Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surfing the Neighborhood

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

Did you know SIX NEW SHOPS have opened at North Hills in the last three weeks?! If it weren’t so much fun, I’d be exhausted from going around meeting all the new owners, seeing what’s in their shops, and sharing their excitement.

In a recent post, I shared the news item with you on all the openings that had been tweeted as Surf North Hills, and promised to follow up on latest from our neighborhood. Let’s dive right in then and introduce you to Whalebone Urban Surf, next-generation venture from the legendary Whalebone Surf Shop at Nags Head. Jim and April Vaughn, known and loved for over thirty years in business, couldn’t be more excited that daughter Stevi is following in their footsteps here in Midtown.

A visit with Stevi Vaughn in her incredible new store (located off Lassiter Mill, next to Gena Chandler) will take you from Whalebone Junction to Buenos Aires to pizza at Piola, and maybe have you leaving with a stand up paddle board tucked under your arm, perfect for area lakes and requires no surfing experience.

Taking a cruise or an adventure trip over the holidays? Now you have a local source for boards and incidentals, coolest sunglasses and gear, luggage, and more.

Not ready to take the plunge? Try a personal balance board to build skills and gain confidence.

For everyone who hasn’t finished Christmas shopping, don’t miss Whalebone Urban Surf’s extensive choice in clothing you won’t find anywhere else in the Triangle, basic surf and everyday casual from fabulous brands like Quiksilver, Billabong, Hurley, and Volcom.

Who knew a landlubber like me would find urban surfing such a breeze!

NH = North Hills + New Home = NeighborHood

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

Seems like this is the season for reflecting on how we’ve spent our time over the year that just flew by. Excited as I was when I moved into Park and Market Apartments last April, when I look back I realize my life has changed in ways I had not imagined.

Convenience, walkability, proximity, first-class amenities, stylish design, nine-foot ceilings, endless views, a kitchen that tempts me to call in sick and stay home to try exotic recipes, a chance to reinvent my living space, a new me in a new place.

Turns out I had missed the most important ingredient of all in picturing my new life, my neighbors! Neighbors in every corner of my life, those I live with, those I work with, those who cut my hair and polish my nails, feed me, help me choose new outfits, new furnishings, or just smile from the heart when I come by for coffee. I am truly thankful for them all.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll introduce you to some of these wonderful people. For today, meet my Park and Market neighbors… These are the folks who asked our manager to please, please, please have an Angel Tree and then made it happen. These are my kind of neighbors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Got Time-Outs?

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

When I heard the news there were not one, but three wrecks scattered across the evening commute terrain, stalling cars in every direction, my mind couldn’t help but compare how I’d spent my time going from work to home in the new 5:00-ish dusk that we are all still trying on for size.

On my way to cross Six Forks at the protected pedestrian crossing (just push the button), I ran into two of my neighbors and as we chatted amiably, we made plans for dinner next week, compared notes on our holiday plans and agreed to meet up for the Tree Lighting Celebration… oh my gosh, a week from Saturday, talk about needing a time-out!

As I entered my 6th floor apartment, the commanding sweep of purple and pink sky, punctuated by the sparkling lights of downtown and red-topped sugar maple trees made all my cares of the day simply disappear.

Next, I made a simple but adventurous dinner with something I’d bought at the Midtown Farmers’ Market, an asian green called Tot Soi that is quite versatile but perhaps at its best when stir fried gently and served with grains. I paired it with Red Quinoa, the new super food and felt healthy and happy as I sampled the dish.

When I made the move to Park and Market Apartments at North Hills, I traded my daily commute from Cary for a short walk across the street, a time-out from the pressures that seem to multiply behind the wheel of a car. Time-outs, they’re not just for your kids, they’re for all of us. Hope you find yours today!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surf's Up at North Hills

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

What did we ever do before social media? Having the latest and greatest information on everything from friends to favorites makes my day. Today, I noticed a tweet from Raleighing titled Surf North Hills! That got my attention, and so did the news item attached, North Hills unveils a slew of new shops.

The new shops coming to North Hills, one right after another, are amazing! That really says something about our local economy, doesn’t it?

Where else could you work up a sweat doing the latest ballet barre dance exercise, cool down with a guilt-free frozen yogurt, add a massage for good measure, pick up a wedding gift for your sister, meet with her real estate agent, buy a new surfboard, create your own blend of oil and vinegar and have it bottled just for you, find the perfect necklace, then meet the gang for some friendly high-tech bowling… all in one afternoon?

Stay tuned, I’ll definitely be checking out these latest shops and let you know what’s up. Park & Market, you are the home that just keeps surprising me!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is the View from my Window, What's Yours?

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

How do you open your eyes on the world in the morning? With a cup of coffee, a run, a look at the newspaper, walking the dog, running downstairs to the grocery… if that last one isn’t one your list, be sure to read on!

You know that moment when you look out deep into the sky trying to gauge what the day holds in store for you?

When the world looks as good as this view from my living room window at Park and Market this morning, you just know everything good is coming your way today.

Don’t shortchange your day, come take a look at what it’s like to live upstairs from everything.

Fall Happenings

A Journal of Discovery through the eyes of a real-life resident of Park and Market North Hills

Does your home come with a pool that stays warm all through the fall thanks to solar panel heating?

How about fire pits for those cool nights?

Or the best rooftop tailgate in town for Monday Night Football before serious game watching begins in the clubroom?

Does your calendar include Meet-Ups and magicians, DJ’s and dining adventures, salsa lessons and silent auctions, pumpkin decorating and a Masquerade Parade?

Half a year later, my new home at Park and Market continues to seem like the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I love the conveniences, the urban lifestyle, the endless options for dining, shopping and hanging out with friends, and the great team who make it all happen for us.

If you’re thinking about taking a look, you’ll want to come soon. Word on the street is the next 20 people to sign a lease before November 15th will get a $1,000 North Hills Gift Card. Talk about a welcome home gift!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Delivering the Goods

My, oh my, can five months ever fly by! An article in the newspaper got me thinking about all the ways my life at Park and Market delivers the goods.

Stocking the Kitchen

  • Soup, salad, sodas, suds or steaks, a run down the elevator to Harris Teeter brings them all home.
  • Local food means walking across the street on Saturday morning and bringing back the goods from farmers, bakers, and craft artisans at the Midtown Farmers’ Market, maybe a Starbucks for the other hand?

Channeling Martha Stewart

  • Inviting my “second mom” and her boyfriend to come for dinner, we popped the cork on a bottle of champagne, walked to Piola where we indulged in platters of free appetizers, picked a pizza, split some tiramisu, and headed back to my place for a look at the night skyline and coffee.
  • No worries, no cooking, and no dishes to wash. My kind of party!

Furnishing My Home

  • Surprisingly easy… I’ve found everything from sheets and shower curtains to finely crafted North Carolina furniture without ever driving a car.

Back to the newspaper article…Did you know Kerr Drug offers free delivery for prescriptions and just about anything else on your list?

  • See what I mean about my North Hills delivering the goods?

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's In Style...

At lunch yesterday, a friend of mine mentioned having sudden attacks to know more that send her googling. I get like that sometimes, suddenly curious about an everyday word and its meanings.

Style… “a distinctive way of acting, a mode of living, a mode of fashion, a recognized title”… any way you look at it, what’s in style is in Park & Market North Hills Apartments.

-A recognizable place that struts onto the amazing new Midtown landscape
-A lifestyle that makes living so easy, I commented recently if it gets any easier I might not even have to get out of bed in the morning
-A distinctive mode of living from swimming in a an eye-popping pool built on top of a grocery store, shopping, dining, hair and nail salons, and coming-soon high-energy boutique bowling right on your block
-And last but not least, fashion… North Hills does fashion forward with panache, most evident during Fashion Week line-up that included Girls’ Night Out in one of a kind boutiques offering up cutting edge trends and designers.

What’s in style? At Park & Market, you have an open invitation to reinvent yourself and your life, and style doesn’t get any more personal than that!

Let The Good Times Roll...

It really doesn’t get much easier or more fun than rolling across North Hills in the 6-passenger electric Shuttlebug for a progressive dinner with friends, the perfect way to bring the holiday weekend to a close. Even better, we decided to go with our favorite courses – appetizers and dessert.

