Weekly Whistle: New J.Crew at The Outlet Shops of Grand River!

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Hello, my fabulouses! Today at The Outlet Shops of Grand River in Leeds, Alabama, I attended the grand opening of the J.Crew Factory  store.  Fashionistas….I GOT SOME OF THE MOST FABULOUS PIECES EVER! With 20%, 30%, and 40% off of the factory prices, how could I pass up such amazing deals?! Exactly. I could not. I did not.

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I bought twelve terrific items at the J.Crew Factory store that I will be using to create 30 different looks during the month of September. Y’all prepare yourselves for a new outfit post EVERY SINGLE DAY–It is going to be the most magnificent VIP fashion challenge EVER!  Well, at least until I come up with another one :)

Now, I just have to tell y’all what I got…I cannot contain my excitement anymore!

  1. A Tailored Boy Blazer in Vivid Jade
  2. Cobalt Stretch Vintage-Inspired Cord Matchstick Pants
  3. Light-Blue Powdered Oxford City Fit Shorts
  4. Darling Emerald and Navy Dotted Shorts
  5. Lovely Floral Pencil Skirt
  6. Super Cute French Hen Tee
  7. Blue-Toned, Plaid Button-Up
  8. Dotted Chambray Button-Up
  9. Snazzy Fall Colorblock Tee
  10. Fluorescent Pink V-Neck Tee
  11. Marvelous City Sweatshirt
  12. A FABULOUS Eyelash Scarf in the most darling hue of yellow. It is perfect, and I am quite certain that it is my fall staple piece! Rather than “the girl in the green scarf” from the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic….I am going to be “the VIP in the yellow scarf”! Kinda catchy….don’t ya’ think?

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While shopping at J.Crew Factory, I had the best customer service I have had in a store chain in quite a long time. Jason (pictured) was the most fabulous employee every--and doesn't he look totally dashing! I am LOVING his patterned button up and classy bowtie!

While shopping at J.Crew Factory, I had the best customer service I have had in a store chain in quite a long time. Jason (pictured) was so fabulous–and doesn’t he look totally dashing! I am LOVING his patterned button up and classy bowtie!

Blake (pictured) at the JCrew Factory store was such a magnificent help! Thank you, Blake, for standing guard of my dressing room as I ventured throughout the store to put together a month's worth of outfits with only 12 items! You were such a sweetheart, and dressing amazingly:)

Blake (pictured) at the J.Crew Factory store at The Outlet Shops of Grand River was such a magnificent help! Thank you, Blake, for standing guard of my dressing room as I ventured throughout the store to put together a month’s worth of outfits with only 12 items! You were such a sweetheart and dressed amazingly:)
P.S. In this photo, I am sporting the City Sweatshirt and the wonderful yellow scarf…this is just a little preview of the awesomeness!

My goodness, VIP readers, y’all HAVE TO go visit the J.Crew Factory store at The Outlet Shops of Grand River! Super nice people, great deals, and fabulous merchandise…what more could a fashionista or fashionado ask for?!

This shopping trip to the JCrew Factory store at The Outlet Shops of Grand River was a true clothing haul...and I cannot wait to share all of the extraordinary outfits with y'all throughout September!

This shopping trip to the J.Crew Factory store at The Outlet Shops of Grand River was a true clothing haul…and I cannot wait to share all of the extraordinary outfits with y’all throughout September!

Now, I have to show y’all the VIP’s outfit of the week…Oh, how I adore Weekly Whistles….

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Dress: Jessica Simpson

Vest: VIP DIY

Shoes: BCBG

Bracelet: Belk

Necklace: BluKat Design by Heather O’Cain

Can you spy the VIP? Oh, there I am! Why must I be so short...Thank goodness for heels!

Can you spy the VIP? Oh, there I am! Why must I be so short…Thank goodness for heels!

Y’all do NOT forget that the VIP needs YOUR HELP to win The Outlet Shops of Grand River GRAND HAUL GIRL! Here are brief instructions on how YOU can help! :) The support is much appreciated!  I have the most fabulous fans and support in the entire universe :)

  1. Go like The Outlet Shops of Grand River on Facebook

  2. Click the “Vote Now” button (it’s hot pink)

  3. Find my (Abby Hathorn) picture and click the “VOTE” button!

  4. Come back the next day…and vote again for the VIP!

Voting for The Outlet Shops of Grand River Grand Haul Casting Call ends August 24, 2013 at 5:00pm CST…So, y’all get to voting!

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

VIP Signature Curls with Hot Tools and Matrix Products!

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Hello, my fabulouses! I had the most fabulous modeling photo shoot EVER thanks to Detra Smith, hair stylist for the shoot, and Daphne Rush, MUA for the shoot. Before I show all of the magnificent pictures…let me tell you a little bit about Daphne and Detra!

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Who is Daphne Rush?

Daphne Rush is a makeup artist in the Birmingham area. She currently works full time for Smashbox Cosmetics as an account coordinator and artistry trainer. In addition to that, she serves on the board of directors for the Association of Independent Artists (AIA) and is currently the Best Makeup Artist for Birmingham Fashion Week. She eats, sleeps, and breathes makeup 24/7–when she isn’t in-store for Smashbox, she is making brides beautiful, on set for a photo shoot, or collaborating on projects for publication. She got her start at Sephora, and after making the National Pro Beauty Team, she traveled internationally in 2009-2010. After that, Daphne left to pursue her own business, Birmingham Beauties. She began embracing the education side of makeup artistry by teaching everything from private lessons to interactive group tutorials known as Makeup By Numbers. While freelancing for Tarte cosmetics in 2011, she was recruited for her current position with Smashbox. The fusion of education and camera ready products made Smashbox a perfect fit, and allowed her artistry the momentum that it continues to have today.” (Daphne Rush’s bio.)

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Who is Detra Smith?

“I wear many hats in the salon industry. As Artistic Director at Helen of Troy, one of my responsibilities is to style models for Hot Tools advertising.  I also write step-by-step guides to teach consumers how to use their styling tools.  As an artistic educator for Matrix, my responsibility is to teach other stylists how to achieve the best possible color results in their salons.  As a salon owner, I have many guests who ask how to maintain frizz with curly hair.  After meeting the VIP [Vintage Inspired Passionista--Abby Hathorn], I knew she would be the perfect step-by-step model to help others learn to manage their curls.”
After winning top stylist at BFW [Birmingham Fashion Week], I became a lead board member of the Association of Independent Artists.  I meet regularly at AIA The Salon with Jeremy Stephens, Daphne Rush and others on the board.  Jeremy is generous enough to allow me access to his salon anytime I’m working in the Birmingham area.”
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How did Detra Smith make my curls ever so luscious and frizz free?

“I used Matrix V-Light to touch up Abby’s highlights.  Next, I used the Matrix Total Results Super Defrizz Gel–it is my favorite product to define curls while taming frizz. The Hot Tools Tempest 2000 Blow Dryer comes with the finger diffuser that Abby used to dry her hair while keeping the curls controlled and smooth.  The curling iron I recommend for touch ups is the Hot Tools 1” Professional Spring Iron,” says Detra Smith.
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The Matrix Defrizz Gel, Hot Tools hair dryer with finger diffuser, and the Hot Tools 1” Professional Spring Iron is the most fabulous mix for any girl wanting to tame her natural curls.

VIP Personal Testimony:

Oh, I cannot explain how much I love the Hot Tools Tempest 2000 Hair Dryer and finger diffuser! I was very impressed how the Hot Tools Tempest 2000 dried my hair thoroughly and so quickly–AND without frizzing! Wow! I could not believe my eyes when I saw no frizz!  I admit that the VIP was skeptical because I have tried and owned several different hair diffusers–and by the time my hair was dry, my blonde curls looked like a giant frizz ball.  After only one use, I had fallen head over heels for Hot Tools!
For those pesky strands of curls that do not want to cooperate–the one inch Hot Tools Professional Spring Iron is beyond amazing! Some days, fixing my signature curls is a stressful task, but with Hot Tools and the Matrix hair gel, styling my hair has never been so easy and fast!
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Now, without further ado, I introduce to y’all the fabulous photo shoot pictures! Special thanks to Detra Smith and Daphne Rush for making me look so totally FABULOUS! Another super special thanks to Bella Bridesmaid for letting the VIP wear their lovely dresses and model at the super gorgeous Bella Bridesmaid shop!
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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Summer Slouch Series: Outfit One

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Maybe it is just me, but I have noticed that the trending ensemble for summer activities is a t-shirt, Nike shorts, and sandals. Here, in Birmingham, you will see LOTS of teenagers sporting the oversized pocket tees, Nike shorts, and Chacos with their hair and makeup fixed perfectly.  No, I am not bashing the fashion. Every girl needs their “play” clothes–even fashionistas like me!  Whenever I make a quick run to Target, you will most likely see me in Nike running shorts, a t-shirt, my lovely green Chacos, and a messy top bun or side pony tail–there you go, paparazzi.  Now, you know where to snap a picture of me when I am not all dolled up.  You’re welcome.

Now don’t get me wrong…I am all about being comfortable, but I cannot resort to wearing my hair down, with full-fledged makeup… and then tossing on athletic shorts and an old t-shirt…hmm…how can I feel comfortable and look amazing at the same time?  Two words.  Summer Slouch.

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What is Summer Slouch, you ask?  Well, it is quite simple.  Rather than slipping on Nike shorts and a Joe’s Crab Shack tee, you can toss on a cute and colorful mini skirt paired with a graphic tee and snazzy sneakers for a look that is far more dazzling!  That is what Summer Slouch is all about–quick, easy, comfortable, and super spectacularly stylish.

Whether you are having an all-day girls-day shopping all over the city OR whether you are going for a picnic at the local botanical gardens with that cute guy you met at the beach OR whatever the occasion…the VIP Summer Slouch will keep you feeling comfy and looking too-hot-to-handle.  Now, enough chatting and explaining and thinking about meeting a hot guy at the beach, let’s see what cute combo is going to kick off the VIP Summer Slouch Series. Woo hoo!

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T-shirt: Lucky Brand

Skirt: JC Penny

Shoes: Vans, VIP DIY

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Check out more of my writings and photo shoot styling here:

Real Media: The Adventures of the VIP–The Secret to Fashion Success–FEBs and Gas Stations:  http://thisisrealmedia.com/2013/06/05/the-adventures-of-the-vip-the-secret-to-fashion-success-febs-and-gas-stations/

Town and Gown Magazine June Issue: http://www.townandgownmagazine.com/#!current-issue/c113z

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

VIP Interview: Designer Mandi Faulk

Mandi Faulk and I at the Saks Emerging Designer Reveal.

Mandi Faulk and I at the Saks Emerging Designer Reveal.

Hello, hello, hello, fashionistas!  I have a fabulous interview to share with y’all today…the interview with the darling designer, Mandi Faulk! She was the winner of the 2012 BFW Emerging Designer Competition. So, without further ado, I present to you, the interview with the fantastic Mandi Faulk!

Heidi Elnora, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, and Mandi Faulk at the Emerging Designers Reveal.

Heidi Elnora, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, and Mandi Faulk at the Emerging Designers Reveal.

  • Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a twenty-seven year old fashion designer from Oxford, Alabama.  I grew up with three older sisters and a huge passion for design.

I began my apparel design degree when I was nineteen at The University of Alabama.  My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after, so I moved back to Oxford when I was twenty-one to help my family.

While back in Oxford, I worked in retail management for four years and took Esthetic classes at a local college.  Once my father was able to work his consulting business again, I moved back to Tuscaloosa in April 2011 to finish my degree in apparel and textile design at UA.

  • Who inspired you to become a designer?

Growing up, my mother designed and made jewelry.  She allowed me to create whatever I wanted, and I believe that was the beginning of my apparel design obsession.

When I was about six, I would set up my bedroom like it was my clothing store instead of playing “teacher” or “tea party”.  I took clothes from my closet and displayed them all over my room for my sisters to come shopping.

In 5th grade, I began drawing my own designs.  I was a fan of the Spice Girls, and their unconventional sense of style inspired me to design new looks for them.

In 6th grade, I started redesigning my own clothes.  I would put something on and couldn’t help but imagine it looking better “like this.”  My parents were always supportive of my designs and encouraged my imagination.

  • It is hard to believe it has been a year since you won Birmingham Fashion Week Emerging Designer 2012. How has your life and designs changed since winning that competition?

Since BFW 2012, I graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in apparel and textile design.

Winning the competition boosted my design confidence, and I have visually designed too many things to get down on paper.  Since winning, I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the industry and have been recognized locally. It’s very surreal and I’m so thankful for such a wonderful blessing.

Also, I am currently seeking a fashion design job and building my website.

Heidi Elnora, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, and Mandi Faulk at the Emerging Designers Reveal.

Heidi Elnora, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, and Mandi Faulk at the Emerging Designers Reveal.

  • Tell us about your design philosophy.

My foundation for design is to be innovative and fresh by using a commixture of fashion-forward styles. I constantly seek inspiration, whether it’s obtained through architecture, nature, textures, or timeless icons. My dreams have been crucially beneficial as an element of inspiration and manifestation.

I like the idea of embracing the beauty of grunge while preserving the sexy, urban sophistication of today’s modern woman. The woman I design for is chic, trendy, and appreciates a fresh dynamic esthetic. I want my customer to feel confident, strong, and beautiful while she makes it look easily natural to others.

  • I adore your “Wanderlust” collection! What is the inspiration behind it?

Thank you!  The inspiration behind Wanderlust came from the idea of combining different styles from different locations.  When someone is asked about their style, I don’t feel they should be limited to just one.  Wanderlust is a mixture of textures and natural colors.  It’s bohemian sophistication with an edge.

  • What is the best advice for aspiring designers?

Don’t second guess yourself.  If you visualize something, draw it.  If you end up not loving it, you can determine what it is that you like about that design and incorporate that into something better.  Second guessing yourself is a good way of bruising your imagination.

To be a designer, you must be self-motivated and really live, breathe, and dream design.  If it’s there, it will only intensify.  If you’re interested more in clothes that you in see in stores rather than ones that pop into your head, you could become a stylist.  It takes just as much creativity and talent to become a stylist as it does a designer.  Some of my friends in design school said that they too had been faced with this life decision.

  • On your website, you talk about “Alabama Forever” and “Operation Prom Dress” charities. How did you become involved with these organizations, and how can the VIP readers help support them?

Alabama Forever is a charity founded by Alex Sokol and Chris Nix.  After the April 2011 tornadoes in Alabama, this charity was formed to help those communities.  I had the pleasure of meeting Alex Sokol at BFW 2012, and his passion for this charity is contagious.  The Emerging Designers from BFW 2012 were asked to design a tshirt for this charity.   This is their mission statement:  “The mission of Alabama Forever is simple-to help our communities in need. Alabama Forever was founded by tragedy, developed by necessity, and inspired by the beauty and strength of what makes Alabama special, its people. Our efforts will all be community based with the sum of the whole being far greater than its parts.” –Alabama Forever    www.alabamaforever.org/

The University of Alabama has a club called Fashion Inc.  I was the Vice-President for that club, and we got involved with Operation Prom Dress.  We wanted to do something for the high school girls in Tuscaloosa that were affected by the tornadoes, as well as those that were financially unable to buy a new prom dress.  Every girl deserves to feel beautiful on prom night, so Fashion Inc. partnered with Operation Prom Dress and we held many dress drives.  Over 170 dresses were donated to us.  I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a humbling experience.  I’ll never forget the profound appreciation and genuine smiles of the girls when they came to pick out their dresses.  www.opdproject205.org/

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  • What are you bringing to the Birmingham Fashion Week runway this year?

This year, I will be showing new designs from my Wanderlust collection.  It is my spring line that covers different types of styles.  It’s a little more casual than my Catching Dreams collection that I showed last year.  I incorporated browns and blacks, which, for whatever reason, has gotten such a bad rap.  Rusts and burnt oranges aren’t typically what you would see for a spring collection, so I incorporated those as well.  I want to encourage people to think outside the box instead of limiting their wardrobe choices.

  • When you are not designing, what do you enjoy doing?

When I’m not designing, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends.  My family is a huge part of my life and spending time with them reminds me of what’s important in life. I’m a Southern girl at heart, so I really enjoy being outdoors.  Whether it be fishing, boating, hiking, or kayaking, I’m going to love it.  As far as my guilty pleasure:  ice cream.  It could be snowing outside and ice cream would always sound like a delicious idea!

  • VIP QUESTION: What is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?

As superficial as this might be, I refuse to throw out my “skinny” jeans.  Not skinny as in the fit, because they’re flared, but skinny as in the jeans I wore when I was at my fittest.  The knees are worn out with authentic holes and other places have been patched up like a champ, but I refuse to throw them out. They remind me that it is important to stay active and healthy.  Plus, they hold some really good memories.

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To learn more about Birmingham Fashion Week, take a gander at their website: www.bhamfashionweek.com. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for Birmingham Fashion Week, click here.

Like BFW on Facebook to keep up with the latest media coverage and runway updates! www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bhamfashionweek HASHTAG: BFW2013

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If you cannot get enough of the VIP, check out my articles in The Real Story! The Adventures of the VIP in the Lifestyle section! www.realstorypublishing.com

The VIP is also on The Real Story YouTube page! Check out the first Adventures of the VIP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uhx3yMCDh4

Check out the latest issue of Town and Gown Magazine! You can read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!

