Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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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 →

July 12, 2017

Springfree celebrates its first anniversary!

Our favorite trampoline, Springfree Trampoline, is celebrating its first anniversary at the Blakeney location and Y-O-U can join in on the fun. There will be free fun and entertainment for kids of all ages. You’ll have a chance to enter to win a Springfree trampoline of your own, dance it out with a DJ, enjoy free food and drinks, face painting, giveaways, and of course all the trampoline jumping you can handle!

See you there!SC107476_CH_2017_1 yr Anniversary party_170x300

Event Details

Springfree Trampoline First Anniversary Party
Sat, 22 July 2017
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
9848-E Rea Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
Register here

June 13, 2017

What I’m reading this summer

Summer is one of my fave times to plow through some books. And, I’m happy to say that I’ve FINALLY arrived – I’ve got four strong swimmers, which means I am parking my seat in a lounge chair at the pool and reading. (Don’t worry, Smarty moms of littles, your day will come! I’ve waited 13 years for this!!) Here’s what’s in my pool bag this summer (thanks to Amazon for the book descriptions!).


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Read More →

June 12, 2017

Smarty Alert: Welcome summer with ‘Mimi Discovers Sullivan’s Island’ book release party

We found the PERFECT way to welcome summer. Grab some friends and head to Swoozie’s SouthPark/Sharon Corners next Tuesday, June 13, for a book release party for a local Charlotte family’s latest children’s book, Mimi Discovers Sullivan’s Island. Gently used children’s books will also collected at the event for Promising Pages, a local non-profit that inspires underserved children to achieve their dreams by instilling a love of reading. IMG_6375

This is the second children’s book by Catherine Farley and her family. The first, Mischievous Mimi Explores Seabrook Island, was written by Catherine and her two daughters, Madeline and Mary Katherine. In this latest book, Catherine and her son, James, and nephew, Gray, write about the adventures Mimi takes around Sullivan’s Island. Both books are illustrated by the very-talented Susan Leggett. Read More →

June 6, 2017

Smarty Steal: Get one class free at the newest CycleBar studio

South Charlotte Smarties, listen up! One of Charlotte’s favorite cycle boutique fitness studios has expanded to Waverly on Providence Road and YOU could try it out for FREE. CycleBar, which opened its first location in Midtown less than a year ago, has opened a second location in the Waverly community. CycleBar, a premium indoor cycling studio that offers a high-energy workout in a concert-like atmosphere; concierge-level service; and premium amenities, will celebrate its grand opening on June 19. But, from June 8-18, the studio will hold its “CycleBlast,” which allows Smarties all over Charlotte to experience one free class prior to its official opening. There will be 50 available classes; each holding up to 50 riders. No excuses, Smarties!CBRIDERS2

Here’s what CycleBar says about its classes:

CycleBar classes take place in a state-of-the-art CycleTheatre and are led by CycleStar instructors who take participants through a 50-minute high energy ride. The CycleTheatre features tiers for 50 bikes plus LED lighting, wide-screen graphics and state-of-the-art audio with a DJ booth. Riders can also track performance data via CycleStats and can download music used in the class session. After class, riders cool down with fresh fruit and enhanced water, while aromatherapy helps guests relax throughout the facility. CycleBar offers a pay-per-class model, with no membership necessary. Concierge service and amenities include free towels, showers, lockers, and shoes. Read More →

June 4, 2017

Smarty Save the Date: Claire’s Army Gala 2017


One of our favorite organizations in town, Claire’s Army, is hosting a new fundraiser, Claire’s Army Gala, presented by Steelfab this summer and now is your chance to purchase tickets. This black-tie-optional affair will be Claire’s Army signature fundraiser and will include cocktails, dinner, auction, a live band and dancing. There will be fun, joy, celebration and, most importantly, a deep connection to the families served by Claire’s Army that will move you, to say the least.

We recently highlighted Claire’s Army’s Executive Director and Claire’s mom, Emily Ratliff. Emily and Claire’s Army are doing such awesome things in our city all in honor of sweet Claire, but they can’t do it alone. We hope you’ll join the rest of the army this August! Read More →

June 3, 2017

Smarty Mom: Caris Malone

I am SO happy and honored to introduce you to this week’s Smarty Mom, Caris Malone. Caris is a one-of-a-kind ray of sunshine that popped into my life a few years ago when she became owner of the Pure Barre Ballantyne studio. She is, without a doubt, the reason I love Pure Barre and our studio so much. She’s a leader who’s real, honest, funny, compassionate, and just an all around awesome woman – you know, the kind of girl you want to stick by in this crazy life.IMG_7386

Caris is also a busy mama-in-the-trenches to two sweet girls, Ella and Lucy. She’s setting such an amazing example for her girls of a strong working mom who’s confident enough to learn from a mistake or laugh at herself. Love that about her. She’s easy to talk to – so easy that you might be chatting it up with her and find yourself three rosés deep before you know it. And then you’ll want a fourth, despite the morning headache that you know is most definitely coming, just so you can stay a little while longer with her.

She’s got a smile that will make you smile, a heart as big as the sun, and a killer Pure Barre ledge. She is one seriously cool chick, and I am SO lucky I get to call her a friend. If you want a chance to meet her or take one of her awesome classes (or understand what the heck a “Pure Barre ledge” is and how you can get one), come by Pure Barre Ballantyne. New clients get a week FREE. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Smarties, have fun getting to know Caris Malone!

Smarty Mom: Caris Malone

Married to: Chris for 7 years in October
Children: Ella Jane, 4 1/2 and Lucy, 2
Years in Charlotte: 12 years
Hometown: Harrisonburg, VA
Neighborhood: Sherwood Forest
Alma Mater: UNCG
Occupation: Partner/Co-Owner of Pure Barre Ballantyne

You’re the owner of Pure Barre Ballantyne. What made you fall in love with Pure Barre enough to make it your career?

There are so many different ways I could answer this question, but bottom line is that it combines all the things I am most passionate about: an active life, lifting others up, and helping people grow stronger both physically and mentally. Read More →

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