JUST IN: Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon To Benefit Junior Players With “Hamilton”‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry As Keynote Speaker

Cancel any and all plans for summer vacation. Well, at least, plan on being in town on Friday, June 23. Attorneys Serving the Community have such a reason for staying put on that Friday for lunch.

They’ve really tied things together for the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. First, this year’s beneficiary is the award-winning Junior Players, which is the oldest non-profit children’s theater organization in Dallas. Originally offering “traditional children’s theater productions performed entirely by children and teenagers,” it changed its direction in 1989 by “providing free programming accessible to all the children of North Texas.”

Attorneys Serving the Community beneficiary Junior Players*

According to Dallas Morning News theater expert Nancy Churnin, Junior Players is “not just the play that’s the thing at Junior Players. It’s the way the company puts kids first by making quality lessons and performances free for 4,000 kids a year.”

Great pick, but who would be the on-target speaker for such an event benefiting young theatrical types by legal experts? Hold on to your petticoats and breeches. Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price managed to land Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church in “Hamilton: The Revolution.” Just this past fall, she took leave of the Linn-Manuel Miranda hit.

Renée Elise Goldsberry*

But don’t think Renee is a one-note actress. This multi-talented and gorgeous gal is a perfect role model for young, aspiring performers. In addition to Broadway successes (“The Lion King,” “The Color Purple” and “Rent”) and numerous flat screen appearances, (“Ally McBeal,” “One Life To Live,” “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife,” etc.), she’s now headed to the 25th century for Netflix’s 10-episode sci-fi drama “Altered Carbon” as Quellcrist Falconer.  In addition to theatrical and screen productions, she’s even been in the Super Bowl, where she and her Broadway sister updated “America the Beautiful.”

Outside of the theater and studio, Renee has a real life with attorney-husband Alexis Johnson and her two kiddos Benjamin and Brielle.

Trivia: The luncheon will have a tinge of irony. It will be a get-together for onstage Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law (aka Renée) with U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr’s descendant Jennifer Burr Altabef. If you skipped American History 101, Hamilton was killed in a duel with Burr nearly 213 years ago.

According to Jennifer, who along with her husband, Peter Altabef, are serving as luncheon honorary co-chairs, “Peter and I are thrilled to be honorary chairs for this event benefiting Junior Players, a vital arts resource for young people and a treasure in our community. We are looking forward to the event featuring Renée Elise Goldsberry, whose electrifying performance in ‘Hamilton’ brought to life the incredible story of the birth of our country. Aaron Burr was a part of that story, and in ‘Hamilton,’ the audience learns so much about him and his complex relationship with Alexander Hamilton.”

Mark Friday, June 23, as a “must-stay-in-Dallas” to see and hear from this lady, who “kicked failure’s ass.”

Sponsorships and tables are available here. Individual tickets, if there are any, will be up for grabs in May.

* Graphic and photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 88th Annual Linz Award

With a ballroom decked out with orange tablecloths and many guests in equally orange attire, the Omni ballroom looked a bit like a Longhorn feast around noon on Wednesday, March 8. But, no! It was the 88th Annual Linz Award honoring that orange-loving entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyda Hill.

Mike Rawlings and Lyda Hill

Diane Brierley

Bobbie Sue Williams

Millie Cooper

Lynn McBee

While the post is being prepared, there’s a whole lot of orange over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Watch For Hobbits Thursday, Friday And Saturday While Touring The Whimsical Shire Of Preston Hollow For Equest

Now that this wet stuff seems to be calming down, the upcoming days seems bright and shiny. Evidently, the Equest organizers arranged something with Mother Nature to have perfect weather for folks to explore the Tolkien-inspired Shire in Preston Hollow.

The Shire of Preston Hollow*

While other estates in the neighborhood are manicured like a socialite’s nails, this acreage is a wonderland with its 9,000-square-foot main house, an attached conservatory and a detached guest house known as the Hobbit House. Why, Frodo Baggins would feel right at home there! And rightly so. After all, it took seven years to create. Why, one would actually expect Legolas to flutter by or to be greeted by Gimli at the drawbridge before crossing to the portcullis.

Inside there will be “couture fashions and accessories from Lily of the West and Hari Jewels, with designer guests appearances, and additional luxury items from Origins of Santa Fe Boutique” plus refreshments and music. And while Shadowfax, Arod and Bill the Pony won’t be on hand, their good buddies, the Equest mini-ambassadors, just might be hoofing around for a photo or two.

Like Brigadoon, this magical property at 4668 Meadowood Road will be available for touring this Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit Equest. Alas, it’s only available for checking out by big kids (21 years and older). Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $20 for the equine therapeutic program. Register right here.

* Photo provided by Equest

JUST IN: Annual TACA Lexus Party On The Lawn Is Relocating From The Mansion To AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Sammons Park

Don’t plan on heading to the Mansion for the annual TACA Lexus Party On The Green, because it’s moving to the Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 12, with former Cattle Baron’s Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne as the co-chairs.

Katherine Wynne (File photo)

Tia Wynne (File photo)

Is it because of the Mansion’s mega-renovations? According to TACA Carlson President/ Executive Director Wolford McCue, “TACA’s mission is to support the performing arts community, so not only is the AT&T Performing Arts Center the perfect backdrop for TACA Party on the Green, it also provides us more space to showcase several of our beneficiaries. Tia and Katherine have planned an incredible evening with local celebrity chefs and performances by TACA supported arts organizations, all with the goal to raise critical funding for the local arts.” 

Party on the Green (File photo)

It will have the traditional wine cork pull, music and silent auction. As of today, the participating chefs will include: Chef Dean Fearing of Fearings Restaurant, Chef John Gilbert of G Texas Custom Catering, Chef Jeffrey Kollinger of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Chef Sader Matheis of Salum Restaurant, Chef Sonny Pache of Ocean Prime and Rosewood Ranches Waygu Beef, Chef Tom Parlo of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Daniele Puelo of CiboDivino, Chef Gianni Santin and Chef Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie, Chef Andrew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck and Chef John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas.

Presented by Highland Park Village, the event tickets are on sale. VIP tickets (translation: early-bird entry of 6:30 p.m.) are $500 and general admission for the 7:30 p.m. start at $375.

Plans Announced For Grown-Ups-Only 3rd Annual yCPD Field Day At The Rustic

Perhaps the Community Partners of Dallas brain trust realized that adults were envious of the organization’s annual “Change Is Good” providing a plethora of kid-oriented activities in the fall. After all, that bounce house and bungee jumping looked pretty inviting even in wet weather.

The CPD Young Friends Group came up with the perfect solution — yCPD Field Day in 2012. It had teams of six competing in three-legged and wheelbarrow relay races. Overtime, the activities got more off-the-wall as the number of teams grew.

Jennifer Myers (File photo)

Hershey Kiss Relay (File photo)

Booty Shaking (File photo)

Word just arrived from yCPD Field Day Co-Chairs Tanner Hartnett and Crystal Lightbody that this year’s games will return to The Rustic from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, with KDFW red-curled meteorologist Jennifer Myers emceeing. In addition to the grown-up libations and live music, the competition will be just made for people watching. Just imagine trying to unwrap a Hershey’s kiss wearing mittens!

According to insiders, game-mistresses Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke are threatening to come up with some new outlandish games just made for cell-photoing.

Sponsorships start at $500 and teams are $350.

JUST IN: Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Announces Sara Martineau And Nina Vaca Women Of Distinction And Todd Williams Man Enough

Susan Glassmoyer and Laura Downing (File photo)

For those emerging from Samoa and Thin Mints rehab and in need of a Girl Scout fix, there’s great news. The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas have just announced plans for their annual Women of Distinction Luncheon. It’s already been announced that Dr. Mae Jemison will be the keynote speaker, thanks to Luncheon Co-Chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer.

But now comes word that the fundraiser on Friday, November 3, at the Omni will honor Sara Martineau and Nina Vaca on stage receiving the Woman of Distinction Award.

Sara Martineau (File photo)

Nina Vaca (File photo)

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, “It is an honor to recognize Nina, Sara and Todd for their exemplary leadership and lifelong commitment to serving our Dallas community. Empowering and supporting girls is the key to our future, because they are the innovators, leaders and change-makers of tomorrow. It comes down to a simple truth – when we invest in the advancement of girls, we are not only helping them reach their fullest potential, we are also investing in the future success of our businesses and communities. We are incredibly thankful that each honoree recognizes the importance and value of empowering girls.”

Todd Williams*

As for the second male to be recognized by the Girl Scouts for his understanding and support of the Girl Scouts’ mission, Todd Williams will be presented with the Man Enough to be a Girl Scout Award.

Regarding the Young Woman of Distinction, stay tuned. It will be announced “late summer.”

BTW, last year’s luncheon impressed vet munchers with the fact that it ran right on schedule.

Tickets are available here, but no, there will be no cookies as incentives.

For the full-blown release, follow the jump:

*  Photo provided by Girl Scouts 
of Northeast Texas

[Read more…]

Just Say Yes’ “Building Bridges” Will Celebrate With Romos, Brown And Chances For Gragg Gems, Royal Dining, Grelle Artwork And More

Tony and Candice Romo*

David Brown*

As if having former Dallas Police Chief David Brown as the keynote speaker and Honorary Co-Chairs Candice and Tony Romo weren’t enough for the 7th Annual Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) Celebration’s Building Bridges,” organizers have put together quite a line up for the Wednesday, April 19th raffle and live auction fundraiser at Belo Pavilion.

Sue Gragg necklace*

For the raffle, it will be “a custom-made diamond necklace by jewelry designer extraordinaire” Sue Gragg. The winner will be able to select their choice of an 18-karat white, yellow or rose-gold necklace. And to add that personalized touch, they’ll have “their name, or a word of their choice, encrusted with diamonds.” If your chance ticket is picked, you’ve got your Mother’s Day gift locked down! The value of the necklace is $1,400 with raffle tickets going for $25 each or 5 for $100. The raffle winner does not need to be present to win, and there is no limit to ticket purchase. Raffle tickets are available here.

There’s an added incentive to buy those raffle tickets online. There will be a drawing prior to the event to have a VIP meet-and-greet photo opp with keynote speaker Brown.  The Photo-Opp winner must be present to win. Each raffle ticket purchase serves as one entry into the contest.

In addition to a silent auction, there will be a live auction including:

Darren McGrady (File photo)

  • A Royal Dinner Party by Eating Royally Owner/Chef Darren McGrady (Value: $5,000) — Chef Darren will prepared a three-course dinner for ten at your home, just like he did for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. After dinner, he’ll regale guests with stories about the good old days at the palace.
  • A Week in Kauai, Hawaii (Value $3,000) — With plenty of time to plan, four guests will enjoy the luxury lifestyle at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club’s oceanfront digs from April 14 thru 21, 2018. Whether it’s just taking it easy lounging on the beach or checking out the sites where major Hollywood films have been made, Kauai has everything.
  • Western Artist/Member of Cowboy Artists of America Martin Grelle Artwork — Two pieces of art by the renowned Western art master will be up for bid.
    • The first piece is a 13” by 10” original drawing in custom frame of a Native American on horseback. (Value $3,800)
    • The second is a 33” by 38” giclée of “Prayers of the Pipe Carrier,” which Grelle created a few years ago.  It is an artist personal proof, No. 4 of 5. BTW, the original won the Buyers Choice Award at the 46th Annual Cowboy Artists of America exhibit in 2011. (Value: $1,750)
  • Two-Night Hunting Trip at Giesecke Ranch (Value: $2,500) — For the hunter, the Giesecke Ranch outside of Llano is the perfect place to hunt deer, turkey and wild boar. In addition to having the use of a crew cab pickup, the winner will have ranch owner Dick Giesecke himself assist in finding the spots to explore.

(This offer expires December 31, 2018, and does not include Thanksgiving, Christmas or opening weekend of hunting season.)

Building Bridges*

Regarding this year’s theme — “Building Bridges —  Just Say Yes Development Director Marissa Leach explained, “Just Say Yes is ‘Building Bridges’ this year because we recognize the need for connection. Our youth can set the stage for a stronger connection with each other, their families and ultimately our community. With your support, we can further the Just Say Yes cause by building connection in our youth, ultimately creating long-lasting connectedness within our community.”

While individual tickets are $250, $1,000 will get two tickets plus the photo opp with David B.

* Photo provided by Just Say Yes

TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon Had Some Hits And Misses, But Recipients Nancy Nasher And Walter Elcock Were The Best Of The Best

As TACA approached its 50th anniversary, major changes were underway. Retired was Executive Director Becky Young and in her place was Wolford McCue. The first fundraising occasion showcasing the transition from the past to the future was the 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon on Tuesday, March 7, at the Anatole.

Early on, the question had been raised why the celebration of Dallas art leadership had been moved from the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom (max. capacity: 1,600) to the Chantilly Ballroom (max. capacity: 2,600). Evidently, when the reservation was made last year, it was thought that due to TACA’s 50th Anniversary, extra room would be necessary. More about that later.

David Haemisegger

Caroline Rose Hunt and Barbara Womble

Lee Cullum and Katherine Wynne

Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee

Wolford McCue, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Don Glendenning and Donna Wilhelm

At 11 a.m. the VIP reception took place in the Wedgwood Room with folks like Luncheon Co-Chairs Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee, Laura Elcock with daughter Hilah Elock Schutt, Jonathan Martin, Michelle Burns, Erin Mathews, Daylon Pereira, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Katherine Wynne, Barbara Womble, Capera Ryan and Susan Collins.

Nancy Nasher

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

Just a few minutes past the timeline, 2017 Silver Cup recipients Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock opened the big silver gift boxes on the center table. Nancy immediately spotted the logo on the top of the box and showed it to the Neiman Marcus crowd in attendance (Kevin Hurst, Ginger Reeder, Jerry Marcus Smith, Allison V. Smith).

Then Nancy, Walter and the rest of the previous TACA Silver Cup recipients (Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd, Kern Wildenthal, Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Enloe Fletcher) were herded to a couch at the far end of the room. The only hold-up was Luncheon emcee Lee Cullum button-holding Nancy.

From the left: (standing) Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd and Kern Wildenthal; (seated) Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Nancy Nasher, Walter Elcock, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Fletcher

Eventually, the photo took place with Nancy and Walter holding their shiny cups.

In the meantime, guests were checking in at the registration tables at the Chantilly entry. Unlike other events, where guests amble on down to the ballroom lobby, the multitude seemed all too happy just to stay put.

But once the doors opened, the hundreds headed into the ballroom. Interestingly, while the tables were seat-to-seat together fronting the stage and head table, there were more than a dozen feet separating the back-row tables from the room’s back wall.

Pam Perella and Leslie Diers

Jeff Byron and Malcolm Reuben

As guests (Peggy Sewell, Diane and Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Jeff Bryon and Malcolm Reuben) entered the ballroom, voices were overhead commenting, as though they were TMZ-ing a red carpet. One guest looked a little bewildered saying, “Did someone have an open mic?” Nope. It was a new add to the event. Alas, with guests vying for their tables in the cozy placement of tables and trying to be heard over the “open mic” audio, an itty-bitty moment of frustration resulted.

Kate Levin and Elaine Agather

Nancy Kasten

Luckily, the head table guests (Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Ginger Reeder, Rebecca Enloe, Water Elcock, Lee Cullum, Donna Wilhelm, Nancy Nasher, James Wiley Jr., Elaine Agather and Kate Levin) had no problems finding their places.

Uptown Players

It wasn’t until the Uptown Players took their places on the stage that the “open mic” situation resulted in an “Aha” realization. However, as emcee Lee tried to take command of the program, one of the actors told her to hold off. They were going to announce that an award was to be presented to … “La La Land.” Unfortunately, the attempt at humor may have looked good on paper, but it resulted in a couple of hand claps surrounded by silence.

Lee finally took charge of the program and provided an abbreviated state-of-the-arts address.

After a first course (roasted red pepper hummus, spring pea dip, baba ganoush, crudité and pita chips), second course (chicken salad in bibb with pimento cheese quiche and quinoa salad with diced vegetables) and dessert (chocolate truffle, mini-lemon curd blueberry tartlet and macaroon) with TACA grant recipients Fine Arts Chamber Players’ Quinlan Facey and Blue Candlelight Music Series’ Baya Kakouberi playing at baby grand pianos on stages at opposite ends of the ballroom, JP Morgan Chase’s Elaine Agather and TACA Board of Directors Chair Donna Wilhelm welcomed the group.

Ndumiso Nyoka

It was then time for NM’s Ginger Reeder. She had been concerned about correctly pronouncing the name of featured performer 2017 SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ tenor Ndumiso Nyoka’s name. (“He sent me the phonetic pronunciation.”) She pulled it off and looked relieved as he sang “La Donna e mobile” with Brian Bentley accompanying him on a grand piano on the stage in front of the head table. Unlike the “open mic,” Ndumiso’s performance scored a resounding wave of applause.

Following introductions by last year’s Silver Cup recipients Rebecca Enloe Fletcher and James Wiley Jr. and Jeremy Strick and John Eagle via video, Nancy and Walter raised the bar on acceptance speeches.

With a voice exuding calm, strength and elegance, Nancy recalled her parents inspiring her “passion for the arts” and how she considered NorthPark to be a “shopping museum.” Looking at her husband David Haemisegger, the very private Nancy said, “David, you have been my steadfast partner in all that we have created. None of this would have been possible without your counsel, your wisdom and unwavering support.”

Then looking at her children Sarah Haemisegger, Isabell Haemisegger and David Haemisegger, she said, “Thank you for being such wonderful sports as your father and I tried to persistently instill in you our love and passion for the arts. I believe that you too will further develop your own unique passion for the arts and make your own mark on our great city. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of you.” Her speech received a resounding standing ovation.

