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

Resolution reminders

Did you promise to make 2015 your best year yet? Then you may find these tips helpful. They're from nationally-known therapist, educator and life coach Diane Lang ( She practices what's called Positive Psychology. She's on a mission to help people turn their lives around by developing a sustainable positive attitude.

1. Make myself a priority this year. I will learn to say “no” to others when I feel overwhelmed and stressed. I will say “yes” to my needs and wants. This year I will learn it’s OK to put myself first and take care of myself. This year I will learn that selfish isn’t always a bad word. I realize that if I take care of myself, I will be there for others.

2. Be grateful for what I have. I will take the time to pause and think about all I have. This isn’t about my material objects. This is about my abundance of love, warmth, comfort, care and empathy I receive on a daily basis. This year I will make room in my life for gratitude checks where I spend a few minutes each day thinking about all I have in this life and just being thankful I have my life. 

3. Pay it forward constantly. I will give more of myself everyday. I will inspire, help, and empower others on a daily basis.

4. Step out of my comfort zone. I will take risks, add variety and become more creative. This is the year I won’t be stale or stagnate. The word “bored” will be removed from my word list this year.

5. Be a great role model. This will make me a better parent, mentor, friend and educator. I will teach others by my actions. 

6. Become fully aware of my negative thoughts, comments and actions towards others and myself. I will make a conscious effort to be more positive and respectful of others and myself.  I realize positive energy, actions and thoughts are all contagious. 

7. Make action plans. Not only will I set short and long-term goal lists but also action plans on how to get there. I will write down each detail of my list and follow each step. I will feel a sense of accomplishment because I have taken action. 

8. Live in the present. I will let the past be in the past because the past doesn’t equal the future. I will stop worrying about the future because it doesn’t exist. I will not waste my energy being stressed about something that hasn’t happened yet. 

9. Spend less time trying to control others and being perfect. Neither one is possible and even though I have known this for many years, I never listened. This year I vow to let go of my controlling issues and perfectionist traits and learn to enjoy life in its messy existence. I will learn to enjoy the unorganized, the messy, and the not planned life. I will realize at the end of each day - everything works itself out. 

10. Say “thank you” to everyone I love. Not just on New Year’s, birthdays and holidays. I will say “sorry” when needed, “thanks” when it’s deserved and “I love you” just because I do.

11. Not try so hard to be something/someone I’m not. I will not keep up with the Joneses, compare myself to celebrities, or wish I were someone else. This year I will learn to spend time alone with myself. I will learn what my likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, dreams and hobbies are. I will become fully aware of who I am. This year is the year of me!

12. Let go of all the expectations of what could be or should be, and just live my life. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our unrealistic expectations that we forget to just enjoy the life that is here right now - our present life, present situations, environments and family. We forget to be clear and aware of our surroundings. The love, warmth, and caring…the friendships and affection - I will remember to enjoy those simple things.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Thursday, January 22, 2015

February events

Here are some February fundraisers that I love...

Feb. 7
Shain Gallery is the featured gallery for this annual art auction benefiting the nonprofit Safe Alliance's domestic violence programs. It includes silent and live art auctions, entertainment and hors d'oeuvres. The emcee is Erica Bryant of WSOC-TV. 7-11 p.m. at Founders Hall, 100 N. Tryon St. Tickets are $100; VIP tickets are $250 and include reserved seating at the auction. For more information or to order tickets, go to

Feb. 7
This black tie fundraiser for the American Heart Association includes a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, a seated dinner and dancing. A reception and silent auction start at 6 p.m.; the seated dinner and live auction are at 8 p.m. NASCAR Hall of Fame Crown Ballroom, 400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd. Tickets are $250. Details: www.charlotteheartball/ 

Feb. 21
This black tie gala is a benefit for the nonprofit Charlotte Concerts that includes dinner and dancing. It also marks a milestone in Charlotte's arts community: the 85th season of the series that brings nationally and internationally known performers in music and dance to town. Myers Park Country Club, 2415 Roswell Ave. Tickets are $250. Details:

Feb. 21
The Venus Chapter of the Daughters of Penelope in Charlotte hosts this 19th annual benefit for the Carolina's Breast Cancer Fund at the Levine Cancer Institute, part of the Carolinas HealthCare system.  Along with tea and a buffet of sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres and pastries there's also a fashion show from the Eileen Fisher boutique at Phillips Place. The emcee is Laura Palka Callis of WSOC-TV. Speakers include Dr. Lisa Jervis. A prize will be given to the woman with the most stylish hat. 2-5 p.m. at Carmel Country Club, 4735 Carmel Road. Tickets are $40. Details:

Feb. 21
The Lupus Foundation of America's North Carolina Chapter brings a New Orleans tradition to Charlotte with this ninth annual event. Presented by the Dickerson Family Trust, it features entertainment by the band Hot Sauce, Creole cuisine, a silent auction, photo booth and a fortune teller. There's also a masquerade contest and the crowning of the Gala King and Queen. From 7 p.m. to midnight at CenterStage@NoDa, 2315 N. Davidson St. Tickets are $150 and must be purchased by Feb. 11. Details:

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Art with Heart Juried Show

Some of the art donated to the Art with Heart Auction, an annual fundraiser for Safe Alliance coming up in February, is part of a juried show at Elder Gallery from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the gallery, 1520 S. Tryon St.

It’s free and refreshments will be served. For details about the juried show, and the fundraising gala on Feb. 7, go to

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wesley Mancini wins award

When I was at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's 5th anniversary gala last weekend, I congratulated Andreas Bechtler on receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Until I read the Business section of the Charlotte Observer the next day, I didn't know I should have also congratulated another guest who was there that night, the fun and philanthropic Wesley Mancini. He recently won a the inaugural lifetime achievement award from the International Textile Market Association.

The photo above is of Wesley with Regine Bechtler at the gala and was taken by Daniel Coston.

Here's what the item in the paper said about Wesley:

"Charlotte businessman and textile industry leader Wesley Mancini has been named the inaugural recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the International Textile Market Association.
Mancini runs his company, Wesley Mancini Ltd., out of a South End design studio. Along with creating new fabric designs, he also has a rug line, a decorative trim line and one for drapery hardware. Clients have included Ethan Allen, Mitchell Gold and Drexel, plus celebrity lines such as Oscar de la Renta.
Art Reilly, ITMA board president, called Mancini an "obvious choice" in a statement. "With this award, we were looking to find ... a unifying situation and honoree, and we found that person."

Congratulations, Wesley!

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Monday, January 12, 2015

Judging the Best Dressed Couple

Expect a glamorous and fun evening at the Lowe’s Pride Awards hosted by Pride magazine. The formal dinner and awards ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Westin, 601 S. College St.

This year’s gala puts the spotlight on the impact of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in our city. One of the interesting elements will be dancers from Charlotte Ballet demonstrating the science of ballet.

Tickets are $225.61. Details:

The evening is known for its fashionable attendees. Some of that has to do with the stylish tone that the evening's host, Pride Communications CEO Dee Dixon, sets for the evening. This photo by Daniel Coston of Dee at last year's event shows her in a gold strapless gown with a sequined bodice and tulle overlay purchased online from Rissy Roo's; earrings and bracelets from Dots on South Boulevard; a clutch from CC's Accessories; and a wrap from Belk at SouthPark mall.

And I’ll be there again as a judge picking out the Best Dressed Couple. Last year was the first time I was asked to take on that fun duty and I'm so looking forward to having an excuse to check out what everyone is wearing. It has its challenges though because there are hundreds of people there. Plus, couples don't always stay next to each other. Sometimes I would see a potential Best Dressed candidate, but the person was attending the event solo or with friends and co-workers.

The main thing I'll be looking for is a couple that looks fabulous together and on their own. Last year I picked Nick and Regina Wharton. This photo of the couple was taken by Daniel Coston.

Nick accessorized his Baroni tuxedo with a Hugo Boss shirt, silver studs, an ascot he chose to match his wife's dress, a David Yurman bracelet mixed with bracelets he bought on a trip to Puerto Rico, and Johnston & Murphy shoes. 

Regina's Tadashi Shoji gown is from Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall, which she paired with a bracelet and earrings from Lia Sophia, a David Yurman watch, and a crystal necklace from Tuesday Morning. 

I loved that Nick was confident enough in his personal style to break the rules by wearing an ascot instead of a tie with his tuxedo. And Regina’s black gown with white lace detail was flattering and on trend.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Friday, January 9, 2015

O, yes!

My husband and some of my friends call me O. Except for Paul Williams III, my original Scene & Heard photographer who still shoots for me today. He calls me O2, which suits my Gemini personality fine. 

I assigned Paul to cover the "Love Thy Sister" reality show premiere party last night at Sports One bar ( The bar at 521 N. College St. is owned by Peter Thomas of the hit Bravo reality TV show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (Peter is the husband of cast member Cynthia Bailey). Cynthia is one of my all-time favorites in the "Housewives" franchise because she had such an amazing modeling career in NYC, is gorgeous and constantly changes her look, is a complete class act, and she's a successful businesswoman. 

I'm also a fan of Peter, especially this season (which I think is the best yet) and I admire his personal style and his Jamaican background.

Peter was there at the party, and so was another of my favorites, Lawrence Washington of RHOA and co-host of "Fashion Queens" on Bravo. (The word is Miss Lawrence was completely gag-worthy, which is "Fashion Queens"-speak for fabulous). 

Although I really wanted to attend the event, I had another obligation and couldn't be there. Paul definitely looked out for me and I can't thank him enough. He hit it off with Peter, whom Paul described as "cooler than the other side of a pillow." 

Paul told Peter I was a fan and asked him to make an O and an O2 sign. The photos are at the top of this blog and it makes me so happy. Peter Thomas, thank you for being such a good sport! And Paul, thanks so much for your great photos (look for more photos from the event in the Jan. 15 Style section of the Observer in print and online). 

And congratulations to our new local reality TV stars, sisters Ruby, Ellen and Ione Rucker who are the subjects of "Love Thy Sister." They are from a well-known area family with roots in Lancaster, S.C. and are as spunky and as real as they are gorgeous. I only know the lovely Ruby from Charlotte's social scene, but I've heard the whole family is really nice and they raise a lot of money for good causes. 

The buzz about the show is that the sisters jump right into the reality format and open up their entire lives, including one moment that might shock a few. Overall, I've heard that the sisters look fantastic and keep it interesting, which are the two keys to being successful in reality TV. For details about the show, go to

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

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