Local Happenings- December 13-20

Wilmington, Hampstead and New Bern Its the weekend, which means it’s time to kick back and have some fun! Check back every Friday for upcoming events

Cape Fear Festival of Trees https://www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-tickets?fbclid=IwAR28l6z5WWKv8GTlk36QL5Q5stgNmSbOlhC7qKUYS3ueE5ahbVWp31QF_dY

Marina Village Holiday Market 12/13 https://www.facebook.com/events/422074625367969/

Merry Little Christmas Festival @ Poplar Grove Plantation 12/13-12/15 https://www.facebook.com/events/1011716545853066/

A Living Nativity 12/13 6pm-9pm https://www.facebook.com/events/492879564913147/

Women’s Climb night @ Wilmington Rock Gym https://www.facebook.com/events/572921276561626/?event_time_id=572921309894956

ELF the musical @ Thalian Hall https://www.facebook.com/events/2344453002549948/

William H. Craig Race for Life https://www.facebook.com/events/2219006958317966/

Christmas Belles: A Candlelight Christmas Celebration https://www.facebook.com/events/2379694228979618

Kindness Matters: Teen/Tween Yoga Class https://www.facebook.com/events/964414700603854/

Toys for Tots Comedy Show Charity Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1140968849426152/

Seaglass Christmas Tree Class https://www.facebook.com/events/2672587456136203/

Let me know if you would like to add your own event each Friday!

Local Happenings for Wilmington and Hampstead- December 6-8

Its the weekend, which means it’s time to kick back and have some fun! Check back every Friday for upcoming weekend events

Cape Fear Festival of Trees https://www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-tickets?fbclid=IwAR28l6z5WWKv8GTlk36QL5Q5stgNmSbOlhC7qKUYS3ueE5ahbVWp31QF_dY

Friday December 6, Rusted Root at The Reel Cafe https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/14505/reel-cafe?fbclid=IwAR1FoDOxsadD9AgfATF9prt5QFvbn-79HjTiO8OzuJh4Bgf697SMhW1Rr4U

Merry Little Christmas Festival @ Poplar Grove Plantation https://www.facebook.com/events/1011716545853066/

Ugly Sweater Party @ Salty Turtle Beer Co. https://www.facebook.com/events/530013127812337/

Live music at Riverfront’s Downtown Farmers Market https://www.facebook.com/events/3171018892972325/

Holiday Flea market @ Brooklyn Arts Museum https://www.facebook.com/events/2370121853032048/?event_time_id=2370121856365381

Holiday Market @ Tidal Creek https://www.facebook.com/events/740121489732762/

Let me know if you would like to add your own event each Friday!

Local Hot Spot of the Week

Just stopped in to a new local coffee shop this morning and had the best Peanut Butter Cup smoothie with chocolate protein. Just Brew It is locally owned and operated and offers fresh coffee, teas, baked goods and smoothies with a laid back atmosphere.

Do yourself a favor and stop in. The staff was super friendly too. What a great addition to Hampstead, NC. https://www.facebook.com/jbicoffee/

Local Happenings for Wilmington and Hampstead- November 22-24

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Its the weekend, which means it’s time to kick back and have some fun! Check back every Friday for upcoming weekend events

Cape Fear Festival of Trees https://www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-tickets?fbclid=IwAR28l6z5WWKv8GTlk36QL5Q5stgNmSbOlhC7qKUYS3ueE5ahbVWp31QF_dY

Hampstead Kiwanis Park Turkey Trot https://its-go-time.com/hampsteadkiwanisturkeytrot/?fbclid=IwAR3KwndRpxy0C__sV5qjLDgT5CeOYkpqKMSs90Q0b57gVdp7UYCMgK2lyLE

Art for the Masses @ UNCW https://www.facebook.com/events/515655832537199/

Santa Arrival and Holiday Show @ Mayfaire Town Centre https://www.facebook.com/events/821292181634226/

RISE: A night of Worship @ Coastal Community Baptist https://www.facebook.com/events/2479818922139712/

Pinnochio @ Wilson Center https://www.facebook.com/events/442776196338616/

Family Climb Night @ Wilmington Rocking Climbing https://www.facebook.com/events/294334174556891/?event_time_id=294334197890222

Pet adoption Fair and Food Drive https://www.facebook.com/events/539437130001611/

Live music at Riverfront’s Downtown Farmers Market https://www.facebook.com/events/3171018892972325/

Holiday Pop Up Boutique @ Topsail Middle School https://www.facebook.com/events/2231207243845629/

Let me know if you would like to add your own event each Friday!

Wilmington and Hampstead Restaurants for Thanksgiving

Don’t want to prepare your Thanksgiving meal this year? Let someone else do the cooking for you. Here are several local restaurants cooking it for you this year!
  1. Henry’s Restaurant 910-793-2929
  2. Bluewater Waterfront Grill 910-256-8500
  3. Sweet and Savory 910-256-0115
  4. Bridge Tender 910-256-4519
  5. Casey’s Buffet 910-798-2913
  6. Village Cafe 910-821-1234

Wilmington NC 2018 Holiday Events

Coastal North Carolina: A great place to live and visit during the holiday season

christmas balls

 Although, the weather may be a little cooler and the days are shorter, there is so much to do in our community this holiday season. Make sure to take time from the hustle and enjoy quality time with loved ones this holiday season at one or more of these local events.

 Cameron Art Museum

Floating Lantern Ceremony, December 9, 2018, 4-7 PM

open to the public at no charge (donations are appreciated). Lantern sleeves are available for purchase ($10 through Dec. 8, $15 on Dec. 9).

Remembrance, Reflection & Gratitude. Imagine hundreds of paper lanterns floating on water and glowing warmly from candlelight. Together, they become a soulful display of community spirit. Participants are encouraged to personalize a paper lantern sleeve to float on CAM’s Reflecting Pond as an expression of Remembrance, Reflection and Gratitude. Live music inside the museum and on the grounds enhance the late afternoon/early evening setting. Festive food and beverages from CAM Café available for purchase.

 Cameron Art Museum

Two Great events at Wilmington Railroad Museum

Polar Express Family Shows, December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 – 4:30 and 5:30 pm

Enjoy the season with a reading of the classic story by WWAY-TV personalities, visit with Santa, and sip on hot chocolate afterward.
Call (910) 763-2634 to reserve and pay for your tickets.
By prepaid reservation, only $5 each, children under age 2 free.

 Christmas Train & Light Spectacular, Friday and Saturday Evening and the day after Christmas from 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM. Nov. 30, Dec. 1-29

A great walk-through show that will charm all ages. 
Come on down to see festive synchronized light & sound displays,
specially decorated holiday trains running on twilight layouts,
visits with Santa, sensational decorations, and hot cider and cookies afterward.

Wilmington Railroad museum

Airlie Gardens

Enchanted Airlie

A New Hanover County tradition since 2005, visit Airlie Gardens from Thanksgiving to Christmas to take in the sparkling sights and festive sounds of the season. Guests will experience a 0.5m stroll through the Gardens, on a self-guided walking tour while feasting their eyes on a spectacular array of lights and holiday displays. Also in attendance, Santa Claus himself, and a few local food and beverage vendors with hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, beer, wine and more!  Tickets will sell out in advance so reserve yours early! 

Enchanted Airlie Tickets

Mikes Farm

Ho Ho Christmas Show: November 23-December 22

Old fashioned cooking followed by a musical variety show of Christmas Classics with a touch of comedy. Top the night off with our Festival of Lights Hayride. It will be an evening the whole family will enjoy! Held Wednesday through Saturday from Doors open 30 minutes prior to your meal.

Festival of Lights Hayride:  Thanksgiving night-December 23rd

Encore will be held December 26th-December 29th.Festival of Lights Hayride is a 30 minute hayride around the farm accompanied by Christmas music. Along the way are lighted holiday scenes and a live nativity. Held nightly (weather permitting) starting  First hayride goes out nightly at 6:00. Cost is $9.00 for ages 5 and up. No reservations needed.

Mikes Farm info and tickets 

Greenfield Tree Lighting & ELF Movie

Friday, Nov. 30 Starts at 5:15 @ Greenfield Amphitheater 

A free family event featuring entertainment, tree lighting and visits with Santa. Refreshments are available for sale. Elf movie will be featured at 7:00                             Tree lighting and movie information

Downtown Holiday Parade

December 2, 2018 at 6 pm in Historic Downtown Wilmington

Grab an early dinner at one of Wilmington’s local downtown  restaurants before enjoying a parade of lights, holiday music, marching, and Santa as residents and local venues parade around and spread holiday joy through historic downtown Wilmington. The Wilmington Holiday Parade will begin at North Front and Walnut streets and travel south on Front Street, ending at Church Street.
Parking is available in either the Market Street deck or the 2nd Street deck beginning at 5 p.m. for $2. On-street parking is free on Sundays. Parade information

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Santa’s Magical Morning 8:00 – 9:30 am, Saturday, December 15

Enjoy a donut breakfast while Santa dives in the Cape Fear Shoals with his aquatic friends. Wonder at true tales of Santa’s North Pole neighbors and polar pals. Enjoy holiday storytime with Mrs. Claus and don’t be surprised by the giggles of glee when the jolly old elf presents a specially selected gift to each child. Breakfast will include holiday-themed donuts, provided by Wake and Bake Donuts, yogurt, juice, milk, coffee and hot chocolate.

2018 Cape Fear Festival of Trees 9 am-5 pm November 19-January 2

The Lower Cape Fear Hospice hosts this beloved tradition amidst the inspiring backdrop of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Thanks to the generosity of the presenting sponsor First Citizens Bank, visitors delight in dozens of dazzling, decorated trees in a unique aquatic setting. All visitors who purchase a general admission ticket to the Aquarium will also experience this festive event!                                                         Aquarium events

Holiday Shows

A Christmas Carol December 7th – 16th, 2018 @ Main Stage Thalian Hall
Friday & Saturday 7:30 pm & Sunday 3 pm

Based on the story by Charles Dickens, broadway heavy hitters Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) and Lynn Ahrens, breathe fantastic new life into the classic tale of A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge, a prosperous curmudgeon, is forced to face his selfish ways when three ghosts on Christmas Eve lead him through his Past, Present and Future.                                                                                                                                    Christmas Carol Tickets

The Great Wilmington Nutcracker December 15-16 @ the Wilson Center

United States International Ballet and Wilmington Ballet Company present The Great Wilmington Nutcracker at the Wilson Center. The production is under the leadership of Italian Ballet Stars, Walter Angelini and Ines Albertini, and features more than 30 professional dancers from five countries including local youth dancers and athletes from the Special Olympics.  Purchase tickets

A Merry Little Christmas Festival

December 14- 16th @ Poplar Grove Plantation Friday, 5-8 pm; Saturday, 12-8 pm; Sunday, 12-5 pm

Enjoy a Merry Little Christmas Festival, a European Winter Bazaar experience featuring arts and craft vendors, a bonfire for roasting marshmallows, visits with Santa, lawn games, and outdoors screenings of The Polar Express, A Christmas Story, and Elf. The grounds and barnyard will be decorated with seasonal vignettes and and the manor house will be open for evening candlelit tours. A Merry Little Christmas information

I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy some of these amazing events and have a wonderful holiday season. Know of an awesome event that’s not listed? I would love to hear your feedback and I can add it here.

I have been a resident of Wilmington NC  for 18 years and have seen our coastal community grow into the thriving city that it is. Wilmington is known for it’s pristine beaches, local venues, and strong community. Feel free to reach out with questions about our area, special events and any real estate needs. www.aleaburke.kwrealty.com 

Valentines Day: Why Do We Celebrate?



Every year around this time, my husband and I have the same conversation. The conversation usually starts with me asking what the point of Valentines Day is, and why do we actually celebrate this day? He, being the romantic that he is, thinks I’m pretty cynical about this day. He actually likes Valentines day and buys me beautiful flowers, which I do actually love and appreciate. Today, I decided to do a little research about the controversial day of February 14 to find out exactly how it started.

According to similar articles on History.com and NPR, it seems that the reason we celebrate is possibly based on legend of Catholic St. Valentine secretly marrying couples after Emperor Claudius II had forbidden soldiers to marry. It was his belief that love and marriage made the men weak. Another theory, is  that the Christian church decided to place Valentines Day in the middle of the month to “tone down” the Pagen celebration of the Lupercalia festival. Eventually, it seems the days became intertwined. Shakespeare (imagine that) ended up writing a love letter to his “Valentine” which possibly caught  on, establishing cards and love letters. It’s all very interesting really but does it denote an actual day or chocolates, over priced flowers and heart shaped stuffed animals?  I suppose my gripe has to do with the commercialism and the expectations of one day. Shouldn’t we be showing love and appreciation everyday? Do we really need another commercialized holiday to show someone that we care?

So, after my research, I’m not sure if I’m any less cynical about Valentines day.  Am I solo in this? What do you think? Should Valentines day be a big deal? Do you love it or hate it?

If you’re curious about Valentines day, check out the history of how  Valentine’s day came to be.

Happy Valentine’s Day from cynical me.


Kick Off Your Day with My Version of Butter Coffee

A few years ago I heard about bullet proof coffee or butter coffee from an old co-worker. His description of the ingredients included the brand of bullet proof coffee beans, MCT oil and ghee. If you are like me and a coffee enthusiast, a big cup of coffee in the morning is what you need to get your day started. At first I thought, “butter in my coffee, that’s gross and fattening.”

However, after a little bit of research, I decided to give it a try.  I ended up trying out a version of butter coffee, it was okay. I used coconut oil and regular butter. Eventually, I went back to my cup of joe with a ton of flavored creamer because it was easier. Also, I cut corners in the recipe so I don’t think that I actually got the health benefits or flavor that are intended.

So, the other day I was in Whole Foods and stumbled upon this, Bullet Proof, Brain octane Oil. It was was looking at me straight in the face and said, “hey remember that butter coffee from a few years ago?” Since, I am on a new health kick and thought it would be a good alternative to my chemical ridden coffee creamer, I put it in my cart.

I thought it would be cool to share the recipe because honestly, I’m hooked. It’s tastes so much better than that creamer I’m used to. The process is a little daunting at first but the taste is so worth it! Once you get the routine down it only takes a few more minutes before you get your caffeine fix.


  • Brain Octane oil,  You can substitute coconut oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • freshly brewed coffee
  • Ground CinnamonButter Coffee ingredients

The ingredients to magic coffee

Step 1:                                                                                                                                                   Brew Coffee to your liking and add to blender, you can also use a submersion blender if you  like but it could get messy.

Step 2:                                                                                                                                                        Add 1-2 tablespoons of ghee to hot coffee.

Step 3:                                                                                                                                                        Add 1 tablespoon of MCT Oil to freshly brewed coffee (I used the bullet proof brand although, their are other brands available) coconut oil is another option. You may want to start off with a smaller amount to acclimate your body.

Step 4:                                                                                                                                                      Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.

Step 5:                                                                                                                                                        Blend for at least 30 seconds until frothy.

Pour into your favorite coffee mug and sprinkle with cinnamon if you like.                           Sip, and enjoy.

Combined ingredients Butter coffee

Butter coffee
Butter coffee with cinnamon

Let me know what you think of this recipe with your comments. Enjoy your day!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor.Just an advocate for healthy living and and mind body wellness. As always check with your doctor when adding supplements to your diet. This blog is personal opinion and developed from my own personal research.

Bookworms: Some Excellent Reading


Do you love to read?  I could sit all day relaxing and reading a good book. Here are a few of the most recent and favorites over the past few years. Check out some of the titles and leave a comment with some of your favorite books. I am always looking for something new to read.


 Favorite Fiction Books and Memoirs

  1. All the Light We Cannot See: Anthony Doerr
  2. In a Dark, Dark Wood: Ruth Ware
  3. The Woman in Cabin 10: Ruth Ware
  4. The Hypnotists Love Story: Lianne Moriarty
  5. Behind Closed Doors: B.A.Paris
  6. Big Little Lies: Liane Moriarty
  7. The Alchemist: Paulo Coelho
  8. Adultery: Paulo Coelho
  9. Truly Madly Guilty: Liane Moriarty
  10. The Gold Finch: Donna Tartt
  11. The Glass Castle: Jeannette Wells
  12. Love Warrior: Glennon Doyle Melton
  13. Carry On Warrior: Glennon Doyle Melton
  14. The Help: Kathryn Stockett
  15. Beautiful Boy: David Sheff
  16. A Man Called Ove: Fredrik Backman
  17. Night: Elie Weisel

For the Love of Yoga

  1. How Yoga Works: Gesne Michael Roach
  2. Wheels of Life: Anodea Judith, PH.D
  3. Light on Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar
  4. Meditations From the Mat: Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  5. Living Your Yoga: Judith Lasater
  6. The Yoga Bible: Christina Brown
  7. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: Deepak Chopra & David Simon


  1. The Happiness Project: Gretchen Rubin
  2. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids will Talk: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  3. The Four Agreements: Don Miguel Ruiz
  4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff & It’s All Small Stuff: Richard Carlson, PH.D

If you’re looking for a good series to read with the kids I recommend the Harry Potter series. My daughter and I are currently on book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

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