Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An afternoon with a few of the Phillips Place Boutiques

I love living in Southpark.  There are so many wonderful places to shop and I walked through a few of the boutiques at Phillips Place.

My first stop was Nitsa's.  The small boutique on the corner of the Penthouse's at Phillips Place is mainly known for their bridal gowns (you have to have an appointment to try on), which I did peak through, they have absolutely gorgeous gowns, Reem Acra and Monique Lhuillier clearly jumped out at me.  The yards of gorgeous ivory satin is enough to make anyone smile.  While I looked through the other racks of cocktail dresses by Carmen Marc Valvo, Tadashi, Nicole Miller, I had the opportunity to meet Haley, one of the sales associates there.  She was very friendly and promised to send me trunk show updates etc., so that I could share them with you.  They also had several gowns by such designers as Marc Bower Glammit and Theia.  For those of you not so familiar with Theia, they make gowns that have been worn by such celebs as Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.  You can check them out on the web at www.nitsas.com and you can also "Like" them on Facebook.

Walking into Coplon's is always a treat.  They are an old Charlotte institution.  My Mom even bought her wedding dress from Coplon's almost 37 years ago.  It had so many buttons down the back that the sales associate came to my Grandparent's house and helped her button them all.  They have moved their shop to different parts of the city and are now located on the corner of Phillips Place closest to The Palm Restaurant.  Carol, whose desk is at the front of the boutique near the shoes, is so friendly when you come in.  The thing that I like about Coplon's is that they have all kinds of things in the store, with all different price points.  A quick designer roll call, Elizabeth and James, Diane von Furstenburg, Theory, See by Chloe, Haute Hippie.  They have shoes!  Lots of shoes that we love, Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and even those yummy Lanvin flats.  Moving on they have Celine (!), Miu Miu, Chloe, Yigal Azrouel, Thakoon, Helmut Lang, Narciso Rodriguez, Lela Rose, Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney.  Definitely peak through there when you can.  It is a fun fashion trip and you get to see a smidge of what the major designers have to offer.

Luna is a kick.  They have a little bit of everything in there.  The denim section is great with offerings from Citizens of Humanity, JBrand, Hudson, Joe's...  They also have the old standbys when it comes to knits, Ella Moss, Splendid, Velvet and that old fave Susanna Monaco.  If you loved Susanna Monaco's tube tops of yesteryear, Luna's has a couple of dresses that will send you right back.  Their jewelry is also cute and inexpensive.  I saw several cuffs that I was fond of.  You can find just about anything when you go to Luna.

Now, when I am at Phillips Place, the one store that I can just absolutely not resist going into may surprise you, it is Magic Windows!!  I absolutely adore anything that is smocked, checked, seersuckered and colorful.  I have two nephews and they are fun to shop for.  The little Royal Child smocked bubble outfits for Christian.  The Vineyard Vines shirts for Hunter, but the one thing I wish for every time I go into Magic Window's is a niece (Ashley, are you reading?)...They have about 50% more clothes for girls in there than for boys (rightfully so, I may add) and they are so adorable.  I am sure if you have children, you have popped in, but if not, definitely plan a trip.  They also carry Feltman Brothers, Kissy Kissy, Little Giraffe, etc.  It is also a great place to pick up a baby gift for any of your expecting friends.

I had fun walking through Phillips Place and the boutiques there.  Charlotte has lots of fashion options and these are just a few.  I hope to continue making the rounds and bringing you the highlights.  On a final note, a trip to Phillips Place should always end with a Red Velvet Cupcake from Dean and Deluca....and mine did!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fun Friday with the Clairsonic

A couple weeks ago, my friend Katie sent me a text.

"Have you tried the Clairsonic?"

I had tried it once, I had a facial and the Esthetician used the Clairsonic to give my skin a deep clean.  I remembered thinking that it was a neat product but I hadn't really thought much more about it.  Katie ended up finding a great deal on one of the Clairsonic Mia's and when we planned to hang out on Friday, I said, bring it, we'll have wine and cleanse!!

On their website, Clairsonic states that their product "removes 6x more makeup and a2x more oil than cleaning with your hands alone" (www.clairsonic.com)  The website also says that it is gentle enough to use twice a day.  Katie has been using her's twice a day and is absolutely in love with it.  She was kind enough to let me snap some pics of her while she cleansed.

Katie used Cetaphil cleanser with it.  You can use whichever cleanser you prefer.  I had to get my hands on it of course and I tried it out next.

I have been using this shu uemura cleansing oil and am not ready to part with it.  Shu uemura cleansing oils have a way of protecting the skins balance and they remove makeup and cleanse in one step so they make it very easy to cleanse at night.  I started with that and then moved onto using the Clairsonic.

You can definitely feel it working and it doesn't feel abrasive at all.  One thing I have heard is that people are scared that it will be too rough on their skin and it doesn't feel that way at all.  I could tell a difference in my skin after I used after just one time.  My skin felt cleaner and more refreshed.  I agreed with Katie, I loved it and will be ordering my own Clairsonic soon.  You read so much about skin care and moisturizing but I believe that this product will fit perfectly in any skin care routine.  The cleaner your skin is, the more you can really soak up all of those amazing serums and moisturizers we all spend so much on.  You can purchase the Clairsonic on their website, as well as retailers like Sephora.  Katie picked up hers at Juvitus on the web.

Have you tried it yet?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A trip to Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack opened here in Charlotte last week.  From what I heard there were lines out the door to get in the first few days that it was open.  After a trip to see the nephews, Momma and I headed out there on Monday afternoon.  Before I started working in retail, I always thought that outlet stores were basically, the crap that no one wanted.  After a few years in the retail business and going through several seasons, I can tell you that a lot of what is sent to outlets stores is not just the things no one wanted.  Retailers do send off a large hunk of their stock that did not sell, this is true, but they also send things that the buyers over ordered....Think about it, when a retailer is conducting a buy, they are thinking about a year in advance of the actual season.  They are ordering based on the forecasted trends for the season and they are ordering on what they think that you will buy.  Obviously they do a wonderful job at this, that is why we see so many amazing things in stores.  That is why it is so necessary to scoop up certain things at regular price.  That amazing Diane von Furstenburg Vintage Print wrap dress in a size 8, you better scoop that up at regular price, because it will never be there come sale time.  The perfect Brunello Cucinelli cashmere sweater that you will have in your closet forever, scoop it up.  Buyers aren't perfect, they over order a style, they order too many of one size, they order something that just doesn't work for the mass market.  This is where outlets come in to play and where you can truly find some fabulous things.  Now, I went into the Nordstrom Rack (on South Boulevard near Pineville) with my eye on product, not on shopping, and I was pleased with what I saw.

 The store is very big, it occupies the old Circuit City for those of you Charlotteans, and it was full.  I can only imagine what it was like the day that it opened.  I started off by looking in the Contemporary section.  They had quite a bit of Elizabeth and James.  I noticed a couple of prints being from last spring, but they were floral and would definitely fit in to this Spring's floral trend.  They also had several pieces by Vince and Alice and Olivia.  Those of you who love Juicy, they had a bunch of that too, but I will warn you, it was mostly the ones that had the bling across the butt (please, no!).  I also saw some Joe's Jeans....The Honey Fit!  They were priced at about $77, which is about half price, and the wash was just a standard dark.  I also saw Seven, plenty of Splendid and Ella Moss and even BCBG.  They had a few pieces of D&G which is the Contemporary line of Dolce and Gabbana and some Burberry, not Prorsum, the sportswear collection, but some cute dresses priced in the upper two's.  They had Elie Tahari, actually quite a few trench coats!!  I didn't see any Diane von Furstenburg, but they did have a few pieces of Milly and Kate Spade.  The handbag department was a complete bust, except for a couple of Marc bags.  They had a couple Kate Spade bags, but I think they were from three years ago.

When I headed over to shoes, I was definitely excited.  They had a designer shoe section which was pretty much limited to Cole Hann, Burberry and Elizabeth and James.  I was a little underwhelmed.  When I started to look at my size, there were several pairs of cute wedges that I loved that were all under $50, now some of them had tassels and other odds and ends on them, but these could be easily removed.  They also had Havaianas!  Those of you who know me, know that there is nothing more that I love than being in my barefeet, but Havainas are a close second.

They also had a great intimate apparel section that included some Hanky Panky's, Walcol bras, and some comfy pajamas.  If you know your bra size, get fitted by a professional if you don't, it is a great spot to pop in and pick up a great bra.

The children's section is huge.  For all of you that have children, or nephews like me, you can really score there.  They had Polo shirts for $15!!  I think Momma freaked when she saw these for Hunter.  They had some tackiness as well, but most of it was pretty cute.  They also have children's shoes.  I saw Chuck Taylor's and little sparkly girls shoes (I have nephews and no use for sparkles) but they looked adorable.

They do have a big Men's section as well, with just about everything, okay, let's be honest, I spent zero time over there, but it looked big.  I did see denim, and dress shirts and ties.

So, yes, I think that a trip to Nordstrom Rack should be in order.  I don't know how often they receive new items, but I promise that I will find out for you.  I wanted to chat with a Sales Associate, but I never saw one, other than those at the register.  Going out there is a DIY project but just remember, are you really going to wear it?  Don't just buy it because you think it is a good deal.  How many of those do you have hanging in your closet?  If I come to your closet, I will find it, and it will go to the Goodwill!

Have any questions?  Email me, johann.wheatley@me.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Closet Ramblings....

I was very fortunate, last week, to be invited to a dear friend's home to makeover her closet.  She is the mother of two young boys and her closet needed some work.  We got down to business quickly and went through what she had.  What I wanted to tackle first were some coats that she had hanging in her closet.  I have always believed, if you have the space, put your outerwear somewhere other than your closet.  This will free up a lot of space and leave room for you to spread out and really see what is in your wardrobe.  After this, I pulled out every pair of pants she had in the closet and had her try them on.  There were definitely a few that didn't fit (Goodwill) and few that fit (!), a few that were maternity (different pile and box) and a couple of pairs that she didn't remember she had and they fit (score!!).  From there we went through her tops and sweaters and really started to come up with some new and fresh looks.  She was going for a cute, causal look that could go to Sunday School, Church Activities, Playgroups as well as Girl's Night's and Date Night.  We came up with several looks that could go to all of those places.  We also came up with a list of things that would benefit her wardrobe.  These will come later and at different times. We also found a couple of fabulous long skirts and with fall trends showing long skirts, we may not use them now, but in the fall they could become key pieces.  Here are a couple of after shots of the closet.

I like to hang all pants vertically from pant hangers when I makeover a closet, this way, you can see all that you have and they take up less room.  I hang all like items together for easy wardrobing.  This was a full closet when I walked into it and by donating several pieces, we have made a lot of room for new ;) goodies.  I had so much fun doing this!  If there is anyone out there who would like me to makeover their closet, please email me, johann.wheatley@me.com, to discuss a time and pricing info.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Something New

Ok, so I am going to write about something totally different than my fashion obsession.  I have always been a terrible cook, well not really terrible, but it's just something that I have never really done.  Lately though, I have been trying new things in the kitchen.  Maybe it is my obsession with the Food Network or the several seasons of Top Chef I have watched but I have begun to get a little bit more adventurous in the kitchen.  My Momma has always made a great broccoli cheese soup, growing up it was always a family favorite.  Looking at the Harris Teeter ad this week (more on that later), I saw that Broccoli was on the VIC special so I decided to make my own soup, but with a twist.  I have always liked things with a little bit of a kick, so here is what I came up with.

I love onion in everything and have found that it is a great addition to the soup recipes I have made.  I roughly chopped a whole onion and sauteed it in olive oil with salt and pepper.  This is about how much I used.

After the onion was done, about translucent, I added it to a stew pot that I had not turned on.  I then peeled and roughly chopped four carrots.  I added them to the same pan I used for the onion, again with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  One thing that I have learned in all of the cooking shows that I have watched is that, to get the best flavor, you must season each component of the dish.

Once these were softened I added them into the stew pot with the onions.  I then took the broccoli and chopped it, even leaving some of the leaves which I rough chopped.  I also tossed these in some olive oil and salt and pepper.  I didn't leave them in the pan long before adding them to the stew pot along with two cups of chicken broth, low sodium.

I guess to my friends out there who have babies, you could probably take part of this and throw it in the blender for some fresh baby food...Maybe, not with the onion, I have nephews for a reason!!  Their mother is in charge of meal times!  I digress, to this I added a small can of diced tomatoes with chilies, I used the ones with chilies because I like a little spice but I am sure you could use plain diced tomatoes as well.  I then added a cup of crushed tomatoes as well.  I turned burner on high so this could begin to boil.

I love the color in this soup!  Now, this is a creamy soup and I am not any kind of chef so I cheat when finishing it up.  To this I then added a family size can of Cream of Chicken soup and three cans of the Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup.  I then added two more cups of the low sodium chicken broth and a cup of water.  I added a few dashes of hot sauce (to taste).

This is what the soup will look like when it is complete.  I kept this on the burner for about two hours on low.  You will need to stir it occasionally so the veggies don't stick to the bottom of the pan (yes, I know this from experience).  The one thing I would have done differently is that I would have added a little more broccoli.  I even had a taste tester stop by in the afternoon....

Elizabeth loved the soup.  I think the phrase that she used was that it was "the bomb.com", maybe that is what I will call it.  Thanks to E for being my guinea pig, I am glad she liked it.  Now, this does make a full pot of soup.  I have enough in my fridge for a few days.  Being single, it's nice to be able to make something I can eat off of for a few days.  I also took some to Hunter, so we'll see what the little guy thinks of it, he will be the most honest.  This is a great recipe and it does not break the bank.  I don't pretend to know anything about nutrition and I am sure that this isn't fat free, but it was real good.  I am a true Southern girl, who loves comfort food and doesn't just want to eat salad and hummus everyday!! The soup was great the next day, when it looked like the color from the tomatoes came through a little more.  I also added a few croutons and a dollop of sour cream.

Well, this is a little different of a post for me.  Let me know if you like it, want more?  I can be dangerous in the kitchen with a pile of ingredients and a camera!!