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Plan a Mid-Week Break at Miro Spanish Grille! November 30, 2010

Filed under: Spanish Restaurants — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 8:50 pm
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                     Maria’s Restaurant Tip du jour –

Last evening, my  husband and I had a lovely time at Miro Spanish  Grille in Stonecrest (the great shopping center located between Rea Rd. and Elm Ln. on the north side of Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.).  Check out their menu at www.MiroSpanishGrille.com.

What made it so special was  the quiet atmosphere, authentic Spanish music, and the friendly staff – we chose not to sit at a table, but instead, had our tapas and meal at the bar, chatting with the super-engaging bartender!  Of course, the Miro Grille is somewhere we go often, the top of our list in fact, and we love their delicious Paella Valenciana as well as their famous Paella Seafood Platter.  Their unique tapas selection includes a must-have Garlic Shrimp in olive oil that can’t be beat (my husband Jimmy’s favorite!).  We sat there, enjoying the company of the bartender as well as other patrons who stopped to talk.  Spanish is my native language, but if you would like a quick lesson in Espanol, Miro’s a great place to get it!

In addition to great food, Spanish lessons, and friendly atmosphere, the bar (and restaurant) has a great selection of beers and Spanish wines, as well as the usual assortment of cocktails.  But the best part of any meal at the Miro Grille is their trademark dessert of Tres Leches cake (you can even order one to go or for a party!!).  There’s absolutely nothing like this delicacy in the world!  

So, you probably by now (5 days post-Thanksgiving) are in serious need of a break from the turkey, stuffing, and other leftovers, so head on over to Miro Spanish Grille this week – tell them Maria (of Bon Maison Properties fame!) sent you!

Hasta la vista, baby!

www.southcharlotteliving.com

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CYBER MONDAY MANIA ! November 29, 2010

Filed under: Holiday Shopping — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 5:16 pm
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I love shopping … I admit – it is an obsession for me (just ask my husband) … I can shop anywhere-anytime … from The Dollar Tree to Tiffanys … It is the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of finding a great deal that fuels my obsession! So, it goes without saying, that I did peruse a few stores on Black Friday with a million other zealous shoppers.  But I especially enjoy Cyber Monday .  There is something to be celebrated about shopping from the comfort of my own home, still in my flannel pjs, drinking my hazelnut coffee and “googling” all of my favorite sites.   I can spend hours searching online for the perfect gift, the best price, the free shipping sites … So today Cyber Monday is my kind of day *

According to a recent survey from Shop.org … Cyber Monday has replaced Black Friday as the most popular holiday shopping day of the year.  106.9 million americans are expected to shop on the internet today … If you are one of those destined to find a great deal then check out these websites :

www.CYBERMONDAY.COM – more than 700 retailers offer deals on this site

www.RETAILMENOT.COMoffers coupons from thousands of retailers for additional discounts

www.PRICEGRABBER.COM – a comparison site to find the best prices on products from more than 11,000 merchants

If, like me, you have teenagers  who want gift cards, be sure to visit www.GIFTCARDGRANNY.COM and www.PLASTICJUNGLE.COM.  These sites offer gift cards BELOW face value… but hurry – they are only offered today !

And don’t forget to think of Bon Maison Properties if a new house is on your Christmas List  !  www.SOUTHCHARLOTTELIVING.COM

So get started, Good Luck and Happy Shopping !     

 

Charlotte Holiday Sparkle for You! Lights and More… November 28, 2010

Maureen’s tip of the day –

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s time to set our sites on some holiday sparkle!  There are several opportunities, in and around Charlotte, to spend time (and, on occasion, a few dollars as well) checking out beautiful Christmas lights displays.

A relative newcomer to the Christmas lights and holiday fun is the display around the track and on the infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.  Known as Carolina Christmas, for $20 per passenger vehicle you’ll enjoy a trail of sparkling LED lights in clever configurations, a live nativity scene, ice skating opportunity, carriage rides, snacks, music, and more!  Open 6-10 pm nightly until Jan. 2, 2011.  Check out the details (and pre-purchase tickets!) at www.visitcarolinachristmas.com.

For a wonderful and “free” south Charlotte interactive lights and music display, check out the Cook Family adventure at 10732 Honeynut Dr. in the Allyson Park subdivision – over 80,000 lights rockin’ to the beat of some of your favorite Christmas tunes!  Running from 6-10 pm nightly from Dec. 4 – Jan. 1, just drive up, dim your lights, and tune your car radio to 100.3 FM!!  Donation bucket on site with all proceeds donated to A Child’s Place – well worth it!  Thanks once again, Cook Family!  For details and directions, www.C3inet.com.

A Charlotte area standard, the McAdenville “Christmas Town” lights display is available nightly from Nov. 30 – Dec. 26 – 5:30 – 9:30 pm M-F and 5:30 – 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  An old-timey mill town all lit up for the holidays just for you!!  From south Charlotte, the easiest route is going to be 485 (inner loop!) to Wilkinson Blvd./Exit 9, left at the bottom of the exit ramp and head west through Gastonia – follow the traffic onto Main Street as you’ll still have plenty, but not as much as if you head into town via 85 south.  See more info at www.mcadenville-christmastown.com.

Also free and a fun experience is a trip out to the Billy Graham Library (on the Billy Graham Parkway, of course!) for another spectacular display of holiday lights, live nativity scene, carriage rides, caroling, and a tour of the library (with shopping and snacking opps!) and the original Graham home on site.  It’s open during the day for some activities, but the lights are on from 5 – 10 pm nightly from Dec. 1 – Dec. 23.  For directions and details, see http://www.billygrahamlibrary.org/pgview.aspx?pid=18&eid=7.

Ok, this is a secret for south Charlotte people in-the-know!  sssshhhhh…. but if you want to take a peaceful drive through a charming south Charlotte neighborhood on the night they are all decked out with luminary magic, check out Thornhill, off Elm Lane on Saturday, Dec. 18th!  (And if you see a house for sale that you’d like to see – call me at 704.541.2500 and I’ll give you the details!).  Great neighborhood, beautiful event.

The fun continues at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont (about 40 -45 minute drive from south Charlotte).  A definite treat with the incredible gardens all alight with over 600,000 lights, trains, carriage rides, Santa, baked goodies, and more!  $12 adults, $11 seniors over 60, and $6 children under 12.  Runs now until Dec. 3. For directions and more info, check out the website at www.dsbg.org and enjoy!

FINALLY, one special treat for you and the kids – a must on your own holiday events calendar.  How about a ride on The Polar Express!!  Head west to Bryson City, NC (about 3 hours from Charlotte) and “All Aboard” The Polar Express train sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.  On board the train (jump on in your jammies of course!), there’ll be a reading of the famous Christmas story by the same name, caroling, hot cocoa, a ride to the “North Pole” complete with a chance to meet Santa and a special surprise memento (can you guess?).  I never knew about this when my children were little, but I don’t think it’s ever too late!  The memories will be worth every penny at $38 for adults and $26 per child 12 and under.  See you there!  Call 800.872.4631 for all you need to know…

Hope these ideas help to get your holiday plans in gear!  And remember…  if your holiday plans include buying or selling a home, contact us at www.southcharlotteliving.com – we’re here for you!

 

Many Blessings to Y’all! November 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 6:45 pm

Today is a day of gratititude for all we are blessed with in life – whether it be filled with abundance, challenges or a combination of both!  Wishing you many blessings and a wonderful celebration with friends and family:

http://www.zingding.com/h/91913448

ALSO:  Black Friday SHOPPING Update!

Actually…. some stores at both Carolina Place and South Park Mall are opening in the wee hours tomorrow morning prior to the official mall opening time!

Belk stores, Macy’s, J.C.Penney, and Sears are all opening at 4 am! as are Target stores.  K-Mart, Walmart, Best Buy, and Michael’s all have great sales starting at 5 am tomorrow – enjoy your turkey then go knock yourselves out with your shopping!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

Ready, Set, SHOP – Preparing For The Onslaught November 24, 2010

Filed under: Black Friday,Holiday Shopping — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 7:40 pm
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From Maureen’s perspective –

“Shop”

Personally, it’s one of my least favorite four letter words!  But the time is fast approaching that many of you will be setting your sites on conquering the Christmas crunch of gift buying and giving.

One increasingly popular idea is to focus not on giving gifts of things but instead on providing memorable experiences.  And guess what?  It’s a lot easier to shop for the “experience” type presents anyway!  (Don’t worry – there are tips for you die-hard mall shoppers below!)  For the rest of us, we can shop online instead of waiting “on line” (as all you Jersey-girl friends of mine say – we Midwesterners and Southerners refer to it as waiting “in line”).  So instead of another nice picture frame or other trinket for your friend or relative’s home, how about tickets to an adventure they can take a picture of – some opportunity they might not have taken advantage of, some activity that takes them a little out of their normal realm… 

Museums, shows, galleries, sports tickets, white-water rafting days, mini beach getaways, golf outings, movie & dinner certificates, Tweetsie Railroad for the kids – the possibilities are endless!  For some up-to-date Charlotte area options, check out all the links available at www.charlottesgotalot.com.  And grab a stack of cute and colorful fortune cookie boxes for packaging your certificates/gift cards and you’re ready to go!

Ok, you’re the type of person that just wouldn’t feel right if you didn’t head out for that early Black Friday shopping – here’s the scoop you need –

The earliest and biggest bang for your early morning buck is going to be the 11:45 pm Thursday opening of Concord Mills (in Concord, northeast of Charlotte, but easy to get to from south Charlotte – head up the 485-OUTER LOOP til it ends, head N on 85 toward GREENSBORO and take the first exit #49/Bruton Smith Blvd. and you can’t miss it on your left).  Concord Mills has all kinds of outlet stores – see www.concordmills.com for all the details.  There’s a really nice TJMaxx store there – the highlight for me the few times I’ve gone!  Of note, the Best Buy there doesn’t open until 5 am Friday, and Bass Outlet opens at 6 am…

Kohl’s (www.kohls.com) has a couple of locations convenient to south Charlotte including the Pavilion on South Blvd. at 485 and also on Independence Blvd. in Matthews.  Apparently, they’re throwing open their doors at 3 am Friday – have fun!  There’s a Michael’s store near the South Blvd. Kohl’s and they sometimes offer crazy Black Friday hours as well – I’d guess they’ll be opening around 4 or 5 (do they offer coffee when you’re out shopping so early???).

Next on the timeline in Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, basically at the intersection of 485 and Hwy 51/Pineville-Matthews Rd.  They open at 6am Friday and offer the usual array of mall shops, with Belk, Dillards, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney as anchor stores.  Check out www.carolinaplace.com to see if you’ll find Santa up and at his station that early.

Finally, I guess no one’s getting up early to unlock the doors at South Park Mall as they won’t be opening until 8 am on Friday.  However, with that said, you’ll find the swankiest selection of stores at this pretty mall, at the corner of Sharon and Fairview Roads.  There’s Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany, J. Crew, Coach, Michael Kors, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and more!  So dust off that plastic and get ready to roll!  You can shop all the other options before these places even open!

And if you’d rather just shop for a NEW HOUSE, just call us at 704.541.2500 and one of our Bon Maison Properties girls will be ready to help!  Have a safe, happy, and blessed Thanksgiving!!

 
 

Pass the Pumpkin Please! Still time for Great Desserts November 23, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 10:46 pm
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 Maureen says –

What’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin, and lots of it!  There’s still time to open a can or two of that great fall vegetable and create some holiday magic!  Depending on the time you have left in your schedule before the big happy day, you may be able to whip up one or both of these tried and true EASY (I promise!  I only make EASY!) yet scrumptious desserts!

(Easy) PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE (of course, keeping in mind that easier would be to run up to Trader Joe’s at Piper Glen and buy one out of their freezer!)                                                                                                                                            

You’ll need:

10″ springform pan (I line it with parchment paper)

Crushed crunch gingersnap cookies, approx. 25

1/4 C butter or margarine, melted

(stir into crushed cookies and line bottom of springform pan – stick in freezer until ready for filling)

4 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened 

1-1/2 C sugar

2 t vanilla extract

(mix these ingredients together until smooth)

4 eggs (add to above, ONE AT A TIME, mixing well between each)

2/3 C half & half (mix into above until combined)

1 can pure pumpkin

2 t pumpkin pie spice

(mix in last two ingredients and beat well, until combined; pour into prepared crust and bake in oven for one hour at 350 degrees – let sit in hot oven for 1o – 15 more minutes – center should not be fully set when done; cool on baking rack, then chillax in the fridge overnight – remove springform pan and place on serving plate – I’m sure you’re going to want to put this one on a pretty cake pedestal plate!).  Top with some delish whipped cream (just use the can!!) and voila!

Ok, if that sounds like WAY too much trouble, but you’d still like a little pumpkin sumpkin to serve your guests – try this one and they will THINK it took hours!

Rose Marie’s (Incredibly Easy!) PUMPKIN PIE CAKE

Start off by greasing a 13×9″ cake pan

To that, add 1 large (or 2 small = 15 oz) can of pumpkin pie filling

Over that, sprinkle one regular-size box of yellow cake mix

On top of that, layer 1/2 – 3/4 C chopped nuts (your choice – walnuts or pecans!)

Melt 2 sticks butter (ooh ooh ooh, now you’ll know why it’s such an ooey-gooey crowd pleaser!) and pour , somewhat evenly, over the other ingredients

Bake in 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.                                                                                 

 be the hit of the pumpkin patch with these easy-breezy delights!

Catch us tomorrow for our helpful hints on holiday shopping!  Now, back to the Kitchen….

And if you’re in the market for a new house with an awesome Kitchen, check out our listings (and 20,0000 others!) at www.southcharlotteliving.com

 

Time to Talk Turkey! November 22, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Why Move to South Charlotte? @ 3:48 am
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      TODAY, Paige Says –
 
 
 
 
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and if you need a little help in the “turkey” department, I have a few great south Charlotte suggestions for you …
 
Are you looking to save a little money this Thanksgiving ?  If so, just head over to Trader Joe’s at Piper Station (www.traderjoes.com) and you will be surprised with their yummy and affordable options for a fabulous turkey day …
For under $25.00 (yes, it IS true !) you can feed up to four people .  Try their turkey breast, cranberry relish, or sweet potato pie .  Add a light white wine for under $6.99 a bottle .  Toast to the good times and good deals !
 
Ok, you don’t want to cook but want everyone to think that you did?  No problem … just call or visit The Fresh Market at Carmel Commons (www.thefreshmarket.com or 704.541.1882) for a beautiful and ready-to-serve Thanksgiving spread !  You can order a fully-cooked, ready-to-serve 10-12 lb turkey for $3.49 a pound .  These turkeys are raised in the Pennsylvania Amish country and are fed a vegetarian diet that is free of animal by-products .  They are always fresh, never frozen and area raised naturally without antibiotics .
 
And don’t forget the side dishes … they have many to choose from :  sweet potato souffle, stuffing, cranberry relish, corn souffle – and the list goes on and on !  The dessert choices are amazing … Try the yummy carrot cake or the decadent pecan pie … two of my personal favorites !  Stop by, give them a call, or order online …but hurry !
 
If cooking IS your forte then head on over to your neighborhood Harris Teeter (have you noticed – they’re everywhere ! ) and shop to your heart’s desire (www.harristeeter.com) .  Here you will find EVERYTHING and I do mean everything that you need to make your Thanksgiving dinner a big success.  Their fresh Butterball turkeys are $1.49 a pound and frozen are a budget-friendly $2.69 if you don’t have to cook for an army !  There are fresh, canned, and frozen cranberries … Ingredients to make even the most exotic dishes or your traditional favorites .  Even if you are cooking into the night (hope not !), the Harris Teeter at Stonecrest is open 24 hours !
 
However you spend your Thanksgiving Day, I wish you many blessings with family and friends …