Get In The Holiday Mood With A Stroll Through The Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days Of Christmas

This weekend is looking up. Sure, there will still be a chill in the air, but the wet feeling is going to be zippo. All the conditions mean that it will be a perfect time to put on that fabulous wrap-around scarf and woolly hat and head to the Dallas Arboretum for The 12 Days of Christmas.

The 12 Days Of Christmas

The 12 Days Of Christmas

It’s a bit like the way old days, when families would drive downtown and check out the Neiman’s store windows. Only in this case, you are able to get some exercise strolling the grounds, taking photos and enjoying the countdown to Christmas. Just think how adorable those photos will look on Facebook.

Each of the gazebos is a treat for the eyes no matter what age you are. And to complete the mood, there is a different holiday tune at each stop.

Lords A-Leaping

Lords A-Leaping

Afterwards, overdose on hot chocolate and debate which of the “days” was your fav. Was it the 10 lords a-leaping? Or, perhaps it was the eight maids trying to milk those plump cows? But then the 11 pipers piping in this kilts were awful adorable.

Maids Milking

Maids Milking

And if you have an extra thank you note in your box of stationery, send it to AmegyBank for being the presenting sponsor.

MySweetWishList: Dallas Summer Musicals’ Seats For Kids

According to Dallas Summer Musicals President/Managing Director Michael Jenkins,

Michale Jenkins*

Michale Jenkins*

“In Phillip Grecian’s stage play adaptation of the classic film A Christmas Story: The Musical – which Dallas Summer Musicals is presenting this holiday season through December 14th – Christmas is fast-approaching and 9 year-old Ralphie dreams of owning an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. He proceeds to try to convince his family and friends and the audience that it is the perfect gift. My wish or perfect gift this wonderful season of giving and good will is ‘Seats for Kids’ – a tradition at DSM for providing meaningful arts experience for low-income, at-risk, and special needs children.

“First off, let me tell you about this perfect gift. DSM works annually with Title I schools and agencies across North Texas to provide subsidized tickets to a musical theatre performance for student groups and their chaperones. Title I means these kids don’t come from schools that have extra budget money lying around or homes that have piles of presents under their Christmas tree, let alone money for musical theatre or any arts experiences. ‘Seats for Kids’ is DSM’s way of providing these kids with access to DSM performances. Teachers and program staff are also furnished with study guides to deepen the students’ experience – for many students their first experience of a Broadway-style theatre. This year, DSM hopes to welcome 10,000 kids to the Music Hall in Fair Park to watch The King & I. And I wish you would help us.

“Now, let me convince you with dollars and cents:

  • “A gift of $25 buys one Seat for a Kid that might dream of being a Broadway singer
  • “A gift of $50 buys two Seats for Kids that aspire to perform a duet together one day
  • “A gift of $100 buys four Seats for Kids that hope to be the star of a Broadway hit
  • “A gift of $750 buys Seats for an Entire Classroom of Kids to see a Broadway show come to life
Seats for Kids*

Seats for Kids*

“To learn more about ‘Seats for Kids’, please visit the DSM website: You can make a gift in support of Seats for Kids safely and conveniently online by clicking on the Donate button.

“Why is ‘Seats for Kids’ the perfect gift and the number one thing on my wish list? Simple. Experiencing the arts makes us, each and all, better people. That’s a great gift. And also because the arts promote cultural understanding, feed and nurture creativity, and foster personal growth and critical thinking. That’s an even greater gift. And the best part about my asking for this wish is, you and Santa Claus can’t tell me ‘You’ll shoot your eye out, Michael!’”

-Michael Jenkins, Dallas Summer Musicals President/Managing Director

* Photos provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Debs, Honor Guard And Parents Get Together On Thanksgiving Eve

While others were busy in kitchens fixing turkey dinner for the next day’s Thanksgiving feast, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debs, honor guards and their parents were over at the Meyerson. No, they weren’t doing their bows early. Here’s a report from the field:

“The 2015 Dallas Symphony Debutantes were honored at a cocktail buffet reception on November 26 at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The debutantes, honor guards and their families were welcomed by DSOL President Dixie Marshall and Presentation Ball Chair Venise Stuart.

“Each of the 40 debutantes were (sic) formally introduce by emcee Stan Gardner and joined by an honor guard escort for the presentation. The evening was the start of the holiday weekend which included a mixer for the debs and honor guards, as well as a Bow Boot Camp for the debs.

“During the Christmas Holidays, the Debs will return for another busy schedule of parties and bow practice. All the many events will culminate with the 29th Presentation Ball which will be held on Saturday, February 7.”

JUST IN: A True Loss Within The Community

Shall we talk about a true tragedy? This time of year when so many are reaching out for help in dealing with issues, this missive arrived from CONTACT Crisis Lines:

“Dear Friends:
“It is with great regret that CONTACT will cease operations on Wednesday, December 31, 2014, due to funding shortfalls.

“Our organization has grown rapidly over the last couple years to meet the needs of individuals in crisis. Unfortunately, while we have been successful funding and delivering high-quality services, we have struggled to meet the growing operational and overhead costs required to sustain them.

“Caring, positive support will always be an essential resource for individuals dealing with crisis and stress. Our focus in on referring clients and transiting programs to other organizations so these individuals can continue to access services, even if not under the roof of one organization.

“The CONTACT Crisis Lines, Teen and Spanish Help Lines will be available through December 31st. Despite their demise, the CONTACT Crisis Lines are directing folks starting January 1 to other services including the following:

“We are grateful for those who have funded our crisis lines and programs for the past 47 years, we are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who have given their time to work with our callers and we are grateful for our devoted leadership and staff. The decision to close was not made lightly and we continue to be very proud of our history.”

