Archive for the ‘Southern Spotlight’ Category

The holidays are near & that means family gatherings, last minute present shopping, insane traffic, ok I swear I’m not the Grinch I actually ADORE Christmas & everything that surrounds it….decorating the house with festive flair, looking at Christmas lights, holiday parties, delicious food & drinks…AND ROCK THE HALLS EVENT FOR CHARITY!!!!

What better way to unwind from the hustle & bustle of the malls & the office than to listen to some great music with good friends all while supporting a local charity?!

Everyone come out to Workplay tonight, bring an unwrapped toy for First Light, a center for homeless women & children in Birmingham, & ‘Rock the Halls’ to some bad ass musicians!

Who: Jon Vogel & the Southside Community Band 8 pm

           Hugh Mitchells & the Illegals 9 pm

           Hunter Barrow & the Gary Buseys 10 pm

 What: Bring $5 & an unwrapped toy-all proceeds & toys go to First Light Shelter!

Where: Workplay

When: Thursday December 17th 8pm


Read Full Post »

Who would have ever thought a muddy bike ride in Alabama would inspire a phenomenal & innovative sustainable clothing company…oh the wondrous ways the universe works!  Earth Creations is the brainchild of Joy & Martin Ledvina that began over 10 years ago after Joy realized the mud from her bike ride was NOT coming out of her shirt.  From there the wheels started turning & with the combination of Martin’s chemical engineering skills & Joy’s business skills & vision, Earth Creations’ sustainable clothing line was formed!  A humble beginning, the Bessemer, Alabama based company began selling their shirts in malls across the state & the positive feedback from customers was so immense expansion was definitely in order!

Now over 10 years later, the company has completely exploded & produced a full clothing line made from natural fibers such as organic cotton, hemp & bamboo in an array of beautiful clay-dyed colors.  All of their production is completely local, even their sewing facilities are located in Alabama, a rarity now a days with most production going overseas.  I loved the fact that the graphics that adorn their amazingly comfortable shirts are bought straight from artists, supporting creative minds across the United States. 

Meeting with Joy in their Bessemer facilities was such an incredible experience… being able to walk from room to room witnessing the entire production process, as well as seeing the way she & her husband run a sustainable company was completely mind blowing.  Support Earth Creations, a local & sustainable clothing company that not only is progressive environmentally but also fashion forward!

HERE ARE MY TOP HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FROM EARTH CREATIONS…  Check out their extensive online store, as well as any Whole Foods store to purchase a gift or just something for yourself that will really make a difference!











1. Wrap it up. Think outside the wrapping paper aisle!  Reuse old paper or make your own keepsake pieces with stamps and other art supplies.  Borrow from Japanese culture and create a furoshiki, or traditional Japanese wrapping cloth – a beautiful scarf or embroidered towel can make a stunning and reusable gift-wrap.
2. Season’s greetings.  Send tree-free holiday cards, such as those made from hemp or rag, or e-cards.
3. Hold a zero-waste holiday party.  It’s easy – put the word out via an online invitation site; use washable table linens, cutlery and plates; decorate with found nature items; and dim the lights.
4. Travel green.  No, you don’t have to go over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house in a horse-drawn sleigh.  But do pack lightly; less weight equals less fuel, whether it’s a plane or a car.  If flying, coordinate flight times with other relatives to save trips to the airport.  And remember the train where possible.
5. Buy greener gifts. Shop for gifts that make you feel good about giving and please your loved ones.  From earth creations, check out the cozy Whoppie Cap and the multipurpose, works-on-anyone Shiver Scarf!

Read Full Post »

SEVENTH GRADE, a monumental time for many reasons…transition to the Junior High, making new friends, harder classes & most importantly it was time to start dressing like a ‘cool teenager’.  For my generation this included Paris blue jeans, Steve Madden platforms, butterfly clips, skants (skirt + pant), 3 Dot & Michael Stars tees, along with many, many other tragic combinations of “trends”.  All of this being said the ‘it’ place to purchase these trends & more was Laura Kathryn boutique in Crestline Village (a suburb of Birmingham, AL).  I remember begging my parents to take me there before 7th grade dances to get a fashionable new dress…and of course every purchase was made complete with the fact that it was from Laura Kathryn.  Today Laura Kathryn remains a hub of fashion in the south, recently made more fashion forward by new owner, Leslie Pittman.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Leslie to discuss fall trends, fashion designers & her story that brought her to Laura Kathryn.  Walking into the store I was taken aback by how much the store has changed since those 7th grade days…the feel is much more modern yet still ‘homey’.  I especially love the way the store has a gorgeous partition behind the front counter allowing the shopper to admire the clothing in the various nooks & crannies, it’s like an adventure if you will…

Leslie now that fall is here (in the south it is just now becoming cold enough to wear sweaters & such!), what are your favorite trends this season?

Hmmm…I’ll begin with accessories, I would have to say ankle boots, truly everyone needs a pair!  They go with EVERYTHING from skirts to jeans.  I guess I’m on a boot kick because I would also definitely advocate purchasing a pair of over the knee boots & flat boots.  Clothing styles I adore right now include lace, embellishments like sequins or studs & lastly draping, as long as you wear it with a proportional bottom (draped top + skinny jeans).  Then color-wise I think shades of amethyst are very important & work well with every skin & hair color.  Here are my favorite examples of these trends from Laura Kathryn:

From left: Cynthia Vincent; Corso Como; Frye; Winston

From left: Tibi lace blouse; Hype embellished top; Splendid draped top

From left: Owner Leslie Pittman sporting THE color of the season, amethyst; Rebecca Taylor embellished blouse

What’s on your holiday gift guide?

For acquaintance or hostess gifts I would suggest the ever popular Hanky Pankys, which come in a variety of fabulous colors & prints, Star Luna t-shirts & patterned tights from Michael Stars.  For that big present it’s all about the statement this season from a statement jacket, like this one from Hunter Dixon, to statement jewelry.

Although I’m sure you love everything in your store, if you had to pick ,what are your favorite lines at Laura Kathryn?

I personally love wearing Tibi, Alice & Olivia & Rebecca Taylor but Ella Moss, Liquid & Susana Monaco are favorites of our customers. 

Are you vying for any new lines for spring?

We are very excited to be getting quite a few new lines!  Joie, Alexis Bittar jewelry (one of my personal obsessions!), Ella Moss Swimwear & Frock by Tracy Reese to name a few.

What is your ‘go to look’ for a holiday party?

I have 2 favorite looks for this holiday season.  One being opaque tights paired with a fabulous print or solid pop of color dress & a statement heel.  The second being a satin tuxedo pant with a festive top (not to be confused with a holiday sweater/vest/blouse, Southern Femme does not approve of the wearing of anything jingling, singing, fuzzy or adorned with snowmen & candy canes) and of course a statement heel.  All that being said the best way to step up any look is confidence!  Remember that fashion is a state of mind, you can wear anything you put your mind to, have fun it’s just fashion!

Leslie I could not agree more with your last statement, fashion is all about fun & confidence!  On that note let’s switch gears, tell me about your background, what led you to purchasing Laura Kathryn?

After graduating from Southern Methodist University I moved back to Birmingham & started working as a sales associate at Laura Kathryn.  From there I moved to store manager, then buyer, then eventually owner!  It is such a surreal experience but I’m loving taking this landmark boutique & applying my own vision to every facet from the store’s decor, to the clothing lines we carry, to the events we host.

Speaking of events, any holiday promotions or events we should know about?

This year we are doing a wish list for our customers.  What this means is if you come into the store before Wednesday November 25th you can fill out a wish list of items in the store, along with a list of your ‘elves’.  We will then take the initiative to email your wish list to your elves, whether that be your parents, boyfriend, friends, etc.  Throughout the month of December we will be doing special discounts for your elves so you get exactly what you desire for the holidays.

Now for something fun, if you could have any celebrity represent Laura Kathryn based on her style, attitude, clothing line choices, who would you choose?

That is a hard one! (some time passes…) I would have to say Katherine Hiegel!  Love her.

 I ❤ LAURA KATHRYN.  GO VISIT THE STORE LOCATED AT: 61 Church Street, Birmingham, AL.

Read Full Post »

Le Chateau de Chantilly, situated in the Ile-de-France region of France, is renowned for its sheer beauty; I believe you can see why!  Not only does the chateau mesmerize visitors with it’s grandeur & history, but also the 16th century structure houses the country’s largest art collection outside of le Louvre!  Le Chateau de Chantilly is one of the many attractions in Chantilly, a petit city located conveniently outside of Paris.  Other desirable sights in this charming city are Le Musee Vivant du Cheval (the only living/working horse museum in the world), Hippodrome de Chantily (horse racing track) & a world famous polo club…not to mention Chantilly creme & lace!

Chantilly Racecourse…love the Hermes signs!


Besides the obvious fact that I adore France, why am I focusing this blog post on the city of Chantilly?!  Well this Thursday November 19th, the Birmingham International Center is hosting a night dedicated to this French wonderland.  Celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau while listening to special guest, Steve Sirls of the American Friends of Chantilly, speak about living & working in this historic & picturesque city.  So take a break from your busy schedule & culture yourself with other Francophiles, art lovers, winos, food lovers & polo players!


Where: Birmingham International Center, 1728 5th Ave North, Birmingham, AL 35203

When: Thursday November 19th 5:30-7:30 pm

How: Register online at www.bic-al.org $7 per person (contact Kali for more information 252-7652 )



Read Full Post »


Doree Window Montage 

Gorgeous & festive window displays at Doree Boutique in Downtown Homewood


Last night sitting on the front row of the Doree Fall Fashion Show was quite delightful I have to say!  Since I moved back to Alabama 3 1/2 months ago I’ve assisted in styling 6 fashion shows & although being behind the scenes gives me the most amazing adrenaline rush, I have not had the pleasure to actually watch any of the shows.  So when I was invited to attend Doree’s Fall Fashion Show & 4 year Anniversary Party I was thrilled to have a break from dressing models, hemming pants & piling on accessories. 

Doree has recently moved into a new space in downtown Homewood & let me tell y’all it looks wonderful!  Her new store is much more spacious & ‘homey’ feeling, while still maintaining a vivacious & chic atmosphere.  The store was buzzing last night in celebration of the boutique’s 4 year anniversary with well dressed women & men admiring the wide array of holiday dresses, fabulous booties & platform stilettos, along with an assortment of designer denim-all 20% off with proceeds going to benefit the Humane Society.  The fashion show was hosted beneath a Bryant Park-esque tent complete with DJ, white patio chairs & of course fashion loving people everywhere!  Below are my favorite looks from the show….


Doree Fashion Show Men's Looks

The on trend yet still classic looks that the men sported, all clothing from Shaia’s



Doree Fashion Show Favorite Looks

Many of my favorite trends for fall were shown on the runway including ruffles, goddess style draping, glittery sequins, a pop of color, splicing & statement accessories like motorcycle gloves & layered necklaces.


Read Full Post »

Austin City Limits

130,000+ people full of peace, love & music!  Austin City Limits was hands down THE COOLEST EXPERIENCE I’ve had in quite some time…despite the rain & mud, which is saying a lot!  Walking into Zilker Park I was immediately consumed by the gorgeous (for the time being!) green grassy park full of hoards of people mingling, dancing & just taking in the sights!  Let me tell y’all the 3 day music festival in Austin, TX made for prime people watching, their city moto is ‘keep Austin weird’!  Needless to say I was snapping pictures left & right trying to capture all the fabulous festival fashion.  Here are a few of my favorites that despite the casual nature of the music festival still exude the falls trends & even spring 2010 trends to come!

***FIRST TREND…BOOTS!  I mean we are in Texas after all but really boots are huge, huge, huge for fall!  Whether you opt for booties, cowboy boots, motorcycle boots, heeled boots or my personal favorite over the knee boots (just bought a pair of Topshop boots that are my obsession, pictures to come!) you must bust out a pair as they can be worn with everything from dresses to over skinny jeans!

Austin City Limits Cowboy Boots

Love the heart cowboy boots walkin’ along South Congress Street, the best shopping street in Austin!

Austin City Limits gray boots

Gray suede gorgeous boots, need I say more?!

Austin City Limits cowboy boots 2

Fringed cowboys boots=ammmmazing!  Great way to look cute despite the intense mud of Zilker Park!

Austin City Limits wellies

Another way to look fabulous while battling the mud-wellies!  I adore my Frye wellies, ugh why didn’t I have them with me in Austin?!

Austin City Limits cowboy boots & fishing shirts

What an inventive combo fishing shirts+cowboy boots & Toms shoes!

***SECOND TREND…ANIMAL PRINT!!! Funky patterns & prints adorned festival goers clothes from my own vintage Chloe colorful button down to an adorable romper!  Animal prints are one of the most important patterns for fall try them in a gray tone if you prefer a more subdued look or if you’re adventurous like me try some red or even an array of colors!

Austin City Limits colorful animal print

Here I’m listening to Phoenix (phenomenal French band) wearing my vintage Chloe animal print button down, Forever 21 ripped leggings, Chanel ballet flats & a thrift store purse.

Austin City Limits leopard romper

Rockin’ it in her animal print romper, fringed gladiator sandals & oversized sunglasses!

***THIRD TREND…STATEMENT ACCESSORIES!!! Everything from gladiator sandals, layered necklaces, large slouchy bags & hats graced both the ACL festival fans, as well as the fall & spring runway shows!  Pile it on, make it a statement & I promise you cannot go wrong!

Austin City Limits gladiator sandals

Spotted at Citizen Cope!  Adore her layered necklaces, large slouchy bag & gladiator sandals-again it’s all about the statement pieces!

Austin City Limits accessories

The perfect ensembles for weathering the rain- Leggings, tunics, skinny jeans, gladiator flats, statement accessories & of course a hat to cover your rain drenched hair!

Austin City Limits hat & bandana

Lookin’ ammmazing at Andrew Bird in his cut off jean shorts accented with a bandana, skater lace ups & straw Panama hat-even for guys it can be all about the accessories!

***FOURTH TREND…BRAIDS!!! It was unbelievable everywhere I looked girls had their hair braided!  From a long braided ponytail to petit braids worked into long flowing hair to my favorite ribbons woven through the braid.  Check out one of my favorite designers, Alexander Wang’s RTW Spring 2010 show, all the models had fabulous full braids….again from ACL to the runway!

Meredith's Braids

Austin City Limits braided hair

Austin City Limits braided hair

I mean this says it all-braiding hair between shows!

Austin City Limits braid & headband

If you don’t have a headband like this ACL fan at Citizen Cope then grab a bandana & wrap it around your head & over your braid like so many ACL goers did-the epitome of ‘hippie chic’!

***FIFTH TREND…MENSWEAR SHOES!!! As I previously stated boots are one of the ‘it’ items for fall but don’t forget some menswear grunge classics-Dr. Martens & Vans!  Wear them with a frilly dress or skirt & top for a feminine meets masculine look which is completely on trend for fall!

Austin City Limits Dr. Martens

J’adore her hot pink Dr. Martens!

Austin City Limits vans

Sporting some self-designed vans at Bon Iver….love all the creativity!


Read Full Post »

FashionWeekend2009 program


Fashion week in New York City is well on its’ way…Bryant Park’s bustling tents, fashionistas posing for the press, the latest songs remixed & pumping  adrenaline throughout the throngs of adoring style mavens as the latest looks for RTW Spring 2010 go swirling by….that’s just  the bare minimum as to why NYC Fashion Week=Fashion Heaven!!!  Sadly, this year I am unable to partake in this glorious NYC event BUT I am oh so pleased to say Alabama has stepped it up in the fashion realm! 

Moving back to Alabama I was skeptical of the fashion opportunities available but when asked to assist in styling an upcoming fashion show presented by The Summit (a fabulous outdoor shopping mall for all of you non-Alabamians) benefiting the Junior League of Birmingham I of course accepted!  It would be a highlight of Fall 2009 fashions divided into 4 segments: Autumn Hues, 80’s Revisited, Lady Like Luxe & Evening.  I had the absolute pleasure of working with renowned stylist Jen Rotenstreich on the show.  We focused on looks from Belk although other stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bebe & Anthropologie were featured in the show as well.  After a week of pulling tops, dresses, trousers, skirts, jackets & a variety of accessories to fit each trend our looks were complete & ready for the Saturday night show! 

Alden & me at Fashion Weekend

Enjoying our wine & a magnificent view of Birmingham at sunset.  I’m wearing a Patricia Field mini dress, Forever 21 ‘shredded’ leggings, TopShop booties, a vintage pearl ring & my Chanel bag.  Alden is wearing a printed BCBG jersey dress, Banana Republic short sleeve sweater & J.Crew two tone pumps.


Southern Femmes of Fashion Weekend

My Southern Femme fashionistas of the night: Carissa (left) wearing a black strapless belted H&M dress made fallish & fabulous with a red plaid H&M scarf & my top pick for fall- booties!  Mallory (right) is adorned in a more classic version of the mini dress+booties look that is such an important trend this fall!  She complements her asymmetrical neckline (big trend!) black ruffled dress from Target with gray booties & pearls. 


Upon arriving at the rooftop venue overlooking the beautiful city of Birmingham at twilight I was already impressed by the red carpet, the stunning floral arrangements & the photographer greeting us ready to snap our picture.  Before the show began wine & hors d’oeuvres were offered while Birmingham’s best dressed mingled under a billowy white tent.  Walking into the fashion show tent if I didn’t already feel like I was immersed in NYC Fashion Week I definitely did once the show started!  Music booming, lights strobing, VIP seats, kick ass swag bags…the show was underway! 

swag bags



The first segment was Autumn Hues focusing on one of the most important color palettes for fall-an array of chocolate, burnt orange, taupe, caramel & everything in between.  We also wanted to showcase different fabrics & textures to create a rich fall look….

Peacock & Crochet Autumn Ensemble


Burnt Orange Ensemble


Teal & Autumn Hues



The second segment was 80’s Revisited full of lace, grommets & zippers, sequins & vibrant neon colors!  Purple being a strong color for fall we made sure to pop that color on the runway in the form of an origami mini dress!  Layer on those accessories too for added edge & style….

Free People Sequin Ensemble


Teal Grommeted 80's Tunic


80's Purple Origami Dress


80s Blue Top & Leggings


The third segment was Lady Like Luxe channeling Mad Men, Jackie O & Grace Kelly.  We opted for chic & richly colored sheath dresses paired with fitted jackets, tweed trousers & fur jackets, pretty much anything feminine, luxurious & updated classic…


Lady Like Luxe Ensembles


 Lady Luxe Ensembles



The last segment concluded the show with a bang!  For Evening we pulled some cocktail & formal dresses that represent strong trends this fall-ombre, attention to detail & origami pleating….

Xscape Ombre Cocktail Dress


Black Beaded Cocktail Dress


Long Black Evening Dress


AND THE FINALE!!!  Support your local retailers & hope for more fantastic fashion events to come, I know I will!


Read Full Post »