Michelle Carpenter

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Michelle Liringis is the Lifestyle Editor for the 2013-2014 year. She is an English major with a journalism minor and has been working with the Niner Times since her freshman year.

Foodie Friday: eat more eggs

Eggs pack a lot of protein within that fragile shell. However, eating plain old scrambled eggs every morning can get old. Try these simple ideas to eat more eggs in different ways.

Poached with grits: To poach an egg without a fancy poaching pan, simply boil two to three inches of water in an 8 inch skillet. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat to allow the water to simmer. Crack an egg into a small glass bowl. Then slowly pour the egg into the water and allow it to cook for three to five minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Poached eggs are delicious over cheese grits with slices of avocado.

Poached eggs are great for breakfast. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Poached eggs are great for breakfast. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Egg sandwich: Pack veggies into your breakfast with this egg sandwich. Fry an egg and pile it on top of a slice of toast or a bagel with cheese. Add veggies like spinach, mushrooms, avocado or whatever pleases your palette. Add ham or bacon for an extra slice of delicious.

Omelette: Omelettes are great ways to pack more veggies into your breakfast. Try it with spinach, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Another favorite is western style with onions, bell peppers and topped with salsa and sour cream.

Hard boiled: Boiled eggs make great salad toppers. Try a salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado, crumbled turkey bacon and a hard boiled egg. Hard boiled eggs also make great snacks on their own.

Thirsty Thursday: vanilla latte

Vanilla lattes are a favorite among many when hitting up a coffee shop. However, spending $3 to $4 on them every day really adds up. As a college student, I’m always looking for ways to do things myself to save a few extra dollars. With this recipe, you’ll be able to get your latte fix without breaking your already dwindling bank.

Ingredients:

  • Coffee, unflavored but whatever kind you like best
  • Vanilla flavoring syrup
  • 1 c Milk or half and half
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)
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With just a few ingredients, you can make your own coffee shop quality latte at home. Photo by Michelle Carpenter

 

Instructions:

  • Brew coffee like you normally would. If you have a Keurig machine, making just one K-cup is plenty.
  • Put vanilla syrup in the bottom of the mug –I used about 2 teaspoons. If you choose to add a scoop of sugar, do so now.
  • While your coffee is brewing, steam your milk or half and half on the stove. You can also microwave it for about three minutes if you do not have a stove.
  • Pour coffee into the mug first and stir.
  • Then add the milk once it is steamed.
  • Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

This recipe can also be altered to have less calories. You can use skim or 2 percent milk and leave out the sugar and whipped cream. Also, there are sugar-free syrups available. If vanilla isn’t your flavor, follow the same recipe with any flavor syrup.

Foodie Friday: lemon poppyseed cupcakes with almond icing

Looking for something to bake while stuck inside with dreary weather? Tired of the same old chocolate chip cookies or boxed cupcakes? Try out these lemon poppy seed cupcakes. They taste similar to lemon poppy seed muffins, but are sweeter. Top them with the almond frosting for the perfect finishing touch. Serve them at your next get together or eat the whole batch while you binge watch “Friends” on Netflix.

They may take a little more effort than your traditional boxed cupcakes, but they will definitely be worth it.

Lemon poppy seed cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 c plain flour
1 1/2 caster sugar
4½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 c unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zest only
1 1/4 c buttermilk
5 egg whites

Instructions:

  • Heat the oven to 350. Grease your cupcake pan, or add cupcake papers.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix gently to combine.
    Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 c of buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed.
  • Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until lighter in colour.
    In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 c buttermilk, whisk to blend thoroughly.
  • Slowly add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2 to 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate the mix.
  • Divide the batter between the cupcakes.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown.

Almond frosting

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package cream cheese
3/4 c unsalted butter
3 c icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tbsp almond extract

Instructions:

  • In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar, about a quarter at a time, beating well between each addition.
  • Add the almond extract and then continue to beat well for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy.
If you do not have an electric mixer, that’s okay, you can use a good, old-fashioned spoon to mix your ingredients. If using a spoon for the frosting, melt the cream cheese a little bit and add it slowly as it tends to be difficult to stir.

