Raleigh Travel Diary

Downtown Raleigh!

Stephen turned 27 exactly a month ago today!

To celebrate his birthday, we spent a wonderful and relaxing weekend in Raleigh, NC.

Smelling flowers in downtown Raleigh!We’re at an interesting point in our lives, because we don’t know where we want to move next. We are currently in a temporary place about 45 minutes south of Asheville, but we want to relocate to a bigger urban area within the next year. So the trip to Raleigh really had a dual purpose!

Since Stephen works from home (he is the founder and owner of a small tech company!) and I travel for work, we can basically go wherever we want to. This is a tiny bit overwhelming but mostly exciting and empowering!

When I googled “Best places to live in NC,” a good 90% of the cities listed were suburbs of the Research Triangle or suburbs of Charlotte. The Research Triangle is comprised of the cities Raleigh, Durham, and the towns Chapel Hill and Cary. After reading this article, this list, and a handful of others, we became increasingly interested in the Raleigh area!Me in downtown Raleigh!The area’s budding tech industry would make it perfect for Stephen’s career. The abundance of colleges in the area lends a youthful, lively and progressive flair. There is a happening arts scene and Durham has a pretty well-known annual film festival. The cost of living is friendly and we could afford to become homeowners in the next couple years. The schools are great for when we’re ready to have kids, too! Fountain in downtown Raleigh!We drove to Raleigh on Friday and stayed at the Hyatt Place in West Raleigh, which is where I shot this post. It was a great stay! Our room was lovely, the hotel gym was nice and empty, and they had a fantastic breakfast spread. They also had a super cute little bar, and a cool bartender who gave us some Raleigh/Durham recommendations. We were so happy it turned out, because we couldn’t stay in our first choice – the Raleigh Clarion. Our friends had stayed there previously and said it was great, so we really wanted to try it out, unfortunately they were fully booked.

Shooting a post in our hotel room!
Did you catch the Lounge & Lingerie & Life Lessons post?

Shooting a post in our hotel room!The first night was fun but uneventful. I brought some red wine from the hotel bar upstairs to my birthday boy, who grinned from the crisp white bed and proclaimed that wine, his wife, and the game on TV made him the happiest man in the world!

I chose to luxuriate in a wine-warmed nap instead of putting on makeup for dinner (the two above photos are from Sunday). When we’d slept off the travel of the day and cares of the week, we headed out for a late night bloomin’ onion, T-bone steak, and salted caramel cookie skillet at a nearby Outback.

The next day, we ate breakfast with a work friend of Stephen’s at Liquid State, where I enjoyed a cappuccino and a powdered sugar-drenched almond croissant. Stephen isn’t much of a breakfast person, but he is a caffeine person (aren’t we all?!), so he had a nice cup of coffee. We discovered after breakfast that it was chillier than expected, so we headed back to the Hyatt for my coat. I also changed from my go-to boots to my comfiest sneaks for exploring the city!

Crystal chandelier Croissant and cappuccino

Yellow chair outside Liquid State









We walked around downtown Raleigh, stopping to admire the dogwood blossoms around the state capital building. Dogwoods are one of my favorite flowers! I know I say that about a lot of flowers, but I seriously love them…

Dogwood blossoms

Me in downtown Raleigh!

We stopped into a gift shop and I couldn’t help but snap some pictures of these fantastic magnets. Two of the three appealed more to me and one appealed more to Stephen. Can you guess which? (Hint: I don’t like beer haha.)
Funny magnet! Funny magnet! Funny magnet!



Downtown Raleigh cityscape!

We ate an early dinner at The Raleigh Times, which was absolutely amazing. They had one of the most gorgeous bars I’ve seen in my life; it was imported and over 100 years old! It had thick, romantically decayed old mirrors and rich ornate carvings of lion heads. And it held some scrumptious champagne… which is always a nice feature of a bar! 😉

Stephen and I shared the Deviled Eggs, Devils on Horseback (bacon-wrapped goat cheese stuffed figs– SO SO GOOD!) and Times Nachos.


Sunday dawned semi-unexpectedly the next morning; the trip flew by as weekend getaways tend to do! I had a nice workout at the hotel gym and enjoyed their free breakfast. After we checked out, we split a frozen chai from Sheetz and drove around the Raleigh suburbs looking at the houses and neighborhoods.

Me with my frozen chai!
Cruising around the Raleigh burbs! My sweater was thrifted from a Milan street market, but if you’re into weirdly awesome green men’s polo sweaters, you’ll probably like this one. Nail polish and lip details listed below!

We loved both Cary and Apex! Apex had its own super cute downtown, whereas Cary seemed more like a purely surburb-y burb if that makes sense. Just my first impression though. I could see there being potential advantages to either!

Me braiding my hair in my ASOS sweater
When your arms hurt from hair braiding… Sweater is from ASOS; similar here, here and I LOVE this blush one

After having moved around a lot–both during our respective childhoods and as a couple–Stephen and I want the next place to be more of a Forever Home. Or at least a “larger chunk of forever than the last couple places have been” home.

We still want to do a similar trip to Charlotte, so if you’re familiar with the area, I’d love some suggestions!

I can’t wait to truly find “our city,” wherever that may be…

In the meantime I am embracing each moment of the journey with the recently-turned-27-year-old who is all the home I need in this world! <3

Me and my handsome hubby!

Speaking of people I love, I hope everyone had the most amazing Mother’s Day yesterday! Stephen and I took my mom and MIL to brunch in St. Pete a week ago for an early celebration while we were in town. I’ll post those pictures soon! We also bought each of them a bouquet of spray roses, and my sister got my mom this silk pillowcase, which she wanted after reading my April Mashup!

More on Mother’s Day and some recent mother-daughter bonding trips to come! My steal of a Macy’s order arrived yesterday, so I will have to do posts in my favorite new romper, my second fave new romper, and my new top soon too!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday! Thank you so much for reading!

xx, Maya

Outfit Details:

ASOS coat, old (similar, similar) / ASOS sweater (similar, similar) Beanie (under $4!) / Ran Bans

Blue Nail Polish / “Decadent Peach” lipstick / “Rosewine” lipstick (love the name, love roses, love wine, love the color, love the price… you will catch me in this one a lot!)

P.s. Two of the cheetah sweaters I linked to were from The Real Real! I shot a lookbook for them once; one of my favorite shoots so far! I can’t wait until my skin heals and I’m back in the modeling game…