How to make eclipse glasses “protectors!”

If you’re like me, you are so freaking excited about the eclipse that you’ve been planning it for months! Yes, I knew it was coming a while ago, because when i first heard about it, I noticed it fell on our 13th wedding anniversary! I felt like it was a lucky day for sure! But not only for that reason, but also because I’m a proud nerd!

I took astronomy in college as my science and I love to go to planetariums! We even had an outer space theme for one of Bella’s birthday parties, where I hung the solar system from our living room ceiling! So yes, I’m excited about this once in a lifetime thing (and by lifetime, I mean a TOTAL eclipse from a location I can actually get to)! It’s totally (pun intended) fine if you couldn’t care less about it, but no need to knock the people who are truly intrigued and excited about it 🙂

However, as we get closer to the big day, more and more info is coming out about the risks of watching the eclipse. Now, I’m not trying to give you a ‘what’s an eclipse’ lesson, but the nuts and bolts of it are this…IT’S DANGEROUS TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. We all know this and have been told this our entire lives, right? So here’s the deal, where I live (Charlotte, NC) is going to experience a 98% eclipse, which means, there will still be 2% of the sun visible…thus, you must keep your solar glasses on the entire time if you are going to stare at the sun! But, we’re going to Columbia, SC (to my SIL’s house) because she is in the path of totality, which means when the moon completely covers the sun, we can remove our glasses and look at it and be fine!

If you want to see what the percentage will be where you are located, click on this LINK, and type in your city!

Let me reiterate…the sun is no different on Monday than it has ever been any other day of your life. But because of the partial eclipse (depending on where you’re located), you’re going to get darkness, and there may be a false sense of ‘it’s okay to look up and stare’…and this is why eye doctors are worried about your eyes! However, if you don’t plan on looking at the sun (like just about every other day of your existence), then you don’t need any protection. You can be outside, and doing your normal life stuff, and just not look up!

But if you do plan to take in the eclipse, and especially if you plan on having your kids experience it, then you may be concerned about them keeping their glasses on. Let’s face it, the glasses are one size, but they don’t fit all 🙂 And on little kids/people with smaller heads, there’s lot of room to look up, down and around. So I created a video to show you how to make solar glasses “protectors” out of paper plates and a piece of elastic cording! You’ll just need a pair of sharp scissors and a pencil or pen, and you’ll be good to go!

don’t forget to PIN IT!

I had my daughters, Isabella (10) and Lillian (8), join me on the project! They’re so cute and funny, and I loved having their help! If you have any questions, let me know!

The video is 10 minutes long, but that’s as long it will take you to make these, so it’s super fast and easy! I threw this one together, so forgive the quality, and overall haphazardness of it! You’ll at least get the gist, AND you’ll see my precious minis 🙂

Here’s the LINK to the video tutorial on You Tube!!!

Are you excited about the eclipse?! If so, where are you watching it from, and what’s your percentage of totality?!!! Leave me a comment below! Oh, and subscribe to my you tube channel if you end up like the video we made!

ALL ABOARD!!! Free tickets to Tweetsie!

ALL ABOARD!!! Free tickets to Tweetsie!

Headed in!

I have lived in North Carolina almost my entire life, Charlotte, to be exact. My husband and I both went to Appalachian State University. I was a nanny for a family while I went to college, and little Jack Thomas (yes, the boy I nannied has the same name as my dad) loved trains. Yet I had NEVER been to Tweetsie Railroad, that is until two weeks ago?!

Immaculately maintained grounds, and super clean! Reminded me of the detail you see at Disney!

My mother-in-law, Alex, is a groundskeeper/gardener at Tweetsie (she keeps it looking beautiful for all of us), and wanted to treat us for her 60th birthday! I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and if I’m being 100% real with yall, I thought it was a train ride, and maybe some walking through the mountains?

My internal dialogue was, ‘even if this isn’t exactly up our alley, it’s free, so woohoo!’

Welllllllllllll, I will admit I was soooooo surprised when we walked through the entrance! Yall, it was TOO CUTE for words! It’s Cowboys and Indians brought to life, with themed characters walking around the park, a “jail,” horses to mount and practice your best “HI HO SILVER,” western stores to buy fun toys in, and much more!

Of course, the train is the focal point, still running on coal, sounding the iconic whistle and bell, and leaving the “station” every 30-45 minutes!

Tweetsie! (Click to see a 13 second video!)

Characters hop on and off, performing acts on the mountainside along the way, and making you laugh while in your seat.

There’s a chair lift, which was my favorite part, and it was so relaxing to ride it up and down the mountain!

The petting zoo had llamas, goats, and more, with some of the animals roaming freely, and many who loved their extreme close-ups! I’m not a huge fan of animals, but I played along, and even kind of fell for a mini horse (remember when Rob & Big had one on their show?!)

We panned for gold, and found lots of fool’s gold, which is (free to do) and good enough for my minis!

And then the rides?!!! I had NO IDEA there were rides here?! Think of the classics you sometimes see at fairs…but these are always here, feel very secure, and the engineers on staff look after them to make sure they are running as they should. (We were at Tweetsie right after that horrible accident happened in Ohio and a part of me was inspecting every damn bolt on the rides). But I felt comfortable with the conditions, so we rode as many as we could, and I took a ton of videos and posted them on my Instastory (which is why you should be following me for sure on IG), but didn’t save them…bad words! Anyways, trust me when I say there’s SO MUCH TO DO.

We really did have such an amazing day at Tweetsie, and couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather! July in the mountains>July in Charlotte any day of the week, but it just so happened to be partly cloudy and 75 degrees! ALL THE PRAISE HANDS! Because I don’t like to sit in other peoples’ sweat. #vomcity

But let’s not end of that note, shall we?! Let’s round this out with a GIVEAWAY!!! I have 4 tickets to give to a lucky winner! They are one-day park admission tickets (a $180 value), and are good until 10/29/17! They aren’t valid for the Day Out with Thomas event or the Ghost Train Halloween Festival, but any other time works for sure!

I’ll be drawing for the winner Monday, August 21st, 2018 and will announce it on the Miranda in Charlotte Facebook page first, and then notify the winner!

You can do as many or as few, but you must do at least one so I know you want to be entered! Each thing you do is an extra entry though! Make sure you comment somewhere which steps you did (yes I verify)!

  • Comment “ALL ABOARD” in the comments section of this blog post!
  • Share this blog post with your friends on your facebook feed, saying, “I’ve entered to win a four tickets to Tweetsie!”
  • Like my facebook page, Miranda in Charlotte
  • Head over to Instagram and “like” me @MirandainClt
  • While you’re in IG, find the pic that says “Win tickets to Tweetsie!” on it, and read the caption to see how to get even more entries!
  • Follow me on Pinterest!
  • Subscribe to my email blasts by finding this part on my blog and following the instructions!

THAT’S IT! Good luck to everyone, and enter enter enter!!! xoxo, M

$25 theater tickets to popular shows?!

My kids saw the billboard a couple weeks ago as we were driving down 77, and the questions started, “OH MOMMY! The Little Mermaid is coming to Charlotte!!! Can we goooooooooooooooooooo, PLEASSSSSSSSE?!!!”

“I’ll look into the the ticket prices and see if we can swing it girls!” I replied, full of hope and in a pleasant mommy voice!

Then I looked at the prices, and decided, ‘maybe watching the DVD, AGAIN, will be a close runner-up?!’ 😉

Honestly, I get why ticket prices are high for these shows. The talent is INSANE, the production is top-notch, the theater is nice, the people working are beyond pleasant, and so on and so forth. But it doesn’t mean that I can afford it often. I actually said to Joshua recently, “I could easily see a show (be it comedy, concert, play, musical, etc.) every night of my life and be happy, but we’d also be bankrupt.” 🙂

So what does a girl do when live performances are her life, but her bank account says ‘nah girl. you need to stay home?!’

You start a gofundme! KIDDING. You dig around for some ideas! And this one didn’t take long, because look what I found on the Blumenthal’s very own website

Did yall know about this?! I had heard about it from a friend or two when another show came to town a year or so ago, but already had tickets to it, so didn’t look into any further. Oh, and make sure to look at the details for each show, as they seem to vary, and it seems like this offer is ONLY available on EVENING shows! I can’t stress this part enough friends…EVERY night/show is different, because tickets get sold around the clock, so go to the website first! But for the most part, IF there are still seats available last minute, you can get tickets for $25…first come/first serve!

Here’s how it worked for us last night:

Box office opens two hours before show, so for the 7pm show, it opened at 5. Naomi (my cousin) went at 4:50, and was the 6th person in line.

When she got to the ticket window, she was asked how many tickets needed…”Three!”

The computer generates the best available seats and you get those! Ours were orchestra right…typically more than $100 each!

Then Naomi came and picked us up, we headed to dinner, and then off to the show!

So how was it?!

AMAZING! Better than I even expected! I don’t want to spoil anything as far as theatrics are concerned, but it was top notch! For me, Ursula and Sebastian stole the show, and all of the voices were incredible…wow can Ariel SANG, HONEY!!!

My lovely Lilly!

My cousin, Naomi!

The ticket prices (at any price) are worth going to see The Little Mermaid, but I must say my wallet was thrilled we were able to go for $25 each! We had the BEST time!

Definitely check into it next time you want to head to a show! Naomi did say that by 5pm, the line had grown to about 25 people, but they all seemed to get tickets because there were still a few random empty seats in the theater by showtime! Best bet is to arrive early! I also think you’ll have a better shot on a week night than a weekend, and not an opening or closing night, be we get our tickets on an opening night, so it’s always worth a shot!

Now in saying ALL OF THIS, I realize that certain shows will be completely sold out (yes, I’m talking about you Hamilton), and this won’t even be an option (will I still try JIC?! heck YES)! I also realize that certain shows only allow you to buy two tickets at a time like this (Wicked). This is why I can’t reiterate enough to check the Blutmenthal’s website each and every time!

Oh, and lastly, an FB follower of mine told me that you might be able to get single seat tickets for a good price the day of shows online…look into it if you go to the theater alone (I totes would)!

Hope that helps!!!

Cake Decorating with a SPOON?!


Why do I keep saying “spoon” over and over again?! Because I am desperately trying to show yall cake decorating techniques that are simple, and use things that you already have in your home! Enter the good ‘ole plastic spoon 🙂 Yes, this entire cake was decorated using a plastic spoon! Don’t believe me?! Follow along…

This technique isn’t new, and as a matter of fact, here’s a wedding cake I made (back in the day) with this technique!


This one, although bigger, went very quickly because it was all one color, and I could pipe in a whole row, and then use the spoon technique! You’ll understand what I mean in a sec!

Back to the red, white and blue cake though! To start, you’ll need buttercream…white, red and blue. Now, keep in mind it takes A LOT of food dye to make a true RED buttercream, so get the gel red color, not the stuff you use to dye Easter eggs. And the red will darken as it sits, so make it a day or two in advance if you want! I used royal blue to get the blue color on the cake, and you don’t need nearly as much dye as you did to make the red, but still use gel for best results!

You can find my buttercream recipe in THIS post…just scroll til you find it! If you don’t want to make buttercream, ask your local grocery store if you can buy a couple of pounds from them (and then tint)?! You may even find pre-tinted buttercream near the cookie cakes in your store! However, if you do want to make your own, I will link the products I used at the bottom of this post!

The piping tips I used are Wilton 1A, and you can buy them for less than $2 each at your local craft store! However, they can be hard to find/out of stock, and thus I’m including the Amazon link at the end of post!

Here’s a quick video to show you how to fill a piping bag!

Once you have your piping bags ready to go, all you need is your three plastic spoons, and your cake! I’d also have three wet paper towels ready to go near your cake, so you can wipe off the backs of the spoons often! You will need to wipe off the spoons each and every time to keep the icing pretty!

Pro tip:Having separate paper towels will keep the colors from bleeding!

Are you ready to see how it’s done?! I used a styrofoam dummy in this video because I had ZERO time to make a cake! If you want to buy one to practice techniques on, do it (link at bottom)!

Check out the video:

If you are making your own cake…fill and stack it, crumb coat it, and put it in the fridge to harden the crumb coat layer (to see how to fill and stack, click HERE and scroll down). Pull it out whenever you’re ready to decorate it, and follow the video tutorial! If you want to buy a stacked and fully-iced cake, then do that! Just call your favorite grocery store/bakery and ask for a double (or triple) layer, smooth buttercream cake, with no borders on the bottom or the top of the cake. Chill it, and then follow the video’s instructions when you’re ready to decorate!

So there ya go! Every bit of decoration is done with a plastic spoon! Feel free add anything else on top of the cake that you want…but might I suggest to NOT do sparklers?! 🙂


Don’t forget to PIN THIS POST!

Links for products used:






Long lashes changed my life!

Okay, maybe not my WHOLE life, but certainly parts of it, and I didn’t even realize it was something I cared about if I’m being quite honest. I’ve always prided myself on being the girl who doesn’t put a lot of effort into her “look.” I buy all of my makeup from a store called Five Below (if you don’t know what it is, it’s a store where everything is $5 or less). I couldn’t IMAGINE spending more than $40 on anything that I would wear on my body, whether that’s shoes, a dress, hat, or most certainly a beauty product. I’ve gotten lucky along the way with having good, olive skin (thanks Mom!), even though I treat it like crap. I never wash my face (like NEVER), sleep in my makeup (when I wear it), and am lax about using sunscreen (I know, I promise to be better about this).

Needless to say, I might be one of the most low-maintenance chicks when it comes to all things beauty, fashion, and style! Which is why I have SO.MUCH.TROUBLE calling myself a “lifestyle blogger.” And also why anytime someone says that phrase to describe me, I say, “with the focus on LIFE, and zero on style.”

But all that to be said, I suddenly care about my eyelashes yall. Why? Because they’re long, like, ridiculously long.

Before I go any further, let me say this…I do not sell any products. I will never sell for this company. I don’t make a dime off of any purchases. And this is not a sponsored post/ad/partnership, etc. So you know my words to be 100% true, and furthermore, this post is actually about a surprising realization about my confidence needing a boost, not so much about Lash Boost. But because I have to name the product, I wanted to give these disclaimers, and I hope you continue to read on…

So my girlfriend, Heather, is a rep for a company called Rodan+Fields. I can only assume you have 37 people in your feed talking about it every ten seconds like I do in mine? 😉 But Heather is different, as she doesn’t talk about it nonstop, especially on her social media feeds and won’t hound you. But since she’s a makeup artist too, she knows skin care and beauty products, and I trust her. She saw that I was doing TV appearances more regularly as of late, and that I was applying fake eyelashes each time. She simply texted me, and said something along the lines of, “hey superstar {dripping in sarcasm :)}, instead of having to do fake eyelashes each time, why don’t you grow your own with lash boost?!” I told her that it was more than my budget would allow at this time, but she reminded me that it was a 60 day money back guarantee and I had nothing to lose!

I have to admit I was skeptical. I’ve had sensitive, watery eyes for a long time, and I was sure lash boost would irritate them. And we’ve already covered how lazy I am when it comes to anything involving a beauty product. Would I actually stick with this, and see it to the finish line? And even if I did do exactly as it says on the instructions, I’m sure it wouldn’t work on me (most things don’t let’s be honest).

A Bridesmaids meme?! Yes, please!

So imagine my surprise when in just a matter of weeks I saw a difference. The product essentially conditions your current lashes, and makes them stronger, so that they CAN grow nice and long and thick. (I think). I didn’t really read the insert…I just swiped the serum on my top lid, where one would apply eyeliner, before bed each night (blinking naturally transferred it to the bottom lid). And because it legit took 7 seconds total to do, I actually stuck with it yall (I was shocked too)!!! And now that my 12 weeks are up, I’m here to show you my results!

Dated results! No makeup (intentionally so the lashes could stand out) except mascara!

Crazy right?! I even missed a few nights of application here and there! And they still grew OOC (out of control)! To be honest, I didn’t think my eyelashes were “short” to begin with. They certainly didn’t bother me at all. But I am LIVING for them now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it was perfect timing since I have them for the summer, where I get my face wet (and sweaty) much more!

So what’s next you ask?! I maintain! I will continue to use lash boost, but probably every other night, or every three nights as needed. I started trying not to blink, in order to keep the serum just on the upper lid, because the bottom lashes were SO LONG that they were curling back on to my under eye bags LOL! Yes, you do have to keep buying and using it to maintain the condition of the lashes, but isn’t that true for anything? If you lose weight and reach your goal weight, you have to maintain. You still have to watch what you eat, and go to the gym…you don’t get to just stop doing what got you there…you just change it up a bit!

But back to the title. Why did long lashes change my life?

Well because now I have these long eyelashes that I’ve nurtured and grown, like a little eyelash garden of sorts, and I want to show them off! I will admit that I don’t wear a “full face” of makeup often, and certainly not in my daily life of nannying, blogging, and taking my kids to their practices. But with a coat of mascara, I feel like my face is “done,” and like I have put some effort in to my look…finally! Add some blush and lip gloss, and my face feels finished in three minutes or less. I feel like my shoulders are back further, and my head is held higher, even with the weight of all of these lashes ;). I also understand why my friends with eyelash extensions say they feel more confident, and use less makeup in general! I barely ever put on concealer, bronzer, eye shadow, etc.

And here’s more honest truth…when I’m heavier in my weight (which I am right now), I count on my face more…to carry me in a way, if that makes sense? And because I feel prettier, I’m wanting to be in the pictures more, and I’m not saying “ugh, I look so tired/fat/horrible/gross today…please don’t get me in the pic.” This may sound pathetic to some, but I know there are some of you nodding your head right now because you’ve been there.

I mean…you can say it, I’m showing off! No makeup…just mascara.

What’s the cost? It fluctuates…based on if you become a loyal customer, if you just purchase it outright, or if a rep is doing a sale on it. So you’d have to ask directly…like I said, I don’t sell it, and I don’t want to tell you the wrong information. What I do know, is that it’s around $135 to buy the tube because I am a loyal customer of Heather’s already (when I got products I didn’t use years ago…oops). It’s meant to last 60 days (or $2+/day), but the tube lasted me three months so far, and there’s still stuff in it! And compared to the eyelash extensions/fill-ins I was quoted by two different places, I know this stuff is much more affordable! Plus, I’m a crier, so I’d cry off extensions in a day 🙂

Here’s the thing. If you have the disposable income to buy something that makes you feel better about yourself, buy it! This is one of those rare times when you’ll hear me say YOLO, but seriously, why not?! And sometimes you just have to do something for you…treat yo self 😉 It just may change your life too!

If you want to chat with Heather about it (again, she is the least annoying sales person EVER), here’s her contact info…


Click HERE to go to her lash boost page!

If you have any questions for me, ASK AWAY!

Oh, and I’m doing a giveaway!!! I have AN ENTIRE SET OF THE REDEFINE REGIMEN to give to a lucky winner!!! This is a $200 value and if you want to learn more about what all is in it, click HERE!

To enter, you must do at least ONE of the THREE things I’ve bullet pointed below…

  • Follow me on Instagram at MirandainClt (1 entry)
  • Like my Facebook page, Miranda in Charlotte (1 entry)
  • Share this blog post on facebook! (1 entry)
  • Subscribe to my blog, by putting your email address in the field, and pressing YAS! then follow the prompts you’ll get in an email! You will see where to do this either at the bottom of this page, or to the right of this page! (1 entry)

Yes, you’ll get an entry for each thing you do! Thus, if you aren’t on social media, signing up for the email is your only option.

For an EXTRA entry, follow Heather (my R+F girl) on her Instagram at HGBryson, where you’ll see pics of her makeup and hair work!

Then leave me a comment either on this post, or on a social media thread, saying ” DONE! #mirandaloveslonglashes ” somewhere so I know that you’ve participated in some way, and I’ll be sure to plug in your entry/all of your entries. I will announce the winner Monday, June 26th at 10pm EST!

And today is a very special day in the Rodan+Fields community because it’s GO NAKED day! If you post a selfie of your face “naked” and use the hashtag #RFgonaked, the company is donating money to youth programs (think literacy and volunteerism) up to half a million dollars! For more info on GO NAKED day, click HERE! Here’s my selfie! Make sure you post yours on social media!

greasy hair don’t care…no mascara obvi!

PS I’ve been asked what mascara I use…like I said, it’s gotta be less than $5 🙂 Here ya go!

Best advice for a high school graduate?!

When I tell people that I coach high school JV cheerleading, I usually get the response, “You’re a SAINT! I could NEVER be around that many teenage girls and keep my sanity!” or something along those lines. Most people definitely pity me, or tell me how awful high-schoolers are, even if they don’t have kids that age yet. Funny huh? 😉


I’m quite quick to tell them that the young ladies I’ve met and coached, are some of the nicest, most polite, respectful, hard-working, funny, and fun people I’ve ever met. It’s actually been my honor to be in THEIR lives. I also tell people if you’re looking for a self-esteem boost, get around 15 teenage girls, as they tell you all the time how great you are and how much they looooooooooooove you (heart emojis are everywhere)!!! 😉

Loving on me! Such a sweet group of girls!

But seriously, I tell them (and their guardians) all.of.the.time how they have given me hope that my minis will be just fine at that age. I ask their guardians often, “what did you do to keep them so sweet? I don’t want to screw mine up because they’re so great now!” Many of them simply say, “she is just a good egg,” “she’s always been this way,” “stay firm and have boundaries, but lead with love,” “I trust her and she trusts me,” and so on and so on…

One of these girls, who was on the Varsity and competition squads, is named Bailey. And not only did she cheer for the school, but she also babysat my minis a few times. I was happy for every moment I (and they) got to spend with her because she is delightful. She never seemed too busy to listen to my old a$s talk about my gymnastics glory days, even though she was probably like, ‘okay Coach Mandie…I get it!’ She would make time to spot Lilly on her tumbling skills, even though she certainly didn’t have to. I never saw her so much as roll an eye at anyone…adults, coaches or peers, during a practice/game/competition/warmup…no matter how much stress she was under.

Bailey…she just LOOKS like a nice person, right?!

So it’s no surprise to me when her mom posted this on Facebook the other day. I’m not facebook friends with her mom, Tracy, but because I am with Bailey (and she was tagged), it came up in my feed. By the end of it, I was SOBBING bit fat tears. Certainly, part of it was because I pictured myself in her shoes, a mother of two daughters. Kids that are so great, that I almost ALWAYS want to be around them. Another part of it was putting myself in Bailey’s shoes, and thinking back to when I was a female headed off to college, and the scary/exciting things that it brought up in my memory.

Mother and daughter!

But this list of advice is spot on, and in my humble opinion, a MUST READ, and a must share. Our graduating girls (and guys even) need to read this. And parents, you do too! Naivety doesn’t work, I promise. Prepare them for the REAL world, as that’s exactly what they’re entering.

Bailey and Tracy! I love the “Be Nice or Leave” sign 🙂

In Tracy Barnett’s words…

“You see, I have this amazing person in my life who will be leaving me soon and I’m supposed to be all chipper and cheery and all “life awaits you” about it. “She will become such a brat that you will be glad to send her off to college” they said. “This is the natural course of events and this is part of your job” they say. “She’s ready” they say. Well….she’s not a brat, I don’t want this particular job to end, and I’m not ready. I am sooooo not ready. And I’m being a big fat baby about it. So I am going to write down my feelings, a stream of conscious thoughts and awkward motherly advice in an attempt to work through the worst of it, so that I truly don’t eff up this most amazing, exciting rite of passage for the best person that I know. Because, in fact, my kid is a way better person than I am, and I am going to miss having her around to aspire to. She really is just that nice, kind, honest, true to her convictions and a good influence on me. So this note to her is part unsolicited advice, part apology and part catharsis solely for my benefit, and likely will be in no logical order.

  1.  Learn to like beer. Seriously. Stay away from liquor. And shots. NEVER do shots, I don’t care who is chanting your name over and over. You, and your conscience, will thank me later. That one bit of advice, alone, will save you from much humiliation and self-flagellation. You’re a tiny girl; you won’t need a lot of alcohol to alter your judgment and make really crappy decisions (especially when it comes to boys, see #3) – I’d like to ask you not to drink at all but I’m not totally naive. So drink beer. My hope is that it will make you feel super full and miserable before you can actually drink enough to get sloppy. Don’t get sloppy – don’t be that girl.
  2. Limit the borrowing of expensive clothes from your roommate. It will be oh so tempting. But…you will spill something, rip something, lose something and it will ruin your friendship and it will piss off her mom. The reverse holds true as well.
  3. Trust your gut and be true to you. Your body is YOUR body and you alone get to decide your boundaries. And sometimes, boys…well, they might fib to sway you. They just do. Not all boys, and certainly not always, but booze-infused boys will pretty much say whatever they think you might want to hear to achieve an end game (see #1, impaired judgement is not limited to girls). Now, here is where I insert a huge blanket apology to my friends who have boys. Your sons are not whom I’m speaking of, but someone out there is raising that arrogant, entitled kid that thinks he can do whatever he wants with whomever he wants – that’s who I’m worried about. And I hope this doesn’t this offend anyone but if it does, then please include the statistics on girls date raping boys on college campuses in your admonishment of me. I’m not a total alarmist on this topic, but I would be lying if I didn’t have some tinge of hesitation about sending my daughter into the arena.
  4. Remember the long game. You are at college to lay a foundation for your future, as an adult. Adulting sucks, in general. But it will suck more if you squander your opportunity to prepare yourself as best you can for the competitive landscape that awaits you upon graduation. I’m all for the work hard/play hard approach to life. Hell, I live it! Gleefully, in fact. But it’s all about the mix. Keep in mind that whichever proportionality you choose, it affects your options in 4 years. I truly feel bad for your generation. Yeah, you’ve got technology by the tail, and yes you are far academically superior to my generation when we were your age, but man are there a lot of you! There is just a much greater percentage of really super smart kids out there today. So if you think the college acceptance process was a discerning bitch, just wait until you and all your peeps are out their vying for a real J.O.B. The competition will be fierce so prepare yourself accordingly.
  5. Be smart on social media. (One of) my proudest moments, as your mom, was recently when a mother of a freshman approached me at your cheer banquet and said “You don’t know me, but I’m (your new favorite person because I’m about to shower you with mommy accolades) and I just want you to know that I, and the other moms, stalk your daughter’s Instagram and Facebook page and hold them up as examples to illustrate to our daughters that this is who they want to emulate.” That, right there, sums up social media and its vast butterfly effect. Oh if only I followed my own advice…but this isn’t about me. Anyway, your take away: Don’t put stupid crap on your social media. People everywhere are judging you (and honestly, you don’t want Nanny calling you too…it’s annoying and she’s usually right about whatever complaint she might have about your posts).
  6. Fake it til you make it. Be confident in yourself, your abilities and your decisions! This is life advice. If you aren’t confident, then figure out how to exude it. It’s a differentiator on almost all playing fields: social, academic and professional. Now, this is not permission to be arrogant. That is also a differentiator of a different sort, which – as a female, will take on the label of “bitch.” That is not what we are going for here. What I am proponing is being confident enough without breaching the tipping point. It’s a delicate balance. Find it.
  7. Leave high school and its drama behind. You don’t want to peak in high school so strive to learn from the lessons that surviving high school teaches you. College is where you come in to your own, better understand the value of true and sincere friendships and become a better version of a friend to others. Always keep in mind to look for those who may be “eating alone” – be friendly and remember how it feels to be left out and don’t be a leaver outer.
  8. So let’s talk about this YOLO approach to life….I’m 50, so a “you only live once” mantra resonates with me much greater now than when I was your age. But you see, if I had applied that philosophy to my decisions at your age, I probably wouldn’t have even made it to 50. Your decisions and actions have consequences. There is life after that Instagram post or Snapchat story where you thought “YOLO, I’ll (fill in the blank with some stupid decision). As you continue to get older, the stakes get higher. So, YOLO has a place…but shouldn’t be a lifestyle.
  9. Try to let me bother you without seeming like I’m bothering you. Meaning: please bear with me and try to put up with me as we walk through this transition together. I will, I have no doubt, be as annoying from 167 miles away as I was (and am) within the same house. Obviously, you can ignore my calls and I haven’t always modeled the best behavior for you on that front (sorry Mom….) but be patient with me. I apologize, in advance, for how much I am going to miss you. 😊
  10. Know that you are supported and loved unconditionally and you can always come home, in the emotional sense. College will bring forth challenges that will seem overwhelming and you may sometimes feel that things are getting the best of you. Always know that we are here for you to guide and support you even if we aren’t physically there. No doubt you will have friends to turn to for much of your emotional needs, but for those things that just seem SO.BIG. know that you can “come home”. We will always be here.

Now go carpe some freakin’ diem!”


Tracy, her hubby, Bailey, and her sister. I will blink and this will be Joshua, the minis and me. 🙁

But seriously, HOW GOOD IS THAT?!!! Thank you so much Tracy, for putting this into words! I hope that it is this hard when it’s time for my minis to head off to college (or wherever life takes them after high school). I have a feeling if I’m already hysterical, it will be. Please share if you thought this was great advice…knowledge is power for our kids. And as my friend G always says, “we belong to each other,” and “there’s no such thing as other peoples’ kids.” They’re all our kids you guys. Let’s take care of them. And pretty please, start talking kindly about teenagers…there are some really good ones out there…I promise!

Happy graduation loves!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT! IMAGE BELOW (for reference to this post)…

I saw Beauty and the Beast, and was SHOCKED!

I was sitting in the movie theater with my daughters, Isabella (10) and Lillian (8), and was anxiously awaiting this “exclusive gay” scene that the director of the movie, Bill Condon, said was coming. Then the movie was over, the credits ran, and I was confused. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom. I didn’t leave to get more popcorn, or refill our drink. I didn’t even so much as nod off for two seconds. So HOW DID I MISS THE MONUMENTAL GAY SCENE that led Franklin Graham to call for a boycott/ban of the movie?!!!

The answer:

Because there isn’t one.

Spoiler alert folks! The “scene” they’re talking about happens in the last few minutes of the movie, where two guys dance together. BUT WAIT MIRANDA. They must’ve been grinding, right? Not even close. They must’ve been making out while dancing?! Wrong again! They must’ve been groping each other?! Nope. Their hands were above the equator.

The two guys were dancing with ladies at the ball, and you know when you switch partners mid-dance (let’s think of square dancing), and you end up with the other person’s partner? Well, that’s what happened here, but it ended up being two guys as partners. NO WAY! But listen closely yall. While they were dancing, they actually LOCKED…

wait for it…


Yep. They locked eyes. And it lasted 1.9 seconds (seriously, I timed it). The entire GAY SCENE lasted less time than it takes me to sneeze. I really hope you’re not offended by my retelling of this CRAZY scene. One that people are SO MAD ABOUT that they can’t even support Disney anymore. The one that they are claiming to be a “slippery slope,” that opens the door to a PLETHORA of gay characters. One that they refuse to take their children to because they don’t want to have to explain what GAY means. {shudder}

So imagine my shock when we got to the credits, and I STILL hadn’t seen anything I needed to explain to my kids?!!!! I felt bamboozled! I questioned if they sent us the version they’re showing in Malaysia, where they had to cut the GAY SCENE out?!!! Excuse me AMC…did yall get the wrong copy?! I clearly missed a MAJOR part of the movie.

Please tell me you are picking up on my sarcasm?

Let’s just say, I’ve seen more affection, than that scene had, watching two guys celebrate a touchdown of their favorite team. I’ve seen more sexual tension in a high five/bro hug. I’ve seen more action in a trust fall.

Bottom line…maybe you’re the type to not welcome a gay character in a Disney movie, but Beauty and the Beast is NOT the mountain you should be willing to die on to get your point across. And here’s something to consider…maybe don’t blindly boycott a film based on what someone else says? Dig for information. Make sure you have the actual facts. I suggest seeing it first BEFORE you decide what it does or doesn’t have in it. Weird, I know. 😉

In fact, if ANY group could be pissed/shocked/underwhelmed, I’d think it would be the LGBTQ community? I’m curious to hear their thoughts, more than anyone else’s.

Anyways, the movie was great! I had never seen the original (I know I know), so it was all a whole new world (wrong movie? 🙂 ) for me!!! The songs were wonderful, the characters were perfect, the special effects were stunning…I simply LOVED it!

And by the numbers, it doesn’t look like the boycott is affecting Disney’s pockets at all!

I’m not “brave.”

I’ve had brown, almost black, hair my whole life. I occasionally would add honey color highlights when I felt like getting extra crazy 😉 But for the most part, I’ve always looked the same. Brown eyes, brown hair, olive skin. When I was a collegiate cheerleader, I was asked to grow my hair, so I did. When I met my stud, he mentioned how he liked short hair. Short hair?! Hmmmm. That’s something the magazines don’t teach you about! But I was down to try short hair, so I gave it a shot, and loved it. And I’ve pretty much, as an adult, had short brown hair ever since!

My mom went grey in her twenties and I always assumed I would do the same. I had mimicked so much else about her, that I just figured I’d be grey by 30. Which I was totally fine with because I thought that grey hair was so pretty. But no matter how stressed I was, how little I took care of myself, how much I wanted genetics to take over, my hair just wouldn’t go grey! I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never had an issue with “aging” in its traditional sense. I like turning another year older, I don’t fear the big numbers, wrinkles are fine by me, my skin has been sagging for years (especially my stomach, if we can even call it that), and my mind was gone long ago! So it never surprised anyone when I said I desired grey hair!

Look at that gorgeous grey hair! Disclaimer: I don’t know this woman!

I also loved that fashion colors were super popular, and if I couldn’t go grey, I would go for a fun color instead! I decided to pull the trigger 9 months ago, and I dyed my hair hot pink!

Had JUST woken up! No makeup (obvi), and Lilly took this pic of me!

And people were so complimentary, but I heard one phrase over and over again, and it made me feel uncomfortable at best, and unworthy at its worst. “YOU ARE SO BRAVE. I COULD NEVER DO THAT!!!” Now I know people meant it as a compliment, but it didn’t feel that way to me.


Because I know ACTUAL BRAVE people. Like Savannah, who is a 8 year old battling mitochondrial disease, and who is in and out of the hospital every few months. I know a 5 year old named Braden who six month ago was running around his backyard, and who is now learning how to walk again due to acute flaccid myelitis. I have my brother and sister-in-law who have served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. I know a mom, who buried her son due to cancer, and is now battling breast cancer herself. THESE PEOPLE, and countless others, are BRAVE. Dyeing my hair a fashion color isn’t “brave.”

Now, what I think you mean to say, is that maybe it’s something that you wouldn’t have the “guts” to do. That maybe I’m “BOLD.” But let’s talk about that really quickly. Why is putting a fashion color in your hair a big deal anyways? Why does it require any amount of “guts?” We realize it is just hair, right?! Like, it grows out. OR you can dye it right back if you absolutely hate it. OR you can cut it off. It isn’t a permanent situation. I don’t say to natural brunettes, “you’re so brave to dye your hair blond!!!” I mean, that sounds crazy, right?!

Or does this goes even deeper? Maybe it has to do with the fact that we don’t want to do anything not deemed “normal” or “safe” when it comes to our ‘look.’ In high school, raise your hand if you grew out your hair long because your friends all had long hair, or because you heard that guys ONLY like long hair! (PS, I still hear that out of adult women’s mouths all of the damn time…please stop saying it). When I cut my hair in a mohawk, I got the “bravery” line too, A LOT. All I did was cut my hair in a style that I thought was badass.

People would say, “I can’t pull that off, but it works on you!” Well, fun fact: You can’t pull anything off if you aren’t willing to at least try it 😉 I get it (a little bit) if we’re 14, and still feeling the effects of peer pressure. But I’m thirty-five damn years old, and I’m telling you, I CANNOT be bothered by peer pressure of any kind. I don’t care about the Joneses, or Mrs. Jones’s hair. I can’t wonder or worry about what my friends or strangers will think of my hair cut and/or color.

And I also think of it this way. What if I got cancer, and potentially lost all of my hair? I have no control over that, but I still HAVE control over my hair. I get to CHOOSE what I do with it. So I consider it on honor, not a badge. And I am not brave. I am simply a girl who dyed her hair pink. And then Carolina Panther blue, for the football season of course 😉

But I promise, blue (or pink, or purple, or rainbow) hair has nothing to do with ME being brave. It simply has everything to do with you, and what you maybe want to do, but won’t. I’m here to say, “YOU DO YOU!” And if you want to chop it all off, or go a “crazy” color, I’ll come hold your hand at the salon, but I promise, it’s not that scary 😉

And since this is a hair post, it would be unfair to yall if I didn’t post my BEST hairstyle, and by “best,” I mean, WHAT WAS MY MOTHER THINKING?!!!

I’m not sure if you call this a “mushroom cut” or a “bowl cut,” but I just call it “AMAZING!” This is the sort of stuff that keeps one humble. And to answer my own question above, my mom’s answer was “Your hair just never grew very fast, and that was the style back then!” You’re welcome for the pic everyone!

How Barry Manilow named me.

Hey girl hey! (And the occasional guy who wants to read my blog…possibly my husband, or George?!) Welcome to Miranda In Charlotte, and its very first blog post!!!

Let’s address the name situation first. To everyone who has or does call me “Mandie,” you’re probably wondering who Miranda is? Well, it’s kind of complicated…thanks to Barry Manilow (oh, and my parents). They told me my whole life that “we LOVED the name Miranda, so we named you that, but then Barry Manilow came out with the song, Mandy, and we needed a nickname so we called you that!” Yes, apparently Mandy is a nickname for Miranda in Mary and Jack’s eyes.

Baby Miranda/Mandy and my mom!

BUT THEN, about two years ago, my dad let it slip that they actually LOVED the name Mandy, and wanted to name me it, but needed a full name to give me, so they thought Miranda would work “okay?” And this theory DOES make more sense now that I think about it, because a quick google search showed me that Barry’s song came out in the early 70’s, and I was born in ’81. But just because they’ve thoroughly confused me (and everyone else), I get back at them by telling people that they named me Miranda because they were being read their Miranda Rights after being arrested WHILE conceiving me in the back of their sweet Ford Gran Torino!!!*** Makes me laugh every.damn.time. Serves them right!

Disclaimer: Not a real pic of my parents or their car.

And because this isn’t confusing enough, I decided to change the spelling of Mandy to Mandie in eighth grade. What can I say? I was/am complicated! I actually wanted Mandi, and wanted to put an accent mark over the i, like I’d been doing in Spanish class, but my mom wouldn’t go for it. So we compromised with ie 🙂

But a lot of you are reading this saying, “but I’ve always called you Miranda!” And you’re right! You may have! Because you met me:

*after I was 19
*when I was a reporter
*through Joshua (or his family)
*some other random way

See, when I met Joshua, he was all, “Mandie’s short for Amanda, right?” And I was all, “yeah, you’d think! But no. It’s Miranda. My parents were getting arrested while conceiving me in my dad’s car!” (See?! Funny every time). And he said, “I think Miranda is a gorgeous name.” And I said “ME TOO! And actually, my ‘intro to television’ teacher told me I should go by Miranda instead of Mandy if I wanted to sound more professional on camera!” So just like that, I became “Miranda!”

Sean/Puffy/P Diddy/Diddy/whatever

Now, because I’m not Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Diddy, I didn’t make people, who had called me Mandie for 19 years, start calling me Miranda, but if I was being introduced to someone new, I said “I’m Miranda.” Herein lies, why I’ve gone by these two names for the last 15 years, and it’s a total pain in the ass. I don’t know who calls me what, how to answer my phone, what to put on my email signature, or my voicemail. Just today, I had to introduce myself to a group of people on a charity committee, and said “I’m Mandie. And Miranda. I have two names. Just go with it!” (as I rolled my eyes)!

{Yes, I realize these are #firstworldproblems. I never said this blog was going deep}

So I’m declaring Miranda as my name from here on out! If you want to still call me Mandie, that’s fine! Please do! And I’ll repeat that because I know some of yall are going to comment “I’m still going to call you Mandie!” Fine! But if you want to call me Miranda, that works too!!! I look at it like this…*if* I have a decent amount of years left on this Earth, I might as well go by the name I like more. Even if my parents don’t! 😉

So since we’re speaking of titles…MIRANDA in CHARLOTTE…sound familiar anyone? Ding ding ding! They’re two Sex and the City character names! I never watched the show religiously, but any time I caught it, I loved it! New York City is my favorite city besides Charlotte, so why shouldn’t it have a tiny place in this blog space?! Plus, I also thought with “sex” in this article a few times, it would show up higher in the SEO. KIDDING. Kind of. Sex, sex, sex. I’m shameless. 😉

Call me for your photoshop needs!!! #not

Anyways, welcome to my life, and how I choose to live it! I’ve been told I need a reality show, and this blog might just be that (hot mess of a) show!

But for now, I leave you with the song that made me a Mandy. Truth be told, I love the song, and see why my parents love it too! Let’s just keep it a song, and not my name, mmmkay?

***I really WAS conceived in Charlotte, possibly in the back of a car (my mom won’t tell me), but no arrests were made. So she says…

LOVE YA MOM AND DAD!!! #meanit