Fashion Fridays : Fashion Week & Events

I don’t know if it’s the lights, the runway or the thrill of seeing what’s new this season, but I’ve been bit by the Fashion Week bug and I absolutely love it!  This September into October I have been knee deep in local and New York fashion, which is taking my #FashionFriday posts from social media to the reality of events for all to enjoy.

It’s a Saturday morning and I check my watch to see how I’m doing on time.  I grab my bagel and mom and I head down to the corner of Park Avenue to ride the bus into Manhattan for a day of exploring.  I loved growing up in North New Jersey as New York City was at my figure tips for everything; shows, food, and people watching.  My favorite though was fashion!  I honestly don’t think I looked at it as “fashion” really, it seemed more like just having access to amazing shopping and seeing people who weren’t afraid to express themselves through style.  I for one, never really liked wearing what everyone else wanted to wear anyway so it was just my norm.  I remember going to the fashion district and the cozy fabric shops that seemed to have millions of yards of options in such a small space.  There was always a buzz in those few blocks and it’s a homey feeling for me.

Although I’m not in Jersey anymore, those experiences I take with me as they make up B Carroll Events’ brand, which cultivates unique experiences and encourages expression through fashion.  It’s why we do our #FashionFridays on Facebook & Instagram.  It’s also why we had to partner with SB Magazine for SB Fashion Week this year for a mixer!  The Fashion Friday Mixer was our free event on September 27th that showcased two local stylists and three designers in a tableaux scene using luxury lounges and thrones provided by co-host Epic Events & Rentals.  The live models showcased each creatives’ work allowing guest to interact with the fashion as well as walk the red carpet themselves.  Three Dons, the restaurant at LeBossier Event Center, set the perfect atmosphere with a live jazz duet, crafted cocktails and delicious small plates for guests to enjoy. 

Fashion Friday Mixer
Bree of B Carroll Events, Alexis of Autumn Rose, Jaylon of J. Rachad, Niema of RNL Authentic LLC, Lydia of Looks Like LYD .  Photo by Jomaine Battles of Infinate Impressions.

Bree of B Carroll Events, Alexis of Autumn Rose, Jaylon of J. Rachad, Niema of RNL Authentic LLC, Lydia of Looks Like LYD . Photo by Jomaine Battles of Infinate Impressions.

The Fashion Friday Mixer was such a success and was held the Friday before the Main Stage Fashion Show.  LeBossier Event Center was a stunning backdrop to the mixer and Main Stage events as its recent remodel is a must see for local and out of town event goers.  This was the second annual SB Fashion Week and I absolutely love that proceeds for their events went towards Dress for Success!  Dress for Success is a non-profit that does more than just provide professional attire for women transitioning into the workforce, they also equip and support them through some of life’s most challenging moments to build their confidence and allow them opportunities to provide for themselves and their families.  Simply amazing! 

Oh, but wait… there is more!

This Friday, October 4th is Prize Fest and with it comes the must needed addition of Fashion Prize!  The Fashion Prize is a collaboration between the Agora Borealis, a local artist marketplace and art gallery, and the nationally recognized Louisiana Film Prize.  Prize Fest, going on this week is a huge festival week in Northwest Louisiana, right here in Shreveport Bossier and I am thrilled to see the finalists battle it out for their respective titles.  On the runway Cookie Dubois, Donna Strebeck and James Osborne will showcase their pieces in hopes of winning the all accommodations paid trip to New York to meet with fashion mentor Mandy Kordal, Founder and Creative Director of Kordal Studio.  Fashion Friday continues!!

Fashion Prize

I’m overjoyed that so many are supporting the beauty of all things fashion this season.  Special thank you to all who have worked toward making this possible.  It truly adds to the culture and vibrant climate in Shreveport-Bossier City.  To all my fashion lovers, Dress for Success recipients and supporters I’ll leave you with this…

I hope YOU are clothed with strength & dignity & YOU laugh without fear of the future.

Be you, be fashionable… Happy Fashion Friday!

