Miranda In Charlotte http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com Treks in the City Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:40:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 How to make eclipse glasses “protectors!” http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/make-eclipse-glasses-protectors/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/make-eclipse-glasses-protectors/#respond Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:57:43 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1161 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 […]

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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!

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ALL ABOARD!!! Free tickets to Tweetsie! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/aboard-free-tickets-tweetsie/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/aboard-free-tickets-tweetsie/#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:21:41 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1115 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 […]

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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!

TO ENTER:
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

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$25 theater tickets to popular shows?! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/25-theater-tickets-popular-shows/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/25-theater-tickets-popular-shows/#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:56:07 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1096 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 […]

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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!!!




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Cake Decorating with a SPOON?! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/cake-decorating-spoon/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/cake-decorating-spoon/#comments Sat, 01 Jul 2017 13:25:08 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1078 RED, WHITE AND 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! […]

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RED, WHITE AND 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!

MEMORIES!

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?! 🙂

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE!

Don’t forget to PIN THIS POST!

Links for products used:

 

 

 

 

 

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Long lashes changed my life! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/long-lashes-changed-life/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/long-lashes-changed-life/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:32:31 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1048 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 […]

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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…

Email: heathergbryson@gmail.com

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!

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Best advice for a high school graduate?! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/best-advice-high-school-graduate/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/best-advice-high-school-graduate/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 02:02:44 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1028 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 […]

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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? 😉

Coaches!

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!”

ARE YOU CRYING?!!!
{SO.AM.I…AGAIN.}

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)…

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Do you need to send a little “HOPE” to someone?! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/need-send-little-hope-someone/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/need-send-little-hope-someone/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:43:09 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=1013 It’s hard in the blogging world to talk about something you love, because people may assume you’re only talking about it, because you’re getting PAID to talk about it. But that’s just not the case most times. At least for me. So far, I’ve only talked about things that I love, and haven’t gotten a […]

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It’s hard in the blogging world to talk about something you love, because people may assume you’re only talking about it, because you’re getting PAID to talk about it. But that’s just not the case most times. At least for me. So far, I’ve only talked about things that I love, and haven’t gotten a dime from the companies to do so. And HOPEBOX is no different!

You haven’t heard of HOPEBOX?! Well, that’s because it’s BRAND NEW! It’s the brain child of some friends of mine, and I truly believe it’s going to become a household name!

What’s HOPEBOX?!

In the words of one of the founders…

“If you’re like us and most other people, it’s hard to know what to do for ourselves or others when difficult times come. After that initial week or two of concern and support, people generally move on with their lives. We know the hurting is still there, but what more can we do?

Over one, six, twelve, or more months, Hopebox provides a way to show loved ones you’re there and you’re not going anywhere. The beautiful handmade gifts inside are paired with a heartfelt note of concern, personalized to the receiver’s unique situation. Flowers wither, meals spoil, but the memory of receiving a beautiful Hopebox lasts a lifetime.”

And the thing is, as much as we don’t want to need to send these boxes, I have so many friends hurting right now (and I’m sure you do too). So I sent four Hopeboxes to friends who needed some encouragement, and they were so appreciative, shocked, and overwhelmed by how beautiful and thoughtful all of the products were inside. Here were their comments…

“Thank you for the sweet gift box! Um, it’s full of amazing things! I love all of it. Thanks for thinking of us.” ~friend in Texas

“I don’t even know what hopebox is but it’s pretty much the sweetest thing you could have done for me. The contents are so wonderful. Seriously don’t have mascara on now thanks to the waterfall on my face but they are happy tears. And grateful ones. Your note gets me ~ and so do you. And I love you for it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” ~friend in Charlotte

“This sweet little box held some sweet stuff but best of all was the prayers and well wishes of our sweet friend Mandie and her family! Enclosed was an awesome hand stamped brass hammered Hope cuff, spa daze luxury soy candle, floral bath bomb, organic moisturizing lotion bar, herbal facial steam, crochet hope friend heart, vegan lip balm, sweet pop open ‘Hope’ cards, ‘Read this til you believe it’ gift book and two ‘yes, you’ cards to remind me to have hope. I feel like I got a hug from my friend in Charlotte! Thank you Mandie!” ~friend in SC
“I. Have. No. Words. Seriously. You’re so sweet. I can’t thank you enough for the Hopebox. It’s amazing and brightened my day!!!” ~friend in NC

 

Now let’s get down to the brass tacks right? How much was it Miranda?! To send a box one time was $49 plus tax and shipping. Just make sure to select “this is a gift” when checking out, and that will ensure that your card won’t renew automatically. If you’re ordering the box as a subscription for yourself (or someone) to receive monthly, the price goes down based on the amount of months you order, saving you up to $89/year! This was of course BEFORE the discount code is applied (which could save you another $50 if you order the 12 month one)!!!

Please consider HopeBox next time you want to send someone something they’ll remember forever! How awesome would this box even be for your kid who is away at college to get every month?! And just for my readers/followers, HopeBox will give you 10% if you use the code MANDIE10 🙂 Visit the website at www.hopebox.com to see their ordering options!

And if you’re confused by me going by two names (as mentioned in this post), you can read about it HERE. I know it gets confusing! 🙂

 

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In baking, the one tool you NEED. http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/in-baking-the-one-tool-you-need/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/in-baking-the-one-tool-you-need/#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 19:25:05 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=992 Okay, so maybe the title is a *bit* much, because there are a few tools you need to cake properly and efficiently! But there is one tool that I have probably used more than any other in the last ten years!!! AND IT’S LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS YALL. My friend Jenn recently said to me, […]

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Okay, so maybe the title is a *bit* much, because there are a few tools you need to cake properly and efficiently! But there is one tool that I have probably used more than any other in the last ten years!!! AND IT’S LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS YALL.

My friend Jenn recently said to me, “I’ve always wanted to know HOW to make the cakes flat…over time, I cut off the top, but it’s lopsided. How do you cut them straight?”

Well, you can certainly use a ruler and mark the sides of the cake and then use a serrated knife to cut around and take off the top. However, when I was running a cakery full time, and leveling dozens of layers a day, you find a tool that will help you! Enter the Wilton cake leveler!

This little piece of metal and wire was a lifesaver for me throughout the years, and as I mentioned above, is $5! And it couldn’t be easier to use either!

Of course, there are a few extra tips to helping get a level cake…like baking it at the right temperature, mixing it correctly, rotating the pans in the oven, having the oven preheated properly, etc. But, even if all else fails, this tool will help you get a level top, with very little guesswork!

Let me show you how it works…


Told ya it was easy! I wasn’t kidding! This size leveler works on cakes up to 10 inches square, and up to 11 inches round! And for the home baker, DIY-er, this is most likely as large of a leveler as you’ll need! But even if you have a larger cake, you can still use this to mark the cake, and then use the serrated knife!

If you’d like to purchase one, here is a direct link to Amazon for you! If you want to also purchase the pans I use, they’re the Wilton 6 inch x 2 inch pans, and I use three (to give me three layers of cake and two layers of filling)!

Make sure to check out my other “In the Kitchen” posts to see more caking tips and tricks, and I even include my carrot cake, cream cheese filling, and buttercream recipe in THIS post!

HAPPY BAKING!




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I hate the beach. There I said it. http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/hate-beach-said/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/hate-beach-said/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 13:15:04 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=908   It’s that time of year again! Nope, not referring to the end of school, although that is upon us too! I’m referring to the time of year when my minis are going to start asking us to go to the beach, and the stud and I, through gritted teeth, are going to say, “OF […]

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It’s that time of year again! Nope, not referring to the end of school, although that is upon us too! I’m referring to the time of year when my minis are going to start asking us to go to the beach, and the stud and I, through gritted teeth, are going to say, “OF COURSE WE ARE SWEET CHILDREN! WE CAN’T WAIT!” Why?! Because parenting means sometimes doing things that you don’t want to do. And for us, that means going to the beach. I know I know, you LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVE the beach. Good for you! Can my kids go with YOU then?! Kidding!!! (sort of)

Before I get too far in to why I hate the beach as a 35-year-old, let’s go back to a 12 year old Miranda. I was visiting the beach for the first time ever in my life. I was there with my gymnastic’s team, and my mom was a chaperone so she got to be with me for my first experience!!! We ran onto the sand, and I charged in to the ocean like I had been waiting 12 years for this (I had)!!! I was maybe in there for all of 15 seconds, and I felt this pain on my ankle, like a stabbing. And I lifted my leg out of the water, and a jellyfish tentacle was wrapped around my ankle. I freaked the EFF out yall. I tried shaking it off, and was hysterical. Because not only did it hurt like hell, but it wouldn’t get off of me. Finally, it released itself and my mom dragged me out of the ocean.

Remember in the movie Inside Out, those “core memories” that stick with you forever?! This was one of them. It’s also a huge reason why to this day, I still have issues with the beach. But it’s not just that, as you’ll see. I’m a beach hater. There. I said it. And it’s okay if you’re a beach lover. We are allowed to feel differently about topics, especially ones this important 🙂 #sarcasmisfun

also, none of the beaches i’ve been to look like this ^

SO HERE IT IS
…in absolutely no particular order, here’s my list of 14 reasons why I hate the beach…

  1. SAND…whether you’re slathered in oil or sunscreen, the second the faintest wind blows, you’re now a human piece of sandpaper. Go find a piece of wood on the pier and file that shizz down with your body. At least you’ll be productive. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY must there be so much sand?! It’s in every crevice five minutes after I’ve stepped foot on it, and I mean EV-ER-Y. And it’s either too hot, too rocky, or too gross looking. Where is all of the fine, white, perfect sand I see on the Sandals commercials? (Don’t answer that…it’s in places I can’t afford).
  2. WATER…the ocean isn’t made for humans you guys. I know that shocks some of yall! Yep, I bet you’re even surprised that there are sharks in there?!!! Why are you shocked by this?! That’s WHERE THEY LIVE. Just like we have houses and roads and utility bills, they have water and seaweed and other things that only belong in the ocean.
  3. CURRENT/UNDERTOW/WAVES…some people actually see the water as a place to have fun, where you jump waves, body board and surf. I see a death trap. Where with one wrong move, you’re trapped, injured,  drowning, or gone. The current is unpredictable, and powerful. I don’t mess with that shizz. Nope. Also, I can’t see through it. And If I can’t see through it, you won’t see me in it.
  4. WIND…Yeah, it may feel good every once and while to get a gust of wind when you’re drowning in your own sweat, err I mean laying out, but it’s also why I’m trying to stand the umbrella back up for the 1,835,394,037th time. It’s the reason why I’m human sandpaper. It’s the reason why my kid, who has only been in the ocean for four minutes, is now another town away. It’s the reason why it will take 34 minutes and two adults to lay the towels down on the sand. And it’s the reason why we will get a mouthful of sand, when the people who set up next to us, shake their towels out when packing up to go home.
  5. OUTFITS…getting ready to go to the beach with kids takes LONGER than the amount of time you will ever spend AT the actual beach. Gotta put sunscreen on head to toe, get in bathing suit/trunks/rash guards, find hats/sunglasses/water shoes and any other accessory they (all of the sudden) NEED to take to the beach.
  6. ALL OF THE FUN STUFF…Don’t forget about the $178 worth of stuff you bought at WINGS, that you won’t even be able to fit back in your car on the ride home Sunday, because you were packed so tightly on the way down, you couldn’t find a kid for a few minutes when you stopped for gas/to pee. NOW, you get to blow up all of the stuff, til you’re so lightheaded, you question whether or not you can safely walk TO the beach.
  7. PACK COOLER…Because even though it’s supposed to be recreation, you’re in the middle of a sand trap, without a kitchen, and all of the humans still have to be fed. So you must pack enough food and drinks, in the event there is also an apocalypse. But here’s the kicker. It’s damn near impossible to eat said food on the beach, because of SAND and WIND (refer back to #1 and #4). So you’ll use at least three bottles of your purified filtered water to wash off everyone’s hands so they can hold the food, just for one of them to accidentally drop the PB&J in the sand. BAD WORDS.
  8. CARRY EVERYTHING…Load up that wagon with half of the house/hotel room you’re staying in. You need towels, chairs, an umbrella, the 28 pound apocalypse cooler, boogie boards, things to build sand castles with, toys, sunscreen, floaties, etc. Whatever doesn’t fit, goes on your back. Unless you have to also carry a child. Never mind. This is the perfect push you needed to get the 6 month old to start walking. Maybe he or she can also carry something?
  9. WALK…I have a hunch that my “beach lovers” probably have/get homes ON THE BEACH. But the Millers don’t have that kind of budget…we stay three-five rows away, so we have a decent walk to get to the sand and water part. With five kids in tow, that may take a good 20 minutes, especially if the 17 month old needs to walk because of #8.
  10. NO POTTYS…this affects all of us, adults and kids alike. But ESPECIALLY if the kid needs to poop. Last summer, it took us ALL OF 90 MINUTES to get the five kids ready, dressed, packed up, and then a 20 minute walk to the beach. So nearly TWO HOURS have passed since we started the “we’re going to the beach, kids!!!” song and dance, and we finally put our feet in the sand! The kids are so excited and running around, the stud and I set everything up in 16 minutes flat, and then one of them says to me, “Deedee, I have to poop.” Yall, I SAW RED. I probably (totally) said some unkind words about bad timing, and possibly (no doubt) dropped a cuss word or two. So that child and I walked 20 minutes BACK TO THE HOUSE, waited 10 minutes for him to poop, walked 20 minutes back to the beach, and then GUESS WHAT?!!! Not thirty minutes later, the youngest hit a wall, and needed to go back to the house for his nap. So there was another 20 minute walk back with him. FFS. How do people find this enjoyable?!!!
  11. CAN’T RELAX…if you’re in the ocean, because your kids LOVE it and beg for you to get in, you’re worried about some/all of your stuff being stolen or blown away. If you’re with your stuff, depending on the tide/how busy it is, you might struggle to see your kids. There is danger at every corner. Besides the water, there’s no boundaries. So you have a kid who likes to wander? AWESOME! Looks like you’re going to get your steps in for the day! It’s also a super fun game keeping the 15-month-old out of what looks to be the biggest bathtub of all time. And don’t get me started on kidnapping, or creepers looking at your kids. I realize not everyone thinks like this, but I DO, so sue me. Oh, and how long has it been since you REAPPLIED THE SUNSCREEN ON EVERYONE?! Hurry!
  12. BATHING SUITS…What does every woman who doesn’t feel good about her body want to do?!!! WEAR AS LITTLE AMOUNT OF TIGHT FABRIC AS POSSIBLE!!! Not. But that’s part of being at the beach. And not only do you have to wear it, but you have to play in it, and build sand castles in it, and chase a toddler in it, and serve the meals in it. One wrong move, and a boob falls out, or a butt cheek…or worse?! It’s like doing all of your daily tasks in lingerie. But without air conditioning or comfortable seating.
  13. INJURY…Inevitably, despite my best efforts to lather everyone in sunscreen, someone will get severely burnt ON DAY ONE, and thus will need to avoid the sun the rest of the trip. Which makes it SUPER HARD to go to the beach the rest of the days. Someone will also get stung by a jellyfish (we’ve already covered my attack). Someone will break an arm (happened at the OBX a couple of year ago), and you will have to avoid water the rest of the time. TOTES convenient when the fun options are 1. ocean and 2. pool.
  14. CLEAN EVERYTHING…when you get back from the beach, you have to spray off everyone and everything you brought with you, which we already established was the equivalent to a large moving van. All of the kids have to be washed off and stripped down. All of the stuff has to be sprayed off. The cooler needs to be emptied. The wagon shaken out. The kids redressed. So basically, it’s more steps than even being at home.

    And this is why it’s called a “family trip” and not a vacation

I know I sound like such a hater, but for the life of me I cannot understand why people like to do all of these things so much?! Is there something I’m missing (besides a good attitude)?! I also realize that I would feel differently if we had a house ON the beach, WITH a pool, and no young kids (or kids at all) with us. I also think there is a difference in beaches…some of them really do look blissful…I’ve just never been to those 🙂

And I do think that there’s something to be said about nostalgia. If you grew up going to the beach every year, and it holds incredible memories for you, you may love it that much more as an adult. I just don’t have those memories. And neither does the stud. He didn’t see the beach until he was NINETEEN. It’s kind of like The Goonies. I never watched it as a child, and now to try and watch it as an adult, makes me want to scoop my eyeballs out with a grapefruit spoon. (Oh, now I’ve really pissed some of yall off, huh?! A hater of the beach AND The Goonies?!) 🙂

But we go because our kids LOVE THE BEACH. And that means that we’ve never let on to them how much we despise it. So before you try to school me on how damaging it is for me to ruin it for my kids, I obviously haven’t. I play along the whole time, sucking it up as we go. We look for shells, we build the drip castles, watch Lilly jump for joy, and bury their legs to make them look like mermaids.

The stud gets them up early one morning, and they watch the sun rise together, daddy and daughter time at its finest. It’s also some of my favorite pictures he’s ever taken of them…

I live for the seashells my nephews gather for me, saying “Deedee, I got shells just for you.”

Look at their elated faces when we got them the “unlimited rides” wristband for the fair! Only cost us $175 for our family of seven 😉

So I do see the joy in MANY of the moments.

I would just rather see those moments of joy WITHOUT sand in my crotch.

Don’t forget to PIN IT!




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How to go from a plain to personalized cake in less than 10 minutes! http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/how-to-plain-to-personalized-10-min/ http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/how-to-plain-to-personalized-10-min/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 00:51:18 +0000 http://www.mirandaincharlotte.com/?p=913 When I had my cakery, I was known as an “expensive” cake decorator. I wasn’t; I can assure you of that. Because if I was, I’d probably: Still be in business Vacationing in Tahiti Pay myself more than $6,000/year (no I didn’t forget a zero) Have taken a day off at some point I digress. […]

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When I had my cakery, I was known as an “expensive” cake decorator. I wasn’t; I can assure you of that.

Because if I was, I’d probably:

  1. Still be in business
  2. Vacationing in Tahiti
  3. Pay myself more than $6,000/year (no I didn’t forget a zero)
  4. Have taken a day off at some point

I digress.

Anyways, I completely DID understand that my prices for custom cakes weren’t in everyone’s budgets. (PS, just say that to your caker, instead of calling them expensive.) If you don’t know the expenses that go into running a business, then you probably don’t know if said product is expensive. The truth is either: it’s not in your budget, or it’s not worth the price to you. Both reasonable and truthful answers. Dangit. I digressed again. 😉

In saying that, I WANT TO HELP YOU! But we’re going to start simple and small. The goal of these cakes is to show you a similar way to decorate a variety of cakes using THREE THINGS…a topper, sixlets candies, and ribbon. And everything can be bought at Walmart, for LESS THAN $20 per cake INCLUDING the cake, so it’s a one stop shop! Oh, and each cake will take you LESS THAN 10 minutes to decorate…REALLY!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT!

And listen, you can bake, fill and ice a cake til your hearts content if you want! Feel free to check out THIS post I did on my carrot cake (you do whatever flavor you want)! But the basics for those three things (bake, fill, ice) can be found there to help you along the way!

However, I promised simple, so I simply ordered the cake 🙂

Yep! I asked for a 9 inch round, double layer cake (so it would be as tall as possible), covered in smooth white buttercream (knowing it wouldn’t be perfectly smooth was fine with me), and a piped round/pearl border (instead of a shell border), no decorations on top or anywhere else. Keep in mind, you can order this kind of cake from any grocery store/bakery you love, but the price may be different!

Then head to your nearest Walmart and pick up three things…ribbon to go with your theme, sixlets candies, and whatever you need for your topper! For the ribbon, the width depends on the height of your cake, but I used 7/8 and 1 1/2 inch ribbons, and both worked great! You can put wax paper under the ribbon if you are concerned about ribbon touching icing (I wasn’t). I bought three bags of sixlets ($4.97 each) to go on the five different cakes, and I think they’re worth the investment to have every color in pastel, primary, and black. And since there are so many in each bag, you’ll be able to use the bag again and again for future cakes! But obviously, you can do your cake with just one singular bag! I did the math, and it’s essentially ONE PENNY per sixlet!

The toppers totally depend on the theme of your cake as well! Many people go to the party supply section, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s cuter to look around the rest of the store to find something a bit more unique, and often times, they’re less expensive! You’ll see below what I decided on for the themes I chose, but I’ll also give you some additional ideas as they come to me!

Basically, each cake is made the same way. Ribbon around the side, candies around the base, and the toppers on top, obvi. 😉 But each video has a cake tip or trick you may need to know about, depending on what you want to put on your cake! So check out each one…

Let’s start with the Frozen cake! I KNOW your kids are obsessed with some sort of cartoon character/movie right now, and want a cake in that theme. You may run in to a little bit of push back from a custom cakery about this because technically we weren’t allowed to do licensed character cakes. Why? Because copyright infringement is very real, and very costly. The reason why grocery/chain stores can do the cakes, is because they buy the rights from the company, and the company sends them decorating “packs” in the themes of what they can do. That’s all good and well, except all of the cakes look the exact same because they have to. That’s why I’m going to show you how to make a Frozen cake that you won’t see replicated at every birthday party.

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the tiara was $4.94, sprinkles $2.47 but I used half, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! The tiara can be a gift to the birthday girl, so that won’t go to waste at all, and it even lights up 🙂 I love when a topper does double duty! Other ideas…Lightening McQueen car on top, black and white checkered ribbon around the side, and black, orange, and red sixlets; Construction toy on top with crushed oreo dirt pile, caution ribbon around the side, yellow and black sixlets; Doc McStuffins toy on top, purple ribbon around side, pastel pink and purple sixlets. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Next up is a sports-themed cake! Obviously, you’re going to customize this to your favorite team/sport, but since I’m a huge Carolina Panther’s fan, that’s what you’re going to see on my blog 😉 I found these car decals/stickers in the Panther’s section of our local Walmart, and I thought they’d make the best toppers!

Watch the video to see how I made the stickers into toppers for the cake (don’t peel off the backing), and how I assembled everything else…

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the stickers were $3.88, lollipop sticks were $1.99 for 50 (I used 3), ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! And the best part is the stickers can be used afterwards to go on a car, a cooler, a skateboard, journal, whatever! Again, always looking to reuse stuff. Other options: Golf ball on a tee (glue them together) on top, plaid ribbon around the side, green and blue sixlets; small plastic soccer ball on top, soccer-themed ribbon, black and green sixlets. But this is also a great time to tie in school sports/colors!

The next cake I made is great for any patriotic day (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day), a ‘welcome to America’ adoption/au pair/exchange student cake, or even a ‘congrats on becoming an American citizen’ cake (which I’ve totally made before)! In this video, I show you how to protect a cake from an object that’s not technically “food safe.” Watch to see how..

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the HOME decor was $2.98, the flags were $1.97 but used two, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! And the HOME box has a hook to hang it on a wall after the party is over, and the flags can be reused in the yard even! Other options: Do this idea for any holiday! Tiny christmas tree on top, green and red plaid ribbon, green and red sixlets; little black hat on top, shamrock ribbon, green and black sixlets; plastic easter egg on top, pastel ribbon, pastel sixlets.

The next cake is what I prepared for my Mom’s birthday! Her favorite color is green, and she LOVES to garden, tend to her flowers, etc. So in this video, I show you how to put fresh flowers in to a cake, because believe or not, they shouldn’t just be stuck in to the icing! They are kept in dirty water, may have bugs on them, and grow in the ground. That’s not exactly what you want to stick in to cake! Watch the video to see how to protect the cake from the stems!

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the lantern was $1.98, the flowers were cut off of a bush but you can buy them from Walmart for $4 (or get silk ones), ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! I already had the straws, but you can grab/save a few from your next drive thru! If your flowers have thick stems, look for boba tea straws or milkshake straws in the freezer/ice cream section! The lantern can be decor after the party is done, but my favorite part about it, is I used the tea light that goes inside of it as the “candle” to blow out! This cake is perfect for anyone, at anytime, for any occasion…just grab their favorite color of lantern, ribbon and flowers, and voila!

I know everyone knows someone graduating in the next few weeks, and this cake is perfect, no matter the age of your graduate! I found the photo cap cube in the graduation section of Walmart, and you can personalize it with your own pictures and quotes obviously! There aren’t any new techniques to learn in this video per se, but just a re-CAP (pun intended) of the things we did in the other videos!

In this case, the cake was $9.99, the photo cube was $4.98, ribbon was $2.97 but I used 1/4 of it, and a handful of sixlets was $.25! This cube can be used again and again for future graduates…just switch out the pics! This also might be the only cake that goes over the $20 budget, because you can lift up the top part and store extra gifts inside…in this case, I put in $20! The option, I’d tell you for this cake, is to use the graduate’s school colors to personalize the cake! Although I love this arrow ribbon I found, tying the school’s colors together in through the ribbon and sixlets, would be super cute!

Let’s talk about cake stands for a hot second! Every person should have one at the very least! I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many to count, but that’s because I owned a bakery. If you are looking for a cake stand that goes with everything, I would buy a plain white one. If you’re looking to get two cake stands, then a white and a silver one should do the trick, no matter what kind of cake you’re going to display on it! It really does make a visual difference to have the cake elevated off of the table. Walmart sells stands, at a great price, so check them out!

Shop some of the products used:

 

 

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