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I now understand the meaning of Carolina Blue having spent 96 hours in North Carolina on the outer banks on Emerald Isle, with 3 of my dearest friends.  We worked together 35 years ago as merchants, buyers, designers, with a love of retail and just selling stuff.  How the colors of nature influence our choices in business and decorating our homes.  We marveled on how the palate of blues, greens, sands, naturals all work together and change with the light.  How you can use the same color blue on the wall and sometimes it might look lilac, grey, or green depending on the time of day.  We continue to be students, inspired by creative retail, good food, restaurants with a point of view,  and we have fun being a bit ruthless with our critiques. Carla and her husband Marvin own ZEST in Raleigh…a restaurant with a zest for life and an attitude of healthy eating.  He is the foodie and she, the merchant, so they combined their talents  in 1995 and opened with a restaurant and adjoining gift shop.  Carla is one of the most creative merchants, focused by category, color blocks for clarity, and only buys items with a vision of display.  It is all about ‘the hunt’.  And she knows what her customers will buy…and eat!

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We visited lots of great stores and ate at gritty and famous restaurants. We stopped at the side of the road to admire the wild delphiniums and poppies.

How all these colors influence our home decor…

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For your next road trip:

Chef and the Farmer– Progressive Eatery in Kinston.  Serve great food and they will come to you in this little town on the way to the beach.

Ginny Gordon– gift and gourmet store in Morehead City.  Ginny was the founder and now her daughter and friends are running it for the next generation.

Yana’s– Ye Olde Drugstore Restaurant for breakfast in Swansboro. Yanamama loves her Elvis, Marilyn, and kitchy memorabilia. Fritters a must for breakfast.

Poor man’s Hole– Swansboro same street at Yana’s…Joe has lived in this house all his life and sells his ‘findings’…another character not to be missed.

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We sat at the beach for hours sharing our lives and thinking ahead to what is next.  (Bonnie, Me, Martha, and Carla)  We made friends with 6 young women, mothers who were having a girls weekend way from their toddlers.  As they were drinking beer in the afternoon in their bikinis and loving their music we told them we wanted to be them.  And they told us when we left the beach to go home that they wanted to be us when they grew up!   We were touched. No bikinis for us…it was windy!   We do have the Zest for Life!

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

WOMEN IN THE NEWS: 

1. BARBARA LYNCH Celebrity Chef awarded the James Beard Award for the 4th time.  She built her business steady eddy wins the race, having trusted her instincts.  She is one of those invisible leaders, admired for her work in the kitchen, not comfortable in the limelight and has fabulous restaurants No 9 Park and Menton in Boston.

2. ANDENA FRIEDMAN hired as Co-President of NASDAQ and will therefore be the leading candidate to be the new CEO in the future.  She started her career as an intern after business school and has 17 years experience there.  She is s highly ambitious and embraces the new structure of NASDAQ and succession planning.

3. Twitter goes viral when American Women took to the #to Free the African Girls.  Michelle Obama displayed her picture and #BringBackOurGirls placard and took over the Presidents radio message. Their families were courageous letting them leave their homes to go to school.  Oprah has been amazingly quiet during all of this.  Maybe she does not want the limelight to protect her Academy in South Africa.

4. SUSAN DESMOND HELLMOND becomes CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  She is a cancer doctor and has spent much time in Africa.

NEW RETAIL BUSINESS:

J Crew announces a new format J Crew Mercantile.  Mickey Drexler, CEO and head Merchant developed Old Navy when he was in charge of Gap in the growth years and that has sustained them.  He plans on doing the same with J Crew to key into the market for the budget conscious woman who wants to be stylish.  Let’s watch for that coming soon.