December SouthPark 2022

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D E C O R AT I N G I H A R D S C A P E S I P O O L S I O U T D O O R L I V I N G S PA C E S 342 Circle Avenue in Myers Park 704.307.4606 See Our Portfolio @
TO ALL THE 2022 NARI C ot Y AWARD WINNERS CONGRATULATIONS RESIDENTIAL INTERIOR OVER $500,000 Springdale Custom Builders with Brooke Cole Interiors RESIDENTIAL INTERIOR $250,001 TO $500,000 Alan Simonini Homes RESIDENTIAL BATH OVER $75,001 TO $100,000 ReVision Design/Remodeling with Ferguson ENTIRE HOUSE $250,000 TO $500,000 Andrew Roby, Inc. with Barefoot & Company, Ferguson, IDE Structural Engineers and Roby Services RESIDENTIAL EXTERIOR OVER $100,001 DiFabion Remodeling, Inc. with IDE Structural Engineers

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Charlotte Chapter announced the winners of the 2022 CotY (Contractor of the Year) Awards on November 11th. An independent panel of judges from across the country reviewed submissions to select the winners. Award winning projects are listed below and are featured on the NARI of Greater Charlotte chapter’s website at

1. Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 MUSE Residential, Inc.

2. Residential Kitchen $60,001 to $100,000 MUSE Residential, Inc.

3. Residential Kitchen Over $150,000 DeRhodes Construction

4. Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000 Aguilar Design Studio


Residential Bath $50,001 to $75,000 Andrew Roby, Inc, with Barefoot & Company, Ferguson, Harkey Tile & Stone, IDE Structural Engineers and Roby Services

6. Residential Bath Over $75,001 to $100,000 MUSE Residential ReVision Design/Remodeling with Ferguson

8. Residential Interior Under $100,000 DiFabion Remodeling, Inc.


Residential Interior $100,000 to $250,000 ReVision Deisgn/Remodeling with IDE Structural Engineers

10. Residential Interior $250,001 to $500,000 Alan Simonini Homes


Residential Interior Over $500,000 Springdale Custom Builders

12. Residential Interior Element under $30,000 ReVision Design/Remodeling

13. Residential Addition $100,000 to $250,000 DiFabion Remodeling, Inc. with IDE Structural Engineers, The Marble & Stone Shop, Clark Hall Doors

14. Residential Addition Over $250,000 Paul Kowlaski Builders, LLC

15. Residential Exterior $50,000 to $100,000 DeRhodes Construction

16. Residential Exterior Over $100,001 DiFabion Remodeling, Inc. with IDE Structural Engineers Alan Simonini Homes


18. Residential Detached Structure DiFabion Remodeling, Inc. with IDE Structural Engineers

19. Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 Andrew Roby, Inc. with Barefoot & Company, Ferguson, IDE Structural Engineers and Roby Services

20. Entire House Over $1,000,000 Alair Homes Charlotte with Anne Buresh Interior Design

21. Residential Historical Renovation/ Restoration Hansen’s Renovations with Hobel Designs, LLC

22. Commercial Interior Andrew Roby w/Roby Services

23. Commercial exterior Andrew Roby w/Roby Services

24. Basement ReVision Design/Remodeling


Favorite Spaces.

Charlotte/Pineville, NC Hickory, NC


is the season for gathering — and for many of us, that means entertaining. After the merrymaking at home, Charlotte has plenty of opportunities for hosting out-oftown friends or family. This month, I polled SouthPark’s staff and contributors: What’s your favorite place to take family and friends when they visit Charlotte?

Sharon Smith, assistant editor: I love to take people through a drive down Hillside Avenue off Park Road to see all the neighborhood lights. It’s our own mini-McAdenville. I don’t mind the traffic, it just allows more time to enjoy the view.

Olly Yung, photographer: When my parents from California visit, I like to take them to dinner at The Crunkleton in Elizabeth if we’re feeling western food or Lam’s Kitchen if we’re feeling Chinese food. Lam’s has some of the most authentic Chinese food in the city. Usually, we’ll catch a show of Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker. My mom likes to browse cool and unique knickknacks, so the VTG CLT event is also something we try to hit up!

Page Leggett, writer: My favorite place to take out-of-towners — any time of year — is Fourth Ward. It is especially picturesque during the holidays when it’s as twinkly as a Hallmark Christmas movie. And I just so happen to have written about the Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour in this issue.

Sarah Fligel, marketing specialist: We love taking people down to South End — the shops, the restaurants, the breweries, the rail trail along the light rail… especially people who haven’t been to Charlotte in a while and have grown up here. It’s fun to show them how much Charlotte has changed and the fun, young energy.

Justin Driscoll, photographer: Around the holidays McAdenville, Christmas Town USA, is great for a family outing. My little ladies love all the lights! If it is an adult outing, I must highlight some of my favorite Charlotte establishments — Hattie’s, Surf Inn, Smokey Joe’s, Tommy’s Pub and Sal’s Pizza.

Amanda Lea, writer: We enjoy going to the smaller communities around Charlotte — Matthews, Belmont, Davidson, Pineville — for that small-town charm and Main Street magic. We walk the

streets, see the lights and do a little Christmas shopping at the local shops (with a hot beverage in hand, obviously).

Jane Rodewald, sales manager: We like to make a night in Belmont… Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, shopping on Main Street, then head to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to take in the lights.

Ben Kinney, publisher: Walking around Fourth Ward… In a city like Charlotte, it’s neat to kind of go back in time during the season and see all the old Victorian-era houses decorated. I like to get a drink at Alexander Michael’s before.

Michelle Boudin, writer: My favorite thing to do every year is drive down Hillside Avenue and see the Christmas balls. Just about every house participates, and it looks like The Polar Express. Bonus: It’s a canned-food drive, and some nights the neighbors work a hot chocolate stand.

Vanessa Infanzon, writer: The Fourth Ward Holiday Sip & Stroll in December or the Secret Gardens Tour in May. On any day, walk through Fourth Ward Park, view 19th-century architec ture and dine at Poplar Tapas Wine & Spirits.

David Mildenberg, contributing editor: The Charles L. Sifford Golf Course in west Charlotte. It’s a nice public, inexpensive golf course.

Whitley Adkins, style editor: A longtime tradition for my family is to see our city’s first-rate rendition of The Nutcracker at Belk Theater. When my boys were young, we loved taking the train uptown with friends to see the dancing bears at Founder’s Hall followed by lunch. My parents live on Hillside Avenue, so it has been fun watching the Christmas light ball tradition grow in recent years… a must see!

Happy holidays!




1 - Cocktails worth celebrating at El Puro (page 134)

2 - A holiday doorway design by Jay Lugibihl (page 126)

3 - Holiday-ready style (page 114)

2 3
The Mark of Distinction in World Class Home Building™ Charlotte (704) 889.1600 Charleston (843) 801.1600 World Class Living CHARLOTTE CHARLESTON
Your real estate company should be worthy of your dreams. CHARLOTTE, NC | LAKE NORMAN, NC | CHARLESTON, SC | 704.552.9292 | HMPROPERTIES.COM Michael Baker 704.526.9510 Steven Chaberek 704.577.4205 Suzanne Cowden 704.301.1012 Melanie Coyne 704.763.8003 Kathy Davis 704.363.8450 Tom Fisher 704.213.1556 Harper Fox 704.804.0101 Sheryl Hallow 704.907.1144 Patty Hendrix 704.577.2066 Christy Howey 704.996.0484 Jennifer Jackson 704.622.5721 Jen & Jamie Team 704.904.1212 Jessica Jenkins 704.607.9389 Beth Livingston 704.778.6831 Ray Lyles 704.488.9099 Greg & Liz McIntosh 704.488.6224 Catherine Cauthen Turner 704.578.5551 Mark Brown 704.975.7386 Katy Bradfield 704.965.5968 Heather Bonner 704.756.1394
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24 | travel

Put on your favorite holiday playlist, hop in the car, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

32 | interiors

Jena Bula of Delphinium Design creates a kitchen that’s as functional as it is beautiful.

36 | design

Creating for a cause: 10 dazzling designs from Furnished 2022

44 | cocktails

Bar One Lounge mixes classic cocktails, California style and a speakeasy vibe.

50 | cuisine

Tale of the plate: Chef Shai Fargian’s homemade potato latkes

56 | gift guide

Last-minute ideas for holiday shopping

62 | givers

Greg Jackson’s Heal Charlotte connects grassroots organizations to people in need.

68 | nonprofits

Giving guide: 20 local organizations to support

74 | home tour

An antique-filled Fourth Ward Victorian decks the halls.

78 | around town

What’s new and coming soon in Charlotte

84 | happenings

December calendar of events


91 | art of the state

Wilmington artist September Krueger finds connections through her practice.

95 | gardening

How to give your garden entrance a personality

99 | simple life

Memories carry us through the darkness but vanish too soon.

104 | fiction

“Mending Fences: The Movie” by Daniel Wallace

149 | swirl

Parties, galas and events around Charlotte

160 | gallery

An organic soap startup becomes a safe space.


Holiday style by Whitley Adkins and Brooke Werhane Maples, photographed by Olly Yung. For additional credits, see page 120.

14 | SOUTHPARK 44 December
24 36
Charlotte Asheville Boone G ENERAL C ONTRACTOR making it home since 1950 704.334.5477 signature homes renovations additions


114 | Shimmer and shine styling by Whitley Adkins and Brooke Werhane Maples photographs by Olly Yung Style and entertaining inspiration to get in the spirit

126 | Festive foliage by Cathy Martin photographs by The Beautiful Mess Floral designer Jay Lugibihl’s holiday doorway installations are works of art.

134 | Culture connection by Sharon Smith photographs by Justin Driscoll The family behind El Puro brings a taste of their Cuban roots to Charlotte.

140 |

Year in photos

A few of our favorite images from the year of getting back out there

EXCEPTIONAL CARE, REMARKABLE RESULTS TRUST YOUR FACE TO THE EXPERTS PHOTO TAKEN PRE-COVID Heather Bryant, MPAS, PA-C, Courtney Whitley, FNP-C, Amanda Piligian, PA-C Botox Cosmetic® Lip Filler Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty @CarolinaFacialPlastics 26+ years of combined injectables experience • 10,000+ Botox ® treatments • 8,000+ Restylane ® and Juvederm ® filler treatments Medical Director • Jonathan Kulbersh, MD 6817 Fairview Rd. Charlotte, NC 28210 (704) 325-8062

new traditions UNWRAP

Discover Kiawah Island for the holiday season. 855.421.0018 •

1230 West Morehead St., Suite 308 Charlotte, NC 28208 704-523-6987

Ben Kinney Publisher

Cathy Martin Editor

Sharon Smith Assistant Editor

Andie Rose Creative Director

Alyssa Kennedy Art Director

Miranda Glyder Graphic Designer

Whitley Adkins Style Editor

Contributing Editor David Mildenberg

Contributing Writers

Michelle Boudin, Jim Dodson, Vanessa Infanzon, Amanda Lea, Liza Roberts, Jay Sifford, Daniel Wallace

Contributing Photographers

The Beautiful Mess, Daniel Coston, Justin Driscoll, Dustin Peck, Olly Yung

Contributing Illustrators Gerry O’Neill, Mariano Santillan


Jane Rodewald Sales Manager 704-621-9198 Cindy Poovey Account Executive 704-497-2220

Scott Leonard Audience Development Specialist 704-996-6426

Sarah Fligel Marketing Specialist

Brad Beard Graphic Designer

Letters to the editorial staff:

Instagram: southparkmagazine Facebook: Twitter: Owners

David Woronoff President

Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff in memoriam Frank Daniels Jr. | | 704.342.0123 1419 East Boulevard, Suite G, Charlotte, NC
Published by Old North State Magazines LLC. ©Copyright 2022. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Volume 26, Issue 12
in the holiday
Enjoy the Festival of Lights at Chetola Resort now thru January 29, 2023 Open to the public!


people, places, things


This fall, Charlotte artist, gallerist and philanthropist Anne Neilson debuted a book inspired by stories of hope. In Entertaining Angels: True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters, the author and guest contributors, including actress Kathie Lee Gifford and bestselling speaker and author Ron Hall, share stories of encountering everyday “angels” alongside images of Neilson’s original art. “Our world needs grace,” says Neilson, who began painting with oils in 2003 and has published several books featuring her angel art. “Our world needs to be surrounded with ‘angels’ on Earth, as we each bring hope through our actions.” Learn more at | 23

Jolly jaunts

Santa travels quickly all in one night, but you can take your time on a trip that’s merry and bright. Choose your own adventure based on how far you want to trek. Then hop in your sleigh, put on your favorite holiday playlist and hit the road for some festive sights.

Dates and details of events are subject to change. Be sure to confirm before venturing out.


driving distance: approximately 30 minutes

Christmas Town USA Dec. 1-26

In an annual tradition dating to the 1950s, thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the former Gaston County mill village of McAdenville. Drive along the 1.3-mile route (about 30 minutes, depending on the crowds) or park and stroll among the merrymakers. The celebration kicks off with a tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 and continues throughout the season. At the annual Yule Log Ceremony on Dec. 15, children pull a Yule log on a sled to Legacy Park and a festival ensues, with music, a visit from Santa and more.

Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden through Dec. 31 | 5-9 p.m.

Sparkling fountains and glittering gardens invite guests of all

ages to grab a warm beverage and enjoy the festive holiday décor. Gather round the outdoor fire and get something to eat from one of the on-site food trucks. The garden is open Wednesdays-Sundays and will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.


driving distance: approximately 30-45 minutes

Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway through Jan. 8

Cruise the 4-mile course with hundreds of creative holiday dis plays. Four million LED lights are set to Christmas music in a dis play the whole family will enjoy. Fuel up beforehand with dinner at The Speedway Club and enjoy the view of the famous track. Dinner reservations are required, so be sure to book a table in advance.,

24 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | travel
Christmas at Biltmore Estate

This transcendent emerald and diamond necklace features 33 rich blue-green pear-shape emeralds interspersed with trios of round-brilliant diamonds cascading from the 5.35 carat square step-cut centerpiece emerald. The incredible attention to detail and exquisite craftsmanship of this piece can be seen in the finishing work culminating in the diamond-set clasp terminating in the diamond pattern exhibited throughout the necklace. This illustrious emerald and diamond necklace deserves a place on your holiday shopping list.

Green. And Gorgeous.


Special Holiday Hours:

Monday - Saturday: 10a-6p

Sundays - December 4, 11, and 18: 1p-5p December 19-23: 10a-7p

Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve: 10a-4p Closed on Christmas, December 26 & New Year’s Day 6525 Carnegie Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28211 Across from SouthPark Mall
Join us for our Holiday Open House where you can jingle, mingle, and save up to 50%. December 15-18, 2022


driving distance: 1.5 hours

Lights at Riverbanks Zoo, through Dec. 30, select evenings 5–9 p.m.

A holiday favorite for 35 years, this dazzling experience features 1 million lights and a slew of holiday-inspired activities. Discover life-sized illuminated animal lanterns, wander through the Winter Wonderland and ride the Candy Cane Carousel while the zoo’s inhabitants take the night off.


driving distance: under 2 hours

Chetola Resort Festival of Lights, through Jan. 29

Walk or drive through the resort and around Chetola Lake to view the annual display featuring nearly 30,000 lights. Revel in the sounds of the season as you stroll through the 78-acre resort adjacent to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, or roll down your windows to hear some merry tunes. Younger visitors will enjoy the Winterland Kids Stroll, with activities along the way and a holiday treat at the end. The free light show is open to the public and illuminates at dusk each evening.


driving distance: under 2 hours

Christmas Parade and Holiday Craft Market on the Green, Dec. 10

Home to one of the largest public garden railroads on the East Coast, Gibsonville is a quintessential small town with an inviting Main Street. The annual Christmas parade features floats, marching bands and, of course, an appearance by Santa. The Holiday Market on the Town Green from 1-4 p.m. boasts an array of

offerings from local artisans. Stop by and see the Garden Railroad any time, but if you want to see the trains running, visit on the first Saturday of each month from April to December, 9 a.m.-noon.


driving distance: under 2 hours Ice on Main, through Jan. 16

Live out your winter Olympian dreams — or just skate a few laps with friends — in the heart of downtown Greenville. The open-air ice skating rink is like stepping into a mini Rockefeller Center. Treelined sidewalks and twinkling lights pair perfectly with a warm cup of cocoa.

The Very Merry Local Christmas Market at Travelers Rest, Dec. 10, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Be transported to an era when Christmas was crafted and curat ed by the hands of friends and neighbors. Cups of cocoa and cider will keep you cozy while you visit the market stalls of local bakers, potters, jewelers, printmakers and more.

Greenville Christmas Market at Grand Bohemian Lodge, through Jan. 1

Shop from a dozen booths featuring local retailers and artisans, enjoy live music and more while relaxing at the new seven-story Grand Bohemian Lodge overlooking Falls Park on the Reedy River.

Greenville Gingerbread House Contest, through Dec. 26

Nearly two dozen professional chefs will compete in this inaugural exhibit on view in the lobby of the Springhill Suites in down town.

26 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | travel
Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY EXPLORE CABARRUS

Light Up your Holidays

in Historic Style

Unpack more than your decorations this season. In Winston-Salem, we’re o ering a whole new way to experience the holidays. And ours comes with 260 years of cherished traditions. Come join us — and spend an evening touring candlelit estates festooned with century-old decorations. Enjoy cocoa and carols and a million twinkle lights. Or feast your eyes — and soul — on Moravian love sweets you can only find here. So grab your keys. Reserve your favorite hotel. And experience the magic of Winston-Salem for the holidays.

CAROLING + COCOA Tanglewood Festival of Lights Historic Holidays at Old Salem

MAGIC + MEMORIES HISTORY + TRADITION Historic Homes Tours and Holiday Experiences

Plan your well-cra ed getaway now at


driving distance: under 2 hours

Home for the Holidays, through Jan. 1

Caroling, decorating contests and more encourage visitors to bask in the Blue-Ridge beauty of this mountain town. Yuletide activities are sprinkled throughout the season. Watch the Christmas parade on Dec. 3, or embark on the Peppermint Bear Scavenger Hunt through Dec. 23. While you’re there, pick out a tree or wreath at one of the local Christmas tree farms or greenery markets.


driving distance: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park, through Jan. 1

More than a million lights shimmer at one of the largest holiday displays of its kind in the Southeast. Take in the sights from the comfort of your car while listening to festive tunes on the interactive musical displays. Or, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or tractor-pulled hayride for a unique viewing experience. Stop by S’moresville for a decadent treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Holidays at Reynolda, through Dec. 31

Katharine and R.J. Reynolds, along with their four children, moved into Reynolda just before Christmas in 1917. Today, the tran quil 170-acre setting that comprises Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village honors the tradition of the season with holiday tours and events for the whole family. Sleigh your Christmas list with a trip to the museum store for some festive finds, like limited-edition ornaments and vintage Christmas cards.

Salem Saturdays, through Dec. 31

Begin with a walk under the Moravian stars at Old Salem’s Heritage Bridge, shop for gifts and ornaments at Moravian Book & Gift, and visit the Miksch House to learn how Christmas was celebrated in the town’s early days. No visit to Old Salem is complete without a stop at Winkler Bakery for sugar cakes, cookies and love feast buns.


driving distance: 2 hours

Christmas at Biltmore Estate, through Jan. 8

Over 100,000 lights, 205 fresh wreaths and more than 13,000 ornaments are hung with care at the beloved Biltmore Estate. This year’s theme, “Winter Landscapes,” honors landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was born 200 years ago. Choose from a daytime house tour or the Candlelight Christmas Evenings experience.

28 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | travel
New year, newer us. Expansion coming 1/1/23. // @bar1lounge 6815 Phillips PL CT, Charlotte, NC 28210 (980) 880-4801 Expanded bar Private dining room Executive & sweetheart booths Exclusive entertainment

The National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn through Jan. 2

The 30th year of the largest competition of its kind promises some sweet surprises and delightful artistry. Winning gingerbread houses will be on display for hotel guests and visitors to view throughout the season.

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum through Dec. 31

This walk-through exhibit invites visitors to an enchanted forest bedecked with thousands of holiday lights. The 1-mile stretch of the 434-acre campus includes unique displays — like the famous 50-foot lighted tree — plus some new surprises.


driving distance: 2 hours, 20 minutes

A Small Town Christmas, Dec. 2-4

The Blue Ridge Mountains beckon for a weekend of old-fashioned holiday fun. The activities kick off with the lighting of the town tree and a holiday variety show performed at the Historic

Banner Elk School. Warm up Saturday morning with the 5K Reindeer Run and grab breakfast with Santa, then choose from ornament-making, a candy-cane hunt, train rides through the park or a synchronized light show.


driving distance: 3 hours, 15 minutes

The Polar Express Train Rides at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot, through Dec. 31

The holiday classic comes to life as pajama-clad passengers enjoy cookies and cocoa aboard the train while following along with the sights and sounds of The Polar Express movie soundtrack. New this year: While in Bryson City, check out the Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Spectacular, a drive-through light show that runs through Dec. 31.


driving distance: 4 hours

Home for the Holidays at The Greenbrier, Dec. 23-28

The spirit of the season flows throughout The Greenbrier’s 11,000 acres. “America’s Resort” comes to life with a Christmas celebration that includes glittering decorations, tasty treats, merry music and more. Fun fact: The recent movie Christmas at The Greenbrier was filmed at the resort and features many of the treasured sights and sounds you can experience during your stay.


driving distance: 6 hours

WinterLights, through Dec. 30

Take a trip to the coast for some holiday cheer. WinterLights on Roanoke Island is a 22-night event where Elizabeth Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland. Join the Jingle Jog Christmas Run on Dec. 18 and run oceanside through the quaint town of Southern Shores. Or be part of Santa’s unforgettable arrival on a firetruck at Duck’s Yuletide Celebration on Dec. 3. SP



It’s up to you to use them right.

Locally owned and mismanaged since 1977.

Cozy and bright


Jena Bula’s clients wanted a light and airy kitchen, with one condition — no white cabinets. “They did not want a white kitchen, but they wanted it to still feel light,” Bula says. The designer answered with neutral graytoned cabinets and quartz countertops with warm undertones for a bright yet welcoming space.

“The kitchen was beautiful, but it was dated,” says Bula, principal designer at Delphinium Design Interiors, the firm she launched six years ago after working in fashion merchandising for Ralph Lauren Corp. With typical ’90s features — dark granite countertops, beige tile backsplash, bronze light fixtures with ornate scrollwork — the space was ready for a refresh.

Functional improvements were needed as well. “It was an odd layout,” the designer says. “We just reconfigured it.” Working with Watershed Builders and Artisan Cabinetry, Bula replaced shorter cabi nets with ones that go all the way up to the ceiling.

32 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | interiors
In the eat-in kitchen, the homeowners’ honey-toned chairs and table were refinished in a darker shade to coordinate with the light fixtures from Circa Lighting and hardware by Bird Hardware.

For the cabinets, interior designer Jena Bula chose Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud — a neutral gray paint color with warm tones. Quartz countertops with a mitered edge are from Universal Stone, and the herringbone tile back splash is from Tile Collection. | 33 blvd. | interiors

Floor-to-ceiling columns on either side of the range, glass cabinet doors for seasonal storage and a herringbone tile backsplash create visual interest.

Less obvious is the thoughtful organization inside the cabinets, where every inch of space is maximized with features like spice racks, a papertowel drawer and pop blocks for storage on each side of the island. “You touch it and the panel pops open for all your cookbooks,” Bula says. “They’re all tucked away and organized. It’s super functional.”

Using rollouts instead of shelves also helped maximize storage. “Those cabinets are 24 inches deep. As you get higher, you can’t really get to the back, and stuff gets lost. [With rollouts] you know everything that’s in your cabinets.”

The result is a bright yet warm space that’s ready for holiday entertaining. SP

34 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | interiors

Carrie Yorker’s winning design was inspired by the blue and green hues and wildflowers dotting the landscape in Montana, where she recently visited. “I wanted to incorporate this palette with a variety of textures and a sense of serenity into my Furnished vignette.”

blvd. | design

forCreating a cause

This fall, nine Charlotte interior designers and one team of interior architecture and design students from Queens University of Charlotte brought their talents to Furnished, the friendly competition that benefits Furnish For Good. The nonprofit provides gently used and new furnishings for individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Since its inception in 2019, FFG | 37 blvd. | design

Each designer had two days to complete their vignettes at FFG’s showroom, using the same foundation pieces provided by the nonprofit. They each received a $500 gift card from presenting sponsor Lowe’s to use toward decorating their spaces. The designers incorporated their own accessories, artwork and decorative pieces, many of which were sold in an online auction.

The winning design, announced on Nov. 7, was Carrie Yorker Interiors, whose vignette was inspired by the Montana landscape following a recent anniversary trip with her husband to Glacier National Park.

38 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | design
has served close to 1,000 people, providing more than 7,000 furnishings and household goods, according to co-founder and Executive Director Priscilla Chapman. Anne Pearson Hammett, Anne Pearson Design Marie Cloud, Indigo Pruitt Design Studio Bari J. Ackerman, Bari J. Designs
December 5th December 6th December 7th December 8th December 9th December 12th December 13th December 14th December 15th December 16th Hickory Location Purchase 3 Deluxe HydraFacial Treatments and get 1 Signature HydraFacial FREE. Blakeney Location Purchase 3 Diamond Glow Treatments and get an Illuminize Peel FREE. Additional Savings from the PPSD Elves Mark your calendar for our PPSD holiday savings *All gift certificates must be used at a future date and are non-transferable. Please contact your local PPSD office with any additional questions. Find your nearest office online at 10 Days of Holiday Savings

But there were no losers, according to event co-chair Amy Foley.

“I remember talking with two designers as they were working on their vignettes,” Foley recalls. “One of them said this fundraiser was ‘community over competition.’ These designers were so supportive of one another and so support ive in raising money for our great mission.”

Yorker, who also works as a weekly volunteer at Furnish For Good, agrees. “The support and camaraderie among the designers both in person and online was inspiring in itself and really illustrated the soul of this event. I’m obviously

40 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | design
Leigh Falkner, Leigh Falkner Interiors Keith Chostner, Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson Jacqueline Bowman, Ball and Jacks Design
Leading luxury real estate firm serving Charlotte and the Carolinas Susan May B ro ker | Realtor ® 7 04 650 743 2 su san m ay @hm pr op ert ie s .co m hm prop er tie s .co m 29 years i n R es id en tia l Re al Es t at e ©2022 Corcoran Group LLC All rights reserved. Corcoran® and the Corcoran Logoareregistered servicemarksowned by Corcoran Group LLC Corcoran Group LLC fullysupportstheprinciples of the FairHousingAct and theEqual Opportunity Act. Each franchiseisindependently owned andoperated. Excellence in every field – that’s the Tar Heel way. Just ask Cedric Gra y, University of North Carolina linebacker, and Susan May, Realtor ® and Sales Agent of the Yea r. Their shared connection to UNC fuels their drive for success. Contact Susan for all your real estate needs, and see how far a winning game plan will take you. When you need a true blue partner. live who you are

thrilled to have officially ‘won’ the competition; however, it goes without saying that everyone in this story is a winner — especially the folks in our community who will be uplifted and served thanks to the efforts of all the people involved.”

The event raised more than $200,000 for Furnish For Good, which recently moved to a new showroom more than double the size of its previous one. The expanded space will allow the group to manage more inventory and add volunteers, in turn meeting increased demand for its services in the community. SP

42 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | design
Denean Jackson, D. Nicole Decor Sharon Valentin, Valentin Design Co. Interior Architecture & Design students at Queens University of Charlotte

On a roll


Tucked in a narrow, windowless space behind a pizza restaurant isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find an upscale (yet unstuffy) cocktail bar. But in the year and a half since Bar One opened adjacent to the 800° Woodfired Pizza at Phillips Place, plenty of people have discovered the small, speakeasy-esque venue serving classic cocktails. Before 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, a crowd has already gathered at the bar for an early happy hour.

Described on Bar One’s menu as “delicate and mysterious,” the classic Aviation cocktail was invented by New York bartender and cocktail book author Hugo Enslinn prior to Prohibition. The purple-hued drink is made with gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette and lemon juice with a brandied-cherry garnish.

44 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | cocktails
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To accommodate the growth, Bar One plans to unveil at New Year’s a 2,500-square-foot expansion that will add a private dining room, more cozy leather booths for couples and power lunches, more bar seating, and weekend entertainment (more on that below).

Steven Jensen didn’t have any prior restaurant experience when he and business partner Kyle O’Brien opened 800° in the space previously occupied by Restoration Hardware, before RH opened its sleek new design center a few doors down. The Los Angeles native moved to Charlotte in 2019 with his two children, now 12 and 14, just in time for the pandemic to bring his work in the entertainment industry to a screeching halt. Before long, he met O’Brien, and the two teamed up to open 800°, the first East Coast location of an LA concept launched in 2011 by Chef Anthony Carron.

Bar One is a concept unique to Charlotte. “I put all the ideas from all of my favorite [LA] bars, and I copyrighted and trademarked the name,” Jensen says. “We put it at the end of 800° as kind of a test fit to see how it would go. And it’s exploded.”

It’s not an entirely separate concept: The full menu from 800° — woodfired pizzas, burgers, salads and more — is available at Bar One, and guests at 800° order from Bar One’s cocktail menu. But the adults-only Bar One has a very different atmosphere. Vintage portraits cover deep blue walls with brass and gold accents. Low ceilings, comfortable leather stools, and leather and walnut booths encourage guests to linger.

Jensen says the intimate atmosphere won’t change as Bar One expands. “You’re going to have the same feeling when you walk in: It’s going to be low-lit — it’s just basically an extension of the bar.” The expansion also includes a new kitchen and prep area that could be used for a limited late-night menu as demand grows.

Leather-bound menus at Bar One feature mostly classic cocktails, along with historical descriptions of the drinks. “I want a cocktail that has got a story to it,” Jensen says. “I want something that has some history.

“I get angry if people come in and order a Tito’s and soda,”

 The celebratory French 75 is one of Bar One’s bestsellers, according to bartender Katelyn Gold. The classic cocktail is said to be named after the 75 mm howitzer field guns used in WWI. Bar One’s version is made with Aviation gin, prosecco, simple syrup and lemon juice and served in a chilled coupe.

The festive Margarita Furioso is a variation of the traditional margarita made with Don Julio blanco tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, muddled strawberries and jalapenos.

46 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | cocktails
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he adds. “I’m like, no, that’s not this bar. I’m going to get you something else.” He’s kidding (sort of), but this isn’t the place if you’re seeking the latest fruit-infused martini trend. Bar One does offer a few seasonal cocktails and occasionally adds new drinks to the menu, but only after several weeks of testing. Mini cocktails are another popular option — guests can sip a mini Old-Fashioned or Manhattan with lunch so they don’t get too buzzed before heading back to work.

While the partners plan to open more 800° restaurants in the Carolinas, the main focus right now is building the Bar One brand. Two more locations are already in the works in South End and at Lake Norman. The 15,000-square-foot Lake Norman location will also include an 800°.

About that new entertainment component: Once the expansion is complete, Bar One will offer something buttoned-up SouthPark has never seen before: burlesque shows on Friday and Saturday night. “We’re bringing a concept from California here called Forty Deuce,” Jensen says. Hollywood and Las Vegas club promoter and actor Ivan Kane is behind the concept.

With the tagline, “Where the status quo is meant to be shaken,” should we expect anything less? SP

blvd. | cocktails
Bartender Katelyn Gold makes a Bar One Old Fashioned with George Dickel bourbon, simple syrup and Angostura bitters.
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Chef Shai Fargian’s potato latkes


Most of us have strong memories from holiday time as kids. Science tells us those memories are deeply ingrained because they often take place around our connection to each other and food, which employs the use of all our senses.

I’ll never forget the humming sound of my Mom’s old Hamilton Beach mixer combining the ingredients of a “best two-egg cake” batter, the smell of it baking in the oven, the sight of her cracking coconuts with a hammer on the hearth, the feel of my fork cutting into the dense moist cake, and the taste of my favorite dessert, which is unlike any coconut cake I’ve ever had.

Food, especially dishes that come out only on special occasions, is a pathway to sacred memories of times with family and friends. So it is with Chef Shai Fargian, the culinary leader behind Yafo Kitchen, with locations in SouthPark, Dilworth and Plaza Midwood.

Raised in Israel, Middle Eastern flavors permeate

blvd. | cuisine

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Chef Shai’s healthy, simple cuisine. He’s worked in kitchens all over the world, including Tel Aviv and New York City, and often shares a taste of home when cooking a meal for friends. Potato latkes are one of his most meaningful holiday dishes. His recipe and commentary are lightly edited for space.

“Hanukkah is one of my favorite holidays. It combines some of my favorite Jewish and Southern traditions — frying food. In mem ory of a miracle that made one small can of olive oil last a whole week in lighting the Temple in Jerusalem, Jewish people light candles and eat fried food for eight days. Any fried food is sufficient, but stuffed doughnuts and potato latkes are the leading favorites.

“I created this recipe a few years ago and use it every year when we invite friends and family to celebrate with us (it makes a lot of latkes!). It has a unique technique to extract the starch out of the potatoes so you don’t have to use too much flour and eggs and mask the natural flavor and texture of the potatoes. It should be crispy golden brown from the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Happy holidays!”

Potato latkes

Makes 40 large latkes

5 pounds russet potatoes (Fargian prefers to keep the skin on; just scrub them before using)

1 ½ pounds yellow onion (peeled)

5 eggs

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons salt

1 ½ teaspoon black pepper (Fargian likes black pepper! You can use less, depending on taste.)

Oil for frying (Fargian uses grapeseed oil, as it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke temperature.)

Shred the potatoes and onions on a box shredder or use the shredder attachment of a food processor. Shred the potatoes lengthwise to get long ribbons — this helps hold the latkes together. | 53
blvd. | cuisine

Transfer the shredded potatoes and onion to a cheesecloth and strain, capturing the liquid in a large mixing bowl. More liquid will release as you mix it later, so try to get as much out as you can with the cheese cloth. Let sit for 10 minutes. All the starch from the potatoes will sink to the bottom, leaving pure potato-starch sediment.

Pour out the liquid from the top, but keep the starch in the bowl.

Add the eggs and mix with the starch. Add the potatoes and onion shreds, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. It will appear dry in the beginning, but the salt will draw more moisture out of the potatoes.

Scoop the mixture and use your hands to make a ball (Fargian uses about 1/3 cup per latke), shape the ball to a patty and fry in a pan over medium heat. Make sure you have enough oil in the pan; there should be bubbles around the whole latke.

As the edges of the patty turn golden brown, flip the latkes. Fry until the bottom side is golden brown.

Take out and place in a strainer or resting rack in a baking pan to drain. SP

54 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | cuisine
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Give local for the holidays

Our holiday pop-up, Mingle at the Mansion, may be over but you can still shop local with these vendors and artisans to knock out items on your holiday gift list.

Sisters Christine White and Anne Todd started making jewelry in middle school and have shared that love of creating for more than 20 years in Charlotte. Beads Inc. has kits and supplies to make bracelets and necklaces.

Beyond being a boho-chic boutique, shop Boem for gifts like Arctic Fox beanies made with recycled fibers, ornaments and candles. Dash into one of their Charlotte storefronts or order online.

Show some Charlotte love with CLT Find, a gift shop with almost exclusively Charlotte-made goods, from T-shirts to tumblers. We spotted locally made holiday candles and original mini angels art at Mingle.

Local products for sale at The Social Shop in Strawberry Hill.

You probably know Heather Opal Artwork for its brightly-colored door charms, but this small business also has an array of gift options, including notecards, ornaments and small art pieces — perfect for gifting.

Elevate your gift giving with creative papers from Jen Gerena Design, which offers hand-painted wrapping-paper designs, notecards and more.

Joe-Le Soap crafts small-batch, natural and plant-based skincare products and organic soaps. The husband-and-wife team founded the company during their own search for natural products to help with conditions like eczema.

It’s always nice to have sunglasses on a cold, bright winter’s day. Captain sunglasses from Johnny Fly are an updated take on classic aviators and are great for men or women. See dozens more styles online.

blvd. | gift guide
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Modern and elegant, Kristin Hayes Jewelry offers several collections with a wide variety and price points. The premium Johnny and Ann fine jewelry collection (named for the designer’s parents) is crafted from 14K gold and sterling silver.

The Pearl Pagoda is known for bright, colorful dresses and women’s apparel, but the boutique is also home to an assortment of accessories and gifts for home and entertaining.

Found in shops and markets across Charlotte, freshly baked Piedmont Pennies are an elevated take on traditional cheese straws.

Floral designer Lauren Bryant has built a loyal following for The Rooted Nest. For the holidays, order a custom flower arrangement,

mantel pieces (with an install option) and hand-tied wreaths.

Nestled on Middleton Drive in Myers Park, Ruxton Mercantile is a modern-day general store with gift-worthy goods ranging from housewares, apparel, snacks and home decor.

The Social Shop, located in Strawberry Hill, has a range of fun gift items and women’s apparel. Charlotte-made Bloc Bags and outdoor inflatable Holiballs went home with a lot of Mingle guests. @thesocialshopclt

Scratch-made comfort food always delights the gift receiver. Thoughtful Baking Co. has built a reputation as a go-to for well-crafted dessert pies, plus savory pot pies and quiches.

58 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | gift guide
Thoughtful Baking Co. The Rooted Nest The Social Shop Kristin Hayes Jewelry Johnny Fly Ruxton Mercantile The Pearl Pagoda Beads Inc. Jen Gerena Design Boem Heather Opal Artwork Joe-Le Soap CLT Find HEATHER OPAL, JOHNNY FLY & JEN GERENA PHOTOGRAPHS BY KELSIE ELIZABETH PHOTOGRAPHY

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More grab and go gifts ideas inspired by Mingle

Ava Aliza Candle Co.

Hand-poured and clean-burning soy candles.

Bear Food

Gourmet nuts and snacks with a mission to support programs that empower young adults with disabilities.

Beverly Drive

Sleepwear and loungewear designed to feel flattering, beautiful and comfortable.

The Buttercup

Longtime gift shop known for sta tionery, picture frames, candles and jewelry.

Campbell + Charlotte Jewelry

Modern, fine jewelry pieces that make a statement with color and

style, from earrings to cocktail rings.

Carol Pighin Fine Art Works depicting a range of subjects, from landscapes to figurative paintings and abstracts.


Food-focused gift boxes, bundles and comfort meals.

Krazy for Rugs

Vintage and antique handmade Persian, Turkish and Moroccan rugs.

Multiple Blessings by Caroline Simas

Colorful gift and decor items licensed by the artist, including bookmarks, tumblers, puzzles and prints.

Queen City Crunch

Sweet and savory gourmet pretzels, from 8-ounce bags to 5-pound party packs.

Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry

SouthPark neighborhood jeweler for more than 40 years known for fine jewelry and heirloom pieces.

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Luxury design services along with custom artwork and floral arrangements.


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blvd. | gift guide
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Bridge builder

As Greg Jackson walks through the glass doors into the lobby of the Baymont Inn, a two-story motel off Sugar Creek Road in northeast Charlotte, his positive energy is immediate. Dressed in a hat and T-shirt emblazoned with the logo for Heal Charlotte, a nonprofit Jackson founded in 2017, it’s impossible not to be drawn into his aura.

Since forming Heal Charlotte, Jackson, his staff and a team of volunteers and board members, most notably Anthony Morrow, former NBA player and Charlotte native, work on several fronts: Stop the Violence, a gun-violence prevention program; an afterschool program at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School; and its largest task to date, a $10 million capital campaign to purchase the Baymont Inn to house homeless families.

Jackson moved to Charlotte in 2009 from the Bronx in New York City. Prior to Heal Charlotte, he was a sous chef and hip-hop artist. When he has the time, he still records Christian hip-hop music.

As the organization’s executive director, Jackson is the first person to say progress won’t happen on his own. In fact, the partnerships Heal Charlotte has developed throughout the city supports his mantra: “If everybody does a little, no one will have to do a lot.”

The afterschool program started this fall. It’s an example of several Charlotte entities coming together. When MeckEd, a nonprofit education fund, received a grant through the city’s SAFE Charlotte program, it partnered with Heal Charlotte and Digi-Bridge, a local

nonprofit that promotes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education. Other grassroots organizations such as Men of Destiny, Promise Youth Development and Urban Institute for Strengthening Families support the program.

The funding provides two instructors and a staffer to collect data. As many as 40 students participate in a three-hour program every day after school. “Most of the kids we’re serving have a one-parent home,” Jackson says. “Some of the kids stay in hotels, and they need this out-of-school time, especially coming out of the pandemic.”

The funding gave the group of planners time to collaborate and develop ideas. “[Ideation time] is not as common in the nonprofit world,” Jackson explains. “We need that time before the program starts to sit down and [discuss] how we are going to be aligned, have the same values and same messaging. I am very grateful for that time, because normally we are just responding to what’s happening in the neighborhood.”

Wednesdays through Fridays, students learn about STEAM, economic mobility, etiquette and gardening through Digi-Bridge and MeckEd. Mondays and Tuesdays at the afterschool program are dedicated to Heal Charlotte’s lessons about gun-violence prevention and being village minded, drawing upon African American culture.

Students read The Hate U Give, a young-adult novel by Angie Thomas about a fatal police-involved shooting, and listen to songs by rap artists Kendrick Lamar and Little Baby to explore lyrics.

blvd. | givers PHOTOGRAPH


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“[Little Baby] is an artist these kids listen to, but they probably don’t listen to these songs,” Jackson says. “We’re going to go through the songs [and talk about] what these lyrics mean to them, understand their culture as young people and [how to] control the narrative. We’re teaching them to be positive change agents.”

Additional federal funding pays for a social worker from Christ Centered Community Counseling to be available for the students. According to Jackson, 60% of the students in the after-school program don’t feel safe at school; several know someone who has been shot. “C4 is there when we have rough conversations,” Jackson says.

In the past two years, Heal Charlotte has housed 41 families for 90 to 120 days at the Baymont Inn. The program helps families save money for rent and gives them the tools to sustain a home. Sixty-one percent transitioned to permanent housing. After an intake process, each family receives a laptop from E2D, financial literacy help from Common Wealth Charlotte and workforce development skills from Urban League of Central Carolinas. Through a federally funded program, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools provides a bus for

the children. “We do take a holistic approach to everything we’re doing,” Jackson says. “We recognize that if we house someone, that’s not the end all, be all. There are a lot more components to people getting back into permanent housing.”

Brent Jones, executive director of service and outreach at StoneBridge Church Community, a Presbyterian Church in America affiliate with about 500 members in northeast Charlotte, met Jackson a few times between 2016 and 2020. But the partnership began when Heal Charlotte needed help delivering meals to families during the pandemic. Church members jumped in to assist.

Now, you’ll find Jones driving students home from the after-school program in the church bus. And most recently, the congregation donated $150,000 to Heal Charlotte’s housing program, enough to fund 15 fami lies this winter at the Baymont Inn.

Seeing Jackson’s interactions firsthand during the George Floyd protests in 2020 left a lasting impact on Jones. “I remember Greg standing literally between the group of protesters and a line of CMPD (Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department) officers,” Jones says. “Greg [was] diffusing the situation, talking down what could have escalated into a violent situation. He’s the only one I can think of who has the utmost of respect in both the community and in the halls of city government.” SP

blvd. | givers
Left: Brent Jones, executive director of service and outreach at StoneBridge Church Community Far left and below: Greg Jackson, founder of Heal Charlotte PHOTOGRAPH BY BRYANT LINDSAY
FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS happy holidays

ON VIEW DECEMBER 10, 2022–JULY 2, 2023


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The Gray Holiday Party is a fundraiser that helps those in need in our local community. Hosts Herb & Felicia Gray believe in giving back, a guiding principle they learned long ago and their desire in keeping with tradition. Together, they have raised nearly $1 million for local charities, programs and agencies in recent years. This year’s Gray Holiday Party focuses on providing funding for youth programs at two nonprofits and West Charlotte High School. This star-studded event attracts nearly 1,000 guests and has become the Party with a Purpose that no one wants to miss. Herb is an entrepreneur who owns Life Enhancement Services, a nationally accredited mental health agency headquartered in Charlotte with additional offices in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Houston. Felicia is a systems engineer and an entrepreneur.

11TH ANNUAL For more information and to purchase tickets please visit:
Saturday, December 17 8pm-1am
you to our major sponsors: James
and Rhoda Waters
Brian Harge
Benefiting The Arts Empowerment Project, The Y.E.S. Academy, & West Charlotte High School

Guide to giving

Local nonprofits are busier than ever, thanks to the one-two punch of the pandemic and rising inflation. Lucky for us, the Charlotte community has always been a generous one, filled with hundreds of organizations helping with everything from youth programs to food insecurity to supporting local artists. So as the giving season kicks into high gear, we’re highlighting just a few of the incredible nonprofits giving back in the Queen City.


Arts + provides workshops, camps and private lessons to guarantee students of all ages and skill levels have access to an arts education. Offering instruction on everything from comic-book writing to choir, there is something for everyone, and scholarships ensure money is not a barrier.


The local chapter just celebrated 50 years of one-on-one mentoring in the Charlotte region. Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs “bigs” with “littles” to help build meaningful, long-term relationships with kids ages 7-14.


Recently rebranded from Fashion & Compassion, this organization is celebrating a decade of training women who have faced difficult circumstances to become ar tisans. The women are paid for their work, and the handcrafted products they make are sold at BraveWorks’ Dilworth boutique.


The Bulb collects leftover fresh produce from area farms and restaurants and gives it away at strategically placed farmers markets across Charlotte.


Charlotte is Creative is all about

elevating creatives by connecting them to one another and to business opportunities. Known for its monthly Creative Mornings gatherings, Charlotte is Creative offers unique programs designed to infuse more creativity into the business community and the city at large.


Claire’s Army helps families fighting childhood cancer with daily responsibilities and stresses so parents can focus on their child’s well-being. That includes a meal-delivery service, help paying bills and providing hospital “Claire Packages” with essentials such as a bath mat, dishwashing soap, a journal and more.

68 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | nonprofits

Dickens Mitchener:

Committed to combating homelessness

Residential real estate firm Dickens Mitchener has been a part of the Charlotte community for 31 years. Its experienced, full-time agents are dedicated to serving clients with strategic expertise, responsive communication and innovative ideas. Doing what’s right and best for clients in the long term is what the company has always been about.

Founded by North Carolina native Vicky Mitchener, Dickens Mitchener agents bring diverse, unique skill sets to the company, embracing the latest trends in the market and relying on a foundation of extensive, intimate knowledge of Charlotte’s neighbor hoods and properties. The result: satisfied, successful, longtime clients.

Recognizing the feelings of hope and promise inherent in the home-buying process, Mitchener created the Homeowners Impact Fund in 2020, a nonprofit that works with other Charlotte organizations fighting homelessness. The goal: Every real estate agent, vendor and homeowner donates at least $10 at every real estate closing. But it doesn’t stop there. Friends and neighbors in the community are also encouraged to become a partner of the fund. “We feel that everyone should have the dignity of a roof over their head,” Mitchener says. “It’s a way to harness the power of collective giving.”

In addition to the Homeowners Impact Fund, the Dickens Mitchener team supports more than 100 nonprofit organizations throughout the Charlotte region. “We are high performers, givers, Charlotte ambassadors and positive visionaries,” Mitchener says. “We love our home of Charlotte.”

Every day, more than 3,500 people in the Charlotte area experience homelessness. During this season of giving, consider a gift to the Homeowners Impact Fund. Visit

2330 Randolph Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207

7810 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Suite 103, Charlotte, NC 28277 704.342.1000

Dickens Mitchener


Digi-Bridge provides students access to opportunities and technology in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning fields with both school and community programs.


Feeding Charlotte connects restaurants and chefs with surplus nutritious food to neighbors who don’t have enough to eat, simultaneously reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.


Foster Village Charlotte builds a support system for children and families in the foster-care system by providing educational and emotional support, connecting caregivers to resources while continually advocating for children.


Based on Charlotte’s west side along the Freedom Drive corridor, Freedom Communities works with families with the goal of transforming the larger community. Programs focus on improving housing, education, health and wellness. freedom


A small group of south Charlotte moms founded Furnish For Good in 2019 to help people who were formerly homeless furnish their new homes. The need and the donations have grown so much, Furnish For Good just moved into a larger office and warehouse space to accommodate more volunteers and allow for easy donation drop off.


Celebrating 15 years and more than $6 million raised to fight rare pediatric cancers, the Isabella Santos Foundation

has helped put Levine Children’s Hospital on the map as a destination for treating childhood cancers through cutting-edge and experimental treatments.


Friendship Trays is the Meals on Wheels of Mecklenburg County. The group recently merged with Loaves & Fishes (they provide groceries) to deliver nutritious meals to people who are homebound.


The Lotus Campaign connects nonprofits that work with people experiencing homelessness, connecting them with landlords with available housing. The Lotus Campaign works to make participation more appealing to landlords by paying them and mitigating any potential financial risk.

70 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | nonprofits
Digi-Bridge Welcome Home founder Amarra Ghani


Diamonds & Estate Jewelry:

Helping change the lives of children with disabilities

Ernest Perry, president and owner of Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, is known as a “jeweler’s jeweler.” Other jewelers often come to him to authenticate or appraise an item, trusting his experience of more than 45 years in fine, antique and estate jewelry. It’s that expertise, along with Perry’s qualified staff and expansive selection, that has made the store a jewelry destination in SouthPark.

In addition to wedding and engagement rings and vintage and estate jewelry, Perry’s provides on-site custom jewelry design and repair. Its experienced staff includes 10 graduate gemologists, ensuring the highest quality pieces, skilled repair and a wealth of knowledge to assist clients. “They love what they’re doing, and it shows in our jewelry,” Perry says.

Perry, his family and the entire Perry’s staff are passionate supporters of the Allegro Foundation. The nonprofit organization combines movement instruction with educational and medical expertise, creating new techniques to teach children with disabilities and enhance their quality of life. Wife Priscilla and daughter Hadley Perry Pacheco serve on the board of directors. The Perry’s staff participates in Allegro’s fundraising events, with Ernest acting as auctioneer for the annual Ambassador’s Ball. “From our humble beginnings, Perry’s has always had a heart for the community,” he says. “To witness children living with disabilities interact in creative ways and see the joy on their faces is gratifying.”

Funded by private donations and grants, the Allegro Foundation teaches free movement education classes to over 800 children a week. There are more than 18,000 Charlotte-area children that could benefit from its programming. To give, visit

Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry

6525 Carnegie Blvd., #100, Charlotte, NC 28211 704.364.1391



When Jenn Andrews lost her foot to cancer, she learned insurance companies don’t pay for activewear prosthetics for amputees. The south Charlotte mom founded Move For Jenn to fill the gap, giving away 33 in the four years since she started the nonprofit.


Project 2 Heal breeds and trains Labrador retriever puppies to donate as service dogs to people in need. The dogs become companions for everyone from combat veterans to kids with diabetes.


The Relatives is the only shelter in Mecklenburg County that serves young people, starting at age 7 through young adulthood. The group offers more than just housing for homeless and youth runaways: The Relatives also help young adults find stable housing, jobs and more.


The Urban Ministry Center and the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte merged to become Roof Above. The organization now serves 1,200 people a day by providing emergency shelter, as well as transitional housing, job-skills training, substance-abuse programs and more.


Charlotte is known as the “City of Trees,” and TreesCharlotte works to preserve that reputation by educating residents on the importance of the tree canopy and how to care for it. The group also provides free or low-cost trees to plant at your home or in your neighborhood.


Welcome Home Charlotte does just what the name says: The group welcomes refugees as they arrive in the Queen City, helping them to get resettled through

its three key programs. Services include English language instruction, a food bank and drivers to help get families to important appointments.


Have time to give and want to work with students in need of a little help? Tutor Charlotte is a community initiative that helps connect volunteers with tutoring organizations. The effort encompasses a number of different nonprofits all working together to help pair volunteer tutors with students.

Scan the QR code to learn about other nonprofit organizations featured in SouthPark.

72 | SOUTHPARK blvd. |
Stop by our new store Welcome to Bear Food! Where we only sell the most delicious hand-cooked peanuts and pecans in the country! Seriously, the best peanuts you’ll ever have. 130 Matthews Station Street Suite 1-H Matthews, NC 28105

Giving Through the Seasons of Life

From giving today to support the causes you value – to ensuring a better tomorrow for future generations – your local community foundation can help you and your family make a lasting charitable impact.

Join others with a common vision by partnering with Foundation For Black Philanthropy, an affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas. You can focus on the joy of giving while uplifting the power of Black philanthropy. Visit to learn more.


Victorian charmer


You don’t have to fly to London to experience a Charles Dickens-style Christmas. Charlotte’s Fourth Ward is so much closer.

The uptown neighborhood’s festive, self-guided “Sip & Stroll” tour returns Dec. 1-3. The outdoor “porch crawl” includes food and beverage tastings (while supplies last), live music and golf-cart rides. Merrymakers who want a closer look at the Victorian splendor can purchase an upgraded holiday home tour ticket.

It’s the only way to see the exquisite interiors of Brittani and Brian Phillips’ home. They’ve been Fourth Ward denizens since 2005. The couple moved into their historic home at 315 W. 9th Street before they had children. Now, they have an 11-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter — plus a pool and sports court for year-round entertainment.

Brittani’s parents, Christine and Rick Rotunda, bought the house next door in 2018, and the two families integrated their backyards into what Brittani calls a “family compound” in 2020. Brian’s father, David, also lives in a condo just down the street. The combined backyards contain small, Charleston-style gardens and three running fountains. Dual covered porches feature an indoor gas fireplace and outdoor wood-burning fireplace. “It feels like an oasis,” Brittani says.

The Phillips home was 2,400 square feet when they bought it. In three renovations, they’ve expanded it to 5,624 square feet, redone the back porch, added a second-floor master suite and a third story, which contains a New Orleans-themed pub and bathroom. The traditional, antique-filled home includes modern touches and several items of French provenance, including a custom-made La Cornue range.

Constructed as an understated Victorian in 1903, the Phillips home was designed with four primary rooms and a central hallway. Today, there’s a library to the right of the Gucci wallpaper-clad foyer. The library features the recently refinished player piano Brittani and her brother grew up with. To the left of the foyer is a living room. “We tend to use the library, which has a masculine feel, in the winter when we can turn on the fireplace and use the other, more feminine, front room in the spring and summer,” Brittani says.

The ongoing home renovation by general contractor Urban Building Group was paused for the home tour. The family room, playroom and kitchen, which now has a pantry for the first time, haven’t even been broken in yet.

The couple stays busy with young children and their work. Brian is founder and executive chairman of MedShift, a medical technology company. The Phillipses are also real-estate investors. Brittani, a real-estate agent, manages the portfolio. Along with another Fourth

74 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | home tour
by Page Leggett | photographs by Austin Caine
CHARLOTTE | $1,269,000 5614 Challisford Lane Jean Benham | 704.363.2938 CHARLOTTE | $1,075,000 4739 Cambridge Crescent Drive James Webb | 336.830.9062 CHARLOTTE | $680,000 1941 Dugan Drive Rebecca Hunter | 704.650.4039 CHARLOTTE | $525,000 1516 Matheson Avenue Daina Brundrett | 704.651.8917 ALLEN TATE SOUTHPARK SOLD UNDER CONTRACT UNDER CONTRACT UNDER CONTRACT A HOWARD HANNA PARTNER

Ward couple, the Phillipses recently bought the 122-year-old, Queen Anne-style house at 224 W. 10th Street that’s home to Poplar Tapas, Wine & Spirits.

Other home features of note: Three imported, hand-carved fireplace mantels of marble and travertine (the home boasts four fireplaces); original hardwoods and 11-foot ceilings; an early 1900s chandelier in the mirrored dining room; solid wood moldings and paneling; and a kitchen table and third-floor bar constructed of locally reclaimed barn wood.

The Phillips home is even more spectacular when decked for the season. Brittani has been ready. “I love Christmas,” she says. “By the time October rolls around, I’m excited to get out the dec-

orations, and even more so when our house is on the tour.” (It was part of the neighborhood’s Secret Gardens tour in 2021 and the holiday tour in 2014.)

Every home is a reflection of its owner, and the Phillips house says a lot about the family that lives there. “This house is all of me,” Brittani says. “It’s everything we’ve dreamed about. We don’t ever see ourselves leaving.” SP

Want to go? The Fourth Ward Holiday Sip & Stroll + Holiday Home Tour happens Dec. 1-3 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets, which usually sell out in advance, range from $30 to $60 each. Buy them at Friends of Fourth Ward’s website,

76 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | home tour
Photo: Pari Dukovic

Think pink ..…andpurple,sparklyandfun

Cheeky graphic tees and embroidered baseball caps have arrived in SouthPark: Girl Tribe Co. has opened its third brick-and-mortar location at Shops at Morrison. But alongside “Dolly Vibes” hats, oversized “Cool Mom” mugs and hot-pink tulle dresses, you’ll also find faux-fur shackets and cozy sweaters in more subdued, neutral shades. The store also sells jewelry, candles, bath bombs and other small accessories.

Sarah Baucom and Carrie Barker started the local brand in 2014 selling graphic tees. The business mushroomed, and a year later they held their first pop-up shopping event featuring all-female vendors.

Girl Tribe still hosts pop-ups, including an uptown hol iday event Dec. 10-11 with more than 100 vendors. But in 2017, after customers kept showing up at their office to buy stuff, the partners decided to open their first permanent retail space. After a few years of wild success in burgeoning South End, Baucom and Barker began thinking about expansion, opening a 10,000-square-foot spinoff, Girl Supply, in Huntersville, earlier this year.

“After Covid, we saw this strong need for a return to retail with this in-person experience of purchasing,” Barker says. SouthPark was a no brainer for the next location, she says. “The SouthPark area is almost a destination for retail, so that made a lot of sense for us to get into this spot.”

At 1,700 square feet, the new store is nearly double the size of the South End location and offers items at a slightly higher price point. Most clothing at the new store is priced between $30 and $100, Barker says.

Customers can pose for photos by the fern and moss wall by The Savage Way or in the custom Girl Tribe photo booth. Eventually, the store will house a custom shop — a place for shoppers to design patch sweatshirts, denim jackets and accessories.

As Girl Tribe’s original fan base of young professionals gets older, the founders hope to keep introducing new people to the brand.

“Sarah and I, we’re aging out of our demographic, too,” Barker says. “But I think we have customers that have kind of aged with us. We try to play to all that — even like where a mom and daughter can come and shop and [both of them] can find something here.”

Girl Tribe is open seven days a week and is located at 532 Governor Morrison St., Ste. C-120.

78 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | around town
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around town

Of all the colors of the seasons, are our favorites.

Merchant & Trade’s cozy heated igloos are back: Guests can book a two-hour experience at the rooftop bar atop uptown’s Kimpton

Tryon Park hotel. Igloos accommodate two to 10 guests and can be reserved Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the winter months. Reservation fees range from $750 to $850 and include a food and beverage minimum. Snag your spot at






Thanks to everyone who voted for Aldersgate for the Best of Charlotte awards. This is the fifth year in a row that Aldersgate, a non-profit Life Plan Community, located in East Charlotte, has taken home top awards in several categories.

While we take pride in our achievement as a community partner and these awards, our residents and community are the real winners. We work hard every day to make their lives better.

Located on hundreds of acres, Aldersgate is a 62+, entrance-fee, non-profit community that offers a variety of living options and amenities, including six dining venues, an indoor pool, salon and spa, wood shop, dog park, gardening, wooded trails and a picturesque lake. Plus, we offer a top-rated, full continuum of care.

3800 Shamrock Drive • Charlotte, NC 28215

If you are interested in learning more about our community, services or employment opportunities, please visit or Call (704) 774-4763.

The new concept — former NASCAR CEO Brian France’s investment firm is behind the brand — was designed to evoke the nostalgia of summertime, with bright colors, warm lighting and natural wood tones. On the menu: fried and grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, and tenders, along with shakes and floats.

Summerbird, a fast-casual restaurant serving crispy chicken sandwiches and salads, is now open at the RailYard in South End.
Al der sga te Wins Best of Char lo tt e in Fi ve Cat egori es :
Go l d, Silver & Bronze.
Life Plan Community

‘Tis the season!

blvd. | around town

Brew through

Holiday travelers will find a taste of home this season at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Just in time for the busy travel season, Sycamore Brewing opened a taproom — its first outside the original South End location — on Concourse E. Along with Sycamore’s Mountain Candy IPA, Southern Girl blonde ale and seasonal brews, the 1,828-square-foot taproom also serves wine, appetizers, pizzas, salads — even breakfast daily until 10 a.m. Menu selections include an Uptown “burger” — an Impossible Burger patty with veggie mozzarella and kale slaw — and a CLT Chop Salad with bacon, avocado, egg and roasted corn. Owned by husband-and-wife duo Justin and Sarah Brigham since 2013, Sycamore is Charlotte’s top beer producer.

On the move

Kayleigh Williams-Brown is the new bar manager at Leah & Louise. You may know her from previous stints behind the bar at Royal Tot and El Thrifty Social. The Tacoma, Wash., native joined the staff at Leah & Louise in May to assist Justin Hazelton, who left to focus on his cocktail consulting business. “Kayleigh was brought on by [Hazelton] to help out on the bar, and her talent and passion made it clear to us that she needed the space to showcase more of that ability,” co-owner Subrina Collier said in a news release. Diners can expect plenty of agave spirits and rum cocktails as WilliamsBrown begins putting her stamp on the menu. SP

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Events + activities

Light the Knights Festival at Truist Field

Through Jan. 6, 2023

Make some merry memories with ice skating, tubing, light displays and more. Wander through the Charlotte Christmas Village and shop, listen to live music and enjoy holiday treats as sweet as the skyline views. Tickets are $10 for festival admis sion, $25 for admission plus either skating or tubing, and $35 for an all-activities day pass. christmas

Winter Attractions at the Whitewater Center

Through Jan. 2023

The Whitewater Center is brimming with activities this winter, including two new suspension bridges connecting to a new activity area. Ice skating returns, along with a new outdoor pond hockey league starting in January. View a new set of 50 illuminated installations along a half-mile walking trail. Sign up for one of the center’s winter races, including We Believe – Santa 5K and Dog Jog and the New Year’s Eve 5K and 10K. Ticket prices vary.

Fourth Ward Holiday Sip & Stroll presented by the Friends of Fourth Ward Dec. 1-3

Celebrate the season with a self-guided, porch-crawl style stroll through Historic Fourth Ward. The tour offers outdoor views of Victorian-era homes decked out for the

holidays. The experience includes food and beverage tastings, seasonal live music and carriage rides. New this year: An upgraded ticket option includes a tour of the interiors of three private homes that are decorated for the season. Tickets are $30-$60.

Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18

The brewery’s famous biergarten trans forms into a German-style Christmas village, complete with lights, music, shopping and gluhwein (spiced wine). You can also enjoy seasonal favorites like Yule Bock and Dunkel by the cozy fire pits. Free to attend.

Mistletoe Market at Camp North End Dec. 3, 10 and 17 | 4-8 p.m.

Shop from vendors curated by Vintage Charlotte, warm up by the fire pits, sip cocoa or cocktails and listen to live music at this annual holiday market.

2022 ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium Dec. 3 | 8 p.m.

Watch the Atlantic Division and Coastal Division winners go head-to-head in the 18th annual championship. The 2022 champion ship game will be the last one matching the two division winners, as the ACC announced a new scheduling model starting in 2023. Ticket prices vary.

Jazz Room Holiday Edition: Duke Ellingtons Nutcracker Swing at Booth Playhouse Dec. 8-10

This reimagined interpretation of Tchaikovskys Nutcracker Suite features the 16-piece Charlotte Regional Jazz Orchestra, dancers and vocalists. The holiday pro duction is JazzArts Charlotte’s only annual benefit, with a pre-concert dessert reception and silent auction supporting the JazzArts Academy and local musicians. Tickets start at $38.

Charlotte Ballet presents Nutcracker at Belk Theater Dec. 9-23

The magic returns as visions of sugar plums pirouette to Tchaikovsky’s treasured score. Follow Clara on her timeless adven ture to the whimsical Land of Sweets and encounter some familiar friends and foes along the way. Tickets start at $30.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve at Spectrum Center Dec. 10 | 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Join the TSO for a visually dazzling per formance that includes Ghosts of Christmas Eve alongside some of their all-time greatest hits. Tickets prices vary. spectrumcenter

Holiday Girl Tribe Pop Up at Charlotte Convention Center Dec. 10-11

blvd. | calendar
Charlotte Ballet presents Nutcracker at Belk Theater 18 MONTHS TO 18 YEARS Create Your Future Rigorous . Global . Personalized . Smaller We offer personalized learning in a smaller class setting combined with global opportunities and a rigorous internationally recognized curriculum to prepare our students to succeed and thrive in an ever-changing world. WORLD CLASS LEARNING Accepting applications and enrollments throughout the school year

Assemble your crew and peruse a cu rated collection of offerings from more than 100 women-led businesses, including cloth ing designers, jewelers, artists and more. Tickets start at $5.

Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular at Ballantyne’s Backyard

Dec. 12-31 | 5-10 p.m. daily

Light up the night with a stroll through this outdoor exhibit featuring life-sized snow globes, hundreds of decorated trees, mag ical interactive surprises and a Christmas village with food trucks and shops. ncholi

Gather and Give luncheon hosted by Good Friends Charlotte

Dec. 15 | 12 p.m.

The women’s nonprofit organization is celebrating its 36th year with an annual end-of-year giving luncheon at the Charlotte Convention Center. Funds raised help support community members with food insecurity, infant safety and youth education. Attendance is free, with the opportunity to make a financial contribution.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops at Knight Theater

Dec. 16-18

This new holiday event features the Charlotte Master Chorale, singalongs to holiday favorites, an indoor snowfall, a visit from Santa and more. Tickets start at $19.

ball: North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma. Ticket prices vary. char jumpman-invitational

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at Belk Theater

Dec. 27-Jan. 1, 2023 She’s (simply) the best. This homage to Tina Turner tells the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the queen of rock n’ roll. Tickets start at $25.

The Avett Brothers at Bojangles Coliseum Dec. 31 | 8 p.m.

The Avett Brothers return to their home state for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve ex perience. Fellow North Carolina-based band Valient Thorr will kick off the show. Tickets start at $59.50.

Museums + galleries

11th Annual Small Works Show at Shain Gallery

Dec 2-31

Shop small at this annual show featuring pieces 20 x 20 inches and smaller. The perfect gift for the holidays might be waiting for you on the gallery’s walls.

decoration, and the body reimagined.

Lauren Luloff: Green World at SOCO Gallery

Through Jan. 4, 2023

This solo exhibition presents dyed silk works by the Maine artist. Luloff’s works are influenced by the landscape around her and are about “endlessness, an everlasting flow of images, narratives and color relation ships.”

Artful Giving at Nine Eighteen Nine Studio Gallery

Saturdays through Dec. 31 | Noon-4 p.m.

This series of holiday shopping fairs of fers unique pieces from the gallery’s artists and a rotating roster of vendors. The fam ily-friendly event will also include a festive photo display featuring “Santas from Around the World,” crafts and games. facebook. com/NineEighteenNine


Invitational at Spectrum Center

Dec. 20-21

Don’t miss this inaugural basketball event featuring matchups between men’s and women’s teams from the four origi nal schools that signed partnerships with Jordan Brand in both basketball and foot

Fashion Reimagined: Themes & Variations 1760 – Now at Mint Museum Uptown Dec. 10-July 2

Encompassing a wide range of men’s and women’s fashions from 1760 to 2022, this exhibition will be divided into three thematic sections: minimalism, pattern and

— compiled by Amanda Lea

Scan the QR code on your mobile device to view our online events calendar — updated weekly — at

86 | SOUTHPARK blvd. | calendar
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Living Free

No school. No chores. No constantly chirping phones. We were detached from nearly everything in our everyday lives. Still, as we paddled through the waters of the Southern Outer Banks ®, we felt more connected than ever.

Discover seasonal offers on vacation rentals & more at CHAPTER

Building community


September Krueger’s intricate quilts and silk paintings use subtle, watery colors, delicate stitching, layered images, and the unexpected juxtaposition of organic and designed shapes and lines. They honor the natural world: birds and plants, and the environments they share. And they are the work of an artist with a deep appreciation for her subject and her medium.

From an early age, Krueger loved to draw. She studied textiles as an undergraduate in Philadelphia with the idea of becoming a fashion designer, but her graduate work at East Carolina University between 2007 and 2010 opened her eyes to the potential of textiles as an artistic medium, inspiring her to “develop layers of information on woven cloth.”

A kimono she made at ECU was the turning point. She was on familiar ground when it came to the sewing and structure of the garment, but found herself pulled in a new direction with the fabric itself and the stories it told. “All of the motifs were of cloth that had been batiked,” says Krueger, referring to the artistic process of using wax-resistant dye to create patterns, “and all of the batiked imagery related to religion, which comes up a lot in thinking about myself and my family.” From that point forward, function took a back seat, she says. “‘Wearable’ became less and less important.”

Krueger uses silk and other fluid fabrics in her work today, enabling her to “build up the surface in so many ways, almost like a collage artist,” often using repeated motifs like a small bird or a leaf. These also show up in her finely wrought woodblock prints.

Central to Krueger’s artistic calling, she says, is an instinct to share it and use it to build community. As director of lifelong learning at Wilmington’s Cameron Art Museum since 2020, one of her central goals is to open the museum’s offer ings to new populations. Paradoxically, she says, the pandemic might have helped with that effort, because people who might not have taken themselves to the museum in ordinary times were compelled to visit virtually. | 91 | art of the state
Goatsucker, painted silk with embroidery, 24 x 24 Her 77th Year, painted silk with machine and hand embroidery, 42 x 42 PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY SEPTEMBER KRUEGER

| art of the state

Krueger’s community focus goes beyond Wilmington. In Kinston, for example, she and Anne Brennan, a fellow artist and the executive director of the Cameron Art Museum, designed tile mosaics for installation in Kinston Music Park. They were inspired by the work of iconic North Carolina artist Romare Bearden, known for his work in collage, and created it together with the young women of a community-development organiza tion called The Gate.

In addition, Krueger’s work as head of the art department at Southeastern Community College, where she has been a teacher since 2011, takes her to nearby Whiteville regularly. “I found a community immediately here in Wilmington, between the university and the community college. I found that there are outstanding artists in our community-college system,” Krueger says. “And I also met people who were at different stages of life and were going back to study and figure out what they might want to do… Art connects them all.” SP

This is an excerpt from the book Art of the State: Celebrating the Art of North Carolina, published by UNC Press.

Release: Reward: Reveal, silkscreened on cotton sateen with machine embroidery and organza | 93 | art of the state
“I met people who were at different stages of life and were going back to study and figure out what they might want to do . . . Art connects them all.” — September Krueger

First impressions


Psychologists tell us that when we meet someone new, we have approximately eight seconds to make an initial impression, good or bad. I believe gardens are the same. If the best gardens are metaphorical, as I think they are, the journey and their story begin at the front gate and continue to unfold as we navigate through them. What story does your garden entrance tell? Is it flat, predictable and mundane, or is it full of intrigue that leads to a rich story line? What do those first eight seconds say to those who encounter it for the first time?

Traditionally, a garden entrance might be a simple white picket or black metal gate, or a basic arbor covered with ivy, clematis or jasmine. Such an entrance, while perhaps visually pleasing and balanced, can be compared to a lukewarm handshake. Honestly, there’s little warmth, inspiration and excitement generated. Fortunately, there are plenty of alter natives that will create excitement and begin to tell the story that will unfold as people walk through.

I love portals. Reminiscent of a good science fiction novel, they emphasize the fact and feeling that you are entering into a special place. A garden is, by definition, a special place set apart from the world at large. Portals are usually minimalistic in design and function as a large picture frame, encapsulating the axial view of the garden beyond.

Portals can be built of nonrusting aluminum, wood for a more rustic vibe, or stone, like an Asian moon gate. Regardless of style and material, they should echo the personality of the space and frame a view that draws visitors in.

Entryways can be the preface to a themed garden. For example, antique Chinese doors can serve as a prelude for an Asian-inspired woodland garden. Oversized, solid gates alter the perceived scale of the garden visitor and elicit emotion even before the threshold is crossed. Additionally, solid gates generate a sense of mystery and curiosity about what lies beyond

Architectural salvage yards and antique shops are worthwhile destinations in your search. You may need to oil, paint, seal or otherwise protect your finds in order to preserve them.

For your special space, consider a barred gate that reflects your story or personality, and one that sets expec tations. A friend of mine in south Florida owns a famous orchid nursery, specializing in vandas. His front gate his adorned with a giant cast metal vanda flower. Options to consider might be a family crest, a favorite dog breed or a signature garden plant. Be bold and write the preface to your story on your garden gate. | 95 PHOTOGRAPHS
| gardening
GIVE This ‘Cascade Falls’ bald cypress, trained on a simple rebar arbor in Sifford’s former garden, generated more interest than any other tree, he says. “The loose weeping branches required parting by the garden visitor, forcing them to physically encounter the garden. In this way, it was reminiscent of the strands of beads that adorned door thresholds in the 1960s.”

Not all gardens are gated, but that does not mean that you cannot make a personal statement at the outset. Consider installing a wooden post or stone pillar and, rather than topping it with the expected outdoor lighting fixture, choose a favorite unique piece of sculpture. The vertical shape of the pillar creates a margin that helps direct the eye onto the pathway that lies just beyond, while the sculptural piece sets the tone. Be creative with your sculpture choice. A mass-produced product made of an inferior material will not generate the feeling that one is entering into a unique and special place. An “I’ve seen this before” is not preferred commentary.

When we think about a planted garden entryway, we generally think of a vine-covered arbor. If we begin to think outside of the proverbial box, we will realize that there are many more interesting options. A group of three columnar evergreens could be planted on one side of the garden entrance, with a single specimen of the same species planted on the opposite side. Avoid installing one plant on either side as this reads as too predictable or, worse yet, intimidating. Another option for a planted entryway could be a weeping tree such as a ‘Cascade Falls’ bald cypress, a trained weeping Norway spruce or blue Atlas cedar.

Your imagination is the limit when it comes to giving your garden a unique personality from the outset. Make the preface to your story a mem orable one. SP | 97 | gardening
Portals in the garden emphasize the fact that you are entering a special place.
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Miss Jan for Christmas


As she eats her Sunday morning breakfast, Miss Jan looks across the table at me and cheerfully remarks, “You look very nice. Why are you so dressed up?”

As usual, I have a silly answer ready.

“Actually, Jan, I’m planning to address Congress today. I’m pro posing a constitutional amendment promoting universal kindness, the four-day work week and the importance of using proper turn signals in traffic. Thought I should look my best.”

She laughs. “Good for you! What a great idea. I hope they listen to you!”

In fact, Wendy and I are just heading off to church. But this is a kind of game I play when Miss Jan comes to our house on weekends. She loves a good joke or a silly story that makes her laugh.

During the week, a lovely caregiver named Waletta looks after her needs at the independent senior-living facility where Miss Jan lives, while her daughter, my busy wife, brings her groceries and takes her mom out to lunch at least once a week. She’s incredibly chatty with the waiters and a bit of an old flirt. Miss Jan is, too.

Every day is like Christmas when Miss Jan — as her art students called her — comes to our house. She eats her favorite foods, drinks a little wine, plays with Gracie the dog, clips beautiful things out of magazines for her scrapbooks, watches Love It or List It and enjoys long afternoon naps. As her world narrows down,

the past features more and more in her conversations. She takes genuine pleasure in the smallest of things.

“I love bacon,” she declares that same Sunday morning. “And eggs, too. They are my favorite foods.”

I knew what was coming next. She tells me how, when she was a little girl growing up on a farm in rural Connecticut, her mother would make bacon and eggs gathered from the farm’s henhouse every Sunday morning. How Jack, the hired man, would sit at one end of the table, her father, the architect, at the other, and Mike, the dog, between, waiting for scraps to fall. She even slips into the stern Irish voice of her mother, admonishing her daughters not to feed Mike. For it is a sin in the eyes of the Almighty to waste food.

I’ve heard this sweet story probably a hundred times over the last five or six years.

“I like that tie you’re wearing,” she declares next, buttering her biscuit. “Where did you get that?”

It came from a clothing shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, I explain, a Sinclair hunting tartan necktie I purchased for my daughter Maggie’s recent wedding, in honor of our Scottish heritage.

Miss Jan beams, speaking in exclamation points. “That’s wonderful news! When did she get married?”

“Two weeks ago yesterday. Up in Maine.”

“Oh,” she sighs, “I love Maine. It’s my favorite place. We lived on the water.” | 99
| simple life

“I know. You and Bill had a very nice life there.”

This prompts her to tell me about their cottage on the water in Harpswell, where they watched boats come and go all day, and the harbor lights at night; about the little kids she taught about the importance of art; about the clear starry nights come winter. This opens the door to other memories. She tells me about the trips to Europe she took with Bill — to England, Germany and Switzerland; her favorite sights; the colorful characters they met.

“Switzerland was my favorite place. I loved the mountains and the people.”

“How about Swiss chocolate?”

“Oh, I love Swiss chocolate. It’s my favorite!” She says this with an impish grin, like a little Irish girl sneaking a piece from the cupboard.

She tells me more about Bill, who I knew for more than two decades. “He was quite a dancer, you know, in his day. He played the accordion beautifully. The girls loved hearing him play.”

I never tire of hearing Jan’s stories again and again. Memories are like summer’s fireflies. They carry us through the darkness, but vanish too soon.

“I love biscuits,” she suddenly exclaims brightly. “Don’t you? They’re my favorite food. What’s yours?”

Before I can answer, she chuckles like Chaucer’s Wife of Bath.

“I like you. You’re a really good guy. You make me laugh.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am.”

Not long ago, Miss Jan asked her daughter, “So who’s that funny man who stays in your house?” Perhaps she thought I was Jack, the hired man.

“That’s Jim, mom. We’ve been married 21 years.”

“Oh, right,” she said with a good Irish laugh. “I forgot. I really like him. He makes me laugh.”

According to the CDC, about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of related dementia, including 5.6 million aged 65 and older, and about 200,000 under age 65.

Miss Jan is 84. She jokes that she might live to be 100 — or just pass on “next year.”

“Don’t do that,” I say. “Who will laugh at my stupid jokes?”

Save for when she grumbles about having to take a shower and wash her hair — my wife’s weekly ordeal — she seems remarkably happy, even a bit of a cheerful con artist. At dinner parties, for instance, she will listen intently before nimbly joining the table’s flow of conversation, for the moment sounding like the wise, compassionate, opinionated and highly intelligent mother and social activist she was most of her life.

When she Zooms with her younger sister, Alice, every other weekend or so, you’ll hear the two of them cutting up and gabbing away about people, things, places and memories that only a shared lifetime can provide.

True, every year her boat seems to drift a little farther from the shore. But for now, at least, she seems to be holding her own, defying the outgoing tide, happy as a kid on Christmas morning on days when she’s with us. | 101 | simple life
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| simple life

Perhaps I cherish such days because they remind me how fleeting this life is, how short the time we are given. Miss Jan also reminds me of my own sweet Southern mother and her cheerful dance with this silent, insidious disease. She, too, was what I call a “happy forgetter.”

After my dad’s passing in 1996, I brought her and her half-blind yellow lab, Molly, to live with us in Maine. She delighted in the fiery leaves of autumn and the deep snows of winter. She loved our big, crackling fire and the sight of the herd of white-tail deer I faithfully fed at the edge of the forest on frigid nights.

When her memory began to fail, we moved her to an independent living facility where she became the belle of the ball in the evening dining room, squired around by a celebrated Episcopal bishop who’d marched across the bridge in Selma with Martin Luther King Jr. They were quite the talk of the place for a while.

One summer afternoon I drove her out to the seaside restaurant where she and my father always ate when they came to Maine to see their grandbabies. It featured a 10mile view of the rocky coast that looked like a living postcard.

As we sat drinking wine, she told me about the day she met my father, remem bered their first date and commented that I laughed just like him.

“I sure miss him,” I admitted. “I bet you do, too.” He’d been gone for five years.

She sipped her wine and smiled. “You have no idea, sugar. But don’t worry. I’ll see him very soon.”

She sounded so sure. Two days later, she suffered a stroke and peacefully slipped away.

I have no idea how long Miss Jan will be with us. With our four kids grown up and scattered to the winds, it will probably just be the three of us again this Christmas. Five, counting the dog and cat whose names she can’t remember.

But having Miss Jan for Christmas will be perfect. She says it’s her favorite holiday ever. We have that in common.

Plus, I can always make her laugh. SP Jim Dodson is a New York Times bestselling author in Greensboro. | 103
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as a

Ibought a car from one of those grassy roadside lots, paid in cash that arguably wasn’t mine and disappeared into the night like the smoky tail of a dying match. I was in the next state by morning, at a Waffle Shoppe full of truckers and farmers and dropouts, all of them wearing baseball caps, none of them backwards. I turned mine around.

I found a booth in the back. Waitress caught my eye and winked. “Be right with you, hon,” she said, same as they always do, like it’s from the handbook. Tangerine lipstick and penciledin eyebrows, thin tinsel gray hair in a ponytail. She was my age probably but looked twice that, weary but indestructible, like she’d been standing up her entire life and be buried that way too. She walked over to me with the pot, veins like river maps beneath her skin, face that had been through a lot, too much, but she smiled with a warmth that was so real I felt it in my heart. Nametag: Kate.

“Morning, baby. Coffee?”

I nodded, she poured. “What can I do you for, sweetie?” Like she might take me in her arms and rock me to sleep.

I kept my face low reading from the menu but when I looked up to order her eyes were fixed on me. She blinked once, kept staring. I could see her tongue resting against the top of her bottom teeth, her mouth hanging open just that much.

“Good lord.” She gave me the once over twice. “You’re — aren’t you — ?”

I turned away. There was a TV on the wall and I wondered if I’d been on it already, but nothing I’d done would make the news. That’s what I told myself. I thought I was faster than my past. But maybe nobody is that fast.

She pointed at me.

“You’re Dustin — Dustin — lord, my brain has gone to mush. I just saw you.”

Impossible. Never in my life. And I’m no Dustin. “Sorry?”

“Last night. The movie, your movie. Oh, you know — San Francisco Nights! With Julia Roberts!” An exclamation point, like she’d just won a prize. “Dustin Evers. You are Dustin Evers and I cannot freaking believe it. Oh good lord.”

Her smile made her makeup flake and her lipstick crack.

I shook my head. “I think you have me confused with somebody else.” Matter of fact, a little gruff, putting her off without pushing too hard.

But her eyes wouldn’t let me go.

Dustin Evers, I thought.

Dustin Evers, the actor. Okay.

“You got me,” I said.

I’d seen that movie too. A pastry chef and a fireman fall in love when her bakery burns down. I shrugged and almost smiled and she shivered like a woman about to freeze. She motioned a cohort over, a girl who might have been her daughter, twins basically separated by 20 or 30 years.

“Lucy,” she said, in a whisper. “Get over here. Look at this.”

Lucy dragged herself over and looked at me with her dull dead sleepy eyes. “Hey, sugar,” she said. Then to Kate: “What am I looking at?”

“You’re looking at Dustin Evers,” Kate said. “San Francisco Nights?”

Lucy took a minute to fall into the magical world Kate made for her and then just like that she was all in. She opened her mouth but no words came out.

“Oh, oh, oh wow,” she said, finally. “Wow wow wow.” Then, blushing: “I’ve had a crush on you since I was 12.”

They laughed. I laughed. Like I’d heard it all before.

“Well, thank you, I guess,” I said. “The camera is kind to me.”

“God was kind to you,” Kate said. “That face of yours is a gift from God.” She looked at Lucy. “I can’t believe I’m saying this to Dustin Evers!”

“Dustin Freaking Evers.”

“What’s she like?” Lucy said. “Julia Roberts. They say she’s nice but I think, I don’t know, she might be full of herself.”

I sipped my coffee. “She’s an absolute angel,” I said.

“Is there a movie around here you’re making?”

“Yes,” I said. “There is. Right down the road.”

“Wow,” Lucy said. “Wow wow.”

“That how you hurt your hand?”

She was addressing the blood lines on my knuckles.

“Yes. I do my own stunts.”

“His own stunts.”

Lucy and Kate looked at each other, because did they ever have a story to tell now.

“What’s it about?” Kate said.

“Yeah,” Lucy said. “What’s it all about?”

“What it’s all about?” Philosophers now. “Well, I guess it’s about a man who did some things he wished he hadn’t done, tries to run away from it all, meets a woman on a farm who sees him for who he could be, deep down, then hires him on to mend fences, and they, well, you know.”

“Sounds like my kind of movie. What’s it called?”

“Mending Fences,” I said, and I saw it unfolding before me.

fiction by Daniel Wallace | illustration by Mariano Santillan

The woman on the farm — tall, copper hair, a widow maybe, tough unyielding eyes at first but deep pools of goodness and almost spiritual power, me working the land for her, sleeping in the barn on a bale of old hay, her scraggly mutt my first best friend, that mutt follows me around everywhere, and I was milking cows, riding horses, saving her life from that snake — a rattler — that almost bit her, how we picnicked beneath that big old oak tree, the one her granddad planted 100 years before, and then how one thing led to another and I kissed her beneath a sickle moon, and finally I told her everything, everything I did leading up to the night I got that car from the roadside lot, all of it, I couldn’t live that lie a minute longer but figured when I told her she would leave me and she almost does, she almost leaves me but she doesn’t, and she says hon, sweetheart, sugar, baby, damn it if I don’t love you, but you gotta go back and make things right, have to before we can move into the next thing, into the rest of our lives, together. And so in the movie I do, I go back and I see the girl and I see the man and my mother and my father and I do what I can to make it right, and then I come back to her and she takes me in her arms and the music swells and finally I’m happy, we are happy, and that’s why it’s called Mending Fences.

I told them the whole thing, and by the time I was done I was surrounded by all of them, the truckers, the farmers, the dropouts and a short order cook to boot. They loved me so much. Someone even bought my breakfast. And then it was over: I told them I had to get back on set. But I want to thank the Academy and my great director and Julia for being the best costar a guy could ask for . . . but more than all of them put together I have to thank Kate and Lucy for that morning, for the greatest gift I ever got in my life, to be another man for just those few minutes, to be famous for not being me. SP

Daniel Wallace’s memoir, This Isn’t Going to End Well, will be published by Algonquin Books in April, 2023.

We’re grateful for you.

As the holiday season commences, we’re reflecting back on the amazing year our agents have had all thanks to you - our clients, family, and friends. Thank you for your unwavering support and trust as we navigate the market hand in hand and work towards homeownership together.

35°13’37”N | 80°50’35”W
Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC” in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. *As of 2021 Closed Sales Volume, RealTrends 500
AT INDIGO HOME, HOUSES ARE OUR CRAFT. Our Team has 30+ years experience representing buyers and sellers of luxury properties with an added focus on the design and sale of new construction. Our clients appreciate our collective expertise. With the fast paced changes in the real estate market and the challenges that come with them, we rise to meet the moment. We embody an entrepreneurial spirit and love for the Queen City. Let our reputation for outstanding representation work for you. Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. Jennifer Monroe M. 704.307.3369 Noah Spencer M. 704.524.4549 Amanda Kupchella M. 828.329.0996 Michelle Rios-Kidd M. 704.724.2091 9256 HEYDON HALL CIRCLE UNDER CONTRACT 13601 GIRL SCOUT ROAD JUST SOLD 420 MOUNTAINVIEW DRIVE JUST SOLD
Emory From historic townhomes to idyllic country estates, I represent some of the most remarkable properties across North Carolina. Contact me today for insight into my unparalleled service. Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. Broker/Realtor NC/SC M. 704.724.3504 ACTIVE | 1951 Harris Road, Charlotte, NC 28211 5 BD | 7 FB | 3 HB | 9,347 SQ FT Gated resort-like estate with stunning pool house and elevator. Property has been pre-inspected and is fully automated by Savant Solutions.

Carrie Brighton

Your Trusted Top Producer since 2005, Carrie advises buyers and sellers across all price points. She is committed to a client focused approach that garners proven results year after year. Contact Carrie anytime to help you navigate 2023’s real estate market.

“Have you ever met someone that makes you feel like you’re the only one in the room amongst a sea of people?

Carrie is that kind of person. We had the opportunity to work with Carrie as a buyer and seller and in both experiences the words that come to mind are personal, professional and detail oriented. She went above and beyond our expectations. From our struggle with technology, to providing economic information, to sweeping the front patio for a photo shoot to coordinating the staging - if Carrie said she was taking care of it - she meant it!”

- Tammy and Richard

“We recently moved here from Texas for a new job. Carrie was fantastic! She was extremely knowledgeable about Charlotte including schools, restaurants, commute times and other area amenities. She took the time to get to know my family and helped us find a great house and school all in one weekend.”

- Aaron, Relocation Client

Carrie Brighton M. 704.241.4418

is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.

Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. 4 BD | 3 FB | 1 HB | $1,649,000 5 BD | 5 FB | 1 HB | $1,395,000 3 BD | 3 FB | 1 HB | $1,149,000 4417 Oglukian Rd | ACTIVE 3001 Robin Road | PENDING 2115 Lorene Ave | ACTIVE Tracey Cook & Ashley Pizzo T. 704.236.11135 | A. 704.756.8654 Abby Fitch & Stacie Fulton A. 704.975.7465 | S. 704.907.7845 YOUR HOME IS YOUR GREATEST INVESTMENT... ...And your most important. In a competitive real estate market, it has never been more important to work with a team of experienced agents. Call us today!

Mike was amazing to work with and got us through this entire process. We were looking from 400 miles away and when we couldn’t be there, Mike went & did the home tours for us. When we were able to come down, Mike cleared his calendar to be able to take us on home tours. We changed our situation like people changing clothes and he never faltered. He scheduled and attended inspections, walk-throughs, tours. He gave recommendations on vendors. Mike was my sounding board - he would let me rant, rave, and cry - then tell me “come on, let’s go look at the next one.” We would not be in this awesome house without him! If you need a real estate agent (and new buddy), call Mike.

- Buyers Jim & Tammy McCormick

Mike Stearns

Mike Stearns M. 704.441.2478

Mike has been selling real estate in Charlotte and the surrounding areas for over 16 years. He’s known for his no-nonsense, client-centric approach to listing and buying property with his loyal clients. Mike is constantly learning to help keep his clients informed of current trends in the market. Why would you trust one of your largest financial transactions to just anyone? You need a seasoned professional to coach you to make the best decision possible for you today, and in the future. Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity

laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.
Henderson Ventures Inc. O. 980.333.3485 Henderson Ventures is an exclusive brokerage founded by Gerald and Nilou Henderson, created on the principles of diversity, unparalleled levels of service, and integrity. Henderson Ventures services Charlotte, NC and its surrounding areas including South Carolina. We specialize in Sports and Entertainment, relocation, new construction, and real estate development. Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name “Compass South Carolina, LLC" in South Carolina and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. 8402 Fairview Road | $4,799,000 | Listed by Nilou Henderson

Jennifer Vick and Co. far exceeded our expectations and we cannot recommend her and her team enough. They did a great job of identifying what needed to be done to sell our house for maximum return and coordinating every person involved. They have a great knowledge of real estate and more importantly are extraordinarily resourceful making the sale of our home effortless. In fact, we packed up and moved across the country before putting our house on the market. If you need the best team to sell your home quickly and professionally with outstanding results - then you will find what you need with Jennifer Vick & Co. - L Rapone

Compass is a licensed real estate broker under the name
South Carolina, LLC" in South
and under the name “Compass” in North Carolina and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. Jennifer
Providing an authentic and truly personal real estate experience. “
Vick & Co M. 704.284.7674



styling + production: Whitley Adkins photographs: Olly Yung

interiors styling: Brooke Werhane Maples

hair + makeup: Anna Grace Makeup

model: Rebecca Eliasek with Modelogic Mid-Atlantic photography assistant: Alvin Hall

Ramy Brook Evan top, $295, and Go Silk “Go Long For It” skirt, $298, both Sloan; Alexandre Birman suede sandals, stylist’s own; Chanel Boy wallet on chain circa 2019 $4,999, Tiffany & Co. Paloma mabe pearl 18K yellow gold cuff circa 2000, $46,999, sapphire and diamond ring in 14K white gold circa 1980, $4,999, and 18K two-tone platinum and gold diamond bracelet, $23,999, all Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry; 18K yellow gold diamond open swirl ring, $2,420, and 14K yellow gold aquamarine drop earrings with diamonds, $4,020, both Diamonds Direct

Zanzibar faux hide olive green pillows, $198 each, mirrored XOX game board, $170, and stemless tortoise glass, $15, all Laura Park; passport ornament, $20, and holiday helper ornament, $10, both The Buttercup; butterfly ornament, $44, and silver grape dish, $850, both Elizabeth Bruns | 115

Hand-painted ring holder, $175, candles, $136, and silk white rose winter floral arrangement, $220, all Elizabeth Bruns; Roberto Coin 18K white gold diamond classic triangle earrings, $4,500, Fink’s Jewelers; 14K yellow gold ruby and diamond band, $8,520, 18K rose gold oval pink sapphire eternity band, $4,200, and 14K white gold emerald cut light blue topaz and blue topaz ring, $950, all Diamonds Direct; Arzberger Stationers custom invitation, price on request; Christmas tree tea towel, $40-$120,

White Bone Box, $55, Laura Park; Roberto Coin 18K white gold diamonds by the inch necklace, $9,770, Fink’s Jewelers

On model: Ajour lingerie robe, $168, and Linda Hartman silk chemise, $160, both I.C. London; 14K yellow gold emerald and diamond halo pendant necklace, $1,540, Diamonds Direct; David Yurman

18K yellow gold diamond two-row pave crossover bracelet, $9,800, and 18K yellow gold diamond petite X bracelet, $2,900, both Fink’s Jewelers

116 | SOUTHPARK | 117

Audra Mod gown, $895, FOUND Collection; Reformation Molly platform sandals, stylist’s own,; Mignonne Gavigan Champagne earrings, $425,

Garland, $40, and mercury glass Christmas trees, $40-$100, all Elizabeth Bruns; framed work on paper, $450, Gregg Irby Gallery Charlotte; stools, Slate Interiors

Left hand: 14K white and yellow gold diamond twist 5-row ring, $3,150, 14K yellow gold ruby and diamond band, $8,520, both Diamonds Direct

Right hand: 18K yellow gold diamond ring by Doris Panos $5,999, Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry; David Yurman 18K yellow gold petite infinity ring, $1,350, Fink’s Jewelers | 119

Ganni sequin mini shirtdress, $625, Thirty-One Jane; Kristin Hayes Jewelry custom earrings, stylists own,; Inez Isabel sandal, $248,

Custom floral centerpiece, City Stems, price on request; garland, $40, mercury glass Christmas trees, $40-$100, ruby Champagne glass, $145, and twisted candles in English green, $40, all Elizabeth Bruns; Royal Crown Derby Old Imari dinner plate, $340, Royal Crown Derby Olde Avesbury dinner plate, $186, Spode Woodland dinner plate, $47, and napkins, $63/set, all John Dabbs Ltd.; Furbish block-print red cloth coasters, $29, The Buttercup; stemless tortoise glass, $15, Laura Park; Merry and Bright

cloth cocktail napkins, set/4 $40-$70,; assorted pastries, Chez Marie Cafe

Bracelets (as napkin rings): 14K white gold blue sapphire and diamond bangle, $6,750, Diamonds Direct; David Yurman

18K yellow gold diamond two-row pave crossover bracelet, $9,800, and David Yurman 18K yellow gold diamond petite X bracelet, $2,900, both Fink’s Jewelers

Right Hand: 14K white gold emerald cut light blue topaz and blue topaz ring,

$950, 14K yellow gold ruby and diamond band, $8,520, and 18K white gold emerald and diamond ring, $3,200, all Diamonds Direct

Left Hand: David Yurman 18K yellow gold cable stackable band, $695, and 18K yellow gold cable stack ring, $850, both Fink’s Jewelers; 14K white gold multi-color cushion cut sapphire ring with pave diamonds, $13,450, 14K yellow gold diamond pave X ring, $1,550, and 18K rose gold oval pink sapphire eternity band, $4,200, all Diamonds Direct


Vintage cigarette case in 14K two-tone gold with diamonds and black and green enamel circa 1924, $9,999, lapis, coral, and diamond brooch in 14K yellow gold circa 1950s, $2,599, Tiffany & Co. Paloma Mabe pearl 18K yellow gold cuff circa 2000, $46,999, sapphire and diamond ring in 14K white gold circa 1980, $4,999, 18K two-tone platinum and gold diamond bracelet, $23,999, and multi-gem and diamond pendant necklace in 18K yellow gold, $1,199, all Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry

Ballon Bleu de Cartier 40MM watch, $6,050, David Yurman 18K yellow gold diamond Helena tassel necklace, $9,900, Marco Bicego 18K yellow gold Paradise mixed gemstone graduated necklace, $2,260, Roberto Coin diamond Venetian Princess medallion necklace, $6,400, all Fink’s Jewelers

18K yellow gold diamond open swirl ring, $2,420, 14K yellow gold multi tourmaline and diamond bracelet, $8,600, 14K yellow gold rainbow sapphire and diamond bracelet, $5,750, 18K yellow gold diamond “Y” paperclip necklace, $12,100, all Diamonds Direct

Wake Me For Coffee Linda Hartman silk eye mask $36, I.C. London; Mignonne Gavigan Thora scarf necklace, $250,; Suzanne berry match strikers, $160, and orange skin matchbox cover, $80, both Laura Park; playing cards, $25, The Buttercup; blue faux ostrich leather travel backgammon set, $123, and faux crocodile mahjong game set, $204, both Abode Home; Christmas tree cloth cocktail napkins, set/4 $40-$70,; Arzberger Stationers custom holiday card, price on request | 123

On model: Cynthia Mod floral trousers, $350, and tunic, $350, FOUND Collection; Emerson Fry vegan leopard coat, $530, and Simitri fringe clutch, $375, both Sloan; vintage Manolo Blahnik gemstone pumps, stylist’s own; 14K yellow gold ruby and diamond band, $8,520, and 18K yellow gold multitourmaline and diamond ball earrings, $2,000, both Diamonds Direct



Werhane Maples Art and Interiors, price on request; framed work on paper, $1,250, Gregg Irby Gallery Charlotte; cotton tissue box cover, $58, Bedside Manor; holiday greenery arrangement, $220, silver grape dish, $850, and hourglass bronze sculpture, $425, all Elizabeth Bruns

On Bed: Royal Crown Derby Old Imari dinner plate, $340, John Dabbs Ltd.; Kevin O’Brien Studio handstitched king comforter, $879, and euro sham, $158, Matouk pillow cases, $214, and flat sheet, $349, Designers Guild throw, $250, and Dove and Donkey alpaca wool throw, $698, all Bedside Manor; assorted pastries, Chez Marie Café SP

Table: Two-drawer zebra wood side chest made in Italy, $4,125, Abode Home; lamp, $150, hand-painted lampshade, FLORAL DESIGNER JAY LUGIBIHL’S HOLIDAY DOORWAY INSTALLATIONS ARE ONE-OF-A-KIND WORKS OF ART. by Cathy Martin photographs by The Beautiful Mess Photography

for 11 months of the year, floral designer Jay Lugibihl is renowned for his swoon-worthy wedding designs and his gorgeous arrangements for Quail Hollow Club and other private clients. But come December, Lugibihl, owner and head designer at In Bloom Ltd., is known for something else: his dazzling doorway displays, crafted in the moment with a combination of decorative items from his South End studio and fresh, gathered greenery — sometimes pulled straight from his clients’ gardens.

“A lot of times I’ll just start cutting branches, and I’ll let the branch dictate what I do, whether it’s using hemlock or magnolia or whatever,” Lugibihl says when describing his free-flowing creative process. “I love using material that’s just out there, foraged things just around.”

His designs took a more imaginative turn in December 2020, when his longtime clients wanted something to smile about as the pandemic spoiled | 127

holiday routines. “That’s the year that I really just started thinking outside the box in terms of some of the front doors.”

Last year, Lugibihl’s outdoor displays graced more than 55 homes. “I basically start the day after Thanksgiving — and it’s nonstop,” he says. When we spoke in late September, he was already booked for the 2022 holiday season.

“One of the problems now is that there’s only so much I can do.” While he brings in a small staff to help with the Christmas rush, most of his clients want Lugibihl’s personal artistic touch.

Growing up on a farm in Ohio, Lugibihl always loved flowers. After college, he got an office job working in technology. “And after about two or three years, I decided I can’t sit inside a cubicle and in front of a computer all day long,” he says. He went to Europe, where he worked in a lilac nursery in Holland.

Upon returning to the United States, he worked in various roles at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro. “There, I learned all the things I enjoy — gardening, food — it’s a beautiful restaurant and inn,” he says. “They | 129

started hosting weddings there. Being in the garden, one day, I just happened to put some flowers on one of their cakes, and it was like, ‘Oh, you’re pretty good at this.’”

After several years as the floral designer at Fearrington, he went out on his own. He moved to Charlotte 13 years ago and opened a small studio in Plaza Midwood, which he quickly outgrew. His current studio-warehouse space in South End is chock full of vases, planters and decorative accessories he’s accumulated for his projects — there’s even a cutting garden out back.

Most clients give him free rein with his designs. Similar to how a sculptor transforms a shapeless block of clay into a work of art, Lugibihl combines branches, berries, pinecones and more into stunning archways, wreaths, garlands and swags. As a result, no two installations are alike.

“I don’t even call them clients anymore — they’re friends. I made a family, almost, because they’ve supported me throughout the years … I’ve been very fortunate.” SP


Going green

Decorating with fresh greenery in the South can be challenging. “People like to decorate fairly early,” Lugibihl says, but fresh-cut branches typically don’t stay green longer than a couple of weeks. The design er offers a few tips for incorporating fresh greenery into your holiday decor.

Avoid direct sun and heat

When it comes to outdoor wreaths and garlands, “it definitely helps if your house doesn’t have direct exposure to the sun,” Lugibihl says. Indoors, consider how high you like to crank up the heat — greenery tends to dry out faster when exposed to warmer air.

Shop your backyard Look in your backyard first — evergreens such as boxwood, cedar, hemlock, magnolia and nandina berries all work beautifully at the holidays.

Go faux

“Usually, I’m a purist when it comes to real product,” Lugibihl says. But during the holidays, he’s not opposed to mixing in a little high-quality faux greenery. Lugibihl sometimes uses faux greenery as a base, then plugs real branches and berries into it. If you decorate early, you can replenish the real greenery as needed.

“It’s a tough thing to have fresh-cut greens to last six weeks — it’s just not feasible. But incorporating ornaments and incorporating some faux materials with the real at least gives it some longevity.” | 133

Culture connection



Before one can taste the flavor journey that awaits at El Puro on South Boulevard in Madison Park, the sights and sounds of pre-revolutionary Cuba greet visitors as they walk in the door.

“It’s going to be like spending a day in Havana,” says Ana Acela Perez, who was born in Cuba and owns El Puro along with her older brother, Emmanuel Perez and mother, Dania Hernandez.

A classic, red-and-white 1955 Ford convertible repurposed as a seating booth frames a front corner of the covered patio, decorated with palms and greenery. Ferns and yellow flowers poke out of the trunk, which doubles as a container garden. A vanity plate reads — what else — “El Puro,” which in Spanish is a term used to mean “father” or “father figure.”

Everything here is done with the intention of capturing a point in time before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, when the arts and freedom flourished. Perez points to the big brass statement

chandeliers, which she picked out because they depict the classic glamour and elegance of Old Havana.

Photos of Cuban luminaries like singer Celia Cruz line the walls. A neon sign near the entrance reads Te quedarás porqué te doy cariño, which translates to “You will stay here because I give you love.” Above the sign, there’s a mural of Benny Moré, the iconic Cuban singer whom Perez calls the “El Puro” of Cuban culture.

It’s a sensory roadmap designed to transport guests back to that bygone era. There’s live music each night and monthly car shows in the parking lot (all makes and models are welcome, though American classics are a favorite). The restaurant has its own cigar brand and frequently hosts cigar-rolling demonstrations. Perez even teaches free salsa lessons to guests on Wednesday nights. “I do it out of love,” she says. “I want them to come here and not only learn but to enjoy themselves and to feel like they’re welcome … that they’re in the culture.” | 135
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY EL PURO Clockwise from left: Garbanzos Fritos, Langosta Macorina, Tostones Rellenos, Botero Salad

And there’s the food

The mingling of fine cuisine, music and dance creates an immersive dining experience. Perez’s eyes light up talking about the menu and how every item is authentically Cubaninspired. “I think people who know food know that it’s well done,” she says about a lack of knowledge around Cuban cuisine and a dearth of local establishments. “We are trying to educate people on our food,” she says. “In our country, there’s also really fancy restaurants.”

She smiles describing her favorite appetizer, garbanzos fritos. “I could eat this for every meal … you have to mix it all together, that’s what we do in Cuba,” she says pointing to the sides of plantains and rice. When eaten together, the starter could indeed serve as a main dish. The added depth of chorizo and smoked bacon paired with the beans and house-made sofrito make this dish a solid start to a well-paced meal.

One of the most popular appetizers, tostones rellenos, consists of ropa vieja (shredded beef brisket) and sharp cheddar cheese held together by fried plantain cups. It’s another hearty and satisfying introduction to El Puro’s cuisine. There are also plenty of seafood selections, like langosta macorina (sauteed Caribbean lobster tail with creole sauce and avocado crema), seafood paella and pargo entero (whole fried red snapper with mojo marinade and a lemon finish).

The dessert menu includes a traditional flan kafe (made with cafecito, or Cuban coffee) and a cuatro leches (not three!) sponge cake, a variation of the popular Latin American tres leches dessert. Emmanuel oversees the bar and cocktail menu, which has standard favorites like a mojito and the more adventurous El Jibaro (tequila reposado, dry vermouth, guava nectar, fresh lime juice and cayenne syrup).

And while the warm, dim lighting makes it easy to miss, at the bar there’s a small suitcase tucked into an upper shelf, above rows of bottles and glassware. Perez says it represents how little the family brought to America with them, nothing more than what a suitcase could hold. | 137
Flan Kafe Tamal en Hoja Pargo Entero (whole fried snapper) Classic Mojito El Jibaro

Inspired by “El Puro”

The Perez family came to the States in 2015 and settled in Lincolnton to be with extended family. “It was a very different life . . . starting over and not knowing the language or culture,” Perez says. Her father worked overnight in a stockroom. Her mother found a minimum-wage job at a long-term care facility. “I remember him going home, and my mom had to prepare the bathtub full of ice and water” to soothe his sore muscles.

Within two years, they started to turn a corner. Idael and Dania had just purchased Havana Carolina, a restaurant in downtown Concord. They were excited to share their love of Cuban food and culture.

Two months into the new venture, Idael was tragically taken from them — killed instantly in a car crash the day before Thanksgiving. Perez says they were so overwhelmed and heartbroken, it would have been easy to quit. She was a senior in high school, and her brother had just started college.

Their mom was determined to continue. “My mom always told me that when something terrible happens in your life, you’ve got two options. You either let that thing destroy you, or you use it to strengthen you and inspire other people.”

Perez says El Puro is a love letter dedicated to her father. His pic ture is on the logo, a reminder of his legacy and love that endures.

“My mom always told me that when something terrible happens in your life, you’ve got two options. You either let that thing destroy you, or you use it to strengthen you and inspire other people.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY EL PURO Ana Acela Perez, Dania Hernandez and Emmanuel Perez

Two Cubas

For the Perez family, the cultural nods harken back to home and the stories told by grandparents of pre-Castro Cuba. Perez’s retelling of their history evokes more than a sense of fond nostalgia. There’s a sense of longing for what was and what could have been.

Perez grew up in Castro’s Cuba, but her parents shielded the children from their struggles and scarcity of freedom. They created a happy childhood full of dance lessons for her and baseball games for Emmanuel. Idael was artistic, known as a percussionist, while Dania worked as a nurse. Eventually, her parents branched out and built their own bed-and-breakfast. With entrepreneurial success came a cost.

“They came to the United States because of opportunities and freedom because, you know, Cuba is a very beautiful island but, unfortunately, our government is not the best,” Perez says.

Taxes on the bed-and-breakfast soared as government overreach grew stifling. Perez says entrepreneurs like her parents were not em-

powered to flourish at the expense of government-run competitors. Perhaps that explains their enthusiasm for El Puro and Havana Carolina. “We could never do this in Cuba,” says Perez, who just graduated in May from UNC Charlotte. “We are young, we are learning . . . but you can do anything in this country, so why not do it?”

Last month, the restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary. El Puro would be so proud. Perez blinks hard several times and acknowledges that yes, their father would have loved to see his dream come true in America. “That logo, that’s my Dad,” she says nodding. And he would probably be at the restaurant most nights playing the drums, enjoying the crowd. SP

El Puro serves dinner nightly, lunch, Tuesday-Friday and weekend brunch at 5033 South Blvd. Find the restaurant online at or on Instagram @elpurocubanrestaurant. | 139

2022 the year in photos


Love Stories

We might remember 2022 as a reboot — the year of getting back out there. We gave ourselves permission to start dining out again, to travel again, to dress up again. The last few years have also been a period of profound

creativity — for interior designers, chefs and artists.

At SouthPark, we’re thrilled to be able to work with some of the best photographers in the city and region.

On these pages, we highlight some of their work and share some of our favorite images from the last year.

James and Miracle Yoder of Not Just Coffee in South End
photographed by Richard Israel




Hot-air balloon ing in Statesville photographed by Jennings Cool Roddey


Coming up roses Giovy Buyers, owner of South ern Blossom Florist in Dilworth photographed by Peter Taylor

April Ranch reimagined

A 1960s Lansdowne home redesigned for indoor-outdoor living photographed by Laura Sumrak with styling by Kendra Surface

May Garden party

Spring style feature photo graphed by Olly Yung with styling by Whitley Adkins and Brooke Werhane Maples


Woodland wonder MapleWalk, a private garden owned by Tom Nunnenkamp and Lib Jones photographed by Dustin Peck


Closet crush

Artist Kent Youngstrom photographed in his studio by Amy Kolo


May Postcards

from Italy Roasted oysters at Ever Andalo photographed by Justin Driscoll

September Sandhills sojourn

A weekend in picturesque Pinehurst photographed by Mira Adwell with styl ing by Whitley Adkins | 143


Sea Worthy

August Life in bloom



hand-painted mural by artist Bari J. Ackerman photographed by Megan Easterday Model Bella Davison pho tographed at the Beaufort Hotel by Mira Adwell, styling by Whitley Adkins The statesman Pro golfer Webb Simpson at home in Quail Hollow photographed by Bob Karp


Staying the course

A powder room in a Longview home designed by Anne Buresh and photographed by Dustin Peck


The gift of 50 years John Dabbs Ltd. cele brates five decades, photo graphed by Amy Kolo

October | 145
A purpose- driven art Scott Avett in his art studio outside downtown Concord photographed by Mallory Cash



Serving up hospitality Augusto Conte at his flagship restaurant Toscana photographed by

Peter Taylor Spooky spirits Mena Killough’s Kill Devil Rum punch photographed by Justin Driscoll
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UNCF Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon

September 24


Tasman | 149
A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas SEE MORE PHOTOS ONLINE signature fundraising luncheon named in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou returned to the Charlotte Convention Center with women in colorful hats and dresses. Allen, Dianne Chipps Bailey and Mary Mack were honorees. Arlena Hawthorne and Michyla Green Jameka Whitten and Dr. Kim Blanding Tiffany L. Jones, Mary Mack, Margaret Phinizy and Okeatta Brown Catherine Cadmus and Yvonne Dixon Rochelle Rivas and Angela Yochem Evelyn Williamson and Laura Bynum PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON Carolyn Allison and Iris Hines-Flamer Dianne Chipps Bailey, Mary Mack and Tasman Allen Dr. Michael L. Lomax and Stacee Michelle
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Potters Market at the Mint | 151
September 23
Patrons, collectors and friends browsed pottery and bought pieces from regional artists during this one-day sale on the lawn of Mint Museum Randolph.
BY DANIEL COSTON Mark and Posey Mealy Dana and Joe Woody Annie Carlano and Christine Kosiba Joan Zimmerman and David Zimmerman Cynthia Bringle, Kaitlyn McElwee, Lydia Thompson and Annie Carlano Andrew Stephenson and Nancy Kubale Ben and Sandy Thorman Trista Hudzik and Melanie Lopez Stephen Purcell, Herb Cohen and Vince Long Betsy Blue and Liz Lea Anja Bartels and Gabriel Kline Joey Sheehan, Julie Wiggins and Josh Copus Peggy and Neill McBryde
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Tapas & Testimonials

benefiting International House Charlotte September 16

An international theme made this a fun evening of celebrating many cultures through food and music at Mint Museum Randolph. | 153
BY DANIEL COSTON Stuart and Teresa Singer Jennifer De La Jara and Alexis Gordon L.J. Stambuk, Janet Malkemes and Autumn Weil Brad and Ariel Gritter Lenore Jones Deutsch and Lance Deutsch Jelena Giric-Held and Brittany Chadwick-Schultz Antoinette Faccone and Jane Pasquini Elizabeth and Jorge Fernández Eleanor Harris and Xan Potter Klaus and Concha Becker Lauren Rogers and Wyatt Hume Dr. John and Jane Pasquini, Miyako and Satoshi Watanabe
154 | SOUTHPARK “Hanes’ prose is tight, forthright, and no-nonsense as he illuminates the lives of multiple characters willing to risk everything for a chance at survival.” -Kirkus
Author, E.C. Hanes The Bus to Beulah is a taut thriller that culminates in a massive, heart-pounding chase to save a young woman--before she disappears forever. Pub date - May 10,2022-Paperback ISBN 978-1684631292 Distributed by Ingram Publisher Services New from Winston-Salem’s own E.C. Hanes Find The Bus to Beulah at Bookmarks or $16.95 full service catering. custom gifting. meal delivery. 1520 east boulevard 704.376.4010

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas

50th Anniversary Gala September 24

The gala was an evening of stories and celebration, as the local chapter of BBBS builds on 50 years of mentoring youth through one-on-one relationships. The | 155
organization also recognized Bank of America, Joe Bruno and David Tepper for their support.
BY DANIEL COSTON Rochelle and Eric Rivas Kim and Muggsy Bogues Zach and Tina Strader Ryan and Katherine Daly Rhonda Johnson and Yolanda Johnson Donna Dunlap, Me’Ani and Serena Cockrell Julie Lopett and Savannah Lopett Lois and Michael Whitehead Dee Dixon and Nepherterra Best Aaron Sauerbrey and Tiamo Wright Liz and Joe Bruno Kim and Malcolm Graham
156 | SOUTHPARK 3920 Sharon Rd Ste B150 Charlotte, NC 28211 704.817.7009 Southpark 2028 South Blvd Ste 1B Charlotte, NC 28203 980.309.0526 South End 9816-B Rea Rd Charlotte, NC 28277 704.840.3079 Blakeney | 157
Blaine Raffe and John Dyer Jason Schugel and Pat Farmer Midge and Jerry Barron
Along with fantastic fall weather, patrons saw the first public performance of the Allegro Kids since 2019, capping a great day for a good cause.
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Allegro Foundation’s Annual Golf Invitational Cedarwood Country Club September 26
Cauthen, Donnell Woolford and William Wilson
SOUTHPARK 3151 Apex Drive, Suite 102E, Charlotte, NC 28211 Convenient hours and flexible payment options. Schedule a complimentary consultation at our new facility at Apex-SouthPark. 704-727-6868 | WAXHAW 8412 New Town Road, Suite A, Waxhaw, NC 28173
Richard and Alanna Worrell Alisha Parker
158 | SOUTHPARK c e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 y e a r s ! S U N G L A S S E S | P R E S C R I P T I O N | B L U E L I G H T | R E A D E R S 1035 Providence Road • 704.332.5329 Myers Park at the Harris Teeter Shopping Center merry & bright

FORCE Turquoise | 159
enjoyed creative food and drink pairings, a silent auction and live
and raised more than $73,000 to fund
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Tasting benefiting the American Lung Association October 13 Guests
music at the Duke Mansion
research to end lung cancer.
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At SouthPark’s pop-up shopping event in November, Levon Handsome from Joe-Le Soap, an organic skincare line of natural soaps and body butters, greets customers stocking up for the holidays and explains how the products are made. Her mom, Emma Eversley, jumps in with a quick, warm smile to help with packaging and orders. They make a great team.

It was important to Levon to be there, not only as a small-business owner mindful of the opportunity to grow the brand — but perhaps more importantly, for personal reasons.

Joe-Le Soap was created four years ago by Levon and her husband, Joe Handsome, who passed away in January 2022 of cancer. Joe was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1996 and was in remission until 2017, when the cancer presented again as a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was Joe’s need for safe, natural and effective soap that inspired the business. With his creative mind and engineering background, Joe began experimenting with different ingredients in their kitchen. The couple shared samples with loved ones, and after rave reviews, the Handsomes realized they were onto something.

As Levon took the helm of their business, Joe played a sup porting role. She launched full-time into making Joe-Le Soap during the pandemic after she was laid off from a corporate job. The small-batch, plant-based products provide an alternative for customers with sensitive skin or who simply want to avoid artificial ingredients.

When Joe died, Joe-Le Soap became a safe space for Levon. It provided a constructive and therapeutic outlet. “I took the pain of losing my husband and turned it into something that the consumer space could really benefit from. Joe would want that,” Levon says.

“He left me with the gift of making soap by hand, and he pushed me to get in the kitchen and figure out how to make body butters,” she says. “He knew what this brand meant to me, and how this soap and this body butter was my ‘plane building,’ Levon says, referencing Joe’s own passion for building small aircraft.

Joe-Le Soap is still family-run with help from Levon’s mother, stepfather and brother — a company born out of a need, which now helps others and is a reminder of an enduring partnership. SP

160 | SOUTHPARK | gallery
COURTESY AND KELSIE ELIZABETH PHOTOGRAPHY Levon Handsome, right, with her mother, Emma Eversley at The Duke Mansion; soaps and body butters from Joe-Le Soap
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