Today's Charlotte Woman June 2015

Page 1

JUNE 2015


Dressed Best Style Maven Erica Hanks Film Fatales Meet Charlotte’s Leading Ladies

Including: Paige Johnston Thomas, Kat Feliciano, Bonnie Johnson, Korinne Meier & Angela Oberer

The Swim Suit Issue!

Popping The Question, Perfectly

Special Feature For Moms From Little Ones Magazine

Will Six Months Smile Work For You? by Dr. Chris Bowman


o you have crooked, spaced, or uneven teeth? Would you like to have more confidence in your smile? Read on for infomation on the amazing differences today’s dentistry can make in your life. Whether you’re seeking cosmetic solutions for your smile, wondering how to correct certain dental problems, or simply looking for a new dentist, we can help. Got a question for me? Great! Please send all questions to, and include your first name and city/town where you live. Either I or one of my professional dental team members will answer every question we receive within 1-2 business days. We look forward to helping you! • Six Month Smiles is a compleletely different process than traditional braces. Six Month Smiles is a simplified orthodontic system for adults who don’t want to spend up to 2 years in conventional metal braces. Using light forces and low-friction tooth movements, we can move teeth quickly, focusing mainly on the teeth that show when you smile. While most cases take 3-9 months, we can achieve gorgeous results for our patients in an average of about 6 months. • Six Month Smiles™ is not the same as Invisalign™.

It’s actually quite different...we offer both in my practice. While Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth, Six Month Smiles uses clear brackets with tooth colored wires. Each system has it’s own advantages,and both are cosmetically appealing during treatment. We help each patient make the best treatment decision for her/him, based on their individual cosmetic goals and the clinical conditions we’re addressing.

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Month Smiles

• Most people are candidates for Six Month Smiles™. The only way to know for sure is through a simple but thorough consultation and smile evaluation. Most people with crooked or spaced teeth are candidates for Six Month Smiles™. It’s very rewarding to help our patients achieve the smile they want during the average time span between two typical dental cleanings! If you have any further questions about Six Month Smiles™, or any-thing else “dental”, simply contact us by calling Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte at 704-837-8261. Free “Smile Consultations” are available for serious inquiries.

Mia, After Six Month Smile s Treatment tim e: 5 1/2 mon ths!

Dr. Chris Bowman is a leading Charlotte cosmetic dentist, Six Month Smiles™ Clinical Instructor, and Invisalign™ Preferred Provider. He is among the first 16 general dentists in the world to provide the Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation procedure. Dr. Bowman is also a dental author and international speaker, He has been featured locally on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.

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Inside This Issue

22 26 40 6

Editor’s Letter


Girl Power

Beach Or Bust

Eat, Shop, Drink & Be Powerful

14 Queen’s List Goings On Around Town

16 Dressing The Part Wardrobe Stylist Erica Hanks

Attracts National Attention

21 Seen In The City Out And About In Charlotte 22 Will You Marry Me? Nicole Bryce & Lauren Herbstritt

Plan Perfect Proposals

26 Lights, Camera, Action! Local Women Filmmakers

Call The Shots


32 Dwellings Get Your Garden Party On 38 Beauty Just Glow With It

14 | June 2015 4

40 Style Ready, Set, Swim 44 Special Section: Courtesy Of Little Ones Magazine


50 I Really Think Finding The Perfect Bathing Suit

On The Cover Wardrobe stylist Erica Hanks. PHOTO BY GLENN ROBERSON. | June 2015


From The Editor » By Karsen Price


Volume 19, Number 2 June 2015

Beach Or Bust | June 2015 6

he beach and summer are synonymous to me. Every year of my childhood, my family went for a weeklong trip to the beach, usually with a group of families from our church. We would listen to Jimmy Buffett and the Drifters, devour peel-and-eat shrimp, and bask in chairs in front of the ocean, back before we realized that a tan was not a good thing. There would be shagging on oceanfront porches, plenty of laughter, and music, always music. My sister and I would always plant ourselves front and center on the sand, staring at the ocean, soaking it in like we were having a religious experience. There is just something so healing and mystical about the ocean roar … the way the waves come back to you, over and over again, ebbing, flowing. Sort of like life itself. If you pinned me down, and made me choose between living at the mountains or the beach, I would probably pick the mountains. I get tired of sun and sand, eventually. That said, summer isn’t summer without a beach trip. I learned that the hard way last year. I sold my house in late May, and my parents sold theirs in July, and between those two moves (and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, plus one failed yard sale) we lost our summer. And likewise, our summer beach trip. Which is why I’m ecstatic that I will leave for our first big-family beach trip since 2013 in 18 days, 2 hours, and 23 minutes. Approximately. At the beach, magical things happen. As a 1-year-old, my daughter learned to walk at the beach. Another year, my sister and I were riding on a friend’s boat in the ocean, and jumped off for what

looked like a peaceful salt-water soak … and found ourselves in our own personal “Finding Nemo” moment, surrounded by hundreds of tiny little jellyfish. I learned to walk that day, too. On water. Go way back into the archives, and I learned to appreciate beer at the beach — you know, that soulful,“man, this beer is life-altering” appreciation. I remember my first “legal” beach trip in college with my family, where I could actually drink beer in front of my folks. My sis and I took a boat ride with my dad and his friends that week, and the men all made fun of how many beers I drank. One of my favorite beach trips, a storm was coming in. I went out in the ocean with my friends. The waves were so ferocious they were breaking over our heads — I’m talking “Point Break,” here. I felt so courageous, so strong, navigating those waves, and coming back up for more. I didn’t even lose a contact lens. Silly memories, maybe. But I can still feel the sting of too much sun on my adolescent skin, the greasy comfort of Foil smeared all over me, one of my best boy buddies equally burnt to a crisp beside me, searching for sand dollars. As an adult, I remember flying kites with my daughter, the way she was instantly great at getting her pink owl kite aloft, flying higher and better than the rest of us … and how the little kite seemed to dive-bomb anyone who walked near her. Most of all, I remember staring deep into the ocean’s soul and having tears on my face for no reason at all. Beach season. It’s here. Hallelujah.

