Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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About Us

CSP TeamWe know that being a mom is much more than a job. It’s a full-time-never-get-a-break-don’t-put-that-in-your-mouth-no-means-no-lifestyle filled with ups and downs, laughs and tears and memories by the minute. Sure, it can be confusing and completely overwhelming at times, but hey, that’s why we’re here.

The two Jen’s originally created this site, and now a team of moms with different views will add to this daily blog. Our goal is to make this the ultimate resource for Charlotte moms and moms-to-be on a variety of activities, events and motherhood-related topics (best deals on hip new products, navigating the school systems, kids eat free, etc). This is a place for us to share as well as our readers, and we don’t pretend to know everything here. But, we’ll try our best to provide you with plenty of info we’ve learned through research, trial and, unfortunately, error.

What’s Cheryl’s story? I want to know more about Jen. I think I know Krista from somewhere, but where? Find out everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you didn’t) about our talented and insightful bloggers who know an awful lot about kids’ stuff and the latest goings on around town. We’re moms, wives, co-workers, friends, people in the know and, best of all, your guides on this crazy little thing we call Charlotte Smarty Pants.

Our Smarty Moms:

Jen Bunich (1971-2008)
Smarty Specialty: Co-Chief Founding Mommy
Married/Husband: 3 ½ years, Boris
Kids: 1 darling little girl
Lived in Charlotte: 1994-2008

Unique Smarty perspective:
Jen Bunich achieved the perfect balance between working mom and raising a family. Jen & Jen met in 1996 when they both worked at a super fun ad agency along with 30 or so other “Jens.” Jen B was always so incredibly dedicated to her job and she climbed the ladder quickly. After giving birth to her daughter, Claire, Jen decided to continue on with her successful career. In doing so, she wanted to give a voice to the working moms on CSP. In the early days of CSP, Jen & Jen would constantly hash out their struggles between “is it easier to be a working mom or stay-at-home mom?” They both came to the conclusion that if they could merge the greatest aspects of both together, then they would have the perfect life.

We tragically lost Jennifer Bunich to non-smoking lung cancer on February 4, 2008. CSP was forever changed. You will always find a piece of her here. We miss you Jen!

In Loving Memory: Jennifer Lisman Bunich
Thank you for Your Kind Words & Support

Jen Plym

Jen Plym
Smarty Specialty: Chief Founding Mommy
Married to: Randy
Kids: Ansley, Isabel, Identical Twins Owen & Walker
Lived here since: 1996
Occupation: Information Gatherer of all things parenting in the QC

Unique Smarty perspective:
In 2005 I was a proud Mom of 2 girls, (4) and (2). Life was absolutely storybook perfect. And then, twins happened. Yep, I had twins – identical twins (now 7 1/2) – and our family of four jumped to six overnight. Whoa. It was frightening and exciting at the same time, and I quickly realized that the keys to survival were being organized, resourceful and always on the lookout for a good bargain. I’m a researcher and tester outer by nature, and soon wanted/needed a place to share my growing knowledge (and questions) with other Charlotte moms. And that’s how Charlotte Smarty Pants was born. But that’s not all, not by a long shot. I’m also a die-hard Florida Gator, social diva (I have been called ‘somewhat of a legend in Charlotte’ by Jen Bunich), obsessed with all things pink & green (Lilly Pulitzer is my IDOL), married to my wonderful high school sweetheart, Randy, and thank God every single day that Chick-Fil-A invented the chicken sandwich, actually just their unsweet tea – 3 lemons please, no more, no less.


Cheryl P

Cheryl Perry
Smarty Specialty: Writer & Social Media Diva
Married to: John
Kids: Ava, Hunt, Mac, & Smith
Lived here since: All my life!
Occupation: Stay-at-home-mom-of-four-kids

Unique Smarty Perspective:

I L-O-V-E Smarty blogging! Who wouldn’t? Every week I get to write about this wacky gig called ‘parenting,’ AND I get to be a part of this fantastic group of women (plus my fave color really is green). I’m convinced Charlotte moms are THE best moms in all the land, and I am honored to tell their stories. Some random facts about me: I’ve been called the “Spanish Inquisition” because I ask so many questions – I LOVE getting to know people and want to know what makes them tick (Smarty Mom features are my fave of course). I love beauty products and am a sucker for make up counter sales pitches. I don’t love to cook, but I am a killer panini-maker. My husband and I are both UNC-Chapel Hill grads so our kids are being properly brainwashed for in-state tuition. I constantly wonder why I can’t say the right name the first time for any of my kids. I’m super punctual and have made it my life’s mission to not let four kids make me late (ahem, doesn’t always work). I love to run and think nothing is better than a good bagel sandwich, so I basically run to eat. I moonlight as a Pure Barre instructor so if you want to get a little lift, tone, burn, come to one of my classes. I’m a mom to 1 girl and 3 boys so when I’m not running, blogging, asking questions, or making hot sandwiches for dinner, I am usually putting down the toilet seat.

Cher Fam


Susan Bowman

Susan Bowman
Smarty Specialty: Working Mom Dilettante, expert at nothing & dabbler in all
Married to: Doug
Kids: Ella James and Clay
Lived here since: 1997
Occupation: Wells Fargo, 15 years too long

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I have more questions than answers and “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed” so speak up if you’ve got something to say. I daydream about whatI’m gonna do when I grow up because this bank gig is wearing me out. Humor is the currency of my life. If I didn’t laugh at myself, at my husband, at my kids, at all of the Mickey-Mouse-nonsense going on at work then I might just cry. We’re not saving lives here (although some of you are), so let’s get on with it. What else? If you are in my circle, I’m your #1 fan. I suffer from the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none syndrome and envy those of you that have natural talent and are really good at something. Sleep is my kryptonite. I’m practical to a fault and clutter makes me crazy. I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get but I’m better than I used to be – let’s do this, Smarty Charlotte!

Bowman Fam

Jennifer Voorhees
Smarty Specialty: Working Newbie Mommy
Married to: Derek
Kids: Addeline and Greyson
Lived here since: 2005
Occupation: Advertising exec extraordinaire

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I’m no robot, but my sweet hubby says I am kind of half mom, half machine. That’s because I put my heart and soul into everything I do. Mommyhood? Check. Work at Charlotte’s largest ad agency? Check. Spending time with friends & family? Check. Kicking butt at Fantasy Football? Check. Check. Check. (I’m kind of obsessed with fantasy football and know more about 4th round sleepers on ff draft day than I should.) I love life, love to laugh and love to cook/bake (you’re welcome, Derek). I also love lists, being organized to the T and am a planner through and through. Always up for something new, I’m ready for whatever life throws my way.

Nice to meet you.


Karly About Us Headshot 199x300

Karly Barker
Smarty Specialty: Urban mom! City exploring with a toddler and the best/most fashionable baby products in tow. (Trying to work on this a little bit)
Married to: James
Kids: 1 spitfire 1-year-old
Lived here since: 2012
Occupation: Stay at home Mom

Unique Smarty Perspective:
As I peered out of the airplane window at my new home I had one thought…GREEN! I grew up in the wide open spaces and red rocks of southern Utah, studied broadcasting under the towers of the Rocky Mountains, interned at the Today Show in the concrete jungle and started my career one mile from the beach in Orange County, California. With a four-week-old baby in my arms, I booked a one way ticket to Charlotte having never set foot in the Queen City. Our 20 something generation sure doesn’t hesitate to move cross country for the perfect job! WIth my sweet husband by my side and a newborn in tow, I put down roots in Charlotte, determined to bloom where planted. One year later and this big city with a small town heart has become my home. I took pride in my education and career but fully believe I have it all by choosing to stay at home. I am a church goin’, city explorin’, fun-lovin’ baby gadget guru. I live for nutritious food and tasty desserts. I am a creative mess but love a tidy house. Join me as I explore the city through the eyes of a Charlotte transplant, fashion lover and new mom.
Karly Fam About 199x300

Erin About Us Headshot
Erin Santos
Smarty Specialty: Smarty Moms on the Scene in Charlotte
Married to: Stuart
Kids: Grant and Sophia as well as Isabella (an angel now)
Lived here since: 1999

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I would say that I have been handed a pretty tough deck of cards in life but I’m trying to figure my way out in this world. A large part of my time is spent heading up the Isabella Santos Foundation (shameless plug) but I also find time to be an awesome Wife and Mommy to two hilarious kids. Through documenting a 5-year losing battle with childhood cancer with my daughter, I found a voice in writing and I have never looked back. I dig my style of writing because it’s honest and a little in your face… but sometimes not very politically correct. I have been told that I can be a little intimidating because I’m hard to get to know and have a hard time letting people into my little circle (what?!?). But once you are in my circle, I would help you hide a dead body. My sense of humor is an acquired taste but I think I’m a pretty funny person, and I get funnier as the night goes on. ☺ I love hanging with people who can enjoy a nice glass of wine, trashy TV, FlyWheel and some 90’s hip-hop and R&B, maybe not in that order. I also have huge crushes on Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and my daughter’s oncologist. I need therapy.
Erin About Us 2

Cynthia Clark
Smarty Specialty: Food obsessed home cook who loves to share recipes and filling the tummies of those she loves most!
Married to: Christian
Kids: Alexis and Grant
Lived here since: 2008
Occupation: CEO of the Clark Household and volunteer extraordinaire

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I don’t cook fancy food, I cook family food. I grew up in a house with a Mom who worked a full time job with long hours, took care of the house, the family and somehow, found the time to cook us dinner almost every night so that we could all sit together at the dinner table. I still don’t know how she did it all, but I knew that when I had my own family, I would do my best to give them the same. So to me, feeding people is an act of love. Some of my best memories are shared around the dinner table, kitchen counter, ottoman…anywhere you can put a platter and a glass of wine! If you’re feeding the people you love, white linen napkins need not apply (although, I do love me a beautifully decorated tablescape ;o) Dinnertime can be such a hectic and stressful time, but with the right recipes, some tips and tricks (and a glass of wine perhaps) it doesn’t have to be.

I live life passionately, and put my all into everything I do. I love my family something crazy, and feel blessed that my husband and I get to raise our children here in Charlotte. I am SO excited to be a part of this amazing CSP community, and hopefully one of my family recipes, will become one of yours! Cheers, blessings and much love!!

Cynthia Fam

Kimmery Martin FleischliKimmery F Head Shot
Smarty Specialty: Book Nerd
Married to: Jim
Kids: Katie, Alex, Annie
Lived Here Since: 1998
Occupation: CEO of Fleischli Family, Author of 1.5 novels, Part-time ER Doc

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I’m an information junkie, and I read in the bathtub, in bed, while eating, and instead of cleaning the house. Sometimes I read instead of remembering meetings and carpools, which means I’m constantly yelping in dismay as I rush out the door with my clothes on inside out. In case you’re still reading this, I’ll throw this in: I volunteer a lot, and my kids go to three different schools, so I have a lot of meetings and carpools. It could happen to anyone.

Besides reading, here are some other things I like: caffeine, girlfriends, lounging on porches, science, interior design, cuddling babies and hiking followed by overeating. Dislikes: bureaucrats, poky drivers, cigarette-throwers, and removing elderly food from the refrigerator.

I met my husband at CMC, where he was my chief resident on the Orthopedic Surgery service. (I picked him because he’s the coolest guy on the planet. He picked me because I am the world’s best Boggle player. As I’m sure you know, men love that.) He’s from California and still adjusting to raising three Southerners…I try to help out by translating when they’ve really got their drawl on. We both love Charlotte, and I’m so happy to be writing book reviews for CSP!

Kimmery F Fam

Mai-Lis BahrMai Bahr
Smarty Specialty: Thoughtful and intentional parenting with a focus on middle school aged kids.
Married to: Chris
Kids: Carson (son) and Addison (daughter who goes by Addie)
Lived here since: 1998
Occupation: Entrepreneur: Owner/Founder of Addie & Ella and Be3 Athletics

Unique Smarty Perspective
First of all, let’s just get the name thing addressed. “Mai-Lis” is an Estonian name pronounced “my-lease”. It’s like my house, my car, my rent, my-lease. Yes, I have said that a few thousand times, but I really don’t mind. By the way, I answer to all variations of my name and give everyone an A for effort.

I believe I was always meant to be in the South under the Carolina blue skies. In 1998, I packed my Jetta with all my belongings and moved down here sight unseen with my childhood friend Tara. Since then, I have worked in banking, software, and pharmaceuticals before fulfilling my lifelong desire to create something of my own. I am an admitted random fact gatherer. The words “I read an article” come out of my mouth daily. When I saw my husband, I knew he was the one and even told my mom before I ever met him. I knew I was going to have a boy and a girl. I like to think I am intuitive and attribute that trait to my ability to really listen and observe. People open up to me, and I think it is because I genuinely care. I have to consciously balance out my introverted tendencies with some healthy doses of extroversion and then retreat back to myself. I am an optimist: I tend to run with the wind and have faith that it will all work out. I take far too many pictures of my two dogs. Speaking of pictures, I love photography. I also love hiking, biking, and traveling with my family, dark chocolate, healthy eating (don’t judge the chocolate), and sweating yoga. Thank you Charlotte Smarty Pants for the privilege and opportunity to share my thoughts with your community. Writing is something that energizes me, so here’s to letting the thoughts flow.

Elizabeth Childress
Smarty Specialty: Sales Diva
Smarty Specialty: Sales Executive
Married to: 9 years, Greg
Kids: Sloan (7), Sydney (5)
Lived here since: 2003
Occupation: Carpool driver extraordinaire & short order cook (that’s what I feel like most days)

Unique Smarty Perspective
I am blessed with two fabulously silly daughters who keep me young and not to mention broke from all the irresistible girl clothes. (If only I did not online shop & love a good sale…although it is great therapy!) I love each day with my girls and my wonderful husband who keeps me grounded & reminds me not to be too serious. I am generally laid back & very positive. My friends sometimes think I’m too nice, but I’m not so sure about that because I have no problem speaking my mind. However, being a Southern Belle growing up in Charleston, I do this in the sweetest way of course. ☺ My honesty continues with my expressions & apparently it can be very amusing to watch me because I am totally an open book. At least you always know what I’m thinking… I have the best girlfriends any girl could ask for & value their friendship more than they will ever know. I am a low country girl at heart and love going home to the beach & marsh, but also spend a lot of time in the mountains. …The best of both worlds! I like to read most anything from historical fiction to a light juicy romance. (Any good book recommendations? )I enjoy gardening & love that it gives me a reason to be outside alone! I love to exercise just about as much as I love to eat. I also like to bake a lot, but mostly so I can selfishly sample the treats. If I could live off cupcakes & coffee, I would! Seriously. I worked in sales for 12 years and am thrilled to be apart of the CSP sales team and I absolutely love pink so it couldn’t be a better fit.
Liz Fam


Kaylee Lundberg
Smarty Specialty: Sales Diva
Married to: Leif
Kids: 2 boys, Gus and Charlie
Lived here since: High school, almost a native Charlottean, Country Day Alum
Occupation: Part-time-working mom

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I know Charlotte like the back of my hand. It was my stomping grounds back in the day and now I’m raising my fam here. If there is a swanky deal to be had, I’m on it. Here are some random facts about me: I have a passion for snow skiing, lived in Aspen for 4 years after college, love a good laugh, get a thrill from celebrity gossip and fashion, enjoy volunteering for meaningful causes, love traveling and spending quality time with my girlfriends. My hubby is from Sweden and I’ve enjoyed passing these traditions on to my boys. I desperately need to learn to speak Swedish. Oh and my brother-in-law is a rockstar. Seriously.


Lauren About Us Headshot 199x300
Lauren Melillo
Smarty Specialty: Sales Mom – my best of both worlds!
Married to: 5 years – Kevin
Kids: Kingsley and Tatum
Lived here since: 2005
Occupation: Pharmaceuticals with Eli Lilly for 7 yrs – recently went part-time. LOVING it!!

Unique Smarty Perspective
I’m quite the type A person – my mother-in-law actually called me ‘type AAA’ one time, I’m guessing it was a compliment?!? Needless to say, I’m quite the planner, love friendly competition and always up for a good time!! If you want a good laugh – ask me to sing some song lyrics, I’m known for singing my own version! My husband, Kevin, and I were both athletes at USC – we bleed garnet & black!! Fun fact: I competed in the 2004 Diving Olympic Trials the same day he got drafted by the Oakland A’s to play baseball. For 6 years we did the long distance thing, true believer in “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” We now both live in Charlotte full time and couldn’t be happier! We have two amazing girls, Kingsley & Tatum…it’s been so fun to watch how girls can melt a daddy’s heart! They make our world go round!! And I can’t leave out our first baby, Kona – the dog. He’s an Italian Greyhound, spoiled rotten (the only way to be right?!) and loved by everyone he meets! I recently went part-time with Eli Lilly and loving every minute. Feel like I have the best of both worlds! I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful group of moms helping and reaching out to other moms – we are all in this together right??

lauren Fam


Tina Hicks
Smarty Specialty: Sales Executive
Married to:  Bill
Kids: Molly and Grace  – December babies; 5 days apart, so much for not having a Christmas baby!

Unique Smarty Perspective:
I am a true believer that God creates each child different so you can not pick a favorite. My children are night and day and anyone that knows them will attest. Gracie is definitely “our child” full of energy, spirit, enthusiasm, gumption and any other adjective that you can think of to describe, wears me out! Molly, we don’t really know where she came from. (But would never change a thing, or question the hospital if she was switched at birth.) Our sensitive quiet sole that ADORES horses and all that comes with them, poop, fly’s and all! LOVE MY CHILDREN!

I compare my life to being on a hamster wheel; I run and run and run in circles all day long. Not sure if I ever get anywhere, but feel good about it, and get back on that wheel everyday for the fun of it! My husband is a native of Charlotte, a true native, his whole family from way back when is from here! I have been here since I was 5, so I consider that native enough, especially since I married Bill.

We can not go anywhere without my running into somebody that I know, and I love it! My family, not so much, because I quick trip to Lowes turns into an afternoon, but that is one thing I truly love about living in Charlotte. I have no strangers in my life and the doors are always open at our house. The more the merrier, life is what you put into it, go big, have fun and smile from the inside out!

Tina Fam



Rachel Busby
Smarty Specialty: Graphic Designer Extraordinaire
Married to: Taylor
Kids: Grace and Suzie
Lived here since: 1998
Occupation: Owner, Busby Design, mom, and shopping professional (well, in my dreams with the shopping part)

Unique Smarty Perspective:
A client of mine once stated: “Rachel is by far the most talented and creative person on the face of the planet. She is cute, funny, smart, and a really, really, really good designer.” Now, granted, I’m also now married to the aforementioned client, but still, wouldn’t you hang on to feedback like that? Just sayin’. I’m from Greenville, SC, (whoot, whoot G-town!) but am SO proud to call Charlotte home. My husband is from Charlotte, so it’s like I married into native Charlottean royalty (or at least that’s what his ex-girlfriends tell me). I guess that makes me the Queen Bee (get it? Buzzzzzby?). I LOVE anything creative – one time (before I could stop myself) I told someone sewing was my passion. My passion. OK, maybe I was being a little dramatic, but I do love to sew. And draw. And paint. And re-create. And shop. I can shop anywhere – from Rodeo Drive to the Belk’s in Jacksonville, NC. I WILL find something to buy. I like to say that I love to shop because it inspires creativity for my work as a graphic designer. Definitely true. But it’s also because I love a good pair of Mary Janes (seen any good ones lately?).

Busby Fm

Photo Creds:

Brooke Brown Photography

Tricia Williams Photography


Kristen Montgomery Photography


Jon Mullen Photography

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