You think you know everything about me, huh?!





I was inspired by my friend Chelsea, over at Haute Child in the City, to do a list of ’10 things you don’t know about me’! But this proved to be quite hard for me because as a self-proclaimed “OPEN BOOK” for as long as I can remember, I feel like not much has been left unsaid! LOL! And honestly, if you’ve ever wanted to know something, all you’ve had to do was ask!

But just in case you don’t feel like you know enough, HERE’S EVEN MORE!!! πŸ™‚

  1. I love food. It’s also a huge reason why I gain and lose 40 pounds every few years. I think about it from the moment I wake til the moment I fall asleep, and will often dream about it. I’m not picky about food either, and will try just about anything. What tastes do I hate? Nutmeg, marmalade, and anything obnoxiously slimy. And while I’m on that topic, I LOATHE yogurt with fruit in it. IF IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE SMOOTH, KEEP IT SMOOTH…no chunks, no rogue seeds. Please and thank you.

I’m legit gagging just looking at this pic!

2. What’s my favorite food? Crab legs. I can easily eat 6 pounds in a sitting, which is why ‘all you can eats’ are the only way to maximize my desire for them. I don’t even mess with that 1 pound on a plate BS…THAT’S NOT A “CRAB FEST” RED LOBSTER!!! If we’re talking sweets, I love donuts so freaking much…Duck, Rise, MJ’s, Harris Teeter, Krispy Kreme etc…if the ‘hot light’ is on…I want to be there.

3. I also LOVE olives (all kinds, I’m not picky)…so much so, that I got them in my stocking for Christmas growing up. Why then? Because they were expensive, and my parents didn’t have that kind of money year-round to buy them for me to eat. So Santa would give them to me! πŸ˜‰ Knowing that tradition, Joshua now gets them for me, and every Christmas morning they’re in my stocking. (Say it with me, “AWE!!!!!!!!!”) Which also means that he’s trying to find a grocery store that’s open at 10pm on Christmas Eve to buy said olives πŸ˜‰


4. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been “OBSESSED,” and not just in the way the Kardashians say it. πŸ™‚ I was always intrigued by docu-series, and inevitably they’d “educate” me to the point of making me paranoid about something. I became obsessed with washing my hands/spraying down my desks/not touching any door handles/rails, etc. after I watched the one on germs. I also counted every Honda I saw on the road for three years…OUT LOUD. I developed a cough that I had to do every five seconds, or else I would burst (also lasted for years). I would bite all of the skin on the inside of my mouth til it felt totally smooth, except it never would of course (lasted for a decade). For many years, I’d need my hands constantly wet, but I hated the feeling of lotion, so if it had just rained, I was excited to touch every car in the parking lot. I would pick all of the skin off of my feet religiously too. I am SUPER proud to say that the ONLY habit I have left of all of these is my Blistex reliance. Yes, I rely on it. But it hurts NO ONE, and it’s cheap, so I’m not giving it up! Do I realize that I probably had some OCD tendencies, that probably at some point needed medical help? OF COURSE! But look at how I’m doing now?!!! πŸ˜‰

5. On a serious note, speaking of things that needed medical intervention, I had an eating disorder for many years (also watched a docu-series on this), and I probably used everything in #4 as a distraction/to cover up the real issue I was hiding. I was anorexic and bulimic, anorexic for all of 8th grade and parts of my high school life, and bulimic in college. It lasted for about six years on and off, and all came to a head at Appalachian State University when I was on the cheerleading squad. I got busted by some dorm mates, and they confided in some people, and those people told the coach. I was asked to leave the squad, and go get the “help” I needed. I was in group therapy (don’t recommend), individual therapy (with a dude…don’t recommend), and saw a nutritionist. I played along, and tried to get better, but wasn’t getting very far. Then I met Joshua, and all seemed right with the world finally, and I stopped disordering almost immediately, and haven’t relapsed since. He better never leave me…NO PRESSURE JOSHUA! πŸ˜‰

6. Growing up, I LOVED to watch infomercials, and LOVED to watch QVC. I am such a sucker, because I felt like those peeps were talking DIRECTLY TO ME!!! Mission accomplished tv hosts! I don’t know how many Christmases I asked for a food dehydrator, simply because I wanted to make beef jerky! It’s also a HUGE reason why I went to school for broadcasting. I wanted to be one of them more than life itself. Or a host of ‘Regis and Miranda,’ E! News Daily, The Today Show, or Trading Spaces! I even applied to host that show once πŸ˜‰ I can still get sucked in to a QVC broadcast if I’m not careful, but at least this time, I don’t beg my mom to order me the TODAY’S SPECIAL VALUE!!!

7. I haven’t seen any movies that were put out before I became an adult. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much. We weren’t allowed to watch movies growing up…for no specific reason other than my parents wanted us to be OUT of the house, not IN the house. It was also expensive to take us to the movies, so we didn’t go. The exceptions were Batman, and Batman Returns (I don’t know why). This includes Disney movies yall! I saw The Lion King at a friend’s house or else who knows when I would’ve finally watched it?! To this day, I haven’t seen Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Top Gun, all of the Star Wars pre 2015, The Goonies (I’ve since tried and just CAN’T), ET, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Back to the Futures, Scarface, Indiana Jones’, and the list goes on forever! NOW that I get to make my own decisions, movies are a favorite past time of mine and we go A LOT.

8. What we WERE allowed to watch growing up was JEOPARDY! Yep! We were always allowed to watch JEOPARDY, which means that I’m extremely good at trivia, but a master at nothing πŸ˜‰ I still LOVE to watch it any chance I can, but fully realize I’d never be smart enough to be on it.

9. I secretly want to be a comedienne (watch my Instastories and you’ll see the stage show ;)). But my stage fright would prevent me from ever seeing this to fruition, plus my fun friend, self doubt πŸ˜‰ I’ll say this though…if I ever even got the courage to attend a comedy class, and for some reason decided to step foot on a stage, NO ONE in my life would know about it until I became a huge star. Then I’d let everyone in on the fact that I’m killing the comedy game, and they can get seats for my special that I’m obviously taping for Comedy Central. And I realize having stage fright doesn’t seem like “me” because I’m an emcee, on television a lot, and do speaking engagements often. But comedy is a whole ‘nother ballgame (as is karaoke).

10. I’ve wanted to be a surrogate for seven or so years. Ever since I had Lilly (our second who is 8 years old), and we knew she was our last kiddo, I wanted to help others who couldn’t have babies. I wanted to be a gustational surrogate, which means it’s the other couple’s egg and sperm (or a donor’s), not mine or Joshua’s. I have extremely easy/uneventful pregnancies, and I was watching so many friends close to me go through infertility. I knew I could carry a child, and “give it up” to its parents without issue, because 1. it’s not my baby, 2. I didn’t get super attached to my own children in vitro 3. it’s not my baby 4. it’s a contractual agreement that everyone enters together 5. it’s not my baby. (Did I make the point that’s it’s not MY baby?) It’s an intense process full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and I actually have offered a few of my friends my uterus. But the couples all ended up getting pregnant on their own (which is awesome)!!! I doubt it’s still in the cards for me to do (being a mom of two, a nanny of two, and a guardian of four keeps my life ever-changing as it is), but it’s on my heart for sure, and always will be!

So now that I’ve shared a TON of personal information about myself, share something about you in the comments, so I can feel less vulnerable πŸ˜‰ PRETTY PLEASE…don’t make me beg πŸ™‚ If enough people play along, I’ll do another list because as I was writing this, I realized there’s plenty more to share!

PIN IT!




Can kindness be the super hero this Halloween?




It’s that time of year again. You know the time. When people complain about kids who don’t live near them, or kids who don’t live in their neighborhood, coming to their house to ask for a PIECE OF CANDY. Yep, I’m referring to the Halloween Haters.

I know. I know. You live in the huge, popular neighborhood (Baxter Village, Willowmere, Providence Plantation), where you not only have to provide candy to your regular neighborhood kids, but also to kids who DON’T LIVE THERE.

{Here is where I’m supposed to loudly gasp with disgust}

Oh yeah. Except, I’m not disgusted by it. And maybe that’s because I don’t live in the big neighborhood, so I’m not forking over the added cost of feeding children for ONE NIGHT A YEAR. But I just can’t imagine that I would be as livid and as rude as I’ve seen some people be on social media about this. Actually, I know I wouldn’t be like that because I believe the more the merrier, and that we belong to each other, but I digress. Yes, I see your posts/comments. Fun fact: Your comments are seen by your friends’ friends. Yes, I think it’s crazy you’re upset.

I actually saw where a woman had typed,Β “I think they’re BUSING the poor kids in from miles away!” Or this gem, “I’ve never been a fan of people who go to other neighborhoods to trick or treat.” And another facebooker said, “I’m sick of paying for the extra mouths of the kids I don’t see in our neighborhood on a daily basis…I spent an extra $100 last year!”

WOW.

Let me mention this, in case you’ve forgotten, or it hasn’t dawned on you. Not every kid lives in a neighborhood. Some live on a busy street with no sidewalk. Not every kid lives near other homes. The next closest home might be 5 miles away. Not every kid lives near people who participate in Halloween. Not every kid lives in a SAFE neighborhood where they can walk outside (before OR after dark) and knock on unfamiliar doors, knowing they won’t be in danger.

NOT EVERY KID HAS WHAT YOUR KID HAS…a neighborhood, filled with homes that are warm and welcoming. Or maybe they aren’t, huh?! So I BEG YOU, before you complain AGAIN this year about this “problem,” keep some perspective. You have to buy extra candy, and see some unfamiliar faces, for a few hours on ONE night out of 365. But you may just make a kid’s (or many kids) day, week, or possibly life.

Because these are memories that can last a lifetime. Not just from the Halloween standpoint. But maybe they’ll notice that strangers were kind to them? Maybe they’ll get candy for the first time in a long time, because their parents struggle to get dinner on the table, let alone the “extras” like candy/pencils/stickers/treats?! Or maybe they just really love the decorations your neighborhood puts on display, where their home has none to look at? Maybe they just want to have carefree FUN for one night, and your neighborhood provides that for them?

Sure, there are probably some ungrateful, rude, disrespectful bad eggs in the bunch. But that goes for any neighborhood in America, and I can assure you that some of those rude kids LIVE in your neighborhood FYI! And even if they don’t, why punish the good kids because of a few?

So I ask you, is it really THAT big of a deal? Is it really THAT hard to give them a treat without being bitter? Is it really worth saying anything unkind about them, or their parents who may drive them there?!

And while I’m on the topic of giving out candy even when you don’t want to…give it to the dang teenagers and kids who didn’t put on a costume. I’m thrilled to pieces that they still want to get out there and walk door to door. I also don’t know their motives behind collecting the candy. I know of a few dentist offices that have a “buy back” program, where they’ll give you cash for your pounds of candy, and then they ship that candy to troops overseas! I call that hustling at its finest πŸ˜‰ Or maybe they’re not getting enough food at home, and haven’t eaten since their free lunch at school? Do they have sensory issues and costumes just don’t work for them, as it’s tough enough to just get them dressed in pants with buttons on them? Does it really bother you THAT MUCH if they’re “too old” or “not dressed up,” or are you “supposed” to be pissed?

Here’s an idea…try not to be annoyed. Instead, feel gratitude. Be appreciative that you live in such a wonderful neighborhood, that people WANT to be in it. Because, if you love all of the perks (fun, safety, decor, kindness) of where you live, how can you expect others not to notice, and want the same, for even just one night?

Or there’s always this idea…turn off the light, don’t answer the door, save all of your money, and don’t see any of the joy you could’ve brought to many faces. Like these…

 

 

 

Throwing back to 2015 I think?!

Let’s have kindness be the superhero this Halloween, shall we?!




Halloween meals from breakfast to dessert!





I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS! I long for a reason to celebrate anything, and with any given holiday, there’s typically the extra promise of more family time! And Halloween is no exception in our house! I decorated six weeks ago, and have been coming up with fun ideas to play up the holiday with THIS post, and THIS one too! Please go check them out πŸ™‚

But this post is all about the actual day, from start to finish! You have to feed your family/yourself anyways, right?! So why not make each meal have a Halloween component, or theme?! I’m giving you some ideas, and I promise you they are SIMPLE, CHEAP, and EASY (otherwise know as my “happiness trifecta”) πŸ˜‰

Let’s start with breakfast…

We don’t always start our days with sugary donuts, but it’s Halloween, so we’re going all out! Take a chocolate Entenmanns pop-em (or chocolate donut hole), and place it in the center of a cake donut (glazed would work fine too). Then take a piping bag filled with black buttercream, and pipe four legs on each side coming out of the spider “body.” DONE!
#protip: you may need to make the hole of the cake donut bigger, so carve out a bit with a knife to create more room!

Moving on to lunch:

I’ve already showed yall how to make these cute Halloween-themed Babybel treats over HERE, but look how great they fit in the girls’ lunch cubes (link will be at the bottom of post for these)!
#protip: use these silicone cupcake liners to separate the food!

On to after school snack:

Knowing that they’re going to eat more sweets than usual tonight, I’m going to give the minis fruit for their after school snack! Pineapple, mandarin oranges and whipped cream make the cutest candy corn fruit parfaits! You could even put a few candy corns on top if you want!
#protip: use a martini glass to get that perfect triangular shape (I used a low-ball because there’s a less likely chance it gets knocked over than one with a stem)

What’s for dinner:

I’m not reinventing the wheel here, as you’ve probably all seen this one, but it’s a crowd favorite so I keep making them! Hot dog mummies are not only cute, but with three ingredients, I’m sold! Take crescent rolls and cut the dough into thin strips. Wrap them around hot dogs in any design you want, leaving room for the mustard eyes! Bake according to package instructions!
#protip: you can cut into the hot dog to make legs and arms if you’d like, but I love them either way!

Room for dessert?!

Maybe you’re hosting a Halloween party? Or have a Halloween birthday? “Make” this cake! Make is in parentheses because I bought this one from the grocery store (ask for double layer, smooth base iced, no border…it’s only $10), and decorated it myself with Oreos, M&Ms and Wilton eyeballs! Use buttercream to attach the Oreos on to the cake, and the candy on to the oreos. The grocery’s bakery will sell you spare buttercream yall!
#protip: TWIST your oreos VERY slowly in order to keep as much cream on the one cookie as possible

If cupcakes are easier, use the same technique as the cake!

And for every special occasion, we buy the Welch’s sparkling juice, and our minis absolutely love it (probably because they don’t have juice on typical days)! I found these plastic goblets at the grocery store, and they make the perfect vessel to hold the vampire blood, I mean red grape juice πŸ˜‰

If you decide to do all, some, or even just one of these ideas, please make sure to tag me at #MirandainCLT so I can see your creations! Don’t forget to check out my gluten free Halloween bark treat HERE!

Check out my segment from NBC’s Charlotte Today!

Some of the things I used in this post:

Have so much fun, be safe, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!




How to make gluten free Halloween Bark!





My daughter, Bella, recently went gluten free. Without getting too much into her personal body stuff, her stomach has been hurting for a long time. And with her aunt and nanna both having gluten sensitivities, I decided to eliminate it from her diet and see if there was an improvement. I knew it would probably be the first thing her pediatrician suggested too, so I figured I’d do this experiment before I paid a copay πŸ˜‰

My beautiful Bella!

Sure enough, she is feeling MUCH BETTER! She hardly ever says her stomach hurts anymore, and sure, it could be the placebo effect, but I’m thinking this really may be helping her for reals! But since she’s been gluten free for about 3-4 weeks now, she’s had to give up a lot of her favorite treats. And with Halloween coming up, I wanted to make her something special…to show her she can still indulge, and yet stay on track!

ENTER GLUTEN FREE BARK!!!

I’m a fan of making bark year round, for any occasion, because it is SO FREAKING EASY, but also because if gives me a chance to use up a bunch of random stuff I might have laying around in my pantry! For this bark, I honestly had put a bunch of gluten-free candy in my grocery cart, but then I started thinking about everything I already had on hand at home (that I’ve been putting in her lunches), and threw this together with only having to buy the chocolate at the store!

Start with melting the chocolate; I used this kind…

Remember our chocolate-dipped strawberries from Easter? I told yall to always save your colored chocolate, right?! That’s because you can reheat it again and again! So I grabbed my orange and got it all melted (add vegetable oil if it’s thicker than you’d like), and get ready to swirl!

Next, have all of your toppings ready to go! I used (always double check your packaging for gluten-free goods):

  • Gluten free pretzels sticks (love the ones from Aldi)
  • Mini marshmallows
  • M&Ms (orange)
  • Trail mix (peanuts, cashews, raisens, etc.)
  • Popcorn

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, pour the melted chocolate onto it, and spread it out in a nice even layer (edges do not need to be straight at all). Grab your orange chocolate and just drop it on the milk chocolate…no need to be perfect here either because you’re going to swirl it anyways! Take a toothpick, tip of a knife, skewer, butter knife, whatever, and start making figure eights all over the chocolate until it looks pretty!

Working quickly (while it’s still melted), drop the toppings all over the chocolate mixture! Once they’re all on there, press the pieces that are sticking up and not touching any chocolate, to make sure they’ll harden in it and stay put. Pop the cookie sheet in the fridge and let harden completely.

Once cooled, take it out, break it up (with your hands), and display/wrap them up however you’d like! I used clear spiderweb bags so the cute bark can still be seen through them, but use whatever you find that’s cute!

 

This treat is so perfect because it can be adapted to ANYTHING…any occasion, holiday, color scheme, etc. The possibilities truly are endless! These make a great hostess gift, especially with holiday season coming up. Because they can stay fresh in your fridge, you can always have some on hand, although you don’t have to refrigerate them by any means! You know what I would do if I were you? I’d take some of my kids’ Halloween candy and save it to make Christmas bark πŸ™‚

And guess who loved her gluten free surprise after school today?!

Poor girl busted her lip!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT!!

Check out my other Halloween post about how to use Babybel cheese as the perfect Halloween snack, and it’s also gluten free (plus I need your vote on something over there)!

What are you going to put on your bark?!




Halloween Crafts using a healthy food?!





Nothing says “holiday season” to me, like signing up for a million things to bring to your kids’ classrooms, #amiright?! I actually really love to do this sort of stuff NOW that I don’t own the cakery, and delight in trying to come up with creative ways to use ordinary things. And as usual, budget is of the essence, as is time, and of course when food is involved with a ton of kids, I try to sneak in a healthy item here and there! I mean, they’ll get enough candy Halloween night πŸ˜‰

Enter Babybel mini cheese snacks! Who doesn’t love these cute, little, portable, delicious 100% real cheese snacks?!!! And for the month of October, the original flavor has Halloween packaging on it, which just adds to the fun! And for someone like me (who is eating low carb, I am living for all things cheese, but I digress) πŸ˜‰ Back to the kids! And not only will this work well for a class party/craft, it’s super cute to throw in a lunch box as a surprise for your kiddo!

So in the spirit of coming up with a fun kids’ craft, that would be a hit for 25 or so kids, relatively inexpensive, AND double as a snack, I present to you…

Babybel goes BOO!

Here are three ways to use those cute little cheese wheels, using the same three supplies of a plastic tablecloth, pipe cleaners, and a sharpie (all found at the Dollar Tree for a total of $4):

GHOULISH GHOSTS…


Cut a square of the plastic, white tablecloth, and put your mini Babybel cheese in the center. Fold over, and gather underneath the cheese, and using a silver pipe cleaner, twist until secure, and trim the excess! Draw oval eyes on the front of the ghost’s face, and voila!

CUTE CANDY…

Cut a rectangle out of any fun, printed plastic tablecloth, and put your mini Babybel cheese in the center. Fold the tablecloth together lengthwise and tape the back seam. Then, using two pipe cleaners, one on each side, twist until secure! You now have a fun piece of candy, just like you’d get in your bucket on Halloween night!

PERFECTLY PUMPKIN…

For this one, I made a video to show you the how-to! It’s one minute long, and super easy to do!

TIME TO VOTE!

I’m curious as to which project you like best? Click on the pic that’s your favorite! OH, and when you get to the Babybel website, make sure you click on the OK button at the top to let them know I sent ya!


That’s it friends! Couldn’t be simpler to make fun, delicious, Halloween-themed treats, for not a lot of money! Speaking of not a lot of money, Target is running deals on Babybel all month long, so grab some from your local store! Let’s not act like you’re not there three times a week anyways (cough, cough)! πŸ˜‰

My little ghoul, I mean, girl πŸ˜‰

Speaking of Halloween, check out THIS POST to see how to make gluten free Halloween bark!

Don’t forget to pin this!!!





Cake isn’t my favorite dessert!

ARE YOU SHOCKED?!

Well, you shouldn’t be if you follow me on social media πŸ˜‰ Because I’ve admitted this a number of times! Don’t get me wrong…I like cake, but I don’t looooooovvvve cake. What I do love is sugar in general. I’m addicted to sugar (well I was until 6 weeks ago…more on that later). And since I owned a cakery for ten years, people assume that I must love cake the most! A fair assumption for sure, but nonetheless incorrect. I’m a pie, cobbler, crumble, cookie, ice cream, froyo, macaroon (NOT macaron), cheesecake, brownie kind-of-girl.




Which got me to thinking…can I make a tiered cake out of my favorite desserts?! And thus give people a different option to the traditional tiered cakes?!

Which led me to this precise idea…

A BROWNIE A LA MODE CAKE!!!

And I’m not gonna lie…I think it’s kind of brilliant πŸ˜‰ We have a restaurant we eat at often that has the best brownie a la mode (besides my dad’s), and it’s HEAVEN. So I recreated it in a tiered cake form, minus the chocolate and caramel drizzle (simply because I ran out of time), not because I didn’t want to do it πŸ˜‰

Watch the video! And even if you aren’t interested in a brownie cake per se, you’ll see other tips, tricks, and techniques used to stack/make a tiered cake in general! From how to use cardboard rounds and straws to support a tier to which piping tip is my favorite to how to make the perfect whipped cream!

And speaking of whipped cream…since it is used at the “icing” in this “cake,” make sure it’s not out of the fridge for longer than 4 hours at a time!

This would also make a great alternative to the “naked cake” trend right now, since brownie edges are supposed to be crunchy anyways #amiright?!

Without further ado, here’s the video!!!

Here’s the video I referenced on how to level a cake, or brownie πŸ™‚

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, comments or concerns! And here are some of the products I used in the videos!

 

 

 

 

DIY candle decor for the fall!




You know the signs.

The crispness in the air, the colors of the leaves, holidays are fast approaching, and seasonal decor makes it’s appearance! It’s that time of year…

IT’S FALL, YALL!!!

Fall is admittedly my favorite season, but not because I like PSLs (I tried one once and thought it was awful), or wear UGGS (never owned a pair), or because chunky sweaters are LIFE (they just make my chins more prominent). It’s because it’s the time for LOTS of family togetherness! I have a HUGE family, and we use any excuse to party together, but the holidays are all that much more fun when you have a big family to celebrate them with.

I also love that Joshua will take a bit more time off of work, we’ll have more time together in our little family of four, and we may even try to get to NYC at some point during the holiday season, even if only for a few days!

But fall just says COZY to me. Snuggle up with the ones you love, get a fire going in the fireplace, and curl up under a blanket. I love condo living, but we don’t have a fireplace and it bums me out. So we did the next best thing…put a mantle up, and have lanterns of different sizes and shapes filled with candles under it. It’s not the same obvi, but it sets the mood just fine πŸ™‚

Speaking of candles, they’re great for so many reasons…from scent to glow to look…they make a room in my opinion! So I’m going to share SEVEN of my DIY candle ideas with you! Almost everything you see was bought at the Dollar Tree, with a few items from Walmart, so you know that these are also affordable projects! {PRAISE HANDS}

  • The Pumpkin Spice Latte…

Found this glass coffee mug at the store, filled it with whole coffee beans, and sunk a pumpkin spice candle down in the beans! And as the candle starts to burn and warm up, the fragrance of a PSL fills the air! I like the scent, but not the drink, go figure!

  • The Crisp Apple…

Plain glass vase, plus burlap around the side, tied with twine and an apple-scented candle dropped inside…reminds of apple picking in the mountains (which we’ve never done, but makes a lovely anecdote doesn’t it?! ;))

  • The Not-candy Corn…

You don’t always have to buy a vase/votive; just look around the house! I filled a martini low-ball glass with popcorn kernels, and sunk a tea light in them. Then I found a candy corn-colored striped ribbon, and tied it around the neck of the glass! But why not candy corn you ask?! It certainly is in season, right? But let’s be honest…if it was filled with candy corn, I’d want to eat every last one of them. It’s safer this way πŸ˜‰

  • The Footballer…

This one is super fun for kids and you can do the concept a million different ways, so please customize it for your kiddos how you see fit! But fall means football to me, so I chose that fabric. Walmart sells fabric squares for less than a dollar, so grab a few (I was looking for plaid but didn’t find one that day), and cut a strip of one. Wrap it around a tin soup can you’ve cleaned out, and secure it with a dot of glue, and an extra ribbon! Then instead of using a real candle/lighter and having to worry about the flame/burning, just use a battery-operated light!

  • The Colorful Leaves…

Again, I started with a cheap glass vase, and then used leaves bought at the dollar tree, and hot glued them all over. When a candle goes inside of this, the colors are gorgeous!!! After you hot glue them on, you could always seal them with Modpodge, but I didn’t!

  • The Cinnamon Stick…

Start with a plain pillar candle, and wrap a sheet of paper around the side of it, because as much as I wish hot glue would stick a cinnamon stick to the candle, it won’t. WHY?! Because hot glue melts wax yall!!! {Not speaking from personal experience or anything} πŸ˜‰ So wrap in paper, glue the sticks on to the paper, and then cut the remaining paper off! YALL. When this one is lit and warmed up?!!! Close your eyes and imagine the smell. You’re welcome.

  • The Glitter and Hemp?!

I like mixing high and low in decor, and this candle is no exception. Starting with a plain pillar again, wrap some sparkly ribbon around and secure it with a push pin. After that, take your roll of hemp, cut off a piece, and make a letter on the side over the existing ribbon, using more push pins. I did M for Miller, but these would look so pretty spread down the center of a table, on a mantle, on your porch, wherever, and they could spell out your whole last name!

These candles are simply meant to give you some ideas, but always add your own spin on them as you see fit! Do multiples of them and use them as centerpieces to a tablescape. Line a mantle with an array of them. Maybe even give them as gifts…they make awesome hostess gifts!

Also, don’t forget to pin it!

Introducing ME…as your EMCEE?!!!





I can’t believe ANOTHER charity has decided that out of everyone in Charlotte, I would be the best person for the emcee position, so the pickings must be slimmmmmmm πŸ˜‰ I mean, I’m honored and humbled that they trust me with a microphone in front of 800 people, but there must be someone else more qualified, right, RIGHT?!!!

But the truth of it is, when I was approached by my friend Allyson saying she was throwing my name in the ring (if I was up for it), of course I said, “I’ll do it!” Because no matter how terrifying it is to speak in front of that many people, it’s MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to raise money for a great cause, and No Kid Hungry is near and dear to my heart.

So without further ado, I’m your new Master of Ceremonies for this year’s Taste of the Nation Charlotte event!!! And although it’s not my first time interacting with this great cause (I donated gift certificates in years past from my old cakery), it will be my first year attending, so why not host the thing while I’m there?!!! πŸ˜‰

If you’ve never heard of it, or have never been, it’s a night meant to raise money so no child in America goes hungry, while you eat, drink and are entertained! It’s the 22nd year that Charlotte has hosted this event, and there is a lineup of incredible restaurants participating! Some of my personal favorites will be there, from O-ku and Fahrenheit, to Queen City Q and Mimosa Grill! If you’d like to see a whole (and still growing) list, head HERE! And please let me know if you have/know of a restaurant that would still like to get in on the action…it’s not too late…I know a guy πŸ˜‰ I’m also thrilled to know that the local charities benefiting from this event are Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Culinary School!

It will be at The Fillmore at NC Music Factory, which ironically is the last place I MC’d a charity event, so at least the space is familiar to me! Although last time, I took a shot (or 2) to ease the nerves. Might have to break #sober17 for this one folks! πŸ™‚ Not only will there be incredible food, but also delicious drinks from the top mixologists and sommeliers in the area. And who doesn’t love an auction?!!! It really is an awesome night for an important cause, and I’d love to see as many familiar faces as possible! I’d actually really like it if yall were perfectly stationed throughout the crowd, laughing hysterically at my jokes too πŸ˜‰ #noshame

The date is September 27th 2017, and has two price points:

  • VIP Admission is $120 and from 6-9:30pm (these tickets let you in an hour early)
  • General Admission is $85 and from 7-9:30pm

But yall know how much I like to give away things, right?! I have four tickets up for grabs (two pairs of two tickets) and I want YOU to win (I mean, if you want them)?!! What do you have to do to win? Simple enough…you must follow me, Miranda in Charlotte, on FB and IGΒ , then comment “No Kid Hungry” on my blog post down below, my FB post, OR my IG post. If you already follow me, only the No Kid Hungry comment is needed in one of the three places! I will draw for the winner on the 20th to give you time to find a sitter, ask off of work the next day, whatever! πŸ™‚

Oh, and if you don’t win the tickets, no worries, because I’ll have a discount code for my followers that I’ll give you after I announce the ticket winners! BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE (said in my best announcer’s voice), I’ll be on WCCB with Wilson’s World soon to promote the event! As soon as I know more, you’ll know morem I promise!

Thanks everyone for supporting this great cause, and if you can’t make the event this year, keep your ears out for next year! Liking the Taste of the Nation Charlotte facebook page will keep you up to date! I am actually really excited about emceeing this year’s event, and can’t wait to see what we raise…because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for me!

Lights, Camera, Bella…turns 11!




Red carpet by Oriental Trading

We rolled out the red carpet for our oldest, Isabella Grace, who was born on Labor Day 2006. That’s right! I was in labor from 12:30am-6:11pm on all of Labor Day! It’s actually a super funny story that deserves it’s own blog post, so standby for that! But this one is all about our girl’s 11th birthday party!!! And since it actually FELL on Labor Day this year, her biggest request was to have the party on her real day, since everyone had the day off! I was more than happy to oblige because it got me out of having to do a spend-the-night birthday party! #momwin

When we started to talk about themes, Bella told me she already knew what she wanted because she saw it in an Oriental Trading catalog…a movie star theme! It made sense because Bella has gotten into drama lately, taking the class at her new middle school, trying out for the school play, and watching old movies! I thought it fit our mini perfectly and we began to map out the plan.

Her Oma and Opa (my parents) live in a condo, and part of their COA fees go to a lounge area that can be “rented out”…all one has to do is sign up for the rooms, and they’re yours for the time frame…no cost! And this area consists of a reception area, lounge with full kitchen (and amazing views), a game room with ping pong, pool table, etc., and a movie theatre! Which obviously worked perfectly for Bella’s party!

Once we nailed down a place, we used Evite for the invitation! I’m sure I could’ve gotten some cute invitations to mail, but Evite was fast and easy, and saved me money on stamps!

I don’t know why it isn’t showing the whole invite, but you get the picture #punintended

Then it was time to shop for decor and supplies! Since Bella got the idea for this from Oriental Trading, she had already fallen in love with a bunch of their stuff, so we ordered it from them! We got SO MUCH STUFF, and their prices are ON POINT yall, so my wallet was happy too! But I gotta also say this…the quality of the stuff was better than I expected! Super thick paper used on things I thought might be thin and flimsy, products were larger/longer/more durable than I thought they’d be. Overall, I was super impressed by not only the goodies, but the service as well! I’ll point out some of the specific items we ordered as I post the pics below.

Then came THE dress. To start, Bella wanted her friends to arrive wearing their “red carpet best,” which meant she would also be wearing a fancy dress! We had planned on her wearing something she already owned, but then she saw THE dress. When I was working the Southern Women’s Show a few weekends ago, Bella joined me for a bit, and I let her walk up and down the aisle of booths (we were located in) to kill time. She came across a booth called Promise Clothing, and fell in love with a dress that was front and center.

She ran back to me at the Bonita Pina booth and begged me to come see THE dress. Finally I relented, and when I laid my eyes on it, I knew why she was enamored. I spoke to Lesa, the owner and designer, and asked if we could buy the dress right then and there but it wasn’t Bella’s size. So guess what?! She offered to make her one! But then I said, “I need it in 10 days.” Bless Lesa’s heart…she not only got it done, but she had it done early AND delivered it to our door! Bella felt so beautiful in this dress, and we can’t thank Lesa enough! Please contact her here if you want something special for your little girl! Lesa’s company will not only be showing at Charlotte’s Fashion Week, but she’s also been asked to participate in NYFW too!!! Bravo Lesa!

Her fitting with Ms. Lesa!

Oma let Bella go through her jewelry!

Lesa even made a muff for her hands!

Then it came time to do some crafting for Bella’s party, including a ticket booth! Bella had the awesome idea to buy a tri-fold board (like we use for the science fair) and make it the ticket booth…complete with movie posters of what the girls were going to be watching that day! It was so easy to make, and took less than $15 total!

I purchased a few other odds and ends for the party from Party City, The Dollar Store and Walmart in the days leading up to it, but totally forgot about the CAKE!!! I know, I know. As a former caker, it should be the first thing on my mind, but honestly, Bella kept waffling between an ice cream cake, and a real cake! So we were down to the wire, and were in a Publix anyways grabbing some groceries, and I told her to look through their catalog. She found a graduation cake that she liked the style of, minus the pic and diploma obviously, but we could make it work! Then I saw it was $80, and thought ‘I wonder if I could order the tiers separately and finish decorating/stacking it myself?’ So I did just that…ordered an 8 inch red rosette tier, and a plain white 6 inch tier, and spent $35 this way πŸ™‚

Bella and I had fun decorating the top tier together, and I highly recommend you trying this if you have the will to stack your own cake! But you must somewhat know what you’re doing, and I wanted to video it so bad for yall, but simply ran out of time! The top tier was wrong when I went to pick it up the night before (#MandiesLaw) and I had to reorder, getting that tier the morning of her party and still having to decorate the dang thing!

I digress.

With everything ready to go, we headed over to the condo, unpacked everything, decorated it all, and welcomed Bella’s friends on the red carpet at 3pm sharp. They got a ticket to the movie at the ticket booth, posed in front of the backdrop while paparazzi took their pics, got glasses of sparkling grape juice, and hung out. They played in the game room, while we waited on everyone to show up, and then it was time to start the show, with a clap board of course!

Sweet friends from Irish dancing, RiverGate ES, Dilworth ES, her cousin, Lilly and Lilly’s bestie, Loren.

Clapboard from oriental Trading

Bella chose Singin’ in the Rain because it was a throw back to old Hollywood, and because she loves that movie!

We had a “concession stand” with snacks for everyone to choose from before the movie, their own bags of popcorn, and drinks! After the movie, we had cake and opened presents. The take home gift was a movie award, and Bella presented each friend with one saying they won “The Best Friend Award,” and Lilly got “The Best Sister Award.”

Dessert table!

Movie reel table runner from Oriental Trading!

Popcorn bags from Dollar Tree, and bowls from Party City

Movie Buff Awards, plates, and napkins from Oriental Trading

It was an amazing day, for our incredible mini, and I can’t wait to see what we dream up for her twelfth!!! Although I’m not rushing the days away at all!

A few more group pics with the fun props from Oriental Trading!

My gorgeous family! And I’m tall because of 7 inch heels (seriously, look at them)!

Irish dancing friends!

My parents, and sister, Jackie…they’re always the best helpers!

Sweet cousins in front of the Oriental Trading red curtain backdrop

For our kids’ birthdays, the not birthday girl gets to bring a friend!

RiverGate friends, and we all lived in the same ‘hood!

Dilworth Crew!

Shop some of the random things I used:

 

We’re moving…to a HOUSE??? (part 2)!





If you missed part 1, HERE it is! Go read it first πŸ™‚

So where did we leave off?! Oh yes…

Annnnnnnnd, the plot thickens!!!

I tell Joshua about this, and wasn’t sure what he thought. Hell, I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. But at least it was an option. Is it our “dream neighborhood”? No. I’m currently typing this from my couch in our dream ‘hood (our condo :)). BUT, is it my dream to be close to family and make smart financial decisons? Yes.

Fun fact for my new followers: my sister, Jackie, and I built our second homes back to back years ago, and loved it! No really! See those stairs? They led from our backyard to the gate of my sister’s fence in her backyard!

When my niece and nephews come to live with us, will it be AWESOME to have all of their cousins right there?! Yes! Does it make it super easy on my mom when she picks our kids up from carpool on Tuesdays, and brings them to our homes? Absolutely! When we have family Thanksgivings, will it be amazing to see 60+ people walking between our two homes to fix a cocktail, hang out on our porch, throw horseshoes, etc.? Totally. Will it be SO MUCH FUN watching our kids have sleepovers, camping in the backyards, and hanging out in tree houses? Of course.

So we think it all over, and decide that we will totally take my parents up on this idea! And as we start to share the news with our close family members, I quickly realize that EVERY SINGLE PERSON knew about/had already been offered/wanted/had discussed this magical lot of land. And we were the last to get thrown a bone about it #middlechildproblems! Even my cousins, who JUST MOVED TO CHARLOTTE, had been told about the land from my parents?!!! But even if I was the last to know (I always am), we’re the quickest to act and take them up on it πŸ˜‰

My parentals are going to finance the construction loan, and when the house is done being built, they’ll sell it to us plus the cost of the land, and call it a day! We’ve already started the grading process, and pray to be done late February! We also hope to sell our home right around that same time, using the equity from it to pay off a good chunk of the new house, so it should all work out pending #MandiesLaw πŸ˜‰

And it really is SUCH a smart financial move for us! The land is CRAZY affordable (and not just because it’s my parent’s), but they got a steal years ago on it. And because we’re building a small (easy) house, it won’t cost too much to build! And with the way that building/real estate is coming up S. Tryon, we feel like we’ll be sitting pretty in 5-10 years, maybe sooner.

Once we decided we were going to build, we had to find a plan, and didn’t want to spend the money to do it from scratch. And since I like small living spaces, we were quite limited in our search (which helps because it narrows it down). But side note: why do so many people want big homes?! I don’t want to clean, cool, or heat a big house. People only SLEEP in their bedrooms. We spend almost ALL of our time in the kitchen/living room (even when we had a 2200 sq ft house). But we eventually found a plan on HousePlans that we both loved, and I had to compromise with a 1687 sq ft house, which was bigger than I wanted (I swear I would live in a tiny home if I could) LOL! But I know for resell value, it needed to be closer to that size, and we’re super excited about it!

We hired Jackie’s boyfriend, Greg, who is a general contractor (and also owns a landscaping company…two birds one stone, woohoo), and he is AMAZING! If you want his cell, let me know! If you want to follow along with the progress, follow me on Instagram HERE, and if you already follow me, then you found out about this weeks ago when I spilled the beans to my followers. See?! You should be following me for the inside scoop πŸ˜‰

Anyways, I’m a city girl through and through, and always will be. When we are empty nesters, I ASSURE you, we will be back in a condo, maybe in this exact same building (I mean, it’s named Royal Court for god’s sake?! Too perfect for my royal-family-obsessed self)! Joshua promises me that we will still bike ride everywhere, as it’s pretty close to the Woodlawn light rail stop, and we can jump on the bike path, and head straight into uptown! It’s only 4.5 miles away from our condo door to our new door, so it just fit within my five mile criteria πŸ˜‰

What about schools? Well, Bella is easy because she goes to a magnet school, not a neighborhood school, that we did the lottery for her to get into because she wanted an IB school! Lilly goes to a neighborhood school, that we ADORE, and want to keep her in. But not just because it’s a great school, but also because if we send her to our new home’s school, it will be her third elementary school (and she’s in 3rd grade). I just don’t think it will be good for her to switch again, so I hope it can be avoided! Thus, I will ask the school if she can stay, and if I have to appeal to the school board, I’m fully prepared to do that. Plus, we don’t need either of them to bus to school since I drive them to their respective schools!

So that’s our big news yall!

Now, to start picking out ALL OF THE THINGS!!! Paint, cabinets and flooring…OH MY! Now this I can get excited about…design is my jam! Follow along with #millersonthemove on social media, and if you want to follow me on Pinterest, I’m sure I’ll be pinning more with home decor ideas HERE!

Oh, and if you work for/know a company that is in the home building/decor arena AT ALL, and you want to work some sort of trade out, please let me know! I have a media kit I can send you (or the powers at be) to show you my social media reach, and how “advertising” with me is beneficial. Whether it’s through shout outs on my feeds, or advertising spaces on my blog, or a combo of the two! We’ll need everything from brick to paint, tile to flooring, lighting to plumbing, and everything in between. And let’s be honest, when I LOVE a company/product, ev-er-y-one knows about it because I have such a big mouth! Anyways, email me mirandaincharlotte@gmail.com to chat more about the promotion opportunities!