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and everything else you need to know about life and living on

Lake Norman and the greater Charlotte area.  

Jan. 15, 2019

10 Ways to Save on Home Improvement Costs


Ways to save money on home improvement costs

Home improvement projects can increase the resale value of your house, transform drab rooms into dazzling showcases, and equip you with handy skills. They can also cost you…a lot.

Have you been holding off on your home improvement dreams because of the cost factor? With some creativity and a little extra effort, you can cut costs in many areas and take those projects from dream to reality.

Top ten ways to save money on home improvement costs:

Be Calendar Savvy

Buy at the right time to save big on appliances, supplies and materials. Take advantage of holiday sales at large retail stores, especially if you need new appliances. September and October are also good months for appliances, as the manufacturers are releasing their new models and retailers are motivated to get rid of the old ones. If you’re not too picky about selection, wait until January when retailers are even more motivated to get rid of last year’s models.

Save your power tool and electronics purchases for Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving).

In the market for lawn care supplies or outdoor furniture? Wait until the end of the summer for the best deals.

Buy Secondhand

This is where a little extra research can pay off. Avoid the retail markup for your home improvement supplies by taking advantage of the many secondhand options available to thrifty homeowners. Habitat for Humanity operates “ReStores” nationwide, featuring all kinds of home improvement supplies and materials. You can find your local ReStore here.

Cybersleuths can use CraigslistFacebook MarketplaceVarageSaleeBay, and Freecycleto find the best deals on everything from appliances to zip ties.

Try salvage yards and auctions for building supply purchases. To find local auctions, do an online search for “building material auction + [your state].” Contractors in your area might also be willing to sell you their leftover materials at a better-than-retail price.

DIYWR (Do It Yourself Within Reason)

Even those projects that require a contractor have some elements that you can do yourself, like demo, prepping surfaces, painting, and ripping out carpet. If the task doesn’t require a special skill, consider taking the time to do it yourself, rather than paying a professional to do it, with a hundreds-per-hour price tag. YouTube channels like FIX IT Home improvement  offer an endless selection of short how-to DIY videos.

Consider Renting

Why shell out hundreds of dollars for a tool you only plan to use once or twice? Renting is a cost-effective option for lots of tools, especially the big or obscure ones (where would you even keep a wallpaper steamer if you bought one?) At RentalHQ you can enter what you need to rent along with your ZIP code for a list of local options.

It Pays to Hoard

When it comes to home improvement, it’s actually a good idea to hold onto small leftover supplies from all of your projects. That way, next time you need a certain size nail or anchor, you don’t have to go pay for an entire new set at the hardware store. Keep your collection organized and you’ll have your own pop-up store in your basement or workshop, right when you need it.

Refurbish, Don’t Replace

Using what you already have will save you a considerable amount of money. Why pay for brand-new cabinets when you can re-paint or stain the ones you have, or even replace the doors for a completely new look?

A simple change-up of knobs and pulls can have a dramatic overall effect on a room, and it’s immensely cheaper than a full remodel.

DIY resurfacing kits can upgrade the look and feel of your counter tops for hundreds of dollars, vs. the thousands you would pay for granite or quartz.

Hire Wisely

Where do you start when it’s time to hire a contractor? It’s best to get a referral from someone you know and trust. If that’s not an option, ask your neighborhood Facebook  or Nextdoor  group. You may also be able to get a referral from the staff at your favorite local kitchen and bath showroom.

When it’s time to hire a contractor, make sure you get three in-person bids with references for each bidder. Never hire a contractor without looking them up on Better Business Bureau .

The best time to hire a contractor is during their off-season, right after the new year. When work is slow, you may be able to get a better deal. But hiring a contractor isn’t just about chasing the lowest price. It’s about maximizing your value. A cheap contractor with no references and an online trail of complaints is not worth the savings.

Keep it Simple

Any project that requires relocating plumbing or electrical outlets is going to raise the cost of your project. Be creative and find ways to work with the current location of these features if you want to keep costs down.

Let It Go

Although it’s good to hold onto supplies you may use in the future, it’s also smart to let go of the stuff you have no use for. If you’ve replaced or upgraded, see how much you can get for the item you replaced. Remember all those resale sites where you got a great deal on your supplies? You can make some extra cash by selling on those same sites. Faucets, ceiling fans, cabinetry…no matter what the material, it’s worth a try to help offset the cost of your project.

Perfection is Overrated

Have you heard of oops paint? This is marked-down paint that was mixed incorrectly and never used. Check your local retailer’s clearance section or ask at the paint counter. Consider this thrifty option for projects where color doesn’t matter (for example, the inside of a closet) or smaller projects that require less than one gallon of paint.

“Scratch and dent” appliances have never been used or owned, but they have mostly cosmetic imperfections that result in a mark-down, usually by a third-party seller. Review this scratch and dent buying guide to decide if this money-saving strategy will work for you.


Now that you’re armed with these money-saving tricks, feel free to go forth and bring your home improvement dreams to fruition, without having to take out a second mortgage on your new and improved home.


Courtesy Allen Tate Realtors

Jan. 11, 2019

Floor Plans

Floor Games by H.G. Wells was written a lonnnng time ago. However, we as parents are so creative and the same old 

values of keeping kids entertained is ingrained in us all. Try these to help with your days!


The floor is lava! Take any pillows, pieces of paper, towels - whatever and lay around the house.

Don't touch the floor. Super simple. Here is a video to help with rules and items from the actual board game. 


I love! WhatsUpMoms videos and these are all about Spy Games to do in the house!


5-Minute Craft Kids is hysterical with their 20 Fun and Easy Games for Kids AND Adults...see which ones to

use inside!


And even 5 super Easy DIY dog toys to keep the whole family entertained!

Enjoy! Please give feedback and tell us how any of these turned out for you! Or add your own!


Posted in Community, Fun Times, Kiddos
Jan. 7, 2019

6 Local Salon Ideas

New Year, new you? Cliche' right...but maybe you are looking for a little change this year? Here’s a list of some places to try.…Because sometimes a little change can lead to big results! These 6 places have stellar reviews and are worthy - make that change!

1) Hudson Salon - Huntersville

Just love this place right when you walk in. Nice atmosphere, stylists and front desk super friendly and welcoming. Open and spacious, with a great vibe. Give this place a try next time. All levels of stylists, all 100% anything you need done. Book online via the website, super easy!

2) Sanctuary Salon and Spa  - Cornelius

The stylists at Sanctuary Salon & Spa are committed to creating stylish, fashion-forward haircuts. A haircut that's been wholly customized to flatter and please each customer. The stylists can also complement the new cuts with color services and keratin treatments. This is from Groupon and they have a current deal going. HERE

3) Therapy Hair Salon - Charlotte


This is a full service hair destination specializing in balayage, ombre, hair extensions, styling and much more. Located in the heart of Dilworth/Southend. Book online!

4) Accent Hair Design - Huntersville

According to Accent’s website, they say “our stylists take exceptional care in transforming your look with a precision haircut, a trendy style, a special occasion style, or an everyday, wearable, easy to manage hairstyle.” According to some reviews online, this place has more than meets the eye.   


5) Halo Salon  - Davidson


The quaint architecture of Davidson Gateway reminds you of "Main Street USA" and the interior of Halo Salon transports you to a sedate, relaxing atmosphere where you can break away and concentrate on yourself.  Their goal is to be a Mediterranean-style oasis in which understated elegance inspires you to express your beauty and personality at its fullest.


6) J.L. Cole Salon - Lula Rufus - Cornelius

According to a chat with Lula and Groupon, here is what she had to say:

What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition? We listen to our clients and make sure they are taken care of.What was the inspiration to start or run this business? I love doing hair. What do you love most about your job? Cutting and coloring hair. What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer? I love my hairstylist.Here is the Groupon Link HERE


For more details about Living in Lake Norman Contact Us HERE


Posted in Community
Jan. 7, 2019

How Much House Can I Afford?


How much house can I afford?


Shopping for homes before realistically evaluating your monthly capacity to service a mortgage is like falling in love with a golden retriever puppy before you’ve read the rental property contract clause about pet ownership. And that’s no fun, my friends.

“Many times we see buyers falling head-over-heels in love with a home only to realize it’s way over their budget,” says Vice President of Loan Origination for Allen Tate Mortgage, Lisa Green.

So for all of us who’ve been told not once, but maybe more than a few times that we have champagne dreams on a beer budget, this process is for you. Don’t hit the panic button just yet— here’s how to make sure your new home doesn’t break the bank.

How much house can I afford?

Remember when you griped in math class that you were never going to use these silly equations? Well, gulp! Here’s where they come into play in the real world.

Finance experts suggest home buyers follow a pretty simple formula— the 33/45 rule— when it comes to calculating how much house you can afford.

The first step in the exercise is to figure out your monthly gross income (this is your income before taxes). Once you have that number down, figure out what 33% of your gross monthly income would be. That’s the number you’ll want to stick to (or below) when it comes to budgeting for your mortgage, taxes and insurance (more about this below). For example with a monthly income of $5,000, 33% is $1,650. That is the maximum payment for mortgage, taxes and insurance.

Now let’s examine the 45 portion of the rule. Experts suggest you should have no more than 45 percent of your gross income tied to debt— think car loans, that pesky student loan debt, and now, your new house. If you have any additional monthly debt with the 33/45 rule, the most in additional monthly debt you could have would be $600 to keep it within the total debt limit, which in this case is $2,250.

Factor in the down payment

Coming up with a hefty down payment can be tricky— especially when you’re just starting out and things like student loans are hampering your saving efforts. And while most mortgage experts will recommend you come to the table with 20% down, they’re also human and they don’t expect many first-time homebuyers to have that amount of cash laying around.

A mound of financing options— some requiring as little as 3.5% down— exist for first-time homebuyers who may struggle to come up with the necessary funds. Keep in mind though that financing options that don’t require the full 20% down do come with a not-so-fun counterpart— PMI, or private mortgage insurance, which is designed to protect the lender in the case of default.

PMI is typically .3 to 1.5% of the original loan value and is usually paid monthly. All that to say, if you aren’t prepared to come to the closing table with 20% down, be sure to factor in PMI when figuring out how much you can afford. PMI is definitely not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of when calculating how much you can afford.

Consider your mortgage options

If you’re feeling like you can’t come to the closing table with 20% down, don’t sweat it. Loan options exist for virtually every buyer and budget. Here’s a brief snapshot of some of the most common loan options:

USDA loan

If you’re considering purchasing a home and are struggling to come up with a hefty down payment, you may qualify for a zero down, USDA loan. The home you purchase must fall within an eligible rural area that’s defined by the USDA an you must meet certain income requirements. Check with your mortgage officer if you’re interested in learning more about a USDA loan.

VA loans

For Veterans, Service Members and select military spouses, VA loans offer zero down payment and no PMI.

FHA loans

For many first time homebuyers, FHA loans make purchasing a home easy. FHA loans offer down payment options as low as 3.5%, low closing costs and are typically easier for first time buyers to qualify for.

Conventional loans

Established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, conventinoal loans offer programs to qualifying homeb uyers for as little as 3%.

You can learn more about loan programs here. 

Factor in closing costs

Often times one of the biggest shock to first time homebuyers is realizing that they’ll need to come to the table with closing costs, as well as their down payment.

Closing costs can range anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the total purchase price of the home, and include fees related to the purchase of your home. Here’s everything you wanted to know about closing costs, if you’d like to learn more.

Don’t forget about homeownership costs 

Planning for unexpected expenses is my least favorite thing, and I’m sure yours too, but when you’re a homeowner, being disciplined with this practice can save you from dipping into savings or giving Mom and Dad a ring.

Experts advise homeowners set aside between 1-4% of the home’s total value for maintenance and repairs each year. That way, when an unplanned expense arises, you won’t be caught off guard!

Get pre-approved for a mortgage 

If you’re in the process of shopping for homes, chances are you’ve heard the terms pre-approval and pre-qualification. And if you’re like most of us, you have no clue what the difference between the two are.

Now hear this: Pre-approval is the only term you need to concern yourself with if you’re serious about buying a home. This is the whole enchilada, the whole nine yards, the hook, line and sinker, so to speak. So If you want to buzz right past the hordes of other first-time homebuyers, and figure out down-to-the-penny what you can afford, get pre-approved.

“Obtaining a pre-qualification can be a good starting point and can be done quickly. If you are a salary-only buyer with your own funds to close, it will allow the lender to run your credit and give you a ballpark of what you can look at. However, a pre-approval is always preferred by sellers in this tight inventory market,” says Green.

Complete the process by meeting with your mortgage partner who will walk you through all the necessary paperwork and details. Once you’ve learned the amount you’re pre-approved for, you can shop for homes with confidence.

Work with a buyer’s agent

After you’ve figured out how much you can afford and taken the necessary steps to get pre-approved, it’s time to shop for homes.

Working with a buyer’s agent to navigate the home buying process is a good idea, as you’re going to be navigating a complicated process.

A buyer’s agent will work with you to identify homes in your price point and desired area. When it comes time to write up an offer, a buyer’s agent will use their market knowledge and comparable home sales to help you write the most competitive offer.

Finally, when you’re ready to do some negotiating, you can relax and let your expert do all the heavy lifting, negotiating like a pro with your best interests in mind.

Ready to find a Realtor and shop for homes? Let us help!

Courtesy Allen Tate Realtors and contributing writer Ashley Bryant

Ashley Bryant is a writer covering all things real estate. She resides in Charlotte, NC.

Posted in Buying
Dec. 18, 2018

Hot Spot of the Week

Here are the wonderful details of GiGi's Cupcakes taken straight from their website. Please visit them and tell us what you had!

Gigi’s Cupcakes of Charlotte has been baking the freshest most delicious cupcakes in North Carolina for the last five years and we’ve loved every minute of it! It’s a privilege each and every day to wake up early, flip the lights on in the Gigi’s kitchen and create what will ultimately be smiles on the faces of our customers that day as they enjoy our cupcakes. Our Gigi’s fans are what make it all worth it. Every day we meet someone new. Maybe they heard about us from a friend, maybe they came across our website, or maybe they found us on Social media, but no matter how the found us, they sure seem happy when they get here. And, it’s our job to make sure they leave just as happy as they were when they came in.

If you’ve never tasted what we know to be the best gourmet cupcake to every come out of a North Carolina kitchen, we invite you to visit us soon. From 30 varieties of cupcakes each week to our adorable mini cupcakes, we bake our cupcakes fresh each day. We also make the perfect-sized cheesecakes – Classic Cherry Cheesecake, Turtle Cheesecake, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and plenty of creamy seasonal cheesecakes throughout the year.

Gigi’s Cupcakes Charlotte has gluten friendly fans covered. Every day we bake three different gluten friendly cupcakes. Our gluten friendly cupcakes varieties include Wedding Cake, Midnight Magic Chocolate Chip, Birthday Surprise, White Midnight Magic, Peanut Butter Cup, Lemon Dream Supreme, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Strawberry Shortcake and Miss Princess. And, we make the most delicious flourless Triple Chocolate Torte you’ve ever put in your mouth! So, come see us at Gigi’s Cupcakes of Charlotte.

Store Details

4732 Sharon Road Suite M
Charlotte, NC 28210

Phone: 704-643-7117

Sunday: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Monday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Friday: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 9:00pm

If you want to order for pick up go here: ORDERNow

Posted in Community, Foodie
Dec. 11, 2018

Local Shops & Fairs This Weekend 15/16th

1) NoDa Company Store - Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 9 AM – 3 PM

It’s the holidays, and NoDa farmer’s market has got you covered. Come buy locally made gifts and shop for your local produce on Saturday, December 15th behind the NoDa Company Store.

Holiday market is 9am-3pm 3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte.

2) Handmade Holiday Market - Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 1 PM – 6 PM

Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Compnay is hosting their two day popup market. Come shop local and grab all your goodies before someone else outshines you in gift giving! 7285 Westwinds Blvd. NW Concord.

3) Pop Up Shop W/Ronald McDonald - Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 12 PM – 3 PM

SouthBound and The Music Yard present "Holiday Pop-Up Shop with Ronald McDonald House"!

Carolina Makers & Company are coming back to SouthBound for a special Holiday Pop-Up Shop set up in The Music Yard! Join us to get some holiday shopping done with local vendors! We are partnering with the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte for this special event and are asking for donations of presents to make the holidays brighter for their guest families and other families with children receiving treatment at their partner hospitals. 2433 South Blvd, Charlotte.

They are in need of new, unwrapped items that would make great gifts for moms, dads and children of all ages (infant to teens)

4) Holiday Sip N Shop - Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 2 PM – 5 PM

Stop in at Eleven Lakes Brewery and enjoy a craft beer at or glass of wine while you shop lots of local vendors in the taproom. Come on out and finish up your Christmas list! 10228 Bailey Rd., Cornelius.

5) Ladies Night - Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 5 PM – 8 PM EST

Hosted by Denver Outdoors Co. Join them for a Ladies night to shop and enjoy some fabulous food from the Treager as well as wine from Woodmill Winery. They have specials and sales throughout the store!! PLUS, Santa will be here! 1251 N. Hwy.16, Denver.

6) Last Uptown Flea - Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 9 AM – 3 PM


This is not your grandmother's flea market, and that's something to get seriously excited about.

Head uptown to shop over 80 flea vendors. You'll find a heavy portion of Charlotte's top handmade and sourced vendors, killer vintage dealers, and creatives sprinkled in-between.Entry fee: $1

Food trucks, live music, hangout spots, and every kind of vendor under the sun. 700 N. Tryon St., Charlotte


7) Handmade Huntersville POP Up Shop  - Saturday, December 15 10am-5pm and 16th, 12 PM – 5 PM

Shop small and local! Artisians, Makers, Designers Hosted by Twisty Kat at 16926 Birkdale Commons Blvd, Huntersville


Posted in Community, Fun Times
Dec. 10, 2018

Pie Me!

No shortage of pie shops happy to satisfy your craving. The Bakery Shoppe was featured on our FB site @LivingLKNandCharlotte 

All of these places you can order to pick up and be organized with your planning. 


Yum Yum!

Posted in Foodie
Dec. 10, 2018

Top 12 Places to Brunch in Charlotte


After a long week, nothing soothes the soul quite like brunch. This breakfast-meets-lunch feast allows you to enjoy perfectly poached eggs, fluffy biscuits, mimosas and more — all at the lazy hour of 11 am (or later). Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to catch up with friends and loved ones! Keep reading to see our picks for the top 12 best brunch locations in Charlotte. 



Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

4625 Piedmont Row Drive, Suite 10 OR 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 150

Breakfast is served all day at Terrace — and thank goodness for that because we can’t get enough of it! The menu reflects Southern charm and influence, but each dish is scratch-made with high quality ingredients. There’s no mystery as to why this place has been considered one of the best brunch places in town for years! Settle down in the inviting atmosphere (complete with rich woods and custom artwork), order a breakfast cocktail or coffee, and dig in.



Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

1100 Metropolitan Avenue, Building E, Suite 100

Vivace Charlotte

Photo courtesy of Vivace 

For unbeatable skyline views, bottomless mimosas (and Bloody Marys), and mouthwatering cuisine, look no further than Vivace. The colorful Italian cuisine captures the hearts of many, but you’ll also find a few Southern influences whipped into the mix. Look out for the crispy chicken and biscuit (served with pancetta cream gravy and a poached egg), the shrimp and grits, or the spaghetti carbonara. To get the true brunch experience, dine “The Vivace Way.” This option gives you full access to the Bloody Mary Bar, an appetizer and an entrée.


Georges Brasserie

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

4620 Piedmont Row Drive, Suite 110

Any brunch buffet that comes with oysters is alright in our book, but Georges Brasserie goes above and beyond to deliver a truly delightful (and delicious) brunch experience. Eggs Benedict, crispy bacon, shrimp and grits, and beignets are all staples, but you can also enjoy an omelet station and a mouthwatering selection of pastries. Enjoy it all for just $25 per person (and just $12 for kids).


Dandelion Market

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

118 West 5th Street

Nestled in the heart of Uptown, Dandelion Market is a gem waiting to be discovered. The laid-back pub atmosphere is refreshing when you’re looking for a casual (but still delicious) brunch, and the staff will make you feel like part of the family. Look for hearty hashes, two varieties of eggs Benedict, an impressive selection of omelets, and so much more! We highly recommend accompanying your choice with the market mimosa (with prosecco and blackberry preserves), or with a drink from the Bloody Mary bar.



Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

2820 Selwyn Avenue, Suite 180

Hip-hop music, globally-inspired fare and a rustic chic atmosphere set littleSpoon apart from the rest! This funky breakfast and lunch eatery has captured the hearts of many Charlotte locals with its quirky personality and killer menu. And although the staff likes to have fun, they take the food very seriously. The brunch menu features creatively presented entrées from around the world and shareable bites that are nothing short of Instagram-worthy.


Heist Brewery

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

2902 N Davidson Street

A craft brewery might not be the first venue you think of for weekend brunch, but it would be a big mistake to overlook Heist Brewery. The Sunday brunch buffet is packed with flaky pastries, smoked bacon and the like, and entrées include hearty breakfast classics like huevos rancheros, chicken and biscuits, and omelets. Accompany your meal with the Man-Mosa (made with Tito’s vodka) or one of the excellent cold brews on tap.


Bistro La Bon

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

1322 Central Avenue


Shining reviews and press nods for Bistro La Bon are not difficult to come by. Maybe all of the positive attention is due to the friendly staff or chic dining area, but we really suspect it’s because of the food! The Saturday brunch menu features classic takes on eggs Benedict, French toast, omelets and the like, but there are a few globally-inspired dishes mixed in as well. On Sundays, however, patrons are welcome to indulge in a magnificent brunch buffet complete with crab mac & cheese, Swedish meatballs, kielbasa and cabbage, curried cauliflower, and all of your traditional breakfast fixin’s. Get it all for just $22 per person!


Café Monte French Bakery and Bistro

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

6700 Fairview Road

Café Monte is known for its affordable, high-quality French fare and exquisite selection of pastries. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a top brunch destination in the Charlotte area! The brunch menu includes baked brie, flavorful quiches, Florentine and Parisian omelets, piping hot beignets, and soul-warming espresso beverages. Enjoy your choice in the cozy dining room or outside on the sunny patio!


Dogwood Southern Table & Bar

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

4905 Ashley Park Lane


Photo courtesy of the Plaid Penguin via Dogwood Southern Table & Bar

It’s not difficult to spot the Southern influences on Dogwood’s menu — pimento cheese, house-made biscuits and roasted oysters are just the beginning. But although the cuisine is familiar, everything is cooked to perfection and paired with interesting flavors to make for a truly memorable meal.


300 East

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

300 East Boulevard

300 East serves the best breakfast pizza in Charlotte, if we do say so ourselves. The venue serves up inventive, new-American fare in a refurbished Victorian home, and Sunday brunch is an event to be cherished. The aforementioned pizza comes with chorizo, red sauce, cheese, scallions, queso fresco and several locally sourced fried eggs (yum), but you can also find other fun twists on your favorite breakfast classics. Don’t miss it!


The Asbury

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

235 North Tryon Street


With southern influences, locally sourced fare and an unbeatable atmosphere, there’s no mystery as to why The Asbury is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The modern space tucked inside the Dunhill Hotel welcomes hungry passersby to enjoy creative meals crafted from the heart. For brunch, look for standout menu items like the deviled eggs (which change frequently to reflect the chef’s whim), the chicken and waffle, and the bacon and pimento cheese-stuffed omelet.


Upstream Restaurant

Facebook | Instagram | Brunch Menu

6902 Phillips Place

Upstream Restaurant is known for its fresh, flavorful and fish-forward cuisine. Sushi and Asian-inspired dishes adorn the dinner menu, but it’s also a popular destination for brunch! During the morning hours, look out for exciting riffs on your favorite brunch classics, including hot smoked salmon with soba toast, kabocha pancakes with southern praline sauce, or biscuits and gravy with duck confit, foie gras and green curry gravy.


Enjoy your brunch!

Where are your favorite places to brunch in Charlotte? Share them with us in the comments below.


*Information courtesy of Allen Tate Blog

Dec. 7, 2018

Xmas Light Displays

We all know of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daniels Stowe Botanical Gardens, Carrowinds and the wonderful Zootastic...but did you know that there are alot of private homes that go all out "Griswold Style"? Map out these great places, keep warm and drink cocoa all in the comfort of your own car. Have fun!

Hillside Avenue in Myers Park

Throughout December, drive down Hillside Ave. in Charlotte to see the magical display of holiday lights and donate food items for Loaves & Fishes. Turn off your headlights and enjoy the splendor of many neighbors contributing to this wonderful event Bring a canned good to contribute for free hot chocolate on the weekends

Hard Family Christmas Lights (Listen on 91.5 FM)

1641 Shadow Creek St., Concord

*** As a fun note, Concord Parks and Rec is putting on a Flash Light Candycane hunt see their FB page here: FLASHLIGHT


A Sweitzers Christmas (Listen on 107.3 FM)

1001 Sunnyview Circle, Matthews  

Garden Oak Holiday Lights (Listen on 94.5 FM)

4026 Garden Oak Drive, Indian Trail, NC 28079
Brandon Oak Subdivision 
Donations collected for The National Foundation for Cancer Research

Stafford Park Christmas Light Show

Stafford Park Neighborhood, Keswick Lane, Rock Hill

When: December 14-15

Brookhaven Light Show Display (listen on 88.1)

1010 Elsmore Drive, Matthews

Shows at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30pm  

Zimnowski Light Show (Listen on 87.9) 

15419 Hugh Mcauley Rd. Huntersville 

Fallatt's Charlotte Christmas (starts 12/9)


1028 Fountainbrook, Indian Trail 


Harbin Family Christmas Lights

10223 Summer House Court
Accepts donations for Make-A-Wish

Coleman Lights

Location: 7661 Natalie Commons Dr. Denver 

Show Times: December
Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 9pm
Friday – Sunday: 5pm – 10pm

Barger Home

7829 East Berkley Rd. Denver 

Fay Home

7662 Natalie Commons Dr. Denver 


Raz Lights

315 Ramano Dr Iron Station 

And if you see anything like this, don't get out of the car....



Posted in Community, Fun Times, Kiddos
Nov. 20, 2018

T-Day Trivia


When you need an ice breaker or a fight breaker, break out some of these Fun Facts about Thanksgiving and see if you can stump anyone. These are neat things to spout out and make the boring small talk a little bigger. This will keep things light, civil and peaceful. Enjoy!


  • Most historians agree the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in what is now the state of Massachusetts, in 1621. The feasting and togetherness lasted for three days.
  • Over 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.  
  • Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.

Let’s talk turkey

  • Why is the roasted bird on your table called a turkey? One theory is that hundreds of years ago, Europeans enjoyed the tasty guinea fowls imported by Turkish merchants, which the English called turkeys. Later, when the Spaniards came to America, they found a bird that tasted like those guinea fowls. It was, you guessed it, a real turkey.
  • Another theory is that Columbus thought his New World was connected to India, where peacocks are abundant. So when he saw the wild “turkeys,” he thought they were a type of peacock (they’re actually a type of pheasant). So he named them “tuka,” which means “peacock” in the Tamil language.
  • Three towns in the U.S. share a name with the Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270), Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363).
  • Six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana—account for nearly two-thirds of all the turkeys raised in the U.S.
  • 91% of all Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

On the side

  • As they polish off that sweet potato casserole or pie, you can let your guests know that North Carolina is the nation’s top producer of the crop.
  • Do you have both stuffing and dressing on the table? You very well could, due to never-to-be-resolved regional differences. Southerners generally make dressing from cornbread, and bake it in a separate dish, while fifty percent of Americans favor a white bread stuffing that is cooked in the turkey.
  • The addition of oysters, apples, chestnuts, raisins, celery and/or other vegetables, sausage or the turkey’s giblets to dressing and stuffing vary region by region, state by state, city by city, family by family … well, you know.
  • More than forty million green bean casseroles show up at Thanksgiving. Is one at your table?
  • Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving. Wisconsin is now the largest producer of the crop in the U.S.
  • Originally called crane berry, the cranberry gets its name from the pink blossoms and drooping head, which, to the Pilgrims, resembled a crane.
  • Native Americans did not eat the tart cranberries but did use them for dying fabric and decorating pottery.


  • Thanksgiving is also called Turkey Day, T-giving, T-day, Macy Day, Big Game Day—and the Canadians sometimes call our Thanksgiving “Yanksgiving” to distinguish it from their Thanksgiving holiday held in October.

No matter what you and your friends and family call it, we at Hannaman Homes and wish you a wonderful holiday!



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