Walter admitted that following Nancy was a daunting task. Still, the retired banker/former Dallas Museum of Art Interim Director rose to the occasion. He broke the ice by saying, “I’m just like you — a fiscally conservative art lover, card-carrying ACLU democratic gun lover.”

Unlike Nancy, Walter admitted how the arts had not been paramount in his life. That changed when he “tried to get a blind date” with an art major. “I didn’t know that at that moment I had found the two great loves of my life. For better or for worse, and God knows for richer or poorer, all the credit for that goes to my muse Laura.” As members of the audience sighed, Walter mimicked them.

As much as he loved working with the people during his tenure as interim director of the DMA,  he admitted that turning in the key to “greatest basement in town was painful.”

Walter closed with a quote from Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things that I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” He, too, was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Both Nancy and Walter emphasized the importance of the arts in the future of North Texas. Only they did it with such eloquence that even past recipients were in awe. It was the perfect way to end the occasion.

But there was one final speaker — Bloomberg Associates Cultural Asset Management Principal Kate Levin, who lauded the North Texas leadership’s involvement in the arts. While providing food for thought regarding that future of arts, it transformed the room from the magic of Nancy’s and Walter’s acceptance to a classroom of information. One guest remarked that just as Kate’s talk was getting a little too professorial, she would inject a bit of humor to lighten things up. Still another guest associated with a major arts group seemed a little miffed when Kate suggested that tourism was not all that important or beneficial for the arts.

As TACA enters its 50th year, change is afoot and, like other great undertakings, it’s a work in progress.

For more pixs, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Lisa Loeb To Emcee Wednesday’s Texas State Historical Marker For Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s At Aldredge House

Some might think that Wednesday’s dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker for the 100th anniversary of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation at the 100-year-old Aldredge House will be skewed to the geriatric set. Rethink that! Sure, the House and Alliance are both celebrating a double centennial, but it’s not going to be a gloves-and-support-hose affair.

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation Historical Marker*

Lisa Loeb*

Of course, proof is required and here it is — singer/songwriter/TV personality Lisa Loeb. Despite this Hockaday grad’s being on tour, she’s returning to her Dallas to serve as emcee for the event.

So, what’s the connection between Grammy Award-winner Lisa and the double centennial celebration and dedication? Before she became nationally known for her talents, Lisa was and still is the daughter of Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Past President Gail Loeb and has a slew of family members in healthcare.

In addition to her emcee duties, there’s a report that she will do some singing and, at the end of the ceremony, lead a “children’s sing-along of songs from her children’s album.”

Translation: Kids are welcome to be part of the festivities that start at 5 p.m. at The Aldredge House. Perfect timing! Pick up the munchkins from school and drive on over to Swiss Avenue to be part of a Double Centennial Celebration with elected officials and the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker. Don’t forget your cellphones… as if you would… for photos with Lisa and the Marker.

* Photos provided by the Dallas County Medical Alliance Society Foundation

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon

The performing-art lovers gathered for TACA’s 39th Annual Silver Cup Luncheon honoring Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock.

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

As part of TACA’s own 50th anniversary celebration, the luncheon was ramped up with a bigger venue at the Hilton Anatole and some additions to the program. Some worked. Some struck out. Some were base hits. But the recipients pulled off home runs flawlessly.

Uptown Players

While the post is being prepared, check out the people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

An Early Start Might Be Wise For This Weekend’s Home Tours

It almost seems like every house in North Texas is part of a home tour this spring. This weekend a couple of them —Park Cities 15th Annual Historic Home Tour and Munger Place Wine Walk and Home Tour — are bracing for some stormy weather.

4825 Miramar*

According to the weather guessers, the bruised clouds and blowing winds won’t hit until late-ish Saturday afternoon. So, why not tour early, grab a bite to eat to compare notes with your buds and head to your home to watch South Carolina play Gonzaga and Oregon play North Carolina?  

* Photo provided by Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society

Côtes Du Coeur Catalog Preview Party Reveals “Wonderful Things” For The American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Fundraiser

Thursday night was just popping with news like a North Texas thunderstorm. After announcing plans for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon at Peggy and Leonard Riggs’ home across from the Dallas Country Club, Tucker Enthoven scurried over to her Preston Hollow estate to host the Côtes du Coeur Catalog Preview Party.

And, boy, have Côtes du Coeur Co-Chairs Kelly and Dave Pfeil put together a collection of auction items, chefs and wines for the Saturday, April 22, dinner/auction at the Omni Dallas! It’s enough to make one’s heart go pitty pat.

And speaking of the heart, the American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth fundraiser is a personal undertaking for Kelly and Dave. As Kelly said, “We have lost three immediate family members to heart issues. Dave’s brother had a valve replacement and his father, after two heart attacks, has six stents.”

According to Dave, “Kelly’s career as a PhD scientist in research and development of food and beverage was devoted to heart-healthy products, by eliminating and reducing trans and saturated fats and reducing sugar and sodium, with Coca-Cola and Frito Lay. Our common desire to save and improve lives keeps us involved with the work of the AHA.”

To bring in the funding for heart disease research and treatments, Auction Co-Chairs Georgia Davis and Kim Bannister have put together the following:

  • The City of Lights – a Private Parisian Tour: The winning bidder will gather a group of up to 20 people, or a more intimate group if you prefer, to have the Louvre and Palace of Versailles all to yourself!
    • The LouvreThe Louvre averages just under 30,000 visitors per day. Often crowds are 15 deep in front of the Mona Lisa. BUT, your group will wander the Louvre filled with works by the world’s greatest artists without any distractions. Crowds will not obscure your appreciation for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, the Winged Victory of Samothrace or the Venus de Milo. Delight in 3 hours (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.) of uninterrupted bliss in the largest museum in the world.
    • The Palace of Versailles – The next afternoon (or previous afternoon), experience the approximately 2,000 acres of Palace of Versailles’ incredibly beautiful gardens.  From 2:30-5:00 p.m., marvel at the symmetry of the gardens, enjoy the fountains, tour the stables and contemplate what it took to create such a marvelous estate.
  • Behind the Scenes with Filmmaker Ken Burns: Shadow Emmy Award-winning Ken Burns and the writers, producers, and other film makers that work with Ken producing amazing films of America’s history at his studio in Walpole, New Hampshire. View clips of upcoming films such as “The Vietnam War” and “Country Music.”
  • Montana Mountain Retreat: Embrace nature’s beauty as your group of eight fish, hike and explore the mountains of Montana. Relax in a beautiful 4-bedroom, 2-cabin home by the natural treasure of Flathead lake. Explore the Glazier National Park or sail to Big Fork, Crazy Horse Island for excursions during your 6-night/7-day retreat.  
  • Experience Russian River Valley’s Merry Edwards: Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the world-renowned Russian River Valley during a three (3) night stay at Merry Edwards’ extraordinary new guest house in Forestville. Your group of eight will be treated to a VIP winery tour and tasting at Merry Edwards winery.  Enjoy a relaxed dinner with Merry and Ken paired with library wines selected from their cellar. A true wine lover’s dream and a once-in-a-lifetime getaway featuring one of the greatest wine producers in California!

Richard Chamberlain (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

Dean Fearing (File photo)

Kevin Garvin (File photo)

Matt McCallister (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

As for the graze-around dinner, Chef Chair Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market has arranged for the following chefs to be stationed around the ballroom: Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei, Lovers Seafood and Market; Jim Severson of Sevy’s Grill; Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton; Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch of Neiman Marcus; David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House; John Tesar of Knife; Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly; Carl Murray of NOBU; Garth Blackburn of Sub-Zero/Wolf Showroom; Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge and Resort; Donald Chalko of Omni Dallas Hotel; Matt McCallister of Filament and FT33; Stephen Rogers of Gemma; Alex Astranti of Uchi; Angela Hernandez of Top Knot; Jody Denton and Stephen Kalil of Frito-Lay Kitchen and Chad Houser of Café Momentum.

The wines for the evening will be led by this year’s Tete du Cuvee winner — Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery and including B Cellars, Barnett Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyards, Beringer Vineyards, Château Minuty, Checkerboard Vineyards, Clos du Val, Domaine Paul Blanck, Egelhoff Wines, Ehlers Estate, Etude House, Hall and Walt Wines, Herb Lamb Vineyards, J. Bookwalter Winery, Justin Vineyards and Winery, Loring Wine Company, Macauley Vineyards, Modus Operandi Cellars, Montagu Wines/ Silver Ghost, Mullan Road Cellars, Ramey Wine Cellars, Red Mare Wines, Schweiger Vineyards, Sequoia Grove, Stewart Cellars, Torii Mor, Trujillo Wines, Turnbull Wine Cellars and W and J Graham.

Tickets for the wining and dining are available here!

JUST IN: Like Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher Dumped New Friends New Life 14th Annual Luncheon For Personal Reasons

Let’s get the bad news over with. Any plans on seeing Ashton Kutcher at the 14th Annual New Friends New Life (NFNL) Luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni can be scratched. Ashton bailed because of “personal reasons.”

Ashton Kutcher*

Joe Ehrmann*

The good news is that Joe Ehrmann will be the featured speaker.

That’s what NFNL Executive Director Kelly Cruse announced tonight at the luncheon kickoff.

Joe is not some hottie on a reality show, nor is he a child whose mother was used in the corrupt business of sex trafficking. He’s a former Baltimore Colts football player who has become recognized nationally for his advocacy of boys becoming men. Evidently, the last time he spoke in Dallas was in 2010, when he was the featured speaker at The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon, where he made quite an impression. 

Tickets are available here.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

JUST IN: Peggy And Leonard Riggs To Be 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs

The 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon kick-off party at Peggy and Leonard Riggs’ home just took place. In addition to confirming that Jamie Lee Curtis will be the speaker at the Thursday, October 26th event at the Hilton Anatole, Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven revealed that the honorary co-chairs will be Peggy and Leonard.

Leonard and Peggy Riggs, Jim and Kristen Hinton and Robin Robinson

Also on hand for the presentation were new Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party Had Gems, Bubbles And A “Rose” At The Doorway

As Fashion Stars For A Cause patrons arrived at Diamonds Direct on Monday, March 6, they immediately spotted FSFAC Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt seated in a leather chair just to the right of the doorway.

Caroline Rose Hunt and David Blank

Thanks to newlyweds Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands (aka Caroline’s son), Caroline was john-on-the-spot when the event started. Kristy was decked out in all type of leather from the suede jacket to the smooth, black leather slacks.

Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands

With three photographers snapping away, the diamonds in the cases and being sampled by guests like Suicide and Crisis Center Executive Director Margie Wright, Carolyn Tillery, Jenyce Gush, Samantha Davies, Terry Bentley Hill, 2017 Fashion Stars Tavia Hunt and Debbie Stout Elchami, Tony Stevens, Dan Prichett and Priya Rathod caused a star burst effect thanks to Diamonds Direct hosts Amit Berger, David Blank and Yosi Mayer.

Debbie Stout Elchami

Jenyce Gush, Yosi Mayer and Margie Wright

Checking around the first floor, KDFW anchor/reporter/2017 Fashion Star Jenny Anchondo and husband Heath Oakes were checking the offerings under glass. It’s hard to believe that Jenny and Heath have just barely been married a year and they’re already getting ready to welcome a new Anchondo-Oakes.

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

David Tiller looked remarkable following spinal surgery. Wife Martha Tiller invited guests to nudge his waist, “It’s a girdle. We’ve been wearing them for years.” Actually, it was a brace to help David’s back rehab.

Martha and David Tiller

Speaking of being healthy, 2017 Fashion Star Shay Geyer was svelter than ever. She claimed that she really needed to lose the pounds and felt great.

Just back from the Bahamas, Diamonds Director Amit said that he was feeling right at home in Texas and was right at home in practicing, “Y’all.”

David Blank, Samantha Davies, Priya Rathod and Amit Berger

Speaking of being right at home in North Texas, Amit and David were preparing for Thursday night’s celebration of the newest Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Being the Dallas Cowboys right-official jeweler, Diamonds Direct celebrates the new cheerleaders with the presentation of their “class rings.”

Carolyn Tillery, Amit Berger and Tony Stevens

As FSFAC Founder Yvonne Crum in yellow greeted patrons, FSFAC Magazine publisher Carolyn Tillery was seen trying on all types of sparkly gems.

Fashion Stars for A Cause  on Friday, March 24, at the Dallas Country Club benefits Suicide and Crisis Center for North Texas.

49th Annual Family Night At Six Flags Over Texas Raises Funds And Fun For Children’s Medical Center Letting Early Birds Save Some Money

What’s better than a bargain? A bargain and a night at Six Flags! That’s exactly what’s available until Friday, April 7, thanks to the Children’s Women’s Auxiliary’s 49th Family Night at Six Flags Over Texas.

Tweety Bird, Joanna Clark, Sylvester, Sally Dutter and Bugs Bunny*

How about some questions?

  • What kind of bargain? The tickets at the gate will be $74.99 plus tax on the night of the event. If tickets are purchased online or at DFW-area Tom Thumbs beforehand, they’re only $40! Yup! That’s a $30 discount.
  • What do you have to do to get the discount? No need to give your social security number or your firstborn. If you decide to purchase via online, just go here.
  • Are there any freebies? Yes, but you have to be two years old and younger.
  • Are sponsorships available? You need ask. Want proof? Here!
  • So, have fun, raise funds and save yourself some fivers.
* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

Junior League Of Dallas’ 55th Annual Ball Had The Best Of The Past Centerstage As It Took A Final Bow

For some, the Junior League of Dallas’ Encore gala on Saturday, March 4, at the Anatole was a time machine. For others, it was a history lesson of a bygone era when the annual fundraiser was a homemade production called The Junior League Follies. But on this night, it would be the last run of the annual fundraiser. As one organizer said, the 55-year-old event was going off into the sunset. And it was going out with a fanfare, thanks to Ball Chair Isabell Novakov.

Isabell Novakov

First, a little history lesson. The annual fundraiser started in 1962, when Jean Jarmon chaired the first Follies. It was a time when, as former JLD President/1973 Ball Chair Linda Custard recalled with 1977 Ball Chair Gail Madden, the late Doug Perry would create the Follies’ program and songs. For weeks leading up to the show, the JLD members, their husbands and kids would practice for the big show. Talk about “Babes In Arms!” Said Gail, who like Linda was wearing a Gardenia wrist corsage: “We filled the ballroom. That was kind of the heyday.”

Linda Custard and Gail Madden

During those early years, the social season from October to January was dominated by the debutante season, with galas like the Crystal Charity Ball, the Beaux Art Ball and JLD Follies still in their infancy.

But those early Follies undertakings were largely made possible by the fact that women weren’t juggling families, jobs and JLD commitments. Despite the group’s membership growing over the years, the involvement by JLD members and their families transitioned to the demands of the changing times.

Tanya Foster and Paige Slates

The Follies didn’t immediately disappear. But, standing in the reception area outside the Chantilly Ballroom, 2000 Ball chair Debbie Oates said that she saw the writing on the wall when big-name talent began hitting area fundraisers and more and more nonprofits fought for the dollars. She recalled how in her early years as a JLD member, the members would make the decorations and the costumes and try out for parts in the program. But the demands of family, JLD volunteer hours and jobs were reducing the woman-power for the show. So, Debbie slightly slimmed down the emphasis on the production and undertook the transition to a ball setting.

The next year, Ball Chair Nancy Saustad downsized things to a “mini-Follies,” and 2002 Ball Chair Tanya Foster admitted that she finally put the kibosh on the Follies.  

Past Junior League of Dallas Ball chairs

But standing in the VIP reception area, it was like a college reunion with some of the 55 past chairs being the center of attention after posing for a group photo in the ballroom.

Susan Roberds, Karen Shuford, Lydia Novakov, Tomas de la Mata, Debbie Snell and Louise Griffeth

Honorary Chair Karen Shuford, who had made her ball gown the year she chaired the event in 1984, had once again proved her “tailor talents” by making her own gown (black, with a blue overlay) for this evening… Former Fairmont Catering Director Tomas de la Mata, who had been so involved in the Follies during his many years at the Fairmont, was greeted by the likes of former chairs Susan Roberds (1995), Lydia Novakov (1991), Debbie Snell (1992) and Louise Griffeth (1990) like a star football quarterback. Recalled Louise about the Follies: “All the generations used to come. It was a blast!”

Joan Eleazer

Lynn McBee

Amy Turner

Tanya Foster

Elizabeth Gambrell

Wendy Messmann

In front of the ballroom were displayed the gowns of past chairs — Jan Pickens (1980), Joan Eleazer (1985), Lori Whitlow (2003),  Lynn McBee (2004), Amy Turner (2009), Angela Nash (2010), D’Andra Simmons Lock (2011),  Elizabeth Gambrell (2012), Wendy Messmann (2013) and others.

When the doors of the ballroom opened, it was obvious that second-generation JLD Ball Chair Isabell had created an elegant setting with just enough nostalgia for the Ball’s swan song. In addition to round and longer-than-long tables for the three-course dinner (first course: Bibb lettuce with red and yellow grape tomatoes, hearts of palm and lemon tarragon vinaigrette; entree: grilled filet of beef with peppercorn demi-glace potatoes au gratin with gruyere, fresh asparagus and heirloom carrots; and dessert: chocolate bavarois), there was a stage where a final mini-Follies would be performed by Bill Brantley, Clare Chaney, Rachel Davis, Patti Flowers and Kate Newman with Charlotte Ball belting it out.

Encore ballroom

At one point in the evening’s festivities, Linda Custard was asked her thoughts about the annual event’s closing act. “I think it’s just changing times,” she said. “It’s sad from a personal point of view, but [the proliferation of competing galas is] so wonderful for our city.” Then again, who knows? Perhaps in the years to come, like Brigadoon, the Follies/Ball may appear again to raise funds and memories.  

For more photos of the guests and gowns of yesterday, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Junior League Of Dallas’ “Encore”

Former Junior League of Dallas Ball chair gowns

The Junior League of Dallas’ “Encore” on Saturday, March 4, was actually a 55-year-old tradition “going into the sunset.” In the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom reception lobby, there was a nostalgic collection of former ball chairs’ gowns while “oldtimers” recalled past glories to the delight of newbies.

Susan Roberds, Karen Shuford, Lydia Novakov, Tomas de la Mata, Debbie Snell and Louise Griffeth

Inside the ballroom was a stage all set for a group photo of the past chairs and just one final mini-follies.

Junior League of Dallas Ball chairs, past and present

As the post is being prepped, check out the gowns, gals and gents at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Time Is Running Out for Laura Grace Caregiver Award Nominations

The Senior Source*

The clock is ticking for The Senior Source‘s 2nd Annual Laura Grace Caregiver Award nominations. The deadline for nominations of people “who care for, or has cared for, an aging loved one and has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care” is Friday, March 31. Yipes!

 

Here are the requirements for nominations:

  • The recipient must be able to attend the event on Thursday, April 13, at The Kessler Theater. (Two complimentary tickets will be provided.)
  • Neither paid, professional caregivers nor individuals who self-nominate are eligible for the award.
  • Nominee must reside within the greater Dallas area.

The award recipient will be notified on Friday, April 7, of their being selected.

The award will be presented during Jub Jam, benefiting The Senior Source and presented by Sportsradio 1310 “The Ticket.”

Submit your nomination(s) here. As for Jub Jam, it’s sold out. But you know the drill. For a nice check, sponsorship just might be yours.

*  Graphic courtesy of The Senior Source

JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Speaker Will Be Multi-Talented Jamie Lee Curtis (aka Lady Haden-Guest)

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven (File photo)

After weeks of begging, threatening, cajoling and downright nagging, the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven and her Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek finally fessed up who would be the featured speaker at Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 18th annual fundraiser to fight breast cancer.

Tucker and Ola have arranged to have a member of a legendary Hollywood family to be on stage at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26 — Jamie Lee Curtis. The daughter of the late Janet Leigh and the late Tony Curtis and the wife of “This Is Spinal Tap”’s and “Best In Show”’s Christopher Guest for the past 32 years, she has earned her stripes in acting, writing, inventing, and facing the reality of breast cancer.

Jamie Lee Curtis*

In the film world, she made her debut at the age of 20 in John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and instantly became known as the “scream queen” by following that up with “The Fog,” “Prom Night” and “Terror Train” in 1980 and “Halloween II” and “Roadgames” in 1981. But she spread her acting talents beyond the horror genre by appearing in “Trading Places” in 1983, “A Fish Called Wanda” in 1988, “Blue Steel in 1989, “True Lies” in 1994 and “Freaky Friday” in 2003.

But Jamie Lee’s talents weren’t limited to the big and little screens. With two adopted children (Annie Guest and Thomas Guest), she has written a number of children’s books starting in 1993 with “When I was Little: A Four-Year Old’s Memoir of Her Youth.”

Thanks to motherhood, she was spurred into becoming an inventor. Realizing the challenges of “cleaning up,” she invented “a modification of a diaper with a moisture-proof pocket containing wipes that can be taken out and used with one hand. Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diaplors.”

And there’s still more. For instance, she may be known to most folks as Jamie Lee Curtis, but she became Lady Haden-Guest when her husband inherited the Barony of Haden-Guest in 1996.

Rita Wilson (File photo)

However, everything hasn’t been picture perfect. In addition to being the child of divorced parents, having a variety of step-parents and recovering from opiate addiction, she revealed in 2010, “I had my own personal moment of truth 10 years ago when I had a biopsy done on a small, questionable lump in my breast. It was scary… Everything turned out fine, but it brought me very close to understanding how lucky I am to have access to all these resources and great doctors.”

BTW, Jamie Lee is known for being smart, speaking her mind and having a great sense of humor. Translation: This luncheon has all the earmarks of being a perfect follow-up to Rita Wilson’s all-star appearance at last year’s fundraiser. So check out the sponsorship opportunities and tickets availabilities ASAP.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess Netted $125,000 Thanks To Fun And Games

Robyn Siegel and Regina Merson*

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess just took place Friday at the Arboretum and the bean counters have been busy, busy, busy.

Recess Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Sieger just reported the results. Thanks to digging for goodies in the sand pile, bag toss, playing musical chairs, balancing tumble tower, and dining on off-the-diet goodies, $125,000 was netted. BTW, that’s not the gross. It’s the real deal.  No kidding.

Musical chairs*

Dallas AfterSchool is celebrating its 10th anniversary and this is a sweet way to celebrate.

* Photo credit: Steve Wrubel

Momentous Institute And The Lynn Lectures Offer Solutions For A Less Stressful Life Tuesday Night At McFarlin Auditorium

Love And Wisdom In A Time Of Stress — The Art And Science Of Mindfulness From The Cellular To The Planetary, By Way Of The Body And The Mind*

With all that hail and stormy weather last night and the fussing going on in Washington, stress seems to be the call of the day and that’s downright unhealthy. To help address the issue of stress, Momentous Institute and The Lynn Lectures have partnered up to present “Love And Wisdom In A Time Of Stress — The Art And Science Of Mindfulness From The Cellular To The Planetary, By Way Of The Body And The Mind.”

