 DAYS | 12 STOPS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023
Deck the Porch
UNWRAPPING THE HOTTEST HOLIDAY DÉCOR TRENDS WRITTEN BY JAIME NOLAN | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
A SOUTHERN FRONT PORCH just begs to be decorated! The holidays pose an opportunity to display your unique style and delight those passing by. The scope of your decorating choices is bound only by your imagination. We paid a visit to local home and garden store Garden Supply Company to create an Enchanted Forest-themed holiday porch display. Lilian Gomide, owner and lead designer of Innjoy Design, provided decorating tips.
ROCK THE HOLIDAYS If you appreciate timeless elegance, a Southern-style rocking chair is the perfect evergreen choice for added comfort and style. Adorn them with a snug faux fur throw for a touch of luxury. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 29
THINK VERTICALLY Create an inviting entrance by combining floor-to-ceiling design elements. Adapt the trend of oversized ornaments hung from the porch ceiling by combining them with vertical birch branches, adding a dynamic and visually striking element to your décor. To infuse elegance, bring a natural black and white rug to the front door. Couple with a diverse range of chic metallic deer and a stylish teal bow, and finish with embellishments of varying heights. 30 WAKELIVING
HOLIDAY PORCH DECORATING TIPS FROM LILIAN GOMIDE, OWNER AND LEAD DESIGNER, INNJOY DESIGN WHEN DECORATING YOUR FRONT PORCH for the holiday season, choose elements that have a wow factor and make a lasting impression. Here are some factors
Hot themes for 2023:
Enchanted forest Farmhouse with natural tones Terracotta and earthy tones Festive pink City glam
to keep in mind:
THEME: Before selecting your front porch decorations, choose a theme concept or color mood to guide your design choices and create a harmonious look. Whether you prefer a traditional, rustic, or modern theme, ensure that your chosen elements align with your desired aesthetic. This will help create a visually pleasing and cohesive design that will impress your guests and passersby.
SCALE: Select items that fit well with the size of your porch. Proportions play a crucial role in creating a visually appealing space. Instead of cluttering your porch with numerous small decorations, opt for fewer larger pieces that will have a greater impact. For example, a beautifully adorned wreath on your front door or a grand-sized Christmas tree can instantly transform the look of your porch. continued on page 33
EMBR ACE RUSTIC COMFORT Wicker chairs embody the Enchanted Forest holiday theme with their natural and rustic appearance. They complement a wide range of décor styles, making them an investment piece that can be used throughout the year. A SANCTUARY FOR BARE FEET A plush rug creates warmth and comfort and anchors the overall design. Teal — a trending hue this holiday season — introduces a vibrant splash of color and unifies the front porch. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 31
ELEVATE YOUR SPACE WITH THOUGHTFUL ACCESSORIES Every tiny detail counts. Much like ornaments tie together a tree, accessories harmonize a space. Arrange blankets in woven baskets with sparkly ornaments layered in to add depth and texture. Combine lush greenery from your backyard with artificial flowers to add a touch of life. Integrate décor of varying heights to coordinate everything and create cohesion.
Special thanks to...
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Garden Supply Company for generously sharing their décor, the Kalisiak family for opening their home for staging, and Lilian Gomide and InnJoy Design for styling tips. 32 WAKELIVING
continued from page 31
COLOR: Consider popular holiday color trends for 2023, such as deep jewel tones, metallics, or even unconventional color combinations like blush pink and gold. NATURAL ELEMENTS: Embrace the beauty of nature by incorporating fresh greenery, pinecones, berries, twigs, garlands, wreaths, and potted plants into your porch décor. This adds a rustic and organic touch and can instantly bring life and vibrancy to your front porch. LIGHTING: Create a warm and inviting ambiance by adding string lights, lanterns, or even oversized light-up ornaments. Consider using energy-efficient LEDs for a sustainable option. Whether you choose to wrap them around your porch railing, drape them over your bushes, or hang them from your porch ceiling, the soft glow of holiday lights will add a magical touch to your front porch. TEXTURE: Incorporate cozy textures like faux-fur blankets, chunky knit pillows, or plaid throws to make your porch feel inviting and comfortable. PERSONALIZATION: Consider adding monogrammed elements, such as doormats, stockings, or even a wreath, to personalize the space. t
“Deeply saturated tones of dark green and teal, with natural elements throughout, evoke a calmness that reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. Paired with luxury metallics like brushed gold, champagne, and bronze, the porch transforms into a celebration of festive and sparkle. We can then set the stage for cozy and fun with soft blankets, pillows, puzzles, and games.”
— Renee Barsa, Garden Supply Co. OH DEER: COZ Y UP WITH AN ENCHANTING PILLOW Pillows enhance the eye-catching allure of porch décor while also adding cozy vibes. Embrace the forest trend by showcasing deer or other animal motifs on your pillows.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 33
Santa’s Workshop Cary’s Merry Band of Elves WRITTEN BY DENA DAW | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
SANTA’S WORKSHOP is said to be a magical place where Santa Claus and his team of elves work tirelessly to prepare toys and gifts for children around the world in time for Christmas Eve. As most of us understand it, this workshop exists in the North Pole — but after extensive investigation, it seems that Santa has his own workshop in Cary ... and the elves really know their way around a table saw. As most of you know, every year the Marine Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children in need over the holidays. This can be done via toy drives, manufacturer donations, and other community efforts. What many of you don’t know about is the Triangle Woodworkers Association (TWA) — a group of wood-loving locals who have built over 75,000 handcrafted toys for our local Toys for Tots chapter over the last three decades.
FROM RACE CARS TO KEEPSAKE BOXES, MEMBERS OF THE TRIANGLE WOODWORKERS ASSOCIATION POUR A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF LOVE INTO THEIR HANDMADE CREATIONS.
“I’ve been blessed with a lot of things: family, travel, health, and great parents. Just knowing that I’m helping a struggling child in the community have something for Christmas, even if I don’t know who they are, that means a lot.” — Joe Sabo, Triangle Woodworkers Association JOE SABO AND BILL SCHOTT WORK OUT OF SABO’S GARAGE BUILDING TOYS IN ONE OF TWA'S 14 WORKSHOPS.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 35
“I joined in 2016, but Toys for Toys has been a part of TWA for many, many years,” said Joe Sabo, TWA’s committee chairman for Toys for Tots. “It all started with one guy who was a member of the club who made some toys, and a couple of other guys in the club joined him. Through some investigation, they discovered that they could turn these over to the Marines for the Toys for Tots program, so the whole thing within the club just grew from there.” Described on their website as a “nonprofit educational corporation,” TWA holds monthly meetings both online and at Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in Cary, teaching woodworking techniques via seminars, classes, and workshops. TWA members share a love of woodworking, but you do NOT have to be a Master Carpenter to join. “Woodworkers is a pretty loose term,” said Roy Brookhart, club president. “We aren’t highly paid professionals, and you don’t have to feel intimidated. You might say, oh, I can’t make a toy like that, or I can’t make a table. Well, who cares? This is about teaching and a love for wood, and the same with the toys.” Both originally from Ohio, Sabo and Brookhart developed
ABOVE: ROY BROOKHART LOADS UP A BOX FULL OF HANDMADE TOYS FOR DELIVERY. RIGHT: TWA PRESIDENT ROY BROOKHART SHOWS OFF ONE OF HIS FAVORITE CREATIONS: AN AMERICAN GIRL-SIZED ROCKING CHAIR.
a passion for woodworking during childhood — but neither pursued it professionally. Both men began working for the same company based out of Illinois, and their professional and personal lives would continue to coincide over the years. “Our paths crossed a number of times in our careers, but we never really worked in the same place — but we did work on the same product once. We retired on the same day, too, and the company ‘forced’ us to move here,” said Brookhart, laughing. Now leaders in the TWA, Brookhart and Sabo are fully committed to pouring their heart and soul (and tools) into educating locals about woodworking and helping kids within the community. “I got involved helping the past Toys for Tots chairman, who had been the chairman for 15 to 18 years — and he was ready to hang it up, so to speak,” said Sabo. “He asked me if I wanted to take over, and I said yes. It’s extra work, but it’s OK. I enjoy doing the work, and I enjoy knowing that our workshops are making toys for the people who need it in the community. That’s rewarding in itself.”
TWA MEMBERS GET CREATIVE WITH A 3D TIC-TAC-TOE BOARD!
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 37
WOODWORKER BILL SCHOTT DRILLS HOLES FOR WOODEN CAR WHEELS IN JOE SABO’S GARAGE. THIS YEAR, MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS OF THE TRIANGLE WOODWORKERS ASSOCIATION MADE 950 TOYS FOR THE MARINE TOYS FOR TOTS PROGRAM.
Last year, 40 TWA members built nearly 6,600 toys for Toys for Tots. The wooden toys were distributed throughout Wake, Durham, Johnston, Granville, Vance, and Franklin counties. This year, TWA has 14 individual workshops well underway — filled with men, women, doctors, lawyers, you name it — dedicated solely to toy production. “All different kinds of toys are made,” said Sabo. “We’ll make a thousand little race cars — we call them Volkswagens — during one Saturday workshop. Roy and his team last year made a Connect Four. I’ve made what I call keepsake boxes, and I’ll inlay a heart on it to make it a little bit more feminine for the girls. We’ve made trucks, helicopters, crayon holders, cribs for dolls, even American Girl-sized rocking chairs.” As for when toy production starts, it varies. While some workshops, or “teams,” start at the beginning of the year, the traditional kickoff for the program is in June. Workshops are often held at individual members’ home shops — the perfect opportunity to brainstorm, share tools, and simply have fun. “In the workshop I’m in, we make three different toys,” said Brookhart. “We have one that we make every year — we call it our namesake toy — and then we try to find two new ones. Our group tries to make toys that can be for either boys or girls, and we try to make toys that maybe are pointed towards the slightly older kids. We’re going to make a thousand little cars, perfect for a 2-year-old, but 10-year-olds have Christmas, too. So although we don’t know where they’re going, we give it our best.” The TWA gives members the opportunity to create new things and try out new techniques — but you don’t have to be a member of the club to earn the title “Santa’s little helper.” The Hardwood Store of NC is a significant sponsor and supporter of the Toys for Tots program, for example, and every year different community groups are invited to lend a helping hand. “There’s one group that’s making bookends this year, and they’ve asked everybody to donate children’s books so we can put the books in the bookends,” said Brookhart. “One of the groups I’m in, we’re making little baby cribs — and the ladies of a local church all got together and sewed little blankets.” This year, employees of a local business assembled the tires on 1,000 toy cars. Last year, residents at Atria Senior Living helped put wheels on trucks and rotors on helicopters, assisting with upwards of 150 toys. Local churches and senior living centers have also hosted TWA’s annual handover meetings in the past, a December event attended by TWA members, the Marines, and other special guests. “One year the staff sergeant got up and talked at our December meeting, where by tradition it’s the handover of the toys to the Marines,” said Sabo. “He talked about the history a little bit, but the thing that really struck home is that he told us that our toys have
a special category in their grand scheme of things: handmade toys. That was pretty nice to hear. They could very well be the only handcrafted gift these kids ever receive in their childhood.” In the past, the club would bring all of the toys to the handover meeting, inadvertently “overwhelming” the Marines. Now, TWA takes the toys down to the base starting around Nov. 1. “They’ve asked us to bring those toys as early in November as we possibly can,” said Brookhart. “It helps the Marines to get them earlier, and selfishly, it helps us too — because once those toys are out of the shop, we might have a couple hundred more that we want to make before their deadline.” When asked to name an all-time favorite toy, neither Sabo nor Brookhart could pick just one. Sabo enjoyed making something called the popper, a push toy for toddlers, created by filling a barrel with balls. One of Brookhart’s all-time favorites was the American Girl-sized rocking chair. “It is so technically difficult to make, but we loved doing it,” said Brookhart. “It’s fun to push yourself to make a toy that a kid is going to like. Honestly, they can be hard to part with sometimes.” Despite having never met a single child that has received their handcrafted gifts, both Sabo and Brookhart agree that giving back makes every splinter worth it. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of things: family, travel, health, and great parents. Just knowing that I’m helping a struggling child in the community have something for Christmas, even if I don’t know who they are, that means a lot,” said Sabo. For those who are interested in helping, but know next to nothing about woodworking, Brookhart encourages everyone to give it a good old college try. “You want to join our club? We have woodworkers in our club who I’ve never seen anything that they’ve made,” said Brookhart. “I don’t know what they do, and I don’t care.
If they just want to come and be a part of this gang, great!” As stated in a recent press release, one of the club’s greatest challenges is raising money to purchase needed wood and wooden parts such as wheels, dowels, wheel pins, and other toy components. In many cases, club members are using funds from their own pockets to purchase these supplies. If club membership is not
in the cards, consider visiting their website to donate money to the program. “If you’re willing to help us, we’re going to make sure that you are comfortable knowing that every single cent of your donation goes towards the creation of the toys,” said Brookhart. Hey, who ever said Santa works alone? t trianglewoodworkers.com
ROY BROOKHART PUTS HIS TOYS TO THE TEST WITH HIS 1-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON, DYLAN.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 39
TASTE THE BEST OF
Ask for Locally Caught NC Seafood
NC-SEAFOOD.ORG NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
40 WAKE LIVING
A Gift to Cary Celebration
includes the Tree Lighting Ceremony Downtown Cary Park Dec. 2 | 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Letters to Santa
Page-Walker Arts & History Center Dec. 2 | 2-5 p.m.
Downtown Cary Dec. 2-Jan. 1
Downtown Cary Dec. 2-9
Gifting Tree Project
Downtown Cary Park Nov. 20-Dec. 10
Victorian Christmas at the Page-Walker
Cary Players present
A Gift to Remember Cary Arts Center Dec. 1-4
Gingerbread House Competition
Cary and Pure Life Theatre Company present
The Motown Sound of Christmas Cary Arts Center Dec. 21-23
Cary Arts Center Dec. 13 | 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Cary Arts Center Dec. 29
Dial 311 | carync.gov/HOH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 41
small business spotlight
COMPANY WRITTEN BY DENA DAW | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
IF AUTHENTICITY AND LUXURY had a physical location, it would be Decree Company — a custom stationery and upscale gift shop in downtown Raleigh. With its gold lettering and unique automaton window display, the renovated building, circa 1910, practically oozes charm and sophistication. With a vision to revive the art of timeless printing, owners Robert Buhler and Ryan Dart — longtime friends and entrepreneurs — opened the store in September 2022. “We decided to combine forces to bring the art of stationery to life,” said Buhler. “We now both do this full time.” From uniquely designed greeting cards to Italian umbrellas crafted with Swarovski crystals, their gift shop offers customers an exclusive shopping experience — but the real magic happens only few steps away, in a back room filled with antique letterpress and engraving machines. “We got these machines from all over America, and each one has its own crazy story,” said Buhler. “When we first started
out we got a windowless warehouse, and for two years we just practiced and learned from sheer passion. When it comes to engraving, there’s maybe 50 people in the world that can do that, and we have three of them here.”
Every step of their manufacturing process, from plates to prints, happens onsite — including bespoke stationery crafted by their in-house designer, discerning business cards, and more.
DECREE COMPANY BOASTS THE ONLY HANDMADE AUTOMATON WINDOW DISPLAY IN RALEIGH.
Our team recently had the pleasure of attending one of Decree’s letterpress card making workshops, complete with mimosas and hors d’oeuvres, for a chance to immerse ourselves in the world of card design. Following a tour of century-old machinery, we spoke at length with Buhler, our master of ink-struction, about the business of traditional printing. When did Decree first open, and what was the inspiration behind its opening?
We wanted to bring genuine and sincere communication to the forefront for the people of Raleigh. We felt in this current landscape, it is difficult to find a medium by which you can express yourself with sincerity. We decided to change the tide and start a stationery company where we bring beautiful designs to life by means of letterpress and engraving. This is all done in-house in Raleigh. We feel that a beautiful card and a genuine gift meets the moment for a dear friend or loved one on momentous occasions.
TOP LEFT: BESPOKE STATIONERY IS DESIGNED AND CREATED IN-HOUSE. ALL OF DECREE’S CARDS HAVE THE ILLUSTRIOUS RAISED OR PRESSED-IN EFFECT AND ARE PRINTED ON 100% COTTON PAPER OF THICK STOCK. TOP RIGHT: MASTER ENGRAVER TRACY TAYLOR TEACHES CUSTOMERS ABOUT THE ART OF EXPERTLY CRAFTED STATIONERY. ABOVE: CO-OWNER ROBERT BUHLER SHOWS OFF A COLLECTION OF HANDCRAFTED DESIGNER UMBRELLAS IN THE GIFT SHOP.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 43
What does Decree Company sell?
We sell luxury stationery and fine gifts. We make all of our cards in-house in downtown Raleigh. We also do bespoke stationery for certain clientele. In addition, we carry fine gifts from all over the world, and have formed exclusive relationships with them. From Smythson to Versace, we carry a beautiful array of carefully curated gifts. What kind of experience do you hope to provide to customers?
We hope people walk away knowing how much time and effort we put into each piece of stationery. Since they are able to see all the machines firsthand, we can show them what goes into making a single card. We hope they have an experience unlike any other they have had in Raleigh by seeing our craftsmanship upfront and in person. We have created a one-of-a-kind store downtown which we hope people will enjoy. Describe your manufacturing process!
TOP: ONLY ABOUT 50 PEOPLE IN THE WORLD KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY USE THESE ANTIQUE ENGRAVING MACHINES — AND TRACY TAYLOR IS ONE OF THEM. CENTER: DESIGNS ARE CARVED INTO COPPER PLATES AND PUT ONTO CENTURYOLD MACHINES, WHERE THEY ARE PRESSED WITH ABOUT 10,000 POUNDS OF FORCE. RIGHT: TAYLOR CARVES A DESIGN INTO A COPPER PLATE.
We do the highest forms of printing: letterpress and engraving. We start off with our lead designer, Madeleine Albright, crafting an exquisite design for a card. From there we take that design and carve it into copper plates to be used as the dyes for the printing presses. Then we take the copper plates and put them on our machines from the early 1900s, where they are pressed with about 10,000 pounds of force. After that, we fold them and get them ready to go on our shelves. Our cards have the illustrious raised or pressed-in effect, which is much greater than digital printing. We print all of our cards on 100% cotton paper of thick stock. Tell us about your classes!
Our classes are a great way to start learning the process of letterpress. They are a lot of fun and are great for people 12 and up. At the class we provide wine and hors d’oeuvres for sampling, while we guide you through the process of letterpressing with our tabletop presses.
ARLEM MORA ATTENDS DECREE’S LETTERPRESS CARD MAKING WORKSHOP AND TRIES HER HAND AT THE MACHINE.
EACH GUEST WILL:
• Choose an available machine and card design • Have the chance to mix their own custom color ink or use a premixed ink • Learn how to apply ink to their machine • Have the chance to rotate around to other machines to print different designs • Learn to score their cards for folding • Go home with 30 of their own letterpressed cards and a variety of envelope colors • Tour our century-old machinery and peruse our shop of fine gifts. This is perfect for date nights, bachelorette parties, girls’ night outs, and for people who are interested in learning more about fine stationery and the letterpressing process!
CUSTOMERS PICK OUT A COLOR AND DESIGN AND GO HOME WITH 30 OF THEIR OWN LETTERPRESSED CARDS, MATCHED WITH COLORFUL ENVELOPES.
What do you love about owning your own business?
I love the opportunity to constantly create something new and forge ahead. We are always trying to become better and innovate in the stationery industry. With that comes a lot of challenges. In many ways, we are doing something nobody else has done before, so there is a steep learning curve. But our passion and love for this fine craft constantly push us to overcome the hurdles and move forward. Anything else you'd like to add?
We have an app coming out in the middle of November. More details to come, but we cannot wait to share it with everyone. It is something that will help you become the master of being there at the right time with the perfect card and gift, with minimal effort. We look forward to making that announcement here soon. t decreecompany.com
YOUR COLOR OF CHOICE IS APPLIED TO A MACHINE — REMEMBER, A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY!
CAN'T DECIDE ON A COLOR? CHOOSE SEVERAL AND CREATE YOUR OWN OMBRE DESIGN!
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 45
218 S Blount Street, Raleigh, NC | 919-829-9998 | brewerybhavana.com
6 Tips for Budgeting During the Holidays: Finding Full Joy and Keeping a Full Wallet CONTRIBUTED BY MARYANNE GANGOY OF COASTAL CREDIT UNION
t’s that wonderful time of year when we all gather with family and friends, exchange gifts, and soak up our favorite festivities. No matter what holiday you and your family plan to enjoy this season, we hope it’s full of joy. Unfortunately for many of us, that joy comes with financial stress. Nothing spoils holiday cheer like the stress that can come with unexpected or unplanned holiday expenses. As you plan for that Secret Santa party, prep for big family meals, and wrap gifts for loved ones, these tips will help you make it through the season with your budget intact. Review last year’s spending.
The best way to create a solid budget for your holiday season is to start with a look at last year. This will give you a baseline to work from, find areas where you can spend less, and give you an idea of what to expect. You can even make a game of it! If last year’s holiday expenses were $2,000, make a goal to only spend $1,500 this year.
gift purchases. There are decorations, special meals with long ingredient lists, travel, and even a cute new outfit or two. Luckily, these are easier areas to cut back on spending. Look for free festivities to enjoy in your community. Do a potluck-style meal instead of hosting an entire party yourself. Decide on an amount of money you can spend on unplanned parts of the holidays, and stick to it. Track, track, track.
When it comes to budgets, you can’t set it and forget it. As you’re party planning or knocking out your gift list, make sure to track your progress against your set budget and make adjustments to keep yourself from going over. This is where it will come in handy to cut back on certain areas if you end up going over your allotted budget for particular items. Think ahead to 2024.
It’s easy to forget January and February when budgeting for the
holidays. Even if you’ve avoided charging purchases to a credit card or dipping into savings, bills and expenses for the beginning of the year are right around the corner. Make sure to keep this in mind while crafting your list of expenses so you don’t start the new year in a financial bind. Utilize your financial partner.
From financial planning and budgeting to setting up a savings account and paying off credit cards, look to your financial partners for guidance. Coastal Federal Credit Union, and other not-for-profit credit unions, put the interests of members first instead of Wall Street. Coastal has tools available to help you and can identify the best vehicles to manage debt and plan for future goals. Tap into those resources to help make the best decisions possible with your income, limit the stress of holiday expenses, and save for the things that are most important to you. And most importantly, have a wonderful holiday season!
Shop from a list, look for deals, and avoid impulse purchases.
One easy way to blow your budget is forgetting to plan. When you have an idea for each person on your gift list, you can shop around for deals and avoid making last-minute purchases. Especially during this time of year, stores are designed specifically to entice you into extra purchases. Don’t give in! Stick to that list and stay on track. Think about non-gift expenses.
The holidays don’t just come with
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 47
107 Edinburgh South Drive, Suite 109 Cary, NC 27511 | 984.333.0150
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• Local, Seasonal Chef ’s Features • Wine List of over 175 wines, including a reserve list. • Private rooms for large parties and intimate dinners. • Gift cards available in store and on our website. • Make reservations now on
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48 WAKELIVING WAKE LIVING
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WRITTEN BY DENA DAW AND JAIME NOLAN | STYLED BY JAIME NOLAN | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
Looking for the perfect present for that someone special? Share the spirit of the season with gift ideas from these local Wake Living partners.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 49
FASHION & BEAUTY 50NOVEMBER/DECEMBER WAKE LIVING 2023
1. From cozy pajamas to beautiful lingerie, you’ll discover the ultimate holiday intimate apparel gifts to complement anyone’s lifestyle at J. Alane’s Fine Lingerie. 2. Whether you want a stylist to create the perfect blowout or you’re a DIYer, Drybar is the gift that gives you perfect hair! 3. At The Perky Lady, gift the perfect blend of comfort and style. This boutique offers an unparalleled experience in bra fitting, along with a selection of loungewear and lingerie that’s sure to impress.
4. Elevate the self-care game this season at Generations Wellness Center! Combine the ultimate skin care regimen of SkinCeuticals with the Fontona laser treatment, fillers, and facial treatments. It’s the ultimate gift of protection, prevention, and pure radiance. 5. Tailor your gift to your loved one’s lifestyle with help from The Gentlemen’s Corner — from ethically made original pocket wear to tailored suits and apparel. 6. Stay trendy with winter accessories. From charcuterie boards and scented soaps to Christmas fashion and decor, Swagger has you covered.
7. Give the gift of great hair! Healthy SexyHair products, available at Twisted Scizzors, help moisturize, nourish, color protect, and strengthen your luscious locks so you and your loved ones can feel (and look) your best! 8. Outfit the men in your lives at Ashworth’s Clothing, with a variety of fine men’s clothing, shoes, cigars, and more — all rich in history and tradition. 9. Refresh and enhance your look this holiday season with award-winning products and services at CARE Plastic Surgery.
10. Elevate your gift giving game with a dash of trendy, flair-packed fashion from The Gatorbug. Transform any outfit with a luxurious faux-fur vest, complemented by fabulous BudhaGirl bangles and subtle earrings — the perfect recipe for a recipient with chic style! 11. Grant regal allure of skincare and luxury makeup with brands like Jane Iredale, Chantecaille, and Henne Organics at Bluemercury — a gift of perfection for any occasion.
12. Clinch the most-wanted hand-woven bag and effortlessly chic clothing and accessories for your trendsetter. Villa 19 has gifts that will not only make them look their best but feel their best, too! 13. Behold the ideal present for the beer enthusiast in your circle: Brewery Bhavana gear!
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 5151 CARY2023 MAGAZINE
FOOD & DRINK 52NOVEMBER/DECEMBER WAKE LIVING 2023
1. Handcrafted in the Triangle, Chapel Hill Toffee comes in a range of sizes perfect for gifting or indulging. Available in traditional pecan and coffee flavors. 2. Make a difference this holiday season by gifting your loved one with coffee and a mug from Gabi’s Grounds — 100% of the proceeds go to employing people with special abilities.
3. Bless the beer lover in your life with everything Bond Brothers — from fun swag and gift cards to the perfect pint, there’s truly something for everyone! 4. Sip back and relax at The Wine Merchant, but don’t forget to pick up a bottle (or three) for your friends and family while you’re there! 5. Gift your family and friends with a unique dessert experience from Slice Pie Company! Don’t let the size fool you — just like the originals, these mouthwatering minis are made using Slice Pie Company’s State Fair Blue Ribbon Pie Crust.
6. Not all popcorn is created equal, and Ella’s Popcorn proves it. Gift a fun, nostalgic treat to friends and family in a variety of flavors, including peppermint cookie-o, hot cocoa, and gingerbread (to name a few). 7. Satisfy the backyard barbecuer in your life with rubs, spices, and gear from The Butcher’s Market. Don’t forget to pick up one of the hottest grill gadgets this year: the Meater wireless meat thermometer.
8. Science meets art with Durham Distillery’s Conniption Kinship, a delicious, modern gin with a beautiful indigo hue. The coolest part? It changes colors right before your eyes when mixed with citrus or tonic! Share the fun with your gin-loving friends this season.
10. Gift the foodies in your life with a selection of delicious offerings from La Farm, from scone mixes and delectable jams to gift baskets with an array of La Farm’s most popular items.
9. Whether they’re country-style, cajun, or honeyroasted, Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts are a nut-ural, hearthealthy gift for the holidays.
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HOME 54NOVEMBER/DECEMBER WAKE LIVING 2023
1. Cheers to a swanky spirit dispenser and beautiful home décor statement pieces. Blake Interiors has gifts that elevate the holidays! 2. Brighten your space with plants, candles, and nature-inspired gifts from City Garden Design.
3. No need to jet off to France to spoil someone with unique gifts. French Bleue offers a blend of antiques and modern home and garden treasures, bringing that chic French touch to you.
4. Enhance any charcuterie spread with handmade boards and accessories and find local, one-of-a-kind pieces at Rescued Wood Rehab.
5. Mary Square offers the latest trends in entertaining, gifts, apparel, and more! Cheetah prints adorn everything form plates to pajamas, making them a must-have on everyone’s list this year.
6. From exquisite maple stick candles to glorious table linens, unique tabletop articles, serving artifacts, and more, Home for Entertaining is here for your great gatherings.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 5555 CARY2023 MAGAZINE
FOR the KIDS 56 WAKE LIVING
1. Give the gift where fun knows no age limits! Whether you are gifting games, STEM, outdoor exploration, or magic, Science Safari is the go-to store for all your toy needs. 2. Apex Outfitters is your spot for all things outdoor! From kids’ waterproof watches to hiking belts, water bottles, and your favorite gear, it’s a paradise for the outdoorsy person in your life.
3. Alane + Zane offers adorable gifts for newborns to 9-year-olds, from sparkly lunch bags to trendy sneakers and sweet baby items. Moreover, this enchanting boutique offers not just shopping, but also an engaging play and learning space for kids. 4. Gather Goods Co. makes it easy to find the perfect present. Explore a distinctive range of gifts from matte gold hair clips to bouclé makeup bags along with weekly planners, ceramics, relaxation items, and much more.
5. The coveted belt bag at lululemon is the ultimate gift this season!
8. Kids will be spellbound with the latest and greatest reads from Quail Ridge Books!
6. Explore the trend of high-top sneakers, along with delightful clothing and home decor, at Arrow Tree Boutique.
9. From playful pom-pom hats to cheeky cups, clever towels, and charming decor, Swagger Boutique is your all-in-one spot for filling up those stockings!
10. Whether it’s for the gym, tackling tasks, or conquering home-office deadlines, the Stanley tumbler from REI is the gift to rely on time and time again.
7. The Little & Kind Shop at Gather Co. offers fantastic gifts for young minds, like wooden blocks and crayons to encourage both learning and creative play!
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 57
STOCKING STUFFERS 58 WAKE LIVING
1. Unwrap the ribbon of North Carolina’s artisian goods at Curate. With gifts such as acrylic keychains and trays, accessories, candles, art, and cards, they have everything in store for the holidays.
3. Swagger Boutique is your ultimate wonderland for stuffing your stocking! Featuring stunning jewelry, at-home spa day essentials, marvelous monograms, and so much more!
2. Give your pup a woof-tastic Christmas with goodies from Dirty Dog Spa. Pamper your pet with toys, treats, and an ultimate spa day. Who can resist a blueberry facial and luxurious bath?
4. Whether you’re catching up with neighbors over a juicy IPA, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner, or looking for some fun swag, Bottle Theory strives to provide something special.
5. Indulge in the ultimate spa-at-home experience with Rose and Lee’s curated selection featuring gua sha tools, dermaplaners, lavender geranium shower steams, and sleek hair ties. While you’re giving the gift of relaxation, snag a little something for yourself with their collections of sustainable and ethical women’s clothing and accessories! 6. Meow City has imaginative gifts designed for the feline enthusiast in your life.
7. From herbal shrub mixers for your fave mocktail or cocktail to quaint ceramic coasters and hair claws that have made a comeback, Gathered Goods Company has distinctive gifts for all. 8. Discover a selection of thoughtfully curated gifts that bring joy to you and excitement to others. From Voluspa candles to NC hats, coffee table books, and flasks, there’s a little something for everyone at Good Day Cary.
