No more wishing that the perfect sitter will just “magically” appear. This isn’t Disney… Mary Poppins isn’t going to make a gentle landing on your doorstep. This is Charlotte, and our city has a major need for quality and (let’s face it) FUN sitters! Don’t you want a sitter that makes your kids run to the door when they arrive and push you out the door seconds later? Don’t you NEED a sitter that leaves your house clean, plans fun events, and PLAYS with your kids? Well, imagine a full blown LIST of these perfect fairy sitters at your fingertips! Imagine never needing to make more than one phone call or send one email before you score a sitter for the night. Imagine the ability to call a sitter last minute when school is cancelled because all the snow has melted and kids really COULD be in class. Sorry, I digress…
Well, look no further Smarties…something BIG just arrived in Charlotte and is taking the babysitting world by storm. Introducing Hopeful Nannies and the company’s AMAZING “Babysitter List”!
So, what’s the “Babysitter List”?
It’s like Charlotte’s mini version of “care.com”. A complete list of sitters that have been hand selected after background checks and references AND have previous childcare experience. Oh, and most of them are so upbeat and precious that my three year old thinks they are princesses. Uh, score! Maybe Disney is somehow involved in this?? Read More →
Polly was created by Mattel to torture mothers.
Polly Pocket has a head smaller than Barbie’s credit card (American Express Black, if you were wondering). Polly’s shoes are the size of a single grain of sand. Her accessories require tweezers and the patience of a Nun.
Polly, like Barbie, has everything.
Tropical Party Yacht? Yes.
Party Time Mall? Hell yes.
Tree Party House? Highflying yes.
Party Time Coffee House? Caffeinated yes.
Party Time Candy Shop? Chocolate covered yes.
Pet Shop Party? Bow wow yo yippie yo yippie, yes. Read More →
A year ago I walked into Y2 Yoga studio to take my first “hot” class. A bubbly, sparkly, funky soul walked into the room and started prepping to teach. She was so confident, so charming, so funny. She made a point of welcoming me to my first class at the studio and then proceeded to hand me my tail on a sweaty, pain filled platter.
Kacy Pleasants hasn’t changed a bit in the year that I’ve followed her yoga teaching. I’ve learned so much about her character and upbeat life. She has helped me grow in my practice and I consider her a blessing as my teacher and my friend. Kacy shines in a room and her children look up to her with fun loving joy. Kacy puts life into perspective and always makes a room seem brighter. She is so much of what I want to be.
Kacy always ends her class with this simple and lovely saying, “the light in me sees the light in each and everyone of you”. I can’t help but smile each time she speaks those words. What if we all saw the light in those around us?
Charlotte, meet our Smarty Mom of the Week, Kacy Pleasants.
Kacy Pleasants’ Smarty Mom Stats:
Mom to: Kadyn (10) & Brody (7)
Married to: Daniel for twelve years
Years lived in Charlotte: All my life! (35 years, except 4 in college at UNCW). Read More →
Remember that book when you were younger? The insightful information a father wrote for his son? I often think of the things I want to tell my daughters. The list is long and will never really be complete. Here are my random thoughts and feelings . . . my instruction book for my “girlie” gifts from God.
Participate in an athletic race at least once in your life. It makes you feel like an athlete and teaches you discipline.
In high school and college, don’t ignore the quiet guys not necessarily a part of the “in crowd”. They usually turn into confident, successful men who are perfect fathers and providers.
It is better to live your entire life on the edge than to have peaked . . . it is only down from there.
Don’t peak in high school. High School is a hiccup in life and there is so much more out there.
Travel, even if you are afraid of flying, travel. The world is so amazing.
Learn at least two funny and perfectly timed jokes.
When you meet someone for the first time, talk about their favorite subject . . . them. Nothing breaks the ice like being interested in someone else.
Don’t dress too trendy. Read More →
Four actors, one classic Christmas story, and a barrel of laughs.
When the lights went down and the actors took to stage, I was slightly confused. Four actors? How can FOUR actors portray the classic, whimsical, and somewhat scary tale of a Christmas Carol?
It took less than two minutes to discover that I was in for a ride and that four actors popping from role to role is nothing short of hysterical!
Actors Scott Miller, Tanya McClellan, Stephen Seay, and Leslie Ann Giles, collectively known as the Taraddidle Players, together portrayed each one of the characters from famous Charles Dickens tale. They used a method called Commedia Dell’arte style, which is a form of theatre craft which began in Italy in the 16th century. They play off one another flawlessly and their comedic delivery was brilliant! They interacted with the audience and encouraged laughter and banter!
As you probably know, the show begins on a cold evening where Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Scott Miller) taunts his employee, Bob Cratchit, with his Bah Humbug Holiday hatred. As the show goes on, “Scrooge” is warned by the ghost of his former business partner that there is more to life than money. The spirit moans and groans (in a funny and very child friendly manner) that Ebenezer must change his ways. The ghost (played by Stephen Seay) was so charming that I wanted him to stay on stage longer. Scrooge is warned that he will be visited by three spirits who will show him the way to a better life. Read More →
‘Tis the Season to read about how amazing everyone is! Christmas letter season is upon us! The cards are one thing, but the letters are another. Paragraphs and paragraphs about the perfect year? Please, spare me.
Most of the letters are full of it and I can barely read. A handful, I cherish. I wait by the mailbox for Paul Fredenberg’s family letter. His hilarious breakdown of life as a Farmer/Banker is witty and warming and perfect. His description of raising EIGHT kids on a farm is brilliant, and deserves a Christmas Letter.