Like the VIP on Facebook to keep up with the latest VIP news and sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/abbysauce_

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/vintagepassionista

PHOTO CREDIT: ZACK CARPENTER(ZACK CARPENTER PHOTOGRAPHY)

PHOTO CREDIT: ZACK CARPENTER(ZACK CARPENTER PHOTOGRAPHY)

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

VIP Interview: Designer Heidi Elnora

Heidi Elnora (on left) and Jeana Fleming (on right) at the BFW 2012 Kick Off party at Gus Mayer (Birmingham, Alabama location). PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

Heidi Elnora (on left) and Jeana Fleming (on right) at the BFW 2012 Kick Off party at Gus Mayer (Birmingham, Alabama location). PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

Heidi Elnora knows how to inject that ‘Southern sparkle’ into the modern girl’s wedding.  From a small town to Project Runway and back, Heidi has patterned her life after fashion. Since the launch of the heidi elnora brand in 2006, Heidi has dressed hundreds of brides from Los Angeles to Dubai (and everywhere in between) for their big day,” states www.heidielnora.com.

A Few Facts About Heidi Elnora:

  • Heidi graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002.
  • After graduating from SCAD, Heidi designed children’s apparel for Carter’s in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • She competed on season two of Project Runway.
  • In November of 2006, the brand “heidi elnora” was founded back in Heidi’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Heidi stays true to her roots by taking a handmade approach when it comes to designing her gowns.

SOURCE:   WWW.HEIDIELNORA.COM

Heidi Elnora posing with her husband Jeff Baker at the BFW 2012 Kick Off Party. PHOTO CREDIT TO CHUCK ST. JOHN

Heidi Elnora posing with her husband Jeff Baker at the BFW 2012 Kick Off Party. PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

  • Who inspired you to become a designer?

“It is simply in my blood. My grandmother always wanted to be a designer, and I took inspiration from her dream. My family has supported and inspired me to be the designer I am today,” says Heidi Elnora, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week.

  • What was your most memorable moment on Project Runway?

“Receiving the call that I had made the show was life changing! Only sixteen designers were accepted, and I was honored to be one of the sixteen,” says Heidi with excitement.

  • Who are some of the celebrities you have designed for?

“I have designed a gown for country music singer Sara Evans and two PGA golfers’ wives.  I also designed gowns for Miss Alabama, Miss Mississippi, and Miss Tennessee,” says the darling designer Heidi Elnora.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

  • How would you describe your personal style?

“I am a grandma,” Heidi says jokingly. “I love layering! I adore muted nude outfits with bright pops of color!”

  • What color best describes your personality?

“I cannot pick just one color, so I choose color palettes! Earth tones, pinks, blues, and soft colors best describe my personality,” says wedding gown designer Heidi Elnora.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

  • What is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?

“A tank top! I wear one everyday. They are a huge necessity,” says Heidi.

(Photo taken by CHUCK ST. JOHN at the 2013 Birmingham Fashion Week Kick Off Party at the Birmingham Gus Mayer location.)

(Photo taken by CHUCK ST. JOHN at the 2013 Birmingham Fashion Week Kick Off Party at the Birmingham Gus Mayer location.)

  • Describe Birmingham Fashion Week in 5 words.

” BFW is needed, fresh, inviting, a collaboration, a belief, and energetic. I love the energy that comes from Birmingham Fashion Week; it is so overwhelming,” explains co-founder Heidi Elnora.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

  • What should people expect from Birmingham Fashion Week 2013?

“It will be amazing! The designs are unbelievable! All I can say is it will be bigger and better,” exclaimed Heidi Elnora.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

PHOTO CREDIT: CHUCK ST. JOHN

Stay tuned for more from this interview with Heidi Elnora by keeping up with me on my blog, www.realstorypublishing.com, and www.townandgownmagazine.com (read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!)

To learn more about Birmingham Fashion Week, take a gander at their website: www.bhamfashionweek.com. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for Birmingham Fashion Week, click here.

Like BFW on Facebook to keep up with the latest media coverage and runway updates! www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bhamfashionweek HASHTAG: BFW2013

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If you cannot get enough of the VIP, check out my articles in The Real Story! The Adventures of the VIP in the Lifestyle section! www.realstorypublishing.com

The VIP is also on The Real Story YouTube page! Check out the first Adventures of the VIP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uhx3yMCDh4

Check out the latest issue of Town and Gown Magazine! You can read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!

Like the VIP on Facebook to keep up with the latest VIP news and sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/abbysauce_

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/vintagepassionista

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn