Gals, it’s time to text your BFFs and book a night on the town just for you. The holidays are coming. Between attending office parties, organizing your kid’s teacher gifts and getting ready for your family’s own festivities, time for yourself will quickly evaporate. Forget drink specials (are they really that special?) or free cover charges (is free really worth it?). What you really want is the chance to spend quality time with friends. Very often a bar’s loud din or a club’s claustrophobic dance floor is less civilized than the crazy chaos you left at home. Three local establishments are helping to put the ladies back in Ladies’ Nights Out. Carried Away from it allAmy Suggs, owner of the Mooresville shop Carried Away, says she knew she wanted to do something outside regular day-to-day business when she opened the gift store in March 2010. “Women devote so much of their lives to everyone else and rarely take time for themselves,” she says. “Once a month we give them the opportunity to get away from it all!” Ladies’ Night Only takes place the first Thursday of each month from 5 to 8 p.m. “We call it drinks, desserts and deals,” Suggs says. “For three hours women chat, enjoy a cocktail and shop a store full of unique items that are on sale for that evening’s event only.” From personalized wine glasses to collapsible totes, the rooms at Carried Away overflow with great gifts for the new homeowner, the new mom, the teacheror yourself! About the only thing the merchandise has in common is that many items are eco-friendly and all of them can’t be found anywhere else. “Women love being a part of something feminine, and it’s a chance for someone else to wait on them for a change,” Suggs says. “There’s always laughter and everyone leaves with a smile on their face.” FiFi’s Consignment: A Diva’s DelightJulia Austin may have retired from nursing in 2006, but the desire to help others never goes away. And how often is it said that shopping makes good therapy? When Austin bought FiFi’s Fine Resale in Cornelius a year later, she saw the opportunity for ladies to have an evening to themselves and help their community at the same time. The FiFi’s tagline sums it up perfectly: It’s Like Shopping in Your Wealthy Girlfriend’s Closet. Brands from Anne Klein to Ann Taylor and Coach to Chico’s are all available at consignment prices. “Diva Nights started in 2007 as a way to introduce customers to the store,” Austin says. “The monthly event became so popular that handling the volume after hours proved difficult.” Recently Austin switched the nightly gathering to Sunday afternoons. Diva Days are now held monthly from noon to 5 p.m.Diva Day attendees focus on their “FiFi Finds:” Designer brands at special savings (prices are reduced below the already affordable consignment cost). FiFi’s donates a portion of the day’s sales to local charities. “It’s a blessing for me to help others in need,” Austin says. “It must be my nursing instincts kicking in!” Organizations that have received gifts from the Diva Days events include Habitat for Humanity, Barium Springs Home for Children and Triple Cross Ranch. But for ladies wanting to gather when the sun goes down, FiFi’s still hosts Girl’s Night on occasion (“Like” the store’s Facebook page to know when the next one will be). “The Girl’s Night Out events will be more of a social event to talk about issues and offerings for women,” Austin explains. “For one Girl’s Night Out evening we invited stylists from Cocoon Salon in Davidson to talk about season fashion trends. Another evening featured representatives from MD Laser Studio who discussed skin care.” Wine paired with shopping? A perfect combination. Sanctuary of sanity Walking into Sanctuary of Davidson is like stepping inside a kaleidoscope. Colors and textures leap from the paintings, jewelry, and other artwork owner Kristen Feighery displays. It’s energetic, busy and fun, the perfect place for women to relax with friends. And that’s just what Feighery wants you to do when attending a Sanctuary Girl’s Night Out Party – that and walk away with artwork you’ve created. Ladies schedule a party ($40 for each participant, with a minimum of four guests and maximum of 12) and select a theme. Feighery leads the group in instruction on everything from making jewelry to decoupage or watercolor painting. “Most people attending are moms who just want some adult time,” says Feighery, who’s a mom herself. “While we offer parties on the weekends, many want to book them during the week.” Wednesday night with the gals, weekend time with the family – a win-win for everyone. Wine and munchies are not only welcome but encouraged. “I’ve had full spreads of food and wine selections,” laughs Feighery. “We spend the first part of the party chatting and eating and then it’s time to get creative.” Even the mom whose only artistic claim to fame is finger painting has a great time. “So many people say ‘I’m not creative, I can’t do this,’” says Feighery. “At the end of the evening they’re amazed at what they accomplished.” Perhaps the biggest accomplishment is a night away from it all.Want to go? Carried Away:
139 Marketplace Avenue, Mooresville, 704-660-1853,www.carriedawayoflkn.com
Ladies’ Night Only: First Thursday of every month, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.FiFi’s Resale Apparel:
8301-7 Magnolia Plaza, Cornelius, 704-892-7070,www.fifislkn.com
Diva Days: First Sunday of every month, noon – 5 p.m.Girl’s Nights: On occasion (check website for details).Sanctuary of Davidson:
108 S. Main Street, Davidson, 704-892-0044,www.sanctuaryofdavidson.com
Girl’s Night Out Parties: Reservations only ($40/person; 4 person minimum, 12 person maximum); bring food and beverages.