Monday, February 25, 2013

I adored these details at the Game of Modern Love

At last weekend’s the Game of Modern Love, a benefit at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, there were a lot of fun party details I adored.

Here's video of atmosphere at the party:

In honor of its theme of celebrating love and artistic twosomes, several couples dressed in really fun costumes. There were two sets of John Lennon and Yoko Ono: one from the bed-in days complete with pajamas and a blanket, the other dressed in white during their more glam era.

At one point, both couples were sitting on a couch talking and it was quite a freaky flashback.

At a photo booth, guests could have their picture taken as a keepsake. They could choose a background from famous locations all over the world. My favorite was the setting that made guests look as if they were posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Here's video of the group in the picture above having their photo made:

Passed hors d’oeuvres were on trays that resembled an artist’s palette – a clever touch for an art museum.

And instead of the usual small round cocktail tables spread out here and there where guests stand and eat, there were two long narrow tables for everyone to gather at, which made it easier to strike up a conversation with others.

The tables were decorated with bright green and white chevron striped tablecloths and clear glass vases filled with with red tulips - a gorgeous color combination that had me dreaming of spring.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wedding Showcase is free for brides

All brides, regardless of where they plan to have their wedding, are invited to attend Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden's annual Wedding Showcase on Feb. 17 from noon to 5 p.m.

Dozens of top vendors will have information about the latest trends in wedding attire, photography, food and beverage menus, floral arrangements and entertainment. 

If you're not a bride or member of the garden, admission is $12 for adults, $11 for ages 60 and older, and $6 for children 4-12. 

Details: 704-829-1252;

Monday, February 11, 2013

Steppe up to being more organized on the go

Anne Steppe of Simplicity organizers will demonstrate how to declutter your vehicle from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at Keith Hawthorne Ford Lincoln, 7601 South Blvd.

I met Anne last year at a Femfessionals networking event and her expertise is evident. And I learned a fun fact about her: Charlotte's famous businesswoman and philanthropist Joan Zimmerman is her aunt (Anne's mother is Joan's sister).

In a press release Anne sent out, she says that Americans average more than an hour a day in their cars, with many using their vehicles as a rolling, multipurpose command center: part kitchen table, part home office and part family entertainment space.

She'll help make sense of all the loose papers, empty bottles, snack wrappers, DVDs, sports equipment and more that tend to pile up in the cars of the average active family.

Simplicity is a professional organizing company that helps clients evaluate their needs, then develops customized organizational solutions and systems.


Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Inexpensive decor basics

When it comes to decorating for a party on a budget, go-to options that make a lot of impact for a little bit of money are votive candles, paper lanterns and balloons.

The organizers of the Art With Heart an auction of art to benefit Safe Alliance used all three at last week's fundraiser.

As you can see from the photos, paper lanterns look magical hanging from trees.

And votive candles and balloons add whimsy and warmth.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Get in on The Game of Modern Love

Tickets are still available to the The Game of Modern Love, a benefit for the Bechtler Museum of Modern art from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 15 at the museum uptown.

The celebration of artistic twosomes is going to be fun and fabulous with cocktails, heavy hors d'oeuvres and music. Dress is cocktail attire, but guests are encouraged to dress as a pair, or as their own unique self. 

I’ll be Tweeting live from the event. Events at the Bechtler always attract a unique blend of arts supporters, so I'm really looking forward to the experience. 

Tickets are $150 and $250. Details: 704-353-9200;

Friday, February 8, 2013

Portrait of a historic lady

Last week in my Scene & Heard column, I ran a photo of Charlotte-based artist John Seibels Walker with former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. It was taken at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh during a small ceremony unveiling her official portrait, which was painted by Walker.  (The photo is above)

The artist sent a description of the portrait that's filled with interesting details
"The painting is a life-size, oil on linen, 3/4 length portrait in a custom designed frame.  The frame was also created in NC, by the frame maker Edward Wright, complete with dogwood blossoms matching the Governor's pin of the NC state flower worn in the portrait.  The portrait sitting was staged in the grand entry hall of the historic NC Executive Mansion with its columns providing a stately traditional setting for the portrait, along with several elegant antique furniture pieces from the Mansion's permanent collection being utilized. The bright crimson brocade fabric on the sofa and the floral still life on the table were chosen to speak of a woman's presence in office as the first female governor of the state.  Service to both state and country are further symbolized in the use of the gilt eagle table base."

My congratulations go out to the artist. It's quite an honor to be chosen to paint such a high profile portrait. I'm a fan of portraiture because I love seeing artists continue a grand tradition in our modern world. It's fun to go on his web site, 
view other portraits from his portfolio and imagine how you would want to be painted. For more inspiration from other artists, go to the web site of Walker's representative, 

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson    

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A buffet of water

I've just come home from Art With Heart, an auction of art to benefit Safe Alliance (formerly United Family Services). Held at Founders Hall uptown, around 650 guests were there to admire - and bid on - an impressive selection of art donated by individual artists and galleries including Elder Gallery.

I'll blog about the party later, but for now I wanted to share one detail, a beverage station, that  I really loved. Especially if it inspires you to include a version of it at your Super Bowl party. The station had three clear glass beverage dispensers filled with water, ice cubes and slices of either lemons, limes or cucumbers. Guests poured it themselves into stemmed glasses, a more elegant touch than cups. Large bowls filled with lemons and limes decorated the table.

For a more low-key home version, choose just one flavor and add it, and some ice, to a glass pitcher filled with water. Have wine glasses set out so guests can serve themselves.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Friday, February 1, 2013

Simple Super Bowl party tips

I'm not a sports fan. I do think the Carolina Panthers are the best hockey team this town has seen, but other than that I really don’t follow sports.

If I were a football fan and I felt inspired to host a Super Bowl party, it would have to have two elements. Jambalaya must be on the menu as a nod to New Orleans where the big game is being played.

And I would have to have fun with half-time entertainer Beyonce's recent lip sync drama.

As a nod to that scandal, I think it would be hilarious to play a Beyonce song and have willing partygoers line up and give their best overwrought lip sync performance (who cares if they know all the lyrics or not). The less gregarious guests could be the ones who vote for the winner.

Here are some other Super Bowl party tips:

By nature, Super Bowl parties are casual, so keep it simple. You don't have to go overboard with decorations. Sometimes just having napkins in your team's colors is enough.

If a lip sync contest isn't your style, come up with some other sort of game or pool where the winner gets a prize. Make it easy enough that even guests who aren't football savvy can have a chance to win.

This is the time to break out the hearty food, which is why a big pot of Jambalaya would be perfect. Make sure there's plenty of it and other food to munch on, especially if guests are going to be drinking, which is usually the case. A pot of chili, or a nacho bar with toppings, would also be good main courses.

Having a signature drink always adds to the fun. Come up with a concoction, give it a silly name and garnish it with football trinkets from a party store.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson