Follow us

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween in the Q.C. was a bust

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 7:00 AM

I met Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of Charlotte. I shook hands with the mayor of Charlotte. I conversed with the mayor of Charlotte. Juvenile, I know, but given the current political and social environment that is in Charlotte and the United States, it was definitely the highlight of my Halloween. And I’d only had one glass of wine, believe it or not. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s rewind.

My Halloween weekend in the Queen City was a bust. Not a bust in the sense that I secluded myself in the corner of my bed for the entire weekend, but in the sense that I didn’t decorate, dress up or really even celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.

If you’ve followed my column since the beginning, you may remember I’ve had some pretty epic Halloween adventures in Charlotte. Two years ago, a pretty large crew and I hit up Rich and Bennett’s 14th Annual Halloween Pub Crawl. Decked out in everything from Rosie the Riveter to The Addams Family, the day and night were filled with too much adventure — and drinks — to recount.
The year after that my parents joined in the on the festivities and they actually dressed up — makeup and all. They finally got to experience what it was like to party with their only daughter, and after Ubering home early, I think they would co-sign that they had a great time.

This year, however, nada. Don’t get me wrong, I still partied. I drank my fair share after a long day of work on Friday. Saturday, I went out with friends to celebrate one of my boyfriend’s friends’ birthdays. And on Sunday, I was uplifted at the Living No Lye Tour in Concord — an interactive series of workshops on all things healthy hair — on behalf of Revolution Ego.

Nevertheless, on Monday, after working eight hours behind a desk and a “spooky potluck” with co-workers, I felt unfulfilled. All weekend I’d talked to friends about rumors of “The Great Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall.”

Apparently, it’s a popular tradition for volunteers in the area to build a wooden wall and decorate it with pumpkins carved by members of the community. Over the years, it’s captivating beauty and political messages have drawn Charlotteans time and time again. (And even sparked controversy from what I hear. Enough so that the wall was allegedly set afire according to a volunteer I overheard chatting with visitors.) Politics and pumpkins? I had to see it.

Even though I was bummed that a few of my friends had already witnessed the beauty of the wall — as well as every person following one of the many highly popular Charlotte Instagram pages — I forced myself to make the trek on my own. And boy was it a trek.

After taking a wrong turn, walking almost a mile in the wrong direction and straining a calf muscle, I decided to take an Uber. Four minutes later, I was standing in front of a beautifully-lit wall of pumpkins featuring the word, “Evolve.” It was so breathtaking, and I was so tired, that I decided to sit and take it all in.

A few minutes later, I heard the same volunteer — who seemed to have a large hand in the creation of the wall — announce, “The Mayor, everybody!” I’d already missed out on an opportunity to chat with the knowledgeable spokesman as he scurried off to open the street back up, so I wasn’t going to miss out on this.

After contemplating what I would say to her, I decided to just walk up, shake her hand and introduce myself. I bet you’re wondering if I asked her about the upcoming election? Her thoughts on social issues and tensions in Charlotte? The most important issues for us to tackle in the Queen City? Nope. I know, I know, an amateur writer’s faux pas right?

I thought to myself, “If I were her, at a beautiful pumpkin wall, with my husband on Halloween, would I want to talk politics?” Hell no. So I kept it simple, I told her I write for Creative Loafing. Then, we chatted about her receiving the Best of Charlotte award for “Best Member of Government” and I told her about my blunder on my way to check out the wall.

The big question I asked? “In the spirit of Halloween, if you were a candy, what candy would you be?” She laughed and responded, “Well, it would have to be healthy...some kind of fruit...or maybe, dark chocolate covered coffee beans.” Not my first or second choice, Jenn (can I call you Jenn?), but, I loved that you were willing to play along and chat with me in such a casual way. We’ll talk about politics and social issues next time.

So there’s that. Now I’m home, eating leftover purple potluck spaghetti, streaming Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride on Netflix, while Hocus Pocus is in the DVD player. Talk about a great end to a Halloween weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Making friends at Corner Pub

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 11:31 AM

Over the past couple weeks the running theme has been spending more time with friends and letting loose. In the process, I’ve learned that while drinking during the week fosters great conversations, more than one glass of wine is still a bad idea.

Nevertheless, a mid-week escapade took me to The Corner Pub. Located at the corner of N. Graham Street and W. 7th Street, this popular Fourth Ward hangout serves up great food and has drink specials every single night of the week. A co-worker of mine, who lives above The Corner Pub in the same building, had spoken of epic nights of hanging out on the patio. She and a few others meet for “wine club” on Tuesdays. Why? Well, $3 glasses of wine, of course.

The first time I visited Corner Pub was completely by happenstance. My co-worker peer-pressured me into grabbing a couple drinks between work and a show at The Fillmore. As soon as we walked in, she ordered a drink for both of us. When the bartender didn’t ask for her debit card I knew I’d found a true neighborhood bar. Shortly after, I was sipping and chatting with the regulars. One, with amazing blonde dreads, noticed I was wearing a skirt similar to one she’d picked up but was too long for her to wear. Then she ran up to her apartment to bring it down! Talk about making friends?!

The following Tuesday, I was added to the “wine club” group chat and made special arrangements for my car. Five glasses of wine later, I knew I’d made the right decision. My co-workers and I discussed everything from the “Charlotte riots” to political ideals and everything in between.
Side note: Have you ever tried tachos? Picture nachos and sub tater tots for the chips. They are to die for. I have now ordered them there four times in the past month.

The next day, my best friend and I were coordinating date night at McGlohon Theater for a show. I asked her to meet me at Corner Pub so we could grab a drink beforehand. And guess what? The bartender knew my drink order and followed with, “Tachos with queso, chili, sour cream, jalapenos and ranch on the side?” (Isn't #officialregular appropriate now?!)

After the show, when we returned, another regular who had shared his chicken wings the night before strolled past. We continued our conversation from the night before. My bestie and I were feeling cultured after our show, so we were more than happy to continue our artistic journey as he shared poetry in the form of spoken word and prose. While we didn’t want the night to end, we had to accept the fact that the morning would be there before we knew it.

Friends. Drink specials. Karaoke. Tachos. Panthers hangout. Check! It’s official, if you’re looking for a neighborhood bar any day of the week, The Corner Pub is lit! (And you can actually park on the street there — shh.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Series of Fortunate Events: Part Two

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 7:00 AM

In last week’s column I started a series based around random happenings in the Q.C. Spurred by a rift between my boy toy and I two weeks ago, I decided to take the opportunity to surround myself with friends. I forced myself — an only child and recluse at heart — to break my usual routine of work, nap, eat and sleep. Instead, I rallied every night of the week. What happened next, was the start of a really great book.

After attending a last minute show, Esperanza Spalding: Emily’s D+Evolution, with my bestie and binge watching Luke Cage all week, I was left feeling empowered and thought, “I can drink all the drinks and no one can stop me.” I was wrong, of course, but I still managed to make it through the work week without excruciating hangovers. That Friday, I realized I had two tickets to Creative Loafing’s Best of Charlotte party and the weekend had officially begun.

After scrounging all the drink tickets at BofC, and realizing Red Bull was nowhere to be found, I settled on a sour I hadn’t tried...Aunt Sally maybe? Full of beer and maxed out on dominating the conversation, I accepted I was a third wheel and should seek fun elsewhere. I stopped by The Brass Tap, where I was convinced to take a shot, before heading to The Local in Uptown. I ended up dancing the night away on the small dance floor in front of the DJ booth — yes, solo twerking is a norm for me.

Naturally, the next morning I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I had settled on the idea of retail therapy at Concord Mills and lunch at IKEA — have you ever tried the Swedish meatballs there?! Honestly, truly, they’re to die for. While at the mall, a co-worker started blowing me up on my phone. “Do you want to go on a trolley pub crawl around 2?” she asked.

I let out a few sighs. The way my bank account was set up after a shopping spree and the way my stomach was set up after a full week of drinking, I attempted to dodge the invite via text: “Where y’all picking up at? I’m at IKEA so I might be a minute.” Ineffective, she sent the location (in Google maps), followed up with the required smart waiver and a series of texts that read: “Okay! Just be there by 2:15! Pick up a six-pack on the way. You can meet us.”

There was no way I was getting out of this. Can I use the “I’m black and what about my hair excuse?” Nope. Even though Hurricane Matthew was in full effect, I hadn’t gotten my hair done in weeks. While contemplating, I read through the texts and noted: We have extra jackets and ponchos. P.S. the trolley is completely covered. They have tarp walls. I scarfed a few Swedish meatballs — after all, that was certainly a priority — packed my large purchase in my car and headed to NoDa for a rainy-day pub crawl.

For months, my friends and I had contemplated setting up a day drinking excursion with Trolley Pub Charlotte but kept putting it off. And now, I had the opportunity to give it a whirl — for free! I turned my frown right side ‘round and prepared for the need to rally.

Once I arrived at the first stop — Heist Brewery — John and Vincent greeted me with a warm smile, took a look at my waiver, snapped a group pic and next thing you know I was straddling a bicycle seat with a beer in hand. The only rules? You have to be buckled in when the trolley was in motion and you can’t put your foot on the ground with a drink in your hand. Fair enough.

We pedaled from Heist to Free Range Brewery and ended the tour at Jack Beagles, where my friends tried to force me to take a whiskey pickle back shot. Have you ever had one? On top of six beers? That wasn’t happening. And after I figured out that I didn’t actually have to pedal, I realized I was having a really good time.

Considering Trolley Pub Charlotte for your next outing in the Q.C.? Here are a few pro tips:
1. BYOB for rides between stops. Beer or wine, plastic or can and you’re good to go.
2. Prepare for the weather. Hurricane Matthew is over, but who knows what the weather will be like for your crawl.
3. Be strategic with your crawl. You’ll want to enjoy being able to drink and ride while also hitting up some cool spots. Find balance between distance and quality breweries.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Series of Fortunate Events: Part One

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 4:30 PM

My boyfriend and I were on the outs for all last week. Instead of rolling myself into a ball and forcing myself into seclusion, I decided to surround myself with people who genuinely bring a smile to face. What happened was totally unexpected, but what I’d like to call a series of fortunate events. 

Every single day of the week I had “plans” — i.e., a distraction from reality. Most of these plans involved one too many drinks, but hey, it was better than doing the same thing alone. The first? An invitation to a musical performance Uptown.

On Wednesday, one of my closest friends who I’ve known since high school, asked if I wanted to go with her to a show — Esperanza Spalding: Emily’s D+Evolution. Even though I was familiar with the name, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. After all, my music taste is fairly diverse and I wasn’t sure which Pandora station had led me to Esperanza. But free tickets to a show with my bestie? I wasn’t going to turn that down.

Coincidentally, the performance was held at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, a venue the two of us had visited frequently for Elevation Church Uptown.

As soon as we found our seats, we were captivated by the soulful and unique presence of Esperanza. A petite frame with the eccentricity of Erykah Badu, I fell in love with every word she sang, movement she made and instrument she played. I sat on the edge of my seat as Emily’s D+Evolution unfolded in the form of a stage play in front of me. As it turns out, the intimate venue was perfect for viewing this performance. It was a nice surprise to revisit this venue considering how so many popular Charlotte music spots are shutting their doors this year.

After the show, I jokingly asked an attendant if there were any way for us to meet her. She responded, “If you buy something, she’ll be signing autographs for 15 minutes.” I looked at my bestie and knew immediately that we’d be pulling out our debit cards.

I have a secret obsession with vinyl, and so does she, so we snagged two records and waited patiently in line. We were disappointed when the line attendant informed us we weren’t allowed to take pictures — one out-of-towner who we joked with while standing in line actually got caught when her digital camera’s flash went off; talk about awkward turtle. We giggled nervously, concerned that security would confuse us with the culprit and kick us out of line.

Have you ever thought about what you would say to your favorite musician? Let alone, one you’ve never really heard of that you’d just fallen in love with? What if you only had a few moments to capture their attention? I’d thought about it many times over in regards to other favorites of mine.
If I ever got the chance to meet Lil Wayne, who I’m obsessed with, what would I do if the words never quite came out? And as I watched Esperanza fully engaged in a conversation with a man just a few steps away, I wished desperately that I could hear what he was saying that was so intriguing to a Grammy-Award winning artist.

Another fan, a young girl with a guitar in her arms, cried incessantly after Esperanza had left her mark on what was sure to be the instrument she would treasure for the rest of her life. I sighed because I appear to be young but not small or cute enough to gain her sympathy as an aspiring rock star.

I looked down at the song list on the back of my newly-purchased vinyl and located the titles of my two favorite songs from the performance, “Unconditional Love” and “Funk the Fear.” Maybe I could explain to her how those songs meant so much to me especially while going through a separation period? It was too late.

As I approached the table, armed with my phone that had been recording a voice memo for 10 minutes preparing for the interaction, the only words that came out of my mouth were, “Such an amazing show, will you marry me?”

She looked up at me, smiled kindly and responded, “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Share some of your meet and greet memories with bands and musicians at

Thursday, October 6, 2016

No Need for Plans in the Q.C.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2016 at 2:55 PM

Only an hour-long wait at Soul Gastrolounge. Unicorn balloons and throw up in the corner of Thomas Street Tavern. And premier seats for watching the game at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. That just about sums up this past weekend in the Queen City. Surprisingly, none of it was planned.

I’ve fallen into a rut in the nightlife scene lately. I’m not sure if I’ve been going to same places too often or if recent events in the city have put a damper on looking for an adventure. Nevertheless, I refused to waste the weekend away being trapped in the house.

After spending Friday evening catching some high school football with my boyfriend — and missing out on a slice of pizza I’d been craving all day long — most of my homies were too tired to rally. I didn’t complain though, I decided to get some well-needed rest.

The next morning, my boyfriend and I skipped our Saturday morning sleep-in and hopped in the car to head to Little Spoon Eatery. The last time I went to this popular brunch spot featuring old school hip-hop, Luke Kuechly waltzed in for a tasty breakfast of his own. Never a dull moment! This time, I ventured away from my usual: eggs over-medium, cinnamon toast brulee and pork belly bacon. And while I wished I had stayed in my own lane, I’m genuinely amazed by the Southern staples sprinkled with Korean fare.

After breakfast, my boyfriend’s priority was getting home to watch the game. But I wanted to get a few minutes of shopping in. I begged him to take me to Anthropologie in South End before we had to rush back for babysitting his nephews. Surprisingly, he agreed — even though he was sitting on a display couch after 10 minutes into perusing. In any event, I snagged a few coasters I’d been eyeing for months and convinced him to check out the Atherton Mill market before heading home.

Did you know that cats can get testy around two-year-olds? Welp, we figured that out after watching my boyfriend’s nephews for a few hours Saturday afternoon. In spite of a two to three-hour naptime, my cat and I were “hangry” (a mix of hungry and angry) and exhausted by the time the bambinos made their exit, so we rushed to Soul Gastrolounge in the hopes of getting a table before the dinner rush.

If you’ve read my articles before you know that I’m obsessed with this cozy little tapas spot in Plaza Midwood. But getting a table can feel impossible after 8 o’clock. Many frequenters are familiar with the popular venue’s two-hour wait times. But guess what? We only had to wait for 45 minutes! Yes, I know, be jealous.

After a mule, RBV, sushi, shrimp skewers, goat cheese flatbread and a cubanini, we were ready to take on the night. Our first stop? Whiskey Warehouse to catch up with a co-worker. Home of arguably one of the best rooftop bars in the Queen City, it was a beautiful night for cocktails and people-watching. Afterwards, my boyfriend was a responsible adult and decided to head home. I, on the other hand, headed over to Thomas Street Tavern to kick with my partner in crime. Big mistake. The patio was packed which led to drunk convos with random people and a surprise burp forced me into the corner for some relief, if you catch my drift. Soon after, I called an Uber to go home.

The next morning I had the privilege — well, battling a hangover made any task a challenge — of attending the baptism of a good friend. It was an uplifting and terrifying experience all at once. A couple of us ended up being on camera for the event, but seeing the appreciation on my friend’s face made it all worth it.

After the service, I grabbed a biscuit and pondered whether or not I’d make plans for Sunday Funday while my boyfriend had “guy’s time.” My partner in crime convinced me that laying on the couch wasn’t an option. The next thing you know, I’m basking in an amazing booth at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. I’d been anticipating visiting this bar for a while and was pleasantly surprised that on game day, in a packed house featuring a brunch buffet that we scored a booth all to ourselves. Mimosas, please?!

Of course, one thing led to another and a quick trip and a couple drinks turned into Sunday Funday madness that ended with crab legs at Hooters Uptown. I can’t complain though, an unplanned weekend turned into a weekend win!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Weekend Curfew? That’s New

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 11:59 AM

The past few days in the Queen City have been interesting, to say the least. The death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black male, at the hands of CMPD last Tuesday sparked #BlackLivesMatter protests throughout the city.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement was officially established in 2012 — following the acquittal of George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black male — in an effort to bring issues such as racial injustice, inequality and police brutality to the forefront of conversation. Last week, Charlotte brought the conversation back.

On Wednesday afternoon, a protest was scheduled for Uptown. Given the current social climate and media attention surrounding similar protests, many businesses, particularly in the Uptown area, made the decision to the let their employees leave early. As I stepped outside of my office and prepared to relocate I could feel the tension rising as Charlotteans piled into the light rail and police officers stationed themselves in front of buildings.

After receiving multiple texts from friends and family later on that night asking if I was okay and staying out of trouble, I knew that the protests had taken a turn for the worst. The next morning we were asked to work from home, learned that businesses in the EpiCentre had racked up damages and were alerted that the National Guard was on its way. That night, a curfew of 12 a.m. was instituted and would carry into the weekend.

After wrapping up work on Friday and welcoming my boyfriend home earlier than usual, we pondered on what we do. After all, neither one of us have navigated Charlotte nightlife under these circumstances, or had a curfew in a really long time. The football team he coaches had just won a season opener and our plan was to celebrate. But when we started to compile a list of places to go we became frustrated.

If we did go out, where would we go? Would the “riots” be the focus of every conversation? Would we want to have that conversation with every person, friend or foe, that we encountered? How quickly could we get from one place to another and make it home before curfew?
(Disclaimer: My boyfriend and I both have personal convictions about the events going on in our city and across the nation. Our commitment to enjoying the weekend in spite of, was in no way a dismissal. We were simply seeking opportunities to celebrate community instead of focusing our entire weekend on negative energy that wouldn’t fix the problems we all face.)

We decided to hit up a high school football game. Shortly before halftime, I was ready to leave. My hope was that we would leave the game, head straight to a bar, drink early and get home before 12 a.m. Later we were alerted that breweries, clubs and bars were closing early. We opted for a bottle of wine and $40 worth of snacks at a convenience store.

The following day and night was a complete wash. My boyfriend and I slept all day and the next thing you know, it was already curfew time. So we focused our energy on actually making something happen for Sunday Funday and yet another Panthers game. Again, we weighed our options. Head Uptown and deal with protest talk and crowded bars or stay close to home? The latter, seemed like a better idea.

I’ve mentioned Blue Olive Lounge before, but this time there was free food. I wasn’t even hungry, but I knew this was the best option for watching the game. We scored some Indian cuisine and mac and cheese. Talk about a killer combo! Not to mention, I made friends with some bar-goers and scored a slice of pizza, too. After a disappointing loss and only a couple drinks, I was tempted to keep the party going but followed my instincts and called it a night.

As I walked from the light rail to work on Monday morning, I went through the EpiCentre passing boarded storefronts — the aftermath of the actions of a small faction of protesters in Charlotte. I thought, ‘weekend number one of Q.C. social change is in the books.’

Regardless of your perspective on the social unrest in the Charlotte community, navigating the nightlife scene under these circumstances is very interesting, especially considering we have no real idea how long the protests will last.

How and where did you unwind after a long week given the current environment?

Tags: , ,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Drunk Gab, Part Two

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 10:56 AM

As I stared out of the window watching the familiar Queen City streets buzz by on my LYNX ride at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, I started to get nauseous. I get car sick fairly often, especially when I’m reading, but Monday morning’s nausea wasn’t caused by the blur of the city. Instead, the sick feeling I was experiencing was a direct result of too much “funday” on Sunday.

If you’ve had a chance to read any of my articles before, you’ve probably noticed I have a love-hate relationship with drinking on Sundays. On one hand, Sunday Funday keeps me from having to accept the fact that the weekend is over and I have to return to work the following day. On the other hand, if I don’t pace myself or stop the fun early, I’m usually hurting well into Tuesday.

Nevertheless, I knew this past weekend was going to be a challenge to avoid. Why? The regular NFL football season kicked off, of course! So I threw on some clothes and prepared for brunch at Draught in Third Ward. Three, if not four, bottles of champagne later, my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to take the party to Slate Billiards.

Remembering that’s where I had my last drink, I closed my eyes tight as the light rail passed Slate, Oak Room, All American Pub and Hot Taco. ‘I’ve never even had Hot Taco,’ I whispered to myself as we careened past the popular South End spot and I regained my composure. While I’ve taken my fair share of selfies with the “man in the sombrero” outside of the new-ish taco spot, I’ve never had the desire to stop in for a meal.

After arriving at the EpiCentre, derailing and heading to my nine-to-five job, I laughed thinking about the drunk conversations I’d overheard the day before. Over a year ago, I’d written an article entitled, “Drunk Gab: What I overheard one night in the next stall.” It was the first of what I’d hoped would be many installments all about the ramblings of drunkards as I explore venues, restaurants and libations in Charlotte. Needless to say, I’m well overdue for a follow-up.

Below are a few more drunk gab gems, organized by topic of conversation, that I collected this past Sunday:
Men’s attire: Despite popular opinion, women are not the only people spending an extended amount of time trying to figure out what they’re going to wear. “I couldn’t decide which Panthers shirt to wear. I mean, I knew we weren’t actually playing today, but I still wanted to wear something with ‘Panthers’ on it,” said some man. I looked up from my plate of pimento cheese bites in awe that two guys, seemingly uninterested in clothing conversations, were genuinely concerned about how to best represent their home team when that team wasn’t playing.

Potential hook-ups: Speaking of attire, while basking in the sun on the patio at Slate, I laughed with a complete stranger about a young man wearing a Buffalo Bills helmet. He’d just announced, “I’m really not a Bills fan, I’m a Panthers fan. But [since the Bills were playing the Ravens] I figured it’d get me some pussy.” I’ll let you decipher that one. Apparently, a hook-up is more likely to happen if you trick a sports fan into thinking you’re also a fan of that person’s fave team.

Phone apps: I don’t care what anyone says, Pokémon GO is not the most annoying phone application anymore. If I had asked for a dollar every single time someone said, “Is your ESPN Fantasy Football App working?” I would’ve made at least $100, easy. While I was looking for a new Pokémon to add to my collection, everyone else was obsessed with not being able to check in on their fantasy football leagues — “fantasy” being the operative word.

Poop: To poop in public, or not to poop in public, that is the popular question. “I’ve got the liquor shits,” I heard someone say as they walked away from their friends toward the bathroom. I laughed, because we’ve all been there. Even I was tempted to “make myself at home” in the enclosed, private stalls at Slate that are hard to come by in most public restrooms. And clearly, I wasn’t the only one. I walked into the bathroom at one point and I thought I would pass out from a pungent odor that filled the air — I guess the correct answer was “to poop in public.”

What’s the most hilarious drunk conversation you’ve overheard on your Queen City adventures?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Is It Time for Pumpkin Spice Lattes Yet?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 7:00 AM

The other day I was browsing Facebook when I came across a meme — a humorous image featuring text — that had a picture of a girl decked out in fall fashion, Starbucks in hand and a grocery cart full of pumpkins. The caption read: “Me, when I see one leaf on the ground.” I laughed hysterically and reposted it on my timeline. Shortly after, I started getting notifications from my Facebook followers, liking, loving and commenting on the picture. I guess I wasn’t the only one craving cooler weather, Halloween and the ever so popular, pumpkin spice lattes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll be the first one complaining when my alarm goes off and I’m walking to the CityLYNX Gold Line freezing my tail off in the dark. However, nothing excites me more than being able to wake up in the cold morning, effortlessly throw on fall layers and walk into work looking and smelling like a warm, comfy bed.

And you can’t forget that with the start of fall, “cuffing season” is also in full effect. This is the time when promiscuous singles seek the comfort of snuggles, electing to be “cuffed” or tied down by someone else. Gone are the days of, “suns out, guns and buns out.” All of a sudden, your exes — and their mamas — will find someone to play big spoon and little spoon with.

Even though the leaves haven’t quite started to change, and the North Carolina weather has been anything but cool, I intend to welcome the fall season with open arms on Sept. 22. Below are a few activities that I’m looking forward to as the season of Uggs, sweaters, boo-loving and pumpkin everything starts up.

Wine festivals: Picture hundreds of wine connoisseurs sprawled out with wine glass holders wrapped around their necks on the lawn at Symphony Park at Southpark Mall. That was me, just two years ago. My co-worker and I had stumbled upon tickets for the Great Grapes! Wine and Food Festival. After multiple wine samples in the sun, I was spent. The last thing I remember was hanging onto a trashcan in a Jack in the Box drive-thru. Needless to say, I’d like to have a more mature experience on Oct. 1.

NASCAR: My family’s been into NASCAR all my life. Despite having lived in Charlotte for three years, I have yet to make it to a race. This year, my friends and I are planning on making our debut for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 8. If we end up taking a party bus and tailgating, I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll actually make it in to the speedway to see the race. After all, if you’re not first, you’re last.

SCarowinds: Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of all time. That’s why I’m obsessed with SCarowinds. At night, the entire park, employees included, is decked out in Halloween gear, from costumes to decorations. While I’ve never been much of a rollercoaster-lover, I’ve always been intrigued by the costume choices, décor, mazes and fun houses. Get the jeepers creepers scared out of you at your fave amusement park Sept.16 to Oct. 30.

Halloween Pub Crawl: Two years ago, I managed to squeeze in four different costumes in a single weekend — mind you, I hadn’t dressed up for years prior to that. The most memorable day was getting dressed up with my partner in crime and her family for Rich & Bennett’s Halloween Pub Crawl. I skipped the festivities last year, so I think it’s about time I make a resurrection on Oct. 29.

Road Trip: Around Labor Day this year, my friends and I took a road trip to Asheville. We hadn’t gotten together in a while and needed a break. So we rented a cabin, grabbed lots of beer and hopped in our respective cars for the reunion. This fall, I see quite a bit of hiking, hammocks, beers and bonfires with great company. I’m hoping I can snag a hotel or cabin with an infinity pool. That’ll score more than my fair share of likes on #instagram.

Waterfall hike: Every year, I make a point to say that I want to get in shape or find more activities that will get me outside. After seeing one too many articles on the beautiful waterfalls throughout North Carolina, I’ve decided that’s one thing I want to see before it gets too cold. A cool day plus changing leaves plus a breathtaking waterfall equals heaven!

What activities are you getting excited about as we get ready for fall in the Queen City?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Panthers fans are on the prowl

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Can I just say that this past week has been one of the craziest of my life? I interviewed for a promotion at my 9-to-5 job and guess what? I got it! The news was delivered to me on Friday morning, and on Monday I started my new role. After work on Friday, I was exhausted. I could’ve settled for going straight home to “Netflix and chill,” but I knew that wasn’t going to happen since the Panthers were playing the New England Patriots at Bank of America Stadium.

I’ve never been a huge sports fan. I know, I know, taboo for a third year Charlottean to admit, but it’s true. I cheered throughout middle and high school but let’s be honest, while cheerleading is a sport, I participated more for camaraderie and “fame.” The latter part of my high school career was spent at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. While we had a cheerleading team and a few sports, education was our top priority. And after going to Duke University for college, you’d think something would’ve clicked. Nope. However, I did learn the value of tailgating for sporting events.

Nevertheless, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation with another adult without sports coming up at some point. Especially while living in a city that’s home to a NFL sports team. And to top it off? My boyfriend is pretty much obsessed with anything to do with sports whether he’s participating or not. As we joked about my recent sports-immersion he asked, “Are you really watching though? Who did we play in the Super Bowl?” Granted, that day’s memory was tainted by my condo’s HOA-party police so I knew the answer immediately when I responded, “The Broncos!” Nevertheless, I’ve had to learn a lot very quickly in order to accommodate the growing adult obsession with sports.

Last Thursday night I pulled out my Christmas present, a Kelvin Benjamin jersey — we’ll pretend like I knew his number and full name ahead of time — in honor of his big return, and prepared to wear it for the next day. After work, I hopped on the light rail to meet up with my boyfriend and we prepared to head toward Uptown. One of his friends recently moved into a condo right down the street from Bank of America Stadium so they decided to break it in for a Panthers watch party. Even though we completely forgot how crazy traffic is during home games, we still sat down in time for kickoff.

“Are you excited about Sunday Funday?” one of his friends asked. Of course he was referring to festivities on Sundays once the regular season games begin. I rolled my eyes and responded, “So excited!” And the truth is, I am kind of excited. Mainly because those days will give me a chance to get off the couch, grab a few mimosas and watch sports somewhere outside of the house.
Below are a few of my favorite spots to catch a “big game” in the Queen City. There apply even if you’re not a Panthers’ fan:

1. Draught: Described as an upscale sports bar in Third Ward, Draught offers the perfect combination of food, fun, sports and most importantly, drinks. I watched the Super Bowl there two years ago and managed to snag an entire table under their outdoor tent — talk about a premier viewing experience. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite spots for grabbing brunch and listening to music. Parking is limited and traffic can be busy since it’s so close to the stadium, so I would suggest grabbing an Uber to get there. For those eating or interested in getting a table, they get really crowded so there’s most likely going to be a wait.

2. Slate Billiards: Located in South End, Slate is perfect for anyone looking for a variety of things to do and see on game days. Pool tables, arcade games, ping pong, Jenga and other games are placed throughout the large venue. If you’re bored watching a game, there’s plenty for you to do. Keep in mind, it does get packed on game days. You are guaranteed to be fighting for space at the bar, especially if you don’t have cash for the beer stand. Proceed with caution and go with the flow.

3. Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse: If you haven’t visited this Uptown location yet, you’re missing out. I’ve never been a huge fan of the locations on Montford or in Ballantyne, but the Uptown spot is amazing — minus the fact that you’ll have to fend for yourself as far as parking goes. There’s plenty of seating, bar space and televisions throughout the venue that make it much more manageable when it’s packed for game day.

Where will you be watching the Panthers in the Q.C. this season? Share your fave spots with me at

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Balance is Key When it Comes to Work and Play

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Most weekends when I go home, I feel like I have no time to enjoy something in the Queen City at all. Lately, however, I’ve made balance a top priority by: taking time for myself, committing to trying new things and sharing weekend time with family. Needless to say, juggling the 2016 Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade and my mom’s 50th birthday celebration was a unique challenge this past weekend.

If you were in Charlotte and ventured to Uptown, you probably had some difficulty navigating the city streets. That’s because a portion of Tryon Street was blocked off to make room for vendors during the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade on Saturday and Sunday. Last week, I shared a couple memories from past Charlotte Pride celebrations as well as events I had already set my sights on for this year. While I didn’t make it to every planned event, I did have the opportunity to go to a couple.

Friday after getting off work I decided to kill some time before jumping into a drinking frenzy and walked to the McColl Center for Art + Innovation to meet a co-worker. I was beyond ecstatic to check out one of their newest installations called, Open Occupancy: Artists Respond to HB2.

The seven installations are strategically placed on every floor of the art center in public restrooms. Artists respond to attacks surrounding NC’s House Bill 2 by infiltrating the very spaces that are being threatened. Talk about powerful! Through video, audio and art, each piece seeks to question, reveal, expand and transcend traditional narratives of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

My favorite? A positive image installation created by artist, Andrea Vail. Surrounded by silver streamers and a neon disco ball, viewers are invited to celebrate the beauty of all of our differences in a mirror while listening to a play list that can be navigated by following instructions located in the bathroom. You know I had to capture the moment with a selfie. My co-worker and I had to cut our trip short because the McColl Center was closing at 5 p.m., but I would highly suggest you check out the installation before it ends on Sept. 10.

After leaving the McColl Center, another co-worker and I decided to take a peek inside The Bar at 316. An LGBT-friendly bar located in South End, I was stoked to visit it for the first time. I assumed that I would find it somewhere along South Boulevard, so I was pleasantly surprised when we pulled up to a cozy two-story house on Rensselaer Avenue. While there weren’t a lot of parking spaces, and we had to buy some time at another bar before they opened, we felt right at home as soon as we walked through the parlor door.

Inside, on the first floor, we were met with an intimate atmosphere. The music from the second floor flowed down the stairs, but it wasn’t too loud to watch a show on a large screen from the comfort of two large couches, play pool with friends or have a conversation over a couple beers at the venue’s small bar. After grabbing drinks, my co-worker and I decided to venture up to the second floor.

There was another bar, — this one larger —a stage, more intimate seating and my favorite, a roof top deck. A comfortable space, The Bar at 316 is definitely a place you can feel free to be yourself and chill. Trust me, I’ll be making another trip very soon. After all, I didn’t get to see the space through night vision.

Before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were meeting up and heading to Bradshaw Social House in Ballantyne to meet up with some old co-workers that I hadn’t seen in a while. Rumored to be a popular spot for cougars, I wasn’t too surprised when I was informed the next day that an older couple, who’d given their fair share of compliments, seemed to be fishing for a plus one at home — if you catch my drift. Fortunately, no one got recruited prior to making an early exit for wind down time at home.

The next morning, I wouldn’t say I was hungover, but I wouldn’t say I was feeling very chipper either as my boyfriend and I drove to Childress Vineyards and Badin Lake for my mom’s birthday. The entire day included wine, beer, football, jet skis and a boat ride before we called it a night at my parent’s house. Upon returning to Charlotte by 2 p.m. on Sunday, I felt like a perfectly balanced weekend had come to an end, with a few hours to spare.
  • Hartigan's, 1/6/12

    Photos from the brave souls who tried their hand at sumo wrestling.
  • Fu's Custom Tattoo, 1/13/12

    What better way to spend your Friday the 13th than drinking PBR and getting tatted up?
  • Bar Charlotte, 10/7/11

    Bikinis, bull-riding and Bar Charlotte. Need we say more?

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation