Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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August 23, 2016

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Myopia, Hyperopia, and Astigmatism

Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are common reasons children wear glasses. But what do these terms mean? What causes these conditions? When should you have your child’s eyes checked? Dr. Taressa G. Haney of Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. joins us this month to answer these questions and more about your children’s eyesight.

What is myopia? How common is it in children?

Myopia or near-sightedness is when your vision without glasses is better at near than distance. Light rays from a distant object focus in front of the retina, resulting in a blurred image at distance. The prevalence of myopia increases with age and differs according to ethnicity. shutterstock_54356875

What is farsightedness? How common is it in children?

Hyperopia or far-sightedness in children is normal. The majority of children are hyperopic, and this is a normal state which gives children excellent vision at both near and distance. Children are able to “focus” through the hyperopia to see well at both near and distance. We lose this ability as we age and eventually most adults over the age of 40 need reading glasses to see up close.

What is astigmatism? How common is it in children?

Astigmatism is when the light rays do not focus on a single point on the retina. Astigmatism is caused by variations in the curvature of the cornea and lens. Astigmatism can cause blurred vision at distance and near. Astigmatism can be present at any age. Read More →

August 22, 2016

Teaching kids lifelong skills through DIY projects

This summer has been a summer of projects…for me, mostly. While I do pick up the phone and call handymen and experts, I first ask myself if I can fix the problem myself. I research YouTube and other online resources and then off to HomeDepot I go. I find satisfaction in completing the work myself, saving money, and learning a new skill.
ML Sanding
However, I have been leaving a step out. While my kids ask if they can help me, I often dismiss them too quickly, thinking I can get the project done faster without their involvement. Plus, I kind of enjoy the quiet, focused time without too many questions. I now realize that I should take them up on their curiosities and offers without looking at the clock or looking for perfection.

After battling several things in our home going awry at the same time this summer, I called out for help. An appliance repairman showed up on the scene when water started leaking out from our dishwasher. My husband and I had looked up how to fix the problem and the real problem turned out to be that we watched the wrong DIY video- it was overcomplicated and intimidating. And who pointed this out? The appliance repairman said he felt badly taking our money for such an easy fix. We then proceeded to get into a deeper conversation. Read More →

August 20, 2016

Smarty Mom: Marie Cain

Marie Cain 1

I am excited to introduce Smarty Mom Marie Cain. We met in the infant room at our kids’ daycare. Our first kids are just months apart and our second kids are only a year apart. It’s been nice to see Marie day in and day out at daycare and get to know her as the amazing working mama she is! This is one fun and dedicated Smarty Mom. She always keeps her cool – even after dropping off baby number two for the first time. Today she gives us a little insider info for any other working moms that are getting ready to head back into the workforce. Let’s get to know Marie!

Smarty Mom: Marie Cain

Married to: Patrick
Children: Evan (4 years) and Maxwell (9 months)
‪‪Years in Charlotte: It’s hard for me to believe but it will be 10 years this fall!
Originally from: Buffalo, NY
‪‪Occupation: Environmental Heal Plans Examiner – I review proposed plans of restaurants before they are constructed to ensure that they will be built to comply with NC food code regulations.

Tell us a little about your family.

My husband Patrick and I will be celebrating our 6 year anniversary this September. We originally met our freshman year of college in Erie, PA but didn’t actually start dating until 7 years after that. We got married in Buffalo in 2010 and Evan was born less than 2 years later. Now we have added Max to our family and life is crazy busy between the boys and work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. IMG_4098

‪‪What was it like going back to work after each baby?

Bittersweet for sure. It was hard to leave them both but at the same time it was exciting to get back out into the world and continue working.

What was the biggest challenge in going back to work?

When I went back to work after both of my kids, I was in a different position where I worked out in the field versus being in an office setting. Every day I was in different restaurants in a different part of town. Finding the time and a place to pump several times a day was a huge challenge. Read More →

August 18, 2016

Have a College-Bound Teen? Prepare Them for Healthy Living Away from Home

Just in from our friends at Carolinas HealthCare System!

back to school chs

Teens heading off to college are busy choosing classes, packing suitcases and preparing for more freedom than ever before. So who has time for a health check-up?

“It’s important to make time,” says Porter Peterson, MD, with Cabarrus Pediatrics at Carolinas HealthCare System. “Keeping kids healthy should be a priority, as the physical and mental stresses of college life – particularly for freshmen – can weigh heavily on adolescents.”

Physical Wellness

New students face a host of challenges as they transition to college when it comes to maintaining physical heath. Here are a few tips to help your teen stay healthy, or manage an existing health condition, while away from home.

Diet and Exercise

Remind your child that following just a few basic guidelines will go a long way toward keeping their energy up and managing their physical health. Eat breakfast. Keep healthy snacks close by. Put down the chips and don’t engage in “stress eating” while preparing for exams. Drink lots of water and don’t skip meals. Exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around campus.
Read More →

August 17, 2016

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: August 19-21

Discovery Place

Smarty Scoop is proudly sponsored by Discovery Place, Discovery Place KIDS – Huntersville and The Charlotte Nature Museum.


Countdown to Kindergarten
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road, Huntersville, NC
August 19, 5:00pm, Free
Summary: This annual event focuses on kindergarten readiness and celebrates a child’s entrance into formal education. Enjoy FREE Museum admission as community partners offer skill-building activities and information that children and parents will need in preparation for their first day of school.

Read More →

August 16, 2016

Smarty picks for the best planners to keep you sane (and stylish)

Don’t let the beastly heat fool you – school is JUST around the corner (can I get an AMEN?!), and you know what that means: it’s ON. Back-to-School teacher meetings, sports, after school activities, kids’ projects, and work projects that you can’t get off of with a we’re-at-the-beach excuse. Make this year your most organized year yet (does anyone else tend to make Back-to-School Resolutions, too?!) with my Smarty picks for the best and most stylish planners…because not all of us want to live life in a digital calendar. Happy planning!

Smarty hint: Most of these would make great planners for middle and high schoolers! Start ’em organized early 😉

Erin Condren Life Planner

The Erin Condren Life Planner is, by far, my favorite planner on the planet (see one of my reviews here and her Smarty Mom interview here). It’s customizable, smart, and literally a life saver. Plus, it’s sooooooo pretty. Order online OR head over to the Staples at the Metropolitan near Uptown. My daughter and I were just there over the weekend, and they had a great selection of ready-to-go Erin Condren goodies. This planner is also PERFECT for a middle or high school student and college chicks. (Psssst! Makes a great holiday gift, too!) Click here to receive $10 off your first order.

Erin Condren 1

erin condren


Our very own Smarty Liz SWEARS by MomAgenda Day Planners (and I believe her – she’s got her act TOGETHER! :-)). The layout is perfect for a busy mama – especially one with multiple kids who’s juggling work, too. Love, love, love their color selections. Students might like the myAgenda Day Planner to stay organized and keep track of classes and assignments.

Read More →

August 15, 2016

Accepting I am a Magikarp with Jigglypuff Aspirations

All I really wanted was to be told I am a Jigglypuff.

Fine. There is an Hermes bracelet, a pebble ice cube maker and a French bulldog puppy I have my eye on. But, in terms of the reasonable, please-deliver-this-to-me-today wishes, Jigglypuff didn’t seem too much to ask for. I wanted that “What Pokemon are you?” quiz to tell me what I already knew deep down. Plus – I am a master at manipulating quizzes designed to tell me something about myself. Please. I live in this head 24-7 – there is no way you can outsmart this chick with your not-so-cleverly-designed multiple choice answers.jigglypuff

I knew I was in over my head the minute the quiz began.

There was a feeling of anxiety welling up in my chest, the kind I usually reserve for the dark moments of the night when I imagine my husband’s untimely demise or my teenagers moving home after failing out of college. I felt my mouth open, I knew the words were coming out and I was powerless to stop them.

“I can’t understand a word of this. Kids! Kids! Come help your mother, please! This isn’t written in English!”

And there it was. A knowledge deeper than the wrinkle between my eyes. The cold, hard fact I simply could no longer avoid…I am getting pretty old. Like old enough that pop culture is beginning to escape me. The “I’m losing touch” old.

As a middle school teacher for 15 years I was always “in the know”. Latest trends, music, movies, video games…I had it covered. I would snicker silently when parents seemed exasperated and clueless about teenage obsessions.

Karma is a “you know what”. Read More →

August 14, 2016

Smarty Alert: It’s Time to Register for Charlotte Ballet Academy®!

Charlotte Ballet Student
Photo Credits: Jeff Cravotta

Continuing with our Back-to-School promise to keep Smarty Charlotte informed and organized, we are calling all Smarty dancers today! Our friends at Charlotte Ballet want your aspiring ballerina to enroll in the Charlotte Ballet Academy!

CONFIDENCE, DRIVE, FOCUS AND SELF DISCIPLINE…these are the gifts dance gives your child, and at Charlotte Ballet Academy, it’s their passion!

Charlotte Ballet Academy, the only school of ballet in the state affiliated with a nationally renowned professional ballet Company, provides a nurturing and structured environment that encourages individuality, creative expression and an appreciation for the art of dance. The Academy provides expert instruction to students who are training for a professional career in dance, as well as those who are interested in simply experiencing the joy and benefits of dance training.

Charlotte Ballet Academy classes are offered at the state-of-the-art Center for Dance in uptown Charlotte and at Charlotte Country Day School. Students age 9 and older have the opportunity to audition for Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker, where they perform on stage alongside the professional dancers of the Company. Read More →

August 13, 2016

Smarty Dad: Chic Cariaga

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
~Victor Frankl ~

You probably already know this Smarty if you frequent one of my fave coffee stops in south Charlotte. I am putting a twist on Smarty Mom Saturday today and introducing you to Chic.0810161942c

Yep, Chic.

I first met Chic earlier this year. My youngest, Grace, introduced us. Grace’s BFF’s parents tutor at Starbucks and I was dropping said BFF off after a playdate. Grace was so excited for me to meet her new buddy Chic and later asked me in secret if that was really his name. I told her that I didn’t think so and he probably doesn’t want anyone to know his real name. I was wrong, he is Chic and he holds a fascinating story.

The first thing that I loved about meeting my new friend was that he held a genuine smile. A smile that was not false, a smile that came from within, a smile that spread to others. Smiles are contagious.

He told me how he had written a book and it was about to be published. Cool. But then he told me about this book. I have always said, things happen for a reason, people are put in front of you for a reason and follow your heart.

The book: Molly the Manatee, my oldest first name, Molly, and I have been fascinated with the Manatee for many many years.

The story: A manatee’s quest for self-discovery. Molly’s adventure leads her away from her family along waterways and seaways. She interacts with all sorts of animals and eventually, she meets a wise fishing captain that helps her understand her true identity.

Over many visits for our after school “Chic Specials”, I got to know Chic better and we shared stories about one another in passing. We are far apart in age, but have a lot in common. Both from Charlotte, both attended ECU, both had connections with the Phil Hughston story.

One afternoon Grace became a little impatient while we conversed and declared to Chic, “My Mom is an artist!” He got a twinkle in his eye and proceeded to tell me about his next book about a flamingo. A flamingo, the favorite bird of my favorite 5 year old, Evie. Evie has had flamingo themed birthday parties for the past 2 years and last year I even painted Evie a flamingo to hang in her room, but I do not consider myself an “artist”. Chic wanted to see some of my work, and after a few weeks of his hounding I shared. That is how our story started…… Read More →

August 12, 2016

Fitness Friday: My Story ~ Carolina Barre & Core

argus2Written by: Dana Wilson

Carolina Barre & Core is like a second home to me.  I have been coming here for 3 years, since they opened their doors on Selwyn Avenue!

A little bit about me…I’m originally from down the road in Gastonia and an NC State alumni (Go Pack!).  I now call Cotswold “home”,  where I live with my husband, David, and our Australian Cattle Dog, Argus

At age 22, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is a disease that doesn’t have a cure.  MS is caused by your body’s immune system having an abnormal response against your central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, optic nerves). Not to get too technical but there’s a fatty substance called “myelin” that surrounds and insulates your nerve fibers as a protective covering.  Your body basically attacks the myelin and the result is nerve damage, which disrupts communication between the brain and the body, producing a wide variety of symptoms.

When you are living with MS, you have limitations that vary depending on how the disease affects you.  For me, it was very difficult to go on long walks, hikes or runs.  Before Carolina Barre & Core, I had not been able to do any organized exercise or really any strenuous exercise, period.

I shared my MS struggle and resulting limitations with Carolina Barre & Core and we truly worked together to personalize my experience.

I am now 3 years strong at Carolina Barre & Core and  I can tell you without a doubt that this place has been life changing for me and so vital in managing my disease and overall health.  I still have some limitations, but I can proudly say that I am able to do nearly all of the 1 hour barre fusion class and my form has improved so much since year 1 and continues to improve!

CBC helps tremendously with my energy level.  I have experienced a huge difference overall in my stamina and energy since I integrated their morning barre fusion class into my life. Also, it’s important to mention that CBC introduced me to the whole “mind-body connection”. Bringing clarity to my mind has helped  ease the stress of living with this debilitating disease!  After all, the brain is a muscle and your mind needs a workout just like your body.

My advice is to try it. CBC is judgment-free, and the instructors are so knowledgeable and helpful.  The classes are difficult but fun, and they never get easier so if you like a challenge (for your mind AND body) then this is the ticket.  It is truly medicine for me.   I love that their slogan is “no judgment, just results” because they certainly live up to it! I hope to see you at the barre!

cbclogoCarolina Barre & Core
2901 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: 980.207.1046 Email:
Follow Carolina Barre & Core:
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Carolina Barre & Core, Raleigh, is OPEN and located in Lafayette Village, 8480 Honeycutt Rd, Suite 102!


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