Angie Baquedano

Angie Baquedano is the Assistant Lifestyle Editor at Niner Times. She is close to completing her Creative Writing major and Journalism Minor as an Undergraduate and hopes to one day work for The National Geographic Society. When Angie isn’t swamped with homework or working her CNA job she can be found traveling, reviewing restaurants for Charlotte Food Adventures or taking up new hobbies such as painting with oil pastels (It changes depending on what inspires her that week).

Retroactive: The Pop Culture that Shaped Us

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Jeffrey Kopp (A&E Editor)

Movie: “Tarzan” (1999) – This is a film that hits me in the feels every single time that I watch it. The soundtrack by Phil Collins adds so much emotional depth to the movie; “Two Worlds” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” are the definite standouts. This is by far my favorite Disney movie of all time; just thinking about it makes me want to find my copy of the VHS tape and take a trip back to the jungle.

Song: “Hey Ya!” (2003) by OutKast– The lyric, “shake it like a Polaroid picture” has been repeating on a loop in my head since 2003. The catchy beat immediately transports me back to the simpler times of elementary school; the deeper meaning behind the song flew over my head as a child, but I’ve been able to appreciate it more as an adult. This is a song that has stood the test of time and is definitely one of my all time favorites.

TV Show: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-Present) –  Every generation has something that culturally defines them. In the case of millennials, that is Nickelodeon’s most iconic cartoon. I have so many fond memories of watching “SpongeBob” with my parents and friends, laughing at the absurd scenarios and jokes that have evolved into memes in recent years. Without any doubt, “Pizza Delivery” and “Band Geeks” are two of the greatest episodes in television history.

“Breakaway” album cover courtesy of Walt Disney/RCA

Stephanie Trefzger (Assistant A&E Editor)

Movie: “Twister” (1996) – Granted, I only saw this movie once as a child, but it probably had the biggest impact on my life.  It scared the absolute hell out of me, and I had nightmares about tornadoes ripping through my house. In an attempt to assuage my fears, my mother encouraged me to learn more about tornadoes, and suddenly I was obsessed with weather.  Despite the science in the movie being outdated, Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton inspire a love and fascination for storm chasing in me to this day, and it has been my dream job for the better part of my life. If only my mother would let me.

Song: “Breakaway” (2004) by Kelly Clarkson – I love drama, and this song, as well as the album by the same name is full of it.  When I was in the car and I heard the opening notes, I would immediately stare out the window like Clarkson describes and acted like I was in a music video.  This album is also part of the reason I have trust issues; upon its release in 2004, it was the only Christmas gift I asked for from my parents. My dad, however, bought 2003’s “Thankful.”  While this is an excellent album, I felt disappointed and betrayed.

TV Show: “Shark Week” (1988-Present) – Ok, so this is more an annual event than an actual TV show, but I got super hyped for it every year (and still do).  Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but I have always loved the ocean, and after my disillusionment with dolphins, I became enamored with sharks instead. Due to my obsessive nature, I learned and accumulated enough knowledge about them over the last few years that I am able to take the fun out of any shark movie fairly quickly.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.

Hunter Heilman (Editor-in-Chief)

Movie: “She’s the Man” (2006) – At the time, “She’s the Man” was basically the funniest film I had ever seen in my entire life. This 2006 teen adaption of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” was Amanda Bynes at her most charming, the 2000s at their most iconic, and teen comedies at their most genuine. Everything about this movie is peak nostalgia and perfect memories of a much simpler time.

Song: “The ABBA Generation” (1999) by A*Teens– There is no album I have listened to and loved more in my life than Swedish pop group the A*Teens’ 1999 debut album, The ABBA Generation. Comprised of nothing but ABBA covers, I was exposed to the magic of both teen pop and disco music all in one go. Personal favorites of the album are “Mamma Mia,” “Voulez Vous” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” the latter of which still remains my favorite music video of all time. I love this album so much I can get emotional over it.

TV Show: “What I Like About You” (2002-2006)– I had a bit of a thing for Amanda Bynes when I was younger, as I simply found her to be the funniest person working in media targeted to people my age. I didn’t discover “What I Like About You” until shortly after it was canceled in 2006, but like “She’s the Man,” it showcased Bynes’ talents as more than just a child star. The chemistry in the hilarious cast and absolute lunacy of much of the show’s plot only cemented it more as my favorite sitcom ever.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Kathleen Cook (Sports Editor)

Movie: “The Lion King” (1994)– I loved the songs and the characters – Timon was my favorite. I’ve actually never watched the scene where the dad dies though.

Song: “Come in Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners– I thought it was actually “Come on Kathleen,” because my mom would always sing “Kathleen.” I was heartbroken when I first heard the song without my mom singing it and realized it was Eileen and not Kathleen.

TV Show: “Dragon Tales” (1999-2005)– I had the stuffed animals for all of the characters and had a dance routine I would do to their song.

Album art courtesy of Universal Records.

Alex Sands (News Editor)

Movie: “Beethoven” (1992)– I had three St. Bernards growing up and they all were as crazy as Beethoven in this film. They’re big slobbery messes with really big hearts and lots of love. The film is not only a nostalgic early 90s film, but it hits home.

Song: “Leave (Get Out)” (2004) by JoJo– I recently rediscovered this banger song. The only problem is the real version is not on Spotify. So whenever I want to listen to it in the car, I force myself to listen to D-Money’s remix. You may ask “Who is D-Money?” I don’t know, but he should stop rapping.

TV Show: “Lizzie McGuire” (2001-2004)– I would like to give a shout out to Bitmoji for fulfilling my childhood dream of having my own animated version of myself like Lizzie McGuire. I was a die-hard Hilary Duff fan when I was kiddo and watched the episodes over and over. To this day, I still ship her and Gordo.

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Viacom.

Josh Worley (Video Editor)

Movie: “Gone With The Wind” (1940)– Growing up, I first remember watching this movie with my grandma. The movie takes place in a time period that I am most fond of from a historical perspective.

Song: “Africa” (1982) by Toto– Whoever says it’s not, can choke.

TV Show: “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)- The greatest cartoon to ever grace this universe. There were deep moments that, when you were a kid you didn’t really think about, but they hit home now.

Photo courtesy of Jive Records.

Hailey Turpin (Lifestyle Editor)

Movie: “Peter Pan” (1953)– I wanted to be apart of Peter’s Lost Boys and I would jump off the couch to try to fly like him. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Song: “Oh Aaron” (2001) and “Not Too Young, Not Too Old” (2001) by Aaron Carter– My sister and I religiously listened to Aaron Carter back in the 2000’s. I have no other words besides talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique.

TV Show: “The Fairly Odd Parents” (2001-Present) and “My Life As A Teenage Robot” (2003-2009)– As an elementary school kid I was very particular about the shows I watched, and those two were the most interesting to me! The graphics and storylines were so good, and still are. I will always love Chip Skylark.

Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network.

Pooja Pasupula (Photo Editor)

Movie: “Toy Story” (1995)– While Toy Story is not my number one favorite Pixar movie, it’s the movie that always reminds me of my childhood and brings me the most nostalgia. This movie was always playing on every TV when I was a child and there are so many iconic characters and scenes encased in it. It made childhood seem like the best thing ever to be apart of. The whole series is centered around the inescapable circumstance of growing up, and being hit with that inevitability as a child was always hard for me. The whole series brings back memories of clinging to childhood and not wanting things to change.

Song: “… Baby One More Time” (1998) by Britney Spears– A timeless classic that never fails to make me smile or sing along. I was never exposed to music as a child and when my aunt found out she started to play Spears’ album around the tiny townhome she shared with my family. It’s the first song I have any memory of. At the age of four, I had no concept of what dancing was, so I would skip around our townhome to the beat of this song as my way to jam along to it. Hearing this song throws me back to that memory and the nostalgia of what the 90’s/early 2000’s era felt like.

TV Show: “Teen Titans” (2003-2006)– I’ve always been enamored with superheroes and watching this show as a child was what sparked my adoration for them. While Wonder Woman and Batman have been my core favorites for most of my life, the Teen Titans were my first love. I used to feel very vulnerable and helpless as a child, but watching teen superheroes kick ass gave me hope to one day be as strong and brave as they are. They were who I looked up to and idolized.

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema/Warner Home Video.

Leysha Caraballo (Photo Editor)

Movie: “Elf” (2003)– Watching “Elf” every Christmas season with my family was one of my favorite traditions growing up. Will Ferrell is so over the top ridiculous, as usual, but in a heartwarming way in this movie.

Song: “Numb” (2003) by Linkin Park– Linkin Park’s “Numb” showed me that music didn’t have to fit the pop music mold. I may have been a bit melodramatic, but I connected to the sound and message of the music. They were my absolute favorite band throughout my adolescence.

TV Show: “That’s So Raven” (2003-2007)– This show never got old for me, to the point where I watched multiple all-day marathons. Raven had sass, attitude and confidence – all of my favorite things!

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Viacom.

Mia Shelton (Opinion Editor)

Movie: Seventeen Again” (2000)– Not the one with Zac Efron, but the one with Tia and Tamera Mowry. I loved this movie because it was a unique and fun concept; grandparents using soap that their grandson accidently spilled his science experiment on that makes them seventeen again was fun to watch. I also love Tia and Tamera and seeing them on television and acting started my passion for acting. Also the grandfather is very cute when he turns seventeen.

Song: Circle of Life” (2004) by the Disney Channel Circle of Stars– I loved it because it had all of my favorite actors and actresses sing in the song like Raven Symone, Christy Carlson Romano, Hilary Duff, Tahj Mowrey and many more. Hearing their unique voices combined on one of Disney’s greatest song from its most notorious movie was very moving and fun to sing along to.

TV Show: Kenan and Kel” (1996-2000)– I loved this show, because they always made laugh. Kel’s obsession with orange soda and Kenan’s elaborate plans to make money made my stomach hurt from laughing.

Photo courtesy of Reprise Records.

Emily Hickey (Managing Editor)

Movie: “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)– When I was four, I watched it every day for a year and insisted that my mom dress me up in my Dorothy dress and put my hair in the two braids. Every time I watch it now I am reminded of my childhood love for the movie and for the amazing soundtrack (that I still know by heart).

Song: “Landslide” (1975) by Fleetwood Mac– My aunt used to burn her favorite songs onto CD’s and give them to my mom, and as soon as my sisters and I listened to “Landslide,” it was immediately our favorite song and has been throughout our lives. When I was three, I put on a performance of the song in front of all of my extended family.

TV Show: “Ghost Whisperer” (2005-2010)– Starting in elementary school, every Friday my dad and I would watch the new episode aired at 8 p.m. Despite after a few years it scared me too much to continue watching it, it’s still my favorite because of the time spent with my dad.

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox.

Daniel Head (Technical Director)

Movie: “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977)– Duh! I watched this movie and fell in love with the “Star Wars” universe. I was obsessed with the idea of intergalactic travel and warfare, and loved the characters. Everything about the movie was great to me, and I’m still obsessed with “Star Wars.”

Song: “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (2005) by Panic! At the Disco– I loved the sound song, and pretty much all of my friends did too. Just singing along with all my friends makes it memorable.

TV Show: “Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)– I grew up with it and, again, I was obsessed with science fiction and the characters. I think that just the depth of the characters and the universe was enough to make me look forward to next week’s episode; to see some awesome new world, new alien race, or new piece of technology. A good plot was just the cherry on top for me back then.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Angie Baquedano (Assistant Lifestyle Editor)

Movie: “Hercules” (1997)– I love Disney and I practically grew up on it, and when they introduced the movie they brought in my love for Greek mythology. The music was exceptional and I had the BIGGEST crush on Hercules (or should I say HUNK-ules).

Song: “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) by Elvis– I’ve had this really weird obsession with him since I was a kid. I can’t explain why or how this happened, but it did and I’m actually his wife, so…surprise.

TV Show: “Rocket Power,” (1999-2004) “Cat Dog” (1998-2005) and “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)– It might be impossible for me to choose just one for this. Apart from being a Disney kid, I was definitely a Nickelodeon child.

Album art courtesy of RCA Records/Columbia Records.

Madison Dobrzenski (Assistant Opinion Editor)

Movie: “The Ultimate Christmas Present” (2000)– I loved this movie so much as a kid, and to this day I can’t really explain why. I think it’s just because I also didn’t experience a lot of snow, so I empathized with them? I also loved anything Brenda Song was in when I was a kid, so that might have had something to do with it.

Song: “Girlfriend” (2007) by Avril Lavigne– I used to blare this song with my friends when I was in elementary school, despite being absolutely no one’s love interest, because we were like 12. I can still throw down to it to this day.

TV Show: “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005-2008)– I loved this show for a lot of reasons. One, there was a smart character with the same name as me. Secondly, I always felt “different” because the show paints Zack out to be the cute and cool twin, but I had a crush on Cody.

10 New Ideas for your Spring Semester

Fall semester always goes by quick, but unfortunately spring semester takes forever to end, or so it seems and that’s mostly because we don’t get as many breaks. It’s hard to get through the spring semester without wanting to pull your hair out, so here are 10 ideas that will surely get you to May without hating every second of it.

Picture courtesy of Good Free Photos
  1. Take up a new hobby. Whether it be cooking, or skateboarding, find something you’re interested in and become great at it, or even better think of something that you’re really bad at and become the best. After all being good at something is just from practice, so if you’re terrible at cooking then start small with different pancake recipes or mac and cheese with your own spin and then work your way up. Fall as many times as you need on that skateboard and then get right back on, eventually you’ll be gliding and you’ll be proud you did it. Focusing on something you want to be good at and you enjoy is a great way to release stress.
  2. Get a Carowinds season pass. Another great way to release stress is by riding so many roller coasters you don’t have time to even remember what you were worrying about. The best way to do that is by getting a season pass to Carowinds, once you have a season pass you have validated parking, early access to the water park, discounted friend tickets and entrance to Scarowinds/Winterfest. I assure you that by your second visit the ticket pays for itself, and a great way to get the cheapest price is by going one afternoon after 5 p.m., paying for a regular 5 p.m. ticket (which is discounted because its so late in the day) and on your way out of the amusement park around 9 or 10 p.m. when they are about to close, stop by the ticket office and upgrade your discounted ticket to a gold pass. You get the season pass much cheaper this way and then you can ride everything throughout the whole year as much as you want.
  3. Utilize the campus. Quit spending your money on a gym membership, just go to the school one! If you don’t like regular workouts perhaps join the group yoga or pilates classes. Spend time in the library getting your work done, go watch a movie on campus instead of paying for one in theaters. The truth and the matter is, is we pay so much money for all these amenities on campus that half of us don’t even utilize, so go get your money’s worth!
  4. Be more social. Some people are naturally social, and often when you live on campus you’re more likely to socialize everyday but if you’re an off campus student it can be a little harder to get out of your little bubble. This semester try to sit out on campus or make conversation with a stranger in line, it’s actually really great for your health to talk to people and to smile, so get out there and try to make new friends or simply brighten someone’s day with a compliment or a casual conversation.
  5. Explore the city more. Charlotte is growing by the second and it’s hard to keep up with it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Go check out bar crawls, or museums, maybe a new restaurant. Charlotte will someday be a mini New York, go take it in while it’s still somewhat quiet.
  6. Get a planner. Don’t forget about school and your health during this semester there is a time to have fun and to buckle down. Make sure you know when to kick it into high gear and when you can relax, a good way to keep up with school, doctors appointments, etc. is by getting a planner and using it. Make that dentist appointment and jot it down, go through the academic calendar and write down important dates, don’t get caught by surprise and tailspin.
  7. Declutter your life. Another thing that can really help with stress is by decluttering your life, that means go through the mountain of clothes in your closet and get rid of the stuff that’s just taking up room and you never wear, quit hanging out with people that make you unhappy, go through the fridge and toss out that three-month old casserole. Don’t let your life pile up and drown you, just go through everything, decide what’s important and what can go this applies to both people and things.

    Picture courtesy of Pixabay
  8. Take mini trips. Spring doesn’t have a whole lot of breaks which can make it seem like its lasting forever, a good way to combat the springtime blues is by going on mini-road trips on a weekend. Charlotte is perfectly placed between the mountains and the beach, and this gives you many opportunities for a fun adventure. Gather a few friends, ask off for a weekend and roadtrip it two hours to a ski lodge and split the cabin, or airbnb it up on a beach in Wilmington. Don’t sit at your house bored out of your mind wondering when this semester will end, take up every moment and live it up.
  9. Plan a huge trip for the summer. Have something to look forward to and it will make everything so much more worth it, plan a big trip with friends, or a solo trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Spend the springtime saving money for it, working out so you have that picture perfect body you want for pictures when you go, give yourself a reward for your hard work this semester.
  10. Do something that scares you. Afraid of heights? Go ziplining. Afraid of public speaking? Go to an open mic night. Doing things that scare us of course is scary and why would you want to do something that scares you? Well what if you end up liking it? You won’t give it a chance because it freaks you out but what if you end up loving it? What if it changes your whole outlook on life? Do something that scares you whether it be big or small. Life is about taking risks, do it this year, take a little risk. May is around the corner and then before you know it, it will be December again and another year has gone by. This year is yours!
Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Molly Hartness

Photo by Angie Baquedano

“I really enjoy my classes this semester, so I expect to grow more in those. I’m really excited about this class I’m in that is getting us to get into a non-profit organization and writing for them and helping them out, I’d love to help an organization that I’m passionate about. I also start an internship next week that I’m really excited about which is a social media marketing position at the UNCC Writing Resource Center. I’m also just excited to look for fun things to do in Charlotte like go to coffee shops and fun places like that with my friends. I’m also a new leader for my campus ministry which is called IMPACT; I really enjoy connecting with freshmen, building those relationships and meeting new people.”

Humans of UNCC Meet: Tommy Stone


Photo by Angie Baquedano

“Hanging out with my little brother was awesome. We finally got to ride around at night just so we can binge eat Taco Bell. Video games and junk food took up the rest of that time while never sleeping before 4 am.”

Humans of UNCC: Meet Reilly Becker

Photo by Angie Baquedano

Physical fitness is my escape. The overwhelming feeling of hard work and the sense of individuality that comes from sticking to a daily routine of fitness is priceless. Fitness improves my mental health through several different ways. Long runs through nature acts as a form of meditation, while the gym puts me in an environment of inspiration and socialization. This is currently my fourth year at UNCC, I started lifting in my eighth grade year. I can definitely say, each year you will learn something new or different about your body. Joining the Charlotte Lifters Club here at Charlotte was a great investment. It makes a huge difference being surrounded by similar thinking individuals who encourage you to do better. All in all, fitness has changed my life for the better. I encourage everyone to pursue it, so they can be the best version of themselves, both mentally and physically.

Humans of UNCC: Meet Jonathan Blandon

Photo by Angie Baquedano

“I’m not really a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Too many people “showing love” only on a certain day and fail to show the rest of the year. Now it’s also a day of friendship and I’m about that. Friendships are very important to me. I’m picky who I call a friend.”


Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Hudson Hall

Photo By Angie Baquedano

I believe health is the single most important factor to an individuals enjoyment of life. I’ve seen some of the richest people who are the most unhappy and some of the poorest with incredible happiness. Be mindful in life, in health and in respecting others. Change is slow and takes time but the only real revolution happens inside of you.

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Yusuf Benallal

Photo By Angie Baquedano
I like to talk to almost everyone I come in contact with to get a feel if there is any sense of communication left and to lift someone’s spirits. I’ve noticed just saying hi and asking how was their day really changes their energy immediately.

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet John Tierney

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

“This year I decided I would have two new year’s resolutions and it came down to managing my money better and playing with my dog Dex more. His full name is Dexter and I absolutely love this dog. He’s a husky beagle mix and he’s very good with other dogs and people. I want to give him as much attention as he deserves. As for the money part, I’m planning a really big trip through upper california over the summer with my girlfriend so I have to be really careful about my spending. We recently started a jar for it and it’s actually going pretty well. I’m so stoked for the trip; 2017 has been great so far I can’t wait for the rest of it.”

– John Tierney

Restaurant Review: Kid Cashew

Hummus, Hummus, Hummus is the word! Perhaps it’s service, service, service too. Everything was perfect, and the hummus and service was fantastic. This was my second time stopping in at Kid Cashew, the new hip restaurant located in the heart of Dilworth that has everyone buzzing. I have to say it has been spot on every single time and the staff is just wonderful. It’s fun, inviting and that’s just the menu.

The open floor layout of the dining area is beautifully shown off with strategically placed mirrors on the wall, expanding the room. There is also outdoor seating and a bar area. Big windows let in just the right amount of sunlight, really adding to the mood of the room. Prices are fair for the amount of food that you get, and the quality of the food is just phenomenal. Everything tastes very fresh, and they use high-quality meat for all their menu items.

The menu options are eclectic and exciting. I like to call it Mediterranean food with a kick, and you can really tell that its farm-to-table. “Our privilege is to stay as close to mother nature as possible.” says Giorgio Bakatsias, proprietor and James Beard ‘Best Restaurateur’ nominee.

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

Everything is made to order; nothing is ever frozen, which is fantastic if you’re really looking for a place that can assure you freshness. During my visit, I tried the hummus and an amazing chicken avocado BLT with a twist. I also had mac and cheese as my side and I have to say it was the most surprising part of my whole meal. How is it possible that a restaurant can make such a simple item seem like it should be complicated? The mac and cheese came out in an extremely hot cast iron pan probably part of the reason it was so delicious. It’ll burn your mouth if you aren’t careful, but it’s the kind of tasty pain that anyone would gladly welcome.

The hummus is specially made as well, and I was actually hoping to get some on my second visit to Kid Cashew, but the waitress informed me that they had run out for the day. I was disappointed, especially because it was only 1 p.m. and their hours are from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. I’m assuming they only make a certain amount each day and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I found that a little surprising since they are a Mediterranean restaurant and hummus is essential (in my opinion) for Mediterranean cuisine. I was also a little disappointed that they did not have any dipping sauces other than tzatziki sauce. I was given potatoes as my side along with the mac and cheese and they had nothing to dip it in. It sounds silly to be bothered by that, but it’s a restaurant and I think it’s necessary for establishments within the food industry to have variety while still managing to stick out among the crowd.

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

All in all, it was an excellent restaurant, and my waitress was so very friendly, as was the cook in the back that came forward to have his picture taken at my bidding. Everything was pretty close to perfect, but don’t just take my word for it, try it out yourself! Get the hummus in my honor!

Rate: 3.5/5 stars 

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet TJ Vlahos and Corbin Wilson

Photo By Angie Baquedano
Photo By Angie Baquedano

“My favorite thing about the holidays is all the decorations that get put up, everything looks so nice. I didn’t really ask for anything for Christmas just because I feel like I don’t really need anything, nothing’s a necessity. I hope it snows. I would really like to get some snow, I have family flying in from greece so I would like it to snow.” – TJ Vlahos

“My favorite thing about the holidays is family coming together and the presents. I have no idea what I want, well honestly at this point all I want is money. I also really want it to snow I think that would be nice.” – Corbin Wilson


Get the scissors, a pen and your camera out because December is right around the corner and there is far too much to do in so little time. Here I’ve narrowed it down for you to 31 things to do this month. You can start by doing one a day, or if you’re prone to being busy, plan to do a few in a day. With finals coming up this could be a good way to de-stress. So cut this bad boy out, put it in your wallet and remember to check them off as you go, and don’t forget to document it! Tweet, Instagram or post on Facebook of your adventures with the hashtag #NTDaysOfDecember.

  1. Visit The Green Christmas Tree in uptown! I know what you’re thinking, most trees are green unless they are fake and then they can sometimes be white or pink or whatever you want, but this tree is made entirely of plastic bottles. So go out snap a pic with the tree and remember Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!
  2. Donate food, blankets or clothing to the less fortunate. Anything really helps. Some people aren’t as fortunate as I hope we all are. You will be
    Photo By Leysha Caraballo
    Photo By Leysha Caraballo

    glad you did it.

  3. Dec. 3 make your way to NoDa and check out the All Arts Holiday Market.
  4. On Dec. 4 you can checkout Matthews Ballet rendition of “the Nutcracker.”
  5. Make s’mores, either over a firepit or the stove top. Don’t end a perfectly good year s’mores-less. If you’re vegan, I have good news. They make vegan marshmallows, if you’re not vegan and don’t know what marshmallows are made of… don’t look it up. I know this makes you want to look, but it might gross you out so just don’t.
  6. Go to Gingerbread Lane and cast your vote on the best gingerbread house in Charlotte
  7. Drive through Christmas at the Speedway!  It’s a 3.5 mile course of over 3 million lights and then you can walk around the Christmas Village they have set up.
  8. Go celebrate holiday fun at the Billy Graham Library.
  9. Hop aboard the train to Christmas Town! It’s a 30 minute ride along the Piedmont Northern Railway.
  10. Go check out historic homes in the Fourth Ward of Charlotte. It’s a self guided tour and you get to see beautifully decorated homes that have been standing for years.
  11. Head out to NoDa on Dec. 11 to see the Annual Tree Lighting and join in on the celebration!
  12. Try to take a picture with every UNC Charlotte statue on campus. Bonus points for somehow getting a Santa hat on it; just be careful with how you do this, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Which basically means DON’T vandalize, or you’ll get coal. Remember to hashtag this!
  13. Pay it forward and buy someone a coffee. A little act of kindness goes a very long way.
  14. Check out the Charlotte Christmas Market at Romare Bearden Park.
  15. On Dec. 15, go relish in the Winter Wonderland Light Show at Phillips Place.
  16. On Dec. 16, celebrate the end of finals with a drive to McAdenville aka Christmas Town and check out the Yule Log Festival and Parade.
  17. Go to Walmart and buy a $12 gingerbread kit I promise you won’t regret it. It comes with four little gingerbread houses and it is truly a fun thing to do with your roommates.
  18. Dec. 18 make your way to the American Made Market at Atherton Mill and Market in beautiful South End.
  19. Go to a hockey game! I swear they are so much fun. It’s just a bunch of big guys on skates slamming into each other and the walls for a little black disc. It’s intense, but awesome.
  20. What’s a holiday without Christmas movies or holiday related movies? Grab the hot chocolate and your pals and sit on down in front of the TV.
  21. Spend a whole day in your pajamas. Alright this could also apply to the holiday movies day as well, but you should definitely do it. You would be surprised how freeing it is to not have to look presentable even if it’s just for a day, plus who said pajamas can’t be cute? Head to Target for a crazy sweater or onesie.
  22. Go get your ice skating on at the Holiday on Ice, ice skating rink located at the Nascar Hall of Fame Plaza in Uptown Charlotte.
  23. Holidays at the Gardens at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.
  24. It’s Christmas Eve! In my family we celebrate Christmas on the 24th so you can find us walking around the living room in practically ball gowns just to get nice pictures. If this is the case for you, then make it your goal to photobomb at least five family members. If this is not the case for you then bake up some cookies for old Saint Nick, traveling around the world in one night is hard work!
  25. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Celebrate with your family, tear up gift wrapping, eat until you feel like your heart might give out and remember to pretend to be one of the blind mice when you walk past the dirty dishes in the sink.
  26. Dec. 26 you can watch the Menorah Lighting at Stone Crest.
  27. If you have snow anywhere nearby, make a snowman or igloo, but if you’re like most of us who don’t get to go home to snow quite yet then make a blanket fort.
  28. Attempt to eat all of your holiday leftover candy. Someone has to right? And it’s best to do it before the new year if your new year’s resolution is to eat healthier.
  29. Have a board game night/party with your family or friends!
  30. The party talk continues! Take this day to plan a New Year’s Eve party if you don’t already have plans. You’d be surprised how many people spend holidays by themselves, why not plan a last minute party. Two days in counting until the new year, drum roll please…
  31.  The day is here. In a few hours we will no longer be in 2016 and we can all mess up the year on our dates for the next three months. Think long and hard about your New Year’s resolutions and narrow it down to three so they are easier to keep. May your new year bring in wealth, beauty and many more wonderful things your way.

Restaurant Review: Fahrenheit

Two words: Mesmerizing View. Located on the 21st Floor of  Skye Condominiums; Fahrenheit will be your Instagram dream come true. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and the patio is the perfect picture-worthy setup. Apart from the fabulous and extensive views of the Queen City from this eclectic rooftop restaurant and bar, you can be sure to walk away satisfied from your meal. Chef Rocco Whalen brings the vivacity back to American style cuisine with his unusual menu items. Warning: Parking can and will be very confusing, I ended up parking a block away and just walking to the

restaurant because I wasn’t aware I could park within the parking deck that I thought was only for the Hyatt Place Hotel which is attached to the Skye Condo/Fahrenheit Building. So keep in mind that parking may be confusing and also getting to the restaurant can be a little tricky.

Photo By Angie Baquedano
Photo By Angie Baquedano

There are three doors to get into the building one for the Hyatt, one is locked and tells you to go to the next door, and the third is the lobby of the Skye Condos. Once you get into the lobby there will be four elevators – two to your right and two to your left. You can pick any of them as they will all take you to the same place. Also, you will spot a very bored looking receptionist that more than likely knows you’re just a confused restaurant goer, but I can assure you they have no intention to lead you in the right direction so just ignore them and go straight to the elevator as if you know where you’re going. Once you’re in the elevator, hit the 21st-floor button and patiently await as you ascend into the unknown. Finally, you make it to the entrance, and you can go to the hostess who will more than likely be in a very, and I mean VERY, short black dress. I almost forgot to mention, Fahrenheit is a very popular restaurant so make a reservation before visiting. If there aren’t many people, which was the case for me because I reserved an 11 am brunch, you will get to pick where you would like to sit. I recommend sitting in the restaurant, but at the tables that are open air even though there is a roof above. It will make more sense when you visit I assure you.

Once you’re seated, enjoy the insane view of the city and order up. For brunch, I ordered Chicken and Waffles, and they were amazing! Everything was cooked to perfection, and the food arrived fairly quick since there weren’t many guests and my friends and I were prancing around on the patio in many failed attempts to get cute pictures. Two words: take candids. Since I was there pretty early the place was pretty quiet and pleasant, I’m not sure how it must be on a bustling Friday night, but I’m sure the service is just as good, if not better. The décor was chic and perfect for a rooftop bar, and everyone was very nice. With that said the waitress did forget about us at one point when she got more clients and it took her forever and a year to give us our checks and boxes to go but overall it was an enjoyable experience, and I would definitely go again. I think every Niner should scrounge up the cash for a night out on the town and make a reservation at this beautiful restaurant; the view is very much worth it. Grab your cameras and your nice clothes, Fahrenheit awaits!

What no one told you about Goldie Gate & The Bay Area

You will never want to leave. I repeat you will never ever want to leave.  I can swear by this because it’s true, San Francisco is a beautiful magical place. If I weren’t handcuffed to UNC Charlotte until I graduate, my fall break adventure would have become my fall break forever. Okay so that was a little corny but you get the gist; Upper California is a dream come true. The weather is perfect, the people are nice, the food is amazing and places like Napa Valley or beautiful Convoy Beach are nothing but a mere hour away.

Photo By Angie Baquedano
Photo By Angie Baquedano

My trip was amazing and I loved every moment of it but I did notice significant differences of California Living compared to living in the south. Here are the things no one tells you about San Fran and its surrounding areas.

  1. Calling my shopaholics! Be aware that malls aren’t really a thing there. Of course there are stores but they are on a smaller scale and usually locally owned. It’s still really cool but I just think they don’t have enough room or level ground for a mall. There are some outlets near Napa but they don’t have many stores. Local shops are really nice though but they might be on the pricier side.
  2. You will at some point drive at a ninety-degree angle up a hill. Luckily your car won’t flip over and somehow you will survive the steep drive but it will happen without a doubt. About a year ago UNCC’s campus had a similar hill before construction workers connected Phillips road to Craver. We used to have a steep-ish hill that faced Woodward Hall and it was always such a drag to get a red light coming from the engineering side of campus because that meant you were stuck on the hill. If you know what I’m talking about then just know that the hills in San Fran are like the Campus hill; except it’s on steroids.
  3. You will get lost. It doesn’t matter if you have GPS on, you will get lost. The thing about roads in San Fran is that they pop up out of nowhere and aren’t particularly straight and also exits on the highway aren’t numbered so your GPS will tell you to exit on exit 5 that’s in 1000 ft and you’ll look up to a random road that just pops off the highway. There won’t be a sign and you’ll probably miss the exit and it will be hell to try to get on track.
  4. Okay this is the last point I will make about transportation in San Fran. Honking. Beep, Beep, Beeeeeeeep. Get used to that noise and try to calm your road rage because in San Fran everyone puts their horn to use. People honestly honk for no reason, the light will have turned green not even a millisecond before and you will get honked at. Try not to let the honking get to you because its just the norm there, people are actually super relaxed, I guess there is just something really empowering about honking the horn.
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge is to die for and driving on it is even cooler than looking at it. The views are amazing but be aware that there is a toll. Obviously it is well worth it but often a lot of people don’t know.
  6. Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran is tourist central and you will get tricked into giving away money. There are people that prey on tourist’s stupidity and they often get crafty. My friends and I gave away five dollars to some guy that came up to us and pressured us to donate to a “soup kitchen” he had a badge and everything which we later found out was fake. He gave us stickers and made us sign something and then he was off. When we turned around someone was shaking his head at us in defeat and we knew we had been played. Nonetheless Fisherman’s Wharf is fun and you can take trips to Alcatraz from Pier 32 but be very careful and watchful of those who are specifically there to prey on tourists.
  7. Alcatraz is very popular and it’s not one of those things where you buy a ferry ride to the island on the day of. It’s not a spur of the moment type of thing, you have to plan the trip weeks in advance and get your tickets just as early. Alcatraz is the infamous island prison that held Al Capone. The tour is said to be a very fun experience but you must get your tickets weeks in advance because it will be sold out. I unfortunately didn’t know that and tried to get my tickets day of and I was told it was to be sold out for the next three weeks. Plan ahead, do not be spontaneous.
  8. Another thing no one tells you about San Fran and its surrounding areas is that the weather is weird and almost no one has air conditioning. It will be cold in the morning, perfect temperatures in the afternoon, and cold again at night. There isn’t really a lot of wind or breeze, and the fog is on another level in the mornings and evenings. Some Uber’s even refuse to go to certain areas of San Fran because the fog gets so bad and they can’t see. There is pretty much no need for AC in San Fran because of its natural cooling system. So if you’re looking for an Airbnb and see that it has no AC do not panic because it really is unnecessary if anything you’ll need a space heater.
  9. Speaking of Napa, it is only an hour away from San Fran and there is a Wine/Dinner Train. It’s a little expensive but I’ve heard it’s well worth it, of course I can’t say from experience because I’m not 21 yet but what better place to get Wine and food then in Wine Country. Also visit places like Yountville, which is a cute little town off the side of the highway with vineyards and restaurants galore.
  10. If you’re thinking about moving to San Fran live in the gorgeous Berkeley area. It’s safe, quiet, beautiful, but also bustling with life and excitement. I stayed in Berkeley and it was wonderful I could go into the town center for nightlife or for food or I could stay on the quieter side and relax in the hot tub. I truly felt like a queen.

If you can’t tell I am absolutely dying to go back and I encourage everyone to add it to their travel list. It’s an absolute must see, I haven’t been back more than four days and I am already dying to go back. Pack that duffle bag and catch the red eye for me; Happy Exploring!

Photo By Angie Baquedano
Photo By Angie Baquedano