The NEW AC Hotel Ballantyne


As a local blogger, I like to have my finger on the pulse of all things going on in our area. So you can imagine my excitement when I had the chance to do a "hard hat tour" of the brand new AC Hotel by Marriott, which is set to open next month in Ballantyne's backyard. 

I am already a big fan of the AC Hotel and rooftop bar in uptown Charlotte, so I wanted to see what they would offer to my hometown of Ballantyne.  Even under construction, it seems like they already have a lot to offer! They are currently hosting a giveaway for an overnight stay, a $50 gift card to the AC Lounge, a $100 gift card to Tifa Chocolate & Gelato, a Chef tasting, and wine pairing at Zinicola, as well as coffee swag from Forte Legato. 

To enter their "Locals We Love" giveaway just follow @achotelcharlotteballantyne, @fortelegato, @ballantynevillage, @tifa_charlotte_nc, and @zinicolaitalian on Instagram. Like their "Locals We Love" post in the feed and tag a friend! It's that easy! 

My tour of The AC Hotel Ballantyne did not disappoint! When you enter the spacious European-inspired lobby, you will be greeted with a beautiful black marble-topped lounge that will serve as a coffee bar in the morning and a tapas bar at night. 

The AC Lounge will feature locally-sourced coffee from Forte Legato in an effort to welcome not only guests but locals too. 

The AC Hotel Ballantyne will also provide rooms that have a chic Euro-modern feel. The large picturesque windows will supply guests with a peek at the Charlotte skyline. 

The rooms range from standard double queens to corner suites, and of course, the highly-coveted honeymoon suite. 

The low-profile furniture gives the rooms an open and spacious vibe for your stay. The AC Hotel Ballantyne will also be complete with a lobby sundries station with grab-and-go goodies, gym, and yoga studio, in addition to their business meeting space and gorgeous ballrooms. 

The 16th floor, in my opinion, was the prize jewel of this property. I am excited to see this space finished as it overlooks the Charlotte skyline and the surrounding suburbs. 

The 16th floor will also be home to the hotel's high-end dining experience set to open in 2022. The restaurant is slated to be an Asian fusion concept, however, it is yet to be named. 

As if there weren't enough reasons to love this new is also female-owned! Jane Wu is the 38-year-old mastermind behind this hotel. She attended school here in the Queen City at UNC Charlotte to obtain her Master's Degree in Mathematical Finance, and after living in Atlanta for a short time, something seemed to be calling her back to Charlotte. 

Inspired by Charlotte's exponential growth and expanded development of our light rail, Wu saw an opportunity here. Thus, Panorama Holdings and the AC Hotel Ballantyne were born. 

Inspiration, a chic sense of culture, and a welcoming vibe, are just some of the reasons to book a stay. And because the AC Hotel Ballantyne is nestled into Ballantyne Village, it will provide tourists and locals a perfect afternoon of shopping and dining. It could even become the next destination for your stay-cation or date night out!

Strawberry Picking


I got four F- words for you today ... Farm, Fresh, Family, Fun! Yesterday was a day. We have construction going on at our house right now, as we are trying to complete a couple home improvement projects before baby #2 gets here. One of those ventures includes included some outside landscaping. Problem is, the guy we hired to cut back bushes and clear out flower beds also cut through our uplighting and internet cables. 

Since I clearly wasn't getting any work done at the house with no internet, I decided to get Cashton out for the afternoon for a little social distancing activity. I have been trying to plan a visit to Wise Organic Farm in Indian Trail for weeks but it is the hardest ticket in town to get since they only take reservations for Strawberry picking. 

When I started to research other options I realized, there weren't many. However, Carrigan Farms in Moorseville was an alternative and I was familiar with them since we usually take a day trip there in October for pumpkin picking. Carrigan Farms did not require a reservation and there was more than enough space to social distance between us and other parties. We never felt threatened or unsafe. 

I will say, Carrigan Farm's website is a little deceiving as they have posted that this year's crop is much smaller than other years, but we found plenty of Strawberries in the backfield. Although they were smaller than we anticipated they are the BEST strawberries I have ever had! They were so sweet and flavorful we decided to leave with a pound of strawberries. 

Sure that might sound like a lot but for $15 it was totally worth it! I have been cutting up strawberries for my cereal in the morning and Elena just made the most delicious strawberry muffins for our trip to the lake this weekend.  

I can't speak for the weekend crowds but a weekday visit to Carrigan Farms is definitely worth the trip!  

Housewarming : The Show Must Go On


    I have been planning our housewarming party for what feels like months, in hopes that we would be moved into our new house by now. We closed on our new home in April but decided not to move in until our old house was sold and our mini remodel was complete.

    When our previous home finally went under contract I decided to set a date for our housewarming party. I definitely thought we would be settled by June 23, however, the realtor Gods had other plans for our family.

    We are still unsure of when we will officially move our furniture in, but that wasn't gonna stop me from throwing a party! The show must go on!

    Sunday afternoon our closest friends arrived at the "Chateau de LauRen" to help us break in our new pad with the help of grill master chef, Jack Arnold. Jack pulled out all the traditional BBQ stops preparing everything from wings and grilled shrimp to burgers and hot dogs.

    While Jack manned the grill, our guests mingled and enjoyed cocktails. Our Aupair Elena even made signature Italian spritzers from her homeland and that's when things started to "turn up"!

    If you have never been to one of our parties, the champ-bong is a staple in our "feste" (that's Italian for parties).

    Here is a behind the scenes look at Sunday's fun!

Memorial Day On The Farm : Lazy 5 Ranch



 If you are looking for something fun and different to do with the family try Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville! Monday the show and I were off for Memorial Day and baby Cash was off of school too.

     Now, any good mom knows, no school means you gotta get creative! When I was a Big Sister for Big Brothers-Big Sisters I took my little Gen to see the animals at Lazy 5 and she loved it. However she was a lot older than Cash so I wasn't sure if it would be too much for him, or if he would even care.

     Much to my delight Cash seemed to enjoy seeing the animals up close and personal. We fed cows, deer, buffaloes, and giraffes! I will say though, it takes a long time to get through the whole park and Cash was definitely ready to get out by the time we were done.

     When you are finished with the animals, Lazy 5 has a fun little playground and food stand with snacks for the kids (complete with ice cream). It's a fun family event for sure, just be ready to get dirty and go straight to the car wash when you're done! There is slobber and animal feed all over my jeep now.

Hornets Alumni Cheerleader Weekend


     What a whirlwind weekend! It's Monday morning and I think I am still recovering from all the fun!

     Friday night we had the opportunity to camp out overnight at Carowinds with some radio family listeners for the Grand Opening of their new rollercoaster, the Copperhead Strike. It was a warm evening of fun and games, perfect for sleeping outside in the "wilderness". Well not all of us slept outside. Maney, Roy and I opted to sleep inside Harmony Hall... I don't do that camping thing (anymore).

     Funny enough though, no one on our show (besides me) has ever pitched a tent. Now back in my High School years I was a bit of a country girl. My friends and I use to four-wheel and camp in the Everglades, but that girl is dead now. I killed her.

     Anyhow, I had to revive the country girl at heart and show these boys a thing or two about putting up tents and camping. Before calling it a night inside Harmony Hall I set up 3 different tents for my radio counterparts.

     As fun as Friday night was, the real party started Saturday morning when I left Carowinds and drove straight to the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte. It was Honey Bee alumni day and as you may or may not know, I am a former Miami Dolphins Cheerleader and a Charlotte Hornet's Honey Bee Dancer as well!

     Once a year the Hornets host an amazing game to highlight and celebrate the legacy that is "The Honey Bees" past and present!

Before You Head To The Pumpkin Patch


    Ever since I was a little girl Halloween was always a big deal in our household. I remember driving as a family from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to West Virginia to find the perfect pumpkins for our October celebration. Now as a parent, I want to pass this family tradition along to my son, Cashton. 

    Well, parents, get ready for a sad pumpkin patch experience this year. Unfortunately, we have had some inconvenient conditions for pumpkin growing these past few months and the crops have taken a hit!

    Typically, in years past we have taken the short drive up to Moorseville to explore Carrigan Farms and enjoy their tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch and farm animals. Last year, we stayed local and decided to check out Hunter's Farm in Matthews. It was okay. Cute for photos but not a ton to see. 

   Last weekend my mother, brother and I took Cash to Hall's Family Farm in south Charlotte. I had seen some of my friends post on Instagram and it looked fun! However, in hindsight, all of those posts were focused on the family activities, not on the pumpkin patch themselves.   

   Hall's Family Farm has a ton of kids activities. Face painting, rubber ducky races, a playground, sandbox, kids maze, farm animals, a fire truck and more. What they don't have this year is pumpkins.

   I have never been so heartbroken than walking out to that field with Cash in tow and seeing only 10-15 pumpkins. All of which were rotten and most were covered in flies. 

   As a family, we tried to make the best of it, doing what I assume every family does. We took photos that made it look fantastic. We found two pumpkins with little rot and turned them to look normal, then had fun on the playground. 

   Now let me be clear, this is not a jab at the farm themselves because we would take Cash back for the family fun aspect in a heartbeat. However, this is unfortunately not the place to pick pumpkins this year especially so far into the season.

   After learning that many pumpkin crops were destroyed this year due to weather. I would advise you to call ahead before seeking out the perfect pumpkin at your typical patch. Sadly, you may have better luck at your local Harris Teeter. 

Holiday Body Scrub At The Ritz Charlotte


It's the most wonderful time of the year! It is also the most stressful time of the year as well.

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we often feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Whether you just need some "me time" or you are caught up in what to give the ones you love for Christmas, sometimes you just have to call a TIMEOUT!

My mom and I love our Mommy-Daughter dates and while she was visiting Charlotte last week we took the opportunity to take a T.O. of our own.

We met for lunch at BLT Steak inside the Ritz Carlton in Uptown Charlotte and had the most amazing tuna tartare and mimosas. Then we made our way up to the Spa for some quality rest and relaxation.

My mom and I typically treat ourselves to massages and the occasional facial (which are top notch at the Ritz) but this time we decided to change things up and indulge in their seasonal Spiced Brandy Pear Body Scrub, and per usual we were not disappointed!

With the weather getting cold I felt like my skin could use a pick me up. The room was warm and set up much like a massage room. The scrub smelled amazing and felt even better! To get all that dead skin off of my body felt glorious.

After the scrub is applied from head to toe (sparing your face) you jump into a warm shower to get all the salt off, then return to the massage bed where they apply a sweet smelling cream lotion to your body.

Honestly, it's the best of both worlds because the last 20 mins are like having a massage and you leave with radiate more youthful looking skin!

After our 5o min treatments, we were told to jump into the dry sauna for a few minutes then to spend some time in their brand new Salt Therapy room. I must say I was pretty impressed, not only is it gorgeous but I think I took the best nap of my life in there!

All in all, if you are looking for a relaxing day with your holiday house guest I would recommend booking your appointments immediately. Mainly because I plan on going back with mine and we may monopolize all of the appointments ourselves. (I'm only half kidding) Also if you're looking for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer, this is it. I mean who doesn't love a spa day especially at one of the best in town. 

Spa menu, pricing and contact here. 

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