Enjoy The Bubbly And Not The Raindrops After Crystal Charity Ball’s 10 Best Dressed Luncheon

A flute of champagne (File photo)

A flute of champagne (File photo)

There’s a growing chance that Mother Nature is going to pooh-pooh Thursday for the very sold-out Crystal Charity Ball’s Ten Best Dressed Luncheon. Why is that a drag? Well, galoshes and slickers just don’t cut it when it comes to this luncheon.

But don’t stay up fretting your pretty little noggin about it. The reception is in the store and the show and luncheon are enclosed in the air-conditioned, tented showroom with an elevated floor adjacent to the store.

Still, there’s that stampede for the valets and tap-your-stiletto wait for vehicles. Yuck! Who wants to do a Gene Kelly while waiting for a car?

Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron has come up with a nifty idea. Following the Fashion Show and Luncheon he’s hosting a “Champagne Toast Celebrating 40 Years of The Ten Best Dressed” in the Couture Salon on the second floor. It might be worth the escalator ride to the fountain of bubbly.

Understand that’s where a lot of the VIPs (Very Impressive Peeps) will be.

So, even if the sun is shining, don’t wilt. Go to the Champagne Couture Salon.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon

According Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon Chair Angie Kadesky,

Angie Kadesky (File photo)

Angie Kadesky (File photo)

“The sold-out Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon, slated for October 7 at Brook Hollow Golf Club, has some unusual twists this year. For starters, the line up of Highland Park Village retailers who are participating includes some very impressive names such as Brunello Cucinelli, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose, Leggiadro and Hadleigh Baby. Jan Strimple is, once again, producing a spectacular fashion show that promises to be fast paced and entertaining.

Equest commemorative scarf by Leggiadro scarf*

Equest commemorative scarf by Leggiadro scarf*

“In keeping with this year’s luncheon theme ‘The Year of the Horse’, Leggiadro has created a commemorative scarf benefiting Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship programming. The scarf may be purchased for $595 with 20 percent going to the charity. So, even if you aren’t lucky enough to attend, you can still support the Equest Therapeutic programming with a very fashionable purchase!

“Another addition will be Dior Beauty LipFix stations that will provide fresh lipstick application stations for our guests as they leave featuring Dior Beauty’s new color hues for fall 2014. While the ladies are at lunch, we’ll set up these simple stations along our exit routes. Some ladies will dash to their cars, but others can stop by stations and get fresh lipstick after lunch and try a new shade or formula for fall.

“Beloved community leaders and longtime Equest supporters Fredye Factor and Sarah Losinger are honorary luncheon chairmen. Debbie Oates, former Junior League president and Crystal Charity Ball chairman, will receive the Equest Community Service Award. Visit equest.org for more information or to purchase raffle tickets.”

* Photo provided by Equest Women's Auxiliary

 

Sold Out Alert: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon

Equest horses (File photo)

Equest horses (File photo)

Word just arrived that if you were planning on buy a ticket to see the Jan Strimple produced Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and fashion show at Brook Hollow benefiting Equest, it’s too late.

The October 7th must-attend event is sold out!

Michael Barin bracelet cuff*

Michael Barin bracelet cuff*

However, Luncheon Chair Angie Kadesky does have some remarkable raffle items up for bid. For instance, William Noble donated a Michael Barin silver-and-18K-yellow-gold custom “Year of the Horse” cuff bracelet that would make any wrist look pretty darn fabulouso. Just think. Instead of owning a horse, you would have a cuff that would require no farrier.

Chances are $50 per ticket and three for $100. They can be purchased by calling 972. 412.1099 and you don’t have to be present to win.

* Photo provided by Equest Women's Auxiliary

MySweetCharity Opportunity: First Sight/First Night

According to First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Lynn McBee,

Nick Even and Lynn McBee*

Nick Even and Lynn McBee*

“The season opening of the Dallas Opera has to be one of the most thrilling times of year in the city! Nicholas Even and I are really excited to be co-chairs of the First Sight/First Night events.

“The season opens with a stunning fashion show, First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon, featuring styles by world-class Italian designer Roberto Cavalli and custom-made gowns created by internationally renowned Dallas designers. Each of the operas presented during the 2014-15 ‘Heights of Passion’ Season will be reflected in the gown designs. And of course we will be having a lavish gourmet luncheon prepared by Wolfgang Puck catering. The event is being held Thursday, October 23 at 11:00 a.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.

“We can’t wait to see the spectacular fashions presented by Roberto Cavalli, NorthPark Center —a name synonymous with joy, glamour, and success!

“The Dallas designers creating the opera-themed gowns are Nicolas Villalba who will design for The Marriage of Figaro; Abi FerrinSalome; Elizabeth Anyaa La Wally; Edo PopkenEverest; Khahn Nguyen, (Nha Khahn line) – La Bohème; and Michael FairclothIolanta.

“The ambiance of the occasion is certain to be fabulous with Event Architect Jeffrey Horn at the helm!

“First Sight is also a fundraiser and the opera gowns will be available to purchase online through Heritage Auctions. Table sales for First Sight start at $10,000 and individual tickets are $250.

“The activities continue with the First Night Pre-Performance Dinner, Friday, October 24, 5:30 p.m., beginning with a dramatic ‘Red Carpet’ arrival. This lovely affair is held at Sammons Park in a tent (adjacent to the Winspear Opera House) with magnificent opera décor. Held prior to the opera, it features an elegant three-course, gourmet dinner. Tables start at $25,000 and individual tickets are $750. (All tickets include a ticket to the After Party.)

“The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance is The Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart, Friday, October 24, 8:00 p.m., a comedic gem, also presented at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets prices vary and are available by calling 214-443-1000 or by visiting www.dallasopera.org.

“First Night After Party begins as the opera ends in the Sammons Park tent with DJ Lucy Wrubel rocking the house while guests mingle with the cast. Patrons will enjoy a fantastic breakfast bar, decadent desserts and Opera-inspired cocktails. Tickets are $125.

“The Winspear Opera House is located at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

“We are also pleased to announce the corporate sponsors we already have participating in the FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT festivities—NorthPark Center, Haynes and Boone, LLP, St. Michelle Wine Estates, and Heritage Auctions! We invite other companies to support these events and enjoy the exposure affiliated with this wonderful arts organization.

“We have tickets, table sales, and sponsorships on sale now. For more information please visit http://dallasopera.org/firstnight. All proceeds benefit the Dallas Opera, a non-profit arts organization.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at these fantastic events!”

* Photo provided by the Dallas Opera

MySweetCharity Opportunity: KidneyTexas Runway Report

According to KidneyTexas Runway Report Co-Chair Karen Settle,

Karen Settle*

Karen Settle*

“What could be more fun that viewing, or better yet, being a guest model alongside of professional models in a fabulous Jan Strimple Productions style show? KidneyTexas offers the opportunity to walk the runway or to just enjoy the show.  The new fall looks will be unveiled by fashion sponsor Tootsies as well as fashion participants Pockets Menswear and Kidbiz. Our Kidney Kids from Children’s Medical Center will also make an appearance, and a story of strength and courage of a local couple will be shared. Then a delightful lunch will be served while we have time to chat with good friends and sip delicious wine.

“This amazing day also provides the opportunity to bid on 2 fantastic live auction packages:

  1. “Stunning South Sea pearls necklace with diamond clasp donated by William Noble Rare Jewels paired with a leopard patterned fur vest donated by Adrenne Landau on behalf of Tootsies valued at $33,000 and
  2. “Santa Fe, NM vacation package for 5 nights’ stay in a fantastic 5-bedroom sprawling adobe home with pool accompanied by a personal chef for an in-house meal, and airfare for two. Anonymous donor with airfare for 2 donated by Southwest Airlines, valued at $10,000.

“Guests can also purchase raffle tickets to packages which include restaurant gift certificates, beauty and fashion gift certificates, jewelry, crystal, photography gift certificates, and entertainment.

“Chairing this annual fundraiser and working with such talented and generous individuals has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Our committee has worked very hard and is excited to present this outstanding event! Beneficiaries this year include Baylor Health Care System Foundation for research to cure male fetuses of kidney damage, Children’s Medical Center for purchase of 5 blood pressure machines for at-home monitoring of children receiving dialysis, National Kidney Foundation Camp Reynal for camp and medical expenses of children with kidney disease, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for kidney stone research. Contributing to my dedication to this event is the fact about 20 million people in the U.S. are affected by kidney disease.  It can happen to anyone, and my husband and I have both had kidney surgery!

Faye Briggs (File photo)

Faye Briggs (File photo)

Janelle Friedman (File photo)

Janelle Friedman (File photo)

“I invite you to join us as we fight kidney disease which impacts children and adults.  Our Honorary Chair, Faye C. Briggs, will be recognized for her generosity and her love and support of KidneyTexas. Further, the 2014 Goodnight Award will be presented to Janelle Friedman in appreciation of her efforts to help children’s charities and her passion for KidneyTexas. For information on the event as well as ticket/table sales, please visit www.kidneytexas.org or call 214.891.0896.

