Saturday, November 23, 2013

Supermodel-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker shared a photo on Instagram late last night of herself wearing a Charlotte Hornets hat, adding some buzz to the Buzz City movement.

After starring in two major movies in 2012--What to Expect When You're Expecting and Battleship--the Matthews native is set to star in her first recurring role on a television series, a comedy called Friends with Better Lives that is expected to debut midseason on CBS. According to tweets and Instagram posts from cast and crew members, the show wrapped the taping of its first season this past Wednesday. In addition to Brooklyn, the FWBL cast includes Kevin Connolly, James Van Der Beek, Majandra Delfino, and Zoe Lister-Jones.

Back to the Hornets hat, if you'll notice, Brooklyn keeps it G by posing with the tag still on, reminiscent of this hilarious "Dueling Hats" skit from Key & Peele.

The Hornets name and mascot makes its return to Charlotte's NBA team, replacing the Bobcats, beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

While most of the world knows Sonya Curry as Stephen and Seth's mom, the lady we enjoyed watching on television in the stands at college basketball games, she has an important day job. Aside from being the matriarch of Charlotte's First Family of sports, which also includes husband Dell and daughter Sydel, Sonya is the founder and head of school of the Christian Montessori School at Lake Norman. Because the school is a member of the American Montessori Society, we're treated to a video the society produced, featuring the Curry family discussing how receiving a Montessori education positively impacted their lives.

Photo of a young Curry family, shown in the Montessori video. 

I first became familiar with Montessori schools several years ago, shortly after moving to Charlotte. I was working on a magazine article that led me to learn that Montessori schools, for the most part, allow students to learn at their own pace and there are usually multiple ages placed in a classroom to foster peer learning. In the video, all five of the Currys talk about what they like about Montessori education. But what I think you'll enjoy most is getting a rare glimpse into the personal lives of a family that has been in the public eye for much of the last 20 years, but does their best to keep a relatively low profile outside of their professions.

In describing each of her kids' personalities, Sonya says Steph is really task oriented, Seth is quiet, shy, and reserved, and Sydel is a social butterfly. If you've ever come across Sydel's Twitter, then you know the Elon University freshman volleyball player is social. And I know that the Sonya Curry stans will be happy to see that the hot mom gets a lot of face time in the video.

I learned of this video from a tweet Steph posted yesterday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I've seen a beautiful photo of Charlotte's skyline making the rounds on Twitter recently. It's from a vantage point you don't often see depicted in skyline photos of the city--from Marshall Park. Taken at night, and as great as the photo is, it doesn't show what has long been Uptown Charlotte's crowning achievement, as far as skyscrapers go: the Bank of America Corporate Center. Instead, it's highlighted (literally) by what in recent years has become the darling of the cityscape: the Duke Energy Center.

As someone who creates original content and is a fan of great photography, it bothered me that whenever I saw this photo posted, there was never a mention of the photographer. Who shot this? I believe in giving people, especially creatives, the credit they deserve. Thanks to a Google Images search, in which you can drag a photo into the search box to find where it has appeared on the 'net (and I, like many of you, discovered was possible from watching the MTV show Catfish), I was able to track down where I believe the photo was originally posted.

The photo was posted in April on Flickr by a Brooklyn, New York photographer named Mauricio Fernandez. And what's interesting is that he describes himself as "a Passionate Amateur Photographer." His work, which includes several cityscapes from around the country, is impressive for an amateur.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Robin Emmons, the Charlotte woman who is founder and executive director of Sow Much Good, not only was selected as a 2013 CNN Hero in September, but a month later she was announced as one of the 10 finalists for CNN Hero of the Year. As a finalist, she gets $50,000 to continue the great efforts of her nonprofit organization, Sow Much Good, which works to eliminate urban food deserts in the Charlotte area by providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables (72,000 people in Charlotte lack access to fresh produce), and educating people about healthy lifestyles.

If Robin is chosen as the CNN Hero of the Year, she'll win an additional $250,000 to support her cause. This is the final weekend to vote, which you can do once each day--voting ends this Sunday, November 17 at 11:59 p.m. Visit and you'll find details on all of the finalists as well as the "Vote Now" tab (or click here to vote).

Click here to see more photos of Robin in the CNN Heroes Facebook album. 

The 10 finalists will appear on the internationally televised Seventh Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, premiering Sunday, December 1, 8 p.m. on the CNN networks. The Hero of the Year will be announced at that time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The 2013 SHAPE Charlotte Business Idea Competition concludes this Tuesday, November 12. Presented by the Charlotte Shapers hub of the World Economic Forum of Global Shapers, the evening will feature a networking reception followed by presentations from five finalists who were selected after going through a competitive process over the last several weeks.

SHAPE Charlotte is an innovative business model competition created for, and by, the next generation of leaders. The organization encourages entrepreneurship within people 35 years of age or younger "by empowering participants to act as agents of change through innovation and ultimately job creation." The finalists, all Charlotte-based startups, were selected based on their ability to demonstrate the viability, innovation, and impact of their business concept, and they are:

  • FreshBrains - an online matchmaking platform that pairs student skill sets with local small businesses and nonprofits in need of web design services.
  • FundNC - an online crowdfunding portal that helps facilitate and market new intrastate security offerings for North Carolina-based businesses.
  • Gameplan - software that applies the results from a Holland Code Assessment (career cluster / personality quiz) tailored to high school students and formulates a "gameplan" for each student.
  • PlateShare - a charitable micro-giving platform that creatively crowdsources donations from restaurant spending and redirects the money to hunger relief efforts.
  • The Bridge, PR for Social Good - teaches organizations how to become better corporate citizens.

Tomorrow evening, one of the teams will be awarded the Judge's Prize worth $10,000, and one will win the Audience Choice Award worth $2,500.

The event is free and open to the public. An optional networking reception will be held 6-6:45 p.m. at Wake Forest University's Center City Campus (200 N. College St., Suite 150). And the main event will take place across the street at 7 p.m. at the One Bank of America Center Auditorium (150 N. College St.). RSVP is required; click here.

Mayor-Elect Patrick Cannon will present opening remarks, and Kirk Hawkins, news anchor at WCCB Charlotte, will host the event. The co-founder and CEO of Tykoon Nation, Mark Bruinooge, will deliver the keynote speech.

The SHAPE Charlotte Business Idea Competition started in 2012 and awarded more than $12,000 last year to Queen City Mobile Market and $2,500 to iMedicare.

Follow Charlotte Shapers on Twitter @CLTShapers#SHAPECLT; on, and at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I strolled around Northlake Mall a few weeks ago and I literally thought to myself: this mall can almost give SouthPark mall a run for its money. Opened since 2005, Northlake is Charlotte's youngest mall and it's always been well-managed from what I can tell. But it's the addition of many elite stores that's taking it to another level. And not the least of which is H&M, which holds its grand opening at Northlake on November 14.

H&M is occupying the space that formerly housed Borders bookstore (located near the food court entrance). For the last several months, the building has undergone massive renovations to take on the H&M brand, and making it look almost like a stand-alone store. This will be the retail giant's first Charlotte store, while a second location is scheduled to open less than a month later at Carolina Place. H&M has about 3,000 stores worldwide, with more than 230 of those located in the U.S. I'm not sure what took it so long to come to Charlotte--it opened in Raleigh and Winston-Salem prior to the Queen City, and there's also a location opening soon in Greensboro.

Chicks love H&M. Credit:

If you're not familiar with H&M, it sells ladies, men, and kids' clothing as well as home goods, and it's most known for carrying items and brands that reflect international trends. It also regularly presents special collections from celebrities such as Beyonce and David Beckham.

The H&M Northlake Grand Opening will take place Thursday, November 14 at 12 p.m. The celebration will feature fashion, music by a DJ, and giveaways. And according to the Facebook invite for the event, the first 200 shoppers in line will receive an all-access fashion pass valued up to $300 off your entire purchase. Obviously the store is opening just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season.

Rendering of H&M at Northlake Mall. Credit:

Other stores that have opened at Northlake within the past year include Forever 21, which was already at the mall but moved to a much larger space--the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that line the entire front of the store are eye-catching; White House | Black Market and Chico's also opened earlier this year. And then there's the Apple Store that opened a couple of years ago that attracts shoppers from around the state.

There's also a lot of new development going on around the mall, particularly on Harris Boulevard near the I-485 exit.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Legendary Christian evangelist Billy Graham turns 95 years old on November 7. And on that night the country will get a televised special from the man who, in his heyday, was referred to as America's pastor. The reason I say in his heyday is because, obviously, he hasn't been as active, vocal, or even made many public appearances over the last several years due to his age and frequent health issues. However, that hasn't stopped U.S. presidents and presidential candidates, as well as many of the country's other most influential people from seeking his counsel.


But are young people today interested in what Rev. Graham has to say? We'll find out when "The Cross" airs Thursday, November 7. It's part of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham" initiative that culminates this month. "My Hope America" is Rev. Graham and his Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's (BGEA) "effort to reach people across the United States with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, [it] combines the impact of video programs with the power of personal relationships. Christians across America will open their homes this November to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using one of several new evangelistic programs featuring life-changing testimonies and powerful messages from Billy Graham," according to its website.

"The Cross" television special will feature scenes from an evening event with Rev. Graham that took place last week at The Billy Graham Library. In this minute-long trailer for the special, it's clear that they want their message to reach young people. It, for example, features Christian hip hop artist Lecrae (did you know there was such a thing?) and rocker-turned-Christian-singer Lacey Sturm.

An article published by Reuters yesterday gives an insightful look into what the Grahams, including the elder's son Franklin, are seeking to accomplish with "My Hope America." The article briefly describes the impact Rev. Graham and BGEA have had over the last seven decades but also cites studies such as a 2005 Gallup Poll that "revealed that 45 percent of young adults were not familiar with Billy Graham. And one third of adults under 30 consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center report."

Also as a part of "My Hope America," as the article points out, Christian believers from more than 24,000 U.S. churches will invite people into their homes and congregations to learn about their faith from Rev. Graham.

Visit for more details, and for TV listings for the special. "The Cross" is scheduled to air nationwide on FOX News on November 7 at 10 p.m. It will also be broadcast on several faith-based networks as well as local TV stations around the country over a four-day period, including November 8, 7:30 p.m. on WBTV, Charlotte's CBS station.

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