South Charlotte

La Carta Bella specializes in stamps, stationery, crafts

Here's a look at happenings on the retail scene in southern Mecklenburg and elsewhere:

Through online classifieds and word of mouth, news is spreading among scrapbooking and rubber stamp hobbyists about La Carta Bella. The new store in Matthews specializes in rubber stamps, paper crafts, monogramming and stationery. (The store name means “beautiful paper” in Italian.)

Kerri Carlino converted her hobby into a business when she opened the store in February at 1122 Industrial Drive, Suite 111. She splits her time between her work at a bank and the store, which has pink walls and curtains and products decoratively displayed on shelves and tables.

Carlino said she was motivated to launch the business in part because she had a hard time finding products she liked in Charlotte. “I'd go to Winston-Salem, Mooresville, wherever I could find it.” She sells rubber art stamps by A Muse, Stamping Bella, Memory Box and others, along with colored stationery, glitter and card-making tools.

Hang out to shop, or to take one of the weekly classes tailored to the beginner or advanced stamper. The store also sponsors “Make ‘n Takes,” where shoppers use the store's stamps and materials to make cards.

Store hours are Thursday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., and during the week by appointment.

Call 704-841-8218, email, or go to or for more details.

Ballantyne Resort is sponsoring a Vera Bradley-themed brunch, fashion show and shopping event Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. to benefit breast cancer research. The Very Vera Brunch costs $100 per person and includes a special menu, guest speakers, fashion show, silent auction, gift and shopping session featuring the Vera Bradley distinctive patterned bags.

Proceeds will benefit the Charlotte affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Vera Bradley Foundation, which supports breast cancer research. Advanced reservations are required: 704-248-4078.

Macy's will find out Saturday how much money its nationwide “Shop For A Cause” effort raises for non-profit charities. Organizations with 501c3 status applied to receive shopping passes to sell for $5 each. Customers use the passes on Saturday for savings on nearly all of their purchases.

The organization keeps all proceeds. Last year, the effort raised over $9.5 million, according to Macy's. Read more at

Finally, some bits on vanity spending in a recent report from the YWCA USA called “Beauty At Any Cost: The Consequences of America's Beauty Obsession on Women & Girls.”

One year of tuition and fees at an in-state public college ($6,185) is equal to almost five years of saving $100 a month, normally spent on cosmetics and beauty products ($6,423). That's using College Board figures, and assuming $100 is placed each month in a savings account with two percent interest.