Event Recap | The Art of Cool Festival 2018 – 5th Yr Anniversary @aocfest #AOCFEST | by SobeSavvy.com

The Art of Cool Festival 2018 has come to a close, but we here at SobeSavvy.com was fortunate to attend and share with you some of the magical moments from #AOCFEST. There has been so much growth since we attended the Art of Cool Fest in 2015, and I am so glad to be apart of highlighting this amazing festival. This past weekend, we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of this great music festival that brings jazz-inspired music, artists and all the Cooligans together in Downtown Durham, NC. Trust me, you don’t want to miss next year!

This year the AOCFEST experience was expanded to include Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and Soul performances by renowned artists from around the world! 20+ artists, 6 venues, 1 price to enjoy: Live Music Concerts, shop from local vendors at the Urban Street Market, dance, mingle and network at the various Day Parties, savor Durham cuisine from the featured Food Trucks and quench your thirst at the Beergarden. The AOCFEST 2018 truly had something for everyone. It’s an amazing sensory experience you must see, taste, hear, and feel!

DAY 1- SEPT 28

The fun began on Friday with the arrival of music lovers to Downtown Durham. Festival goers could shop for some official merch at Wristband City, grab a cocktail, and listen to live music at various pop ups and attend free Innovate Your Cool seminars / workshops focused on Innovation, Music and Culture. I caught at DJ set on the rooftop at Unscripted Hotel where The Lux Blog held a meet-up mixer to welcome everyone including bloggers/social media influencers to the Art of Cool festival. It was a vibe!

Downtown Durham is a walkable city and the perfect place to host the AOCFEST because all the venues are conveniently within walking distance to each other. Just a couple of blocks over from Unscripted, I was able to catch MeShell N’degeocello at the Carolina Theater. She is a talented singer and musician who reminded us in the audience that although the lighting was not ideal, MUSIC. IS. SOMETHING. YOU. FEEL. She took us down memory lane by singing her funky smooth renditions of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam “I Wonder If I Take You Home”, Al B. Sure “Night & Day” and TLC ‘s “Waterfalls” along with her classic song “Grace” from her album Bitter.

Maxwell headlined at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is new on this list as an official AOCFEST stage. Everyone who was either seated in the stadium watching his concert from the jumbo screen or on the field could see his moves and feel his groove! There were so many favorite songs by the incomparable male singer that turned into a sing-a-long, such as “Pretty Wings”, “Bad Habits” and “Fortunate”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 1 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Day 2 – SEPT 29

Downtown Durham was the place to be for the second and last day of music and festivities. Even if you were not going to the concerts, there were so many ways to support the community and enjoy the amazingly cool city of Durham. A 90’s style vintage pop up party hosted by The Key to Style was my first stop before heading to the heart of the Bull City. CCB Plaza, near the iconic bull statue, is where emerging artists performed cyphers and Hip Hop radio station K97.5 held a block party showcasing local talent.

From there, I took a short walk to Pinhook, an iconic live music venue in Durham perfectly sized for intimate performances. Durham’s own Zoo Cru were up first. This quartet of musicians jammed out to their own unique sounds that is really beyond description. Not electronica and not R&B but a subtle blend of both. I love to support local, so I enjoyed my first listen from this popular band.

Next up at Pinhook was renowned trumpeter Keyon Harrold. He has done music and horns for A listers such as Beyonce and JayZ over the years. In addition, Mr. Harrold did the music for the hollywood movie “Miles”, so his resume is unmatched. Wynton Marsalis has called him “The Future of the Trumpet”. He did not dissapoint. His breath control and range were simply amazing. He was paired with a female vocalist which added a different angle to his horn. Unique and dynamic music is just one of the many things you will always experience at AOCFEST.

What’s a festival without the opportunity to shop from a variety of vendors? The Urban Market, set up on Blackwell Street, was the answer for those of us who like to shop local. Vendors were on hand selling quality products such as clothing, artwork, accessories and natural body care products, like my favorite Nailah Shea. Enthusiastic and stylish crowds took advantage of the warm, sunny afternoon in the Bull City. It was fun for the whole family!

My AOCFEST experience ended with seeing the one and only Erykah Badu, who is the first female to headline the Art of Cool Festival. Nas had just rocked the mic and said goodnight as i was entering the stadium. Before Ms.Badu came to the stage at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the crowd heard from the new President and VP of The Art of Cool Festival, Sulaiman and Lesleigh Mausi, Founders of The DOME Group, LLC. They thanked the sponsors and all the fans for a fabulous Art of Cool Festival weekend.

Ms. Badu came to the stage with her big hat, her big hair to match her big voice and asked..”Brothers, how y’all feel? Sistahs, y’all alrite” ? She really needed no introduction because her energy fills up any atmosphere. Erykah Badu almost single handidly created the genre called “Neo Soul”. Her music, style and delivery of colorful lyrics has made her one of the most unique talents of our time! Fans filled up Durham Bulls Athletic Park and joined together to celebrate her greatness which like her song, goes “On and On”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 2 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Electric ending to another exciting and informative Art Of Cool Festival. The AOCFEST is one of the best music festivals that gets better every year. Be sure to check out aocfestival.com • #AOCFEST and make plans to visit Durham, NC to experience the Art of Cool Festival next year! Congratulations again to Art of Cool Festival for 5 years strong!

Hey #Atlanta, Looking for fabulous foodie fun with your little ones this #Easter ? Check out #EasterSundayBrunch at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta @MO_Atlanta #MOFoodies #pettingzoo #EasterBrunch #egghunt #EventsbyMO #SundayBrunch

Every year at Easter many families like to celebrate this holiday with a special brunch. Although there are a myriad of brunch choices in the great city of Atlanta, there is only one that stands above them all. That my friends would be the Easter Brunch event at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta.

Having stayed at quite a few of their properties (including our luxury family travel stay at their Atlanta location last Spring), what brings me back time and time again is their consistency of a high level of service. Somehow this brand excels at anticipating needs, sometimes before I even realize a need exists. Last visit to this property we were heading out to the mall and the valet suggested he get their house car to take us instead of walking in the summer heat. See what I mean? Their restaurant is no different. Mouth watering farm fresh dishes of every type and a wine list to envy. Located in the upscale Buckhead area, this world renowned luxury hotel pulls out all the stops Easter Brunch on Sunday April 1, 2018.

Besides incredible food and service, we are looking forward to seeing our little one and all the children enjoy their special Easter Egg Hunts. They have one at 12:30pm and another at 2pm. From 3-5pm there will be a visit from Floppy the Easter Bunny! If that is not enough, they will be having an actual petting zoo too from 3pm to 5pm. Our daughter loves animals and will be so surprised to see the petting zoo on Easter Sunday!

This Easter Brunch event is from 11am to 3pm. For one price, guests enjoy a buffet of appetizers, entrées and scrumptious desserts. Prices are $75 per adult and $38 per child up to age 12. To make your reservations, call (404) 995 7500 or you can email to moatl-restaurants@mohg.com. We plan to hop over to the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta and share with you some highlights from this event. Stay tuned for more and hope you are there to make some great family memories this Easter at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL ATLANTA

3376 PEACHTREE RD. NE

ATLANTA, GA 30326

Event Recap | #NCMAEbony ‘Behind the Seams ~ Girls in Gowns in the Gallery @ncartmuseum 

Disclaimer: Thank you to NCMA for providing tickets to facilitate this recap by blog contributor, Kiara Ruth @kiararuth

Beautiful gowns and heels adorned the halls of the North Carolina Art Museum for the Ebony Fashion Fair Behind the Seams, Girls in Gowns in the Gallery event. Burst of colors and personal closet picks were the hallmarks of the night. Celebrating Inspiring Beauty 50 years of Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition, the sold-out event featured a lip print analysis by Ariana Lightningstorm who has been featured on Dr. Oz, delicate candy floss provided by Mama’s Sugar Shack and methods for fashion illustration with live demonstration by visual artist Karen Campbell. 

