Thursday, May 29, 2014

Party in the Park postponed

The third annual Party in the Park on the lawn of the Mint Museum Randolph that was scheduled for tonight (May 29) has been postponed until June 3 because of the threat of thunderstorms.

The family-friendly event has been moved to 6:30 p.m. on June 3. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and blanket to spread out on as they enjoy live music, outdoor activities and the film "How To Train Your Dragon" that will be shown on a large screen outdoors.

If you don't feel like packing a picnic, a food truck will be on site as well as offerings from e2 and a cash bar.

The party is free, although a suggested donation of $10 is appreciated. Registration is required.

For more details and to register, go to

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Friday, May 23, 2014

What's on brides' minds?

The answer to that question, according to a new survey by David's Bridal, is whether to say "I Do" or "I Don't" to social media on their wedding day. 

Some are asking that certain details and photos be released on their terms. Others are going completely unplugged.   

Here are the results from a press release sent out by David's Bridal (

 #DOS and #DONTS
Brides are becoming more insistent on controlling the messaging of their nuptials by setting guidelines of how public the wedding will be on the internet.  Regardless of their stance on posting or not posting, 44 percent of brides believe digital rules are important in setting the tone for their guests.  Only 14 percent are completely banning cell phones from their wedding and asking that there be absolutely no social media posting. 

Don’t Spoil the Surprise
62 percent believe the bridesmaids should not post any photos of the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.

Wait Your Turn
58 percent believe the bride and groom should be the first to post a photo from the wedding.

Viral Video Stars
32 percent are saying “I don’t” to any video content on YouTube, which means no chance of a viral video. 

26 percent want guests to use their specially-created hashtag should anything about the wedding be posted. 

Sharing is Caring
Only 22 percent think the bride and groom should be the only ones to post photos from the wedding. 

To broadcast or not to broadcast…
When it comes to Skype-ing or live streaming their nuptials, 36 percent of the brides surveyed thought it would be a nice touch and a way to include everyone, even if they can’t be there in person. 

Status Update:  “Married”
And of course, as soon as you are married you have to think about changing your name on your driver’s license, passport, and credit cards… but what about Facebook or Instagram?  A majority (56 percent) of brides will update their profile with their new name within a day of the wedding, and 10 percent will actually do it as the wedding is happening. 

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Armani makeup artist at Neiman Marcus

Tim Quinn, a national makeup artist for Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, will conduct a Beauty Master Class at Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 21. On May 22, he'll conduct individual beauty appointments from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Quinn's credentials are impressive. He trained in Milan alongside possibly the most famous makeup artist on the planet now, Pat McGrath. He's worked in TV, print and film and has a roster of celebrities he's worked with including Uma Thurman, January Jones, Kerry Washington, Victoria Beckham, Kim Cattrall, Gwen Stefani, Kate Bosworth, Amber Heard and Brooke Shields.

He joined the Giorgio Armani Beauty team when the brand was launched in 2001. As the U.S. front-man for Giorgio Armani Beauty, he's been featured in Harper's Bazaar, W, Elle, Glamour, More, Lucky, InStyle and Cosmopolitan. He also works backstage at fashion shows in Milan, Paris, Hong Kong and Beijing as well as award shows including the Academy Awards.

At the May 21 Beauty Master Class, he'll pull a "model" from the audience and apply makeup to demonstrate the products and his technique. Women will also have a chance to apply makeup on their own. Champagne, wine, hors d'oeuvres and cookies will be served.

Details: 704-442-7900.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't sweat it

Yes, this is a bit of a sticky subject: overactive sweat glands. It's something I hadn't really thought about until one of my favorite socials on the Charlotte scene openly told me once during a party that they suffered from this problem. Even though I have never seen them look anything other than perfect and poised, it was something that was a constant source of anxiety for them.

If you suffer from this condition too, here's a chance to learn about a possible solution in a super stylish setting. Dr. Elizabeth Rostan is giving out information about the new miraDry procedure, which is billed as "a revolutionary treatment to end under arm sweating." She'll talk during a special event at Taylor Richards & Conger from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 22 at the Phillips Place boutique that houses both the men's store Taylor Richards & Conger and its women's store, TRC W.

The newest Porsches from Hendrick Porsche will be on display and there are giveaway drawings of prizes from Charlotte Skin & Laser, Hendrick Porsche, TRC W and Taylor Richards & Conger.

Space is limited; RSVP at 704-366-9092; or email

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Yappy Hour

I'm so excited about this event I feel like wagging my tail.

On May 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Mint Museum Randolph is hosting a Yappy Hour. The invitation encourages guests to celebrate furry tails with cocktails. Cute!

There will be pet-friendly activities, games, door prizes and more. Mint members get in free and enjoy one drink on the museum’s tab; a cash bar takes care of the rest. For nonmembers the admission is $5. All dogs on a leash are welcome. If you don’t have a dog, you’re still welcome to attend.

Details: 704-337-2000;

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A big send-off for David "Big Dave" Williams

I've just returned from the funeral service for a man who had a reputation as being one of Charlotte's best cooks. He was adored by business titans including Hugh McColl Jr. and was sketched by famous fresco artist Ben Long. But most importantly he was a man of kindness and character who was loved by his enormous family and his many friends who gathered at A. E. Grier and Sons Funeral Home this afternoon to say goodbye.

David Frank Williams, known as "Big Dave," died May 3 at Presbyterian Hospital. His obituary in the paper was small and didn't have a photo, so I wanted to make sure those who knew and loved him were aware that he died at age 71.

It was an absolutely beautiful service and so spiritual and meaningful that afterward I felt sanctified.

It also reminded me that sometimes after people die, we learn fascinating things about them that we wished we had known while they were alive. But many, including David, aren't braggers, so they don't go around tooting their own horn.

In the funeral program, we learned that although Dave was born in Charlotte and attended York Road High School, he started his restaurant career working at the famous Hotel Piccadilly on 45th Street and Broadway in New York City. The hotel near Times Square was torn down in the early 1980s is now the site of the Marriott Marquis, but when Dave was there in its heyday he served a list of famous people including Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.

When he returned to Charlotte he worked at a hotspot of the time, a restaurant called Shenanigans on Independence Boulevard. In the late 1980s, he started working at Fenwick's and was there until his retirement a couple of years ago.

If you've never been to Fenwick's, it's truly a little gem on Charlotte's restaurant scene. It's owned by Catherine and Don Rabb. Observer Food section readers know Catherine as our popular wine columnist and she's also a senior instructor at Johnson & Wales.

My father had a knack for sniffing out great places, so when I became a student at Queens it didn't take him long to find Fenwick's. One of the biggest treats in the world for me was when he would come visit and take me to Fenwick's for a Blue Cheese Burger. I thought it was the best thing ever. Dave would cook it and Don's good looking son Dane would serve it while I sat there with my father that I loved so much. Let me tell you, I was one happy girl.

Several years later when I moved to the Eastover neighborhood right behind Fenwick's, my husband and I became regulars and we still call it our club. All the wonderful people we've met there over the years are our Fenwick's Friends.

Through it all Dave was always there, always supervising the grill and always had a smile on his face. He also always had a toothpick at work. When Don Rabb got up to speak at the funeral on behalf of all the Fenwick's staff, he told a funny story about how one of Dave's wealthy regular customers gave him a gold toothpick as a gift, but he never brought that one to work.

Our Food Editor Kathleen Purvis wasn't able to attend the funeral because she was signing copies of two of her books at a big author event today, but she told me that Dave never missed a day of work unless he was on vacation. She was a big fan of his and loved to watch the magical way he could work that grill with all different kinds of meats and fish going at once and they were all cooked to perfection. Fans of his fried oysters say they were the best they've ever had anywhere.

Dave's son, "Little Dave" works there now and is also a fantastic cook. He's added a few innovative things to the menu and is known for his baking skills (Fenwick's desserts are divine).

And now another of Don and Catherine's good looking sons, Dustin, is working there and to me he looks so much like his older half-brother Dane. The cycle of life goes on. Big Dave is joyous and at peace in heaven. And all his Fenwick's Friends, and all those who loved him, will never forget him and his calming presence that radiated strength and character. And his smile.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My pick for best dressed at the Met Gala

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala is my favorite celebrity fashion event of the year, surpassing even the Oscars.

The 2014 gala honored the British-born designer Charles James (1906-1978) whose refined and lush gowns were beautifully constructed. He was particularly fond of strapless dresses.

I think it's always fun to look through photos of guests at these major events and decide who, if you could only name one person, would be your pick for best dressed.

To me, it was 22-year-old British model Suki Waterhouse, a.k.a. actor Bradley Cooper's current flame. I think it's important to follow the theme of the gala, and her Burberry gown was absolute perfection. It was reminiscent of James' ultra feminine creations, but still looked modern. I feel sure that since James began his career as a designer when he opened a hat shop in Chicago, he would have tipped his topper to Miss Waterhouse if he had seen her on the red carpet. The right woman in the right dress at the right time is truly a beautiful thing.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Plastic surgeons share their expertise

Charlotte Plastic Surgery ( was started in 1951 when Dr. William Berkeley became the first plastic surgeon to serve the Charlotte community. More than 60 years later, it has continued its reputation as one of the most acclaimed plastic surgery centers in North Carolina.

Several of its surgeons and skin health specialists hosted a recent event to update the media on the newest breakthroughs in plastic surgery and skin care. It was fascinating.

What I was most impressed with is the genuine concern the staff has that anyone interested in improving their looks - whether it involves an injectable or surgery - make sure they pick a reputable plastic surgery center, even if it's not Charlotte Plastic Surgery. That's why they offer free consultations because they really want those interested in these types of services to do their comparison shopping and make sure they go with the best surgeon or skin care specialist for them.

Also, the Charlotte Plastic Surgery staff is becoming alarmed because they're finding that more and more clients are coming to them to have mistakes corrected because another surgeon or skin care specialist - often a practice they found a coupon deal for - did not do the job properly. One of the main messages they want to get out is that coupons are great for dining or entertainment, but don't pick a surgeon or skin care specialist only because you got a dirt cheap deal.

Here are some more interesting things I learned during the presentation: 

Do your homework: Amazingly, statistics show that many people do more research and comparison shopping for a car than they do for plastic surgery. Celebrities are no different and the sometimes disastrous results are a reminder to take choosing a credible surgeon and practice seriously. 

Less is more: The goal in plastic surgery is too achieve a natural and elegant look. You don't want people to think you look different, you want them to think you look better.

"Housewives" are scaring the hell out of potential patients: The Bravo TV "Real Housewives" reality shows have become the worst advertisement for plastic surgery. Many women come in wanting to have something done, but they're terrified they'll end up looking like some of the women on the shows who take a good thing too far. 

Learn what's new: Non-surgical facial procedures have advanced to the point that often patients don't need to have surgery to achieve the look they want. Among them is the Dermapen, a micro-needling device that treats wrinkles, scars, burns and more. There are also new skincare products that can work wonders. 

Top tip: Wearing sunscreen is the top thing you can do to take care of your skin. Wear it all year, not just in warmer months.

Men want to look great, too: Although women make up most of plastic surgery patients, more and more men are having work done to compete in the workforce or because their wives have had successful surgery and they encourage their husbands to do it, too. Like many women of a certain age, men come in because they've kept their bodies in shape, but they feel their faces look older.

A clever ruse: A beard doesn't interfere with a face lift, so many men grow a beard out before their surgery, then shave it off after they've recovered. When people comment about how good they look, they attribute it to shaving off their beard. Regardless of whether you're a man or a woman, whatever it is you had work on is private and you don't have to reveal the details to anyone who starts grilling you over why you look so great unless you want to. One of the doctors told me the best way to shut down nosy Nellies is to say you lost a little weight or you've been on vacation. Anyone that presses you on the matter is out of line and you are not obligated to satisfy their rude curiosity. 

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson