The Gingerbread Stroll Nears The End Of The Road, But There’s Still Time To Bid And Vote On A Confectionary Cottage

Thursday may be the first day of December, but, alas, it’s the last day of the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll in Highland Park Village. If you haven’t made it yet, stop pussyfooting around and check out the marvelously decorated cookie cottages at Betta Gallery, Bistro 31, Kiehl’s, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Royal Blue Grocery, Stella McCartney, Trina Turk and Village Barber Shop.

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The cuisine builders include A Sweet Life, Architecture Demarest, artist Evelyn J. Fallgren, Charlies, Chef Winter Lockwood-Frank, Chocolate Secrets, Hilton Anatole, Hotel Crescent Court, Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion, Omni Dallas Hotel and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

And since it is the last day of the stroll, put your bid in for one of the houses… except for one. 

Just heard from Gingerbread founding sweetie Christine McKenny that Evelyn’s  confectionary delight at Leggiadro is off the market. Seems someone snatched it up for the buy-it-now bid of $1,000. Perhaps the Dave Perry Miller folks should post a “Sold” sign out front!

Evelyn J. Fallgren's sold gingerbread house*

Evelyn J. Fallgren’s sold gingerbread house*

But Evelyn has another masterpiece over at Robert Talbott that is still up for bid. It’s quite a looker, too!

And Christine also revealed there has been a late arrival from Chef Julie Price to the gingerbread development. It’s at Nasiba Adilova’s and Miroslava Duma‘s The Tot pop-up shop. Since it is the holiday season, Christine has decided to let this adorable home stay on the auction bloc after Thursday night. But don’t wait too long to check it out and put a bid in.

Remember, all bids and votes for your favs (except the one at The Tot) end Thursday night when the stores go dark.

Since its inception in 2011, the Stroll has provided more than $40,000 for area children in need through organizations like this year’s recipient Community Partners of Dallas.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of The Gingerbread Stroll

JUST IN: Marketing Executive Andrea Alcorn To Serve As Honorary Chair For Upcoming SPCA’s Paws Cause

If you haven’t already got your 2017 calendar, hustle and get it now! Believe it or not, dates are being lined up and even the usual January ho-hums are turning into “Oh, my’s”.

Why, Saturday, January 28, is looking like a collision course of fundraising with the 19th Annual Bishop’s Gala (with Huey Lewis and the News but without a Bishop), the ChildCare Group‘s Great Adventure Hunt at the Perot and The Birthday Party Project celebrating its own fifth birthday at The Bomb Factory.

Andrea Alcorn (File photo)

Andrea Alcorn (File photo)

Now word comes that Sunday, January 29, is not going to be a stay-at-home day. The annual SPCA of TexasPaws Cause is gonna be partying it up at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Center from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” and the honorary chair will be blonde marketing exec Andrea Alcorn, who is also serving as president of KidneyTexas this year. That gal is gonna be busy!

Back to Paws Cause: This year’s event will be grazing feast with food from Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia and more!

Benefiting the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair, the event is being coordinated by the 2017 Steering Committee including Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Blythe Beck, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Christina Miller, Janice Provost, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi.

According to insiders, the Rees-Jones Animal Center residents are going to be all gussied up for the evening with hopes of impressing potential new BFFs.  

Tickets are available here.

Champion Of Children Award Dinner Guest Speaker Antwone Fisher Strikes A Chord As Dallas CASA Honors NorthPark Center

On the evening of Thursday, October 27, the reception area outside the Fairmont Hotel’s International Ballroom was packed. The big ballroom, after all, was about to play host to the 2016 Champion of Children Award Dinner benefiting Dallas CASA, which advocates for abused and neglected children, and nearly 550 guests were expected—more than last year’s total.

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Greeting friends in the crowded foyer were the likes of Caroline Rose Hunt, Lynn and Roy Shelton, Debra Nelson, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Dallas CASA board member Christie Carter, Frank Risch, Judge Andrea Matin, Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon, Jana and Mike Brosin (their Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti was the dinner’s presenting sponsor), Angela and Jim Thompson, Betsy and Richard Eiseman and Jan Sanders.

Jan is the widow of Judge Barefoot Sanders, the well-known political figure and longtime U.S. district judge—and steadfast supporter of Dallas CASA, whose annual Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award bears his name. “When they named an award after him, I thought I’d better put up or shut up,” Jan said with a smile, eying the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. “So I’ve been a CASA court advocate for three years.”

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Inside the ballroom, meantime, Mary Martha and Dr. John Pickens were peering out the tall glass windows, admiring the spectacular sunset. Soon enough, the hall behind them had filled, and event co-chairs Karen Carney, Kristy Hoglund Robinson, and Joe Manogue were onstage welcoming everyone. “Normally we would ask you to put away your phones, but tonight we ask you to take out your phones and text,” said Joe. “Let’s raise $100,000 tonight!”

With that, Kathleen LaValle, the Dallas CASA executive director and president, took the podium to pay tribute to the evening’s honoree and winner of the Judge Sanders award, NorthPark Center. As Kathleen explained, NorthPark for 21 years has hosted the annual Parade of Playhouses, which raises money for Dallas CASA and attracts volunteers to the nonprofit. In addition, she said, NorthPark secured five billboards across Dallas County touting Dallas CASA—and the group had only asked for one!

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Accepting the award was NorthPark co-owner Nancy Nasher, who had invited to the dinner members of her NorthPark team, including G.M. Billy Hines, Special Event Managers Lona Crabb and the workmen who’d transported the playhouses into the center. Nancy said NorthPark has become “a place to learn about social causes” and, in 2015, celebrated its 50th anniversary by donating more than $1 million to 50 Dallas nonprofits, many of them benefiting children. (Dallas CASA, in fact, was the first of the groups to receive a donation.) Then she made a surprise announcement: “We will donate space once again on our prime billboard, at Walnut Hill and North Central Expressway, to Dallas CASA.”

After Nancy received a heartfelt standing ovation, Dallas CASA board chair John Gibson reiterated the group’s need for more advocates and more funds and said that, so far, more than $50,000 had been raised just during the dinner. Then he introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Antwone Fisher. Antwone is a director, screenwriter, film producer, and author who grew up in an abusive foster home—and then was homeless—before joining the United States Navy and turning his life around. His life was the subject of a 2002 movie, called “Antwone  Fisher,” that starred Denzel Washington and was based on Antwone’s memoir, “Finding Fish.”

Antwone Fisher*

Antwone Fisher*

During his talk, Antwone recalled that his mother was 17 and in prison when he was born in 1959. He was abused during 18 years in foster care, he remembered, and dealt with a total of 13 social workers during that time. Despite the years of abuse—and his experiences encountering pimps and drug dealers along the way, as well—Antwone said, “I learned to appreciate my fear. I wasn’t afraid of being afraid. If you’re not afraid, [bad] things can happen.”

During his years as a homeless person on the streets of Cleveland, he went on, he stole—but only for food and necessities like shoes, galoshes, and a warm coat. It was during this period that he saw a sign saying, “Join the Navy,” which he decided to do. He willed himself to pass the necessary tests, even though he couldn’t read, and, over the next 11 years in the service, turned his life around.

“If I had had a CASA [a court-appointed special advocate] as a boy, I would have grown close to that person and they would have been able to help me, like they do all over the country,” Antwone said. “Having an advocate who can speak for you is so important. When I was a kid, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. … Sometimes all it takes is one person caring about you.”

After the evening’s second standing ovation—this one for Antwone—event co-chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham took the stage to wrap things up. A total of $53,440 had been raised during the event, they announced, which, thanks to a $50,000 match, meant that Dallas CASA was $103,000 richer just since the first course was served. That amount, the guests realized happily as they made for the exits, would pay for a lot of advocates for a lot of Antwones.  

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

2016 Mission Olé Dazzled Chicken Scratch And The Foundry With Over-The-Top Festivities And Funding For Trinity River Mission

The only problem for 17th Annual Mission Olé guests on Thursday, October 27, was the arrival. As the newcomers’ luxury vehicles tried to locate the Trinity River Mission fundraiser at Chicken Scratch and The Foundry, some took a premature left turn and found themselves in an apartment parking lot.

Once recovering from the wrong-way turn, they were faced with vehicles with flashing lights. No, it wasn’t a police raid, it was a trio of road construction crews.

Day of the Dead human statues

Day of the Dead human statues

Once arriving, it was dazzling for both first timers and old timers as they were greeted by mariachis singing their hearts out. With multi-colored serapes wrapped around the chairs, the colorful tableclothes, arrangements of paper flowers and little yellow lanterns were the perfect setting. Chicken Scratch simply dazzled. Day of the Dead human statues were frozen in place. Face painters found themselves creating masterpieces non-stop. A fire pit glowed despite the 80-degree temperatures. An entire wall of silent auction items could hardly be seen because of the viewers checking out the merchandise.One gent even tried on the Villy’s Di de los Muertos bike for size.

Ann Kellogg Schooler, Cindy Turner, Margaret Spellings and Matt Schooler

Ann Kellogg Schooler, Cindy Turner, Margaret Spellings and Matt Schooler

Co-Chairs Lesley Chambless, Ann Kellogg Schooler and Margaret Spellings were stopped every two inches and being congratulated on the event. In turn the gals attributed the success to their advisor/Past Chair Cindy Turner.

Lesley Chambless

Lesley Chambless

Dennis and Laura Moon

Dennis and Laura Moon

Dolores Sosa Green

Dolores Sosa Green

Lynn McBee and Shannon Callewart

Lynn McBee and Shannon Callewart

While Ann and Trinity River Mission Executive Director Dolores Sosa Green embraced the theme — Day of the Dead — by having her face made up, Margaret, Lesley and other guests like Sunie and Steve Solomon, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn McBee, Shannon Callewart, Caren and Pete Kline, Sara and David Martineau and Gail Fischer with daughter Elizabeth Fischer and sons, Ford Fischer and Chad Fischer, steered toward the more traditional party look.

Chad Fischer, Gail Fischer and Ford Fischer

Chad Fischer, Gail Fischer and Ford Fischer

Cliff Fischer and Charles Haley

Cliff Fischer and Charles Haley

Cliff Fischer was talking with Charles Haley about their upcoming poker game that Cliff had won at Cattle Baron’s Ball.

On stage Rise and Shine played loud enough to be heard on the other side of the Trinity. And while the stage was strong enough to handle the band, organizers decided that it might not hold up for the Mission Ole dancers. No problem. The performances were held on the concrete walkway.  

Thanks to emcee Scott Murray pulling double duty as the live auctioneer, the net was $315,000, nearly double what was pulled in last year.

JUST IN: Dallas Film Society Announces New Board Members And Reveals Returning/New Dallas International Film Festival Sponsors

Evidently, the Dallas Film Society isn’t taking time off for the holidays. Word just arrived that the film-loving organization has not only added a couple of new members to its board, but it’s also locked down some returning sponsors for its Dallas International Film Festival that kicks off on Thursday, March 30, at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

The new members of the board are advertising executive Eric Hirschhorn and University of Texas at Arlington adjunct professor Rebecca Flores.

Rebecca Flores*

Rebecca Flores*

Eric Hirschhorn*

Eric Hirschhorn*

According to DFS Chair Mark Denesuk, “As we head into the organization’s second decade, we continue to steadily add strength through new voices, new ideas, and new energy, from the arts, education, and business community. Drawing from both the film and education world, Rebecca continues to add emphasis to the two primary focuses of DFS, and Eric brings another valuable viewpoint from the world of advertising and marketing. Their talent, experience and vision, will help us greatly as we continue our efforts to grow in our second decade.”

They’ll be joining current board members Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Jason Cleveland, Paul Coggins, Clare Freeman, Suzanne Bock Grishman, Mary Hatcher, Geoff Hawkes, Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Dallas Sonnier, Larry Waks and Maureen Womack.

As for the partnerships, The Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation will once again be the presenting sponsor “of both the legendary DFS Honors Awards Dinner and the DIFF 2017 Audience Awards.”

Joining the sponsorship list for a first time will be Mercury One Foundation that will be the new presenting sponsor for “DIFF’s annual High School Day and the year-round High School Roundtable program.”

The film submission software program Withoutabox is also a newbie on the sponsorship list joining other confirmed 2017 DIFF sponsors including Abco, Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, CineState, the City of Dallas – Office of Cultural Affairs, Commerce House, the Dallas Film Commission, Downtown Dallas Inc., El Creative, the Highland Dallas hotel, the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office – San Francisco, Lucky Post, the People’s Last Stand, PreKindle, Selig Polyscope, Stella Artois and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Follow the jump for the full-blown press release.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Film Society

[Read more…]

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas’ Annual Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas President/CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

“Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway! I wish for the community to help us in providing 11,000 gift wishes for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of toys through Friday, December 9.

“For thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County, the holidays are just another day; one more day that they are reminded that no one cares. By supporting Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies can grant specific gift requests to children most in need of holiday joy.

“Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first gift they have ever been given.

“A significant need this Christmas is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Walmart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy or Best Buy are always appreciated. As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include bikes, African American Dolls, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, ANYTHING from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, small tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

“Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

 “All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas 75212 no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or [email protected] or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.” 

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas president/CEO

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

2016 MySweetWishList Kicks Off Monday!

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

After digesting turkey Thursday, shopping on Black Friday and keyboarding into Cyber Monday, the 2016 holiday season is well under way. Hopefully, you haven’t spent all of your pennies on cards, foods and gifts for family and friends.

Okay, you know what’s coming. There are many who could really use a last-minute push to meet those approaching end-of-year budgets. And then there are the children who don’t know what’s to celebrate. They live in homes where neglect, anger and hopelessness are the protocol. You could provide that one toy that might send the message that there is hope for a better life.

With all this in mind, the MySweetWishList series will commence Monday and run through December.

Sure, the “wishes” are going to be geared to seek your help, but they may also provide you with information about services, opportunities and organizations that haven’t made your radar.

2017 Art Ball Reveal Guests Happily Settled Into Cathy Kincaid Hudson’s So Comfy Cottage

Lee Hobson

Lee Hobson

Ann Hobson (File photo)

Ann Hobson (File photo)

Unlike last year’s Art Ball announcement party at Lisa Blue Baron’s sprawling estate, 2017 Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson opted for small and special on Thursday, October 27, to reveal plans for the Dallas Museum of Art black-tie fundraiser. And they knew just the person to provide it — interior designer Cathy Kincaid Hudson’s home-sweetest-home.

Blending the charm of a European cottage with comfy chairs that seemed to beg for settling into the art on the walls, it was the type of bungalow that any movie screenwriter envisions as perfection.

Jeff Byron, Cathy Kincaid Hudson and Kevin Hurst

Jeff Byron, Cathy Kincaid Hudson and Kevin Hurst

Ah, but the adorable digs had way so much more. Just behind the fenced backyard was the pool and the marvelous guest house.

When Cathy was asked about her home, she told how she had only been there a couple of years. Her previous residence on Mockingbird had been lost to a fire.

David and Ann Sutherland

David and Ann Sutherland

But now she was nicely settled in with her pooches, cats and chickens.  

Only problem of the night was trying to squeeze through the crowd of guests like Brooke Hortenstine, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and last year’s Art Co-Chairs Ann and David Sutherland.

As for the announcement, the date is Saturday, April 22, when Ann and Lee will turn the DMA into “All That Glitters” a la “Flowers in a Case With Two Doves.” Think romantic at the DMA. 

And start saving those pennies, because the live auction is going to be curated by Merry Vose and Rajan Patel, so it’s bound to be a beaut.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Love the levels — Versailles, Vaux-Le-Vicomte, Saint-Germain, Bagatelle, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud and Table Du Maire et/Ou Directeur.

Vive la France et DMA!

Holly And Jim Trester Opened Their Estate For Boys And Girls Club Of Greater Dallas’ 2016 Billiard Ball Patron Party

Holly Trester and Charles English

Holly Trester and Charles English

It was a small, interconnected world indeed when about 50 guests gathered at Holly and Jim Trester’s stunning estate for a charity kickoff party on Tuesday, October 26. The fete with food everywhere was to ramp up interest in the 2016 Billiard Ball, an annual fundraiser for the Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas that was scheduled for Saturday, November 12, at the Hilton Anatole.

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

The ball, which was set to honor Helen and Clint Murchison, would be co-chaired by Laura and Dennis Moon, who were chatting amiably with guests at the Tresters’ place. Jim, who serves on the BGCD board, explained that, as a principal at the Ryan tax firm, he’d worked for two decades with Kimberly-Clark CEO Tom Falk. It was Tom, Jim went on, who’d asked him to sponsor a table at the 2016 Billiard Ball.

Jim Trester

Jim Trester

The ball has raised more than $2.4 million since its inception for the clubs, which boast 7,500 members at 31 sites in North Texas.

Not far away, Wendy and Boyd Messman were admiring Jim’s extensive collection of Dallas Mavericks and other sports memorabilia. Wendy, it turns out, works at U.S. Trust with Dennis. Holly, meantime, was greeting guests and chatting with Charles R. English, president and CEO of BGCD.

Nearby, Laura Brown was also introducing herself to attendees. Laura had just joined the Boys & Girls Clubs as vice president of advancement, focusing on major gifts and planned giving. “My passion is in youth development,” Laura was saying to a guest. This was her first day on the job—and, given all the excitement around the upcoming Billiard Ball, she couldn’t have picked a better day to start. 

Dallas Animal Services Is Having A Free-For-All From Black Friday To Cyber Monday Thanks To Zappos’ “Home For The Pawlidayz”

The Dallas Animal Services has such a special deal going on from Black Friday to Cyber Monday!

Adopted cat

Adopted cat

Adopted pooch

Adopted pooch

Thanks to Zappos’ “Home For The Pawlidayz” program, all animals at DAS will be free for adoption. Yup, that’s right. So, why wait in line or wear your manicured nails on the keyboard searching for the purr-fect (sorry, but couldn’t resist that one) gift, when s/he is just panting for you to come get ’em?

BTW, Zappos’ goal is to have 9,000 pets adopted nationally to “honor the 9,000 dogs and cats killed in America’s shelters each day simply because they do not have a safe place to call home.”