First stop Vivace, their patio custom made for the crisp warm air, late afternoon sun, sensational Italian Mojitos, stuffed fried olives, and a symphony of cheeses selected by our superb waiter. Heaven!

Just a phone call away, the Shuttlebug arrived to whisk us across the street to Coquette where we found the floor to ceiling doors open for the first time in a long while, bringing the outdoors in and calling for a round of French red wine, Belgian beer and Escargots, topped off with a transitional dish of melon and mint sorbet.

Next and final stop was Flights at the Renaissance where we took in the serene beauty of the restaurant while enjoying Chef’s Hot Cheesecake and Campfire S’Mores, accompanied by sighs of contentment and plans for the next progressive dinner.

As we rode away into the night for the final time, it was unanimous. The food, while memorable, had been upstaged by the Shuttlebug as the favorite of the evening. Next time you’re here at North Hills be sure to give it a try by hopping on board or calling for a ride at 919-369-4089.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Livin' Is Easy

Whoever designed Park & Market apartments must have been using one of those over-sized EASY buttons, that graphic image from Staples that everyone associates with getting work done more efficiently, in less time and without so much stress, so we can take things a little easier. Truthfully, if the livin’ gets any easier I won’t even have to get out of bed in the morning.

Last week, two nights in a row, I invited good friends I hadn’t seen in awhile to come have dinner and see my new home. Here’s how it went… walk across the street for my commute home, set up a few drinks and a bowl of snacks on the kitchen island, meet my friends downstairs by Harris Teeter to show them in and around, and enjoy a lively conversation until time to see about dinner. Or more accurately, time to let Piola see about dinner. The cost? About the same as buying groceries. The EASY button? No grocery lists or cleanup.

Friday I was headed to a potluck and planning to bring fruit salad. Things ran later than I expected at work. No worries though, because I stopped by Zoes Kitchen and picked up two containers of their hand-cut fruit, emptied them into my best dish, and came home with an empty bowl.

More EASY buttons? How about one for your social life? This week brought not one but two Resident Meet-Ups, one at Firebirds and one in our club room before the final Beach Music concert of the season.

Maybe you were thinking EASY button for your fall wardrobe? Click on Park & Market’s calendar and you’ll see Scout & Molly’s is hosting a live DJ Party exclusively for us on September 22nd.

Looking for a way to support a local charity while giving your dog a day on the town? EASY once again with great updates on local events, in this case Celebrity Paws for COPE on September 11 from 9:00 – Noon at Laurel Hills Park.

How about having someone change your air filter while you’re at work, or arranging a private wine tasting from one of those great local vineyards, you know, the stuff you would do if you had more time? You probably can’t make more hours in a day, but you can make the move to Park & Market, where the livin’ is definitely easy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sound of Music

There is something enchanting about fountains. The sound of the water spilling over, the play of light as the drops rise and fall, something soothing and timeless pulls us in.

Towns built by Romans on water, like Aix-en-Provence, the city of a thousand fountains, whisper their way into the hearts of those who visit.

Fountains speak romance. Think Three Coins in the Fountain, the 1950s movie that immortalizes Italy’s Trevi fountain with its Frank Sinatra lyrics, and that brings us around to the sound of music.

Not the movie, but the echoes of sheer delight that drift up to my windows from the fountain just across from Park and Market. This beautiful little corner with flags flying and the blue umbrellas, makes the perfect place to sit for awhile and for children to run in endless circles, stopping to dip a hand in the water, laughing the entire time.

On Friday evenings, the sound of music kicks up a notch with the amplified sounds of Emerging Artists concerts. The long cool shadow of the Captrust Tower plays over the perfect stage that is probably meant be an outdoor restaurant one day. A relaxing way to start the weekend, and wherever I am at home – in my living room or under those blue umbrellas – I’ve got a front row seat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Last night during the thunderous rain, I got the urge to bake some healthy breakfast muffins. This new recipe called for King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, something new to me. Of course I found it at the Harris Teeter downstairs – this store is truly large enough to carry everything!

Sharing the elevator on the way back up with a neighbor, we talked easily about the joys of living at Park and Market, and agreed that maybe the best feature of all was exactly this, making a run to the grocery on a rainy night without going outside. You know, snug as a bug in a rug…

Her conclusion, “Why would anyone want a house, when you could have all this?” Indeed!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Counting the Ways...

Last time I mentioned life is good, and before I could stop myself, ended up saying it’s the neighbors in the hood who make Park and Market home. Sure enough, the next week at Coquette one of my followers teased me unmercifully for that one.

So, I got to thinking, why take my word for it when you can see what my neighbors are saying. We all had a chance to comment recently using an online resident survey, and I was able to look at the topline results. Turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks life is good at Park and Market.

What do we love best? The staff!!! Hands down, our team was praised for being friendly, professional, responsive, knowledgeable, helpful, and great at communicating and getting us together.

Email blasts and signage in the elevators do a great job of letting everyone know what’s happening not only in our building but all around North Hills.

Opportunities for meeting other residents through social events and classes are clearly appreciated. Favorites so far?

* Beach Music on the Commons in our own hospitality tent – doesn’t get any better than this for summer nights with new friends and neighbors
* Abs and Salsa classes by the pool

We’ve also enjoyed Meet Ups at North Hills restaurants and social/tasting events in our club room.

Keep up the great work seems to be a common theme and as for what else we’d like to try, how about more exercise classes and personal trainer events to maximize our workouts in the Fitness Center, movie nights, game nights, wine tastings, cooking classes.

Clearly our growing group of neighbors likes to spend time together. Thank you Park and Market team for all you do to make us feel at home!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Lowdown on High-Rise Living

If I were a car, I’d definitely be sporting one of those Life is Good stickers. In three short months, living at Park and Market has shifted my sense of space, place and time.

When I decided to stop commuting to North Hills, I didn’t know just how dusty a car could get from sitting still or that I would be late for appointments because I didn’t include time for going home to get my car. Then there was the day I brought the car to work and wrote myself a note so I wouldn’t forget to take it home.

Life IS good! Not just because it’s high-rise but because I’m living in the middle of North Hills.

Convenience is half the story. Of course it’s convenient to have a 24/7 Harris Teeter grocery store in your basement – really, an elevator ride to ground level but I like to tell my friends I am going to the basement for a gallon of milk. Or seeing Zoes Kitchen outside my living room doors, and then deciding to call downstairs to order a hummus salad plate for dinner.

Maybe for you convenience would be the incredibly beautiful pool built on top of the grocery store, having a workout room on-site, a clubroom with tons of amenities, greenway paths close by, maybe too many good restaurants (when does walking start to cancel out the eating?) or a built in social calendar.

I still get a kick from making a Saturday list and having it turn out nothing like I planned because I got sidetracked at the Farmers Market buying a painting, or stunning vegetables that beg to be cooked right then, or sitting down to lunch with a new friend at Vivace and getting up 4 hours later with so much not yet said.

That’s really it, you know, not the conveniences but coming together with people I would never otherwise have met. I find the most interesting conversations happen when I stop to admire someone’s dog, wait for the elevator, or slip out into the early morning for a walk and find that many of my neighbors are already out there doing the same thing.

It’s the same sense of community I feel as I get to know people at Starbucks where I stop in twice a day, at Brothers Cleaners where everyone does know your name, Ethan Allen where I bought my new bed, shops where I’ve bought summer clothes or gotten a makeover, and even the fellow at Target who said his wife tells him what to do on the weekends, then laughed and pointed for there she was, waiting for his shift to end. Pretty soon it spills over and when I feel a tap on my shoulder at the market, it’s Fiquet Bailey, owner of Luxe Apothecary, now a friend who tells me of her plans for the day.

So while it may be living high that brought me here, the lowdown is it’s the neighbors in the "hood” that make Park and Market home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Remodeling Made Easy

Recently, I went on a coaching expedition with my young friend who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. She has a knack for blending the readily accessible with the rare find, for adding a touch of color or an unusual accessory, and making it all seem easy and natural. Turns out she has some coaches of her own.

Fiquet Bailey, owner of Luxe Apothecary, is a makeup artist who simply loves to help others find their best look, one that fits their lifestyle. Her approach is low key and genuinely about building relationships whether working with runway models, fashion photographers, bridal parties, or someone new to the neighborhood who doesn’t wear much makeup. Her shop is cool and inviting, the walls filled with products not just for women but for men too. I felt at home as we chatted, and surprised, really, how easy it can be to try a new thing or two that makes an immediate difference in how you feel about yourself.

I don’t know if it’s the new look – thank you, Fiquet – or the new life – thank you, Park and Market – but lately everyone I know seems to be taking a second look, commenting and complimenting. Sometimes we don’t really know what life holds in store for us until we take the first step.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Coffee on the Brain?

Talk about waking up on the other side of the bed… this morning my eyes caught this title in the online news, Nervous About Alzheimer’s? Coffee May Help.

I am a die-hard Starbucks fan, no two ways about it, and take a lot of good-natured kidding around the office including being given a Princess wand for being too good to drink the office coffee, and from those who question my sanity for drinking hot coffee on a hot day.

Recent studies indicate that if we want to protect our brains from developing Alzheimer’s later in life, we should be more passionate about drinking coffee now. Not just a timid cup or two, but five cups a day, or about 500 mg of caffeine.

Talk about good timing… just when I have science on my side, I’m living at Park and Market where the options for a new coffee stop or two are lining up right outside my front door.

Back to protecting your brain… researchers also say it takes more than coffee. If you want to learn more, be sure to try Brain Games on the back side of Bruegger’s Patio every Wednesday morning from 9:00 to 10:00.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saturday Morning Shopping Lists

Eggs, Bacon, Bread, Bid on Painting at Silent Auction

Raspberries, Fresh Honey, Sweet Roses, Shop with Executive Chef from Flights at the Renaissance Hotel

I realized the other day just how much my habits are changing since I made the move over to Park and Market, and how many new adventures have come my way. Can you guess where I’ve been shopping on Saturday mornings from my two lists above? Bacon and eggs might sound like the 2-story Harris Teeter grocery just an elevator ride away, but I love to buy them at the Midtown Farmers’ Market where you can talk with dozens of farmers about what they’re growing or raising, and where there is always something happening on the Commons.

One of the regulars at the market is Dean Wendel, Executive Chef of Flights at the Renaissance Hotel. Watching him crisp in his black linen uniform on a warm morning, exchanging the best of the best food secrets with the market vendors, I found myself shadowing him, and to my delight was invited to “ride along”. Some of our stops along the way…

Piedmont Biofarm where we played Stump the Chef, with Lamb’s Quarter (fix it like spinach) and a taste test (tear off a leaf and chew), then a purchase for some lucky lunchtime guests back at the hotel.

Cohen Farm where Esta Cohen and Chef clucked over a carton of eggs, not just any eggs, but Gussies, the slightly smaller eggs that come from Pullet hens and are named for Esta’s mother. These were a “treat” purchase to round out Chef’s standing weekly order for 6 dozen eggs that he has delivered to his kitchen. I found myself wondering how far you’d have to look to find another hotel restaurant serving eggs on a Saturday morning that you could walk a few steps outside the hotel and talk to the farmer who produced them!

Edible Earthscapes where Chef indulged his passion for Rainbow Chard after Jason Oatis assured him he had plenty on hand and offered to sell at restaurant pricing.

Double T Farm where Tom Kumpf showed off his red leaf lettuce, grown to take the heat (talk about testing that lately) but it was the baby Bibb heads that spoke to Chef and he gently picked several to adorn sandwiches for his lunch crowd.

Would I like to come back to the kitchen with him? Are you kidding? I was in Seventh Heaven as I walked into that busy enterprise mid-morning with what seemed like every table at Flights taken and catering underway for hundreds to come later in the day. I stood listening as they discussed the spread of market bounty across their work table, where and how it would be used that day, thinking Farm to Table doesn’t get any fresher than this.

But I also understood that what Chef is out there doing every week is about more than shopping to feed his guests, it’s about community, and that seems to be what Park and Market is bringing to life for me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Through the Looking Glass

I have a friend who is 25, and I’m not. She’s a fashionista, and I’m not.

Here I am living in the fashion Mecca of the Triangle, where sophisticated and passionately local shops are bringing an array of designers to North Hills, and not knowing quite where to start.

You’re probably like me and could use a fashion coach to discover what Park and Market brings to your doorstep. My friend was up for the job and so we headed out yesterday.

First stop, Uniquities, where Nicole Bruno welcomed us into her colorful store with such hospitality we nearly stayed all afternoon. Be sure to stop by this weekend for the Additional 50% Off Sale that ends Sunday at 6:00. What will you find there?

  • Every kind of jeans imaginable from boot cut to denim leggings, with a variety of rises, as well as the latest in cargo pants (yes, they are back!)
  • Susana Monaco dresses practically jumping off the racks with fresh stripes of color
  • Trina Turk tank tops even prettier than her dresses, perfect with denim leggings
  • Handbags by Chloe and The Marc by Marc Jacobs, along with Chapelier’s every day washable tote bags in lip smacking color combinations

My “did you know” for this store? Everyday price points, including private label and loads of accessories. My finds? A long clover necklace and a 525 America black cardigan marked down to $29. Nicole says don’t forget to fan them on Facebook for the latest news and special events.

Next stop, Elaine Miller Collection, where Jean Proctor showed us the possibilities for fun waiting inside their one-of-a-kind showcases. Jean’s sense of fun is a great match for the timeless sense of style that is unmistakably Elaine Miller’s own. What will you find there?

  • Antique and estate jewelry blended seamlessly with today’s leading designers such as Elizabeth Locke (rarely seen in an independent store) and North Carolina’s own Slane and Slane
  • Fashion jewelry from Belissima and Alexis Bittar
  • Elegant designs made by Elaine herself, bringing vintage pieces – hers or your own – to new life

My “did you know” for this store? That antique mirrors and chandeliers are just part of the story waiting for you inside. My finds? The perfect fashion ring in their Sizzling Summer Sale where a wall of fun awaits you, all 25 – 70% off. Jean is working on fall selections now and invites you to stop by often to see what is new.

Whether you are looking through glass to see what is there, or in the glass to see how you look wearing it, it’s all sort of like living at Park and Market… the only way to know for sure it fits is to try it on.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What Makes a Place Home?

An interesting slice of observation about life at Park and Market Apartments comes from asking others how long they’ve lived here and where they have come from. The variety of answers to those two simple questions suggests there are enough stories to write a book, and that what we have in common is our enjoyment of a distinctive way of life that is new for Midtown Raleigh.

When we arrive at a place where everything is new, what transforms that place into home?

  • Is it the school bus that arrives each day just outside the Park and Market leasing office? (Feels at once familiar and goes oh so nicely with the colorful awnings at Zoes Kitchen)
  • Is it discovering Christine selling her home-grown sweet roses from the Flower Market in front of Vivace on a Thursday afternoon? (Sweeter yet for her offer to give me the jar as well as the flowers when I mentioned I had not yet unpacked my vases)
  • Is it the voice of Ferenc, who shines the common areas of Park and Market with energy and a smile, mop in hand, calling out, “Welcome Home!” as I come through the lobby?
  • Is it meeting a neighbor on the elevator and within minutes showing each other our apartments comparing what drove our choice, or being loaned serving dishes for a party when mine were still in one of the endless packing boxes? (Favor was soon returned with a couple bottles of the secret ingredient for a family recipe)

When you live at Park and Market, every step brings you closer to home.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Chair that Followed Me Home

In my first post, I talked about choosing to reinvent myself in a new way of life, one without a car at the center of things, and how that might change my perceptions of the world around me.

What I couldn’t have predicted was how easily I would begin to let go of things that had occupied space in my home for years. Layer upon layer of family furniture, rooms and closets filled with things that had more or less grown up around me over the years, who knew what I would choose if I could start over? And so I did.

With a little encouragement, I chose the purple accent wall for my new apartment, sent my furniture to a consignment store, and created the space to see who and what might emerge. What art for the wall? What new pieces to make the long room that opens into the sky between here and there come to life?

Last Thursday after a fabulous evening at Piola enjoying free appetizers at the bar, my friend and I went for a stroll around North Hills, when it caught my eye. There in BeyondBlue Interiors a stunning copper wall hanging with riffs of that same steely purple hue, I recognized myself in it instantly. Imagine my surprise when the next day I bought instead the store’s own gently used, phenomenally priced leather barstool that completes my kitchen in a way I could never have imagined. Ironic isn’t it, finding myself in a piece that had been someone else’s first, but after all that’s what makes re-discovering ourselves so much fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bringing Art to Life

Walking around North Hills, you may come upon one of the plein air artists, bringing streetscapes to life for the sheer joy of it and the possibility of a Blue Ribbon in the upcoming Plein Air Art Festival. Jean told me her story one day while dabbing her brush intently, how she connected the dots in her life moving from Napa to Raleigh, finding her present group of plein air artists in a magazine on the plane as she traveled here.

Follow your heart and it will take you places. Laura longed to prove the doctors wrong after an accident and taught herself to paint. Now she wows folks every Saturday at the Farmers Market with her combinations of watercolor with pen and ink. Yesterday, I got the chance to show her how North Hills is blooming across the street. Seemed only natural when we arrived at Park and Market to see my new apartment, she was the missing piece that Josie had been looking for on our well-rounded social calendar. Stay tuned for exploring your artistic side, perhaps poolside, soon!

Have you ever noticed how life comes around full circle, connecting people and events in ways our minds could never make up ahead of time? Maybe all it takes is showing up for life, being present, and learning to look around with a painter’s eye.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who Let the Dogs In?

At Park and Market it’s Who let the dogs in… not out! To be honest, it took me a day or two to remember to stand back when waiting for the elevator because odds are on when the doors open a good-looking dog will be leading mom or dad back home. These are dogs about town, making the most of life at North Hills.

Thursday evening when we all gathered in the VIP tent on the Commons to enjoy the weekly Beach Music concert, who do you think had front row seats? Two adorable little handful-size pups and their mamas, wrapping them in their own shawls as the night grew cool.

Someone asked me recently if I plan to get a dog. Seems like I have plenty right here to adopt, and I’m having fun meeting them all. Leave me a comment about YOUR Park and Market dog. After all, it takes a special breed to know cool city living when you find it!

Park & Market at North Hills

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spinning to the Top

You can’t miss them, and they want it that way. Those engaging sign spinners just seem to have it all – winning smiles, great moves, and the skill to flip and spin their signs in dizzying displays of bravado that make you wonder if they ever drop one.

They’ve been out in front of North Hills in recent weeks, letting everyone know the new Harris Teeter grocery and Bruegger's Cafe and Espresso Bar are open, and they also practice their moves in boot-camp style training on the big lawn across from Park and Market North Hills.

Like so many things lately, this small detail became real life yesterday afternoon with boot camp in session just as a few dozen friends dropped by to see the view from my new 6th floor home. Makes me wonder what I’ll discover out there next!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Neighborhood Farmers' Market

Standing at the main entrance of North Hills Tuesday afternoon, waiting to cross the street with my reusable bag containing strawberries, baby lettuce, rosy radishes and a long golden baguette riding along on top, I felt smart. Not intelligent smart, although I did make a great decision moving into Park and Market North Hills – chic smart, Parisian smart, walking home from our neighborhood Farmers’ Market.

I found myself remembering the first time I reinvented myself, boarding a plane for the south of France to live in a French home and go to school, where my one semester of French left me stuck in the present tense with a vocabulary that most household pets exceed. Soon the rhythms of daily life filled in the gaps, and France became my home.

Didn’t know we have a Tuesday market? Learn more at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Beginning

The great thing about life is that, if we choose to, we can reinvent ourselves and begin seeing the world around us through a completely different lens. All it takes is a little imagination, a sense of adventure, and a great location.

Last week I chose to stop commuting to North Hills and to begin living life on my feet. Where else would I throw my car keys in the back of the closet and get on with life but Park and Market North Hills Apartments? Imagine waking up with all of Raleigh out the window, cars whizzing by on Six Forks Road, the sun turning Captrust Tower pink and gold, flags and fountains waving good morning, then stepping out on the sidewalk to WALK to work!

Life is truly different when it comes at you from street level. Senses are more alive, people stop to talk, time stretches out before you as do the possibilities.