3 Ways to Wear a Pretty Pink Coat: Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Outfit 3)

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

Brr… Are y’all staying warm? It is somewhat warm here today; however, it might be bitter cold tomorrow. Who knows with Southern weather *wink* So, what does the VIP do in weather like this? Watch Psych, of course! I am so excited for another episode tomorrow! Whoo hoo!

To change up Outfit 2, trade pink cords for dark denim jeans, swap the red sweater for a chevron cardigan and matching tank, and last but not least, toss off the hat, and slip into a pair of pink kitten heels–tah dah! FAB-U-LOUS.

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Coat: Tommy Hilfiger, The Outlet Shops of Grand River

Cardigan: Banana Republic

Jeans: Chip & Pepper, Belk (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

18 Days of Grand Haul: Cozy Up

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Hello, my fabulouses! I am excited to announce that I officially have a role in an upcoming, independent film *happy dance*–I cannot tell y’all much about the movie and all of the fabulousness yet…so, y’all stay tuned! :)

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To cozy up yesterday’s Friday Night Fun outfit, simply toss on a cobalt blue, Aeropostle zip hoodie and BAM! Without a lot of effort, this sassy sporty outfit is now a little bit cozier for afternoon tailgating. Roll Tide! No, I am not a huge football fan—I do not pull for one specific team. Living only about an hour from the heart of Alabama football (Tuscaloosa), I cannot help but feel the need to join the Roll Tide bandwagon every now and again…Oh, come on—just say it. It’s fun. *wink* Roll Tide.

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83 Chiffon Sweatshirt: Wet Seal, The Outlet Shops of Grand River

Hoodie: Aeropostale, The Outlet Shops of Grand River

 Lace Skirt: Aeropostale, The Outlet Shops of Grand River

Knee High Socks: Maurices, The Outlet Shops of Grand River

Sneakers: Keds, Belk

Watch my November Grand Haul video below and let me know what your favorite piece is! Comment on this blog post or comment on YouTube!

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

VIP Interview: Denim Experts Chip & Pepper

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Hello, my fabulouses! How many of us truly hate trying on and shopping for jeans? I know I do! However, when I slipped into my first pair of Chip & Pepper jeans in the dressing room, I immediately fell in love. I am not much of a “jean-wearer,” but the luxurious feel and fabulous fit of Chip & Pepper denim made me feel like I was not even wearing jeans. Now, THAT is good-quality denim!

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The VIP with Chip (on left) and Pepper (on right) at Belk College Night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Chip and Pepper Foster are totally awesome twin brothers that not only have a splendid passion for creating exquisite quality denim at an affordable price, but also have super spunky and fun personalities that make me wish I had an identical twin!

Abby: Y’all are so fun! Y’all make me want to have a twin!

Chip: You can!

Abby: Can I be y’all’s twin?

Chip: Yeah!

Pepper: Yeah!

Chip: He’s Salt (pointing at Salt) and he’s Pepper–so you have to pick a condiment. You can be like ketchup or mustard.

Abby: I’ll be mustard.

Chip: She’ll be mustard! Now, it is Chip, Mustard, Pepper, and Salt!

Pepper: It’s great!

Chip and Pepper picking out jeans for the VIP.
Chip and Pepper picking out jeans for the VIP.

“We want everyone to have our brand, not just boutiques…and that is why we started this exclusive launch with Belk. If these jeans were on the West Coast, it would cost about $200, but here [at Belk] you can get a pair [of jeans] for about $70….It was a really good choice for Pepper and me to make a change where everyone could have our brand and experience good quality denim at a fair price,” explained Chip Foster as he was picking out jeans for the VIP.

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“From clothing lines and music videos, to barbecue sauce and cartoons, identical twin brothers, Chip and Pepper Foster have done it all with energy that makes most heads spin.” (www.chipandpepper.com) Oh, my head was spinning as I learned more about the spectacularly  twin brothers and their hot, traffic-stopping denim brand during the VIP interview.

Abby: How would you describe the Chip & Pepper brand?

Pepper: Hot.

Chip: Yeah, yeah! I would definitely say “hot!

Pepper: Hot, sexy, delicious, soft, and the-right-price.

Abby: What makes the Chip & Pepper brand stand out?

Pepper: It is 100 percent us. All of the energy that Chip and I have put into it has been awesome!

Chip: We have been doing this for like 24 years, and we believe in giving our customers unbelievably good quality.

Abby: Chip, describe yourself in five words.

Chip: Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

Abby: Pepper, describe yourself in five words.

Pepper: I have no idea…that’s a crazy question, Abby! Hm….Well, I am crazy but never lazy…I am energized like the Energizer Bunny…I am also energetic…anything can happen, if you let it.

Pause in the interview as we all put on funky glasses to take silly pictures.

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Abby: What color best describes you?

Chip: I am kind of like a light blue…but I like to wear pink too…So, I don’t know! I cannot decide!

Pepper: I’m tie-dyed!

Chip: He is mixed-up tie-dye! I like that, Pep!

Abby: *laughing*

Chip: Your laugh is the best! You have a great laugh!

Abby: Well, thanks, Chip! *laughing again*

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Abby: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Chip: I love roasted almonds covered in dark chocolate.

Pepper: I love that. I have never had a chance to eat that!

Chip: You have to get them in Northern Canada or in England. I am telling you that they are the best there!

Pepper: I like the richest pistachio ice cream.

Abby: I like pistachio ice cream, too!

Chip: Me too!

Pepper: I love it! It’s my favorite!

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

Chip: My Van Halen rock shirt with cut off sleeves!

Abby: I have an REO Speedwagon shirt like that! I love it!

Pepper: I have lots of good rock shirts!

Abby: We could totally have fun in each other’s closets!

Pepper: Oh, yeah!

Chip: He [Pepper] has great stuff!

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Pepper: I would never toss out these boots [pointing at his shoes] because they will never go out of style.

Abby: Those are so cool! I saw them when we were first introduced–I think they are totally awesome boots!

Pepper: These are hand cobbled. I love the way they round at the top…kind of like Popeye!

Abby: They are fantastic!

Pepper: Thanks, Abby!

Chip: You are so cool, Abby!

Pepper: Give us a hug!

Chip: Yeah, yeah! Give us a hug!

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Best. Jeans. Ever. The VIP LOVES Chip & Pepper denim!
Best. Jeans. Ever.
The VIP LOVES Chip & Pepper denim!

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In addition to the Belk College Night event and the mega exciting interview, I got the twins to sign my new Chip & Pepper jeans…not on the inside pocket like everyone else…but on the outside. So, Chip and Pepper autographed the flare of the jeans as well as the booty of the jeans right below the belt loop. (See slideshow pictures above.)

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Years from now, I can see these jeans framed and hanging on a wall in my house somewhere–what a fabulous keepsake from a spectacular interview!  I love y’all, Chip and Pepper! Come back to Alabama anytime–the VIP will make sure you are treated to a fun time:) Y’all stay fabulous!

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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: Jeremy Stephens

Jeremy Stephens and I at the BFW 2013 Rising Design Star Reception
Jeremy Stephens and I at the BFW 2013 Rising Design Star Reception.

Hello, wonderfully fashionable readers! I have a fabulous interview to share with y’all today…the interview with the amazingly talented Jeremy Stephens-owner and master stylist at the Association of Independent Artists in Hoover, Alabama. So, without further ado, I introduce to you, the spectacular interview with Jeremy Stephens!

Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party (Gus Mayer-Birmingham, AL location).
Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party (Gus Mayer-Birmingham, AL location).
  • Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Jeremy Stephens, founder of The Association of Independent Artists, Inc.  (AIA), Owner of AIA: The Salon in Hoover, AL, and Artistic Director and Lead Stylist for Birmingham Fashion Week.

I’m also a field educator and platform artist for Keratin Complex.

I have been working in the fashion and beauty industry for over 13 years. I am a hairstylist and makeup artist specializing in wedding/special events, photo, film, runway and couture hair and makeup.

I am currently a Tuscaloosa resident (Roll Tide).  I share a home and my life with my partner Brian Avery, owner of The Brian Avery Salon in Tuscaloosa, AL.  I’m also a working pet parent to a precious little fur-baby (Chihuahua) named Rupert.

  • What inspired the creation of the Association of Independent Artists?

The Association of Independent Artists was an idea that developed from a need for talented freelance artists in the hair and beauty industry to supply the growing demand for local talent.  My wedding and freelance clientele had begun to grow beyond my scheduling capabilities.  Therefore, I began to network with other stylists and makeup artists working in the Birmingham market in order to meet the growing need for their artistic abilities and respective areas of expertise.  In my search for a resource for local artists, I realized that there wasn’t really an established database of freelance artists in the local hair and beauty industry.  So…..I decided to start my own!  Recently, we’ve also begun to add photographers to our database of artists.

Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and Jeana Fleming at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party.
Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and Jeana Fleming at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party.
  • Tell us a little about your AIA Board of Directors.

AIA Associate Artistic Directors are my core group of hairstylists and makeup artists with whom I have previously worked with on freelance projects.  Not only are my AIA Associate Artistic Directors extremely talented artists, but they are also all established professionals with their own clientele.  As we build the AIA Brand, this group of individuals will form the founding Board of Directors.  One of our primary goals is to gain the resources and facilities to provide opportunities for advanced education for other professionals working in our respective industries.

  • When and how did you become involved with Birmingham Fashion Week?

I’ve been a part of Birmingham Fashion Week since the inception.  When my life-long friend, Heidi Baker (Heidi Elnora), approached me with the idea, I couldn’t resist.  After seeing continued success with her seasonal collection releases, she began to be approached by other local business owners and charitable organizations who were interested in working with Heidi on producing a larger event.  She and co-founder, Jeana Lee Fleming, basically said that they thought we should give it a whirl and offered me the opportunity to jump on board.  After all…..what is a fashion event without hair and makeup?!

We started with one-night preview event in April of 2011.  The entire event was planned, funded, and organized in seven weeks.  The primary benefactor of BFW 2011 was Camp Smile-A-Mile.  Unfortunately, the April 27th tornadoes struck the state three days before BFW’s maiden voyage.  Thanks to the encouragement and support of our community, we not only hosted a sell-out event, but (in addition to Camp Smile-A-Mile)  we also raised THOUSANDS of dollars worth of donations for the victims of the tornado outbreak.

We knew from that first event that BFW was going to be something special to the community.  We provide opportunities for local business owners to showcase their individuality, we offer local aspiring designers the opportunity to earn funding and support to peruse their career goals, and we bring world-renowned designers to share in the hospitality and beauty of the great state of Alabama.

Jeremy and Heidi having fun posing at the BFW Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer.
Jeremy and Heidi having fun posing at the BFW Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer.
  • What is the best advice for aspiring stylists/artisans?

The best advice I can give to aspiring stylists/artists is to take advantage of every opportunity you can to work with people who inspire you.

I work more now than I ever have in my life, and I’ve never been so motivated.  The more opportunities I have to work among my peers; the more I want to excel in my craft.

I believe that you will always be successful if you are working in a career that you love.  When work feels like play-time, you don’t mind putting in the extra hours.

There are no short-cuts; however, if you are willing to stick with it and work hard, you can achieve any goal that you set for yourself.

  • What should we expect from AIA at Birmingham Fashion Week this year?

AIA is the official sponsor for hair and makeup for BFW 2013.  Our partners are MAC Cosmetics, Keratin Complex, Matrix, and The Aveda Institute of Birmingham.

In addition to my AIA Artistic Directors, we will also be working with hairstylists and makeup artists from around the Southeast!  BFW 2012 Top Stylist, Detra Smith, has also organized a design team from local cosmetology schools and junior colleges through a mentorship program by Matrix called “Spread The Love”.   These students will be the hair and makeup team for the Emerging Designer competition.  While you’re at the event, be sure to check out the AIA Spring 2013 Collection: “The Sky is The Limit” in the BFW Lounge.  For contact information and information about AIA Artists, check out our website at www.thesalonartists.com!

Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous at the kick off party at Gus Mayer.
Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous at the kick off party at Gus Mayer.
  • When you are not making people beautiful, what do you enjoy doing?

When I’m not making people beautiful, I enjoy time around the house with Brian and Rupert and LONG dinners out with friends.  With such a CRAZY work schedule, I have come to really appreciate the rare opportunities I have to spend quality time with my family and friends.  I have such an amazing and loving support system in my life, and there never seems to be quite enough time to show them just how much I appreciate them.  Also, when I do have free time, I like to rest and recharge my positive energy reserve!

  • In your opinion, what is the best karaoke song?

In my opinion, the best karaoke song is, WITHOUT QUESTION, “Bohemian Rhapsody”  by Queen.

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

The one item I would never toss out is my smart phone.  I know it sounds so superficial and silly, but I am a slave to portable communication and am addicted to internet search engines. (I’m sort of an information nerd.  I like to know the “why’s” and “how’s” of pretty much everything.) I’m sure I should have said The Bible, but I can download it on my Kindle app from my smart phone, so that’s still in there too!!

Krista Collins, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party.
Krista Collins, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party.

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