I Do to a Pop Up Wedding : A Conversation with Pep Holman

I ABSOLUTLEY love a couple that wants to shake things up and do their wedding in a unique and surprising way.  As you may know I had the pleasure of doing a surprise wedding for an amazing military couple a year ago.  The groom and I planned it all in about a month for his unknowing wife.  They’d eloped and she’d never had a true bridal moment.  We lured her in with a request to be a “model” for a rainy day styled shoot and when she arrived at the second location her friends and family were waiting for her.  She was overjoyed and the best part was seeing their sweet parents anxiously awaiting for them to do first dances with them.  Everyone loved it!

In my experience, the bride was the only one not in on the surprise.  What if the tables were turned and the guests had no clue they were about to witness their loved ones getting married?  How exciting!  This is really a thing and a worthy trend to consider for today’s couples.  Let’s do a pop up wedding!

A New Orleans based planner is changing the game on pop up weddings.  PeP Holman of The Bridal Citizen created a bride’s dream wedding in only 8 days!  For those who don’t know, a pop up wedding can take many forms.  Usually there is little to no notice, it may be a surprise to some and can occur at a completely unrelated event, travel destination or simply the couples favorite place.  The common thread with these types of weddings are that they make it easier for a couple to get married and tends to be less expensive.  This is mostly due to the shorter timeline, which makes for less stress and smaller list of decision items for the couple.  The best pop up weddings are done with a planner and an amazing team.  I had the opportunity to get the scoop from PeP on pop up weddings and her beautiful brand. 


PeP Holman

The Bridal Citizen


Bree: What is the Bridal Citizen and how did it start?

PeP:  The Bridal Citizen is a bridal consulting company that offers coaching, styling services, day of bridal assistance, and planning. I started after my own wedding in 2016.  My wedding day was so fun and stress free.  I just wanted other brides to experience that same feeling.

Bree: What is a Bridal Citizen experience?

PeP: A Bridal Citizen is a bride who is engaged in her community. Being a bride is for a day, being a citizen is for a lifetime.

Bree: What experience do your clients have when working with you?

PeP: My clients feel relieved.  They can relax know The Bridal Citizen team has it covered.

Bree: Where did the concept of the pop-up wedding come from?

PeP: Well, it's not a new concept.  I wanted to do one for a while, so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped.  I knew my bridal segment of Curve the Runway was the perfect fit.  Talk about a finale!

Bree: What tips can you give on planning a wedding like this or in an 8 day timeframe?

PeP: Lol.... don’t!  Just kidding.  I always say a wedding is only as good as the vendors.  I had some amazing vendors who I respect that helped to create this surprise pop up wedding.  These men and women are true professionals.

The bride, Charise's gown was from David's Bridal in Slidell, La.  The ladies of David's Bridal truly rolled out the red carpet for the bride and the models.  Durrand's tuxedos outfitted the groom Quincy and his twin brother in navy blue tuxedos.  The couple's wedding officiant was Justin Ross-Hillard of Faith Movers Church.  Marriage counseling services provided by Justin and Amaris Ross-Hillard of We Do.  Bouquet and boutonniere was provided by Crystal Floral Event & Decor.  Bling umbrellas provide by Juana's Party Bling.  Cake provided by Sekac by Cook.  The couple's dinner was provided by Theaudric Davis of Real Clever Cuisine.  Images of the pop up wedding provided by Manny of Urban 504 Photography.  Videography was provided by Jeron Strickland of Strickly Us Films.  The venue The Cannery was provided by Curve the Runway.  Host services provided by Fredrick Woods and Goo Goo Atkins.  Wedding planning and styling services provided by PeP Holman.

Photography by Urban 504 Photography

See Quincy & Charise’s love story video here.

Follow Pep on her social media platforms @thebridalcitizen.  She is booking 2020 brides so please check her out!!

A Moment In Time : A Conversation with Roberta Simantel of J Michael Photography Co.

Every member of “team couple”, your wedding execution team, is extremely important, but there is one that I’m absolutely partial to as they make everyone on the team shine by capturing those moments to look back on.  If you guessed that I’m referring to the photographer, you are correct!  

I had the opportunity to chat with Roberta ‘Ro’ Simantel of J Michael Photography Co. for our SBC local business highlights we are doing all month long.  She is the leading lady of the dynamic duo with owner James Michael.  Their creative perspectives make J Michael Photography Co. an amazing brand with a beautiful balance of his focus on portraits and her focus on wedding and lifestyle photography.  Ro also authors their photography blog, where you can check out some of their stunning work.  She is a fellow military spouse and a go getter momma that is proud to let a few dishes pile up to purse her passion.  Clearly you can see why I love her so much!  Without further ado let’s dive right into our conversation.


Roberta Simantel


Bree: What makes J Michael a great photography company?

Roberta: James is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G to say the least! He is a painter by hobby and pulls inspiration from fashion and architecture to create the most stunning portraits. He truly captures the beauty of each moment, and he is such an artist at what he does. Honestly, we both have a passion for photography, and I can definitely feel the love we put into our work - especially when we get our ordered prints back.


Bree: What do you love most about what you do and how do you feel about styled shoots?

Roberta:  James and I differ a little on this one, but I love capturing those authentic moments that depict the emotion in its raw nature, that’s why my style is geared more towards lifestyle photography. I joke that styled shoots are false advertising! (laughs) Don’t get me wrong though, styled shoots for marketing purposes are great, but for me there is nothing like shooting a wedding and being in the mix of it all! Capturing the emotion and beauty is my niche. I emulate film - Kodak Gold to be exact - so I focus precisely on lighting and color. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to be able to think fast on my feet and be able to get the correct settings on my camera, find the right angle, and capture the moment. But the rush is amazing and the product is priceless. I obviously don’t take wedding photography lightly, but it helps that I am extremely comfortable with what I do that the work doesn’t feel like work. I am creating art at every moment.


Bree: I love your location downtown. What are you passionate about in this city?

Roberta: Being downtown Shreveport is super special to me. James has made this studio our home away from home. I am his work wife and this is our shared home. He has tastefully decorated it and I’m obsessed with this space. Even when he is not here, I feel his presence. It’s lovely that we are located in the heart of the city. Shreveport has a lot to offer if you just look for it. I’d love to see the area continue to flourish with businesses and real-estate. It really is a fun area, but to really enjoy it you just have to jump in and get plugged in! We are hoping that our magazine (J Michael Magazine) will become a platform to help get the word out there of the fabulous artist community and culture Shreveport has to offer.

Bree: Share a little about yourself! Favorite place to eat, where you get coffee in SBC.

Roberta: I love grabbing coffee at Rhino downtown.  Their coffee is tasty and their space is warm and welcoming. I am also obsessed with the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits that Chef Blake prepares at Whisk, which is also a pretty rad pastry shop on Azalea Dr - a skip and a hop away!

Bree: I hear you have an exciting new project coming up with the launch of the magazine!  Tell us a little about it and why you’re doing a magazine?

Roberta: This is really a passion project for us. Three months ago, James came to me with this idea of providing a platform for the creative community in our area. I fell in love with the concept. We partnered up, opened up JamRo Creative LLC, and just went for it! We pride ourselves in the purity of our content. We are definitely not selling out content to fill our pages, instead we are going out and networking and creating a platform for all these amazing artists in our town. We want them to be reflected in our magazine exactly as they are and should be. Also, our ad style is also a little different. James is to thank for that. We want the readers to think twice about the ad. Is it an ad? Or art content? This is where James has the ability to create. He never touches anything that doesn’t come out absolutely stunning. Furthermore, we are actually hosting a magazine launch - gala style! The concept is that it will be a living magazine. Everyone highlighted will have a part in the event. It’s going to be quite unique! You absolutely must come out to our launch gaga on September 21st to see it for yourself.


I am over the moon about this launch and can’t wait to get my own copy of the magazine.  If you’d like tickets to the event you can get them here.  For more on Ro & James, check out their website for booking details and more on the magazine!

Let's Make It Epic : A Conversation with Denise Simon

Did you catch us on Loving Living Local??  Well, if you’re not local or you missed it you can definitely check it out here.  The real reason I bring this up is because I was able to share that experience with one of my favorite vendors, Epic Events & Rentals.  I absolutely LOVE this company.  Not familiar?  Let me introduce you!

Epic Events & Rentals is a mother-daughter owned business, specializing in upscale event rentals.  They cater to weddings, private parties, birthday events, anniversary celebrations, corporate meetings, church functions, school events, and more.  Their rentals are top notch and they take pride in helping you put together the perfect event with your vision as a guide.  I love partnering with them because there is no vision of mine that is too big. 

I had the chance to chat with Denise of Epic and get her perspective on events and what she loves about what she does. 


Denise Simon

Epic Events & Rentals

Bree: What does Epic provide to their clients?

Denise: We provide all your event essential needs including linen, furniture and drapery.  Skies are the limit!  If we don’t have something you are looking for we are always getting new inventory.

Bree: What is your favorite type of event to do?

Denise: I LOVE kid parties! More so because I can create the spirit of a child and make it come to life.  Thinking like a child and creating what they see in their mind truly stretches me creatively.  Plus we have tons of fun child size furniture to offer our little clients.  We also love nontraditional experiences that are outside the box. Weddings, special events, showers, birthday parties, bridal showers and so much more. 

kids party

Bree: Give me examples of some of your favorite event(s).

Denise: Harambee Ball!  Their theme is challenging each year.  Wakanda was the 2019 theme and it was beautiful.  Being able to bring your interpretation of a live film to a table for all to enjoy was really special.  With a client like Ryan, he gave us the freedom to really get creative.  No one table looked the same, but it all comes together beautifully.

Bree: I love that you are a family business and that you work with your mom Lynette and sister Denette, especially because that is how I got my start.  What is your vision for this business moving forward?

Denise: I love working with my mom and sister in this mother-daughter business.  I like the fact that we are building a family legacy and I get to be creative with the people I love the most.

Bree:  Let’s get personal. Lol. Where is your favorite places to eat in SBC??

Denise: Orlandeax!! Love Dii! Parish Taceaux & Silver Star are also my go to places.

Bree: What do you do for fun?

Denise: Church!  Church is my life.  My parents go to Lake Bethlehem Baptist Church in Shreveport and we pastor First Baptist church in Cullen, LA.


You can find more from Denise and Epic Event & Rentals on Facebook & Instagram

Destination SBC : A Conversation with Brandy Evans

After moving to northern Louisiana five years ago, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the people, the location and all the area has to offer.  I’m sure you could tell by my previous blog, that I truly feel that making Shreveport-Bossier City your destination for weddings and events is a definite must do.  Don’t take my word for it though!  Check out the conversation I had with Brandy Evans of Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.  Brandy is the Vice President of Communications, a world traveler and loves a great experience.  Here is what she had to say on wedding and events in SBC.


Brandy Evans

Bree: What makes SBC a great destination for weddings & events?

Brandy: One of the greatest reasons to choose Shreveport-Bossier for a destination wedding is value. Our hotels are reasonably priced. The average daily rate is less than $80. We have lots of great wedding venues like the American Rose Center, Shreveport Aquarium, Shreveport Convention Center and a long list of beautiful churches.

Because wedding planning is so stressful, my office offers services like securing hotel rates on your behalf, venue rates and other additional services like limos and photographers. So that means that brides or grooms do not have to spend their valuable time calling each hotel to get pricing. You simply tell us what area of town you'd like your guests to stay in, the amenities you want in a hotel and about how much you want to pay. We send that lead to those specific hotels and give them a chance to respond. It saves so much time.

Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana


Bree: What are the must see or must do attractions in the city?

Brandy: People sleep on all the fun things there are to do in Shreveport-Bossier. There are a number of things that guests can do in their spare time. For instance if they have kids, a trip to Sci-port Discovery Center, Shreveport Aquarium, Artspace and Gators and Friends Adventure Park would be fun. If a group of couples wanted to have fun they could visit one of three escape rooms, throw axes at Bayou Ax in East Bank District, taste local craft beer at one of three craft breweries, grab a cocktail on the balcony of Abby Singer's Bistro, dinner at Orlandeaux's Café and late night fun at the casinos. We have a community events calendar that people can search year-round to figure out what's happening.


Bree: What time of year or season would you recommend to visit SBC?

Brandy: We really are a year-round destination. The year kicks off with Mardi Gras, rolls into spring and summer festivals, cools off with fall events and pick back up with Christmas celebrations. For outdoor weddings spring and fall are really beautiful here. The American Rose Center has two peak blooms and weddings there would be so beautiful during either of those seasons.

For more from Brandy and our friends at the Convention and Tourist Bureau, click here to starting to plan a wedding your SBC event!