“The KidneyTexas Runway Report Luncheon and Style Show will be held Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Reception starts at 10:30, style show seating starts at 11:00 and luncheon begins at 12:00.”

* Photo provided by KidneyTexas Runway Report

Mary Kay Foundation’s Suits For Shelters Program Gets In The Pink At Tootsies Kick-Off Reception

On the eve of the pink invasion by the Mary Kay forces, the Suits for Shelters program kicked off with a gathering to the max at Tootsies hosted by the ever-gorgeous Maleiah and Ryan Rogers (he’s the grandson of Mary Kay, as if you didn’t know). Guests arrived with clothes, shoes and accessories to be donated for the annual program helping women who are escaping abusive situations.

Maleiah and Ryan Rogers

Maleiah and Ryan Rogers

Bird’s eye view, the scene looked like Maalox had stylishly been sprayed over the room. Pink was everywhere. From adorable pink frocks to touches of the color in men’s ties, it was definitely the shade of the night. Why, the Tootsies staff even had the mannequins in the tone for the evening.

Hayden and David Novak

Hayden and David Novak

One standout in the sea of pink was David Novak’s pocket square. Of course, it was pink, but it had more than its color going for it. The SMU grad’s Quixotic line of hankies that start at $35 is a double doozy of a winner for today’s gentlemen. First of all, 10% of sales go to organizations including The Family Place and Genesis Women’s Shelter. Second, they had a Square for Square program that “if you lose or damage your Quixotic pocket square in some gentlemanly act of kindness, then we will give your another.” Examples of such acts include: wiping tears, remove a spot, prevent a drip from a bottle of wine, pass something hot, etc.

Doug and Holly Deason

Doug and Holly Deason

But the crowd wasn’t all in pink and worried about good manners. Over to the side of the Preston Road entrance, Shelter Ministries of DallasJan Langbein was introducing guests to Dallas Police Lt. Miguel Sarmiento of the family violence unit. . . . Across the way were The Family Place’s Melissa Sherrill and Shivangi Pokharel and Habitat for Humanity’s  Melissa Cameron. . . . But the night was not “girls-only.” Thanks to Mary Kay’s Crayton Webb, men like Doug Deason, Bob Dyer and Jeff Cameron have taken on a major role in the efforts to reduce eliminate domestic abuse. Crayton indeed had his hands full. With thousands of Mary Kay associates on their way to Dallas, he was standing at the door waiting for his wife Nikki, who was delayed. The moment she appeared, he lit up. . . In one of the showrooms were racks and racks of true-blue bargains, in addition to pink items including shoes on sale. . . . Ironically the champagne was bountiful but not pink!

Myann Payne

Myann Payne

Following the reception downstairs, guests moved upstairs for the fashion show featuring Tootsies fashions on the following models: Evelyn Earl from Attitudes and Attire, Liz Slane from Battered Women’s Foundation, Linda Zander from Brighter Tomorrows, Myann Payne from Dress for Success, Susan Wells Jenevein and Abby Mayer from Genesis Women’s Shelter, Alma Catic and Megan Rutherford from Hope’s Door, Mirjana Omerajic from Mosaic Family Services, Isabel Camacho from New Beginning Center and Carmen Ponder from The Family Place.

Cynthia Izaguirre and Crayton Webb

Cynthia Izaguirre and Crayton Webb

WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre was the show’s emcee and got things going with a selfie with the room full of guests. Then Crayton and host Ryan welcomed the group stressing the importance that the Mary Kay Foundation places on issue of domestic violence.

Then the “Think Pink” fashion show was underway with each model receiving cellphone salutes and some like Linda Slane getting a thumbs up from friends. Unlike other fashion shows, where guests smile in approval, this group let the world know their feelings with applause and cheers.

Linda Slane getting thumbs up

Linda Slane getting thumbs up

But even after the last guests toddled out of Tootsies, the effort to provide clothing for women in need didn’t end. The collection of new and gently used women’s professional attire, shoes and accessories continues through Monday, August 4, at Tootsies. In return donors will received a $25 Tootsies gift card that could be very useful during Tootsies’ summer sale.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Suits For Shelters Kick-Off Party

Selfie in pink

Selfie in pink

It’s been way too long since the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery has popped with photos of locals helping others. Thank heaven, the Mary Kay Foundation’s “Suits for Shelters” program kicked off at Tootsies with loads of people in the pink and bargains galore.

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Casey

Casey

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

While the write-up is being finalized, enjoy the photos of the guests, the models and the fashions.

Author Danielle Rollins To Be Featured Speaker At Art In Bloom

Barbara Durham is chairing October 27th’s Art in Bloom at the Dallas Museum of Art. The floral symposium and luncheon nicely follows the night-before premiere of “Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse.”

Danielle Rollins*

Danielle Rollins*

Barb just revealed the speaker for AiB will be Danielle Rollins, whose byline is seen in Veranda, Southern Living and Lifestyle. She’s also the author of “Soiree: Entertaining With Style.”

Another Barbara will serve as honorary chair — Barbara Bigham.

According to Chair Barbara, “We are so thrilled to have Danielle Rollins as our featured speaker for this year’s Art in Bloom. Danielle is not only a wonderful writer, but also an expert on the art of entertaining, including the importance of floral décor. Her great sense of style and humor, along with her approachable, how-to advice will be a wonderful addition to this year’s fundraiser.”

Following the talk in the Horchow Auditorium, guests will have lunch in the Hamon Atrium and be entertained by a fashion show provided by Hadleigh’s.

Don’t bother trying to get a ticket, though. They don’t go on sale until September 1. However, sponsorships starting at $750 are available now, don’t you know!

* Photo provided by Art In Bloom

SOLD OUT ALERT: 2014 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show And Luncheon

If you were thinking that now that things were slowing down, you’d get around to sending in that check for the Crystal Charity Ball’s 10 Best Dressed Fashion Show and Luncheon, think again.

It’s too late.

Robyn Conlon and Pat McEvoy (File photo)

Robyn Conlon and Pat McEvoy (File photo)

CCB Chair Robyn Conlon and Luncheon Chair Pat McEvoy just reported that the Neiman Marcus-produced show featuring Nina Ricci designs on Thursday, September 11, is already sold out. As for the waiting list, it’s really a cross-your-manicured-fingers wish list.

For those early birdies, the show will once again be in the tented parking lot adjacent to the NM Downtown store, which explains why the seated is squeezy limited.

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Luckily, the 2014 10 Best Dressed (Nancy Carlson, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Ashley Hunt, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee and Christi Urschel) and Hall of Famer Lee Ann White already had their places reserved.

Al Biernat Spearheads Mosaic Family Services With Fashion For Freedom Luncheon, Abi Ferrin And Juliette Longuet

As mentioned before, Dallas has a heck of a lot of Mosaics in operation. If you were to ask restaurateur Al Biernat, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that the least known is Mosaic Family Services. But after learning the disturbing reality of MFS’s work in dealing with human rights abuses like human trafficking and domestic violence, he was going to change that spot on the MFS’s meter.

Abi Ferrin

Abi Ferrin

Whew! Boy, did Al call in some favors and friends to do that! Along with Mosaic’s sweetheart philanthropist Jan Rees-Jones, her designing buddy Abi Ferrin and NYC-based designer Juliette Longuet plus Mayor Mike Rawlings, Al had the big guns plus Nancy C. Rogers and sponsors like Tim Headington to spearhead the effort on Wednesday, May 7.

Jenny Bania and Al Biernat

Jeny Bania and Al Biernat

After all, Al had the perfect spot — his place-to-be, namesake restaurant. Despite a reputation for never, ever shutting down for fundraisers, he made an exception and his Al’s Pals (Brad Fuller and Audra Perdue) were there to make sure everything was “Al-right”!

The results?

A sold-out event with in seconds of Fashion for Freedom announcement.

Only problem? Women everywhere ordering lunch at the same time. Results? Al’s kitchen got slammed all at once with more than 170 orders for three courses including a first course (Al’s Salad, Summer Salad or Caesar Salad), second course (Beef Tenderloin or Bay of Fundy Salmon) and Dessert and Moet Nectar Rose.

But it wasn’t a big problem because the chatter level was higher than the dome in the restaurant.

Kristen Johnson

Kristen Johnson

Among those chit-chatting were Paige Lane, Johnson types (Kris and Kristen), Lisa Ogle, Cara French, Debra Nelson, Jill Tananbaum, Sunie Solmon, Leisa Street, Terra Perez, Headington headies (Matthew Simon and Jeny Bania) and MFS Executive Director Walter Nguyen.

Mike Rawlings and Jan Rees-Jones

Mike Rawlings and Jan Rees-Jones

Even Mayor Mike, who had been juggling the City Council Discussion over the Southwest vs. Virgin America debate arrived on the scene. Just getting him into the dining room was a major accomplishment, since everyone wanted their picture taken with him.

Needless to say, he couldn’t stay for the vittles, but he wanted to once again make it known where he stands when it comes to the abuse of women in any form.

