Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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March 25, 2017

Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Ratliff Front Porch Photo July 2016

When I first met Emily Ratliff, she looked familiar – we actually both commented on how familiar we looked to each other and laughed at the small-town-ness of our city. I’m sure somewhere along the line we’ve run into each other at the mall, a grocery store, a park, or at a stoplight (we Charlotte moms are never really strangers to each other, right? We rival Kevin Bacon and his six degrees any day of the week), but it wasn’t until a mutual friend and Kindermourn connected us that I had the honor to actually meet her.

Emily lost her precious daughter, Claire, to neuroblastoma when Claire was just over two years old. Since then, she and her husband, Kevin, have started an amazing organization called Claire’s Army. I’ll let Emily tell you a little more about what they’re doing and how you can get involved, but know this: Emily, her family, and Claire’s Army are one of the reasons Charlotte is the BEST city in all the land.

It’s women like Emily who make up the backbone of our city – the backbone of us – and who we should be supporting unconditionally because she. is. us. Emily’s family could be ours. She’s the woman behind you in the checkout line, she’s the driver of the SUV beside you at the stoplight, she’s the mom schlepping her kids in and out of Target on a Tuesday morning. And, Claire could be any one of our kids.

Emily is familiar to me because’s she a Charlotte mom. But, here’s the thing: she’s a Charlotte mom doing extraordinary things – all in honor of her extraordinary Claire.

Read on to learn more about Emily, Claire, and Claire’s Army. I hope you feel moved to join in on the army. And, I hope it also moves you to join in on The 13th Annual Kindermourn Hope Floats Duck Race coming up Saturday, April 30 from 2 pm – 5 pm at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. If you haven’t been touched by Kindermourn yet, I guarantee you someone you know has (remember that Charlotte small town thing?). Adopt a duck here or just come out and join in on the fun. It’s one of our favorite family events that benefits one of the best organizations in town.

Smarties, enjoy getting to know this week’s Smarty Mom, Emily Ratliff! And a HUGE thank you to Emily for sharing her sweet family with us.

IMG_5260Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Married to: Kevin
Children: Claire (our angel in heaven who is now 7), Sydney (3) and Walker (8 months)
Hometown: Technically I was born in Minneapolis – but have lived here since I was 2
Years in Charlotte: I moved to Colorado after college, so technically, I’ve been back here for 14
Occupation: Executive Director of Claire’s Army
Alma Mater: UNC Chapel Hill Read More →

March 24, 2017

Fitness Friday: Check out Carolina Barre & Core for your teen!

Carolina Barre Core Ansley

Carolina Barre & Core is the perfect supplement for your teen’s sports workouts. Whether she plays soccer, lax, field hockey, cheer or anything in between – a barre workout will enhance her performance. Research has shown that core conditioning will make you a better athlete, no matter what your sport. And our friends at Carolina Barre & Core (CBC) have special teen pricing just for you!

My 10-grade daughter, Ansley, plays field hockey as her primary sport. This is her off season and since December, she has been working out at Carolina Barre & Core and she absolutely LOVES it! When she first started, it was kind of fun for me to watch her shake at the barre during every exercise – afterall, I’ve been a barre addict for years and I know all too well the pain of the shake and burn:-) But she is now a barre pro and stronger than ever. She now seeks out the shake so she can get the best workout every time.

Here’s what Ansley says about barre:

Barre is more than a strengthening class, it’s a total body workout for me. It targets your core, gluts and thighs. During class, when you feel the burn, you know you’re doing it right and making changes. I can see such a difference in all of my workouts now – I’m an all around better athlete because of barre!

Whether your teen is in the middle of a sport season or not, Carolina Barre & Core is a great workout program for her. They have classes every day after school at 4:30p, 5:45p and 7:00p, so there is something that fits her schedule. The instructors are amazing – Anz comes home all the time talking about how much she loves them! I also love the fact that we can do barre together – as mom and daughter and we both get an incredible workout. On the weekends, we love to do barre and head over to One Life Raw Juice Bar next door and do some quality mother/daughter bonding. It’s the BEST! The Plym gals HIGHLY recommend CBC!! Read More →

March 20, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Starting Solid Foods (or What in the World am I Supposed to Feed My Baby?!)

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

Rice cereal, egg white vs yolks, gluten, dairy, peanut butter, “baby-led weaning”— controversies and changes in feeding recommendations over the past few years have caused some confusion over the best way to start solid foods in infants. Let’s start by saying we all agree that babies need to be fed! It’s the what and when that seems to be ever-changing.

Photo cred:

Photo cred:

A brief review of feeding practices in the past century reveals that in the early 1900’s many infants weren’t fed solid foods until almost a year of age, and green vegetables were sometimes not introduced until age 3! In the 1930’s 4-6 months of age was recommended for starting baby food, and by the mid 1960’s the age of solid food introduction had steadily decreased to the point that 80 % of infants had already started cereal by 1 month of age.

So, what are the most current recommendations?

They are relatively straightforward and simple, and unlike many things these days the “rules” have even relaxed a bit!

Timing: Solid foods should be introduced between 4 and 6 months of age.

Breast milk or formula alone provides sufficient nutrition for most infants until 4-6 months of age. It takes until about 4 months of age for the intestinal and kidney systems to mature enough to process other foods, and by this age most infants have developed the skills to accept and swallow a food. Read More →

March 11, 2017

Smarty Dad: Dr. Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS


We are so excited to introduce you to this week’s Smarty DAD (we love Smarty Dads!!), Dr. Gaurav Bharti. Dr. Bharti is a board certified plastic surgeon and partner at Hunstad Kortesis Plastic Surgery + MedSpa. He’s new to Charlotte but already making a name for himself as one of the best plastic surgeons in town for the “Mommy Makeover” – we’ll let him explain a little more about it, but if you’re feeling not quite yourself after having the kiddos, he might be your knight in shining armor. 😉 (You can also read more on the “Mommy Makeover” in this Q&A we posted last year with Dr. Bharti.)

Dr. Bharti and his wife are raising three beautiful girls. We appreciate the time he took to interview with us amidst his crazy schedule. Smarties, enjoy getting to know Dr. Bharti – and keep reading because there’s an AWESOME Smarty Steal at the end (hint: it’s worth $200!).

Smarty Dad: Dr. Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS

Married to: Sarah Edwards (9 years)
Children: Maya (7) Malina (5) Ariana (3)
Years in Charlotte: 1
Hometown: Johnson City, TN
Alma Mater: East Tennessee State University
Occupation: Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Partner, Hunstad Kortesis Plastic Surgery + MedSpa

Tell us what got you interested in plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery offers me the ability to make people happy on a daily basis. I feel that it is a specialty focused on patient well being and overall happiness.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is that I am able to use my artistic vision and surgical skill to transform my patients and allow them to achieve their goals. Read More →

February 28, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Know Your Doctors – Ophthalmologists

Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. has nearly 100 healthcare providers with different jobs and titles. What do these titles mean and what care does everyone offer? This is the second in a series explaining who our providers are and what they do to keep you and your family healthy. Click here to read the first post in the series.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a physician trained to check vision and prescribe corrective eyewear, diagnose and treat all eye diseases, and perform eye surgery. Some even perform functional and cosmetic facial plastic surgery. Because they are trained in all these areas, ophthalmologists can provide comprehensive and appropriate care to their patients without needing to refer them to other doctors.

Photo courtesy of CEENTA

Photo courtesy of CEENTA

An ophthalmologist is different from an optometrist or optician. Optometrists and opticians are not medical doctors. Optometrists are licensed to perform vision tests, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, detect some eye irregularities, and prescribe medication for some eye diseases. An optician, meanwhile, designs, tests, and fits eyeglasses and contact lenses. They don’t test vision or write prescriptions.

How does someone become an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist must complete college and medical school, and then complete a one-year internship followed by a residency at least three years long. Ophthalmologists also have the option of pursuing a sub-specialty fellowship. The most popular fellowships are for the retina, the cornea, glaucoma, pediatrics, oculoplastics, and neuro-ophthalmology. Read More →

February 23, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: what are laryngitis and hoarseness?

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

Vocal hoarseness is something that can affect people of all ages. But what is hoarseness and how do you treat it? Otolaryngologist Darrell Klotz, MD, of Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. joins us this month to talk about it.

It’s a common occurrence: your child has been playing with sick children or has been running around yelling a lot, and before you know it they’ve lost their voice.

When people talk about losing their voice, many use “laryngitis” interchangeably with “hoarseness.” However, they’re not the same thing. Laryngitis is the inflammation or swelling of vocal folds, and is the most common cause of hoarseness. Laryngitis can be caused by a cold or the flu, acid reflux, overusing the voice and having bad vocal habits, and irritation. However, hoarseness can also be caused by benign lesions on the vocal folds, or possibly even cancer.TeengirllaryngitisWeb

While no single age group is prone to voice disorders, people who use their voices the most – parents, for example – can have more issues with hoarseness, Dr. Klotz said. They are unable to rest their voice when they have even a mild case of laryngitis because many people depend on them to keep up their responsibilities.

If you or your child does come down with a mild case of laryngitis – caused by a cold, flu, or upper respiratory tract infection, for example – the best thing to do is stay well hydrated and rest your voice, Dr. Klotz said. Laryngitis is the equivalent of injuring your ankle and having it swell. You wouldn’t run on a swollen ankle, so you shouldn’t speak when you have laryngitis. Read More →

February 22, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Heart to Heart: Two Families Journey Together to Transplant

CSP Team Note: February is National Heart Month, and we’ve teamed up with our partners at Levine Children’s Hospital to bring you a patient story that will definitely leave a lasting impact on you. Meet Ayden and Travis, two little boys whose paths crossed while waiting for new hearts – read on to see how their journey has affected both families…for the better. Take a minute to watch the awesome videos – they will give you chills! Note – this post was originally published on the Carolinas Healthcare System’s blog.

By the time Aydan and Travis were admitted to the hospital – just weeks apart – the two little boys had what doctors determined to be days to live before their hearts gave out.

Aydan was 3, and Travis was a mere 3 months. Both had serious heart failure that put them in danger of losing their lives.

The pediatric cardiology and heart surgery team at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital suddenly had two young patients in need of heart transplants. Their job: to keep both boys alive until transplant, with no way of knowing how long it would take for a heart to become available for either of them.

Doctors recommended an interim solution called a mechanical heart, which would essentially pump their blood and keep all their organs functioning until a new heart was available.

“I’ll never forget when the doctor told me that the only way that Aydan would live is if we did a surgery to get him on a mechanical heart,” says Miriam, Aydan’s mom. “But he also told me that there was another mom, Allyson, just a few rooms down, whose little baby was just put on that same mechanical heart, and that I should meet her.”

A Bond Forms

Miriam and Allyson — Travis’ mother — met, and the two moms struck up a friendship that soon developed into what Allyson calls a sisterhood.

At first, they’d check in when they saw each other in the hallways. Then, they started sitting in each other’s rooms. As time went on, they’d look in on each other’s son even when the other wasn’t there. Read More →

February 21, 2017

Smarty Alert: RSVP now for Hunstad Kortesis’ After Hours Event

Hunstad Korstesis Plastic Surgery + MedSpa (HK) will host their After Hours Mommy Makeover event next Tuesday, February 28.HK_AfterHours_FB-ads_FEB-1

This RSVP-only Mommy Makeover event includes wine, appetizers, mingling with actual patients and an opportunity to meet their board certified plastic surgeons, renown for their leadership within the cosmetic plastic surgery field. Feel free to event other moms who could use some pampering!

HK surgeons will be there to discuss breast augmentations and tummy tucks. Consult with leaders within the global breast augmentation specialty to discover choices that are meant for you and learn more about their industry-leading experience in removing excess or loose skin for a more confident you.

Check out this great video of patients talking about their surgeries – including one mom of three who feels like her old self again after surgery!

There’s no fee to attend but space is limited. You must RSVP online attend. Complimentary valet parking at Del Friscos is available.

Event Details

HK After Hours: Mommy MakeoverHK_combo logo_cmyk_print
Tuesday, February 28 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM EST
Del Frisco’s in Piedmont Town Center (SouthPark)
4725 Piedmont Row Drive
Suite 170
Charlotte, NC 28210
RSVP here

Call 704-659-9000 or email for questions.

February 13, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Is My Child Too Sick for School/Daycare?

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

It’s Sunday afternoon, or perhaps Tuesday evening, and your 7-year-old is acting crabby. You touch his forehead and yep, it’s warm. Oral temperature of 100.9 Now what? You’ve got one really important work meeting tomorrow, and 5 items on your to-do list. You never really thought you’d do all 5, but had hoped accomplishing 2-3 was a reality. His fever is under 101 so you wonder “can I just give him some ibuprofen and send him to school tomorrow anyway?”Signature Pediatrics

Having an unexpectedly sick child can really throw a monkey wrench into the week’s plans. And determining when your child must stay home from school or daycare for illness isn’t always easy. But there are some straightforward rules on the matter.

First the bad news. We know that most acute illnesses affecting kids are viral and contagious. We also know that while a child has fever he/she is especially contagious. And, of course, children with fever are not going to be able to concentrate and follow along in the classroom or participate in daycare. So children with fevers should stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the help of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Officially a fever is 100.4oF (38 oC) so our 7-year-old in the above vignette is staying home. Read More →

January 30, 2017

Smarty Review of CleanKidz

We’ve all been there. “Mom, I don’t feel good…” and then it happens, they get sick…in the car seat. I don’t know about you, but each and every time my kids have gotten sick, it’s been in the car seat. The one place that has the most nooks and crannies to hold the beloved lunch from an hour before. I despise car seats when it comes to uninstalling, disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, reinstalling. It is the worst.

Recently, I learned about CleanKidz. A local company that cleans car seats, along with other kids’ gear like strollers, pack-n-plays, high chairs, etc. I recently used them to clean an infant carrier and base and the results were amazing. My infant carrier was in the attic for more than one year. It was covered in dust and even had a mold spot. I thought about gifting it to a friend and asked if they would be able to give it the deep cleaning needed to revive it. Deep cleaning is an understatement. The carrier came back as good as new! Additionally, the staff notified me of a recall on the carrier and informed me about the expiration date (yes, car seats have expiration dates!) I was amazed with not only the final product, but the extra information and service that came with my appointment.

I had the opportunity to meet Lee Phillips, owner of CleanKidz, to get a behind-the-scenes tour of their facility and learn more about what they have to offer. Read More →

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