Haley Twist

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Haley Twist is the former Niner Times Editor-in-Chief. A Religious Studies student who worked with the Niner Times for two years, she has previously served as the Lifestyle Editor and the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the paper. She is a 2012 recipient of the Randall Beavers Memorial Award and a 2013 recipient of the Shameka Smith-Hamilton Award.

Shaded by the trees, hidden by the leaves

Walking through the campus, you would never know it’s there. You wouldn’t think twice about the small fenced-in wooded area just off the winding Phillips Road, past the football field, across from the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) building and overlooking the baseball field.

You wouldn’t think anything of the fallen tree off to the side, the weed-ridden patches of ground or the occasional beer can strewn beyond the low fence unless you stepped inside the fence’s opening, an invitation into the past.

The only thing delicate about this place is the sunlight, streaming through breaks in the clusters of well-developed trees and ever-so-gently highlighting the rough slabs of rock that seem to have been selectively placed on certain areas of the ground.

Messy, carved drawings of crosses are free-handed into the sides of the rock slabs and can be seen if you look close enough, no two crosses alike.

Walking deeper into the stretch of land, your feet crunching on the multi-colored leaves that have been sprinkled down from the protective arms of the trees above, you might notice a dip in the ground as deep ridges become visible. You might even stop and notice the ridges that continue, in a row, for the length of the fenced-in area.

And though you wouldn’t realize it from the road, or even from 10 feet away, when you get really close you might notice that you’re looking at a small, makeshift cemetery.

It’s this tiny area, overlooked and sometimes forgotten about, that houses a rich piece of history about the grounds of UNC Charlotte.

In 1848, before UNC Charlotte existed, there were miles and miles of open fields and woods where the campus stands today.

“There was no Harris Blvd., there was no hospital, there was no library, there were no hotels, there was nothing. It was very rural. There were farms and before that there were plantations out in this vicinity,” said Janet Levy, UNC Charlotte’s chair of the Department of Anthropology.

“It was outside of town, and there were certain facilities out here.”

Two miles outside of Charlotte stood the Mecklenburg County Poor House. This institution took the responsibility for residents of the county if they could not provide for themselves, according to www.cmstory.org.

In 1870 the name changed to Mecklenburg County Home, and after that its location changed twice. A new institution was built in 1895 on 32nd Street. It then moved again in 1904 to Salisbury Road, also known as Highway 29.

And there it stood, in a location similar to where the university area Carolinas Medical Center stands today. The County Home was more commonly known as Green Acres, which it was renamed in 1957.

According to a Charlotte News article written in the same year, the full name was Green Acres, Home for the Aged and Infirm, “in order to get away from the poor house image.”

Many different types of people found themselves at Green Acres through the years. In a timeline composed by Christina Wright, an oral history interviewer who works at the J. Murrey Atkins Library in Special Collections, “Agricultural Mecklenburg and Industrial Charlotte: Social and Economic,” a book by Edgar Thompson, describes the institution and its inhabitants in 1926.

Thompson stated at that time there were 75 helpless, homeless, penniless and afflicted, and also said that the grounds of Green Acres (at that time, the County Home) were equipped with religious services, sun parlors, a chapel, a reception hall and a 500-acre farm.

“The inhabitants at the home changed significantly with the passage of time,” said Wright.

“During the Depression there were many indigents and some quite young people, even the odd child. Later it became increasingly the elderly and infirm. There was also a contingent of mentally ill, though some might be moved to the [North Carolina] insane asylum, and medication made a difference to their treatment regime,” said Wright.

The cemetery found on the UNC Charlotte campus is said to house the bodies of those who died in the County Home. Those who died and were buried on what are now university grounds could have been afflicted with any number of ailments seen in the inhabitants.

“They were homeless and no one claimed their bodies,” said Peter Franz, UNC Charlotte’s Real Estate and Land Use Director.

In the 1970s, Green Acres stood where the university hospital is today. Photo courtesy of Special Collections.

Requests for the demolition of Green Acres began in 1977 according to various documents found in the university’s Special Collections. The buildings were demolished in the early 1980s and the residents of Green Acres moved to the Magnolias, a hospital on South Graham Street in uptown Charlotte at the time, according to Wright’s timeline.

Time would tell when the students and staff of UNC Charlotte would discover the cemetery after the university was established in it’s current location in 1946.

“That land laid fallow for years, and then the trees grew back,” said Franz.

“I think folks who walked that area 30 years ago knew that it was there, but it was such a remote area of campus at that time. There was no development there of any kind. So when they built the baseball stadium the first time is when they probably first found the graves up there. Because that was right on the edge of the cemetery that we see now,” said Franz.

There is a second part to the cemetery several hundred feet away from the initial fence. A well separates the two areas and they are bounded by different fences, according to Wright.

Franz said that when the university began the construction of the recreation fields, where the football stadium is located today, the cemetery was rediscovered.

“It was about that time that the wooden fence that surrounds those two areas was put up, just to protect it and to make sure people didn’t trot through it and disrespect it in any way. There are some stones up there that are marked with little crosses. There’s no names, there’s no stones with dates on them. Some you just can see the depressions in the ground of how the graves are lined up and in rows, which is what really drew people’s attention,” said Franz.

Because the graves are unmarked, the identities of those buried are unknown.

“There is evidence that simple field stones were used to mark graves and you can still see these here and there,” Wright said.

Levy stated that because the graves are unmarked the number of people buried is unknown. She and her colleagues were among those who identified the area as a graveyard.

“Myself and Dr. Alan May from the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia went out one extremely cold day in March with a representative from facilities management to this area that they were concerned about. We walked over and we did some very minimal probing with an iron bar, which is something that you occasionally use for graves, and gave our considered opinion, basically on surface indications,” explained Levy.

She and her colleagues identified the area but did not excavate.

“The simplest thing to do was to protect this area. It appeared to me and my colleagues that it was not likely to be a family cemetery, because there often were little family cemeteries associated with farms. But those typically don’t have that many graves in them. This seemed to have several rows of graves, which suggests some sort of an institution,” said Levy.

No excavation of the area is planned, but Levy explained that there might not be anything left to excavate.

“Because of the chemistry of piedmont North Carolina clay soils, there is very little left. The acidity of our clay soils tends to lead to quite rapid disintegration and decay of coffins and human remains,” said Levy.

Although a part of the County Home history rests on the university’s campus, some do not realize it. Students Ashlee McCormick and Krista Murphy were shocked when they learned of the cemetery’s presence.

“I knew that Bonnie Cone was buried on campus, but I didn’t know there was a graveyard,” said Murphy, speaking about the university’s founder.

It’s fall, and the leaves continue to drop from the trees that watch over the cemetery. Bright reds and yellows cover the ground and shade the aging graves from the rest of campus.

Cars pass. Students walk by. The baseball team practices below. And the tiny cemetery lies below the trees and remains still and silent.

Campus Car Show

The UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety Department hosted a car show Saturday, Sept. 15. Students and other residents of the Charlotte area had the chance to display their cars in Lot 5 on campus.

“We do this for National Campus Safety Awareness Month,” said Officer Jerry Lecomte with the UNC Charlotte campus police. “Trying to let students see us on an even playing field as them, give them the opportunity to ask us questions, see us a a resource.”

Here are some pictures from the event:

Photos by Andrew LaPointe

 

 

DNC delegates inspire female equality at 2012 Women’s Caucus

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Womens Caucus at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Uptown Charlotte/ Photo by Haley Twist

It’s 9 a.m. on a sunny Thursday morning and the doors to a large room in the Charlotte Convention Center are opening. Dozens of excited women, a diverse crowd of many ages and colors, pour through the double doors, carrying signs that say “We make it possible” and sporting patriotic apparel of all kinds.

“Four more years!”

Chants like these are wafting into the convention room from the stairway outside the entrance.  “Four more years! Four more years!”

Shania Twain’s “I Feel Like a Woman” is playing loudly on the speakers, blasting the music around the room and adding even more hype to the crowd.

“Feel free to dance if you want, ladies!” shouts a convention employee, and many ladies  do.

This is the scene of the Women’s Caucus meeting on the last day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte.  This two-hour long meeting will feature a variety of speakers to inform about the role of the female in office and in America, and to inspire women to work hard and dream big.

As another hour goes by, more and more women scurry inside the room to find available seats. Many of them in large groups and some there alone.  The time before the meeting officially starts is spent with excited women taking pictures of each other, more chanting and more dancing to songs like Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” and Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter.”

“Fired up…ready to go! Fired up…ready to go!” This is the chant now.

When a woman walks onto the stage to introduce the first speaker of the day, the room goes quiet. As a spectator studying the room I saw women holding hands, mothers and daughters smiling lovingly and even the female DNC volunteers captivated by the atmosphere.

If the purpose of this meeting is women empowerment, the electricity in the crowd proves that these women already know a thing or two about that.

The audience goes crazy when the first speaker walks on stage. Fran Drescher, an actress and activist, is best known for her role in the television series “The Nanny.”

Drescher speaks for 10 minutes about her experience battling uterine cancer and encouraging the crowd to start questioning their health, asking women to question what they are putting on their skin every day and what they are using to garden with, because the most toxic area around each woman is their home.

She then starts speaking about the changes that have been made in America to ensure that women and men have equal rights and compensation.

“No longer is it permitted for women to get 75 cents on the dollar. What was that all about?” says Drescher, causing a string of applause to erupt in the crowd.

The audience reacts even more when the next speaker begins, a crowd favorite of the whole meeting. Hilda Solis, the twenty-fifth United States Secretary of Labor and server in the Obama administration, introduces herself as the first Latina to hold this position.

Latinas all around the room shout their praise for Solis in Spanish. In her speech Solis thanks President Obama for giving her an opportunity like this, saying, “He gives me goosebumps.”

Solis makes sure to highlight powerful women who are devoted to their work as well as hardworking women devoted to providing for their families.

“We…honor women who work not only in the CEO offices at the top…but we also have to honor those women who tuck their kids in in the morning or late at night and then come here to clean the offices. You are our future. We don’t discriminate, we care about every one of you.”

After Solis exits the stage and a video is shown about a mother and her two daughters, a familiar face walk on stage, Lilly Ledbetter.

Ledbetter is known for her case against her employers for paying her male co-workers significantly less than what they paid Ledbetterr. Congress has since passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill signed into law by President Obama, which decreases the timely requirements for filing a discriminatory suit.

Ledbetter recalls the 4-and-a-half minute speech she gave to Congress in 2008 talking about her struggles with her employers.

“They was thinking about their mothers, they was thinking about their sisters,” says Ledbetter, describing how her speech brought tears to the eyes of many Congressmen.

“Forward, not back! Forward, not back!” These chants accompany Ledbetter as she exits the stage.

Another speaker slowly walks on stage, this time of the opposite gender.

Many people know the history of John Lewis. He was a Civil Rights activist and was one  of the original 13 Freedom Riders in 1961. He participated in and helped plan the March on Washington in 1963 during Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Lewis was even beaten for his beliefs many times, most famously in Birmingham.

Lewis’s purpose at the Women’s Caucus meeting was to discuss all theseevents in his life, and also to discuss the role of women’s equality.

“I remember my mother so well, my grandmother, my three sisters. They all worked very hard, from sunup for sundown, with very little pay. And I’m so glad and so proud that I was there to vote for that legislation, equal pay for women.”

When Lewis exited the stage, everyone knew who the next speakers were. The last two of the day, First Lady Michelle Obama and Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden. Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden come in with extraordinary confidence and ease, as if they feel right at home in this room full of adoring women. The crowd goes crazy. The two give each other little introductory speeches, share a hug and then get right down to business.

“Everyone in this country has something successful and valuable to contribute,” says the First Lady. “There are women all over this country that are doing that work. Barack understands the challenges that women face…I think that has been made abundantly clear.”

Mrs. Obama reiterates, “There are no second-class citizens in our workplace.”

She continues to speak and it is apparent that she has the audience’s sole attention.

“Four more years,” says Mrs. Obama, calmly and serenely with a simple grin on her face.

“Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!” The crowd goes wild with chants to signify they want President Obama to spend four more years in office.

“Are you feeling fired up..are you feeling ready to go?,” she asks. “If you haven’t noticed  I’m pretty fired up and ready to go myself.”

Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” plays loudly when Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden exit the stage. This is seemingly the perfect song to get the crowd going once again.

Around the room the the audience is applauding the many speakers they have just seen. Women are giving each other hugs. Even the DNC volunteers are dancing in the aisles where they have been assigned to stand.

It seems that all the women in the room have been moved by the many words of female empowerment this sunny Thursday morning.

I asked the woman beside me who she is here with.

“I’m here with my sister,” she answers.

First Lady Michelle Obama assures Charlotte that Obama will make college more affordable

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus

Michelle Obama dialed in on Tuesday afternoon to speak with thousands of American college students for a college press phone conference.

Lionel Chapman, Virginia college student and President of the Political Science and Pre-Law clubs at his university, gave opening remarks.

“Ive been working with the campaign on my campus to register voters and educate them about the candidates and issues,” said Chapman, before formally introducing the First Lady on the phone.

“I wanted to make sure that I took the time out to talk with all of you, because even on a big day like this I wanted to make sure that I was connecting with some of who we consider our biggest supporters,” said Mrs. Obama when she primarily addressed students on the phone.

The phone conference was the first step in addressing the crowds on Tuesday with every move leading up to her speech in the Time Warner Cable Arena Tuesday night.

The First Lady took the allotted phone time to discuss the importance of a college education and also touched on the time it takes back to pay back college loans.

“Even with all those loans we can look back and see that we’re the way we are today because of the opportunities that our education gave us,” said Mrs. Obama. “Education was the key to everything that we’ve been able to do as adults.”

She shared a personal story about President Obama and herself paying off college loans just eight years earlier.

“When it comes to making college affordable Barack’s got your back,” Mrs. Obama proclaimed.

She took the majority of the phone time to talk about the importance of college students voting in the presidential election and suggested going to www.gottavote.org to register on students’ college campuses or hometowns.

“We know that young people and new voters like many of you are the ones who could put this election over the top,” said Mrs. Obama.

All day breakfast, fried pickles and a late-night diner: Dining on campus expands in many forms

UNC Charlotte’s dining options continue to modernize with the addition of a new Bojangles’ menu, campus food trucks and the promising future of a South Village two-story eatery.

Bojangles’ expansion

Last year it was campus’s Chick-fil-A that began to feature an expanded menu, and the fall of 2012 will be the first year of all-day breakfast and other popular biscuits at the UNC Charlotte Bojangles’, along with some other new additions.

The expanded menu will feature the breakfast favorites like sausage biscuits and bacon, egg and cheese, but will also have some new side items including macaroni and cheese, cajun pinto beans and dirty rice.

Bojangles’, expanding their location in the Main Street Market in the Cone Center, will still serve the basics and more, such as chicken supremes, roasted chicken bites, rice bowls, cajun filet biscuits and seasoned french fries, but will not be adding the bone-in chicken varieties served at off-campus Bojangles’ locations.

For dessert the campus Bojangles’ will offer bo-berry biscuits, sweet potato pie and cinnamon pecan twists. And for those sweet tea lovers, Bojangles’ plans to offer it in single servings and by the gallon.

These new menu items will also be available in the Bojangles’ locations in the Student Activities Center (SAC) while games are being held there.

Because of these breakfast options, Bojangles’ will open at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays.

Grill Nation’s cuisine 

Prospector will also house a change in dining with the departure of Smashers. But there to replace it is the new Grill Nation.

This option could appeal to meat lovers with whole-meat burgers and sliders but will also feature things like grilled cheese to go along with the soup and salad bar in front of Salsarita’s. UNC Charlotte’s Executive Chef Roger Lademann shared that some of the most interesting items on the Grill Nation menu are the buffalo blue crispy chicken sandwich, the taco chicken sandwich and the mile high burger, and will be available for limited-time offers.

“You will still be able to create your own [burger] from our fresh made burgers,” said Lademann, which is similar to Grill Nation’s predecessor Smashers.

“This year we are baking the rolls in the bake shop on campus so a fresh-toasted roll encases your creation.”

Fiesty’s additional flavors 

Downstairs from Grill Nation, Fiesty’s Franks & Fries will be following suit with the addition of limited-time offers, with treats like sweet potato fries and more.

Added to the hot dog menu will be the ultimate grilled cheese dog and the reuben dog with sides such as fried green beans and better dipped pickles with different dipping sauces.

Campus food trucks

Outside of the campus buildings a new dining option will be available starting this fall: food trucks. There will be three food trucks in the high-traffic areas of campus during the weekdays, such as outside Prospector.

While the vendors have not yet been confirmed, UNC Charlotte is looking into Herban Legends.

“They will feature some cool street foods that will be changing daily,” said Lademann.

One thing for students to keep in mind, though, is that Declining Balance and 49er cards will not be accepted at these food trucks since the vendors are not affiliated with UNC Charlotte. But the standard cash, debit or credit card options will be available.

 “Strike it Cold” cart

In addition to the food trucks, there will now be a mobile Outtakes roaming around on campus for those on the go.

“As flexible as the food trucks are, this is even more flexible,” said Gina Capetanakis, the Managing Director of Chartwells.

Dubbed the “Strike it Cold” cart, the vehicle is a golf cart with refrigeration, allowing the drivers to take select foods from Outtakes and transport them to any area on campus they desire.

“We will have our Outtakes on campus at East Deck in the mornings outfitted with breakfast pastries, bottled beverages and Outtakes ‘Grab n’ Go’ sandwiches and salads,” said Lademann.

“Later in the morning it will move to Barnard and we will add a cupcake component featuring [a] triple chocolate mocha [cupcake], red velvet with cream cheese frosting, lemon raspberry and vanilla birthday cake, just to name a few.”

To remain updated as to where the “Strike it Cold” cart will roam on campus, follow @ChartwellsUNCC on Twitter.

EPIC hunger

For those who are often in the new EPIC building or in other parts of the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI), the Hays Baseball Stadium Concession will be open during lunch hours.

“We will try to have some favorites up there like chicken tenders, Angus burgers, sandwiches and salads along with baseball concession sunflower seeds and peanuts, and we are going to serve cupcakes at this location too,” said Lademann.

South Village dining highlights

An artist rendering of the upcoming South Village dining facility. Photo courtesy of Perkins Eastman

The construction of South Village promises students another south dining hall in the future of UNC Charlotte.

“South Village is going to be spectacular for campus; it will be a state-of-the-art facility for even 10 years after it is built,” raved Lademann.

Located behind and beside the Sanford and Moore highrises will be the new two-story South Village dining hall. The lower level will be similar to Crown Commons but 3-4 years newer. With food served buffet style the dining hall will include various stations.

“You have a European-style kitchen creating all your entrée favorites: a wok area for Asian cooking, two pizza ovens for fresh, hand-tossed [pizza], a finishing bakery with an ice cream case, the center island that houses cook-to-order stations, a deli with a wood stone oven to toast your sandwich and a salad selection with a round evo grill for hot proteins,” said Lademann.

“Did I forget there is also a Grill station on the end for all the favorites?”

According to Lou Ann Lamb, UNC Charlotte’s Marketing Director for Business Services, there will be plentiful seating with a deck that will overlook the woods and Davis Lake next to Memorial Hall. There are no exact chair counts at this time but the building is expected to be able to seat between 800-900 people.

The upper level of the dining hall will include various spots for students to socialize, like a huge outdoor terrace designed to wrap around the building. There will also be a large student lounge with two hanging fireplaces and plenty of flat-screen televisions for a cozy hang-out spot.

A campus bakery will also be located on the upper level with glass walls so that students can watch their baked goods being made freshly from scratch. The bakery will include a retail counter where students can buy a variety of baked goods including cookies, cakes and muffins.

“The culinary team will be on stage each day since there is very little back-of-the-house; we will produce food right in front of the guest,” said Lademann.

A take-out area will be on the second floor in order for students to use their meal swipes for to-go purposes, and there will also be a retail venue where a diner-style restaurant will be available to students all day with late-night service.

According to Ray Galleno, UNC Charlotte’s Director of Auxiliary Services, the South Village dining hall is expected to be completed in the 2014 spring semester.

Beverages and vending 

In addition to the changes in on-campus dining, there is an updated beverage and vending agreement at UNC Charlotte.

Coca-Cola products will be the official beverage of Charlotte 49er athletics. Those products will be served at all athletic practice and competition facilities, according to the new agreement.

As far as the dining venues on campus, Pepsi products will be the exclusive beverage provider.

When it comes to the four Outtakes locations on campus, Pepsi products will get 60 percent of shelf space while Coke products and other brands will get 40 percent. According to the agreement customers should not notice any difference in the brand choices offered than that of previous years.

Beverage vending machines will remain non-exclusive to a certain brand of product and Pepsi and Coke products will be dispersed 50-50.

“This agreement was in the best interest of the University as a whole,” said Rick Torres, UNC Charlotte’s Business Services Program Manager for Reprographics, Vending and ATMs, saying that other schools have exclusivity contracts with one specific brand which doesn’t allow students to enjoy multiple products.

“Our contracts allow more freedom for consumer preference.”

For more UNC Charlotte dining or business information and updates, follow these services on Twitter: @UNCCaux @UNCCdining @ ChartwellsUNCC

Welcome to the 49er family!

UNC Charlotte, home of the 49ers, welcomes all new freshmen and transfer students with open arms. Photo by Haley Twist

For freshmen or transfer students about to embark on your UNC Charlotte journeys, you are officially Niners now. As part of the 49er family we can give you some tips about surviving your college experience. You’ve got your books, your 49er ID and your class schedule. Now what?

Survival Tip #1: Get Involved

When I first arrived at UNC Charlotte for my SOAR session, I was told many times that college does not have to be just going to class and then going back to a dorm or house.

It was reiterated that everyone should try to get involved with a club, organization or sport that best suited individual interests in order to make your college experience a memorable and enjoyable one.

As an introverted person I shook that idea under the rug at first. I figured I would only venture out of my dorm to go to class and to eat, and that every weekend I would drive home and see my family and friends from high school.

But my opinion totally changed when I joined Student Niner Media. I started writing for UNC Charlotte’s student newspaper Niner Times and immediately found my niche. Having this extra activity to focus on made me enjoy my time at school even more and it brought out strengths in me that I never knew I had.

Getting involved with something on campus, such as a sport, club, organization or even a campus job, will help you appreciate your time being a Niner even more.

Survival Tip #2: Meet New People

You know how people say that the friends you meet in college end up being your friends for life? From my experience at UNC Charlotte so far I have to say I think that’s true.

Some people already have those kinds of friends that they made in high school, and it can be hard to leave them as you all move in different directions in life or go to different schools.

And while this does not have to be a goodbye, as you will see them during weekends, school breaks or summers, it can make you feel better to meet some new people and make some new friends.

I got really lucky with the roommate I had as a freshman. She is now one of my best friends, and even though life has become busier and busier and I don’t get to see her as often, when I do get to see her it is like no time has gone by.

And I feel the same way about the friends I have made in Student Niner Media. These are people I work closely with almost every day and their company makes me feel more at home at UNC Charlotte than I ever thought possible.

I know these friends I made will be friends for life. So put yourself out there and who knows, maybe you will end up meeting someone who will be in your life forever.

Survival Tip #3: Get Out & Explore

UNC Charlotte is an ever-growing, ever-expanding campus. This will be my third year here and even in that short amount of time I have witnessed some new buildings, dorms, parking decks and statues arise on campus.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that we have a beautiful campus. So get out and explore! From every angle of the school the campus looks different, so travel around it and sightsee.

Once you get your schedule explore the buildings where your classes are held before school starts. This will allow you to see many different buildings on campus and allow you to become familiar with the area before the first day of school.

There are sidewalks all over campus, so go on a morning run or an evening walk. Immerse yourself in campus life and you will feel like you are a part of the 49er family more than you would otherwise.

UNC Charlotte might be a large campus, but when you step onto it and look around you will realize that it’s YOUR campus. So familiarize yourself with it and be proud to be a Niner.

So now I’ve told you the three survival tips that I’ve learned in my time here so far. And we might joke about surviving your college experience, but really it’s not something you have to survive. It’s something you should enjoy and thrive in. So stake your claim and embrace your new Niner family.

Campus trend alert: Spring-inspired jeans

Colorful jeans could be the perfect addition to your spring wardrobe. Photo/ MCT Campus

Multi-colored jeans are certainly not a new thing. I remember in high school seeing people wearing brightly-colored pants, such as in apple red, royal purple and bright blue.

But I never really liked that trend. I had always preferred neutral pants and jeans and had always stuck with the basics: blue (light wash and dark wash), black, khaki and tan.

And I was completely happy with my choice until recently.

I saw a picture that one of my favorite bloggers had posted on her website showing herself wearing an outfit that completely revolved around her subdued cherry-colored jeans. She created a preppy look, pairing her jeans with a tan-colored pair of oxford flats, a button-up jean shirt that she tucked in to her jeans and then a casual khaki jacket she threw on top.

The outfit alone made me rethink my previous consensus about brightly-colored jeans. I became even more attracted to the idea when I walked into an Express store over spring break and explored their jean section, only to find that all the mannequins were sporting these beautifully bright jeans.

I realized that the trend doesn’t have to be tacky like I previously thought it was.

I immediately started looking for an affordable pair of cherry-colored jeans, just like in the picture I saw, and was not able to find that exact color, but what I did find was a subtle coral-colored pair for only $16.99 at a local Ross.

After trying them on with various combinations of shirts and shoes, I have now written my own mini rulebook on how I prefer these spring-inspired jeans.

Rule #1: The color should be somewhat subdued.

While I love to sport bright colors, especially this time of year, I am still not the biggest fan of the colored jeans that are vividly bold and bright. My favorites are the ones that are a little more subtle with the brightness, and that almost look worn and relaxed. Toned-down brights are perfect for spring.

Rule #2: Play them down with some neutrals. 

Instead of pairing these pants with an equally bright shirt or bright jewelry, play them down with clothing and accessories that are neutral. This will balance the look and tone down the severity of the bright pants. It is the same thing as pairing a bright, multi-colored top with a neutral pant. It looks clean, casual and less harsh.

Rule #3: Have fun with the shoes.

My first instinct was to write “play it safe with the shoes,” because I figured with bright jeans a neutral shoe would look best. But I have seen some instances where mixing brights turns into a great thing, so have fun with the shoes you choose for this look. Anywhere from a plain pair of sandals or flats to a fun pair of bold summer wedges could really play up the jeans you wear. Just be sure to choose complementary colors.

‘Silent House,’ noisy theater

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus

On Friday morning I woke up early, got out of bed filled with intense excitement and happily got myself ready for what I knew was going to be a good day. Why? Because “Silent House” had finally been released in theaters.

As corny as it may sound, this is the kind of excitement that I always have when a movie comes out that I can’t wait to see. I’m a huge film lover and going to the movie theater has been my favorite thing to do since I can remember.

From the very first time I saw the trailer for “Silent House” I was hooked. From the storyline to the way the movie was filmed, in real time, I thought it would be a new, unique movie experience for me. And I was counting down the months until it would be released.

So finally on that fateful morning as I climbed out of bed in my Gastonia home, not groggily but ready to begin the countdown until I could see “Silent House,” I had already decided to drive to the theater to purchase tickets early. I figured that the movie would sell out quickly because it looked like such a hit.

So at around noon I drove to the movie theater and purchased tickets for the 9:40 p.m. showing of “Silent House.” I thought for sure this was a smart move. After all, it was a Friday night, so the theaters are normally packed. And I had an enormous amount of faith that this movie would be great before I had even watched it.

I arrived at the theater at 9:10 that evening, excited as ever, to finally watch the movie I had been so excited about. I wanted to get there early so I could get a good seat, assuming that the theater would be packed with people ready to see this movie.

But as my boyfriend and I walked into theater room number 10, as directed by my movie stub, I looked around and realized we were the only ones in the room.

Okay, so we were 30 minutes early. But I have been to movies in the past where even 30 minutes early the theaters were half-full.

I took my seat, anxiously awaiting the movie to start, and it took about another 15 minutes for other people to start entering the theater room. Finally, more people. But as they started to take their seats, my happiness that people were showing up to see a good movie was overshadowed by the behavior the crowd was displaying. They were loud, boisterous, text-happy and overall rude.

By the time the movie started there were about 20-30 people in what should have been a packed room to see this movie. While I was hoping the noise would calm down as soon as the lights were dimmed, I was disappointed when it surely did not.

People going in and out to get more snacks, people talking as loudly as they would in a normal situation, people texting and people laughing; this is what my “Silent House” experience was within the first 20 minutes of the 88-minute-long movie.

As I mentioned before, the movie was shot in real time, meaning it appears to be one single shot instead of being composed of countless different scenes edited together. The camera stays focused on Elizabeth Olson’s character Sarah and does not leave her side throughout the entire movie.

This creates an intimate viewing experience and allows the audience to become just as frightened as Sarah throughout some of the most gripping parts of the movie. While watching it feels as if one is in the same situation, and even in the same house, as Sarah through the duration of the movie.

So because of this intimacy with the on-screen action that viewers are supposed to feel while watching this movie, it was hard to be in a room filled with loud people while I was trying to lose myself in the film.

Believe me, this is the kind of movie that draws you in and carries you along with the experiences of the characters. And while I was trying to concentrate on the movie’s events the people around me would simply not shut up.

When you go to the movies it is to experience what is taking place on-screen, not to hear the commentary of the audience. And what I got while seeing “Silent House” was ignorant commentary the entire time.

The only thing that stopped me from notifying the movie theater employees was that I simply did not want to miss any part of the movie.

The noises from the crowd faded in and out as the movie grew more and more intense. As the plot developed I was drawn further into the movie, my mind constantly trying to figure out a reason for what was happening to Sarah. But there were times when the audience’s behavior pulled me back out.

Even with the noise around me I did enjoy the movie. I liked it even more than I thought I would, which was a pleasant surprise. The acting from Olsen, which was more like reacting to the craziness around her, was stunning and definitely believable.

The movie had me feeling tense from beginning to end, which is my favorite quality in a movie.

And if it was not for the disrespectful crowd of moviegoers that I was in the presence of, the viewing experience would have been perfect and I would have walked out of the theater raving about how I thought “Silent House” was brilliantly made.

But that is not what occurred, because as the screen blackened and the credits rolled at the end of “Silent House” and I found myself wanting to applaud, about five members of the audience simultaneously insulted the movie I had just grown to love.

“That was horrible!”

“Refund!”

“Wow, that was not a good movie.”

These were some of the things that audience members started to say.

I had just been blown away by a gripping film, and other people were insulting it this much? That was not the reaction I was expecting, and it led me to widen my eyes, extend my hands and follow up with a dramatic “What!?”

Walking out of the theater I felt that I had been insulted. It was so hard for me to concentrate on how much I enjoyed the movie because I could not get over why people would pay to see a movie, yet spend the majority of the time texting, talking or outwardly bashing the film while other people in the theater were trying to enjoy it.

I really do respect the opinions of people after they see a movie and either like it or dislike it, and most times the audience’s reception of the film is pretty clear by the way they act during the duration of the movie. But I felt like these people did not even give “Silent House” a chance because they barely watched it.

As of right now “Silent House” is getting mixed reviews from critics and has a 49% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

I, for one, loved it. The camera angles from director-duo Chris Kentis and Laura Lau were fantastic, the real time filming was perfect for this type of movie and, as I said, the acting of Elizabeth Olsen is what sold the entire thing.

I think part of the reason why “Silent House” is getting mixed reviews is because it was advertised to be a horror film and it really is not. It is a psychological thriller, so while many critics are saying that there are few “real scares” in the movie, my opinion is that it’s because it’s not a true horror movie. Maybe that was why some of the audience members were so visibly upset.

Walking into the theater I was expecting a horror movie as well, but I left knowing that is was much more than that. Both the characters on-screen and the audience members go through a psychological journey while watching “Silent House” that cannot be explained by dubbing it a simple scary movie.

My only complaint was my experience as a whole, regarding the crude audience members I was forced to share a theater with. And the fact that none of them seemed to appreciate such a unique thriller like this really made me sad about what the general public considers to be a “good movie” anymore.

So many people get caught up in the action and special effects of a typical blockbuster and forget that there are other kinds of movies out there with real substance and perks differing from a lot of mainstream flicks.

Because “Silent House” was well-received at both Sundance and Cannes film festivals, and simply because the movie looked so odd and unique, I expected the theater to be sold-out, packed or even simply just crowded with people who wanted to support it. But it wasn’t any of those things, which really disappointed me.

I left the Gastonia theater feeling incredibly let down, not by the movie but by the experience. My favorite activity had just been ruined as far as I was concerned as I drove home sadly.

But then I wondered if it was just the town I was in, or if I had just had bad luck with the audience members that night. I don’t know what it was, but it made me feel sad for the future of movies like this.

For those who have not yet seen “Silent House” but plan to see it, my advice is to go during an off-time for the movie theaters, such as in the middle of the day. This is the kind of movie that you want to immerse yourself in, with everything silent around you but the movie itself.

Seeing it that way will make the experience much better than the one that I had.

 

Campus Trend Alert: Spring fever in February

While many girls on campus want to throw away their heavy scarves and jackets and replace them with airy dresses and sandals, winter fashion may still be necessary. Photo/ MCT

One of my journalism professors has been telling my class for the past two weeks that the reason why it is so sunny and warm in February instead of cold and snowing is because we are all wishing for spring.

She’s right.

I can’t speak for every UNC Charlotte student, but I for one am loving the recent warm weather. It has me fantasizing about floral prints, summery sandals and big floppy hats.

So I open my wardrobe in my dorm room and realize that I do not have any of these items in my possession at the time. Why? Because it’s still winter.

So what do I do? How do I dress for winter and spring at the same time?

I have noticed that during my early morning classes people are dressed in their peacoats with boots and long sleeves. And then later in the day when the weather becomes insanely warm I see dresses, tank tops and yes, even shorts. Then it gets dark, and cold again. I have a lot of those moments when I address the weather and simply ask, “really?”

As a busy student I do not have the time to change my outfit three times in one day. And I have yet to bring all my spring clothes back up to my dorm from my house where they are stored.

So I’ve been asking myself all week how to get my winter wardrobe to accommodate warm streaks as well. And through experimentation I have figured out the basics do’s and don’ts.

Do wear boots, don’t wear the furry ones

Last week I attempted to get through the day wearing my go-to comfy winter boots. But not only are they thick and furry, they are also heavy. While they feel wonderful on cold or rainy days, in the sunny heat I felt like I was trudging through really thick mud. On the the other hand I felt perfectly comfortable in my suede and leather boots. Just say no to fur.

Do wear long sleeves, don’t wear thick sweaters

The great things about long sleeves is that you can always roll them up. This is simply all you need to do to get a long-sleeved shirt to transition into a more comfortable option for a warm day. Roll the sleeves back down when you get chilly. I made a classic mistake the other day though when I wore a wooly sweater to class. I wore it because the material is breathable. But as soon as that weather transitioned the sweater became a scratchy, sticky mess.

Do roll up your jeans, don’t wear shorts

A great way to make your jeans a little more comfortable in the heat is to roll up the bottoms a little bit and add a pair of ballet flats, sandals or even boots if your closet is still full of winter clothes like mine. Take this approach instead of wearing shorts. The jeans look great this way and still keep you warm during those chilly moments, while shorts cannot help you at all.

Campus Trend Alert: How to dress for a job interview

Dressing for a job interview can be very stressful. But think about how you can find your perfect look, appearing professional but still letting your personality shine through. Photo/ MCT Campus

To make a little bit of extra money I went to work with my dad all day Friday doing some secretary work and odds and ends around his office. I met a lot of new people and even got a summer job offer, which made me realize just how important networking is.

I spent the day fantasizing about how nice it would be to work somewhere more professional over the summer, allowing me to get away from my normal summer job in retail. That lead to a chain of thoughts that sounded like “I would love to have steady hours,” “This would prepare me for a job after college” and of course “I would be able to dress in more professional clothes!”

The idea of a new job really interested me since I’ve been working at the same place since I was 16. And then I realized it has been years since I’ve had a job interview.

So I started thinking right away about what kind of clothing would be appropriate for a professional job interview. While office attire is not as standard as it used to be, I wanted to think of some looks that would be appropriate for work but also still let my style shine through.

Just because it’s a job interview does not mean we can’t still be creative with how we dress. Below are my starter ideas for some stylish and sophisticated office looks.

Basics

For those who want to remain slightly casual, dress pants and a top could be the way to go. My favorite dress pants are either very flared (great for pairing with high heels or wedges) or high-waisted. Both kinds are flattering in their own ways and both can be purchased in some great neutral colors, such as black and taupe. Pairing a shirt with this can be pretty easy. Try a blouse in a brighter color since the pants are usually going to be dark. Stick with a button up if you’re feeling safe, but if you would rather have more fun try something with lace or with a bold pattern.

Skirts & Dresses

For those who feel that something dressier is the best way to go, skirts and dresses can be very effective (and even fun to wear). As far as skirts go I prefer ones that are less standard. I like asymmetrical cuts and high waistlines.

My favorite work dresses would be the ones with collars or bows at the top. Try looking for ones with skinny belts around them as well. With choices like these are you practically unlimited with the different colors and  patterns. Have fun with it to let your personality shine through.

Shoes

Ah, now for my favorite part. For frequent readers of my column I have talked many times about how much I love shoes. I prefer heels for an office setting but since you don’t want to be uncomfortable all day my advice would be to stick with a lower heel or even a cute kitten heel.

Small heels can do a world of difference with your outfit by making it more sophisticated. I know that heels are not everyone’s favorite shoe choice, and I’m not going to argue that the perfect pair of flats can also look great with any work outfit.

If you choose to go the flat route it might be fun to dress in darker colors and wear a bright pair of flats to make them pop. Pair these shoes with some equally bright jewelry for even more flair. Even try a cute cap-toe pair of flats in duel tones.

“Melancholia” leaves viewers stunned and entranced

Kirsten Dunst in MELANCHOLIA, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

When I saw the “Melancholia” trailer for the first time I was slightly confused. Was it a movie about a wedding? Was it about depression or mental illness? Was it science fiction? I could not get a grasp on the plot of the story.

This is precisely what sparked my interest.

I heard about “Melancholia” when I was having a conversation with someone about its director, Lars Von Trier and his most recent film at the time, “Antichrist.” I had watched bits and pieces of “Antichrist” and did not care for much of what I had seen.

When I was told to watch the trailer for “Melancholia” I was immediately (and surprisingly) intrigued, considering the opinion I had already formed of Trier.

Lars Von Trier has established himself as one of the most unique and artistic directors in recent history, though critical reception of most of his films were indifferent.

Nevertheless, the content of Von Trier’s newest creation caught the attention of the Charlotte-based Back Alley Film Series which featured the film four nights in a row with each screening selling out.

As I walked into the packed movie theater to see “Melancholia” over the weekend, the dominant feeling I had was pure curiosity. And from the minute the first scene began to the moment when the credits started to roll my curiosity did not waver.

The establishing shot of “Melancholia” lays the groundwork for what to expect out of the movie. Viewers see a close-up of Kirsten Dunst, her hair disheveled and her face weary and strained. But her eyes are calm and while she appears distressed, what her eyes show is that she’s simply tired. But from what? And then we see that there are birds falling from the sky behind her.

The movie’s eight-minute slow-motion prologue depicts various scenes with the same three characters: two women and one young boy. We see Dunst in a wedding dress, we see another women (Charlotte Gainsbourg) frantically carrying her son (Cameron Spurr) and we see several space scenes showing Earth next to another mysterious planet.

The prologue ends with the two planets colliding and the destruction of Earth.

The movie is divided into two parts representing the two sisters of the film. Part 1 entitled “Justine” depicts the storyline of the bride (Dunst), while part 2 entitled “Claire” follows the tribulations of Gainsbourg’s character.

Part 1 takes place at Justine’s wedding reception. She has just married a man named Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) and is at her lavish party at her brother-in-law John’s house (Keifer Sutherland).

The party begins portraying Justine as wonderfully happy with her new husband but quickly changes the audience’s view of her as the night’s events occur. Her emotions are strained as arguments among her family members ensue and become worse as her employer keeps pestering her to work at her own wedding reception.

Tension between Justine and her new husband becomes obvious to viewers and she starts to behave in various destructive ways.

It becomes clear that Justine is deep in a massive world of depression which causes her to break down at her reception.

As the story unfolds, the characters uncover bits and pieces of a new planet called “Melancholia.” The fear that it will hit Earth is present in Claire who has high anxiety.

The rest of the movie is about the internal struggle within different types of people as they are faced with the possibility of the world coming to an end.

Trier’s film is not only compelling in its plot but also in its execution. The camera angles and shots chosen are brilliant and unique. Some of the shots move roughly around while others are still and soft, creating tension during pivotal parts of the movie.

The movie’s colors are also vary from scene to scene. This film brings a variety of colors as some of them are dull and dark and others and bright and vivacious. The brightest colors appear when Melancholia is seen from Earth.

Even though many of the movie’s events are stemmed from the impending fear of a planet collision, “Melancholia” is fully character-driven, with some of the most complex characters I have seen in any film.

Many important events take place off screen and are unbeknownst to the audience, though we witness Justine and Claire go through something catastrophic.

Trier has admitted that he based the character of Justine loosely on himself and during a period of deep depression. He has gone on record saying that what is so intriguing about a depressed person is that while they may seem broken down and defeated at times, they often experience bouts of complete calmness during time of stress and conflict.

What is stunning to watch is how the relationship with the sisters changes throughout the film. Claire is more stable but suffers from continued anxiety. Justine on the other hand struggles to find happiness in anything even on her wedding day.

As the possibility of an impending apocalypse approaches, the characters begin to reveal more about themselves and their attitudes towards life and mortality.

Justine remains calm while Claire is an anxious mess worrying about what might happen to her and her family.

“Melancholia” has been known to resonate with movie goers. I felt very different than I normally feel at the end of most movies. It was such an artistically beautiful and powerful film that I felt as if my mind had been blown. Seeing the movie was truly an experience than a typical viewing.

Trier leaves it up to every viewer to fill in the blanks when it comes to each character, so I think that everyone would have a different interpretation of what really happens in “Melancholia.”

Because of its many complexities, it is hard to explain much of the movie. “Melancholia” is something everyone should experience for themselves.

Campus Trend Alert: Doing more with less

I was able to create this outfit with some items that had been neglected in my closet. Photo/ Haley Twist

As the second semester is under way and the paychecks are running low from the money earned over the holiday break, many students are finding themselves simply out of cash. I know I am.

I went shopping with my mom over the weekend (well, more like window-shopping while my mom got to actually purchase new items) and every store I walked into already had a large variety of their new spring clothing on display.

This sparked a massive urge inside me to get a leg up on my spring wardrobe, but as I stuck my hand into my purse to see how much money I had, I realized I had none.

So I sighed, walked away and decided to make the best of it. How? Reinvention.

When I got home I told myself that I would make the best out of this free Saturday afternoon and create some new outfits out of the forgotten items found in my own closet.

I sifted through the many shirts that I have not sported in ages, found colored tights buried deep in a drawer, rediscovered the black tuxedo jacket I purchased in 11th grade, found six or seven beautiful pieces of jewelry that had been left to tarnish in an old jewelry box and I may have made a stop to my sister’s closet as well (only to sift through her forgotten items, of course).

Realizing that I didn’t even have enough money to scour some clearance racks for some cute new finds left me no option but to work with what I already had. And I was pleasantly happy with the results!

I was able to take the items and pair together what seemed like a good fit, creating several “new” outfits that didn’t cost me a penny.

My favorite look out of the bunch was created by an old white long-sleeved shirt, which I layered with an old semi-sheer tee-shirt for a wintery look, a geometrical skirt that I purchased two summers ago and two pieces of lonely jewelry I managed to untangle from my jewelry box.

All in all it was a successful shopping trip, all while managing to shop from my own home!

So next time you feel the need to do a little shopping but you know you can’t afford it, try  rediscovering some things in your closet that you haven’t worn in a while. Pair the items with some newer clothes you have to create a whole new look. And if you are unsure if something still as cute as you once thought it was, try layering it with something else.

If none of these options suit your interests there are still some cheap options out there. First you could do what I did and raid the closet of a sibling or close friend. Who knows, they might be looking to get rid of some things! You could take the items off their hands.

Or you could take your clothes to a consignment shop or Plato’s closet, where the stores give you cash for your items. Use the money that you earn to purchase some new clothes, making it a trade-in.

Celebrity club appearances: overrated?

Celebrity appearances attract university students to clubs, many times on college nights. Photo/ MCT Campus

Charlotte nightlife is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the large university crowds. College nights are constantly jam-packed at various venues Uptown with students filing in the doors at all hours to dance and socialize.

Many Charlotte nightclubs have being playing host to various celebrities, whether it is during or after concerts, or even just for an appearance.

Butter nightclub, part of the NC Music Factory, advertised Vinny Guadagnino to be in attendance later this week. The TV personality famed for starring in “Jersey Shore” is scheduled to show up at Butter on Friday, January 13th.

With “Jersey Shore” having such a huge university fan base, advertising that one of the most popular cast members is going to be in the university area and at a frequented night club seems like a guarenteed way to reel in even bigger student crowds.

But what will the attendees really be getting?

The same event took place in early 2011, and while many UNC Charlotte students dressed to impress and waited in a long line to hang out with Guadagnino, they did not realize that they would not be getting what they expected.

UNC Charlotte sophomore Bethany McMullen was among the crowds last year to excitedly enter Butter, expecting a thrilling night meeting a celebrity. But what actually came of the evening was much less thrilling than what was hoped for.

“When I heard that Vinny was going to be at Butter I thought that he would be engaging the crowds like he is portrayed as doing on ‘Jersey Shore,’ so I immediately expected him to be socializing,” said McMullen.

“However, when we arrived at Butter about an hour before he was expected to be there we discovered that they had roped an area off for him to sit with a few lucky VIP ladies.”

McMullen was not able to say that she danced, hung out with or even conversed with Guadagnino at all. She described how her night involved being one among a large crowd of people wishing that Guadagnino would interact with them in some way.

“When he finally arrived he simply sat in the V.I.P. area and bobbed his head with the music talking to a few people. He never once acknowledged the hoard of people gathered in Butter to get a glimpse of him,” McMullen explained.

So why have an advertised celebrity guest appearance if the person is simply going to be on display? McMullen’s bad experience made her form opinions regarding the reasoning behind it.

“I think certain clubs have celebrities make appearances to promote business. It was also ironic that Vinny was making an appearance on College Night when 18+ are allowed into the club. It was definitely a smart business move.”

To entertain students in university areas, celebrity appearances that are more interactive can prove to be a completely different experience, which can potentially draw more people in to the event.

McMullen noted a more pleasant night out in Charlotte last year when Deena Cortese, another cast member of “Jersey Shore,” came to Whisky River in 2011. According to McMullen the TV personality was out on the floor hanging out and dancing with her fans, resulting in a much better experience for the club-goers.

With the large amount of different-scale night clubs in and around Charlotte, it is hard to tell what could be expected each time at the occasional celebrity appearances.

With this year’s Guadagnino appearance falling on a night other than college night, will the evening’s events be different?

Campus Trend Alert: New year, new look

Facing one of my biggest fashion phobias I decided cut off most of my hair, changing it from a semi-drab shoulder-length 'do to an ultra-flattering pixie. Photo/ Haley Twist

Even before it was New Year’s Eve, I started to see many magazine articles discussing the new trends for 2012.

It seemed that many fashion editors discussed new styles early on, such as wacky new patterns, the bold colors and the trendy handbags.

While I took all of these suggestions into consideration as I shopped for the spring semester, I decided to ring in the new year with new hair.

In a previous column I talked about some of my scariest fashion phobias, one of them being a short, choppy pixie cut. Over the break I faced my fear and chopped off most of my hair, creating a new look that made me step outside of my comfort zone in a very good way.

For about a month before I finally decided to cut my hair, I started researching the many different kinds of pixie cuts.

Did I like the pixies that were a little on the longer, somewhat shaggy side? Or did I like the super short, classic pixies?

I read online that each individual has their own variation of the pixie cut depending on face shape and hair qualities.

And after many hours spent looking at pictures of celebrities with pixie cuts I decided that my favorite one was sported by Ginnifer Goodwin, who also has a round face like mine. Seeing so many stylish pixie cuts pushed me to schedule a hair appointment.

The Tuesday after Christmas I walked into the hair salon, nervous but excited about the prospects of the end result. I had been in contact with the hairdresser so we both already knew what the plan was. I took a seat in the chair, had my hair washed and then stared at my reflection in the mirror.

Though I do not really have an attachment to my hair, I did like the fact that my haircut was safe. My hair was parted in the middle and fell slightly past my shoulders.

While it could be described as bland, it was safe and that was the scariest thing of all as I looked in the mirror and watched as about 6 inches of my hair was cut off in one clean cut.

And that was it; there was no going back. The hairdresser and I talked while she cut, deciding how long it should be on the sides and in the front, and frequently going back to a picture of Ginnifer Goodwin for reference.

And when it was all finished I could not be more pleased with the result. It was short. Very short. And while that was scary it was even more exciting. It would give me the opportunity to try new, edgier things with my overall look and style.

The moral of the story is to try something new this year. What’s that one legal thing you’ve always wanted to try? Whether it is with your style or something totally different, use 2012 as the excuse you need to go for it.

Chances are you won’t regret it and will receive pleasing results!