Sunday, October 28, 2018

When Magnolias Keep On Shining

Review by Eva Louis

Fountain Hills Theater Inc Presents "Steel Magnolias" by Robert Harling, directed by Roger Prenger, produced by Leah Klein...
**************************************** My team lives in the world of film, fashion, arts, music, and entertainment.  Our schedule is full but when we have a few moments to stop, take a break, and take in a show, we always look for opportunities to support our community artists.  

Last night I had the chance to see a performance that was an all woman cast of six distinct characters full of personality, quirks, talents, and presence that literally oozed all over the stage and formed a reality all based on a single location.  What was brought to life, was an inner reality of the relationships between a group of women from a small town dealing with the everyday life between family and friends including circumstances that are uncomfortable and difficult.  Interlaced strategically however is the humor that makes the most difficult a little easier to handle and that which also reflects the wit and inteligence of their generational age differences.

If you've seen the film, "Steel Magnolias", then you will be familar with some of the storyline.  This stage performance was adapted to revolve around the single location, the beauty salon of Truvy Jones, character played by Angela Kabasan.  The stage was turned into a semi-working salon which helped to bring the salon to life which even included a working sink with running water and old fashioned hair dryer.  Truvy's character was strong and definitely an anchor to the show.  The part required her to be able to really do hairstyles while speaking her lines and interacting according to the circumstances presented by the other actors which included even dealing with a diabetic seizure like event which Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, played by Avery Volk, experienced as part of one scene where orange juice went strategically flying out of a plastic glass.  I was so into the scenes where Truvy was doing hair, I was crossing my fingers to make sure she got the hairstyles right since of course she was doing the bride's hair for her wedding in one scene.  It was enjoyable to watch it all happen and everyone stay in character no matter what was going on.

Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, character played by Sarah Brisco, was the outsider that was welcomed into the group by the women without being judged.  It was just expected and Sarah was able to pull off the part by adding in just enough reaction and insertion of lines timed perfectly to help with the comic relief which was definitely needed for the serious exchanges that occured throughout the scenes.

Clairee Belcher, character played by Hilary Hirsch, definitely owned her part of the story and it was great to see how she bantered back and forth with her partner on stage, Ouiser Boudreaux, character played by Noel Irick, to give it that "Golden Girls" feel with all the inuendo and quick witted responses that kept you on your toes and engaged just waiting to hear what they would say next.

Avery Volk, developed the Shelby character, with a depth and sassiness that carried all the way to the end.  She was able to portray the daugther - mother relationship with a realness that made you understand the challenges and obstacles she had to deal with based on her life choices.  The audience clearly connected with the seriousness that was dictated as you could hear a pin drop at several moments when critical information was revealed that propelled the story into sadness when the enevitable was shared.

One of the strongest scenes for me was when M'Lynn Eatenton, character played by Mary Pat Wallace, had the outburst where she described her feelings about the death of her daughter.  It was a poignant display that had been built up throughout the entire performance and this became a huge tipping point in the honest disclosure about the relationships M'Lynn had and if she could have changed things. It felt very viseral and large which evoked emotions in those watching.  The combination of the set-up between Shelby and M'Lynn was played well and really left the audience experiencing a variation of the same feelings.

It was a pleasure to watch all the characters interact and develop a cohesive presence and environment on stage.  As an audience member, it felt like we were eavsdropping on personal conversations that you might be walking by daily.  All I can say is what an awesome experience.

Thank you to the actors, stage production team, and the director for bringing this to life.  Definitely this deserves a two thumbs up.  And I'd go to watch it again, just sayin'.

One more showing on Oct 28th at 2 p.m. - Get your tickets at this link ==>  

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


ACTIV INTIMATES (Scottsdale, Az) 

Who likes lingerie? We like lingerie!! I call this all day wearable lingerie. Activ Intimates has given us the most versatile line of womens lingerie I have seen to date. As one of Phoenix Fashion Week's emerging designers, Activ Intimates is sure to heat up this years runway. 

Wanna know more about this sisterly duo and their free-spirited brand? Good. Welcome to the world of Activ Intimates.

Give me one word that best describes your style.

Why intimate apparel? 

"Neither of our plans included a hard left into fashion, much less intimate apparel.  

We were both busy with careers and family and may have never entered fashion had we not discovered a gap in the market.  So, in a way, fashion found us – specifically, intimates found us." 

What types of intimates do you create?  "I am in love with the bodysuits.
Let’s start with our Spring 2019 Erotic Energy Lingerie Collection.  We’re excited to reveal this new collection at Phoenix Fashion Week!  

The Playlette is our signature lingerie style, created for a woman to feel confident and good about herself from the moment she puts it on.  The Playlette is a complement to her beauty and sensuality and is uniquely designed to wear before, during and after intimate moments.  It’s about a woman being in control of her feelings, her desires, her pleasures.

We’ve also designed a line of limited edition Peignoirs.  Our Lace Poncho Peignoirs are classic, versatile cover-ups from bedroom to date night -- or our favorite way, over nothing at all.  

Our Mini Peignoir is a fun, fresh pop of color and great over our panty and bralette sets.  

Maxi Peignoirs round out this collection with sheer elegance.

On the loungewear side, we have the Playful Collection – every-day pieces in dreamy soft micro modal fabric and effortlessly sexy style.  

We love the Perfect Bodysuit too and it’s a customer favorite with two layers of modal and high cut sides.  The collection also includes our Easy-Going Cami, Free Spirit Bralette and Favorite Micro-
Suede Thong.  And finally, our raw-edge styles -- Twist & Turn Lounge Top and High-Waist Boy Shorts & Lounge Pants."

How did Activ Intimates come to be? 
"Laurie -- Activ Intimates started in the dressing room of a lingerie store where one would expect to find something for everyone.   When I went to this store to find special lingerie for a special date, everything I tried on was UNFLATTERING. There was no consideration in the designs or fabrics for coverage over my thighs or tummy.  I wasn’t going in with my 20 or 30-something body.  This was post-childbirth, I was nearing menopause and my body and shape were naturally changing.  I was frustrated and upset but also curious.  

I wondered, do other women feel inhibited by insecurities about their bodies?  And how do they feel about lingerie options?  This experience was the start of something that would change my life’s direction.  I became obsessed with the realization that there needed to be better lingerie options.  Age shouldn’t exclude women from feeling confident and experiencing pleasure.  I got to work – researching, sketching and calling my sister, CJ, to partner with me in this business venture.  She said yes and here we are today ready to show our lingerie to the world."

How did you two decide to do this business? 
"Starting the business was the natural progression of the journey we started when we set out to make our signature lingerie, the Playlette.  As sisters, we had always dreamed of working together in our own company.  In fact, we started working together when we were 4 and 5 years old in Seattle, Washington.  

It was the 60s and we thought nothing of going door to door asking housewives for odd jobs.  We were paid mostly in candy, but back then a profit margin measured in sugar was fine with us. As adults, our careers took us in different directions, but Activ Intimates brought us together

Now we’re learning new things every day while using our business backgrounds as the infrastructure for our brand.  However, this time around, our profits are measured in dollars!"

Has it been a struggle for sisters working together?
"No, the opposite is true for us.  We have always been close, and we work well together.  One of the keys is that we are not the same.  In fact, we probably have more differences than similarities.  Our strengths, skills and perspectives are different – and when combined it’s powerful.  We balance each other.  We don’t always agree but that generally makes for better business decisions.  One characteristic we share -- and this is critical, is our work ethic.  Our parents raised us to be independent and to work hard to achieve our dreams and goals.  So that’s what we do – put our minds to it, no matter the challenge."  
What is most important when it comes to designing a new piece? 
"Never lose sight of who it is you’re designing for."

What does fashion mean to you? 
"It’s more than fabric and trims, patterns, prints, colors and textures.  Fashion is what happens when the components
come together to become something more than the sum of its parts.  

Fashion has the power to take a special moment and to elevate it beyond the day to day.  

It evokes an emotional response and makes a loud statement about who you are."  

What is your favorite part in creating that special intimate piece? 
"When it’s all said and done and we see our vision come to life.  Seeing it on a model at a photo shoot or on the runway is truly exciting.  But even better and more meaningful is when we hear from a customer – seeing her, listening to what she likes or doesn’t like is the reason we do what we do.  At that point, the blood, sweat and tears of it all falls away and we’re ready to create the next piece."

What type of material do you work with? 
"For our loungewear line we use siro micro modal with Spandex for its softness, stretch and recovery.  It wasn’t easy to find because we insisted on a fabric that would endure washings and wearing without pilling.  We found a source in LA that knits their own micro modal.  

Our lingerie is made from performance fabrics.  We use power mesh and stretch lace.  We also incorporate moisture-wicking anti-microbial tricot into our lingerie designs.  We use and save our production scraps as part of our re-activate program, rather than sending fabric to a landfill." 

What was your first piece ever created?  Do you still have it? 
"We created the first rendition of our signature lingerie before we officially started our company.  It was literally the first thing we did -- in Laurie’s basement sewing studio.  She lived in Denver and I lived in Scottsdale, so I got on a plane and we spent two weeks together making our first prototype – the HugMe.  

We used white stretch performance fabric and a crisscross design, so there were multiple layers of fabric involved.  This prototype traveled from Denver to Seattle to Scottsdale on its journey to become a sample and then on to Los Angeles for pattern and production.  That leg was a road trip, our first time to LA for business and first time to the LA Garment District.  Thinking we were in the final stretch, we lined up meetings at four production houses.  

At our first appointment of the day, in awe of this factory, our fate in the hands of this man – he held up our lingerie and looked it over for about 5 seconds and said, “It’s much too complicated.”  Back to the drawing board . . .  And yes, we still have that original HugMe today."  

What is the best part of the designer bootcamp?
"The timing of designer bootcamp could not have been better for our brand.  Coming into summer we were weeks away from completing our first lingerie production run.  We were working on our launch campaign and gearing up for sales.  

As we were contemplating bootcamp, a recurring concern was that it would move us in a different direction, pausing our momentum.  But what we found out quickly is that the structure and content of bootcamp would guide us through a successful launch – not only of our lingerie but our brand.  We are leaps ahead of where we would have been without bootcamp.  

The connections we’ve made with our fellow emerging designers, industry professionals, influencers, buyers, etc. are invaluable and the forward momentum is much more than we expected.  We are on board the train now and it’s moving fast."

What is the hardest part of the designer bootcamp? 
"Bootcamp challenges everything you think you know about your brand.  Here’s an example from day one of bootcamp.  We were reviewing brand logos and statements and we felt good going in, we had worked hard on our brand image and message – it was solid . . . until it wasn’t.  

No one in the room connected with our brand message and we didn’t nail our logo.  It was all off.  This was a tough message to hear but when you’re in bootcamp, you have to open your mind and be willing to change your mindset.  This is what bootcamp is about – but it’s not easy.  Every day you have to wake up and challenge yourself, your beliefs, your goals.  You have to live outside your comfort zone."

Are there any particular influencers in your world who inspires you? 
"Laurie --Sarah Shotton is the creative director for Agent Provocateur.  She is my lingerie designing hero.  And like a hero, she’s fearless - in her design and her campaigns.  Sarah is absolutely true to her aesthetic and to her customer.  She’s a fashion superstar.

CJ -- Cora Harrington, founder and editor-in-chief of The Lingerie Addict and recent author of “In Intimate Detail:  How to Choose, Wear and Love Lingerie.”  I’m inspired by Cora’s honest approach to writing and talking about lingerie.  The title of her book is perfectly suited to what she does so well – educating and engaging us in a conversation that’s all about lingerie.  The content and imagery she shares is refreshing and I have to say, I’m addicted."

What do you girls do in your down time? 
"Laurie -- I enjoy working out on the elliptical, dancing, hiking, learning Spanish, sewing, reading, writing and debating politics.  More than anything, I love my long talks and FaceTime with my three boys and my grandchildren and keeping up with my nieces and nephews.

CJ -- To clear my mind and energize, I like a good physical challenge – road and trail biking, running, hiking, pumping a little iron and Orange Theory (sometimes its good to be told exactly what to do!).  I love spending time with my husband and three boys – totally out numbered but we have a great time hanging out, trying new restaurants and traveling together."  

Follow Activ Intimates on IG @activintimates. If you want to catch their entire collection, you do not want to miss the big runway show. Phoenix Fashion Week at The Talking Stick Resort is October 18-20, 2018. You can happily get your tickets here. It's going to be one heck of a party!!

See you on the runway!

Presented by   @chronicbehavior

Thanks to the Chronic Behavior team for their excellent coverage of the event. They are the team helping to support and promote the brand. We appreciate you for your continued support.

Friday, September 14, 2018


From Phoenix, AZ


Welcome to a world of peace with an ethereal-esque vibe mixed with simplistic creativity. Yep, that's what I felt when I met this little lady at Phoenix Fashion Week's Shop Garment District. Her spirit is something special.

Meet Ariel founder of Ama Sea Pearl. One of the accessory designers gracing the runway with her delicate wares. Her idyllic personality shines through her brand. She's just so precious!!

This young lady is such a breath of fresh air. Her jewelry which includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings are meant for any girl of any age.

Here's a closer look at this wonderfully thriving jewelry designer...

Give me one word that best describes your style of accessory? 
"Unique." Why?  "I would say unique, because of the nature of the pearls and why it is a material that is relatable to the human experience." 

What was your first piece ever created? Do you still have it?

"I made a bronze star locket in my first metals class, I carved it from wax and used lost wax casting to create it. Yes, I still have it and I could never part with it."

Aw that's so cool! I made a foot stool in Shop class in 8th grade and I still have it lol. It's so hard to part with those first loves.

What matters to you most as an accessory designer?
"Creating a piece that is just not about aesthetics, but has a meaning that the wearer can relate to."

What part of the accessory game excites you most?

"Being able to create accessories that individuals can relate to. Giving an accessory more meaning is what really gets me ecstatic."

What type of materials do you work with?

"Freshwater baroque pearls, fine silver, and sterling silver."

What is your favorite part of conceptualizing a new design?
"I’ve always found the process of coming up with any idea in the mind and finding solutions to bring that idea to fruition. Even more so going through the challenges as a designer to go from idea, to 2D sketch to finally an actual tangible design." 

Wow, I couldn't imagine where to begin in creating that next piece. Being the perfectionist that I am, my challenge would be starting the project uh seriously. I continue to find amazement in the level of creativity in designers.

Do you have any other experience in the jewelry industry?
"No, I don’t I’m still new to everything but I don’t let that discourage me. Since I am a full time graduate student I’m always learning. Learning from both sides of being a studio jeweler and learning about the industry."

Where do you find the inspiration to create your unique brand?
"The material I utilize, which are unusual pearls. I feel we are all like pearls, unique."

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

"So far is being the only one to make jewelry by hand."

I would think that would be a plus for you as a designer. Handmade jewelry is its own specialty being one of a kind craftsmanship. 

What is the best part of the designer bootcamp?

"The various challenges given, pushing myself to do my personal best."

What is the hardest part of the designer bootcamp?
"Defiantly trying to duplicate myself to fit the many roles to run a brand, since I am the only one. I often times have to delegate what is the priority."

With all the current trending fashion, how do you come up with new looks in order to standout from others?

"To be honest I actually don’t follow what is trending, I’m very insular for my design process. I am more so inspired to capture a feeling or a thought. Then I try to figure out how to convey that in a storytelling fashion into an actual piece that is tangible."

IG - @amaseapearl
Facebook -

Make sure you catch this young lady and her brand on the big runway at Talking Stick Resort on October 18-20, 2018. Get your Phoenix Fashion Week tickets here.

See you on the runway!

Presented by   @chronicbehavior

Thanks to the Chronic Behavior team for their excellent coverage of the event. They are the team helping to support and promote the brand. We appreciate you for your continued support.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018



by Toy Taylor  - Phoenix Fashion 

Week keeps their emerging 

designers working hard for their 


Business learnings, exposure to 

the world of retail, classroom 

time with mentors like True 

Religion's Kim Gold brings a 

tremendousamount of knowledge 

to the table for these rising 


I had the pleasure in getting to know JC 

Donaldson, the man behind  BEING DAPPER, a

little better and pick his brain for a bit.

Here's how that went down:

(Ths is my favorite question to ask)

Give me one word that best describes your style/brand?  "Dashing"! 

Why dashing?  "I would say this right on point with my brand it proceeds a  the certain type of attitude that personifies elegance, adventure, and being stylish."

What does fashion mean to you? "It means your outward expression of confidence and personality through fabric. You can learn a huge amount of information about a person on what they select for their wardrobe colors."

How did you start with these swagged out tees? Is there a
hidden story that needs to be told?

"I wanted to make a powerful statement through typography and artwork with Great Gatsby era influence." 

What matters to you most as a designer? "That my clients feel connected with my brand."  Explain. "That when I design clothing it makes people feel more confident about themselves." 

Do you have any other experiences in the fashion industry? "I have been men’s fashion blogger is 2011, that’s what the IVMMXI stands for April 04 2011."  How did that work out for you? "This is my 1st experience in fashion regarding designing it comes along with a ton of work very different from blogging. But some the things that I learned from doing that I can also apply as a designer." 

What is your favorite part of conceptualizing a new design? "Just looking at everyday men’s fashion and putting my unique spin on it."

What was your first piece ever created? "The Nahbro shirt, I remember looking

at a pack of Marlboro cigarettes and laughing and saying there should be a shirt that says Nahbro with the same font and powerful image of someone smoking so I created it."

We all know how strenuous the 4-month bootcamp with Phoenix Fashion Week can be with the required tasks given. All the information obtained by the designers has to be overwhelming at times, I'm sure. 

What is the best part of the designer bootcamp? "Exposure and knowledge."
In what way?  "The fundamentals of building a brand business plan, media, lookbooks, and a strong social media cadence." 

What is the hardest part of the designer bootcamp? "Time it can be a challenge. There is a great deal of work that is assigned to you with tight deadlines. Its balancing act you are trying to turn in quality work and get in on time."

What has been your biggest challenge so far? "Manufacturing relationships."
How so?  "Consistent communication and meeting deadlines this seems to be an ongoing issue."

I am always so amazed by the emerging designers and the level of creativity. I often wonder how long a designer will be relevant 12-months down the road. Your brand strikes me as one that can and will be around for a long time.

What are your fashion goals? 

"To grow a global brand that captures a gentlemen’s entire lifestyle. Meaning everything from accessories, hats, tank tops, tee-shirts, jackets, sweaters and suits."

Well I love your brand. The fact that you can take a staple item and implement your own classic twist is on point. 

I'll be on the lookout for that women's Being Dapper line. #hinthint 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?   "The household name in men’s fashion. Known for refinement in not just in clothing but education, cooking, as well furniture. And a nonprofit program built to help young men to accomplish their dreams through grant programs and scholarships."

Being Dapper can be found across all social media outlets. Wanna see Being Dapper on the main stage at Phoenix Fashion Week? Get your tickets here. The big event is Oct 18-20, 2018. 

See you on the runway!

IG - @being_dapper

Presented by   @chronicbehavior

Thanks to the Chronic Behavior team for their excellent coverage of the event. They are the team helping to support and promote the brand. We appreciate you for your continued support.

Monday, July 16, 2018

#PhxFW Finalist Press Release: Being Dapper

For Information, contact For Immediate Release
JC Donaldson Found/Being Dapper 210.216.0449


Designer JC Donaldson, selected to participate in Phoenix Fashion Week Emerging Designer Boot-camp leading up to the final showcase at Phoenix Fashion Week

Phoenix, Arizona (JULY 9, 2018) – Phoenix Fashion Week, announced Phoenix label, Being Dapper, as a finalist (Top 12) to participate in the Emerging Designer Bootcamp 2018 (June – October).

This leads up to Phoenix Fashion Week’s premier showcase at Talking Stick Resort, 18-20 October 2018, where one designer will walk away with the title of Contemporary ‘Designer of the Year' and a $10,000 prize package comprised of goods and services to help the winning brand succeed.
JC Donaldson will be launching his latest collection at Phoenix Fashion Week on Friday, October 19th, 2018. The brand was discovered by Phoenix Fashion Week scouts back in January. Using powerful imagery and telling a story through fabric by blending the style of the modern man with an art deco finish into a collection that is unique and timeless.

"Phoenix Fashion Week is proud to have Being Dapper in our 'Bootcamp' competing for Designer of the Year," said Brian Hill, Executive Director of Phoenix Fashion Week
“Clothing is an artform and the consumer is silent as their body is the canvas while the designs speak loudly” – I am designing powerful pieces that capture the gentlemen’s mindset ”- JC Donaldson

Follow Being Dapper on Instagram (@being_dapper) and Twitter (@beingdapper). We encourage followers to use BeingDapper and Phoenix Fashion Week’s official Instagram and Twitter hash tags #being_dapper #phxfashionweek #DesigneroftheYear #PHXFW #Designerbootcamp. Become a fan of Being Dapper on Facebook to stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings. ( To request photos, interviews or for more information about the Being Dapper or Phoenix Fashion Week contact JC Donaldson


ABOUT BEING DAPPER Being Dapper Is A Lifestyle
Being Dapper is a Phoenix based lifestyle brand focused on developing high quality garments that express what a modern gentleman looks like. Restoring and building confidence in men through powerful statements expressed through fabric. Being Dapper is more than just fashion, it is a gentleman’s pursuit for excellence. For more information

ABOUT PHOENIX FASHION WEEK Phoenix Fashion Week is the leading fashion industry event in the Southwest. Our core purpose is to build sustainable brands from the ground up while pushing the Arizona fashion industry forward. The organization’s mission is 'Bridging Designers & Buyers' through three pillars of fashion, education, and community. Through educational fashion seminars, year-round fashion events and charitable partnerships, Phoenix Fashion Week continues to gain rapid acclaim for its community service efforts and for infusing world-class innovation into the Southwest. For more information visit:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Meet the 2018 Phoenix Fashion Week Emerging Designers

It is time! Time to meet this year's Phoenix

Fashion Week 2018 Emerging Designers and

Accessory Designer along with the new season

of Top 40 Models. Omg wait till you see these

models...tall, fierce, and watchout!!!! This is

going to be an interesting season for the


The big reveal was held at the downtown

Phoenix hotspot The MonOrchid, which is right

in the heart of the Roosevelt District.

Everything is down here! This part of the

valley has definitely been revived and is going


Anyhoo, let me introduce to you the 2018

Emerging Designers and Accessory Designers. I

am very pleased to say that Arizona is

represented by 7 local designers this year. These

collections range from swagged out tee shirts,

rocking street gear to some stylish couture. And

the accessory designers have an aire of

feminity to BAM in your face fashion.

Drumroll please:


1. SiSi Aduke         @sisi_aduke       
    (Chandler, AZ)     


2. Chau Chic Designs     @chauchicdesigns
    (New Orleans, LA)

3. Cody Chris     @codychriscollection
    (Phoenix, AZ)

4. Being Dapper     @being_dapper
    (Phoenix, AZ)

5. WVSH       @wvshofficial
    (San Diego, CA)

6. Activ Intimates      @activintimates
    (Scottsdale, AZ)

7. MollyKate Cline        @mollykatecline
    (Columbus, OH)

8. Nani Swimwear             @naniswimwear
    (Logan, UT)

9. Zelenco          @zelenco_fashion
    (San Jose, CA)

10. Orlando Dugi         @orlandodugi
      (Santa Fe, NM)

11. Amanda Casarez          @amanda.casarez
      (St. Louis, MO)

12. Rockin Street Wear            @rockinstreetwear
      (Phoenix, AZ)


1. Pam Hall Jewelry        @pamhalljewelry
    (Nashville, TN)

2. DawnStar    @dawnstarcollection
    (San Diego, CA)

3. Raven Collection       @raven_collection
    (Phoenix, AZ)

4. Ama Sea Pearl           @amaseapearl
    (Phoenix, AZ)


Make sure you keep an eye on the emerging designers. Have you picked a favorite yet? Keep up with Film and Fashion Futures for a more intimate look at your 2018 Phoenix Fashion Week lineup. Get your tickets here for the big fall event. This WILL be a sold out event.

See you on the runway!








Presented by   @chronicbehavior

Thanks to the Chronic Behavior team for their excellent coverage of the event.
They are the team helping to support and promote the brand. We appreciate
you for your continued support.