Friday, June 27, 2014

July events

Traditionally, July is a slow month in Charlotte, and that's a good thing. We all need a chance to slow down a bit and enjoy our summer as much as we can. If you are in town and are looking for something to do on the social scene, here are a few events taking place that might interest you. 

July 3
The last in the series of Sunday pops concerts under the stars performed by the Charlotte Symphony goes out with a bang with a selection of patriotic music followed by fireworks. Gates open at 5 p.m.; prelude at 7 p.m.; concert at 8:15 p.m. Symphony Park at SouthPark mall. $15; free for 16 and younger. 704-972-2000.

July 4
Celebrate the birth of our nation in a family-friendly setting that's alcohol-free and includes entertainment, activities, a performance by the band Swingin' Richards and fireworks. 6-10 p.m.; the 20-minute fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. Free. Memorial Stadium, 310 N. Kings Drive.

July 16
Dan Mauney, owner of the boutiques Shu and Brief, hosts this event at his South End store. Fashion experts will give out tips, there are bourbon and craft beer tastings, plus information on how men can take care of their physical and mental health. 6-9 p.m. RSVP to  

July 17-19
Philanthropists Herb and Felicia Gray host the series of events held over one weekend that include a Business Roundtable, Golf Tournament and Women's Empowerment Brunch. Proceeds go to 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte's mentoring and education programs for youths. Ticket prices vary. To register for events, go to

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Young Professionals @ International House

All young professionals are invited to a Japanese Business Etiquette as part of a Young Professionals @ International House program. 

An added bonus is that the event is at the Charlotte City Club, a private club uptown at 21 W. Trade St. that has spectacular views of Charlotte.

The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 25. 

Since 1981, the nonprofit International House has been a leading provider of direct services to Charlotte’s growing international community, which numbers more than 104,000 immigrants and foreign-born citizens. It offers foreign-language conversation hours, cultural events, an international book club, citizen diplomacy programs, an international women’s group, language classes, free citizenship workshops, legal services for low-income immigrants and more.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Olivia, the party is tomorrow night

The headline on this blog are the words I absolutely did not want to hear when I showed up at a friend's house for a big bash she and her husband were hosting for their son who was recently married in a ceremony in Brooklyn. The party was to introduce their son's new bride to all their Charlotte friends.

When I pulled up to the party, doubt had begun to set in. The couple are incredible hosts and their parties are notoriously fun, but there weren't a lot of cars around. As I walked to the door in my party outfit holding a tray filled with two dozen Deviled Eggs I had made (you can never have too many Deviled Eggs), I was relieved when I saw the hostess open the door and walk outside with a couple.

But when she looked at me, the expression on her face immediately told me I had messed up. "Olivia, the party is tomorrow night," was the first thing she said. The couple who were leaving were a cousin and his wife who had dropped by for a visit. I had shown up 24 hours early for the party.

"I have Deviled Eggs," was all I could think to say to pull myself out of the party hole.

Luckily we go way back, so it wasn't as awkward as it could have been, but it was still incredibly embarrassing. It all turned out well, mainly because this family is always so warm and welcoming. I ended up hanging out with them for the next couple of hours. We drank wine, they ate all my Deviled Eggs and I had a chance to really talk to the newly married couple. We looked at photos and video from their incredible honeymoon in Tahiti. Being with them alone turned out to be great for me - I really got to know the bride and reminisce with her husband, who I've watch grow up. At a crowded party, I never would have gotten that quality time with them.

The last time I made such a mega party goof was at a wedding several years ago. I got the time wrong and when my husband and I pulled up, all the guests had just started streaming out of the church. I told my husband to pull into a space and we would wait until some cars started leaving and drive on over to the reception. On the way to the reception site, I made him swear to me that he would never mention that we completely missed the ceremony. I figured no one would notice that we hadn't actually been in the church, and I was correct.

At the reception, I tried to keep my compliments in the present. Isn't the bride beautiful? Isn't the food wonderful? I never would have lied and acted as if I had seen the wedding, but I didn't feel it was necessary to bring attention to my mistake on a day that's all about the married couple.

At least I got the day right.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dine Out For Kids

Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CIS) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Dine Out For Kids, which falls on June 17. Around 80 restaurants will donate a portion of sales that day to the nonprofit that helps at-risk children stay in school.

To participate, all you have to do is eat at one of them. For a list of all the restaurants:

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Emily Maynard wedding details

When Charlotte reality TV celebrity Emily Maynard of “The Bachelorette” fame married her beau Tyler Johnson in a surprise ceremony at his family’s farm last weekend (guests thought they were attending an engagement party), she picked People magazine to exclusively cover the event.

In the magazine’s write-up about the wedding, which is out on newsstands now, you’ll see a lot of Charlotte businesses mentioned.

Ivy Robinson Events planned the reception along with John Lupton Events. The magazine described the decor as “rustic glam.” Guests ate a menu of Maynard’s favorite Southern foods including pickled shrimp, fried okra and mini cheese tarts, macaroni and cheese, fried green tomatoes and pulled pork. Wow Factor Cakes created the four-tier wedding cake.

For party favors, guests were given burlap bags filled with Neet's Sweets pies in a jar and all-natural cookies from Helen's Kitchen.

The magazine also reports that back in May, Emily had a White Trash Bash bachelorette party in Nashville. Her female friends including fellow reality star and country singer Jessie James Decker of the TV show "Eric & Jessie," drove around Nashville in a pink Hummer limo while dressed in crazy outfits that included a lot of trucker hats, camo and Daisy Duke shorts. 

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"Matters of the Heart" book signing

Carol Fore Injaychock of Charlotte will sign copies of her new book, "Matters of the Heart: A Cancer Journey," from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 14 at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road. 

It tells the emotional journey of her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment through short essays. She wrote it to give insight into what a cancer patient endures, the impact it has on their family and in her case, how her faith was strengthened through it all.

The book also includes quotes, scriptures and the author's own poetry. 


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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon

Organizers of the 12th Annual UNCF Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon on June 28 at the Westin Charlotte say the event will continue as planned, despite the renowned poet’s recent death. It will now become a tribute dedicated to remembering her life and commitment to education.

Angelou was a volunteer with the United Negro College Fund for more than 25 years. She always participated in the popular luncheon named for her that’s held annually in Charlotte and has raised more than $1 million since its inception 11 years ago. 

It’s usually sold out, but for information on ticket availability, call Marilyn Richards at the UNCF Charlotte office, 704-377-8625. 

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Rock out with Daniel Coston in June

If you follow the Scene & Heard social column I do for the Charlotte Observer and the Swirl social column I do for SouthPark magazine, then you're familiar with photographer Daniel Coston. I always tell him I could not do my job without him.

Daniel is a freelance photographer, so he has many other clients. He's also one of the most interesting people you'll meet because he's always involved in fascinating projects.

On June 12, Daniel and his co-author Jake Berger will give a presentation on Charlotte’s 1960s rock and roll history during a celebration of the release of the second edition of their book "There Was a Time: Rock & Roll in the 1960s in Charlotte, North Carolina."

Daniel will lead a talk about the music, people, and the impact of the Charlotte music scene throughout the state. The evening will conclude with a short set by the Mannish Boys, led by Jake. It's from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive. Admission is free, but registration is required:

On June 21, there's a big party in honor of the book at Neighborhood Theatre. It features music from the Mannish Boys, Young Ages, Good Bad & The Ugly (GBU) and The Dirtybeats. Tickets are $15: 

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Read more here:

Friday, June 6, 2014

My signature salad

I have a signature salad. Don't you? I never thought of blogging about it before until one of my favorite colleagues, reporter Mark Price, suggested I share it with the world.

So, watch out world, here's the exciting details about my favorite lunch.

Let me begin by saying I rarely, if ever, go out to lunch. I bring my lunch from home and I can eat the same thing almost every day, which is how my signature salad was born.

I use a mix of dark, leafy greens. Then I throw on a handful of pecans, a handful of blueberries and top it off with blue cheese. For my dressing, I drizzle on Brianna's Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing. During the winter, I mix it up by using dried cranberries instead of blueberries. I know, I'm out of control.

I must admit that my signature salad does generate a lot curiosity. Co-workers comment on it all the time because it looks pretty, it's fairly healthy and they're amazed (or maybe disturbed) that I can nibble on it and make it last all day.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Joan Zimmerman and The Daring Dozen

Last week I devoted my Scene & Heard column in the Style section to the Stiletto Swagger, a fun part of Dress for Success Charlotte's annual Power Walk fundraiser at Freedom Park.

It had wonderful photos by Daniel Coston of the 12 successful businessmen who were invited to participate in the Stiletto Swagger where they promenade in heels in front of the Power Walk participants to raise even more dough for the nonprofit's programs that help disadvantaged women achieve economic independence.

The morning my column ran, I received the nicest email from one of favorite female business leaders, Joan Zimmerman. She has always been a strong supporter of Dress for Success Charlotte, and she was so taken by The Daring Dozen as she called them, that she donated $100 to the nonprofit for each of the participants. That's $1,200! I know they were thrilled when they found out.

If you're inspired by Joan's generosity, you have until June 15 to go to the event's donation page and make a donation to one - or all - of the 12 men who really put themselves out there for a good cause. Here's the link:

It's not every man who can step out of their comfort zone and step into a pair of heels, so it's great when they get a lot of support and a lot of donations.

The Stiletto Swagger dudes were:

Kendall Alley, Charlotte president for Wells Fargo; Louis Amico, president of L.A. Management Company; Tim Barber, a partner in King & Spalding; Charles Bowman, Charlotte president of Bank of America; Glenn Burkins, editor/publisher of Qcitymetro; Riley Fields, director of community relations for the Carolina Panthers; John Paul Galles, publisher of Greater Charlotte Biz; Tom Lane, the COO of the Center for Intentional Leadership; Garrett Lucas, an account executive with Adams Outdoor Advertising; Pete Marco, COO of Luquire George Andrews; Mark Miller, a senior vice president with Accenture; and Tim O’Connor, a senior vice president of First Citizens.

Let's hear it for the boys!

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson