Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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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

Steele, Amii family2

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)


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


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


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 SMARTY18 to receive 15% off your first order.)

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 →

August 24, 2017

Smarty Back to School Giveaway #3: MZ Wallace’s Metro Backpack

Welcome to the third (and last!) in our Back to School Giveaway series – for the last couple of days, we’ve given away a fun item that will make the Back to School transition MUCH easier. Day #1 was a customized School Package from Oliver’s Labels. Day #2 was a prize pack from the new Erin Condren Back to School line. Day #3 is SUPER fun and is a little treat for Smarty moms – because we TOTALLY deserve a something for making it through summer! :-)

If you’ve never heard of NYC-based MZ Wallace, you’re in for a treat today. I have been a huge fan of MZ Wallace bags ever since my NYC-bestie introduced them to me YEARS ago when my oldest was just a baby. She’s now 13, and still one of my favorite things to do when visiting my friend in Manhattan is to pop into the SoHo store to get my hands on the bags because we have limited “live” access in Charlotte :-). Every bag is so perfect for a busy woman/mom – they’re stylish but SO functional (and MZ Wallace comes out with the best seasonal colors and patterns!).

Today we’re giving one lucky Smarty a MZ Wallace Metro Backpack because after we’ve bought backpacks for all of the kids, don’t we deserve a beautiful one, too!? {PS – I love that backpacks are trending right now! Check out MZ Wallace’s entire line of backpacks here.} The Metro Backpack is large enough to use to and from work, the gym, a diaper bag, or a travel bag. It’s got zippered pockets and room for a water bottle on each side. PERFECT for a busy mama in this crazy Back to School season (aka the most wonderful time of the year…). MZ Backpack 3 Read More →

August 23, 2017

Smarty Back to School Giveaway #2: Erin Condren’s New Back to School Line

Welcome to the second in our Back to School Giveaway series – for three days this week we’re giving away a fun item that will make the Back to School transition MUCH easier. Day #1 was a customized School Package from Oliver’s Labels – click here to enter if you missed it. Day #2 is for the Smarty students (and Smarty mamas out there who still love pretty school supplies!); and Day #3 is for the moms – because don’t we deserve a little treat for making it through summer?! :-) Keep checking in through Wednesday for some fun swag!

So, today’s giveaway is from the ultimate planner and stationery extraordinaire, Erin Condren. Her totally customizable LifePlanner™ is my go-to for organizing the chaos that ensues in our house – read my 2018 LifePlanner review here. Now she’s delving into the school supply world, and let me just tell you, if you have a Smarty student in the house, THIS is your lucky day. My Smarty teen, Ava, is completely salivating over the whole new Back to School line, and her book bag is now chocked full of the beautiful Erin Condren binders, folders, pens, and highlighters. Any Smarty student who likes a little color and style in her bookbag would love ANYTHING from the Erin Condren line. Here are some of our faves:

The Academic Planner: A super-flexible and stylish planner that can be personalized. It’s got dedicated pages for important projects and exams, 6 months worth of monthly and weekly planning, and over 30 lined pages for note-taking. 781632512_exams Read More →

August 22, 2017

Smarty Back to School Giveaway # 1: Oliver’s Labels

Happy Back to School season, Smarties! Homework, early alarms, and making lunches aside, who else is ready for school?! I am sooooo excited to kick off a Smarty Back to School Giveaway series – for three days this week we’ll give away a fun item that will make the Back to School transition much easier. Day #1 is to get you a little more organized; Day #2 is for the Smarty students; and Day #3 is for the Smarty moms (because don’t we deserve a treat for making it through summer?!). :-) Keep checking in today through Wednesday for some cool Back to School swag!orig_1

First up is my family’s absolute school (and summer camp!) necessity – Oliver’s Labels. We started using these forever-hold gems several years ago and now literally couldn’t live without them. I label everything – from t-shirts to sweatshirts, water bottles to lunch boxes, flip flops, tennis shoes, and more. Oliver’s Labels are so durable that we STILL have labels on clothes that have been handed down from boy #1 to boy #3. No Sharpies for us (although my Sharpies are labeled with Oliver’s Labels!). Read More →

August 5, 2017

Smarty Mom: Ekta Shah

I am SO excited to introduce you to this week’s ultra-Smarty Mom, Ekta Shah! Ekta and I met lift-tone-burning at Pure Barre Ballantyne a few years ago. I didn’t even know she was an allergy doctor until CSP posted a couple of articles from our friends at Levine Children’s Hospital featuring Ekta (love it when my two worlds collide!). I immediately stopped her at Pure Barre after the second article posted and peppered her with questions about her life and upbringing. She was nice enough to meet me for coffee one morning so I could get more in-depth. :-)

She’s originally from India, but was raised in the US. She’s a busy mama to beautiful twin girls, has such great perspective, and embodies everything I love about our melting-pot city. A big thank you to Ekta for not only being a Smarty Mom, but for being willing to be interrogated at Starbucks by this Charlotte native (Ekta – next time let’s make our interview at one of your fave Indian restaurants in town! Yum!!) ;-).

Smarties, meet Etka Shah! I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!

Smarty Mom: Ekta Shah

Married to: Ameesh Shah; married 11 years
Children: Anya and Sahana; age 7 1/2
Hometown: Germantown, TN
Years in Charlotte: 7
Occupation: Allergist
‘Hood: Marvin/Waxhaw

You’re a mom of twins! What’s surprised you the most about having twins?

Finding out that we were having twins was a BIG surprise. We went out for dinner after but were in such a state of shock that we sat there in silence. I think we were in disbelief for several weeks after finding out the news.

Has it gotten easier or harder as they’ve gotten older?

Definitely has gotten easier as they have gotten older. The first 2 years were very exhausting, but now it’s easier as they have gotten older and become more independent. They share many of the same activities and always have someone to play with.

You are originally from India. Tell us what brought you to the US.

My dad came to the US in the 1970s to get his masters in engineering and ended up staying for a job opportunity. My mom and I immigrated a few years later when I was three years. Read More →

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