MySweetWishList: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Julie Diaz*

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer Julie Diaz,

“The Perot Museum celebrates its 5th birthday this December!

“We are grateful for the support of the North Texas community, which has allowed us to serve 5.5 million people since our opening in 2012 and enabled us to fulfill our mission of ‘inspiring minds through nature and science.’

“Our wish this holiday season is to give the gift of discovery to North Texas families who might not otherwise have the means to visit. A contribution in support of the Perot Museum’s Financial Aid Program – which gives over 100,000 school children from all over North Texas the opportunity to experience the Museum’s amaze-your-brain fun and learning – would be meaningful!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science*

“Your gift to this program is a great way to help us spark curiosity in the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Our goal is to distribute $500,000 in financial aid this year – you can help make that possible! Check it out here. For more info, call 214.756.5808.

-By Julie Diaz, Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer

* Photo provided by Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Jubilee Park And Community Center Celebrated Its 20th Birthday With Balloons, Cakes, Cannon Confetti And Some Off-Scripted Moments

The Omni was the site of two groups that split centuries ago on Saturday, November 4. In the Dallas Ballroom, a largely Catholic contingency rallied for 2017 St. Jude Evening Under The Stars. Just a hallway way in the Trinity Ballroom, the Jubilee Park and Community Center’s 20th anniversary “Celebrate Love Dream” was being celebrated with a large number of Jubilee’s founding partners, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

But both groups faced a common challenge. It was in the bathrooms. Despite the best efforts, people emerged from the restrooms with soapy hands. It seems that the sensor-detecting faucets in the lavatories were playing hard to get. One woman, upon seeing another guest failing to find water at any of the six basins, buddied up and held two fingers against the sensors, resulting in flowing water. The soaped-up guest’s wasn’t very quick. By the time she put her hands under the faucet, the water had stopped. The two women partnered up; while one blocked the sensor, the other finally got the now sticky soap off. Gents reported a similar situation in their lavatory.

Anne and Bill Johnson

Ken Malcolmson and Stacey Paddock Malcolmson

But the soapy challenge was soon forgotten as the partying commenced. Before even entering the cocktail party in the ballroom’s lobby, arriving guests saw hundreds of colorful ribbons hanging from equally colorful balloons hovering overhead.

As the 800 members of the Jubilee black-tie set like Marla and Evening Emcee Tony Briggle, Brent Christopher, Anne and Bill Johnson, Stacey Paddock Malcolmson and Ken Malcolmson, Heather Furniss, Delilah and Sam Boyd and Amanda and Price Johnson cocktailed, chatted and made great use of MirMir in the lobby, Event Co-Chair Lydia Addy was in the ballroom going over last-minute details.

Delilah Boyd and Price and Amanda Johnson

Heather Furniss

Lydia Addy

The room was like a mega birthday event, with a mammoth chandelier of huge balloons, party games like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” and “Putt Putt” in the corners of the room, and a 12-foot-high, multi-layered birthday cake in the center of the dance floor.

Birthday cakes

On each table was a cake topped with electric candles. The confections looked good enough to eat, and guests would soon learn that they were, indeed. Despite looking like faux cakes, they actually were chocolate and vanilla, double-layer cakes.

Organizers had planned to run a tight program, with each speaker limited to two minutes. But as speakers with the best of intentions addressed the crowd, they said those infamous words that give event planners conniption fits — “I’m going to go off script.” It started when Rev. Mark Anschutz, who was to provide the invocation, told the audience that they should have known better than to give a minister the mic. His two minutes ended up being a lengthy thank you to individuals who had worked over the years to make Jubilee happen. That opened the floodgates, with Lydia and her Co-Chair/husband Bill Addy also expanding upon their two minutes in making their remarks. One behind the scenes person said that Jubilee CEO Ben Leal would stay on script, only to hear Ben tiptoe off script, too.

Ben Leal

But seriously, who could blame them if they wanted to thank everyone involved in the success of the southwest Dallas oasis? Since 1997, Jubilee Park has strengthened the 62-block community in southeast Dallas based on the five pillars of education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development for both children and adults. As Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings noted of Jubilee Park and its supporters in addressing the crowd: “This marks the best of Dallas.” Not to mention that, instead of hitting the goal of $1.3M, the event had brought in more than $1.4M!

Ann and Bob Dyer, Guy and Louise Griffeth and Les and Linda Secrest

In between the speakers, salads were followed by chewy short ribs. Servers removed the centerpieces and returned minutes later with slices of the cake on plates and flutes of champagne. Ben invited all who had had any part of Jubilee to come to the dance floor to toast the occasion. With the dance floor filled, the rest of the guests, like Louise and Guy Griffeth, Linda and Les Secrest, Ann and Bob Dyer and Ken Schnitzer, stood in their places to join the birthday toast and sing “Happy Birthday.” With that, a confetti canon showered the room with paper.

Confetti Cannon

Then, to keep the action going, Emerald City quickly followed to transform the dance of toasters to dancers with glow sticks.

Dallas Society Doyene Agness Robertson Celebrated Her First Century This Past Weekend

Sandi Haddock, Agness Robertson and Ron Haddock

What a memorable Mother’s Day Weekend this was, especially for one mom! In addition to being one of the countless mothers being honored on Sunday, longtime local society arbiter Agness Robertson celebrated her 100th birthday. Thanks to son Ross Robertson, a private reception with champagne and cake was held at The Reserve on Saturday afternoon with quite an impressive turnout. Why, even Jack Boles’ A-team Gary Ferraro and Kathy Weidman-Stout were welcoming the guests at the porte-cochere.

Agness Robertson’s birthday sock

For newcomers to the annals of Dallas society, Agness and her late husband/retired Braniff exec Tom Robertson were the mainstay of the society reporting for eons having worked at Park Cities publications. While Agness would take copious notes, Tom would photograph the boldface types, saying, “Teeth, teeth!” to the more serious types at events.

Wearing a banner reading “I’m 100 today” and happy birthday socks, Agness was seated on a tall chair welcoming folks like Lynn Dealey, Malcolm Reuben, Sandi and Ron Haddock, Ruth Altshuler, Caroline Rose Hunt, Sally Blanton, Yvonne Crum, Martha Tiller and Jo Ann Holt, just to name a few.

BTW, belated “Happy Birthday” cards can be sent to Agness at The Reserve, 12271 Coit Road, Dallas 75251.

KidneyTexas Inc. Celebrated The Holidays With Check Presentations, Gifts Of Crystal And A Birthday Cake

What better place to have a party during the season of giving than a jewelry salon? And since Bachendorf’s had been the jewelry sponsor for the 2016 KidneyTexas luncheon, it was the natural choice for the organization’s presentation of checks and the announcement of plans for 2017 on Wednesday, December 14.

Introduced by KidneyTexas President AB Aston, beneficiary selection committee member Kendra Karlock along with the 2016 KidneyTexas Luncheon Chair McKamy Tiner handed out the following checks:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation — $25,000 for “A Longitudinal Study of Living Kidney Donors”
  • Camp Reynal (National Kidney Foundation) — $30,225 for camper’s fees, counselors and medical personnel
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $10,000 for Pediatric Stone Center
  • Methodist Health System Foundation — $4,775 for warming cabinets
  • Parkland Health and Hospital Foundation — $98,500 for KidneyTexas Inc. Hemodialysis Unit
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation— $25,200 for two Hemodialysis machines

Joyce Lee, Dr. Cole Edmondson, Shannon Fisher, Angela Nash, Dr. Craig Peters, Anna Bland “AB” Aston, Dr. Goran Klintmalm, Kyra Barnett, McKamy Tiner, Marie Collins, Beth Dexter and Kendra Karlock*

When the last check was presented, it was time for the gift giving to continue. After AB turned over the presidential duties to 2016-2017 KidneyTexas President Andrea Alcorn, one of Andrea’s first acts was to give a “gorgeous crystal bowl” to AB. Then AB gat McKamy a “beautiful crystal angel — all to a resounding ovation.”

As her second act, Andrea revealed plans for the 2017. This year’s luncheon will have a trio chairing the fundraiser — Kendra, transplant survivor Christine Martin and Susan Russell.  

And the final surprise of the evening took place when McKamy “came forward with a huge cake and blazing candles as everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to AB, who was celebrating her birthday that evening.”

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

JUST IN: Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chair Andrea Weber Delivers A New Baron

Cara French and Andrea Weber on Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cara French and Andrea Weber on Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pioneer women were known for being a hardy type. It was said they would have their babies and then go plow the north forty. Well, Cattle Baron’s Co-Chair Andrea Weber is the 21st century version. In addition to working with her Co-Chair Cara French, raising 2-year-old Nicolette Weber with husband John Weber and looking fabulous, she has been pregnant for the past nine months.

John Weber Jr.*

John Weber Jr.*

Well, today  Andrea and John welcomed 7 lb., 14-oz. John Weber Jr. to their posse.

When asked over the weekend if she would be at the Saturday, October 15th Cattle Baron’s at Gilley’s with Dwight Yoakum on the Live Auction Stage and Toby Keith on the Main Stage, she responded with a smile and “Sure!”

* Photo provided by 2016 
Cattle Baron's Ball

10th Annual Change Is Good Kick-Off Party Turned Work Into A Birthday Celebration with Green Cupcakes, Crayons And Checks

One local nonprofit group that subscribes to the Tom Sawyer philosophy of making work seem like fun is Community Partners of Dallas. To launch its 10th anniversary of Change is Good along with prepping supplies for young clients, they held a kick-off party on the afternoon of Saturday, August 20, at CPD headquarters complete with green birthday cupcakes, loads of crayons and checks. Here’s a report from the field:

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Community Partners of Dallas kicked off the 10th Annual Change is Good on Saturday, August 20, with a celebration and day of volunteering for event sponsors and members of the event’s host committee.

Chair family Lindsay and Ray Ballotta with kids Caroline and William, welcomed nearly 100 attendees for a day of fun. As families arrived, they were encouraged to create their own design for the annual t-shirt, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Sunday, September 25th event.  With “10th birthday” as the theme, participants of all ages showed their artistic talents with their original designs.

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Midway through the event, President and CEO Paige McDaniel welcomed everyone and thanked event sponsors, then gave special recognition to the Change is Good chair family, the Ballottas, as well as honorary chairs Beth and Larence Park. She also thanked all the kids for working so hard over the summer as they collected change to help change the lives for other kids – whether they emptied their own piggy banks or raised money online or through other activities. As a surprise, George Horvat (age 10) and his brother Henry Horvat (age 8) made a special presentation to Paige…a check for $300, which they raised from hosting a summer day camp, which benefited CPD.  Paige wrapped up by leading the kids in singing “Happy Birthday” to Change is Good, as well as Calum Taylor who was celebrating his 14th birthday on Saturday!

Birthday cupcakes*

Birthday cupcakes*

Attendees were then separated by age to help CPD put together hygiene kits and back to school supplies for the abused and neglected children they serve.

The 10th annual Change is Good will be held on Sunday, September 25, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Brook Hollow Golf Club. The fun-filled day will feature activities for all ages, including bungee jumping, obstacle courses, a prince/princess station, a paper airplane zone, a GameTruck, the Rad Hatter, balloon artists, face painting, bounce houses, a DJ dance party and an array of fun birthday activities to celebrate Change is Good turning 10. Participating children and teens will turn in the change they collected over the summer in exchange for chances to win exciting prizes. This year’s prize for most change raised is a 3D printer!

Sponsorships begin at $550 and are on sale now; tickets are $75 per adult and $35 per child.  For more information visit

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Dallas Uncorked’s Celebrated Two Birthday “Projects” At Sevy’s

Jim Severson and Hayley Hamilton Cogill*

Jim Severson and Hayley Hamilton Cogill*

The wet weather was supposed to be on vacation, but oh, no! Mother Nature had other plans for Dallas on Sunday, June 12. Still the wine-loving Dallas Uncorked crowd wasn’t going to let a little weather dampen their annual fundraising dinner at Sevy’s. Ironically, it was benefiting The Birthday Party Project. What was the irony? It was also Dallas Uncorked’s Founder Hayley Hamilton Cogill‘s birthday. Before taking off for Walla Walls, the birthday gal filed this report:

The room was truly spectacular as Chef Sevy (aka Jim Severson) and business partner/manager Stefaan Vandemoortele rolled out the roses with two long, candlelit tables of 30 each, down the middle of the dining room at Sevy’s. They had never created a set up quite like this, but I wanted the communal, celebratory feel with everyone celebrating together for this our 12th anniversary.  The wines were stunning, provided by Ram’s Gate Winery, highlighting single special vineyards throughout Sonoma, including favorite of the night, Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay and Bush Crispo Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Shrimp toast*

Shrimp toast*

Ram's Gate Pinot Noir and menu*

Ram’s Gate Pinot Noir and menu*

Friends old and new joined us for the night including Byron and Linda Harris, just back from fly fishing in Santa Fe (where Linda caught a 5-lb. rainbow trout!…I think they are enjoying his retirement from WFAA;) Don Winspear with date Michael Meadows as Ellen Winspear was prepping for her day long Opera meeting and photo shoot yesterday; Frank and Karen Needham; Jennifer and Doug Houser; Shelly Slater, who left husband Clay at home to take care of the kiddos; Jack Hobbs, founder of a new podcast company, Revolver; Erin Waks without husband Larry Waks, as sadly the rain redirected his incoming NYC to DFW flight to Midland, but we still sent a steak home for him; Ram’s Gate Winery GM David Oliver and assistant winemaker Luke Stanko; Collin Chenault from The Birthday Party Project, our second time to donate the proceeds from our anniversary event to the fantastic charity; my cousin, and board member from the start, Chablis Lindquist, (yes, Chablis, my aunt loved the French region…and the wines) along with her hubby John, who had just arrived from the night from Arkansas; Randy and Michelle DeWitt, taking a break from one of their Front Burner restaurants to enjoy Sevy’s food and these incredible wines!

Dallas Uncorked dinner table at Sevy's*

Dallas Uncorked dinner table at Sevy’s*

Gary gushed, as he so sweetly does; I was quite teary and thankful, especially in the wake of the events of the day; David and Luke celebrated their delicious wine; and Chef Jim hit it out of the park once again. I think this was the 6th or 7th event I have done with the 19-year-old restaurant in our 12 years…everyone always loves Sevy’s and they are some of the kindest, most thoughtful owners in town, generously giving back so much.

We didn’t do an auction, as the point of the night was more for celebration, instead giving everyone a ticket and drawing a prize winning number – a bottle of the Bush Crispo Pinot, a mighty fine birthday present.

* Photos provided by Dallas Uncorked

A Gentle Reminder: 4th Of July Closures And Limited Services

Old Glories

Old Glories

The 4th of July holiday is Monday. But there are those crafty, creative types who are turning that one-day holiday into a four day weekend. Yup! The scheduling part of their brains figured out if they took Friday off, they could take full advantage of the weekend plus the Monday holiday. Some are already checking out.

However, not everybody could do just that. Here is a rundown of Dallas City offices and services that will be experiencing holiday closures or limited operation.

Closed on Monday, July 4

  • City offices
  • Libraries
  • Park and Recreation administrative office and Recreation Centers
  • Animal Services — The Shelter and Administrative offices will be closed. However, Animal Services staff will be available to respond to emergency call that will be handled thru 311. The Everyday Adoption Center at 16821 Coit Rd. will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Police administrative offices.
  • Dallas Fire Rescue administrative offices.
  • Sanitation administrative offices.

Closed Saturday, July 2, and Monday, July 4

  • Municipal Courts Building

Business as usual

  • Police
  • Dallas Fire Rescue
  • Sanitation

Regarding the U.S. Postal Service and banking institutions, they will be closed on Monday.

On the other hand, retailers, entertainment facilities and many restaurants will be wide open for business. And, of course, there are the neighborhood parades. So, don’t forget the sunscreen and DEET, while celebrating the U.S.’s 240th birthday. No gifts necessary.

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: Dallas Uncorked 12th Anniversary Dinner

Two of the favorite words in fundraising activities are “Sold Out!” And those are the words that Dallas Uncorked’s Hayley Hamilton Cogill just reported about Sunday’s Dallas Uncorked 12th Anniversary Dinner at Sevy’s benefiting The Birthday Party Project.

It’s gonna be a perfect way to spend a summer Sunday with Ram’s Gate Winery’s Luke Stanko from Sonoma County on hand to “discuss the wine and the care, dedication and passion that goes into each and every glass.”

Hayley Hamilton Cogill (File photo)

Hayley Hamilton Cogill (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

According to Hayley, “I first tried these wines last year and immediately knew we needed to help introduce them into the Dallas market through one of our events. I couldn’t be more thrilled to do so for our anniversary event.”

As marvelous as the menu prepared by Sevy’s Chef/owner Jim Severson and the paired Ram’s Gate Winery products will be, the guests will match them in the wonderfulness category. Gals always wear the most adorable summer cottons and silks. As for the guys, it’s strictly a no-tie affair with khaki slacks and loafers.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Spring Luncheon Was An All-Heads-Up Event For The Baronesses At Hotel ZaZa

Despite the threat all over North Texas that rain, hail, thunder and lightning were moving into the area on Friday, April 29, didn’t matter. Don’t you know that charity backers aren’t distracted by such calamities? One of those was the Cattle Baron’s Ball. With maybe-it’ll-rain-maybe-it-won’t skies overhead, the committee members drove their SUV’s and environmentally proper transportation to the Hotel ZaZa for the annual spring luncheon.

Andrea Weber

Andrea Weber

Just to be smart…and they are, don’t you know… CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber put their split-endless heads together with photographer cutie pie Holt Haynsworth about the annual CBB group picture. The original idea of shooting the photo outdoors was scrapped due to the high humidity that would have challenged even the strongest hair-sprayed head of hair. Instead the group photo would be taken in the hotel’s lobby with Holt shooting down from the balcony.

No problem…except gathering the 100 membership. They were having way too much fun playing the “conversation catch-up” game in the dining room surrounding the display of Hublot jewelry.

Meredith Ferrell, Meg Florence, Adriane Crosland, Destin Shore, Megan Filgo and Katherine Harper

Meredith Ferrell, Meg Florence, Adriane Crosland, Destin Shore, Megan Filgo and Katherine Harper

It was easy to spot birthday girl Adriane Crosland. The party hats and balloons sorta gave her away, along with her pals (Meredith Ferrell, Meg Florence, Destin Shore, Megan Filgo and Katherine Harper) who’d came to celebrate not only her b-day but also the fact that she was leading the pack in underwriting for the American Cancer Society fundraiser that will take place at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15.

Cara French and Rachel Michell

Cara French and Rachel Michell

But eventually the crowd was herded around the black-leather banquette. Those with “easy-to-take-off” shoes were positioned on the round banquette.

Alas, Cara and Andrea, who were to be positioned in the center on the banquette, had non-slip-off stilettos.

That’s when CBB girl friendship came in handy. Highland Park Village’s Rachel Michell helped Cara out of her heels. As for Andrea, she unzipped her heels and hopped on the banquette.

With Holt high above telling all to look upward and the hotel staff still checking guests in and out, the CBB’ers were ready for their shot.

2016 Cattle Baron's Ball committee group photo

2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball committee group photo

On cue, Holt asked all to look up and 100 pairs of eyes rose skyward. After a snap or two or three, Holt decided to video the gals waving. Everyone including Holt thought it was hokey, but what the heck?

As the membership adjourned to the dining room, Cara and Andrea slipped on their heels.

As for the rest of the day, some of the ladies headed back to their offices, while others strolled over to Hotel ZaZa’s Art House and Social Gallery for post-lunch festivities.

Happy Birthday, Texas!

Today is Texas Independence Day. It is on this day in 1836 that 59 representatives gathered in the Town of Washington (aka Washington On The Brazos) and “Voted into existence a sovereign nation: the Republic of Texas.” This declaration would be followed in the days to come with the loss of the Alamo on March 6 and the defeat of General Santa Anna at San Jacinto on April 21.

Over the next 180 years The Lone Star State would gain an international reputation thanks to people who had hearts filled with hope, hands ready for hard work and heads filled with determination. It would time and time again become the stuff that legends are made of.

Sure, Texans aren’t shy about their accomplishments. But they are also the first to step forward in time of need. Whether it’s rescuing a toddle from a well shaft, helping neighbors hit hard by a tornado or checking on an elderly neighbor, Texans continues to combine grit with compassion.

If you’re in Texas or wish you were, congratulate yourself for being in a great state of mind on this day.

Leapin’ Lizards! Tomorrow Is Leap Day

If you’re a little bleary eyed after watching the red carpet parade and the doling out of Oscars, it’s perfectly understandable. Luckily, this year provides an extra day for you to recover and it’s tomorrow — February 29th!

History claims that St. Brigid of Kildare negotiated with St. Patrick that on Leap Day, women could propose to men without any embarrassment. If the man did not accept, he had to pay a penalty.

A European custom provided that a man who turned a gal down on Leap Day had to buy her a dozen pairs of gloves so she could “hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.”

But this is the 21st century and proposals aren’t limited to nuptial bliss. So make the most of Leap Day by “proposing” a project with your favorite person. It could be volunteer work, buying tickets to a fundraiser or collecting donations for your favorite nonprofit.

BTW, North Texas-based Pizza Hut is celebrating leaplings, folks who are born on Leap Day. If you show them an ID proving you were born on February 29th, they’ll give you a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza to take out.

Leap Year trivia: Anthony, Texas, is the Leap Year Capital of the World.

Altrusa Club Of Dallas Foundation Celebrates Texas Independence Day With Luncheon And Lady Judges

Texas has long been known for producing incredible women. Some are proud of their accomplishments — Barbara Jordan, Carol Burnett, Babe Zaharias. While other are infamous for their misdoings — Bonnie Parker, Miss Jessie, Michele Williams.

To celebrate the Lone Star’s birthday on Tuesday, March 2, as well as National Women’s History Month, the Altrusa Club of Dallas Foundation will hold a luncheon and auction honoring Women in Public Service and Government.

Luncheon Chair Anne Barclay Reed has arranged to have retired Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Frances J. Maloney serve as honorary chair and for U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn to be the keynote speaker.

Barbara will address “the role of women in government and public service.”

According to Anne, “If you have young adults interested in public service, this is an excellent opportunity to include them in community!”

Of course, there will be a silent auction with proceeds benefiting scholarships for legal, nursing and pharmaceutical studies.

And just any old ballroom wouldn’t do for this birthday hoop-la. The luncheon will be held at The old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture from 11:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $75 and may be gotten by emailing here!

2016 Dallas Summer Musicals’ High School Musical Awards Kick-Off Party Surprised With Performances And A Cake With Candles

As most were fighting traffic to head home from downtown Dallas homeward bound, the Dallas Summer Musicals supporters made their way to Neiman Marcus Downtown on Monday, February 8. Despite a Super Bowl battle the night before, nary a word about football was uttered.

OK, so perhaps there was some chatter about Lady Gaga’s nailing the national anthem and the halftime concert, but this crowd was in the Zodiac Room to kick off the 2016 Dallas Summer Musicals’ High School Musical Awards program. The evening’s rallying cry was to replace the age-old slogan “Best of Broadway is coming to North Texas” with “The best of North Texas are going to Broadway.”

Well, duh! In the past a scant few North Texans like Betty Buckley, Mary Martin, Tommy Tune and Sandy Duncan have collected Tonys galore, but now the DSM’s High School Musical Awards program was providing that pat-on-the-back and financial assistance for budding young area talent.

Having started back in 2012, the DSM’s High School Musical Theatre Awards rewards high schools for “excellence in the production of high school musical theatre.” This year is the fifth of the efforts with results being revealed at the awards show on Thursday, April 14, at the Music Hall. Highlight of the night’s program will be performances by the “Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, production numbers and from Best Musical nominees and an opening number featuring all nominated performance accompanied by a live orchestra.”

John Clutts, Jeff Byron, Nancy Natinsky and Sami Arslanar

John Clutts, Jeff Byron, Nancy Natinsky and Sami Arslanar

DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards Chair John Clutts had worked with DSM staffers to create a surprise for the evening. It was revealed that as a show to salute Leah and Jerry Fullinwider, who provided “the initial gift of $100,00 to help fund and produce Dallas Summer Musical High School Musical Theatre Awards and the scholarship program in 2012,” the Fullinwider Award had been created to “honor a person living a life in the theatre at the national level whose roots, formative and education years are in the Dallas theatrical community.”

John confided that even before the kick off, the effort had already pulled in $60,000.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Tiffany Divis

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Tiffany Divis

Shane Allen, Laree Hulshoff and Ron Corning

Shane Allen, Laree Hulshoff and Ron Corning

And speaking of John, the former Neiman Marcus executive held his own in the spontaneous department. After describing his mother as a lifelong Neiman’s Zodiac guest, he added that he suspected that he had been born in utero a la NM.

Then when he dropped his notes at the mic, he quipped, “What can you say? I am a clutts.”

Groans arose from the crowd that included NM Downtown GM/VP/Host Jeff Byron, Sami Arslanar, Tiffany Divis, Megan Meyercord, Shane Allen, Laree Hulshoff, Nancy Natinsky, Honorary Co-Chair Brad Reeves (Co-Chair/wife Holly Reeves wasn’t able to make it) and DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards Emcee Ron Corning, who was being honored for his five years of emceeing the event.

Francisco Chairez, Trista Moldovan, John Campione and Tracy Jordan

Francisco Chairez, Trista Moldovan, John Campione and Tracy Jordan

MIA was

John Clutts

John Clutts

DSM President/Managing Director Michael Jenkins, who as at the town hall meeting on the future of Fair Park. Luckily, High School Music Theatre Awards Manager Tracy Jordan was on hand along with Francisco Chairez to cover.

After a performances by “Bridges of Madison County” cast members Cole Burden, hometown’s John Campione and Trista Moldovan, a surprise arrived. It was a cake topped off with candles presented to birthday boy John, who blew them all out in one breath.

The Birthday Party Project Celebrated Its Fourth Birthday With “Saturday Night Live” Theme Inspiration

The Birthday Party Project Founder Paige Chenault and her team have been so busy celebrating the birthdays of children without homes that they have become true-blue experts on the art of partying. So, it was only natural that they would blow the roof off of Sixty Five Hundred Cedars Springs. They were so successful that they’re now half-way to their fundraising goal for 2106. Here’s a report from the field about their “Saturday Night Live” blowout:

The Birthday Party Project, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization that brings joy to homeless children through the magic of birthdays, marked its fourth birthday on Saturday, January 23. The non-profit hosted a “Saturday Night Live”-themed celebration at sixty five hundred in Dallas. Guests and birthday enthusiasts dressed the part of their favorite SNL character, from classic metal-loving Wayne and Garth to Spartan cheerleaders.

The Birthday Party Birthday Party*

The Birthday Party Birthday Party*

The event started with a cocktail hour, where guests enjoyed drinks and food prepared by notable Dallas restaurants and chefs including: Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Beef, Chef Justo Blanco of Bosla Mercadom, Chef Lex Webb of Bite, Chef Jeff Moschetti of Jasper’s, Chef Denise Shavandy of Café Modern, Chef Christof Syre of The Four Seasons, Midori Sushi, Outlaw Taproom, Cane Rosso, and Law Restaurants. Patron Spirits Company provided Ultimat Vodka, Pyrat Rum and Patron Tequila.

Special piñatas with two round-trip Southwest airlines tickets were auctioned off throughout the night. Silent auction items included a trip to New York City with a stay at the Plaza Hotel, a jazz brunch and tickets to a Broadway show and a suite at a Texas Rangers game. Live auction items included tickets to the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and a one-week stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Paige Chenault, Lizzie Chenault and Colin Chenault*

Paige Chenault, Lizzie Chenault and Colin Chenault*

Julian Leaver*

Julian Leaver*

Birthday Party Enthusiasts performed their own rendition of a “Saturday Night Live” skit complete with big laughs from all of the guests. After, Founder and CEO Paige Chenault, who has been recognized by Glamour, “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Today Show” and “The Chew,” graciously thanked everyone who has generously helped actualize her celebrates birthdays. Chenault stated, “We’re thankful to you, our Birthday Enthusiasts, for understanding the power of birthdays.  Because of your incredible support, we’re bringing JOY to children that need it most.” Chenault was moved to tears at the end of her speech by the generosity of the guests in attendance, adding “Because of you, thousands of children across North Texas and beyond will feel valued and loved in a time of confusion and crisis.”

Co-Chairs, Julian Leaver and Jennifer Burns spoke about the Birthday Party Project’s impact on agencies across North Texas: giving more than 20,000 volunteer hours to their partnered agencies.

Jamie and Brian O'Boyle*

Jamie and Brian O’Boyle*

Brad Koons and JB Hayes*

Brad Koons and JB Hayes*

The event honored The Birthday Party Project’s partnership with Gradus, whose mission is to invest, impact and empower their non-profit partners. The evening was presented by Kinsler’s Kids, professional baseball player Ian Kinsler and his wife Tess Kinsler’s foundation and Credit Suisse. Surprise Chairs Katy Taylor and Sam Jacobson, Board Chairs Jim and Kelli Griffin and Auction Chairs Jamie and Brian O’Boyle celebrated with Dallas socials including Debbie Frazier, Lynn and Allan McBee, Deborah Bigham, Molly and Will Folse, Heidi and Phillip Fristoe, Carson and Megan Hall, JB Hayes, Nick Kennedy, former Dallas Stars player Marty Turco and his wife Kelly Turco, Emily Clarke and Detroit Tigers player Bryan Holaday and his wife Ashley Holaday.

* Photos provided by The Birthday Party Project

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Turns 25 Today

If you bump into Ruth Sharp Altshuler, ret. Lt. Bill Walsh, Jan or Trevor Rees-Jones, Lynn Davis or any of the more-than-can-be-counted backers of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, wish ’em an “unhappy birthday.”

Hello? What the heck? DCAC has done incredible works of amazement helping “child victims of abuse.” Why the “unhappy” birthday? It’s an unhappy birthday because each one of them no doubt wishes there was no need for DCAC to exist.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center*

Until that day comes, Dallas is blessed to have a haven for “more than 44,000 children and their non-offending family members” to have “found justice, hope and healing through the services provided at the Center. Over the last 25 years, DCAC has become a national leader in the Children’s Advocacy Center movement and is recognized internationally for its expertise in cutting-edge therapy programs for victims and for its community and professional education programs including the annual Crimes Against Children Conference.”

At its still spanking new facility, DCAC “houses five units of Children Protective Services (CPS), the Child Abuse Unit of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and an Assistant District Attorney.”

Let’s all look to the day when DCAC gladly shutters its doors because child abuse no longer exists. Until then, let’s ramp up the effort to help them and the innocent victims who live within the North Texas neighborhoods.

One way to support DCAC’s mission is to participate in one of their “signatures events throughout 2016 — especially on Tuesday, April 26, at the Appetite for Advocacy luncheon featuring keynote speaker Brené Brown.” The event will be held at Sheraton Dallas Hotel and is being co-chaired by Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach. Tickets are on sale now!

* Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle Of Angels Dined Surrounded By Elegance Despite The Hostess Being MIA

Clay and Lisa Cooley

Clay and Lisa Cooley

Clay Cooley pushed off his birthday celebration for 24 hours. That was because wife Lisa Cooley in a Lela Rose cocktail dress had scheduled them to attend the extra-social Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle of Angels seated supper at Mary Clare Finney’s estate on Tuesday, October 20.

Alas, the darling hostess Mary Clare, who is known for fashion trend-setting, was again once ahead of the herd. She was upstairs with signs of coming down with the flu.

Laura and Jason Downing

Laura and Jason Downing

While Mary Clare took to her bed, a record-breaking crowd of nearly 200 partied downstairs with Deloitte’s Laura and Jason Downing greeting one and all at the front door.

Cliff Fischer's BMW

Cliff Fischer’s BMW

Even before the doors opened at 7 p.m., the driveway was jammed like NorthPark valet parking on Black Friday. In the crowd of luxury vehicles was Cliff Fischer’s hotter-than-hot, brand new BMW with paper plates. One of the valets admitted that the car was so high tech, they weren’t quite sure how to move it.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Glen Ashworth and Christie Carter

Glen Ashworth and Christie Carter

In the crowd were Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, who had given Annette a golf bag with two clubs. He reported that she’s quite a golfer… Tricia George reported that the Fund A Cure luncheon that she’s co-chairing with husband Kenn George is heading toward a sell-out…Judge Glen Ashworth was in from Kaufman with CCB 2016 Chair Christie Carter.

Just when the mansion’s public rooms seemed to be filled to the max, the guests were invited to fabulous tables set up in the backyard for a dinner. The dining started off with Maine lobster and sous vide hen egg ravioli with house-made ricotta cheese, tarragon cream and winter truffles, followed by red chermoula-crusted Mediterranean loup de mer, cardamom-roasted heirloom beets, sun-choke scallion puree and reserved lemon butter sauce. To top off the meal and in keeping with the 2015 Crystal Charity Ball “An Evening of Celestial Radiance” theme, dessert was celestial radiance white chocolate moon with mandarin, gianduja chocolate and brownie “dirt.”

As for Clay, don’t worry about his boo-hooing about the delayed birthday. Upon hearing that Lisa was giving him a new, big belt buckle, he smiled and said he didn’t need anything because he had Lisa.

90 Gather For Texas Trailblazers Patron Party—And A Birthday Celebration

There was a lot of anticipation about the next day’s Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the event’s Wednesday, September 30th patron party the night before. The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink was saying the luncheon at the Hilton Anatole was “close” to its fundraising goal. And everyone was talking about their favorite movie by actress Marisa Tomei, the featured luncheon attraction, who couldn’t make the patron party because her plane wouldn’t be arriving until 7 p.m.

But, plenty of others did. Among the 90 in the crowd at Ann and Bob Dyer’s place were las year’s Luncheon Co-Chair Carol Seay, Ceron, Anita Martinez (she’s a former Texas Trailblazer), Carolyn and Bryant Tillery (Carolyn’s on The Family Place board) and Luncheon Honorary Chair Debbie Taylor, who said that it was her job this year to drum up corporate support for the event, and she reported some success.

During brief remarks, Paige told the crowd that between Texas Trailblazers, the Partners Card program and the ReuNight dinner, “It’s like I’m having a baby every year!” Then she turned the mic over to Trailblazer Co-Chairs Layne Pitzer and Michaela Dyer.

After the dynamic duo thanked everyone for their help, it was revealed that it was Michaela’s birthday, prompting much singing and applause and the presentation to her of a tray of special birthday cupcakes.

The Fashionable Types Toasted Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Dressed At The Platinum Circle Dinner And Neiman’s 108th Birthday

The queen bees of Dallas charitable giving were definitely back like hummingbirds fluttering around nectar on Thursday, September 10. Their first sighting of the season was at the Dallas Country Club for the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show’s Platinum Circle Dinner.

