MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Terry Irby

Terry Irby

With Easter weekend just ahead, it seems like a perfect time to show off the hats that appeared at the 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday, April 10, at the Dallas Arboretum. While organizers had hoped that decorum would rule the day, some of the guests just got it in . . . or rather, on their heads to be maddening.

Kunthear Douglas

Kunthear Douglas

Check the two pages of pictures on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for proof that a little insanity isn’t such a bad thing.

JUST IN: Matthew Perry To Headline CARE’s 30th Breakfast

Before everyone takes off for a Good Friday weekend, good news is coming. The latest is the 30th anniversary breakfast for CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources & Education).

Matthew Perry*

Matthew Perry*

First, everybody’s “friend” Matthew Perry will be the featured speaker for the Monday, November 3rd event at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Known to most for his playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,”the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor has made it his mission to help others battle the disease of addiction. In addition to spreading the word about a battle that he undertook, he has also “opened a sober living home for men called the Perry House, which is committed to  help me recover through a twelve-step program and meditation.”

Breakfast Chair Shirley Cohn has even more in store for the fundraising/awareness building event. She has arranged for the ever-adorable, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw to serve as honorary co-chairs.

According to Shirley, “We are thrilled to welcome the entertaining Matthew Perry and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of CARE. This annual event is crucial to supporting the mission of CARE and its programs that serve those within our community suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies. We hope you will grab your friends and join us for this special morning!”

Talk about a home run!

Suggestion: This news is so very hot that it’s not even on CARE’s website yet. So call 214.526.8986 or email for your tickets starting at $150 per person and sponsorship opportunities pronto. Space will be limited and demand will be great.

* Photo provided by CARE

Round Robin April 9: Friends Of Wednesday’s Child And Crystal Charity Ball New Members Luncheons And Pre-Art Fair Reception

There are rare occasions when Mother Nature takes heart and blesses Dallas with moments of gloriously, fabulous weather. Wednesday, April 9, was such a day. Perhaps the old girl was trying to make up for the previous weekend’s nasty weather. Hello, Final Four weekend!

Taking full advantage of the day were the following events:

Wednesday’s Child Luncheon

Cachet Weinberg and Sharon McGowan

Cachet Weinberg and Sharon McGowan

Friends of Wednesday’s Child Luncheon Chair Cachet Weinberg actually was worried that the day’s perfection of blue skies and user-friendly temperatures was going to hurt the luncheon attendance. What if folks decided to enjoy the outdoors opposed to the fundraiser at Union Station?

How wrong she was!

Ke'onte Cook and Gloria Campos

Ke’onte Cook and Gloria Campos

After all, there were two big reasons to celebrate — the 30th anniversary of the Friends of Wednesday’s Child program and recently retired WFAA anchor Gloria Campos, who has been the on-air face of the program. There was no way not attend the event, if you had even a hint of a connection with the program that provides remarkable opportunities for North Texas foster children.

Libby Hunt

Libby Hunt

As guests like Adam McGill and Nancy Hunt arrived, other VIP types like Honorary Chair Libby Hunt, her husband David, her folks Sharon and Mike McCullough, Nancy Carter and siblings CarolineRose Hunt and Herbert Hunt had already gathered in the Frisco Room. Gloria was having a quiet conversation with Wednesday’s Child grad Ke’onte Cook.

In a beige silk suit, Gloria laughed holding a flute of champagne that now that she was retired, she could actually have a glass of the bubbly at lunch.

The luncheon in the Great Hall revealed a story about Cachet that many didn’t realize. In a video presentation, it was learned that she “from an abusive home, emotional and physical. She was taken out of the house when she was 8 and put in various foster homes. Finally when she was 15, she was adopted. Cachet said she learned to make something of her life and use it to give back to others. That’s what she’s doing now.”

Darlene Ellison

Darlene Ellison

Speaker Darlene Ellison‘s presentation was also powerful. She  was “divorced and one day drove by her ex-husband’s house and saw police cars everywhere. FBI talked with her and told her that her ex was one of the main organizers of a group of men that “loved” boys and had been involved in that group since before they were married. He went to Federal prison. The message she gave was about how she had to set the example of how to cope for her children to survive emotionally and learn how to cope with this news and circumstance themselves.”

She summed it up, “My favorite saying is, ‘She saw the light at the end of the tunnel and then she became that light for others.’ Everyone in this room has an opportunity to be that light. Everyone in this room has the opportunity to be the light and help these children see the light.”

Crystal Charity Ball New Members Luncheon

Unlike typical fraternity harrassing pledges, the Crystal Charity Ball gals celebrate their newbies with style and grace. For the class of 2014 (Tiffany Divis, Gail Fischer, Amy Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Angela Nash, Mary Martha Pickens and Lauryn Gayle White), it was lunch at the Carolina Herrera salon in Highland Park Village.

Amy Hegi, Gail Fischer, Mary Martha Pickens, Lauren Gayle White, Leigh Anne Haugh, Tiffany Divis and Angela Nashs

Amy Hegi, Gail Fischer, Mary Martha Pickens, Lauren Gayle White, Leigh Anne Haugh, Tiffany Divis and Angela Nashs

The question pre-event — How were you gonna fit all the newbies and vets for a meal and fashion show in the slender salon?

Really!

Heck, this was a Carolina Herrera production. Down the main aisle was an eon long white clothed table with vases of perfect white roses positioned down the center.

But the chairs were placed facing away from the table. Oh, on second thought, how smart! It allowed the CCB guests to watch a CH fashion show. No wonder Herrera is the name repeated time and time again at galas and on society pages.

Lunch table

Lunch table

But before the fashions commenced, it was necessary to call the membership to order. The chatter was so great that it was hard to imagine how to get the guests’ attention. No chimes nor clinking glassware was going to do the job. Showing true leadership with a wink attitude, 2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon literally dragged Melissa Macatee midway in the salon and said, “Whistle.” The diminutive Melissa, who had looked a bit bewildered up to this point, followed the boss’s orders.

No, if you’ve ever experience a Melissa Macatee whistle, your hearing has never been the same. Just imagine what the New York-based Herrera ladies, who were in attendance, reported back to headquarters about how a call-to-order is achieved. This ain’t the Big Apple. It’s the Big D.

Immediately the local ladies took their seats, while the New Yorkers appeared ready to see cattle stampede outside.

After Robyn and 2015 CCB Chair Michal Powell welcomed the group, the new CCB members were formally introduced by their “sponsors.” It was obvious that the 2014 class was pretty stellar. Alas, Amy Hegi was tagged forever as “Precious” thanks to Elizabeth Gambrell’s description.

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Then it was time for the show. With fur trim, wools, Herrera hostess gowns and trains leading the parade of models on the catwalk, even the accessories earned comments and second looks. Example: the dangling earrings that looked like someone had strung up red fuzzy caterpillars.

Just moments after the show, the ladies turned their chairs 180 degrees, had lunch from Gill and ramped up the chatter level again.

But the lunch and talk was brief because the ladies had appointments to keep. Alas, the breezy day got to one adorable cutie in a short silk dress. Just as she was within a yard of her SUV, she got sideswiped by a gust of wind. Up went her skirt all the way reminding some of Marilyn Monroe’s legendary scene. Don’t bother asking who she was. We ain’t into namedropping.

Cocktails & Flautas

Jack Geary

Jack Geary

By the evening the winds had toned down resulting in an absolute perfection for Elizabeth Robertson’s “Cocktails & Flautas” party honoring Jack Geary and Dolly Bross Geary. The couple, who have Jack Geary Contemporary in New York City, were in town for the Dallas Art Fair.

Jack and Dolly had visited the Dallas and Fort Worth art scene (the Nasher, DMA, etc.) during the previous days and said the Art Fair had grown becoming both very eclectic and international. The Elizabeth-Geary connection was made 35 years ago when Elizabeth’s son Searcy Ferguson met Jack in Southampton.

Jack admitted that on his wish list is to add a Dallas contemporary artist to his collection of clients like Michael Sagato, Andy Hall, Ceyda Aykan, Vadis Turner, Federico Cattacneo and Ayse Wilson.

Robertson living room

Robertson living room

Speaking of collections and pieces of art, Elizabeth’s home was spectacular, both inside and out. Only the days before, the rains had made the possibility of the outdoors entertaining around the new outdoor fireplace up for grabs. But evidently Lady Elizabeth has connections with Mother Nature and everything came into place just hours before the guests like Margaret McDermott, Kelli and Jerry Ford and Joanne Stroud arrived.

Elizabeth Robertson showing off Hannah Ferguson bracelet

Elizabeth Robertson showing off Hannah Ferguson bracelet

Looking at the fabulous gardens, one couldn’t help but think they had been transported to South Hampton. Inside then exquisite blending of textures, magnificent colors and collectibles appeared to be straight out of “Architectural Digest”.

Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler

Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler

Nathan Burke

Nathan Burke

While art power couple Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler were chatting with Dolly and Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law Hannah Ferguson was taking compliments about her jewelry designs that can be found at Korshak, flautas were indeed being made in the kitchen and out on the street Nathan Burke had his oven in overdrive making Superfly Pies. Parked just a couple of cars away from the oven was Elizabeth’s showstopping vintage Mercedes convertible with the license plate reading: “SBetty”. Too bad she couldn’t have the plate done in Elizabethan Blue.

Vintage Mercedes convertible

Vintage Mercedes convertible

JUST IN: Eight New Members Added To TACA Board

Eight new members of TACA’s Board of Directors were just revealed.

Jill Tananbaum and Sky Brewer*

Jill Tananbaum and Sky Brewer (File photo)

Drum roll. . . Joining present board members Shannon Brame, Barbara Daseke, Kemp Sawers and Ed Tauriac will be Megan Bowdon, Skye Brewer, Pete Chilian, Dawn Carney Grove, Ann Margolin, Jay Oppenheimer, Dawna Richter and Jill Tananbaum.

Leading this performing-art loving board will be Chair Nancy Carlson, Vice Chair of Grants Tara Lewis, Vice Chair of Programs Zannie Giraud Voss, Treasurer Marsha Cameron and Secretary Ann Hobson.

If you don’t know who the newbies are, you can find out after the jump!

[Read more...]

Individual Tickets For John Wayne Film Festival Are Now On Sale

Individual tickets for the John Wayne Film Festival just went on sale. Sponsorships blew out the door as fast as tickets for the Academy of Country Music Awards. If you love John Wayne, you just knew that would happen.

Whether your preference is Red River, North To Alaska or anything John Wayne-ish, you are definitely gonna want to be part of the festivities starting Thursday, April 24, with screenings at the luxurious LOOK Cinemas.

Well, OMG! If you splurge and get with the action, you can celebrate with a heck of a lot of Wayne-type action. Yahoo, baby!

And you’ll be in very good company, including American Film Institute President/CEO Bob Gazzale along with the Wayne family members.

Ethan Wayne, Greg Brown and Marisa Wayne (File photo)

Ethan Wayne, Greg Brown and Marisa Wayne (File photo)

For the opening-night festivities on Thursday, The Quiet Man will be shown with special guests Patrick Wayne, Melinda Wayne Munoz, Ethan Wayne, Marisa Wayne and Anita Swift. Dad gummitt, Maureen O’Hara and The Duke made such a twosome.  Afterwards the crowd will party at Gilley’s Dallas with Pat Green in charge of the entertainment.

On Friday, it will be four screenings of Wayne movies (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Green Berets, The Searchers and The Comancheros) with a Texas Gala at 3015 Trinity Groves with the Robert Lee Kobb Band.

Ann-Margret (File photo)

Ann-Margret (File photo)

Saturday night four more screenings (Rio Bravo, The Alamo, True Grit and The Train Robbers) will be followed a “gala” party with Hunter Sullivan handling the entertainment. Oops, did we mention that a certain red-haired legend by the name of Ann-Margret just may be on hand?

But there’s still more! On Sunday, The War Wagon and Red River will be shown.

The festivities will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation thanks to Tri-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill and David Hale Smith.

Please, oh, please leave the fancy duds at home. Think boots and jeans and just a subtle touch of bling. Okay, the bling doesn’t have to be too subtle, “pilgrim.”

Round Robin April 8 (Part II): KidneyTexas Runway Report Kick-Off Party And Salvation Army Fashion Show And Luncheon Reception

After a brief recovery from the Tuesday, April 8th luncheons, it was time to hit the road again for an evening of fashion show kick-offs and patron parties to raise funds for KidneyTexas and the Salvation Army.

KidneyTexas Runway Report Luncheon & Style Show Kick Off Party

Ramona Jones

Ramona Jones

Over at Tootsies, about 75 partygoers gathered to pump up enthusiasm for the September 23rd KidneyTexas Runway Report Luncheon & Style Show at Brook Hollow Golf Club. While a jazz trio played bouncy standards like “I Love Paris” and “When Sunny Gets Blue,” kickoff-party guests including Carol Seay, Renee Winter, Emilynn Wilson, Andrea Alcorn, Fran Cashen and Ramona Jones prepared to enjoy a mini-runway show featuring Tootsies frocks on KidneyTexas volunteers—plus one game young man, Blake Settle, who was wearing a shirt from Pockets Menswear.

Fran Cashen, Renee Winters and Andrea Alcorn

Fran Cashen, Renee Winters and Andrea Alcorn

He was the son of Karen Settle, the luncheon chair. Proud mama Karen was seen huddling with KidneyTexas President Jolie Humphrey while, not far away, Cara Stone was getting ready for the runway show under the watchful eye of Nerissa von Helpenstill, the Tootsies manager.

Emilynn Wilson, Rachel Cowlishaw and Patricia Cowlishaw

Emilynn Wilson, Rachel Cowlishaw and Patricia Cowlishaw

Also on hand was Patricia Cowlishaw. Her granddaughter Rachel Cowlishaw handles the “modern” department of the Dallas operation of the Houston-based retailing operation.

Funds from the Sept. 23 event will benefit the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, National Kidney Foundation-Camp Reynal, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show & Luncheon Reception

Kathie King

Kathie King

Carol Seay was a busy woman Tuesday. No sooner was she spotted at the KidneyTexas do than she turned up, Zelig-like, at the magnificent home of Kathie and Randy King. The occasion? A fete for the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2014 Fashion Show & Luncheon, scheduled for Monday, May 5 at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Carol was among 160 who showed up at the Kings’, who’d opened up their house for Salvation Army events twice before.

Guests had hardly departed their cars before hearing, “Wait til you see this house!” With its cobble tile roof, simply perfect floorplan, curved doorways, designer colors, fabulous textures, two outdoor fireplaces, pool and guest quarters, the property takes up two lots in Highland Park. Kathie, whose left foot had undergone surgery earlier in the year, reported that the house was the result of a marvelous working relationship with architect/builder Tony McClung. The way that Kathie talked, Tony should be negotiating peace in the Ukraine.

Kathie and Randy King's home and putting green

Kathie and Randy King’s home and putting green

When asked if the Kings had a dog, Kathie laughed, saying, “We have a putting green surrounded by AstroTurf.” Evidently, that was the one concession she made for Randy.

Holly Forsythe and Denise Wolford

Holly Forsythe and Denise Wolford

Speaking of dogs, award-winning animal advocate Holly Forsythe had just arrived from a Greg Abbott fundraiser at Gene and Jerry Jones’ estate. Holly revealed that she was thrilled to learn that Republican State Representative candidate Chart Westcott was “very pro-active in closing puppy mills.”

Gina Jones

Gina Jones

After enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres inside the dramatic manse, guests including Denise Wolford, Anne and David Caruth, Vicki Howland, Dee Wyly and Jill Rowlett moved outside to listen to brief remarks by the pool from Capt. Michelle Mathews, who will soon be earning her major’s stripes. They also heard that Chair Gina Jones had arranged for former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager to serve as honorary chairs for the event. Jan Strimple will produce the fashion show, which is in its 23rd year and has raised more than $7 million for the Salvation Army so far.

Michelle Matthews

Michelle Matthews

Come rain or shine, this fashion show/sell-a-thon is a traditional home run. It’s an opportunity to add to your collection of killer outfits, while raising funds for the Salvation Army.

The Divine Miss M Is Coming For A Chat

Dallas is starting to look like the stopover for award-winning women. Sally Field last week for the New Friends New life “Wings” luncheon. Diane Nyad will be at the Appetite for Advocacy Thursday. And on Thursday, May 1, Bette Midler (aka The Divine Miss M) is headed in this direction for the Woman to Woman Luncheon.

Bette Midler*

Bette Midler*

Bette’s been getting standing ovations since the 60’s and has only gotten better and better. Gone are the days when she and a young pianist by the name of Barry Manilow performed in the Continental Baths and “built up a core following.” In addition to having an incredible voice, she also had a reputation for interacting with the audience. It was the release of “The Divine Miss M” that shot her to national fame with such hits as “Do You Wanna Dance?”, “Friends” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.

And, of course, it didn’t hurt that she made a stupendous hit with a night-show host by the name of Johnny Carson. It would be years later that Bette would be his last guest and bring him to tears with “One for My Baby.”

And then there were movies like The Rose, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, Beaches, The First Wives Club, etc.

Still the music continued along with TV, still more movies and a collection of awards and nominations. As recently as the 2014 Academy Awards, she receive a SO from the heady crowd singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  It was a perfect example of how unlike other singers, she doesn’t upstage the beauty of the lyrics and music. She is the spotlight and does it with grace.

Okay, so all that is well-known among the legions of Miss M fans.

But there is another side to her that is not in front of a mic nor on a soundstage. She’s been there for those in need of her support.

She’s also taken on duties as an advocate for non-profit organizations like the revitalization of “neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City.” In addition to rolling up her sleeves and getting down and dirty for the parks, she founded the New York Restoration Project that also “offers free in-school and after-school environmental education programming to students from high-poverty Title I schools.”

If you’ve ever seen Bette in concert, you know she commands, charms and creates memories. You walk away from the experience thinking, “I know her and I like her for her honesty and her. . . I can’t describe it, but I just like her.”

But for the May 1st event, she will be without the costumes and the back-up singers. It will just be Bette, you and the fundraising guests of Jewish Family Services.

Event Co-Chairs are Linda Garner, Beth Konig, Sheryl Pidgeon, Laurie Platt and Cindy Ray Yablonsky.

Honorary Chairs are Rebecca Baker, Jeanne Fagadau, Dot Hayman and Mildred Oppenheimer.

Tickets are now available online. Don’t miss this one. Come the afternoon of May when everybody is talking about Bette, you’re going to be really an unhappy camper if you take a pass.

You know someone is watching us.

* Graphic courtesy of Jewish Family Services of Greater Dallas

Round Robin April 8 (Part I): Linz Award, Cherish The Children And Just Say “Yes!” Luncheons

Tuesday, April 8, was one of those days that poets write about. The skies were magnificent with just enough clouds to break up the all blue look. The temperatures were so friendly that new spring clothes made their seasonal debut without fear of needing a pashmina. It was almost as if Mother Nature realized that the day would be filled with countless fundraising activities and she’d better cooperate.

Due to the number of events, the day’s Round Robin is broken into two posts — daytime and night-time. Thank you for bearing with the MSC team.

85th Annual Linz Award

85th Linz Award program and friend*

85th Linz Award program and friend*

Attendees at the VIP reception before the 85th annual Linz Award luncheon at the Omni Dallas were a virtual who’s who of Dallas civic leadership. From Ruth Altshuler and Jennifer Sampson to Walt Humann, Caren Prothro, Laura Johnson, Kate Newman, Bea and Walt Humann, Pat Patterson, Dolores Barzune, Susan McSherry, Carol and Don Glendenning, Margot Perot, Bobby Lyle, Erle Nye, Margaret Keliher, Kern Wildenthal and Luncheon Chair Sandy Ammons, the group was beyond stellar. Then again, what would you expect at an event honoring Forrest Hoglund, the man who raised more than $185 million toward construction of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and one of the most respected civic leaders in Dallas?

Ruth Altshuler, Margot Perot , Lyda Hill and Caren Prothro*

Ruth Altshuler, Margot Perot , Lyda Hill and Caren Prothro*

“We love the Hoglunds,” Paige McDaniel of Community Partners of Dallas was saying, referring to Forrest and his wife Sally Hoglund. “They give to every nonprofit in town. And, they really care. They’ll call and ask, ‘How’s it going?’ That’s why you see so many agencies here today.” Not far away, Forrest was basking in congratulations from, among others, Lyda Hill, Lee Jackson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. How did he feel, being chosen for the prestigious Linz honor? “I’m surprised,” Forrest replied. Really? “Well, you know,” he went on, “everybody else does all the work, and I get the credit!”

David Dewhurst*

David Dewhurst*

Inside the ballroom, where 700 had gathered for a luncheon of garden spinach brie en croute, petit filet of beef, seasonal vegetables, and chocolate or key lime pie desserts, SMU President Gerald Turner reviewed the history of the Linz Award, which is presented annually by the Zale Corp. and the Dallas Morning News. Turner pointed out that Hoglund represents the “rock chop [University of Kansas] Jayhawk” contingent in Dallas. “But, due to a twinkle in his eye named Kelly, SMU is a close No. 2,” Turner contended. “Forrest had hoped Kansas would win the NCAA [basketball tournament], and then we’d just slide on into this. At least he got in the tournament! Some of us are still smarting from that …”

Forrest Hoglund*

Forrest Hoglund*

Next Jim Moroney of the DMN said the Linz was awarded in part for Hoglund’s “civic engagement,” while Jack Lowe, a board member for Zales, lauded Forrest’s money-raising—$30 million so far—on behalf of Reasoning Mind. That’s a pioneering, Web-based program that helps elementary students learn math, including students in the Dallas Independent School District. Then Nicole Small, former CEO at the Perot museum, called Hoglund the “ultimate cheerleader, “a man caller ID almost put out of business,” and “a big thinker who’s not afraid to challenge” the status quo.

Forrest, for his part, made an acceptance speech that was brief, gracious and to the point. Calling the luncheon “a rush” for him, Hoglund thanked a number of people including his wife and daughters, applauded Small, and humorously recalled one of his first fundraising experiences, in Houston at the age of 26. Calling on a crusty oil-and-gas mogul on behalf of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Forrest said the energy magnate told him point-blank: “I ain’t givin’ no friggin’ money to no museum.” But, Hoglund hastened to point out, the donation would be to benefit the Houston community, not just the museum. Retorted the oilman: “I hate this g-d city.”

But Dallas, Forrest concluded, is “on a roll [these days] like I can’t imagine. … Everybody’s trying to do great things in Dallas—and getting them done.” If that’s true, the 85th Linz awardee is one big reason why.

Cherish The Children Luncheon

Tea party chair

Tea party chair

Like Goldilocks, the 300+ guests at the annual Dallas CASA’s “Cherish the Children” fundraising luncheon had to check out the designer chairs and furnishings in the silent auction at the Ritz Carlton’s lobby. There was a white chair all prettied up with satin trim and pillow that included a “goodie basket of MacKenzie Childs.” Nearby was an art “full” toy chest. On the other side of the tables of items that extended the full length of the lobby were two chairs with teddy bears in coveralls and yellow plastic “hard hats.”

A treasure chest of art

A treasure chest of art

But the one that literally stopped traffic was the green lounger near the check-in. Valued at $1,700, it was a magnet for eyes and try-ons. While guests like Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy watched, others like Lara Tafel and CASA Executive Director/President Beverly Levy gave the “Fit” chair a try.

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

But the luncheon was more than bidding and sitting. It was “to raise critically needed funds for Dallas CASA to recruit and train volunteer advocates who help ensure that abused and neglected children are safe, healthy and protected with loving families.”

To inspire guests, decorated U.S. Marine vet/Princeton and Harvard Business School grad/author Donovan Campbell was the keynote speaker. In addition to sharing “how he led his men through some of the worst battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was able to translate those experiences into a life of servant leadership upon his return home.

“Campbell described the three values that underlie his belief in servant leadership:

“Be humble — ‘At its essence, humility is nothing more than a realistic and unflinching view of yourself and your relationships.’

“Give your best everyday — ‘Today I have given all that I have, that which I have kept I have lost. Effort is good, but direction is better.’

“Challenge yourself — ‘What is it that I want to be known for when my life is over?’”

Regarding troops returning from overseas, he stressed that “the best way to say ‘thank you’ . . . is to make sure that they come home to a country worth fighting for.”

Just Say YES! Pointing Youth In The Right Direction Luncheon

Lisa Troutt and Dan Bailey

Lisa Troutt and Dan Bailey

It was a spectacular day with just the right amount of sunshine, breeze and temperatures to enjoy the outdoors. Ah, a true rarity in these parts. But the perfect spot to enjoy these conditions was Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s estate. For about 300 very fortunate guests at the annual “Just Say YES Pointing Youth in the Right Direction Luncheon,” they not only got to take in the incredible grounds during the reception, they learned and were inspired by the work of Just Say YES! established by Dan Bailey back in March 2002.

_MG_5388 Dan BaileyThe program helps “equip teens to succeed by educating them through student assembly speakers and classroom curriculum. Our goal is empowering students to say ‘Yes’ to their dreams and goals and ‘No’ to destructive choices.”

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson

On this day, the guests got a double whammy! Not only was the speaker Gabe Salazar, but he was introduced by Luncheon Chair Avery “Coach” Johnson, whose legendary basketball acumen is quickly being surpassed by his motivational talks.

Sue Bailey and Gabe Salazar

Sue Bailey and Gabe Salazar

And, yet, the young Latino Gabe gave Avery a run for his money in the speaking department. The adorable Latino with his wife, Nancy, tableside told of his first-hand knowledge of being homeless, gang influence and being the first in his family to go to college. Blending humor with touching compassion, his message ranged from a skit depicting a disabled teenager to frank talk regarding the following:

Too many kids are wishing and not dreaming big.

No teenager’s goal is to be homeless, in jail, strung out on drugs or dead.

There is hope. No one was born an accident. When students tell him, “I was an accident. My parents were married. My mom was a teenager, etc.” Gabe’s response is, “Your life is not an accident. You are here for a purpose.”

Tavia and Clark Hunt, Knobel Hunt and Nancy and Gabe Salazar

Tavia and Clark Hunt, Knobel Hunt and Nancy and Gabe Salazar

Turning to the adults, like Honorary Chairs Tavia and Clark Hunt with their son Knobel, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Heather and Ray Washburne, Sue Bailey, Jennie Gilchrist, Janet McColloch, Bill Nowlin, Craig Vaughn, Phillip Wise and Robbie Fusch, seated at luncheon tables throughout the room, Gabe said, “Be a mentor.” To the students, he advised, “Find a mentor.”

But there was still a third speaker, student Chris Caldwell, whose message summed up the program’s message perfectly: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

* Photo credit: Lisa Stewart

Writer Julia Reed Became Everybody’s BFF At Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon

There were rumblings about writer Julia Reed. At the Chick Lit patron party on Thursday, April 3, in the Carolina Herrera boutique, Community Partners of Dallas Executive Director Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke were just downright giddy. “You’re going to love Julia!”

But a half hour into the party, the guest of honor hadn’t arrived. That was okay. There were tornado warnings in the area and bumbershoots were starting to be the accessory du jour. Perhaps Mississippi-born Julia was too dainty to broach the threatening weather. That theory would later prove to be as wrong as wearing muck boots to the Art Ball.

The next day those previous rumblings of “You’re going to love Julia” had heightened to the likes of a pep rally at Brook Hollow for the Chick Lit Luncheon. The VIP party was jammed with guests. Which one was Julia? Word had passed that she had indeed made it to the Herrera party and won a whole new crowd of fans before heading to dinner at Café Pacific with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Say, “What!” She had dinner with Laura?

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

Finally edging through the crowd, a tall brunette with poreless skin and a thick head of brown hair with excellent highlights was spotted. She was surrounded by other women, who were not budging. After all they had come to the conclusion that they were indeed the brunette’s new very best friends in the entire world.

But the camaraderie was obvious. There was an ease about her that made her appear to be comfortable whatever the situation. Let’s just face the fact that there are people who have the gift to make others feel like they’re unique and confidantes. Julia Reed is one of those rare creatures. She makes you remember those slumber parties when you and your very bestest bud shared secrets, or at summer camp, when your camper galpal taught you how to shave your legs.

But there was no time to talk during the reception. The fundraising luncheon schedule had to be respected and hundreds like Kate Rose Marquez, Skye Brewer, Elizabeth Gambrell, Sara Martineau, D’Andra Simmons, Christie Carter, Kristina Whitcomb, Liz Tankersley and Honorary Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef were waiting throughout Brook Hollow for the program to begin.

Cinderette McDaniel

Cinderette McDaniel

In the ballroom Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel’s guests like Cheryl Brown and Amanda Ward were taking their place front and center just before the stage. To the side of the stage, Paige’s mom Cinderette McDaniel was joined by Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden. That was curious. NM presence had been present in the past. Hmm.

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Before Julia took over, Luncheon Chair Jennifer Evans Morris presented the 8th Annual Partners for Children Award to the Junior League of Dallas for their “commitment to meeting the philanthropic needs of our community.” Of the 25 years that CPD has been “ensuring safety, restoring dignity and inspiring hope to abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services,” the JLD has been involved for 21 of them.

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

Before Paige led the group in singing “Happy Birthday,” she had guests don party hats. At the completion of the song confetti showered the stage. Party hats were soon removed as Paige talked about the children who are helped time and time again through CPD.

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Following lunch (pecan-crusted chicken on mesclun greens, dried cherries and apricots and maple-balsamic dressing accompanied by ciabatta bread with goat cheese and Southern-style cherry pie), Paige returned to the podium, where she announced that NM had sent a birthday gift to CPD. Out of a NM box, a pair of Louboutin stilettos were pulled. The message: CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. (In checking with Marjon, it was learned that NM would be taking a pass this year on the annual strut-athon and would return in the fall of 2015.) Ah, so that’s why the two NM gals were lunching.

At 12:20 p.m. Julia took over the podium. Now, this group has seen and heard some of the country’s most popular girly-type speakers including Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch and Emily Giffin, so this wasn’t their first talk-rodeo. They had heard everything from Hollywood gossip to personal challenges. Now, their word-of-mouth, built-up expectations were on the line.

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

With a Southern drawl that is longer than the Mississippi River, Julie connected immediately with her audience. It was obvious that she was comfortable in her skin and made everyone else in the room feel right at home with her. If she name-dropped, she did it not to impress but to share. She talked about

  • her landing her job as contributing editor for “Newsweek” handling both New Orleans politics and the monthly “Food and Drink” column
  • writing for Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour and fashion guru André Leon Talley
  • and her latest book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!”

Let’s face it. To have described in a post her stories would not do the tales nor Julia justice. Her delivery was just too engaging and hit the spot. So, for the first time, MySweetCharity is going to post a couple of video clips of Julia on highlights:

The first dealt with a previous Chanel fashion show in which designer Karl Lagerfeld focused on transparent skirts. Following the show, Julia, André and a movie producer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, attended a press conference with Lagerfeld. (Editor’s note: This clip includes some language that some might feel inappropriate. If so, pass on viewing.)

Following her talk, Julia took questions from the audience including what she thought of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of “Vogue” and what would be [Julia's] last meal. For your consideration, here is the G-rated video.

The videos are proof why MSC realized its own limitations in describing a situation. Julia in person was simply indescribable. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t there, you missed a great time.

Round Robin April 3: Chick Lit And Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Parties and Girls Party

Once again Thursday proved to be an overabundant serving of appetizers for the weekend. In the case of Thursday, April 3, it was on the eve of the Final Four and the night of SMU playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Madison Square Garden.

Oh, did we mention that tornado warnings and watches were lighting up the skies and local newscasts?

Among the activities taking place were

  • Racing for the Sight patron party at Vinnette and Mike Montgomery’s new home benefiting the Retina Foundation
  • Fashion Cited with Ron Corning emceeing at Frontiers of Flight Museum for the Retina Foundation

Chick Lit Patron Party

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera is the jewel box of couture clothing. And despite the threatening weather, the CH boutique in Highland Park Village had the ladies turn out for the Chick Lit Luncheon patron party.

While waiting for guest of honor/next-day’s-luncheon-speaker Julia Reed to arrive, about 100 guests chatted and checked out the gems on the hangar. One poor gent looked at a spectacular shimming evening gown and queried, “$2,000?” A broad streak of shock swept over the nearby gals. He just knew he had insulted the creation. From the sidelines, one understanding female suggested, “That would pay for the label and perhaps the hangar.” As for the gown, in an addition to the gold, it also comes in green and blue. . . and it will probably be a showstopper in the months to come at galas.

Melinda Rathke

Melinda Rathke

As for Julia, she eventually arrived and immediately became best friends with everyone. As for dinner, she had a dinner date at Café Pacific with a local gal-pal — Laura Bush. But it was an early dinner because Julia had the Chick Lit Luncheon the next morning at Brook Hollow.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Party

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg and husband Scott hosted their very first “philanthropy” gathering at their new Highland Park mansion. Four years in the making, the residence would have delighted French royalty pre-revolution — and the Rolling Stones.

In the two-story library, a life-size photo of Mick Jagger was in place upstairs, while paintings by JD Miller were just at eye level at the room’s entry. The old masters would have been very impressed with JD’s talents.

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

In the formal living room that was as proper and traditional as King Louis XIV, a very modern portrait of Marie Antoinette stopped traffic. It wasn’t the Marie A. that one recalls. Imagine a very stylized Marie A . Despite attempts to find an artist’s signature on the painting, Scott smiled and insisted that he had done it and Gina was the subject — “I didn’t know what to do with her face, so I gave her a face mask.”

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Eventually the crowd of around 100 gathered in the den where Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin welcomed the group and then had Jocelyn White reveal that as a thank you, Lisa and Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council President Bettina Hennessy had arranged to have a blooming bed in the Ginsburg Plaza dedicated in Gina’s honor — “Sweet Gina’s Blooming Bed”. Only problem? They were going to present Gina with a certificate to seal the deal, but it “was in the mail.”

Girls Party

Nancy Carlson

Nancy Carlson

The day before, Nancy Carlson had been giving real thought to moving the Girls Party benefiting the Dallas Children’s Theater into the Carlson mansion. After all, the weather guessers had threatening everything excluding the plague and swarms of locusts hitting the area.

But surprise! Like a general leading her troops into battle, Nancy decided she would chance it and held the party outdoors and Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Tara Lewis were on board.

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Ma Nature cooperated, providing what appeared to be a fireworks show with lightning flashing in the skies above and making the thunder clouds looking like bruised meringue. She even added a touch of a breeze to keep things cool for the 200 gals.

Tented backyard

Tented backyard

As for the Carlson estate, it was once again a whimsical setting with tents, mountains of desserts, grown-up beverages and entertainment all over the place. Artist JD Miller did one of his live paint-a-thons with his bride Lea Fisher watching. The Dallas Youth Repertory Program did a “flash mob” performance. Guests found themselves donning leis and learning how to hula.

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

But the big surprise was the song dedication to Dallas Children’s Theater Chairman of the Board Sharron Hunt, who had been the DJ sponsor for music by DJs Jen Miller and Paul Paredes.

Sharron and Maggie also coordinated efforts to have Linda “Dallas” Gray on the scene as honorary celebrity chair, thanks to their friendship with Elaine Saab. In addition to being Sharron’s friend, Elaine’s kids grew up with Maggie. It was a few years ago that Elaine tracked Linda down to speak at a Mississippi women’s conference. Learning about the Girls Party, Elaine reached out to Linda who, despite having a 5:30 a.m. call the next morning, looked spectacular and was overly accommodating to one and all.

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

DCT’s Robyn Flatt looked like a school kid herself with the recent success of “Mariachi Girl” and the evening’s fundraiser. For the past 10 years the Cabaret Gala has been the main fundraiser. The Girls’ Party has become delicious frosting on the fundraising cake for the theater that has become a treasure to parents and kids throughout the area.

Despite the threatening weather, Nancy made the right call.

A Passing: Margaret Doggett Crow

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Doggett Crow’s life was the stuff of which great movies are made. Born in 1919, she was an only child whose parents died in an automobile accident in 1939 just outside Waxahachie, when she was just 19.

Months later, after touring Europe with friends, she was on board the S.S. Athenia returning to the States when a German submarine torpedoed the ship. She made it to a lifeboat and was rescued by a Norwegian merchant ship that took her to Galway, Ireland, where a young John Kennedy welcomed her and the other survivors.

Three years later, the Hockaday graduate married a young naval officer,  Fred Trammell Crow. During their 66-year marriage, they would raise six children (Robert, Howard, Harlan, Trammell S., Lucy Billingsley and Stuart) and build a real estate empire. They traveled the world and entertained international world leaders at the family home.

When Trammell died in 2009, his ashes were interred at the family farm in East Texas and at the Daniel Cemetery on Airline Road. Just two years later, their eldest son Robert died and joined his father at the family cemetery in University Park.

The Daniel Cemetery was established in 1850 by Margaret’s great-great-grandmother Francis Sims Daniel* who, like Margaret, was legendary.

We regret to report Margaret died Friday night. In the days ahead, she will be reunited with her husband and son in Daniel cemetery. Our condolences to the Crow family and to all those who were part of Margaret Crow’s amazing life.

* A story about Francis Sims Daniel and Daniel Cemetery follows the jump. [Read more...]

JUST IN: Family Gateway To Spearhead Campaign To End Dallas Child Homelessness By 2017

This morning the leadership of  Family Gateway held a breakfast to announce a collaborative efforts by area non-profits, business and government organizations to end child homelessness in Dallas by 2017.

Rob Alberts

Rob Alberts

In the Omni Dallas Hotel’s West End Suite, Family Gateway CEO Rob Alberts said, “Family Gateway is leading the campaign for Dallas to become the first major city in the United State to end child homelessness. We have assembled a team of dedicated professionals and community leaders who believe in our mission.”

Among those leaders who were present and spoke were developer Jack Matthews, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance CEO Mike Faenza, Dallas Housing Authority Brooke Etie, First Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Joe Clifford, philanthropist Hunter Hunt, Director of Criminal Justice for Dallas County Ron Stretcher and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Rob went on to emphasize, “Dallas has become a world-class city, yet every night, five thousand children and their families do not have a safe place to sleep.

“We are audacious enough to think that, as a community that cares about ‘the least among us’, this community of providers and funders, civic leaders and housing providers can provide for those children.”

As for how the program would work, he explained, “A plan that has broad input and buy-in has a much greater chance of success than one we might create on our own – therefore we are not rolling out a finished plan, but instead calling for collaborative planning with housing and services providers, government, business, and philanthropy over the next several months.”

Hadeshia Thompson

Hadeshia Thompson

While the various leaders reiterated the importance and support of such a goal being accomplished, many listened most closely to the story told by Hadeshia Thompson, who had firsthand knowledge of homelessness.

Her father was killed when she was three. She became a mother at the age of 14. Then a second child was born when she was 16. By 18 she was in an abusive marriage. At 21 she was homeless with two children. At that point, she considered “giving my children” away in order to survive. It was at that breaking point in her life that she realized that she didn’t have the tools to survive, much less to thrive. It was Family Gateway that not only assisted her in turning her life around, but also helped her connect with services and organizations that could help her keep her family together and advance.

Hadeshia’s talk was passionate, articulate and impactful. The reason? In a city that can raise money to build world-class institutions, have Noble prize winners and achieve greatness time and time again, it’s still amazing to think thousands of children do not have a sanctuary called home.

Within the next four years, Dallas has the opportunity to change that situation and set an example for others to follow. But it will only be achieved by a word that was repeated again and again at the breakfast — collaboration. Through the Family Gateway’s program, it is possible.

Plans And 2014 Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Plus Hall Of Famer Revealed

Wednesday, April 2, Harlan Crow was sounding like your typical dad explaining to guests at the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon why his estate had been rolled. The “rollers” must have bought out Walmart to do the deed. And the papering of the prestigious acreage wasn’t in honor of a Crow child. Nope, it was to “celebrate” the birthday of mama Crow — Kathy.

Robyn Conlon

Robyn Conlon

While Harlan was doing his ‘splaining at the Dallas Country Club, the Crystal Charity Ball committee kicked off the reign of CCB Chair Robyn Conlon with the announcement of the 2014 Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Famer at downtown’s Neiman Marcus store.

In a Nina Ricci dress topped off with a scarf from her husband Don, Robyn welcomed the guests in the store’s second-floor couture salon and reviewed the program.

Missing was Neiman Marcus queen of splendid events Sandy Marple, who was on assignment in other parts of the NM empire. Not to worry. NM Downtown PR beauty Marjon Zabihi Henderson had everything under control.

Heather Esping

Heather Esping

In a side boutique of the salon, the 2014 Ten Best Dressed (Nancy Carlson, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Ashley Hunt, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee and Christi Urschel) and Hall of Famer inductee Lee Ann White were held in place. DeeDee was showing off the scar resulting from a past jab by her Texas-sized charm bracelet; Lee Ann revealed the premature birthday celebration for husband Alan (his birthday is actually April 3) the day before at the Crescent Club. It just so happened to coincide with PlainsCapitals and Southwest Securities joining up. The Whites have temporarily moved into the Ritz, while their Preston Hollow home is being refreshed. However, Lee Ann admitted that she’s taken a real liking to the high-rise living, while Alan still wants to return to their home on the ground. But that discussion ended quickly when Lee Ann spied buddy/last year’s HoF Lana Andrews coming around the corner. . .  Nancy was telling Christi that the Girls Party the next night at the Carlson estate was taking a wait-and-see position depending upon Mother Nature’s temperament. If Ma unloaded with rain, Nancy was prepared to move the whole thing inside. Not to worry. The Carlson mansion could handle a mini-convention.

But small talk was cut short when it was time for the announcement of the 10 BD and HoF. NM’s Neva Hall and Robyn handled the official welcomes and spoke of the 40 years of CCB and NM partnering up for the legendary fashion show/fundraiser.

Then Luncheon Chair Pat McEvoy revealed that the show featuring Nina Ricci fashions would once again be held in a luxurious tent, so seating would be extremely limited.

DeeDee Lee's charm bracelet

DeeDee Lee’s charm bracelet

Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron took over the announcement of the 10+HoF and it went off without a hitch.

Well, there was that moment when DeeDee reached over to shake Jeff’s hand and he seemed a bit taken back by the mass of blinding gold charms coming at him.

Afterwards the ladies and Jeff were lined up for all types of group photos. Some with the 10 plus Lee Ann; then some with the addition of Robyn, Pat and Jeff; and finally some without Jeff, who had a store to run.

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Afterwards, the honorees and guests either ate at tables set up in the salon, headed to the Zodiac Room or headed to appointments.

But before dashing off, Pat pulled out her cell phone and showed off photos of the new addition to her household — Santiago McEvoy. The littler fellow is a Havana Silk Dog.

Stay tuned. In the days ahead, Robyn and her merry maids will be making more news. . . like the theme announcement for the December 6th ball.

Equest Ambassadors Munched On Jan Miller’s And Jeff Rich’s Lawn As Triple Crown Gala Patrons Tried On Hats

Jan Miller

Jan Miller

If you want to see Jan Miller and Jeff Rich light up, just say, “Schumacher.” He’s their beagle, who will be turning 14 on May 9. From the Kennedys to Rob Lowe, Shuey has charmed one and all who have visited the Highland Park mansion that he shares with Jan and Jeff.

Tuesday, April 1, the trio hosted a patron party on behalf of Jocelyn White.

Jan admitted that when her old pal Joce, who has Pugs, had put a shout-out to use the Miller/Rich palazzo for her “pet fundraiser,” Jan took it for granted it was for pooches. Having known each other for 30 years (according to Joce, it’s more like 33 years), Jan agreed without hesitation.

Then Jan learned that the event dealt with not dogs, but horses. And, yes, small horses would be on-site. Jan took that to mean itty-bitty stuffed equine. Then word was passed that hats would be a major element of the event. Still no problemo!

But oops! Jan’s folks were a tad bit confused when asked whether the HP grass was okay for “the ambassadors” to eat. Eyebrows were raised, but Jan said, “Sure,” not quite certain why the question was even posed.

What the ever-accommodating Jan eventually learned was, it was all in preparation for the Equest Triple Crown Gala patron party. No pooches. Just horses. The ambassadors, who found the Miller/Rich front lawn quite tasty, were Equest’s mini-horses, Star and Tex.

Maggie Kipp, Shay Geyer and Jocelyn White

Maggie Kipp, Shay Geyer and Jocelyn White

Regarding the hats, Co-Chairs Shay Geyer and Maggie Kipp were fresh off chairing last year’s Mad Hatter’s Tea and thought it would be perfect to use the topper theme, especially since the event was taking place on Saturday, May 3, at Texas Horse Park, just as the Kentucky Derby was underway. That was the reason that the Miller/Rich dining-room table was covered with all types of Parisian chapeaus from Sharla’s in McKinney for the ladies to try on, which, of course, they did. Some, like Louise Griffeth and Connie Carreker, gleefully took their new acquisitions home.

It seems that Sharla Bush each year travels to Paris to buy hats for the following spring and summer. They’re actually made in Florence and take six months to make. Many are designed by Marzi. The results: 40 hats costing from $300 to $600 each.

Denny and Connie Carreker

Denny and Connie Carreker

Someone claimed that Neiman’s also offers Marzi hats but that, at Sharla’s, the price points are half. When Neiman Marcus Downtown VP/GM and Equest volunteer Jeff Byron, who was just a few feet away, was asked whether that was true, he replied, “No!”

[Editor's note: In checking the NM website, they presently do not carry Marzi hats.]

Another carry-over from the Mad Hatter’s will be the hat judging. For this one, the judges will be Louise Griffeth, Lezlie Noble, Kersten Rettig and Blake Stephenson.

Joce also recommended that along with the hats, guests wear boots. After all, Texas Horse Park is still a work in progress, though it’s nearing completion.

Someone wondered if that date might prove to be a problem. What about the Lee Park annual Derby fundraiser? According to Maggie, “There’s plenty of fun to go around.” She said that three Equest people (Lisa Bhattacharya, Annika Cail and Chris LeLash) who also are involved with Lee Park/Arlington Hall have given this year’s Equest gala a big thumbs-up.

Emily Hargrove

Emily Hargrove

Ah, but it’s also scheduled for the same day as the Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball! Jocelyn told the assembled group the event was timed to allow guests to toddle on home and change from their boots to silk slippers to attend the Art Ball.

Among the guests were Honorary Co-Chairs Val Imm Bashour and Phyllis Glazer, D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Locke, Billie Leigh Rippey, Equest President Emily Hargrove, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Katherine Coker and Neiman Marcus’ Kevin Hurst, who weekly heads to Wylie to volunteer at Equest.

How About Spending Saturday Evening With “Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa. . . And Me”?

Just from the title, you can’t help but be intrigued what kind of person wrote and lived —Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa. . . and Me.” But when you hear the author’s last name, your mind wanders to world-class liqueurs.

Enough of the teasing.

Tony Cointreau*

Tony Cointreau*

The author is Tony Cointreau, the heir to the French liqueur family, and, boy, has he lived a life worth reading and hearing about.

His life adventures and relationships have included Pierre Cardin, Helen Gurley Brown, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and the Lehman family.

Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa . . . And Me*

Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa . . . And Me*

He’ll be in town this week and you can catch up with him Saturday night. At Al’s? The Mansion?

Nope. He’ll be at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition to a “special reception,” the author, singer and humanitarian will read excerpts from his book and “speak about his new memoir, which focuses on his enduring relationships with Broadway icon Ethel Merman and Mother Teresa,” with whom he worked for 12 years.

What a way to spend a Saturday night! Ah, but there’s a slight, itty-bitty catch. No, you don’t have to be able to speak French. You just have to register, so they can get a headcount.

BTW, if you’ve never visited the Dallas Institute on Routh Street, here is your chance to check out this wonderful building that was original built as a home in 1907—and be charming with charming Tony.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

2013 Crystal Charity Ball Check Presentation Topped $4.7M

So what’s a half million $? A heck of a lot of moolah to the non-profits. That was extremely evident to nine area children’s charities at Maggiano’s Monday, March 31.

The mega-giveaway was the check presentation by the 2013 Crystal Charity Ball committee. That’s the tricky deal in the world of fundraising. So many times you hear that this chi-chi group raise gagillion dollars, but what you really want to hear is how much of that made it to the hands of the non-profits.

Pete and Caren Kline

Pete and Caren Kline

With garlic wafting through the air and wine being toasted, CCB Chair Caren Kline with her proud husband Pete smiling on and Underwriting Chair Pam Perella handed out hefty checks.

How hefty? Try these on for size:

  • Educational First Steps (Four Steps to Excellence 2.0) — $430,000
  • Good Street Learning Center, Inc. (Operation Next Steps: Program & Facility Improvements) — $458,988
  • NETWORK of Community Ministries, Inc. (Children of Grandfamilies Initiative) — $508,989
  • New Friends New Life (Trafficking Prevention & Sexual Abuse Recovery Program) — $525,000
  • Parkland Foundation (Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Burn Center & Playroom) — $1,252,316
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (Teens Can Survive Program) — $275,400
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children (Specialized Prosthetics Program) — $500,000
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (Park South YMCA Capital Improvements: Urban Swim Project) — $789,722
Family Gateway

Family Gateway

In addition, Caren announced that Family Gateway had been designated as the 2013 Horizon Project and would be receiving funding to provide pre-K education access to the children they serve.

But before each check was handed over, the recipients briefly told about their organizations and appreciated the involvement with CCB.

New Friends New Life’s Katie Pedigo stressed how CCB had made such a “difference” in the Dallas non-profits. YMCA’s Gordon Echtenkamp acknowledged that in addition to the incredible funding to support their efforts to save children’s lives, the CCB seal of approval was priceless. Parkland Foundation’s George Engdahl subbed in for PF President David Krause, who was in Berlin discussing fundraising (in German). George also recognized that despite Parkland’s being above the fold in local news, CCB’s Caren and ladies had stood by Parkland throughout 2013.

Afterwards, the chit-chat of the evening included:

  • Newlywed Toni Pickens buying the George Strait package at the Park Cities Quail fundraiser.
  • Pam Perella discovering life-after-CCB underwriting. She’s been working on the Perella’s Montana get-away.
  • 2104 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon’s April agenda: 10 Best Dressed reveal and the CCB theme announcement on April 22. She promises that it’s a first, but refuses to talk. She hasn’t even revealed it to her kiddos.

But the evening was truly focused on how the funds would help children. It would save children’s lives by teaching them how to swim. It would support a service for youngsters considering suicidal crossroads. It would make a life-changing difference for young victims of sex trafficking and so much more.

The evening’s check presentation of $4.7M brought to a total of more than $117M that the CCB has provided along with its “seal of approval” to the children’s non-profits for the past 52 years.

There are children who will never know the 100 women and countless people and organization providing services and program for their betterment. But that’s what CCB is all about — helping children.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2013 Crystal Charity Ball Check Presentation

When you receive a check for nearly a half million dollars, it’s time to celebrate. And that’s what the 2013 Crystal Charity Ball recipients did at NorthPark’s Maggiano’s on Monday, March 31.

Parkland Foundation

Parkland Foundation

For your consideration, photos are posted of the happy, smiling folks who received checks that total more than $4.7M on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Check back in a little while and you’ll see the breakdown of funds.

House Of DIFFA 2014 Masquerade Was DIFFA-nitely DIFFA-rent

Marie Antoinette's court characters (File photo)

Marie Antoinette’s court characters (File photo)

Sometimes memories of past glories can create impossible expectations for future efforts. With the 2013 House of DIFFA extravaganza only growing in stature as the months passed, this year’s fundraiser benefiting HIV/AIDS services in North Texas had a mighty challenge.

While newbies and wishful optimists may have been awed by the Masquerade Gala at the Omni Dallas on Saturday, March 29, jaded vets grumbled that the 2013 P&C (pomp and circumstance) was MIA.

Reasons were handed out by Monday morning critics like samples at Sam’s on Saturdays. One longtime DIFFA guest sniffed, “If last year was a ten, this year was a four.” Another simply called the evening, “Pedestrian.” Why had last year’s home-run event only achieved a base hit this year? Perhaps

  • Expectations were too great?
  • It lacked the [Jan] Strimple touch of platinum at the helm?
  • Too many changes, like the move from the Anatole to the Omni, which was suffering from traffic issues?
  • There was no emcee to guide the 1,500 guests through the evening’s program?
  • Printed programs were sparse? According to DIFFA reps, “They put a limited amount of programs on the tables (3-4) because in years past, so many get left behind so they wanted to conserve printing costs. This is also why they had people handing them out.”

Whatever the reason, the saving grace was the theme — “Masquerade” — and the guests’ response. Not only did the guests get the message, they delivered with everything from couture-quality creations to last-minute glue-gun lookies.

While some like Holly Reed, Brad Beaird and Larry Friedman opted for the painted-on masks, many of the gals like Holly Davis went for the fragile, lace versions that looked like eye bras designed by La Perla. At the other extreme were the chaps at Marcos Guevara’s table. To a man, each donned a menacing ram’s horn dragon mask. However, the sinister looks were dashed due to the gents’ smiles and laughter. . . DIFFA Board Member Debra Nelson proudly showed off her “homemade” mask of turquoise and white featuring butterflies, peacock feathers and ostrich plumes. . . Andrew Wong followed the Venetian look of the long-nose mask. . .In the half-covered face category, Mark Breidenbach went the “Phantom of the Opera” route, while Keith Carlisle opted for a raspberry pink with gold design that stretched over the left of his hairline. . .Honorary Chair Simona Beal accessorized her dramatic gold mask from Gallerie Noir with an equally eye-catching gold “snake” wrapped around her neck. . . Anne Stodghill resurrected her magnificent emerald-and-gold feathered mask that she had worn to the Carnival of Venice’s Doge Ball 10 years ago. Talked about a versatile mask! She could either wear it covering her face or, when it came time to dine, she simply slipped it to the top of her red-haired head and it transitioned into an elegant hat. . . Another guest whose mask proved to be convertible was Joseph Steffen. His white mask was covered with faux flowers and a draping of pink fringe. When Joseph slid the mask on top of his head, the curtain took on the appearance of bangs in need to a trim.

Kyle Erwin

Kyle Erwin

Veronika Nicholson

Veronika Nicholson

Some guests decided to extend their creativity to their entire look. Kyle Erwin plucked some poor peacock naked, incorporating the eyeful feathers to her mask, as well as to her gown’s tail-feathered back and train. According to Kyle, “I made everything but the dress. I think it’s Jovani.” . . . Veronika Nicholson in red corseted bustier and feathered skirt topped it off with a black-and-red mask and chapeau that her sister Franziska Nicholson designed.

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright

Shane Walker, Gregg Asher and Steve Kemble

Shane Walker, Gregg Asher and Steve Kemble

Christopher Wright silently made his way through the crowd with few, if any, friends recognizing him. He had done his research of the Venetian masquerade and costumed himself in bauta mask, black tabarro and tricorne. . .  On the other hand, Steve Kemble didn’t even make it through the Omni lobby. His outrageously sassy pink-and-black-and-glittering mask and cloak proved to be a magnet for the Mary Kay gals staying at the hotel. They just had to have their photos taken with him. Steve had gotten the mask from Thailand and applied his own “subtle” touches to it. Only problem was it weighed more than a bloated contestant on the “Biggest Loser.” How did he hold it up? There was a rod strapped along Steve’s back to hold the headpiece in place. As for the future of his mask, Steve believes in recycling for nonprofits. The mask is headed to the auction bloc for the annual “Art From the Heart” fundraiser. . . Perhaps inspired by his muse, Cher, Shane Walker showed up with a black-and-jeweled mask that covered part of this face and a gargantuan black-feathered Indian headdress. Naturally, Shane’s black-and-jeweled bolero jacket and jewelry only added to the “Oomph!” factor. As Shane summed it up, “There’s not a feather or a stone left in Dallas after Steve and I went shopping!”. . Designer Michael Faircloth was all smiles. He had applied his fashions designing skills to the masks of friends, with spectacular results. Why, his tri-faced mask for Paul Divis had Paul mystifying longtime friends, who didn’t recognize him.

Holly Davis and Paul Divis

Holly Davis and Paul Divis

However, in this day and age of enhancements and embellishments, the problem of ultra-long eyelash extensions posed a problem for some. For those wearing snug masks, they had to place the masks on just so for the lashes to freely flutter through the eye holes. For those who opted for the handholding masks, they couldn’t hold them too close to their faces for fear of having a collision of masks and lashes. Oh, the woes of masked beauty.

The party could have stopped right there and then in the lobby, as guests checked each other out as well as the one-of-a-kind outfits featured in the silent auction.

Cloaked characters

Cloaked characters

But when the doors to the Dallas Ballroom opened, the festivities continued with a stage that appeared to have been lifted from St. Mark’s Square including a red gondola, two-dimensional columns, a two-story-tall faux-stone bridge where a DJ played and two runways extending from the stage into the audience. As guests slowly made their way to their tables, pairs of somber, pale-faced, hooded and cloaked couples appeared on the runways over a five minute period. They just stood there staring into space. Was this a sign that Eyes Wide Shut was about to commence?

Adriana Lomysh

Adriana Lomysh

Jordan Frescher

Jordan Frescher

Nope. With box fans blowing mist throughout the room, opera singer Adriana Lomysh and rapper Jordan Frescher took their places on stage and proved that classic and modern music can mix it up beautifully. Unfortunately, the first few seconds of Adriana’s performance were only heard by those close to the stage. Evidently her mic hadn’t been turned on, but that was quickly remedied. Just as Jordan was starting to ramp up his performance, the cloaked druids performed dance routines to the rapper’s beat.

Cloaked character dancing

Cloaked character dancing

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak

It was then time for the DIFFA leadership to be introduced with DIFFA Executive Board Chair Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak welcoming the guests to the sold-out event and thanking the sponsors. She was followed by Event Chair Jim DiMarino and Honorary Chair Simona and DIFFA Chair Emeritus Greg Haynes Johnson.  Before dinner was served, the parade of 2014 Style Council Ambassadors (Sami Abboud, David Biggar, Angela Choquette, Leslie Concors, Jennifer M. Kolstad, Lisa Lowery, John Pfifer Marrs, Matthew Minnick, Joseph Minton, Autumn Rich, Marcus Spears, Steve “Stodgie” Stodghill, Shannon Sturdivant and Clarice Tinsley) took place, with Batman-mask wearing Stodgie in white tie and tails not only earning a standing ovation from tables at the end of one of the runways, but also having KTVT’s Brendan Higgins stuff a $20 bill into Steve’s waistband.

Dinner was then served. With a lack of programs, it became a guessing game of what was on the plates. It was chicken with balsamic dressing and “a mystery something.” One person guessed a mashed potato cake. Another supposed a corn casserole. A third just said he didn’t want to know. Whatever it was, the something became a conversation piece bringing strangers together.

At 7:45 a violinist performed as two male dancers in white tank tops and black trousers with bowler hats danced on stage. They were immediately followed by a fashion show of the designer items up for bid in the silent auction. The timing of the show was just off enough that the music ended while the final model — a blond with braids in black lace gown — was still yards away from center stage.

Almost immediately afterwards a game of heads or tails took place, with the main participants being those seated at tables between the runways.

Then the live auction got underway. Unfortunately, because of the lack of an emcee or a program, some guests started heading for the door, not realizing there was going to be a Part Two fashion show. Some were just weary like Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, who had just flown in from Virginia. Others, who had been trapped in the two-block-long traffic jam arriving at the Omni, decided to bail before the masses hit the valet. Still others, who had taken a pass on the chicken and “mystery something,” were hungry and headed to the Mansion, Bob’s or Whataburger.

One person waiting for his car grumbled, “It just wasn’t the same without some drag queens on the runway.” Across the way, another muttered, “It was too gay.”

All of which goes to prove — you can’t please everybody, especially those with long memories.

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’ Young Friends Found Casablanca At Union Station

This report from the field came in about the younger set of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas partying and raising funds for RMHD:

Medley Turner, Meghan Looney and Bradley Means*

Medley Turner, Meghan Looney and Bradley Means*

 

The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Young Friends  group held its  annual Young Friends Party at Union Station  on Friday, March 28.  Co-chairmen Bradley Agather Means, Meghan Looney and Medley Turner planned the spectacular “An Evening in Casablanca” enjoyed by a crowd of 400 revelers. Guests had fun bidding for outstanding items in the Silent Auction chaired by Sarah Kate Jones and Bailey Lloyd. The competition was fierce and items such as an autumn trophy hunt at historic Newell Ranch, a trip to Napa, a Marfa gallery weekend, 50 yard line front row seats to a Cowboys game and exclusive home décor and jewelry caused many guests to stay in the auction room until it closed at 10:45 am. By the way, every item sold.

Bailey Lloyd and Sarah Kate Jones*

Bailey Lloyd and Sarah Kate Jones*

Everyone else was in the ballroom enjoying scrumptious food by Wolfgang Puck which included truffle mac n’ cheese, gourmet pizza, mini sliders, pigs in a blanket, black bean quesadillas and other culinary delights. Decorations Chairs Katie Crow and Lizzie Duplantis outdid themselves with the help of Jackson Durham and Perch, the décor could not have been more transformative of Union Station to old Morocco and included potted palms, Casablanca lilies, hundreds of votives and the film “Casablanca” running in silence above the main stage where DJ Lucy Wrubel spun her dance tracks for the crowd dancing the night away on a “fortiesesque” black and white tile dance floor.

Caroline Barron, Lizzie Duplantis and Katie Crow*

Caroline Barron, Lizzie Duplantis and Katie Crow*

Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, said, “We appreciate and thank Bradley, Meghan and Medley for their extraordinary work as well as their talented committee and generous sponsors.

Sponsors included:

  • Diamond: Peregrine Group, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas, Sewell Automotive Group, Anonymous
  • Platinum: James Carroll, Freeman Auto Group, Jackie and Jon Means, Petro-Hunt LLC, Anonymous
  • Gold: Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Carroll Mansions, Lauren Chapman, Denise and Jeffrey Cutler, Elizabeth Toon Charities, Spring Creek Barbeque, Anonymous
Photo credit: Jeremy Brown

 

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: House Of DIFFA

House of DIFFA guests

House of DIFFA guests

The House of DIFFA once again oozed and celebrated creativity. Only this time it appeared that the guests were giving the runway a run for its money. While the post is being prepared, check out some of the fundraiser’s highlights at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

House of DIFFA guest

House of DIFFA guest

Recognize the people in these photos?

For your convenience, we’ve ID’ed all the photos in the gallery because it was hard to tell even the most familiar faces under those amazing masks.

Grovel Alert: New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

Sally Field*

Sally Field*

If you were thinking you’d like to attend Friday’s Wings Luncheon with award-winning actress Sally Field, stop thinking and start ordering your ticket. Only a handful of spots are left for the New Friends New Life fundraiser.

Pat McEvoy and Angela Nash are co-chairing the event at the Anatole with honorary co-chairs Lee Ann White and her son Michael Fowler.

* Photo provided by 
New Friends New Life

Round Robin March 27: Dallas Opera Spring Gala, Recess And A Legendary Evening Patron Parties And JLD Scholarship Presentation

The floodgates of Dallas fundraising were wide open on Thursday, March 27. Perhaps it was to make up for the spring break week, where it seemed like the wheels came to barely moving. Or, perhaps it was due to the approaching tsunami of activities on the April calendar starting with the Final Four and Dallas International Film Festival. Whatever the reason, this Thursday evening tested the well-heeled in racing all over town.

Dallas Opera Spring Gala Patron Party

Anne Stodghill

Anne Stodghill

Over at Anne and Steve Stodghill’s mansion, it was a true celebration for the patrons of the Dallas Opera Spring Gala. While waiting for DO General Director/President Keith Cerny to arrive, Gala Co-Chairs Betty and Steve Suellentrop handled the welcome duties and pianist Jason Smith played in the background.

And at one point it appeared like the real action was taking place in the entry hall.

Meg and Jay Hunter Morris

Meg and Jay Hunter Morris

One cute couple, who seemed to glow as they arrived, were Meg and Jay Hunter Morris. As the door opened, the operatic crowd looked thrilled and the Morrises seemed so cool. That is, until the valet tapped Jay on the shoulder and whispered something about keys for the car. Oops, seems the operatic tenor had left the car but taken the keys. Now, most folks would have looked embarrassed at the faux pas, but the Morrises aren’t most folks. With a laugh and apology, Jay handed over the keys and joined the guests.

But then what would you expect from a fella from Paris, Texas? It was in Dallas that Jay, as a youngster, first experienced opera years ago. On Friday, April 5, he was to perform a private recital for the Dallas Opera Spring gala.

Vacheron Constantin timepieces

Vacheron Constantin timepieces

Patsy Donosky and Richard Eiseman

Patsy Donosky and Richard Eiseman

At the party presented by Eiseman Jewels and Vacheron Constantin, it was no surprise to see jeweler Richard Eiseman immediately open the front door as Patsy Donosky arrived and drop to one knee for her. The man knows how to stage a welcome. And speaking of staging, it was pretty nifty to see the precious Vacheron timepieces safely in a couple of cases around the entry hall. And, of course, these little gems had their own “security” standing nearby.

Richard has been very busy as Eiseman prepares to celebrate its 50 anniversary. While the salon is undergoing a massive redesign and expansion to 3,200 square feet, the operation has moved to temporary digs at NorthPark, where Kate Spade had been. How convenient! It’s just next door to “Eiseman’s recently opened dedicated Rolex space.” According to Richard, the renovation is due to be completed by June.

The Stodghill library

The Stodghill library

Across the entry hall, Bank of Texas’ The Private bank Executive VP Bob White was directed to the Stodghill library, where a crowd was gathering to check out the memorabilia including the infamous “bat cave.” One guest noted the small size of the Doc Holiday ulster overcoat. Steve followed that comment with the fact that they had to have a special form created because of the small size — smaller than a woman and larger than a child.

Carol and Don Glendenning

Carol and Don Glendenning

Once Keith arrived, he welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support of the DO especially Bank of Texas, which is the 2014 Spring Gala presenting sponsor at the Winspear on April 4th.

As typical of most parties at Stodghill manor, the party extended beyond the slated closing hour with guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, John Cody, Nick Even, Marnie and Kern Wildenthanl, Betsy Eiseman and Jennifer Cerny receiving a gift bag that included “two beautiful books by Vacheron Constantin, “The Collection 2013-2014” and “Collectors’ Island: passion art excellence, Vol. 1”, as well as a complimentary valet pass for NorthPark Center.”

Women Leader Scholarship Presentation

The presentation by the Junior League of Dallas and Mary Kay Inc. at Emmett J. Conrad High School was laudable. . . in more ways than one. As part of the new JLD Women LEAD (Learn, Excel, Achieve, Dream), an oratory competition was held among eight high school students. The winning four would receive scholarships amounting to a total of $25,000.

Given three to five minutes, each of the young women presented speeches on “How My Female Role Model Overcame Obstacles to Achieve Her Goals and How It Inspires Me.”

The selection of the following winners was based on the “merit of their scholarship applications and speech presentations:

Crayton Webb, Maria Monjaras, Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, Sumayah Al Haddad, Lauren Jackson, Shannon Powell Hart and Laura Johnson

Crayton Webb, Maria Monjaras, Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, Sumayah Al Haddad, Lauren Jackson, Shannon Powell Hart and Laura Johnson*

  • First place ($10,000) — Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, who is deciding between the University of Texas and Texas A&M to continue her education. With a passion for math and science, she plans to major in electrical engineering and neuroscience.
  • Second place ($5,000) — Lauren Jackson plans to attend Louisiana State University and major in nursing. It is her way of helping people and staying directly involved in the community.
  • Third place ($5,000) — Sumayah Al Haddad will attend community college before enrolling in the University of Arlington. She has decided to pursue a career in bio-medical engineering, as she always dreamed of being in the medical field.
  • Fourth place ($5,000) — Maria Monjaras is deciding between the University of Arlington and the University of Dallas and will pursue a degree in business administration. She aspires to be a successful entrepreneur.

According to JLD President Laura Johnson, “We are honored to award our first Women LEAD scholarships in collaboration with Mary Kay. It is our wish to empower these four women and help them achieve their dreams. We look forward to seeing the impact it will have on their lives and their future.”

Recess Patron Party

Amy Turner and Aimee Sheahan

Amy Turner and Aimee Sheahan

Patrons of the April 25th Recess fundraiser for Dallas Afterschool were in for a surprise from Amy Turner. Not only did she open her Park Cities residence for the party, she also arranged for an OMG  Recess prize — a trip to Turtle Island Resort in the Fiji Islands. The gasps that arose in the living room when the announcement was made by Dallas Afterschool CEO Tanya McDonald could be heard around the Park Cities. Ah, so that was why a flat screen near the fireplace had a slideshow of the luxury resort. Someone thought it was just a collection of Amy’s latest trip.

Anne and Terry Conner

Anne and Terry Conner

While the mood in the room rose, so did a sly smile on Amy. Talk about looking like a cat that ate the canary! She knew she had hit a home run.

To get guests like Anne and Terry Conner, Christie Carter and Aimee Sheahan in the mood for fun and games, a magician ambled through the room performing little tricks of the trade.

Recess Co-Chairs Meredith Camp and Christina Norris have arranged to have the adult-sandbox playtime and game-playing event return to the Faye Briggs estate.

Ah, but there was more good news. Well, sorta. The individual tickets have sold out. That’s good news for those who didn’t wait to buy their tickets. That’s not so good if you waited. However, Meredith and Christina have a waitlist already for you. So, don’t wait and sign up on the wait list.

A Legendary Evening Patron Party

This report from the field came in about A Legendary Evening Patron Party:

Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther**

Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther**

“Antèks Home Furnishings in the Dallas Design District was the site for a cocktail reception on Thursday, March 27 honoring patrons of A Legendary Evening, benefiting Family Compass.  Chairs Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther welcomed over fifty guests including honorary co-chair Marty Turco, who stopped by the event before meeting wife and fellow honorary chair, Kelly at their child’s band concert. Before Mr. Turco had to leave, board chair Adam Connatser quieted the group to thank Marty and Kelly for their support again this year of A Legendary Evening and for their commitment to Family Compass and its mission of building healthy families and a strong Dallas community by preventing child abuse and neglect.

Jessica Trudeau and Marty Turco**

Jessica Trudeau and Marty Turco**

“Guests mingled over wine and signature cocktails and a beautiful display of appetizers from Wendy Krispin Caterer while perusing the amazing selection of sophisticated rustic furniture, art and accessories. Anyone who made a purchase received a 10% discount with 10% of sale benefiting Family Compass. This generous offer from Antèks proprietor and designer Jason Lennox, is good through next Saturday, April 5.

“Later in the evening, executive director Jessica Trudeau recognized the chairs, host committee and many sponsors of “A Legendary Evening,” which is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 and recognized Spirit of Compassion award recipients Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, who were not able to attend but were represented by Terese Stevenson from their foundation. The Spirit of Compassion award is given to individuals who view the prevention of child abuse as a community responsibility and whose support exemplifies that belief.”

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky
** Photo credit: Lisa Stewart

Mad Hatter’s Live Auction Items Just Revealed

Mad Hatter's Tea 2014*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2014*

The Mad Hatters are putting the finishing touches on their chapeaus. Or, in some cases, their hat designers are for Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum. One of the items on the day’s agenda is the live auction. Thanks to Jacque Kennedy, the following over-the-top packages will be up for paddle waving:

Item 1: My Fair Lady Package — Enjoy a day of beauty for you and three friends.  Begin the day by spoiling yourselves with hair and makeup done by The Hair Bar. Head on over to True Foods in Preston Center for lunch with your guests and conclude your day with four tickets to the Arboretum Concert Series.

Hostess will receive:

  • Pink Python Clutch by Laura Ginsburg
  • Black and gold Escada watch
  • Earrings from Szor’s

Item 2: Ladies Who Lunch Package — You and your four closest friends are invited to a private luncheon with MacKenzie Child’s designer, Rebecca Proctor, at Neiman Marcus.

For each guest, the luncheon includes:

  • Private Meet & Greet before the luncheon
  • A signed gift from Rebecca Proctor
  • A makeover in the cosmetics department at Neiman Marcus NorthPark prior to the luncheon!

Hostess will receive:

  • Diamond earrings from Rare Gems India
  • Elaine Turner handbag from Tootsies
  • Portrait session and an 11×14 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 3: A Spot of Tea Package — Enjoy an exclusive opportunity with a Mother/Daughter Tea Party for 8 hosted at the Dallas Arboretum. Afterwards, enjoy a memorable tour of the Children’s Garden with your guests, and the hostess will receive a head and shoulders pastel portrait of her daughter by Nancy Curran. Conclude the day with dinner for eight in your home catered by Gil’s Elegant Catering.

Item 4: C’est la Bonne Vie! Package — Escape for the morning to the French-inspired Rush Patisserie for coffee and croissants with 8-12 of your closest lady friends. Each guest will receive exquisite French Affaires greeting cards by Elizabeth New Seitz.  End the day with a $1,000 gift certificate for dinner at Nick & Sam’s in Preston Center.

Hostess will receive:

  • $500 Bachendorf’s gift certificate
  • Portrait session and a 16×20 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 5: Run for the Roses Package — Enjoy a private garden consultation at your home with Michael Shoup of Antique Rose Emporium.

Package includes:

  • Three beautiful rose bushes
  • Signed copies of Michael Shoup’s books Empress of the Garden and Guide to Antique Roses
  • Select gardening tools for handling the roses
  • Five different holiday gift box sets delivered throughout the year from Stacy’s Elegantly Chocolate

Item 6: Picture Perfect Party Package — Enjoy an afternoon tea party with 8-12 of your friends, sampling French delicacies at the French-inspired Rush Patisserie. Capture the special occasion with a Custom Portrait Package and an 8×10 lustre coated professional portrait by Tiffany Hankla Photography.

Hostess will receive a 10-inch Waterford Crystal Cassidy Vase

* Graphic courtesy of Mad Hatter's Tea 2014

Spirit Of Contact Celebrates And Honors Dallas First Responders, Sandy Hook’s Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis And The Power Of “Hope”

The Spirit of Contact luncheon patron party was held behind closed curtains. That is, the gathering commenced behind the stage in the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion. Thanks to a mammoth curtain, very few knew a VIP reception was taking place. It included the Spirit of Contact honorees — keynote note speaker/Sandy Hooks teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Dallas’ First Responders including Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Fire Chief Louis Bright III. Despite being honored for their work, it was a rough celebration for those First Responders. Just the day before, Dallas police Senior Cpl. David Myers had died in a motorcycle accident. Chief Brown admitted that it was a tough day. . . a very tough day.

Jan Hegi and Marla Boone

Jan Hegi and Marla Boone

But just beyond the group of First Responders were folks posing for photos with Kaitlin. 2012 Spirit awardee Jan Hegi was with Honorary Co-Chair Marla Boone. Gail and Gerald Turner were being congratulated on SMU’s advancing the night before in the NIT at Moody Coliseum.

David Brown, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Louis Bright III

David Brown, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Louis Bright III

Then the crowd quietly moved to their seats at the tables filling the room. It was show time for the Contact fundraiser.

On cue the First Responders were introduced and created a gauntlet of honor for Kaitlin to be escorted by Brown and Bright to a standing ovation.

Benaye Rogers

Benaye Rogers

Everything was going as planned. Or, at least that’s what Contact President Benaye Rogers thought as she sat at her table and watched Contact Board of Directors Chair-Elect Dave Monaco kick off the program. Ah, but then Dave went off script and not only recognized Benaye for her contributions over the years to Contact, but he had her come up to the stage to accept the praise and a SO. As she returned to her seat, Benaye caught her breath and wiped the tears away with her napkin.

KDFW’s Calvert Collins then took over the emcee duties. The new mom, who had been on maternity leave, was subbing in for her co-worker Heather Hayes, who had to attend her daughter’s special event. BTW, when asked how Calvert had returned to her pre-pregnancy figure, the adorable blonde smiled and answered with one word, “Spanx.”

Leigh Anne Haugh

Leigh Anne Haugh

Mike Boone

Mike Boone

Luncheon Chair/2011 Spirit Awardee Leigh Anne Haugh then introduced Honorary Co-Chairs Marla and Mike Boone, who briefly extolled the importance of Contact.

Then the production crew created an “Ah, shoot!” moment. In introducing Kaitlin to accept her award, the ABC interview of Kaitlin with Diane Sawyer suddenly appeared on the two screens on either side of the stage. Despite very obvious hand gestures by Benaye (index finger crossing her throat two, three or four times), the video continued.

But, hey, this is a group that goes with the flow when it comes to the unexpected. On stage Kaitlin and Benaye realized the video was not going to be stopped and just smiled at each other and shook their heads.

In accepting the award, she stressed that everything that she has done in the past 16 months has been for the “26 angels who I know are looking down on us right now. Thank you for honoring me, so I can continue to honor them.”

Gerald Turner

Gerald Turner

Following her gracious acceptance speech, Kaitlin and Benaye were joined by Gerald Turner on stage in three chairs for a conversation of hope. The conversation varied between what Kaitlin had experienced and what Contact does. Highlights included the following:

  • Kaitlin had wanted to be a teacher since the age of four. When she was five, she asked her father if she could babysit the two-year-old boy next door. From the age of ten to college, she held “every job imaginable working with children.”
  • Kaitlin and the First Responders were selected because they encapsulated the Spirit of Contact. Kaitlin was a perfect example of what Contact tries to get across to its callers — hope and to keep on trying.
  • Until the day of the shooting on December 14, 2012, Kaitlin had never been in the 3’ by 4’ bathroom because it was too uncomfortable for an adult.
  • (There was a pause as an Anatole staffer presented her with a Diet Coke. The blonde broke with the talk, gasped and said, “Somebody brought me a Diet Coke.” The audience laughed and Gerald without missing a beat said, “Speaking of angels. . .” more laughter.)
  • Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

    Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

    She told the children to be quiet. Her first graders followed her orders because of the gunshots in the hallway.

  • When asked what prepared her for that day, she believed it was the angels. Then she added that she wanted her children and herself to survive, so those were the choices that had to be made. At that moment those children were her children.
  • Benaye agreed that her volunteers are put in the same situation in dealing with clients in crisis.
  • When people approach Kaitlin and tell her how they have been diagnosed with cancer or lost a loved one, they say, “but it’s nothing like yours.” Her response is, “Loss is loss. Hard times are hard times. What you’re doing, you can choose to have hope. You can focus on the positive.”
  • It took five months to work through the immediate shock. . . “zombie-like state.” She kept asking herself, “Why her school? Why the loss of life?” Then one day she realized that she couldn’t answer those questions and decided to focus on the questions that she could answer. First, “How do I not let this tragedy define myself?” Second, “How do I make sure that we get our control back?” It took three weeks to work through it.
  • When Kaitlin and her students returned to school in January 2013, they were inundated with gifts from around the country. One morning a box of recess toys arrived at her classroom and it triggered a thought — “We’ve been getting and now we’re going to give.” After lunch, she asked her students why someone had sent the toys. Their answer was because they wanted to do something nice. . . . they wanted to be kind. She told them they were absolutely right and “in life when somebody does for you, it is your responsibility to do for someone else. And that is what we’re going to do. We’re going to find a class and find out what they need and we’re going to make them feel like we feel right now — happy.” It was the turning point. They students were thrilled at the idea of giving freely. Thus, it was the creation of Class For Class.
  • In August 2013, Kaitlin undertook a year-long sabbatical.
  • Benaye told that many of the Contact volunteers have shared the same feeling of helping and paying it forward.
  • Regarding the kids, Benaye told how Contact assists in helping children in crisis situations, whether they’re in a household in turmoil or experiencing their own personal crisis.

Kaitlin closed the chat by telling the educators in the room, “You are the difference makers. Teachers are the common denominator in our world. Every single person starts in school. Everyone sitting here — athletes, doctors, presidents — we all start in school. And it’s teachers who enable them to reach their dream.”