Karsen Price Editor

Sharon Simpson Publisher

Trisha Robinson Sales Executive

Beth Packard Sales Executive

Taylor Buckley Sales Executive

Kerrie Boys Creative Director

Social Media Director Michele Chastain Style Editor Stacee Michelle • Contributing Writers Jackie Andolino Fogartie Allison Futterman Kirsten Gordon Lauren Levine Renee Roberson Contributing Photographers Tiffani Evans Ken Noblezada Andrea Perullo de Ledesma Glenn Roberson Mission statement:Today’s Charlotte Woman celebrates the lives, loves and endeavors of the women of Charlotte. Our mission is to inspire and motivate our community through well-written editorial content, artful photography and elegant design. The magazine will enlighten, engage and entertain its readers, ever seeking to spotlight the unbreakable strength that is the heart of Today’s Charlotte woman. P.O. Box 1676 • Cornelius, NC 28031 704.677.9159 Today’s Charlotte Woman is published by Venture Magazines LLC, and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout the greater Charlotte area. Subscription rate is $20 per year for 12 issues. Copyright© 2015 Venture Magazines LLC All rights reserved. Copying or reproduction, in part or in whole, is strictly prohibited. Today’s Charlotte Woman and Venture Magazines LLC, do not necessarily endorse the views and perceptions of contributors or advertisers.

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Getting to the Root of the Matter


Girl Power » In The Moment » By Karsen Price

GirlPower Eat, Shop, Drink & Be Powerful



Elizabeth Kowalski Offers The Fourth Annual Charlotte New Music Festival | June 2015 8

harlotte native and music maven Elizabeth Kowalski is the founder of the Charlotte New Music Festival, a nonprofit, contemporary classical music program that unites talent from around the world and is celebrating its fourth year this June. Featuring 30 composers, plus choreographers and dancers, the festival is unique to Charlotte, both creating a venue for classical music and offering a unique collaboration between dance and music. Kowalski founded the festival in 2011, after searching in vain for a contemporary classical music program.

During the festival, music composers, choreographers and dancers will attend master classes and lectures by renowned professors in the field. Afterward, compositions will be performed in seven concerts, featuring world-class musicians from Charlotte, New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The festival’s final concert — known as Arts Align — will showcase these works. Kowalski says, “The opportunity to present this art form to the public while promoting and enabling young up-and-coming artists has been exhilarating, and the response over the past years has been quite rewarding.”

Here, Kowalski talks about her upcoming festival. Q: Why did you start the festival? A: One, I wanted to attend something like this, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Two, I wanted to create more opportunities for myself and people like myself to work with quality artists and get quality performances of our music. Three, I wanted to live and work in Charlotte, since my family is here. In order to live and work here, though, I needed to raise awareness of contemporary classical music. Q: Do people find that they know more about classical music than they think? A: People hear this type of music more often than they think, but don’t know about it. Many people say they thought

all of the composers were dead! It has been my mission to incorporate contemporary classical music and also modern dance into the fabric of Charlotte’s local culture and identity — more or less creating a “scene” here for it. Q: How has participation grown since the festival’s first year? A: There were roughly 12 composers and four choreographers the first year. This year, there are 31 composers and eight choreographers. Overall, between the festival staff, volunteers, guest musicians, dancers, music composers and dance choreographers, there are well over 100 people involved. I started with a five-year plan, a 10-year plan, and a 20-year plan. Right now, it’s right where I hoped it would be four years into it. Q: Explain the festival’s connection between music and dance. A: There is really no other program like this for composers and choreographers to collaborate. We accept participating music composers

and dance choreographers into the program and assign them to each other based on their styles. They work together with guest dancers and musicians to create pieces that will be performed fully live on stage. Q: Any interesting surprises along the way? A: One thing that I didn’t realize (because I’m not a dancer) is that dancers rarely get the chance to work with live music, so this adds to the element of learning for them. The biggest concert we have is always the Arts Align concert, where we premiere these music and dance collaborations. It is so interesting to see what people come up with, and I’m more and more impressed each year. After the festival, many of the collaborators continue working together despite being from different places all over the world. Q: Why is it called “new music” if it’s based on classical (some could say, “old”) music? A: It’s called new music because it is technically “avant-garde” and

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ToLearnMore Visit, and click on the “concerts” tab to find various concert dates. The Arts Align concert will be held at Dana Auditorium at Queens University on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. For information on Elizabeth Kowalski, visit | June 2015

Call 704.787.0103 or visit website at

contemporary classical music. It is very contemporary, but uses forms and techniques that stem from the classical style. Plus, it doesn’t get much newer than this! After the June 2015 Charlotte New Music Festival, we’ll have commissioned and premiered approximately 250 new pieces of music to date. Local and international composers write music before and during the festival, and it is premiered here in Charlotte. The audience members are the first people on the planet to witness these new works, and the composers and choreographers are always present and speak briefly before each piece to help the audience understand the new pieces.


Girl Power » Shop Talk » By Allison Futterman » Photos By Andrea Perullo de Ledesma | June 2015 10

Movie Mania Twiggy Cerniglia’s Unique Indie Video Store

hances are, if you’ve been to VisArt Video in Elizabeth, you’ve met Twiggy Cerniglia. The co-owner of Charlotte’s only independent video store is as unique as her business. Her strong individual style includes blue and blond highlights mixed in with her brown hair, and a few tattoos. She’s a woman who is authentic about expressing herself, both visually and with words — traits that came in handy in 2011, when the store nearly closed up shop for good. Cerniglia had worked as the store manager for years, but at the end of 2010, the owner of VisArt decided to close the store. Cerniglia couldn’t bear the thought of VisArt Video closing, so she led several efforts to raise the funds to buy the business. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and she and the staff were forced to start

shutting down. Regular customer and Charlotte lawyer Mickey Aberman happened to come in the first day of the “going out of business” sale, and wound up saving the day — and the business. Cerniglia says, “He saw how dire it was and asked how much we needed.” Aberman negotiated a deal with the owner to buy VisArt, and he and Cerniglia became the new co-owners. There was much jubilation in the area when people learned that VisArt would be saved. “People did not want us to leave,” says Cerniglia. “A lot of people would have been heartbroken and I would have felt like I was taking something away from the city.” Then, reality set in. Cerniglia had never owned a business before. “Here I was, about to be out of a job and now, bam, I’m a business owner,” she says. She credits Aberman with providing invaluable guidance, but she also wanted to be proactive about learning. “You know the first thing I did?” she asks.“I bought the book Small Business for Dummies,” she says, with

a laugh. She admits there was a lot to learn. “I had never ordered the movies before,” she says,“and I had to start watching hundreds of movie trailers every week so I could decide which ones to get.” Although it was overwhelming and scary at times, Cerniglia had good instincts, and her intelligence, common sense and aptitude for learning on the fly have worked in her favor as owner of VisArt Video. Cerniglia thought sales should be a greater part of VisArt’s revenue than simply rentals. To that end, she started selling movie/cartoon/comic action figures at the store. Next, she added posters and other movierelated merchandise. She decided to participate in comic book and sci-fi film conventions. Selling merchandise and DVDs at conventions has resulted in an increased customer base. “It’s driven business to the store,” she says. VisArt has many loyal, regular customers from all over Charlotte.

With over 30,000 titles, there’s something for everyone. The store offers many genres, new releases,TV shows and films that are hard to find — which customers love. The first year as co-owner, Cerniglia was working 80 hours a week. She still works many hours, but enjoys what she’s doing. She appreciates her customers and considers many of them to be friends. “I love it here, I can be real,” she says. VisArt is moving in late August to a new location at Eastway Crossing, on the corner of Eastway and Central. Despite proving that she can run and own a business, Cerniglia has encountered people who make incorrect assumptions about her nontraditional look. When new customers express surprise that she is the owner, she jokes, “What were they expecting, Donald Trump?”

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Queen’s List

Queen’sList Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner Dirty Dancing Comes To Belk

he well-loved story of Baby and Johnny is coming to the stage June 16 through 21 at Belk Theater. The worldwide hit “Dirty Dancing” features music, dancing and a love story that endures over the years. Seen by millions across the globe, “Dirty Dancing” tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in the most triumphant summer of their lives. The show features hit songs such as “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and, of course, “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life.”

WantToGo? Visit | June 2015 14

Summertime Feast Charlotte Restaurant Week on’t miss summer’s addition of the semiannual Queen’s Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week® July 17 through July 26, featuring delish three-course prix fixe dinners from over 100 upscale

restaurants in the metro Charlotte area.

WantToGo? Visit in late June to peruse participating restaurants’ special menus and reservation information.


Goings On Around Our Town

Colorful Creations Jerald Melberg Gallery Hosts Charles Basham

erald Melberg Gallery is hosting a solo exhibition of new paintings and pastels by Charles Basham through June 20. Basham has been creating visually stimulating and emotionally charged landscapes for over 40 years. The show features Basham’s new series of pastels and oil paintings, which capture compelling moments of indirect morning and evening light, heightened through the use of bold, stunning color.

WantToGo? Jerald Melberg Gallery is located at 625 S. Sharon Amity Road. Visit

Every Breath Eat For A Cause You Take Dine Out For Kids The LUNGe Forward 5K

WantToGo? Visit

n June 16, grab your hungriest friends and relatives and participate in the 16th annual Dine Out For Kids®, which offers restaurants and individuals the chance to make a difference in the lives of students through Communities In Schools. Participating restaurants donate a portion of the day’s sales to Communities In Schools. More than 85 restaurants are on board this year, offering breakfast, lunch or dinner for a good cause.

WantToGo? Visit for a list of participating restaurants. [TCW] | June 2015

id you know lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined? Provide hope for those affected by lung cancer by participating in the LUNGe Forward 5K on June 6 at 7 a.m. at Park Road Park. The race is presented by Carolinas Healthcare System and Charlotte Radiology. Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina is determined to decrease deaths and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina.


Mover & Shaker » By Jackie Andolino Fogartie » Photo By Glenn Roberson | June 2015


Dressing The Part


Erica Hanks Is Nationally Known For

Her Style ou could say Erica Hanks has style. Recently named one of Southern Living’s Top 50 Best Dressed Southerners, the Charlottebased wardrobe stylist has turned her passion into a thriving career, styling high-profile professional athletes, plus working on commercial and editorial styling gigs for clients that have been featured in Marie Claire, Forbes Magazine and on Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others. A mother of three, Hanks has managed to grow her stellar reputation and client list all while putting her family first. | June 2015 17

Mover & Shaker » By Jackie Andolino Fogartie » Images Courtesy Of Erica Hanks

[ Erica Hanks has made a name for herself around the country with her cool, chic style, even catching the eyes of Southern Living. ]

Fashioning A Career | June 2015 18

The styling bug hit Hanks from an early age. As a child, Hanks enjoyed pulling together outfits and accessories for her mother, who loved dressing up to go just about anywhere. During her high school and college years, Hanks was the go-to stylist for friends and family. “Fashion concepts and putting together looks was always fun and easy to me,” she says. “I honed my aesthetic and work ethic from an early age, styling everything from mannequins and floor sets to window displays in the retail world during

high school and college.” After the births of her three children, Hanks decided to turn her passion into a career. Primarily through word of mouth, Hanks has grown her business by leaps and bounds by handling high profile clients, as well as a mixture of commercial and editorial work. Hanks is very private about who she dresses. “Everyone wants to know who I dress, but I have grown by keeping mum,” she says. “I am happy to be a behind-the-scenes player for my clients. People in the athletic realm are a good chunk of my clientele, but

they aren’t my only clientele. My team and I work with men and women of all walks of life. I do commercial work as well, so it’s definitely a little of this, a little of that. I could be dressing a client one day, styling an editorial the next, and working for a national corporation the day after.” Hanks recently worked on an exciting project with Giambattista Valli Couture and Capitol Charlotte for their Giambattista Valli Couture event at the Duke Mansion. She notes that working closely with GVC reps was a great experience. Hanks says, “I learned quite a lot

Photo By Glenn Roberson

Wardrobe Talk With Erica Hanks

Q: Are there essential items every woman should have in her closet? A: A tailored blazer, a great pair of jeans, black heels, nude heels, a go-to black dress, versatile jewelry, and a neutral trench to go with everything. Once you have those pieces, you can put them with a variety of items and accessories you already own. Q: What is your personal go-to outfit? A: My go-to is usually jeans, a V-neck, a blazer and heels.

appointments with clients, or doing research for upcoming projects. “There is never a duplicate day!” she says. With a jam-packed schedule, Hanks says it truly takes a village to handle both work and home life. “My children are all school age, which helps a lot, and we are thankful to have both sets of grandparents live in Charlotte,” she says. “I just hired our first non-family babysitter, and I don’t know how we did it all these years! I have an amazing partner in my husband, and we tag team when we need to. But many of my clients respect the fact that

