Sunshine Returns To The Area With Southern Charmer James Farmer For The Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society Luncheon

Despite North Texas taking a thunderous beating the night before, sunshine and friendly temperatures were on hand Wednesday, March 29, for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.

And what else would one expect with author/gardener/floral and interior designer/cook/garden-to-table lifestyle expert James Farmer as the keynote speaker. Sunshine just seems to be his calling card.

James Farmer and Kendall Jennings

Since his appearance in 2013 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Tablescapes, James flashed the same All-American smile, but there was less of him. He told Honorary Co-Chair Libby Hunt it was due to his giving one of his kidneys to his sister, Meredith. Libby asked if the transplant had caused him to be ill and lose the weight. No, he had been put on steroids the year before and the year after the surgery, resulting in his looking heavier when he spoke at Tablescapes. Now, he was back to his normal weight.

To get things going, PCHPS President Kendall Jennings welcomed the group and asked Pierce Allman to provide the invocation. With his arm in a sling as a result of rotator cuff surgery, Pierce’s presentation was poetic. So much so, that as emcee Scott Murray took his place on stage, he admitted that it was remarkable. When asked if he had been working on the invocation for some time or if it was something that had been handed down from generation to generation, Pierce smiled and said he had just put it together that morning.

 

David and Libby Hunt, Leeanne Hunt, Herbert Hunt, Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow

Mike and Marla Boone

As guests like James’ buddy Caren Kline, Debbie and Jim Francis, Heather Furniss, sisters Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert Hunt, Cynthia Beaird, Marla Boone, Lindalyn Adams, Kay Weeks and Lucy Wrubel with mother Jennie Reeves had lunch, they caught up with Melinda Obenchain receiving rave reviews for “B Magazine,” which she just produced for Briggs-Freeman…La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas 2017 Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory reporting that La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas would be returning to the Hilton Anatole in 2018.

Debbie Francis

Melinda Obenchain

Just past noon, emcee Scott told the guests how both Honorary Co-Chairs Libby’s and David Hunt’s childhood homes in the Park Cities were still standing. While that may not seem important to many, to this group of preservationist it was, with the recent demolishing of the Trammell Crow and Penson homes. He then had Pierce introduce James. Pierce, who had been tableside with James, described James as covering “everything from dirt to dessert.”

James Farmer

Some of the highlights of James’ talk included:

  • “Dallas still has a small-town feel. Had dinner last night at Café Pacific and knew people at the other tables.”
  • Having grown up in Perry, Georgia, “If you needed something made, you had it made there. If you wanted something from a foreign land, you went to Atlanta.”
  • As a five-year-old he was playing T-ball and was assigned left field. There he spied a colony of ziggy holes. In South Georgia, ziggy worms are grub  worms. “I knew instinctively that if I dug out a ziggy or two and put them in my pocket and took them home and threw them in our pond, I would catch catfish. And my Mimi, my grandmother, would fry that catfish and we would eat that catfish on my Aunt Irene’s Limoges plates. There’s a connection. Y’all can go to a nice restaurant and pay $30 for that fish now and it’s called ‘Pond To Plate.’ But I understood as a child that something from the ground could get to our table.” On this day in left field, he decided that he had found the “honey hole of ziggy worms.” He dug them up and put them in his pocket. “A kid from the opposing team had the nerve to hit a ball my way. I had to do what came natural to me, so I protected my ziggy colony.” The coach informed James’ father that his son was not an athlete. To this Dr. Farmer responded, “Yes, but he knows the Latin name for every blade of grass out in the field.” It would be 13 years later that James would receive a scholarship from a garden club for Auburn, and the kid who hit that ball received a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia. “So, you see we were both playing on the same field, but ended up where we were supposed to.”
  • Frank McCall influenced James with his “full service architect” firm that drew on a southern lifestyle and “helped my parents create their home.” McCall told James’ mother, “Every Southern lady needs a beautiful home. Every Southern lady needs fine silk. Every southerner needs a damn good chest.” She suddenly realized, “He wasn’t talking about Aunt Irene’s chest.” In the future, James would realize that McCall was talking about being confident and proud of what  you have.
  • It was while attending Auburn that James threw his first “dinner party.” It was in the dormitory kitchen. “I had a hankering for fried chicken and I knew how to fry chicken because you know every 18-year-old goes off to college with an iron skillet. Do you know how many friends you can make in college by making fried chicken? I never missed a sorority ball. Those girls were hungry, too. Those girls were off getting engagement rings and thinking, ‘Oh, my, I gotta learn how to cook.’ That was my ‘fried chicken moment.’”
  • “The pearly gates will smell like Lady Peas.”
  • “I love to teach the generations what the generations before had.”
  • “My grandfather was a Baptist minister and because of that I am a recovering Baptist. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church has a program for us. What the Episcopal Church does is they tell you to come to church and bring a bottle of wine.” On his first field trip with the Episcopalians, they went to the liquor store and he was told to make eye contact with people, you address them by their first name, and bring that drink to the church and drink it.”
  • Each year his grandmother Mimi made her famous fruit cake. It called for rum. His grandfather wanted a piece with the rum: “It’s not drinking it if you’re eating it.” Being a good Baptist, his grandmother had a Methodist friend buy the alcohol at a liquor store. When the friend died, Mimi “put on some attire that the sheik of some Arab country would wear,” so no one would recognize her. When James confronted her, asking, “Did King Abdulla die?,” she proudly stated that no one had recognized her being incognito. But her grandson countered with, “But you drive the biggest Buick in town. If they saw it whipping around the liquor store…” She responded, “But I parked it at the Winn-Dixie.”
  • James’ first job was redecorating on his grandmother’s Baptist Sunday classroom. He soon learned that everything in the Baptist Church is done by committee, “which I believe is a version of eternal damnation. I would rather work for a dictator than a Baptist committee.”
  • Regarding his first work, he heard a dozen “Nos” from New York publishing houses. “They were No York.” But a Salt Lake publishing house agreed to take a meeting with him, where they wore football jerseys and jeans and James was “dressed like Astor’s pony.” The Salt Lake group agree to publish 500 copies of “A Time To Plant.” His response was, “That’s sweet, but y’all know I’ll sell 500 copies in the Winn-Dixie parking lot from the back of my Suburban.” He ended up ordering all 500 copies himself and told them that he had some book signings coming up and friends like Caren and Peter Kline in Dallas who were going to support him with book signing events. Some friends in New York City arranged for him to prepare a dinner party for them and have a book signing afterwards. “I ran out of books. I had a conference call the next day with my publisher and I told them, ‘Y’all, I’m out of books.'” They said, “That’s what we want to talk to you about. Barnes and Noble just ordered 2,500 copies.” And it wasn’t just Barnes and Noble. Other stores were placing huge orders. The publisher asked, “What are you doing?” James responded, “Well, last night I cooked a dinner party for some friends of mine. Do you know Al Roker and Deborah Roberts?” They said, “No, but we know you’re not talking about the ‘Today’ host and the ABC reporter.” James trumped them by saying, “Yes, I am. Al and Deborah are very good friends of mine.” The publisher asked how James knew Al. “I know Al through Deborah, who’s from Perry.” They asked if he had other similar events planned. James said that he was headed down to Washington where a friend was going to host another event. “Is the President coming?” James said, “He was invited, because he’s, you know, busy. But they’re gonna take some books to the White House.” The publisher was curious, “Who do you know in Washington?” James asked, “Do you know Senator Sam Nunn? He’s from Perry.”
  • His latest book, “A Time To Celebrate,” started out focusing on big parties and deb balls. During the year that he was creating it, both his mother and grandmother died. “The word ‘celebrate’ took on a new meaning.’ It was Sunday night at home having scrambled eggs and watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with Mama.”
  • In writing “A Time To Celebrate,” he took Jenna Bush Hager up on the offer to “do anything for him.” He wanted her to write the forward. She admitted that she just didn’t know how to do it. James then told her, “You saw your mama and grandma entertain in the White House. I saw my mama and grandma entertain in a white house.” The common denominator was the fact that whether it was the president of a foreign country or the local minister, the way people come together is over food.
  • One of his favorite stories is about his mother, when they hired an Atlanta decorator. Previously, they had used a local decorator, who wore denim on denim — an “I only shop at Kmart look. She would use red latex magnolias dipped in gold glitter for Christmas.” The Atlanta decorator arrived in a black Mercedes and wearing Chanel. At one point, his mother said, “I love ‘Carl.’ I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . .  And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” When the decorator finally said she didn’t understand, because “Your husband is Ted,” Mother Farmer said, “I’m talking about the color.” Translation: coral.
  • In summary, James said, “Keep it real. That’s what the South is about.”

James talked about Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Jenna Bush and Sam Nunn in such a way that it didn’t appear like name dropping, but rather they were just James’ friends and real.

If you weren’t able to make the luncheon, get one of James’ books and you’ll find a brand-new BFF.

Art In Bloom’s Seasons Of Love Was Busting With Beauty Thanks To René Van Rems Creating Floral Artworks And St. John Fashions

When Art in Bloom Luncheon Chair Sarah Jo Hardin decided on the event’s theme “Seasons of Love,” she must have had international floral mastermind René van Rems in mind. For his presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art on Monday, March 27, he did a fabulous job at interpreting eight pieces of art into floral arrangements. He even shared a hint on how to give any creation an extra boost. Think hydrangea. Here’s a report from the field:

Sarah Jo Hardin and Jill Goldberg*

Luncheon Chairman Sarah Jo Hardin, with Honorary Chairman Jill Goldberg and the Dallas Museum of Art League President Sheila Durante were joined by over 350 guests at “Art in Bloom: Seasons of Love” on Monday, March 27. Proceeds from the 18th annual fundraiser hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art League supports the DMA’s exhibition and education programs and the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

It began at 9:30 a.m. with a reception in the Hamon Atrium. Highland Park High School’s Highlander Strings quartet played as guests bid on items in the silent auction and purchased raffle tickets for the chance to win one of four prizes including: a $1,000 gift certificate from Eiseman Jewels NorthPark Center, a pair of Roberto Coin earrings, a luxury overnight stay for two at the Hotel Crescent Court, and a $500 gift certificate from Jacksons Home And Garden.  

Cynthia Mitchell, Becky Bright, Mary Lois Leonard and Beverly Freeman*

Attendees like Cynthia Miller, Becky Bright, Mary Lois Leonard, Beverly Freeman, Delilah Boyd, Megan Meyercord, Deborah Patterson, Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner were then directed to the Horchow Auditorium for featured speaker René van Rems’ floral demonstration.

Megan Meyercord, Deborah Patterson, Ola Fojtasek and Heather Furniss*

Sheila opened the symposium by welcoming all and thanking the League’s loyal supporters and its corporate sponsors whose support of “Art in Bloom” helps underwrite the DMA’s education programs and the League’s Floral Fund. She introduced Jill thanking her for graciously lending her considerable expertise and leadership to the event. Sheila then invited Sarah Jo to the podium, and paid tribute to her creativity as well as her leadership talents.

Sarah Jo thanked all the attendees before introducing the Park Version choral group from Highland Park High School, who performed a capella “God Only Knows What I’d Do Without You” from the Beach Boys as a tribute to the many “Art in Bloom” volunteers, followed by “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical “Rent,” in honor of this year’s theme.

René van Rems*

A world-renowned ambassador of the floral industry, René took the stage to begin his demonstration of eight designs inspired by works in the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection.  As he began work on the first design, inspired by Gustave Courbet’s painting “A Fox in the Snow,” van Rems warmed up the crowd immediately by sharing a tip: “For those new to floral design; when in doubt add a hydrangea,” he said, as he added white hydrangeas to the arrangement. He then went on to create seven diverse designs, from traditional to contemporary, as he thoroughly entertained the crowd with his wit and wisdom on all things floral.

Attendees returned to the Museum’s concourse to continue perusing the silent auction, which included the designs just created by René, while sipping specialty spring-inspired cocktails by Duckworth Vodka.  René also took time to sign copies of his book, “Rene’s Bouquets: A Guide to Euro-Style Hand-Tied Bouquets.”

Patrons progressed to the Atrium for a seated lunch with tables dressed in cornflower blue and watermelon, with floral centerpieces from Judy Blackman of Blumengarten. At each place setting was a white porcelain birdhouse vase with pink roses from Forestwood Fine Flowers and a $250 gift card from St. John.

Fashions by St. John*

Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, with each course inspired by a season and featuring locally or Texas-sourced ingredients, including a summer-inspired first course of watermelon, prosciutto, and sliced brie salad with Texas balsamic and micro basil; followed by a fall entrée of jalapeno and corn stuffed semi-boneless Lockhart quail with wilted Uvalde curly spinach, glazed root vegetables and flower thyme jus. As winter’s assiette of chocolate desserts was served, Sarah Jo came to the podium to introduce St. John’s Highland Park Village Store Director Randi Schwartz, who quickly got the day’s style show going with models walking the runway dressed in selections from St. John’s gorgeous spring collection. 

Live Blooming Art Exhibition*

The floral extravaganza continued after the symposium with the first-ever “Live Blooming Art Exhibition” featuring a unique display of floral arrangements created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. Participating designers were Judy Blackman of Blumengarten, Metka Terselich of Metka Floral Designs, Caroline Hansen of Forestwood Florals, Dan Pierce of Wild about Flowers, Doan Do of Cebolla Fine Flowers, Sarah Hobbs of Park Cities Petals, Juan Gomar of Apples to Zinnias, Lucy Diaz-Flores of Bella Flora and David Kimmel of David Kimmel Design. The exhibition remained on view to all DMA visitors the following two days in the Museum’s Level 2 European galleries. 

Sheila Durante, Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner*

“Art in Bloom International” attendees included  The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art Agustin Arteaga, Margaret McDermott, Mary McDermott Cook, Peggy Sewell, Beverly Freeman, Holly Huffines, Susan Fisk, Nancy Cates, Barbara Bigham, Sherwood Wagner, Stacey McCord, Diane Byrd, Ola Fojtasek, Heather Furniss, Rusty Duvall, Beverly Nichols, Faye Briggs, Cyrena Nolan, Linda Burk, Angela Paulos, Emily Maduro and Julia Fuqua.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Philanthropist Sherwood Wagner Turned Her Preston Hollow East Mansion Into A Floral Delight For The Art In Bloom Patrons

Sherwood Wagner does nothing on a mini-scale level. So, the Art in Bloom patron guests had quite a flora experience at her Preston Hollow East home-sweet-home on Saturday, March 25. Just a hint were the floral petals creating a carpet of dazzling colors leading to Patron Party Co-Chair Sherwood’s chateau. But once inside and squeezed through the throng, the 100 guests discovered the banister to the second floor and overlooking the downstairs was covered in a blanket of flowers. Why, even the statues held bouquets of roses!

Sherwood Wagner, René van Rems and Barbara Averitt

Surrounded in the dining room was Art in Bloom speaker René van Rems. If the word “flirtation” ever need a visual definition, René could fit the male version and Sherwood the female.

But Dutch-born René was more than just cute. He was set to demonstrate various works of floral art at the Dallas Museum of Art the following Monday, thanks to Art in Bloom Chair Sarah Jo Hardin and Honorary Chair Jill Goldberg.

Jill Goldberg and Sarah Jo Hardin

Capera Ryan

Also on hand at the Wagner mansion were Barbara Bigham, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Capera Ryan and Patron Party Co-chair Barbara Averitt. Alas, Patron Party Co-Chair and Sherwood’s buddy Marena Gault was out of town.   

SOLD-OUT ALERT: A Chance To Soar

Simone Biles*

Yup, those ten seats that were still unfilled yesterday for Jonathan’s Place‘s A Chance To Soar Luncheon Tuesday are gone. Translation: Simone Biles will be facing a sold-out crowd at the Anatole.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Sadie Keller Stole The Limelight And Hearts At The Children’s Cancer Fund Patron Party

Despite being divorced, Pamela Moayedi and Mehrdad Moayedi are still on good terms. No, make that very good terms. Need proof? On Thursday, March 23, Mehrdad let his gorgeous blonde ex use his fabulous home on Strait Lane with the spectacular view of the property’s lake for the Children’s Cancer Fund patrons party. The reason is that Pamela is chairing the Friday, April 21st Children’s Cancer Fund “Broadway Light and Runway Lights” on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole.

Grant Keller, Sadie Keller and Sarah Moayedi

Shawn and Sarah Keller

Since the previous owner was in the restaurant/food industry (think Phil Romano), the home’s kitchen was larger than some condos and was the center of the festivities with pizzas emerging from ovens and the island covered with so many edibles for the 60 or so guests including the Moayedi daughter, Sarah and Shawn Keller with pretty-in-pink daughter Sadie Keller and very-cool son Grant Keller, Tim Mullaney, Ludovit Zywczak, Anne Davidson and Cornelia and Ralph Heins.

Cornelius Heins

Anne Davidson

At one point organizers scurried around notifying guests that Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach and his wife Marianne Staubach had just arrived.

Pamela Moayedi, Jennifer Arthur, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Sadie Keller and Becky Lewis

Photos were taken of the Staubachs with Executive Board President Becky Lewis, CCF Executive Director Jennifer Arthur and adorable Sadie Keller. Old pro Roger immediately welcomed the fact that he was playing second fiddle to adorable Sadie. Even a Super Bowl win is nothing compared to beating cancer.

Sadie will be one of the kids on the runway wearing the Dillard’s fashions in the show produced by Rhonda Sargent Chambers. Tickets are starting at $300 and raffle tickets for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 can be gotten here for $100 each. BTW, the post-fashion show partying will be in the hands of DJ Lucy Wrubel.

Grovel Alert: A Chance To Soar Luncheon

Just heard from Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye that as of noon today, there were just 10 tickets left for Tuesday’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” at the Hilton Anatole.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

No wonder! Just some of the VIP types in attendance will be enough to have cell-photos being taken nonstop. Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Tiffany Cuban, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Meredith Land and Dillard’s Corporate Beauty VP Gary Borofsky tableside.

Simone Biles*

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the darling of the 2016 Olympics Simone Biles will be the keynote speaker. Her life story reflects Jonathan’s Place’s mission to provide a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.” Let’s hope that she doesn’t get eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing With The Stars.” That would mean her taking the red-eye to NYC for Tuesday morning’s “Good Morning America.” But the money’s on Simone remaining as part of the cast and overnight flying to North Texas. And who knows? Maybe her dancing partner Sasha Farber will be with her at the lunch.

Remember, just 10 seats are left, so get that reservation in now.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Grovel Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Let’s hope the Anatole Grand Ballroom has its Spanx on for Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon. The annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser is busting with folks to hear Bethenny Frankel at the podium.

Bethenny Frankel*

According to insiders, there are just a couple seats left. Hurry and get one or two of those last places because ya just know that Bethenny is gonna be quotable and memorable.

And don’t worry about setting Bethenny up on a dating apps blind date. According to her chat with People Magazine, “I wouldn’t have enough time to date online. I thought about it, but I haven’t actually done it because I wouldn’t have the time.”

“If it gets there and it’s a dry country, maybe I’ll think about it — but it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Frankel adds. “At my age I got game, who knew?”

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Who knows? Perhaps Bethenny has changed her mind about online dating.

BTW, ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

Skinny Girl Sangria And Margaritas Plus Peanut Butter Balls Were On The Menu For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Toast

Skinny Girl beverages and Chick Lit glassware

Like a glamorama pep rally, the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Luncheon crowd held forth at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Gail Fischer’s Preston Hollow estate for the Skinny Girl Toast on Tuesday, March 21.While Skinny Girl Founder/Chick Lit Headliner Bethenny Frankel was ways away from the ZIP code making headlines, she was well represented thanks to pitchers filled with Skinny Girl drinks — Grapefruit and regular margarita, White Cranberry Cosmo, White Sangria and Chardonnay — at the bar and making the rounds.

As one gal said, “The sangria is healthy. Just look at all the fruit.”

Cassandra’s peanut butter balls

Across the way on a buffet table loaded with edibles was the star of the yummies — Cassandra Tomassetti’s peanut balls smothered in dark chocolate. A couple of those would fatten up even skinny Bethenny. One gal looked as if she was going put one or two in her purse for a late-night snack.

Jana Nobles, Mary Moore and Paige McDaniel

For the toasting occasion, CPD masterminds Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke had the drinks served up in stemless glasses boasting the Chick Lit Luncheon logo. Little did the guests know that they would have similar glasses and mints to take home. 

Laura Pickens, Mary Martha Pickens and Gail Fischer

As the 100 guests Like Luncheon Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens with her niece Laura Pickens, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Susan Farris, Jan Nobles and Mary Moore filled the home, Gail fiddled with her remove control navigating the Smart TV’s music categories. She wanted to play the right music, but husband Cliff Fischer, who is usually the one in charge of remoting, was out of town on business. With a try at jazz, Carol Seay played advisor, suggesting to move on to something a little more upbeat.

Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere and Susan Farris

Tickets for the Friday, April 21, CPD fundraiser presented by Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel at the Hilton Anatole are available here. Proceeds from the event will help CPD serve “more than 20,000 of Dallas County’s abused and neglected children this year.”

JUST IN: Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed, Hall Of Fame Honoree And A Change Of Fashion Show/Luncheon Location Revealed

This morning the Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed were announced at Neiman Marcus Downtown. Fashionable drum roll, please.

This year’s collection of clothes-loving and community-supporting ladies include: Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Amy Hegi and Piper Wyatt.

Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt, Julie Hawes, Pat Harloe, Janie Condon, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Tucker Enthoven, Katherine Coker, Delilah Boyd, Anita Arnold and Lisa Cooley

Also making the runway on Friday, September 15, for the annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, will be Hall of Fame Honoree Charlotte Jones Anderson, daughter of 2012 Hall of Fame Honoree Gene Jones. It was the first time in the TBD history that a mother and daughter were in the TBD Hall of Fame.

Charlotte Jones Anderson and Gene Jones

And speaking of the catwalk, it won’t be in a tent. Nope! After three years of camping out in the adjacent parking lot, the Neiman Marcus crew is bringing it back inside the NM Downtown mother ship complete with designer Zac Posen and his Resort 2017 collection.

CCB Chair Pam Perella and Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Christi Urschel reported that tickets to the fundraiser will go on sale later this month. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted on when they’ll be available.

But you’d better be swift turning those checks in, because this one usually sells out within minutes. And remember — the bigger the check, the bigger the perks. The Platinum Circle donors will be treated to a seated dinner sponsored by Comerica Bank on Tuesday, September 5, and Platinum Patrons will be invited to a cocktail buffet sponsored by J.P. Morgan the night before the fashion show and luncheon.

This year’s plan calls for $5.8M to be raised and provided for seven beneficiaries — Autism Treatment Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clare of Assisi Catholic Academy.

Jewelry Designer/Attorney Kori Green (Aka Mrs. Pat Green) To Be The 8th Judge For Mad Hatter’s Tea Hat Competition

Under The Tuscan Sun*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2017 Chair Linda Spina is going “green” with the announcement of the eighth judge for the “Under The Tuscan Sun” theme chapeau competition at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, April 27.

Hold on to your hats! It’s Kori Green. In addition to being a jewelry designer, an attorney and pretty darn cute, she’s also the wife of Grammy-nominated country singer/songwriter Pat Green and mom to their two kiddos Kellis Green and Rainey Green.

She got in the jewelry designing business while studying law at the University of Texas Law School. It provided her with a creative outlet. In addition to her professional activities and community involvement, she and Pat established the Pat Green Foundation.

Kori won’t be the only “greenie” in the judging line up for the eight categories. She’ll be joining Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green plus celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

Tickets for the annual eye-popping fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum are available here.

* Graphic provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

2017 Art Ball’s “All That Glistens” Eight Live Auction Items Revealed

Peggy Sewell, Agustin Arteaga and Ann Hobson

Rajan Patel and Jennifer Karol

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball is one of the knock-it-out-the-park fundraising galas of the year. Not only is it set at the DMA, but the guests just have a certain panache in the glamorama category. One of the highlights of the black-tie evening is the live auction of amazingly curated items.

Last night, Art Ball’s “All That Glistens” Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson along with their Auction Co-Chairs Rajan Patel and Merry Vose held a reveal party at Grange Hall for folks like DMA Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Foster Fetter, new grandmamma Peggy Sewell, always young-and-beautiful Jennifer Karol, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and DMA Director Agustin Arteaga. Each of the elegant eight auction items was beautifully displayed on tables in the restaurant. But what else would you expect from this group?

Here is the lineup of the goodies that Christie’s Auction House President Brook Hazelton will be auctioning off on Saturday, April 22:

  • ¡ HOLA, AGUSTIN!”* — He’s hardly unpacked his bags and DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga is already slated to be on the road again. He’ll guide the lucky winner on a tour of the world-renowned Guggenheim Bilbao in San Sebastian, Spain. After seeing the sights of this incredible museum, it will be lunch at a three-star restaurant to break bread, sip wine and discuss art with Agustin. During their three-day stay in San Sebastian, the winner will “bunk down” in the luxurious Hotel Maria Cristina. As for where to eat, toss the Frommer’s Travel Guide. World traveling foodie Cindy Rachofsky will take care of restaurant selections and rezzies.

Compliments of Hotel Maria Cristina, Guggenheim Bilbao, Cindy Rachofsky and Strong Travel Services

¡ Hola, Agustín!*

Foodie Fantasy*

  • “FOODIE FANTASY” † — Two new restaurants are slated to join the Highland Park Village cuisine collection this year. For a sneak peak, Chef Nick Badovinus and Chef Julian Barsotti have cooked up this package for the winner and 12 pals. The tasteful chefs will “execute superbly individual supper experiences six courses including excellent wine and champagne.” Start dieting now!

 Compliments of Julian Barsotti, Nick Badovinus, and Highland Park Village

  • WHEN IN ROME…FENDI ROME EXPERIENCE”* † — Rome is known for the Coliseum, the Vatican and cuisine. But to fashion trendsetters, it’s fashion and leading the pack is Fendi. The winner of this package plus a BFF will spend two nights at the newly renovated Fendi Palazzo Private Suite. And lunchtime will be ala Fendi with a special luncheon at the Fendi Palazzo Prive Apartment. And what would be a Fendi outing be without a “private presentation of Fendi’s Haute Fourrure, as well as customized experiences for guests based on personal interests — perhaps cocktails and/or dinner at a private home or a private tour of the Sistine Chapel?” In addition to a special Fendi gift for each guest, the winner will receive the Fendi Peekaboo Bag by artist Francisco Moreno that will be revealed at the Art Ball.

Compliments of Fendi

When in Rome…Fendi Rome Experience**

Headstart The Holidays With Grange Hall**

  • HEADSTART THE HOLIDAYS WITH GRANGE HALL” — It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, but who wants the same-old, ho-hum, ho-ho decorations dragged down from the attic? This package will make this year’s giving season a true memory maker thanks to the Grange Hall pros dazzling your digs. That in itself is a $7,500 value. Then to show off your new look, Dallas’ fav Chef Sharon Hage will plan and execute a dinner for 10. (Restriction: Wine and spirits are not included.)

 Compliments of Sharon Hage and Grange Hall

  • THE SUITE LIFE AT LE MEURICE”* — A fashion lover simply cannot arrive in Paris without the appropriate wardrobe. Merry Vose is going to take care of that situation for the winner of this package. Thanks to a $5,000 gift certificate at Canady, she’ll put together such fashions that even the French will be impressed. And rightly so, since this package includes a four-night stay at Le Meurice plus special dinner for two in the hotel’s Alain Ducasse three-Michelin Star restaurant. During the stay, Merry will be the winner’s tour guide for behind-the-scenes of Paris Fashion Week including premium seating at Dior and Celine, plus a private tour of the Hermes family museum inside the flagship store. And what is fashion without jewelry? How about visiting the Parisian private studio-workshop of the queen of contemporary costume fashion jewelry, Marie-Noëlle. If a little breather is needed, an exclusive tour of the gardens of Versailles, including a private tour of the Orangerie of Louis XIV is on the docket.  (Restriction: Dinner does not include wine.)

Compliments of Le Meurice, Céline, Dior, Merry Vose, Canary, Hermès and Strong Travel Services

The Suite Life At Le Meurice**

Life As Royals: Private, Princely, Porcelain**

  • LIFE AS ROYALS: PRIVATE, PRINCELY, PORCELAIN”* — Leave it to the Grange Hall team to take the art of design and dining to a whole new level. They’ve arranged for a two-night stay for two people at the Kempinksi Four Season in Munich and not just for sightseeing. The winner will be treated along with an exclusive VIP tour for up to eight guests of the fame Nymphenburg’s workshops where the world-famous porcelain is made. Afterward His Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and his wife, Katrin Beatrix, will host a dinner in the blue room of the manufactory overlooking the Nymphenburg palace. And, no, the royals will not be cooking the meal. They’ll have their private chef prepare the feast that will include wine from the prince’s wine cellar. All of this is in preparation for the Grange professionals’ providing the winner with a $10,000 credit and their advice on designing his/her own custom pattern china.

Compliments of Grange Hall and Porcelain Manufactory Nymphenburg

  • SANTA’S VILLAGE IN HIGHLAND PARK” — How about being a top-tier Santa Claus this year and getting a load of thank you notes? That’s exactly what’s going to happen for the winner of this package. Instead of a workshop with elves at the North Pole, s/he will have the shops and restaurants at Highland Park Village. For supreme convenience, a personal valet will meet and assist the winner upon arrival and departure between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And to ease the post-holiday bills letdown, the winner will have $5,000 gift certificates for HPV, Hadleigh’s and Madison, as well as $3,000 for Market and $2,000 to spend on holiday cards customized by Ellis Hill. You’ll look to all your friends like a big spender with spending a penny… unless you want to. To look spectacular during the shopping spree and party season, Frédéric Fekkai will provide weekly manicures and blowouts from November 20 through New Year’s Eve. And don’t worry about ruining that manicure with giftwrapping and bow tying. A personal shopper will arrange for the gift to be wrapped and delivered to the winner’s home.

Compliments of Highland Park Village, Market, Hadleigh’s, Ellis Hill, Madison, and Frédéric Fekkai

Santa’s Village In HIghland Park**

Mon Chateau Privé**

  • MON CHATEAU PRIVE”* † — This package is tailor-made for the most worldly travelers. Imagine having a chateau situated on 154 acres in the South of France with its seven bedrooms plus a butler! How simply marvelous for the lucky 14, who will be able to explore the surrounding nature preserve, visit the neighboring Aries, Avignon, St. Remy and Aix, relax by the pool and/or play tennis after breakfast on the terrace. For the winner of this package, there is also two-night stay for two at the Esprit Saint Germain Hotel in Paris on the way to or from the chateau.

Compliments of Ann and Lee Hobson, Esprit Saint Germain Hotel and Strong Travel Services

* Airfare not included. 
** Graphics provided by 2017 Art Ball
† Mutually agreed upon date(s).

JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys’ Wunderkind Dak Prescott And Coach Of The Year Jason Garrett To Walk The Children’s Cancer Fund’s Runway

Children’s Cancer Fund‘s Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is whooping it up. She just revealed that Honorary Co-Chairs/former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach will be joined at the Friday, April 21st fundraiser — Broadway Nights and Runway Lights — by the new Cowboys starting quarterback/cutie pie Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott*

Jason Garrett*

Also, escorting Children’s Medical Center pediatric oncology patients on the runway will be Cowboys coach/Coach of the Year Jason Garrett, plus a heck of a lot of other well-known and photographed folks.

Tickets are available for the dinner, applauding and dancing at the Hilton Anatole here!

* Photos provided by Children's Cancer Fund

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

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

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: 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

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

Actresses Faye Dunaway And Zoey Deutch And The Late Bill Paxton To Be Honored At Upcoming Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Film Society has just announced its line up of honorees for the Dallas International Film Festival taking place from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.

On the eve of DIFF, The Art Of Film will celebrate Robert Benton, who co-wrote “Bonnie And Clyde,” at sixty five hundred on Wednesday, March 29.

Robert Benton*

Faye Dunaway**

In keeping with the “Bonnie And Clyde” 50th anniversary, the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, March 30, will kick off with a showing of the iconic film complete with Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Bonnie. She will receive the Dallas Star Award at the Opening Night Gala.

In addition to the comings and goings of various filmmakers during the festival, the DFS Honors presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas on Friday, April 7, will be the posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star to Fort Worth native, the late Bill Paxton.

Zoey Deutch*

Bill Paxton***

Receiving the Dallas Shining Star will be “Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch.

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Our two Dallas Star Award honorees hail back to something this festival has done from its inception – honor cinema legends, icons, and the film artists that made a difference in our film viewing lives. Faye Dunaway has been at the center of a number of certifiably classic films, and we joined so many in being devastated by the recent loss of Bill Paxton, on so many levels. To have Dunaway here on Opening Night will be a spectacular moment for Dallas, and to have Paxton here in spirit, was a must to anyone that knows anything about this film festival’s history and the people that are a part of it.

“Zoey Deutch is the quintessential choice for a Dallas Shining Star Award honoree. She has had a very impressive start to her career, and is now poised to take it to an entirely different level with wonderful performances in three different films this year.”

Tickets and festival passes are available here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society 
** Getty image provided by Dallas Film Society 
*** Photo credit: Rachel Parker

North Texas Food Bank Makes Changes In Its Annual Food Raising Event With Cowboys And Chefs

Change is in the air. The North Texas Food Bank has made changes for its fundraising “Taste of the NFL.” First, the name has readjusted. It’s now known as “Taste of the Cowboys.” And they don’t mean rodeo types.

Taste Of The Cowboys*

Second, the location has been moved from AT&T Stadium (the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys) to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (aka the new home base for the Dallas Cowboys).  

But what stays the same is the involvement of past and present Dallas Cowboys, entertainment (Reckless Kelly) and top-area restaurants and chefs participating Shinsei, The Capital Grill Plano, Seasons 52, Asador, Lockhart Smokehouse, Texas de Brazil, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Bistro 31, Kent Rathbun, Taverna, Toulouse, The Common Table, Perry’s Steakhouse And Grille, Cane Rosso, Howard Wang’s China Grill, il Calabrese Ristorante And Bar, Yucatan Taco Stand, Mayfield Ice Cream, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen And Bar, Legends Hospitality, Cowboys Club, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art, Omni Frisco Hotel/Neighborhood Services, Rye. Craft Food And Drink, La Duni and Mi Cocina.

Reckless Kelly*

The shindig takes place on Sunday, May 7, with the Main Event taking place from 6 to  10 p.m. For a few bucks more, the VIP Event (5 to 6 p.m.) is available.  Tickets are online now!

Presented by Caliber Collision, all proceeds from the tasty event will benefit NTFB’s child programs.

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

The 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Had City Performance Hall Buzzing With Boldfacers Competing

For some, auto-spell check has relieved some of the angst of getting words spelled correctly. But a group of area hotshots, they found themselves relying on their own gray matter to compete in the Reading Partners Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall benefiting Reading Partners North Texas. Here’s a report from the field: 

What do Don Quixote, Pharrell Williams and Hermione Granger all have in common? Their names were each spelled (not necessarily correctly) by local celebrities at the 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall. Following a cocktail reception, Co-Chairs Jenny and Loren Koziol kicked off the evening with powerful statistics about the current state of child literacy in North Texas before introducing emcees Katy Blakey and Kristi Nelson of NBC 5. Byron Sanders, Vice President of U.S. Trust, assumed his position as Official Spelling Bee Judge on stage shortly after. Then, one by one, the five teams entered the stage with hopes of being crowned spelling champions by the end of the competition. Each sponsored by a company or individual, the teams were divided as follows:

  • Team Neiman Marcus — Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys; Tyrone Crawford of the Dallas Cowboys; and Jennifer Lassiter, Vice President of Internal Corporate Communications at Neiman Marcus
  • Team EY — Ryan Burke, partner at Ernst And Young; Lesley McCaslin, Fox Sports reporter; and Dr. Kent Scribner, Superintendent of Fort Worth ISD
  • Team U.S. Trust — Tiffany Bias of the Dallas Wings; DJ Poizon Ivy, DJ for Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Wings; and Janet Ryan, Managing Director and Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust
  • Team Mike And Mary Terry — Bill DeOre, former editorial cartoonist at The Dallas Morning News; Michelle Staubach Grimes, children’s author; and Mary Terry, co-founder of The Mike And Mary Terry Family Foundation
  • Team Vinson And Elkins — John Coleman, Executive Chef and Owner of Savor and Relish; Jim Meyer, partner at Vinson And Elkins; and Cary Pierce of Jackopierce.

From the left: (back row) John Coleman, Jim Meyer, Kent Scribner, Ryan Burke, Kristi Nelson, Mary Terry, Bill DeOre, Brandon Carr and his children; (middle row) Byron Sanders, Cary Pierce, Lesley McCaslin, Jennifer Lassiter, Tiffany Bias, Janet Ryan, DJ Poizon Ivy and her daughter; (front row) Katy Blakey, Jenny Koziol, Michelle Staubach Grimes, Tyrone Crawford, Byron Jones*

Just before the competition kicked off, Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones joined Team Neiman Marcus from the crowd as a surprise last-minute addition. The spelling bee then began with one practice round, but not before each team purchased passes for $1,000 each to be used in case they got stumped. Words were pulled from one of multiple categories, such as pop culture, literature or geography. After six or seven rounds—and all passes used on difficult words—a winning team rose to the top. When Team U.S. Trust misspelled the word ‘bourgeoisie,’ Team EY became the 2017 Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Champions. After posing for a photo with their trophies, the winning team joined their defeated opponents to mingle with guests across the street at Jorge’s during the after party.

Team EY may have taken home trophies, but Reading Partners was the real winner of the evening. The Celebrity Spelling Bee raised $155,000, which supports Reading Partners’ proven child literacy intervention program. In addition to each team sponsor, the event was made possible by Holly Energy Partners, AZZ Inc., Topgolf, Make It Count Family Foundation, Bandera Ventures, Downtown Dallas Inc., ExxonMobil, Frost Bank, Industrial Valuation Services, The Hoglund Foundation, Oncor, Price Waterhouse Cooper and TIER REIT.

* Photo provided by Reading Partners North Texas

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Art In Bloom

Whoops! Yesterday it was reported that no “Sold Outs” had been announced for the spring fundraising season following spring break. Today word arrived that that status had changed.

2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love”*

Not only is the 2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love” hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art League and chaired by Sarah Jo Hardin sold out, but organizers have added an opportunity for those who missed out on the Monday, March 27th event.

Sure, the Art In Bloom guests will get a sneak peak of the “Live Blooming Art Exhibit,” but DMA visitors will be able to check the floral designs “created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection” from Tuesday, March 28, thru Wednesday, March 29, on the DMA’s Level Two.

And how about some name dropping? Well, Art In Bloom can provide ‘em. The exhibition will include the talents of Judy Blackman of Blumengarten, Metka Terselich of Metka Floral Designs, Caroline Hansen of Forestwood Florals, Dan Pierce of Wild about Flowers, Doan Do of Cebolla Fine Flowers, Sarah Hobbs of Park Cities Petals, Juan Gomar of Apples to Zinnias, Lucy Diaz-Flores of Bella Flora and David Kimmel of David Kimmel Design.

So, don’t boo-hoo that you can’t attend the presentation by floral industry ambassador René van Rems and lunch on Monday at the DMA. You can still check out “Live Blooming Art Exhibit” Tuesday and Wednesday!

Art In Bloom proceeds will benefit the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund, as well as the DMA’s exhibition and education programs.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art League

Celebrity Chef Nancy Silverton Brought “Zest” To Sold-Out Lunch Fundraiser For VNA Programs

Nancy Silverton

There’s just something about the creation of a meal that is both soothing and magical. At the Haggerty Kitchen Center on Mockingbird, it came together for the Celebrity Chef Luncheon Tuesday, February 28. As Los Angeles-based James Beard Foundation 2014 Outstanding Chef Awardee Nancy Silverton prepared for a demonstration, the sold-out crowd including Honorary Chair Sara Fraser CrismonPaula Lambert, Rena Pederson, Caren Prothro, Mary Martha Pickens, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Anne Leary, Cathy Buckner and Lucian LaBarba with Christina LaBarba gathered. Paige McDaniel proclaimed, “This is one of my favorite events.”

Sara Fraser Crismon

Howard and Fanchon Hallam

Lucian LaBarba, Jennifer Atwood and Christina LaBarba

But before things got started and folks checked out the silent auction items, Empire Baking Company’s Meaders Ozarow recalled her childhood with her creative mother. The twosome would drive in from Abilene and visit NorthPark Center with its Magic Pan, Carriage Shop and Neiman’s. It was her mother’s creative spirit that both baffled Meadows and planted the seeds for her own talents.

Janet Ryan

But all too soon, the program was underway with VNA Board Chair Janet Ryan revealing that it was also President/CEO Katherine Krause’s birthday. Instead of blowing out candles on a cake, Katherine focused on the importance of the fundraiser that would provide funding for the Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

Katherine Krause

Katherine told of heart-wrenching numbers and stories about the people served by VNA’s Meals on Wheels program. For instance, 65% of the 4,600 home-bound and in need of the service are women. Of that number, 14 are more than 100 years old. The oldest is 105. Katherine shared the story about hospice-client Priscilla Hartman, who had just recently died at the age of 107. She had started using Meals on Wheels in her 90s. While others her age had found a comfy couch to retire to, she had discovered a new life literally by volunteering at Parkland holding newborn babies until her retirement at the age of 92.

Speaking of hospice, Katherine reminded the guests that Medicare covers hospice care for those over 65 years of age. On the other hand, VNA’s Hospice Care is able to step up and help those under 65 in need of hospice care.

VNA kettle

Chris Culak and Paige McDaniels

Next up was VNA Director of Development Chris Culak, who reported that each year VNA has to spend about $300,000 to replace the kitchen equipment that provides 6,000 meals daily. He then directed the attention to a kettle displayed on the terrace that was the size of a small car. It carried with it a price tag of a SUV — $40,000. But it alone can produce 1,800 meals. Chris then made the request that people donate to the Kitchen Fund to help replace the equipment.

But the day’s program wasn’t to focus on the deeds achieved daily by VNA. Its focus was Nancy, who had also been heavily involved with Meals on Wheels in LA.

Kale salad with zest grater

Despite having more experience and credentials than could be put into that kettle, Nancy walked the room through the creation of her Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pine Nuts and Anchovies. She emphasized the fact that despite 21st century techie tools found in many kitchens, she still prefers some old favorites like her zest grater. She also stressed the importance of fresh ingredients. Despite the initial eye shifting by some members of the audience at the thought of kale and anchovies being tasty, they changed their tunes when a parade of servers presented plates with the salad to kick off their family-style meal made up of recipes (Flattened Chicken Thigh with Charred Lemon Salsa Verde; Pasta Salad with Bitter Greens, Parmigiano Cream and Guanciale; Oily Galicky Spinach; Glazed Onions Agrodolce; Bean Salad with Celery Leaf Pesto; Marinated Lentils; Slow-roasted Roma Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme; Marinated Roasted Sweet Peppers; and Four-layer Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart) from Nancy’s recently published cookbook, “Mozza At Home.” Organizers were so smart. In listing the various items on the menu, they also included the page on which the recipe could be found.

One guest later admitted that she went home and tried the recipe, only to discover that it was just as good as what had been served at the luncheon.

In between stages of preparation, Nancy provided anecdotes like the fact that the VNA’s purchase of 400 copies of her new cookbook “Mozza At Home” as favors had turned out to be a record-breaker for her. The book was the result of Nancy’s realizing that after rising up the food chain and running six restaurants in the U.S. and Singapore, she had gotten sidetracked from her original love of cooking for friends. During a restful trip to Italy, she started rediscovering the joy of food, friends and fresh ingredients. She also realized that other hosts/hostesses found themselves in similar situations. So, she put together 19 menus with easy-to-follow recipes that could be prepared in advance and interchanged.

But her work wasn’t done. Later she would do another demonstration for the sold-out Celebrity Chef Dinner.

For more pictures from the food-fest fundraiser, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.