Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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January 23, 2017

Know Thy Neighbor

There are stories all around us just waiting to be told. Some have been trapped for decades within our neighbors who we have yet to notice are even there. Other stories hang in midair, as if time was placed on pause when our neighbors began to tell them and we didn’t really listen. While other stories become part of us, weaving their words into our souls where we cherish them weathers sign

I had seen Mr. Weathers for years dutifully, yet lovingly, helping the children of Selwyn Elementary and Alexander Graham Bell Middle School cross Runnymede safely. It was no small feat, as the crosswalk sits around a bend and slightly downhill. Moms, dads, dogs, strollers, and kids of all ages cross there twice a day. When my kids were little, I walked them to school several times a week and every time Mr. Weathers greeted us like we were the most important people in the world. And when the next group of walkers came across his crosswalk, they too were the most important. When I finally stopped and listened to Mr. Weathers and his 84 years, I learned why his story was a bestseller.

After sitting with Mr. Weathers over breakfast, engaging with him at the crosswalk, speaking to him from my car at the traffic light, and talking to him on the phone, I realized where his magnetism came from, why so many stopped and really listened to him. And then about a week ago, Mr. Weathers stopped. He used to say he helped God’s kings cross the street everyday. And now I imagine him helping us all cross the street from above. Read More →

January 21, 2017

Smarty Mom: Mary Ann Ciciarelli

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to one extraordinary Smarty Mom, Mary Ann Ciciarelli. Mary Ann has a vibrant personality, a huge heart, and the skills to accomplish anything. She is a wife, a mom, a friend to so many, a director of product marketing, a jewelry designer, the co-founder of the Timothy Syndrome Alliance (TSA) that she started in 2015, and much more. Wow! This is one busy lady. MaryAnn

Mary Ann is actively raising money for TSA and the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) in honor of her late son Lee Ciciarelli or as many know him “Super Lee.” “Super Lee” touched so many with his sweet smile and energy for life and he is dearly missed. Mary Ann has experienced something few mothers can even comprehend, losing her son, Lee, and yet she continues to give of herself day after day to help others. Mary Ann is always hosting a benefit or fundraiser or sale to raise money for TSA and SADS. Her spirit shines bright to all that know her just like her son Lee. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mary Ann over the past few years, but also had the honor of talking with some of Mary Ann’s friends and they describe her below.

“Mary Ann has open arms and a open heart. It’s like she never meets a stranger”

“Mary Ann is someone with a creative spirit and unwavering strength…an amazing mother to Evelyn Ann and a great friend.”

“Mary Ann is the type of person the world needs more of. She has a huge heart. She is a great listener and is passionate about creating positive change in our community and beyond…not to mention she has the best belly laugh.”
“Mary Ann is so strong and so determined.”

Read on to find out more about Mary Ann and her family, interests & passions. And yes, you’ll totally want to hang out with her after you read more. She’s that kind of person.

Smarty Mom: Mary Ann Ciciarelli

Married to: P. Christian Ciciarelli
Children: Evelyn Ann age 2, Lee in heaven would be 7 on April 5th
Years in Charlotte: 10 1/2
Originally from: Raleigh (but lived in SF for 4 years while my parents lived in AZ for 15 years)
Occupation: Director of Product Marketing for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Alma Mater: Elon University

We were thrilled to include you in our recent Smarty Pants Holiday Giveaway where we shared your fabulous line of jewelry, Leela and Lee Designs. Tell us how you got started in jewelry making and what inspired your beautiful line of jewelry, Leela & Lee?

In June of 2015 I held “Style with Heart”, a Pop up Shop at my home as a way to raise money for Timothy Syndrome under the SADS (Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome) Foundation in honor of Lee. Dr. Anitha Leonard, a local Charlotte pediatrician, was one of the vendors with her line of Beads for Babes necklaces and bracelets. She and I quickly hit it off after she learned more about Lee’s condition and knew she wanted to support a charity with some of the money she was making from her jewelry. She and I stayed close over the summer of 2015 and I helped with designs for her jewelry line. After a long night of beading together we decided to give jewelry designing a try as a business partnership. We knew that to be taken more seriously as a business, we needed a new name. Anitha’s daughter is named Leela, and she also shares a love of making jewelry. So it was a no brainer, Leela & Lee had to be the name of our company. With Anitha’s knowledge of how to make jewelry from her Indian heritage and my eye for design, it has continued to be a fun partnership. We are proud to give 10% of all sales to the Timothy Syndrome Alliance under the SADS Foundation. Moxie Mercantile on Commonwealth Ave in Plaza Midwood carries our jewelry and you can also find us on facebook and instagram. We hope 2017 will be the year Leela & Lee is carried in more boutiques through out the country as well as create an online shop. Read More →

January 20, 2017

Fitness Friday: Our Smarty favorite workout gear to keep us motivated in 2017!

Happy Fitness Friday! We’re three weeks into our New Year’s rez’s and we thought it would be a good time to think about some retail therapy. Ya know, to keep us Smarty gals fully motivated and looking our best while kicking our workout regime into high gear.

Think beyond boring ‘ole lululemon and athleta that everyone will be wearing in your next carpool line. We want you to be creative, be original, be YOU in your workout duds because there is nothing more motivating than feeling good in what you’re wearing!

Feast your eyes on the most fabulous workout gear ever listed in no particular order below!

Splits 59 – Wearable styles that you don’t see often around town.


Beyond Yoga High Waisted Leggings – They had us at high waisted – perfect coverage for your belly and holds everything in. These also happen to be the most comfortable leggings we’ve ever stepped into. Soft like cocoa butter!

Beyond Yoga Leggings Read More →

January 19, 2017

Must Attend Event for Parents: ‘SCREENAGERS’ at the JCC on January 29th!


Our Smarty friends at the JCC are hosting a MUST ATTEND lunch & learn screening for parents of all ages – SCREENAGERS, Growing up in the Digital Age!

SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists, solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world. Following the film there will be a panel discussion with Michelle Icard from Michelle in the Middle, Melanie Hempe, Founder of Families Managing Media, Nicole Levine from Jewish Family Services and Justin Ashely a Charlotte-Mecklenburg teacher. Lunch provided. Children 10 and up welcome to attend. Read More →

January 18, 2017

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: January 20-22

Discovery Place

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

Winter 2017 Queen’s Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week
Various restaurants around the Charlotte region
See website for details
Summary: Savor new experiences and favorite spots as more than 130 of the best restaurants in 9 counties around the metro Charlotte, NC, area offer 3 courses at dinner for only $30 or $35 per person (not including tax and gratuity).

Charlotte Hornets
Time Warner Cable Arena
333 East Trade Street, Charlotte, NC

Hornets Family Night
Spectrum Arena
333 E. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC
January 20, 7:00pm, $60, All ages
Summary: Three tickets, three hot dogs and three sodas all for $60!

Charlotte Checkers
Bojangles Coliseum
2700 East Independence Blvd., Charlotte, NC

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte – WonderFest
300 E. 7th Street, Charlotte, NC
January 14-29, See website for schedule
Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Ages preschool – 6
Commedia Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Ages 6 and older
New Kid – Ages 8 and older
Summary: Introducing WonderFest! This new fun-filled theatre festival brings together three family-friendly productions under one roof! For three weekends (Jan. 14 to Jan. 29)

Read More →

January 17, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Keeping Kids Active in the Winter

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

How can we help our children get exercise when the weather doesn’t cooperate? This can be difficult on the cold winter days, and in the hottest summer months as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 18 get 60 minutes of “moderate” exercise daily. This does not need to be all at once, and can be broken into smaller chunks of time, such as four 15-minute periods.image1

There are many indoor activities that children can enjoy. Indoor sports such as basketball, tennis or indoor soccer are good ways to get your child’s heart pumping. Swimming is a wonderful year-round indoor activity, and taking swim lessons or signing up for a swim team are great ways to promote this life-long activity. Of course, these more formal activities generally require a membership or fee, and transportation.

When stuck at home on a cold or rainy day, think of simple childhood games to get kids moving. Many require little supervision or cost.

– Games with balloons, such as balloon volleyball and keeping the balloon in the air are fun and easy.

– For kids who enjoy a little competition, races such as the potato race are great. (Place two wide mouthed jars or small bowls at a finish line. Mark a starting point about 15 feet away, and give each child a potato. They’ll race, carrying the potato between their knees, to see who can drop it into the jar first, no hands allowed. If racers drop the potato, they must go back to the starting line).

– Consider choosing active video games such as those on the Wii or Kinect, or simply turn on the radio and start your own dance party!

There is no reason why you can’t go outside on cold winter days. Don’t forget that if dressed warmly.

– Playing running games such as tag or red light/green light

– Taking the dog for a vigorous walk will help them keep warm, and as an added bonus they will probably sleep better at night!

Signature Pediatricsshcp-logo
6115 Park South Dr. • Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28210
Phone 704-944-8388
Fax 704-944-8389

From our friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: You’re going to rock 2017

Cutting word "I can't" flat lay

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Gyms are packed, kale is flying off the shelves – New Year’s resolution season is in full bloom. Now is the perfect time of year to turn to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to get inspiration. You’ve been doing a great job of checking in with us already. Keep it up in 2017 by visiting us online or in person anytime you need a boost.

Here are ten ways to rock the coming year, and how your Library can help.

1. Start building a great 2017 reading list.

1 - Start building a great 2017 reading list - Photo
And if you need recommendations, come to us. (We’re really good at it.) Speaking of reading, here are the titles that were most borrowed by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library readers in 2016. If you missed them last year, you might want to add these books to your 2017 reading list.

2. Figure out how that new device works.

If you got a tablet or e-reader over the holiday and want to know how to load it up with free e-books from the Library, we can help. Find a class or tutoring session at your nearest branch. Read More →

January 16, 2017

Smarty FLASH Giveaway: PBS Kids’ ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live’


I have a ggggr-ific news! The Emmy Nominated PBS Kids Series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live is coming to Charlotte on Sunday, January 22

Watch your little smarty light up when he/she sees Daniel Tiger, Mom and Dad Tiger, Baby Margaret, Katerina Kittycat, Miss Elaina, Prince Wednesday, “O” the Owl and Trolley come to life. This full scale musical production by the Fred Rogers Company explores stories of friendship, sharing and helping others as the characters make a journey through the neighborhood of make-believe.

Come hop aboard! It is bound to be a “beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Event Details

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Knight Theatre, Levine Center for the Arts
2:30 & 5:30
Tickets start at $22.00
Available for purchase through:
Ticketmaster 800.745.3000 OR
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Box office Read More →

January 15, 2017

Smarty Alert: This Week’s School Open Houses


Don’t miss this week’s School Open Houses we’ve listed below. This is NOT the full Open House listing for each school or school system – it’s just this week’s. For our full listing of open houses, please see our 2016 Smarty School Open House Guide.

January 20, 2017 – Palisades Episcopal School

January 14, 2017

Announcing the 2016 Jen Lisman Bunich Smarty Mom of the Year: Katie Robbins!

The votes are in and we have a winner! A big Smarty congrats goes out to Katie Robbins, our 2016 Jennifer Lisman Bunich Smarty Mom of the Year! Katie beautifully represents what we look for in our Smarty Moms each week and we’re honored to feature her as our Smarty Mom of the Year! BIG congrats, Katie! So well-deserved!

Katie Robbins


We love each and every one of our Smarty Moms/Dads/Tweens, all of them are such an amazing asset to our community. If you have a Smarty nomination, please email us. We’d love to hear from you! Read More →

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