Amazed at Animazement in Raleigh, N.C.

This past weekend, I attended the Animazement Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, N.C. and yes, it was amazing, as the name suggests.  I brought along 2 other tweens (who will also be posting their reviews here soon) who love anime.  Myself, I feel like I have a vague understanding of it.  I love the artwork and the creativity.  However, I never experienced the camaraderie among anime-devotees, until now.  I highly recommend this convention to anyone looking for an alternative, exciting and fun way to spend a day.

Upon entering Animazement,*  we were astounded by the vibrant, creative cosplayers who were dressed in their finest! Many of them made their own costumes, which were so complex and stunning, it underscored the time and effort it must have taken to produce such amazing outfits.  There was a fun interplay among the crowds here that anyone could enjoy with lots of photos being snapped.  It was a great welcome to the convention.

We started out by observing some of the interesting talks that were held throughout the building.  We watched a traditional tea ceremony and heard various artists speak about their inspiration and work. It was truly fascinating to hear their stories.

Next, we visited the Artist Exhibition.  This was awe inspiring, even for those who may not appreciate anime or art in general.  There were hundreds of artists with all types of artwork for sale, from original pieces and prints, to commissioned works and hand crafted items such as pins and plush toys.  The most interesting aspect to this part of the show was when the artists would draw and paint right in front of you.  It was amazing to see their creativity at work, and many were self-taught.

Finally, we attended the Vendors area.  This was a huge sea of anime shoppers and vendors, who were selling everything under the sun!  There were figurines, apparel, toys, gadgets, food items, stationery, costumes, books, wigs and more.  Many items were from other countries, such as Japan, which were so unusual and fun.  I even ended up purchasing a few items for myself.

Despite all of these wonderful experiences, I must say that the most pleasant of them all was the sense of community and camaraderie that you could feel while attending the convention. Even though there were crowds of people, everyone was so patient and kind.  Everywhere you looked, you saw strangers of all ages taking one another’s photographs, and sharing stories and experiences.  It was hard not to get caught up in this.  I now want to go to another convention and in fact, am taking my daughter to one in Virginia in mid-June.  I cannot wait to experience the fun all over again!

 

*I received complimentary Press Passes to this event.

Meet Debs, Your Local Antique Dealer at the Raleigh Flea Market & Antiques

 

I recently attended the weekly Raleigh Flea Market and Antiques Sale at the Fairgrounds on Blue Ridge Road.  I had been there previously, but today I was on the look out for art supplies for my artistic endeavors: mosaics.  If you have not yet been to the Raleigh Flea Market and Antiques, you are in for a great day of fun!

The Market boasts everything from antiques to junk to yard sale items, food and everything in between.  On this day, I discovered my favorite booth: a vintage hardware salvage dealer.  I had actually been there before but did not get to spend a whole lot of time there.  But today, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to peruse, undisturbed, for a long time.

During my hunt for treasures, I met Debs.  Debs is the owner of the vintage hardware salvage booth.  Debs was an art major, studying pottery in college, and later became a professional nanny.  One day, about 25 years ago, she was observing trucks as they hauled away large pieces of homes for demolition.  As a pottery major, Debs noticed some large pieces of elaborate, interesting tile.  She purchased the tile and a mantle, and then started to go from place to place to collect things she loved.  She made a business of selling the large pieces to decorators, interior designers and builders.  Eventually, she realized that the demolition items were too large so that it was impossible to continue to collect and store them; consequently, she decided to focus on the smaller items, such as drawer pulls, hinges, crystals from chandeliers, filigree pieces, door knobs, keys, etc.  She also has a ton of other ephemera at her booth, such as mahjong tiles, vintage pins/jewelry, old game pieces, watch faces, marbles, beads etc. It was so much fun to go through it all! (and I scored some great mosaic pieces too!)

Debs’ booth is currently located outside at booth 450.  You can find her by looking at the numbers on the ground that mark each booth.   If you have a chance, its definitely worth stopping by and saying hello.  She is a wonderful lady to talk to and has great stuff!   Don’t forget to check out the entire area, too, but wear comfortable shoes, bring a cart if you intend to buy, and get there early for the best parking.  Have fun!

 

New to Cary? Check out this Great New Resident Resource from the Town of Cary

Did you just relocate to Cary, North Carolina or have you moved within North Carolina to our great town?  If so, you should know about a great, informative website designed just for you.  If you go to http://www.townofcary.org/services-publications/new-to-cary you will be able to see all of the numerous services that the Town of Cary offers.  In addition, you can obtain important Town phone numbers, find out about the town board happenings, find out your garbage and recycling days, learn about recreation and more!  It is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about what the Town of Cary provides to its residents.  I think you will be impressed.

Real Estate Minute: 8 Things to Think About Before Buying a Home

Hi there! As you may know, I am a licensed real estate agent here in North Carolina.  Consequently, the “Real Estate Minute” is a biweekly post here on the Cary Connection; many of you who are relocating here to North Carolina send me questions about the process and about Cary and the surrounding cities and towns.  To that end, I will be posting guides to the real estate market here and offer suggestions, advice, recommendations and more.  So let’s get started.

8 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE BUYING A HOME

Most buyers will opt to get a home inspection when purchasing a house.  The inspection is, in my opinion, worth every single penny, as it can reveal the hidden issues that may exist underneath its beautiful, “HGTV”- like appearance.  However, there are other, practical considerations that are easy to overlook.  Nevertheless, here are 8 things one should also consider when buying a house.

Flow  This is something people forget.  I always suggest that you think of your typical day and review whether you can envision your routine in the house. 

Entranceways/Exitways to the home– I have seen some very unique placement of exterior doors- including one that opened up to a bedroom and a bathroom.  The ingress and egress to your house should be well planned and convenient. 

Smell– Seriously, take a big whiff.  Does anything smell funny? If so, can the source of the smell be identified?

Resale– Review how long you plan to remain living in the home; will you live here for a few years or long term?  In either case, what qualities does the home possess that will make for a lucrative resale?

East or West– Which direction does the home face?  This consideration can impact various things such as your energy bills and of course whether you have dark or bright rooms.

Monthly Home Expenses  When you make an offer, you know the cost of the home and likely a rough idea of your mortgage amount (if you are going that route).  But I cannot tell you the number of buyers who simply forget to get the details about the actual operating costs of keeping the home.  Ask for information, see if you can get copies of bills and/or call the local utility offices to get average usage if available.  Don’t forget to factor in the expense it takes for commuting to and from work.

Homeowners’ Associations  Take the time necessary to take a look at the homeowners’ association, if one exists for the subject property.  Ask to read the minutes, find out future plans for capital improvements, if any, and find out what rules exist that could impact the use of your home.

History of the Home– Take some time to try and learn what you can about the history of the home.  Specifically, you should find out whether the home was flipped.  If it was, you may possibly have a higher risk of substandard materials inside the walls, even though the exterior walls and features of the home appear perfect.

 

 

Looking Ahead: Expanding the Cary Connection Blog to Include All of N.C.

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Hello followers! Currently, we have various events, activities, interviews and more on our calendar for the upcoming summertime and we cannot wait! In addition, we are now featuring stories written by children and teens, in order to give a unique perspective to everything that this area (and beyond) has to offer.  We are also planning to explore all of North Carolina, from east to west and everything in between.  We have started a GoFundMe page at http://www.gofundme.com/help-the-cary-connection to help us get to a financial goal to enable us to bring the state’s best to you.  While we seek sponsorship always, there are some costs that are not covered.  Therefore, if you would help us with whatever you can donate, your help will assist to defray the expenses, such as gas, tolls, fees and accommodations.  ALL money not utilized will be donated directly to the “Fill Your Bucket List” Foundation.  This is an amazing organization of which I am a part of, which helps cancer patients to receive life long dreams.

If you are interested in helping us out, please visit our page to read more.  All donations of any size are appreciated.  As an added thank you, we will be mailing weekly postcards from our location to anyone who donates.

Thanks so much for considering helping us out!

Let’s Go! Koka Booth Amphitheatre!

Located at 8003 Regency Parkway, in Cary, North Carolina, is the Koka Booth Amphitheatre.  This Amphitheatre is tucked away among tall pine trees and hardwoods adjacent to beautiful Symphony Lake.  It opened in 2001, and since then, the Koka Booth Amphitheatre has had lots of memorable events and performances by everyone from Lady Antebellum to John Meyer and lots, lots more!

Several of the April and May upcoming events include:

  • Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival, 4/22/17
  • SPCA 2017 K9-3K Dog Walk/Woofstock Fundraiser, 4/23/17
  • Hob Nob Jazz Series, Tea Cup Gin, 5/3/17
  • Yolanda Rabun, 5/10/17

And this summer…….stupidsky

Paul Simon- 6/7/17

John Mellencamp- 6/28/17

Sturgil Simpson- 7/8/17

If you are interested in finding out more about Koka Booth Amphitheatre, visit their website at http://www.boothamphitheatre.com and tell them Cary Connection sent you!

 

 

 

 

Jessica Schubert, Realtor- About Me

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Hi there! I have received some questions about my background and I have decided to include a little post about me so my readers can know the person behind the blog!

I am originally from New York- Mattituck, to be precise.  Mattituck is a small town on the North Shore of Long Island, full of wineries, farming, the beach and more.  I have lived in Boston, Chicago, Connecticut and other areas of Long Island before relocating here to Cary, North Carolina.  I had the opportunity to move here with my daughter, so I took it!

Before becoming a full time real estate agent, I worked full time as a fashion designer and product manager.  A few years later, I went to law school and became an attorney.  In New York, I worked as an Assistant Town Attorney for a large town for approximately 11 years, as well as having my own private practice focusing on real estate transactions.  I enjoyed working with my real estate clients so much, and saw a need for a broker who can also advocate and look out for their clients’ best interests.  I am also a licensed real estate agent in New York.

Currently I am a full time real estate broker here in Cary, North Carolina, at Fonville Morisey Preston.  I focus on residential real estate and love working with my clients.  Many of the people I work with as clients have relocated to Cary and the surrounding areas like I did, and that is something I understand intimately! Whether you would like to learn more about Cary and the surrounding areas, as well as rent, buy or sell a home here, please let me know and I would be delighted to work with you! My phone number is 919-699-1410, my email is jschubert@fmrealty.com and I am also on Facebook as well as Instagram (@jessica_schubert_realtor).

On a more personal level, I am passionate about art and work on mosaics almost daily.  I love traveling, going to different restaurants and museums, antiques, photography, cooking, reading, iced tea, Starbucks, a warm blanket and the ocean.  So if you need advice on these things- let me know! 🙂

 

 

 

Let’s Go LEGO! BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention Comes to Raleigh

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Who doesn’t like LEGOS? Ok, maybe at the moment you step on a few left behind by your kids, you aren’t the biggest fan! Seriously, though, LEGOS are awesome.  If you and your children are LEGO fans, get ready, because the BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center in April 8-9, 2017!

The Convention will be the largest one yet, according to event management. Professional LEGO artists will be there to speak with attendees about their lives, how to become a LEGO master builder and of course, to show off their jaw-dropping designs. There will also be plenty of LEGO creations built by fans to delight everyone who visits.

In addition, BrickUniverse will have lots of opportunities for building with LEGOS, including head-to-head building completions. There will be lots of fun for everyone in your family; even your younger children can get in on the fun with a special Duplo area designed just for them.

At the time of publishing this post, there are still tickets available for both Saturday and Sunday, but they are expected to sell out.  You can purchase tickets at http://www.brickuniverse.org/raleigh. Have a great time!

USA Today Awards Bond Brothers in Cary the Best New Brewery in the Country

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If you like beer, you have come to the right area! There are many breweries in the Raleigh-Durham area, including right here in Cary, North Carolina. In fact, the best new brewery in the entire country is located in Downtown Cary, according to USA Today.

Bond Brothers, who define themselves on their website as a “NC craft brewery and taproom…dedicated to producing high-quality ales and sours,” features some very cool drafts. Blackberry Raspberry Sorcery, Triumph of Death or Expendable Income are just a few of the enticing offerings. The Brewery also has a regular line up of some of the area’s best food trucks, so you we sure to enjoy a great pairing!

You can visit the Bond Brothers Brewery at 202 East Cedar Street, in Downtown Cary. Have fun!

Let’s Go To The Duke Lemur Center!

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When I first relocated to Cary, North Carolina, I was familiar with lemurs from watching the movie “Madagascar” with my daughter.  Of course, the animated lemurs were adorable and funny, and I loved them.  That was the extent of my knowledge.  However, I discovered much more about lemurs- and how much I love them- by taking a visit to the Duke Lemur Center.

The Duke Lemur Center is located in Durham, North Carolina on 80 wooded acres.  It originally started as a collaboration of two biologists who were studying mammals and lemurs.  The Center has created the largest living collection of endangered primates in the world.  Currently, the Center features 250 individual lemurs of 21 species.  The Center studies extensive areas, such as lemur genetics, behaviors and physiology to name a few.

Words really cannot do the Duke Lemur Center justice, but I will try my best to explain how incredible this place is.  First, I must tell you-you must make an appointment to visit the Center, as they limit the number of tours and guests daily.  It is easy to make the appointment, just call or email the Center.

Upon arrival, you will travel down a gravel path which opens up to a parking area.  You will notice the high fences along the wooded area on your left. These are to help contain the free-roaming lemurs who get to be released into the woods daily.  If you look, you may even see a few as you drive in.  Once you park, you will probably see them right near the fencing. They are quite interested in their visitors and walk around the perimeter of the fenced area to check you out.

Prior to entering the lemur area, you are required to watch a short film about lemurs and the extinction risks.  You will also pay admission here, give donations and visit the gift shop.  Thereafter, you will proceed to a tour of the facility.

You will discover that there are SO many different kind of lemurs.  I was quite surprised by that.  The lemurs are all shapes and sizes and they all have different personalities.  There were a few that really liked to interact with us.  Also, at the end of the tour, there were baby lemurs kept in a special building where the light is low; you have to look very carefully to see the babies but they are adorable.

As mentioned above, there are lemurs that are let out into the fenced in wooded area during the day.  In the early evening, the Center personnel bang on large drums.  This drumming attracts the lemurs, who come running back home.  It is really something to see!

The Duke Lemur Center is a great family activity.  I have yet to meet anyone, of any age, who doesn’t just love the time they spend there.  I hope you will make an appointment and go visit the lemurs.  You will not be disappointed!