10 things I love about living in Raleigh, North Carolina


Justin and I moved to Raleigh from Greenville, North Carolina in 2009 just a few months after we were married. We were both in Greenville for college but amidst our dating and engagement, Justin decided to pursue an engineering degree so we thought it would be best to move just a few hours over to Raleigh for him to attend N.C. State University. We lived on the eastern edge of Raleigh for some time but then moved over toward the southwest side and have been living in that area for the past several years.

We are so happy here and I’m long overdue for a post dedicated to all the things I love about living in Raleigh.

Let’s dive right in.

One. The climate. I love that we still get seasons and that summer tends to linger well into October. I prefer warmer temperatures over cold winters, especially after growing up in the midwest and having to endure brutal winters until I was 19. Raleigh is in the middle part of the state so we have a few rolling hills but generally, it’s heavily treed and full of nature.

Two. The city-feel with access to beaches and mountains. I can’t help but compare Raleigh to Chicago since Chicago was the major city near where I grew up. Raleigh feels a bit small and quiet, but it has a lot of the city things you’d hope for without being overwhelmingly large and full of traffic. Downtown Raleigh has a vibrant community, which in my experience, feels artistic and has a “foodie” vibe ( I say that in a complimentary way, of course ) but I will fully admit that I haven’t lived downtown nor spend a great deal of time there. I love going downtown to some of the popular destinations (Village District, 5 Points, State Farmers Market, etc.) and have many more places on my list to still check out! Overall, it’s nice to have the perks of living in a city, but also an easy short drive from the coast or a mountain getaway.

Three. Southern warmth, and I’m not talking about the weather. In my experience, there is a slower more relaxed pace here than what I experienced growing up in the midwest. While I have only lived my adulthood in the south, many others would agree that the pace is just slightly more casual or relaxed. It’s not unusual to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger at the grocery store, and I remember being pleasantly surprised by the small gestures of kindness when I first moved here.

Four. The food/restaurants. So listen, I’m not a huge barbecue, pimento cheese, and Cheerwine kind of gal, but I can throw down some biscuits and gravy like nobody’s business. I’ve found so many great restaurants in the area already and I’ve only just scratched the surface. A few of my personal favorites are Lily’s Pizza, Gravy, The Pit, Benelux Coffee, The Flying Biscuit, The Provincial, Crosstown Pub and Grill, Cristo’s Bistro, The Mason Jar Tavern, La Farm Bakery, Chanticleer Cafe, Enrigo Italian Bistro, Gonza Tacos and Tequila, Tatopos, Dos Taquitos, and so many others.

Five. The flow of the city. There is almost never a time that I’m stuck in traffic. Even when I worked at a salon closer to downtown, traffic was never horrendous. There is a highway that encircles Raleigh called “the beltline” and it makes it very easy to get to anywhere you need to go.

Six. The greenery and access to outdoor activities. I remember being profoundly impacted when I was driving on highways in North Carolina and seeing trees! Huge trees and so much natural area. That didn’t really exist where I grew up (It was more grey and industrious) so I really appreciate being surrounded by nature. Building off of that, there are wonderful parks and lakes with walks to hiking paths that make it really easy to enjoy the great outdoors.

Seven. It’s full of great colleges, universities, medical care and has a strong research + technology market. Some of the more well-known schools in the area (not all in Raleigh, but certainly nearby) are Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, Meredith, and Shaw University. There is also an abundance of medical facilities and hospitals. Some of the larger corporations are research and technology-based offering great career opportunities.

Eight. Lower than the average cost of living. There is a wide variety of housing options in the area, and even further out you go from the city, you still can maintain relatively simple access to downtown, if that is important to you.

Nine. Family-friendly with a great mix of community and privacy. There are so many little pockets and suburbs of the city and each one has its own culture and esthetic. There seems to be great pride in where one lives, and that is such a great thing to experience.

Ten. It is continually highly ranked in “US best places to live” lists! 

While all of my reasons are subjective, of course, so many other people enjoy living here as well. I can’t see ever moving away from Raleigh, and I’m truly so happy to live here!

Spring Style: Tops + Tees



No. 1,     No. 2,     No. 3,     No. 4,     No. 5,     No. 6,     No. 7,     No. 8,     No. 9

When I looked through the styles of tops I tend to grab in the spring, it’s almost always a t-shirt with an occasional blouse mixed in. My day-to-day wardrobe is pretty casual, so a few essential t-shirts that I can wear with a handful of different bottoms are going to get a lot of use from me!

There are 4 styles of tops that I focused on for this section: a neutral crew neck tee, a colorful v-neck tee, a blouse or shell, and a graphic tee. Between these 4 styles, I’ve got a top for anything going on in my life.

Since I wear t-shirts so often, I try to find quality, durable, and comfortable options that I know will last me for years! My go-to brands for basic tops and t-shirts are Madewell, LOFT, Abercrombie, J.Crew, J.Crew Factory, and Old Navy.

I’ll wear a crew neck tee with casual pull-on pants, or joggers, or dress it up a bit by tucking it into denim and adding gold jewelry. The crew neck really highlights layered necklaces well, and since I love wearing a few necklaces,  the crew neck style is likely my most worn.

For a color v-neck tee, I found a beautiful option at J. Crew. It’s a linen blend so I’ll need to pay close attention to how to best launder without shrinking, but the relaxed and drapey fit of the linen makes this t-shirt easy and casual.

I use the term “graphic tee” loosely because all of my graphic tees have either coffee or fruit on them, so it isn’t exactly *edgy*. But I don’t dress edgy so I’m very happy with my fruit-covered graphic tee’s!

Lastly, a blouse or shell that can work with a pair of denim, or nicely tucked into trousers or pull-on shorts is a versatile option to have in your wardrobe. If I have anything even remotely dressy to attend, I’ll grab a silky blouse and pair it with a blazer.

In case you missed it, you can click through to read the posts about Spring Outerwear, Spring Shoes, and Spring Bottoms!

In this post:

links + loves


I found this black gauze dress at Target (it’s $20!) and it is SUCH a win. It’s a looser fit but still has a bit of shape with the center seam, and the gauze material means it is lightweight and forgiving of wrinkles. I’ve been wearing it all day today and I’m *so* comfortable. It comes in a few other colors as well!

We’ve had 80 degree temps for a lot of the week and that thrills my summer-loving heart so much. Raleigh is currently covered in a huge amount of pollen, so while it makes going outside difficult due to allergies, it also has been a stunning weather week with lots of sunshine!

My folks are coming to town for the weekend, primarily to visit my sister and her family since they weren’t able to see them over Easter, but Justin and I will likely try to slip away for a date night since grandparents are free babysitting!

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Here are a few other links and loves: 

Virtue, one of my favorite hair care lines, has launched a curl line! Check it out here.

Lauren, my sister and also a digital content creator, shared a rundown of a typical workday for her on this post!

Did you catch my recent post highlighting my favorite athletic clothes?

Need any help color matching foundation? Read this!

And here are a few things I mentioned on Instagram Stories that you may have missed: 

Lululemon Align Leggings – the peak of comfort when it comes to leggings.

Long-sleeve tee – I have this tee in 4 colors, and it’s been a very regular part of my athleisure wardrobe.

New Justin Bieber album – I’m obsessed.

Travel makeup bag from Amazon – Such a great option and I love the clear material so you can see what is inside!

AGolde Parker jean shorts – sky wave color – love the longer length without them being bermuda!

Tommy John loungewear – does it get any better?

Slip Silk Hairtie + Pillowcase – both of these are the reason my hair is re-styleable the second day.

Lake Pajamas pima robe – this is my absolute favorite robe.

Calia women’s rib tank top – a nice athletic tank with a flattering cut.

Loving Tan self-tanner – I have a whole post about self-tanner (click here!) but this is my favorite color.

Laneige Lip Treatment Balm – I love the convienent little applicator in this product!

Blue-Grey Bodysuit – seen in the image below

This week’s discount code: 

Home Chef – Use code KATE90 and get $90 off – that’s 10 FREE meals.

Questions from Monday’s Q&A Box on Instagram Stories!

Something to help with frizzy hair? Yes! Try a smoothing cream like the Alterna Smoothing Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter.

Prose v. Function of Beauty? I haven’t tried Prose but really enjoyed Function of Beauty!

How do I find a good foundation? It’s really trial and error but if you need a recommendation for a medium coverage foundation, here are a few of my favorites! 

Favorite eyeliner? Lately, I’ve been loving Charlotte Tilbury Bedroom Black or Patrick Starr Point Made eyeliner!

Detangler for little girls’ hair? I just use a Pureology product I have! It’s the Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-in Spray.

What’s a good Mother’s Day piece of jewelry? I love the delicate jewelry from Zoe Chicco.

Are you still using brow serum? Yes! I’ve been using GrandeBrow consistently for a while!

Do you have a charcoal mask recommendation? Yes! I love the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask.

What is your current favorite mascara? Lancome Lash Idole!

Leave-in Conditioner versus Regular? Both are so good and do different things (in a way). More to come on this question!

Have you tried a lash lift before? Yes. Big fan of them! Read about my experience here.


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