Twelve days of treats: cinnamon roll pancakes

Cinnamon rolls are the perfect breakfast for Christmas day, but they take a lot of effort and preparation. These pancakes have all the delicious taste you want, and half the work. The best part is, they are gluten free for those who have an intolerance or are trying to eat healthier this holiday season.

Wow the family with this Christmas treat.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

For the pancakes:

  • 1/2 c gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 c sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk, or 1 to 2 percent
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 1/4 c cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Instructions

  1. Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  2. Mix all of the dry pancake ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Whisk the wet pancake ingredients together in another bowl
  4. Combine the wet with the dry and stir with a large wooden spoon
  5. Gently fold in the “filling” mixture
  6. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes
  7. While the batter is sitting, beat the glaze ingredients together until fully smooth and creamy. Store in the fridge until ready to use
  8. Heat griddle or pan over medium heat and grease with butter or oil
  9. Scoop batter into the pan and swirl around with a spatula or spoon
  10. Drizzle glaze over the top of the pancakes
  11. Top with sprinkles, powdered sugar, butter or maple syrup –whatever toppings your heart desires

Twelve days of treats: gooey butter cookies

Headed to a cookie exchange but want something different to share? These cookies are made with cake mix for an ooey-gooey buttery taste that is sure to be a hit.

They are quick and easy to make as well which just makes them all the better.

Ingredients

  • One box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese bar
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat butter, vanilla, egg and cream cheese until fluffy
  3. Mix in cake mix
  4. Chill for 30 minutes
  5. Roll into balls and dip in a bowl of powdered sugar
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes
  7. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top if desired

Semester rewind: 14 moments of fall 2014

This semester really flew by. Let’s take a look back at the most memorable moments of Fall 2014.

Aug. 9: Ferguson controversy erupts

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown after Brown robbed a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo.

The shooting caused violent protests. Uprisings continued even after the decision not to indict Wilson was announced on Nov. 24. Wilson decided to resign the morning of Nov. 29.

Aug. 11: Robin Williams  dies 

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

The beloved comedian’s death was deemed a suicide, sparking a larger conversation on mental health and the stigma attached.

Aug. 18: Martian Hall opens on camps

The newest campus housing option opened its doors for the first time this semester.

The residence hall features apartment style living and numerous study rooms and lounges.

Sept. 4: Joan Rivers dies

The entertainment world lost another great this semester with the passing of Joan Rivers after she spent weeks in a coma.

Now who will remind the stars just how awful some of their red carpet looks are?

Sept. 17: iPhone 6 and iOS 8 are released

Apple released their newest upgrades this semester with iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

iOS 8 was met with mixed reviews, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are big hits.

Sept. 23: Ebole fear strikes America

The Ebola craze hit America in full force at the end of September.

People hid in fear of catching this fatal disease.

Sept. 26: First community garden built on campus

UNC Charlotte’s first community garden hosted its build day on Sept. 26 between Storrs and Robinson Halls on campus.

The garden has carrots, lettuce, herbs, chards, peas and many other produce items. The produce will be donated to off campus non-profit organizations and to Chartwells for use on campus.

Oct. 11: Buddy Walk held at football stadium

The Buddy Walk was the first public event to ever be held in Jerry Richardson Stadium.

The Buddy Walk was hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC) and raised donations and awareness for the disease.

In addition to this being the first community event held in the football stadium, it was also the first year in the events’ 16 years that it was not held at Freedom Park.

Oct. 15: N. Tryon Street closes until May 2015

A section of N. Tryon Street at Mallard Creek Church Road has been closed since Oct. 15, making Cookout almost impossible to get to.

Make sure to avoid this intersection when venturing out for your late night milkshake craving.

The road will reopen in May 2015 … or so we’re told.

Oct. 22: Chance the Rapper performs for Homecoming concert

For the 2014 Homecoming concert, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) brought Chance the Rapper to campus.

Students were able to enjoy the show in Halton Arena for the low cost of $15 for presale tickets.

The show was just one of many exciting Homecoming events that were put on this year.

Other events included the lights parade, Habitat for Humanity build and tailgating that led up to the main event: the Charlotte 49ers football game against James Madison University.

Nov. 4: Midterm elections

Photo curtesy of Tribune News Service

Voters flocked to their appropriate voting stations to vote for state representatives.

Thom Tillis won the open Senate seat for North Carolina and the Republicans took control of the house.

Nov. 6: UNC Charlotte police Lieutenant resigns

Lieutenant Shawn Smith put in a letter of resignation after a sexual assault case involving himself and another member of campus police reached the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Nov. 12: Kim Kardashian breaks the internet

Kim Kardashian debuted her nude “Paper” magazine cover via Instagram using the hashtag “break the internet.”

Kardashian almost did just that. Her photo has since been parodied numerous times, including a fan favorite, Ellen’ DeGeneres’ Christmas card.

Nov. 13: Taylor Swift sells 1 million albums, removes music from Spotify.

Taylor Swift made headlines this year for something other than who she’s rumored to be dating. Her latest album “1989” sold 1 million copies in one week, the first to do so in 2014.

Also, she removed all of her music from Spotify, claiming that music is art and should be paid for.

Thirsty Thursday: crock pot apple cider

Cooler temperatures mean warmer drinks. For a festive drink, try this homemade apple cider. The prep time is short, and it is sure to be a hit at all your holiday gatherings.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 apples
  • water (enough to cover the apples)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 whole cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Maple syrup (to taste)
  • Brown sugar (to taste)
This apple cider will warm all your winter gatherings. Photo by Michelle Carpenter
This apple cider will warm all your winter gatherings. Photo by Michelle Carpenter

Instructions

  • Slice apples, removing the core and stem and place in the crock pot.
  • Cover the apples with water. Be careful not to use too much water or the cider will be diluted.
  • Add in spices.
  • Stir in maple syrup and brown sugar. If you want really sweet cider, add more syrup and sugar. I used half a cup of syrup and a quarter cup of brown sugar. The cider wasn’t super sweet, but it was good.
  • Turn crock pot on high and cook for 4 to 8 hours.
  • If you wish, you can strain the cider. I thought that would make it more complicated. When it came time to serve, I simply scooped the cider out with a ladle.

Once the cider is complete, you can still add more syrup or sugar if you or any of your guests feel it is not sweet enough. You can even make the cider a hard cider by adding some whiskey to it for added fun and flavor.

Lieutenant Colonel Sloan takes command of Army ROTC 49er Batallion

LTC Sloan at the men’s basketball exhibition game on Veterans Day. Photo by Chris Crews.
LTC Sloan was honored with a signed game ball at the men’s basketball exhibition game on Veterans Day. Photo by Chris Crews.

Serving his country comes naturally to U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jared Sloan.  He comes from a military family so joining the Army felt natural to him.

“I am the son of a career Army officer,” said Sloan. “My brother’s a career Army officer. I’m the youngest in the family. I was born on a military base and have been in the army my entire life.”

His military career began when he enlisted as a private in 1989, and he has been Army Strong ever since.

Following family tradition, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1992 to 1996, according to the Army ROTC web page. Upon graduation, he commissioned as an aviation officer.

“From a very young age I knew I wanted to fly,” said Sloan. “And specifically I knew I wanted to fly helicopters. I never wanted to be a jet pilot like Air Force.”

His career has taken him to places many people can only dream of going. He has been to 49 out of 50 states, only missing Hawaii. While his family’s favorite was Orlando, where Sloan attended the University of Central Florida to obtain his Master’s degree in engineering, he preferred their time in Alaska where he attended the Northern Warfare School.