During this event you were able to sip and stroll the galleries with your girls dressed in their best gowns. We were able to view the 40 stunning outfits by Christian Dior, Givenchy, Alexander Mcqueen and many more. Designs from the 60’s to the early 2000’s vibrantly worn by the most beautiful mannequins filled the North Carolina Art Museum. 

This portrait was drawn by Karen Campbell. She was gracious enough to make me look like a Disney Princess. She is amazing, and her talent is out of this world. Visit her website at www.karencampbellartist.com for illustrations and live demonstrations.

During this event my favorite thing to eat was the blue raspberry cotton candy from Mamas Sugar Shack; It was just the right amount of sweet and the perfect addition for any party.

I went with this off the shoulder rose gown from Swoon, a local boutique in Holly Springs, NC. Here are more photos from this lovely event:

Overall the Behind the Seams, Girls in Gown Night was simply amazing. I am extremely grateful that I attended this event. ~Kiara Ruth

If you missed the Behind the Seams event, check out NC Museum of Art’s photo stream >>>>here. Be sure to follow @SobeSavvy, @NCartmuseum and share your experience on social media using hashtag #NCMAebony

North Carolina Museum of Art

East Building

Meymandi Exhibition Gallery

October 28, 2017- January 21, 2018

“Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” @ncartmuseum Upcoming Events + Giveaway #NCMAEbony

Have you seen the new exhibition at NCMA yet? Recently, I shared with you my Top 5 Reasons To Visit North Carolina Museum of Art Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair Exhibition and I wanted to follow up with some related events you do not want to miss! I also have a #SobeSavvyGiveaway for one lucky reader to win a girls night out to a special event that I will share at the end of this post. 

Here are some upcoming events that I wanted to make sure you had on your radar to go check out. These popular ticketed events sell out quickly, so reserve your spot early! Visit mcartmuseum.org/ebony for more details.

NCMA Fashion Show Ensembles on Display at Crabtree Valley Mall ~ Opening Reception Sat. Nov 11, 12-2pm

Opening Event-Runway Fashion Show in Celebration of Inspiring Beauty | Photo Credit : NCMA

The 12 ensembles from the opening night fashion show event in celebration of the NCMA’s fall exhibition Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair is on display from November 5th thru 17th at Crabtree Valley Mall.

You’re invited to an opening reception to celebrate this pop-up on Saturday, November 11 from noon to 2 pm, where the designers will be floating around to talk and answer questions, as well as representatives from the NCMA.

Shoppers will have the chance to see the ensembles and snap a photo in front of a life-size magazine cover. You’ll be able to get an up-close look at the looks, including the three winners of the evening, in a pop-up fashion show! Whether you missed the opening event or were able to attend, this is a great way to see those fabulous ensembles from North Carolina’s rising designers again.

Located on Lower Level A near H&M, the looks will be on view each day during mall hours (Monday through Saturday, 10am-9pm; Sunday 12pm-7pm). This is a FREE EVENT and open to the public.

Desiree M. Hendrick, North Carolina A+T State University – first place winner | Photo Credit : NCMA        

Family Fun Saturday: Ready to Wear Art ~ Workshop Sat. Dec 9, 10 am-12p, 1-3pm  

#outandaboutAva enjoys Family Fun Saturday: Couture Cloth workshop at NCMA

There is something for everyone to enjoy and themes to explore while viewing this exhibit. Because I am a mom of a young fashionista, I was happy to see that NCMA had youth/family programming and workshops developed for Inspiring Beauty. On November 4th, my husband and our daughter enjoyed a Daddy-Daughter date at NCMA for Family Fun Saturday: Couture Cloth. Inspired by the colors and patterns found in the clothing on view in Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, families with children ages 5-11 created their own patterned and printed fabric to make a dynamic work of art! Our little one had so much fun using materials to stamp, write, iron and paint onto her own masterpiece.

In December 9’s workshop, participants will cut, shape, and build a wearable artwork fit for the runway. This family friendly workshop is $5 for Members, $8 Nonmembers and held in the East Building, Education Studios.

Young Artists at Work – Family Fun Saturday at NCMA

SobeSavvy Tip: Let your college student know there is a Free College Night on Friday, November 17, 7-10pm. Admission is free with college ID. No ticket required. This event will pay homage to the five decades of fashion on view in Inspiring Beauty and will feature student work, contemporary dance, and a DJ. Students are encouraged to dress for the runway!

Behind the Seams–Girls in Gowns in the Gallery ~ Special Event 

Girls in Gowns in the Gallery at North Carolina Museum of Art exhibition ‘Inspiring Beauty’

Grab your girls and get ready to twirl in your best gowns on Thursday, November 30 at 6:30 pm in the East Building for a special event~ “Behind the Seams–Girls in Gowns in the Gallery”.  You’ll have a chance to stroll the galleries, enjoy a cocktail, have your lip print analyzed, tour Inspiring Beauty and much more! . Cocktail and treats included. Event ends at 9pm.

#SobeSavvyGiveaway: Behind the Seams–Girls in Gowns. One lucky winner and her guest will enjoy an ultimate girls night out! Enter SobeSavvy Giveaway>>>HEREWinner will be chosen randomnly on November 16, 2017. GOOD LUCK! 

Be sure to follow @SobeSavvy, @NCartmuseum and share your experience on social media using hashtag #NCMAebony. I am excited to attend the ‘Behind the Seams–Gurls in Gowns in the Gallery’ and will be sure to share some highlights with you. Stay tuned and remember to support the arts!

*UPDATE-CONGRATS TO MARTAMIQUE A. WINNER OF THIS #SobeSavvyGiveaway!*

North Carolina Museum of Art

East Building

Meymandi Exhibition Gallery

October 28, 2017- January 21, 2018

Event Recap | Sip + Savor -A Wine & Food Experience @DPAC #SipandSavor #Durham

On October 15, 2017, SobeSavvy.com was invited to join other foodies and oeneophiles at DPAC for the inaugural Sip +Savor -A Wine & Food Experience. This new food and wine event brought together North Carolina’s restaurants & culinary talents and paired them with fine wines from around the world! This was also a fundraising event to benefit Keep Durham Beautiful , a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with Durham to conserve and enhance the appearance and environment of the city/county.

Admission to this event included: 

  • Souvenir Glass
  • Live Music on Stage
  • Food Sampling from North Carolina Restaurants and notable Chefs like Scott Howell of Nana’s, Michael Lee of  M Sushi, Bill smith of Crooks Corner, Eric Montagne of Standard Fords, Charlie Deal of JuJube, Brandon Sharp of Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn, Aaron Benjamin of Gocciolona, Jim Wald of Glasshalfull, Tim Lyons of Blue Seafood and Kevin Callaghan of Acme …just to name a few!
  • A limited number of VIP Ticket holders enjoyed all elements of regular admission plus a private entrance/restrooms, exclusive VIP lounge where speciality spirits, rare beer and wine tastings were available to Imperial ticket holders only. 

With sample areas on all three levels guests never had to walk more than a few steps for their next delightful bite or sip of wine. Every varietal imagined was represented here by a winery. Most tables paired their food with the wine right next to it, which allowed for guests to engage with restaurants and wineries at the same time. We also had the opportunity to attend wine seminars and learn more about the wines being shared from the wine producers and Sommeliers. I really enjoyed how intimate and informative this event was! 

 

Not only was the event informative but I had so much fun meeting other food & wine lovers from the community who all enjoyed sharing stories about what was the favorite bite at this event and how wonderful our local culinary scene is here in the Triangle. We are so fortunate to live in North Carolina with its amazing Agriculture as well its own Wine Industry.

Smiling Faces at ‘Sip + Savor’ – A Wine & Food Experience

Sip + Savor – A Wine & Food Experience | Food Sampling

On-Stage at Sip + Savor – A Wine & Food Experience

Before leaving, we checked out the on-stage experience inside the actual venue which is where I ran into some friends as well as dessert samples. That was the perfect sweet ending to this fantastic foodie event! It was such a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday Afternoon in the Bull City. 
Enjoy my photo recap of this event >>here as well as my video of Sip +Savor >>here

CHEERS! 🍷

Follow @SobeSavvy on InstagramTwitter & Pinterest and let’s connect! 

