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!


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.


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). 



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. 



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.

New Name, Old Place: Optimist Hall

This former mill was built in 1892 as Tompkins Hall, but just one block away from the Parkwood Station of the Light Rail, this redevelopment is being reborn as Optimist Hall. 

The project brings together an exciting collection of food hall, retail, restaurants and office space; made possible by the unique design and topography of the building. Optimist Hall is on a downward slope. It’s creating a wholly original landscape that allows for different levels and individual nooks for a variety of businesses. 

During the modernization construction, developers found a house under the parking lot, and thousands of spindle spools with thread still on them from the mill. The discovered spindles will be used as decor.

Duke Energy moves into the space soon, but check out the lineup opening March 1, 2019: 

The Dumpling Lady—the first brick-and-mortar location for the popular area food truck. 


Archer Paper Goods—the first North Carolina location of a popular Atlanta and Dallas paper goods store. 


Billy Sunday—Chicago-based cocktail lounge offering classic drinks, vintage spirits and new creations. 


Pet Wants—Featuring fresh, slow-cooked and natural ingredients for your pets. 


Bao + Broth Ramen + Bun Shop – An Asian-inspired food stall. 


Fonta Flora Brewery – Brewery and tasting room, featuring a large outdoor patio.


Aix Rotisserie – French Rotisserie from the owners of Aix En Provence.


Undercurrent Coffee – A full service coffee and espresso bar.


Honeysuckle Gelato –Handmade gelato, gelato sandwiches and sorbet.


Papi Queso – A “grilled cheese streatery” food truck opening it’s first brick-and-morter.  


AVA – A Tampa-based Italian food and Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant.


Suárez Bakery & Barra – Pastries, house-made breads and doughnuts, along with a Cuban menu.


Zukku Sushi – Featuring sushi rolls, sushi burritos and poke bowls.


With all these new places to explore and a bright future ahead, the new moniker fits the future for this once forgotten mill. 

Where to “Marie Kondo” Your Stuff

The good news is you were super inspired after watching Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. The bad news is your garage or basement is piled with things that no longer bring you joy. No one told you how overwhelming getting rid of stuff can be, even after you know you want to get rid of it. Never fear. Here is your guide to selling and donating. 


Unless you’re doing a garage or yard sale, divide your “get rid of” pile between donations and items to sell, only pulling out the truly valuable items that are in excellent condition to sell. The easiest things to sell are furniture and designer brands and jewelry, but smaller things can add up. Be prepared to create a profile, manage the sale and eventually ship the items or arrange pick-up. Do your homework to price your items accurately and make sure you have your jewelry appraised prior to a sale. 

TheRealReal—designer wardrobe consignment/sales. 

Poshmarkwardrobe consignment. 

ThredUP-basic wardrobe consignment

Vestiaire Collective—designer wardrobe. 

LePrix–designer clothes.

Amazon’s Trade-In programupgrade your amazon devices

Second Spinelectronics

Discogs—electronics, records


Delgatto / I Do Now I Don’t—jewelry 

WP Diamonds—jewelry 



Apartment Therapy Bazaar—furniture 


Facebook Marketplace—furniture or odds & ends. 

eBay—furniture, electronics, jewelry, wardrobe. 


Powells Books –books

Replacements Ltd—china & flatware


And just remember to follow safety precautions if you are meeting a buyer in person! This includes meeting in a public area and taking a friend.


Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont—wardrobe and household items.

Salvation Army—wardrobe, household items, toiletries, linens, diapers. 

The Free Storeclothing, tents, sleeping bags, furniture, and any general household items.

National Kidney Foundation of North Carolinahousehold and clothing items 

Dress for Successbusiness attire (suits and blouses) in sizes 0-4 and sizes 24 and larger suits and blouses, maternity business attire, accessories and scarves, shoes, especially in larger sizes, knee-high’s and pantyhose of all sizes in unopened packages and purses in conservative colors.

Charlotte Catholic Social ServicesThe refugee resettlement department accepts donations in the form of household items and furniture.

Appalachian Prison Book Project–paperback books

Queer Appalachia Coat Drive: Gently used, clean winter coats can be donated to poor and vulnerable LGTBQ+ folks in rural Appalachia via:

Queer Appalachia

POB 844

Bluefield, WV 24701

Whether you get a couple bucks in return or the warm glow of having helped someone in need, you will walk away with that particular sense of relief of having unburdened yourself of belongings. 

New Growth in Charlotte

Noticed the new apartment builds going up all over Charlotte? Well, get ready to see a lot more. According to a study by the National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association, Charlotte is expected to need at least 72,000 more apartments by 2030, making Charlotte one of the fastest growing apartment markets in the United States. 


What’s leading to this increase in demand? Not only are new buyers and renters entering the marketing, but increasingly the older generations are choosing apartments over single-family homes, exchanging home ownership for the convenience of renting. This demand is spread across culture and class, increasing the need for all kinds of apartments at all price points. 


This trend isn’t just occurring in Charlotte. Nationwide, increased demands for apartments are expected to rise. The western U.S. and states like Texas, Florida and North Carolina are expected to have the greatest need for apartments.


At first glance, this growth seems like a positive thing—it certainly is for investors and real estate markets, and can have positive impacts on the economy through the construction and increased business activity. But adding a 53% increase to current apartment stock puts heavy demands on the rest of the city’s infrastructure—including traffic, roads and public transportation, and is also a risk to neighborhoods vulnerable to gentrification. Displacing at-risk families can have ripple effects through generations. 


The need is there, but the best way to meet the demand is still to be seen. How will Charlotte take on this demand? I’ll keep you updated on my blog here.

Neighborhood Drama

Imagine stopping by a relative’s house and finding strangers have moved in, with an elaborate plot to acquire the house legally. That’s exactly what happened to a Davidson area family and their historic $2,000,000 home.

According to the police, a couple who claim allegiance to the “Moorish Nation” used a hide-a-key to illegally enter the home, and proceeded to move in. They unloaded a 26 foot U-Haul and parked their car in the garage. After moving into the house, they filed a quit claim deed with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds claiming they had legal cause and ownership of the property.

When a member of the Knox family found the couple at the home, they called the Davidson police, confronting 30-year old Turmaine Thorne and 35-year-old Taqiyah Barber who reasserted their claim on the house. After obtaining permission from the owners, the police entered the home and arrested the couple for trespassing.

The investigation is still ongoing, and if history is any indication this might only be the first chapter.

In 2016, a self-described Moorish National Group was arrested for squatting in an $800,000 home in Piper Glen. The tumultuous back and forth between the squatters and the neighborhood included the squatters claiming they were leasing the home from a Hungarian entertainer and, in another incident, claimed they were housing a diplomat. After the neighbors, HOA, and realtors complained, and the group was evicted more than once, the squatters were finally arrested. This follows a pattern of members targeting expensive homes that are vulnerable to squatters. Vacant, foreclosed, up for sale—the members move in and then file court actions to hold their ground as long as possible.

The Moorish Nation began as a national and religious organization under the leadership of Noble Drew Ali in New Jersey in 1913. The modern-day group calls for potential members to join to become a “True American Citizen”. Some radical offshoots reject federal, state and local laws as well as property rights, encouraging squatters rights. Since its inception, the group has often been divided by charismatic leaders.

It seems insane that anyone would think to steal a home, but apparently it’s not impossible.

Stay tuned with neighborhood drama and other news on my blog here!