“I did a summer course a couple of years ago that was sort of wilderness survival,” he explained.  “We spent time on the rivers. We spent time on the glaciers. We did some ice climbing in the middle of the summer. We did some rock climbing. We did long boat trips up and down the rivers. It really was a great experience. I love the outdoors, I always have, so just thoroughly loved that course.”

Sloan says his time teaching at West Point was another of his favorite assignments. “It’s a beautiful place I found it much more beautiful on the faculty than I did as a cadet,” he said with a laugh.

Sloan and his family of nine have made Charlotte their home for at least the next few years.

“This is a nominated assignment for three years,” explained Sloan. “We’re very excited to sit still for three years. We’ve never done that. The longest we’ve ever done that was the tour at West Point for 33 months, my 16 year old son has lived in 12 houses, my four year old daughter has lived in six so we are excited to maybe sit still for a while.”

Teaching at West Point is much different than teaching at UNC Charlotte as West Point cadets are more academically oriented.

“West Point is a very academic institution so I think I probably bring more of an academic attitude to my teaching here,” said Sloan. “Another thing I really valued at West Point was just time spent with students. I’m much more inclined to be involved with students outside of the classroom because I recognize that officer development occurs in places other than the classroom.”

Since taking the job at UNC Charlotte with the 49er Battalion, Sloan has made some noticeable changes. ROTC cadets enjoy working with him and find him to be a great asset to the program.

“Colonel Sloan has done a very good job of empowering cadets to think about issues the way they would tackle them as an Army officer,” said Davidson senior James Atkins, XO of the 49er Battalion.

Cadets have more power in the decision making this year and are expected to do more. In previous years, a cadet’s fourth year was the easy year of their education where they are just waiting to hear if they will be placed on active duty or a national guard slot, but they have already put in all of the work they need to, explained another cadet.

This year, the fourth year cadets are given more responsibility and are held to a higher standard.

Sloan wanted to bring more energy back to the 49er Battalion.

“One of the things that I’ve heard about ROTC programs in general is that they can tend to stagnate,” he said.

He has never been involved in an ROTC program before so he is, “not hindered by any mental model of ROTC because I have never been in ROTC. I don’t know what’s always been done so let’s do something different.”

Furthermore, the Army is changing. Some cadets are worried about the talk of downsizing and how that will affect their future careers.

However, Sloan has discovered that a change in focus is needed and is bringing that to the table here at UNC Charlotte in order to ease fears and better prepare cadets for their officer careers.

“Sloan has taken the program in a more modern direction, taking into account how the Army is changing,” said Davidson senior David Diaz. “He’s more pragmatic and teaches us things we can really use.”

Both Atkins and Diaz are up for commission this year and are happy with the impact Sloan’s leadership has had on them. They feel he has further prepared them for how to handle the challenges that inevitably lie ahead.

Sloan says he wants cadets to understand that leadership is a personal business. “Soldiers will never worry about how much you know, they’ll worry about how much do you care about them. Leadership isn’t born, leadership is learned, and it’s fundamentally about people,” he said.

Since arriving on campus, he has been involved in many aspects of campus life.

Back in September, he ran a week long boot camp for the basketball team where the team underwent rigorous army style training in preparation for their upcoming season.

“I think they’re going to be very surprised,” said Sloan.

The whole operation was kept under wraps until Sloan waltzed into one of their early morning workouts ready to put them to work.

While Sloan’s shaved head, impeccable posture and muscular build all peg him as Army guy at first sight, his serious nature does not indicate he is all work and no play. He still enjoys spending time with his family and letting loose every once in a while.

He is married and has seven children and spends all of his free time doing activities with them.

“I’m the father of seven, I don’t have free time. My kids do all kinds of events, we go camping, rock climbing…we do all kinds of stuff. We can do anything. As long as we’re together it’s all good.”

His family keeps him motivated to work hard and be a father and husband that they can be proud of. They also provide a strong foundation and backbone of support that is crucial for anyone pursuing a career in the military. It isn’t easy, but having a strong family dynamic makes it easier.

