Steals & Deals – At Home

Last weekend my mom and I spent almost 3 hours in At Home, and didn’t even make it through the entire store. At Home is the old Garden Ridge near Carolina Place Mall. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but if you have some time to do some searching, you can walk away with some great steals! Here’s just a few of the goodies we found, at a fraction of the price!



1. Ginger JarGinger Jars

2. Round Back Dining Chairchairs3. Acrylic Ghost Chair 


4. Bamboo Mirror



How Charlotte’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

Pretty interesting! via


Wonder how Myers Park or NoDa became Myers Park and NoDa? To track down these answers, we enlisted the help of Thomas Hanchett, local Charlotte, North Carolina historian and author of the book Sorting Out the New South City. 

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive. Some neighborhoods didn’t make the list because their etymologies were obvious (we’re looking at you South End and University City), and some were omitted because there’s no reliable information (why does no one know where Chantilly originated?). But we’ve dug up some fun historical facts that explain where your neighborhood got its name—and possibly its personality.


Charlotte’s Arboretum neighborhood surrounds the eponymous shopping center (location of the city’s first Wal-Mart), which opened in 1989. The center and the neighborhood were named for the large quantity of trees that were in the area prior to its development.


Just outside the I-485 loop, this neighborhood is one of the city’s newer additions. It was originally farmland and a large family hunting preserve until Charlottean Smoky Bissell purchased the land (around 2,000 acres) for development in 1995 and named it after his aunt, Barbara Ballantyne.


© James Willamor

This community is home to the historically black college, Johnson C. Smith University, which was formerly Biddle University. The school—and ultimately the neighborhood—were named for Major Henry J. Biddle, an officer in the Union Army who died during the Civil War. His wife, Mary Biddle, donated funding in his honor to help found the college.


This South Charlotte neighborhood and shopping complex takes its name from James A. Blakeney. After his father, a South Carolina native, was killed during the Civil War, his mother resettled with her children in the Blakeney area in 1883. The family accumulated considerable holdings in the area, and the James A. Blakeney House, constructed in 1901, is still in the neighborhood—and currently for sale for $1.5 million.


© James Willamor

Historically, this small neighborhood has also been called Cherryton or Cherrytown. “It may have been an old plantation slave quarters,” says historian Thomas Hanchett. “Its name is said to have come from the cherry trees that once grew on its hillsides.”


© James Willamor

This neighborhood derived its name from the Cotswold Village Shops located at the intersection of Randolph and Sharon Amity Roads. The shops, which were once Cotswold Mall, were named for the charming Cotswolds area in England.


© James Willamor

Edward Dilworth Latta, a traveling salesman from New York, moved to Charlotte in 1876. In 1890 he joined with Charlotte’s mayor and four other investors to develop the city’s first street car suburb. Latta also created Dilworth’s Latta Park, which was originally an amusement park designed to draw city dwellers to see the neighborhood before it was developed. “He was a very modest man,” says Hanchett. “From what I know, he never named anything Edward.”


Prior to 1927, the land on the east side of Providence Road was primarily two dairy farms. At that time, Charlotte’s E.C. Griffith Company began creating an upscale new suburb aptly named for its location to the east of much of the city’s previously developed suburbs.


© James Willamor

When Charles B. King established a small Lutheran college for women in 1897, he named it after his mother-in-law, Anne Elizabeth Watts, because Watts’ husband, a tobacco businessman, had provided much of the funding for the school. The neighborhood takes its name from Elizabeth College, which stood on the present-day site of Presbyterian Hospital.


© James Willamor

By the 1850s the village of Charlotte had grown large enough that it needed to be separated into four political wards. A quadrant was made with the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets at its center. Charlotte officially ended the ward voting system in 1945, but the names of the center city neighborhoods stuck.


Want proof that Charlotte is still a young city? The name of this neighborhood, just outside of Uptown, has only been coined in the last several years. Named for Freedom Drive, Morehead Street, and the west side, its one of Charlotte’s fastest growing urban neighborhoods.


Arthur S. Grier was an influential African American leader in Charlotte during the segregation era. He was the owner of Grier’s Grocery on Monroe Road, and he built his home—which still stands—across the street from the store in 1922. Several business ventures later, Grier developed the land behind his home into the area that became known first as Griertown and later as Grier Heights.


© James Willamor

Charlotte resident Colonel William R. Myers is known for donating the land for the area’s first African American college, Biddle College (now Johnson C. Smith University) as well as Myers Street School, the city’s first public school for African Americans. His son, J.S. “Jack” Myers, came into his inheritance, which included 306 acres of then farmland, at the age of 26. Jack Myers accumulated more than 1000 acres, on which he created tree-lined roads and planted flowers, earning it the nickname “Myers Park.”

14. NODA

© James Willamor

The first question most people ask about this eclectic arts district is where it got its funny name. It’s short for “North Davidson,” the street that runs through its center. Architect Russell Pound originally coined the name in the early 1990s.


© James Willamor

While this east Charlotte area has plenty of historic roots, it wasn’t formally recognized as a neighborhood until 1973 when two residents decided to form a community organization. They coined the name by combining the area’s most notable residential street, The Plaza, with one of its larger subdivisions, Midwood.


© James Willamor

Today, SouthPark is one of the city’s most sought-after and upscale neighborhoods. But it was only with the arrival of SouthPark Mall in 1970 that Charlotte residents began to flock to this spot, which was once former North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison’s 3,000-acre farm. The mall, titled for its picturesque location south of town, was the neighborhood’s namesake.


Like much of the South Boulevard corridor of Charlotte, this neighborhood was established in the latter part of the 20th century. Now it’s one of South Charlotte’s largest neighborhoods, but the initial construction spread from Starbrook Drive, which lent its name to the development.


Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is named after the small creek that runs through it. The origin of the creek’s name is a little less certain, but it’s believed that the Steele family were Scotch-Irish settlers who came to the area in the early 18th century.


This neighborhood, which opened as a streetcar suburb in 1913, was originally planned as a suburb for the city’s middle-income African American residents and named in honor of Booker T. Washington.


© James Willamor

This area was originally home to the Wilson and Moore farms. Hence, when it was converted into another one of the city’s streetcar neighborhoods in the early 20th century, the names were combined for Wilmore.



1. Touch Tonic for Gloves: Touch Tonic is a paint-on solution that you paint onto the tips of your gloves making them touchscreen capable. No more cutting off your tips or frost bite fingers to send that ever important Snapchat. They make a version for leather gloves and another for fleece gloves.


2. Key Smart: Do you walk around with a ring of keys that resembles a high school janitor? (cough cough: Mom!) Key Smart helps by combining all of your keys into one swiss army style key holder. One Key Smart key organizer can fit up to 100 keys and they offer different colors and add-ons for USBs, pocket clips and bottle openers.

Product Photography of KeySMart taken at Studio on April 04, 2014.

3. Knockoff Clarisonic Replacement Brush Heads: They say you should replace your Clarisonic brush every 3 months. By “every 3 months” they really mean every year and a half, right?? At $27 a pop, I surely don’t have an extra $100 a year to be buying these. Thankfully, Taylor at Its The Little Things blogged about these knockoff replacement heads that you can buy on Amazon. I was skeptical at first, but all the reviews say they are as good as the real deal. And at $1.25 a piece, I’m willing to take the chance!

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4. 52 week money challenge: Yesterday I mentioned that I used the 52-week money challenge to save almost $1,400 for our trip to Mexico. This is such a great way to save extra money, and the most you’re putting in is $52, which is totally doable. My friend Kathleen at Gratefully Golden had a great idea to do this challenge, but in reverse. That way, you’re putting the most money in at the beginning of January when you’re likely to have more mulah thanks to Christmas (or birthdays!). If you haven’t started yet, no worries, you’re only $21 behind which is easy to make-up quickly.


5. Free Food: Don’t judge me, but I’ve gone to Chick-fil-a three times this week. On Tuesday they were giving away free Chicken Mini’s (and calories don’t count on your birthday) and then I’ve gone two other times to get a free Iced Vanilla Coffee. For the remainder of February, they are giving away a free cup of its new specialty-grade THRIVE Farmers coffee at all restaurant locations. Customers can pick up a 12 ounce (small) cup of hot coffee or a 16 ounce (medium) iced coffee throughout the month. Also, today at Menchie’s from 4-8 p.m. you can get a free frozen yogurt with toppings





1. Tablet Pillow: Please tell me I’m not the only one who turns their bed into a movie theater nightly? With almost all networks having an app now, and the option to watch all my favorite shows on demand, there really isn’t much need for cable anymore (sorry, NOT sorry Time Warner!). Most nights I find myself catching up on Housewives (and being stunned at Brandi’s appalling behavior) or trying to catch up on Homeland since I’m basically living in the early 1900’s since I’m still on Season 2. Anyways, I used to prop my iPad up on a pillow, or the dog, or my headboard or any surface really until my dad gifted me this fabulous tablet pillow. It has a pocket that holds the iPad and a pocket on the side for any accessories you may need to carry with you (headphones, remote, etc.). The best part? When you accidentally fall asleep you now roll over on a soft plush pillow and not the freezing cold metal of your tablet.

tablet pillow

2. American Sniper: I am not a movie person, AT ALL. I’ve seen one movie start to finish in the past 10 years. But for some reason, American Sniper has really caught my attention. I saw an interview with Chris Kyle and was hooked. He has 160 confirmed kills but its likely more around 255. The saddest part is that he was killed almost two years ago, but in Texas, not on the front line.  I’m sure it will be really intense, but looking forward to seeing it tonight.


3. Uber cutting prices in CLT: As if Uber was not already fantastic enough, they’ve now made themselves even cooler by reducing prices in 48 U.S. cities, including Charlotte! The price cut supposedly drives higher demand, which in turn drives more rides and more mulah for Uber. If you haven’t heard my sales pitch for Uber yet, you can read it here or here. I swear I should be an ambassador.

4. Uber rates YOU: While we’re talking Uber…I recently found out that your driver rates you after each ride too. This discovery sent me into an instant tailspin of worry wracking my brain to remember if I had ever been rude, too chatty, not chatty enough, etc. I finally got brave enough to ask my last driver, and the good news is that I’m proudly sporting a 5 star rating!

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5. Resolution, Schmesalution: I heard on the news that today is the day that most people have given up on their New Years Resolutions. I am on day 13 of Whole30 (will post more about this) and can say I’m still going strong. Have you fallen off the wagon yet?

Farmers Market Season

It seems like we rarely have a weekend in Charlotte, but when we do, one of my favorite things is to ride our bikes to the Kings Dr Farmers Market. There is something about the Farmers Market that makes me feel organically trendy. I love to be able to support local farmers and you can’t beat the prices. We typically make a list of all we need for the following week and then stock up and load it in our backpacks for the trek home.  If we’re buying flowers or herbs (or a watermelon) we’ll bring the car, but bike riding seems to fit the experience better.


The Charlotte Observer recently featured “10 ways to make the most of farmers markets”

What to do

• Plan ahead. “Almost any market of any size these days has an online newsletter or an email list,” says Daniel. Many farmers do, too. That will not only tell you if someone has a special crop, but it will also alert you to events, like book signings, cooking demos or festivals.

• Make a plan, but be flexible. “If you’re not an experienced cook, have a general idea (of what you want),” says Blacklin. “Otherwise, it’s overwhelming. Give yourself some framework for what you might want. But the key word is ‘might.’ You want flexibility to change.”

• Walk through before you decide what to buy. “Stand back and look where the customers are,” says Crawford. “That’s the way to find out the best people to buy from.”

• Go early. Really popular items sell out fast. “Things that are really favorites, like fresh eggs, sell out quickly,” says Daniel. “Some markets, if you don’t go within the first hour, you won’t get anything.”

• Go late. Sometimes the last customer can get the best deal, if the farmer doesn’t want to pack it up. “I personally don’t try to wheel and deal with farmers,” says Daniel. “They work so hard, they deserve what they make. But for some people who want a bargain, it’s OK to do.”

• Buy for multiple meals, but work in a midweek stop, too, says Blacklin. “Don’t think about it like a supermarket. It’s a shift of how we think of our schedule and our rhythms, but that’s helpful (to shop midweek) when you’re buying fresh things.”

• Get to know your farmer – but not when the market is really busy. “You really don’t want to hold things up by chatting too much,” says Daniel. Go in at a slow time or on a slower day of the week, or stay late and offer to help reload the trucks.

• Be considerate. Take small bills, don’t cut in line, and try to share if something is scarce. “I’ll look behind and say, ‘Does anyone else want okra?’ ” says Daniel. “And if they don’t, I’ll take it all.”

• Leave room for a treat. “I’m a big fan of leaving yourself some wiggle room (in your budget),” says Blacklin. “It’s a social experience. Buy yourself that flower or that scone or a cup of coffee.”

• Finally, if you really want to be a regular, volunteer. Most markets need helpers. “There’s always things we could use help with,” says Blacklin. “Even the information booth.”

You can also click here for an interactive map of the all of the Charlotte-area markets.


Your States Internet Search History


America’s fifty states have a lot in common, but if their internet search histories are any indication they also have significant differences. Estately ran hundreds of search queries through Google Trends to determine which words, terms, and questions each state was searching for more than any other. What does your states search history say??

NORTH CAROLINA:  Barbecue / Charles Barkley’s Golf Swing / White Snake (band) / Your Mama Jokes

Analysis:  People are just having a real nice time on the internet in ol’ North Carolina