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!

 

We’re moving…into a HOUSE??? (part 1)





I know. I’m as shocked at the title as you are. πŸ˜‰ And I promise I wanted to put an exclamation point at the end of it, but I’m not there yet (I will be…I know it)!!! Give me a hot minute πŸ˜‰

But the truth is this…I never want to move out of the condo. I LOVE LOVE LOVE #condolivin.

I LOVE where it is located, in this perfect mix of Dilworth and uptown. We can bike EVERYWHERE, and get to museums and sporting events and parks without ever getting in a car. I love having a concierge to schedule appointments and be there when the cable person comes, or to deliver us packages. I love having a gym (WHAT?! I used it at least 20 times in almost three years ;)) for Joshua to workout in when the weather was too crappy for him to run outside. I love having a lounge area, free of charge, to use any time it was available, to host parties in! I love having a pool and hot tub, and outdoor kitchen/grill area to hang out, and enjoy the gorgeous weather!

AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE VIEW?!!!

I love my balcony, and staring at the gorgeous Charlotte skyline. The cranes erecting new skyscrapers, offices, and places for people to live! I love the noise of the traffic, the helicopters, and even the sirens. I like how busy it always feels outside of my sliding back door. I’ll miss taking #viewfrommybalcony pics, trying to avoid getting the power plant in the bottom of my pic and all πŸ˜‰ I’ll miss sitting on the balcony, reading a book, while listening to people drive way too fast on 277.

But #condolivin does have a few downsides. I’m convinced we have THE MOST SENSITIVE SMOKE DETECTOR EVER CREATED. I understand that they are needed, especially in a building where you making a bad decision can affect everyone else. But I can’t sear a steak, bake a pizza, or cook bacon without it going off 12 times (sorry neighbors)! Or carrying up a week’s worth of groceries took multiple trips, even though I’d try to carry it all at once. Problem is you still have to be able to scan your key fob to get into the building and onto the elevator! This is when shoulder dislocation comes into play, and a spilled gallon of milk for good measure. I’ve also had to wear a bra more, because if I have to run down to my car/throw out garbage in the chute/get the mail, I need to not run through the building sans bra. πŸ™‚ And if one of us forgets something when we get to the car, it’s a 10 minute round trip to get back in the building, up the elevator, into the condo, find the thing, get back on the elevator, come back outside, and get in the car. Now, try doing that with anywhere from two-five kids already buckled in car seats. BAD WORDS.

But the GOOD so far outweighed the bad. I love living in 1100 square feet, even when we were a family of seven. I LOVED IT. Small spaces are manageable, to clean/organize/live in. It really forced us to get rid of crap that was simply piling up, or was there “just in case.” When a new toy or clothing item comes in, one goes out. We have never had a storage unit, and no one is keeping our “stuff.” What is in the condo is what we have to our name. We have one living space (our kitchen and living room are open to each other), two bedrooms (the minis share), two bathrooms, a laundry room, and that’s IT. I can plug the vacuum into an outlet in the LIVING room, and vacuum BOTH bedrooms far corner to far corner without unplugging!

Needless to say, I LOVE condo living, and would stay for the rest of my life if I could!

So why are we leaving then?

Well, for starters, it looks like we’ll have John and Joy’s kids again summer of 2018, but they’ll have four kiddos because baby sister was born yesterday!!! If you want to read about the last time we had their kids, head HERE and HERE! So that would make us a family of two adults and six kiddos under 11! And although I know I could fit eight in here (what’s one more?!), many others thought differently than me πŸ˜‰ I told them that I could do two sets of bunk beds again, and I could pull a mattress out from underneath the one set nightly, and the baby could be in the closet again, but I was vetoed. So that’s what started the GREAT MILLER HOUSE HUNT OF 2017.Β But before I get too far into the GMHHO2017, let me explain our situation.

  • Our friends rent the house we own near Lake Wylie and have it until Feb 2018.
  • We rent the condo and are month to month right now.
  • Joshua would have to carry the loan for a new house by himself.
  • Bella goes to a magnet school, Piedmont Middle School just outside of uptown
  • Lilly goes to Dilworth which is very close to uptown and Piedmont

And since we already covered that I didn’t want to move far from the city AT ALL, it meant we were looking within a five mile radius of uptown, and focused on 3 bedroom condos/town homes. Guess what there’s not a lot of?! THOSE. Apparently only DINKS (double income no kids) and retirees/empty nesters live in them according to builders, so there weren’t a lot of 3 bedroom/2 bath on the market (in our range).

So we started to look for actual houses, which also means, SHIT IS EXPENSIVE. I’m talking TEAR DOWNS go for $450K in our ideal neighborhoods. Then you still have to have the money to BUILD A WHOLE NEW HOUSE. And we didn’t even want a big house…I was saying I wouldn’t entertain anything bigger than 1400 sq ft, and still couldn’t find anything that worked in our price range?! So WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO YALL?!

Enter Mary and Jack…you met my parents in THIS story πŸ™‚ Well, when I was a sophomore in high school, they bought an old, big house on Yorkmont Road (the farmer’s market and the old Hive are landmarks if you’re not familiar with the road). They lived in it until they got their condo uptown a few years ago, and my sister moved into the house, and still lives there! Anyways, they came to me recently and said, “not sure if you know this, but we bought the lot next to the Yorkmont house years ago.” “Really?!” I replied. “Yes, we did, and we’ve been talking, and we think that you and Joshua could just build a house on that lot!”

Annnnnnd, the plot thickens!

Click HERE for PART 2!

But first, here’s a pic of my new baby niece, Evelyn Rosetta Thomas…

 

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 β€œokay?” 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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

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