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.   

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: 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

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: VNA’s 2017 Celebrity Chef Luncheon

Nancy Silverton

Each day VNA turns out thousands of meals for those in need through its Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

But on Tuesday, February 28, the Haggerty Kitchen Center added a couple of additional feedings — VNA Celebrity Chef Lunch and VNA Celebrity Dinner — to provide $400,000 to support its programs.

Both events were sold out thanks to longtime supporters and food-lovers, and author/award-winning Chef Nancy Silverton demonstrating how to make a kale salad complete with anchovies yummy.

Kale salad with zest grater

While the post on the lunch is being cooked up, pictures are available over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Top-Tier Moms And Daughters Are Coming Together For Family Gateway To End Homelessness For Children And Their Families

This year’s Family Gateway’s Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon on Thursday, September 7, at the Omni Dallas is simply brimming with all types of mother-daughter relationships. To begin with, the organization was founded by the late Mayor Annette Strauss 31 years ago to “create sufficient stable housing and to expand availability and access to life-changing services to that every homeless child and their family has a path out of poverty to a brighter future.” With Annette’s inspiration in mind, Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Miltenberger and Betty Schultz have arranged to have Annette’s daughters Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr to serve as honorary co-chairs.

Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr (File photo)

But wait! There’s more.

The keynote speaker will be former first lady Laura Bush, whose daughter Jenna Bush Hager addressed the group last year with mom in the audience.

According to Family Gateway CEO Ellen Magnis, “We are honored to have Mrs. Bush’s involvement in our Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon and to have her support of our agency. As an advocate for education and the empowerment of women and girls, Mrs. Bush understands how critical early childhood education is to breaking the cycle of homelessness. Education is an important part of our program at Family Gateway, and we are grateful for Mrs. Bush’s efforts to raise awareness.”  

With MetroPCS as the presenting sponsor, underwriting co-chairs will be another mom-dotter team —Lisa Cooley and her daughter Ciara Cooley.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available now. How about getting that Mother’s Day gift locked down now?

A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

Sold-Out Alert!: VNA’s Celebrity Chef Lunch And Dinner

In the past VNA has limited its annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon to a noontime fundraiser. This year they decided to expand to have a dinner as well on Tuesday, February 28. The hope was “to double the funds raised to serve Meals on Wheels clients and patients in need of charitable hospice care.”

The results? They both sold out!

Nancy Silverton*

No wonder, since the celebrity chef will be Chef Nancy Silverton, who “is the only chef to be awarded both the Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Pastry chef awards from the James Beard Foundation. Nancy is co-owner at Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Newport Beach.”

It’s interesting to also note that VNA’s team has adjusted their marketing strategy. They’ve done away with their Legends And Leaders luncheon and created the VNA Chairman’s Society, which is a giving society “with a minimum annual donation of $15,000, and every dollar going to the programs.” So far, the Society has been a big hit. According to VNA Director of Community Engagement Cara Mendelsohn, “the Chairman’s Society has completely replaced the income from Legends & Leaders and has the potential to be an important source of funding for Meals on Wheels and charitable hospice care in the future.”

Sponsors for the Celebrity Chef include the following:

  • Presenting — Valley Services Inc.
  • Platinum — Lyda Hill
  • Gold — Sara Fraser Crisman and Peggy Dear
  • Silver — Linda and Jay Barlow, Jill Bee, Ben E. Keith Company, Becky and Mike Casey, Energy Transfer Partners, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler and Nichole and Chris Culak, Astrid Merriman and Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall
  • Bronze — Lydia and Bill Addy, Susie and Steve Anderson, Bank of America/U.S. Trust, Suzanne and Enrico Bartolucci, Mary Frances and Timothy Bellman, Della and Bob Best, Kathy and Gene Bishop, Jan Hart Black and Rena Pederson, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Neva and Don Cochran, Bess and Ted Enloe, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Jan and Al McClendon, Kate McClendon and Brooke and Jason Villalba, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Meaders and Robert Ozarow, Katherine and Bob Penn, Property Advisors Realty, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Cathy and Ike Vanden Eykel and Paula and Charles Wills.
* Photo courtesy of VNA

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event To Have Cocktails On The Lawn With Loggins Inside

Leave it to Vogel Alcove to be combine a longtime favorite with something totally different and new. That’s what Co-Chairs Ricki and Andy Rabin and Lisa and Scott Wilson have arranged for Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event on Thursday, May 11.  

