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Beer & Bacon Festival Comes to Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC you can enjoy the Beer & Bacon Festival on March 28th from 12-6pm. This is the second annual festival, and last year’s fest was a huge hit but it was just the beginning.

WHAT’S COOKING:

  • Guests enjoy a souvenir glass plus 75+ of their favorite international beers and wines.
  • T-Shirts! The first 100 Guests in line for EACH SESSION receive a FREE “COLLECTIBLE Bacon” T-Shirt to celebrate the show.
  • VIP Beer and Bacon Admission will host over 15 restaurant tasting stations featuring the BEST restaurants in the Triangle. They will be on-hand vying for the $500 Best Bacon Dish Prize. (VIP Beer & Bacon Session food tastings included, regular beer tasting session food is ala carte.)
  • 2 tons of gourmet bacons  will be griddled on-site (until 3pm).
  • The Main Stage will host live music all day.
  • A Whole Hog Butchering 101 Class will be hosted on the Main Stage at approximately 3:00 by The Butchers Market! Your neighborhood butcher shop and specialty grocer.
  • All of this plus fun foodie exhibits and so much more!

What’s NEW:

  • More Bacon. We’ve increased our samples from all the participating restaurants.
  • We’ve doubled the Griddled Bacon Stations
  • The VIP Beer and Bacon Session will host more specialty beers and drinks than last year.

#HowYouLive

More information - beerandbacon.com

Keep Celebrating St. Patty’s Day at the Irish Festival this Weekend – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC and are not done celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, no problem! Don't miss the St. Patrick's Day Irish Festival at Lafayette Village on Saturday March 21, from 11 am to 4 pm.

Show your green for a total immersion into an Irish experience. Far different than other rowdy “Wearing of the Green” celebrations, this Irish Festival is an unforgettable event for the entire family, offering an entertaining, fun-filled peek into Irish culture. Activities abound for children and adults alike, all revolving around Irish traditions, myths, legends and historical characters.

Scriptorium: Learn to write with a quill pen, color an illuminated letter, and help teach about manuscripts and how the Irish helped to save civilization.

Brass Rubbings: Young guests can create their own brass rubbings at our crafts tent.

Irish Myths & Legends: Characters from Irish mythology take some time to share legends and stories with young attendees. St. Patrick himself will even make the rounds throughout the day.

Irish Quest: Young adventurers will journey throughout Lafayette Village to gather clues and treasure to complete the quest and earn a token and certificate!

The Tavern at the Sign of the Oak and Acorn: Visit our recreated British tavern where you can learn all about pastimes in the days when iPhones and PSP’s didn’t yet exist. Games of chance and skills are taught, and outdoor historic games on the lawn are also available for family play. Here guests will also hear Irish folktales and stories. Housed in our replica 20’ x 20’ medieval pavilion.

Music and Dance: Our music and dance groups will combine to present 30 minute presentations of traditional Irish folk music and dance at designated times throughout the day (in between music sets on the main stage). The demonstrations will include audience participatory folk dances.

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wral.com

St. Patrick's Day Parade & Wearin' O' the Green Festival – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC you can enjoy the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Wearin' 'O the Green Festival on March 14, 2015. The festival has lots of food and drink, activities for kids on Leprechaun Lane. The Irish Village will have Celtic inspired jewelry and arts and crafts. Live music will be on the Shamrock 'n Roll Stage and Pipers and Dancers will be at the Celtic Street Stage all afternoon!

Line the streets for the 33rd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade as it winds its way down Wilmington Street to Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh beginning at 10 a.m. Look for dancers, pipers and community groups – likely in a sea of green.

When the Parade is over the Festival begins!

The Wearin' 'O the Green Festival is held on City Plaza at the south end of Fayetteville Street in downtown, along with some of the neighboring streets.  There will be lots of live music and dancing, food and children’s activities.  There is lots of fun along Leprechaun Lane with a bounce house and kiddie rides.  Shop the various vendor and craft booths and there will be also lots of food and refreshments!

#HowYouLive
More information - newsobserver.com and raleighstpats.org

Raleigh is a Best Place in NC to Grow Old

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 04, 2015

If you are considering renting an apartment in Raleigh, NC now there is an even better reason to move here.

The Raleigh metro is just shy of the top 50 large metros in the U.S. for "successful aging" – and the highest in N.C. – according to a new report by the Milken Institute.

Raleigh (which presumably includes Cary) is No. 56, Charlotte is No. 78, Winston-Salem is No. 79 and Greensboro-High Point is No. 88 on the list.

The rankings are based on multiple factors: Cost of living, crime rate, employment growth, unemployment rate, income distribution, weather and the percentage of binge drinkers.

On the Milken Institute's list of the best small metros, Durham-Chapel is No. 41, Greenville is No. 52, Wilmington is No. 155 and Asheville is No 175. (Note: The percentage of binge drinkers was not factored into the small metro rankings.)

For more information on Auston Grove Apartment Homes, contact us.

#HowYouLive

bizjournals.com

Reasons To Rent Instead of Buy - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 26, 2015

With any major decision in life, there are pros and cons to consider, and the right decision depends on what your particular priorities in life are. Deciding whether or not to buy a house definitely fits that bill.

If you plan on being in the same city for the next several decades, want to customize your home in any way, want to be able to have any pets you want, and don't mind the commitment of a mortgage, owning is probably the best way to go. However, there are some perks that renters enjoy; here's a list of a few of them.

1. Smaller time commitment

One of the biggest perks of renting as opposed to owning a home is the relatively small time commitment involved. The longest lease for an apartment is two years.

In contrast, most mortgages are either 15 or 30-year commitments, making renting an excellent choice for those who anticipate some instability in their lives. Is it possible you could get transferred to another city? Considering a family? Going back to school? These are all good reasons to give yourself the flexibility of a shorter time commitment.

That way, if you need to leave, it's simply a matter of waiting out the rest of your lease. In most cases, even if you need to break a lease, it can be done for a penalty of a month's rent.

2. Maintenance

The amount of maintenance that goes along with home ownership is one of the least favorite thing about owning for most people. This is especially true if the home you own is more than a few years old.

In an apartment or rented home, the landlord generally takes care of all maintenance issues, eliminating the possibility of massive unforeseen expenses that can come with ownership. It is nice to know that if your home needs maintenance, it won't cost you a dime.

3. Limited financial risk

Aside from the absence of any maintenance expenses, renting your home eliminates other types of risk as well.  You are generally protected from massive swings in the mortgage market.

4. One bill to pay

Home ownership has a lot of extra expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and closing costs that don't contribute to paying down the principal. In some locations, these can get very pricy.

5. The freedom to leave

The biggest perk of renting is the freedom to move around.  Selling a home right now is extremely difficult in many areas of the country.

In a rental situation, as long as your lease is up, you can go somewhere else for any reason, and not just when you're moving a long distance. Having another baby? Rent a bigger home. Don't like your landlord? Go find a new one. Did you get a higher-paying job? Get a nicer place to live!

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove Apartment Homes.

#HowYouLive
Daily Finance

Raleigh is One of the Best Cities for Valentine's Day

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC then you might just have a great Valentine's Day.

Is Raleigh a great place for romance? Maybe so, according to a new study.

Valentine's Day can be an expensive day for some, and so WalletHub ranked the top American metropolitan areas for Valentine's Day. The website scored the cities based on budget, activities, gift accessibility and weather forecast.

The overall winner – no surprise – was San Francisco, which ranked first for activities and accessibility. Seattle was second overall and Orlando third.

But Raleigh ranked No. 30 overall, ahead of Los Angeles (34) and Charlotte (36). That's in the top half folks!

Raleigh ranked 20th for budget, 37th for activities, 43rd for accessibility and 82nd for weather forecast.

Ranked No. 100? Hmmm – Detroit.

#HowYouLive
wncn.com

Most Romantic Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC now is the time to decide where you are going to to celebrate Valentine's Day. Here are some of the most romantic  restaurants in Raleigh, NC.

1.  Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

The romance starts with the historic victorian home that houses this four diamand award-winning restaurant. This restaurant has it all from roaring fireplaces in the dining rooms, to a spectacular menu and wine list, to top notch service. It's not inexpensive -- I have a friend who nicknamed it Second Mortgage -- but you'll have a beautiful and memorable evening. Make the evening super spectacular and combine dinner with theater tickets. Second Empire actually has a shuttle that will drop you off at the Performing Arts Center and bring you back so you don't have to deal with parking.

2.  Herons Restaurant

Located inside The Umstead Hotel in Cary, Heron's is an elegant and delicious dining experience. The artful decor is complemented by a creative menu that's exquisitely presented. Want to know more about Heron's? Check out Food & Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and Southern Living, just to name a few. More »

3.  Rey's Restaurant

Rey's is self-described as fine dining with a French-quarter flare. The feel is upscale with white tablecloths, candle lamps, and upholstered chairs. It makes consistent appearances on many of the Triangle's "most romantic" lists.

4.  Solas

This place makes the list because of it's third floor rooftop bar that overlooks downtown, but the first floor restaurant does pretty well in the romance department as well. Check out the chef's 3-course $29 tasting menu. They also offer a gluten-free/vegetarian menu. More »

5.  The Mint

The Mint, located at One Exchange Place in downtown Raleigh, gets it's name from it's former incarnation as a bank. The restaurant combines metropolitan decor and atmosphere with "globally influenced" southern dining. Don't miss the eXchange bar. This place gets extra romance points for it's plentiful outdoor seating.

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About Travel

Triangle Restaurant Week - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 26, 2015

If you live in an apartment  in Raleigh, NC you should start making plans (and reservations) for Triangle Restaurant Week  which starts today and runs through Feb. 1.

Participating restaurants in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Morrisville and Apex will offer a special, three-course prix fixe lunch menu for $15 or a three-course prix fixe dinner menu for $20, $25 or $30 depending on the restaurant. Some will offer both lunch and dinner options. (Prices do not include beverage, tip or tax.) No matter your taste, there's bound to be a location that suits it—French, Indian, Greek, American, Cajun and Spanish are among the cuisines represented on the list of restaurants involved.

Triangle Restaurant Week has grown to include more than 75 of the area's restaurants. It won't just be restaurants this year, though. Raleigh's Crank Arm Brewery is taking part with a special "Beer Sunday" kickoff event on Sunday, Jan. 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This annual event offers diners a way to check out restaurants at a reasonable cost. Participating restaurants across the Triangle offer a three-course lunch menu for $15 and a three-course dinner menu for $20-$30.

To see the entire list of restaurants, go to www.trirestaurantweek.com. Reservations are recommended, as spots fill up fast.

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Indy Week

Renting May Be a Faster Road to Riches – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Are you better off buying or renting a home? If you've listened to the traditional advice, you're likely to believe buying is the better choice, providing tax benefits and giving you a leg up on long-term wealth. However, a new study by HelloWallet contends that the buy vs. rent equation has been tainted by bad assumptions.

Many buy-vs.-rent calculators overestimate the tax benefits of buying and underestimate the amount investors could earn on other investments, according to the study. In reality, median income families -- those earning roughly $50,000 annually -- got no federal tax benefit from homeownership in 75 percent of the cities studied.

On average, these households would build 50 percent more wealth over a 10-year period by renting, according to the HelloWallet research. Moreover, more than half of U.S. homeowners purchased their homes during a time when they would have been better off renting and investing the difference, according to the report.

"Workers need to take a hard look at other investment choices before deciding to buy a home," says Matt Fellowes, founder and CEO of HelloWallet. "Employer sponsored retirement or health savings programs, 529 college savings plans, or even IRAs may be more effective vehicles for families to build wealth and get ahead."

The conclusion of HelloWallet's 25-page study is that the best way to determine whether you're better off buying or renting is to calculate your "rent-to-price" ratio. If that ratio is under 5 percent, rent. If it's over, you should buy.

In other words, if you could rent a $500,000 home for less than $2,083 a month (or $24,996 a year -- just under 5 percent of the home's value), renting is likely to be the best deal. If renting would cost more -- say 7 percent of the cost of buying, or $2,900 a month -- buying is likely to be the smarter economic choice, particularly when you factor in that rents are likely to increase over time.

Of course, the biggest challenge of looking at the buy vs. rent equation is that it involves a lot of variables -- like how long you'll stay in the home, home price appreciation over that time, the returns you could earn on alternate investments over the same period, the relative cost of rent vs. a mortgage, and whether you will be able to make full use of tax deductions provided to homeowners. Making even minor changes in these assumptions -- such as assuming that someone won't itemize deductions after buying -- can swing the math.

Moreover, real people don't necessarily act like mathematical calculations assume they will. The calculators all assume that renters and buyers "invest" the same amount of cash in a home or another type of investment.

For example, if the buyer puts $50,000 in a down payment and spends $3,000 a month on his mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance, the formula will assume the renter plunks $50,000 in an investment account and then spends, say, $2,000 on rent and invests the remaining $1,000.

These assumptions allow for apples to apples comparisons of investment returns and results. But on a personal level, the renter and buyer are not in the same position.

The buyer must make those "investments" in his house or risk foreclosure (or the wrath of tax authorities). The renter, on the other hand, has to pay his rent to keep a roof over his head. But he's not compelled to invest the rest. In real life, he may decide to live a little better -- go out more, travel, buy a nicer car -- instead of putting the entire $1,000 a month into an investment account.

"If I had had an extra 300 or 400 a month that I didn't have to put into the mortgage, I might gone out to dinner a few extra times instead of sinking it into investments," says Geoff McIntrye, a Long Beach realtor who owns 15 rental properties as well as his home. Owning real estate forced him to invest, he says.

That said, the vast majority of homebuyers say they bought because they thought their home was a great investment. But, in many cases, they could have done far better investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds. Moreover, for the average homeowner it's not even an effective "forced savings" plan, Fellowes says. That's because HelloWallet's research found that the average homeowner moves within 9 years. Over that time, the vast majority of mortgage payments go to interest, not principal.

A look at a loan amortization table shows the bitter truth. Consider a hypothetical buyer who borrowed $400,000 at 4.5 percent to buy a $500,000 home. His monthly payments amount to $2,027 per month. Over 10 years, he's paid $243,240. But his mortgage balance has declined by just $80,000 to $319,532. Because he's likely to pay 5 or 6 percent of the sales price to a realtor when he moves, even more of that forced "savings" evaporates.

To be sure, if the home appreciates, he'll walk away with a fair amount of cash -- the down payment, the price appreciation and the amount he's built in equity. But all too often, he'd have far more if he invested in, say, diversified mutual funds instead.

It's worth noting that HelloWallet's study isn't aimed at discouraging home ownership -- just looking at the numbers more critically, says Fellowes, who is also a homeowner. If the goal is to put down roots in a community and decorate your living space so that it suits you, home ownership may be a reasonable way to invest. But if the goal is to build wealth in the most expedient fashion, homeownership may not be the smartest choice.

"Most people think buying a home is a great investment and the online rent vs. buy calculators encourage that mindset," Fellowes says. "We are interested in finding the best path for people and that requires a lot more critical thinking."

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove Apartment Homes.

#HowYouLive
CBS News

January Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC you have probably noticed the weather getting colder. Now that the holidays are past, you are probably looking for fun things to do to help get through the cold winter. Well, the chilly days of winter might have us hunkering down against the cold, but don’t get too cozy. This January you can enjoy a beer festival ideal for warming the spirits of beer fans across the city.

Raleigh Rare & Vintge Beer Tasting: 3-6 p.m. Jan 24, 18 Seaboard Ave. Suite 150, Raleigh N.C.

One of the state's best opportunities for a taste of exotic beer, this annual event showcases more than 40 hard-to-find, limited run and otherwise unavailable ales and lagers. Proceeds benefit cancer awareness organization Pints for Prostates. More at www.RaleighRareBeerTasting.com

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For more information on this and other Beer Festivals in NC in January - Star News Online.


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