MySweetWishList: Christmas In The Park

According to Christmas In The Park Volunteer Nita Clark,

“My wish is to help the SM Wright Foundation achieve its goal of securing 15,000 toys, one for each child attending this year’s Christmas in the Park event on Saturday, December 16! We are closing in, but we can always use your donations:  http://www.smwrightfoundation.org/content/donate-today/ .

Nita and Clark Cullum*

“Christmas in the Park is an annual event serving tens of thousands of residents of Fair Park and South Dallas – an area of Dallas with very high unemployment and scarce infrastructure and support. Christmas in the Park has grown beyond giving a toy or a bike to each child, but now provides winter coats, mattresses for kids who have no bed, plus books, a job fair, a college fair, hot meals, groceries, clothing, bus passes, gift cards for Walmart and help with utilities payments. 

“The Rev. SM Wright II pulls this off every year through the help from volunteers, members of the South Dallas community and corporations and donors from the greater Dallas community. Please help by supporting the toy drive.  You can also help by volunteering at the event!  Just email [email protected] to register. Like any great Christmas party, it’s sometimes chaotic, but always fun!

“The Christmas in the Park event is the best opportunity of the year for the SM Wright Foundation to reach families in the Fair Park area for the first time. Once the Foundation makes contact with a family, it can bring the adults into the computer skills training program, and kids into the South Dallas Top of the Class Community Tutoring Center. The Foundation helps people throughout the year with various immediate needs- from food at the Operation Hope Food Center, to clothes to help with rising electric bills. Again this year, there is a college expo with a dozen representatives from area colleges present, a job fair, hot meal, gift cards and bus passes. Please join us in participating in this joyous and meaningful holiday event! Christmas in the Park happens on Saturday, December 16, at the Automobile Building in Fair Park.”

-Nita Clark, Christmas In The Park volunteer

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

MySweetWishList: Educational First Steps

According to Educational First Steps Board Member and Chief Secret Santa Coordinator Jennifer Mosle,

Jennifer Mosle*

Educational First Steps*

“Everyone likes a Secret Santa! Educational First Steps does the extraordinary: transforming low income childcare centers in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods into nationally accredited early learning centers that serve thousands of children in North Texas. Our ‘one wish’ for this holiday season is to help grant a Secret Santa wish for each of the centers that have worked over a three-year period to reach national accreditation – that would be 53 wishes! 

“You see, these centers are so financially strapped they can’t afford vans to transport the children, shade structures for the playground, playground equipment, or even that new stove for the kitchen where they cook up to three meals a day for the children in their care while their parents work. 

“We hope you will decide to be an Educational First Steps Secret Santa and grant a wish for one of our deserving accredited centers.

“Wishes are available in three Secret Santa levels:

  • “$5,000 – will get a Gold Star on our Holiday Tree and 10 books donated to the center in your name
  • “$2,500 – will get a Silver Star on our Holiday Tree and 8 books donated to the center in your name.
  • “$1,000 – will get a White Star on our Holiday Tree and 5 books donated to the center in your name

Educational First Steps*

“Monetary or in-kind gifts like those mentioned above will make a lasting, meaningful gift to these centers that will allow them to create safe and nurturing learning environments for generations of children.

“To become a Secret Santa for Educational First Steps, simply visit www.educationalfirststeps.org or contact Educational First Steps Senior Development Director Judy Schecter at 214.824.7940. Thank you!”

-By Jennifer Mosle, Educational First Steps Board Member and Chief Secret Santa Coordinator

* Photo provided by Educational First Steps

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas CEO/President Paige McDaniel,

Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway!  I wish for the community to help us in providing more than 12,000 holiday gifts for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of new toys through Friday, December 8.

This year we have received 1,000 more wish requests for abused and neglected children in Dallas County, and need the support of the community to ensure that every one is filled. We can send you 2 wishes, 20 wishes or 200 – all donations are welcome!

Paige McDaniel*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first holiday gift they have ever been given.

A significant need this year is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Wal-mart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy, Ulta and Best Buy are always appreciated as every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include Paw Patrol toys, African American Dolls, Sophia the First toys, Batman, Spiderman, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, anything from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 8.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas CEO

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

2017 MySweetWishList Starts Monday!

MySweetCharity

After recovering from the Cowboy loss and using Tums as Thanksgiving supper chasers, it’s time to start marching into the official holiday season. In addition to pulling out the holidays decorations from the attic, heading to Sandone for the tree and sending greeting cards, the annual MySweetWishList series will kick into place Monday.

It’s a marvelous opportunity to help those whose needs are great. They’re not wishing for an XPhone or a new Mercedes. Rather, they are parents who are going to have to explain to their kids that Santa is going to have to take a pass this year. It’s the homeless and elderly, whose feast is going to be meager at best. It’s animals that will have concrete floors or wired cages to sleep in without a blanket or toy.

So, if you have room on your holiday shopping list, consider adding one or two more from those with wishes. You’ll not only make others happy, your accountant will be positively giddy about the deduction around April 15.

And even if your wallet is emptied out already, consider just reading the wishes. You may just learn about services, organizations and people that make this community great.

On the other hand, if you are in need, you just might find a resource to help you through the days ahead.  

A Gentle Reminder: Over The Years Thanksgiving Day’s Has Been The Occasion To Show Gratitude And “Heal The Wounds Of The Nation”

According to tradition, Thanksgiving was a coming together of two people of different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs in 1621. So the story goes that on this occasion, the Plymouth colonists only survived their first year in the new world thanks to the Native Americans teaching them how to grow food and weather the harsh conditions. To celebrate and show their gratitude, the Pilgrims feasted with the Wampanoag tribe on the autumn harvest for three days.

Over the years similar occasions would be held in the young country as it grew in territory and population. It wasn’t until 1827 that the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” Sarah Joseph Hale undertook a 36-year campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday.

Finally in 1863 when the country was suffering through the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln officially designated the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day. His hope was to “commend to his (God’s) tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

However, that date changed during the Depression when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week to encourage additional shopping.

Dinner table (File photo)

Today, Thanksgiving has turned into a day of feasting, parades and football with families and friends. But its roots still hold true — to show gratitude regardless of differences and “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Grovel Alert: Breakfast With Santa

Breakfast with Santa*

Thanks to Toyota, the Dallas Holiday Parade will commence on at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 2, in downtown Dallas. And what better way to kick off the celebration than to have breakfast with the man of the season — Santa Claus.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Children’s Medical Center Dallas have connections with North Pole types and have arranged for the ho-hoing whiskered fellow at the Adolphus at 8:30 a.m. for the 29th Annual Breakfast with Santa.

In addition to delicious breakfast just before the parade starts in front of the Adolphus, there will be face painting, balloon artists, clowns, magicians, character appearances and so much more. Sorry, but Rudolph won’t make it. Seems he has an early morning workout to prepare for his Christmas Eve romp.

So, before basting that turkey, gobble up some of the last remaining tickets for your kids and grandkids. Tickets are available here!

* Photo provided by Women's Auxiliary of Children's Medical Center Dallas

Gingerbread Stroll Returns To HP Village For Viewing And Bidding Thru December 1 For Clayton Dabney Foundation For Kids With Cancer

Yum! The holidays are just brimming with sugary delights and Highland Park Village will be a sweet-tooth stroller’s delight thanks to real estate sweetie Christine McKenny and Event Advisor Lynn McBee, the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll will be delighting all from Friday, November 17, through Friday, December 1.

Christine McKenny (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

This year’s gingerbread house displays will benefit Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer with 100% proceeds going to the nonprofits.

According to Christine, “The Gingerbread Stroll has become a wonderful tradition during the most wonderful time of the year. People of all ages gather with their family and friends to attend, and it’s always exciting to see how the chefs express themselves creatively. Everyone loves a gingerbread house!”

This year’s culinary architects will include Bird Bakery, Architecture Demarest, Chocolate Secrets, Hilton Anatole, Hotel Crescent Court, Hyatt Regency at Reunion, Omni Dallas Hotel, Charlie’s Pastry Chef Winter Lockwood-Frank and Pastry Works’ Pastry Chef Arielle Sutcliffe.

The Gingerbread Stroll*

Hosting the confectionary cuties will be Beretta Gallery, Bird Bakery, Bistro 31, Draper James, Kiehl s Since 1851, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Royal Blue Grocery, The Tot and Trina Turk.

Well known for delicious abodes, Allie Beth Allman and Associates will be the presenting sponsor.

It’s free for the walking and viewing. But to help raise the funds, all can bid on the gingerbread homes via the silent auction. And there will be giveaway prizes, including a holiday carriage ride for six by Threejays Carriages.   

* Graphic provided by Gingerbread Stroll

VNA’s 5th Annual Power Of Pie Order Deadline Extended To Saturday

VNA pecan pie*

VNA pumpkin pie*

Once again VNA is coming to the rescue. With Thanksgiving dinner menus in countdown mode, they’re helping to solve the problem of dessert with their 5th Annual Power of Pie.

For a mere $25, hosts/hostesses can order a pecan or pumpkin pie cooked up by top-notch operations and chefs like Empire Baking Company, Oddfellows, The Ritz-Carlton, The Adolphus Hotel, Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar, Knife, Dessert Dreams, Ida Claire, Bisous Bisous Patisserie, La Duni, Norma’s Café, Fairmont Hotel, The Ranch Las Colinas, Pink Apron Pastry, Haute Sweets, Mansion on Turtle Creek, El Centro College, Brownwen Weber Frosted Art Bakery and Studio, Collin College Institute of Hospitality, Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas Park Central, Wolfgang Puck, Crossroads Diner, Society Bakery and Central Market.

There’s also the lighter-than-air Zero Calorie Pie. According to Empire Baking Company’s Meaders Ozarow, a couple of folks, who bought “Zero Calorie Pies” last year, showed up expecting to get one. Wrong. The Zero Calorie Pie is simply a way to make a $25 donation.

Meaders Ozarow (File photo)

Katherine Krause (File photo)

Proceeds from the pie-athong will benefit VNA’s Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs

Pie pickups will take place on Tuesday, November 21, and Wednesday, November 22.

Due to the fact that the VNA team is bound and determined to accommodate all and beat last year’s total, VNA President/CEO Katherine Krause reported that they’re extending the order deadline to Saturday. So, order online now! And why not get one of each?

Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes Was Delicious For the Viewing

Mary Hubbard, Mark Sikes and Beth Dike*

Those Kappa Kappa Gammas once again were ahead of the seasonal game by inspiring holiday entertaining with their annual Tablescapes festivities at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, October 16, and Tuesday, October 17. Even Tablescapes Luncheon keynote speaker Mark D. Sikes was taking cellphone shots at the scene at Tablescapes by Candlelight.

Thanks to 2017 Tablescapes Co-Chairs Beth Dike and Mary Hubbard, the fundraiser benefited Akola Project, Camp Summit, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Seniors Pet Assistance Network, Town North YMCA, Visiting Nurses Association/Meals on Wheels and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Dunbar Road Design

Grandeur Design

Curated by Kristin Mullen

Forget Me Not

Diamond Affairs And Bella Flora of Dallas

Amy Berry Design

Stanley Korshak

Teresa Bristol

And while the folks in attendance like Tablescapes Founding Co-Chair Louise Griffeth, Debbie Oates, Peggy Sewell and the  Ford gals (mama Kelli and daughter Kelli) were pretty darn impressive, it was still the creative table settings that were in the spotlight. For this reason, the story was the collection of tables that can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

* Photo provided by Kappa Kappa Gamma

Columbus Day Is The Holiday That Isn’t A Holiday

Monday is Columbus Day and it’s a tricky one. While banks, the U.S. Postal Service and Federal offices do consider it to be a holiday, the state of Texas doesn’t.

Bad news for the kiddos. Most schools will be in session.

So why not take a long lunch and be grateful that you weren’t on the Niña, the Pinta or the Santa Maria because accommodations weren’t exactly top drawer and they weren’t quite sure where they were headed.

BTW, Monday is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. If you know a Canadian, wish ’em a happy Thanksgiving.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Power Of Pie

Meaders Ozarow (File photo)

According to Power of Pie Co-Founder Meaders Ozarow,

A couple of us started Power of Pie as a way to add an accessible opportunity for charitable giving to the VNA fund raising effort.  We have so many volunteers and supporters that would like to give at the $25 or $50 level and this gives them something in return. Power of Pie, the fundraising campaign benefiting VNA Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care, is back for its 5th year!  Pumpkin and pecan pies are sold for $25 each, and thanks to the generosity of many of Dallas’ best bakers, 100% of the money comes to VNA.  It allows people to feed more than just their own family at Thanksgiving.

From Thursday, September 7, through Monday, November 13, supporters can log on to www.powerofpie.org and purchase pumpkin or pecan pies and pick up Tuesday, November 21-Wednesday, November 22—just in time for Thanksgiving.

The official listing of chefs for 2017 will be released in October. Participating chefs in 2016 included Jill Bates of Fearing’s, Gianni Santin of Haute Sweets, Chad Houser at Cafe Momentum, Danyele McPherson at Remedy and HG Supply, Nicolas Blouin at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, John Tesar of Knife and Anastacia Quiñones of Oddfellows. Additionally, Dallas treasures such as Abacus, The Anatole, Brook Hollow Golf Club, Central Market, Collin College, Empire Baking Company, Experimental Catering, The Fairmont, The Gaylord, Hattie’s, The Joule, Lakewood Country Club, The Ritz-Carlton, as well as well-known Dallas pie institutions, Norma’s and Uncle Willie’s, have also participated.  We are spending the summer adding more notable chefs and restaurants to the list!

VNA pecan pie*

VNA Zero Calorie pie*

VNA pumpkin pie*

If you are out of town for Thanksgiving, we also have an option. Our Zero Calorie Pie gives donors the opportunity to support the campaign without receiving an actual pie. Over the past four years, Power of Pie has raised more than $125,000 for VNA! And we hope to make 2017 the biggest year yet!

We love it since we love feeding people and a good pie really shows the love! 

* Graphics provided by VNA

A Human’s Holiday Celebration Is A Pet’s Night Of Fear And Anxiety

This Fourth of July promises to have clear skies just perfect for firework displays throughout the North Texas area. Why you may not even have to leave your mansion to hear the ka-booms and see the flashes overhead.

Anxious pooch (File photo)

But while such a sight is breathtaking and all in the best spirit, the sounds and sights can be devastating for some… like pets.

According to Lost Dogs of America, more dogs “run away from home over the Fourth of July holiday than any other.” 

Here are some tips to prepare for that “just in case” situation:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and, most importantly, that its registration is current.
  • Do not take your pet to Fourth of July festivities.
  • Take your dog for a walk during the day. The cat doesn’t need to take a stroll.
  • If you’re set on taking the pooch to a parade, remember the pavement is going to be hot. So, walk and have them sit on a grassy spot and bring along some water. You may not get thirsty, but you’re not wearing a fur coat.
  • Secure them in an indoor crate with the TV and/or music playing, preferably in a room with window shades down.
  • The ASPCA has provided a free app to help you locate your pet, just in case the night results in their running away from home.
  • Ask your vet for advice specifically on how to deal with your animal companion’s anxiety.

BTW, have a current photo of your pet? Even if you don’t have a camera, you can take a cellphone picture. It will be vital if your pet does make a mad dash, so that you can immediately post on social media as well as distribute handouts.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Heritage Village

Melissa Prycer*

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

If you have never visited Dallas Heritage Village, Old Fashioned Fourth is a perfect occasion to pack a picnic lunch and bring the family! In fact, for many North Texas families, this annual event has become a tradition. Not only can you enjoy all of the fun fourth activities, the Village’s historic buildings will be open for touring, and costumed interpreters will be on hand to visit about what life in North Texas from 1840 to 1910.  Dallas Heritage Village, one of only five nationally accredited museums in the Dallas area, showcases a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, a log cabin, a pre-Civil war home, an 1860’s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, schoolhouse and more. 

Dallas Heritage Village*

On this special holiday, families decked out in red, white, and blue, begin coming into the gates around 10 a.m. with picnic baskets, bikes, and little red wagons to spend the day making memories together. The event runs until 3 p.m. with the highlight being the patriotic parade at noon.

Dallas Heritage Village*

In this parade the kids are the stars! However, don’t tell our Mammoth Jack Donkeys that – each year they lead the parade and like to think it’s all about them. For many years Nip and Tuck have led the parade, but they have now relinquished that duty to the young newcomers – brothers Willie and Waylon. Nip and Tuck are OK with that, but they hope you will stop by and take your patriotic pictures with them so they won’t feel left out!  And don’t forget to say hi to the sheep. They tend to get their feelings hurt with all the fuss over those donkeys.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Before marching in the parade, come by the craft station and decorate your bikes, wagons, and even yourself with patriotic items we will provide at no cost. Our Dallas Junior Historians will be hosting the annual carnival again this year, and we encourage you to bring a little extra change to participate – 25 cents for each game or 5 games for a dollar. Games include our famous stick pony race for ages 3-11, “go fishing” for prizes, and bean bag toss. And it wouldn’t be Old Fashioned Fourth without checkers games (stations will be set up to play), horseshoes and graces, as well as a July 4th craft – painting fireworks with cardboard tubes and making Uncle Sam with Popsicle sticks! This year’s guests will also be able to get sneak peek at our exciting new early childhood learning space, which will have a grand opening in September.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Dallas Heritage Village is located in the heart of the booming Cedars area at 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, 75215, near urban living and restaurants and the popular Dallas Farmer’s Market complex. Admission for Old Fashioned Fourth is $5 for ages 13 and older. Those 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  Visit dallasheritagevillage.org or call 214.421.5141 for more information! We look forward to seeing you soon!

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

Memorial Day Is A Day To Remember Those Lost To War

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established following the Civil War. It first took place on May 30, 1868. According to General John Logan, its purpose was to see cemeteries “strewn with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

By 1890 it was a holiday recognized largely in the north and it stayed that way until World War I, when it was adjusted to honor all Americans who died fighting in any war.

Flags

In 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed for all American’s “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’” at 3 p.m. local time.

So, while you’re enjoying a day off, take a moment at 3 and realize the cost of the freedom provided by those lost to war.

Good Friday Closures And Tax Deadlines Are Providing Some Confusion

Just a simple reminder that while Good Friday (aka tomorrow) is not a federal holiday, financial markets and some schools will be closed. Most banks, post offices and government offices will remain open, as will the Arboretum, the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Here Comes Easter To Texas (File photo)

BTW, due to the infamous April 15th Tax Day falling on Saturday, the deadline for submitting taxes is Tuesday, April 18. Whoa! Sure, the deadline couldn’t fall on Easter Sunday, but why not Monday? Is the government being generous with deadlines? No. The reason is that the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day that is usually celebrated on April 16. This year the 16th falls on Sunday, so Monday will be considered a holiday the same way federal holidays are.

Confused? Don’t worry. Just get those taxes filed or warm up those extensions!

Last Call To See The 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition At The Dallas Museum Of Art

Sometimes “putting off” isn’t such a bad thing. An example of that is visiting the 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art during its final days. This year’s exhibition ends this Sunday. Yup, that’s Easter Sunday. The good news is that a lot of folks and kids have Friday off, so they can check out the 65 original pieces of art that won the hearts of a panel of art and music professionals.

17 Young Masters graphic works*

Displayed along the Concourse, the exhibition includes 54 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of art created by AP Studio Art students, five essays analyzing works of art in the DMA’s permanent collections by AP Art History students, and six 4-minute original compositions by AP Music Theory students.

Tiffany Sims of Grapevine High School*

Ryan Irwin of Lovejoy High School**

These were the so-called pick of the litter of 896 works submitted by 10 Dallas-area high schools (Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Colleyville Heritage High School, Coppell High School, Creekview High School, Grapevine High School, Lovejoy High School, Plano East Senior High School, Plano Senior High School, Plano West Senior High School, and Richardson High School) participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program.

Adhithi Baskar of Coppell High School**

Daniel Che, Kevin Bai and Gahwon Lee of Plano West High School**

According to Program Founder Edith O’Donnell, “The Young Masters Exhibition recognizes outstanding intellectual and creative expression in students participating in our AP Arts Incentive Program.  In its nineteenth year, the students’ work featured in the exhibition continues to inspire. The talented students who participate in our program and complete rigorous AP arts and music coursework build essential skills to ensure their success in the 21st century global economy, including stimulating innovation, cultivating critical thinking and developing a greater understanding of diverse cultures. I continue to be very proud of their accomplishments.”

 

Lyle Kradolfer, Carol Kradolfer, Edith and Peter O’Donnell and Ruth Mutch**

But wait! Here’s an idea. The DMA will be open Sunday, which is also the ultimate, very last day of the display. So, after hunting down those Easter eggs, going to church services, munching at brunch or whatever, why not check out the “young masters’” artwork.

And while you’re there, see the “Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orzco and the Avant-Garde.” Thanks to The M.O.B Family Foundation, admission to the exhibition will be free. But it’s available on a first-come, first served basis. FYI: The DMA opens at 11 a.m.

* Photo credit provided by AP Strategies 
** Photo credit: Steve Foxall

The Perfect Fix For St. Patrick’s Day Weekend’s Need For Green

Dallas Arboretum tulips

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Instead of flying off to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone or hitting the pubs for a tankard of Guinness Extra Stout, why not surround yourself in picture-perfect green?

It can be found at the Dallas Arboretum with acres of  magnificent green grounds being highlighted by 500,000 blossoms.

And if you’re set on kissing something, the Arboretum has plenty of tulips. Wink, wink.

A Gentle Reminder: Get Your Mailing And Banking Done Before Monday’s Presidents Day Holiday

If you were planning on doing some banking on Monday, rethink it because it’s a bank holiday thanks to President’s Day. But if you were expecting bills, you can rest easy because there ain’t gonna be any mail delivery either.

History lesson: President’s Day was originally held on February 22 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It was started in 1800 following Washington’s death in 1799. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s when it was declared an official federal holiday. But then in the late 1960s Congress got busy and created the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that “sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism.”

For some folks, the three-day holiday has become a 3½-day holiday, since some folks took off for a very long lunch.

Barack Obama, Barbara and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (File photo)

If you see a U.S. President, give ‘em a kiss for the day off.

Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society’s 2017 Home Tour, Luncheon And Car Show Plans Revealed At Holiday Party

Despite the holiday spirit filling Tish and Marvin Key’s marvelous Highland Park home, there was a wisp of sorrow in the air on Tuesday, December 13, for the annual Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Christmas party. The very group that commemorates and encourages the history of the Park Cities was mourning the destruction earlier in the day of the Penson home. As bulldozers and other earth-moving machinery stood still under a full moon, the bricks and wood of the O’Neil Ford-designed home lay in ruins.

Liz and Lane Farley and Tish Key

Tish had once told her realtor Ralph Randall how she loved the house. So, when it went up for auction Ralph notified Tish of the opportunity to tour the legendary house overlooking the crossroads of St. Johns Drive and Armstrong Parkway.

Tish admitted she had wished she’d had the money to scoop it up. But it went to another with other plans that obviously did not include renovation.

At one point in the evening’s discussion, one guest grimly said, “I dread to think what is going to be built there.”

Marla Boone and Deborah Brown

John and Sandy Secor

As Marla Boone and Deborah Brown were bundled up greeting folks outside, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League President Sandy Secor was in the entry hall reporting that plans were all in place for the League’s 70th anniversary year including the Junior Symphony Ball in January, the 31stth Annual DSOL Debutante Presentation Ball in February, the Savor the Symphony in April and still more yet to be announced.

PCHS President  Kendall Jennings and husband Bruce Jennings were thrilled that Boston artist Stephen Wood was in town and able to attend the holiday party.

Bruce and Kendall Jennings and Stephen Wood

Regarding the upcoming plans for the year, Kendall reported that Liz Farley would be chairing the annual Distinguished Speaker Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, March 29, with always entertaining James Farmer at the podium.

Home Tour Chair Tish has already finalized the residences that will be part of the lineup on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She’s already lined up the following homes for the tour:

3825 Miramar 

4825 Miramar*

4218 Fairfax

4218 Fairfax*

,

4309 Westway

4309 Westway*

and

3600 Greenbrier

3600 Greenbrier*

Libby and David Hunt will have a full menu serving as honorary co-chairs for both the luncheon and tour.

As for the 2nd Annual Classic and Antique Car Show, Chair Dan McKeithen has arranged to have the event at Burleson Park on Saturday, April 8. Just in case there is rain, the event will take place on Saturday, April 15. Ryan has signed on as the presenting sponsor for all three fundraisers.

While the Car Show is free, tickets for the home tour and luncheon will be available in March.

To Kick Off The Holiday Season, The SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause Crew Sipped And Shopped At Ralph Lauren

Having recovered from Thanksgiving feasting and family-get-togethers, the SPCA of TexasPaws Cause leadership and friends including Webster the Chihuahua held forth at Ralph Lauren in Highland Park Village on Thursday, December 1. It was just perfect for picking out that outfit for the upcoming Paws Cause at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29. Here’s a report from the field:

Light from Ralph Lauren Holiday candles glinted off of the magnificent crystal chandelier gracing the entryway of the Ralph Lauren Boutique at Highland Park Village on Wednesday, December 1, where ladies and gentlemen gathered in the holiday spirit to celebrate Paws Cause and shop for friends and family, all to benefit the SPCA of Texas. Guests sipped wine and champagne and nibbled decadent macaroons as they browsed.

Nancy Latner, Mary Spencer and Susie Swanson*

Sincere thanks to  Susie Swanson for hosting and to the Ralph Lauren store for welcoming the festive crowd and for donating a portion of the proceeds from the event’s sales to the SPCA of Texas. Many of the guests were spotted walking out with armfuls of beribboned boxes and bags!

Guests included Honorary Chair Andrea Alcorn, steering committee member and heartbeat of Paws Cause 2017 Karen Urie, SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray, Susie Swanson, Diane Brierley, Gloria Snead, Penny Rivenbark, Judy Davis, Penny Patton, Kevin Coffey, Mary Spencer, Jocelyn White, Nancy Latner, Sharon Fancher, Steve Atkinson, Kristen Greenberg, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President of Development Debra Burns.

Steve Atkinson and Kristen Greenberg*

Jocelyn White and Webster*

Katy Murray, James Bias and Karen Urie*

Paws Cause will be held on Sunday, January 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in West Dallas. Paws Cause is committed to supporting the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas through sponsorships and donations to help address the serious stray animal and animal overpopulation issue. For more information, visit www.pawscausedallas.com.

Resource Center Kicked Off World AIDS Day On The Night Before At Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh With The Red Ribbon Bash

Leave it to Resource Center to always be a step ahead of the rest. While World AIDS Day is annually celebrated on December 1, the Center opted to start the festivities plus fundraising at the Red Ribbon Bash on Wednesday, November 30, at the Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh. In addition to the partying, the event also served as a reminder that AIDS continues to devastate the people of the world. Here is a report from the field:

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, Resource Center held a Red Ribbon event at Le Méridien, The Stoneleigh on Thursday, November 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Observed on the first of December each year, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to honor those who have died from the disease. Red Ribbon provided the community an opportunity to kick off the holidays while coming together for a cause in a beautiful and historic setting. For more than 30 years, the Center has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as all people affected by HIV/AIDS and all proceeds from the event support the Center’s services and programs.

Along with staff and volunteers, Resource Center’s Chief Executive Officer Cece Cox welcomed over 75 sponsors, guests and board members to the festively decorated penthouse of Le Meridien, Stoneleigh Hotel which overlooks the Dallas skyline. After a fun photo opportunity in the foyer, attendees adorned in red ribbons and holiday apparel enjoyed music while mixing and mingling in the lavish living room and library originally designed by Dorothy Draper. Built in 1923, The Stoneleigh has a rich history of haunted tales and secret passageways and was a perfect venue for the Red Ribbon event.

Chris Parker*

Tasty signature cocktails such as a Basil Gimlet and Ruby Slipper were provided by Stoli and contained flavored vodka such as blueberry, raspberry, citrus and vanilla. Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres created by Stoneleigh’s in-house chefs were offered such as Wild Mushroom and Beef Wellington, Cheese Corn Cakes with Avocado, and Chili Rubbed Shrimp on a White Cheddar and Jalapeno Grit Cake. The formal dining room was dedicated to delicious sweets from The Original Cupcakery and were paired with a hot cocoa and coffee bar complete with toasted coconut, mini marshmallows, candied orange peels, peppermint, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and whipped cream.

Red Ribbon Bash Christmas tree ornaments*

Party-goers also had the opportunity to purchase beautiful glittered Christmas ornaments to decorate their own Christmas tree and each ornament was available at a different sponsor level. The purchase of a $30 ornament represented a gift of a daily hot meal for a client living with HIV for one month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $60 ornament represented the gift of vital, fresh groceries for a person living with HIV for an entire month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $90 ornament represented the gift of an educational guest speaker and lunch for one HIV support group meeting.

Holiday gift-giving ideas were met with a silent auction that included fabulous home and gift ideas including 30,000 American Airlines miles, a two-night stay for two at The USA Grant, a luxury hotel in San Diego, California, a one-night stay in a King Suite at The Highland-Dallas with complimentary valet and complimentary room service for two, a one-night stay at The Warwick Melrose Dallas, tennis lessons for 1-2 people by Harlan Tennis, and a signed Dragon Lady, 3 1/2 inch crystal Aurora Borealis rhinestone with gold finish brooch covered in Swarovski stones.

Mary and Mike Waller*

Connie White and Kate Newman*

Al James, Don Gaiser and Wayne Medina*

Roneka Patterson and Nathalie Dadje*

In attendance at the Red Ribbon event were longtime Resource Center supporters and advocates James Lester, Jay Maggio, Chuck MarLett, Kate Newman, Jay Oppenheimer, Chris Parker, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Mary and Matt Waller, Connie White and Kay Wilkinson. Several supporters who made the Red Ribbon a successful event included

  • Platinum Sponsors — Ethan Killgore, McDonald’s and Texas Instruments
  • Gold Sponsors — Dana Barber, Charles D. MarLett and Jay Oppenheimer
  • Silver Sponsors — Avita Pharmacy, Cece Cox, James Lester, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Steven Pounders, MD and Jimmy O’Reilly and Mary and Matt Waller
  • In-Kind Sponsors — Bartech Services, Kurt S. Adler, Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, Lion Ribbon, MarceloMedia, Mickey Briggs, The Original Cupcakery, Stoli and Sam S. Tucker

$10,000 was raised at the Red Ribbon event with all proceeds from the ornaments and silent auction benefiting the services and programs of Resource Center. World AIDS Day and the Center’s Red Ribbon event reminds us that HIV has not gone away; there is still a vital need to expand awareness, combat prejudice, and improve education. For more information about Resource Center, please visit myresourcecenter.org.

* Photos provided by Resource Center

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

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

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

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

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Be Forewarned: 2017 New Year’s Day Holiday Will Continue Through Monday For Many

New Year’s Day(s) 2017

Happy newest year of your life! And because January 1, 2017, falls on a Sunday, there will be a lot of businesses and government offices that will be observing the holiday on Monday as well. Here is a brief rundown of some of the closures:

  • Banks
  • City of Dallas departments
  • Dallas County departments
  • Most public and private schools
  • SMU
  • U.S. Federal offices
  • U.S. Post Office

BTW, while other public schools will resume classes on Tuesday, January 3, Dallas Independent School District will continue celebrating the holidays through Friday, January 6.

Happily, most retailers will be wide open for business, as well as movie theaters.

Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party Brought Out The Red, White And Blues At The Mansion On Veteran’s Day

Thanks to the stars and calendar lining up in sync on Friday, November 11, the day of celebrating the nation’s veterans flourished. While the day’s parades and festivities went on under sunshine, the Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party at the Mansion proved to be a nighttime crowd pleaser.

Katherine Wynne and John Baer

Cindy Stager and Oscar Durham

Roz Colombo, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon and Laura Moon

Paul and Tiffany Divis and Kim Hext

Jamie Williams

In keeping with the Patriot Party spirit, the red, white and blues were the colors of choice for the night thanks to Katherine Wynne, Sandy Schwan, Tiffany Divis, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon, Cindy Stager, Roz Colombo and mama Gigi St. Pe, Jamie Williams, Anita Braun, Shannon Brame, Holly Mayer, Eliza Cochron, Darlene Elison, Tasha Harden, Katy Bock and Lisa Cooley, who accessorized her outfit with a sparkly clutch. According to their choices of ties, it appeared the gents like Paul Divis, Lawrence Bock, Clay Cooley, Thomas Harden and Event Chair John Baer evidently got the color memo, too.

Lawrence and Katy Bock and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Anita Braun and Shannon Brame

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

KDFW anchor/evening emcee Jenny Anchondo was sporting more than a fresh glamorama makeup do. Little did she and husband Heath Oakes let on that they were on the verge of announcing that they’d be expecting a baby girl in May.

As if the reception didn’t prove heady enough with its countless silent-auction items, the main disco act in the Mansion ballroom created a bit of a stir when one over-exuberant blonde slipped and fell on the dance floor.

Ken Cooper

Jonathan Jaffin

Then there were the chat-about types who insisted on chit-chatting nonstop when Dr. Ken Cooper and Jonathan Jaffin talked about the importance of military service and our brave veterans and how, despite their selfless service, there are 40,000 homeless vets in the U.S. On the other hand, there were others who listened intently and afterward recalled stories that their parents and grandparents had told them about past military service.

The newly renovated ballroom’s A/C was working nicely. So much so that some staved off the chill with fur wraps, while other naked-shouldered lasses just harvested goose bumps.

Helene Cronin

Speaking of which, one poor gal’s bare-shouldered cocktail dress required some occasional hitching up as the décolletage went southward. Luckily, a gal pal came to the rescue helping her bud redirect the errant gown northward.

After Americana artist Helene Cronin sang a touching, original tribute to the military called “Lucky Me”—it was based on a true story, she said—it was time for the live auction. The auction proved to be a patriotic success, with the Napa Valley wine experience going for $3,000, the New York Broadway package luring $3,250, and a dinner with Fox4’s Mike Doocy bringing in $2,250.