Spotlighting the 10 Best Dressed, who would presented on Friday, September 18, at Neiman Marcus Downtown, Hall of Famer Sarah Perot and Honorary Chair Ruth Altshuler were Johnny-on-the-spot at 6:30 for the group photo opp.

Unfortunately, those nasty little Internet trolls had prevented Janie Condon, Patty Leyendecker and Margaret Hancock from getting the note to arrive early for the photo.

Nancy Carlson, Annette Simmons, Ruth Altshuler, Nancy Dedman and Rachael Dedman

Nancy Carlson, Annette Simmons, Ruth Altshuler, Nancy Dedman and Rachael Dedman

Barbara Babb

Barbara Babb

Claire Emanuelson

Claire Emanuelson

First on the scene just before the clock hit 6:30 were Pat and John Harloe, blonde Barbara (sporting bangs) Babb and husband hosting Comerica’s Ralph Babb and Ruth with husband Dr. Ken Altshuler, buddies/former Honorary Chairs Annette Simmons and Nancy Dedman and the ever-charming Brad Kelly.

Russ Davis and Erin Mathews

Russ Davis and Erin Mathews

Lee Bailey and Dee Simmons

Lee Bailey and Dee Simmons

Bob Potter and Jack Jacobs

Bob Potter and Jack Jacobs

Nick Even and Lynn McBee

Nick Even and Lynn McBee

Soon most of the rest of the 10 arrived. 10 Bestie Katherine Coker arrived fresh from a Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala party at David Yurmin… The ladies weren’t the only fashion plates on the scene. Jack Jacobs and Steve Ivy sported Hermes ties…. And while on the Hermes subject, Barbara Daseke and Linda Ivy were talking about Hermes doing a band for the new Apple watch. Tick, tock, tick, tock… Former 10 Bestie Pat McEvoy’s love affair with her pooch, Santiago, had progressed. “Sonny” had really improved his understanding of how things needed to be in the McEvoy household… Robyn Conlon was showing off anniversary earrings that had been commissioned by husband Don Conlon…Speaking of jewelry, Erin Mathews was sporting an engagement ring that Russ Davis had presented her. No date is set yet, but stay tuned… Lee Ann White was soloing it, since husband Alan White was fly fishing with Jeremy Ford…Former Honorary Chair Gene Jones made a brief appearance. Had to get home to take care of husband Jerry, who had just had hip surgery…Luncheon Chair Mary Clare Finney was giving her compact point-and-shoot a work out photographing guests as date Chris Branscum smiled on…Caren and Pete Kline have Caren’s niece, Caren Pinto, staying with them while she’s interning at WFAA8. This was Day 2 of her training.

Alas, as the rest of the guests spilled into the ballroom with magnificent Oscar de la Renta gowns of locals like Nancy Dedman, Michal Powell, Annette Simmons, Norma Hunt and Nancy C. Rogers displayed in the alcove, the decision was made to photograph the group in attendance after waiting 40 minutes for the missing trio.

From the left: (back row) Michal Powell, Sarah Perot, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ralph Babb, Christi Urschel, Julie Hawes and Katherine Coker; (front row) Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Mary Clare Finney, Ruth Altshuler, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping

From the left: (back row) Michal Powell, Sarah Perot, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ralph Babb, Christi Urschel, Julie Hawes and Katherine Coker; (front row) Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Mary Clare Finney, Ruth Altshuler, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping

Then it was time to settle down at the assigned tables for chatting, dining and saluting the honorees.

What was that old saw that one never talks of politics, sex and something else? Well, politics were served up like breadsticks at a chintzy Italian cafeteria. Donald Trump definitely had made an impression on the assembled gathering. What were their opinions? Go elsewhere for that. MySweetCharity ain’t a political digital site. Still, it made for a lively conversation.

Recalling how former Comerican Chuck Gummer had told him about CCB when Ralph arrived on the scene, Babb remarked, “It’s amazing what they [Crystal Charity Ball members] do for children. We wanted to be a part of Crystal Charity, and this was an opportunity that was available and we were glad to become a part of it.”

But there was still more to talk about. CCB Chair Michal welcomed the hundreds and noted the fact that Neiman Marcus was on this very night celebrating its 108th birthday with NM Downtown’s GM/VP Jeff Byron taking a bow.

Then it was time to dig into the mesclun salad, the grilled filet and sea bass duo with mushroom risotto and julienne vegetables complete with artichoke sauté and broccolini. One poor soul bit into the sea bass thinking it was mashed potatoes. Oops. A few commented that the DCC version of the pecan ball with chocolate and caramel sauce didn’t quite rank up with the one being served at Café Pacific.

Ebby Halliday Celebrates Her 104th Birthday Today

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

The legendary first lady of Dallas residential real estate, as well as  fundraising champ, Ebby Halliday celebrates her 104th birthday today. While she may not be playing her ukulele as much as she used to, she still has that Ebby twinkle in her eye and sweet smile.

In addition to her leadership in residential real estate, she has been recognized time and time again for her support of  countless non-profits over the decades.

When an aging baby boomer complains about the aches and pains of growing older, Ebby has been known to chuckle and say, “You’re just a kid.”

Happy birthday, Ebby, and thank you for getting older but never old.

BTW, since it’s a wee bit late to snail-mail a birthday card to Ebby, her Ebby family just sent word that they’ve arranged for “a website where people can upload their favorite stories about/with Ebby, and a photo if they choose. We’re going to combine them all in a book and present them to her in a few weeks.”

If you’ve got some spare change, instead of buying Ebby a birthday gift, she’d much prefer your making a donation to Ebby’s Place at the YWCA.

Happy Birthday, Crazy Texas!

Today is Texas Independence Day. It was just 179 years ago that 60 men signed a Declaration of Independence creating this place called Texas.

Over the decades, the Lone Star State has gained quite a reputation. From NASA to Neiman’s, from “Giant” to “Bernie,” from wildcatters to White House residents, from saints to sinners, it has impressed some and rubbed others the wrong way. According to Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, Texas is a “crazy state.”

If you can’t be in Texas today, at least be in the crazy state of mind.

Sold Out Alert!: Les Femmes Du Monde Luncheon

Regina Bruce (File photo)

Regina Bruce (File photo)

Favorite two words for fundraising organizers? Sold out! And that’s the status for Thursday’s Les Femmes du Monde Luncheon honoring the 2014 Women of the Year (Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca) at The Harlan Crow Library.

Luncheon Chair Regina Bruce and her honorary co-chairs Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum have pulled this off to benefit Children’s Health (formerly known as Children’s Medical Center) and the World Affairs Council Dallas/Fort Worth.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: The Birthday Party Project

“The magic of a birthday party is undeniable. Even for children whose toy chests overflow, a day of frosting-laden cake, balloons, and rowdy party games is monumental. And when the festivities are celebrating the day they were born, confirming that they are valued and special, well, game over. So imagine the impact that a simple birthday party can have on a child who literally has nothing.

Gabby Princess*

Gabby Princess*

“In 2012, Paige Chenault, a 33-year-old event planner and self-proclaimed birthday enthusiast, was touring the Dallas Life homeless shelter when she walked into a room housing a father, a little girl and two young boys. A peek into the family’s closet revealed a single party dress hanging on the rod. For Paige, the dress was a revelation, confirming the idea that when a person is at their lowest, feeling celebrated and valued is more essential than ever.

The Birthday Party Project*

The Birthday Party Project*

“Not long after, The Birthday Party Project (TBPP) was born.

“The two-year-old non-profit’s goal is for each homeless child in Dallas to experience a birthday party and have the opportunity on their special day to feel celebrated and ‘normal;’to swell with excitement and pride as friends and family gather around to watch them blow out candles and dream of more; to make birthday wishes come true.

The Birthday Party Project*

The Birthday Party Project*

“To that end, each month TBPP transforms shelters into festive spaces where kids and parents can celebrate in a just-like-home atmosphere.

“In its first year, the organization raised $35,000, attracted 200 volunteers, and taught dozens of children who’d never had birthday parties that at the end of “Happy Birthday,” they’re supposed to blow out candles.

“Today TBPP partners with 10 different agencies in North Texas (Dallas, Collin and Tarrant County) and hosts 120 parties a year. The monthly themed events overseen by a small team of dedicated volunteers feature festive decorations, cupcakes, activities, games, crafts, and party favors for the children staying at the shelter. A special individual birthday cake and gift is given to the children celebrating a birthday that month.

March Birthday Party*

March Birthday Party*

“The atmosphere is positively euphoric.

“Since the inception, The Birthday Party Project has celebrated over 600 birthdays with over 5,000 kids. These parties are not only a celebration of their special day –- but also a loud exclamation that these children matter. It’s just the kind of magic moment that allows a kid to have hope and to dream big. Check out a video of one of the parties here:

“Help us continue to share these magical birthday moments by celebrating North Texas Giving Day on September 18 and donating to The Birthday Party Project at North Texas Giving Day.

-By Joslyn Taylor, The Birthday Party Project Board Member, Birthday Enthusiast

* Graphic and photos provided by The Birthday Party Project

Dallas Foundation’s “Good Works Under 40” Nominations Kicks Off At A Birthday Party Project

Worry, worry, worry. That’s what many nonprofits do when it comes to the next generation of fundraisers and volunteers. Are the millennials going to pick up where the baby boomers and their predecessors left off in supporting charities and the community? One organization not fretting is The Dallas Foundation, which is saluting the under-40-set with its Good Works Under 40 program. To kick off the nomination submissions on Thursday, July 17, they had a birthday party, but not just any old birthday party. Here’s a report from the field:

“On Thursday, July 17, The Dallas Foundation kicked off their fifth annual Good Works Under 40 (GWU40) award nominations like never before – with a service project that truly celebrated volunteerism and philanthropy.

“Hosted at Annette G. Strauss Family Gateway center, over 20 volunteers from the GWU40 advisory committee, a volunteer group of emerging civic leaders in Dallas, as well as past award finalist teamed up with The Birthday Party Project to throw a birthday party for seven homeless children.

“Themed ‘Anchors Aweigh!’, the party was decked out in red, white and blue décor and included a wide array of birthday activities such as limbo, arts and crafts, birthday cake and live entertainment from committee member/2013 finalist J Mack Slaughter.

Courtney Underwood, Tonya Muraguri, Liz Healy and Roberto* Moreno

Courtney Underwood, Tonya Muraguri, Liz Healy and Roberto Moreno*

“The volunteers included: 2011 winner Courtney Underwood; 2011 finalists Gloria Alfaro, Akilah Wallace and committee member Liz Healy; 2013 finalists Brittany Byrd, Cassie Evans and Stephen Holley; committee members Rebekah Kay, Loren Koziol and Tony Muraguri and Advisory Committee Chair Roberto Morena.

Loren Koziol and Stephen Holley*

Loren Koziol and Stephen Holley*

“The Dallas Foundation plans to continue this tradition in the years to come as a way to celebrate young philanthropist and encourage others to become more involved in their community.

“GWU40 is an annual awards program that recognizes North Texas’ most committed, skilled and passionate volunteers under the age of 40. The award, co-presented by The Dallas Foundation and The Dallas Morning News, includes an $8,000 donation to the winner’s favorite charity. Four finalists will receive $3,000 checks for their nonprofit agencies. Nominations for this year’s award will be accepted between July 17 and August 21. The winner will be announced at a reception at Old Parkland on November 3. Award guidelines and the application are available at

“The Dallas Foundation, established as a community foundation in 1929, serves as a leader, catalyst and resource for philanthropy by providing donors with flexible means of making gifts and bequests, the income from which primarily supports the charitable causes of the city and county of Dallas. For more information, visit”

* Photo credit: Jason Janik