@FeedtheDialogue #FeedtheDialogueNC Dinner + Discussion at #18Seaboard | Recap 🍴

“Food is more fun when you know where it comes from”…

I could not agree more! That’s why when SobeSavvy.com got invited to Feed the Dialogue’s exclusive Media Event on Thursday, September 7th at 18 Seaboard, I was excited to join them for a night of food, farmers and fun. 

Feed the Dialogue is a non-profit organization who’s mission is to “reconnect NC with the foods we eat and the farmers who feed us”. They are passionate about educating North Carolinian’s about our farmers, and the food they grow across the state. This foundation bridges the gap between consumers like us and farmers. So when I received the invitation (see below), I knew I had to go and take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions about the food being featured at a restaurant I enjoy here in Raleigh, NC !

Guests were treated to wine from Jones Von Drehle Winery plus a complimentary five-course dinner followed by a panel discussion hosted by Lynda Loveland from WRAL.  Three of the farmers, who’s products were featured during the dinneras well as Chef Jason Smith of 18 Seaboard (who prepared the meal) served on the panel. 

In preparation for the upcoming panel discussion during the dinner, we were asked to pass along at least one question that you’d like for the panelists to answer. The panelists for the evening:

  • Dr. Richard Bonanno | Associate Dean, CALS  Director of NCCES 
  • Lynda Loveland |WRAL 
  • Scott Farms – Lucama, NC ( If you #lovesweetpotatoes, check out Scott Farms for recipes, tips, tricks and more)
  • Moore Brothers Beef – Lumberton, NC (family owned, beef is all natural, non gmo, cattle is grass fed, renowned for their quality of beef) 
  • Sweet Pea Urban Gardens-Micro-Greens – Raleigh, NC 
  • Executive Chef/Proprietor Jason Smith |      18 Restaurant Group

Here are some of the questions I presented for the panel:

Question for Scott Farms:

 1. How many varieties of Sweet Potatoes do you grow on your farm and can you explain some of the differences between the varieties?

Question to entire Panel:

2. Do you feel the term “farm to table”  is being overused in todays restaurant industry?

Question to Chef/Proprietor
Jason Smith

 3. When deciding on a new menu addition, what one criteria is most important?
 
Question to Dr. Richard Bonanno


 4. In your opinion are there some fruits and vegetables that buying organic is simply not worth the extra cost ?

The panel did not have the opportunity to answer all questions, but here are some answers/quotes from the evening that I took away from the experience.

  • Shared ownership plus value..that’s what the whole ‘farm to table’ movement is about
  • Local is local no matter what size your farm is
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the person who’s growing your food were there any pesticides used
  • Moore Brothers Beef is known for having the best quality of beef because their cattle are grass fed and then finished in feed that the farmer creates himself. The feed is 100% vegetarian. 
  • Farmers are an interesting breed. They’re not in it for the money, they do it because they love it & take pride in what they do.


Also, listed below is the menu + photos I took for the evening:

MENU

Course 1

Heirloom Tomato Salad + Candied Cashew + Sweet Potato Sorghum Vinaigrett

Course 2

Oyster Beignet + Cotija + Crystal Cane Syrup + Purple Sweet Potato Buttermilk Puree 

Course 3

Beef Carpaccio + Sweet Potato Vichyssoise + Pickled Muscadine + Shishito Mignonette 

Course 4

Butter Poached then Cast Iron Blackened Ribeye + Smoked Hominy + Roasted Japanese Sweet Potato + Pickled Crimson Okra + Burnt Tomato Vinegar

Course 5

Sweet Potato Hand Pie + Salted Beef Fat-Buttermilk Ice Cream + Lemon Verbena 

I had a great time and learned alot at the Feed the Dialogue dinner and panel discussion. The meal at 18 Seaboard was amazing and the people I met (food writers, food bloggers, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and media) , who shared in this experience were wonderful! If you want to see more from the event, check out the hashtag : #FeedTheDialogueNC 

For more news and information about animal care, antibiotics, environment, food choices, food safety, food security, gmo/organic, health/nutrition, and trade practices here in NC, follow on TwitterFacebookInstagram or website here>> Feed The Dialogue NC. 


#Raleigh, Grab Your Tribe & Get Ready to Run the @colorvibe5k on 9/16 + GIVEAWAY for 2 #ColorVibe Tix! 

Disclaimer:  SobeSavvy.com is partnering with The Color Vibe, who is providing 1 lucky reader TWO FREE tickets to participate in the most #VIBErant 5K run!

Hey Raleigh! It’s time to lace up your running shoes and get ready to bring your coloful spirit to the Color Vibe 5K, Good Vibes Tour 2017!  Me and my #HeighPartyof3 plan to join others for this 5K Fun Run/Walk taking place on 9/16/17. 

For a limited time (expires soon), you can REGISTER early and get 60 % off tickets NOW. You don’t want to miss out on this fun running event that inspired people to live a more active life! 


Here’s why you should do THIS run :

  • It’s for the entire family. toddler and grandparents are all welcome. Kids 1 to 12 run for FREE !
  •  A portion your registration fee goes toward local charities and non profit organizations.
  •  The only competition is who can have the most FUN ! There are no shoe race timing chips or checking your stop watch. This is for FUN FUN FUN.
  • Free Hair coloring ! End the race looking like a rainbow or a purple people eater. You will literally LOL when you look at yourself when it is over.


#SobeSavvyGiveaway Details: One Lucky Reader will get a chance to win 2 FREE Tickets to this years’s
Color Vibe 5K held at the Triangle Town Center Mall on Saturday Sept
16. Just comment below why you want to go for (1) entry and head over to Instagram and Follow @SobeSavvy for details on how to get an additonal entry. Look for this picture and leave comment there also! *winner will be chosen at random on Sept 12 at noon*

Good Luck and see you at the Color Vibe!

#DWTSTour Dazzles @DPAC Tonight! @DancingABC #Raleigh #Durham #soNCsavvy

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DANCING WITH THE STARS: LIVE!

‘Dance All Night’ Tour

Comes to DPAC TONIGHT on January 26, 2016

All New Show to Feature Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater and Special Guest Stars to be Announced
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Following back to back sold out tours, Dancing with the Stars: Live! has taken its all new production on the road. Fans of Dancing with the Stars, ABC’s leading entertainment show, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions,  have the opportunity to see their favorite stars dance live in Durham, NC tonight. The Dance All Night Tour brings it a one-of-a-kind touring production to DPAC and I am so excited !

This winter, Dancing with the Stars: Live! – launched its Dance All Night Tour  which features a bigger cast than ever before including pro dancers Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater, Alan Bersten, Brittany Cherry and Jenna Johnson *. In this all new production, the dancers are freed from the ballroom to bring you a 90-minute action-packed live show. Audiences will watch exciting and romantic performances, from choreography never before seen on Dancing with the Stars, to some of the most memorable numbers from show.

“This tour is going to be totally new and exciting! We’re traveling through America again with some of the hottest dancing you’ll ever see in a live show. You think you’ve seen us on TV, but seeing us on Dancing with the Stars: Live! is an experience like no other.” said Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

For up to date information, go to dwtstour.com. Follow on:  Facebook www.facebook.com/dancingwiththestars  Twitter @DancingABC, #DWTS  Instagram @DancingABC Vine @DancingABC

 
Please note *Cast subject to change. Alek Skarlatos announced via Twitter he will be missing the show tonight. Insert sadface here but at least my guest and I can perhaps find out where they get those beige salsa boots and also pickup a new dance step or two! 

 I am ready to be dazzled and amazed at the talented dancers tonight. Be sure to check back here on SobeSavvy.com or Follow Twitter/Instagram @IJust_LoveThis  Hashtag #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy for a recap of fun !

*Opening Number

*Loved this Magic Mike Moment

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