I could say, "the time has finally come" but it's more like, "man that got here quick" -- the grand opening of Charlotte Premium Outlets.

Nelly was asked what it's like to be a part of Michael Jordan's inner circle as a part-owner of the Hornets, as well as his thoughts on Lance Stephenson.

The online comments quickly took an unexpected turn. Many said that DeAngelo had been duped by a faker because the so-called Marine's uniform display broke protocol.

Ashby has begun filming in Charlotte, with Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Silverman among the cast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

​Whether unemployed or unhappy with the job you currently have, you (or someone you know) are probably looking for work. Well, put your suit in the cleaners, print copies of your resume, and get ready for this upcoming opportunity. Mecklenburg County is hosting a job fair on Tuesday, September 9, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center (310 N. Kings Dr.).

The county is hiring for several positions, including library aide and assistant, IT programmers, vendor managers, social workers, nurses, maintenance and operations assistants, recreation specialists, and more. Click here for more details on the job fair, and you can find a list of current job openings here, which you can apply for online.


Mecklenburg County, which is comprised of Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville, surpassed one million residents in population last year, with the Queen City accounting for about 80 percent of that.


Friday, August 22, 2014

It's back-to-school time in Charlotte, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students officially say goodbye to summer, and return to learning on Monday, August 25. Below is a handful of great community initiatives (of which I know organizers personally, and commend them for giving back), that are making the start of the school year better and brighter for our youth.


Please support these causes and spread the word!

Cuttin' Class - Community Hair Cutting Day
Saturday, August 23 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Park West Barber College, 3120 Wilkinson Blvd.
Just as they've done each year, the owners and staff of No Grease Barbershops are converging at one location and offering free hair cuts on the Saturday before kids go back to school. The free hair cut day will also include giveaways of book bags and school supplies. Boys grades K-12 are welcomed. Presented by No Grease, Inc. and The IT Factor Media Group. nogrease.com, Facebook event.

Hair-A-Thon Community Back-to-School Event
Saturday, August 23 | Begins at 9 a.m.
Pure Body Salon & Spa, 2415 Tuckaseegee Rd.
Young girls can come get pretty in time to start school, as this salon is offering free hair services to the first 60 girls, ages 5-13. They will also be given free school supplies and other goodies. purebodysalon.com.

West Fest
Saturday, August 23 | noon-6 p.m.
West Charlotte High School, 2219 Senior Dr.
This was a popular, annual summer festival on Charlotte's west side in the 1990s, and after a long hiatus, Project L.I.F.T. brought it back last year. This year's family friendly, free event will feature an appearance and performance by ABC Family star and “Just a Kiss” recording artist Mishon, as well as performances by local and regional R&B, jazz, gospel, dance, and hip hop artists, and the West Charlotte High School band. There will also be vendors, a resource fair, health screenings by Novant Healthcare, food, games, prize giveaways, and more. projectliftcharlotte.org, facebook.com/ProjectLIFTCharlotte.

Million Father March
Monday, August 25
Your child's school
The Million Father March is a nationwide initiative to encourage more fathers, particularly African-Americans, to become more involved in their children's education. The effort is kicked off each year by a campaign to get men in local communities to escort kids to the first day of school. And for the second consecutive year, Project L.I.F.T. is organizing it for seven CMS Schools: West Charlotte High School, Allenbrook Elementary, Statesville Road Elementary, Walter G. Byers School, Bruns Academy, Druid Hills Academy, and Ranson IB Middle School. Charlotte volunteers are being asked to sign up by visiting http://bit.ly/millionfathers, and the day will also include distributing of school supplies.

Back-to-School Ice Cream Social
Saturday, August 30
Center of Hope
InSPIRE Charlotte, a nonprofit organization created by professional women who are single parents, are organizing an ice cream social to brighten the day of the 120 school-age children that reside at Center of Hope in Charlotte, an organization that houses and provides services to homeless women and children. The ladies from InSPIRE Charlotte will serve ice cream sundaes and deliver school supplies to the children. If you would like to contribute, you can send school supplies and/or monetary donations to InSPIRE Charlotte, attn: Mashea Miller, P.O. Box 1316 Davidson, NC 28036; or contact  the organization at inspirecharlotte@gmail.com. meetup.com/inspirecharlotte.

And in other back-to-school news, CMS employees received an enthusiastic boost of encouragement during their pep rally yesterday at Time Warner Cable Arena.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gatorade released a series of commercials online yesterday for its "Sweat It. Get It" campaign, starring quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. The two NFL stars appear separately in the ads, which range from one minute to two minutes long. They make it difficult for unsuspecting customers to buy Gatorade at a convenience store because the men and women who attempt to purchase the sports drinks haven't sweated, which means they haven't earned it.

Cam appears in two of the commercials, while Peyton is in six--he's the consummate pitch man, isn't he? Even though there are so-called hidden cameras capturing this and it seems to be a real convenience store, like the Jeff Gordon test-drive-prank Pepsi commercial last year, my suspicions are that these are all actors; though one (and only one) of Peyton's seems real. (Jeff Gordon's commercial has gone on to get more than 40 million views, by the way.)

Watch the two commercials with the Carolina Panthers QB below, and you can view all of them at gatorade.com/sweat-it-get-it.



You'll also find Cam and Peyton alongside Eli Manning, Robert Griffin III, and J.J. Watt as Gatorade's The League of Captains. Each player is a comic book character, with actual written and illustrated stories--Cam is "The Blender"--and you can purchase specially designed Gatorade bottles of the characters for a limited time.


Credits: Gatorade

And if you need more Cam in your day, watch the newest episode of "Huddle Up with Cam Newton," a five-part web series by Under Armour that shows inside looks into Cam's life, as he discusses the highs and lows. In the episode three, released today, he talks about how his college football career almost ended before it even started, including a candid moment about sitting the bench behind Tim Tebow.



Friday, August 15, 2014

At 6 p.m. yesterday (Thursday, August 14), the highly anticipated SEC Network launched. The Southeastern Conference and ESPN partnered to create this new national television network, which will provide 24/7 coverage of SEC college sports--specifically during the first year: 45 football games, 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games; plus, live events, classic games, and original studio programming, they say.

Credit: Facebook

But let's keep it real. This channel has been created because college football's popularity is at an all-time high, bringing in billions of dollars a year in revenue, and the SEC has been the perennial football conference for the last decade. I'm excited that I'll get more comprehensive coverage of my South Carolina Gamecocks--we kick off the 2014 football season, on the new network, Thursday, August 28, at home against Texas A&M--but how many of us will be tuned into the channel come mid-January once football season is over? Furthermore, a lot of the big SEC football games, like Alabama vs. Auburn, Florida vs. Georgia, and LSU vs. Alabama, will continue to be shown on the major networks like CBS and ABC.

But for now, the SEC Network is making an historic debut, reportedly available in 75 million households. And in terms of projected revenue, it's the fifth-largest sports network in the country, behind ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN2, and FS1; and far ahead of its rivals, so to speak, the PAC 12 Network and Big Ten Network, which launched before it. Out the gate, the SEC Network is available on most of the major cable TV and satellite providers: AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable, and Xfinity (click here to find your channel).


The network is based in Charlotte, located at ESPN's offices and studios in Ballantyne, which also produce ESPNU (the Southeastern Conference itself is headquartered in Birmingham). There's a newly assembled staff working in Ballantyne, but a lot of the broadcast coverage will also come from on-site at each of the 14 SEC schools. And the network scored a major victory when it lured legendary college football analyst Paul Finebaum to Charlotte.

Get everything you want to know about the SEC Network:
secnetwork.com
getsecnetwork.com
facebook.com/SECNetwork
twitter.com/SECNetwork


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Since debuting three weeks ago, the August issue of Charlotte magazine has been a popular topic around the city, led by its cover story on "50 Things Every Charlottean Should Do." The large feature package--encompassing 20 pages in the print issue--is a must-read whether you're a native or a newcomer or you fall somewhere in between. If you're someone who used to live in Charlotte or periodically visits the area, you'll enjoy reading this story as well.


A lot of people have shared the link to the story on social media, often commenting on how many of the 50 things they've done. Personally, I've done 46 of the things on the list during the nine years I've lived in Charlotte (today actually marks nine years ago that I moved to Charlotte from Augusta, Georgia).

Most of the activities, like "Wait in line for Price's Chicken," "Spend a day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center," and "Gain perspective at 1,625 feet," which is about hiking Crowders Mountain, illustrate just how robust and varied the list of activities are that this area has to offer. Others are more anecdotal, like "Be friendly" and "Don't assume everyone works for a bank," providing a little insight into Charlotte's culture and history, the latter of which people tend to not know much about, as this is a city filled with transplants.

I was one of eight writers to contribute to 50 Things Every Charlottean Should Do (and I'm profiled on the contributors page, pg. 14). The feature is also filled with beautiful photography.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One of Charlotte's best restaurants is getting the national attention it deserves. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is featured on this week's episode of Travel Channel's Food Paradise, which premiered Tuesday night. The hour-long episode, titled Hamburger Paradise 3, showcases great burgers from restaurants around the country, from Seattle and Chicago to Philadelphia and Charlotte. Among the Cowfish burgers highlighted is the burgushi, which I once raved about.

One of the Cowfish's burgers featured on Food Paradise. Served with sweet potato fries!

The segment on Cowfish opens with the narrator proclaiming: "Fewer burger spots have a bigger buzz than Cowfish in Charlotte. It's the most popular North Carolina mash-up since tar met heels." You can watch the entire episode online by clicking here (Cowfish debuts around the 13:30 mark). You can also catch it when it re-airs on Travel Channel over the coming days by checking the channel's schedule.

In addition to the original Cowfish location in SouthPark, there's also one in Raleigh, and a location is scheduled to open this year at Universal Studios in Orlando.


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