Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flick

This week's flick features Gal Around Town Bonnie Morrison with
Roopal Patel at the Whitney Museum of American Art annual gala. This year's theme was 'Whitney – Past, Present and Future' and the gala raked in several millons for the renowned musuem.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Survival in Retail Hell

Today, I traveled to several retail stores looking for a new dress. I checked my cash budget (yes, I buy clothes with cash only) and was prepared to spend a good 'dime.'

I have to tell you folks - I was horrified.

Many of the salespeople were more preoccupied with socializing than customer service. The clothes looked a mess (cheesy looking, poorly made, lines off) and the experience was lousy at best.

I'm not talking about some ole tacky run of the mill mall stores. I mean MAJOR retailers.

Twenty years ago (oh..did I say that out loud?), my first 'real' job outside of a family business was with a major retail chain. I was trained to work in the department called Men's Furnishings (which was accessories, shirts, and ties) and was a personal shopper for several businessmen in my hometown.

Beyond focusing on the sale, the store's ownership taught all salespersons about levels of quality material, color coordination, and customer service. We were encouraged to take pride in our work and never lose the 'people connection' with the customers.

I had a great love affair with my customers. We chatted about everything from sports to business. And, because I cared about them, they cared about me. Many of my customers bought me gifts at Christmas and would later write me letters of recommendation for future employment. A few of them tried to marry me off to their sons (lol!)

As a direct result of my early retail professional training I am kinda picky about my clothing and my retail experience. I will walk out of stores where my presence is not acknowledged and salespersons are not friendly. Apparently, several of you are walking away from retail too because almost every retailer has been posting negative sales figures for the past year.

No wonder.

Today, I received a very little help from the salespeople I encountered (with the exception of one Sister in an Ann Taylor store who was great! I spent some cool cash on loads of accessories in the store because she was so fabulous).

Unfortunately, most personalized attention from salespeople is only offered to those who spend tens of thousands of dollars on clothing.

For the rest of us, service in general stinks.

How should Sister and Brother Socialites work around the quagmire of locating quality clothing and the retail experience ?

Only patronize those who are happy to see us, period. If people aren't try to sell you the floor in this poor economy, then our money is not green enough.

Also, you have to know your body type and what will work for you. Many of you email me questions asking 'What should I wear to X event?' It's difficult for me to respond since we are all so uniquely crafted.

For example, I have what is referred to as a 'hourglass shape.' My clothes tend to run very large and loose at and above my waist but usually fit fine below the waist. So, nine times out of ten, I have to get my clothes tailored.

In general , I can recommend that you should always bet on black. Every woman should have a few LBDs (little black dresses) in her wardobe. Every man should own a good quality tuxedo and a few good suits.

Good (operationally speaking) means well fitting and made with fabric that has some 'weight.' When you tug or grab it, it should not automatically wrinkle up. You should feel the fabric's heaviness (even if it's silk).

Thin clothing has a tendency to look skank and bad on us. It clings to the body in the wrong way and in all of the wrong places. This is why so many of us look kinda hoochie and cheap regardless as to how many we spend on clothing.

Your clothing should not bunch or gather anywhere on your body. The shoulders should fit firmly and the lines on the sides should lay smooth and flat down your hips. Clothes should never be 'see through' and you should never have panty or man-ty lines showing in your clothing.

Men who are under 5'10 should only wear suit jackets that hit right at mid thigh. Longer jackets make men under 5'10 look short and stout.

Make sure to wear proper undergarments when trying clothes on so that you can really see how the clothing really looks. And, take your time when shopping.

And of course, walk with confidence. A confident you will make a difference in how you see yourself and how others see you too.

We'll talk later everyone. Gotta get ready for dinner!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Socialite Weight Management

Hello everyone,

Many thanks again for the notes and emails. You are great!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – your girl is trying to lose a few pounds (ok, it’s more than a few).

In case you didn’t get the ‘memo’ or a ‘Tweet’, being a Socialite takes stamina and to some degree physical fitness.

After all, how do you expect to look great in photos and keep an active schedule?

Over the weekend, I had a chat with one of the Super Socialites listed on this blog about weight management. She was alarmed to find out that I don’t have a scale at home.

Actually, I’ve never had a scale at home.

Here’s why…

About eight years ago, I hired a personal trainer to whip my body into shape. I learned that muscle weights much more than fat. Since then, I elected to focus on the following rather than obsessing over a scale:
1) Whether or not I could fit into the majority of my favorite clothing
2) Arm and leg flabbiness
3) Results from my annual physical

Becoming fixated on your actual weight is like worrying about clothing size. It’s a losing battle no pun intended.

I think you should be concerned with your energy level and if you feel physically good.

We all know when we are not operating at maximum capacity.

Tis’ the eating season from now until February so be careful.

All good things in moderation.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flick

I searched high and low for a full body picture of Mrs. Lois Betts (center) and was unable to secure one.

Anyway...she looks fantastic and readers of this blog will know that we are witnessing the slimmer version of Mrs. Betts as she has developed quite the buff body (do you see her arms?) in recent months!

Go, go Mrs. Betts!!

This flick features her at The National Park Foundation's annual gala last month in New York City at Chelsea Piers. The event raised $2.2 Million for the preservation of our national park system.

I hope you have a fun weekend planned!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flick

One of our super favorite Socialites (Susan Fales-Hill) is pictured with Sloan Barnett, and Jennifer Creel. Susan was attending at a book signing in honor of Sloan Barnett's debut book Green Goes With Everything; Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet earlier this month.

I've been reading your emails and I want you to stay encouraged during this rocky period in our economy.

Things will get better.

And remember that darkness is always followed by the light.

Enjoy one of my favorite songs of encouragement:

The Prayer by Rev. Donnie McClurkin & Yolanda Adams

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Times At The Opera

Special cufflinks for a special man!

The centerpiece at our table highlighted some of the geometric shapes featured in the Opera

Table elegance that was simple yet thematic

This was a centerpiece at an adjacent table

Great artistry abound - even in dessert!

I stood on my tip-toes to capture this great shot of the newly restored 5,000 lbs 1855 crystal chandelier

Special Friend and I had a great time at Opening Night Gala for The Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP). Since it was Special Friend’s birthday weekend (and he was rather ho-hum about turning 38 on October 11th), I surprised him with Tiffany’s cufflinks to make the remembrance of this birthday super special.

We had to head out super early because sooooooo much was going on in Philadelphia that evening. The hometown baseball team was playing in the finals, the political candidates from both parties were doing fundraisers and rallies, and the traffic from other events near OCP’s venue had the area jammed packed.

We made it on time to enjoy an assortment of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails which led into a three course meal that was absolutely fabulous. I enjoyed a large plate of salad with champagne vinaigrette dressing before diving into a perfectly prepared Chilean Sea Bass and Beef Tenderloin duet. Dessert was a chocolate mousse bombe with a wafer crust. I included a flick of dessert and the table arrangements so that you can enjoy the artistry of it.

Our dinner-mates were great and interesting people who travel the world to enjoy Opera. The couple I was seated next to just came back from Kiev. The couple seated next to Special Friend enjoyed sharing political anecdotes with him while enjoying dinner.
This year’s performance is sure to strike chords of celebration and surprise as it is a contemporary rendition of Fidelio by Beethoven. People will either love it or dislike it in my opinion because it’s soooo edgy. Japanese artist Jun Kaneko marked his set and costume design preview with OCP. His work is on public display in two places on the East Coast this year: the New York City Park on Park Avenue between 52nd and 54th and the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia.

We were the only Black couple at the event (and among the youngest attendees). After the performance, we celebrated with a post-performance dessert with the cast. At exactly Midnight, Special Friend was again surprised with an Operatic rendition of Happy Birthday! He gushed and turned a golly shade of beet red!!

We toasted him with champagne, champagne, and even more champagne.

Later that evening/morning, we hit the bed like a ton of bricks.
But what great memories to share and cherish.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flick

This week’s flick features Super Socialites Ann Dibble Jordan (left) and Vernon E. Jordan (right) attending the National Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Season Ball last month in Washington, DC.

The Chair of the Ball was Adrienne Arsht who is featured in the center. Ann Dibble Jordan is Chairman of the National Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors.

Bravo!! They are such an elegant looking couple!

Special Friend and I are headed out to our hometown's Opera Opening Night Celebration this evening. I'll give you a full report next week.

Have a super weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I'm Not Watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Good people,

Thanks for the emails and comments on Facebook. I also appreciate all of the suggestions to add links and names to the sidebar as well.

You are just soooooo fabulous!

This is a long posting but hopefully, you'll understand my position after reading this.

I have no intentions of watching this show.
I love Bravo TV but they hurt my feelings with this one.

RHW-ATL is littered with ladies who live outside of Atlanta and the City buzz about them (and this show) is less than complementary. I do not view this show as a positive portrayal of Black women who are supposed to be a part of "Atlanta's Social Elite."

Whether this was the deliberate intention of Bravo TV or not - the preview indicated to me a reinforcement of several fallacies regarding the Black Elite.

1) That so-called Black 'social elite status' is solely linked to wealth

2) Black wealth and social status is primarily achieved via the sports and entertainment industries

3) The social status of women is still largely linked to their husbands or the man in their life

4) Gross and ostentatious displays of so called wealth through the acquisition of “stuff” (large homes, vehicles, and designer clothing) qualifies you to be a part of “Atlanta Society”


Here’s the thing that’s funny. The Real Housewives of New York are ladies who are a part of the New York/Hamptons social crowd. If you cull the archives of any of the popular Internet Society pubs, you’ll see their pics there – long before the RHW concept came to fruition.

Out of the five RHW-NY cast members, only two continuously asserted a connection between their social status and their husbands. The opposite appears holds true with this cast. Only two out of the five cast members position themselves as independent business women outside of their relationships.

What type of message is this providing to Black women when so many of us are un-coupled?

What is the likeliness of any Black woman marrying an athlete when only one in 22,000 players makes it to the professional leagues?

Now for argument’s sake – some of you may say that this show will provide you some good fantasy and escapism.

Lord knows you need a brain break with everything that’s going on in the world today.

OK. I get that. I’m not trying to be a dream stealer, but I’m just laying down the facts.

I do not believe that we have magically transcended race and gender stereotypes as Black women. You and I both know that we have lots of movers and shakers among us who get little if any media exposure. These ladies are shining, tangible examples for future generations.
They do not spew off how much they paid for a handbag, car, their homes, or pair of shoes just for the sake of telling others how much money they spent.

Here’s another news flash.

The era of the excessive glitterati and super bling is over.

Most Americans have become downright visually exhausted from the nonsense.
Refined taste and elegance are the new/old markers for social status in America.

Be on the lookout for my follow up blog posting on the dawning of this new era.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eastern Area Links Arts Committee Reception at MoMA

Always the awesome trooper - Special Friend battles traffic in the Big Apple
MoMa's entrance
Sandra Berger, Links Eastern Area Arts Committee Chair (center) with Sister Links

Alice Chapman-Minutello (center) poses with Claire M. Davis (right) and another Sister Link

Ernestine Carter (right) poses with a Sister Links from her chapter

Anna Maria Bishop Harris (right) poses with a Sister Links for joining us for cocktails
Special Friend and I left the comfort of our hometown to head up to NYC on September 22nd for an Eastern Area Links Arts Committee reception at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

After battling through horrific traffic (it was UN Week plus Opening Night at the Met), we were treated to a private tour of van Gogh which Special Friend and I enjoyed tremendously. We both love van Gogh’s usage of color and depth in his work.

The well attended affair was orchestrated by the dynamic Sandra Berger (Eastern Area Arts Committee Chair) and primarily included Links chapter presidents and Arts Facet chairs from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania along with their significant others or spouses.

Barbara Dawkins (Montgomery County, PA Links President), Ernestine Carter (Delaware Valley, PA Links President) and Alexia Hudson (Philadelphia, PA Chapter Treasurer) travelled hear about programming opportunities between Links chapters and MoMA. Links from both The Greater New York Chapter and the Metro-Manhattan Chapter were also in attendance.
After the event, a few of us headed next door to The Modern for cocktails.
Special Friend and I nestled together in cozy, low black leather seating with Sister Links Alice Chapman-Minutello (Raritan Valley, NJ Links President), Anna Marie Bishop Harris (Metro-Manhattan Links President), Claire M. Davis (Eastern Area Education Across The Miles Chair and creator of the annual Links Luncheon on The Vineyard) and others as we chatted about the latest happenings in Links and life.

After our brief social gathering, Special Friend and I hit the road, landing safely in bed by Midnight.

Friday's Fabulous Flick

This week’s flick features Frank and Lolita Savage attending the Opening Night of the New York Philharmonic’s 2008/2009 season at Lincoln Center in New York City recently.

Although Mrs. Savage looks great, it is the dashing Mr. Savage that we focus on attention on today. He is on the Board of the New York Philharmonic and is CEO of Savage Holdings LLC, a global financial services company. He is also Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Howard University and Trustee Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University. He is credited for raising millions for various charities and political campaigns.
In other words...he's the man!

Have a super weekend!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bravo's October Surprise

Promoting A Train Wreck?

Usually the October Surprise is a political whammy launched two to three weeks before Election Day to derail a candidate.
Well, our pals at Bravo have beaten the politicos to the punch with the debut of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' next week.

Atlanta Socialites are all chatter over this show according to one of the Socialites featured on this blog. Needless to say, no one who is a part of the true Atlanta Social Scene is thrilled about what to expect.

Some are suggesting that the timing is perhaps – strategic given the political climate in the US right now.

OK...OK...I've gained my composure...

*Sigh* I doubt that I will even watch the show. Bravo gets the gasface for this one.

Feel free to email me or send me a note on Facebook with your thoughts.
I'm going to lie on the floor for a few minutes in the dark to center my chi...