Kristen Cheatam

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Restaurant Review: The Capital Grille

Photo by Kristen Cheatam
Photo by Kristen Cheatam

Imagine dining at a restaurant with ambient lighting, complimentary valet parking & professional staff who provides excellent service. The Capital Grille is nestled deep into the heart of uptown Charlotte directly adjacent to the Bank of America building. As I pulled up to the curb directly in front of the restaurant, the valet politely offered to park my car with no cost. The staff at the restaurant treat each and every guest with amazing service. I stepped into the restaurant and was immediately pleased with how quickly we were whisked away to our reserved area. The staff took note that it was my birthday and had a neat spread of confetti on the table and offered me a complimentary glass of champagne. Our waiter was very personable and gave great advice on which entrees taste the best on the menu. Being that Capital Grille is a fine dining, nearly five star restaurant, nothing on the menu was budget friendly. No shade, but if you’re wallet conscious I would suggest opting for a budget friendly restaurant such as Red Lobster, or Olive Garden; especially for college students, this place shows no mercy. The clientele mainly consists of wealthy business men and women who could careless about prices. Being that it was my 21 birthday, I was treated to a finer than usual dining experience.

The menu offers salads, fish, lobster, crab and steak. I started off with a lobster and crab cake on a bed of lettuce with a bit of sweet pepper corn and a glass of Pinot Noir as an appetizer. The cake was fairly small for the price, but it packed with a delicious punch of flavor and the meat tasted pure. Soon after skimming the menu we decided to place our order. The person accompanying me ordered the Fresh Maine Lobster ($45) and I ordered a Spinach Salad with warm bacon dressing($11) paired with a side of Truffle Fries ($16). As the waiter brought out our dishes and politely set them on the table, he unraveled each of our napkins and placed them on our laps. Not only was the presentation beautiful, also the food tasted heavenly. The Spinach salad was topped with light eggs, bacon, mushrooms, onions and a warm sweet bacon dressing. The truffle fries were fried to perfection in truffle oil then douched with a coat of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese producing the best fries I’ve ever had so far in life. Seriously, I wished they were bottomless. As the meal ended, I was presented with two small complementary birthday deserts. One of the deserts was a rich, flourless chocolate cake and the other was a mini cheesecake and they both tasted delicious. Overall, if you are searching for great service, impeccable food and a mellow upscale atmosphere, I highly recommend dining at The Capital Grille.

Bloom into beauty

Photo by Kristen Cheatam
Photo by Kristen Cheatam
  1. Golden eyeshadow

As seen on many makeup blogs, golden eyeshadow has finally peaked its head into the spring. Golden lids draw attention to the eyes and can take you from a day to night look with winged liner. Not only is golden eyeshadow perfect for a bronze makeup look, it also looks incredible when the sun reflects against your lids. To avoid creating a tacky mess, blend the golden eyeshadow correctly with a complimenting color such as a burnt orange shadow. Other metallic colors such as purple, silver and teal are refreshing for spring.

  1. Wild brows

Back for another season, wild natural brows continue to dominate the brow game. For years now wild brows have been praised and sought after since the emergence of supermodel Cara Delavigne sported her furry brows on many beauty campaigns. As seen in the Burberry Fall 2016 Womenswear Collection, models display thick, long, natural brows gelled to their face. If your brows are a little too wild and wiry for your liking, a brow gel is formulated to hold them into place and define each brow. There are plenty of options for the ladies with thin eyebrows. Try opting for tinted brow gel or a brow mascara. Anastasia Beverly Hills is the most popular brand that’s known for being the supplier for top quality eyebrow kits and gels. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel ($22) is one of the most raved about products from the brand. For more lasting faux thick eyebrows, a new technique called brow tinting has emerged where a light semi-permanent dye is applied to create the desired thickness that gives off the appearance of a fuller brow. So free those brows for spring and let them wisp in the wind.

  1. Minimal

Minimal makeup is another trend for the spring, along with dewy glowing skin. Even though the term minimal is very subjective and depends on preference, applying the least amount of makeup possible is the ultimate goal. Applying makeup to give the appearance that you actually put nothing on your face sums up the idea of this. Usually just applying the basics such as a tinted moisturizer or a light-wear, luminous foundation, mascara, a dust of blush and a tinted balm. Highlighter can be used to give a dewy glow when added to the strike points on your face with a technique called strobing. A very light and subtle contour can also be applied if your makeup makes you appear to look ghostly, but it’s important to blend your contour powder to give you natural looking definition and depth.

  1. Orange blush

So long 80s heavy bold pink, and hello supple orange blush. Sadly, it’s time for pink blush to take the back seat and let orange blush take the wheel. For the most part, pink or red blush often leads to muted clown cheeks, or in other words it’s drastically noticeable. Orange toned blush creates more of a fresh, healthy natural looking color when it’s dusted moderately on the apples of your cheeks. To maximize the color it’s best to pair the orange blush with an opaque matte burnt orange lipstick. Unlike shades of pink, orange compliments each and every skin tone. If you’re unsure about what shade fits your skin, pop into your local beauty store (Ulta or Sephora) and ask a sales associate to assist you in finding your perfect match. Deeper oranges easily melt into the skin creating a sheer effortless layer of color. Taj Mahal by NARS ($30) is the ideal shade of blush and is perfect for every complexion. If you’re searching for a cheaper option, Cinnamon by NYX is a rich pigmented blush that gives the same natural effect as NARS blush and it retails for only $5 at Ulta Beauty.

  1. Colored winged liner

Colored eyeliner has been peeking into the beauty industry for years. From the deep blue waterline trend of 2010 to the layered color winged tips of 2012, colors have been popping in and out of our lives for years. The trend has never been as important and bold until now. As seen on many models at NYFW, blues and greens are at the forefront of the trendiest colors to wear. Many women who are new to applying makeup have trouble mastering the perfect wing and dread the daunting task of trying to create a simple symmetrical cat eye. To avoid staring into the mirror for 20 minutes per eye, try using a winged liner stencil. Practicing with a stencil can improve your wrist flicking skills and give you the perfect wings you’ve been searching for. Instead of using liner, opt to fill the stencil with a colored crème eyeshadow to create a bold, beautiful winged cat eye.

Combat the season shift with these beauty products

Photo by Kristen Cheatam
Photo by Kristen Cheatam

Bronzer

As the season changes and the sun begins to hide behind the dim fall clouds, the colors of the summer began to fade along with your luminous summer sun kissed skin. Tanning is basically impossible in cold cloudy weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to take on a modern day Wednesday Addams appearance. Bronzer is the next best thing to a tan and has less harmful health effects. Not only does bronzer give the illusion of a sun-kissed glow, but it can also define the facial bone structure. To help give your face the perfect definition try . There are many shades, varieties and formulas of bronzer combinations and it’s important to know which ones best suit your skin type. For dry skin, I would recommend using a cream bronzer such as Urban Decay Naked Skin Bronzing Beauty Balm, which retails for $35 at Sephora. Cream bronzers are very light weight and easy to apply. Powdered Bronzers are best for oily skin because they do not dip into your pores like a cream bronzer. The best formulated powder bronzer is the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil, which retails for $30 at Ulta. A cheaper option is NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer. For the girls with olive/yellowish undertones in their skin, using a neutral or cool toned bronzer will help avoid mirroring an orange. So, choose your bronzer wisely ladies, and torture the fall with sun kissed golden skin.

Dewy Luminous Foundation

The cool fall air is no joke, especially when it sucks every ounce of moisture from your skin and leaves your face looking dull. It’s time to retire the translucent powder and matte foundation until spring and revive your skin with a luminous, dewy foundation. Usually dewy foundations are aimed towards dry skin, but even the oiliest skin can benefit from the extra glow. NARS All-Day Luminous Foundation, sold at Sephora for $48, is one of the best foundations and it’s true to its name. This lightweight, cake-free foundation creates the perfect glaze of highlight on your cheekbones. According to NARS, the best way to apply this foundation is with your fingers because it gives off a blotchless, even finish. For a cheaper option, Maybelline Fit Me Dewy Smooth foundation gives the same glowing effect as the NARS foundation, although it requires constant application because it’s not an all-day formula.

Bold Dark Lip colors

As the leaves get darker, so should your lips. It’s an unspoken commandment in the beauty bible. There’s an art to applying dark lips. First off, it’s extremely important to find shades that coordinate with your skin tone. Burnt orange does not suit everyone. Some colors will look terrible on you, but don’t get discouraged. It happens to the best of us and if you keep searching you’ll find the perfect shade. Dark red lipstick is the easiest to distinguish between because the blue toned, or neutral reds typically flatter all skin tones. Stay away from red lipstick with orange undertones. Deep plum purple is the most popular fall lip color and looks amazing on almost everybody. When choosing deep colored lipsticks, look for a highly pigmented matte finish formula to reduce the chance of the lipstick transferring onto clothes or traveling to other parts of your face. Before applying a dark lipstick, it’s important to apply moisturizing chapstick and a lip liner, such as Nightmoth by MAC, because it acts as a barrier between your lips and skin to hold the lip color in place. NYX has a ton of incredible matte lip creams at an affordable price that feature perfect fall colors. However, Transylvania and Copenhagen are the only shades that have the perfect pigment.

Beauty Oil

Some of the newest products hitting shelves in the beauty industry are beauty oils. Not only does it cleanse your skin, it also moisturizes and prevents early signs of aging. It’s especially important in the fall to add as much moisture back into your skin when it is starting to get really dehydrated. When choosing a beauty oil, look for something non-greasy that creates a healthy natural glow. One of the most raved about beauty oils is the RMS Beauty Oil which retails for $78, but for the price it lasts ages. For a more affordable beauty oil, you could opt for all natural organic coconut oil which is sold at most health food markets. So whatever the fall has in store, make sure you fight against the harsh effects of the changing season.

Beauty Product: Aussie Moist Conditioner

moist bottle cropped
Photo by Kristen Cheatam.

Dry hair? Bad hair day? Bad hair life? Don’t give up. For the days where your hair feels dehydrated and is impossible to style, revive those locks with a moisturizing conditioner. Aussie Moist conditioner is the Holy Grail for hair-repair products. Not only is it cheap, but it does exactly what it states on the bottle, “No more crying over dry.” With that being said, this conditioner can be used in more ways than one, it can serve as a leave-in conditioner, a deep conditioner, or simply a detangler. Aussie Moist is perfect for the curly beauties with tame-resistant, moisture-resistant, and frizz happy hair. When applied to damp hair (as the directions say on the bottle), the conditioner melts away frizz and magically Along with perfectly coiled curls, this conditioner leaves a heavenly scent similar to the smell of melted marshmallows on your hair for days. If you’re in a rush and your hair is parched, mix equal parts water and conditioner into a spray bottle and spray where needed. You’ll leave your house smelling like roasted s’mores with healthy, frizz-free, moisture-rich hair.

If you’re chemical-conscious or only use all-natural hair products, this conditioner may not quite meet your standards. Although this product is sulfate-free, the second main ingredient in this product is Alcohol, which is known to dry out hair, create slit-ends, and promote breakage. This is a complete myth. Aussie Moist is proof, this conditioner definitely lived up to its name with this magical potion, because moist has never sounded so fitting. The first main ingredient is water which is absolutely fabulous for thirsty, brittle, over-processed hair. Has that Dominican blowout sweated out and you’re ready to revive those curls? Slap in a palm sized amount (because nobody really uses a pea-sized) of Aussie Moist as a deep conditioner, put on a plastic cap and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash it out with cool water to lock in the moisture and prepare to be amazed at the magical powers Aussie Moist has sprung upon those dusty strands by resurrecting your curls from the dead. Aussie Moist conditioner is without a doubt the most over-rated product in the hair world, it’s affordable which makes it college student friendly and works similar to high-end salon conditioners without the steep price tag. Why not get quality at a reasonable price? A 29.2 ounce bottle can be found at local supermarkets such as Walmart or Target for only five dollars. Not to mention the longevity of the massive amount of product, which means you shouldn’t have to worry about conditioner for 1-3 months.

Hidden Beauty Gem: Aztec-Cider Face Mask

Photo by Kristen Cheatam.
Photo by Kristen Cheatam.

Being a full time college student, working part-time and even leading a campus organization can be super stressful on both your body and mind. Sometimes stress begins to take a toll on your body by wreaking havoc on your skin. In order to combat pimples, it’s important to take time out of your busy schedule and give your skin some old fashioned T.L.C. If you suffer from acne, redness, dryness, oily skin (or any stubborn skin condition), applying a face mask once a week can completely cure your problem areas.

The Aztec-Cider face mask is the best kept secret in the beauty industry. Why would somebody want to hide this miracle mixture from the world? How selfish. Everybody deserves to know and I’m spreading the word. It’s quite simple and inexpensive to create this DIY face mask and all products can be purchased on Amazon for a dirt cheap price.

Things you’ll need:
Aztec Secret: Indian Healing Clay
Bragg’s: Raw Organic ACV
Glass Mixing bowl
Paintbrush

To begin, measure equal parts of the healing clay to ACV into the glass bowl. The consistency should be similar to cake batter, but if the mixture is water-like, continue to add more clay. The very first reaction you’ll have is disgust due to the offensive smell of the Apple Cider Vinegar. Trust me, the odor fades and the benefits begin to outweigh smell. On a freshly cleansed, makeup-free face, gently apply the mask with the paintbrush, let it work its magic for around 30 minutes. While you’re waiting, finish up some Spanish homework, take a quiz, or cook dinner.

Finally, your face will feel tight and you can literally feel the face mask sucking a weeks’ worth of dirt from your pores. The pulsating sensation is caused by the bentonite clay, which is known for drawing out impurities from the skin. Although many different cosmetic brands, such as Freeman’s Beautiful Face Masks, incorporate a small amount of bentonite clay into their formulas, they combine it with harsh chemicals that irritate sensitive skin. The ACV face mask is all natural, organic ingredients and gentle on sensitive skin. So if you’re feeling like your skin could use some refreshing, this deep pore cleansing face mask is calling your name. Give it a try.

Reinventing your style

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One can never have too many clothes! Photo by Kristen Cheatam.

As the sizzling summer weather starts to drift to the other half of the world and cooler weather is slowly approaching, it’s now time to ditch that summer wardrobe for warm fall sweaters, dark lips and cozy boots. Yes, sadly it’s time to get rid of those oversized t-shirts paired with Jack Rodger’s and express your personal style. Whether you’re front row at a Football game, or hauling five miles across campus for an evening class, it’s important to look stylish while power walking or cheering in the stands. In order to smoothly transition into fall, the first step is to throw out those summer clothes and go shopping. Luckily, with help from these quick fashion tips you’ll learn what works for individual style, so shopping for those cool fall nights will be a breeze.

Night Out:

You’re sitting in the library studying, and suddenly you receive an urgent text from Bae saying he wants to take you to dinner and a movie, but you panic because you have nothing to wear. Wait, don’t panic, I can assure you, you have plenty of fierce options stuffed in those plastic storage bins of yours. You just have to know how to style them. First things first, for the fall it can be difficult creating night time looks that coincide with the weather because this is Charlotte, N.C. The weather is never consistent. For a cool fall night, sequined cocktail dresses and long cuffed bodysuits paired with black tailored blazers provide the perfect and very versatile, “Day-time to Night-time” look. Beaded tights add glamour to a long patterned lace dress without draining the entire look. To give the illusion that you walked straight off a Paris runway, pair silk draped, seductive gowns in either teal, sangria and chartreuse with shimmering gold accents and a crimson matte lip (as seen in Monique Lhullier’s Ready to Wear Fall 2015 collection) to give Bae the shock of his lifetime! On the other hand, being stylish doesn’t mean wearing expensive clothes, Zara, Forever 21 and H&M carry all of these fashion necessities. Even thrift stores such as Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange and Uptown Cheapskate offer fashionable options at low, college friendly prices.

Outdoor Events:

We’ve all seen them, the girl that wears heels to Football games cautiously stepping from bleacher to bleacher, while everybody is watching and praying to see her tumble down. Unless you’re sitting at the front row, or being carried by a slew of servants I would not recommend heels for outdoor sporting events. Set the heels aside and pick up a sleek pair of strapped ankle boots or stylish velvet loafers in order have a safe, yet stylish, journey to the top of those steps! It can be difficult to dress for transitioning weather, especially when one night it’s blizzard cold, then the next it’s the Sahara desert which could make planning an outfit more miserable than driving in UNCC traffic at 2 p.m. But there’s one solution to make things so much easier: Checking the weather. Before you decide to throw on that ratty UNCC t-shirt from freshman year, a windbreaker and those dusty jeans, stop yourself. It’s possible to still look stylish while showing school spirit! A 49er t-shirt could be paired with a metallic gold pencil skirt, with sleek ankle boots and gold accessories. Swap the t-shirt for your own green and gold ensemble that reflects your personal style. Maybe a taupe jumpsuit paired with a dark green bib necklace, or a dark green midi skirt with a patterned cardigan if you’re feeling flirty. Let’s face it, jeans and t-shirts are the go-to outfit for most college students, but on a campus filled with 28,000 students, your style can truly set you apart. So take the time to reinvent your style for the fall and have fun making heads turn.