Sushi of Charlotte

Are you craving sushi, but haven’t found your favorite sushi place yet? Charlotte has so many tasty restaurants, including sushi joints. Here are some places that will hit the spot for that craving!

OKU

2000 South Boulevard
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28203

If you are looking for an upscale sushi place with low-key vibes, Oku is your place. Oku has high quality sushi with rice that seems to melt in your mouth. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Oku not only offers delicious sushi, but specialty entrees. While rolls can be a little pricey, Oku offers half off rolls from 5:30-7:30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. You’ll need a reservation here because it’s so popular!

Yamazaru Sushi & Sake

2173 Hawkins St
Ste A
Charlotte, NC 28203

Yamazaru is located closely to Oku, conveniently next to Sycamore Brewery. You won’t need a reservation here if you’re willing to wait maybe ten to fifteen minutes for a table. This place offers rolls that differ from its Oku neighbor, which is great for variety! The options are almost overwhelming, but it also means you’ll never get bored with the menu! While they do not offer any sushi specials, this place is pretty affordable with most rolls being in the $10-15 range.

Akahana

1308 The Plaza
Charlotte, NC 28205

If you’re looking for BOGO sushi, this is your place. You cannot beat this deal! Plus, there are a lot of sushi choices without meat or with cooked meat. It’s vegetarian and pregnancy safe! Just look at the online menu here, then call in your order and it will be ready for pickup by the time you make it to the restaurant. If taking sushi home isn’t your thing, they also have a lovely seating area to dine in.

Futo Buta

222 Bland St
Bland Street Light Rail Station
Charlotte, NC 28203

While Futo Buta is known for its ramen, the Southend restaurant also has terrific sushi. This place is popular, so you’ll want a reservation! If you want sushi as an appetizer before an amazing ramen entree, Futo Buta is your place! Check out what people have to say about this restaurant on yelp.

 

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine too!

48 Hour Film Project of Charlotte

Even though Charlotte is no New York City or Los Angeles, it still has a well-established film community. They have local meetings, as well as a group that travels to the well-known Sundance Film Festival in January. Charlotte is even lucky enough to have a local casting company. The Charlotte 48 Hour Film Project takes place every year, and it’s coming up soon: August 9th-11th of 2019!

 

If you aren’t familiar with the 48 Hour Film Project, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a film created in 48 hours. Artists from Charlotte get together in groups and write (based from drawings for genre, objects, etc.), produce, and edit the film, then vote for the best one from our city to compete internationally for a spot at the Cannes Film Festival. It is quite the challenge for  filmmakers, but a great learning experience for everyone involved.

 

If you’re interested, visit Charlotte Film’s Facebook page dedicated to the festival to find out more. Many teams are still forming, and it is an all hands on deck project! Local filmmakers meet often to discuss the different aspects of film and welcome newcomers with open arms to join.

 

If you are interested in acting in the festival, they are holding auditions so that groups can pick you based on what they’ll be writing. Join the Charlotte Film Community Facebook page to stay updated!

Tips for Moving With Pets

We all love our pets. They’re members of the family we could never leave behind. Moving with pets can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. If your pets are keeping you from moving, consider these tips for moving with pets to ease the transition.

 

Keep Pets Away from the Action

If possible, try to keep pets as distant from the move as possible. Animals, especially creatures of habit like cats, will get upset with a changing environment. Keep them away from the packing as much as possible. If you have the means, try moving and unpacking everything before moving your animal. You can also keep your pet contained in a smaller room (like a laundry room or bathroom) and let them adjust to that one area while you unpack everything else. The best thing to do is move your pet last and keep environmental changes to a minimum.

 

Buy Stress Relieving Products

If you have a very nervous pet, there are products that can help cure that anxiety! The thunder shirt for dogs and cats has great reviews. You can use this for the car ride, the move, and afterwards (Fourth of July, I’m looking at you). Stores also provide calming treats. For cats, veterinarians recommend Feliway, which is a spray that will relax your cat.

 

Keep Your Pet Contained

No matter how trustworthy your pet may be, it’s safer for everyone to keep them contained in a crate. You wouldn’t want your pet to kick in the fight or flight and run. A lot of bird owners make the mistake of traveling with their feathered friend perched on their shoulder, but you could lose your bird within the blink of an eye if he’s spooked. You never know what you could run into during a move. Crating your pet will be more comfortable for the both of you. You can also keep your pet in the crate until you’re done unloading your stuff and have unpacked a room for them to settle down.

7 “In” Items for Your Home

If you recently bought or are trying to sell, you may need to update your home. Including these small, yet stylish features can help brighten and modernize the space. It’ll have all of your friends “ooh”ing and “aahh”ing as they admire your taste. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it a secret that you got the tips from me!

 

Gray Tones

Houses have transitioned from browns and beiges to grays over the last few years. Adding cool tones will brighten the room when the sun hits it, making your house look bigger than ever. You don’t have to have a completely grey home. Mixing cool tones with some warm, natural wood is in style! It looks effortless instead of tacky.

 

Round Mirrors

Round mirrors can go almost anywhere in your home. Put one over your dresser. Put it over your vanity. Use a round mirror in the bathroom. Put a round mirror over your couch. The possibilities are endless because mirrors look great anywhere and add the extra homey touch. Check out this one from Target!

 

Floor Mirrors

Speaking of mirrors, floor mirrors are also “in.” Again, you can place these almost anywhere. If you put them in a corner of the bedroom, it makes the room look bigger and gives you a spot to look at an entire outfit before leaving your home for the day. Put it in the living room on a smaller wall to give the illusion of a bigger room.

 

Bar Carts

These are so popular and have more uses than just being a drink bar. You can make this a coffee bar, a reading nook, a spot to put your plants. Bar carts can be styled according to what your home needs. What’s better than something stylish and functional? I love this one from Amazon.

 

Accent Walls

While cool tones are awesome, too much white can look a little bit like an asylum, which is definitely not the look anyone is going for. Add a pop of color with an accent wall. Don’t want to paint? Etsy has plenty of stick on wallpaper to choose from.

 

Animal Hide Rugs

Faux cowhide rugs are in. You can have one as your main living room rug or have something small enough to just fit in front of a chair. However you choose to style this, the hide will give a rustic and down to earth vibe in your home. Here’s an affordable one from Amazon!

 

Plants Galore

If you were looking for a sign to buy that cute little succulent out of Trader Joe’s, here it is. Plants add life to your home, but they’re low maintenance. You can put them on any table, counter, or shelf. Even adding a plant (that loves water) in your shower can help spruce up your daily routine!

Day Trip from Charlotte

North Carolina is one of the coolest places to live because we have the beach and mountains all in one! Summers can be busy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a day getaway. Charlotte is a wonderful city with plenty around it to make for a fun day trip.

 

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms

The Quarry is a natural body of water, fed by a spring, located in Mooresville, NC. Pay just $15 to dip into this gorgeous water. All swimmers will pass a swim test or are required to wear a life jacket. Not into swimming? They also have a farm to visit with hay rides!

 

Crowders Mountain

If you love to hike, then you’ll love Crowders Mountain. There is no fee to hike and multiple trails, depending on your hiking level, to lead to the top. What’s at the top? Just a gorgeous view overlooking the state park. They offer other activities as well, such as fishing, rock climbing, and bouldering. Enjoy the day in one of the best parks nearby; just don’t forget to pack food and plenty of water.

 

The U.S. National White Water Center

Charlotte is lucky enough to have the National White Water Center. This is an amazing place for numerous daytime activities: white water rafting, kayaking, paddle-boarding, zip-lining, biking, and more. The White Water Center also hosts community events, such as River Jam, where people can gather and listen to live music, eat food, and enjoy the great outdoors.

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

If you love nature, take a short drive to Belmont, NC to enjoy the beauty of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. You can enjoy 110 acres of many different plants and creatures. Take your kids to the Butterfly Bungalow, where they can get up close and personal with several species of butterflies! Admission is only about $15 for adults and about $8 for kids. Then enjoy local food like Nellie’s Southern Kitchen after your visit (the food must be good for Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra to have their wedding reception there)!

 

The Great Wolf Lodge

North Carolina is lucky to have such an awesome, family friendly vacation spot! With an indoor waterpark and interactive game throughout the hotel, the Great Wolf Lodge is a great spot for families to get away. Keep the kids occupied with Magiquest, Build-A-Bear-Workshop or numerous free kids activities while you enjoy their fitness center and minigolf. Your suite is even designed to look like it’s part of a forest. There’s fun for everyone.

 

So as you can see, there are plenty of trips you can make in just one day from our beautiful city; another reason why I love Charlotte so much!

Stay Cool: Troubleshooting your HVAC

The worst time of year to start having HVAC problems are the middle of summer (and the dead of winter). Not only are you quickly experiencing the discomfort of no heat or air, you also have that sinking sensation in your gut that something is wrong and it’ll probably cost money. Here’s what to check first, before you even have to call the technician (or maybe while you’re waiting for them to pick-up). 

 

Power

Believe it or not, sometimes we all miss the simplest reasons our HVAC is acting up—the power is off. If the power is off in your house, or in your neighborhood, there is probably nothing wrong except that you’ll have to wait for the power to come back on. 

 

Air Filter

Airflow to your unit is important and if you haven’t been changing your air filters regularly, the restriction can cause your unit to slow down or drag, especially when it’s trying to work hard during the summer heat. For twenty bucks and five minutes of work, you’re HVAC can be frigid once again. 

 

Batteries

If the thermostat display doesn’t work, try changing the batteries. 

 

Circuit Breaker

Check the circuit breaker in the breaker box. If it’s been tripped (the one switch that doesn’t look like the others), reset the breaker. Breakers can trip for a variety of reasons, and if it happens once it’s no big deal. But if the breaker keeps tripping, it’s best to get an electrician to come look at the problem.  

 

On-Off Switch

On many units there’s an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler unit. For whatever reason (pets, kids, random incidents) this switch can get flipped. Best to double check. 

 

Outdoor Switch

There’s another switch on the outside unit and it can get flipped for all the same reasons. Make sure it is plugged in or flipped on. Be very careful, as this switch controls the 240 volts of electricity to the outdoor A/C unit and it’s very dangerous.

 

Condensation pump 

There’s a water safety switch under the pan under the unit to stop water from leaking into your home. If there’s no water in the pan, or it looks old, try emptying the pan, flush the drain line and see if it makes the unit start working again. 

 

If you’ve checked everything and there’s still a problem, definitely contact your HVAC service technician and have them come out. You don’t need to be suffering in this heat.

Designing Charlotte in Every Style

If you’re looking to build or planning an extensive home renovation, you probably already have a strong idea of what kind of style you envision. Browsing through designer portfolio’s you are are looking for an architect or designer who understands your vision and who’s work feels instinctually YES. Here are some of Charlotte’s best architecture and design firms for every style. 

 

Classic

Pursley Dixon Architecture 

“Beauty matters”

Pursley Dixon approaches both modernism and classicism as two halves of the same conversation, and this philosophy lends itself to their breathtaking visions of classic homes. They are an architecture and interior design firm specializing in custom residential work, creating spaces that are unique and beautiful as individual as each client.  Their thirteen-member firm focuses on creating fresh and forward design. 

Featured in: 

  • Traditional Home
  • Luxe Interiors + Design
  • Garden & Gun
  • House Beautiful
  • Southern Accents
  • Southern Living
  • Renovation Style
  • Elegant Homes
  • Decor Magazine
  • Southern Home
  • The Classicist
  • Beautiful Homes

Instagram: @pursleydixon

Historic

Ruard Veltman Architecture

“Experience the spaces we’ve imagined” 

Ruard Veltman Architecture is a firm that has cultivated a deep understanding of historic, traditional design while also incorporating the best of modern elements. Their vision for designing in traditional residential neighborhoods are putting inspired homes in pristine natural environments.

Featured in: 

 

  • Southern Homes
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Southern Living
  • House Beautiful
  • Coastal Living
  • Elegant Homes
  • Country Living

 

Instagram: @ruardveltmanarchitecture

Modern

Greg Perry Design

“Applying art and classic principles to modern times”

Coming from an unpretentious, unconventional design education is just part of the DNA of this designer. Greg Perry‘s design reflects his clients, and his clients are eclectic, confident and possessing a strong vision. Driven by the principles of scale and proportion of the 16th century Andrea Palladio, and taking influences from the Gilded Age, his designs are perfect for the modern client. A successful project will “please the client, understand the fabric of the neighborhood and abide by architectural civic responsibility.”

Featured in: 

 

  • QC Magazine
  • Better Homes & Gardens
  • Luxury Home Magazine
  • Southpark Magazine

 

Instagram: @gregperrydesign 

 

Modest Maximizer

Garrett P. Nelson Studio

“Creating home” 

Garrett P. Nelson is a professor, design review chairman and a rising star in the design world. His firm creates beautiful homes where people can live and grow deep roots, from cottages and bungalows to larger homes. 

Featured in : 

 

  • 2011 Historic Charlotte Preservation Infill Project of the Year

 

Instagram: @garrettpnelsonstudio

 

Charlotte truly is a city for everyone and no matter what style you are drawn to, there is an architect and designer here who can make your vision come alive.

Budget Bangs for Your Buck

Putting money into the curb appeal of your home has a decidedly less glamorous feel than the idea of redoing your bathroom or kitchen. It’s much harder to care about picking out drought resistance ground cover than it is to pick out granite countertops. You know you want to spend your money on something that creates a great impression, transforms your home’s exterior and is a great return on investment, but you also know you don’t want to spend luxury bathroom remodel money on your exterior. It’s not like you can bubble bath in your new sod. Here are some options for a major exterior renovation that doesn’t feel as major to your budget. 

 

Roof, Siding & Gutters

A roof is one of those things that is completely unsexy to buy, but is really important both for your home’s curb appeal and also for its salability. It’s hard to sell a beautiful house with a bad roof—everything is at risk. Fully replacing your roof actually has a little more average return on investment than even a bathroom remodel. It typically costs between $1.50 and $10 per square foot. Even if you can’t replace the roof completely, having a professional look at your roof and suggest options for a refreshment can help get a long life out of your current roof. 

 

New gutters are a much cheaper option—the cost usually lands between $500-$2,000 for replacing your gutters and it’s over in a few days. Gutters are another unsexy exterior component, but gutters do so much heavy lifting to keep your home weatherproof and snug. Also, nothing mars an otherwise pleasant exterior like a broken gutter. 

 

Replacing siding, painting your brick, or adding a veneer, are all options for your exterior that start to get more exciting (colors!) but most options are starting to creep toward more expensive. Replacing siding costs around $10,000, depending on the price of the materials. Painting or refreshing brick costs around $7,000 and adding any kind of veneer interest can run you between $6-9 per square foot. Keep in mind this is another area that recoups value very well. If you see your siding bubbling, blistering, coming loose or otherwise damaged, it’s time to prioritize this upgrade, but a siding professional can help you decide. 

 

Decks & Patio 

Building a deck or patio is another great option for a project with a good return on your investment. People are drawn to homes with those collective spaces where everyone can gather. No matter how simple a project, these spaces are an extension of the spaces inside. A wood deck will cost an average of $7,000 and a stone patio will run between $8-$20 per square foot. A contractor or landscaper is a great person to begin a conversation about creating an outdoor space. 

 

Garage Door

If you’re not ready to change the whole exterior but something has to happen, consider replacing the garage door. The average cost is around $1,000-$1,500 and has an almost 100% return on investment. Replacing the garage door hits a sweet spot between your budget and the need for a visible change in the exterior. 

 

At the end of the day, it’s tough to make decisions about things that don’t have the appeal of something as fun as new kitchen cabinets or a wallpaper in the powder room, but spending some time with a contractor or designer and deciding what investment is needed will go a long way toward picking the right project for your home’s exterior. 

Budget Busters

Ever experience sticker shock in a store? You are just browsing with a sweating Starbucks cup, maybe to get out of the heat for a bit and you see something that looks interesting and reasonable and maybe you know people that have something like it. Reasonable people! You find the little dangly price tag and turn it over and. . . 

Die. 

Okay, you don’t die, but you definitely take a big step back and try to walk away before you accidentally break it. It seemed so reasonable!

When starting on a home renovation, especially with a sizable budget that you’ve spent time preparing, you feel prepared to turn over the price tag. It seems reasonable! But often times, the actual cost gives us the rush of panic as seeing an unexpected price tag in the store. Suddenly, your well-prepared budget can seem small and your dreams still out of reach. 

 

Kitchens

Expect granite, cabinets, and design to be your biggest costs. Hiring a designer can be around half that cost. Something as simple as installing an appliance can be around $200. Installing cabinets will average out to about $5,000. All told, an average kitchen remodel costs a little over $20,000. When you are sitting down to decide your budget, it’s best to keep your kitchen renovation budget between 5-15% of your home’s value. 

 

Bathroom

Hiring a plumber for either kitchen or bathroom starts at $300 and can go from there. If you are installing a shower or bath, especially with tile work, you can expect around $3,000 for an average size project. Most bathroom remodels total around $10,000. A reasonable bathroom remodel budget should be 5-10% of your home value and you can expect around 60% of the value to be retained. 

 

Flooring

Aside from the cost of the actual materials, usually calculated by price per square foot, different materials will have a wide variation of installation costs. Carpets will often be installed for free, but things like hardwood or tile will have higher installation costs and the subfloor may even need preparation before installation can begin. An average flooring remodel will come in around $3,000. 

 

Electrical work 

Needing to run wires, install fixtures, or fix existing problems with a licensed electrician will often start at $400. Expect this to be an additional cost to what you’re expecting to spend on the project. 

 

Overall, materials stay consistent pretty much no matter where you are, but labor prices can fluctuate by 20%. Prepare a budget that can accommodate the known and the unknown, and you’ll be on your way to a smooth renovation project. No surprises needed.

Money Trees

Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is unfortunate because anytime you even sneeze at a tree in your yard, it’s basically going to cost money. The cost of managing the trees around your home or in your yard depends on factors that you may not even realize—such as the type of tree or where it’s located on your property. The cost can also depend on whether you hire an arborist or a tree specialist, and the kind of equipment they need to use.  The good news is, most places offer a free, on-site estimate. Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect

 

Removing a Tree

The most expensive situation is going to be removing a tree. It means cutting it down one piece at a time, hauling it all away and the extra cost of grinding down or removing the stump. Depending on the tree, it’s height, and where it’s located, you would pay between a few hundred or over a thousand dollars. 

Worst case scenario, you have a tall, hardwood tree growing close to a house or a hard to reach place or near power lines, and it needs to come down. You are looking at the top end of price. 

After the tree is brought down, it can be hauled away, chipped, or cut for firewood, although sometimes at an extra cost. 

 

Pruning a Tree

Sometimes a tree can be pruned instead of being removed. This option definitely costs less, but is still dependent on the same factors as removal. A hardwood tree, for example, is always more expensive to touch and even just pruning a tall oak, for example, will run around $500. 

If your troubled tree is touching the power lines you will need to contact your utilities provider, but in this instance, they will trim the tree for free. 

 

Stump Removal

Surprise! The removal of the stump is not included! Even in cases of full removal, the stump will need ground down or dug out and it is an additional cost. Is often an extra $50 to $400 depending on its depth and solidity.

 

Fallen or Dead Trees

Finally, it gets cheaper. If your tree is dead or already fallen (hopefully not on anything important), it will be easier to haul away. Expect this service to run between $75 and $150.

 

DIY

If you feel like you can tackle your tree on your own, you can get an extendable pruner for $30 and go to town. At your local hardware center, you could also rent a pruner, or a stump grinder. If you decide to do it on your own, make sure to schedule it in late fall or winter to minimize the impact on the growing cycle of the tree.

 

As with every service you hire, make sure the company is reputable, licensed and knowledgeable. Always check references. When dealing with trees, you will also want to make sure to have someone come out and give you a quote in writing. If you only get a quote over the phone or verbally, the price will be subject to change—sometimes drastically. But in the case of trees, money spent managing prevents more money spent on disasters.