Q: What are some classic pieces that defy all trends? A: Classic pieces that we see come back year after year include a great tailored suit, as well as the white button-down. Pencil skirts have stayed relevant, but I love that they are getting longer for a modern take. And the trouser is always here to stay. Q: Where do you shop in Charlotte? A: I rarely find time to shop for myself in Charlotte! Crazy, but true. | June 2015

about runway line-ups, organization, order and presentation, which helped me tremendously with a runway show I just did for a client for Charleston Fashion Week. Who else better to learn from than an iconic Paris fashion house?” A typical day for Hanks starts by dropping off her kids at school. She then heads to her studio to touch base with her team about the day’s agenda, where they discuss client and internal needs, in addition to trends, designers and collections. Some days they hit local stores or shop online to pull items for clients. Other workdays include editing closets, making studio and in-home

Q: What’s the best way to dress up a simple outfit? A: It depends on what you’re getting dressed for. Professionally, a really great long necklace that’s simple and clean can really finish off a look. For play, a bold statement necklace or summer scarf is an ideal choice.


Mover & Shaker » By Jackie Andolino Fogartie » Photo By Glenn Roberson


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I put my family first, and a good majority of my clients are happy to schedule appointments with me during school hours, which I’m very grateful for. I’m blessed to have such clients.” Despite all the glitz and glamour, Hanks is the first to say that being a stylist is hard work. “I think many people look at me and think all I do is skip through stores and play in clothes,” Hanks notes. “It’s hard work. Every job is different, every client is different, and what you like may not be what the client will want. I have to make the end product look effortless and amazing, but for every job I do, there’s a lot of research, networking, pre-planning, organization and knowledge of brands, fits, body types, collections and how that is going to translate on a client or model.” She adds, “A stylist is not a glamorous job, I’m just in a glamorous industry.” Her goal is to have happy clients that feel confident about their appearance. Her favorite part of the job is “the smiles, the high fives, even the bear hugs, when a client feels good.” She says,“When a company loves the way their ads look, when a magazine gets amazing feedback from working with me, I know I did my job well.”

ToLearnMore Visit or find her on social media as TheEricaHanks. [TCW]

Jackie Andolino Fogartie is no fashion stylist, but she won’t be caught dead without a pair of fabulous earrings or a chunky statement necklace.

SeenInTheCity Out & About In Charlotte

n April 28, the Bag Lady Luncheon was held at Trump National Golf Club. Gently used handbags were on auction, as well as accessories and fine jewelry. All proceeds benefited the Patriot Charities, a nonprofit that supports wounded military and their families in the Carolinas. The posh crowd had plenty of fun.

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Feature » By Jackie Andolino Fogartie » Photos By Tiffani Evans | June 2015


Will You

Marry Me? Nicole Bryce & Lauren Herbstritt Plan Perfect Proposals | June 2015

hat do flash mobs, zip lines and engagement rings have in common? They can all play a role in the perfect modern-day marriage proposal. With social media putting everything personal on display these days, young men and women are looking for creative ways to pop the question — and that’s where the girls from Perfect Proposals come in. Nicole Bryce and Lauren Herbstritt — event planners extraordinaire and long-time college friends — created the business and have been planning Charlotte-area wedding proposals for over a year.


Feature » By Jackie Andolino Fogartie » Photos By Tiffani Evans

Popping The Question | June 2015 24

After seeing a story about proposal planning on the Today Show, Bryce, who is a finance consultant, reached out to Herbstritt, an event manager at a local country club. Her idea: to start a similar business in Charlotte. Herbstritt says, “Even though I’m already an event planner, Nicole was the one to actually approach me about the idea. I have already planned all types of other events and occasions, so I thought, why not add proposals! We did the research and found no other companies like this in the North Carolina area, so we decided it was worth a try in this market. We thought it might be a great way to make some extra money, but also really make the dream of owning our own business a reality.” With social media’s modernday saturation, the simple act of a man getting down on one knee has literally been put on display. With choreographed dance flash-mob videos and other elaborate proposal scenarios featured in YouTube videos across the country, there’s added pressure to have an amazing proposal story. “There is definitely more pressure due to social media around proposals,” Bryce says. “We try to remind the proposer that it is not about how elaborate the proposal is, it’s how thoughtful it is and what comes from the heart.”

The new business owners note that people are not struggling with creative ways to propose, but instead need help fine-tuning details and logistics. “We don’t think it’s necessarily a lack of creativity, it’s that they don’t know how to do it or where to start, and that’s where we come in,” Herbstritt says. “We can take a general idea or theme, and be able to elaborate on it and find the details that will make it really special.” Perfect Proposals offers three packages, from simply providing creative proposal ideas to the client, to coordinating the entire proposal — including vendor coordination, location setup and logistics. All clients are given a questionnaire about their relationship and personal needs to help Bryce and Herbstritt create the perfect, individualized proposal. “We can be as involved as they would like us to be … we can coordinate any transportation, purchase any décor — like flowers, candles, champagne — and then decorate the space,” Herbstritt says. “It depends on the package they select, but the majority of the time we coordinate all the details and are present for the proposal; we are hiding, of course!” Most clients have an idea of how they want their proposal to go. Bryce says, “The questionnaire helps them think through things they

might not have considered, such as if the proposee’s preference would be private or public, romantic or adventurous, and so on. We always try to highlight some sort of details that reflect the couple’s relationship, to make it unique and special, whether it’s an inside joke, a theme, or an activity they would enjoy.” The most unusual proposal they’ve planned was for the adventurous type: a zip-lining proposal. After the first person went down, her partner came second, holding a “Will you marry me?” sign. Despite the varying styles and types of proposals, the planners find that most people want their proposal captured through photos or video. Herbstritt says, “Brides love to be able to look back and watch the video or look at photos of the actual moment. It goes by so fast that it allows you to relive it almost any time you want. Another popular request is some sort of after-party with family and friends to celebrate.” The planners feel fortunate to be involved in such a special time. Bryce says,“Our favorite part is being able to see the look on the proposee’s face and then the happiness they share together. It is such an incredible moment that we’ve both already personally experienced, so we can relate to how special it is.” They hope to expand into all of North and South Carolina, and of course, the icing on the cake would be for Perfect Proposal clients to turn into repeat customers, by asking Bryce and Herbstritt to help plan the rest of their wedding events. “We would love our customers to allow Perfect Proposals to help plan their bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and even wedding,” Herbstritt says.

ToLearnMore Visit, or find them on Facebook at ThePerfectProposals. [TCW] Jackie Andolino Fogartie is a writer who doubles as an event/wedding planner in Charlotte.

Feature » By Kirsten Gordon » Photos By Glenn Roberson | June 2015 26


Photographer Glenn Roberson Style & Concept By Kirsten Gordon Production Assistants: Blythe Barrington-Hughes & Kayla Fox Makeup By Monique Hart Floyd, Katie O’Neil & Nancy Sears Hair By Audrey Mills & Katie O’Neil Shot On Location At The Gallery Bar @ The Gallery Restaurant In Ballantyne Hotel

Local Women Filmmakers

Call The Shots | June 2015


eading into Hollywood’s allimportant movie-going season this summer, two converging box-office movements are causing studios to rethink the status quo … and women filmmakers in Charlotte couldn’t be happier to hear it.


Feature » By Kirsten Gordon » Photos By Glenn Roberson | June 2015 28

So far in 2015, women have delivered the three most successful live-action openings of the year.

First, women are driving ticket sales to a degree scarcely, if ever, witnessed before. Simultaneously, young males — long Hollywood’s most coveted audience — are a declining theatre audience. (Unlike women, most men would rather watch on a device than visit a theater and eat buttered popcorn by the handful!) So far in 2015, women have delivered the three most successful live-action openings of the year. The $54 million opening weekend audience for “Insurgent” was 60-percent female, while the opening crowd for “Fifty Shades of Grey” was 67-percent female, and “Cinderella” had a 66-percent female audience. It would be easier to shelve those takings as a coincidence if a pageant of movies targeting young men hadn’t also burned-out over the same period — namely, “Jupiter Ascending,” “Seventh Son,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” “Chappie” and “The Gunman.” Studios awoke to the force of female ticket consumers in 2008, when the “Twilight” vampireromances became a global sensation. Since then, women’s wallets have turned films such as “The Hunger Games,” “Bridesmaids” and “Frozen” into smash triumphs. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Rentrak, which tracks box-office data, says the muscle of women at the cinema has recently gone from sporadic to continuous. “The whole notion of the summer blockbuster has always been built around young men,” he says. “I think we’re about to see that change. The clout and importance of the female audience has never been bigger.” And who is best at writing stories that appeal to the female moviegoer? Women filmmakers. In 2013-14, women comprised 27 percent of creators, executive producers, producers, writers, directors, editors and directors of photography working on prime-time programs airing on the broadcast networks. On screen, women accounted for only 42 percent of all speaking characters. However, women filmmakers are hitting their stride as of late. French actressdirector Emmanuelle Bercot’s “La Tete Haute” was selected to open the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015 — the first female director to open the festival since 1987. The South by Southwest Film Festival, which has always been a springboard for women filmmakers, had more girl power this year than ever before, from the female-driven comedies “Trainwreck” and “Spy,” to the work of breakout directors including Shannon SunHigginson and Hannah Fidell. Charlotte women are contributing to these trends. From directors to actors and every role in between, our area is rich with talent. Read on to meet some of Charlotte’s most notable film fatales.

a producer and director of theater productions, and executive producer of the award-winning documentary “Emma’s Gifts.” She partnered with Paige Johnston Thomas in 1996 to establish Corrigan & Johnston Casting. Casting Southeast is the film/television division of C & J Casting, and has worked on projects such as “Goodbye To All That” and “The Taking of Deborah Logan.”

In Carolinas Film Project competition. In 2013, she co-created The Arcadias Foundation, a video production company that creates free marketing/ informational videos for organizations lacking the funds to publicize their mission statement.

Cat Berkowitz

Actor, Acting Coach >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cat was inspired to act after seeing “Home Alone” as a child. She earned a degree in theater and has credits for acting, writing and directing, along with a few casting credits. She recently played the lead role in “Cosmetically Speaking,” a television pilot, and is an acting coach. She offers audition taping through her company, Slate Your Name Studio.

Ericka DeAbreu

Talent Agent >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ericka is the owner of DeAbreu Modeling Consulting, headquartered in Columbia, S.C. After a successful career as a professional model, she wanted to help aspiring models and actors find success. Ericka has placed talent in national and international print campaigns, local and national commercials, sitcoms, music videos, and films. Booking credits include commercials for Verizon Wireless, GapKids, Justice and the “Are We There Yet?” television series.

Mitzi Corrigan

Casting Director, Script Supervisor, Executive Producer >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Mitzi has been a casting director for over 23 years. She has worked as a script supervisor for film and commercials,

Actor, Director, Producer >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Katherine began acting in 2008, after being laid-off from a marketing office position. She has worked with national brands such as Coke, Wrangler, Samsung, and alongside Danny McBride in a K-Swiss shoes spot. Every year, she coproduces and directs a film to enter into the Carolina Film Community’s Made

Casting Agent, Founder Of The Carolina Film Community >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Juli got her start acting in stage plays and progressed into film acting. Now, she focuses in extras casting, with more than 30 projects on her résumé, including “The Longest Ride,” “Spongebob Squarepants 2” and “You Are Here.” She founded Carolina Film Community, (formerly Charlotte Film Community) in April 2009, and also owns the casting site | June 2015

Katherine Drew

Juli Emmons


Feature » By Kirsten Gordon » Photos By Glenn Roberson

School of the Arts High School Drama Program. Currently, she is directing a long narrative passion project, and co-directing a stage play at the Warehouse Theatre. She believes in the endlessly expansive power of motion pictures, and longs for the day when “Women in Film” classes are no longer needed, because women will be incorporated into the mainstream curriculum.

Luz Kaiolani “Kai” Feliciano

Production Assistant, Assistant Director, Producer >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kai’s first job in film was for a Food Lion commercial in Charlotte. Since then, she’s worked on dozens of projects, including “Homeland,” “Iron Man 3,” “The Daily Show” and Kevin Smith’s “Tusk.” On season two of “Banshee,” she was hired as assistant to producer Bob Phillips, and in season three, was promoted to associate producer. Kai returns to “Banshee” as associate producer for its fourth season. | June 2015 30

Talbot Hall

Director >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Talbot is a former actor and graduate of the University of North Carolina

Bonnie Johnson

Actor >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bonnie moved from Ohio to Charlotte in 1981, and began working in feature films at Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington in 1986. She’s had principal roles in over 80 feature films, including “Big Fish,” “Sleeping With The Enemy,” “Rules Of Engagement” and “Patch Adams.” She’s had parts in TV movies, including “Trinity Goodheart,” “Killing Kennedy” and “Anna Nicole,” plus TV series and commercials. She has worked with Denzel Washington, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Roberts and Robin Williams, among others. She enjoys working on projects with her favorite co-star, husband Ted Johnson, and thanks God for opening doors that allowed her to pursue her passion.

Helen Kearney Konen

Actor, Writer, Director, Acting Coach >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Helen started as a voice major in

Southern California, but after winning an acting part over Diane Keaton, she changed her major to theater arts. She continued singing (even performing solo once with The Carpenters in college) and graduated with a bachelor’s in theater arts from California State University, Long Beach. Her over 35 years of acting, directing and writing led to a career as a private coach and acting teacher in Charlotte.

Korinne Meier

Director, Cinematographer, Writer, Actor >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Korinne started as a classically trained theater actress, and has performed at The Kennedy Center, The Abrons Arts Center, and The RedCat Theater. Upon graduation from the California Institute of the Arts with an MFA, her

keen writing landed her on the set of ABC Family’s drama “Lincoln Heights,” shadowing the executive producer and showrunner. She sharpened her directing and cinematography skills with the post-Civil War short drama “Hidden In My Heart.” Her short film “Nostalgia” won best cinematography at the 2014 Made In Charlotte film contest. Korinne’s film company, 1800 Films, is in preproduction for an upcoming web series, and she has a feature film in development.

to Charlotte last year and co-created Life Long Productions, currently in post-production on three new media mini-series.

Vanessa Ore

Angela Oberer

Writer, Producer, Actor >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> A native of New York, Vanessa has over 41 acting credits, six producer credits, and four writer credits. With a background in advertising, Vanessa always had a desire to be involved with the entertainment industry. She dove into the industry after moving to Charlotte in 2003, where she began writing short vignettes for churches, business conferences, and dinner theater before finding her niche in film. Vanessa has appeared in feature films, including “My Name Is Paul,” “Off Ramp To Eden,” “Virtuous” and “Infliction.” Look for her in “Broken Faith” coming soon, in which she stars alongside Michael Joiner. This summer, she is set to film with Muse Watson (“NCIS”) in “Dark Resonance.”

Paige Johnston Thomas

Casting Director, Director, Acting Coach >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Paige is a casting director and co-owner of Corrigan & Johnston Casting, and has worked on national brand commercial projects including Prudential Insurance, Planters Peanuts, Fiat, Subway, Target and NASCAR. She and business partner Mitzi Corrigan own Casting Southeast, a division of | June 2015

Actor, Content Creator, Producer >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Angela was writing an article on the physiology of emotions when her research led her to actors. Wanting to interview actors, she contacted C & J Casting. Mitzi Corrigan sent her to be an extra on “The Ultimate Gift,” and Angela caught the acting bug. Before the shoot was over, she booked her first acting role. She took acting classes while filming a string of independent films, shorts, commercials and plays. Within a year, she was a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Acting classes and auditioning led her to New York and then Los Angeles. She studied improvisation at The Groundlings and created a sitcom while pursuing a career in acting and voiceover work. Writing and pitching TV shows landed her at National Association for Television Program Executives, where she is a member. She relocated

C & J Casting that is focused on film and television. She is also a theater and film director, and has taught and mentored many through acting and auditioning workshops held throughout the Southeast. [TCW]


Dwellings » By Karsen Price » Photos By Ken Noblezada | June 2015


Garden Party

Up Your Curb Appeal With Flower Power | June 2015

id you know the country’s largest single-site greenhouse is located in Huntersville … and owned by a woman? Metrolina Greenhouses traces its roots to 1972, when Vickie and Tom Van Wingerden moved from Holland and decided to embark on their dream of opening a greenhouse. These days, Vickie owns the greenhouse along with her family. Metrolina Greenhouses currently has 162 acres of heated greenhouse, and they are still expanding. The company serves 1,400 bigbox retailers and home improvement stores, and has approximately $185 million in fiscal sales. Mariah Holland is director of marketing for Metrolina Greenhouses. She offers inspiration for creating gorgeous container gardening projects for green-thumb wannabes in Charlotte and beyond. “All of the flowers were selected for Southern charm and performance,” Holland says.“Some of them are premade and available for purchase at local retailers, while others are arrangements that can be made personally. And purple is a consumer favorite!”


Dwellings » By Karsen Price » Photos By Ken Noblezada

Garden Go-To Holland suggests gardeners incorporate geraniums into their outdoor decorating efforts. “Calliope geraniums are often the star of the show, and the perfect geranium for the South, holding up to the heat and blooming through our hot, humid summers,” she says. Another favorite is a plant that seems synonymous with old Southern gardens: the hydrangea. “Endless summer hydrangeas offer a new take on an old classic, blooming throughout the season,” she says. “And New Guinea impatiens are the perfect sidekick, with dark leaves highlighted by bright pink blooms. Throw in green ipomoea to add unexpected texture.” Above all, it’s important to make sure the plants you select match up with the amount of sun your garden or porch receives. If it says “full sun,” it means it! The same is true for watering requirements. After you know each plant’s guidelines, you are free to mix and match to your heart’s content.

Contain Me From bottom left, counterclockwise: #1: Hydrangea and New Guinea impatiens mix well with sweet potato vine. #2: A collection of various lavender plants. #3: Sky pencil holly with calliope geraniums, euphorbia and ivy make a bold statement. #4: A mixture of petunias, calibrachoa and lobularia.

You’ve Found Us! Jerry Titus & Morgan Murchland are very excited about a new start with 90 Degrees Salon!

We want to welcome back former customers and invite new ones to 90 Degrees with these Special Offers for your first visit in June and July.

• $50 off Pravana Smoothing Treatment* | June 2015 34

• FREE Haircut with purchase of color service** (a $52 value)

Ask about expert services for curly hair. 704.540.5502 • 5107 Piper Stations Dr. Charlotte, NC 28277

*Special only valid with Jerry and Morgan. Other smoothing treatments available. ** Call Salon for appointment schedule.

The Sentinel Welcome visitors with this combo of sky pencil holly, purple petunias and calibrachoa. “Sometimes grab and go just works,” Holland says.

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A more natural, holistic approach to your medical problems. We are now offering an FDA approved medical food (natural supplement) called AppTrim™ for the dietary management of obesity. Make an appointment to discuss your weight loss goals. We also offer:

Bit Of Sass Hydrangeas mix with New Guinea impatiens and sweet potato vine. Holland says,“This combo is full of southern sass and works in the shade!”

Party Starter Whip up a bold combo of petunias, calibrachoa and lobularia to create a cheerful corner spot. [TCW]

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Real Experience, Real Results Sara White became a Realtor in 2005, when Charlotte home sales were at the peak of the local market. Sara’s personality & experience are a perfect fit for representing buyers & sellers. Having been a part of the NFL family for over 16 years, she had been in charge of many family moves, concentrating on all the details! As a local Realtor, relocation has been her passion. As co-owner of CLT Residential, she has expanded her market & added her daughter Jecolia to her team. This mother/daughter team will work diligently for you!

Kathy Kreshon Carver, of RE/ MAX Metro Realty, has over 24 years of experience in the business. Her specialties include development land, farm and land, luxury homes, foreclosure properties and relocation, among others. Over the years, Carver has found that marketing is very important, and she has developed a team of experts to help her with staging, photography, and marketing. “With a team of experts to help me, we can get the job done in the least amount of time and for the most profit to the seller!” she says.

As an agent who’s an expert in this local area, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate here. It’s not the same everywhere, so you need someone you can trust for up-to-date information. I take a different approach to real estate, one that is built on personal touches, winwin deals and positive results. I utilize the latest technologies, market research and business strategies to exceed your expectations. More importantly, I listen and that means we find solutions that are tailored to you. I am eager to serve you.


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Building relationships to find your home. Kathy Kreshon Carver RE/MAX Metro Realty | June 2015 36

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Join the conversation:

National Association of Women Business Owners, Charlotte Chapter, is a professional organization specifically designed to fuel the success of the 42,000 women-owned businesses in the greater Charlotte area.

COCKTAILS AND CONNECTIONS Thursday June 11, 2015, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us and network with other women business owners at our monthly, evening networking event in Lake Norman. COCKTAILS AND CONNECTIONS Thursday June 25, 2015, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us and network with other women business owners at our monthly, evening networking event in Fort Mill. | June 2015

For more information: | 704. 367. 3454

Our 2015 Women Business Owner award winners will present their personal stories of business growth and success. Join us to hear more about the paths these accomplished women took to reach this point in their careers.


Style » Styled By Stacee Michelle » Photos By Glenn Roberson

Ready, Set,

Photos By Glenn Roberson Styled & Directed By Stacee Michelle Makeup By Alyssa Green Hair By Shonda Ervin, Lavish Hairspa Model: Sydney

Swim! On Location At Port City Club


ummertime’s here, and the living is hot! Find a look that suits you this season and hit the beach ... or lake ... or your own backyard, all in style that sizzles. Play it up with accessories that turn up the heat. | June 2015 40

Jessica Simpson cutout printed halter one-piece, $112; teal drop-fringe necklace, $36.50; open stone bracelets, $24.50; all at Macy’s @ Northlake Mall. | June 2015

La Blanca pink ruched bikini top, $57, and matching bottom, $55; Subtle Luxury printed scarf vest, $58; all at Everything But Water. Wrap bead and metal bracelet, $28.50; coral reef necklace, $32.50; both at Macy’s @ Northlake Mall.


Style » Styled By Stacee Michelle » Photos By Glenn Roberson | June 2015 42

Ludi Fame chevron gold bikini top, $84, and matching bottom, $84; both at Everything But Water. Michael Kors gold gathered tote, $248; multi-layer necklace, $25; gold cuff, $34.50; all at Macy’s @ Northlake Mall. Gold multi-strand bracelet, $25,

Robin Piccone 30th anniversary Annette Funicello in “Muscle Beach Party” top, $98, and matching bottom, $94; both at Everything But Water. Printed scarf, $28, Macy’s @ Northlake Mall. [TCW] | June 2015 43

Special Section Dedicated to Moms

Not so lazy days of summer By Renee Roberson

chool’s out and the kiddos need to keep busy, and you need to stay sane. From teeth to tutus, we have you covered. Enjoy our special section to help you plan camps and enrichment activities for your little ones this summer. If you have a little performer in your midst, read on to find out how other families have channeled that energy.

Kids In The Arts | June 2015 44

Meet 5-year-old Savannah Park from Charlotte. She has a kind heart and has never met a stranger. She enjoys school, gymnastics, and dance, but her love of acting definitely takes center stage. She has two older brothers, Justin, 24, and Jordan, 23, and “loves them to the moon and back.” Photo by Couture Portraits, photography by Kymber

It used to be that having children involved in sports seemed to be the mainstream, but more and more, parents are finding the benefits of enrolling children in performing arts programs as well. In recent years, Charlotte and the surrounding area have garnered the attention of the film and television industry, providing more and more opportunities for budding young actors and actresses to shine. If your child seems interested in exploring performing arts opportunities, the best way to start is to have her take an acting or runway class, says Shawn Carter with Evolution Talent Agency in Charlotte. Any type of training helps when the time comes to investigate talent agencies and start the auditioning process —talent scouts are always looking for children that can dance, sing, act, play sports, musical instruments, etc. Carter says Evolution represents children from around the age of 4 all the way to senior citizens. “Most other agencies start at that age as well.There isn’t enough work locally for babies and toddlers — most of those types of agencies are in New York.”

taking classes at the age of 3 and has seen her hard work and dedication pay off in spades. She was recently accepted at Debbie Allen’s Summer Intensive in Los Angeles, AMDA Broadway Dance Program in New York City, as well as the Joffrey Ballet, Jazz & Contemporary Summer program. “What I love about dancing is how people put so much emotion and work into it to try and make it seem effortless,” she says.“The way that the movement flows with the music brings out another side to people and brings a deeper meaning into what others are seeing.”

Meg Crosbie, Singer & Actress

Julia Julia McMahon, Dancer Sixteen-year-old Julia McMahon, a student at Dance Davidson, started

It was while participating in competitive dance that 11-year-old Meg Crosbie first realized how much she loved performing on stage. In the past several years, she has amassed an impressive resume that includes several Main Stage productions with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, as well as CPCC’s Halton Theater and Matthews Playhouse.You can also see

her this summer in the film adaptation of young adult author John Green’s novel,“Paper Towns,” which was filmed in Charlotte, and “Grandma,” which also stars Lily Tomlin. She also has a role in the animated film “Robodog,” which will be released in 2016. Many adults could take tips on staying organized from Meg, a straight-A-student who says she tries to get most of her school work done for the week on Sunday afternoons in case she has to take a test early or miss school because of an audition. In addition to voice and acting lessons, she still takes dance and tumbling, and recently made her school’s middle school cheer team for next year. She also loves to play golf. When juggling the needs of Meg and her two siblings, Addison, 16, and Will, 14, who all attend Southlake Christian Academy, mom Kim Crosbie says “balance has to be intentional.”Addison sings and performs in school musicals and participates in basketball and soccer while Will plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

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“The kids are good at getting their school work done; they have developed some great time management skills with their schedules. They also know that if they don’t keep their grades up they will have to cut back on their activities,” says Kim. Crosbie recommends researching and making sure you are putting children in programs with quality instructors. “For acting/theater specifically, it’s important to realize rejection is a common occurrence, so you and your child have to develop a thick skin,” she says. “There is a lot of disappointment. It takes a lot of hard work, money and time. Your child has to love it.” [LOM]


Come Dance With Us! %



Now Registering for our 2015 Summer Camps and our 2015-16 Dance Season! Providence Studio 11532 Providence Rd., Ste. O Charlotte, NC 28277 (704) 889-TOES (8637)

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Special Section Dedicated to Moms

Jump Into Fitness


Kids can celebrate with fire trucks, build towers with LEGO速 bricks, dig for fossils, have a tea party and much more. Parties available Tuesday - Sunday.

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DefyGravity Trampoline Park Offers Exercise Classes with Childcare ooking for a place where you can fit in a workout this summer and help your children expend some energy, too? DefyGravity Trampoline Park in the University area can help you do both. Instructor-led GravityFit classes provide a fun and energetic workout. Rebounding (bouncing on a trampoline) offers cardio, lymphatic, and strengthening benefits as well as an entertaining workout. Patrons can check out evening classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 to 10 p.m.They also offer morning classes on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 to 9 a.m. The morning classes now provide trampoline-based childcare (one child per adult) for children 2 to 6 years old at no charge, so children can get a workout while their parents enjoy the same.The price is only $10 per class, or, for $45, visitors can purchase a 30-day pass with unlimited visits during that time period. DefyGravity also offers special jump times for children ages 6 and under on Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 a.m.The younger children can jump to the beat along with Disney music, and parents/guardians can join in for free along with their children until noon.The facility also has a separate play area just for the younger children to enjoy daily. DefyGravity is located at 8116 University City Boulevard. For more information and pricing, visit their website at charlotte or call 704.817.4660. [LOM]

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Going beyond the familiar children’s library, ImaginOn aims to “bring stories to life.” This collaborative venture between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a 102,000-square-foot facility in uptown Charlotte ranked by as the No. 1 children’s library in the United States.


I Really Think » By Lauren Levine | June 2015 50


The Perfect Bathing Suit ere’s one thing that baffles me: We can send people to the moon. We can prevent horrible diseases with a simple vaccination. We can hurtle thousands of pounds of metal through the air to make travel easier. Yet we can’t find a way to make buying a bathing suit less mortifying. No matter what size or shape you are, there’s nothing fun about shopping for a swimsuit. It’s bad enough to get nearly naked and try on suits that illuminate all your flaws. But it’s really the process of buying the suit that makes it all so humiliating. First, go into a sterile-feeling store and look around. You like that one with the funky pattern? They don’t have your size. Try again. You find another choice that you semi-like. Now, go into a dressing room that’s hot, a little smelly, and outfitted in bad carpet. And if that’s not bad enough, add in the fact that it’s lit with fluorescent lighting. Have you ever seen a catalog shoot lit with fluorescent lighting? Is the Victoria’s Secret fashion show runway bathed in fluorescent lighting? Absolutely not. This is because fluorescent lighting is no one’s friend. Those areas you’d like not to think about? It directs your attention to them, at a high-pitched scream. There they are, front and center, stealing the show. On most days, you feel pretty confident in your own skin. But step into this dressing-room alternate reality, and it can quickly fall apart. It’s enough to send you home suit-less. There has to be a solution. Ideally, we could band together and bring about total dressing room reform. We could petition stores to install softer, more flattering lighting in dressing rooms. We could ask them to turn up the AC and put in carpet that

doesn’t look like it came out of your grandparents’ house in 1974. Sure, you would still have to fight to find a flattering suit, and overlook your body’s foibles (we all have at least one problem area). But maybe if the environment were better, it would be fun. Maybe? For now, the only appropriate way to deal with buying a bathing suit is to grab the right accomplice for the mission. You don’t want the friend who says, “That looks great!” when you know it really doesn’t. You also don’t want the overly practical friend who tells you not to buy the suit that actually does look good, simply because it costs more. Bring someone who will dole out advice honestly but tactfully … and who understands that a great-fitting bathing suit is priceless! Once you’ve got the Louise to your Thelma, make sure you have an afterparty scheduled. You want to know that you have shoe shopping/wine drinking/a fun workout waiting for you. Anything. This snaps you back to reality and out of fluorescent hell. During the trying-on process, try to remember that Photoshop exists for a reason. Those women you see in magazines also have lumps and bumps and things that make them cringe. It’s normal. It’s healthy. There are more important things in life to worry about. If you find yourself getting too caught up in what you need to do to get “beach body ready” (a popular phrase this time of year), consider the words of a Facebook post I recently saw, called “How to get a beach body.” Step 1: Have a body. Step 2: Go to the beach. Step 3: Done. [TCW]

Lauren Levine is a freelance writer and blogger in Charlotte.

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