Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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August 2, 2015

Smarty Sunday SHARE: GenerationNation

By Kimberly Paulk,, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.

What we learn becomes part of who we are. – Kathy R. Jeffords

Today’s students will become the leaders of our communities, businesses and nation. So what they learn now about how government works, and how they can be a part of it, matters.

GenerationNation used to be known as Kids Voting, which is when I first heard about them. Kids Voting is now one of many programs run by GenerationNation. It gives K-12 students a chance to learn about and get involved in elections though a mock vote, and I love that concept. In fact, over 100,000 Charlotte-area students participated in a mock election during the 2012 presidential vote. map41715

But the name change in 2011 allowed GenerationNation to reflect the broad range of additional programs they now offer, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council, Youth Leadership Charlotte-Meck, YouthCLT-Meck 101 and more. GenerationNation also equips K-12 teachers with civic education curriculum, resources and tools. Their programs focus on helping kids of all ages build their civic literacy and grow as confident citizens and leaders. All in all, 50,000 Charlotte-area students participated in 2014-15.

Interested in learning more? You can take a deeper dive on SHARE Charlotte, and also check out these opportunities to get involved: Read More →

August 1, 2015

Catching up with Smarty Moms Mai-Lis Bahr and Meghan Hampton

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 3.38.45 PMMoms, friends, business owners, former corporate coworkers, guacamole lovers, and former Smarty moms Mai-Lis Bahr and Meghan Hampton catch us up on what’s the what and what’s new. The two mompreneurs say they feel like they are always playing catch up, but that just keeps them on their toes. Between the two of them, they are moms to five children ages 4 to 12. They both agree that the privilege of being mom always comes first. But that is not to say they don’t have fun combining it all. You can often catch them at their warehouse with their kids (who happen to think the place is pretty cool).

Last time we talked, you were designing and manufacturing the Addie & Ella line. Catch us up!

The inspiration to start the Addie & Ella line stemmed from our children. Back in 2009, we both had young kids and felt inspired to design for them. The Addie & Ella line designs came to life easily, as we thought about the functionality, quality, colors, and designs that moms and kids wanted. We have always kept the idea in mind that girls typically look up to their moms for wardrobe inspiration. We have carried that idea into the Be3 Athletics line. Be3 launched in May with the idea that girls want to wear workout clothing like their moms do. More importantly, we wanted to continue designing a line that was inspired by our own girls. To do so, we had to say goodbye to Addie & Ella, which was not easy because we had built a fan base that we loved and appreciated. If we could continue designing both, we would.

Tell us more about Be3 Athletics. Does the Be3 stand for anything?

We are delighted you asked! After we decided to shift gears, the design and sampling process had already started before we had decided on a name. We wanted the name to capture the essence of the athletic brand and to be meaningful. Be3 stands for three very important qualities that aim to inspire girls of all ages to stand taller with confidence: Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be You. Read More →

July 31, 2015

What Could Go Wrong?

To the untrained eye, it may look like a bad idea to have a 200+ pound man tackling a seven-year-old child.  But I’m a trained professional having been a three-year varsity linebacker in high school and eleven-year stay-at-home dad.  We’ve done this for years and nothing bad has happened.  What could go wrong?


“Dad, let’s play tackle” 


This is one of my kids’ favorite games to play with me.  It’s a rather simple game.  They’re on offense and I’m on defense.  They go to one side of the living room while I wait on the other side defending the “goal line” on my knees.   They get up as much speed as they can in the eight feet of floor space until I “tackle” them with great fanfare.  Sometimes I pick them up and “body slam” them on the couch.  Other times, after a “big hit and a great struggle” I fall backwards and they score.  We all laugh and get up and do it over and over and over again until we get bored.  You get the idea.  FullSizeRender Read More →

July 30, 2015

Smarty Giveaway: Camp Highlander’s Mother/Daughter Weekend

Strengthen the Bond With Your Daughter at Camp Highlander’s Mother-Daughter Weekend!

Established in 1957, Camp Highlander, a summer camp for girls and boys ages 5-16, located in beautiful Mills River, North Carolina, offers a variety of sessions and events to give kids the opportunity to experience nearly 40 exciting activities and off-camp trips in the most picturesque setting in the southeast.

There is nothing like the bond between a mother and daughter. That’s why Camp Highlander hosts an amazing Mother-Daughter Weekend every year. Mothers and daughters travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains from around the country to spend the weekend dedicating quality time to each other without outside distractions, such as work, school, extracurricular activities or electronics! Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 8.20.21 AM

Mother-Daughter Weekend at Camp Highlander invites mothers and daughters to have a unique weekend packed with fun and adventure. With activities including archery, cooking, canoeing, arts and crafts, riflery, and our brand new high-ropes course called The Crow’s Nest, you’ll both love having the chance to unplug and tune in to each other. You’ll also enjoy our awesome evening programs and make s’mores around the campfire. You’ll both have a blast while bonding like never before!
Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 8.21.10 AM Read More →

July 29, 2015

Smarty Giveaway: 1 month of dance classes at Jami Masters School of Dance, a $75 value!

Jami Masters Dancer

August 1 marks the race to the first day of school. That’s TWO days away! Are you ready??! We’re here to help you stay focused and organized in your BTS planning.

Today we bring you a fun giveaway from our Smarty friends at Jami Masters School of Dance (JMSD) in Park Road Shopping Center, Back Court. We are entering our 8th year at JMSD and this year is our very first year on Junior Company, I couldn’t be more proud:-)

What I love about JMSD is their low-pressure philosophy:

To instill the love of dance in all of their students. They encourage each child to be the best they can be, and do this in a loving, caring, nurturing, and noncompetitive environment. Through careful, supervised dance training, students gain confidence and charm while developing stronger, healthier bodies.

This is no Dance Moms studio with crazy pressure where your child will burn out before she gets to high school. There is no pressure at JMSD, dancers go at their own pace. And they come in all shapes and sizes, which says a lot in my book. To Jami, it doesn’t matter who will or will not become a professional dancer. What does matter is that the children in this program will be better at whatever they choose to do in life because of this incredible experience.

Read More →

From our Smarty Friends at Two Sisters Travel: 5 Tips To Planning a Great Family Cruise Vacation

By our Smarty friends at Two Sisters Travel

So, you’re thinking of a cruise vacation with the kiddos. Two Sisters Travel is here to give you all the insider tricks to planning the perfect getaway.

Cruising is an easier way to see the world. It’s far less intimidating than hopping on an airplane traveling from country to country, or island to island. You only have to unpack once. And there are special spaces onboard just for mom & dad, and even the kids. These are a few of the reasons cruising can be the ideal vacation for families. DCL-CruiseShip

Here are our top 5 tips for planning the perfect family cruise vacation.

1. Finding the right cruise line. Think all cruise ships & cruise lines are created equal, think again! Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, and the list goes on. All of these cruise lines cater to different personalities, vacation preferences, & even some are specialized in the destinations they visit. Personally, Disney Cruise Line is my favorite cruise line for families. Their ships were designed with split bathrooms that have bathtubs, offer world-class family entertainment, and of course your favorite Disney characters.

2. Choosing the perfect cabin. Interior vs. Balcony? Forward vs. Aft? When you’re booking a cruise you’ll quickly learn that the cabin choices seem endless. I suggest you start looking only at the cabin types that will accommodate your family size. Keeping in mind that most staterooms sleep up to 4, and only limited cabins will accommodate 5. If you have a larger family you’ll need connecting cabins. Then you can choose a cabin based on the view, location on ship, etc… which are solely personal preference. This is where working with an experienced travel agent comes in handy… Two Sisters Travel helps you weigh out all of the options choosing the best fit for your family. Read More →

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: July 31-August 2

Discovery Place

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


Davidson Community Players’ Teen Summer Stock Series presents Almost, Maine
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour St Davidson, NC (704) 892-7953
See website for schedule, All ages, $6-$8
Summary: One cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. Love is lost, found, and confounded. And life for the people of Almost, Maine will never be the same.

Summer Music Series at Blakeney

Blakeney Shopping Center at the Village Green
Friday, All summer long, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Summary: Join us every Friday and Saturday night from April-August for free live music at the Village Green. The concerts run from 7-10pm and are fun for the whole family!

StoneCrest Summer Concert Series
StoneCrest Shopping Center – Fountain Stage
7900 Rea Rd, Charlotte, NC
All summer long, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, All ages, Free
Summary: Come out to StoneCrest Shopping Center every Friday and Saturday night this summer to enjoy their free Summer Concert Series.

Read More →

July 28, 2015

Tips on getting your kids ready for Kindergarten from our friends at Ballantyne Reading Academy

School is just around the corner. As a mother of a rising kindergartener, I find myself stressing out about the amount of time I have spent with her this summer for reading. Did we do too many Frozen Cooking Camps and not enough BOB books? Of course we did! I’m trying not to stress out too much because I feel that last year we did a great job of preparing her by sending her to Lisa at Ballantyne Reading Academy during the school year. She made great strides and as we finished our last class, I found myself sad to see things come to an end. The comfort I was receiving by knowing I had educational reinforcements was coming to a close so I knew I had to take the lead this summer.10264874_739232122774280_491818614413043303_n (1)

I asked Lisa Palladino at Ballantyne Reading Academy to help educate me on what I should be doing at home to help my little one prepare for kindergarten. Here are some of the things she suggested:
– Provide exposure to rhyming words/poetry
– Provide opportunities to visually discriminate (what does/does not belong)
– Name colors and color words
– Name shapes and identify shape words
– Identify/recognize common street signs, logos and environmental print
– Identify initial letter sounds in words
– Count beyond 10
– Provide opportunities to add/take away objects from groups
– READ! READ! READ! Read More →

July 27, 2015

Meet Dr. Andrew Gear and the staff of Providence Plastic Surgery! PSST…. It’s also a giveaway!

I am not shy when it comes to plastic surgeons. I am not one of those women who say I’m going to age gracefully and cross my fingers on that Oil Olay face lotion. I’m always wanting to know more information about what the field of plastic surgery is doing, not to make me look 18 but maybe just be able to go to Target once in awhile without putting on make-up. I’ve had three kids, and it’s taken a toll on my body for sure. I’m in the sun a lot and the freckles that were once cute are now considered sun damage due to the lack of sunscreen in my youth. Am I a plastic surgery nut job? Far from it. I just figure this is the face that I’m going out into the world with every day, so let’s keep it from looking scary.

For many women, plastic surgeons can be intimidating. You go in the huge offices with these 20 year old models behind the desk. You go back to one of the 20 rooms and put on their sterile gown with the fluorescent lights beaming down on you. Another gorgeous nurse comes in and starts eyeing your every imperfection. Before the doctor even comes in the room, you already want to crawl into a hole or just run out of there as fast as possible.

My first meeting with Providence Plastic Surgery was an eye-opener. First of all, I had to actually look for the office in the Fountains off Tom Short and Ardrey Kell Road. I asked why they didn’t have a huge sign out front and I was told that plastic surgery might be something that comes with a need for privacy. They don’t want their clients to feel like they are being eyeballed at when they walk out of their office. Their office also had more of home type feel to it. Or maybe more of a cool boutique than an office that was spitting out procedures left and right.photo_1

Staff. No 20-year-old model behind the desk. “We don’t want the first face you see to be something that intimidates you. We have real women working here with real bodies and real faces.” The staff is warm and inviting and I instantly felt at home. Even Dr. Gear’s wife, Heather was there to greet me with her 7-month-old baby strapped to her in a sling. I instantly felt more relaxed.

Dr. Gear is just a plastic surgeon should be. Direct, educated and personable. He was proud of his office and was happy to answer any questions I had on the new upcoming tools and technology in the world of plastic surgery. He believes that the doctor/patient relationship is sacred and speaks with every single patient that comes through door, regardless of whether or not he is doing the procedure. He believes in total transparency and the peace that comes from truth rather than selling the patient on a service they don’t need.   His personal cell phone is given to patients he performs procedures on because he wants a relationship built on trust and open communication. Studies have been proven that patients have a better recovery when they have a bond with their doctor, and Dr. Gear practices what he preaches. Now, how many of those doctors do you know?

He’s also just a regular guy. He’s not the over the top egomaniac that you see on the “Real Housewives of Orange County” or “Botched”. He is from Charlottesville, VA and his wife is from Minnesota. They met on a blind date and have two girls, (3 ½ and 8 months).   They enjoy going as a family to BT’s Burger Joint or Your Mom’s Doughnuts. They listen to jazz and they have a kid friendly house complete with sticky counters from juice just like you and me. :-) Read More →

July 26, 2015

Smarty Cooking School: Palermo Cocktail


Is it me, or does this summer break seem waaaay shorter than others in the past? Maybe it only feels that way because I’m getting older, or maybe it feels that way because I’m watching my “babies” getting older. Either way, I would really love it if someone would invent a “pause” button so that I could enjoy these lazy days of summer with the family a little longer.

One of the (many) things I love about summer, is that we are on less of a schedule…to include dinner time. I don’t mind that it takes a little longer to round everyone to the table, because we don’t have to be showered with teeth brushed and in bed in “10 MORE MINUTES” so that they’re not exhausted (or grumpy) the next day. There isn’t a pile of homework that needs to get done, or a school project that is due this week, or a game or practice that we have to run off to. Nope, it’s family and friend time and it’s a little more leisurely, and I must say – I LOVE IT!

I also love that it means I get to take a little more time to make a tasty cocktail to cool down the reeediculous heat that we’ve been having. If you’re tired of the ‘same ol’ same ol’ summer cocktail, give this Paloma a try. It’s a little sweet (don’t worry, not too sweet), a little tart, and his a little (or a lotta) kick to it, depending on how heavy your “pour” is. I have a sneaky suspicion that this will be your go to cocktail when the temperature heats up. If you love grapefruit, you might want to go ahead a make a double batch. Yep…it’s that good! So while we still have a couple of weeks of summer left, take a few extra minutes and try this Paloma…sip, ahhhhh…now enjoy that family of yours!

Cheers!!! Read More →

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