Amelie's, If You Please

Blouse: Anthropologie (SO on sale!). Bralette: Anthropologie, similarSkirt: J. Crew, this one is in my basket!). Shoes: Brian Atwood (also on Mega sale!). Calf Hair Bracelets: thanks to Blydesign. Cocktail Rings: Both Melinda Maria.  Earrings: from Sloan.

Donna and I headed South last week for a full day of fantastically fun photo shooting. Remember this post? I can't wait to share pictures from the adjacent Sunflower field.  On the way back into Charlotte, I was feeling empty inside for a dose of heritage, so we stopped over in downtown Rock Hill, SC for a little by gone fulfillment.  Encompassing the historic downtown, Winthrop University, the Textile Corridor and the city's original neighborhoods, Old Town is the heart of Rock Hill.  Beyond a few family business meetings, I haven't been into downtown Rock Hill in quite some time.  Well, it is just darling, and while it may be the "Old Town," there is also a bit of new splashed in this historic center.  If you live in the Queen City you likely know cult French bakery, Amelie's of Noda, now taking the South by storm!  Lovingly preserved, the most beautiful old bank in Old Town plays home to the newest Amelie's location.  Should you find yourself in Rock Hill, SC, be sure to stop in Amelie's for a tasty treat.  And quite actually, I recommend you do go find yourself in Old Town!

While We're On The Topic of Tory Burch...

In case you missed my post discussing American designer Tory Burch and her collaboration with Bank of America, Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative designed to support women entrepreneurs with capital and mentoring opportunities, you may read that review here.  The evening was nothing short of awe-inspiring.  And so while we are on the topic of Tory Burch, I thought it to be only be apropos in sharing a handful of my favorite designs from her summer and fall collections, some of which are currently on sale.  Check 'em out here...

Oh, and just in case you were wondering...

This Is What Powerhouse Looks Like

Last night, cozied up tight in a room full of spirited, local powerhouse women, and a few equally successful men, I attended a unique and brilliant event at the Foundation For The Carolinas. The event, Elizabeth Street Capital, is the brain child of American fashion designer, Tory Burch, CEO & Designer of Tory Burch. Elizabeth Street Capital is an initiative set forth by the designer's foundation and Charlotte's own Bank of America, designed to provide women entrepreneurs in the U.S. with access to affordable loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities.  After vino, passed hors d'oeuvres and crudites, a brief panel discussion was led by the three you see below, Tom Montag, Co-Chief Operating Officer and Andrew Plepler, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive, both of Bank of America, and of course, the gal in the middle, Tory Burch.

Following the discussion, 14 of the Queen City's most successful female entrepreneurs and leaders in their respective fields shared brief personal tips of advice and wisdom for all prior to leading two round table discussions. I wanted to share a few that resonated most with me.

  • Prior to founding the Tory Burch brand, the designer was the President of the internationally known luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH.  It was when she worked there, pregnant with her third child that she decided to switch gears and launch her own brand, working from her apartment.  She let us know she asked for help, a lot of it and from a lot of people.  The answer wasn't always yes, but she was tenacious.
  • My friend Joanne O'Brien Beam, Chief Development Officer & Director of Non-Degree Programs, Wake Forest University Charlotte Campus (her own Alma Mater), insisted don't take the YES people.  It's the NO people who keep you hungry, learning and successful.
  • Dee Dixon, CEO/Publisher, Pride Communications, hit a home run with the crowd when she delivered "Ladies, it's okay to want to make a LOT of money!"  I don't Ms. Dixon personally but I can't wait to give her a high five the next time I see her in spin class at the Dowd Y.
  • Clary Hilliard Gray is the daughter and business partner of Liz Hilliard, Creator & Owner, Hilliard Studio Method.  Liz shared the duo's well known brand and philosophy encouraging women to Be Powerful.  Clary politely encouraged "don't be afraid to get rid of the people who are not supporting you and your goals," something that really resonated with me.  
  • Leeann Shattuck, Chief Car Chick, Women's Automotive Solutions, explained that 80% of the time you may reach and not achieve, but it's the 20% of the time you do that makes all the difference.
  • One of my round table discussion leaders, Sherre Demao, CEO/Strategy Maestro, SLD Unlimited Biz Growth Inc., shared her personal experience in running a business included a shift to the "General Contractor Model".  She encouraged small business owners to understand your own strengths and weaknesses and allow people on your team to do the high level stuff.  She also spoke of understanding your Psychographic; the reality of your market. It is important to know how your potential clients live, how they breathe and how they view money... who is truly going to buy your services
  • Last and certainly not least, one of Charlotte's most well known leading women, Joan Zimmerman, CEO, Southern Shows, Inc. through relational humor stated, "There has been an alarming increase in things I know nothing about!", and "The future is for learners because the learned wake up in a world that no longer exists."

Below is a picture with two ladies I am proud to call dear friends and part of my inner circle! Dianne Chipps Bailey, on the left, leads the nonprofit organizations practice group at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. She is THE Queen City's leader for representation of nonprofit organizations, senior management and their philanthropic leaders. Anne Pipkin, on the right, is a former Wall Street Investment Banker turned entrepreneur and founder of too many small businesses to name in one blog post.  If you want to know, however, who keeps my skin a healthy glow off season and who styles my tresses for all important events, that, of course, would be two of Anne's baby's, gorgeousGLO and Blo ouT.

What could be more stylish than a room full of brains, beauty and all around awesome women?

Be Powerful, Supportive, Beautiful and Kind, and you will ALWAYS be In Style.


This Dress Made Me Do It

Dress: Free People.  Shoes: B Brian Atwood. Bracelets: Thanks to BlydesignEarrings: Lettees by way of Back Yard Baby. Sunglasses: Blinde. Ring: Melinda Maria.

Yes, this dress made me put my hands on my hip and strike a pose.  And maybe the shoes, which are now on serious sale.  I think that is an occupational hazard of working with real live models.  What else is a girl to do with her hands than put them on her hips?  Well, I learned from one photographer friend this week that, as it turns out,  putting your hands on your hips in photos is like saying "I have no idea what to do with my hands."  Well, Ok.  And, since I am no model, on the hips they go.  Interesting stuff though. Anyway, as I said, the dress made me do it. I love the cuts on this dress which show just a tiny peak of skin in the front and back.  Below are a few currently available cut out dresses I love.

Swimsuits For Every Body

I don't mean to be drawn to one pieces, but I am.  Remember this one?  Perhaps my favorite. Is it my age that finds them increasingly more sexy to me than a two piece?  Of the bathing suits I wear on regular rotation, probably three are two piece and two are one piece.  I purchased my first rash guard this past winter.  I think I like the way it hugs the body, shows less skin and leaves more to the imagination.  We are well into July as I type this and I am yet to wear the rash guard.  I slather on SPF 50.  I guess I just want the sun all over me.  Two piece, one piece, cute cover ups. rash guards... what's your preference? Check out my swimsuit picks in Charlotte Parent Magazine for every shape and size.  I'm sharing some great on line resources if you prefer to purchase your suits on line and not step into a mall, or scroll through a few of my favs above.