 

The presentation will take place Tuesday at McFarlin Auditorium on SMU campus at 7 p.m. with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Elissa Epel addressing “the art and science of mindfulness and living younger, including the telomere/life-enhancing effects of nutrition, exercise and meditation at any age.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn and Elissa Epel*

While Jon will “discuss the psychological, physiological and immune-enhancing effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and its remarkable effects on daily life’s challenges, as well as enhancing well-being,” Elissa will talk about “her groundbreaking results studying the effects of psychological stress and lifestyle on biological aging and how they can be modulated and possibly reversed by regular mindfulness practice, nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle practices.”

The $50- and $100-seats are already sold out, but there are still tickets available for $25 and that’s not too stressful.

* Graphic and photos courtesy of Momentous Institute

The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Luncheon Had DWTS’s Nancy Kerrigan, Unexpected Add-Ons To The Program And Rumbling Tummies

After years of holding luncheons at hotels and last year’s breakfast at the Belo, The Elisa Project held a luncheon for its Life Lessons fundraiser at the Belo on Friday, March 3. It kicked off with a VIP reception at 11:00, but, unlike other meet-and-greet receptions with the celebrity du jour, this one had no grip-and-grin photo opp with luncheon speaker Nancy Kerrigan, or even a sponsor backdrop. Instead, guests passed the word that “She’s over there” and “She’s so sweet” and “She looks wonderful” and snapped photos with the accommodating Kerrigan.

Kim Bannister, Ariana Luterman, Nancy Kerrigan and Allana Luterman

Alas, a photo of Co-Chairs Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Melissa Rountree, Kerrigan and Honorary Chair Toni Munoz-Hunt was stalled. Word was passed that “Toni is on her way” as the doors to the ballroom opened just after 11:30. Then tall, gorgeous Toni gathered with Nancy, Rhonda and Melissa for a snap.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Toni Munoz Hunt, Nancy Kerrigan and Melissa Rountree

In the crowd of supporters were Kim Bannister, Holly Davis, Pamela Graham, Carlotta Lennox, mom-to-be Jenny Anchondo, Ellen Winspear, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law-to-be Bela Pjetrovic, Tiffany Divis, Lynn McBee and Nancy Gopez.

Nancy Gopez and Tiffany Divis

Carlotta Lennox and Pamela Graham

Lisa Cooley, Jenny Anchondo and Bela Pjetrovic

As The Elisa Project Executive Director Kim Martinez stood on the floor with mic in hand, she called the group to their seats at tables pre-set with salads, desserts, a bowl of bread, a floral arrangement, water and ice tea. More about this setup later.

The printed program set out a plan for just five speakers — Kim, The Elisa Project Board Chair Dr. Stephanie Setliff, Star of Hope Awardee Dr. Andy McGarrahan, LEAD Awardee Ariana Luterman and keynoter Kerrigan. Instead, the program was extended with multiple unscripted speakers.

Following the invocation, Stephanie had Rhonda and Melissa come to the podium to talk about their helping those with eating disorders. They, in turn, thanked Toni, whom they asked to address the group.

It was then announced that the Esteem Fashion Show fundraiser would be held once again at Tootsies in the fall.  When the announcement of the Esteem honorary chair was made, the supposed honorary chair looked stunned. She had already told them she couldn’t do it. Oops.

Stephanie presented the Star of Hope Award to Dr. Andy McGarrahan, who twinned humility with humor in accepting the award.

Stephanie Setliff

Andrew McGarrahan

After Andy’s acceptance, Stephanie announced she was going off-script. Co-Chair Rhonda looked at her timeline and looked a bit baffled. But before she could figure out what was going on, she heard Stephanie tell of Rhonda’s commitment to the organization over the years and asked her to come back to the stage to receive a token of appreciation. Despite being caught off guard, Rhonda thanked her mom and dad (“Perhaps you should have worn a tie”), her husband and family, and told how much The Elisa Project meant to her.

Kim then presented the LEAD Award to Greenhill student wunderkind Ariana for her volunteering to handle The Elisa Project’s social media. In the audience, Ariana’s mother, Allana Luterman, recorded her daughter’s acceptance on her cellphone.

As a video was shown about The Elisa Project, some guests were starting to wonder if the seasonal mixed salad with herb vinaigrette had been the entrée. After all, it was 35 minutes into the program and the salads and dressing were long gone. All that remained were the empty salad plates putting the desserts just beyond reach. At one table a guest with long arms reached for the passel of rolls and started to pass it around. As more presentations of speakers and a video continued, the floral arrangements were starting to look downright tasty.

Whitney Kutch

In making a call for money at the 45-minute mark, Elisa Board Member Whitney Kutch came to the stage and announced that she and Melissa were issuing a $4,000-challenge for guests to match. 

Finally, Kim announced there would be a break for lunch. Quickly, the staff replaced the salad plates with dishes of chicken, carrots and whipped potatoes. Luckily, Nancy’s table was one of the first to be served. She managed to take a couple of bites before being called to the podium.

Her life story has truly been challenging. There had been the Tonya Harding episode; the heart-breaking efforts for Olympic gold; her brother’s being on trial for their father’s death; her recently announced joining the “2017 Dancing With the Stars” cast.

Would she speak on all, or just one, of those subjects? Instead, she spoke extemporaneously for 30 minutes about everything from her kids to her own challenges of looking figure perfect and fitting into costumes. A couple of times during her talk she admitted that she was bouncing from subject to subject.

Nancy Kerrigan

Then she teared up and told how she had truly been touched by Leslie and Rick McCall’s motivation in creating The Elisa Project to fulfill their late daughter’s wish to help prevent others from the agony of eating disorders. That would have been the perfect place to have ended the talk. But Kerrigan continued, with some guests slipping out at this point and others sneaking peaks at their watches.

Nearing the end of her talk, Nancy admitted she had been guilty of unhealthy care-taking. She had put others’ needs before her own and had worked to overcome that practice. However, she revealed that she was helping one of her sons, who seemed to be following his mother’s care-taking role.

Instead of allowing guests to head to their cars, Kim took to the floor with mic in hand for questions from the audience. Less than a handful of hands were raised, while others headed for the door.

JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests’ finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy. Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats. Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish. Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea