CASA Celebrates 30 Years With A Homecoming

It was just 30 years ago that the CASA ( Court Appointed Special Advocates) was started. Over the years many came to recognize it as the group that builds and sells the darling playhouses each year at NorthPark Center. For others it became the powerful frontline defense for “the best interests of abused and neglected children in protective care.”

But this powerhouse group didn’t start out that way. No, it started with one staff person and 10 volunteers. All were dedicated and unfortunately, all were in overwhelming demand. Today CASA has 650 volunteers and more than 40 staff members. And from the turnout (pictured)  for the Dallas CASA Homecoming Celebration Saturday night at Eddie Deen, it appears they were all there to celebrate 30 years of working together for children in need of protection.

And what would a homecoming be without a homecoming queen and king? Not to worry.  Fulfilling those roles were former federal prosecutors Madeleine Johnson and Paul Coggins, (pictured right with Madeleine Johnson) who were literally crowned and presented with trophies for putting the shindig together. After wearing his crown for a few minutes, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddel partner Paul told the crowd, “I’m getting used to this crown thing. I’ll be wearing it around the house, Regina. And, Veronica, I’ll be wearing it at the office as well.”

Like any good queen, Madeleine, who is now VP/general counsel for Southwest Airlines, gave credit for the success to others like WFAA-CH. 8’s Brett Shipp, who produced a marvelous video featuring former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, District Attorney Craig Watkins, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and philanthropist Caroline Rose Hunt on behalf of CASA.

While all the speakers including CASA Executive Director Beverly Levy, Board members Darrel Rice and Dave Kroencke and Jim and Angela Thompson were impressive, as was the recognition of the members of the “Ring of Honor,” it was when they asked the CASA advocates to stand that made the greatest impact on assembled. Nearly half of the audience stood to the applause of the rest except for Sidney Tassan. He couldn’t because he was holding the hand of his wife/CASA volunteer, Cynthia Hinojosa,(pictured right with Sidney Tassan) who was standing.

It was that kind of night when people who go that extra mile for others got a pat on the back from the community.

If you weren’t able to make it to the 30th anniversary, why not sign up and volunteer so you can stand up at the next one?

World Series Game #4 Tickets Are Now In The Rainbow Kids Pot For Texas Hold ‘Em Tourney Tonight

The Texas Hold ‘Em Tourney at the Doubletree Campbell Centre tonight has just hit the jackpot! Benefiting Rainbow Days, two tickets to the World Series Game #4 Sunday night at the Ballpark are one of the “outstanding prize packages.”

Oh, and before you ask — yes, they’ll have two extremely large plasma televisions on hand tonight.


Desserts Without Guilt This Wednesday Thanks to Altrusa Inc. of Downtown Dallas

Let’s be painfully honest. Dessert is the very best part of a meal. Whether it’s chocolate or creme brulee, it is perfection . . . except when you step on the scales the next morning. But thanks to Altrusa Inc. of Downtown Dallas, you won’t feel the guilt this week. They’re hosting the  4th annual “Dessert First” fundraiser at The Apartment from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Who are they raising funds for? Friends of Wednesday’s Child!

Honorary co-chairs Suzanne Bock Grishman and Michael Grishman are also hosting a VIP reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The evening of “savory, champagne and chocolate” will hit a hit calorie point with the unveiling of an edible chocolate sculpture created by Todd Fiscus. Providing the audio elements to the evening will be Bryan Dunklin and Dante Andrade.

And don’t worry. Yup, we know what you’re thinking. You’ll be home in plenty of time for the first game of the World Series.

Major sponsors include Leland’s Gold & Diamonds, Erikson Studio and Reid-Cooper Associates.

Food and beverage sponsors are [Read more…]

2010 Signature Chefs of Dallas Auction Brings In $455,000 For March Of Dimes

The 2010 Signature Chefs of Dallas Auction’s Angels & Aces achieved $455,000 for the March of Dimes thanks to Event Co-chairs Brynn and Taylor Allday and Sue and Britt Fair, 500 guests, 40 members of the Napa Valley Vintners Association and 20 of Dallas’ leading chefs led by Chef Kent Rathbun.

Kicking the total up was the record-breaking $26,000 for a painting created by Christopher Martin “with help from former preemies who directly benefited from the March of Dimes.”

Plus it helped to have the following sponsors on board: [Read more…]

Wimpy Kid In Parade And Headed For “A Celebration Of Reading” At The Meyerson

In the perfect timing department is Barbara Bush‘s having Diary of A Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney as one of the celebrity authors for “A Celebration of Reading” at the Meyerson on Monday, November 8. If you check out Personality Parade on the inside cover of Sunday’s Parade Magazine, Walter Scott has a brief Q&A with Jeff.

Not in the Q&A but according to MSC’s good friend/Celebration powerhouse Carrie Eickenroht,

“Jeff worked for six years before publishing Diary of A Wimpy Kid online on the website in daily installments.  To date, the online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has had more than 70 million visits, and is typically read by more than 70,000 kids a day.”

And Dallas gets to have him up close and personal in just two weeks. In fact his newest book in the Wimpy Kid series, Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, is officially released the day after Meyerson appearance.

Attaway, Barbara and her literate elves.

BTW, the event is nearing the sell-out point for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser, so don’t waste time. It’s always a marvelous evening of short readings, Barbara Bush humor and a light, seated supper afterwards.

Carson Kressley To Speak And Be Auctioned Off At Voice For Children

The traffic jam Wednesday night on Beverly was due to the gathering at Kelly and Mark Bunting‘s home. But it was for a very good cause — the kick-off party for the Voices for Children Luncheon with Carson Kressley.

With a crowd of 200 including Luncheon Chair Robert Weatherly, (pictured), organizers were thrilled about the upcoming Thursday, November 11th event at Union Station benefiting the Child Abuse Prevention Center. Invitations were just going out and they were already almost halfway to their goal attendance of 600. No surprise. With Carson as the main course of the event, it should be fascinating with his background as a stylist, televisions star, equestrian, best-selling author and fashion designer.

Photo provided by Child Abuse Prevention Center

And he contributing far more than just speaking to the group. It was announced that Carson (pictured) is part of a luxury auction package and what a package it is!

  1. Carson will visit the winner’s home for a private closet consultation. While sipping mimosas and chatting, the winner will receive Carson’s advice on his/her current wardrobe.  He will advise on  items he/she might purchase for the upcoming season, discuss wardrobe essentials, etc.
  2. Once the consultation has concluded the winner and Carson will be whisked away in their chauffeured Rolls Royce Phantom to Barneys New York for a shopping excursion where they will walk through the luxury department store to shop and Carson will point out wardrobe and beauty essentials – the “must haves” of every wardrobe.  To make the shopping experience even more exciting, Barneys New York will present the winner with a $2000.00 gift card.  The shopping experience will be luxurious and the winner will be treated like a celebrity – strictly first class.
  3. After shopping at Barneys New York, the winner and Carson will head to the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek , Dallas’ only five star hotel, to have a leisurely and delicious lunch with 3 of the winner’s closest friends.
  4. Following lunch, Carson and winner will head to the relaxing Spa at The Stoneleigh for spa treatments – massage, facial, mani and pedi.  The day will end with afternoon tea or cocktail.

Why that’s enough to have a brand new chandelier installed in your closet. Your biggest problem is going to be which three friends will lunch with you and your new BFF Carson.

“Hold ’em for Heroes” Shuffles Over To Lakewood Country Club Tonight

In just a couple of hours, the poker players of Dallas will head to the Lakewood Country Club for Heroes for Children‘s “Hold ‘Em for Heroes.” The annual card game raises funds to “help support families with children battling cancer by reducing the financial burden that often co-exists with cancer treatment.”

If you haven’t registered already, the online is closed, but they’ll allow “walk ups.”

When you think of it, the date for the game was just perfect! The Rangers have the day off.

Dallas CASA Celebrates 30th Anniversary Of Advocacy Saturday With A Big Old Party

Some dread turning 30, while others celebrate the occasion big time. The folks at Dallas CASA are having a big old celebration for their 30-year anniversary “Dallas CASA Homecoming Reunion”  this Saturday at Eddie Deen’s. This group has tirelessly been advocates for children who have suffered abuse for 30 years. Their efforts are invaluable.

Chairing the 30th anniversary campaign are Southwest Airlines’ Madeleine Johnson and Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell’s Paul Coggins. Now, if those two names sound just a tad bit familiar, it’s because they both were federal prosecutors.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available for the evening of food, raffles and dancing with music by Party Crashers.

Most Likely to Succeed – $10,000: The Jim and Angela Thompson Foundation

Best Personality – $5,000: Archon Group L.P., The Berg Family, Dallas Mavericks, Stanford C. and Mary Clare Finney Foundation, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Marcia and Mark King/MMK Foundation, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP, Eleanor and Steve Penrose, Kristy Robinson/The Hoglund Foundation, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Southwest Airlines, Pam and Jeff Stegenga and Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Williamson Jr.

Most Spirited – $2,500: AT&T, Suzanne and Bert Bryan, Alyson and Scott Griffith, Vicky and Michael Gunning, Lisa and Dave Kroencke, Jeanne and Joseph Manogue, Nancy and Rex Spivey and Mersina and Phin Stubbs

Most Talented- $1,000: Debby Buchanan, Marcia Cluxton, Julie and Mike Fisher, The Gayden Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Goodwin, Kathleen and Michael LaValle, Roblyn and Kurt Mai, Mary Kay Inc., Nancy Perot Mulford, Pat and Claude Prestidge, Mary Kay and Kenneth F. Reimer, Carol and Frank Riddick and The Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation

Most Friendly- $500+: Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Altshuler, Colleen and John Aspinwall, Mason Brown Family Foundation Inc., Elizabeth and Michael Daane, Jill and Charles Johnson, Sarah Losinger, Shirley and William S. McIntyre Foundation, Danika and Kip Mondrygal, Carolyn and Denton Newham, Emily Parker, Cindy Pladziewicz, Kathleen and Rocky Powell, Jeff and Darrel Rice, Sara and Robby Rockey and Mr. and Mrs. R.P. Washburne

Dean Foods Employees And Foundation Made A Big Difference For The North Texas Food Bank

Since September was “Hunger Action Month,” the employees at Dean Foods made it a priority to “help collect and put food in the hands of those who need it most.” Their work paid off sorting and packing more than 83,000 meals and donating 3,740 pound of food that translates into 13,000 meals.

To enhance this roll-up-the-sleeves attitude, the Dean Foods Foundation has just announced its pledge of $300,000 over a three-year period to North Texas Food Bank programs to feed and educate at-risk children and youth.

This pledge is the largest in NTFB history.

“Dean Foods is dedicated to providing wholesome dairy products every day to families and children across the country,” said Chris Sliva, president of the Morningstar Division of Dean Foods and a NTFB Board member.  “Giving North Texas children access to healthy nutrition and educating them on positive lifelong eating habits are critical services that are an ongoing passion for our employees and a natural fit for the Dean Foods Foundation’s support.”


Hi-Ho, Equest Was Quite A Show!

Rusty the horse and Crunchie the pony (pictured) were  grouchy Tuesday morning. After all, having to get all dressed up and hauled over to Brook Hollow Golf Club to welcome guests for the Equest Fashion Show/Luncheon is not their usual routine. But like true Equest pros they stood their ground despite the high-density traffic pulling up to the porte-cochere at 10:30. Luckily, the weather was in a great mood with the sun shining and the temperature just barely hitting 70 degrees. Just the right time to pull out those knits, wools, leathers and boots.

To accommodate the more than 300 guests, Brook Hollow management had cranked up the air conditioning to keep things comfortable. Why turn up the AC when it’s cool outside? As one staffer said, “When you have that many people in a room, the temperature can get warm quickly.” Tip of the hat to Brook Hollow management because the place was packed and soon the slight chill was just right!

Another point of excellence was the seat identification. With rows of padded chairs, it could have been a mess trying to locate assigned seats, but organizers had once again solved that little problem. Each seat number was tied on the chair with a ribbon. And we’re not talking about movie ticket-size signs. These numbers were the size of a Tory Burch satchel.

By 10:55, the noise level was growing with the arrival of “Prancing Presenting Sponsor” Nancy Rogers, who was greeted with hugs, smiles and air kisses from blonde gal pals. Despite her top-tier looks and her “Ten Best Dressed” standing, Nancy is a horse lover from way back. Favoring thoroughbreds, she admitted that her schedule just didn’t allow much riding nowadays.

Speaking of “Ten Best Dressed,” Nancy’s sister TBD-ers (Robyn Conlon and Claire Emanuelson) were all front and center to support TBD-er/Equest Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter, (pictured) who was masterminding the luncheon with elegance, poise and true style. From her thank you speech to her checking each table at the luncheon, Nancy exuded graciousness. As Equest Executive Director Ariane Mele Einecker said, “Nancy has been an inspiration and a joy.”

Nancy’s daughter Merry Carter seconded that thought saying, “She’s just like that all the time.”

Not feeling comfortable with accolades, Nancy suggested that things were moving smoothly thanks to all the people helping her and to the structure and self-discipline connected with her day job of handling the interior design for the family business.

In the inspiration department, Nancy scored another home run by getting the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson (pictured) to provide the invocation. If you’ve ever heard Dr. Patterson, you know the tempo was set for the show from her “Good morning” to her “Amen.”

Following a touching presentation of the 2010 Equest Award for Community Service to  Mar Nell Bell and her daughters Patti Brown and Bonnie Harding (pictured right with from the left, Mar Bell and Patti), it was on with the fashion show from Highland Park Village merchants.

As the fashions were paraded on the runway, Leggiadro’s Nicki Mehew and Jimmy Choo’s Christi Houser (pictured right with Nicki) were iPhone shooting the action to share with their headquarters.

It should be noted that there was a different feel to this show. The models all seemed to be having a good time. From the male models on the sidelines in their dressage outfits to the gals on the catwalk in clothes from Escada, Leggiadro, Jimmy Choo, Anne Fontaine, Tory Burch and Carolina Herrera, everyone was smiling.

And then there was one dazzling model, Ruthie, (pictured) who was relatively new to the veteran fashion viewers. According to fashion producer Jan Strimple, Ruthie is not only a SMU student and part of the Campbell-Wagner Runway group, she also made an immediate “WOW!” impression with a “great walk and plenty of smarts — loved her the minute I met her!” Ruthie is also a remarkable young woman for another reason that only a few in the audience knew. [Read more…]

Promising Youth Alliance Takes Flight In Closed Hangar

It’s not every day you have a party in a hangar, but then it’s not every day that you officially launch a project that you visualize as going national. That’s exactly what the Promising Youth Alliance team  introduced as their plans to a never-ending crowd Thursday night at Jet Linx. Why Jet Linx? Because one of the driving forces of PYA is none other than Jet Linx CEO/PYA  chair Denny Carreker (pictured).

According to Denny, they’ve been developing this project for a couple of years. “We’re not doing well as a country or a city in overcoming our youth challenges.”

Something like 100,000 kids go home from school in the afternoon and are basically unsupervised. After 3 p.m., a former Dallas police chief has said, “Juvenile crime explodes.”

Presently PYA has three pilot schools in the Dallas area that are proving grounds for the program utilizing Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas and Phoenix House of Texas. The leadership wants to expand it to other schools in the area and, eventually, take it to a national basis.

Celebrating the unveiling of the plans in the Jet Linx hangar with two mighty fine jets on hand (what else would one expect to find in a hangar?) were models displaying William Noble jewelry. While Lezlie Noble (pictured) may have been mistaken for one of the models, she was guesting it with good friend Laura McClung.  . .  And speaking of models, fashion producer extraordinaire Jan Strimple made an appearance with golf instructor/husband Dan. . . . Connie Carreker (pictured center with Jan and Dan Strimple) looked refreshed following her and Denny’s trip to Europe. . . . Surprise of the evening was the TSA not allowing the mammoth doors of the hangar to be opened as the guest body count rose to over 300 as did the glistening factor.

According to PYA President/CEO John Rodgers, the following underwriters are making this dream come true: commercehouse, Ernst & Young, First Private Bank, Heritage Auction Galleries, Jet Linx, McKinsey & Company, Modern Luxury Dallas and William Noble Rare Jewels.

Friday Tee Time For Hope Is Going To Be Perfect

The weather is going to be clear for Hope Cottage’s 2nd Annual Friends of deVille Golf Tourney on Friday.

Presented by Surgical Associates of North Texas, it starts at 1:30 p.m. at Coyote Ridge Golf Club in Carrollton.  Other sponsors include:

Lunch sponsor — GEICO

Team sponsors — Kathy ad Bill Dickey and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Putting contest sponsor — Chris Mayberry of Bracewell & Giuliani

Hole sponsors — Kyle Stevens, Western Security Surplus Insurance Brokers Inc., and Lynn and Bob Thompson

In-kind donors — Sigel’s at Fitzhugh and Cole, Coyote Ridge Golf Club, Healthcare Chiropractic, PGA Tour Superstore, Avid Media Ventures, Todd deVilleneuve, Chris Mayberry/Bracewell & Giuliani, Vince Pellman – Rolling Hills Country Club, Barry Ray/Armstrong Office Concepts, Larry Bisno, Floss Dental and Salum’s

Saddle Up For Tuesday’s Equest Fashion Show/Luncheon and H.E.R.D.

Equest Fashion Show/Luncheon Chair (and one of this year’s Ten Best Dressed) Nancy Carter has literally just three or four seats left for Tuesday’s event at Brook Hollow Golf Club. With an array of fashions from Highland Park Village, the show is one of the most popular ones of the season. because of the clothes and the beneficiary.

One of the topics of tomorrow’s luncheon will be Equest‘s Heroes Empowered Reunited and Determined (H.E.R.D.) Pilot Program that will pair veterans and active duty military personnel (or family of the soldier) with a licensed therapist to offer counseling for individuals affected by depression, post traumatic stress disorder and other challenges of re-integration following deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Nancy, “In the spring of 2011, we hope to expand our H.E.R.D. programming to offer wounded veterans the opportunity to participate in sports riding sessions where they will learn to groom and tack their horse, ride for a one hour session and then help care for their horse after their lesson.   Horseback riding offers physical benefits of increased balance and core strength as well as emotional benefits of empowerment and team work.”

The creation of H.E.R.D. falls directly under Equest’s mission statement:

“Equest is an internationally recognized nonprofit that provides equine therapy for children and adults with all types of disabilities and learning differences. Equest’s mission is to empower, enrich and educate through horses.”

The sponsors who have helped the Equest fashion show move at a full gallop are:

  • Prancing Presenter ($50,000) – Nancy C. Rogers
  • Full Gallop ($25,000) — A.L. Chilton Foundation, Nancy and Gene Carter and the Al G. Hill Jr. Family
  • Canter ($10,000) — The Waters Family/Park Cities News
  • Trot ($5,000) — Diane Brierley, Louise Griffeth, Highland Park Village, Beth Layton, T.C. Lupton Jr. Family Foundation-Dr. and Mrs. Bill P. Huckin
  • Jumper ($2,500) — Bridget Black, Robyn Conlon/Cynthia Mitchell/Elsa Norwood, Ann Dyer, Tricia M. George, Charlotte Kimberlin, Vicky Lattner, Peggy Sewell and Emilynn Wilson
  • Walk ($1,500) — Kerry Fagelman, Garnett Holmes, Leggiadro of Dallas, Sarah Losinger, Mary Blake Meadows/Cathy Zollars, Gloria Martindale/Lorry Wallace, Suzanne McGee, Janet Nylund, Susan Schwartz, Linda Secrest/Lydia Novakov, Bettye Slaven and Kern Wildenthal/Southwestern Medical Foundation

8-Year Old Nancy Dedman Inspires Parents To Help Other Families with $2.35 Million Food Allergy Center At Children’s

The belle of the ball had to miss the fancy seated dinner, the VIP’s and world-renowned speakers Wednesday night for the dedication of the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical Center. She had to go home early and do her homework.

The little Cinderella was 8-year old Nancy Dedman, (pictured) who, besides being a Hockaday student, was the impetus for the creation of the center at the Pavilion at CMC. It seems that following a severe allergic reaction to a certain food, her parents Rachael and Robert Dedman rolled up their sleeves to learn more about this potential life-threatening condition. One of the things that they discovered was that Children’s annually treats more than 560 children with food allergies.

“I didn’t know much about food allergies until Nancy was diagnosed,” said Rachael. “It is a steep learning curve for families when their loved one is newly identified as having food allergies.”

And when the Dedmans undertake a project, they become experts and put their money in just the right places. Traveling throughout the country, they talked with specialists in the area of allergies and along with grandmother Nancy Dedman they provided CMC with the $2.35 million center.

Last night before the reception and dinner, Little Nancy got a sneak preview of the clinic. It’s doubtful that she realized all the life-changing experiences that would result from her allergy. But like any youngster, she was immediately drawn to the observation room with its marker walls. There on a table was a box of colorful markers. She knew exactly what to do, picked out some colors and started drawing on the wall. Afterall that’s what it was meant for.

While the adults including keynote speaker Dr. Hugh Sampson, professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dedman parents and Dr. Drew Bird (Children’s allergy and immunology specialist and Dedman Family Scholar in Child Care) had the “official” photos taken, Nancy continued her work. Was she drawing a garden? Or was she simply autographing the wall? When Dr. Sampson, (pictured left with Nancy Dedman) joined Nancy, she revealed that she had drawn a picture of her “best friend” — Daisy Dedman (pictured), her puppy.

But then it was time to go home and get homework done. Every Hockadaisy knows school work is a priority over partying.

Alas, she was gone just minutes before her grandmother pulled up in her black Lexus. “Where is my granddaughter?” were the first words out of the grand lady. Finding that she had just missed her namesake, she quickly got over the timing when she discovered that she and daughter-in-law Rachael (pictured left with Nancy Dedman) looked like an adorable mother-daughter best-dressed team — blonde hair, black cocktail dresses, red clutches and very similar Christian Louboutins!

Then Nancy was off to see firsthand the result of their efforts including the most amazing doors. Each of the observation rooms has sliding glass doors. No big deal. Most patios have ’em. Ah, but these are very special doors. With a flick of a switch, the glass becomes opaque allowing for privacy or observation seamlessly by staff when needed. One guest laughed, “The kids will wear these doors out.”

Once again Children’s makes feeling badly not so bad and the Dedmans get an A+ for helping others.

Tiny Sparrow Foundation Is Not For The Birds

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

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

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

Ruth Buzzi And Kent Perkins Have Fun Playing At The Crescent

So often patron parties can be rather proper affairs. You know. The kind that your mother would totally approve of. But then there are the occasions that without warning go off in their own direction. That’s what happened Wednesday night at the party honoring, sponsors, donors and the committee of the Dallas Children’s Theater‘s Cabaret Gala 2010.

It had all the elements of being a normal party in the Crescent’s Garden Room with Gala Chairs Marisa Huckin and Claire Pruitt (pictured right with Marisa) looking quite stylish. Marisa’s nearly backless L’agence dress (pictured on Photo Gallery) went perfectly with her Ski Teal We Drop toe polish

At one table Tracy Rowlett was hunkered down with Mayo Crum and at another there was Caroline Rose Hunt with friends. Tomas de la Mata recalled the 70’s at the Fairmont working with Pedro Prado and the late Julian Abio.when the Venetian Room was filled with the likes of Richard Harris, Marlene Dietrich, Pearl Bailey, the Smothers Brothers and many others.

The majority of the folks were at the far end of the room where the beverages were located. Why that’s just like any part in your home when people gather in the kitchen.

Then Gala Honorary Chair Ruth Buzzi and hubby Kent Perkins hijacked the crew to the other end of the rectangular-shaped room. With Kent playing the piano, Ruth with co-horts Yvonne Crum and Jill Rowlett (pictured right with, from the left, Ruth Buzzi, Yvonne Crum and Kent Perkins) started singing everything from “Memories” to “All the Gold in California.” Before you knew it, the piano was surrounded by the guests like Carmaleta Whiteley and Lee Bailey singing or trying to sing along with Ruth.

In between sing songs, Ruthie admitted that she was considering a movie in early 2011 but was still in the thinking it over stage. Right now, she’s happily living on the ranch, thought she says she’s “not a good cowgirl.” She admits that in years past she was able to stay on a horse, but “It’s better to quit while I’m ahead.”

It will be interesting to see if Ruth joins headliner Jason Graae, who will star at the October 2 gala in the Venetian Room.

The Trains At NorthPark Are Going Through A Refreshening

After 12 years folks normally “refresh” their homes with a new coat of paint, an overhaul of the kitchen or entirely new furnishings. So, it’s no surprise that the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas have had The Trains at NorthPark redesigned.

According to Trains co-chair Christine “Sleep Experts” Cook, “There will be some favorite America landmarks as in years past, but there will be some surprises as well, so we invite everyone to visit and to tell their family and friends.”

The redesign  of the 1,600 square feet of track, more than 800-square feet of train layouts area and hundreds of buildings was executed by Dallas-based TrainWorx by T.W. Design.

Photo provided by Ronald McDonald House of Dallas

Christine and her co-chair Amy Davis (pictured left with Christine Cook) also reported,

“We are thrilled to announce that JoAnne and Eddy Moore are our Honorary Trains chairs this season. We are also excited that Bank of Texas has returned to be the Presenting Sponsor, thanks to Bank of Texas Chairman and CEO Norm Bagwell. Their support, along with the community’s, is so important because we recently opened a new House, and these dollars help many families.”

Attracting 80,000 people each year, the holiday favorite will choo-choo from November 20, 2010 to January 2, 2011, between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Pat And Emmitt Smith Add To Their Family

Provided by Treasure You

Couple-of-the-year Pat and Emmitt Smith (pictured) just added another cutie to their brood. Elijah Alexander James Smith was born last night at 7:45 p.m. Weighing 6 lbs., 6 ounces and measuring 19 inches, he is a very lucky little fellow with parents like Perfect Pat and Superman Emmitt.

Sidenote: While Emmitt has been in the spotlight recently with professional football’s Hall of Fame and everything under the sun, Pat has been equally starring in her role at Treasure You and her numerous charitable projects. In the meantime, she has also been raising the rest of the Smith kiddos, looking fabulous and supporting her husband. Makes you realize how smart Emmitt is to have a wife like Pat.

Booker T. Washington Students Get All The Breaks

Watch out,  Harvard, Stanford and Juilliard. It’s Dallas’ Booker T. Washington that’s drawing talent both in the classrooms and to the classrooms. Next week both Glenn Close (Wednesday) and Stephen Sondheim (Thursday) will be in town and have scheduled time to work with the students.

And even after-hour extracurricular activities aren’t too shabby either. Tonight 150 kids will be at the AR Rahman concert at the American Airlines Center as guests of the promoter. Seems the concert didn’t sell out, so smart promoter provided the kiddos with $75 tickets.

If AR doesn’t sound familiar, you probably know him as the composer of “Slumdog Millionaire.”

JUST IN: Annette And Harold Simmons Gift $1 Million to Crystal Charity Ball

Before the Crystal Charity Ball’s Ten Best Dressed were presented this morning at Neiman Marcus Downtown, CCB Chair Cynthia Mitchell announced that Annette and Harold Simmons were making a million dollar gift to CCB and its efforts to fund organizations and programs for children.

Annette (pictured) seated next to good friend Gene Jones seemed a little embarrassed by all the hoop-la that included a standing O by the entire audience of 500, presentation of a magnificent arrangement of flowers and a banner.

In this tough economy, such a gift is much needed and appreciated.

KidneyTexas Kicks Off The Fundraising Season With Fab Fashions, Paper Dressing And Pooches

Having a fashion show/luncheon just two days before the mother of all fashion extravaganzas (Crystal Charity’s Ten Best Dressed) is a bit daunting. Add in the downpour of the decade just hours before the event and you know organizers are on edge.

But KidneyTexas President Suzette Derrick (pictured) had an all-star team in place for Wednesday’s fundraiser for Camp Reynal and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

For starters, she had the event co-chaired by the triumvirate of Patty Jo Turner, Carmaleta Whiteley and Reneé Winter. There was no way that one penny was going to be squandered with these three in charge. You want an example? Okay, instead of the usual big screens to promote the sponsors, the idea came up to create magnificent fashions of paper for each of the sponsors. But who would design the fashions? Area design students! Where would the paper come from? Every printer in town had been hit for leftovers and had come through, Carmaleta smiled with her delicious cat-like eyes. As she put it, “There isn’t a scrap of paper left in this city.”

Paper never looked so good (pictured).

While the mannequins stood frozen in beauty, the 750 guests acted like sorority sisters returning from summer vacation with squeals of delight at seeing each other and telling about their vacations. Barbara Daseke, who will be heading up next year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala, had just returned from hiking and biking in Quebec. . . Fort Worthy Olivia Kearney, just back from hiking in Aspen, admitted that she had suddenly realized that she needed to update her wardrobe for the week’s fashion lunches and bought a fabulous new gray outfit complete with lacy matching stockings. Bon vivant/eloquent literary Rawlins Gilliland (pictured with Olivia), upon looking at Olivia’s silk blouse highlighted with small mirror jeweling, cut to the chase and asked how one would go about having such a blouse cleaned. Olivia with her bigger-than-Texas smile admitted that she hadn’t thought of that problem. To which Rawlins in his charming southern accent suggested, “DD French.” Jennie Reeves returned to Dallas from summer in Santa Fe via Austin, where she and husband Stuart checked out their newest project, Tiny Texas Houses. According to Jennie, it’s the wave of the future — downsizing. Speaking of houses, Jennie reported that she had been invited to return to Dallas earlier in the summer for a dinner at her neighbor’s house for a VIP, but she opted out. It was going to be a simple dinner. You know, the usual that you have when President Obama drops into town. Jennie giggled that had she been thinking ahead, she would have sold seats on her front lawn to observe all the activity at Dorothy and Russell Budd‘s house just across the street. . . . Brittany Winter, daughter of co-chair Reneé and Dr. David (BTW, he looked quite at home on the runway at the fashion show.) was the center of attention during the silent auction as she squired around Tessa, a 10-week-old Mi-Ki. What’s a Mi-Ki? A very adorable combination Maltese and Japanese Chin that was up for bid during the live auction. Renee reported that Mi-Ki’s don’t bark. . . much because of the Japanese Chin factor. Actually, the Mi-Ki is so small that its bark probably amounts to nothing more than an itty-bitty woof. Spoiler alert: Tessa ended up going for $2,200. And surprise! They pulled out one of her litter mates for another round of bidding, resulting in $2,500 more. Wonder if their new owners Carla McKinley and Melanie Rogers will have family reunions for the pooches.

In addition to the holiday updates, the main topics of the day were [Read more…]

Share-The-Date: Cabaret Gala 2010

Saturday, October 2 at 8:30 p.m. — Benefiting the Dallas Children’s Theater, Cabaret Gala 2010 in The Venetian Room of the Fairmont has an all-star lineup from the honorary chair to the featured entertainer. On stage will be Jason Graae with Alex Rybeck. If Jason’s name doesn’t immediately wake up a couple of brain cells, not to worry. It just shows that you’re not all that familiar with the glitzy world of music on both coasts. He’s done everything from one-man shows, Broadway to “Friends.”

And the frosting on the cake is that Gala Co-Chairs Marisa Huckin and Claire Pruitt have arranged to have Ruth “Laugh-in” Buzzi (pictured right with committee member Yvonne Crum) serve as honorary chair.

You’d better get your tickets now because they won’t be available at the door. Sorry. Best bet is to call 214.978.0110.

Share-The-Date: Another Shot “Fore” Children

Friday, Oct. 8: The second annual Another Shot “Fore Children” will take place at Coyote Ridge Golf Club in Carrollton benefiting Hope Cottage. The driving (sorry, no pun intended) forces are Hope babies Dr. Scott and Todd deVilleneuve.

Presenting sponsor Surgical Associates of North Texas is joined by GEICO, Lynn and Bob Thompson and Kyle Stevens/Western Security Surplus Insurance Brokers.

Sponsorships start at $30 and individual players cost $125. It’s easy to register.

Providence Christian School Opened Grandly

Photo provided by Providence Christian School

Yesterday was the first day back to school for legions of students. For one group school started last Wednesday and it was a very big day. At Providence Christian School, it was the opening of the school’s 40,000-square foot addition which increased the campus by 60%. The new facility provides for

  • 11 new classrooms for grades 5-8,
  • a science lab
  • two Latin rooms
  • a middle school art room
  • a regulation-sized gym (pictured) complete with locker rooms and coaches offices and
  • a nature studies lab.

To add frosting to this development is another 7,185-square feet will be added in December for a new library and “enrichment wing” for pre-school and kindergarten classes.

What makes this “grand opening” special is that the capital campaign for this growth began back in February 2009 when the financial world was hitting the skids.  But Providence Capital Campaign Chairs Leslie and Nick Merrick along with their campaign steering committee (Jean-Marie and Robert Alpert, Stacy and Tyler Burke, Shelby and Rich Flaten, Shannon and Jeff Graham, Cammie and Brian Heflin, Tavia and Clark Hunt, Elizabeth and Syd Hurley, Julie and John Miller, Laura and Tommy McBride, Cindy and John Sloan, Mauri and Chip Tardy, Susan and Greg Turner, Kelsie and Price Wagner, Heather and Ray Washburne and Kristi and Blake Woodall) didn’t let a little thing like financial meltdown stand in the way of their kids’ education. It also didn’t hurt to have someone like Rob Richardson chairing the real estate committee and handling all those pesky city approvals and construction issues.

So far, the “Fulfilling Our Vision, Building Our Future” capital campaign has raised $11.4 million of its $12 million goal. Along with 85% of the school’s families pitching it, the following foundations have helped make this dream come true: Constantin Foundation; Hawn Foundation, Inc.; Hillcrest Foundation, founded by Mrs. W.W. Caruth, Sr.; Hoblitzelle Foundation; Mary Potishman Lard Trust; The Ginger Murchison Foundation; The Rosewood Foundation; Stemmons Foundation; The Jack & Sally Turpin Foundation, Inc., and our dear old friend “Anonymous.”