JUST IN: Dallas Blooms Is Extended To Easter Sunday Thanks To Bank Of America

Mother Nature can really be a royal pain in the flower bed. The area buds have been facing spring weather one day and winter chills the next. What’s a gardener to do? Especially when you’re at the Dallas Arboretum and dealing with acres of the blossoms for the 30th annual Dallas Blooms?

Dallas Blooms*

Dallas Blooms*

The Arboretum staff and flowers have been meeting the rigors of the weather challenges, but some folks have been hesitant about wandering the grounds if sock caps and gloves are needed accessories.

Dallas Blooms*

Dallas Blooms*

Great news. Thanks to the good folks at Bank of America, Dallas Blooms has been extended an additional two weeks to Easter Sunday on April 20th.

According to Bank of America Senior VP/North Texas Market Manager Gillian Breidenbach, “The Dallas Blooms exhibit has been such a popular attraction for our community that we are excited as sponsors to see the exhibit extended through April so more families can enjoy this spring tradition and further benefit our local economy. The two additional weeks allow more families to take advantage of this delightful visual display of a half-million spring blossoms while enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’re starting to have in Dallas.”

Dallas Blooms*

Dallas Blooms*

Translation: You have additional time to see the flowers at their finest plus check out the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

So, make your plans now to take advantage of this extension. Hmm, Good Friday at the Arboretum, or perhaps Palm Sunday, or just any day will be blooming grand.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Greenville Avenue Will Turn Into Party Town Saturday For The Annual Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Gloria Campos (File photo)

Gloria Campos (File photo)

Tis time for the annual Greenville Avenue warning. Starting Friday afternoon, the barricades will start going up and the beer trucks will be making deliveries for Saturday’s Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade with former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos as grand marshal. Already merchants along the route (from Blackwell to Yale/SMU Boulevard) are fortifying their shops. Some will do land-office business, while others may try to discourage parade observers from dropping by to use the facilities.

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

If you have any transactions that you usually do on Saturday, think about doing them between now and Friday evening.

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013 (File photo)

On the other hand, if you want to join the thousands watching the “green on parade,” the parade starts at 11. But get there early for the best spot. Last year the west side of Greenville was where the action really was. You might want to wear a slicker, because word has it that Mother Nature just might dampen the festivities.

BTW, since parking will probably be tight, consider taking DART to the one of the stations at Mockingbird, Lovers Lane or Park Lane.

Presented by the Dallas Mavericks, the parade benefits the scholarship fund of the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association.

Crystal Charity Ball Gals Catch A Bus To Get A Firsthand Look At The CCB’s 2014 Beneficiaries

Thursday, February 20th was a glorious day in Dallas. The sun was shining. The temperature nearing the 70’s was like a cute cheerleader flirting with the winning quarterback.

Pam Busbee

Pam Busbee

A bus was parked in Turtle Creek Village acting like a magnet. As cars parked near and far, the drivers headed to the bus. The occasion was the Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, where CCB committee members visit the year’s beneficiaries to get a first-hand look. Tour organizer Pam Busbee had arranged for a stellar opportunity to understand, to learn and to be inspired to raise millions of dollars for the area’s children’s charities at the December 6th fundraiser.

Amy Hegi

Amy Hegi

In between site visits, the CCB-ers learn about the new members. This year’s CCB Chair Robyn Conlon‘s internal-working theme of baseball deemed the new kids on the block (Tiffany Divis, Gail Fischer, Amy Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Angela Nash, Mary Martha Pickens and Lauryn Gayle White) as the “2104 Rookies of the Year.” Each had her own baseball card with photo.

But before even boarding the bus, a chuckle was shared by the CCB’ers by the sign on the windshield reading, “Cristal Charity Ball.” Guess it was created by a champagne-loving non-member.

Bus signage

Bus signage

As the bus motor idled at 9:30 a.m., so did the 60 folks in the bus outside World Market. The first beneficiary on the docket was Café Momentum, the restaurant facility that “provides post-release paid culinary internships for juvenile offenders through which they receive intensive training, mentoring and support to foster successful re-entry into the community.” Instead of visiting CM’s current facility, CM mastermind charming Chad Houser was going to come to the bus to explain the operation. Alas, the ladies waited and waited, but Chad never appeared. Luckily, when the time for departure for the first site visit was nearing, CCB member Patti Flowers subbed in for Chad, explaining that CCB’s $487,640 would be used “to provide pre-and and post-release culinary job and work readiness training for juvenile offenders.”

Patti Flowers

Patti Flowers

After Patti’s talk, the bus headed to South Oak Cliff and the first stop — the construction site for Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic. Barrios Director of Development and Marketing Joleen Bagwell was right at the curb to greet and hug the CCB-ers as they disembarked the bus. Providing “culturally competent primary health care and supportive assistance to the most at-risk, uninsured and under-insured populations in Dallas,” Los Barrios Unidos has two clinics in West Dallas and Grand Prairies. CCB’s funds ($603,543) will “be used to launch the first two years of pediatric staffing” in the new 21,400-square-foot clinic that is scheduled to open early in 2015.

Future site of Los Barrios

Future site of Los Barrios

Joleen Bagwell

Joleen Bagwell

Walking Los Barrios site

Walking Los Barrios site

Luckily, the CCB-ers are old hands at walking sites and manage to walk the construction site with its bulldozers and equipment to learn how nearly 5,000 children from birth to age 17 will be served thanks to their support.

Next stop on the schedule was Mercy Street in West Dallas. Talk about being organized, thrilled and grateful! As the CCB gals left the bus, they were greeted by a line of greeters who would make Dale Carnegie grads look downright shy. Hands were shook. Smiles were exchanged. Eye contact was without a blink.

Mercy Street welcome committee

Mercy Street welcome committee

Bill Farrell and Annie Roberson

Bill Farrell and Annie Roberson

Bell

Bell

Trey Hill

Trey Hill

With laser efficiency, the visitors were divided into groups and sent to various areas of the facility. There the Mercy representatives talked about various facets of the program. To keep things on schedule, a bell in the hallway would ring at five-minute intervals advising groups to move to their next station. For the Mercy team, every second counted in showcasing their “foundational mentoring program that matches adult Christian mentors with incoming 4th graders in the Pinkston High School feeder pattern.” According to Mercy Street Director Trey Hill, “In the 11.5-square-mile area that comprises West Dallas, less than 50% of residents have a high school diploma. To address the alarming drop-out rate and build a generation of future community leaders, Mercy Street recruits mentors to journey with students through 12th grade, along the path to graduation.”

Thanks to the money provided by CCB, $733,533 will “be used to fully cover the costs of the mentoring program in three current DISD partnering schools and to expand to one additional school. Approximately 400 children in 4th through 12th grade will be served.”

Even as the visitors left, the Mercy team was outside against with handshakes, smiles and thank you’s.

Tire store

Tire store

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

Just a bit down the road, past small neighborhood stores, worn-out houses and dogs wandering the streets, the bus pulled up to 3111 N. Winnetka, where a little cottage stood. There Wesley-Rankin Community Center’s Sarah Squires greeted the CCB-ers in front of the bungalow with its porch. Back in 1935, the area had been known as “Devil’s Doorstep” because of the “gangsters who claimed this neighborhood.” Things took a turn when Hattie Rankin “committed to education and compassion for children who had few choices beyond gangs and poverty.” It was about this time that Ray Hamilton, who was part of the Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker gang, was sentenced to die. Hattie learned of Ray’s grieving mother, who lived in the area. So, she drove her Model A Ford to the mother’s home and “comforted and ministered to the grief-stricken woman. She prayed with the family during the long night of Ray Hamilton’s execution and helped arrange his funeral.”

3111 North Winnetka

3111 North Winnetka

Sarah Squires

Sarah Squires

Wesley Rankin classroom

Wesley Rankin classroom

Wesley Rankin

Wesley Rankin

Hattie even “reached out to Mrs. Henry Barrow,” Clyde’s mother, who lived in the neighborhood.  According to Sarah, the innocent looking bungalow’s porch is where Clyde gunned down Tarrant County Deputy Malcolm Davis in 1933.

Crystal Charity Ball strolling to Wesley-Rankin Community Center

Crystal Charity Ball strolling to Wesley-Rankin Community Center

Sarah then led the group around the block to the Wesley-Rankin Community Center, where the CCB funds will be used “over two years to help establish an early childhood education center in West Dallas in collaboration with East Dallas Community Schools and the Center for Communities and Education at SMU.” Approximately 314 children from birth to age 9 will be served.

Di Johnston

Di Johnston

But no dawdling was allowed and the CCB-ers once again boarded the bus and had box lunches from Cassandra’s as the bus rolled to the under-construction Texas Horse Park for a presentation by Equest. There was a slight hiccup. Seems the CCB bus wasn’t allowed on the property due to the construction, and Equest CEO Patrick Bricker with hardhat on head was waiting for the bus to show up “on the property.” Thanks to cell phones, connections were made resulting in a presentation plus a gift made on board the bus with cows, goats and horses grazing across the road, where a sign read, “To All Children, Don’t Sell Dope. . . Sell Goats!!”

Don't sell dope. . . Sell Goats

Don’t sell dope. . . Sell Goats

Future site of Texas Horse Park

Future site of Texas Horse Park

Construction site of Texas Horse Park

Construction site of Texas Horse Park

Robyn Conlon and Equest gift

Robyn Conlon and Equest gift

The CCB-ers learned about Equest’s new program at the park in South Dallas’ Trinity River Corridor. With the CCB’s $851,500, Equest will be able to “provide traditional equine-assisted therapy, including therapeutic sports riding and Hippotherapy, to the underserved areas of South and West Dallas” for approximately 3,725 children ages 2 to 18 over two years.

Future home of Vogel Alcove

Future home of Vogel Alcove

Bathroom for toddler

Bathroom for toddler

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Next stop was the Vogel Alcove’s facility in South Dallas. Formerly City Park Elementary School, the newly renovated 55,000-square-foot building amazed those who had known it in its previous life. From the red brick to the windows, everything had a polished sheen to it. Ah, but inside was even more startling. Such little things like toddler bathrooms, pint-sized lockers and munchkin-designed tiled walls were all in their final stages of completion for the March move-in. The CCB-ers were once again divided into groups to tour the building. Vogel Alcove President/Director Karen Hughes told her group how when singer Sarah McLaughlin had toured the building, she was so impressed that she donated a piano.

According to Vogel Alcove fans, it will continue its 26 years of providing “free quality child development services for the young victims of poverty: homeless children, who represent 22% of all homeless in Dallas. It is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free childcare and case management for children and their families referred by 21 local organizations serving homeless families.”

With CCB’s $741,380, Vogel Alcove’s The Soar Program will “provide two new service components for children who have transitioned either into permanent housing or into kindergarten and elementary school; extended early childhood education for preschoolers; and enrichment, tutoring and summer camps for school-age children.” The money will also provide the creation of a “trauma-informed classroom for preschoolers which blends mental health and academic services.” As a result, approximately 120 children ages 3 to 11 will be served over a two-year period.

Jim Lozier

Jim Lozier

Keeping to schedule, the bus headed to Dallas CASA’s soon-to-be-opened building near the Wilson Historic District in East Dallas. As spectacular as the 25,000-square-foot facility was, it was the message delivered by volunteer Campaign Chair Jim Lozier that really stood out. Since 1979, Dallas CASA has been on the frontline advocating for “the best interests of abused and neglected children in protective care to help them find safe, permanent homes.” The group learned that “on an average day in Dallas County, more than 2,000 abused and neglected children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. Three out of five abused children are waiting for a CASA.”

CASA office space

CASA office space

But to handle this demand required 31 supervisors and 600 CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and they had simply run out of space in their old digs on Gaston Avenue. Thus a major campaign had been undertaken resulting in the two-story building and enabling Dallas CASA to “double the agency’s capacity, allowing them within five years to serve every abused children who needs a CASA.”

At one point on the tour, the CCB’ers were shown the 3,327-square-foot supervisor’s wing on the second floor of the building that the CCB’s $960,290 helped “cover the capitals costs” for. Thanks to this funding, 3,900 children from birth to age 18 will be served by 2019.

Outside the shiny new CASA headquarters, the gals gathered for the traditional group photo. To accomplish this feat, photographer Holt Haynsworth required a ladder that was quickly provided by the construction team putting the final touches on CASA.

2014 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour group photo

2014 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour group photo

As the group boarded the bus one last time, they knew they had their work cut out for them. While some were disappointed not to have seen one child during their 6-hour tour, all knew that countless children today and in the years to come would benefit from their fundraising.

Crystal Charity Ball Takes A Bus Tour Of Its 2014 Beneficiaries

Di Johnston

Di Johnston

Los Barrios site visit

Los Barrios site visit

As mentioned before, Thursday, February 20, resulted in MySweetCharity’s being part of a bus tour. Alas, Queenie’s throne didn’t fit in the luxury bus, but it was just as well. She needed to come down to earth. Touring and learning about the 2014 Crystal Charity Ball beneficiaries was stunning. Everything from learning about the incredible numbers of munchkins who are homeless, the standing on the porch where Clyde Barrow shot Tarrant Country Deputy Macolm Davis in 1933, to being stood up by Café Momentum’s Chad “Mr. Charm” Houser, she experienced a remarkable Thursday.

3111 North Winnetka

3111 North Winnetka

Check out the photos on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery, while the tour coverage is being finalized.

With Flutes Of Champagne, TACA’s Valentine’s Day Celebration Bubbled At Kelly And Norman Green’s Estate Sans The Host

Kelly Green

Kelly Green

For the annual TACA Valentine’s Day toast, Kelly and Norman Green once again opened their chateau with champagne-filled flutes in the hands of Dallas’ most dedicated performing arts lovers.

Despite news reports that there was a Dallas shortage of flowers due to icy weather challenging air freight, the place was brimming with blossoms. But it had been like that for days because of Kelly’s February 10th birthday.

The only thing missing from the celebration was Norm. Seems he’d had some surgery and wasn’t quite up to partying. So he stayed in bed, while Kelly sporting longer-than-usual hair filled the hosting duties to perfection. She even managed to have an almost perfect full moon peak through the estate’s trees as guests ventured onto the terrace with its fireplace glowing.

Outdoor terrace

Outdoor terrace

A couple of the gals were talking about Toni Brinker’s wedding to T. Boone Pickens at his ranch earlier in the day. Ah, was that why Toni’s home just down the way was so dark.

Brent Christopher was already getting pumped about the next Nonprofit Giving Day. His goal? To top last year’s total. Gee, will he never be satisfied? Dumb question.

Patsy Donosky was just back from a girls’ week up in the snowy mountains. The white stuff turned out to be too much of a good thing, forcing the ladies to stay pretty much indoors. So, how did they while away the hours? Playing Mexican Train for money — a dollar a round.

Nancy Carlson

Nancy Carlson

Midway through the evening, TACA Board Chair Nancy Carlson called the group together. Instead of doing the traditional toast, she thanked U.S. Trust for supporting TACA and this get-together.

Laree Hulshoff

Laree Hulshoff

Luckily, the words were brief because it was Valentine’s night and these folks probably had reservations at fancy restaurants. Well, let’s rethink that one. Yes, Marsha Cameron and Michael Halloran were headed to Seasons 52 for dinner, but Marnie and Kern Wildenthal were going to “split a hamburger at Chips.” Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer were just “going home to bed” in their fantabulous Museum Tower home. Barbara Daseke was headed home, too, but because husband Don was feeling under the weather.

Speaking of not feeling all that great, it was learned that Dallas Morning News columnist Bob Miller had taken a nasty fall recently and ended up checking out a local hospital’s facilities. Not to worry. The hospital met with Bob’s expectations and he’s healthier than ever.

Dallas Arboretum Is Buzzing With Activity Thanks To Dallas Blooms Opening And Return Of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

If you weren’t at the Dallas Arboretum this past weekend, you missed out on a perfect opening weekend for Dallas Blooms and the reopening of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

But not to worry. Both Blooms and the Rory will still be there just waiting for you. And if you’re Dallas-locked down during the upcoming March spring break, both Dallas Blooms and Rory will be the perfect place to take the munchkins. Suggestion: You’re not going to be the only one with the Arboretum as the go-to-destination during the spring break period, so why not reserve your tickets now?

Rolling Stone Sphere*

Rolling Stone Sphere*

BTW, if you’ve already seen Rory, you ought to think doing a revisit. They’ve made some additions during their “refreshening,” like the Rolling Stone Sphere. No, it’s not a Mick Jagger beach ball. It’s a 3,000-lb. granite “ball” with the continents carved on it. Oh, so what’s the big deal about that? Well, imagine that 1 ½ ton “rock” floating on water in a base that weighs nearly four tons. Still, can’t figure it out? Well, check the photo and you’ll want to see the real thing. According to sources, it took a crane to gingerly place the sphere on top of the water-filled base.

Remember to bring along your camera. The flowers just love to have their pictures taken.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

JUST IN: Tonight’s Artists Against Alzheimer’s Is Postponed To March 18

Tonight’s Artists Against Alzheimer’s at Museum Tower benefiting A.W.A.R.E. has been postponed to Tuesday, March 18.

No wonder the theme is Silver And Ice for the April fundraising dinner. The entire A.W.A.R.E. crew has gotten used to a frigid situation. Ice Bowl veteran quarterback Bart Starr is the speaker. The A.W.A.R.E. holiday tea was held at Linda Ivy’s home the last day of December’s ice storm, at which time the Ivy fountain froze.

Regarding the dinner, one organizer wondered aloud, “Snow in April?”

This decision is probably wise. The snowy stuff that is melting due to traffic will likely freeze up due to temperatures that are predicted to stay below freezing until tomorrow.

Let’s Talk Trash

If you were sitting around your house waiting to wave at your sanitation crew as they pick up your trash today, you can stop waiting. This notice just arrived from City Hall’s Joyce Jones:

“Due to deteriorating weather conditions Sanitation Services is suspending collection services (garbage & recycling) for Thursday, February 6, 2014.

“If weather conditions allow, collection services for Friday February 7, 2014 will continue as scheduled.

“Any uncollected Thursday customers will receive collection services on Saturday, February 8, 2014.   We will update this notification if conditions change.”

Don’t Let This Flaky Day Get The Best Of You

This morning’s snowflakes are creating picture-perfect scenes. While the white stuff hasn’t resulted in schools being canceled in most cases, it has been a touch treacherous. The snow is basically cold rain resulting in pretty slippery road conditions. No, it’s not ice, but it does require driving patiently and not stomping down on the brake. And then there’s the problem of other drivers who might not be as smart as you. There’s no thrill like the sight of a swerving SUV coming at you.

Slip and slide driving

Slip and slide driving

So, if you’ve got that standing Botox appointment or that must-attend-event, bundle up in your warmest outfit, turn on your car’s seat heater and take your time getting to your destination.

But if you don’t have to venture out, dip into your collection of hot chocolates and settle back with a good book or get underneath your quilt and hibernate.

We’ll let you know if there are any fundraisers being canceled. Stay tuned and warm.

January 23 Round Robin: JLD Sponsors Party, DSOL Deb Underwriters Dinner And CBB Reveal Hoedown

Despite a chill that would have frozen lip gloss, the fundraisers proved hardy to get back into the swing of January 23 night hopscotching all over town.

Junior League of Dallas Sponsors Party

Artwork

Artwork

Joe Garza’s art-filled  mansion on Beverly was a busy place. Wednesday night it had been the site of the Big D Reads gathering to promote the 2014 book-of-choice, “The Outsiders.” But Thursday night the focus was not so much on literary pursuits, but rather on big old thanks-yous for the sponsors of the 52nd annual Junior League of Dallas ball. Due to the wind and chill, the 150 guests kept the festivities in the main house. Too bad, because the grounds are just made for partying. But with all those pretty JLD-ers in their most adorable party dresses in the equally fashionable surroundings, nobody seemed to care.

Wendy Messmann

Wendy Messmann

Ball Chair Wendy Messmann was predicting 800 to attend “The Marvelous City” ball on Saturday, February 22, at the Anatole that will include a late-night party (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.) with Professor D providing the music.

The Marvelous City poster

The Marvelous City poster

The post-ball celebration is meant to attract a younger crowd — Scotch bar, tastings, etc. It was tried a couple of years ago and was such a hit that they decided to resurrect it for this year.

Bob Schneider

Bob Schneider poster

So, if you want to skip the ball, you can just buy a ticket for the late-night party for $125.

As guests left the Garza mansion, they discovered in their cars CD’s by Bob Schneider, who will be entertaining at the ball. Good reason to do the ball and after-party!

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Underwriters Dinner

DSOL Deb portraits on display

DSOL Deb portraits on display

Another thank-you event was taking place at Brook Hollow. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League was hosting a seated dinner for the underwriters of the DSOL Debutante Presentation Ball. While nary a deb was in attendance, each was on display thanks to their James French portraits on the patio. It’s hard to imagine how nearly 50 white gowns could all look so different!

As Ball Chair Dixey Arterburn and DSOL President Ginger Sager checked last-minute arrangements, Barbara Averitt, Sharon Popham and Marena Gault were reviewing the tables in the Oak Room for the seated dinner.

Barbara Averitt, Marena Gault and Sharon Popham

Barbara Averitt, Marena Gault and Sharon Popham

Table setting

Table setting

Originally, it had been planned to have guests arrive at the Oak Room entrance, but due to the non-stop wind and chill, it was decided to move the arrival/departure to the club’s porte cachere.

Among the underwriters like Lisa and Kenny Troutt and the Hager Foundation, the Jones clan has been doing double-duty in support of the ball. Seems Gene and Jerry Jones will have two of their family bowing at the February 8th ball — granddaughters Haley Anderson (daughter of Charlotte and Shy Anderson) and Jordan Jones (daughter of Karen and Stephen Jones).

And speaking of grandparents, Sharon and Mike McCullough’s granddaughter Libby Hayhurst will be among the ladies in white bowing at the Meyerson black tie event. Libby’s mother/Sharon and Mike’s daughter, Debbie Hayhurst, made her debut in 1987. You probably already know that Sharon chaired the very first ball and she and Tincy Miller created the event way back when.

Goodness! All these deb connections makes you feel like you should have an Ancestry.com nearby!

Since the announcement of the debs at Neiman Marcus last fall, there has been a Mardi Gras theme running throughout the program. This feeling may be due to Dixey hailing from New Orleans. You think?

Cattle Baron’s Entertainment Reveal

Pretty in pink

Pretty in pink

Thank heaven the Cattle Baron’s crowd is used to outdoor conditions! The party to reveal the 2014 CBB entertainment was held at South Side on Lamar in the Artists Quarters. Smart guests knew that this location could be a bit drafty, since it’s open on two ends of the quarters. But those CBB’s recognized the opportunity to wear leathers, furs and all types of warm outfits.

Well, most of them. Some ladies tossed aside comfort for show with one pretty-in-pink type causing whiplashes in her silkiest pink half-top. Half top? The front of the blouse was pink silk. The back was a perfect canvas of skin with draping strands of links. Couldn’t get close enough to see if there were goose bumps.

But despite the chill, Ball Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum were quick to remind everyone that the October 18th mega-fundraiser was definitely being held indoors at Gilley’s. Even if the weather is the most perfect in Dallas history, the CindJill team is not taking any chances.

Jill Tananbaum, Ronnie Berg and Cindy Stager

Jill Tananbaum, Ronnie Berg and Cindy Stager

In addition to breaking with tradition and committing to an indoor event, they were also bound and determined to make the entertainment big. . . really big. And to announce it, they arranged to have Clay Cooley sponsor the reveal party. As Cindy put it, “He really went big for us!” That big included having some of his Corvettes at the front doors.

Clay Cooley

Clay Cooley

Clay Cooley Cool Corvette

Clay Cooley Cool Corvette

Clay, who seems to be on TV more than the Goodyear blimp, reported that he sponsored the reveal because he was asked and “car dealers always want to give back to the community, you know.” He admitted that business was good now, but “we count our blessings.”

In the meantime, the gals and their fellas were gathering and creating great body heat and hot topics. For instance, D’Andra Simmons reported that she and Jeremy Lock will be wedding on February 15. Mother Dee Simmons was glowing over the prospect of welcoming Jeremy officially to the clan. . . Anne Stodghill intimated that she and husband Steve had something in their future with details to follow. Will keep you posted.

Crowd shot

Crowd shot

Crowd shot

Crowd shot

At 7:45 p.m., CindJill and Clay gathered on the balcony to make the evening’s announcement. Cindy said there was just one entertainer they had wanted, but the booker said, “Well, that’s your dream. Good luck with that. Who else?” The booker didn’t know CindJill. They were then told their entertainer-of-choice wasn’t touring in 2014 and didn’t do private events. Didn’t matter. The twosome were going to have their way. To help them, The Richards Group put together a special video invitation to entice their target. “We sent it to our dream to see what would happen.”

Guests were directed to two screens for a showing of the very impressive invite. Just as the final seconds of the video were winding down, the idea was coming across — Kenny Chesney!

Jill Tananbaum and Cindy Stager

Jill Tananbaum and Cindy Stager

The cheers and arms went up in approval.

Just seconds after the Chesney announcement was made posters were installed at the valet pickup.

So, you have a choice. You can see Kenny’s last 2014 official concert date on June 7 as part of the “George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” at AT&T Stadium with hordes of peoples, or you can get nice and cozy with the CBB folks at Gilley’s on October 18 for Kenny on stage benefiting the American Cancer Society. Or, you can do both.

MySweet2014Goals: Jennifer Houser

Jennifer Houser (File photo)

Jennifer Houser (File photo)

According to Zoo To Do Co-Chair Jennifer Houser,

“Happy 2014! As we begin a shiny brand spanking new year, I am looking forward with anticipation to another exciting year at the Dallas Zoo! This year brings the opening of the new Cheetah Run, a second year of Safari Nights, and most exciting for me, the fun of co-chairing Zoo To Do 2014: Jewels of the Kalahari!

 Tiffany Divis and I are already busy at work planning another fabulous evening at the zoo!  Building on the success of last year’s chair, Emily Corrigan, we have set our goal high.  Our goal for 2014 is to raise $1 million!

“They are so deserving of our support as the Dallas Zoo continues to make significant progress on the next phase of expansive growth including a state-of-the art education facility and revisions to some current exhibits with the goal of creating more interactive experiences like the Giants of the Savanna. I hope to see all you animal lovers at the zoo on November 1st for Zoo To Do 2014: Jewels of the Kalahari! Where we will celebrate the true jewels of nature, the animals!”

JUST IN: TACA Lexus Party On The Green Co-Chair Couples Announced

Anne Besser (File photo)

Anne Besser (File photo)

Kristen and Ladd Sanger (File photo)

Kristen and Ladd Sanger (File photo)

Who says it’s too cold to think about partying outside? Well, the news that just arrived about the 2014 TACA Lexus Party On the Green should help you get a warm feeling.

The co-chair couples have been revealed! They’re going to be Anne and Jeremy Besser and Kristen “KJ” and Ladd Sanger.

Mansion auto courtyard (File photo)

Mansion auto courtyard (File photo)

You can almost feel the moonlight overhead, sniff the aroma of delicious dishes and taste the chilly champagne. Of course, there will be a Lexus IS 250 being raffled off and the Glazer’s/Bank of America Wine Cork Pull. But with two couples, you just know it’s going to be a hearty party night on Friday, May 9, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Wine cork pull (File photo)

Wine cork pull (File photo)

Hope that will warm you in the sub-freezing weather. Stay tuned for the list of 20 celebrity chefs. As soon as they’re cooked up, you just know we’ll provide them.

MySweet2014Goals: Jill Cumnock

Jill Cumnock (File photo)

Jill Cumnock (File photo)

According to Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’s CEO Jill Cumnock,

“Hear ye, hear ye, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has declared 2014 ‘The Year of Whimsy.’ Beginning in January, we will unveil an amazingly delightful mosaic designed by local artist Connie Chantilis. The mosaic will be dedicated to a very important woman in the life of the House that Love Built. Who could that be? Stay tuned!

“April showers, May flowers and flights of fancy will see the opening of our Butterfly Garden. Whose children are behind this wonderful new addition? Again, you’ll have to stay tuned.

“Last but not least, we are adding a new summer camp to our summertime plans (aptly named Camp Minihaha by Chief of Whimsy, Amy Hatfield) for all of our adorable guest children to enjoy. Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is already a place to have fun and be distracted from painful pokes and prods; but it is my hope that these exciting goals will bring added happiness and moments of joy to some sweet families who really need it. And, since we rarely know when to stop, I’m sure there will be even more whimsy to come during 2014. Like I said, stay tuned!”

North Texas Prepares For Thursday’s Chill Pill

Mother Nature is a tricky old gal. In the past few days, she led everyone to believe that it was time to free those cut-offs and cotton frocks from their closets with temperatures touching the 70’s.

Don’t you just hate a tease?

Tonight she’s giving North Texas a cold shoulder with the temperatures probably not venturing past the 30’s Thursday.

So, you know the drill all too well. Remember MSC’s cold-weather P’s:

  • Pipes covered.
  • Pets indoors.
  • Plump up the duvets.
  • Plenty of hot chocolate and comfort food.

And if you have a fundraiser on your Thursday agenda, wear a comfy, warm coat with gloves and hat. Don’t bother with the snow boots. It won’t be that bad.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden To Briefly Close For Maintenance And Winterizing

We all need a little down time for refreshing, don’t you know? Well, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be doing just that “for a few weeks” starting Monday, January 13.

Overview of Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (File photo)

Overview of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

According to the Dallas Arboretum President Mary Brinegar, “As with any outdoor installation, especially one as complex as the Children’s Garden, the Dallas Arboretum needs to close the garden for a short time to do preventative maintenance, especially since there is less traffic during these cold days.”

But that doesn’t mean the Arboretum is closed for business. No, siree. The rest of the “gardens will be open to the public during this period, except on days of inclement weather.”

Suggestion: This Sunday the temperatures are supposed to be in the 70’s. Yup, you heard . . . or, rather you read that … right. So, why not take the munchkins to Rory Meyers before it takes time off?

MySweet2014Goals: Ashlee Hunt Kleinert

Ashlee Hunt Kleinert*

Ashlee Hunt Kleinert (File photo)

Ruthie’s Food TrucksAshlee Hunt Kleinert‘s goal is simply,

“By living the words of our Mission Statement: ‘To create a warm family environment that nourishes both the human palate and human spirit. By preparing our food with caring hands, loving hearts and friendly smiles, we provide delicious, quality comfort food and exceptional service’ the team at Ruthie’s Food Trucks hopes to spread even more good cheer and grilled cheese in 2014!

“By cookin up the best grilled cheese sammies in Texas and continuing to support and partner with local nonprofits, we hope our work inspires others to give and help those in need in our Dallas community.”

 

Dallas Arboretum Is Once Again Open For The Holidays

The sun is out and things are returning to normal. . . at least at the Arboretum. It’s open, thanks to the staff working during very trying times. Just got this info:

“Before the ice and snow storm, the horticulture staff had covered the tender plants, and they have been in the process of replanting the garden with winter plants. In fact, they are preparing and planting more than 500,000 bulbs and spring-blooming plants in anticipation for the 30th anniversary of Spring Blooms, which begins on Feb. 22, 2014. Safety is of utmost importance, so the staff is also cleaning up any debris and clearing paths for guests.”

Just In: Klyde Warren Park Skating Rink To Open Friday

All this icy stuff has been just a warm-up for this Friday. Word has just arrived about the Klyde Warren Park ice skating rink:

“We are excited to announce that Klyde Warren Park will open a skating rink this Friday, Dec. 13. The rink, which is sponsored by Norman Green, former owner of the Dallas Stars, and his wife Kelly, will be open to the public through the end of January and will be on the Ginsburg Family Great Lawn, right by the children’s park.”

For the official opening at 11 a.m. on Friday, Councilman Philip Kingston and others will speak. Then the “inaugural skate” will feature the St. Philip’s School kiddos and the cast from the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical”.

BTW, the rest of Friday, skating will be free. The following Saturday and Sunday, complimentary skate lessons will be available.

As for the skates, you can bring your own or rent them for $5 weekdays and $10 on weekends. But remember this weekend, they’re free — our favorite four-letter word.

Just In: Metro PCS Dallas Marathon Is Canceled

Once again wisdom has prevailed. The announcement has just been made that the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon has been canceled.

Like the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade, the Marathon was to benefit a hospital for children. The well being of others trumped the need to hold the event. So, when making your holiday donations, please consider Children’s and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Ice Ain’t Nice

There are those weather experts who are using words like “entombed” to describe the upcoming weather episode for North Texas starting today. Sorta makes you envision Dallas looking like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

No one has to tell you the drill. You had a dress rehearsal last week. But this one is looking like the real thing, with temperatures dropping throughout today and staying at below freezing through the weekend. Word has it that it will be an ice situation with minimal snow. And you just know how treacherous ice can be, whether it’s black ice on streets or causing limbs to crash down on power lines.

Another problem with this one is that so many activities, both indoor and outdoor, are planned in the days ahead. If you’re going to venture out, prepare for a challenging scenario, especially if it involves children or seniors. That may sound dramatic, but the very young and elderly are so susceptible to frigid conditions.

If you’re in charge of an activity, you know that the safety and well-being of the participants and guests are the priority.

Now, bundle up and go get those errands run, so you can settle back with a nice, cup of hot chocolate or a yummy kettle of chili later on.

Upcoming Weekend Of Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade And MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Bodes Traffic Uh Oh’s

This weekend has all the promise of a traffic headache during the morning hours. On Saturday there’s the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade in downtown Dallas. Then Sunday the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon benefiting Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children will create road closures around downtown Dallas and East Dallas including White Rock.

For your convenience, here are maps of the parade route

Children's Medical Center's Holiday Parade route*

Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade route*

and the marathon’s race course.

MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Race Course **

MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Race Course **

 

If you’re planning on attending either or both of these events, please remember to bundle up. Temperatures will be chilly to say the very least. And you just know frostbite doesn’t go with any of your outfits.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Holiday Parade
** Graphic courtesy of MetroPCS Dallas Marathon

MySweetWishList: The North Texas Chapter Of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

According to The North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society  Deputy Executive Director Stacey Russell, LLS’s wish is

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society*

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society*

“The wish of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is simple…its mission:cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, while working to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The North Texas Chapter and its supporters and sponsors work tirelessly all year to raise money to fund much needed life-saving research and to support patients currently in the fight of their lives. There are a number of different ways for you to get involved and help us achieve our goal of creating a world without blood cancers. Our Wish List to help get us closer to this goal includes purchasing tables or tickets for the upcoming 30th anniversary Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show , joining us to train to end cancer with Team In Training or climbing towards a cure in the Big D Climb. Please join us today as we work to end cancer today. It starts here. With you.”

Graphic provided by The North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leave Your Computer For The Leaves Of Fall

Walking in the leaves

Walking in the leaves

The fall changing of colors

The fall changing of colors

Who says Dallas doesn’t have a change of seasons? Look at the leaves turning orange, yellow and gold on the trees. Feel the incredible temperatures. Smell the clean air. Watch the squirrels scurrying around for those precious nuts. Listen to the sounds of children playing, dogs barking and birds actually chirping.

OK, so maybe it’s only going to last a couple of days, but why not take advantage of it? When you get home this evening or before heading out tomorrow morning, put on your comfy shoes and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to capture the beauty of leaves in their final days.

By Thursday, things will be back to neck-breaking temperatures, so you’ll have this walk to remind you of fall.

And the best thing about your jaunt — it’s free; it’s healthy; and it’s time that you did it. After all, you’ve been promising yourself a little time away from the computer.

Just A Thanksgiving Eve Reminder

This afternoon while folks are scurrying around to grocery stores to get that last minute Cool Whip or unsalted butter for the crescent rolls, there are those who will be hunkering down for another round of too much cold weather and not enough food or blankets.

It’s just the eve of winter and many, both human and animal, are bracing for what is to come. To help them, there are organizations trying to prevent the painful reality of “the holidays.”

If you get a chance, pull out that spare blanket, those to-be-thrown-out newspapers and not-really-needed canned goods. There are so many who would put a prince’s ransom on them. You can make the difference for good with so little effort.

Happy Thanksgiving for you and to all you touch with kindness.