Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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January 9, 2017

A New Year, a New Chapter

It’s a new year, a new chapter. You just refreshed your outlook on life: time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Starting January first, you implemented your new 2017 list. Unless you didn’t…yet. After all, you may need a month to just get into a new way of thinking, a new routine, to buy that membership, to pick up that book, to structure your schedule, to think about executing your resolutions. December stole all your time with her holiday dazzle, leaving no time to plan for January resolutions. Anyway, it felt far enough off anyway. You had time. Or at least you thought you did. images

I was on a call the other day and the person on the other end said, “Well it’s already the middle of January or might as well be.” My heart stopped. How does this keep happening? The passing of time that is. And when I later walked by the hall mirror, there was no way I was going to look into it. Because I knew what I would see. A pro. A real pro. The one who puts pro in procrastination. Me.

Okay, okay. Maybe I am being somewhat dramatic. Procrastination doesn’t always apply to my life. It just depends on the circumstance and ultimately the presence of one important factor: the deadline. A hard, non negotiable deadline will certainly keep the majority of us on task. Since the beginning of time, our brains have prioritized the tasks and to-dos that would otherwise threaten our survival. We inherently prioritize anything that puts our basic needs – or our most prized wants – in jeopardy. Read More →

November 29, 2016

25 days of Gratitude and Beyond

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

The Holiday season reminds us to enter into a deeper place of gratitude. In the midst of the hustle the season unfailingly delivers, nestled in the in-between moments, are golden nuggets of gratitude wrapped in unadorned paper. We are reminded to carefully unwrap these moments and study their content: blessings come in the largest – as well as the smallest – of packages and are often unassuming while not beckoning for our attention. gratitude-quotes-02

While many of us make a habit of expressing and noting gratitude year-round, sometimes we fly past the opportunities too quickly while being pulled towards the next task on our agenda. Life is full and demanding, and it takes intentional effort to slow down and give gratitude our undivided attention. It requires effort.

Amongst family gatherings during Thanksgiving, gratitude is passed around the dinner table; many of us take time to prepare our thoughts of gratitude in the same way we carefully prepare our favorite dish. We humbly give thanks to the day-to-day happenings as if seeing them first time. We gather at the table with anticipation and leave satiated, full in body and spirit. Family walls come down – every family has that member who invariably takes on the role as gardener, who sews the seeds and brings in the sunshine. Love grows and we are reminded of what is special about each and everyone in our lives. Read More →

November 5, 2016

Smarty Mom: Liz Bundon

Liz Bundon Kids

{Photo Creds: Wanda Koch Photography}

If you have taken a yoga class with Liz Bundon, then have left your mat feeling impacted in the hardest, yet softest of ways. Liz guides each class through a practice to strengthen the physical, while always addressing the strength and support that we seek internally through yoga: you leave her class feeling mentally and physically stronger, more centered and lighter. About a year ago, I wrote a blog for Charlotte Smarty Pants entitled, “Where are you going to look today?” The inspiration for that article came to me on my mat while practicing with Liz as my teacher. A really impactful yoga teacher will not only help evolve your yoga practice physically, but will stretch your mind as well. I ran into Liz recently and thought, I want to learn more about her yoga journey. And I know many of you will enjoy connecting with Liz through her own words too! I have a feeling teacher certifications may be on the rise in Charlotte! Read More →

October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat

Once upon a time, Halloween was about my kids and I shopping and making costumes together. We went online and to stores, I shared ideas that were welcomed with great consideration, and we established a list of options. Then a new chapter began this year when my 11 year old ordered her costume all by herself and my 13 year old decided not to get one at all. I wasn’t even in the mix, well other than giving the final approval for the type and expense of the costume. image-1

For as long as my kids can remember, we had our Halloween tradition. A family who we have known since my son was thirteen weeks old would come over to our house. The kids would get into costume together, faces would be made-up, hair was tended to, and giggles were plentiful. We ate dinner and drank out of skull cups. Pictures were taken and more laughter abounded.

At that point, it was officially kickoff time! We left our bowl of candy on our front porch with a sign that read “please take two pieces,” since we all wanted to experience trick-or-treating with our kids. And yes, that bowl was probably emptied by that kid at some point. None of the four adults could bear to miss the speeding across lawns, the knocks at doors, the sound of their sweet voices saying “trick-or-treat” in unison, or the tripping and stumbling over their bags of candy. And along the way, we were able to catch up with neighbors who had become distant due to life’s chaos, met new neighbors, saw good friends, and enjoyed strolling carefree while taking in our children’s’ excitement. Read More →

October 17, 2016

What is diversity?

In light of recent events in Charlotte, as well as working with diverse students, I have been exploring relatable, easy to understand ways to discuss diversity with children. So if you have moment to talk about diversity with your child, here is a roadmap that I put together. Enjoy talking about your differences and similarities! image1

Diversity: the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

Now let’s use the word diversity in a sentence:

The school aims for diversity in its student population. The city is known for its cultural diversity.

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

How are we similar?
– We all have feelings and want to be love and respected.
– We want friends and to be included.
– We have skin, hair, ears, noses, eyes, arms, and legs.
– Sometimes we play the same sports or participate in the same activities.
– Sometimes we celebrate the same holidays.

How are we different?
– Hair color and texture, eye color, skin color, freckles, and body shapes and sizes.
– Languages, religions, cultural traditions, and beliefs.
– Hobbies, jobs, interests, and talents. Read More →

October 3, 2016

Teaching Children the Importance of Giving and Receiving Grace


Have you even reflected on what grace means? Do you live and model a life full of grace? While in church yesterday, the word grace graced the sermon multiple times and inspired me to jot a few notes down to reflect upon afterwards. I realized that grace extends beyond the church walls and religious readings; that it has a very necessary place in our everyday lives regardless of religion. While listening, I realized grace can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp, nevertheless a very necessary concept.

Grace is essential for growth in self-awareness, confidence, hospitality, and emotional wellbeing. Grace is also essential in parenting our children, so that they feel feel loved no matter the circumstances. When we offer our children grace after they have wronged, we converse over the matter rather than reactively punishing and perhaps sending them off to their rooms without proper dialogue. Ultimately our children want to feel loved, and grace offers them that and so much more. Now, I totally understand that grace can run out and phones have to be taken away, but at least try parenting with grace first and foremost. One day you will receive grace in return and will know you have modeled and passed on an invaluable lifeskill. Read More →

September 19, 2016

The Quest for Happiness and Your Bucket List

We make to-do lists and mental notes everyday. Perhaps imagery pops into your mind of goals you seeing yourself accomplish. You see yourself eagerly getting through these lists, yet you never actually do. At least not yet because there is always tomorrow…

A moment. Think about that word and then think about all that can happen in one single moment. A lot can happen. Meaningful moments and opportunities are presented to us everyday, but they are often taken for granted or overlooked. They are presented in the form of each new day that we awaken to, but we let the word procrastination slip into action all too often.images

We skirt around them, leaving our reminders in our peripheral vision. I do it everyday. We don’t always attack our goals or desires head on. Valid excuses like kids, work, activities, and not enough time blur our quest. And what exactly is the quest? The quest has always been and will always be the same for everyone: happiness. We all desire to live a happy life.

Happiness is attained differently by each one of us. We are all born with a different sense of purpose that requires us to travel down varying paths. No one is right or wrong. If you are listening to your true self, then you are right. If we all walked in one another’s footsteps, not a lot of change and impact would happen in the world or within ourselves.

So what do these lists have to do with happiness? You are probably thinking that they are arduous and time sucking. I am not talking about the grocery list, carpool reminders, or even work agendas. I am talking about your happiness goals or the life experiences you wish upon- also known as your bucket list. Have you even written them down? What comes to the top of that list when you open yourself up to the world, when you allow yourself to come into focus? Read More →

September 5, 2016

When friendships change

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, as well as a time of adjustment. New teachers and classmates bring on a new chapter where new stories have yet to play out. The tone of the year can be shaped by friendships within the classroom, as well as friendships that accidentally or intentionally were left behind with the last school year. image

They’re tied at the hip. Her name is the first name to be eagerly requested when a bring-a-friend opportunity arises. There’s no hesitation on the other side of the phone when the invitation is extended. They are all giggles, smiles and nonstop chatter when they are together. Since day one, they have embraced one another in friendship. Others see that there is something special between them, an undeniable connection, one that would be predicted to last. And then one day it’s just over. There’s no warning, not one indication that it is about to be over. The phone stops ringing, text messages are no longer reciprocated and calls are unanswered. Read More →

August 22, 2016

Teaching kids lifelong skills through DIY projects

This summer has been a summer of projects…for me, mostly. While I do pick up the phone and call handymen and experts, I first ask myself if I can fix the problem myself. I research YouTube and other online resources and then off to HomeDepot I go. I find satisfaction in completing the work myself, saving money, and learning a new skill.
ML Sanding
However, I have been leaving a step out. While my kids ask if they can help me, I often dismiss them too quickly, thinking I can get the project done faster without their involvement. Plus, I kind of enjoy the quiet, focused time without too many questions. I now realize that I should take them up on their curiosities and offers without looking at the clock or looking for perfection.

After battling several things in our home going awry at the same time this summer, I called out for help. An appliance repairman showed up on the scene when water started leaking out from our dishwasher. My husband and I had looked up how to fix the problem and the real problem turned out to be that we watched the wrong DIY video- it was overcomplicated and intimidating. And who pointed this out? The appliance repairman said he felt badly taking our money for such an easy fix. We then proceeded to get into a deeper conversation. Read More →

July 30, 2016

Smarty Mom: Patricia Snow

I remember the first time I met Patricia Snow over 13 years ago, when she met me with a huge smile. Over a decade later, I have never seen Patricia without a glowing smile and a welcoming heart. She instantly makes you feel at home no matter where you are. You are never a stranger in her company. And through the years, Patricia has gone back to school to earn her MBA, has had a career in consulting, started her own business, gotten married and had her first baby, and most recently, twins. And somehow Patricia makes all of this look so easy, as she smiles and gives you her time. Please enjoy getting to know one amazing Charlotte mom, while you draw inspiration from her ability gracefully wear many hats. Ramon and Patricia 060

Smarty Mom: Patricia Snow

Mom of: Ruby, 8 and twins Luna & Lucas, 7 months
Alma Mater: North Carolina State University and MBA at Duke
Married to: Ramon Lopez
Hometown: Yadkinville, NC
Occupation: Owner of Ruby’s Gift and Consultant at Wells Fargo Read More →

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