After his three year tour at UNC Charlotte is over, their next assignment is up in the air, but his family is nothing but supportive and excited to see where their journey takes them next.

“Life in the Army is a family event, everybody has to be all in. Your spouse has to be on board, and your kids have to have interest in it,” he said. “Army life is a great experience. I’d never discourage anyone from just trying it out and seeing what it’s like and getting involved. Over the past 25 years I have no regrets.”

Foodie Friday: crockpot recipes

As college students, we are limited by our space, time and our finances. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of cooking for ourselves to avoid the well known Freshman 15. Finding the time to cook as a full time student can seem like a daunting task.

Students choose to purchase take out and frozen meals as an easy way to nourish themselves, but as many people know, a diet on fast food and frozen processed meals can negatively effect your health as well as your academic performance.

So how can a full time student make time for home cooked meals? The answer to this question is the Crockpot.

The Crockpot is a relatively inexpensive item that anyone can purchase from Target or Wal-Mart for around $30. The simplest Crockpot has three settings, off, low heat and high heat. It cooks your meat slowly in water or broth for around three to four hours which is time you could be spending doing homework or attending class. This will leave your meat tender and juicy.

If you want some ideas as to the quick meals that you can prepare with your Crockpot, here are two examples:

Crockpot Chicken Taco Meat:

Ingredients:

– 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix

– 1 cup of chicken broth (can use two cubes of chicken bullion dissolved in a cup of hot water)

– 1 boneless chicken breast

Directions:
– Turn Crockpot on high and mix the taco seasoning with the chicken broth

– Cut boneless chicken breast into cubes and place into the broth

– Allow combination to cook for 4 hours

– Prepare with taco shells, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes

Crockpot Taco Soup

Ingredients:

– 1 boneless chicken breast

– 1 cup of chicken broth

– 1 onion

– 1 can of pinto beans

– 1 can of white beans

– 1 can of corn

– 1 can of diced tomatoes

– 1 can of diced red and green chilies

Directions:

– Cut chicken breast into cubes

– Dice onion

– Cook chicken and onions in 1 cup of chicken broth for 4 hours

– Once cooked add all of the contents of the can including the water

– Let it cook for another hour

– Add any extras like sour cream and cheese when finished

The guide to hair color

The relationship with your hair has been wonderful for the past eight weeks. You wake up every morning to style it and every night you prepare it for bed. You wash it, deep condition it and your hair loves you for all of your efforts. All is well, or is it?

Every now and then a relationship needs a bit of spice to keep it interesting. Coloring your hair is a great way to liven up your mundane hairdo.

Before selecting a color, it is important to understand the dyeing options that are available to you. When it comes to changing the color of your locks, there are four options that are available: temporary, demi-permanent, semi-permanent and permanent.

Temporary hair color can come in sprays, gels and in applicator bottles. This form of hair coloring does not contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia or peroxide, therefore no color is being lifted from the cuticle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo by Kimberly Batton

It has also been noted that the molecules in temporary hair color are to big to deposit into the hair shaft. Therefore the color can be completely removed after a couple of washes.

However, there are exceptions for individuals with damaged hair. If your hair has been damaged by styling, there is a possibility that the temporary hair color cannot be removed completely due to the increased porosity of the hair.

Demi-permanent hair color contains small amounts of ammonia and peroxide. Such low amounts of these chemicals slightly increase the porosity of the hair so that the color can deposit itself.

Since the hair only becomes slightly porous, demi-permanent hair color will eventually wash out of the hair after 28 shampoos. Semi-permanent hair color is contains an even lesser amount of ammonia and peroxide, therefore it can be washed out within 12 shampoos.

Permanent hair color contains the highest concentration of ammonia and peroxide. As a result, the majority of your hair color will be lifted and your hair will be porous enough to accept the new color.

Although this coloring is classified as permanent, the color will slightly fade over time. The Campus Salon recommends using products that are meant for color treated hair such as Lanzas Healing Color Care to increase the longevity of your hair color.

Determining what hair color would look best on you should be based off of your skin tone. The easiest way to determine your skin tone is to look at the color of the veins on the inside of your wrists. You have a warm tone if your veins look green. You have a neutral skin tone if your veins appear to be a bluish green. If your veins look blue or purple, you have a cool skin tone.

People with cool skin tones should try brown hair colors such as chocolate brunette or honey almond brown, golden blond hair colors or orange-red hair colors.

People with warm skin tones should try dark brunette hair colors, ash brown hair colors, beige and champaign blond hair colors and dark red hair colors.

People with neutral skin tones should try medium browns and reds as well as light brunettes and medium blonds.

Although these colors are recommended for these skin tones, the best way to choose your hair color is to choose what would make you happy. After all, it is your hair and your style, but no matter how you decide to color your hair, it is important to always manage the health of your hair.

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Photo by Kimberly Batton

To keep your hair in great condition, you must keep your hair clean and moisturized. It is also important to seal the ends of your hair with oil, such as Moroccan oil which is sold at the campus salon, and avoid using styling tools as much as possible. If you must use styling tools, make sure you use heat protection, and try to limit its use to once a week.

Foodie Friday: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Every once in a while I get a craving for a really good burger. Not one that can be obtained for a few bucks through a drive through window, but one that requires good meat, fresh toppings and two hands.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is by far the best place to satisfy such a craving. The wide variety burgers are thick and juicy and have only the best toppings.

Sink your teeth into the classic All American burger or give them a spicy treat with the Cantina burger topped with green chiles, avocado and chipotle ranch and cheddar and monterrey jack cheeses.

More adventurous burger eaters should try the Sam I Am which is topped with American cheese, a fried egg, rosemary ham and pesto.

My personal favorite is the Mama Ricotta’s burger topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto, vine ripened tomatoes, pepperoncini and extra virgin olive oil. It is the perfect burger for people who love Italian food.

The sweet potato fries melt in your mouth and are the perfect side dish to any of their burgers.

The Mama Ricotta's burger and sweet potato fries are a favorite at Bad Daddy's Burger Bar. Photo by Michelle Carpenter
The Mama Ricotta’s burger and sweet potato fries are a favorite at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Photo by Michelle Carpenter

The service at Bad Daddy’s is incredible. The servers are always checking on guests and refilling drinks in a timely manner. Every server is happy to give suggestions about menu options and make sure customers get exactly what they want.

There is a certain ambiance present in the restaurant. It has the bar atmosphere so it is a great place for going out with a big group. However, if bars aren’t quite your scene, it is still a great place for a casual date or outing with friends. It isn’t too loud to where you cannot hear the people around you, but there is a fun energy about it.

Photos, news clippings and other artifacts line the walls. They’re slightly crowded, but add to the whimsical atmosphere.

The patio area is heated and provides a quieter, less bar-like atmosphere for those diners who prefer something different.

The burgers aren’t the only items on the menu worth trying out. Daddy’s Nachos are the best appetizer to share with a group. They are loaded with chili, black beans, jalapenos, cheddar, red onions, jalapeno bacon, black olives, queso sour cream and green onions.

Bad Daddy’s also has a selection of alcoholic milkshakes that are insanely popular. Think the thick and creamy delight of a cookout milkshake, but with your favorite alcohol added for an extra buzz.

Prices at Bad Daddy’s are reasonable for the quality of the food and service provided. Burgers range from $10 to $13.

The only downside to an evening at Bad Daddy’s is the parking. The lot is small and there is not a lot of street parking available, but it is worth the fight for the spot.

Next time the burger craving strikes, head to the Dilworth neighborhood and check out Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar.

Romare Bearden Park is a haven among the hustle of the city

Fields of green grass and beds of purple flowers grow providing a sanctuary within the bustling area that is uptown Charlotte.

Amid bankers and business men, Romare Bearden Park is a place where residents and tourists alike can rejuvenate and remember the beauty of nature.

The park is located at 300 S. Church St., just three blocks from the intersection of Trade St. and Tryon St., the heart of uptown, and directly across from the new Charlotte Knights Stadium.

During the week, business people use the area to take walks and enjoy the fresh air on their lunch breaks.

On weekends, parents and children use the expansive fields to kick a soccer ball around.

Other patrons throw Frisbee with their furry friends. While there is a lot of activity in the small park, it rarely feels crowded.

At one corner of the 5.4-acre park, there is a large white gazebo with tables and chairs that adds to the charm. Visitors lounge there reading or chatting and lunching with friends or colleagues.

Adjacent to the gazebo are rows of flowers and beautifully maintained.

Stone paths weave throughout the flowerbeds that cover the area. The stones are various shades of gray and tan and have a mosaic feel to them. The architects of the park made sure every detail, even the ground, adds to the artistic aura of the whole park.

Benches are available along the winding paths for patrons to sit and take in the growing trees and flowers or quietly read a book.

Along the stone paths that run throughout the park, runners take in the beauty of the park.

Romare Bearden doesn’t have the lengthy running trails that other parks such as Reedy Creek or Freedom Park do, but it is a great place to log some miles for those who enjoy running in the city.

Furthering the artistic feel are fountains and even a wall of waterfalls. The wall is made of small tiles and water rushes down it. Behind the water are colored lights that change throughout the day.

The park was made to be a tribute to Charlotte artist Romare Bearden.

According to the Bearden Foundation, Romare Bearden is “recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the twentieth century.”

Bearden was famous for experimenting with different mediums and worked primarily with the collage format. His collages have been featured on the covers of magazines such as Time and Fortune.

The eclectic and interactive art pieces found throughout the park showcase his style and are perhaps the most outward display of a tribute to Bearden, especially the mosaic style of the ground and murals throughout the park.

Furthering the interactive nature, there are various poles with drumsticks attached for children and other patrons to play with.

“They had to start locking up the drumsticks at night,” explained a regular park visitor Sherry. “People living in the apartments surrounding were complaining because they were being kept up at night.”

The park is surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings that house hundreds of locals.

While visiting, the children were going wild with the drumsticks making all kinds of different pitches and tunes. It’s no wonder they needed to be locked up at night.

In between the music poles is a three by three tile square that makes piano noises when stepped on.

These, along with the misters, are favorites of children playing in the park.

A young woman held her small child’s hand and walked her onto the piano tiles. The child’s face lit up with the first “ding,” and she immediately looked down at her bare, pudgy feet.

She let go of her mother’s hand and began happily stopping around on all the tiles, unaware of her mother’s light taps behind her to help her press down hard enough on them.

The misters add a water element many children love at parks. However, it is not like a normal splash park as seen at The Green in Uptown.

The misters are activated by pushing a button, and they blow out mist perfect for cooling off on hot summer days.

In addition to being a great place to spend a lazy afternoon, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation website says the park is also home to numerous events including Party in the Park, held in September, and the Music Box Lunch Series.

This series highlights local and regional bands with informal sets from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

From mid-April until the end of September, the park holds a fitness program. Classes available are yoga, boot camp and zumba.

The classes are free and open to the public, says the Charlotte Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation website.

Because of its location, the park features picturesque views of the Uptown Charlotte skyline.

Many locals flock there simply to grab the perfect photo.

The view of the Charlotte skyline attracts many visitors to Romare Bearden Park. Photo by Michelle Carpenter
The view of the Charlotte skyline attracts many visitors to Romare Bearden Park. Photo by Michelle Carpenter

Most end up staying awhile to enjoy the relaxed feel of the park.

“My favorite part is the tranquil but fun environment of the park,” said Sherry.

Tourists find the park just as enjoyable as well.

“This was a great place to find in the city,” said Amy, a tourist visiting Charlotte from Provo, Utah, with her husband. “It’s so beautiful and right in the city. I really love the view.”

The couple happened upon the park as they were walking around the city exploring and decided to stop and have a picnic on one of the grassy fields while they waited to meet some local friends.

“It is a beautiful place to relax and take a break from touring around the city to the museums and shops,” followed her husband Stephen.

The Charlotte bike share program has a stop at Romare Bearden Park.

Bike renters can check their bikes in while checking out the park, or they can begin their day here. Patrons can then rent bikes to make exploring the rest of the city easier.

There is parking near the park on S. Poplar St. and MLK Jr. Blvd. For a complete map of parking, check out the Charlotte Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation Website.

Next time you are looking for a great place to relax and enjoy the crisp, fall weather without going far, spend a afternoon at Romare Bearden park and take in the city and tranquility all at once.

Protect your stuff

College students are easy targets for burglars as they tend to be more careless with their belongings. The rise of higher-end apartment complexes in the university area is leading to more burglaries as robbers assume these tenants have more valuable items.

According to areavibes.com, there are an estimated 5,789 acts of property crime in the university area each year. This crime rate is about 43 percent higher than the Charlotte average of property crime.

Recently, UNC Charlotte senior Chris Carpenter had his bike stolen off of his apartment porch in Colville Gardens, an apartment community across from campus off of Suther Road.

He kept his bike locked on the porch with what he assumed was a reliable bike lock. However, he went out one day to ride his bike to class and found that while his wife’s was still there, his was not and the remaining bike was unlocked.

“The lock was undamaged, but my bike was gone,” said Carpenter. “It was a really nice bike, too.”

Carpenter now has to file a police report and a claim with his renter’s insurance company.

Carpenter learned the hard way that things are not safe even at his own house.

“I didn’t think I would have to worry about it because it was on my own porch,” said Carpenter. “People don’t respect others’ privacy anymore.”

In order to avoid this happening to you, here are five ways you can keep your property safe.

Burglaries are on the rise in apartment complexes, make sure you are keeping your stuff safe.  FILE PHOTO
Burglaries are on the rise in apartment complexes, make sure you are keeping your stuff safe. FILE PHOTO

1. Beware of hide-a-keys

Try leaving a key with a nearby friend or neighbor in case you lock yourself out.

Most of us are attached to our cell phones so we will be able to easily call that person to get back into our apartments.

If you must use a hide-a-key, avoid the usual places like under a rock or a flowerpot. This only makes it easier for burglars.

Also, once you use the key once, move it to a different location so if someone saw you using it, they won’t be able to find it again.

2. Have someone stop by your apartment if you’re going out of town

If you know all of your roommates will be gone over the holidays, try to have a friend who is staying in the area stop by your apartment periodically.

This way, if someone is watching and attempts to break in, they will see that the apartment has not been left empty for weeks on end.

3. Don’t leave too many things outside

While we all want to take advantage of balcony space, it is important to not leave too many expensive or nice-looking things exposed. That only attracts burglars.

If you are in the habit of leaving your blinds open, make sure there are not high-end items visible from the outside.

4. Always lock up your stuff

Lock car doors, apartment doors and use appropriate bike locks. Additionally, make sure your windows are locked so burglars don’t come in that way.

5. Get to know your neighbors

College communities have a lot of people coming in and out, but try to get to know the people who live around you. This will make strangers stick out more so crimes can be prevented.

Thirsty Thursday: witches brew

Halloween is fast approaching and getting into the spirit of things, I thought why not try a Halloween inspired drink. This bubbly concoction can be a fun and simple treat and with a little tweaking the ultimate drink for any Halloween party.

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Photo by Alexus Wall

Ingredients:

2 litters of lemon lime soda (any brand will do)

1 tub of Sherbert ice cream or frozen yogurt

1 bottle of lime flavored vodka (optional as long as you are of age)

1 jumbo bag of gummy worms (optional)

Combine the lemon lime soda and Sherbert ice cream. If you would like, add some lime or lemon vodka. To add a little more fun to the drink, add some gummy worms.