Fashion For Freedom fashion show

Fashion For Freedom fashion show

Following lunch, a trunk show of Abi’s and Juliette’s collections took place in the center of the dining room. While the “mod” lighting was jazzy, some of the outfits appeared to have “Ferrin” emblazoned on them.

Juliette Longuet (second from the right)

Juliette Longuet (second from the right)

Espa gift bags

Espa gift bags

But no complaints thanks to a beautiful crowd, glasses of champagne and killer gift bags courtesy of the Joule’s Espa. One of the items was a 90-minute gift card for services at the luxurious spa.

Round Robin May 5: Salvation Army Fashion Show, Rob Lowe Book Signing And Virgin America Donation For KIPP DFW

There are certain myths in Dallas. One of them is that Monday is the day of rest for hairdressers, country clubs and fundraising events. Monday, May 5, proved that myth to be right up there with unicorns running in the HOV lane of Central Expressway.

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

It started off at 10 a.m. at Brook Hollow. Well, shoot, there went the fallacy that country clubs went dark on Monday. Nope. Charles Redin and the Brook Hollow crew were all in place for the Salvation Army Fashion Show.

Half of the ballroom had become a pop-up shop with the ultra-couture clothes in the “card room.” But by the likes of the racks throughout the entire place, it was hard to tell the difference between the ultra- couture and just plain couture.

Some guests were so lucky, they had to make multiple trips to their cars to stow their purchase. And then there were others like Yvonne Crum, who wore their past Salvation Army purchases like medals of honor.

Eventually, the shopping had to take a break, so the guests (Shelle Sills, Caren Prothro, Dee Wyly, Nancy Rogers, Lori Jones, Lisa Troutt, Carolyn Lupton, Ruth Altshuler, Dee Simmons, Vicki Howland, Jill Rowlett, Tincy Miller, Sara Martineau, Heather Washburne and Elisa Summers headed to the big tent just a few feet away. Ah, those few feet. They were out in the bright, beautiful sunlight. It was almost blinding. The problem came in the transition from the brief walk in the sunshine to the extreme plus dark interiors of the tent with its black floor covering and black walls. Some guests like Billie Leigh Rippey clutched family and friends to make their way before the show got underway. But once the fashions were in the spotlight on the runway, smartphone flashlights were recruited to light the way.

Laura Bush

Laura Bush

Things were slightly delayed. It seems that Honorary Chair Laura Bush and her entourage were on premises on time. No, they weren’t shopping. They were waiting for Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson, who were delayed.

But as the trio made their way to the front row, someone reported that Laura’s co-chairs/daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager were unable to attend due to work in other cities.

Emcee/WFAA anchor Shelly Slater welcomed the group as Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Connie Rhoades and Event Chair Gina Jones thanked all for coming and supporting the Salvation Army.

Gloria Campos

Gloria Campos

Shelly returned to the podium and announced that in addition to the slew of models, an additional model was going to get things going. She was none other than former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos, who walked the walk on the catwalk to cheers.

Then it was time for the show of generously donated clothes that would return to the racks for purchase.

Fashion show finale

Fashion show finale

Luckily, the Jan Strimple produced show as perfectly timed. Just as the tented area had been chilly when guests entered, it was getting a tad-bit warm toward the end of the show resulting in some guests using their programs as fans.

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Following the show, it was lunchtime back in the clubhouse. Laura, Gene, Diana Strauss, Kelli Ford, Lee Ann White, Nancy Dedman, Sydney Huffines and Sharon McCutchin headed to Table 43. The Secret Service team seemed to enjoy the number on the table. It wasn’t a coincidence. Charles had work on the table arrangements just so the number and the former First Lady got together.

The only late arrival at the table was Annette Simmons, who was busy closing her purchases.

Unfortunately, not everything went as smoothly for lunch. After waiting and waiting for lunch, one table hostess called over Salvation Army’s Major Ward Matthews saying, “We’re praying for lunch. Do you think our prayers will be answered?” Someone was listening because lunch immediately arrived.

Rob Lowe Book Signing

Miller Rich living room

Miller Rich living room

On the way to the next nonprofit event, stopped by Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s home where about 400 of the well-known and charitable types (Pat and Charles McEvoy, Shannon and Skip Hollandsworth, David Nichols, Jimmy Gragg, Stephanie Seay, Carol Seay, Janet and Troy Dungan, JB Hayes and Barb and Steve Durham) turned up for a book signing by Rob Lowe of his latest book “Love Life”.

Jan Miller and Rob Lowe

Jan Miller and Rob Lowe

When Jan wasn’t schlepping books into the dining room where Rob was non-stop signing, she was trying to chat with everyone.

As Jeff put it, there are two men who are guaranteed to draw a huge crowd — Rob Lowe and Robert Wagner.

Rob Lowe and Robin Bagwell

Rob Lowe and Robin Bagwell

In this night’s never-ending crowd was Robin Bagwell, who share a very special moment with Rob. [Editor’s note: Robin approved the sharing of the following information.] It’s been 24 years since Rob has re-entered the world sobriety. Robin told him that she had just earned her 12-year chip for sobriety. Like wartime veterans who shared a foxhole, the two exchanged looks of pride, happiness and understanding. At that moment, it seemed like there was no one else in the room.

This may not have been an official fundraiser, but it was an occasion when two strangers shared the common denominator of recovery.

Virgin Airlines Donation

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson just wanted “love Monday night as he led the Virgin America campaign to get two gates at Love Field.

The blonde-haired Brit held court at The Rustic with a mob of Virgin-ites. After chatting with various media types, Sir Richard and Virgin America President/CEO David Cush took to the stage.

When the sound equipment proved to be not up the snuff, the SMU graduate didn’t miss a beat saying that Virgin’s equipment would not have similar problems.

As Sir Richard appeared on stage like a rock star, the sea of guests saluted the gent with cellphones raised at full mast.

Richard Branson (far left) and David Cush (far right)

Richard Branson (far left) and David Cush (far right)

After a $55,000 check was presented to KIPP Dallas/Fort Worth, Sir Richard did a mini-body surf and then he was off through a crowd of selfie-seeking fans.

JUST IN: Baseball Legend Joe Torre To Headline The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon On September 17

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Ran into Carol Seay at the Salvation Army Fashion Show yesterday at Brook Hollow where former First Lady Laura Bush was honorary chair and the “experienced” clothes were disappearing from the racks.

But more about the show and luncheon later. What was pried out of Carol is that former All-Star baseball player, four-time World Series champion manger of the New York Yankee Joe Torre will be the headliner at The Family Place’s September 17th Texas Trailblazer Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

This summer Joe will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Oh, what’s the connection between the baseball legend and domestic abuse? Margaret’s Place.

What’s Margaret’s Place? So many questions, but good ones!

Joe and his wife Ali created Safe At Home Foundation and established Margaret’s Places in New York, New Jersey and California, where middle and high school students are provided with a “’safe room’ to talk to each other and a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention about violence-related issues.”

The reason for creating such a program was because as Joe puts it, “When I was growing up, my father was a bully. My mother [Margaret] faced verbal and physical abuse from my father. If he didn’t like the food mom made, he would throw it against the wall. He used to make her get up in the middle of the night to cook for friends he brought home.

“Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, ‘We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.’ And he left.

“Grow­ing up in a home where there was domes­tic vio­lence was very dif­fi­cult and left last­ing scars. Although I didn’t real­ize it then, I used to feel like the abuse was my fault. I felt help­less and alone. For many years, I felt ashamed and worthless.

“In those days, no one in my neigh­bor­hood knew what was hap­pen­ing in my home, or if they did, nobody talked about it. I did not talk about it because I was afraid. I didn’t know who to turn to for help.”

Carol along with daughter-in-law Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman are co-chairing the event.

More news will be developing. Stay tuned.

Winds Of Change Blew Through Mad Hatter’s Tea Blending Classical With Comical For The Women’s Council Of The Dallas Arboretum

Oldtimers recently recalled the first Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Dallas Arboretum way back when. The very prim and proper party was held on the terrace of the Dallas Arboretum’s Camp House with a regatta of sailboats parading on White Rock and a mini-symphony playing nearby. Even Stanley Marcus was present to add to the class and elegance of the day. It was an occasion when sipping, chatting and enjoying the lake’s breeze was a stellar way to support the Arboretum.

Ah, but that was many, many years ago. Since then the Arboretum fundraiser has been moved to the Ginsburg Plaza and Rosine Hall on the other side of the DeGolyer Estate. The regatta has been replaced with an indoor fashion show. A seated luncheon is served instead of a simple tea. And in keeping with the Mad Hatter’s theme, a touch of unpredictableness has been provided thanks to the addition of a hat contest.

In recent years, some felt that the competition and creativity had gotten a wee bit over the top, so to speak. There was actual talk of some judges hijacking other judge’s decisions. Classic looks were being upstaged by chapeaus that would have impressed Tim Burton. The live auction had gotten a bit saucy. But, heck, that was part of the charm and giggle-factor of the day.

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

This year under the leadership of Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Bettina Hennessy and Event Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin, a calming down was in place. Why, the vary theme “A Serenade to Style” seemed reminiscent of that first tea.

Even Mother Nature appeared to be in an obliging mood as she got her testiness out of the way the previous weekend for the Final Four. On Thursday, April 10, the sun was shining and it seemed so perfect for adorable spring sundresses. The luncheon tables were set up in open tents with marvelous centerpieces that featured motorized butterflies. Lisa laughed about the area birds that had been fooled by the fluttering critters and had tried to snatch them up.

Ah, but a touch of Mad Hatter still prevailed. As guests arrived, a sweep of breeze developed into gusts of wind, forcing the guests to clutch their hats. Just as one woman got out of her car, her hat whooshed away across the driveway only to be run over by another vehicle.

Once inside the plaza, the division of styles was obvious.

There were the classic beauties like

Gina Ginsburg

Gina Ginsburg

  • Wide brimmers — Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg’s elegant sun hat smacking of Chanel, Lynn Dealey and Adrienne Pedigo in white with black hats with bouquets of flowers, Carmen Godwin and Sharla Bush in very similar flirty, floppy white hats (Sharla added an arrangement of flowers as an added touch), Bettina’s going understated in a beige and white classic, Vicki Ingram’s hat from Neiman Marcus, Judy Birchfield’s and daughter Belinda Birchfield’s matching jeweled and flowered hats and Yvonne Crum’s purple hat from Mockingbird Florist.
    Carmen Godwin

    Carmen Godwin

    Sharla Bush

    Sharla Bush

  • Fascinators —Lisa’s (“I went online”) Kate Middleton inspiration, Susan Cooper’s two hats-in-one, Marisa Howard’s black and white with a huge pink peony, Elva Furstenberg’s turquoise feathered hat by Cressida of London and Sharon Gleeson (“I bought mine at the store”).

And then there were the more whimsical like

  • Faye Briggs

    Faye Briggs

    Faye Briggs’ glittering and colorful feast of cupcakes, teacups and a beaded white rabbit that weighed more than the diminutive philanthropist. Daughter Pebble McKenzie, who will be getting married in September, went the opposite extreme with a pale pink-and-white cloche.

  • Clare Chaney’s Carmen Miranda with bananas, grapes and pineapple,
  • Terry Irby’s nearly 100 tulips and butterflies
  • Kunthear Mam-Douglas’s own creation that boasted a yellow rose theme
  • Jennifer Joyce’s topper promoting her company-sponsored table — “Fidelity”
  • LeeAnne Locken’s being encased in a rainbow of faux flowers. There were times, when the wind picked up, that it appeared that LeeAnne would be kiting over White Rock. She admitted that at times outdoors she thought was going to be the “Flying Nun” but then “hunkered down.”
  • Joani White with a fishbowl inside a birdcage. The goldfish was so embarrassed that s/he swam at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Anne Stodghill’s true tribute to Alice in Wonderland that nearly took off with a gust of wind

But the two that created the most talk belonged to Jill Rowlett and Steve Kemble.

Steve Kemble

Steve Kemble

In the days leading up to the event, Steve had advised friends via Facebook that he would be “missing” this year. No one could believe that the sassy Mad Hatter vet would not attend the event. Well, he did show up, only he was indeed missing. With his head inside a Texas-sized milk carton, his face peered out of an opening under “Missing.” On the side of the carton was “Arboretum Dairy Farm.” But even Steve was surprised at his brilliance when someone noted that the DeGolyer estate had indeed been the site of a 44-acre dairy farm before being purchased by the family in the late 1930’s.

Then there was Jill Rowlett and her frogs. Some might not have noticed her Kathrine Baumann purse. The reason? That ginormous Kermit with banjo that was on top of her head. Due to the commotion of guests and photographers trying to get to her, most weren’t able to hear Kermy’s playing his favorite tune.

According to Jill, “My hat was made again this year by Nicolas Villalba. I have many Muppet figures of every shape and material since our autistic son, Michael, loves them so. They are his friends. He even speaks in phrases from the videos! Starting with the song ‘The Rainbow Connection,” and a table full of Kermit’s, this hat grew….and grew. It’s as though Nicolas takes an idea, gives it steroids, and finds a way to build it perfectly!  From my running water fountain hat last Mad Hatters to Kermit singing Rainbow Connection, he can include movement and sound if my neck can stand it! Kermit had a speaker connected through blue tooth to my phone playing Rainbow Connection.

“It was great fun and an honor to pay tribute to Michael’s best friend!”

Lynn Dealey and Shane Walker

Lynn Dealey and Shane Walker

As guests took their places in Rosine Hall for the fashion show of Diane von Furstenberg, Escada and Lela Rose designs, some “outstanding” hats created a slight problem. One gal bent over the shoulder of Shane Walker‘s very top topper and asked him if he could remove the standout creation. It was blocking the view of those behind him.

Jocelyn White

Jocelyn White

Emcee Jocelyn White explained that she was going to handle the duties alone. Seems that announced co-emcee Ron Corning was unable to participate, due to circumstances beyond his control. Joce admitted that he was going to be very missed. . . especially when it was time for the live auction.

Then Jocelyn explained that when Lisa and Bettina “were planning this year’s wonderful day for you, they wanted to find a voice for their feelings about the magnificence of these three-and-half acres (A Woman’s Garden). This is truly sanctuary, serenity that all of you with your dollars and participation are helping to sustain. So, let’s reflect on all this glory around us with these gentle words sung by the lovely Nereida Garcia, who is a soprano who has performed in the United States, the United Kingdom and all across Mexico.”

Shoe adjustments

Shoe adjustments

The fashion production by Jan Strimple commenced almost flawlessly. One little model had shoe issues. Seems the stilettos were a tad too big for her feet and, halfway down the runway, she had to adjust her right shoe. Alas, by the end of the runway, she was forced to stoop down and fix the other heel. For her efforts, she got applause of appreciation. Who in the audience didn’t sympathize with her?

Then it was time for the live auction of seven items that had been collected by Jocelyn’s goddaughter Jacque Kennedy. Being a trooper, Joce worked to get the bidding up. She got so involved in the action that she ended up providing the winning bid of $1,000 for a private garden consultation by Michael Shoup of antique Rose Emporium.

Then it was time for the contest results. Each of the judges had his/her own category to judge.Michael Faircloth, Patti Flowers, Gary Riggs, Sam Ratcliffe and Clarice Tinsley

  • Heidi Dillon — My Favorite Things: Chic Couture,
  • Michael Faircloth — The Yellow Rose of Texas: Most Elegant,
  • Patti Flowers — Most Creative Use of Botanicals,
  • Sam Ratcliffe — Do Re Mi: Most Creative Use of Natural Materials,
  • Gary Riggs — Over the Rainbow: Most Colorfully Flamboyant,
  • Clarice Tinsley — Tip Toe Through the Tulips: Most Whimsical,
  • Maxine Trowbridge — Best of Show: Integrity of Design and
  • Janine Turner had to bow out due to a personal situation, so Clarice picked up an additional category —Edelweiss: A Vintage Look

In the past, categories had been announced ahead of time to allow guests and, in some cases, their hat designers to focus their creations. However, this event ain’t called Mad Hatter’s for nothing. By the time the judges were on stage to announce the winners, some had been adjusted and/or added. Instead of seven categories, there were eight. And then at the very end of the presentation, Jocelyn announced that she had added an additional category: Gentlemen Only.

LeeAnne Locken

LeeAnne Locken

The day’s winners were

  • Over the Rainbow: Most Colorfully Flamboyant — Faye Briggs
  • My Favorite Things: Chic Couture — Jewel Williams
  • The Yellow Rose of Texas — Carmen Godwin
  • Edelweiss — Libby Zoerner
  • Joani White

    Joani White

    Tip Toe Through the Tulips — Joani White

  • Do Re Mi — Julia Pavlova Kanaan
  • Most Creative Use of Botanicals — LeeAnne Locken. According to sources, it “seems like Patti Flowers changed the category she awarded, from ‘…. use of Natural….’ to ‘…. use of Botanical…’ LeeAnne Locken’s ‘hat’ was not made from natural materials, but it was striking and definitely deserved an award. It was created by Andre Yabin-Binzario Couture.”
  • Gentlemen Only — Shane Walker
  • Best of Show — Jill Rowlett
Jill Rowlett

Jill Rowlett

As Jill walked from the back of the room to the stage, Kermit with banjo towered over the other hatted heads. As she left the stage and started down the stairs, she just barely looked down to see just where the steps were. With that Kermit appeared to be headed for the lap of Gina, who was seated front and center. But after her tip of the hat two years ago, when her for-real fountain hat splashed the front row, Jill quickly recovered, Kermit stayed atop his perch and Gina remained calm, cool … and frogless.

For more photos, check the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Terry Irby

Terry Irby

With Easter weekend just ahead, it seems like a perfect time to show off the hats that appeared at the 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday, April 10, at the Dallas Arboretum. While organizers had hoped that decorum would rule the day, some of the guests just got it in . . . or rather, on their heads to be maddening.

Kunthear Douglas

Kunthear Douglas

Check the two pages of pictures on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for proof that a little insanity isn’t such a bad thing.