9. Treat someone to the delightful flavors of Brewery Bhavana. It’s a gift that will bring pure joy to their taste buds. 10. Garden Supply Company has gifts for even the most well equipped! Whether it’s the versatile Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate tool, a cozy scarf, or a holiday diffuser, they have something special for everyone on your list.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 59
JEWELRY Who can resist the gift of jewelry? From functionable to fashionable, Johnson’s Jewelers offers an extensive array of pieces. A watch, an essential addition to any collection, and a gemstone — both embody cherished styles that will hold a special place in their heart for years to come.
FLORAL CENTERPIECES Looking for a gift that will never go out of style? The Flower Cupboard offers iris-istible arrangements and unbe-leaf-able plants that everyone will enjoy! Deck the halls from top to bottom with stunning floral displays and assorted holiday décor from Preston Flowers.
60 WAKE LIVING
Alara + Zane 200 Park at North Hills St., Raleigh (919) 917-7189; alarazane.com
Durham Distillery 711 Washington St., Durham (919) 937-2121; durhamdistillery.com
Apex Outfitters 225 N. Salem St., Apex (919) 267-9353; apexoutfitter.com
Ella’s Popcorn 1 (833) 713-2929 ellaspopcorn.com
Arrow Tree Boutique 415-A Brooks St., Downtown Wake Forest (984) 235-0447; arrowtreeboutique.com
The Flower Cupboard 4216 NW Cary Parkway, Cary (919) 467-4161; theflowercupboard.com
Ashworth’s Clothing 210 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina (919) 552-5201; ashworthsclothing.com
French Bleue Downtown Apex (919) 349-6622; frenchbleue.com
Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts 1 (800) 732-6887; auntrubyspeanuts.com
Gabi’s Grounds 1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh (919) 274-1449 poweredbygabis.org/gabis-grounds
Blake Interiors 3020 Village Market Place, Morrisville (919) 377-2269; blakeinteriors.co Bluemercury 1 Fenton Main St., Cary (984) 209-1777; bluemercury.com
Where to Shop
Bond Brothers Beer Company 202 E. Cedar St., Cary (919) 459-2670 602 E. Chatham St., Cary (919) 650-1125; bondbrothersbeer.com Bottle Theory 3675 Green Level W. Road, Apex (919) 267-6227; apexbottletheory.com Brewery Bhavana 218 S. Blount St., Raleigh (919) 829-9998; brewerybhavana.com The Butcher’s Market Cary, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Wake Forest thebutchersmarkets.com CARE Plastic Surgery 2001 Weston Parkway, Cary (919) 335-9298; careplasticsurgery.com Chapel Hill Toffee chapelhilltoffee.com City Garden Design 117 W. Chatham St., Cary (919) 377-2334; citygardendesign.com Curate 15 W. Hargett St., Raleigh curateonline.square.site Dirty Dog Spa North Raleigh, Wake Forest, Wendell dirtydogspas.com Drybar 302 Colonades Way, Cary (919) 883-5882; drybarshops.com
Garden Supply Co. 1421 Old Apex Road, Cary (919) 460-7747; gardensupplyco.com Gather Goods Co. 417 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary shop.gathergoodsco.com The Gatorbug 8 Fenton Main St., Cary 1111 Mercantile Drive, Raleigh thegatorbug.com Generations Wellness 1021 Darrington Drive, Cary (984) 228-1521 generationsfamilypracticewellnesscenter.com
lululemon 20 Fenton Main St., Cary (984) 345-2743 4421 Six Forks Road, Raleigh (919) 705-0289 shop.lululemon.com Mary Square (940) 626-2064; marysquare.com Meow City 659 Cary Towne Blvd., Cary (919) 518-7749 meow-city.com The Perky Lady 103 N. Salem St., Apex (919) 589-2970 perkyladyunderthings.com Preston Flowers 1848 Boulderstone Way, Cary (919) 460-4625; prestonflowers.com Quail Ridge Books 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh (919) 828-1588; quailridgebooks.com REI 1751 Walnut St., Cary (919) 460-9995; rei.com Rescued Wood Rehab 718 N. Main St., Fuquay-Varina (919) 285-2653; rwrnc.com Rose and Lee 104 W. Chatham St., Apex (919) 372-5384; roseandleeco.com
The Gentlemen’s Corner 107 Edinburgh Drive, Cary (984) 333-0150 thegcorner.com
Science Safari 1255 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary (919) 460-6051; scisafari.com
Good Day Cary 214 E. Chatham St., Cary (919) 377-2504; gooddaycary.com
Slice Pie Company 1400 S. Saunders St., Raleigh (984) 296-2194; slicepiecompany.com
Home for Entertaining 119 W. Park St., Cary (919) 363-0055; homeforentertaining.com
Swagger Boutique 2425 Kildaire Farm Road, Suite 503, Cary 5011-D Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh (919) 858-5884; swaggergifts.com
J. Alane’s Fine Lingerie 1323 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary (919) 881-8058 facebook.com/jalanesfine/
Twisted Scizzors 950 High House Road, Suite 950, Cary (919) 303-7775 twistedscizzorsonline.com
Johnson’s Jewelers 126 E. Chatham St., Cary (919) 467-9431 johnsonsjewelerscary.com
Villa 19 219 Salem St., Apex (919) 303-0651; villanineteen.com
La Farm Bakery Downtown Cary, Preston Corners, West Cary lafarmbakery.com
The Wine Merchant 4240 NW Cary Parkway, Cary (919) 469-1330; winemerchantcary.com
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 61
HOLIDAYS IN THE TRIANGLE WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY ERICA DELONG
HOLIDAYS AND TRADITIONS go hand in hand. It doesn’t feel like the holiday season until we’ve celebrated with some of our family favorites. I’m sure many of you look forward to similar experiences to usher in the season, but if you’re new to North Carolina or looking for a new one to add, here are some of our top picks! FENTON:
It’s decked out with Christmas decor, an ice rink, and great food all within walking distance. Plus Santa typically stops in. It’s a great place to take visitors in town for the holiday. HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT PULLEN PARK:
Pullen Park has thousands of colorful lights during the holiday season, perfect for a leisurely stroll with a cup of hot cocoa. The popular Holiday Express train ride takes visitors through the park to enjoy the festive atmosphere. Tickets sell out within
DELONG HOLIDAY TRADITIONS INVOLVE LOTS OF LIGHTS!
minutes, so check around for resale tickets, and be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s sale date (typically early October). CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING AT NORTH HILLS:
Live music and tasty treats accompany the magical moment when the tree is lit for the first time with Santa. Lots of other local towns and communities host their own tree lightings, so check local times and days to find one that works for you. TRIANGLE PARADE OF HOMES:
FESTIVE FUN AT FENTON IN CARY!
This annual event showcases beautifully decorated homes in the RaleighDurham area. Take a self-guided tour to explore stunning holiday decorations and get inspiration for your own home.
CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL:
This annual festival at Koka Booth Amphitheatre features colorful lanterns, cultural performances, and interactive displays, making it a perfect holiday tradition for all ages. And it runs through Jan. 14, giving you a chance to carry the holiday spirit into the new year. HISTORIC OAKWOOD CANDLELIGHT TOUR:
Explore the Historic Oakwood neighborhood in downtown Raleigh during the annual candlelight tour. The beautifully decorated Victorian homes will make you feel like you’re on a Hallmark movie set. GIVE BACK:
iHeartMedia partners with Toys for Tots to collect toys for families in the Triangle.
I’ll also be partnering with MAKO Medical Laboratories for the fourth year in a row on the MAKO Miracle, helping to make sure families have funds to provide Christmas for their kids. Finding an Angel Tree project, toy drive, or place to volunteer adds a layer of meaning to the season. And of course you can’t forget the cookie and ornament exchanges, touring holiday light displays in your neighborhood, and the many town parades throughout the season. I could take up pages listing the many places we visit throughout the winter months, so it’s hard to narrow them down.◀ Did I miss your favorite holiday activity? Share your must-do traditions @EricaDeLong. Happy holidays!
ABOVE: ERICA’S SON, EASTON, MEETS SANTA AND MRS. CLAUS AT THE NORTH HILLS TREE LIGHTING. RIGHT: ERICA AND CREW LOAD UP DONATIONS AT THE ANNUAL IHEARTRADIO STUFF THE BUS TOY DRIVE.
TRAVEL TRADITIONS We don’t make it to all of these every year, but they hold a special place in my heart. Check them out if you are planning a holiday trip! CHRISTMAS TOWN USA:
The small town of McAdenville,
SPEEDWAY CHRISTMAS AT
dens, festive displays, and warm up by the
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY:
fire pit with hot cocoa.
Head to Charlotte for a unique holiday tradition at the Speedway. Drive through a dazzling light show with synchronized music, visit Santa’s Village, and even take a spin around the track with their Christmas-themed attractions.
just west of Charlotte, transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland with
WINTERFEST AT CAROWINDS:
Blending holiday magic with the park’s Wild West theme, Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock offers a twist on the typical festive experience. Enjoy a train ride illuminated by over a million lights, visit Santa’s
a vast array of lights, regularly named
Charlotte’s Carowinds amusement park
among the best displays in the nation.
hosts a full-scale holiday celebration. Enjoy
Take a drive or stroll through the charm-
ice skating, festive shows, enchanting lights,
ing streets and soak in the festive atmo-
and meet holiday characters like Frosty the
HOLIDAYS AT THE COAST:
sphere. More than 600,000 people vis-
Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed
ited last year!
Reindeer. The decked out floats and perfor-
North Carolina’s coastal towns, such as Wilmington, Beaufort, and Southport, offer festive flotillas, where decorated boats cruise along the waterways, multiplying the magic of the lights. The historic seaside towns also host tree lightings and other holiday festivals. I could go on and on, but I have to stop somewhere! We have so much to offer here in NC.
mances at the nightly WinterFest WonderCHRISTMAS AT BILTMORE ESTATE:
Beautifully decorated rooms, thousands of twinkling lights, and stunning Christmas trees make Biltmore Christmas an event all North Carolinians should experience.
land Parade are sure to make memories. ENCHANTED AIRLIE:
Located in Wilmington, Airlie Gardens transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Take a stroll through illuminated gar-
Gingerbread House, and catch the special Christmas variety show.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2023 2023 63 63
SPIN ART 64 WAKELIVING
SPIN ART RALEIGH IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO CREATE MESSY, CHAOTIC, AND CREATIVE WORKS OF ART. RALEIGH 8-YEAR-OLD COLETTE LUWISCH (TOP) COVERS HER FACE FROM SPLATTER AS MOM LAUREN SPINS THE WHEEL THAT HOLDS THEIR ARTWORK.
WRITTEN BY DENA DAW | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
DO YOU WANT TO BE AN ARTIST, but struggle to draw stick figures? Are you completely hopeless with a paintbrush and palette? Don’t worry, readers — art is allowed to be messy, and creative minds are rarely tidy. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” In case you haven’t seen it trending on social media, spin art is the perfect way to expose people of all ages to the process of art creation. This unique painting technique starts with a canvas strapped onto a spinning wheel. When spun, paint splatters out radially towards the sides of the canvas, creating signature works of art. Intrigued? Spin Art Raleigh offers locals the perfect opportunity to explore their creative potential in a stress-free, fun environment. “My passion lies in creating businesses with novel and fulfilling experiences for people of all ages,” said owner Oleg Kechur. “I was inspired to open this space ABOVE CENTER: A COLOR MIXING CHART CAN ASSIST IN FINDING COLOR COMBINATIONS.
with the motto that everyone is an artist.” In addition to spin art, Kechur’s business offers a splatter room experience, featuring a dark room with blue light, UV glow paint, and tools such as splatter sticks, paint guns, paint-filled syringes, and paint balloons. “The splatter room is exactly how it sounds: a room where you go to splatter paint all over canvases, walls, and each other,” said Kechur. In addition to being therapeutic, spinning and splattering paint appeals to the child in all of us. If you’ve ever had trouble “staying inside the lines,” this is a must-try. “Spin art is popular because it is an art technique that anyone can employ, and it allows for people to get creative without the pressures of perfectionism, encouraging a state of flow,” said Kechur. “Every artwork comes out unique, and everyone finds their own way to spin art!” t spinartnation.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 65
66 WAKE LIVING
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JEREMIAH MCKOY, 9, DEMONSTRATES THE FINER POINTS OF PASSING THE BALL DURING THE RALEIGH FIREBIRDS’ SUMMER YOUTH BASKETBALL CAMP.
Raleigh Firebirds heat up the local pro sports scene WRITTEN BY TERI SAYLOR | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
ON A HOT SUMMER DAY, a half dozen kids were sweating it out at the Raleigh Personal Training gym as they ran basketball drills and rocked perfect layups. The hard work and endless repetition didn’t bother Charly Dozier at all. Those drills were a labor of love for a 13-year-old girl with big dreams. “This is my first basketball camp, and I love it,” she said during a quick water break. Dozier cannot remember a time when she didn’t love basketball. An eighth grader at Zebulon GT Magnet Middle School, she is determined to play in high school and college. Dozier attended the camp with her brother, Jody. Along with the other kids, she soaked up instructions from Firebirds owner Wade Harris and a handful of professional players who consider the campers a permanent part of the Firebirds family.
Harris has two passions: basketball and people. The two-day camp for kids was a small part of his grand plan to not only bring professional basketball to Raleigh, but to fold a team into Wake County and make a difference. At 60, Harris is trim, athletic, tough, and kind. Growing up in Wilson, NC, he played basketball for the University of Florida Gators under the late coach Norm Sloan. He transferred to California State University at Hayward and graduated with a degree in kinesiology and physical education, then started his career in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1989, family needs called him back home to North Carolina, where he cared for his ailing mother while working for the former Spa Health Club chain and looking for opportunities to give back.
“After my mother passed away, I played basketball in an adult summer league, and I started a mentoring program in Raleigh for at-risk boys,” he said. “It kept me close to the game and close to the people that love the game, and it was fun.” Along the way, he met young men who had finished college and were still chasing their dreams to play professionally. “If they didn’t play at NC State, Duke, Carolina, or another ACC school, that platform was not available, so I started taking some of them up to Canada to try out for the professional leagues there,” Harris said. For Harris, these visits to Canada were a game changer. They led him to David Magley, who was commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada, and whose wife, Evelyn, started The Basketball
League (TBL) in 2018 in Indianapolis and serves as the league’s CEO. After launching with eight teams, including the Firebirds, TBL has now grown to almost 50 teams, divided into four conferences. North Carolina, part of the Southeast Conference, has three teams: the Charlotte Purple Jackets, the Fayetteville Stingers, and the Raleigh Firebirds. Last year, the Firebirds finished second in the conference. The teams are self-sustaining licensed franchises, deriving their income from ticket sales, concessions, sponsors, and merchandise sales, Harris said. In a typical 12week playing season from March through May, teams play 24 games under veteran collegiate and professional basketball coach Bob McKinnon. Fall signals the start of recruiting season for the Firebirds. The roster starts with 35 prospective players in November, cut to around 18 before training camp in February. From that group, Harris and coaches pull a 12-man squad and two alternates.
JEREMIAH MCKOY GOES FOR A LAYUP.
FROM LEFT, LANDENN BATTLE, GIOVANNI LOVINGTON, JODY DOZIER, AND CHARLY DOZIER LINE UP FOR INSTRUCTION FROM FIREBIRDS OWNER WADE HARRIS.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 69
JODY DOZIER, 13, TAKES A FEW LESSONS IN DRIBBLING FROM JAMEL MCALLISTER, A FORMER FIREBIRDS PLAYER WHO NOW PLAYS IN A PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE IN GERMANY.
FIREBIRDS PLAYER KHADIM GUEYE DEMONSTRATES THE RIGHT WAY TO MAKE A LEFT-HANDED LAYUP.
“We’re creating a community around Firebird nation, made up of incredible people that love helping others.” — wade harris, owner, raleigh firebirds
CHARLY DOZIER, 13 (CENTER), AND HER FELLOW CAMPERS WARM UP WITH A FEW BALL-HANDLING DRILLS.
WADE HARRIS, CENTER, AND KHADIM GUEYE TEACH DRIBBLING.
JEREMIAH MCKOY IS SERIOUS ABOUT IMPROVING HIS SKILLS AND PAYS CLOSE ATTENTION TO INSTRUCTIONS FROM WADE HARRIS.
The Firebirds’ home court is at Word of God Christian Academy in southeast Raleigh, with an all-time high attendance to date of 1,400 fans before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, attendance hovers around 500, and Harris is working to rebuild Firebirds nation to its pre-pandemic glory. For a team growing in popularity, the game is only a fraction of the Firebirds’ mission to be a vibrant part of Wake County. Players, fans, and team sponsors line up to volunteer at organizations like the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and Raleigh Soup Kitchen. Many kids from all corners of Wake County are reaping benefits from having the Firebirds here too — whether that is attending youth basketball camps, learning about STEM education, or picking out a new pair of shoes at the team’s annual shoe giveaway and pizza party. “We know there’s hardly anything better for kids than to get a new pair of shoes to start school,” Harris said. “We feel this is one way our team could make a real impact on children’s lives.” In 2022, the Firebirds gave away 143 pairs of shoes. “We’re creating a community around Firebird nation, made up of incredible people that love helping others,” Harris said. There are also opportunities for kids to work in the team’s back office. Online, Tex Greene presents himself with the authority of a veteran marketing pro when he pitches the reasons why basketball fans should love the Firebirds. But in a phone conversation, he revealed he is a 15-year-old student at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh and doesn’t have his driver’s license yet. He is starting his career early and sees his role as a marketing intern with the Firebirds as a pathway to his dream job. “I’m super passionate about basketball, and I would love to be the general manager of an NBA team someday,” he said.
ABOVE: GIOVANNI LOVINGTON, 12, PRACTICES DRIBBLING IN FRONT OF 7-FOOTTALL KHADIM GUEYE. LEFT: FIREBIRDS CAMPERS LEARN THAT TEAMWORK IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF PLAYING BASKETBALL AT A HIGH LEVEL.
Greene is already making his mark, and fans can find his byline on the Firebirds’ blog. For Harris, giving Greene this opportunity is just another way of supporting young people pursuing their dreams. At the kids’ clinic, he alternately cheered on great plays and corrected mis-
takes while marveling at the young players’ perseverance. He pointed to the small group as they worked on their ball-handling skills. “It is our goal to nurture that talent now, and they will only get better,” he said. “This is the future of basketball right here.” raleighfirebirds.net t NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 71
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OAK CITY CARES PROVIDES ACCESS TO COMPUTERS FOR GUESTS LIKE CHRISTOPHER MCABEE.
oak city cares WRITTEN BY LEA HART
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
YEARS AGO in downtown Raleigh, a concerned group of citizens began offering meals to people in need on the weekends in Moore Square. The service helped people, but volunteers also recognized that people deserved to be served meals with dignity, in a safe, indoor space. A discussion began with the City of Raleigh and Wake County governments, and a task force ultimately formed to find a solution. In 2015, Oak City Cares was born. The organization spent its first four years serving a total of 207,000 weekend meals to those in need through a coordinated system of volunteers, said Kathy Johnson, executive director of Oak City Cares. All the while, a second phase was in the works. “Step two was about more than
meals; it was about helping those who need assistance to navigate the complex system of services and find their way to stable housing and out of homelessness,” Johnson said. In 2019, that goal was realized. Today at its South Wilmington Street facility, Oak City Cares continues to serve weekend meals and now offers services in two additional categories: basic needs and coordinated care. The facility provides showers, laundry, cell phone charging, computers, and a place to receive mail. The shower facilities alone are used roughly 60 to 80 times a day, Johnson said. “These are things we may take for granted, but you don’t think about how challenging it is when you don’t have a stable address,” she said. Oak City Cares’ Coordinated Care Program consolidates many essential services in
A POSTER WITH POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTS GREETS ALL VISITORS TO CARE COORDINATOR AMBER SUTTON’S OFFICE.
a single location, meaning people don’t have to travel all over the county for different needs, Johnson said. More than 30 partner organizations are on site regularly, and even more rotate through in categories such as medical care, behavioral health, veteran services, domestic violence services, and more. Oak City Cares staff coordinates these services in a way that’s most beneficial to visitors. “You can have all these services on site, but if it doesn’t happen in a coordinated way, it benefits no one,” Johnson said. “We are connecting people to the right service in the right order.” For example, if someone comes in to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits but has no permanent address — a requirement to receive a SNAP card — staff can help first establish a place to receive mail at the South Wilmington Street location, she said. All of this is done while practicing what Johnson calls “radical hospitality.” Staff take time to learn about people’s individual needs and ensure they feel valued and understood. Oak City Cares is a public-private partnership, supported by the city of Raleigh and Wake County governments, along with religious, civic, and business organizations. Wake County owns the building and provides security, landscaping and maintenance, janitorial services, and other operating necessities, Johnson said. Then a web of faith, civic, and business organizations, private foundations, and individuals volunteer their time and resources. Mark Swallow is one of those volunteers. He was among those serving food in Moore Square years ago and served on the task force that ultimately resulted in Oak City Cares. When he retired from work in 2019, he began volunteering, helping out in the basic needs division. With showers, laundry, and
ABOVE: GUESTS NEEDING A CELL PHONE CHARGE CAN SECURE THEIR DEVICES IN LOCKING COMPARTMENTS. LEFT: OAK CITY CARES GUEST MR. JENKINS LEAVES THE LAUNDRY FACILITY WITH CLEAN CLOTHES — AND A SMILE. BELOW: BASIC NEEDS COORDINATOR OTIS WHITAKER, RIGHT, HELPS A GUEST IN THE LAUNDRY FACILITY.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 75
CARE COORDINATOR AMBER SUTTON’S OFFICE WALLS ARE DECORATED WITH UPLIFTING WORDS.
AS AN ELIGIBILITY CASE MANAGER, JEAN DEGOLIER IS EMPLOYED UNDER WAKE COUNTY SNAP RATHER THAN OAK CITY CARES.
other services in demand, volunteers are essential to make sure those facilities stay clean and sanitized. With his unique perspective on the evolution that led to Oak City Cares, he knows the organization just makes sense. “Homelessness isn’t caused by one thing; every person has their own story,” Swallow said. “They’re in the shape they’re in because of their story. You need a gathering of services that are going to help people as individuals.” Swallow gets to witness the happy outcomes, recalling one woman who lived in a tent and was working toward permanent housing. “She’d always try to help other people,” Swallow said. “Then one day, she came in and she’d gotten her place — she was just so excited.” Volunteer support will be essential in the future, Johnson said. Oak City Cares has doubled the number of people it serves in recent years. That’s not unique to Wake County, as the pandemic, rising costs, and a lack of affordable housing have created similar situations across the country. Johnson is proud to say the organization now serves as a model for other communities. A similar service was born in Cumberland County after representatives visited with Oak City Cares. The end goal is to not be needed, Johnson said. But that time is not here yet. “It really takes every sector coming to the table to bring all the resources, support, and goodwill that they can to truly make a difference,” she said. “We have the privilege and honor of walking alongside people during what some might describe as one of the most challenging times in their lives.” To learn more about services or to get involved or give back, visit oakcitycares.org. t
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Known, Valued and Loved at GRACE Christian School. Our desire at GRACE Christian School is that every child who walks through our doors learns they are known, valued and loved by Jesus Christ – and by the adults around them. This is the atmosphere that sets GCS apart and a large reason why the Association of Christian Schools International, the lead accrediting organization of Christian schools from across the world, granted GCS its Exemplary Accreditation, making GCS one of only 19 such schools in the world – and the first in the Triangle – to receive this prestigious designation. GRACE is also accredited by Cognia – a non-profit, non-partisan accreditation organization. Our mission is to spiritually and academically equip, challenge and inspire students to impact their world for Christ. In the elementary years, teachers emphasize experiential learning that involves field trips, class demonstrations and labs. Our college preparatory academic program is designed to prepare our middle and high school students to excel in a high-
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quality, academic environment. Additionally, our teachers utilize the latest technology to enable students to be responsible digital citizens and prepare them for the constantly evolving digital landscape. GCS provides a competitive athletic program with 30 sport offerings in middle and high school and a growing fine arts program. At GCS, we provide biblical instruction, service opportunities and avenues of worship that allow young people to see their purpose, value and identity not through the lens of the culture-at-large, but through the eyes of a loving God. We pursue academic excellence for each child, knowing that individual excellence cannot be defined by a one-size-fits-all approach. We equip students with the skills they need to thrive in any circumstance, challenging them to overcome obstacles, and inspiring them to be all that they can be, not for their own glory, but for the cause of Christ. We build world-changers who will influence culture for years to come. Want to learn more? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO 17:1
AVG. COST $8,500 - $12,750
Excellence in education
The Wake County Public School System has been a leader in the magnet school movement for 40 years. We now host more than 20 programs in 56 schools. Our schools are consistently recognized with national awards, grant awards, certifications for standards of excellence, as well as teacher and principal of the year awards. Visit wcpss.net/magnet and explore these innovative magnet programs.
Magnet & Early College Fair November 4, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Garner Magnet High School 2101 Spring Drive, Garner Virtual Magnet Information Sessions 10 - 11 a.m. November 16, December 14, January 18 Visit wcpss.net/magnet to access virtual events.
In-Person Magnet Information Sessions 10 - 11 a.m. December 7, January 4 Crossroads Building 1 5625 Dillard Drive, Cary Early College Application Period Ends December 14
Magnet Schools Application Period Ends January 25
Learn more: wcpss.net/magnet Questions? (919) 533-7289 email@example.com
Excellence in education
WCPSS MAGNET & EARLY COLLEGE SCHOOLS 5625 Dillard Drive // Cary
WCPSS Magnet & Curriculum Enhancement Programs
Since 1982, WCPSS Magnet Programs have offered educational choice in the community through a variety of innovative learning experiences. These award-winning schools open doors of opportunity with programs that meet the unique strengths and interests of students. Today, WCPSS hosts 56 magnet and early college schools, organized into 6 program pathways. The STEM Pathway promotes natural curiosity through project-based learning experiences. Students use emerging technologies to guide exploration and discovery. The Gifted and Talented Pathway offers an extensive menu of elective courses that allow students to discover their individual talents. Students customize their academic programs by choosing these elective courses according to their interests. The International Baccalaureate Pathway (IB) students become
CONTACT (919) 533-7289 wcpss.net/magnet
increasingly knowledgeable and interested in international understandings, and actively work to effect positive change. Colleges and universities give special admissions consideration to students who take IB classes and earn an IB Diploma. Early college high schools, including the single-gender Wake Leadership Academies, blend high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program; students enroll in college classes that allow them to earn free transferrable college credit. The Arts Plus Pathway allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through a creative process. Arts Plus includes programs with a focus on arts integration and design. The Global Studies & Language Immersion Pathway – gives students the opportunity to develop fluency in the target language (Spanish or Mandarin). Students also participate in globallyfocused classes.
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO Varies by grade
Warm up Wake DISHES TO COUNTER THE SEASONAL CHILL
WRITTEN BY ELLIOT ACOSTA | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
After a seemingly relentless summer of record-breaking heat, the cooler weather has finally returned. The chill in the air and shorter days not only signify the transition to a new season but also the desire to find something warm to fill our bellies. Whether it’s cozy Southern classics or sweet treats served with a cup of Joe, Raleigh is home to all sorts of tasty ways to defrost.
BIG ED’S CHICKEN AND PASTRY
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Big Ed’s Chicken and Pastry
BELOW LEFT: BIG ED’S GENERAL MANAGER, NICK CULPEPPER, ROLLING OUT DOUGH FOR THE CHICKEN AND PASTRY. BELOW RIGHT: HAND-ROLLED PASTRY BOILS IN STOCK MADE FROM BIG ED’S BAKED CHICKEN.
A true Raleigh institution, Big Ed’s classic Southern cooking has fed the Capital City for the last 34 years. Opening their flagship downtown location in 1989, the restaurant has expanded in recent years to North Raleigh and Garner. With a homey vibe and staff that treats you as part of the family, Big Ed’s hospitality can warm up the soul even without serving a plate of food. But what they do put on their plates are comforting, satisfying, and hearty Southern classics. Big Ed’s chicken and pastry is a quintessential showcase of tradition and simplicity. At the heart of the dish is a nourishing chicken stock simmered from the restaurant’s baked chicken. Hand-rolled dough is dunked into the bubbling stock, giving the dish its pastry, then it’s partnered with a generous helping of chicken. Despite the recipe being a Big Ed original, there’s no secrets to the dish or special ingredients vaulted away. “It’s such an easy dish; that’s what I like about it,” mentioned Nick Culpepper, Downtown Big Ed’s general manager. But it’s in the simplicity where this dish finds its purpose, allowing the few ingredients to shine. Chicken and pastry is the down-home delicacy that can thaw even the chilliest of bones. bigedsnc.com
LITTLE BLUE BAKEHOUSE’S COFFEE AND TREATS
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 87
Little Blue Bakehouse’s Coffee and Treats PICTURED ON PAGE 87
For those who have a sweet tooth, the journey towards winter intersects with baked goods, sweet treats, and toasty beverages. East Raleigh’s Little Blue Bakehouse has earned a reputation as a dessert wonderland by combining a small-business incubator, dessert food hall, and coffee shop in one space. The Bakehouse is the actualization of owner Allison Vick’s vision. After years of selling her Little Blue Macarons goodies at festivals and markets, Vick saw an opportunity to expand opening a brick and mortar for her own business into hosting four different dessert businesses in one location. For those who find their solace from chilly weather in a freshly brewed cup of coffee, the Little Blue Bakehouse’s coffee program captures the essence of the season with peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes that feature house-made syrups. Hot chocolate — made from the Bakehouse’s own mix — provides a non-caffeinated heated indulgence. Little Blue Bakehouse has an entire menu of decadent treats to pair with their suite of warming elixirs. Little Blue Macarons’ gingerbread macarons and Eat, Sweet, Repeat’s caramel snickerdoodle bar lean on the festive flavor of gingerbread to spice things up. Known for their oversized and stuffed cookies, Bitten Bakery stays true to form by offering Toffee Cookie Butter Cookies that utilizes warm cinnamon-spiced dough and a gooey cookie butter center. The bakers at Boozy Bakes bring a mature twist to their Hot Cocoa Cupcake with the introduction of merlot. Even Little Blue Bakehouse’s in-house ice creamery, Bold Batch Creamery, offers a way to heat up. Their Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream sandwich stuffs dark chocolate chili ice cream and marshmallow fluff inside two dark chocolate cookies. littlebluebakehouse.com
David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar Malaysian Curry Noodle Soup Situated on Historic Hillsborough Street is David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar. Since its inception in 2010, David’s has been an ideal sanctuary from frigid weather. The restaurant’s namesake, acclaimed chef David Mao, made his mark as a figurehead of Raleigh’s Asian cuisine through a decades-long career. Since his retirement in 2020, the restaurant continues under the leadership of David’s former chefs and managers, who are still serving his trademark noodle dishes. Out of the vast variety of noodle soups served at David’s, the Malaysian Curry Noodle Soup seems as if it was specifically formulated to battle back the season’s chill. The soup is served streaming hot and immediately provides refuge from the cold with its bold yellow broth. A multitude of goodies like noodles, dumplings, and fried tofu swim in a pool of the rich coconut curry soup. Per General Manager Chilton Sheppard, “It’s the coconut milk that really sells it.” From the initial sip, the warmth of the broth provides the kind of comfort you get from putting on your favorite sweater. Each slurp of the tender noodles and broth acts as a satisfying antidote to the bitter cold. ddandnb.com
OTHER DISHES TO WARM UP WITH s PHO TAI AT PHO FAR EAST s CHICKEN POT PIE AT HAYES BARTON CAFE s MAC AND CHEESE AT THE OAK s KHAO SOI AT ZANYU ASIAN NOODLES s CHAI AT CHEENI INDIAN FOOD EMPORIUM s PEANUT BUTTER HOT CHOCOLATE
AT ESCAZÚ CHOCOLATES 88 WAKELIVING
MALAYSIAN CURRY NOODLE SOUP FROM DAVID’S DUMPLING AND NOODLE BAR
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 89
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SLEIGHING THE CHRISTMAS SPREAD:
DISCOVERING THE LEBANESE ESSENCE OF THE HOLIDAYS WRITTEN AND STYLED BY JAIME NOLAN | PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN FREDIN
’TIS THE TIME OF YEAR for savoring scrumptious feasts and treasuring moments with cherished family and friends. If I were daring enough to invite myself to another family’s Christmas celebration, it would undoubtedly be the Saleh family, the founders of the esteemed Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant Sassool. Mounir, the visionary behind Sassool, and his daughters Simone and Noelle, who also play integral roles, gave me a glimpse of their Christmas traditions. They even generously spilled the beans on their time-honored recipes so you can add a dash of their Christmas magic to your own celebration! NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 93
Makloube Pictured on opposite page
2 pounds chicken, leg and breast 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 3 cups chicken broth 1 ½ cups white rice 2 large carrots, cut into coins 1 yellow onion, diced 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon black pepper toasted almonds and/or pine nuts for garnish, if desired
1. Coat chicken with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. 2. Coat carrots with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. 3. In a pot, saute onion until translucent. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil, and add rice and spices. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. 4. Remove the chicken from the oven and break into 2-inch pieces (smaller if you prefer). Remove the carrots from the oven. 5. Place carrots and chicken over rice when it is about 70% done (about 12 minutes into its simmer). Cover and cook 5 minutes more, or until visible liquid has evaporated and rice is done. 6. Remove the bay leaves and garnish with toasted almonds and/or pine nuts.
“Whether it's in their restaurants or at home, the family insists on using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients. They also import key elements like extra virgin olive oil and tahini straight from Lebanon.” — Simone Saleh Lawson What makes holidays with the Saleh family so special? Picture lavish spreads with courses upon courses of mouthwatering family recipes passed down from matriarch Cecille Saleh. And in the true spirit of Lebanese hospitality, holidays center more around sharing laughter and treasured moments with loved ones than giving gifts. “It is my favorite when new friends are invited to our house for Christmas or another holiday. You can see the shock in their eyes when they look at all the food displayed as they walk in. And then hours later, the food doubles. Most people look at each other and say, ‘I thought we already had dinner,’” said Sassool partner Simone. The celebration starts with every corner adorned with spreads of flavorful dishes. Cold mezza sets the tone for sharing and grazing, featuring an array of mixed nuts, pickled vegetables, cheeses and olives, and traditional stuffed grape leaves. Small stuffed pita appetizers called sambousik, and an array of salads and dips served with pita leave no appetite unsated. After hours of merry mingling, the showstoppers emerge: grand platters with baked fish, succulent lamb atop a bed of fragrant rice, and roasted or grilled chicken accompanied by grains. Toasted pine nuts and almonds crown the delectable rice dishes. Ready to invite yourself to the Saleh family Christmas celebration yet? “Lebanese families will prepare for Christmas gathering together to prepare the meals for their guests. Most of the time it will take a few days ahead of time to prepare everything, and every member of the family will have a role in making this happen,” Simone said.
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STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
More delicious dishes from the Saleh family
Lebanese Green Beans Pictured above
1 cup yellow onion, diced 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, diced 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced 2 cups tomato, diced 2 pounds green beans 1 cup water 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon allspice
1. Heat oil in a saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they are fragrant and the onion is translucent.
2. Add in the diced tomato, jalapeno, and salt. Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes start to stew together. 3. Add in the green beans, water, black pepper, and allspice. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens. 96 WAKELIVING
Pumpkin Salad Pictured below
4 cups fresh pumpkin, cubed 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 4 cups kale, chopped 8 fresh mint leaves, chopped 1/4 cup sliced and toasted almonds 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds Dressing: 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Toss cubed pumpkin in vegetable oil and roast for 12 minutes at 365 degrees. 2. Allow to cool, then add to a mixing bowl with kale, mint, almonds, and pomegranate seeds. 3. Mix dressing ingredients and distribute evenly over the salad. Toss until everything is well coated.
The Sassool journey began when Mounir and his family emigrated from Lebanon when he was 19. They dove right into the restaurant scene in North Carolina, knowing it would be the easiest transition for starting a new business. Although their English was limited, they knew food very well. Two decades later, Mounir ventured forth from that first family restaurant. He opened Sassool in 2011, hand in hand with his daughters. Mounir’s mother, Cecilia Saleh, served as their muse for the concept and menu. If you’re eager to get a taste of a Saleh family holiday, pay a visit to one of their two Sassool restaurants. The warm hospitality of their friendly staff and exquisite dishes will give you a glimpse of their holiday spirit! t
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DELIVERING SAFER AND MORE ACCURATE CARE FOR PATIENTS With the rapid introduction of new technologies, significant changes in the field of dentistry mean more efficient and effective treatments for you. From digital X-rays to treating TMJ issues, dental care is safer and more accurate than ever. Here are just a few areas in which these newer technologies can benefit you.
TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY Laser Dentistry
Lasers can be used to remove decay, reshape gums, and even perform root canals. They are less invasive than traditional dental tools, which can lead to less bleeding and discomfort. Digital Photography and Impressioning
HEALTH DIAGNOSTICS Digital X-rays
The use of digital X-rays has revolutionized the way dentists diagnose oral health problems. In digital radiography, sensors are used to capture images of hard and soft tissues. This allows faster results with more accuracy and comfort. Plus, it reduces radiation by up to 80%! Tekscan
This computerized diagnostic tool is used to identify and treat problems with your bite. It reveals the level and timing of force on individual teeth, thereby helping to protect crowns, bridges, and veneers from high force, ensuring implants last longer, and improving efficiency by reducing repeat visits.
A high-definition digital camera assists in the diagnosis, treatment, and documentation of all phases and types of dental issues, while digital impressioning avoids the mess of traditional impressions. With E4D technology, only a single visit is required for things like crowns and veneers. BioPak
This computerized process helps determine the proper relationship between the upper and lower teeth for quick and predictable treatment of TMJ issues, plus it can design a new bite just for you.
FOR YOUR SMILE Technology has also shaped the way you obtain and maintain a beauti-
ful smile. Just look to things like porcelain veneers, which cover up permanent discoloration, misshapen teeth, or spacing issues. Orthodontic technology, such as Invisalign, can straighten your teeth without dealing with the appearance and discomfort of traditional braces. And you can even keep your teeth white with two different kinds of whitening technology: Zoom! and KöR. All of these technologies — and more — are available at Supremia Dentistry. They even have comfort technologies in place, like sedation therapy, so you can enjoy a worry-free visit. Just make an appointment, and their compassionate and friendly team will always take the time to discuss the best choices for you! Edmond W. Suh, D.D.S., is the owner of Supremia Dentistry in Wake Forest. He is an international lecturer on advanced esthetic dental procedures, and leads an award-winning team that has completed extensive training and continuing education to implement the latest technologies and techniques. For more information on obtaining the smile you deserve, call (919) 556-6200 or visit supremiadentistry.com.
This cavity-detection system uses laser fluorescence, which allows your dentist to diagnose and treat cavities at the earliest stages. This leads to fewer visits and a more conservative treatment. CO2 Laser
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Cranberry Cobbler Mocktail by Neat & Sweet
½ lemon 5 drops vanilla extract 2 ounces cranberry juice 1 ounce demerara simple syrup sugared cranberries Juice lemon half. Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker cup and shake. Pour over ice. Garnish with sugared cranberries. Note: For the simple syrup, combine equal parts demerara or brown sugar and hot water. Stir to dissolve sugar and chill.
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PEACE, LOVE & JOY PEACE, LOVE & JOY Otherwise known as Gingerbread,& HotJOY Cocoa & PEACE, LOVE
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paddle daze ipa from carolina brewery
CAROLINA BREWERY creates their seasonal packaging to tell a story. Return to warm spring days on the lake with friends with Paddle Daze. Citrus and tropical fruit aromas float above this smooth-bodied, hazy golden IPA. Paddle Daze has an ABV of 6.6% and an IBU of 37 with Chinook, Citra, Cryo Mosaic, and Idaho 7 hops. About Carolina Brewery:
In 1995, Carolina Brewery CEO Robert Potitras traveled through Europe, fell in love with beer, and set out to build his own brewery. He teamed up with fellow Tar Heel Allen Corey — founder of SquareOne Holdings and former CEO of Gordon Biersch & Craftworks — to build a truly world-class brewery restaurant experience. Today, 28 years later, Carolina Brewery is a place where friends gather to enjoy made-from-scratch dishes and high-quality craft beer. Carolina Brewery has received numerous accolades in the press and at respected beer festivals throughout the world, including four medals at the Great American Beer Festival and more than a dozen medals at the World Beer Championships. Carolina Brewery operates two restaurant locations in Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. The brand also consists of BBQ sauces and rubs, which are available at select grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and shops throughout the Carolinas.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 103
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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 105
Hellebores: Winter Wonders LATE AUTUMN IS a prime time to plant hardy perennials, and many gardeners will be getting downright giddy now over the possibilities. Some backyard growers, however, curb their enthusiasm because, quite frankly, they are impatient, meaning they don’t want to wait until spring to experience full-blooming glory from their planted newbies. So, why wait? Winter-flowering plants aren’t unusual, and one very pretty example is the hellebore. Often found full of blossoms in local garden centers by the end of the year, these shade-loving perennials shake off the shivers of cold weather by continuing to bloom in January, February, and even into the new spring. Heck, I have even had some with flowers in the early summer! There are several types of hellebores, but the Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus) is an easy-to-find favorite that catches many a gardener’s eye, and for good reason. This Perennial Plant Association’s 2005 Perennial Plant of the Year flaunts masses of bell-shaped blossoms in a wide range of colors such as white, cream, light green, pink, yellow, purple, and salmon, with various variegations merrily mixed in to make buying just a single one of these beauties a problem — but a nice problem to have. While hellebores will thrive in wellworked soil, once established, these tough plants even show off in dry, shady areas, such as under tall trees. They also do just fine basking in early morning sun. And
THE BEAR CLAW HELLEBORE PROVES IT IS EASY BEING GREEN.
since hellebores are low-growing plants, potting them up so you can have a better look at their blooms without dropping down on all fours is certainly an option. My hellebores have readily reseeded and formed ever-expanding clumps of handsome evergreen foliage. These flowing displays occasionally get singed by dry, cold winter winds, but I just prune out the damaged leaves in the early spring, and new ones readily sprout as temperatures start to rise. Speaking of damage, don’t worry about Bambi because hellebores are deer resistant. Many Lenten roses show up at garden centers simply labeled “Hellebore,” making any attempt at cultivar identifi-
cation ooze with ambiguity. But to me, when it comes to plants, pretty is pretty, and I have lost little sleep enjoying my “mystery” hellebores. If you are an exacting gardener, however, e-garden shops such as Pine Knot Farms (pineknotfarms.com) and Plant Delights Nursery (plantdelights.com) offer not only a wide range of hellebores in many pretty colors, but ones with proper cultivar names, too. t L.A. Jackson is the former editor of Carolina Gardener Magazine. Want to ask L.A. a question about your garden? Contact him by email at email@example.com.
Written and photographed by L.A. Jackson
Timely Tip THE CHRISTMAS ROSE (H. NIGER) IS ANOTHER PRETTY HELLEBORE THAT’S RELATIVELY EASY TO FIND AND CERTAINLY WORTH THE HUNT. WITH WHITE OR PINK BLOOMS, IT FLOWERS SLIGHTLY EARLIER THAN THE LENTEN ROSE. HARDY, VIGOROUS ‘NELL LEWIS’ WAS DEVELOPED IN NORTH CAROLINA AND IS ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR — AND DEPENDABLE — CHRISTMAS ROSE CULTIVARS. AND THERE’S THE BEAR CLAW HELLEBORE (H. FOETIDUS), WHICH FLAUNTS MASSES OF ENCHANTING GREENISH BLOOMS ON PLANTS WITH DEEPLY CUT PALMATE LEAVES THAT RESEMBLE, WELL, BEAR CLAWS. IT WILL USUALLY BEGIN FLOWERING IN JANUARY AND CONTINUE TO PUT ON A SHOW DEEP INTO THE SPRING.
LENTEN ROSE SHOWING OFF ON A WINTRY DAY.
To Do in the Garden NOVEMBER
• Hardy herbs such as rosemary, fennel, tarragon, dill, or chives that are persisting in your November garden can be used as fresh flavorings for herb vinegars, which, by the way, make great Christmas presents.
• The pleasures of the past summer garden can help brighten up holiday settings naturally with home-grown wreaths weaved from grapevines or evergreen foliage and dolled up with such dried material as hydrangea blooms, onion stalks, corn husks, and chilies.
• To keep your African violets looking healthy, wipe the rims around their pots once a month to prevent fertilizer salt buildup, which can chemically burn the undersides of leaves and cause them to curl.
• Remember your feathered friends this winter by regularly cleaning and refilling the birdbath and feeder. Also, on extremely cold days, be sure to remove any ice from the birdbath and replace with fresh water.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 107
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The City of Raleigh held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Westinghouse Road fueling station on Sept. 28. The City is moving a portion of its transportation fleet to run on renewable propane, a step toward the goals of Raleigh’s Community Climate Action Plan. Raleigh is working to replace fossil fuels with electric and propane alternatives to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. At the event, Vehicle Fleet Services, the Office of Sustainability, and Raleigh Arts unveiled a mural dedicated to the city’s clean energy transition. In the Land of Clean Energy artist Max Dowdle was on hand to talk about his work. Look out for a new mobile food offering around town! DonutNV
Livable Raleigh, a nonprofit that focuses on engaging residents on issues that
Raleigh opened for service in
affect quality of life in Raleigh, raised more than $25,000 from more than 100 donors as
October. The mobile food trailer offers
part of its Fall Fundraiser. North Carolina architect Frank Harmon and Wake Forest Law
a viewing window for customers to see
School’s fair housing expert Yolanda Taylor spoke at a Livable Raleigh event on Sept. 14.
their donuts being made. DonutNV
“The most important thing about a good city is exactly the sort of thing that this
also offers fresh-squeezed flavored
group, Livable Raleigh, is promoting,” Harmon said. “To be friendly. To have good
lemonade and iced coffee. Find its
neighborhoods. To get along with each other. To have many ways we can live and
scheduled locations at streetfoodfinder.com/
cooperate together.” livableraleigh.com
RALEIGH CHAMBER CONTROLLER AND SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT JIM WHITE retired in late September. The Chamber credits him with making a “significant impact on the organization” in his 24 years of service. Happy retirement, Jim!
For the first time since its inception in 2006, the NC Education
Lottery raised $1 billion in a single year for public education programs in North Carolina. Wake County topped the state’s sales, with 560 retailers producing $350 million in sales, according to data released in September. Wake County education programs have receive more than $60 million each year in recent years from money raised by the lottery. nclottery.com
Sunstates Security received the Outstanding Security Performance Award for Outstanding Contract Security Company (Guarding) for the second year in a row. The award was presented at the ASIS Awards of Excellence event in Dallas on Sept. 10.
Coastal Credit Union, the American
“Winning this prestigious award two years in a row is a testament to all the
Cancer Society, and Kane Realty hosted
hardworking people at Team Sunstates. Staying true to our core values, culture, and
Connected for a Cure on Oct.
operational template are critical ingredients to our consistency and long-term success,”
21 at Coastal Credit Union Midtown
said Sunstates COO Denis Kelly.
Park at North Hills. The event aimed to
Sunstates Security also made the 2023 Inc. 5000 list. sunstatessecurity.com
raise awareness and support for healthy lifestyles and promote access to health and financial services. Attendees enjoyed
WakeUP Wake County celebrated World Car Free Day Sept. 22. The nonprofit organization encouraged local residents to go the full day without using a car, instead walking, using public transportation, and considering “alternative mobility options,” such as scooters and bikes. World Car Free Day started in 2000 to raise awareness of societal dependence on cars and the resulting environmental impact. It also aims to increase awareness of the challenges posed to those who do not have the ability to use a car, including the elderly, people with low income, and people with disabilities. “We have a lot to celebrate in this area, but also plenty of opportunities for improving transportation in Wake County,” said Development Director Angie Haugen. “Car Free Day is meant to highlight both. We hope this is the beginning of an annual tradition in Wake County.” wakeupwakecounty.org
giveaways, music, exercise stations, kids’ activities, food trucks, and more. “Through our work promoting financial well-being, we’re often able to see a correlation between physical health and financial health,” said Tina Clossick, Coastal’s VP, Community Impact. “Connected for a Cure will connect the community with resources and information to help them make progress toward both.” NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 111
Prevent Child Abuse NC received two prestigious nonprofit awards in September. It received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the country’s largest charity evaluator. Charity Navigator rates organizations based on four indicator categories: Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Culture & Community, and Leadership & Adaptability. 4-star ratings go to organizations that “exceed or meet best practices and industry standards across almost all areas.” PCANC also received a Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, an organization that analyzes the sourcing and distribution of funds within nonprofits. The seal honors a “commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate PCANC.” “PCANC is proud to receive such important recognition from Charity Navigator and Candid. These ratings provide further validation that our supporters can trust our commitment to good governance and financial health,” said PCANC President &
The City of Raleigh website expanded its accessibility in October
CEO Sharon Hirsch. “We hope that it will introduce our work to new supporters who can help us advance our mission to nurture positive childhoods across North Carolina.”
with the addition of the UserWay accessibility tool. UserWay offers keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, disability-friendly font and contrast options, and language translation. Look for the blue circle icon to access the tools. raleighnc.gov
Raleigh ranked No. 2 on PrivacyJournal’s listing of Best US Gaming
Cities. The rankings considered
livability factors including cost of living and safety; internet infrastructure; access to gaming retail and community events; and education and career factors like gaming industry job openings and game-related university programs. Raleigh’s “excellent livability and impressive internet infrastructure make it a prime choice for both at-home and on-the-move gamers who want speedy internet wherever they are,” according to PrivacyJournal. privacyjournal.net 112 WAKELIVING
The Coastal Credit Union Foundation gave $325,000 to 14 North Carolina nonprofit organizations in September, bringing its 2023 total to $645,000. The donations targeted four key areas, including increasing affordable housing, promoting financial well-being, supporting financial education, and improving access to resources. Recipients included Activate Good, the Center for Homeownership, the Community Empowerment Fund, Cristo Rey, Farmer Foodshare, Galatians Community Health, the NC Early Childhood Foundation, Not 4 Gotten, Raleigh Area Land Trust, Triangle Family Services, Wake Forest Area Chamber Foundation, Wake Tech Foundation, Youth Education for Savings Consortium, and We Will Walk with You. “These nonprofits are working diligently to improve access to resources, support affordable housing efforts, and provide financial education throughout our local communities. It is our honor to be able to support them in return,” said Emily Nail, executive director of the foundation. coastal24.com
UPLIFT, North Carolina’s rural tourism initiative, launched the Interactions + Attractions podcast in September. The podcast focuses on placemaking in North Carolina, showcasing the behind-the-scenes work involved in state attractions. Guests will share tourism insights, ways to support rural communities, and information on upcoming events. Planned guests include Kofi Boone, a Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Design at NC State, and Russ Haddad from the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Dr. Carol Kline will host the podcast, with episodes released on Mondays and Fridays. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.
Coastal Credit Union named Mia
Perez Chief Administrative Officer in September. Perez has over 30 years of credit union experience with the Louisiana Federal Credit Union, GNO Federal Credit Union, Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union, and most recently the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union. Coastal’s Employee Experience,
The Eastern Residences at North Hills were named the Grand
Employee Development, Marketing,
Winner in the High-Rise category of the 2023 Multifamily Executive Awards, which
Communication, and Member
honor programs and projects in the multifamily industry. The 36-story luxury
Experience teams will report to her.
apartment building, owned by Kane Realty Corp., opened in April 2022 in response to
“Mia’s extensive background in
increased demand for luxury apartments comparable to major markets like New York
marketing, business development,
and Los Angeles. The Eastern offers studio through three-bedroom floorplans with
human resources, and training makes
luxury finishes and amenities, as well as penthouses on the top three floors.
her a great fit for the role,” said Coastal
“We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious recognition from
President and CEO Tyler Grodi.
Multifamily Executive,” said Kane Realty’s Managing Director of Residential Rob
“We’ll also rely on her experience
Reid. “The Eastern is the incredible result of over five years of passionate persistence
in strategic planning, leadership,
and collaboration between our development, construction, and property management
budgeting, process improvement, and
teams, along with our talented partners.” theeasternraleigh.com
organizational development.” NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 113
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