Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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October 11, 2017

Smarty Reminder: LCH’s Kids Helping Kids Day this weekend

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Here’s a Smarty reminder to join Levine Children’s Hospital on Saturday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to noon for the Kids Helping Kids Day – a morning where families can:

– Visit our Teddy Bear Clinic for a child-friendly, hands-on demo of what happens to our patients inside the hospital

– Make cards and blankets to encourage and support our patients

– Enjoy food, games and giveaways, plus a bounce house and more family-friendly activities

Kids Helping Kids

When: Saturday, October 14 | 9 a.m. to noon, after the Hopebuilders 5K
Where: Parking Lot B, in front of the hospital on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children’s Hospital
1000 Blythe Blvd. | Charlotte, NC 28203
Don’t miss out on the fun!
Learn more and RSVP!

October 7, 2017

Smarty Mom: Samantha Kuhr

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Smarties, I am SO excited to introduce you to this week’s lovely Smarty Mom, Samantha Kuhr. We’re going off the Smarty tracks a little this week because Sam is actually a West Coast mom of two boys. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to highlight her here because she’s got such an inspiring breast cancer survivor story that resonates no matter what city, state, or part of the country you’re living in. When I sat in carpool a few weeks ago and read what she’d written about the shock of finding out she had breast cancer, the treatments, and parenting through it, I wiped my tears and knew I had to introduce her to the Queen City.

Sam and I met through my work with CSP and were, by chance, in Rome with our families at the same time a couple of years ago. It was such a delight to meet her and her precious family “in person” rather than just over email – especially when the meeting was at a rooftop bar overlooking St. Peter’s and the stunning Rome skyline. :-) My husband and I still marvel at the way she and her husband have been able to make travel a priority in their family. I’ve loved following her family’s travels on social media the last few years (I may or may not have drooled over that Taj Mahal photo above an embarrassing number of times – it looks like a fake back drop! And who looks that stylish while traveling in another part of the world?!). I hope to be able to expose my kids to at least some small fraction of those life-changing experiences travel gifts a child.

If world travel with kids seems daunting to you, keep reading. Sam’s got some great tips that will inspire you to pack those suitcases and head for the open road (make sure to click on her links!). And, if getting your mammogram seems even MORE daunting, this one’s for you. Make your appointment – it could for sure save your life. Make sure to follow Sam on her blog or on Instagram – trust me, it’s SO fun to see this mom-thing happening from another part of the country.

Oh, and make sure that when you read Sam’s answers, you do it with that “British voice” in your head. She’s British. Makes it even better. :-) Grab your coffee, relax, and enjoy getting to know this super-cool West Coast Smarty Mom, Sam Kuhr!

Smarty Mom: Samantha Kuhr

Smarty Mom: Samantha Kuhr
Married to: Tom Kuhr, married for 20 years in April
Children: Sebastian (16) and Julian (12)
Hometown: Derby, England
Currently live in: Hermosa Beach, CA
Alma Mater: Derby Tertiary College, England
Occupation: Writer

You have a very inspiring breast cancer survivor story. How were you diagnosed and what has your journey been like since diagnosis?

My world as I knew it changed on March 27, 2015. I was a 43-year-old mom of two very active boys, wife of 17 years to Hot Hubby, active, non-smoker, with no family history of cancer. I was getting ready to go on vacation, and my annual mammogram was on a large to-do list of pre-vacation prep that included things such as buy band-aids, get highlights, and put a vacation stop on the mail. I thought about rescheduling, but didn’t. You can read here the details of the whirlwind week of ultrasounds, biopsy and getting the diagnosis. My immediate concern was to create stability for the boys during this unpredictable and stressful time. This obviously rocked the whole family to the core, and I wanted to minimize the worry for my boys as much as possible. Once I was diagnosed I needed to move very quickly to determine my plan to remove the cancer. It’s a very personal decision and ultimately I opted for a double mastectomy. Read More →

October 4, 2017

Smarty Alert: Take 25% off storewide this weekend at Toys & Co.

Our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co., is having their 40th annual sale THIS weekend. Take 25% off STOREWIDE on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 6-8. Stock the birthday present closet and forget Black Friday – now’s the time to think HOLIDAYS! CotswoldFallSale2017

Not only is Toys & Co. the best place for unique toys and games, it also has some of the most popular items like Legos, Calico Critters, Squishes, Shopkins, and more at totally comparable prices to the big box chains. But, unlike the chains, we love the personal touch you get when you walk in – the staff is so warm and knowledgable (it also helps that our kids are entertained checking out all the toys while we shop :-)). Toys & Co. beautifully wraps everything for FREE – even the small and awkwardly-shaped stuff.

