Friday, March 28, 2014

That 'J. Crew model' glow

You either love J. Crew or you really don't.

My cousins trend towards the love side, and they both look great in those print skirts, bright, preppy sweaters and seemingly endless layers. (It probably helps that they're waif thin, too.)

If it didn't take an act of congress to get me to tuck a shirt in, I'd probably wear more of their clothing, especially if it were a bit closer to my price range.

Collection pencil wrap skirt in cubist print
Me + this look = not going to happen
Regardless of your feelings on their apparel, J. Crew models are apparently renowned for their fresh-faced, natural looks.

 Marled linen V-neck sweater

I hadn't ever really given them much thought (beyond cursing their baby giraffe thighs) but the beauty world went nuts last week when the clothing line's stylists revealed their secret weapon.

The dewy (yet not greasy) glow comes courtesy of RMS Beauty. The organic makeup line's Living Luminizer and Lip2Cheek tint are credited for the models' "lit from within" look.

Lip2Cheek tint in Demure ($36)

RMS Beauty's Living  Luminizer ( $38)
Prices vary depending where you're buying from, but J. Crew is also selling both items.

Byrdie has a tip for those who want a faux-glow without spending money (assuming you already have it in your toolkit): Use the same light-colored eye shadow that you use on your brow bone as a highlighter.

Master a Quick Glow

Will have to test that theory, though I suspect the shadow finish - matte vs. pearl, etc. - would make a difference. (And I'd assume that either way, the lighter the hand, the better.)

Happy weekend, stay dry!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Your handbag can make you a hero

"There's change in your purse."

Love the clever duality, it's the perfect summary of Purses with a Purpose. The local, annual sale of gently used handbags started six years ago, when Kelly DeMario was fundraising for her Relay for Life team. 

Uncomfortable asking others for money, even for a reputable cause, DeMario was looking for “an easy ask, something you could ask a girlfriend,” she said. “Everyone has a purse … We take everything as long as it's still intact and someone can get a little life and use out of it.”

Kelly DeMario among a wealth of donations

All proceeds, then and now, go to the American Cancer Society. Purses with a Purpose always holds its annual sale the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend.

This year's sale will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway. The website is under construction, but the video link is live.

That first year, DeMario only asked friends and family for donations. She hosted the sale in her front yard, with hundreds of purses strung on a clothesline between two trees. The inaugural sale brought in roughly $1,000 and loads of contacts.

The next year, DeMario tapped those contacts “and it became very organic,” she said. “They asked their girlfriends … we had so many (purses) we moved to my daughter’s preschool.” By year three, DeMario knew the sale would require a large space. A blurb ran on the evening news and by the end of the night, DeMario said, “There were people lined up, willing to donate space.”

For the next several years, the former Blake Hotel in Uptown was the site of the sale and groups would hold “girls’ nights” and book rooms so they could be at the sale first thing, DeMario said. As a Mother's Day gift, one gentleman sent a friend at midnight the night before to be the first in line, so his wife could have first dibs when the sale opened.

The majority of bags are priced between $10 and $18 and higher-end bags such as Coach and Michael Kors usually sell for $50. But DeMario said it’s the volume of donations that allows them to raise money.

"People think ‘My purse is from Target or Macy’s it’s not high-end.’ That’s not what we’re shooting for. So many people just want a cute handbag,” she said. “Prices are very approachable, there’s (even) $1 purses.”

Just a few donations available for sale at the 2014 Purses with a Purpose sale May 10.
In the event's fourth year, DeMario called it a miracle when CLT-based handbag designer Martha Clifford donated her entire inventory as she transitioned into jewelry.

DeMario wasn't sure what to expect (five bags? 10 maybe?) and was floored when she picked up more than $30,000 worth of Italian leather, silk-lined handbags, donated by Clifford.

The M. Clifford designs were priced at $100, a steal considering many originally retailed for more than $400.
"I called my husband and said 'There is more value in the trunk of my Jeep than (the vehicle) is worth.'" That year, the sale raised $13,700, DeMario said.

The annual Purses with a Purpose donation kickoff will be 5-8 p.m. April 10 at The Boulevard in South End, (1440 S. Tryon Street) and will feature wine and nibbles. Those who bring a purse donation will receive 15 percent off any full priced item. (If you can't make it to the kickoff, that offer is good through April 30.)

Or, those with a donation can email to schedule a pick up, arrange to meet/drop off, or take your bags to designated donation spots, such as Boulevard. “We make it as easy as we can.”

For about four months each year, DeMario's garage becomes a holding pen for literally thousands of handbags. It's not unusual to receive a donation of 500 all at once.

Together with some friends, Relay for Life team members and volunteers, DeMario said it takes about a week prior to the sale the make sure each bag has been cleaned out, wiped down and tagged.

Last year, DeMario and friends also lobbied celebrities for their hardly-used handbags. "Based on how many requests we sent out, I wouldn't call it a success," she said. I have to beg to differ, considering they did receive donations from Carly Rae Jepsen, Patricia Heaton, Gloria Gaynor, Vivica A. Fox, Catherine Bach, Jane Seymour and Susan Sarandon.

Susan Sarandon autographed her donation to the 2013 Purses with a Purpose sale.
Vivica A. Fox sent three bags and an autographed picture for the 2013 sale.
Patricia Heaton, who played Ray Ramano's wife on "Everyone Love Raymond," was one of the celebrities to donate a bag to the 2013 Purses with a Purpose sale.
Sound like a recipe for shopping disaster? Thankfully, there’s never been any Black Friday-esque madness or what DeMario calls “purse drama.”

Happy shopping!
“It’s really funny, people are very strategic.” The first round of shoppers rush through and scoop up anything that remotely strikes their fancy, DeMario said. “They’ll have like 25 purses on their arm.” They’ll meet up with friends and sift through, while “sharks in the water” stand behind them, waiting to start negotiations. Meanwhile, other shoppers take their time, perusing the tables.

So many choices...
And after five years, aside from finding a location to host the sale, DeMario said the fundraiser essentially runs itself.

"You ask one person and it turns into a 'Let me ask my friend.' It's been organic and fun to do," she said.

"We've got a good team of people, it takes lots of hands to make it happen ...  It's fun to watch it grow as purses come in."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Busy beauty CLT

As everyone keeps their fingers crossed for warmer weather, lots of spring beauty-related events are popping up around Charlotte.

On Thursday, the local Aveda Institute is hosting its "All About You" customer appreciation event from 6-8 p.m.

Freebies include stress fix hand massages, chakra balancing head and neck massages, mini facials and more, including product and service discounts.

There are also about a billion ways to enter to win a $50 Aveda gift card, especially through their Facebook page. Want to go? 1520 South Blvd.

Also starting Thursday is Woo Skincare and Cosmetic's two-day Natura Bissé  event. Call ahead reservations are a must ( 704-333-0443) but there are still a few spots left.

Appointments will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature "Time Rescue," an anti-aging treatment based on a deep facial cure that helps purify and nurture skin. A complimentary facial ($200 value) with Natura Bissé's aesthetician is included and a gift (valued at $370) comes with a Natura Bissé purchase.

Want to go? 2900A Selwyn Ave.

If Woo's Natura Bissé  event is already full, Jeffre Scott Apothecary will be holding an LED light facial event with Natura Bissé  brand rep Stephanie Trigg April 8-10.

Speaking of Jeffre Scott, they've also got an event planned for Friday and Saturday, but this go round, the local store is featuring Felicia Roman, national makeup artist for Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics. (Advance reservations are also a must for Jeffre Scott events, made by calling 704-339-0010, locations vary.)

The late Aucoin - makeup artist, photographer and author - has been heralded as the grandfather of makeup, creating some pretty incredible transformations, particularly turning modern celebs into old Hollywood royalty.
Believe it or not, that's Calista Flockhart on the left, as Audrey Hepburn, and Gwyneth Paltrow on the right, styled as James Dean. 
(Seriously: look what he did to Courtney Love - whom I'll always love and adore - and you have to admit the man was a genius.)

Have an upcoming beauty/style event? Email the details to (At least two weeks in advance, when possible.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Free dresses for prom

No one should miss prom because they can't afford it.

That's the mentality behind Kiss 95.1 Presents Drex & Maney's Gown Town this Saturday. Your old cocktail, evening, bridesmaid or prom dress can help ensure high school girls in the area - who otherwise might not be able to afford it - have something fabulous to wear this prom season. For free.

Gown Town is first-come, first-serve, so there's usually a line of girls waiting to get in.
Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Morning show hosts Drex, Maney and their cohort, Cassiday, said it’s the 15th year the station has hosted Gown Town, but the third that it's been under their purvey.

They’ve been surprised and pleased with how many dresses have been donated in about three weeks, especially from the gown-getter bins placed at local school. "I think we went from zero to 400 in a week," Drex said.

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Seeing the mother/daughter duos shopping for the perfect dress at previous Gown Town events is something Cassiday said she personally relates to, having had the same experience with her own mom.

“I saw the same excitement with moms and daughters and their friends, of ‘This is the one,’” she said.

“Every girl wants to go to prom.”

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

But how do two guys feel about herding all those dresses? Pretty awesome, in fact.

“It’s been fun to see people call in, who are so excited to give,” Drex said. “Bob, yes, Bob, in Lincolnton called and said he had 48 dresses.”

“Everybody deserves the prom experience,” Maney said. “No one should sit at home.”

In the past, between 1,000 and 3,000 dresses have been donated each year. Average attendance at Gown Town is between 400 and 700 girls, and more than half find a dress to take home.

(What about the rest? Some are donated to charity, but the majority go into storage for next year, Drex said.)

More than 1,000 dresses in all sizes will be at Saturday’s Gown Town, which will be first-come, first-serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the store space between the Body Shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods on the second level of Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Dr.

“I can’t wait to see all the people lined up,” Drex said.

Dresses are grouped by sizes and dressing rooms are available so girls can try them on. “We make it really easy for them,” Cassiday said. “It’s more than just a dress, we’re creating the experience.”

The hosts will be on hand playing music, shoes and accessories will also be available and the only thing missing will be the cash register, Maney said.

“Because it’s free. Everything is 100 percent off.”

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

While the event isn’t only for those with a limited income – any high school girl is welcome, Maney said – they’ve tried to make sure every guidance counselor in the six surrounding counties got the info about Gown Town.

“It’s cool the counselors are so in tune with knowing who (could benefit,)” Cassiday said. “There’s no shame in it. We make it like a real store experience. We don’t want anyone to feel embarrassed.”

The morning crew hopes to get a photo album online after the weekend, so listeners can see if their former frocks have found new life, Maney said.

Technically, dresses were only being accepted at area locations through the end of the day Wednesday. "But we would never turn down a dress,” Cassiday said.

Cassiday finds treasure to try on at a previous Gown Town.
Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1 

So those with special occasion dresses in their closets have till the end of business on Friday to bring them by the CBS Radio studios in SouthEnd.

More than anything, Drex said, it’s about area women helping girls make a memorable experience. “It’s great to see that empathy for a listener they’ll never meet.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dress donations for 'Gown Town' Charlotte

I'm the world's biggest fan of this concept. (And I have two dresses to drop off.)

Kiss 95.1's Drex & Maney's annual Gown Town will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Northlake mall.

Your old cocktail, evening, bridesmaid or prom dress can help ensure high school girls in the area - who otherwise might not be able to afford it - have something fabulous to wear this prom season. For free.

Last year alone, more than 600 dresses found new homes.

Through the end of the day Wednesday, dresses, shoes and accessories are being accepted at the Kiss 95.1 studios, 1520 South Blvd. Suite 300 in Charlotte; at Charlotte Skin and Laser, 130 Providence Road Suite 100 or these area Ultra Tan locations.

More details to come...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Nail it this weekend

Nothing says "Happy Weekend" quite like a mani/pedi. Even if you're doing it yourself, taking the time for something fancy is definitely a mood booster.

P.S.: Purewow has put together yet another fantastic and quick "how to" video. This time? DIY mani.

Now come the colors...

Feeling festive? Polyvore rounded up some great green and glitter polishes for your shopping pleasure...

Polishing Off the Week

Refinery29 shares some of their faves in this slideshow
Surprise: seasonal emphasis on pastels and sparkles. 
(Bummer there's no link to the lemon yellow.)

Meanwhile, on the local front, Scoop Charlotte and Kisten Hunter of Polish Pauper put together a few finds likely to get the Queen City buzzing. (Added bonus: Scoop has a handy calendar of St. Patty's Day events AND sales.)

Not sure what you're in the mood for? 

Take's "Nail Art Personality" quiz for some inspiration.

And should your weekend of shopping and St. Pat's celebrations put a few dings in your new paint job, it's PureWow to the rescue again with how to do the easiest removal ever. (Even glitter.)

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hot scissors hit Charlotte

So have you heard about this “hot scissor haircut” method?

It started gaining attention in the U.S. toward the end of 2013, mainly in NYC, but has apparently been wildly popular in Europe and Russia for ages.

Essentially, a pair of scissors are plugged in and heated (to between 230 and 338 degrees, depending on your hair type) and are supposed to be the silver bullet for split ends.

In theory, the heat seals the end of each hair, helping to retain moisture and manage split ends, as well as keep styles looking fresh longer.

To read the Jaguar TC Thermocut page, they describe it not as a haircut, but a wellness treatment:

"Fine hair will be given more volume, split hair will become healthy and more resistant, permed hair will be given more elasticity, dull, brittle hair will be regenerated, every type of hair will be easier to style."

A segment that aired in October on the "Today" show is partially credited with having brought one of the first pairs of hot scissors to Charlotte, said Zahava Thornton, co-owner of Poza Salon in Myers Park.

Thornton learned about and researched the growing trend online, she said, and clients began mentioning the "Today" show segment. So several weeks ago, Poza invested in a set of the $1,400 scissors, patented as the Thermocut system by Jaguar (not the car company) and made in Solingen, Germany.

So far, Thornton is loving the results. “Everyone's always looking for a split end cure.”

What many people don't realize is that a hair is fibrous, like a strand of yarn or ribbon, she said. “Ends unravel and with heat, sun exposure, from your flat iron ... (the damage) works its way up.

“So once an end is split, it’s probably split at least an inch up … This kind of cauterizes the ends.”

Thornton uses hot scissors on Racheal Haywood's hair.

Styling with hot scissors is ideal for several types: those who are growing their hair out, those who want to keep hair healthy without losing length, those maintaining the Ombre (two-tone color) look and those who want a very pronounced edge, such as China Doll bangs, Thornton said.

While one cut with hot scissors will provide improvement, those who use hot scissors five or six times will see the most benefit, Thornton said, as pre-existing damage is cut away.

An internet search of “hot scissor haircut, Charlotte N.C.” (and a number of variations) doesn’t turn up much, not even Poza Salon. The initial investment cost and relative newness of hot scissors has likely kept them off the local radar, Thornton said.

So because “hot scissors” are still a bit of a local rarity, you can expect to shell out money and time.

While no special training is needed, the heat element requires a stylist to slow down and hold the sheers differently to avoid burning themselves, Thornton said. (In all our Web trolling and research, we didn’t find any serious safety warnings, for stylist or client.)

Regularly, a haircut would take about 45 minutes, but a hot scissors appointment is allotted 1 1/2 hour.

At Poza, women’s haircuts range from $45-$105, and for the hot scissors method, an additional $50 is tacked on for the extra time needed. But so far, clients haven’t balked at the price, Thornton said. “The reaction has been to the difference you can feel at the ends.”

But as word of mouth spreads and the trend starts taking hold in Charlotte, more local salons will likely invest, especially with summer – months of sun, swimming and elemental damage – approaching, Thornton said.

Racheal Haywood after her hot scissor haircut on Tuesday


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oscar trends most likely to be seen around CLT

(Full disclosure: This mainly has to do with hair and makeup, as dresses are entirely their own category. Though, not sure about anyone else, I preferred a lot of the "after-party" gowns to what was worn on the red carpet. But that's another story...)

Soft, unstructured and sweet. These are elements from the 2014 Oscars that local experts believe will carry forward, particularly in Charlotte.

 There’s always at least one beloved or trending element - hair, makeup, dress style - that gets recreated by the masses after the red carpet gets rolled back up.

Old Hollywood glamour is expected to be a big request with everyone from women attending special events to teens for the upcoming prom season.

Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lawrence were the celebs named most frequently by local stylists for representing the night’s best.

“Everything was sweeter this year, very soft and ethereal looking, almost like it could have been from ‘Frozen’,” said Tonya Reid, owner and stylist at T. Reid & Company in Dilworth.

A refreshing change from the perfect doughnut buns and sky-high ponytails of past seasons were the long, relatively simple styles at the Oscars, Reid said.

“I noticed the trends are changing, things are not as severe.”

The hair
“Every year, post-award season, we definitely see more and more photos coming in of celeb styles from different red carpet looks,” said Terra Hines, stylist at Varji & Varji Salon & Spa in SouthPark.

The Academy Awards appear to be the event that bring out elegance in the stars, Hines said, noting  Margot Robbie was another who wore their hair in a way she believes will be replicated around Charlotte in the coming months.

“The biggest trend that I noticed this year were the stars wearing their hair down, curled and either pinned and tucked to the side or tucked behind an ear,” she said.

This trend isn’t entirely new, Hines said, but a recurring classic. Last year, she had several clients request similar side-swept, curled looks, particularly the style Jennifer Lopez wore at the 2013 Golden Globes, she said.

But the loose, long curls and wavy styles will be considerably different among the younger crowd, Hines said, after requests for lots of braids dominated prom season in Charlotte. “When it comes to prom last year, the largest influences came from “The Hunger Games” styles.”

Reid doesn’t believe braids have come to an end, but will be a way for the prom set to give texture to the side-swept styles. “Or you could put a pretty brooch or something sparkly (where the hair gets secured at one side), which could really play it up,” she said.

"Or y could take that side of the hair and do a chain of knots or loops ... There are ways you could make it a little more interesting,playful and youthful."

For those with shorter hair, local experts said Jennifer Lawrence's red carpet pompadour up-style impressed on a number of levels.

Chelsea Below, a stylist with Shine Salon in Elizabeth, said the volume in the front JLaw’s 2014 Oscar style “was really different” and gave great inspiration for a formal, but playful and temporary, change.

“We’re seeing a trend toward shorter styles. That (could) be a challenge with prom to see how to change it up.”

And volume isn’t just for those with shorter hair, Below said, but all lengths and ages. “We’re seeing a lot more volume than a couple years ago. Instead of sleek, straight hair, there’s move volume, waves, (in styles) up or down.”

Jennifer Misenheimer is one of two stylists at Escape Hair & Skin Studio in SouthEnd who mainly does special occasion styles,  such as prom and weddings. Hands down, Lawrence wore the next hottest trend with her tousled crop, Mishenheimer said.

“It’s between a bob and pixie cut, between the shoulder and jawline,” she said. Unlike a traditional bob, the perimeter of trending crop cuts remains one length with choppy, textured layers.

JLaw also disproved the misconception that updos are impossible with shorter lengths, Misenheimer said. “There are a lot of interesting new twists to put waves in and tease short hair."

“With the shorter haircut, we’re starting to see a lot of clients warm up as celebrities do it. There’s been long hair for awhile, and it will stay a trend, but my more fashion-forward clients are going towards these cuts.”

Especially for those who dare the seriously short styles, Misenheimer said, hair accessories are expected to grow in popularity, thanks to Lupita Nyong’o’s “fabulous” jeweled headband.

The Makeup
What was noticeable about Oscar makeup is that it wasn’t, said Kenna Ehman, a stylist and makeup artist at the Hearst Tower location of Modern Salon & Spa.

“In general there were a lot of very soft nude lips, not a lot of blush, but very natural,” she said.

Proving popular was an abundance of “really accentuated” lashes - real or false - with smokey eyes using natural tones of shadows or cat eyes using only liner and no shadow, she said.

“Very pretty but not over the top, it looks like they did their own hair and makeup even though you know they didn’t,” she said. “It’s very re-creatable, which is awesome.”

Misenheimer agreed, citing Bullock again as an example. “You didn’t see very bold looks, everyone was looking more natural, with softer looks.”

And the men?

"I'm not sure about men with hombre hair," Misenheimer said with a laugh.
"But if anyone can do it, Jared Leto can," she said of his subtle two-tone locks.

Another surprising trendsetter for men was Johnny Weir and his pompadour, Misenheimer said.

"Johnny looked quirky and right on trend." She's noticed a number of male models who have updated the style of shorter/shaved on the sides with a longer, often slicked-back length over the top turning to blow-outs for yes, more volume.

Expect to see more pompadour in edgier men's fashion, she said, and even on the local hipster scene.

Honorable mentions

Color has to be considered, Misenheimer said, citing Liza Minnelli's cobalt blue streak and Kelly Osbourne's continued work in pastel lavender.

"How bold is that to wear something like that to the Oscars, where it's all glamour? Those two were great."

While pastels have been popular in hair for some time, Misenheimer said she expects to see more bold colors like Minnelli's, as a nod to the returning  90's styles, particularly in Charlotte.

"I've got clients wanting streaks and panels of bold colors. It's right on trend."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wellness Wednesday and giveaway winners

If the extreme temperature flux of the last few days hasn't been enough to make your sense of season go wonky, let's not forget that Daylight Savings is coming on Sunday.

Even if you're not feeling refreshed and rested (the Oscars did take more than 3 hours after all) here are a few events that might be able to help...

Aveda Institute Charlotte is holding another pampering event 6-8 p.m. tomorrow at their SouthEnd location, 1520 South Blvd.

Complimentary cosmetics lessons featuring Aveda's new "Culture Clash" line will be available, as well as hair color consultations and Aveda rituals. (Think hand massages, aromatherapy, etc.)

If you're a regular consumer of Aveda products, these events can be a great time to stock up on your favorite items, as they tend to incentivize purchases by throwing in free services such as shampoos, blow-drys, 60-minute manis or pedis, etc. Details:

Goldfaden MD winners and Alchimie Forever
Congrats to readers Cindy Jones - winner of the Goldfaden MD "Wake Up Call" regenerative overnight facial treatment- and Melissa Gamez, winner of the brand's "Bright Eyes" dark circle radiance concentrate.

Both ladies have said they will report back with their findings/results, so I'll keep you posted.

Last week we shared the details of the upcoming Goldfaden launch event March 14-15.

If you don't want to wait, Jeffre Scott Apothecary is hosting an Alchimie Forever event Saturday, focusing on the brand's anti-aging antioxidant technology-skincare line. It's the first in a number of the store's Spring Beauty 2014 events.

All events have limited availability and require a $75 RSVP (to be applied towards any purchase.) Details and to register: 704-339-0010;