SCDD’s Alexis Barton named a “Birmingham Trailblazer”

Happy Friday, darlings!

I am honored to share that I’ve been named a Birmingham Trailblazer by The Birmingham Times.  As much as I love tossing sequins I don’t usually toot my own horn, but this acknowledgment means so, so much to me. To even have the opportunity to do what I love has been a life-changing experience, and to be recognized by such a legendary newspaper and force in our community is a high honor.  As I think back over where I have been and what I have experienced in my life (the good, the bad and the totally unexplainable), I am humbled. It is a privilege sharing this journey with you, and I am TRULY, truly thankful for your support! {Habakkuk 2:2, 3}

Love, Alexis


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New Orleans Owes Me Nothing.


French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, April 2014.

This weekend was full of food, family and fun at the French Quarter Fest! Entry to the 31st annual festival, held in the heart of the French Quarter, was free! I packed in as much activity as I could – enjoying a scenic streetcar ride to the Vieux Carre, walking the streets and taking in the sights and sounds and sipping on a daiquiri! And we met a Mardi Gras Indian!

Tips for enjoying the Festival:

Take plenty of cash, as several vendors did not take cards. Wear comfortable shoes, since you’ll be doing plenty of walking on streets that are centuries-old. It’s not chic hobbling on cobblestones! Stay hydrated and take sunscreen; you don’t want to pass out or get sunburned! Above all, take an appetite for fun and be ready for an impromptu second line, as well as lines/crowds just about everywhere. But this is the Big Easy and no one is in a rush, so relax and laissez les bon temps rouler!

Here are some of my finds that you might enjoy:

Best Daiquiri: Tropical Colada/Daiquiri Chef
Best Oysters: Royal House (served chargrilled)
Best Breakfast: Anita’s Grill (try the liver and onions with hashbrowns!)
Best Shopping: The French Market, of course! I bought pralines at Southern Candymakers and some beaded slippers at Oriental Trading, one of the umpteen vendors in the open-air market. Skip the portapotty: Harrah’s has a super-clean ladies room, as does the Jackson Brewery! (You’re welcome!)

Images via AEB and MCBarton

ICYMI: The Visions Beauty Natural Hair and Health Expo


I am literally still recovering from last weekend’s Expo. It was AMAZING to see a veritable sea of beauties with natural hair of every texture and hue, sharing tips and being pampered by the products and specialists on board last Saturday at the BJCC. In a word, it was self-affirming, especially if you live or work in a space where you rarely interact with other naturalistas. I am so glad I got to catch up with fellow bloggers Javacia Bowser of See Jane Write and Karri Bentley of So Very Karri, too!

I am LOVING my freebies from Miss Jessie’s (product reviews coming soon!) and appreciated the opportunity to connect with vendors like Kurly Kutie, who has a super cute line of t-shirts! The absolute highlight for me was the opportunity to interview blogger/author/life coach/reality tv star Demetria Lucas (stay tuned for that; it deserves a post of its own!). All in all, it was a day in which I realized I’m living my dreams, on my own terms (and that includes my hair – which you can see in one of these photos).

Thanks for reading,


Sojourns plans “Fashionably Fair” to benefit Rape Response

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this Thursday, April 3rd,  Sojourns, a fair trade store located in downtown Birmingham, is hosting a fundraising event for the Rape Response program of the Crisis Center. This event is a fashion show highlighting fair trade clothing and jewelry at the new Continental Bakery located downtown. All proceeds from admission and 10% of sales from shopping go to Rape Response.


What exactly is fair trade? According to Sojourns’ website,  “fair trade is based on economic and social justice. The key goals of fair trade are to empower low-income, disadvantaged artisans, laborers and farmers around the globe, and to promote understanding between them and industrialized nations.Fair trade advocates for a fair and living wage to artists, artisans and producers and provides revenue to promote social and economic development for communities.”

As Sojourns’ philosophy notes, “The understanding that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today – right now – is a powerful insight and motivator.” I hope you will join me in supporting this effort. Sexual violence is more prevalent than any one wants to believe, and that is way this event is so important. We must continue provide quality services to survivors and their loved ones, as well as work to bring this violence to an end.

Space is limited, so please try to purchase your tickets in advance by clicking HERE. VIP ticket holders can call Sojourns (323-5690) and request a reserved table (just provide the names of the other ticket holders who will be sitting with you. If you can’t make the show, the sales will continue at Sojourns’ this Friday and Saturday.

Continental Bakery Downtown is located at 19th Street North and 4th Avenue North.  Sojourns is located at 2017 3rd Avenue North.

First Person Fabulous: Charlene Dunbar

20140327-150532.jpgI am so excited to share my profile of suakoko betty designer Charlene Dunbar! Her line of day and cocktail dresses is now available in select Belk stores, and you should run – not walk – to check them out. Dunbar’s custom and red carpet work has been worn by notables such as Atlanta broadcasting legend Monica Pearson. I’ll be rushing over to Belk’s Girls Night Out this evening to try on buy the peplum dress!

Who is “suakoko betty”? ‘Suakoko’ means place of new beginnings. ‘Betty’ represents the western connection, the every day woman. My line is the junction of African aesthetic and the everyday woman – where the two collide. Most of my aesthetic is print and color; that’s my core. I encourage women to be adventurous with their style – just be bold and confident. For me it’s a fun way to be confident and express myself. I want people to feel sophisticated, to feel elegant, to feel put together.

What is this collection’s story? The line is inspired by the women who have inspired me: my mom and my aunts who left Liberia without anything and still had this sense of dignity and style. It comes from my seeing their ability to rise to the occasion and be pulled together. You know they’ve been through hell and back, but they’re not wearing that [emotion or strain]. It’s tough but they’re making it. That spoke to me. A lot of the dresses are named after women I know. That’s how I learned about being a Liberian woman: from the women I watched hold each other down and how they wore their African clothes.

Why did you choose to work with wax fabric? Wax print started as an imitation of batik fabric and it became an industry unto itself. Many of the designs are inspired by proverbs, and a lot of the African prints speak to our lifestyle: we’re going to rock color; we’re going to rock crazy prints. It’s also a bit of making lemonade out of lemons. Early on my uncle would just sent me fabrics. What he sent was what he sent and I had to make it work. That suitcase would show up with pumpkin, eggplant and fuchsia and I just had to make it work. A lot of times I was just making things fit. That’s how a lot of my designs come about. One thing will catch my eye and I’ll look for a color or print that’s surprising.

Will the fabric used in the Belk line incorporate fabrics sourced from Africa? Yes. For the Belk line, that fabric was printed in Ghana. I was very proud of that, that most of the fabrics were made in Ghana. Yes, some [wax fabric sold in Africa] comes from Holland, some from China, but the fact that this stuff was made by someone in Ghana who gained employment from these designs is awesome.

You have a full time job. How do you balance it all? (Laughs) I don’t.  Perfection gets put on the altar of “get it done.” My blog has gone silent, there are times when the online store is stale, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. The most important thing is just staying in the game. My husband is super supportive, and my mom is a r great administrator; she’s cracking the whip and making sure things are moving along as we expect.

What legacy are you leaving your children? I hope the message they’re picking up on is just the idea of building their own thing. My generation was about going to school, getting a good education and getting a good job. Yes, I want them to be well-read and go to college, but I want them to learn they can build something of their own and the second piece is that it will take sacrifice. You can have these great dreams but no one is going to serve them to you. I know they’re proud when they see the success, but they see when Mommy was cutting patterns on the floor and calling people. (Laughs)


Without further ado, the winner of our suakoko betty giveaway is Malia Marbury!  Thank you to everyone who entered!


Images via Belk



ICYMI: Alexis visits Good Day Alabama for National Nutrition Month

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Who knew eating healthy could be so chic?

I had a blast on Fox 6′s Good Day Alabama this morning with Mike Dubberly, sharing healthy meal options for National Nutrition Month from T-Fal, Carrington Farms, Cenergy Nutrition and BistroMD! (NO, I am not a nutritionist!)

Check out the video by clicking HERE! (When the page opens, you may have to click ‘Videos’ at the top, then ‘Good Day Videos,’ then ‘Cooking Healthy for Your Family’.)

P.S. Stay tuned for a suakoko betty update and the announcement of the giveaway winner!


Are you #SuakokoBettychic?

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Happy Friday, darlings!

Yesterday I told you one of Spring’s hautest looks will feature multicultural prints and influences. Today I’m happy to share a new label you should know: suakoko betty. This line is the brainchild of Charlene Dunbar, an Atlanta-area designer who marries traditional West African textiles with contemporary silhouettes (“suakoko” means “place of new beginnings” and to Dunbar, “Betty” represents the everyday woman).

Born in Liberia and reared in Atlanta, Charlene’s design sensibilities have been shaped by the strong, stylish women in her family as well as Liberian and American culture. Her work caught the eye of Belk when she entered (and won!) their Southern Design Showcase. Her thoughtfully conceived, artfully crafted pieces will launch in select Belk stores (yes, including Birmingham!) and online at this month.

When I saw the designs, I knew you would love them too, because suakoko betty embodies confident, bold women who express themselves through their personal style (if that’s not you, darlings, I don’t know who it is). The silhuoettes flatter a variety of physiques, and are so eye-catching that you’re sure to stand out when you enter a room. I can’t wait to get the Peplum with Skirt dress! What also makes this line special is Charlene travels to Africa herself to source and choose the fabric, but the pieces are made in the United States. You can shop the line ahead of the launch via the suakoko betty website and Etsy shop and at The Beehive Atlanta.

In anticipation and celebration of line’s launch at Belk, I am giving away a suakoko betty clutch, similar to the ones shown in the slideshow (which won’t be a part of the Belk collection). I have one, and it is a definite statement piece that I know will transform the simple palette I normally stick to.

There are SIX ways to enter:

  1. Comment on this post: “I want to be #suakokobettychic!”;
  2. Share this post on Facebook (tag me and use the hashtag #suakokobettychic);
  3. Share this post on Twitter (tag @SameChicSouth and use the hashtag #suakokobettychic);
  4. Sign up to follow this blog;
  5. Like SCDD’s Facebook page; and
  6. Follow @SameChicSouth on Twitter.

The winner will be chosen on Monday, March 24 at 5 PM; stay tuned for my conversation with the designer herself next week!

Images via suakoko betty

Hello, Spring!

Get into it, darlings! I couldn’t wait another day for the seasons to change – and with it, my wardrobe! I wear a lot of seasonless pieces (which is easier on the budget), but I’m looking to breathe some new life into my look this year.

Pantone has already declared Radiant Orchid to be the color of the year, but there are numerous other options to play with this Spring, as shown here:


I’ve already stepped out of my comfort zone by incorporating some rich blue into my life by way of J. Crew, as well as with Essie’s baby blue “Bikini So Teeny” nail polish. And I’m kinda loving it!

Now that we know which colors are haute this season, which trends should you be considering? I rely on Belk’s uber-glam style maven Arlene Goldstein’s trend reports, and this year we can look forward to what she deems “fierce, yet feminine looks with delicate and daring statements.” Her top three style statements this season are the

  • “Jetsetter”- featuring multi-cultural, ikat and camo prints and elements which speak to your spirit of adventure (perfect with the gladiator sandals and flats you’ll be wearing as well!),
  • “Feminine Charms” - exuding  elegance and marked by appliques, florals, lace, sheer fabrics and fit-and-flare silhouettes in white and navy, and
  • “Clean Slate” – for those of you who prefer minimalist chic, geometric elements, classic yet graphic black and white and edgy statement jewelry.

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The only trend I’m not looking forward to? The return of the chunky-heeled shoe. Ugh. But there’s plenty to choose from, and these smoking-haute stilettos from Dolce Vita ($179.99) are on my lust-list.  And as if we needed another excuse to shop, Belk has a Spring Fashion Sale going on now!


Ready to rock a new trend? Stay tuned: we have a *giveaway* planned for tomorrow!

Images via Belk

Love. This.


This Collection Eyelet Jumpsuit (in pink and navy, $298) by J. Crew has “Spring” written all over it. *sigh* One more day to go, darlings…just one more day!

I love the ease of one-piece dressing, and this lovely look will suffice for a variety of occasions.  Jumpsuits can easily read “astronaut in training” or “baby onesie” if the fit is off or if there are too many embellishments. J. Crew gets it right by showing that easy does it…effortlessly.

Image via J. Crew

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