And many people don’t know how much Toys & Co. gives back to our community – they support tons of local schools with their school fundraising weeks where 20% of the school’s purchases go back to the school, and they’ve donated thousands of dollars to Levine Children’s Hospital through their “forgo a bag” program. You also might not know that if you bring in the resusable Toys & Co. tote bag, you’ll get 10% off your purchase. So many reasons to shop local! Read More →

October 3, 2017

Smarty Save the Date: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Charlotte Walk

Smarties, save the date and consider donating to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) annual Out of the Darkness Charlotte community walk on October 28 in Romare Beardon Park. The Out of the Darkness Walk is the only fundraiser in Charlotte that promotes hope and healing for survivors who have lost loved ones to suicide. It is also a way to bring awareness and funding for suicide prevention activities in our community and brings mental health issues to the fore front.2017.CW.Flyer.CUSTOM.Charlotte

Like last year, this year’s walk has special Smarty ties – our 2015 Smarty Mom of the Year Nikki Warren is co-chair of the event and is leading her own team, Team Gregg, in honor of her late brother, Gregg Doule, who died from suicide just over three years ago at the age of 35.

This is the 10th anniversary of the Out of the Darkness Charlotte walk. We are so proud of Nikki and all of the other families who work to bring suicide out of the dark. It’s time to start talking about suicide and mental health so we don’t lose another friend or family member. Here’s a great video from AFSP site that gives you a feel for this amazing event and cause. Help spread the word #OutoftheDarkness and hope to see you there! Read More →

October 1, 2017

Smarty Steal: Free enrollment at The Produce Box

Just in time for the cozy comforts of fall produce, we’ve got a delicious Smarty Steal for you this month. Our friends at The Produce Box are offering FREE enrollment this month – that’s a $20 savings! And don’t worry, you don’t even have to take off your flannel pjs and slippers for this one – it’s all delivered right to your door. ProduceBox2015_Sprenz-8408

If you haven’t tried this home delivery produce service yet (or haven’t in awhile), now is the perfect time. Each week you will get a bounty of deliciousness at your footsteps with zero effort. There’s something for everyone – fruit boxes, “just enough” boxes, meal boxes, organic, pesticide-free, chemical free boxes, and more. SO many choices – you’ll never get bored.

Depending on what type of box you choose for the week, you’ll get the freshest local (and in-season) fruit and veggies, local meats, cheeses, breads, and more (PS – their bacon is the best on the planet – just sayin’). They’ve also started carrying spreads by Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, one of our favorites. And, one of the best parts of The Produce Box is, unlike other national delivery services, you’ll be supporting North Carolina farmers and local moms (you might even see a familiar face dropping off your produce!). Read More →

September 23, 2017

Smarty Mom: Dr. Amii Steele

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so I am so honored to highlight this week’s Smarty Mom, Dr. Amii Steele. Dr. Steele is a pediatric psychologist with Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) in Charlotte. In short, her job is to help children and their families with the psychological aspects of their medical diagnosis and treatment. But the huge fact is this: what she is doing for the patients and families at LCH and for our community as a whole is simply amazing. She’s a mom, wife, and doctor making a big difference to many. Thank you to Dr. Steele for sitting down for this interview! Smarties, I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

Smarty Mom: Dr. Amii Steele

Married to: Walt Steele, 7 years
Mom to: Charlotte, 15 months
Years in Charlotte: 5.5 years
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Part of Charlotte you call home: Lake Norman
Alma Mater: Clemson University, Go Tigers!!
Occupation: Pediatric Psychologist, Levine Children’s Hospital

Tell us what you do for Levine Children’s Hospital.

I am a pediatric psychologist and psychosocial manager for LCH’s Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Center. I provide psychological care for children and families affected by cancer and blood disorders. I also manage our wonderful psychosocial support team.

What brought you into this role?

I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in working with patients with medical illness. My clinical training focused on working with patients and families affected by cancer and blood disorders. After completing fellowship I moved back to the Charlotte area and started working at LCH.

What’s the best part of your job?

The patients and families that I get to meet. It is truly a privilege to share in a family’s journey. Read More →

September 18, 2017

Make a statement against cancer and support the Isabella Santos Foundation (and don’t forget to register for the ISF 5k or 10k)

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and you’ve probably seen those super-cute “Cancer Messed With” shirts popping up all over town. Those are the brainchild of the amazing people at the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF), one of our favorite nonprofits. Erin Santos, Isabella’s mom, and her team launched the “Cancer Messed With…” apparel line to allow people to show support for someone they know fighting cancer. The best part about this online shopping purchase? It supports pediatric cancer research AND shows your support for every single child, mom, dad, sibling, and family going through a cancer diagnosis.

For every shirt purchased, “Cancer Messed With” will donate a portion of the proceeds to pediatric cancer research through ISF. ISF supports leading childhood cancer hospital and organizations across the US, and their recently-announced 1 million dollar investment with Levine Children’s Hospital to build a new innovate MIBG treatment room for kids with Neuroblastoma makes us so, so proud. The project will help fund this room for local Charlotte children and is scheduled to be complete in 2018. Read More →

September 16, 2017

Meet the Chick fil A Kids Marathon Coaches

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The Novant Health Charlotte Marathon has partnered with Chick-fil-A to create a 7 week running program for kids 11 and under. Participating kids will train for 7 weeks, then they will join Charlotte Marathon festivities on November 11, 2017 to run their final program mile on race day and finish out with 26.2 total miles. Today we’re talking to the awesome coaches from the program to give you a few more details. Registration ends September 21, so sign up today!

Now let’s meet Alyssa and Jacqueline! Read More →

September 15, 2017

2U Laundry’s offers three loads free for new and expectant mothers

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Our buddies at 2U Laundry are running an AWESOME Smarty special this month for all of you new and expectant Smarty moms. They’re giving you $15 off your first pick up (that’s three loads free!). This will totally help free up time if you have a new baby in the house or are going through some serious nesting. Click here to get more details.

Smartyland is hooked on our 2U Laundry fairies (even those of us with older kids!). We shove so much into that one blue bag, we get our strength workout for the day dragging it outside for pick up. There’s so much we love about the service, but here are the highlights: Read More →

August 26, 2017

Smarty Moms: The Good Kitchen’s Amber Lewis and Melissa Hayes

The Good Kitchen

I’m thrilled to introduce to this week’s Smarty MOMS (love a dual interview!), Amber Lewis and Melissa Hayes. I met these two beautiful friends last year when I was introduced to their fresh, fully-prepared meal delivery service The Good Kitchen (TGK). The minute I met them I was struck by their boundless energy, enthusiasm, and passion – must be all that healthy eating. :-) I tried TGK and L-O-V-E-D everything about it – the convenience, variety, and deliciousness. My fam also totally enjoyed TGK’s Lunchboxes, a portable, kid-friendly meal that you really need to try as you wean yourself out of summer. Just sayin’.

These two ladies have an amazing thing going. It’s so much fun to watch success happen from a shared passion. I can’t thank them enough for sitting down for this dual interview! Hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I have, and if you haven’t already, try The Good Kitchen – I promise it’ll make life easier (and healthier!). (PS – Smarty Bonus – Use code SMARTY17 to receive 10% off for life.)

Meet Amber and Melissa, the ladies behind The Good Kitchen!

Amber Lewis

Married to: Carter Lewis – 8 years
Children: Furbabies: Sadie (12) Ruby (2)
Years in Charlotte: 7
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Alma Mater: UNC Wilmington
‘Hood: Dilworth
Occupation: Founder/CEO, The Good Kitchen

Melissa Hayes:

Doing life with: My guy is Christian K. and between us we have 3 kiddos, 1 dog and 1 fish. Nate is 11, Macy is 9 and Gemma is 5.
Years in Charlotte: 3
Hometown: Atlanta via Lakewood OH
Alma Mater: UGA
‘Hood: Plaza Midwood
Occupation: Co-Founder and President at The Good Kitchen

Tell us how The Good Kitchen (TGK) started.

Amber: We started 6 years ago when I was running Paleo challenges at our gym. I noticed folks were not able to stay on track because of time and/or skill restraints. I started cooking for a couple of friends. Word spread. I started getting requests to make meals for several people in the gym. I saw a niche, so I rented some space in a commercial kitchen, bought a vacuum sealer, and started cooking for a small group. We’ve grown from there. This year, we went through a rebrand to The Good Kitchen and haven’t looked back! Read More →


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