Only The Best Rise To The Occasion For TACA

While others cheered for their teams at Highlander and Ford stadiums Friday night, a well-heeled 250 pulled out their wallets and invested in Dallas culture. No, they didn’t call up their stockbroker and buy a load of equities. They attended the sold-out TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion to fund-raise for local arts.

The cocktail reception alone was magical with a nonstop cast of staff passing the most delicious appetizers that required little if any mess. There are a couple of tricks that event organizers know so well. For appetizers, no double dipping in sauces is number one. Second, never serve anything that can’t be eaten in one bite. There is nothing worse than balancing a drink in one hand and the second bite in another, all while trying to conduct a conversation.

But like we said, this was a well-heeled crowd with an equally Gosford Park staff in attendance. No mistakes were to be allowed.

It was also a community of friends, many of whom hadn’t seen each other since their summer hiatuses in La Jolla, The Hamptons or in the Rockies. “Hi, girlfriend,” was the greeting call among many of the blondes whose roots have never been exposed. As for the men, it was a handshake with the right hand and the left hand on the other fellow’s shoulder. The whole scene reminded you of sorority and fraternity reunions.

Newcomers to this soiree, though rare, were easy to spot. Their mouths gaped open and their pupils expanded as they beheld the jewelry and clothes worn by the veterans. With darling Judith Leiber bags glittering, it was obvious that the least expensive accessory for the evening was the ladies’ pedicures. For this group wears tuxedos and gowns the way most folks wear a smile — naturally and happily.

But don’t think it’s a show of ostentatious consumption. The jewelry is never overdone and the dresses are always in the very best of taste. For instance, Emily Summers‘ (pictured) beige silk cocktail dress by late great 6267 team sparkled with bead trim. Her jewelry of gold band bracelets, pearl and gold necklace and gold drop earrings highlighted the look exquisitely. Oh, and did we mention her matching Louboutins? But don’t think Emily stressed and stewed over her ensemble. She just naturally knows how to put “the look” of natural perfection together.

Major fashion statement of the night was the bare-arm look among the ladies. They must have been working out all summer to tone up.

Ah, but not all fashion was perfection. There was the adorable gal in the black cocktail dress with the grey suede fringe heels that pushed the any-high-heel-is-a-great-high-heel deal to the limit.

And then there were the men in their Brioni, Hugo Boss and Armani tuxedos. Some opted for double breasted and others added a touch of color with a red handkerchief or a colorful bow tie like Ken Travis. Yes, there was even a true minority group that opted for the non-black-tie, black-tie look, like Steve Durham and Don Carty. But then they could get away with it thanks to wives Ana Carty and Barbara Durham.

But back to the cocktail reception in the Promenade and ballroom, where the nine auction items were being perused. While some guests checked the various items, others had been plotting for days which they would be bidding on.

Then it was time to head to the Mansion restaurant, Sheppard King Suite, bar and wine cellar for a feast prepared by Executive Food Wizard Bruno Davaillon. But herding this blue-ribbon crowd does not mean clanging of chimes or flashing of lights. No, instead TACA organizers and Mansion hierarchy gently suggested that their guests take the front door through the auto courtyard to the restaurant entrance. Why not go straight through the hallway connecting the Promenade to the dining areas? Because the anorexic passageway might crush a full skirt, and one never crowds this crowd. Besides it was a spectacular night and the stroll seemed as enchanting as the evening.

But a few pokey types still in the Promenade raised their noses like bird dogs on scent. “Do you smell something burning?” Heads turned, looking in all directions. No, the votive candles on the cocktail tables were behaving themselves. Nor was it a maverick cigarette left lit too long. “È vietato fumare,” you know. One cool Mansion staffer smiled and said, “It must be something that Chef is cooking up.”

Following the multi-course dinner with perfect wine pairings, the guests were ready to take on the evening’s action. With auctioneer Mike Jones on the podium surrounded by reserved tables for some of the more familiar bidders, the scene was set to make $100,000 off nine items. Despite the crowds’ growing chattier as the bids went up, Mike was able to be heard over the din as his spotters located bidders. Steve Summers looking very tan and happy at his table on the front row topped all others for the Bulgari watches (one for him and one for Emily). . . Gwen Echols and Susie Bashore (pictured left with Gwen Echols) were high-fiving each other after posting the winning bid for the Lela Rose Runway and Dinner Party Valentine’s weekend in NYC. . .After snagging the trips to four Rosewood hotels/resorts, Rebecca Fletcher immediately hugged the Mansion’s Tracy Fitz before hugging her husband Barron, who had won the trips. . .  . The big spender of the night was Bill Bogart, who paid $15,000  for a trip to Paris and the French countryside complete with French lessons. Needless to say, wife Brenda (pictured right with Bill Bogart)was pleased with her husband’s decisive win. . . . and then there were the dinners.

Judging from the auction action regarding the dinners, there are a lot of high-profiled folks who are hungry. Across the room, Hal Brierley got into a bidding match with petite Faye Briggs, (pictured) who met his challenge for a Kent Rathbun dinner for 30 at the former 48 Nights. Thank heaven, TACA negotiators worked out a deal where a second dinner was added, so both Hal and Faye got their own dinners at $12,500 apiece.  . . Hal’s tablemates Helen and Frank Risch (pictured left with, from the left, Hal and Diane Brierley and Helen Risch) decided to get in on the action for the “Stellar (Mansion Wine) Cellar Dining” for eight, plus the top chaps from the Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Theater Center. But it was going to come with a battle royale. From the crowd standing toward the back of the room, attorney Nick Even (pictured left with Heather Alexander) countered with his own bids. Hal with wife Diane had purchased a similar dinner last year with Jaap van Zweden and knew how truly regal the occasion could be. So, Mr. B suggested the Brierleys go in together with the Risches on the bidding. With that suggestion the bidding rose to $10,000. Quickly, the TACA mediators saw another double-whammy opportunity and moved into action resulting in both the Risch team and Nick getting their own dinners with the artistic types for a cool $10,000 each.

On the sidelines, TACA Board Chair Lynn McBee, who had worked out earlier in the day, was getting a second workout coordinating all the deals with TACA Executive Director Becky Young. But it was all worth it when you realized that TACA not only hit its $100,000 mark, it surpassed it–thanks to a lot of hungry folks who know a bargain when they see one.

Tiny Sparrow Foundation Is Not For The Birds

Don’t be fooled by the name — Tiny Sparrow Foundation. It  does not benefit our feathered friends. It was founded to connect volunteer photographers with families of children with life-threatening illnesses. Each family is photographed and presented a “Tiny Sparrow Album” at no cost. The foundation was the brainchild of breast cancer survivor Lidia Boicu, who took up photography during her treatments. Through her experiences, Lidia learned how a “collection of photographs that captured the life and spirit inside” the little patients brought joy to their families through difficult times.

To help support the project, “Pictures of Hope” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at True Rumors Boutique with cocktails, food from Fresh Point, It’s a Cooking Party, Silk Road, Cafe Malaga, Ronnie Ruth’s, Texas Star Bakery and Oh, Brownie! There will be a fashion show with models and Tiny Sparrow children showing off the latest fashions.

The event is open and free with proceeds from the silent auction including trips to Mexico, Florida and Northern California going to the foundation.

Angels And Aces Preview Party Was In The Clouds At Tracy And Kent Rathbun’s Penthouse

Chef Kent Rathbun has a schedule that the White House couldn’t manage. From managing five restaurants locally and launching his Elements line, he is BMOC (Big Man Of Chefs) in Dallas for his philanthropic work. Whether it’s helping to raise money for various causes personally or having his restaurants support nonprofits, Kent and his wife Tracy (pictured) are treasures.

Thursday night they opened their penthouse at the Heights at Park Lane including their more-than-generous patio with views of NorthPark, downtown Dallas and the newest Whole Foods on the block. The sky was clear, Dallas dazzled and the food never stopped. The occasion for the Rathbun hospitality was the 2010 Signature Chefs Auction Preview Party for the March of DimesAngels & Aces on October 13. Taking place at the Frontiers of Flight Museum this year, Kent revealed that in addition to the 20 chefs participating at various stations throughout the facility, 40 Napa Valley wineries have signed up to add a little vino to the occasion.

Event Co-chairs Brynn and Taylor Allday and Sue and Britt Fair have also arranged for a stellar lineup of sponsors including

  • Platinum sponsors — Napa Valley Vintners and Texas Health Resources
  • Gold sponsors — American Airlines, Comerica Bank, Domaine Chandon, Ernst & Young and The Rathbun Art Party
  • Media Sponsors — KDFW-FOX, F!D Luxe, 100.3-FM, 98.7-FM and 103.7-FM
  • Silver Sponsors — Diane and Hal Brierley and Sue and Joe Neuhoff Jr.
  • Bronze Sponsors — FTI Consulting, GDF Suez Energy Resources NA and Mike and Mary Terry
  • Copper Sponsors — AlixPartners LLP, Acqua Pann/San Pellegrino, Anita and Tom Braun, Brynn Bagot Public Relations, Frost, Ben E. Keith Family Foundation, David Guedry, Hexter-Fair Title Company, Mathes & Co., Merryvale/Diane & Michael McNulty, Mondics Insurance Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Reinhardt Creative, Southwest Securities Inc., Texas Land Care, Trinity Industries Inc., Vinson & Wlkins and WhiteHorse Capital Partners L.P.

The Auction Preview Party at the Rathbun’s was sponsored by Whole Foods and Starmont of Napa Valley.

Cattle Baron’s Underwriters Get a Taste Of The Great State Fair

Evidently Mother Nature has been in weather recovery since last year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball because she was on her bestest behavior Thursday night when the underwriters were partied thanks to Watson Tower and Andrews Distributing at Jennifer and Greg Duncan‘s compound on Armstrong. With Big Tex literally greeting you in person at the front door, the mood for The Great State Fair was set before you even walked in. Then feng shui kicked into place as guests filled the mansion and felt right at home in the main house and the back grounds with its pools and exterior entertainment area.

It was a realtors’ delight evidently because Erin Mathews (pictured left with Don and Barbara Daseke) and her partner David Nichols were there as was Dave Perry-Miller.

Needless to say, one of the most populated places of gathering was the mega kitchen where Wolfgang Puck’s folks were cooking up a storm.

CBB Ball Chair Kristi Sherrill Hoyl (pictured left with D’Andra Simmons) was cool, calm and very collected with just a touch of mischief in her eye. Everything is under control with some surprises in store for the October 9 event at Southfork.

What surprises? “Just wait and see,” the blonde smiled. But what if there are storms? Kristi without hesitation reported that “We’ll just move indoors.” But you’re expecting 3,000! Like a general with the confidence of knowing her troops were in place and ready to rock ‘n roll, Kristi showed no doubt that all her ducks were in a row.

And speaking of ducks in a row, CBB members like Kristi Bare, JB Hayes and Katie Bock (pictured right with Bill Brewer) were as ready as car salesmen on the last day of the month. They’re ready to sell raffle tickets. And what are they raffling off this year? How about:

  • Sunrise Villa Resort – Hidden away on the beautiful northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Sunrise Villa is naturally blessed with breathtaking views of the crystal-blue Carribbean. Located in the exclusive, American-owned Orchid Bay Estates — a beachfront gated community — the two-acre villa comprises eight air-conditioned bedroom suites, each with a full bath and ocean view. The suites are located in five separate houses, all strategically clustered around a private, crystal-clear pool. Mańana Bar and hot tub. With concierge, daily housekeeping and in-house chef, Sunrise Villa is fully staffed and ready to cater to all  your needs. Donated by Sunrise Villa — Value: $12,000
  • Capella Pedregal Resort — Cabo San Lucas — Start with a beach so private, it takes a 1,000-foot tunnel through a granite mountain to get there. Your seven-night stay at the recently unveiled Capella Pedregal Resort includes a four-bedroom, 4,000-square -foot villa with dual master suites, two private plunge pools and your very own majordomo awaiting your arrival. Enjoy the plentiful resort dining venues, the highly indulgent Auriga Spa, the state-of-the-art fitness center and all the intuitive services of the luxurious Capella brand. This amazing vacation also includes an afternoon created to your own personal wishes on one of Capella Pedregal’s fleet of 60-foot and larger Viking yachts. Donated by Capella Pedregal Resort — Value: $18,000
  • NorthPark Gold — Experience the all-time ultimate shopping spree at NorthPark Center with $109,000 of NorthPark Gold. You’ll have more than 235 stores and restaurants in which to spend your Gold, including Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Eiseman Jewels, Bottega Veneta, De Beers and TOD’S. We’ll even throw in a prize package filled with gift certificates, special offers and fabulous gifts from the incredible boutiques at NorthPark Center. Donated by NorthPark Center — Value: $12,000
  • 2011 Porsche Boxster — After you cowboys and cowgirls put your horses up in the barn, hop in to this 2011 Porsche Boxster for the ride into tow. Porsche’s popular mid-engine roadster features everything you would expect: high performance, lightweight construction, sporting ability and pure driving pleasure, with more muscle under the hood and more aggressive exterior styling. So saddle up and put the spurs to her! Donated by Park Place Porsche — Value: $55,000
  • Eiseman Jewels and Rolex — Rolex — the leading name in timepieces and the preeminent symbol of performance and prestige for over a century. Choose from Eiseman Jewels’ newly-expanded men’s and women’s Rolex collection with your $10,000 gift certificate. You’re sure to make a statement with your Rolex from Eiseman Jewels NorthPark Center. Donated by Eiseman Jewels NorthPark — Value: $10,000
  • His and Hers Lucchese Boots— You’ll be ready for any event when you arrive wearing your one-of-a-kind matching his and hers Lucchese Classic crocodile boots provided by Pinto Ranch and Lucchese. These beautifully handcrafted boots will be covered from top to bottom in crocodile and specially made in El Paso, Texas. Included is a personal boot consultation for each pair with a Pinto Ranch boot expert to help you choose details like size, boot construction, toe and heel. Donated by Pinto Ranch and Lucchese — Value: $24,000

Raffle ticket, anyone? They’ll take American Express, MasterCard, VISA and cash.

Linda McMahon Named President Of The Real Estate Council

Good news: The Real Estate Council‘s President Michelle Corson‘s husband Larry just accepted the CEO position for Crescent Resources. Yahoo!

Bad news: The new position is forcing him to relocate to Charlotte, N.C. And can you believe it — Michelle is moving there with him.  Alas, even Michelle (pictured) can’t handle presidential duties from that far away.

Good news: After a thorough search conducted by TREC Chairman Jim Berry of Deloitte, TREC Chairman-elect Mark Gibson of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., former TREC Chairs Tony Dona of Thackeray Partners, Michele Wheeler of Jackson-Shaw and Will Mundinger of Goldman Sachs, Michelle’s replacement was name — Neighborhood Strategies LLC Founder Linda McMahon.

Photo provided by The Real Estate Council

“Linda McMahon (pictured) has an impressive real estate background and is a great fit for us,” said Berry . “She knows this community and has worked with a wide array of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. She brings essential knowledge of our industry and experience within our organization having served as chair of The Real Estate Council Foundation.”

Congratulations to Larry, Michelle, Linda and TREC!

Preston Style 10 Has Beauties Both On Stage And In The Crowd

MySweetCharity has a shadow. No, not that kind of shadow. Rather, Paige Briggs, who is a public relations major in the University of North Texas school of journalism, has drawn the assignment to “shadowing” MSC on our escapades. To let her experience the challenges of covering the lively world of Dallas nonprofits, she was given the task of writing up Thursday night’s dazzling Preston Style 10. Here is her report —

As cars pulled into The Plaza at Preston Center, valets were running around frantically trying to keep up with the line of cars carrying the expected 500 guests into the already overcrowded parking lot.

Backstage, Rhonda Sargent Chambers (pictured left with Mel Crews model), a gorgeous blonde woman in the standard backstage uniform – black dress and heels – was un-phased by the chaos happening around her. The clipboard-wielding, fashion producer-extraordinaire greeted guests with a hug and called for the next model to head out onto the runway in the same breath.

The air in the main tent was abuzz with “fabulocity.” Mostly made up of twenty-somethings trying to out-fabulous one another, this crowd was one well-dressed bunch. At the center of the tent, the main stage, host to a  handful of models at a time, was meant to be the focus of the evening; however, guests spent more time looking at themselves and keeping an eye out to make sure no one looked better than them, that the actual models seemed to simply be background decoration.

Servers dressed in all black wove throughout the crowd carrying trays of tiny delicacies, bartenders shook hot pink cocktail shakers and poured out countless Belevedere cocktails and flute after flute of champagne courtesy of Moet. Models (pictured) strutted through the crowd carrying a card announcing whom they were wearing and looking beautiful, yet unaffected. But the guests looked anything but unaffected. Giant thick-rimmed glasses (no prescription necessary), thigh-high boots, feathered hair pieces, Mohawks, scarves (both men and women), skinny jeans or leather pants (both men and women), and designer handbags were the staples of guest fashion. Oh, and lest we forget, the “I-know-I-look-amazing” facial expression, achieved by looking slightly bored, while at the same time slightly sucking in your cheeks and pouting your lips just the tiniest bit.

With its white tent, red carpet, pink cocktail shakers and shoes in every shade of the rainbow, Plaza Style 2010 had all the makings of a colorful evening out on the town.  But, it was a woman dressed in black (Halston Heritage to be exact) who stole the show.

The Fashionistas were the beneficiaries of the third annual Plaza Style event, so it was no surprise that founder and CEO, Heidi Dillon (pictured left with Selena Hernandez) made an appearance. Dillon, who secured her place in the Dallas socialite history books, with the now infamous article that ran in the September issue of with F!D Luxe, stood tall and proud with her perfectly coiffed blonde hair and a forced smile framed by her vibrant pink lipstick.  Being fabulous is tough…but someone’s gotta do it.

It appears that Paige has a future in covering the beautiful people.

Real Girls Real Women Included Some Real Men At Thursday Night Party

While the party at Kathy and Rusty Tucker‘s house Thursday night was to honor the patrons for the Real Girls Real Women Luncheon (Tuesday, October 12 at the Anatole) for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, the gals had to share it with some men.

And RGRW Lifetime Achievement Awardee Ebby Halliday and Real Women honorees Harriet Miers and Becky Sykes didn’t seem to mind one iota. One of the men was PlainsCapital Bank‘s Ronnie Berg who joined Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Colleen Walker (pictured) in telling the group about the importance for leadership among young women.

Colleen emphasized how just five years in the Girl Scouts can impact a young woman’s life in such dramatic ways that front row guest Sally Hoglund demanded that this information be spread around. And that’s just what’s going to happen at the lunch when Ebby, Harriet and Becky will be honored along with Real Girl honorees Ashton Gepfert and Haley Avery. Why are Ashton and Haley being honored? Did they sell the most Girl Scout cookies? Nope. Try this one for size —

  • Ashton, who is  a high school student and Girls Scout from  Allen,  has  had severe hearing loss since childhood and has developed a campaign called Defining Differences which she created to raise awareness and acceptance of individuals with disabilities.  She has become a respected speaker and has created informative programs for teachers and first responders to assist in dealing with individuals who have disabilities.
  • Haley, a high school student and Girl Scout from Richardson who attends Bishop Lynch High School, was burned over 50 percent of her body and has used that experience to become a volunteer at the Parkland Burn Unit and to serve as a Burn Camp counselor in Texas and California.  She has accrued more 1,500 hours of volunteer time at Parkland since she began in 2007.

Ashton and Haley weren’t at the Thursday night party, but they will be at the October 12th lunch.

Oh, and who was that other man at the party that helped the ladies? Why it was Logan Betts, son of luncheon chair Gina Betts (pictured right with Logan Betts). The youngster helped his mom before it was time to toddle home for bed.

BTW, major sponsors deserving a salute are The Posey Foundation ($30,000), Frito Lay ($25,000), Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP ($10,000), Margot and Ross Perot ($10,000), PlainsCapital Bank ($10,000) and Ebby Halliday Realtors ($5,000).


A Very Special Exhibition About Tom Landry Opens At The Hall Of State

While vendors were setting up for the opening night of the State Fair, about 300 people took Gate 2 to park, mount golf carts and ride on over to the Hall of State for a very special evening. It was the sneak preview of “Remembering Tom Landry: The Personal Collection.”

It was only right that the exhibition was at Fair Park, since the first coach of the Dallas Cowboys played the first seasons there in the Cotton Bowl. Through his 29 years, he won two Super Bowls and coached such quarterbacks as Eddie Lebaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Craig Morton and Danny White among other greats.

Alicia Landry, Tom’s widow, worked with the Dallas Historical staffer Alan Olson (pictured right with, from the left Bill Lively and Margaret Keliher) to select what would go in the exhibition. Of course, a Super Bowl trophy was a major highlight, but who didn’t immediately spot the trademark fedora that was synonymous with Coach Landry.

“I am delighted to provide all of the items for this exhibition,” said Alicia. “Not only does it honor my husband in a wonderful way, it also gives people an opportunity to learn more about the man as well as the coach.”

In addition to the Landry treasures were family and friends who share their own personal stories about coach. Missing was Tom Landry Jr., who was home recovering from knee surgery. But he was well represented by his wife Gina. Also on hand were members of the Murchison family like Clint Jr., Burk, Robert and many more. Remember the late Clint Murchison was the one who hired Landry back in 1960.

Joining the families were former players of coach Landry including Pettis Norman, Leroy Jordan, John Fitzgerald and Tony Lescio, as well as his old associate Gil Brandt.

Sponsored by Oncor, this remarkable exhibition will be at the Hall of State until Friday, October 17.

Robert Miller Hits the 59-Year Mark At The Dallas Morning News

You might want to drop a note to Robert “Bob” Miller. Today is his 59th anniversary with The Dallas Morning News.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #9

While you’re getting dressed for the TACA Custom Auction Gala, we have one last item for you to consider. Let’s say you want to stay put in Dallas and have a simple dinner for two. But you’re not thinking Luby’s. No, you still want something a little unusual that doesn’t require high-maintenance dressing and arranging for guests.

TACA’s worker bees have such a deal that it’s the real closer to the evening’s auction. This package will provide for 30 couples to purchase it —

Item 9.  Back to the Garden – The urban garden at FM1410 – Sunday October 24th. (Value: This package will be sold in pairs of tickets.)

On Fitzhugh, there is a magical place called FM 1410, where Tom Spicer offers fabulous produce and yummies for locals. Yes, it is a East Dallas store front, but it also has a wondrous garden that is occasionally available for private dinner.

Tom is opening his urban garden on Sunday, October 24, for a very, very private supper for 30 couples. Depending upon the best produce available on this day, your dinner will be prepared by guest chefs and in support of the Gulf Coast region. While most of the ingredients will be local, some will be grown just inches away from your chair. Of course, all will be accompanied with regional wine pairings.

To set the tables just right for the occasion, Neiman Marcus Vice President/Divisional Merchandise Manager for Gift Galleries and Epicure Bill Makin will create the table settings.

And to make the evening last, Mackenzie-Childs will donate a five-piece setting for each guest to take home. You might recall that Mackenzie-Childs not only produce the “world-renowned Majolica Tableware, but they also brought Sarah Ferguson to town earlier this year to support the Art Ball.

Remember: This item will be sold in “pairs of tickets.”