The challenges of the mind and heart are not limited to any racial, financial, religious or whatever group. They confront any creature of any age. What a true tragedy that one less hand is available to help them. How lovely that CONTACT Crisis Lines in its final hours still wants to help those in need by directing them to resources in their hours of need.

MySweetWishList: Children’s Advocacy Center Of Collin County

According to Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County Community Relations Manager Katy Seitzler,

Children's Advocacy Center of Collin Country*

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin Country*

“Each year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County conducts the annual Holly Jolly Holiday Project to provide gifts for children and families served by our Center. The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center is to provide safety, healing and justice to children who have been victimized by abuse or neglect. During the Holiday Project, there are several ways to help including providing gifts for individual children, meeting a family need or shopping for gifts for our Toy Store where non-offending caregivers can ‘shop’ for gifts for abused children served by the Center.

“Even though all of our foster children have been ‘adopted’ for the Adopt-A-Child holiday project, we are still collecting bikes, toys and other items for the Toy Store which provides non-offending caregivers with the opportunity to shop for gifts for children served by the Advocacy Center. We are so thankful to our donors and supporters for their willingness to step up and make sure all put kiddos have a wonderful holiday!

“For readers who want to help, the best thing to do is to visit the Holiday Project page on our website:  Or, you can contact Kate Goble, Donor Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or at 972.633.6628.”

-Katy Seitzler, Community Relations Manager

* Graphic provided by Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County

MySweetWishList: CitySquare

According to CitySquare Chief Development Officer Shawn Wills

Shawn Wills*

Shawn Wills*

“The CitySquare Opportunity Center, home to many CitySquare programs and multiple community partners, including a Food Pantry and Wellness Center, is designed to help those in need gain access to services that propel them out of poverty. On the corner of Malcolm X Blvd and I-30, the newly opened Opportunity Center is located in the heart of one of Dallas’ biggest food deserts where access to healthy foods and ingredients is limited. The Wellness Center’s demonstration kitchen will provide an opportunity for ‘neighbors’ to learn healthy eating habits and cooking methods to make nutritious meals at home. Ingredients used in the Wellness Center demonstration kitchen can be items found in the Opportunity Center Food Pantry.

“Our wish is for simple, basic items to support the demonstration kitchen. We need a good set of knives, non-stick cookware (pots, pans, skillets) with appropriate utensils, wooden spoons, a blender, cutting boards, baking ware (metal rectangular pans,) a Dutch oven, cookie sheets, a set of flatware, a mixer and mixing bowls.



“The Center’s demonstration kitchen will have classes teaching safe food preparation and handling and will provide employment opportunities to work in the kitchen preparing meals for CitySquare’s Food on the Move after-school and summer feeding programs.

“Items can be delivered to the CitySquare Offices at 511 North Akard. For more information, please contact Jill Williams at 214.303.2138 or go to

-Shawn Wills, CitySquare Chief Development Officer

* Photo and graphic provided by CitySquare

Spirit Of Generations Honoree Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Graciously Rose Above “Cousin Lavelle’s” Teasing

As folks were starting to hit the groceries looking for the right items to fill the Thursday Thanksgiving feast, The Senior Source held its 8th annual Spirit of Generations Luncheon on Monday, November 24, at the Anatole.

Lydia and Dan Novakov

Lydia and Dan Novakov

The timing of the annual luncheon is absolutely perfect. With the season’s focus on family and community, the fundraiser celebrates those who have been part of North Texas’ history and have created the foundation for the future.

Sarah and Alan Losinger

Sarah and Alan Losinger

John and Patti Jo Turner and Kay Bailey Hutchison

John and Patti Jo Turner and Kay Bailey Hutchison

As for the event itself, it seemed more like a gathering of the yet-to-be-tapped AARP types. The VIP reception in the Plum Blossom Room was bustling with energy. Co-Chair Lydia Novakov had her clan in attendance including husband Dan Novakov, (he’s chairing the Cotton Bowl Classic), cousin Patti Jo Turner and husband John Turner and mom Isabell Haggar with Lydia’s sister, Marian Bryan, who talking Co-Chair Sarah Losinger and her husband Alan. The only one missing was the Novakov daughter Isabell, who was in Singapore visiting her old roommate.

Ruth Altshuler, Helen Storey and Nancy Halbreich

Ruth Altshuler, Helen Storey and Nancy Halbreich

Honoree Kay Bailey Hutchison was surrounded like a queen with well-wishers Gail and Gerald Turner, George Schrader, Caren Prothro, Angie Kadesky, Ruth Altshuler, Helen Storey, Nancy Halbreich, Becky Bright, Dee Collins, Sara Martineau, Barbara Stuart, Roz Dawson, Brent Christopher, Cyndi Bassel and a slim-trim Marnie and Kern Wildenthal.

Pam Busbee

Pam Busbee

Eventually the VIP’s ambled over to the Grand Ballroom that was already filling up with Robin Robinson, Courtney Rottman, Caren Kline, Pam Perella, Margo Goodwin, Pam Busbee, Pam McCallum and Susan Wells Jenevein. Like watchful parents, The Senior

Debbie Oates

Debbie Oates

Source Chair of the Board Debbie Oates at the head table and husband Nickey Oates at a table in the room kept an eye open for their late-arriving daughter

Kay entered the room to trumpeter Howard Kennedy playing “Eyes of Texas” with Longhorn loyalists raising the UT salute and all rising to their feet. After she took her place at the head table and everyone settle back in their seats, they were asked to stand for Tom Gilchrist’s singing “God Bless America.”

Keeping to their schedule, Debbie welcomed the group, Rev. Anthony Burton gave the invocation and Sarah and Lydia extended their thanks to all who had contributed to the event and Baylor Scott &White Health Senior VP John McWhorter who told of foster grandparents program at Baylor’s Children’s House.

John McWhorter

John McWhorter

Following luncheon, The Senior Source President/CEO Molly Bogen introduced the agency video that showcased the numerous programs and services provided by “seniors,” like Elder Financial Safety Cennter, Elder Support Program, ElderCare Partners, Guardianship and Money Management Program, Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, Senior Employment Program, AGE (Advocacy Group for Elders), Senior Companion Program, Foster Grandparent Program and RSVP.

It was then time to honor Kay, but before the award could be presented, a woman entered the room looking for Kay. It was Kay’s “cousin Lavelle Bates” who had just arrived via the bus from North Carolina. It was amazing how under the makeup and outfit, she looked more like Peggy Carr.

Bravely Kay sat smiling as fact and fiction played out to a room full of laugher. Following the roasting toasting, Kay graciously accepted her award and in true Kay B.H. fashion. Ever the polished speaker, Kay kept her remarks short. After all, she had learned after years of speech making that a good speaker keeps their remarks short and sincere.

She immediately extolled the importance and value of The Senior Source. Then she spoke of how she was proud of serving the country as a U.S. Senator and the people she represented. She closed by saying that during this week of Thanksgiving, she was most grateful for being an American.

MySweetWishList: Cancer Blows

According to The Ryan Anderson Foundation President Ryan Anthony,

Ryan Anthony*

Ryan Anthony*

The Ryan Anthony Foundation was formed in 2014 to host events called Cancer Blows™. The inaugural event will take place on March 4, 2015, at the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, TX, where I am currently the principal trumpet player of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The idea of Cancer Blows began after I, Ryan Anthony, was diagnosed with a terminal cancer called Multiple Myeloma in November of 2012. The average age of a Multiple Myeloma patient is 71…I was 43 years of age when diagnosed.

“With two kids, now age 9 & 13, and told the average life span is between 5-8 years this was a major hit to our household. I immediately began treatment and underwent a stem cell transplant in the spring of 2013 at Baylor Hospital, Charles Sammon’s Cancer Center. Now in complete remission I’m setting my attention to not just finding ways to treat this cancer but be a part of finding a cure.

“Before moving to Dallas I was an active soloist around the country and had the chance to make many friends in the business. After my diagnosis I was touched by the many who reached out and all asked… ‘What can I do to help?’ My answer was simple… ‘When I’m healthy again we can play a concert together!’ So the concept of Cancer Blows was created and this March for the first time in music history the biggest names in the trumpet world will all come to Dallas and donate their talents for a concert to bring awareness and fundraise for a cure towards blood cancers.

“All proceeds will be given to Baylor Health Care System Foundation (Dallas, TX) and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (New York, NY).

Cancer Blows*

Cancer Blows*

My wish: That tickets be purchased for themselves and friends and family. Or if they can’t make the event place a donation towards Cancer Blows through The Ryan Anthony Foundation.”

-Ryan Anthony, The Ryan Anthony Foundation President

* Photo and graphic courtesy of The Ryan Anthony Foundation

The Trains At NorthPark With Kid Conductor Ruth Daniel Kicked Off The Ronald McDonald House Of Dallas Fundraiser

Change can be good. And The Trains at NorthPark breakfast kick-off on Saturday, November 22, proved just that.

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Face painting

Face painting

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

The biggy change for the annual roll of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas fundraiser was the relocation. Instead of many past Trains at NorthPark being on the upper level between Neiman’s and Nordstroms, the 2014 ever-popular train depot was located downstairs in the old Coldwater Creek space. Event Co-Chairs Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne were thrilled about the relocation and the setting. The rustic boards on the walls made it perfect for trains to roll by.

Ribbon-cutting participants

Ribbon-cutting participants

Another advantage of the lower space was a lot more square footage in the common area to do face painting, balloon-creature making and food.

Still another change was the emcee. In the past couple of years WFAA has been the media sponsor and provided the emcee like Colleen Coyle and Janet St. James. This year the emcee was KXAS news anchor Meredith Land.

Meredith Lamb and Jill Cumnock

Meredith Land and Jill Cumnock

Luckily, there was no change in the presenting sponsor. Once again Bank of Texas was on board.

As for the kid guests, they were darn adorable. One just might suspect they were hired from Central Casting.

While kids and parents partied big time waiting for the doors to open, Honorary Co-Chairs Regen and Dr. Jeffrey Fearon and six-year-old Honorary Conductor Ruth Daniel and her family were touring the collection of trains inside. Surrounded by miniature trains and amazing backdrops, the Daniel family was the real attention getter.

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

In many ways, they looked like the rest of the families on the other side of the doors. But they were truly unique. From Tyler, Robin and John Daniel have seven kids — John David (14), Joshua (11), Rachel (10), Rebekah (8), Josiah (7), Ruth (6) and Jeremiah (16 months). Of that count, five were adopted. Which ones? Who knew and who cared? They were all Daniels.

The Robin and John Daniel's family

The Robin and John Daniel’s family

But it was little Ruth, who was the reason for the family’s involvement with Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. This past October 27, Ruth and Jeffrey spent some very serious time together. It was on this day that Jeffrey “performed craniofacial surgery to help Ruth with her severe sleep apnea (by having a Le Forte 1 with a halo distraction performed). He also pinned her ears to better fit her hearing aid and glasses.”

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

But there were more issues facing the Daniels family. They needed a place to stay during the days leading up to Ruth’s surgery and recovery. It had to be a nurturing place, where the staff understood and could assist the family and the little girl, who has Down Syndrome.

According to Jeffrey, “The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is a unique and very special place. It provides a warm supportive environment where families who have a sick child needing specialized treatment that takes them far from home can rest and decompress from all the associated stresses. My patients uniformly have nothing but wonderful things to say about the House.”

Robin recalled, “I was so glad that she had a place to be able to play and have fun and decrease her stress and anxiety about the upcoming surgery. She loved the outside playground, playroom and the library of children’s books.  When we came back from the hospital to check out of the Ronald McDonald House, all Ruth could talk about was wanting to go play.”

Once again the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas was there to help a family, who has sought medical care in Dallas for their child. And once again, the little trains are hitting the rails to provide funding for such a home-away-from-home for these families.

Change Of Plans: MySweetWishList Rolls Out Ramps Up



MySweetCharity is getting clobbered with wishes, so an executive decision has been made… or in this case, decreed.

Queenie and the elves have canceled the annual holiday soiree. Kate and William were so disappointed. Even little Georgie Porgie made a sad face. He simply loves playing with the mini-Koala bears, but doesn’t everybody?

Instead the MSC team is going to make an all-out push in the days leading up to Christmas, so all the wishes will hopefully find a benefactor.

What’s that? No, the request aren’t going to be for just the usual toys and clothes.

Nope, in the days ahead there will be all types of wishes. In fact, one is for a tattoo machine.

Don’t scoff. There’s a very important reason for this group to have one.

Even if you haven’t got a “tuppence” to spare, you just might want to read about the various organizations that are making a difference for good in North Texas.

MySweetWishList: AT&T Performing Arts Center

According to AT&T Performing Arts Center President/CEO Doug Curtis,

Doug Curtis*

Doug Curtis*

“The nonprofit AT&T Performing Arts Center’s wish is simple: to enrich the community through the performing arts. For as little as $40 dollars, you can provide an experience that will bring joy to a child or family during the holiday season, and memories to last well beyond that.

“When you donate to the Center, you help fund our Open Stages education program, which allows students to learn from Broadway performers, enjoy professional performances and receive career training in the technical arts.

“We also partner with nonprofits like The Family Place, Jonathan’s Place, Jubilee Park, Lumin Education, Nexus Recovery Center, The Ronald McDonald House, Vickery Meadow and the Wilkinson Center to donate tickets to their constituents.

“This holiday season, we wish that more people could access the arts on the Center’s campus, in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. Please consider making a meaningful contribution:

AT&T Performing Arts Center**

AT&T Performing Arts Center**

  • “$40 buys an individual ticket for one of our Community Partners
  • “$160 gives a family of four a holiday memory at one of our performances.
  • “$250 buys dinner for students on our campus learning about the performing arts.
  • “$500 covers the transportation for 100 students accessing the Center’s education programs this month.
  • “$1,000 will enable one of our partnering Dallas ISD schools to attend a Broadway show!

“The arts are a powerful tool to educate students, enrich families and strengthen the community. Please support them by making a tax deductible donation today!”

-Doug Curtis, AT&T Performing Arts Center President

* Photo credit: Carter Rose 
** Graphic provided by AT&T Performing Arts Center

Dallas Film Society’s 2014 The Art Of Film With Marisa Tomei Came Off Thanks To Flexibility

When it comes to special events, flexibility is the key to success. And it got a pretty healthy test for the Dallas Film Society’s The Art of Film.

After four years of guy-types on stage (Robert Duvall, John Lithgow, Val Kilmer and Lee Daniels), it was about time for a pair of high heels to make the grade.

DFS President/CEO Lee Papert and the crew were so proud that they had signed up Aussie Toni Collette. And instead of fighting traffic to get to the historical Hall of State in Fair Park, the Friday, November 21st event was moved to the Perot Museum with its Hoglund Foundation Theater.

Then less than a month before “the big show” Toni’s people reported that due to her shooting schedule in another country, she was going to have to curtsy out.

In lighting speed a replacement was found — Marisa Tomei.

Some film fans privately confessed that the change was an upgrade. After all, Marisa’s Oscar win for “My Cousin Vinny” trumped Toni’s Academy Award nomination for “The Sixth Sense”.

Everything was falling into place until the night of the event. One of the falling things was drip-drops of rain. That meant moving the red carpet show-and-swell inside. Easy to do. It just might be better in the lowest level of the Perot. That way guests could mosey to the elevators for a quick ride to the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals exhibit on the third floor, where the VIP and cocktail receptions were taking place.

Then word was passed among insiders that Marisa had missed her original flight. But no big deal. She had caught the next flight, was on the ground in Dallas en route.

Julianne Harris and Sam Johnson

Julianne Harris and Sam Johnson

Steve and Anne Stodghill

Steve and Anne Stodghill

In the meantime the red carpet was underway with still photographers and videographers playing nicely across the ropes. Only problem — unlike other red carpets events when VIP guests strutted their stuff, this red carpet only had about 10 couples walk the carpet. The rest just made their way behind the herd of photographers to the check-in and to the elevators.

Word eventually passed that Marisa was stuck in traffic congestion due to the Mavericks’ game down the road. The good news was that the 300 guests weren’t bothered. For some it was a first time to check out the Perot. For others (Kara and Randall Goss, Julianne Harris with Sam Johnson, Tanya and Pete Foster, Jack Bunning and Jeff Sauers, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Tara Lewis, Kit Sawers and Janie and David Condon), it was just fun talking films with plenty of adult beverages and pass-around-food.

Jack Bunning, Veletta Lill and Jeff Sauers

Jack Bunning, Veletta Lill and Jeff Sauers

DFS Artistic Director James Faust recalled having interviewed Marisa when she was at the Angelika for “The Wrestler”. Proving that he knew his Marisa Tomei filmography, he admitted that his fav Tomei movie was “The Paper”…Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. After Art of Film, they were spending the night at The Joule… After just getting back from AFI tribute in L.A., Steve Stodghill said, “I went totally L.A. — black on black on black.”.. Veletta Lill was solo due to husband John’s hand surgery…Gary Cogill reported that he has a Morgan Freeman movie coming out next year, bit wasn’t working on a production currently …Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray were planning on take Faisal Halum out the next night to celebrate his belated birthday.

Michael McCray and Gonzalo Bueno

Michael McCray and Gonzalo Bueno

At 8:16 p.m., someone spied Marisa arriving behind the sponsor wall. Within seconds she was out front and inviting folks like Co-Chairs Pam and Mark Denesuk, Honorary Co-Chairs Barbara and Steve Durham, Libby Allred, Sheila and Jody Grant and Myrna and Bob Schlegel to join her.

Mark Denesuk, Marisa Tomei and Pam Denesuk

Mark Denesuk, Marisa Tomei and Pam Denesuk

As the line grew and grew for a photo opp with Marisa, it was decided to put a hold on the grip-and-grin, so the “conversation” could take place in the theater. The rest of the photos would be taken afterwards.

Once in the theater, DFS Board Chair Don Stokes introduced Lee, who thanked the Denesuks and advised guests that Pam’s cookies were in their goody bags. Then DFS Artistic Director James Faust took over the mic telling the 300 guests that in the past four years more than $600K had been raised from Art of Film. He the introduced film-pert Elvis Mitchell, who has each year traveled to Dallas to conduct the interviews.

Egyptian Eye of Ra

Egyptian Eye of Ra

When Marisa was introduced, she appeared to have changed from a dress worn upstairs to red slacks and print blouse with stilettos and her Egyptian eye of Ra tattoo on the top of her right foot.

Elvis kicked off the conversation asking her what it was like working with “titanic” actors. She admitted that she had indeed felt nervous working with Jack Nicholson. However, upon meeting him that first day of shooting, he told her that he was always nervous about filming. That seemed to calm her nerves. Other conversation highlights included:

  • She liked Barbara Stanwyck.
  • Robert Duvall told her to always name her pets after her characters, so her cat is named “Mabel” (for Mabel Normand character in the 1992 Chaplin movie).
  • When Elvis mentioned that “Danika” was a favorite of his, Marisa responded, “I didn’t think it cam together, so glad you said that…I couldn’t follow it myself, personally.”
  • About “My Cousin Vinny”: “I still like Vinny, like everybody else does.”
  • Marisa Tomei

    Marisa Tomei

    Recalling her days growing up in Brooklyn, she said she watched a lot of musical — Gene Kelly, Ann Miller — “I wanted to be musical star.”

  • Marisa emphasized the physicality of acting. She told how in one scene of the “Ides of March,” the director told her to lean back instead of forward. It changed the whole feel of the scene. He also told her “You’re holding the cards!” She laughed adding that she later found out that he said the same to the other actors in the film.
  • Actor/directors are her favorites to work with, more than writer/directors, who keep it all in their heads. “I love language, word play.”
  • One of her email aliases is Sugarpuss O’Shea, a character portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck in “Ball of Fire.”
  • Regarding her appearing in “Seinfeld,” she doesn’t even remember filming the one-day job.
Don Stokes, Steve and Barbara Durham, Marisa Tomei, Pam ad Mark Denesuk and Deborah Stokes

Don Stokes, Steve and Barbara Durham, Marisa Tomei, Pam ad Mark Denesuk and Deborah Stokes

After the conversation, she was presented with the Art of Film Dallas Star Award, more photos were taken and guests headed to the lobby, where the dinosaur with a Christmas stocking cap stood in place.

A couple of ladies in the audience commented, “She’s so cute” and “She’s darling.” Not bad for a gal from Flatbush who was just two weeks shy of turning 50.

MySweetWishList: Homeward Bound Inc.

According to Homeward Bound Inc. Executive Director and Co-Founder Doug Denton,

Doug Denton*

Doug Denton*

Homeward Bound Inc. began in 1980 as a volunteer outreach of First Presbyterian Church of Houston’s Jail Ministry Program to address overcrowding in Texas jails.

“We grew out of a pilot project in Dallas to serve first offenders and probation violators who were judged to need stability and employment rather than a prison sentence. We learned that treatment for substance abuse and/or chemical dependency were primary underlying problems, and we modified the program based on principles of recovery and the peer support groups provided by 12-step programs.

“Today, we operate facilities in Dallas, Waxahachie and El Paso and a transitional housing unit in Old East Dallas. We provide substance abuse treatment to about 6,000 people each year. Our clients need help desperately, and most do not have the ability to pay for it. About 95 percent are indigent, 45 percent are homeless and 60 percent suffer from a mental illness. Because we rely totally on grants and donations, we operate on a shoestring.

“We sincerely believe that substance abuse treatment is the key to solving our homeless problem in Dallas. We are changing lives at Homeward Bound and reuniting people with their families. We need your help to continue our mission.

“We are a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit and the largest provider of counseling and residential treatment for indigent adults with mental health and substance abuse problems in North Texas, and one of the largest in Texas.

“Please consider us when you select recipients of your year-end giving. We need a van to transport people who are too ill to take the bus to their medical appointments. We need scrubs to clothe them while they are here; most clients come to us with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. We need to replace sheets, pillows and blankets that wear out with constant washing.

“To make a donation, visit our website,; our donation page is Thank you.”

-Doug Denton, Homeward Bound Inc. Executive Director and Co-Founder

* Photo provided by Homeward Bound Inc.

Aging Mind Foundation Trio Announce Plans For “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson”

Overlooking the Dallas Arts District, the Klyde Warren Park, Perot Museum and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, there was no more spectacular place to kick off a new fundraiser on Friday, November 21. The spot was Laree Hulshoff’s and Ben Fischer’s palatial nest at Museum Tower.

Ben Fischer

Ben Fischer

Dr. Michael "Mick" Rugg

Dr. Michael “Mick” Rugg

Steele Cooper and Kenny Goss

Steele Cooper and Kenny Goss

Talk about the ultimate in so many ways — the views, the layout and the décor! As guests (Jeff Bryon, Kevin Hurst, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, John Clutts, Dr. Sami Arslanlar, Kenny Goss, Steele Cooper, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Center for Vital Longevity’s Dr. Michael “Mick” Rugg) departed the private elevator to the mansion-in-the-sky, it was pretty obvious who was a returnee and who was a newcomer. Those who had visited the home before immediately headed to their fav spots. The newbies just wandered throughout trying to take it all in. If they needed escorts, Laree’s two Shih Tzus were just a whisker away.

Laree and her co-chairs/conspirators “The Barbs” (Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke) right-like officially revealed the creation of the Aging Mind Foundation fundraiser for the Center for Vital Longevity that will take place at The Joule on Saturday, February 21.

The evening will celebrate “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson” with The Joule as the presenting sponsor.

Laree Hulshoff, Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke

Laree Hulshoff, Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke

Co-Chair Laree and the Barbs and Honorary Chair Bill Booziotis have also arranged for Bob’s son/actor/former S&D Company waiter, Owen Wilson, to handle the special guest duties.

According to the trio, following cocktails, a seated dinner and a presentation in the Praetorian and Mosaic ballrooms, the crowd will head to the Joule Terrace for dessert and dancing.

The evening committee includes Jo Marie Lilly, Caleen Mathura, Holly Hull Miori, Lisa Shardon, Shelle Sills and Julie Tregoning.

If The Aging Mind Foundation is new on your radar, its purpose is to “address and support critical issues unique to the aging mind including research, treatment, education and advocacy.

Bit of trivia: In addition to co-chairing the upcoming event, interior designer Barbara D. also partnered up with Laree and Ben in creating the spectacular residence.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The Art Of Film

Despite some changes in plans and damp weather, the Dallas Film Society‘s The Art of Film had its first female recipient of the Texas Star Award — Marisa Tomei.

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei

While Marisa made her way through a traffic jam of Dallas Maverick fans to get to the Perot Museum, guests partied in the Lyda Hill Gems and Mineral Exhibition and hardly noticed the delay.

Steve and Barbara Durham and Sheila and Jody Grant

Steve and Barbara Durham and Sheila and Jody Grant

The post will go up tomorrow, but check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for some photos now.

Hanukkah Sameach!

Tonight at sunset (5:23 p.m.) Hanukkah commences with the lighting of the first candle. Each of the following nights an additional candle will be lit for eight days. On Wednesday, December 24, the Festival of Lights will end.

Happy Hanukkah!

MySweetWishList: The Wilkinson Center

According to Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder,

Anne Reeder (File photo)

Anne Reeder (File photo)

“The holidays can be so joyful but also a stressful time for everyone. They can be particularly difficult for families who experience food insecurity.

“My immediate wish is for turkeys and hams to stretch food donations at the Wilkinson Center Food Pantry, or if you prefer, just a donation check with the notation ‘Turkey/Ham Bucks,’ so that Wilkinson Center can purchase these items.

“Please share the joy of this blessed time with families that need your help. Thank you!”

-Anne Reeder, Wilkinson Center Executive Director

MySweetWishList: North Texas Food Bank

According to President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank Jan Pruitt,

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

“As our families gather around the table this holiday season, food is at the center of our celebration. While many families are blessed to share a bountiful feast, others are struggling to make ends meet. This holiday season NTFB launched the Holidays Without Hunger: North Texas Food Bank Holiday Giving Guide to help us provide food and hope for our neighbors in need.

‘NTFB’s holiday wish is to provide our children with nourishment on those long weekend days when they have to go without their school lunch. Browse through our holiday giving guide and you will find items at various price points, including a $200 sponsorship of a child enrolled in the Food 4 Kids program. Your gift will ensure that they will have the nourishment they need, every weekend for an entire school year.

“Children that are enrolled in this program are considered chronically hungry. Each Friday during the school year they receive a backpack filled with kid friendly, shelf stable food that meets more than 60% of their nutritional needs for the weekend.

“These backpacks are making a difference:

“’The students who receive the food are so appreciative! One student said, ‘This is the best day EVER!’ as he came to get his sack from my office. The smiles on the faces of the children as they get their food are priceless. I am so thankful and so blessed by organizations such as the NTFB that serve children in need. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making 15 children from Gray Elementary in Mesquite ISD smile each and every Friday’ – Teacher of a Food 4 Kids student

“Every week NTFB provides more than 11,000 backpacks for children in need but with your help we can provide nourishment to even more children who could go hungry without it.

“This holiday season, help grant our wish of providing food and smiles for our kids and check out the Holidays Without Hunger: North Texas Food Bank Holiday Giving Guide at Your gift will make the holidays Merry and Bright!”

-Jan Pruitt, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank

Dallas Historical Society’s 2014 Awards For Excellence In Community Service Salutes An All-Star Lineup

The Dallas Historical Society’s 2014 Awards for Excellence in Community Service always seems to bring out people of all ages to celebrate the people, who continue to make Dallas great over the decades.

Rebecca Fletcher, Kevin Moriarty and Bess Enloe

Rebecca Fletcher, Kevin Moriarty and Bess Enloe

This year’s luncheon was no different. Taking place at the Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 20, it kicked off with a VIP reception in the private dining room of the Fairmont’s Pyramid Room including Mary Suhm, Ruben Esquivel, Bess Enloe, Caren Prothro, Linda Gibbons, Sara Martineau, Laura Wilson, Rebecca Fletcher, Ruth and Ken Alsthuler and Diane and Stuart Bumpas.

Stuart Bumpas and Margaret and Lester Keliher

Stuart Bumpas and Margaret and Lester Keliher

At 11:30 the patrons joined others like Margaret McDermott, Betty Regard, Margaret and Lester Keliher, Diane and Hal Brierley, Bill Payton, Craig Holcomb, Susan and Addison Wilson, Sue and Phil John, Phil Romano, Clay Jenkins, Harriet Miers, Brent Christopher, and Lindalyn Adams in the Regency Ballroom. By 11:41 people were still standing and talking despite two pleas for them to sit down. But this group likes to catch up big time.

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson

But thanks to the Fairmont’s staff bringing lee and French brie en croute to the tables, the crowd got the message to settle down and emcee Stewart Thomas got things going by acknowledging Luncheon Co-Chairs Margaret and Glenn Solomon and Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Cullum and Laura Wilson. Following the invocation by Rev. Dr. Robert S. Dannals, DHS Co-Chair Allan McBee spoke about the 32nd luncheon, thanks DHS Executive Director Jack Bunning and recognized the trustees by having them stand.

At 12:20, Stewart had all the past recipients stand for recognition and the 2014 awardees take their place in chairs on stage. This year’s class included:

  • Kevin Moriarty for arts leadership sponsored by Diane and Hal Brierley
  • Robert Estrada for Business sponsored by the Al Hill Jr. family

    Judy Kelly and Larry Allums

    Judy Kelly and Larry Allums

  • Judy and Patrick Kelly for creative arts sponsored by Bobby B. Lyle, and Mrs. Robert Gillikin and RWR Investments
  • Mary and Mike Terry for education sponsored by David Miller Family Foundation and Friends of Mary and Mike Terry
  • Claude B. Prestidge, M.D. for health/sciences medicine sponsored by BaylorScott&White and the friends of Claude P. Prestidge, M.D.
  • Bruce Beutler, M.D. and John Deisenhofer, Ph.D. for health/science medical research sponsored by The Lyda Hill Foundation
  • M. Wright Foundation for humanities sponsored by Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation and Allie Beth and Pierce Allman
  • Stuart Bumpas for philanthropy sponsored by Ruth C. and Charles S. Sharp Foundation and Linda and William Custard
  • Judy Rorrie for volunteer community leadership sponsored by Stephanie and Hunter Hunt
  • Natalie Lee for Jubilee History Maker sponsored by the friends of Natalie (Schatzie) Lee
Champagne for the A.C. Greene toast

Champagne for the A.C. Greene toast

Concluding the luncheon at 1:06, Allan followed tradition by leading the group in the A.C. Greene traditional farewell champagne toast that was once again accompanied by laughter.

Former Neiman Marcus Model Marilyn Hailey Named Honorary Chair For “A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea”

Back in the days when Neiman Marcus’ Zodiac Room had jackets available if gentlemen guests had forgotten theirs, there was a small group of legendary models who strolled among the tables to tell diners about their ensemble. One of those super stars was Marilyn Hailey.

Like the others, she was a fav of international designers. One of her favorite designers was the late hat designer Frank Olive. So much so, that she collected a delicious group of his chapeaus that was displayed at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s new member part in 2013.

Marilyn is lending her name as honorary chair of the “A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea” at the Dallas Arboretum on Tuesday, February 10.

Marilyn Hailey and Marena Gault*

Marilyn Hailey and Marena Gault*

In addition to landing Marilyn, Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Marena Gault, Event Chair Margaret La Rocca and “A Writer’s Garden” Chair Dorothea Meltzer have arranged to have Michael Devine as guest speaker.

Like Frank’s love of fabrics and designs, Michael “has an internationally recognized line of hand-printed fabrics. His textiles and garden have appeared in numerous print and online magazines, including House Beautiful, Ell Décor, Traditional Home, World of Interiors and the Peak of Chic.”

It might be very smart to upgrade your involvement to the patron status because it will include an invite to a patron party the night before to meet Michael.

Proceeds from the event will benefit A Woman’s Garden at the Arboretum.

* Photo credit: Deborah Brown

MySweetWishList: Dallas Women’s Foundation BESTSELF Challenge

According to Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Senior Communication Director Sarah Burns,

Sarah Burns*

Sarah Burns*

“For the past few years Dallas Women’s Foundation has been offering Gender in Media events, generously supported by the Embrey Family Foundation and Nancy Ann Hunt. This initiative lifts the discussion on how the media shapes girls minds; how stereotypes define how women are seen and devalued; and how damaging these unrealistic portrayals are to girls’ and women’s perceptions of themselves and their place in society. These limitations ultimately affect our entire community.

“Like many of you, I find myself at a point in life where I feel that surely I have my finger on the pulse of pop culture. I read nearly every BuzzFeed link shared on Facebook and MySweetCharity arrives to my in-box each morning even before traditional media outlet emails. But sometimes, upon further reflection, I realize I have missed an entire trend! Chevron? It passed me by swiftly (I think I dodged a bullet). Giant stone earrings? I’ve worn the same pair of studs every day for two years (Thanks to my loving husband).

What's Your #BESTSELF?*

What’s Your #BESTSELF?*

“This summer, due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up at an all-inclusive resort here in town – UT Southwestern Medical Center – where I was treated successfully for pancreatitis. During my seven day doctor-ordered holiday, I passed time and quickly tripped down a rabbit hole looking at the hashtag #selfie on Instagram. Instagram, the social media outlet of choice for smart phone photographers, allows you to search other user’s photos by common hashtags. The #selfie photos were mostly of girls and young women whose added captions asked for reassurance and validation of their outward appearance from their followers.

“As of late November, the hashtag #selfie has been used nearly 200 million times. What I saw and later researched shocked and saddened me. Girls are so much more than just their looks. They are innovators, engineers, connectors, advocates, athletes, artists, nurturers, musicians, and much more. They are changing the world!

I am at my #dallaswomensfdn #bestself when I am using my creativity for @dallaswomensfdn to empower women! @mytweetcharity, show us your #bestself!*

I am at my #dallaswomensfdn #bestself when I am using my creativity for @dallaswomensfdn to empower women! @mytweetcharity, show us your #bestself!*

“This month Dallas Women’s Foundation launched our #BESTSELF challenge and my wish is that you would participate in it. The #BESTSELF Challenge empowers girls of all ages to post selfies that do not focus on their outward appearance, but rather highlights their unique talents, interests, goals and dreams.

Here’s how to participate:

  1. “Follow Dallas Women’s Foundation on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
  2. “Post a message or photo of what your #bestself is.
  3. “Use hashtags #bestself, #dallaswomensfdn and tag Dallas Women’s Foundation.
  4. “Challenge a friend to do the same.

“We look forward to seeing how the women and girls of North Texas view their #bestself in the months to come. For more information and to participate in the #bestself movement, visit and join us on social media using #bestself and #dallaswomensfdn.”

Sarah Burns, Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Senior Communication Director

* Photo provided by Dallas Women’s Foundation

Quinn And Stella’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe Has Lips Puckering Up For The North Texas Food Bank

Don’t know if it’s in the genes, but Reeves/Wrubel women definitely are not lacking in personality. They have a certain panache in everything they do. The latest Wrubelette to strut her stuff is Stella Wrubel (aka granddaughter of Jennie and Stuart Reeves and daughter of Lucy and Steve Wrubel).

Stuart and Jennie Reeves and Lucy and Steve Wrubel (File photo)

Stuart and Jennie Reeves and Lucy and Steve Wrubel (File photo)

Back in 2012 when Stella was in the first grade, she watched New York City being devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Despite being “a kid,” she decided to do something about it. So, keeping her expenses to near nothing, she cut down mistletoe and dressed it up with bows and bells. Opening a stand in the Wrubel front yard, she sold out in 30 minutes. That taste of success spurred her on. She put together more decorative mistletoe. The results? She raised $2,034 and presented a check to the American Red Cross in NYC.

Last year she rounded up some friends, making signs and marketing the mistletoe raising $8,421 for the Red Cross.

Quinn and Stella's Jingle Bell Mistletoe*

Quinn and Stella’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe*

This year, nine-year-old Stella has partnered up with her Lamplighter classmate Quinn Graves to raise $10,000 for the North Texas Food Bank. Their goal is to feed 30,000 people. But that hefty goal demands more than a stand or two in front yards. They created a two-prong POA.

First, they’re setting up “pop-up shops” on the following days:

  • Saturday, December 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Five and Ten and Avant Garden in Highland Park Village
  • Sunday, December 21 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Wrubel’s home, 3419 Dartmouth Avenue

Second, Stella’s cousin Kate has created the #kissandtella challenge. “To participate in the challenge, just got to, you download the mistletoe image to your phone, hold it over your head and get a picture of someone kissing under the ‘mistletoe’. Post the picture on social media using #kissantella and tag your friends to encourage them to do the mistletoe challenge. To complete the challenge, you can make a donation at”

* Photo provided by Quinn and Stella's Jingle Bell Mistletoe

JUST IN: VNA’s 2015 Legends And Leaders Luncheon To Spotlight Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw*

Tom Brokaw*

It seems like ages and ages since former NBC anchor/author of The Greatest Generation Tom Brokaw was in town. After a bit of head scratching, it seems that the last time he was in these here parts was back in 2010 to interview Bob Schieffer for the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s “A Conversation with a Living Legend.” And even then he wasn’t the center of attention.

Leave it to the VNA to change that. The 2015 Legends & Leaders Luncheon Co-Chairs Linda and Jay Barlow, Angie and Marshall Brackbill and Jan and Al McClendon just revealed they’ve locked down Tom for the Thursday, April 23, fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

Forrest and Sally Hoglund (File photo)

Forrest and Sally Hoglund (File photo)

Not only that but the honorary co-chairs are Sally and Forrest Hoglund!

It benefits the VNA that is busier than ever. Most folks know about their Meals on Wheels program, but there’s so much more (Hospice Care, Private Car, Pet Care Program, Senior Resources, etc.).

Just in case, you need to brush up on your Tom Brokaw file…after all, it is pretty lengthy, follow the jump for his bio.

* Photo provided 
by VNA

[Read more…]

MySweetWishList: Connecting Point Of Park Cities

According to Connecting Point of Park Cities Board Member Jan Osborn,

Jan Osborn (center back row)*

Jan Osborn (center back row)*

“Last year, our Wish was granted! We successfully raised enough money to open our doors at Central Christian Church. Due to the staggering lack of opportunities for adults with disabilities in our community, we are already close to capacity. Our wish is to continue to build and expand, and that can be made possible with support from our community, sponsors and donors.

“On Friday, January 23, 2015, we invite you to join us for “Staubachs Connect,” which will include an exciting interview with Marianne and Roger Staubach, as well as a silent and live auction with more than 20 signed items by Roger, including: a signed football with his Super Bowl dates, jerseys and other memorabilia. In addition, our wish is to receive donations for our CPPC treasure boxes. We are asking for people to give gift cards of any type or donations of $25, $50, $75 or $100 to go toward filling the boxes. The treasure boxes will then be sold at the luncheon for $100 each, and all of the proceeds will help CPPC serve more families by enhancing life for adults with disabilities.

“We hope you will consider helping our wishes come true by attending our luncheon [at the Frontiers of Flight Museum] and donating toward our treasure boxes!  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $750. For tickets or treasure box donation information, please contact Hollee Mills at 214.538.6823, via email at [email protected] or visit Space is limited for the luncheon and reservations are required.”

-Jan Osborn, Connecting Point of Park Cities Board Member

* Photo provided by Connecting Point of Park Cities