Warby Parker opens in Birmingham April 8

The retail gods are answering prayers in Birmingham: we have a Trader Joe’s, H&M…and on Saturday April 8, we’ll officially have a WARBY PARKER!

If you aren’t familiar with the affordable and very chic purveyor of eyewear, you should be.  It launched in 2010 as an online destination for eyeglasses under $100, and quickly distinguished itself by offering eyeglasses people actually wanted to wear at (gasp!) prices they could afford.  The only hitch: there were no brick and mortar stores to try on the glasses, although you could make a selection to try on in the comfort of your home (and return the pair(s) that didn’t work.)

But now Warby Parker is opening its first store in Alabama, and at The Pizitz, no less. I toured the new digs and I have to say: I can’t wait to get my prescription filled.

The store is thoughtfully designed with tons of natural light (the better for trying on new frames). It feels more like you’re in a hip bookstore than an eyewear boutique, and this feeling is enhanced by multiple book displays, card catalogs (remember those?), globe lighting and even a Reference Desk, where you can receive help.  A bright blue mural balances the decor, which carries over into the classic, utilitarian unifoms designed by Whitney Pozgay (who we had the pleasure of meeting at a CFDA event in Atlanta years ago!).

The generous team at Warby Parker gifted me with a pair of “Pearl” sunglasses in Marzipan Tortoise, and I have to say: I’m in love with them.  I plan to add the “Tilley” (in Grapefruit Soda) to my collection next. The other thing I love about Warby Parker is they offer free returns and free shipping (always!), so you aren’t penalized for being indecisive! They will also repair your scratched lenses for free the first 12 months you own them.

To celebrate the brand’s new presence in the Magic City, a limited-edition pair of Birmingham-exclusive sunglasses, Madison in English Oak with Flash Mirrored Pacific Blue lenses, is being offered. And a lenscloth with a print of the mural is given away with each purchase.

Warby Parker at The Pizitz is located at 1821 2nd Avenue North / Birmingham, Alabama 35203. It’s open Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

*I was not compensated for this post although I did receive a pair of sunglasses as a gift. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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Still rolling

Roll Tide, darlings!  The Tide faces off with Clemson tonight, so I’m showing some school spirit in my vintage Starter jacket, with black on black separates from J. Crew underneath. The fringed sandals just make it even more feminine, which I think is key to styling an athletic jacket. Why should guys have all the fun in rocking them, and why should they be limited to weekends?  (Even better: the jacket is machine washable!) The jacket’s major pop of color is coordinated with my signature Ruby Woo lip.

A very special thank you to Derrick A. Curry of Camera Play Photography for handling the photo shoot! Check out his work and like his business’ page on Facebook by clicking HERE.

 

Be the Hostess with the Most-est!

Baby it’s (finally) cold outside! And that means entertaining has moved indoors. What’s better than enjoying food, friends and family, set in your comfortable home?  My grandmothers Mamie and Dorothy were fabulous entertainers, and they had a knack for sharing southern hospitality that just made family, friends and even strangers flock to their homes.

I’m missing both of them, and so I’m sharing what they taught me to keep their memories alive. You know if I’m doing something, I like to do it grandly, and that comes directly from them.

Incorporating any–or all–of these tips will help you entertain with flair, year-round:

  1. SET THE MOOD.  Add a soft around your home with lit candles. Choose scented pillars, votives or tapers in light spice or floral fragrance, and mix them with unscented varieties. I love to place these in my kitchen, guest bathroom, on my dining room table and around my living room–and even in groups inside my fireplace! Find inexpensive options at your local big box discount store, or in TJ Maxx or HomeGoods.
  2. SET THE TABLE. When entertaining, my grandmothers felt guests’ manners rose to the occasion, so having a formally set table encouraged better table manners.  Rather than pulling out folding trays, use your dining room table to its advantage. Pull out your best china, flatware and linen–or even nicer clear plastic plates–and add an inexpensive runner if you’re not using a table cloth, and use a simple but impactful floral arrangement. Serving buffet style? Upgrade your servingware with nicer platters and utensils. (Again, you don’t have to spend a lot.)
  3. ADD SUGAR AND SPICE. Have something sweet, savory and spicy to balance your guests’ palates with a varied menu. Whether it’s classic Chex Mix, a beautiful spread of cheese and fruit, or even old school gummy bears, have something for them to snack on, and serve it in an unusual fashion, like martini glasses! Affordable gourmet snacks can be found at your local grocer or discount home store.
  4. SIP SOMETHING SPARKLY. Serve some great bubbly, whether it’s an adult beverage, fizzy fruit juice or even carbonated water (just garnish it with lime!). Have a mix of options for guests who don’t imbibe, or who limit sugar from their diet. Serve in nicer glassware! Fun cocktail napkins are a fab touch, and a chic alternative to plain paper towels.
  5. DRESS YOUR BEST, BUT FOCUS ON GUESTS. Surely you knew an outfit would be in the mix! My grandmothers loved hostess gowns, glam caftans and luxe lounge wear. Even if you’re entertaining at home, rise to the occasion and get out of your yoga pants. Try a luxe pair of silk day-to-night cocktail pajamas or even a simple lace dress. I also love to throw one of my vintage aprons on for good measure (even if the pie I’m serving is Mrs. Smith’s!). Be comfortable and cute; don’t wear anything that you’ll tug or fuss with all evening.

True hospitality is not about how much you spend on linens or glassware. True hospitality is about the effort you put into making your guests feel especially welcome year-round.

Whether you’re serving ham sandwiches and store-brand soda or a spectacular gourmet seated dinner, you can do so with grace, intention and style–and that, darlings, is the most important thing.

Check out these retailers  when shopping to entertain: Swoozie’s, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, World Market, Fresh Market and Publix. They all have gourmet sections with food, beverage and/or decor that make an impact without putting a huge dent in your wallet. (And Etsy and eBay have awesome vintage aprons.)

Platter, vase and glassware via TJ Maxx; dress via J. Crew; apron via eBay; Champagne via Moet; Sugarfina gummy candy via Swoozie’s; Table runner  via HomeGoods; Hydrangeas via Publix

Watch Alexis on Talk of Alabama tomorrow!

img_9589Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Friday (November 24th): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! (Hint: Gentlemen, this one is for especially for you!)

Not in the local viewing area? You can live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Calling all Magic City Classic shoppers!


This is not a drill.

Still haven’t picked out the perfect Magic City Classic outfit? I’ve got you covered! I’m sure you know what not to wear (ahem), so come check out this fall’s hottenst ttends instead. Swing by Macy’s (Riverchase Galleria) this Friday, October 29 for shopping, music and light bites–plus a fashion show hosted by yours truly!
The first 30 customers to RSVP and attend will receive a $10 Macy’s gift card, good for that day. RSVP by clicking here.

Hope to see you there!

Talking natural hair…

curly-hair

Several of you have asked what I use to care for my  curls, and I am excited to share these tips and products with you here and on Talk of Alabama today (You can view the segment by clicking HERE.)

There is no one-size fits all approach to natural hair. You can watch all the YouTube videos and read all the blogs in the world, but you’ll still have to learn your own hair, whether you cut it all off or grow it out from the root.  You may have to “cocktail” different brands and processes to achieve the look you want, or you may be able to literally wash and go. My tips are based on 8 years of trial and error. Note: I am not a hairstylist or dermatologist. Seek professional advice before you self-diagnose or try anything to permanently alter your hair. (For example, I don’t color my hair at home. I leave that to someone who has professional training.)

Tip 1: Have a great go-to shampoo and conditioner. Using a shampoo that is free of sulfates, counteracts hard water buildup, is gentle enough to use daily and allows my hair to retain moisture is key. And because my hair gets super tangly, I need a creamy conditioner that smooths the cuticle of my hair and makes the detangling process much less painful. Try: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo and Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner, $12 each; available at Target.

Tip: Pre-poo or deep condition as a luxury treatment.  I love the versatility that allows me to wear my hair blown out bone straight, but that has an effect on my curls. A few months ago, they were in pretty bad shape. Using a great protein pre-shampoo treatment and a rich deep conditioner strengthens my curls and gives them a little more “POP.”                       Try: Madam C. J. Walker’s Dream Come True Wonderful Pre-Wash Protein Treatment, $32 at Sephora. For deep conditioning, try Ouidad’s  MeltDown Extreme Repair Mask, available at Sephora and Ulta for $44, and in a smaller size at Ultra for $16.

Tip: My curls don’t require a lot of handling, so I stick to a Denman brush for detangling and working product through my wet hair. Using a microfiber towel to squeeze excess moisture out of my hair shortens drying time and eliminates the frizz a bath towel can cause.  Try: Microfiber wrap, available at HomeGoods, $3.99; Denman brush, available at Sally Beauty Supply, $11.50.

Last but not least:  Be gentle with your curls. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your texture to someone else’s, because every curl pattern has its own unique beauty. Since hair grows from the inside out, it’s still going to be important to eat well and drink plenty of water. Be sure to get regular trims and consult with a stylist who understands textured hair. Oh-and if you see someone with gorgeous natural hair, feel free to compliment them on it, but as a general rule: please ask before touching it!

Want to see a professional? Here are some Birmingham-area stylists I recommend:

Image via FunnyAnd.com

Tune in to Talk of Alabama Friday, October 21!


Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Friday (October 21st): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! 

Not in the local viewing area? You can live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo, Alexis

What I wore: Lily Rain

alexis  lily rain talk of alabama
I am in LOVE with the fuchsia off-the-shoulder top I wore on Talk of Alabama this week! The boutique, located at the Summit, is hosting a special event on September 22 that benefits the United Way of Central Alabama. Stop by and treat yourself for a fabulous cause! 

lily rain united way event

As Seen on TV

Happy Monday, darlings! Let’s get this week off to a fabulous start, shall we? Here are six of my favorite, budget-friendly finds for fashionistas on the go, as shared on  ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama today!

STREAMLINING SKIN CARE: Using products that eliminates extra steps or products, or saves time is a major key! For example, I love exfoliating, but what do you do when you’re out of your favorite face scrub? I love OH K!’S CLEANSING PAD DUO PACK—from Paper Source—which lets your cleanser do double duty as an exfoliator. The fun, reusable silicone pads are a gentle way to remove makeup and refresh your skin, and they’re affordable at only $6.95.

PRODUCT PRO TIP: Isn’t it annoying when you can’t get to the last of your liquid foundation, lotion or cream? Consumer Reports estimates 15-25% of product goes to waste for this reason. If you’re like me you’ve scooped or cotton-swabbed to get the last few drops. But I recently found the SPATTY DADDY SET—$6.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond—which is amazing! This tiny set of spatulas can save you from digging or cutting into bottles and lets you get to the bottom of your product–so you get the most from it.

BLING, BLING: Whether your jewels are costume  finds or family heirlooms, keep them looking their best. Baublerella’s GLITZY GLOVE polishing mitt and BLING BRUSH with natural cleaner—available at Swoozie’s at the Summit—are affordable ways to remove tarnish and make your gemstones or precious metals sparkle. And a portion of proceeds empower women entrepreneurs and organizations that help instill confidence in young girls, so you’re helping a great cause.

GO-TO GADGET: I love tools and tricks that help me get dressed just a bit faster, like my BRACELET BUDDY!   When I saw this on TV I had to order one from Amazon. It eliminates fumbling to fasten a clasp through the patented clip that secures one end of your bracelet allowing your free hand to wrap it around your wrist and instantly secure the clasp. For $6.99, it’s a simple solution to this fashionista’s first world problem—and it’s also useful to those with arthritis or other mobility concerns.

READY, SET…OOPS:  If you’re prepared with a mini emergency kit – like this one from PINCH PROVISIONS—about $18 at Paper Source at the Summit – you are ready for just about anything. It has 17 items in a nifty pouch that save you in a pinch, and can be kept in a purse, glove compartment or desk drawer so you have it when you need it!

Xo, Alexis

White on white

Well, well, well…Labor Day is almost upon us, and you know what that means: put away the linen! No, not white clothing: I wear it year-round in season-appropriate fabrics.

However, last Saturday I broke out my linen fringe tank and gazebo pants from J. Crew to wear to a cousin’s summer afternoon baby shower, with Steve Madden’s blush “Sweetyy” flat sandal. Can you tell I’m obsessed with monochromatic dressing, and fringe?

Images via J. Crew and Steve Madden

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