Decking the Mall with Suzanne Libfraind: The SouthPark VIP Personal Shopping Experience


Opening an email from Suzanne Libfraind is like a kid opening a gift on Christmas morning.

I just knew whatever inside was going to be spectacular!

Suzanne is the Personal Shopper for Charlotte’s upscale SouthPark mall.

I’ve previously attended her shopping events and each time she outdoes herself.

This event had a twist. Normally we gather in the center of the mall and sit as she presents us with her current favorites.

This time we were going to be on the move. Going from store to store to see what she chose from each place. It was like a fancy field trip!

After a farm fresh brunch from Gusto we started our trek through the mall.

Our first stop was only steps away. Louis Vuitton. Why not start with the most luxurious, right?

Sipping mimosas at Louis Vuitton before noon??? Yes please!! I could get use to this.

Classics such as the Keepall and the monogram wallet were favorites. She mixed in new trends such as the Initial belt and the sock shoe. And the Empreinte bag in a pop of color is perfect for the holidays. It can be worn as a ladylike shoulder bag or a cool, hip crossbody.

We moved on to one of the newest stores in the mall, Tommy John. There are only two stores in the country.

It started as a line of underwear being sold in Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. The undershirt was designed to prevent untucking.

Memory material stretches and goes back to its original state.

Comfort and versatility are the best way to describe this line. Lifestyle driven clothing.

From the breathable, lightweight underwear to the Go Anywhere Pant, comfort was the key word.

The Stay Tucked Shirt with its elastic hem and hidden snaps will be sure to please any guy on your gift list.

On to make up Heaven…Bare Minerals. Known for clean beauty, this makeup line is perfect for the ladies on your list. Or yourself.

Showcased were the Custom Brush Kit, Lashtopic Mascara(which I have used and can claim as a favorite), a 12 piece ‘Best Sellers’ collection and the Hyperglow Mask.

And the drool worthy, steal of a deal, Stellar Glow Highlighting Pallete that will find it’s way into my makeup bag soon.

This blogger turned into Buddy the Elf at the sighting of this guy. It’s Santa!!! I know him!!!

Trina Turk was a huge hit at Charlotte Fashion Week. With the launch of the Mr. Turk line, couples outfits can compliment each other for a classic look for any occasion.

Belt bags, ascots and bow ties or a ‘Mr. Ice’ ice bucket will please any dapper guy you know. The buckets are made from retired patterns. So you know they will be a chic addition to any home.

While the fashionistas will love the fuzzy alpaca slippers and leopard print beret. And everyone loves a good coffee table book.

You had me at Pumpkin loaf, champagne and shoes.

We nibbled on sweets and sipped champagne at Stuart Weitzman as we ‘oohhed’ and ‘aaahhed’ over suede sneaker shoes, knee high boots and sparkly heels.

Johnny Was….

Was what??

A good man according to the Bob Marley song that inspired the stores name. But Johnny was…anything you want him to be.

And that fits the boho chic vibe of the store.

Suede bucket bags and blankets, silk scarves, velvet joggers and more coffee table books were among the favorites.

It’s not like we were hungry again. But who’s going to turn down gourmet cuisine from Sur La Table??

As we ate small bites that had been smoked by their Smoking Box and sipped exotic coffee drinks from their JURA E8 coffee maker, we watched demonstrations of their Miyabi knives and Coravin Model 2 Wine System.

Restaurants and homes can keep bottles of wine fresh with the Coravin.

Cookbooks and cooking classes make wonderful gifts.

How are you holding up? I know this is a long blog. But we’re almost finished.

We moved on to the colorful Vera Bradley Store. They’re more than just purses. We did see purses though. Tote bags and cross bodies. As well as travel cases, pill boxes and jewelry cases.

Including a new, not yet released to the public pattern.

I even won the drawing for an item I had been eyeing for one of my daughters!

All that food, drink and holiday cheer can lead to one thing…exercise.

At Athleta we saw the latest in stylish, comfy athletic wear. As well as samples from Clean Juice and info on various cleanses.

The Cozy Karma pullover with its rose gold zipper and the Stash Pocket Salutation Tights will keep you fashionable while working off those holiday pounds.

We ended the Shopping Experience with wine and Frye.

Frye has much more than boots. Belts, socks, bags, wallets and travel kits provide an array of gift ideas. Again we see a trendy sneaker.

My favorite was the Sacha Chelsea Boot with removable harness. You can wear them with or without the harness and even switch the harnesses.

Wow, we shopped til we dropped!! But it was an amazing experience.

Coffee table books, sneakers and crossbody bags made several appearances. Along with new, unique gift ideas.

We were treated to a day of luxury by Suzanne and SouthPark Mall. We came away with generous gifts from each store as well as the mall itself.

SouthPark Mall is the goto place for your holiday shopping. They have stores from every price point.

And they are unique in the fact that they have a personal shopper.

Suzanne Libfraind will help you shop for everyday basics or an important event. Or help you pick out gifts for others. And her first session is free for up to three hours!

Contact her for your own VIP Shopping Experience.


For The Love of Money


Love and Money. Two words that can be the basis for many heated arguments.

And this event was no exception.

I met Troy Spry when he was a panelist on the “Ask A Man” series I’ve covered in previous blogs.

When he asked me to cover this event I knew it wouldn’t be tame.

He combined his relationship expertise with financial guru Russell Stewart. Making for an eventful evening.

After everyone arrived we were encouraged to play board games, take pictures, get to know each other and even eat candy.

Troy then gave us instructions for the evening.

“Be honest.”

“Give short answers and don’t hog the mic.”

“Stay off your phone! Except for the Designerdiva she’s working!”

“Have fun and meet someone new.”

And the most important one…

“This is a conversation, not a confrontation!”

Someone at the next table wondered why he would say that. But I knew! I already knew how this was going to go.

The first topic was men making less than their partner.

Basically we learned it’s not what he makes but how he manages it. And how much of the day to day household duties he takes over.

“All areas can’t be lacking.”

And how the female handles it is important. Immature women will throw it in his face. It’s a respect and maturity issue.

Engagement is too late to discuss finances.

This brought on the gold digger discussion.

If a man tells a woman right off how much money he makes does it influence her?

If the man lies at first and later comes clean about being in the NBA how does the woman feel?

Which led to even more questions.

Do you look at their social media?

How much does that play into whether you go out with them or not?

A man in the audience responded “Don’t assume I paid full price for my designer clothes. Do not judge. You don’t know if I’m just trying to create an image or this is just me.”

This is where the ‘conversation not confrontation’ rule came in handy.

There was no set answer. Eventually everyone agreed to disagree and moved on.

Lanard Wentz, Founder of Virile Magazine, was another familiar face from the ‘Ask A Man’ panel. He took part in ‘Love and Finance Triva’.

We learned that 41% of couples in debt argue regularly.

And 33% hide purchases from their spouse.

We moved on to ‘Who pays for the first date?’

Everyone agreed it’s whoever asks.

And that’s the last time everyone agreed.

The men believe that if you can’t finance a date don’t initiate it.

Start small. Or else you will be expected to outdo yourself each time.

The women feel it’s about effort not cost. The men do not believe that.

Men think women want time and money put into dates. Woman voiced time is more of a factor.

“If you pay attention to our conversations you will know where to take us” one woman stated.

At what point should the woman pay for the date. The average answer was the third date.

How many times does a man pay before the woman is deemed selfish?

The men said they want the woman to at least offer. At least reach for the bill.

The women came back with ‘Men shouldn’t assume we will offer.’

Yet again the ‘conversation not confrontation’ rule came up.

But let’s look at the woman’s point of view.

What if the woman is constantly doing little things for the man?

Buying him little things she knows he likes.

Surprising him at work with a home cooked lunch.

Driving him to the airport when he goes out of town.

Stop keeping score. Everything evens out. As long as equal thought is put into the relationship who pays for what shouldn’t be an issue.

Again everyone agreed to disagree.

Russell had us draw a picture of a house.

Our finances should be like the house. The foundation is ‘Protection’. This is insurance. Health, disability, auto and life.

The first floor is an emergency fund. This is a reserve so that one emergency doesn’t send you into debt. The plan is to have 3-6 month of income put back.

The second floor is to have a debt elimination plan.

The attic is your Retirement Plan. Your income determines your Quality of Life.

And the roof is your goals and dreams. These shouldn’t be overlooked and money should be put aside for them.

Women and men will never agree 100% of the time. But as more and more events provoke discussion we can at least begin to see each other’s side.

Troy and Russell left us with these words…

Know where you stand financially.

Inspect what you expect.

Better people make better communities.

YCFW:Behind the Scenes Part XI-The End of The Beginning


It was finally time. After months and months of hard work. Conference calls, meetings, model calls, press conferences and model classes. Fashion Week came to York County, South Carolina.

The brainchild of NaTasha McNeil was finally happening.

Our fearless leader saw the need for the fashion community in her area. York County is rich in independent boutiques and designers and it was time to focus on that.

Online shopping has become such a norm that we sometimes forget all the treasures in our own backyard.

We began with a ribbon cutting and Media Night. Our host Ryan Jor El interviewed everyone from our founder to the youngest of models.

The second night began with pure luxury. VIP guests took a cruise across Lake Wylie to a lakeside mansion for a pre-show cocktail hour.

Freeze Models were lined along the shores, providing an even lovelier view than the sunset.

We were then shuttled to Camp Thunderbird for the show.

Our third night kicked off with a cocktail hour and Bridal Gown Display.

The grounds of The White Home in Rock Hill were beautifully decorated for fall.

Stylists put the finishing touches on the models as they prepared for the show.

Wedding dresses from different eras were displayed on our models .

The gravel pathway leading to the front of the house made for a perfect runway.

Night number four began with a relaxing cocktail hour at our Red Carpet Affair at the Southern Charm Events Venue.

The show featured over 100 models and represented designers and boutiques from several states.

From formal wear to street style and everything in between. This show had something for everyone.

Saturday was all about the kids. The Kids/Teens Showcase took place at The Glennon Center in Tega Cay.

It began with a Snap, Crackle and Pop themed ‘SNACKtail Hour’.

All good things must come to an end.

Ryan Jor El heads to his podium on the tarmac at York County Airport for our closing ceremony.

Private jets were taking off in the background of our cocktail hour as we prepared for our final runway show and Fashion Awards.

Simply Jane Formals owner Beth Vanderwalker received an award for best boutique. She is a dedicated supporter of YCFW and provided many beautiful gowns for our shows.

And Jillian Blankley was awarded for most improved model. I watched her grow throughout this whole process. And I truly enjoyed working with her.

I gained a lot of knowledge during the making of this fashion week. And passed this knowledge along to my readers.

I made new friends. Spent time with old friends. I learned the unique personalities of several models. And made important connections.

Our founder NaTasha McNeil and director Ken Sings outdid themselves.

I’m looking forward to the second York County Fashion Week. Even though it is over I don’t see it as an ending.

I see it as the end of the beginning.

We’re Here For It!!


Happy Blog Day!!


Today my blog, Living La Vida Diva, turns three years old!

Last year I was really proud of how far I’d come. As I look back over the third year I see how much I’ve truly grown.

There were food blogs. And blogs on authors. And musicians!

Rap artist IV Montana remains my most read blog.

He continues to send me people to write about. I even wrote about his mother.

I did a few more collabs with fellow bloggers Reagan and Megan.

I met the greatest group of young people with Inspire the Fire and even interviewed their leader Dennis Reed.

I attended brunches sponsored by the Charlotte Observer.

And I discovered so much talent while covering the Queen City Awards.

I stepped outside my comfort zone and covered some controversial events.

And met some people with amazing stories.

I was there when Ryan Jor El brought his dream to life with the first inaugural Black Fathers Rock event.

And I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to watch designer Laddie Howard create his beautiful bags.

I covered Fashion shows.

And I walked the runway myself in a show benefitting women’s mental health.

I met with a fascinating young man Francisco Cauldron. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on his blog.

I took inventory of my closet as I chronicled my move.

I’ve worked hard this year building my brand. And the last two weeks have been a result of all that hustling.

I became part of the media team for Charlotte Seen and provided front row coverage for Charlotte Fashion Week.

And I became the official blogger for the first York County Fashion Week in South Carolina. Providing behind the scenes coverage from beginning to end.

I had two weeks of back to back fashion shows.

My blog has grown so much this year. And I’ve learned so much while Living La Vida Diva.

Charlotte Fashion Week


Charlotte Fashion Week just came to an end.

We experienced a weeks worth of elegance by Charlotte Seen.

The week began with a luxurious private launch party poolside at The Vue Charlotte.

We sipped on cocktails by Social House and took in the view while mingling with Charlotte’s most fashionable people.

Night number two was the public launch party at Nordstrom’s South Park. We enjoyed cocktails while learning about Jimmy Choo’s new Made to Order service.

You can now customize shoes or handbags!

We were then treated to three nights of fashion. From emerging designers to recycled fashion, there was something for everyone.

And fashion wasn’t just on the runway. Attendees showed their personalities each night.

Fur, lace and metallics were in abundance. But with the designers spin. Making each piece unique.

There were classics like bright cheerful Lilly Pulitzer and Brahmin, and designers such as Classic Man, Tony Howard and Untitled Facade with their edgy creations.

Another successful Charlotte Fashion Week!! What was your favorite piece from the shows?

Haute Child In The City


Have you ever looked at someone and thought “Wow!! There’s just something about them”?

And you really can’t pinpoint their age? Because they look young and impressionable, yet mature and wise at the same time.

That was the case when I first spotted model Francisco Calderon on the runway last year.

He stood out. And even though he was walking for a children’s designer, he didn’t exactly look like a child.

I was intrigued. The curious cat inside me had to find out who he was.

We connected on Instagram and he agreed to be interviewed.

This blog has been a year in the making. I finally got to sit down with him before he jetted off for New York Fashion Week.

The thirteen year old got his first taste of modeling over a year ago at a local Dillard’s Fashion Show.

That taste fueled his desire for more.

Acting, interviewing and even having his own YouTube channel are just a few of the things he’s already accomplished. But his main love is the runway.

It’s hard to remember he’s so young.

But mention the video game Fortnite and you’ll see a glimmer in his piercing dark eyes.

He then shape shifts into a typical teenager.

He loves wearing hoodies, jeans and sneakers.

And listening to rap music. His fashion icon is rapper Lil Uzi Vert.

And then in the blink of an eye he’s a mature, well versed young man, sitting across from me.

He speaks on his enviable collection of designer items.

He owns more Gucci and Louis Vuitton than most grown ups. And he introduced me to the term ‘Hype Beast’.

Now I thought I knew everything there was to know about fashion. But this new trend had escaped me. Kids are mixing labels like they’re Garanimals, creating the newest look in fashion.

If he had to describe his signature style it would be business casual. While he’s just as comfortable in blazers and jeans as he is in haute couture, his Mom describes him as a ‘Hype Beast at heart’.

He truly is a chameleon. He looks natural in any outfit, and fits easily into any environment. This has been noted by designers and photographers that know him as well.

We’ve all seen that he has ‘IT’.

It’s Fashion Week in the Carolinas starting with Charlotte and York County following.

Look for him on the runways. You will see that he’s anything but typical.

His maturity is matched only by his childlike wonderment.

YCFW: Behind the Scenes Part X-Porcelain Doll Photo Shoot


As an avid doll collector for most of my life I was excited about this photo shoot.

It would combine two of my loves…Dolls and Fashion.

The models first went through hair and makeup. Transforming them into living dolls.

The model coaches, stylists and photographers kicked their creativity into overdrive to pull off this shoot.

Watching one of our big burly photographers showing a model how to ‘sit daintily’ on a chair was hysterical. But it just shows his dedication.

We had cherub faced baby dolls.

Life size Barbie and Bratz dolls.

Can’t you just picture this doll being brought back as a souvenir from a visit to some exotic location??

And your grandmothers stunning antique porcelain doll. That you take out of its display case and pose for photos.

These models really showed their range and talent that day. And the team behind them brought us a beautiful doll collection.

We’re Here For It!!!