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Girls' Getaway 

Wasn't it great when we were little and could just post a sign on our fort that proclaimed "No Boys Allowed"? Now that we have to deal with fending off advances in bars, jerks cat-calling from construction vehicles, plus of course primping and staying in shape to attract better specimens of the opposite gender, every so often a day of total girl time is in order.

10am: Jump right in and start shopping. First, grab a piece of fruit or something at home to give you enough fuel to get through a few stores, then head to some of the city's fun boutiques. The Providence Road stretch is a good beginner, with Fresh and Cinch prime for picking through designer dresses, skirts and such.

11:30am: Head straight through the intersection of Providence and Queens to Selwyn Avenue and check out an awesome new boutique — Luca Lu. It's small and sleek inside, with most of the clothes hanging from suspended racks on either side of the shop. It's dangerous in here, though: You could easily be tempted to justify dropping a few hundred dollars on a daring top that goes perfectly with a pair of $150 jeans. Next door is Chezelle, where you can do some more browsing. Go ahead and splurge a little bit; you'll need something to wear out when Girls' Day becomes Girls' Night...

12:30pm: Probably time for a break, not to mention some food. Kaffe Frappe, also next to Luca Lu, has improved with time and now offers tasty omelets and mimosas that match the swanky yet comfortable interior. My favorite dish is the Eggs Napoleon (scrambled eggs plus portabella mushroom plus goat cheese equals heaven). Don't miss the patio for dining in the sunshine.

2pm: Naturally, accessories are needed, both to go with whatever you bought this morning and to snazz up what's already hanging in your closet. Charlotte's jewelry options have expanded way beyond Tiffany's lately, in a glorious range of prices. On the lower end is The Jewel Box, with locations in Birkdale Village and Stonecrest, providing perfect treats for whenever you just need a jewelry pick-me-up. Most prices are in the teens and twenties, and the store is laid out by color so you can quickly find the right dangly blue and purple earrings you always wanted. Dilsey Coal isn't totally out of the affordable range, but it's for more special occasions. Recently opened on East Boulevard, this jewelry boutique is where you can find handmade pieces that attract major attention.

Didn't find anything you liked? Well, fine — make your own damn jewelry. Jennifer Shanks opened Jewelology in the Park Towne Village shopping center a few weeks ago as the place to do just that. The store has "design consultants" on hand to help. Jewelology caters to Girls' Getaway, too, with private jewelry-making parties. Call ahead to schedule one, and you can pick up a few bottles next door at Total Wine to inspire the jewelry muse in everyone.

4pm: Tired? Take a load off and sit yourself down at a local salon for a manicure and pedicure. Millennium Nails is next to Dilsey Cole, and has enough comfy massage chairs for everyone in the crew to enjoy a spa pedicure.

5:30pm: Now that you're rejuvenated, try and indulge your mind a little bit. The Levine Museum of the New South's current show, Purses, Platforms & Power, profiles women who broke gender barriers in the Charlotte of the 1970s. The exhibit showcases some of the artifacts from those Girls' Days a few decades ago.

7pm: Don't go out on an empty stomach. As tight as the new dress you're wearing might be, I repeat, do not indulge in the liquid diet — at least eat something. Sushi fits the bill of not too filling, but still delectable. Nikko boasts the only female sushi chef in town — Joanna Nix — along with colorful martinis and some of the best raw fish in the Queen City. If you're lucky, you'll get there on a night when Joanna's in the mood for leading the restaurant in a round of sake bombs.

9pm: OK, now you can drink. Choose any place that serves gourmet alcoholic beverages; two good choices in the proximity of the downtown clubs are Town and Therapy.

10:30pm: I'm assuming that by now, all you girls are sick of talking and drunk enough to dance. If not, continue with the libations until ready to do so. When the desired level of dancing-readiness is achieved, start at Cosmos for what one fellow female called a good place to dance with girls.

12midnight: You can't dance with girls all night long! It's now midnight, Girls' Day is over, and it's time to bring boys into the mix again. I was referred to both Crush and Menage for clubs to hit when you're ready to get some ass. Yes, the slide at Menage might be cheesy, and be careful of flashing when you hit the bottom, but the two-way mirrors in the ladies' room alone make it worthwhile. Crush is for full-on booty dancing — have fun, and watch out for who (or what) you or your friends take home.

Just The Facts:

FRESH - 813 Providence Road, 704-343-9071.
CINCH - 715 Providence Road, 704-333-0094.
LUCA LU - 2823 Selwyn Ave. Suite E, 704-373-1698.
CHEZELLE - 2823 Selwyn Ave. Suite J, 704-372-6612.
KAFFE FRAPPE - 2839 Selwyn Ave., 704-372-1424.
THE JEWEL BOX - multiple locations,
DILSEY COAL - 1419 East Blvd., 704-334-8991,
JEWELOLOGY - 1630-265 E. Woodlawn Rd., 704-525-8272,
MILLENIUM NAILS - 1419 East Blvd., 704-338-1000.
LEVINE MUSEUM OF THE NEW SOUTH - 200 E. 7th St., 704-333-1887,
NIKKO - 1300 South Blvd., 704-370-0100.
TOWN - 718 W. Trade St., 704-379-7555.
THERAPY - 401 N. Tryon St., 704-333-1353.
COSMOS - 300 N. College St., 704-372-3553.
MENAGE - 118 W. Fifth St., 704-377-8000,
CRUSH - 300 E. Stonewall St., 704-377-1010,

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