eating around the outer banks

eating around the outer banks

We love the beach.  The fun with family, the relaxation (if you can get it) and the escape from every day life!

One of our favorite beach spots is the Outer Banks.  It is a bit of a drive from our hometown of Charlotte, NC, but totally worth it.  You may remember Heather’s post from a while back.  Horses, relaxing, eating and more.  Life is slower there, you do not get the overly crowded beaches and it is, in our opinion a great place to escape to.

Last month I packed up our new family of 4 and headed to Nags Head for a family trip.  My dear friend was getting married and I knew I couldn’t miss it!  We stayed at this adorable house we found through VRBO – my favorite way to travel as you may remember – and enjoyed the beach, local spots and amazing food.

nags head, outer banks

When we vacation or visit any new city, we always look to YELP for recommendations on restaurants, things to do, shops, etc.  We are RARELY disappointed.  We eat at dives that get great ratings and below I have shared a few spots we really enjoyed.

THE SPOT

When my sister lived in Hawaii she turned me on to acai bowls.  You guys, these are bowls of amazing blended fruit topped with anything from fresh fruit, to coconut and granola, or even peanut butter.  They are refreshing and filling at the same time.  So when I saw there was a local spot walking distance from our vacation home in OBX, I knew we had to go.  This place was everything I was looking for.  Acai bowls, smoothies and even poke on the weekends.  My husband now has me make bowls at home and my two year old LOVES them.  Add it to your OBX places to go.  Photo: The Spot

the spot

TORTUGA’S LIE

So.. confession time, my husband and I love watching the Food Network and one of our favorite shoes is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  So, we figured if Guy had been there, why not give it a try and just like that we found Tortuga’s Lie.  This place is just what we wanted, low key, amazing food, great atmosphere and easy for our boys.  I am currently staying away from dairy for my 4 month old’s allergies and they were more than accommodating!  If you go, try the beans and rice… I am not sure what they do to those beans, but they are the best we have ever had!  Photo: tortuga’s lie

tortugas lie

FOOD DUDES KITCHEN

Finally I’ll share this small, hidden in a shopping strip, piece of heaven.  This was another yelp find and was probably our favorite.  The freshest sea-food, great local beer selection and great for families.  It was tight, but our boys handled it well.  I got a tuna burrito that was one of the best I have ever had.  It was the special of the day, so maybe try that as they work with what is in season.  Don’t forget those rice and beans – seriously the OBX has those down pat.

food dudes

What about you?  Do you try yelp?  Do you have any favorite places to eat in the Outer Banks?  Any favorite places to stay?

best organic sunscreen

best organic sunscreen

A baby changes you.  Your mother having cancer for no reason scares you.  Your family members having to have pieces of their skin cut out because of sun damage scares you.

With that said… this mama is making changes.  We eat healthier, we exercise regularly, we live a balanced life, and we do research as to what some of the best sun protection lotions, sunscreens, SPF clothing, and beach gear are.  We do the best we can with what we can and we protect our families, our babies, and ourselves the best we can.

I have done some research on what I feel would be safe for my kids and for myself.  Note that I am not an expert, just a mom that has talked with other moms, read online and done some research on what I would feel comfortable using myself.

wedding pictures are worth it

wedding pictures are worth it

If you have read the blog for a while, you will know that I have a strong opinion on photography.  Engagement, Wedding, Maternity, Child Births and Milestones.  I have even gone as far as encouraging you to hire a videographer.

Well,  I knew that photography was going to be one of the main “must haves” for my wedding.  After all of the planning, all of the details, all of the check lists, phone calls, and decisions, the day comes and goes.  It is almost like you blink and then it is gone.

We recently celebrated 2 years and I can honestly say that am so thankful for my photos and my video.  Except for our memories, that is all we have left!

My wedding photographer, Crystal Stokes, is one of a kind – she made us feel so comfortable in both our engagement photos as well as our wedding photos.  I wouldn’t have traded our experience with her for anything!  The pictures below speak for themselves…  Every moment, every detail – all captured perfectly!  Below are a few photos from our special day.

This wedding was filled with special moments.  I hand designed and hand painted (with the help of my sister) my invitations, my mom and sister made the butters as party favors, instead of one wedding cake our aunts made their favorite cake or desert, and I hand wrote all of the signage and party favor tags.  It was filled with love to every inch!

To our surprise over the years a few blogs have picked it up and featured us as a “DIY Bride“, a “Vintage DIY Wedding” , “Shabby Chic Colorful Wedding“, and a “Crafty Floral Wedding”  I would say that those words definitely describe it!  I wanted bright, fun, vintage, and hand made to show through and I guess it did!.

Thank you to the amazing blogs that all have our wedding featured on it.  I was honored with some of the large names that chose our wedding.

I can’t end this post without thinking my amazing photographer, Crystal Stokes.  All of the photos used in this post are a thank you to her!

The amazing flowers are by Springvine Design, planning by Magnolia Events, and the wedding was at the beautiful Brawley Estate.

live healthy – finding local support

live healthy – finding local support

As you know, we love healthy meals and try to keep a healthy lifestyle for our families.  Well recently I had a baby and I will tell you that gym time and healthy living were both put on hold.  More important to me was finding time to spend with my little guy and my big guy – the gym had to wait.  While breast feeding, food wasn’t about me, it was about what I needed to eat to make sure I could feed my son, and the bad habits started there…and just didn’t quit.

Fast forward a few months, I knew it was time for a change.  My husband and I strongly believe in showing our son a very active healthy life and guess where that starts… me!  We officially gave up sugar in January (my husband immediately dropped 20 lbs) but I needed another push… I needed a gym I can love and truly get behind!  ENTER – Burn Boot Camp.  This place is dedicated to women and especially moms.  They have dedicated childcare and they are so motivating!  For the first time in a LONG time I felt a sense of community!  The work outs are 45 min long, you are in and out in an hour and trust me… they make it worth it!  I felt like I may die some days ha!!!

I started with a month groupon and then moved on to a 30 day challenge.  This was so the way to go and get myself motivated!  But, I will say that if you are there, you can’t help but be motivated…  all of the locations are full of energy, women working their hardest, before and afters, and motivational posters everywhere!  Below are a few that I designed incase this community would like to download full size and put up in their homes!

Full sizes are available for download here or by clicking the images below:  Strong Women, Machines, Fit Life

If you find a place near you, you will want to have some cute clothes to work out in… and no one likes a deal better than us!  Below are some fab finds we found that will not break the bank!

  1.  Work it out Tank – 2. Swell water bottle – 3. Pink Running Shorts – 4. Workout Pants – 5. Striped Sports Bra – 6. Gym Hair Tank

And don’t forget…you can’t workout and just eat whatever you want!

Some of our favorite healthy meals are below!

  1. Home Made fruit roll ups by Seasonally Jane
  2. Greek Turkey Burgers – a reader (and crowd) favorite
  3. Cheesy Balsamic Cucumber Tomato Salad
  4. Ah-Mazing Paleo Granola
  5. You Won’t Be Single Long – Sweet Potato Fries
new shops, baby, and life… oh my

new shops, baby, and life… oh my

Hey guys!

It’s Mandi… We are so excited to be back here on Sunny Slide Up!  We took a little time away, but I will tell you it was for good reason.  We all had a full plate and today I am happy to be able to share with you what I had going on.

As you all know, I have been running my own graphic design business, Dry Ink Designs, for almost 4 years now!  It has been an amazing journey that continues to grow.  I love design, I love everything logo and brand, and I love working with clients of all shapes and sizes to communicate their best selves graphically.

However, in my free time (we all have plenty of that, right) I caught myself drawing, experimenting with new pens, ink and paint.  I continued to push my hand lettering and calligraphy. I wanted an outlet to be able to share these with others and Etsy felt like the right fit!  It is a platform that allows me to easily sell world wide and I have had the most amazing luck so far!  Please go and like my page for all new items that I put up there!

hand lettered water color

baby stats nautical theme

baby quote for nursery with watercolor

As we get closer to the holiday season, I have had many people ordering these custom gifts for babies with first christmas, for loved ones with quotes and as gifts!  They turn out great who doesn’t love custom, one-of-a-kind items!

custom christmas ornament

 

I love packing off things to ship to their new homes, I love getting custom orders and work with people on making something special for their home!

I have also partnered with Little Ornery to do custom shirts for mamas and babies!  These are just to cute and you are going to want to snatch up one of everything!  How cute is this little one for Thanksgiving?

baby thanksgiving onesie

Here are a few more – I literally could live in these sweatshirts!

little ornery clothing

With all of this, you wouldn’t think it could get more exciting, but I tell you…  I have had the most amazing year not because of shirts or business, but this one special amazing little boy.

I didn’t know my heart had this capacity to love.  I didn’t know a smile so small could be so big and warm me to my core.  I didn’t understand that I no longer did for myself, but that I would do everything I do, with every ounce of my soul, for another person.  I love who I have become, I have fallen in love with my husband in a new, unexperienced way, and I live for each moment I get to see his special face.  I live now to see him live, see him grow grow and watch him learn.  He has all of our heart!

102815_hudson

102815_hudson2

How can he not with that face, right!

It is great to be back and I look forward to sharing more of our crazy journey and things that are happening!

In the meantime – follow my personal journey on Instagram and Facebook through Dry Ink Designs.

Mandi Heilig - Dry Ink Designs