Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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April 17, 2018

Taking a trip to an Orlando theme park? Check out World Class VIP

If the thought of going to Disney World (or Universal Studios) with your family looks like this:

But you want it to look like this:

I have the PERFECT answer for you. You heard that right, Smarties. I have found the secret to a magical Disney experience. It’s called World Class VIP. My family of six just came off of a four-day Disney extravaganza over the EASTER HOLIDAY, one of the most crowded times for the park, and guess what? We had fun. You heard that right. FUN. In a crowd like this:

Approximately 7:00 am at Animal Kingdom – resembles WalMart on Black Friday, right? Don’t let this define your Disney trip!

And we rode every rollercoaster we set out to ride, and barely waited in a line. I never in a million years expected it, but it’s true. It was totally magical. And, there’s one reason: World Class VIP. Read More →

April 11, 2018

Calling all cheerleaders! Carolina Flipz All-Star Cheer hosts Open Houses this month

If you’ve got a cheerleader (or a wannabe cheerleader) in the house, get your calendars out now. Carolina Flipz All-Star Cheer is hosting three Interest Meetings/Open Houses for new and returning families this month for their awesome All-Star Cheer program. This is the Smarty top pick for All-Star Cheer in the QC. We {heart} this program that encourages positivity and teamwork like no other!

But, don’t take our word for it. Come to Carolina Flipz on Friday April 13th, 20th, or 27th from 6:30-7:30 to get all the information you need on the program. You only need to attend one Friday evening meeting – the information will be repeated at each one. Super awesome Head Coach and Program Director Carissa Sawyers, along with other Flipz cheer coaches, will be there to meet parents and interested cheerleaders. Don’t even worry about getting a sitter – kids will get a chance to have a little fun while the parents are in a meeting. Read More →

March 29, 2018

Smarty Alert: Tuck Tech and Back Handspring Blitz at Carolina Flipz

Two big events are coming up at our fave gym, Carolina Flipz, and if you’ve got a cheerleader or gymnast in the house, you’re going to want to mark your calendars. They’re at the PERFECT time for spring cheerleading tryouts.

Tuck Tech


Carolina Flipz Tuck Tech

The Tuck Tech is a three day training clinic to teach the PROPER technique for the back tuck, a major skill for cheerleaders and gymnasts. Participants can participate in one, two, or all three days. * You must have a back handspring to participate.*

April 6, 7, and 8 2:30-4:30 pm
One, Two or Three Day Options are available
1 day $50/Day or $125/ all three days

Back Handspring Blitz

Next up is the Back Handspring Blitz, a back handspring intensive that will give your gymnast, dancer, cheerleader the jump start they need to getting their back handspring, which is harder than it looks! ;-)​ Just like the Tuck Tech, campers have the flexibility of doing 1, 2, or all three days. Each day the coaches break down the form and technique of the back handspring in order to prepare the mind for what the body is trying to accomplish. In order to prevent muscle soreness each day, they work on different drills, skills, and combinations in order to build up their strength. The BHS Blitz is how my daughter FINALLY, after years of trying, landed her back handspring. The coaches are unbelievably patient and kind – I can’t say enough awesome things about this blitz! Read More →

March 23, 2018

Fitness Friday: Quick! Get summer-ready at CycleBar

Smarties, you know we are in LOVE with Charlotte’s best cycle studio, CycleBar Waverly and CycleBar Midtown. We think it’s one of the friendliest, toughest, and most fun workouts in town. What you might not know (or maybe have forgotten) is that summer is right around the corner. Yea, we know it’s freezing right now, BUT you know Charlotte weather. It’s going to be hot, like, tomorrow. So, do yourself a favor and sweat out your winter sins on the bike. You’ll be so happy you did when you pull out the shorts and tank tops (please LAWD let that be soon!). CycleBar Summer Ready 2018

Think of this as your Friday motivation. Game on.

Five reasons to get summer-ready at CycleBar:

1. The instructors. CycleStars, CycleBar’s instructors, are so incredibly motivating. Even when you’re having one of those days when you just don’t feel like working out, we promise you that your CycleStar will motivate you. Each one will push you to your limits. You’ll leave feeling stronger and more powerful than when you started. Promise.

2. The music. Every CycleBar class is like a dance party – where else can you go to a dance party at 9:30 am on a Monday (I mean, besides your minivan)? You can totally lose yourself in each song and just ride. We also love their super creative themed rights (can we get a Usher vs. Justin Timberlake next?). Read More →

March 17, 2018

Smarty Mom: Ashley Cox

Ashley Cox

CSP Note: We love “Smarty Mominations,” and today’s comes from CSP reader Tyler Larmee who thought Ashley Cox would make a super Smarty Mom. Tyler and I tag-teamed on this one. Tyler wrote the intro, and I did the interview. Thanks SO much, Tyler, for introducing us to Ashley, and thanks to Ashley for sharing her family and life with us! ~ Cheryl

Ashley was destined to lead Home Design & Décor magazine. As a college student, this Charlotte native began her career as an intern at Charlotte magazine. She continued to grow her portfolio as a contributing writer to area lifestyle publications Charlotte, Charlotte Wedding and Charlotte Home + Garden.

In 2013, Ashley made a huge move to New York and joined the editorial staff of Traditional Home, where she moved up the ranks to Associate Market Editor under the tutelage of industry veterans, learning the ins and outs of creating a magazine. During her tenure at the respected home publication, Ashley earned her certificate in Interior Design from the famed Parsons School of Design. But Charlotte called her home. With her new position as Editor-in-Chief of Home Design & Décor, Ashley combines her experience in lifestyle magazine production and interior design. As a mom to a young son and another baby due this spring, as well as wife to fellow Charlotte native and emergency room doctor, we know the Smarties will love getting to know Ashley.

~ Tyler Larmee

Smarty Mom: Ashley Cox

Married to:​ Married to Dalton Cox; It will be four years in August​.
Children:​ My son, Wilder, is 14 months old; Baby girl is due in May. Things are about to get real interesting! ​
Years in Charlotte:​ Although I’m a native Charlottean, I’ve only lived here as an adult for a few years.
Hometown:​ Charlotte​
Area of Charlotte you call home: ​Old Foxcroft​
Occupation:​ Editor​, Home Design & Decor
Alma Mater: ​University of South Carolina​

Tell us what you do for Home Design & Decor magazine.

I oversee all of the editorial for the magazine, which means that I manage and produce all of the creative content ​for the front of book stories, as well as the feature home articles.

How did you get started in the magazine industry?

I was one of the unfortunate many to have graduated college at the onset of the recession. So when I moved to New York, I quickly realized that my degree in just fashion wasn’t going to cut it in terms of landing a job with Vogue. To ride it out, I decided to go back to school and get my master in journalism where I focused my attention on magazine production. For my practicum, which is basically an internship on crack, I worked for Charlotte magazine and really fell in love with the industry. Read More →

March 10, 2018

Smarty Mom: Carissa Sawyers

Carissa Sawyers 2018 1

When my daughter wanted to try year-round, competitive cheerleading, I have to admit I was a little nervous. Our family had never done a year-round sport, and, although I grew up cheering, I knew competitive cheerleading was a whole different ball game (as in, there’s no ball game involved at all). I mean, I had a feeling I’d love it because I LOVE cheerleading, but could my daughter hang with the commitment? Or would she start complaining about the practices after one month?

We started off slow. In November 2016, we chose the half-year team at Carolina Flipz as a way to see how committed she was and how well the sport suited our family of six. Well, turns out, she LOVED it – she never complained about practice and was always excited about what her team accomplished each week. We signed her up for the full-year, competitive cheer program the next year. We’re finishing up our first full year and have had such an incredible experience (I say “we’re” because I truly believe any year-round sport is a WHOLE-family commitment.). Her teammates are amazing young women, and it’s been great getting to know the other families. Watching how far the squad has come this year has been thrilling. I know our experience is because of today’s Smarty Mom – she’s created a gym where positivity oozes from the ceilings and enthusiasm shoots up from the mat.

Meet Carissa Sawyers. Technically, she is Carolina Flipz Cheer’s All-Star Program Director and Coach, but really she’s the heart and soul of the Carolina Flipz cheer program. She’s a ball of energy who works tirelessly (and I mean, TIRELESSLY!) to turn a group of elementary, middle, and high school girls from different schools and neighborhoods into cohesive, better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts cheerleading squads.

Cheerleading is not for the faint of heart – it takes discipline, tons of teamwork, strength, and dedication. Carissa and her coaching staff manage to instill all of those qualities in their athletes every single practice. Their genuine love for the sport and their cheerleaders sets them apart, and I will be forever grateful for what they’ve given my teenage daughter.

Enjoy getting to know Carissa, and if your child is interested in competitive cheerleading, definitely check out Carolina Flipz! Maybe I’ll see you at a competition – I’m the one in the front screaming her head off while simultaneously holding my breath. Don’t ask me how I do it – it’s an out-of-body thing. #momsquad 😉

Smarty Mom: Carissa Sawyers

Married to: Alex Sawyers for 4.5 years
Children: 1 daughter named Briley. She’s 19 months old and the absolute coolest kid ever!
Years in Charlotte: all of them 🙂
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Area of Charlotte you call home: We recently moved to Denver, NC (Lake Norman) to be closer to family and the water.
Occupation: All-Star Cheerleading Program Director
Alma Mater: UNC Charlotte

Tell us a little bit about your background in cheer.

I started cheerleading in high school (Go South Meck Sabres!) and quickly transitioned into all-stars once I realized it meant I could cheer without having to watch other sports! At 17 I started coaching and never stopped. I was provided a life changing opportunity to run the All-Star Cheerleading Program at Carolina Flipz when it opened in 2014; I cannot imagine coaching anywhere else.Carolina Flipz Cheer 2018

How would you describe the gym’s atmosphere?

Encouraging. There is such an air of positivity in the gym that everyone feels encouraged to try new things without much fear of failure. Read More →

March 2, 2018

Fitness Friday: A week of FREE classes at CycleBar Waverly

It’s March Madness over at our fave spin studio, CycleBar Waverly. From March 5-9, classes are FREE. Yup, you heard that right. FREE. Gear up for Spring Break and summer in a super fun, energetic atmosphere with some of the best cycle instructors in the QC. You’re going to LOVE the music, the workout and the overall vibe at CycleBar. Can’t wait to ride with you!

Register for free classes here.

IMG_0433 Read More →

February 18, 2018

Smarty Save the Date: Claire’s Army Pancake Breakfast and Blood Drive

Mark your calendars for Claire’s Army’s, one of CSP’s favorite organizations, annual Pancake Breakfast and Blood Drive on Saturday, February 24 at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Claire's Army poster 2018

All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Claire’s Army, which is an AMAZING organization helping families right here in the QC. Click here to read our Smarty Mom interview with Claire’s Army founder, Emily Ratliff. Her two-year-old daughter, Claire, passed away from neuroblastoma, and this organization strives to honor Claire’s memory by helping families maintain some sort of normalcy through an incredibly challenging time. Claire's Army Pancake Breakfast

Tickets can be purchased at the door, but they are encouraging everyone to buy tickets ahead of time. The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas will have two mobile blood buses there. To make an appointment for the blood drive (recommended, not mandatory), click here. Read More →

February 8, 2018

Smarty Alert: Carolina Flipz hosts Back Handspring Blitz & Tuck Tech PLUS Open Gym Night

Two big events are coming up at our fave gym, Carolina Flipz, and if you’ve got a cheerleader or gymnast in the house, you’re going to want to mark your calendars. They’re at the PERFECT time for spring cheerleading tryouts.

Back Handspring Blitz

Carolina Flipz 1
First up is the Back Handspring Blitz, a back handspring intensive that will give your gymnast, dancer, cheerleader the jump start they need to getting their back handspring, which is harder than it looks! ;-)​ Campers have the flexibility of doing 1, 2, or all three days. Each day the coaches break down the form and technique of the back handspring in order to prepare the mind for what the body is trying to accomplish. In order to prevent muscle soreness each day, they work on different drills, skills, and combinations in order to build up their strength. The BHS Blitz is how my daughter FINALLY, after years of trying, landed her back handspring. The coaches are unbelievably patient and kind – I can’t say enough awesome things about this blitz! Read More →

February 6, 2018

Smarty Giveaway: Two tickets to Joined in Education’s ‘Teach Your Children Well’ Symposium

Joined in Education is hosting its next parenting symposium on February 13 & 14, and we’ve got two tickets up for grabs for the keynote address, which will be delivered by Madeline Levine Ph. D., author of New York Times bestsellers Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege.

This event will be relevant to parents of toddlers as well as teens. JIE’s goal is to help parents ensure that the next generation can problem solve, think critically and are productive, kind citizens of the world. JIE_2018_10x7Ad_r2a print version

Here’s what the JIE says about the keynote speaker:

Levine brings together cutting-edge research and thirty years of clinical experience to explode the myth that good grades, high test scores and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame. Parents and educators are all too familiar with the escalating rates of anxiety among today’s children. Levine shifts our focus from the excesses of hyper parenting and the unhealthy reliance on our children for status and how to provide a meaningful parenting style that focuses both on academic success and developing a sense of purpose, well-being and connection. Read More →


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