Every year I think, I should write one. I should pen a Christmas Letter telling the world exactly what is going on. And so, I did.
Merry, merry . . . pass the Tylenol.
Dear Friends and Family,
2013 was average. We planned great things and did none of them. Not a one.
We took weeks to plan an elaborate trip to Paris with our children. Our goal was to speak only French and force the kids to dine on crepes. Instead, we took a Disney cruise with all the other Americans. We ate burgers and chicken fingers.
We don’t own any vacation homes and barely try new restaurants because we are stuck in our ways. Charlotte, NC is still charming and we really haven’t lived anywhere else so comparisons are pointless. We never feel rested and love our children dispute the splitting headaches they have gifted us over the past seven years.
Our oldest daughter is in the first grade and an average reader at best. She does like to pretend to know more than she does. We were going to force her to read Little Women this summer, but we didn’t even buy the book. We did browse The American Girl Doll magazine religiously. As the oldest, she believes she is the charge of everything and it isn’t annoying at all. Read More →
The 2013 Smarty Holiday Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold and Park Road Shopping Center. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve!
‘Tis the season to be merry…and spoil the little ones. There are so many options out there and that’s where we come in. Smarties, we’re here to make your holiday shopping easier for you! Here are some of our favorite tried and true gifts for ages 0-2 years. Mom-sourced, kid-approved!
Today’s Smarty Loot List is for the preschool set, ages 2, 3 or 4 years old. This age group is so much fun to buy for so bring on the imaginative play, games of all kind and any toy that gets them moving!
Calico Critters Townhome
This precious set is one that will grow with your little one. The Calico Critter Townhouse has everything you can think of and it is a great introduction to the “Critter” collection. Set includes four rooms, real working lights, and tons of tiny elements for a world of creativity. Add the animal characters and furniture for a perfect stocking stuffer!
Got a tiny pirate? This must end up under your tree. An exact replica of Jake’s pirate ship complete with water guns, Jake, slide, Tick Tock Crock, and hidden surprises. The wheels make it easy to push this ship easily for hours of creative fun. Yo Ho LET’S GO! Read More →
When my oldest daughter turned three, I enrolled her in Charlotte Junior Gym after she attended a precious birthday party at their amazing facilities. The party was super fun, well organized, and full of energy. Kids jumped, swung and climbed all over the colorful gym to the sound of upbeat music. Laughter literally rebounded off the walls. It was such a happy place and such a happy party. We were hooked!
The class quickly became the highlight of my daughter’s week. She couldn’t wait to let loose, jump and play in complete kiddie freedom. I loved her smile as we pulled into the gym parking lot and her beaming pride as she walked in for another round of awesomeness. Recognizing the kind leadership of the staff took no time at all. They would walk my daughter to my car with great stories of her accomplishments during the class. When she tried something new, the staff always shared the news!
During the months my daughter was enrolled in classes at Charlotte Junior Gym, I was struggling with infertility. It was a tough time and dark spot in my life. The staff at the gym knew my pain and were so caring and supportive. Many, many times after I dropped of my daughter, I would run to an appointment with my fertility doctor only to learn disappointing news. But, I would pull up to the gym at pickup and be greeted with love and support and a very happy child. It was so uplifting! Read More →
I love fall, I love pumpkin, I love the crisp air . . .
I don’t love the overuse of the name, touch, taste, and feel of pumpkin. Take a moment to reflect on the pumpkin sized nonsense blowing up around us. Pumpkin drinks, breads, muffins, candles, candies, tampons (just making sure I’ve got your attention), beers, and coffees. Literally every woman I know is walking around in yoga pants holding a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I’ve had enough. Tone it down people, this is getting ridiculous.
Late August it begins. Pumpkin essence explodes all over stores, products, and displays. At first I get excited, and then I have to tell myself to chill the hell out because the pool is still open. The signs for Pumpkin Spice Latte begin popping up like a zit before prom night. August is the hottest month of the year so it makes total sense people want a steaming cup of liquified pumpkin pie. I’m sorry, I don’t ride the “PSL” fan train. Who cares the drink is ten years old? That’s nine too long. I’m sorry Starbucks, you had me at “hello” but what the heck is going on with your fall lineup? Stop pairing pumpkin muffins with pumpkin icing with a pumpkin latte. Stop it right now. Use some of your artisan mind power to expand beyond the pumpkin. The poor gourd is tired, give it a rest.
The pumpkin revolution is exhausting and a tad disgusting.
Pumpkin Spice flavored Pringles?
I was once a runner. I ran miles and miles and enjoyed it. I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it. At times, I simply tolerated it. My body responded to running with sore legs (somewhat bulkier than I would prefer), a tight back and ugly toenails. It wasn’t glamorous, it was running.
I had friends who practiced yoga. They tried to convert me and I would judgmentally laugh. Yoga? Like, “ommmmm” yoga? Like “this-really-isn’t-a-workout” yoga. I declined their offers to visit a yoga studio dozens of times. Count me out! People don’t workout in “studios”, they workout in gyms or on the open road.
After completing my second year running the Blue Ridge Relay, I returned home from the 212 mile race feeling broken. Literally, broken. Nothing worked. I was so sore. I was so unhappy with the results of running. Bigger legs, a nasty appetite, and toe nails that would make a manicurist faint.
In a moment of weakness, I stepped onto a mat for my first yoga class. I nearly died. It was hard. I struggled. The instructor was speaking another language. The other people in the class flowed and gracefully danced into torturous looking positions. I could barely keep it together. At one point, I just put my head on my mat and laughed.