Friday, February 13, 2015

Slim-down secrets from a celebrity nutritionist

I had never heard of the Dukan Diet or its nutritionist Simone Gloger (her photo is above) until I was contacted about some tips she wanted to share. 

If you want to learn more about the Dukan Diet, here's an objective take on it from Web MD:

As for Gloger, her celebrity clients are working hard so they'll look their best at the Oscars on Feb. 22. But her tips are helpful to anyone who needs to cut back for a few weeks before a special event or party.  

1.  Eat Strategically Before the event, eat nothing but lean protein for 2-3 days (Choose lean chicken, grilled fish, eggs and shrimp). This will rev up metabolism, decrease water retention and have you looking extra lean in your outfit. 

2.  Cut Out Dairy This food group is one of the hardest for the body to digest - dairy causes bloating, acne and dark circles under the eyes in a lot of people, leaving you less than camera ready.

3. Lemonize Start your day with hot water and ½ a squeezed lemon. Then do a few more lemon shots throughout the day. This is a great liver detoxifier - the liver supports fat burning and this helps it do its job. Also, lemon neutralizes acids. Acids create a layer around the fat cells so they won't shrink.  Lemon is alkaline so having shots of straight lemon, or even lemon in water, helps to neutralize the acids around the cells so they can shrink like they should.

5. Get Golden Nothing hides flaws and makes you look leaner than a great airbrush tan—make sure to have the technician give you an extra misting on trouble spots like triceps and your inner and outer thigh area.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Taylor Swift takes a fashion cue from a Charlottean

When I was looking through all the fashion photos from the 2015 Grammy Awards, I paused on photos of Taylor Swift. 

She was my personal favorite in an aqua Ellie Saab gown accessorized with bright purple suede heels. The gown was a stunner on its own, but adding the contrasting pop of color with her shoes looked so right and made her stand out even more in the stylish crowd. Based on past prom stories I've done, I guarantee her gown style and choice of colors are going to be copied by many teen girls during the upcoming prom season. 

Then my mind raced back to attending the Father of Year Awards in Charlotte in 2013. That year's co-chair, Peggy Leo-Gallo, wore a similar color combination at the gala and it was such a knockout that every time I run into her I comment on it because I thought it was such a bold fashion statement.

Here's a photo of Peggy and her husband, John Gallo, at the 2013 fundraiser. Peggy, you are now a certified fashion trendsetter!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Overwhelmed with love, not stress

The Emily Post Institute ( is my go-to source whenever I have an etiquette question. Its team of etiquette experts has never let me down over the years whenever I've had a question.

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, the Institute sent out some tips for ways to love your own Valentine's Day celebration with your sweetie and not give in to pressure or hype.

  • The first step is talk to your your Valentine and get a feel for what each of your expectations may be. Ask an open-ended question so your partner can express his or her feelings.

  • If you're hesitant about giving a gift, especially if you're in a new relationship, less is more. At the very least, give your sweetie a card. Flowers and chocolates are traditional options for a reason - they usually please the recipient. So does a nice, home-cooked dinner, and it saves the stress of trying to book a table on one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year. Taking the time to think about a gift your partner would genuinely enjoy often means more than the numbers on a price tag.

  • If you've just started dating someone, it's usually not appropriate to splurge on a significant piece of jewelry or lingerie. Think personal,, but not over the top. Does your love like to cook? Buy them a nice cookbook that focuses on a new type of cuisine to try. Are they an outdoor fanatic? Plan a date to go on a hike to a new spot together. The idea is to show you care without hinting towards anything too serious. You want to choose something thoughtful that doesn't imply a sense of obligation on the part of the recipient. 

  • If you're in a solid relationship, but it's still new and you're learning about the other person, introduce them to something you love in the form of a gift, like one of your favorite books with a letter about why you love it, or a specialty food item from a place that is important to you.

  • Many couples choose not to celebrate Valentine's Day in any special way, and that's okay, too! The day is meant to focus on love and caring for one another - it does not have to be governed by the giving and receiving of gifts. You can show you care by being particularly attentive to each other and being complimentary. Do a lot of the little things that let the other person know they are special to you. 

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Designer Showcase deadline is Feb. 2

The deadline for Belk's 2015 Southern Designer Showcase is Feb. 2.

The competition gives designers a chance to get their collection into Belk stores and online in Spring 2016. 

It's open to designers of women's, men's or kids' apparel, shoes or women's accessories who either live in the South or have a strong connection to the region.

To enter, you must be at least 18; submit at least 10 photos of actual products (not drawings); and include a bio. 

Entries can be sent to

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Two simple Super Bowl party tips

Actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose husband Rodney Peete is a former quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, spoke to US Weekly recently about her favorite tips for a Super Bowl party, or "Homegating" as she calls it.

Here are her two tips:

Stay off Pinterest or you'll become overwhelmed with ideas. Instead, keep it simple and have the basics of beer and easy game day food that everyone loves.

Since the game is in Arizona, add some Southwestern flair whether it's with food or decor.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My fashion notebook

Last year, I decided to start a fashion notebook. It turned out to be a great idea for me, so I thought I would share it with you.

I bought an inexpensive notebook from the drugstore and titled it Clothes. Am I a creative writer or what?

For all of 2014, I recorded every single thing I bought to wear on my body. Dresses, scarves, jewelry, shoes, socks and more. No matter what it was, it went in my notebook. Everything is recorded by month. For each item, I drew a quick sketch of it, then wrote a description underneath it that also includes where I bought it and the price.

An example is a halter dress from Belk that I lived in over the summer. I wore it as a dress, as a tunic, as a cover-up at the pool and to just relax in around the house.

Here's my notebook entry on the item (if I knew I was going to publish it I would have put more effort into my handwriting and drawing!)

Here's the actual dress so you can see that the drawing doesn't have to be exact, just a simple visual reminder of the item.

At the end of the year, it was incredibly helpful (and fun) to look back and quickly see what I bought. It helps me realize which stores I tend to shop at most, how much I spend annually, and the types of clothing and accessories I tend to buy.

I'm a very visual person, so the drawings - no matter how crudely drawn they were - were key to making this a success. If I had just written out the information without an accompanying picture, it wouldn't have had as much impact on me.

The drawing also quickly helps me see what I bought that I ended up loving and wearing a lot, and what I bought that turned out to be a dud. I think I'll go back and put a star by the items I loved and wore over and over. And an X by the items that didn't work out, some of which I've already donated to Goodwill.

I've bought things for $12 that have turned out to be amazing pieces that I constantly get compliments on. And I've bought things for $600 that are amazing pieces that I constantly get compliments on.

And the reverse is true. I've spent nominal amounts of money on things that I ended up not liking or wearing very much. And I've spent a lot of money on things I ended up not liking or wearing very much.

After studying my great fashion finds from last year, and my not-so-great ones, I really feel like I'll make even better, wiser choices this year.

I've already entered in my first note and drawing for January 2015: A gorgeous navy lacy dress with beige inserts at the waist and hem that I ordered from Boden. I'm planning on wearing it to two cocktail parties I have coming up.

I hope at the end of the year, when I look back at my entries, the lace dress will end up getting a star. If not, someone at Goodwill is going to luck up on a pretty dress that I hope earns a star in their fashion notebook.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Friday, January 23, 2015

Beauty Bootcamp Jan. 24

Sonya Barnes of the International Fashion Style Academy is partnering with boutique owner Dan Mauney of SHU for the second annual Beauty Bootcamp Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at SHU Boutique in South End, 1426 S. Tryon St. Sonya (her gorgeous photo is at the top of this blog) has worked with clients as an international image and style consultant for over a decade. 

A press release says the full day of beauty and style will feature a team of industry experts as well as some of Charlotte’s finest retailers, specialty boutiques and hair and makeup artists.

“January is a perfect time to jumpstart the new you,” said Beauty Bootcamp founder Sonya Barnes, CEO of Harris & Barnes Image Consulting in a statement. “We’ll show you why you need to toss the mom jeansget fitted for the right size bra and accessorize.”

The cost is $99 per person and includes lunch and a swag bag full of partner products and discounts. Participation is limited to 25 spots. 

You can register through Jan. 23 at or call 704-607-4300.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson