The Observer recently ran this photo of a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission officer taken by Observer photographer Todd Sumlin during a press conference where officers from state and local agencies announced a DWI/BWI (Boating While Impaired) initiative on N.C. waterways and roads beginning Memorial Day Weekend.
The third annual "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign, as it's called, is a chance to remind everyone that drinking and driving is a bad idea.
Of course, when you add too much alcohol to a situation, bad ideas can suddenly seem like good ideas, so please know yourself, know how to drink like an adult and plan ahead.
If I know I'm going to go somewhere and probably have more than two drinks (which is my personal limit - everyone has to figure out that number for themselves) and I don't have a designated driver, I have zero problem taking a taxi. I have heard some people say it would go against their image to show up to an event in a cab. Tell that to the occifer (which may be the way you pronounce officer when he or she pulls you over). If you want something more chic, use a car service - Charlotte has many great ones.
Drinking, cutting loose and having fun is part of our culture. No one, especially me, is trying to take that away from you. I have way too much German and Irish blood in my veins to tell anyone over the age of 21 they shouldn't drink. Just please don't get behind the wheel of anything - from your lawn mower to your boat to your tricked out Mercedes - if you've had too much.
I could tell you horror story after horror story about those who have gambled that they could make it home and lost. I'm not even going into the tragedy of what would happen if you had a wreck and injured or killed someone. That's a whole other level of horror.
I'm just talking about the nightmare that awaits when you're pulled over, arrested and taken to jail. In case you didn't know this, the mug shots of those arrested in Mecklenburg County are one of our most popular features online by far, and almost every media outlet carries them. So, looking uncool in a cab or having people you know and do business with seeing your mug shot? Is there really a choice? And that doesn't even begin to cover the lawyers fees, court appearances, fines and having your license temporarily taken away.
You may think those are vain and shallow reasons, but we all know not to drink too much and drive and it still happens so if vain and shallow works, I'm fine with that.
If you disagree, tell it to the occifer.
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Queen City Ballroom, Morrison and Earth Fare are sponsoring the event that will be held on what Angela says is a huge, in-the-street dance floor in front of Earth Fare. The celebrity guest is professional dancer Brian Fortuna. He starred in one of the first season's of "Dancing with the Stars," then switched to the British TV version, called "Come Strictly Dancing." (The photos in this blog are of Brian Fortuna.) Maria St. John of DanseDahling DJ Services will be the DJ. Emcees are WSOC-TV meteorologist Vicki Graf and Tommy Ballard of Hendrick BMW.
There is so much going on at this fundraiser that it's amazing that tickets are $5 (they can be bought in advance at Queen City Ballroom at Morrison, or at the event).
Here's the tentative schedule:
5 p.m.: The festival begins.
5:45-8 p.m.: Introductions and a street dance class with Brian Fortuna. Ballroom, swing and Latin dance performances by Queen City Ballroom professionals and amateur dancers. Two "Dancing For The Dogs and Cats" contests, where area dancers can earn their 60-seconds of dance fame for the Top Dog Award and Top Cat Award while raising money from the crowd. Then Brian Fortuna will do dance demos for the audience and host a Q&A about what it's like to work on dance TV.
8-9 p.m. Street dance party where everyone can join in the fun.
Interwoven in the festivities are surprise performances by some of Charlotte's best-known celebrities. They have donated their time over the past four weeks to learn a dance routine at Queen City Ballroom. We don't want to give all the surprises away, but two of them are WSOC-TV morning news anchor Sarah Rosario and Kat Country 96.9 FM talk show host Meg Butterly.
For more information, tickets or to register for the 60-seconds of fame “Dancing for the Dogs and Cats," contact Queen City Ballroom at 704-541-5440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More details are at www.queencityballroom.com or www.morrisonsouthpark.com.
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 5:08 PM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Sherry had a day filled with media interviews, so I was really appreciated being included in her media tour for the important and exciting event. (The photo above was taken during their interview with WCNC-TV.) I had never met her before, but I had heard what a kind, caring person she is. And I knew from seeing photos of her that she is beautiful. I was expecting the best and I got even more. Bottom line: Sherry Pollex is an amazing woman.
For details about the event, go to www.martintruexjrfoundation.org.
Sherry loves fashion (she owns Lavendar boutique in Mooresville), so she came up with the idea for Catwalk for a Cause because it merges two of her passions: style and raising money to help children through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The first event in 2009 was held at a country club. From there, it's grown into a huge production. This year's event is being held at Michael Waltrip Racing in Cornelius and tickets sold out almost instantly. The 450 guests have already generated around $60,000 through advance ticket sales. The evening's fabulous silent auction items will bring in even more. Even if you don't have a ticket, you can still bid on items online. Among the celebrities expected to attend are NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick along with reality TV star Emily Maynard.
I was struck by Sherry's natural beauty. It's also clear she is fiercely independent, a smart businesswoman and that she has a big heart. It was very touching to hear how much thought she and Martin put into the children's causes they support. The proceeds from Catwalk for a Cause go to a fund that helps families with children being treated at the Levine Children's Hospital. One of the neat details about Catwalk for a Cause is that a portion of the runway show features children who are fighting cancer. For Sherry, and Martin, that's an incredibly emotional moment that's meaningful to them and the children. Here are photos from a previous event:
The fund at Levine Children's Hospital is just one of the many recipients of the foundation. Martin and Sherry really work hard to identify and fill needs involving children's causes. They are in the process of opening a children's wing at a hospital in Martin's hometown in New Jersey.
"We've been together for eight years. My mom told me that she thinks God put us together because my heart goes with his talent," Sherry said. "Without racing and what Martin does, we couldn't help children and our community the way we can now. It's one of the things that bonds us and keeps us grounded."
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/08/4030399/sherry-pollex.html#storylink=cpy
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 2:31 PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
What I really wanted to say to the perky volunteers is that I could relate to the fickle and careless main character Daisy Buchanan because Baz Luhrmann and his team had spent years and millions of dollars creating the film and presented it to me, and as the credits rolled I shrugged and was ready to move on to the next thing. It wasn't great. But it wasn't horrible. It's more "The Okay Gatsby."
There are parts I enjoyed, mainly because I'm fascinated by the era of the Roaring '20s. But I couldn't muster any emotion for the characters. It might be because I'm such a fan of the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version from 1974. There were subtleties in that film that immediately gave you a reference for the true nature of the characters and what motivated them. I also think the 1974 version did a better job at showing the destructive madness of both the wild mass parties at Gatsby's estate and the smaller hotel parties where alcohol and anger merged into chaos.
I feel like the pretty little fool that Daisy Buchanan hopes her daughter will grow up to be because I have never asked to be invited to a screening before, but I had bought into the hype about the film and I was convinced that it was going to be a big influence on fashion and entertaining. I just don't see that happening in an organic way. I see the studio who made the film trying to make that happen.
I do hope it creates a a resurgence of interest in the era, which is a good thing because I think it helps us put our own changing times into perspective. I have a fondness for the 1920s because I grew up on the campus of the exclusive women's school Converse College where my father was head of fundraising. He loved his job and his Converse "girls" as he called them, even if they were in their 70s or 80s. My favorites were the women I would visit with him who were in college during the booming part of the 1920s. Through their stories, I gained a personal understanding of just how scandalous that era was based on past generations, and how we really haven't seen a cultural and social revolution that big since then. The hippies were amateurs compared to party people in the '20s, and they didn't dress as well.
When I went through my punk rock stage, always in the back of my mind was knowing that whatever I could come up with wouldn't have been as shocking as going from long dresses to exposing your knees in short flapper dresses. Of going from having long hair that to bobbing your hair. Of women drinking and smoking in public. Of an era when cars and phones and plane travel and skyscrapers reshaped the world. It was wild, and excessive and the ladies who lived through it were so much fun. They knew how to have a good time and were dismayed at how boring young people had become. My streak of blue hair and a safety pin worn as an earring would not have raised an eyebrow with that group of wonderful ladies.
I was hoping that with the modern soundtrack to the film, which I really liked, that the wild party scenes would have a flair that would show just how the times had changed. Instead I got fireworks and confetti at Gatsby's parties and a pillow fight in a pivotal hotel party scene as the big "wow" moments. There was no sense of danger or self-destruction or of being in a bubble that was about to burst.
There was one unexpected moment in the movie that I did find incredibly inspiring, courtesy of actress Elizabeth Debicki, who played Daisy's friend Jordan Baker. She's a stunning vision when she walks across the veranda at one of Gatsby's parties in a gorgeous embellished black dress with a black veil. That amazing costume would be enough on its own, but what made it memorable was the way she confidently walked in it and the sultry look on her face. It was a flashback to the glamour and seduction of actresses in the old films I love so much. It was probably my favorite five seconds of the film and I would watch it again just to see an actress who could own a slice of the screen they way she did in that moment.
I have been obsessing over the pearl and diamond ring-to-bracelet that actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Daisy, wears on the movie poster and on the cover of the May issue of Vogue magazine. Luhrmann's wife, Catherine Martin, designed the costumes and worked with Tiffany & Co. on a collection of fine jewelry based on the film. I went to www.tiffany.com this morning to see how much they cost. They are $75,000 each. If you can afford one, you should really go ahead and buy two because it makes the look. Because I'm not married to a bootlegger, I'll be hoping I can find a less expensive knock off of that look. The collection is absolutely stunning and if I could afford it I would be at the store at SouthPark mall right now ordering my favorite pieces.
One of the most fabulous and stylish people I know is having a Great Gatsby themed party in a few weeks. The movie did get me even more excited about attending the party. So for that, Baz Luhrmann, and for at least trying to bring some sophistication back to the cinema, I do say, "Thanks, old sport."
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 5:15 PM
Friday, May 3, 2013
It's May 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the historic plantation that's on Tryon street just three miles from uptown. If you live in the area and haven't visited it yet, this event is the perfect excuse.
Some of North Carolina’s best artisans will be selling their crafts including potters, wood turners, quilters and jewelry makers.
Costumed re-enactors will be roaming around and among the children's activities are free pony rides.
Tickets are $10 per person, or $25 for a family, and are available online at www.historicrosedale.org.
Rosedale is one of Charlotte's few historic homes still surviving. Please consider attending as a sign of support for it, and all the volunteers who work so hard to maintain its beauty. The home and the families who lived there played important parts in our city's history that shouldn't be forgotten.
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 4:13 PM
Thursday, May 2, 2013
The famous makeup artist was here as the guest of Jeffre Scott Apothecary, a cosmetics boutique that carries his Vincent Longo makeup line. While he was here, he taught a makeup application seminar at the Duke Mansion, then met with his fans at a reception in his honor at Jeffre Scott Apothecary.
Here's the feature I did advancing his visit: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/03/3957518/master-makeup-artist-is-coming.html#storylink=misearch
Here's the coverage of the event: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/17/3988135/vincent-longo-visits-jeffre-scott.html#storylink=misearch
Here's the slideshow of photos: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/30/4013400/scene-heard-vincent-longo.html
And finally, here's the video from his appearance on WCNC-TV's "Charlotte Today" show so you can see him in action: http://www.wcnc.com/charlotte-today/Celebrity-makeup-artist-Vincent-Longo-203416781.html
I didn't even know he had a makeup line until I was looking for a really good concealer and Amy Grigg at the apothecary suggested I try his brand. I love it so much - it's truly the best concealer I"ve every used. It comes in both a small compact with a mirror, and a pen form that's great for touch-ups.
That discovery made me extra excited to interview Vincent before his trip here. I was so impressed with how extraordinarily friendly and energetic he was on the phone. He has an Australian accent that's so appealing. (He lived there until he was a teen and his Italian immigrant parents moved back to Italy.)
Longo is based out of New York City now, but he also keeps a house on the Italian coast near his close knit la famaligia. When he entertains in New York, he enjoys cooking healthy meals for dinner with friends. In Italy, he entertains al fresco and is more likely to indulge his love of pasta.
The reason I want to thank him is that right before his visit, I was becoming very discouraged with how I look in the photos I'm under pressure to Tweet of me with any visiting celebrity who comes through town that crosses my path. I think part of the problem is that I wasn't wearing enough makeup, especially eye makeup. Thanks to Vincent's seminar, I have really taken it up a notch and I'm so happy with the results.
His philosophy is to enhance your best features to maximize your own beauty so you can be more confident and empowered. I'm not going to lie - to do all the steps he taught us takes a while, but it's worth it if you want to look your best. On many days it's not necessary. If you're just running errands, or you've got a slow work day that's free of important meetings or functions, you don't have to be as detailed.
Here are the three main tips that have made a difference to me:
1. A primer is a secret tool of makeup artists. It evens out your skin and prepares it for foundation.
2. When you apply foundation, press it on with a sponge, then twist the sponge. Vincent describes the motion as being similar to the painting term stippling. Almost every technique he taught us involved pressing the product into the skin, then blending. Gently pressing really helps the product adhere better.
3. Making sure your eyebrows are groomed properly for your eye shape, and that they're filled in. I often didn't fill in my brows, or wear any eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara. Now I do all those steps and it makes an enormous difference, so thank you Vincent, and thank you Jeffre Scott Apothecary.
Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 4:56 PM
Monday, April 29, 2013
Mary looks even more beautiful in person than she does on TV. She's petite and toned with her gorgeous long, dark hair was flowing. She was wearing a sleeveless black sheath dress with leopard print pumps, a leopard print YSL bag, and a black and gold statement necklace.
We headed off to one of the museum's meeting rooms with some of the hardworking members of the Mint Museum Auxiliary, including president Cathy Austin. The auxiliary brought McDonald to town to speak at its annual Room to Bloom Symposium the previous day at Charlotte Country Club. McDonald's talk was one of the most successful in the 25 years of the symposium's history. The event sold-out and was attended by 500. Mary was thrilled that she sold 500 of her stylish coffee table books "Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style."
The Mint Museum Auxiliary is celebrating its 60th anniversary and I'm in the process of reporting a story about that exciting milestone. It was so wonderful to see a top talent such as Mary absolutely gush about the beauty of our city, what she deemed our "world-class" Mint Museum, and the hospitality she had been shown by the auxiliary during her visit.
For the complete article, go to http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/26/4004034/mary-mcdonald.html
The auxiliary's leadership really knows how to do things right. No wonder Mary was charmed. She was feted at two gorgeous private homes, including artist Windy O'Connor's house that was a fundraiser for the auxiliary. Mary thought Windy's house was so stylish and she really loved Windy's artwork. The photo at the top of this blog taken by Daniel Coston is one of my favorite's from that evening. It really shows off Mary's vibrant personality. And I love that Mary went monochromatic in her green dress and stunning jewelry.
For a slideshow of photos from the fundraiser at Windy's house, go to http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/29/4011587/photo-gallery-04-29-162514.html
What I loved about Mary is that she's an interior design genius. She is so talented, smart and stylish. And she has a great personality. Plus, she's so much fun to be around. We all laughed at some of her hilarious observations and stories. She admitted that she comes across as intimidating on the show, but I can say that in person she's an absolute delight. She's the woman you would hope to be seated next to at any dinner party because not only would you learn a lot, but you would have a blast.
She commented on my Thompson necklace that I had just bought as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to myself. It's by one of my new obsessions, Addison Weeks jewelry, which is designed and made in Charlotte by Katherine Weeks Mulford and Lee Addison Lesley. I bought it at the new boutique Splurge, which is currently the only store in Charlotte selling the jewelry line. I'm in love with all the Addison Weeks jewelry, belts, clutches and bags. Go to www.addisonweeks.com and you'll see why I'm enchanted.
It turns out Mary is a fan too. The auxiliary gave her an Addison Weeks cuff bracelet as a thank you for coming to speak. I heard later that Mary also bought one of their clutches while she was here.
I told Mary that I wanted one of the pendant necklaces that Addison Weeks shows with the Thompson necklace - they look so cool together.
As I was standing at the meeting room door saying my goodbyes, Mary's last words to me were "Buy the pendant!"
Now those are words to live by. In life, if we want the pendant, and we can afford the pendant, we should always buy the pendant. Those wise words filled with fun are another reason to love Mary McDonald.
Posted by Olivia Fortson at 4:35 PM