Friday, August 31, 2007

CLASSY TRASHY TIME

by Elizabeth Drennen
photos by Arden Photography

Roll out the burlap carpet, and get ready to score—costumes, that is, at the YP Birmingham’s “Classy or Trashy,” which was held last Thursday night at The Club. The
costume contest, wherein local young professionals were able to showcase their talents by dressing in either ultra classy or sumptuously trashy attire, was won by a “truck stop chic” clad citizen, Allison Ivey (whose honey-colored, mullet wig, cowboy boots and denim mini skirt drew the most applause) and Jackie Ingram, wearing a David’s Bridal jade hued bridesmaid’s gown- welcome to the Emerald City! Spearheaded by Amy Lemley Bailey, Courtney Gleysteen, Ryan Graham, Alison Jenkins, Holly Lollar, Shannon Mayock, Ashley Wood and various others, the get-together served an array of sustenance: Cheetos, Twinkies, fried green tomatoes, and chicken fingers, washed down with a signature “Boonz-tini,” a nod to the ever-tacky, gas station libation known as “Boone’s Farm.”

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The event chairs outdid each other, stylistically, by proving their young, professional success hadn’t squelched their ability to put together an utterly tacky outfit. I guess you can take the girl out of the tacky….but you can’t take the tacky out of the girl…or something like that….
Bailey should have won the prize for originality- she wore a dress comprised of a literal trash bag, added a white belt for cinching purposes, and stole the show as the most innovative and trashiest diva in the room. Attired in a pair of blue running shorts and high heels, cute Courtney Gleysteen tentatively announced the costume contest. and its winners, later confiding in me that she was sporting the “promise” ring her high school beau had given her way-back-when, that appeared as the perfect trashy accessory on her middle finger, alongside several other faux c.z. delights, which were being shown off by the handful by partying guests. While I wondered what her once-upon-a-time beau would think of his jeweled statement of forever-after being proffered as an accessory of tacky consequences, I watched the rest of the ladies and gents flit about the scene. Meanwhile, Courtney’s buddy, Ashley Wood, opted for a Kentucky Derby look by wearing an appropriately elegant, short, black and white dress, topped off by a large, black hat. Aside from Carleton Lynch Goforth, with whom I went to high school, she might have been the only truly “classy” part of the costume equation at the entire event. There were some attendees whose attire was suspect— for which look were they striving, and how could one politely ascertain? I “classily” opted not to inquire, and continued to circle the soiree, stealthily taking notes as I watched the evening unwind.
Amelia Maddox (a miniature, blonde version of her eldest sister, Big A), was bopping about the party in a 70’s inspired mini-dress, showing off her tanned calves, drawing the attention of one Pettus Randall, a Tuscaloosa native who, prior to last evening, was last seen about eight years ago, doing the pretzel on the concrete dance floor at Boutwell Auditorium during a cold, February night. In between embarrassing moments when I was insisting they should ‘go out’, arguing they would be the best couple in the town (not realizing that they were, indeed, already on a date!), “Amelia Bedilia” caught me up on her latest career venture. She dedicates her wit and winning ways to a nonprofit, Commute Smart, which helps reduce traffic and improve air quality; one selling point is that two people actually got hitched after sharing rides for a period of time. I guess there’s still hope for those of us singletons who’re willing to hop inside a stranger’s passenger seat- only if it is a foreign sports car with leather (that’s leather, not to be confused with pleather!) seats, right?!

While making my way to the bar, I bumped right into a tall, spectacled gentleman who is a dead-ringer for “Gilbert” on Revenge of the Nerds- also known as Dr. Mark Green on E.R.! Clearly I’ve been watching too many TiVoed programs lately since I was even able to make that visual comparison, but we had a laugh about it, and he admitted he’d been told the same thing a few times beforehand, and is used to disappointing people when they find out he is only Jeremy Touart. Shortly thereafter, I met another interesting gal: a west coast √©migr√© named Shannon Maycock. She’s originally from Honolulu and spins the trials and tribulations of the Johnny Cochrane law firm here in Birmingham as its national
publicist. We compared notes on living in L.A.- she hails from Beverly Hills, and I hung my hat in nearby Malibu about a year ago. We’re both eventually ‘going back to Cali,’ but in the meantime, we agreed that the Magic City has as much as- if not more than- La La- land to offer, especially where the gentlemen are concerned.
Ambling outside for a smoke break, and inwardly marveling at how truly taxing it is to socialize with so many tacky people, I happened upon three folks deep in conversation. A brother-sister pair, Ann Gillett and her brother, Doug (alas, no relation to either the Palm Beach clan, nor the razor selling family of the same name) and another, a commercial real estate broker called Jason Stinson, who ended up winning one of the raffle prizes: a bunch of groceries and a grill- perfect for outfitting his recently acquired town home in Inverness! When in between his “2nd home” in an obscure little town in northern Al, Stinson spends time brokering deals for Commercial Realty Services of Alabama and flirts with new friends he meets at even more obscure events- myself, case and point.
The aforementioned brother-sister pair: Doug Gillett and Ann Gillett are both former journalists- she for WWD in Atlanta, and he, for a small- town newspaper in a city far, far away, where there’s no place like home. Now they both work at UAB, and are in no way involved with the editorial industry. Ann was wearing her favorite designer: Francesco Bernardo, whose collection usually envelops only the chicest of the chic—considering he’s a phantom name in the fashion universe. The mysterious Miss Gillett was not at all shy about revealing details of her special, invisible, seam stylist, but a promise is a promise: I’ll never tell.
Towards the tail end of the eve, I was stumbling over and upon more tacky folk: contestant, Laura Collins, who wore, what I would categorize as ‘trailer trash tawdry,” and capped off her best features with a Dixie visor, inscribed with the word “Rebel.” It perfectly accented her cut off shorts and the overly bulky Confederate flag t- shirt with which she attired herself. Pal Emily Bains went the opposite route, choosing a pair of shorts and pearls for her version of what must be labeled as, ‘elegantly stylish’ garb for the young, professional lady. Another equally elegant fille was Leigh Jones, who came straight from work, and accompanied the wickedly workout wardrobed Miss Gleysteen in the manner of being a consummate date.

Whilst puffing on my cigarette, ever so carefully trying not to blow fumes in anyone’s face, and steadily evading the smoke being blown up my…. never-mind, I accidentally flicked a burning ash upon Minor High School graduate and Brookwood Hospital nurse Shea Ard’s dress, which was, amazingly enough, her 10th grade prom dress- How she could STILL fit into it was miracle enough, excepting the fact that this beaded and sequined number would have made Britney Spears turn over in her grave- oh wait: she’s not dead yet – Ard accented her hair with sprigs of Baby’s breath flowers, which were placed about her forehead like some sort of wretched, floral tiara. When the obviously thin Shea won one of the raffle prizes I began to wonder if the contests were rigged….especially since the previously discussed Amelia Maddox was also a winner. Hmmm… Things have a way of working out, don’t they? At the intersection of the authentically tacky and those pretending to be anything but, on an unnaturally humid, August evening, I realized I hadn’t a leg (or a keg) upon which to stand, and decided to pack it up and in, and save the rest of my stories for another Booze-tini filled soiree, provided I’ll be asked back. That being said, I must admit, it was an extraordinarily, albeit tacky, good time, and one which should be had by all, sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

My Scoop is seeking fashionable chicettes to share a few of their favorite things for fall! First fashionista to share her favorite things is the stylish, notable young professional Kelly Ann Lafleur.

What is your favorite dress? I just bought a dark teal BCBG baby doll dress from Saks. I love it because it transitions so nice into fall.

What is your favorite pair of jeans? My skinny jeans—can’t wait to tuck them in again this year!

What is your favorite pair of shoes?
I love peep toes for the spring, summer, and fall. My favorite is a dark red pair of heels I purchased at Sole Link off Acton Road.

What is your favorite pair of boots?
Black slouchy boots from White House, Black Market

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What is your favorite coat? My beige walking coat from Target. It’s brocade and ties around the waist.

What is your favorite tee?
My little black short-sleeve crewneck tee from Banana Republic. I love it because it fits snuggly but not too tight which makes feel cute but still casual.

What is your favorite item of jewelry? I bought a gold, three-strand necklace with a large array of beads in Chicago . It has so many colors that I can wear it with most anything.

What is your favorite sweater? My sleeveless black turtleneck from White House Black Market. I like to wear it on warm fall days which we have plenty of!

What will you not travel without? Phone charger—I feel so disconnected without my cell phone.

What are your favorite designers? Nanette Lepore, Max Azria, Tibi.

What is the next item of fashion you are planning to buy?
High-waist trousers.

What is your favorite gadget?
My iPod—it makes exercising much less heinous.

What is your favorite bag? My Louis Vuitton I got at Saks in New Orleans . It was a Christmas gift from my parents which makes it even more special.

What is your favorite accessory?
My Burberry scarf.

What do you carry everywhere with you? A ponytail holder—I can’t stand having my hair in my face.

Any favorite stores?
Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Saks

Monday, August 27, 2007

BEST TOGA AT ART ON THE ROCKS

Thank you to everyone who dressed up for My Scoop's Best Dressed Toga Contest! Below are the best dressed and now it is your job to vote on who wore the toga best in true fashionista style! Your votes will determine the winner who will receive a Swanky Swag Package worth over $600 and includes a $100 gift certificate to Swank 35223, a premium denim gift certicate from Gus Mayer, tickets to Taste of The Summit, and a mini dress from Juleps and Belles! Vote by September 7th! Vote by posting a comment at the bottom of this article - it takes 2 shakes to sign up.

Leigh Ann Courington and Stacey Godbee looking oh so chic in their togas with great accent pieces, even their hair looks the part!
















Elizabeth Moss looking fabulous in this vibrant blue with a unique shoulder pin and great thong sandals.
















Shannon Phillips striking a Pompeii pose and looking very chic in a toga and leaf head dress.
















Kristi Lee and Angela Darden getting very fashion forward with their toga fabrics. We love fashionistas who think outside the box!















Alexis Adams plays the part of Italian goddess oh so well. This beautiful blue is styled perfectly.















Sara Carroll wears a bright orange toga with leaf accents and great shoes.
















Chad Noblet and Shannon Simpson add flair to their toga style with printed fabric and a feather boa.















Carrie Hill chose a gold metallic fabric for her toga and went with a fall leaf head dress.
















April Jones used ribbon to accent her chocolate brown toga.
















Jill Rayburn channels Wonder Woman in this fiery Pompeii inspired toga wearing a 'mock' ancient gold necklace and even added rope to her shoes to create ankle wraps.














Melanie Hester and Shelby Sams get vibrant in purple and teal. Check out their unique crown pieces.
















Vangie Estes and Erroll Smith are all smiles in their Pompeii togas.

















Jenny Holloway could steal the heart of any Gladiator in her long red toga with gold rope belt.
















Jamie Key's toga has gold trim accents on the right side and looks great with her leaf inspired gold earrings.













Carleton Goforth in a 'mini' toga, Shea Spradlin, and Jackie Ingram - these three Pompeii princesses always know how to dress the part.











Liz Drennen always looks fabulous and dressing in a toga is no different!











We love fashionistas of all ages who know how to have fun in style! Lacey Henderson looks fab in her bright blue fabric and leaf head dress.

STRIKE A POSE

With so many soirees every social butterfly needs to know how to strike a pose on spot. Getting that perfect pose is not easy and most of the famous poses you see take practice. Here are some tips from Hannah Slamen with The Foto Atelier, to help you look picture perfect for when that flashbulb pops up.

By Hannah Slamen

1. Place one foot behind the other and turn it at and angle to the camera, preferably 90 degrees. This has a slimming effect and looks more natural.

2. Place your weight on your back foot. This creates a relaxed look. Placing the weight on the front foot creates an edgy look, while equally distributing the weight looks stiff.

3. Tilt your head slightly at an angle to one side or another. It's common to want to "stand up straight" but tilting the head will make you appear more relaxed.

4. If the camera is at eye level or lower, lower your chin very slightly. If you're worried about a "second chin" raise the camera above eye level and look up slightly. This works well seated.

5. Place your hands correctly. Hands are often the second most prominent feature in a picture after the eyes, but we often don't know what to do with them. When hands are below the waist, the wrist should curly down or be neutral. When hands are above the waist, the wrists should curl up. Also, don't make them overly prominent. Keep thumbs and fingers in and try to avoid the hands being prominent in the composition or too near the camera compared to the rest of the body. Again, breaking the rules can create an edgy look.

6. Smile. Often people don't feel comfortable smiling on demand. Obviously it's better to make it spontaneous, but not always possible. Remember that a really big all out smile rarely looks fake like the half smiles that people sometimes try. Also, people often try to go for the serious or thoughtful look to avoid smiling, but end up looking like they're serial killers or half asleep. If you want to go for the thoughtful look, it's especially important to remember the other steps. Look relaxed and tilt the head while looking towards the camera with the eyes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

FUNNIEST WEDDING MOMENT

Post your funniest wedding moment and you will be entered to win a 'Night at The Wedding Singer' for you and 3 friends. Enjoy dinner and a limo ride to the show! Whether you had a picture perfect wedding or one where nothing seemed to go right, we all have a funny wedding moment that makes us giggle every time we think of it. The funniest story judged by My Scoop and Birmingham Broadway will win! If you are interested in tickets simply go to www.birminghambroadway.com, click on Group Sales, and then enter code YP, to get the special YP discount of $20 plus $3 fee - this is half the price of a regular ticket! Contest ends Tuesday, September 5!

Friday, August 24, 2007

TOGA - IN FASHIONISTA STYLE!

My Scoop's Best Dressed Toga Contest is here! Tonight at Art on The Rocks at The Birmingham Musuem of Art guests are encouraged to dress up in a toga and do it 'in style'! My homemade toga simply consists of wrapping material around my body, tying it in a knot, and belting it. I used those belts that were in style a couple of years ago that look very 'Gladiator inspired'. As I looked through my jewelry I was amazed at how many pieces were Italian inspired - you will be surprised too! From bangles worn all the way up your arms to gold sandals that wrap at the ankles, these are just some tips to help you put together your fashion forward toga attire. So think outside the box and get chic in a toga!
The Best Dressed Toga will win over $600 worth of fashion swag including a $100 gift certificate to Swank 35223, a premium denim certificate to Gus Mayer at Colonial Brookwood Village, goodies from The Summit, and a mini dress by Juleps and Belles!
The winner will be determined by your votes! Photos will be posted 8/27 and the person who receives the most votes will win the Swanky Swag Package!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BEST DRESSED AT ART ON THE ROCKS

My Scoop's Jessica Vance was at Art on the Rocks with photog Arik Sokol in July to scout out the Best Dressed fashionistas. Below are the fab outfits that made it! Don't miss your photo opp this Friday at My Scoop's Best Dressed Toga Contest at Art on the Rocks! Readers will vote on the Best Toga starting 8/27 and one lucky person will win a Swanky Swag package including $100 gift certificate to Swank 35223, a premium denim gift certificate from Gus Mayer, goodies from The Summit, and a mini dress by Juleps and Belles.

Christina Kirby wearing a black and white no waistline dress from Macy’s, Connie Graeve in a dress from Nordstrom, Stephanie Lambert wearing a white blousy dress by Juicy Couture, and Gina Pickering in a checkered dress from Sole Link off Acton Road.








Hollie Harden in The Gap, Angie Ray in Forever 21, and Trish Thompson in Macy's.










Britney McKim wearing a green dress by Charlotte Russe and Sally Hartley in a sundress from Parisian’s, now Belk.










Stacey Thompson wearing a dress from Urban Outfitters at The Summit and shoes by Max Studio photographed with Laketah Harper in a red Forever 21 dress.










Sharon Thompson wearing a red, white, and black dress from Parisian, now Belk, and Lindsay Busby in a long dress Urban Outfitters at The Summit.








Weezie Thornton in J Crew and vintage belt and necklace photographed with Cindy Lovelace in a dress by Velvet from Tosha Corrigan's Coastal Couture at Orange Beach.









Stefanie Johnson wearing one of my favorite designers TIBI from Laney’s Place at SOHO with Katie Merrell wearing a tie top Walter dress from Saks Fifth Avenue at The Summit.









Katherine Marsh wearing one of Fall's must have colors, citrus, from Francesca’s at The Summit, Laura Ann Baker in a green mod top from Banana Republic, and Lindsay Smith in black and white from White House Black Market.






We loved this bright coral color - it really popped and is a color that grabs your attention. Meggie Townley wearing a dress from Parisian, now Belk, and Joy Woodriff in Anthropologie.









Jill Mather in jeans by Squeeze photographed with Melanie Parker wearing the very notable design label Project Alabama designed by Florence native Natalie Chanin and one of my favorite fashion shows to attend during New York Fashion Week.










COLOR OF THE NIGHT: CHOCOLATE BROWN SEEMED TO POP UP EVERYWHERE.
Leah Rigdon wearing Anne Taylor and Casey Breslin in Anthropologie.











Margaret McCollum wearing pants from Banana Republic and redhead Laura Herndon wearing a chocolate brown dress from Parisian, now Belk.












Jordan Brush wearing BCBG and Jessica Brush wearing a dress from Belk.

BRIGHT IDEAS

The September 2007 edition of Harper's Bazaar is out and this page of bright mini dresses will have any fashionista excited about Fall! How perfect these are for the upcoming season and even as the weather cools you can put on a pair of leggings and booties are you will be strutting in true fashionista style! Stay tuned for where to find the best bright dresses in our region!

Monday, August 20, 2007

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

So in the midst of all the back to school hoopla, so many young professionals may be going through supply withdrawal. It wasn't that long ago when we got to experience new shiny pencils and organizational binders. Well, you can still enjoy a little back to 'business' supply shopping and guess what - as you get older the supplies get more chic! As always, a fun prize for one lucky My Scoop comment poster! Win a fabulous journal for your note taking and Kate Spade Calling Cards!

I like to keep all of my notes in journals, so whenever I see a chic, yet professional looking one - I buy it. I found this gold journal at Marshall's for $4.95 - a great place to look for journals whatever your occasion.







This lightweight Macbook is boasted as the most portable laptop. Perfect for business travel. $1,100 and up at The Apple Store at The Summit.



Add the Sex in the City touch to your laptop with this Metstyle Tokio laptop sleeve $39 www.kolobags.com.















Want to look sharp and stylish in your next board meeting? Stroll in with this Kate Spade calendar and planner $75.


Need a nice pen? Cross's Autocross collection is sleek and professional $50. Cross is available at Ruby Begonia in Homewood.


Before the days of constantly being connected and what we know as 'calling cards', there were true calling cards that you handed people with your number and a note as a reminder to call you soon. A fun vintage idea that would be a memorable business tactic or perhaps a nice way to slip that certain someone your phone number. Kate Spade Calling Cards $15 at Swoozie's at The Summit.



Lambertson Truex has made their stylish mark in fine leather goods. Looking for a nice new job gift for yourself or a spouse? Lambertson Truex Important Paper Binder $295 at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Summit.






For those of us party planners, dinner parties, showers, and soirees need serious organization. Let Smythson on Bond help with their Brunches, Lunches, Suppers, and Dinners book. You can plan your guest list, seating chart. menu, and drink list. Smythson on Bond $75.



Heading to the gym after work? Grab your Lacoste Fitness bag $120 at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Summit.










Nothing states that you are a traveling fashionista more than a designer passport holder. Made by C.R. Gibson you can organize your international needs. $14 at Smith's Variety in Homewood or Mountain Brook Village.




I cannot think of a more important business need than being connected whenever you need to be. With the Verizon Wireless Broadband Card the last thing you have to worry about is not finding an internet connection.