Kenny Loggins*

The “longtime favorite” is Grammy-winning Kenny Loggins, who has been making beautiful music for dancing and listening for four decades. While some folks can’t help but start dancing when they hear his “Footloose,” others cruise his current tunes with country trio Blue Sky Riders. And Kenny is even reaching out to an audience that’s not old enough to drive a car with his “Children’s book called ‘Footloose,’ based on his mega-hit song for the eponymous film.”

And to provide the music for the after-party dancing, it will be none other than the Emerald City Band, which Mayor Mike Rawlings has tapped as “The House Band of Dallas.”

Now, for the “something totally different and new,” the Rabins and Wilsons are going to have the whole shindig at the Omni Dallas Hotel. So, what’s so new about the Omni? Well, the cocktail reception is not going to take place in the Trinity nor Dallas lobbies. It’s going “to be held for the first time on the Pegasus Lawn.” Then guests will amble across the driveway into the hotel for an elegant meal presented by McKool Smith and the entertainment.

If it rains…well, guess the whole kit and kaboodle will be indoors.

Tickets for the reception, dinner, performance and after-party start at $750. And, of course, sponsorships are available.

Suggestion: Leave the tuxedo and the frou-frou gown at home. Go shopping for something that goes well with spring lawn parties and dancing.  

* Photo credit: Stephen Morales

Mary Kay Inc.’s Inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit Had Business Vets Providing Insight And Opportunities For Business Women

When Mary Kay’s Inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit convened at the Fairmont on Friday, January 27, for an all-day crash course on business development and growth, they literally got more than an “earful” about innovative opportunities and success stories. In fact the day’s Pink Tank proved that point to the letter, thanks to Elyse Dickerson of Eosera, whose pitch had everyone listening. Here’s a report from the field:

Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit*

Two hundred women entrepreneurs attended the Inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit, presented by Mary Kay Inc. in partnership with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC), on Friday, January 27, at the Fairmont Hotel.

As perhaps the #1 creator of women entrepreneurs in the world, Mary Kay designed the summit to convene experts and thought leaders to help encourage and inspire participants’ own business journey, and to provide them with the tools to take their company and themselves as a leader to the next level and stage of development and growth.

The day began with keynote speaker Gloria Mayfield Banks, Mary Kay Independent Elite National Sales Director in the United States, followed by three breakout sessions with the common thread of “Why Women Make Great Entreprenuers.” 

Breakout session*

Breakout speakers included Caytie Langford of Caytie Langford and Associates, Valerie Freeman of Imprimis Group, Mary Kay Independent Senior National Sales Director Cindy Williams, Mary Kay Independent Executive National Sales Director Stacy James, Yasmeen Tadia of Make Your Life Sweeter, private consultant Liz Marshall, Sheryl Chamberlain of Cap Gemini, Jill Scigliano of Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Mary Kay Independent National Sales Director Emeritus Karen Piro and Kristina Libby, S.W.C./SoCu.

Ingrid Vandervelt, Crayton Webb and Gloria Mayfield Banks*

The group then reconvened for a seated lunch and a keynote address by Ingrid Vandervelt, Founder and Chairman of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020, before enjoying afternoon breakout sessions designed around the theme “How to Become a Great Entrepreneur.” Afternoon breakout session speakers were entrepreneur/Junior League of Dallas representative Heather Bonfield, Mary Kay Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green, Heather Capps of HCK2, Holly Mason of Mason Baronet, Jessica Nunez of True Point, Julia Taylor Cheek of Everly, Louise Kee of Golden Seeds, Cynthia Nevels of Integrality, Cristin Thomas of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Management Consulting’s Melissa Youngblood, LCC.

One of the highlights of the day followed, the Pink Tank business pitch session, with an all-star panel of judges: Sheryl Adkins-Green, The DEC Founder/CEO Trey Bowles, fashion designer/CEO Abi Ferrin, Mark Cuban Companies Director of Business Development Abe Minkara and City of Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne.  Five women business owners vied for the chance to win $5,000 in startup money from the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, with Elyse Dickerson of Eosera taking home the prize.

Trey Bowles, Sheryl Adkins-Green, Elyse Dickerson, Beth Van Duyne, Abi Ferrin and Abe Minkara*

The day concluded with a “Champs and Candy” celebratory reception with champagne, cotton candy-infused sparkling water, and sweet and savory popcorn by Make Your Life Sweeter.

* Photo provided by Mary Kay Inc.

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner Plans Announced Including Keynote Speaker Carla Harris

Carla Harris*

And the good news just keeps rolling in! Dallas Women’s Foundation is popping with news on all fronts regarding the Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Dinner  Co-Chairs Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada have arranged for Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris to be the keynote speaker. In addition to being a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council, the Port Arthur native has written “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win” and gospel singer.

As for the recipients of the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards, DWF President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson revealed quite a lineup. The 2017 Mauras will be presented to the following gals at the dinner:

  • Hind El Saadi El Jarrah*

    Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D. – Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, Jarrah has promoted the understanding and respect for multicultural diversity, especially for her three daughters. To preserve her culture and to instill it in her daughters, in 1982 she co-founded the Arabic Heritage Society, a nonprofit whose mission was educational, cultural, social and charitable to preserve and promote understanding of the culture. From 1983 to 1991, she served as principal of the Arabic school. After 9/11, widespread misconceptions about Islam and Muslims resulted in her giving speeches about these topics to promote understanding. In 2005, she co-founded and continues to serve as the executive director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a nonprofit that empowers Muslim women and their families and addresses critical needs of this population including counseling, legal services and play therapy. In 2012, TMWF opened Peaceful Oasis, a shelter for victims and children of domestic violence, which has served more than 1,500 clients from all faiths and races.

  • Madeline McClure*

    Madeline McClure, LCSW – As the founding CEO of TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, McClure is on a mission to prevent child abuse. After a successful nine-year career in finance on Wall Street, she started a second career to help abused and neglected children by creating large-scale systemic change through legislative advocacy. Under her leadership, TexProtects has led or assisted in the passage of 41 bills that have improved the Child Protective Services system, and advocated for and secured $100 million for family support home visiting programs, which currently serve more than 21,000 families across Texas. Recently, McClure led successful efforts to make positive changes to Texas’ Child Protective Services, including a recent approval of pay raises for 5,000+ frontline CPS caseworkers, of which 75 percent are female.

  • Tonya Parker*

    The Honorable Tonya Parker – Judge Tonya Parker has been Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County since she was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. During her tenure, she has served with the highest remarks and approval ratings. She currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Dallas County Civil District Courts and is the immediate past president of the Texas Association of District Judges. By serving honorably in her position, she has elevated the status of and opened doors for women. In addition, she is involved with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at developing political ambition and training for young women (ages 14-22) to run for public office. Parker serves as a mentor to these young women, helping them learn how to be impactful contributors to society, especially if they are elected. Parker also finds time to serve on many legal associations, civic boards and commissions. A passionate speaker, she’s often asked to give speeches to legal groups and schools, including an impactful commencement speech she gave to Richardson ISD graduates in 2015.

  • Lupe Valdez*

    Sheriff Lupe Valdez – The youngest child and only daughter born to migrant farm workers, Sheriff Lupe Valdez became the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County in 2005. Re-elected for her fourth term in 2016, she is the only Hispanic female sheriff in the nation and one of four female sheriffs in Texas. Because her mother was determined that she would receive an education, Valdez worked two jobs to put herself through college. After college, she enlisted in the Army Reserves where she rose to the rank of captain, and also earned a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. As Sheriff, she has partnered with the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County Constables, the District Attorney’s Office and several judges to improve county law enforcement. Some of her successes include hiring 400 new detention service officers, expanding the highway patrol system, and improving healthcare for mentally ill inmates.

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a woman under the age of 40 who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.

Cynthia Nwaubani*

Presented by Capital One, this year’s Young Leader Awardee will be Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA. “Because of the important role education played in Nwaubani’s life, she has devoted her time on efforts to promote education, empowerment and financial independence for women and girls. She earned her MBA and CPR certification while working full-time and raising a family, and now works as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo & Company. She was recently recognized with Wells Fargo’s “Living with Vision and Values” award just two years into her career. She’s passionate about connecting women executives and clients, as well as global diversity that focuses on diversity of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Through her involvement with 4word women’s group, she is able to grow with other women leaders who work, love and pray. Nwaubani also mentors women business owners from countries that have been affected by war or genocide through the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.”

According to Ros, “We are proud to honor and celebrate exceptional leaders who are blazing trails for women in their professions and communities. These women have dedicated themselves to creating opportunities for women and girls to accomplish their goals, and their stories are an inspiration to us all.  We also look forward to hearing from the dynamic Carla Harris, who will encourage us to do even more to advance women’s leadership at work and in the community.” 

Dinner tickets starting at $150 and sponsorships are available right here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins Announces Craig Hall To Receive The First Great Contributor To Art Award And Much More Deets

Due to circumstances way beyond our control, the next couple of days are going to be filled with announcements galore thanks to those wonderful people who bring you fundraising in North Texas. The news will be revealed as soon as it breaks.

The very first on the lineup just took place, courtesy of Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins, who never tackles any project in a lightweight manner. She gathered a crowd of folks, including many of her 48-member committee, at Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer House this evening to reveal plans for the upcoming Artscape Reimagined 2017.

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

The eyebrow-raising headline of the evening was the creation of the Great Contributor to Art Award in association with the garden’s fine art and craft show. And to kick the launch of the award off with a bang, she announced the very first recipient will be entrepreneur/best-selling author/philanthropist/vineyard owner Craig Hall.

According to Kaki, “Craig Hall embodies the spirit of this award. He is someone who collects art not for himself but for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work, and we are excited to honor him.”

Craig will be presented with the Gary Lee Price-designed award on Friday, May 12, at the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall.

With wife Kathryn Hall standing nearby, Craig said, “I am a strong believer in the importance of public art and the incredible effect it can have on its audience. Art has the ability to touch the soul and make people think, and it should be shared openly and democratically. The Dallas Arboretum, through its public art exhibits, sculptures throughout the garden and Artscape, is a great example of how our city is embracing public art, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

Regarding Artscape itself, it will feature more than 100 renowned artists from around the country thanks to the Artscape jury including Chair  Patricia Meadows, Katherine Wagner and Marty Ray with assistance by Gail Sachson. This year’s show will feature “a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, fiber, ceramics and more.” But leave it to Kaki to have ramped it up to live up to its Artscape Reimagined theme, like:

  • An architect-designed landscape layout with decorative signage and boulevards that provide excellent audience flow and heightened visibility for the artists.
  • The historic DeGolyer House transformed into the DeGolyer Gallery, featuring local Dallas galleries presenting works by artists they represent
  • The University Zone, where approximately 10 universities will show and sell works by their professors and students.

And it will all take place with the Arboretum grounds in full bloom, thanks to dazzling azaleas. The schedule calls for the member preview on Friday, April 28, with the public viewings on the following Saturday (April 29) and Sunday (April 30).  

As an additional offering, Artscape guests will also be able to check out ZimSculpt, the exhibition of “modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures that will be incorporated into the garden” from Saturday, April 15 through Monday, July 31. This collection of more than 100 hand-carved pieces will be the first time that the sculptures will be on display in the southern U.S. During their stay, Zimbabwean artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko will be on hand to demonstrate how the stone is carved into modern art.

BTW, tickets for the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner are $300 per guest and will be available for purchase on Monday, February 6.

MySweet2017Goals: Mary Martha Pickens

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

According to Chick Lit Luncheon 2017 Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens,

“One of my goals for 2017 is for the community to join my Co-Chair Tricia George and me for the 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel benefiting Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) on Friday, April 21. This year’s event will feature best-selling author, natural foods chef, reality TV star, self-made businesswoman and mom, Bethenny Frankel, as the keynote speaker – you will not want to miss it!

Lara and Robert Tafel (File photo)

Gail Corder Fischer (File photo)

“Tricia and I, along with our underwriting chairs Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees, are planning an unforgettable luncheon, whose proceeds will support the abused and neglected children served by CPD. To that end, we are so excited to announce Gail Corder Fischer as this year’s honorary chair. We are so grateful to Gail for her ongoing dedication to the children in our community and her support of the Chick Lit Luncheon.

“As well, CPD will be presenting the ‘2017 Partners for Children Award’ to the Peacock Alley Bitzer and Needleman families for their longtime support of Community Partners of Dallas. The Partners for Children Award is presented annually and celebrates the recipient’s commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and their years of service meeting the needs of abused and neglected children.

“The 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon will be held on April 21, at 10:30 a.m., at the Hilton Anatole. The event will include a wine reception followed by a seated luncheon and remarks by Ms. Frankel. Tables begin at $1,750 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early April if space permits. For more information, visit communitypartnersdallas.org.  We look forward to seeing you on April 21st!”

MySweet2017Goals: Nikki Webb

Crayton and Nikki Webb (File photo)

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb,

“My goal for 2017 is for the community to join my husband Crayton Webb and myself at the 24th annual Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon on Monday, May 15. We are delighted to be co-chairs of one of the most anticipated luncheons of the spring, and would love to see our friends, colleagues and community partners in attendance.

“This year’s luncheon will feature founder of The Huffington Post, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and international best-selling author, Arianna Huffington, as keynote speaker. Celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, she is sure to inspire and engage as she discusses domestic abuse in our society, and the broader topic of women and media.

Arianna Huffington*

“Funds raised through the luncheon help Genesis provide safety, shelter and expert counseling services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. In 2016, Genesis served 1,300 women and children due to the generosity of the Dallas community.

“The 2017 Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Dallas located at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. Sponsorships begin at $1750.00. If available, individual tickets will go on sale in April 2017. For table and sponsorship information contact Genesis Senior Director of Development Bianca Jackson at 214.389.7703 or visit http://www.genesisshelter.org/events/luncheon/ to reserve your table.”

* Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter

JUST IN: Multi-Talented Bernadette Peters Will Headline The Dallas Summer Musicals 2017 Gala In November

Bernadette Peters*

She’s the favorite of Stephen Sondheim, best buds with Mary Tyler Moore and has more curls than a bushel of rotini. She’s been in show biz since she was 3½ and got her Actors Equity Card at the ripe old age of 9. She’s appeared on TV, Broadway and the silver screen.  She’s written children’s books, dated Steve Martin and appeared in Playboy Magazine in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

She is multi-talented Bernadette Peters and she will be headlining the Dallas Summer Musical fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall on Saturday, November 4.

Since “An Evening With Bernadette Peters” will benefit the Dallas Summer Musicals and its education and community outreach programs, it’s especially poignant to have TI executives Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld co-chairing the event.

Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld**

Each has childhood memories of attending the Dallas Summer Musicals and the long-lasting impressions they took away.

According to Paul, “Going to Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park with my grandmother was my first exposure to ‘real’ theatre on the big stage. Learning the stories and hearing the music instilled a love for the stage in me that endures to this day. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help another generation experience that same magic.”

As for Andy, he recalled, “My 16th birthday present was a trip from Tyler to see the DSM production of ‘Camelot.’ We (Paul and Andy) both fell in love with musical theater through DSM, and we’ve also seen how DSM has touched the lives of youth in our community through their outreach and education programs.”

While individual tickets are not available (drat!), sponsorships and underwriting opportunities can be discovered by calling the DSM Development office at 214.426.6333.

* Photo credit: Andrew Eccles 
** Photo provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

Female Business Successes Will Share Lessons, Secrets And Pink Tank Opportunities At The Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit

It is truly hard for some to believe that there was once a time when girls were raised to have no greater aspirations than to be wives and moms. Seriously, it made sense. Taking care of the home and the children is a monumental task. But then there were situations when the household income was lacking, either because the man of the house was unable to provide or there was no longer a man of the house around. Women found themselves out in the work force, many without any training or mentoring. One such woman was Mary Kathlyn Wagner. To provide for her three children and herself while her husband was serving in World War II, she found herself selling books door-to-door. When he returned, they divorced and she worked for other companies only find herself being passed over for promotion in favor of less qualified men.

While most women would have thrown in the towel and just accepted what would become known as the glass ceiling, Mary Kathlyn took up the challenge of becoming her own boss in 1963. Despite the death of her second husband and with only $5,000 in the bank, she started Mary Kay. And, as they say, the rest is history.

In addition to creating a cosmetics empire, she was one of those pioneers that, along with the women’s movement, supportive husbands and technology, provided women with the opportunity, if they wanted, to pursue a career and, yes, possibly own businesses.

Despite Mary Kay’s death in 2001, that respect for and support of women in business continues on today in Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation. To provide the tools to be entrepreneurs, Mary Kay Inc. is partnering up with The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) for the first annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit on Friday, January 27 at the Fairmont Hotel Dallas. From 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., experts and thought leaders with backgrounds in fashion, high technology, consumer-packaged goods and business services” will mentor, guide, teach and share their secrets to success.

Sheryl Adkins-Green*

According to Mary Kay Inc Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green, “For 53 years Mary Kay has been empowering, mentoring and promoting women entrepreneurs. Our founder, Mary Kay Ash herself, was one of the greatest business minds of all time and millions of women around the world have built successful businesses by following her proven leadership and sales techniques. No one person or company has more experience with women’s entrepreneurship than Mary Kay Inc. We believe that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit will help inspire current and future female entrepreneurs.”

So, what’s on the Summit schedule?  

Throughout the day there will be mentorship opportunities and “breakout sessions, which have been customized for entrepreneurs of all ages and stages and will include case studies, how to’s and tools to take your company to the next level.”

Some of the breakout session topics and speakers will include:

  • Why Women Make Great Entrepreneurs:  Amber Venz Box of RewardStyle and Valerie Freeman of Imprimis Group
  • 10 Questions You Need To Answer Before You Become An Entrepreneur:  Shama Hyder of Marketing Zen and Yasmeen Tadia of Make Your Life Sweeter
  • How To Build the Best Team For Success: Sheryl Chamberlain of Cap Gemini and Kristi Libby of S.W.C./SoCu and Jill Scigliano of Dallas Entrepreneur Center
  • Customer Development: How To Find And Grow Customers:  Melissa Youngblood of LCC Management Consulting
  • Building Your Brand:  Heather Capps of HCK2, Holly Mason of Mason Baronet and Jessica Nunez of  True Point
  • Fundraising: How To Fund Your Business: Julia Taylor Cheek of Everly, Louise Kee of Golden Seeds, Cynthia Nevels of Integrality and Cristin Thomas of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

As for food for the mind and tummy, there will be a light breakfast followed by the morning’s keynote speaker: internationally renowned motivational speaker/#1 U.S. Ranked Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director Gloria Mayfield Banks.

Gloria Mayfield Banks*

Ingrid Vandervelt*

At the seated luncheon, Empowering A Billion Women by 2020, Founder/Chair Ingrid Vandervelt will be the keynote speaker.

Following the sessions will be the first-ever “Pink Tank” providing the opportunity for pre-selected participants to fast pitch their business ideas to Mary Kay Inc.’s Adkins-Green, Mark Cuban Companies Business Development Director Abe Minkara and CEO/fashion designer Abi Ferrin for seeding from The DEC.

Registration fees are $125 per person in advance and $150 at the door.

Ladies, you’ve come a long way since Mary Kay sold books door-to-door. The future is yours.

* Photos provided by Mary Kay Inc.

A Passing: “The Exorcist” Author William Peter Blatty, Multiple Myeloma And A Long Ago Story About A Dallas Encounter

MySweetCharity

Today CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony were meeting with CancerBlows Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons Lock and Anne Stodghill and a production crew from around the country for the upcoming May 8-10th multiple myeloma fundraiser at the Meyerson. (More about that in the days to come.)

While they were finalizing plans for the event that will have the world’s greatest horn players perform to support research and treatments about the disease that struck Ryan, multiple myeloma proved just how deadly it is. Academy Award-winning screenwriter/acclaimed author of “The Exorcist” William Peter Blatty died the day before as a result of the blood cancer.

Blatty’s death recalled an incident that took place in Dallas back in 1973. A very young and green society writer at The Dallas Morning News was assigned to cover a party hosted by Polly and Dick Hitt and Jeanne and Jim Butler for a novelist named William Peter Blatty. In a Google-less world, she wandered the newsroom asking reporters if they had ever heard of Blatty. All she got were shrugs. Well, there was one writer who said he thought the guy had written about teddy bears.

So, off the society writer went to the party at a mansion on Preston Road, where she encountered all types of local celebs like KVIL’s Ron Chapman and Hugh Lampman and Bettie and Fairmont Hotel General Manager Julian Abio. Once again, she asked, “Have you heard of William Peter Blatty?” Again, the responses were shrugs and side-shaking of heads.

Wandering into a small sitting room, she found a man seated in a chair whom she didn’t know. After exchanging “Hellos,” she again asked him if he knew of William Peter Blatty. He responded, “As a matter of fact I do. He wrote a book called ‘The Exorcist.’” Innocently, she asked if he had read it. He nodded. She followed that up with, “Is it any good?” He said he thought so.

She was on a roll and asked if her new friend could point Blatty out. He then aimed his index finger at his chest.

She smiled and they both laughed.

Now, having experienced the most awkward moment that could possibly happen in their relationship, she said, “Do you know that you look yellow? Is it the lighting or are you wearing some kind of makeup?” He said he hadn’t been feeling all that great and appreciated her concern.

After a few minutes, she departed.

The next day the society writer received a call from host Jim Butler saying that after she had left the party, Blatty had been taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with hepatitis. “He keeps asking for you,” Butler said.

Over the next few months, the movie version was released and the phone calls between the society writer and Blatty continued. He would talk about his life and how the movie’s popularity had been both flattering and weird. After she had seen the movie, she acted like a movie expert and wondered if it would have been better done in black and white. He laughed and said that he had lobbied for that, but the director and money people were totally opposed to that idea.

While staying in Colorado, Blatty called and insisted that the writer come to Colorado to meet his mother, Mary Blatty. He had spoken of his mother often and had told her about the writer. Bill just knew the two ladies would hit it off. The writer suggested that Blatty put Mary on the phone, so they could chat.

It was then that the relationship took a definite “exorcist” turn. He couldn’t put his mother on the phone. She had died in 1967. It was the last time the reporter and Blatty would talk.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations Extend From Friday To Holiday Monday

Another federal holiday will have banks, government offices and most schools closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But there is so much going on to celebrate the late civil rights leader. Here’s just a smattering of the events for your consideration:

  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 — Presented by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition takes place at the Majestic Theatre from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It features fourth- and fifth-graders delivering three- to five-minutes original speeches. It’s free, but registration is necessary.
  • SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 — The 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Gala will get underway at the Fairmont Hotel with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and featuring Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough and special guests Laila Muhammad and Yolonda Williams. The Afterglow Event will follow the gala. Individual tickets are going for $85 for the gala and $20 for Afterglow Event.
  • MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — The 2017 MLK Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Holmes Street. It’s free for the viewing. Let’s hope the rain dries up in time for the bands to strut their stuff.
  • The 2017 MLK Symposium*

    MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — Presented by BaylorScott&White, the 12th Annual MLK Symposium: MLK’s Legacy: Issues of Social Justice in the 21st Century will feature presentations by journalist Jelani Cobb and #BlackLivesMatter Co-Creator Alicia Garza at the Dallas City Performance Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance because they will not be sold at the venue.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

JUST IN: Bethenny “Skinny Girl” Frankel To Be Keynote Speaker At Community Partner’s Of Dallas’ 11th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Luncheon*

There were naysayers who doubted that Community Partners of Dallas could actually come up with an author/speaker for their annual Chick Lit Luncheon to top their 2016 speaker Tim Gunn.

Bethenny Frankel*

Well, it looks like they’ve gone and done it — Bethenny “Skinny Girl” Frankel!

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce Bethenny Frankel as the featured speaker for this year’s Chick Lit Luncheon. Following last year’s record-breaking tenth anniversary event, we know Bethenny’s straight-forward and witty approach to relationships, nutrition, business, parenting and all things-‘Real Housewives’ will certainly keep our devoted attendees entertained. This year is not to be missed!”

If you’re new to Bethenny world, hold on to your gelled nails. A week in her life is the stuff that keeps “Page Six” reporters salivating. In addition to creating the Skinny Girl brand of cocktails, chocolates, etc., she shot to fame thanks to reality TV (Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny Getting Married?, The Real Housewives of New York City and you know the drill).

But long before she became the reality boob tube darling/diva, her childhood was fraught with drama. When she was four, her father left her mother Bernadette Birk. A year later her mom remarried. Bethenny has described Bernadette as “trying to commit suicide in the kitchen in front of me. We had abuse, we had alcohol, we had gambling. What mother would ever do that to their child?” That may explain their 12-year estrangement.

But wait, there’s more. Just this past year she divorced husband #2 Jason Hoppy after battling in the divorce courts for four years, got depressed this past year and found happiness six months ago with multimillionaire Dennis Shields, who is married to a high school chum of Bethenny. You can’t make this stuff up!

In her spare time, she has written books with the most recent book seeming appropriate — “I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules For Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.”

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

Tricia George (File photo)

Chances are that by the time Bethenny hits Dallas for the Friday, April 21, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, she’ll have even more tantalizing tales to tell about her life as the “skinny girl.” The luncheon is being co-chaired by Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens with Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees co-chairing the underwriting.

Table sales and sponsorships are available now! As for individual tickets, they will be available in April… “if space permits.” Translation: Get your buddies together and lock down that table pronto.

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

From An Olympian Gold Medalist To An Opera CEO, The Awards Of Excellence Celebrated A Wide Range Of Achievers

One of the favorite award luncheons of the fall season is the Dallas Historical Society‘s Awards for Excellence. Just the week before Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 17, the lovers of Dallas history and those who help make it all come true were at the Fairmont for the handing out of awards and the legendary A.C. Greene champagne toast. Here’s a report from the field:

The Board of Trustees of the Dallas Historical Society, with Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas, PhD and Robert Hyer Thomas and co-chairs Veletta Forsythe Lill and Mary Suhm, welcomed over 650 attendees to the 35th Awards for Excellence (AFE) in Community Service luncheon on Thursday, November 17, at the Fairmont Dallas.

May Suhm, Amy Aldredge and Veletta Forsythe Lill*

As attendees arrived and took their seats, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas welcomed everyone to the 35th annual celebration, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city. He then welcomed Reverend Richie Butler, senior pastor of St Paul United Methodist Church, for the invocation. 

Following the invocation, guests enjoyed a first course of spring pea and ham soup en croute with mint cream, followed by roasted chicken breast with demi glace served with old school stacked potatoes, arugula and carrot cardamom puree. Thomas returned to introduce Co-Chairs Veletta and Mary.

Bob and Gail Thomas*

Ms. Lill and Ms. Suhm expressed their gratitude to attendees, event sponsors and the luncheon committee for their support of this year’s Awards for Excellence, particularly Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas and Robert Hyer Thomas. Applauding the couple’s many contributions to Dallas, including their long-standing support of the Dallas Historical Society, the co-chairs announced that two special books would be donated in the Thomas’ honor to the G.B. Dealey Library and Reading Room at the Hall of State: for Bob, Darwin Payne‘s “One Hundred Years On The Hilltop: The Centennial History of Southern Methodist University” and for Gail:  the late historian A. C. Greene‘s “A Town Called Cedar Springs” for creating the sense of community from the many former historic villages that now comprise Greater Dallas.

Dallas Historical Society Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helmbrecht then took the podium recognizing event co-chairs and honorary chairs as well as Amy Aldredge, the Dallas Historical Society’s recently appointed executive director. Additionally, he thanked Arrangements Chair Shannon Callewart, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas, AFE Coordinator Louise Caldwell, Caro Stalcup and Staff Liaison Nora Lenhart for all the dedicated hours they put in to making the event a success.

He also shared the impact the Dallas Historical Society makes with its holdings of over three million archives and artifacts related to Dallas and Texas history, its exhibits and events, including two upcoming exhibits, “Polly Smith: A Texas Journey” and “Drawing Power: The Editorial Art of John Knott” and its education and public programs which reach approximately 20,000 area school students annually.

As dessert of caramel pecan cheesecake with salted caramel and Texas pecans was served, Stewart returned to recognize the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Service recipients.  Each recipient was presented with their award by co-chairs Lill and Suhm.  

Keith Cerny, Holly Mayer and Emmanuel Villaume*

Anita Martinez, Eliseo Garcia and Patricia Meadows*

Richard Stanford and Pat Mattingly*

Hugh Aynesworth and Pierce Allman*

2016 Awards for Excellence recipients:

    • Arts Leadership – Keith Cerny, general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera
    • Business – Leonard M. Riggs Jr. M.D., noted Dallas civic leader who began his career as an emergency physician, became chief of emergency medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, and later founded the precursor of EmCare, Inc.
    • Creative Arts – Eliseo Garcia, international multi-media sculptor
    • Education – Pat Mattingly, long-time educator and former 26-year director of The Lamplighter School
    • History – Hugh Aynesworth, award-winning journalist and writer
    • Humanities – Molly Bogen, retired 40-year director of Senior Source
    • Medical Research – Eric Olson, renowned molecular biologist specializing at UT Southwestern Medical Center
    • Philanthropy – Linda Perryman Evans, president and CEO of the Meadows Foundation
    • Sports Leadership – Michael Johnson, four-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time World Championship gold medalist
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Philip C. Henderson, architect and urban visionary and first president of the Friends of the Katy Trail
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Frederick “Shad” Rowe, co-founder of GIBI Investment Symposium and advocate and board member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation
    • Jubilee History Maker – Margot Perot, community volunteer and philanthropist

Nancy Shelton and Molly Bogen*

David Dunnagan and Linda Perryman Evans*

Glenn Solomon, Louise Caldwell and Michael Johnson*

Shad Rowe and Willing Ryan*

Carol Montgomery and Margot Perot*

After the awards presentation, champagne was served to all attendees as well as recipients on stage. Stewart returned to the podium, with glass in hand, to conclude with the event’s traditional A.C. Greene toast:  “Would everyone who was born in Dallas, please stand up.  Would everyone who was born in Texas, please stand up. We toast the rest of you – who were smart enough to move here as fast as you could! Here! Here!”

The A.C. Greene toast*

As the event concluded, the Judy Moore Duo played the event’s signature song, “Big D” from the musical, “Most Happy Fella.”

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser support the Dallas Historical Society and its dedication to the preservation of Dallas and Texas history through its many programs, including educational outreach and public programs.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall