JUST IN: Late Afternoon Winds, Rain And All That Kind Of Stuff Hit North Texas

For all those who have fled North Texas and think those left behind are sitting by the pool and ho-humming, rethink. Late this afternoon the area got hit slam-bammed with wind, rain and typical Mother Nature temper tantrum weather.

Tree downed

Of course, you’re saying, “Whatever,” as you slather on some more sunscreen and order another umbrella drink. But you might want to check with your neighbors that your estate wasn’t crunched and you now have an unexpected skylight.

Don’t you just love the ever-changing weather of your hood?

TACA Lexus Party On The Green Felt Right At Home In Its New Sammons Park Setting With Performers, Ice Carvings And Chefs Galore

Like a family realizing that perhaps they need to expand their residence, TACA organizers had determined that, as part of its year-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the annual  TACA Lexus Party On The Green needed a change. So, after years at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, they moved the outdoor fundraiser to Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts District on Friday, May 12. It was nothing against the Mansion. After all, they were going to have the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Mansion on Friday, September 8.

With both the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner at the Arboretum and the Party On The Green taking place outdoors on the same night, Mother Nature was in a kindly state of mind and provided spectacular weather.

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Katherine Wynne

POG Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne had orchestrated a beautiful setting with a backdrop of the very green grass shaded by grown-up trees. Giant lit white balloons hovered over each of the tented chef’s stations. Tabletops were gowned in TACA green and chairs wrapped with pashminas (some salmon-colored, others turquoise, still others emerald-green). An artist with a power saw sprayed ice chips as he carved “50” into two massive blocks of ice on a mini-stage. A ginormous lit balloon with Lexus TACA Party On the Green floated on the reflecting pool. Adirondack chairs were perfectly positioned on the lawn, with flawless views of the action in the pool.  

2017 Lexus TACA Party On the Green

Ice carver

Dawn Spalding

Dancers in reflecting pool

Of course, like any move to new surroundings, there were the expected “oops.” For instance, the PA seemed at times loud enough to be heard in Deep Ellum. Pleasant conversations required ramping up the vocal chords to compete with the myriad of announcements and actors and musicians.

At times, there seemed to be an overly aggressive push for the performing arts. While the dance in the pond was indeed captivating, the theatrical production on stage with Booker T. Washington as a backdrop was a smash … for those within eyesight. For those grazing near the Meyerson, it was a jumble of verbal clutter, just as it was at the last Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

Hal and Diane Brierley

Chris Heinbaugh and Nannette and Tracy Fitz

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash and Merrick and Stuart Huckin

Even those little snafus couldn’t hold back the 700 or so art-loving guests, like Amy and Michael Meadows, Charmaine and George Tang, TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue with wife Cheryl McCue, Diane and Hal Brierley, Ron Corning, Chris Heinbaugh, Nannette and Tracy Fitz, Simona Beal with her posse (Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs and Matthew Wilson), WaterTower’s Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Dawn Spalding, Dean Driver, Holly Reed, Susan Arledge, Marsha Getto-Aikens, Rachel and John Michell, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash, Merrick and Stuart Huckin, Paige McDaniel with Joe B Clark and Leslie Crozier

Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs, Simona Beal and Matthew Wilson

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz

Paige McDaniel and Joe B Clark

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Susan Arledge and Marsha Getto-Aikens

Snapshots of the scene included Mark Edgar giving a thumb’s-up for Chelsea Corner Chef Sara Griffin’s Road House Burger with truffle fries, which was getting a major top rating from many. Sara’s secret? She uses three types of meat… Rosewood Mansion’s Chef Nicolas Blouin‘s chocolate bar was a confectionary feast for the eyes and taste buds. Earlier in the day, Nicolas had been the one bright spot in a not-so-favorable review of the Mansion by the Dallas Morning News foodie Leslie Brenner…. Parigi Chef Janice Provost on her first outing at the POG decked out her tent with roses and cups set in faux grass filled with savory basil panna cotta with baby tomatoes and pesto… Sissy’s Chef Lisa Garza-Selcer was a bit frazzled during the VIP party, due to her late arrival. When asked how her baby was doing, the brunette replied, “I don’t know.” … Salum Chef Sader Matheis was subbing in for Chef Abraham Salum, who was in Lebanon with his father… Knife Chef John Tesar was all smiles over the sales of his new book, “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home.” A recent signing at the Highland Dallas Hotel had drawn 200, John explained, and he was excited about expanding his Knife empire to Plano, San Francisco, and Denver…. Equally happy was Chef Dean Fearing with fiancée Wanda Gierhart, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary, year-long celebration…  Laura Elcock reported that, earlier in the day, she’d had lunch with an old artist friend, who presented her with a portrait of Laura’s and husband Walter’s daughter… Michelle de Metz turned heads as she strolled past the tents with her leashed pooch.  

Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin dish

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Janice Provost dish

Laura and Walter Elcock

Michelle de Metz

For more photos of the faces and food, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Not Even A Rainy-Day Delay Could Put The Whoa For The Equesters Galloping Ahead From Their “Field Of Dreams” Gala

One thing is for sure. Those horse-loving Equest folks are flexible. When radar showed threatening weather storming into North Texas for Saturday, April 29th’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park, cool minds ruled, coordinated with vendors, sponsors, guests and the ponies and moved the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the next day. Here’s a report from the “field of dreams:”

Kelly Howard, Blair Dwyer and Elizabeth Schwartz*

Ray Johnston*

The Equest Gala, themed “A Field of Dreams,” was truly an inspirational evening of hope, determination and joy. With Saturday’s forecast of severe storms, a difficult decision was made to reschedule the gala to Sunday, and the Equest team, Gala committee, and event planner Katy Sky Group produced the unthinkable: a beautiful fundraising gala for 450 guests complete with all the bells and whistles. The 36th annual Equest Gala was another example of Equest’s can-do spirit.

Jocelyn White and Jody Dean*

Finely dressed in their equestrian best, guests perused the magnificently decorated Equest barns and arena at Texas Horse Park. Ray Johnston performed an acoustic set during the reception – providing the perfect soundtrack to the blue skies and cool temperature. Sipping on signature “Field of Dreams” margaritas and sampling the Bourbon and Biscuits Bar, guests cozied up with the lipstick-wearing Equest Mini-Ambassadors Cisco and Dare at the Mini Kissing Booth. Just as festive was the Tequila with Taco station where delighted guests enjoyed Milagro tequila and a photo with Equest’s famous donkey, Taco.  One of the best parts of the night was seeing the proud smiles worn by the Equest riders during Horse and Rider demonstrations.

Andy Steingasser*

Guests enjoyed a family-style southern gourmet dinner from Farm to Market Catering, while Emcees Jocelyn White of Designing Texas and Jody Dean of KLUV 98.7 FM introduced Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, and Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder, among others.

Kathy Fielder, Bella Fielder and Jeromy Fielder*

Cary Pierce*

A compelling video touched charitable hearts before the start of the live auction. Over $50,000 was raised during the fund-a-mission and five Equest therapy horses were sponsored by generous donors. Other guests bid on stellar live auction items including a four-night vacation in Breckenridge, a Napa Valley Getaway, a live painting by Dace Lucia Kidd, and a Belize Dream at the Las Terrazas Resort. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items, and purchase a key for $100 that the lucky winner could use to unlock a $2,500 Neiman Marcus gift card.

An equestrian chic gala – especially one located in a barn – would not be considered a success without two-stepping. Dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio opened the dance floor, quickly followed by guests’ cowboy boots shuffling to the musical lead of Cary Pierce, and surprise musical guests Crystal Yates and Jon Christopher Davis.

Phyllis Comu and Susan Schwartz*

Darin and Margot Ruebel*

Additional attendees included: Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz, Bill and Lezlie Noble, Monique and Reed Williams, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Phyllis Glazer, Bridget and Tom Black, Jessica and Michael Barnett, Ricky Callahan and Jennie Healy, Connie Sigel, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Patrick and Kristy Sands, Carolyn and Romy Anderson, and Alanna Smith of WFAA Good Morning Texas, among others.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

Attention, Campers: Ark-Building Activities Are Underway In North Texas

Why did Thursday seem like a dress rehearsal for this afternoon’s tsunami? According to WFAA weather guy Pete Delkus, North Texas is out of the drought condition that was in place on May 31. He also said that his normal 20-minute drive to work took about an hour and half.

Another hit-and-run victim of the thunder, lightning and waves of wet stuff was Fair Park Sparks! The official word was, “Flooding and power outages have now prompted cancellation of Fair Park Sparks. We’re sorry!”

Fair Park Sparks!*

Not to worry. When the rains are dismissed by the solar heat, there will be plenty of activities over at Fair Park.

In the meantime, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League didn’t let the damp stuff prevent the reveal of the 2018 debs from taking place over at Stanley Korshak.

An unofficial statement from Mother Nature was just received: “You complained about a drought. I gave you rain. Now, you’re griping about the rain. Gee, are you people ever happy?”

This weekend the accessories du jour will be Better Brellas and water wings.

* Graphic courtesy of Friends of Fair Park

May Left North Texas High And Dry, But June Is Busting Out All Over With Showers

The weather guessers have been on their high horses about May being the driest May in the past 90 years. It appears that on this first day of June, Mother Nature is making up for lost time.

Rain drenches North Texas

The good news:

  • North Texas needs the rain.
  • School is out, so drivers won’t have to worry about avoiding munchkins in school zones.
  • No need to have the sprinkler system on.
  • Water bills may be a penny or two less.
  • It’s the perfect excuse to stay indoors and clean out drawers and closets to donate to all types of shelters.

The bad news:

  • Those adorable sandals that have hardly been out of the box are gonna get soggy.
  • Drivers have forgotten how slippery roads can be, so watch out. If you’re gonna slip and slide, do it at Hurricane Harbor, not on the North Texas streets.

Let’s be careful out there.

 

JUST IN: Annual Downtown Holiday Parade Is Looking For A New Host

UPDATE: The Adolphus Hotel that was one of the original sponsors of the mega-holiday festivities has signed up for the 2017 parade. Don’t you just know that Santa will have plush digs the night before.

The annual parade that marches through downtown Dallas in early December has had some “adjustments.” In recent year’s Children’s Health has hosted the parade. Out of the past five years, it’s had to be canceled twice (2013 and 2016) due to inclement weather. Describing it as “inclement” is like saying the summer is North Texas is warmish.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade (File photo)

It was just announced that Children’s Health would not be the official host of the event. According to Children’s Health spokesperson Scott Summerall, “After hosting the parade for nearly three decades, we have decided to move forward with other new and meaningful ways to bring cheer to families in our community this holiday season. We are considering ways to celebrate and honor the parade’s history in its 30th year, but are still ironing out details of a potential event. We will continue hosting the other treasured holiday events across our system, including the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at our Dallas and Plano campuses, Breakfast with Santa with the Women’s Auxiliary, and our Holiday Patient Party for families in the hospital. These events are beloved by our patients, families and team members, and are an important component of fulfilling our mission to make life better for children.”

But don’t go thinking that the parade is a goner. According to a report on WFAA at noon, THE Dance Director Jeffrey Giles and former Parade Director Cassie Collins “have filed a permit with the City of Dallas to host the parade, and will be reaching out to sponsors soon.”

BTW, over the years the parade has had such corporations as Southwest Airlines, Neiman Marcus and the Adolphus Hotel provide major support.

You Only Need This Information Once To Save Your Life

As Kevin Hurst described earlier today, Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate. No matter how skinny, rich or what zip code one claims, she feels free to unload with her tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail and locusts (okay, so the locusts may not be part of the mix). That’s why during certain parts of the year, especially spring and fall, she really slams the North Texas area with zeal.

For this reason, it’s imperative to have a “WhIP“ (What If Plan). Have you got a place to hunker down? Do you know just what you need to have in your hunker-down sweet spot?

What’s that? It only hits trailer parks and places that you’ve never heard of? Oh, please! Forget that. You’re demanding an example? Okay, you’ve got it. 

Gloria Eulich Martindale (File photo)

Just ask Gloria Eulich Martindale, who is smart, gorgeous and a roll-up-your sleeves fundraiser, as well as being a lady who knows firsthand. She was at her farmhouse on Saturday, April 29, when Mother Nature unloaded. The house was wiped out and Gloria and her family were lucky enough to have a basement that had been used “to store stuff” to hunker down.

Or, if you think it only takes place in the rural areas, hit the “Rethink” button. It was just a couple of years ago that the elegant Turtle Creek area got slam-bammed by a Ma Nature temper tantrum with a sledgehammer toppling trees and devastating the area.

If schools and commercial buildings have fire drills, think about holding your own. Here are some things to check:

  • Do you have people who will check on you if they don’t hear from you following a weather sweep?
  • If you have a VIP documents (i.e. insurance, birth certificates, passports, etc.) and a home computer, should they be part of your escape plan?
  • Have you had a dress rehearsal?
  • Do you have an app that will alert you of threatening weather in your area? If not, check with the local media. They’re free and more than willing to alert you. Despite Arianna Huffington‘s suggestion at the recent Genesis Luncheon of not sleeping with your cellphone on your bed stand, do it. If Arianna complains, tell her to check with us. There’s a time and place for everything.
  • What about the elderly? If you have a “vintage” member of your circle, have you checked on their game plan? They may pat you on the head and tell you not to worry. Don’t fall for it. Nicely demand that they show you where they would go and how to contact them, just in case.
  • What about your critters? How will you handle them in such a crisis? Having them micro-chipped can be a life saver. 

Tonight may result in another “Duh” occasion, but why not use it as an opportunity to do that drill and to let each in your household take responsibility, if a weather or whatever crisis should arise?

Kevin Hurst Provides A Firsthand Look On How North Texans Are Pulling Together Following Recent Tornadic Devastation And How To Help

With spring weather sporadically tearing up families and homes, its devastation only provides a rallying point for both friends and strangers to help the healing process. Following the recent onslaught of tornadic activities on Saturday, April 29, Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving and Associate Volunteerism Kevin Hurst was able to see firsthand the ruination and the coming together. He has kindly shared his experience in the following report with photos:

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

If you have not personally been affected by a man-made or natural disaster, then you most likely have not seen first-hand what the destruction really looks like. The one-dimensional electronic images on TV, online, and print do not accurately portray the three-dimensional devastation.

As the director of charitable giving, and the steward of Neiman Marcus associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief Fund, I was recently invited to take a tour and witness the catastrophic damage that Canton and the surrounding communities suffered when four separate tornadoes moved through the area on Saturday, April 29. On May 4, I joined the American Red Cross and other corporate supporters for a 60-mile journey just east of Dallas.

During the drive, we heard all of the facts and figures:

  • four tornadoes, one of which was an F4 (the second highest type),
  • one tornado stayed on the ground for 51 miles, which is completely rare
  • 7,019 meals served to affected families and volunteers
  • 2,910 comfort and clean up kits distributed
  • The speed at which two emergency shelters had been set up
  • 100 homes destroyed or uninhabitable

The facts and figures are just that…facts and figures.  

On the day of our tour, the sky was a vibrant blue and not a cloud in sight…there was even a slight breeze to keep things cool. Just the day before, the area had once again been under a severe storm watch with the possibility of hail. In fact, we were told to wear thick sole shoes and long sleeve shirts. In addition to the storm damage, the demolition of homes had already begun causing insulation particles to float in the air. I recall seeing one house being torn down as we drove down a rural road and thought about the juxtaposition of the destruction with the glistening elements in the air.  It almost seemed like snowflakes floating to the ground.

We had been coached that we should not ask too many questions. Each person would be at a different place in the grieving process. It was best to let them talk as little or as much as they wanted and we should simply say “I am sorry for what you are going through.”

It wasn’t until we started delivering water to those families that reality set in. I think it is safe to say that our demeanors changed from that of an outsider looking in, to one who was now able to truly empathize with those affected.

Our first stop was at a trailer home. We were greeted by a 60-something year old gentleman, “Mark,” seated in a lawn chair in the middle of his yard. He was having lunch which consisted of a hamburger, bagged chips, and a bottle of water; all of which were provided by the local church that had set up grills to help feed their neighbors. Mark’s 86-year old mother, sister, and a young child were all home when the storm hit. They huddled together in an interior room. When it was over, the entire mobile home had been lifted eight inches and moved one foot from its original foundation. The branch of a large tree fell directly into the middle of the home, most likely preventing it from being completely blown away. Needless to say, their home is uninhabitable. The irony is that most of their personal possessions like photographs and keepsakes were all intact.

As I snapped these photographs, I again thought about the juxtaposition of the scene…the tattered American and Texas flags proudly displayed and waving against a backdrop of ruins.

Blue tarp covers the hole left from the tree branch*

To compound the tragedy, Mark’s brother was visiting in a travel camper and was inside of it with his dog. The tornado picked it up, slammed it on its side, and peeled the roof off extracting all of the contents. Thankfully the two walked away with minor cuts and bruises. The door of the travel camper was located wrapped around a tree.  

Campers on its side*

Inside camper with roof peeled off and door of camper wrapped around tree*

As we were visiting, a retired veteran and neighbor, “Bob,” came to talk to us. At first glance, his house directly across the street appeared to be unscathed, however that was not the case. He shared that the entire roof pulsated up and down during the storm loosening ceiling joists and cracking walls. As a trained storm spotter, he knew exactly what to do in the case of a storm and was prepared with a back-up generator, thus allowing him to continue living in his home. Being trained doesn’t necessarily mean that you are exempt.  

Bob has a cell phone tower on his land. When the company came out to inspect it, the technician climbed about ten to fifteen stories to the top. He reported that he could actually see the trench of destruction in the ground and where the tornado made a 90 degree turn to his neighbor’s mobile home.

I mentioned that our Red Cross guide said people would be at different stages of grieving. For both Mark and Bob they were grateful. Grateful not only that they were alive, but they still had some place to call home. I have to say how “impressed” (if that is even the appropriate word) I was with Mark. He was completely open and seemed almost anxious to share his story. We were told that people find it therapeutic to talk about the event.  He invited us to walk around his property and take pictures. I almost felt like it was a badge of honor for him…perhaps if only because his family was safe. As for Bob, and I suspect because of his storm training, he had a different perspective. He actually said he was “happy” it happened. He explained that this storm actually brought his community together; neighbor helping neighbor.

Showroom buildings (left) new and (right) old*

Damaged vehicles*

Our next stop was a Dodge dealership which took a direct hit. The dealership had just completed construction on the new showroom building on Friday. They were in the process of moving everything over from the small, outdated showroom building across the parking lot when the tornado hit on Saturday. Literally, every vehicle sustained damage. Some vehicles were thrown over 200 yards into an adjacent pasture. All that was left of the new building was the steel frame and the old building was completely flattened. A neighboring house across the pasture took a direct hit. Rather than flattening it, the tornado went right through the middle leaving a gaping path with both sides still standing.

In part, this visit was organized by the American Red Cross to demonstrate their quick response and the programs and services provided in a time of crisis. In reality, it demonstrated so much more. It demonstrated the force of nature. It demonstrated the gratitude and compassion of individuals. It demonstrated the resiliency of a community. For me, it validated our decision to become a National Disaster Partner with the American Red Cross. I mentioned earlier that I act as a steward of our associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief fund. This support allows the Red Cross to be ready within hours to activate the volunteer network and provide food, water, shelter, products, and other services that would help those affected start to recover from this life-changing event.

Amaryllis*

One final juxtaposition and photo. Amid the piles of debris at Mark’s home, I saw this Amaryllis flower.  It was seemingly untouched by the winds and flying materials.

The genus name Amaryllis comes from the Greek word “amarysso,” which means “to sparkle.” In Greek mythology, it was the name of a shepherdess who shed her own blood to prove her true love, and in so doing inspired the naming of this flower.

Similar to the flying insulation particles that glistened in the sunlight, this Amaryllis equally sparkled. We can only hope that much like Greek mythology, this lone flower will act as a shepherd of hope for the community and shed pollen to spawn new life.

* Photo credit: Kevin Hurst

JUST IN: Equest Gala Moved To Sunday

Equest Gala change of plans*

With all the threats of Saturday night’s stormy weather ramping up, area organizers are kicking in back-up plans. Word just arrived that the Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park has been postponed 24 hours to Sunday. Here is the official word from the horse’s mouth:

Due to weather beyond our control, we have made the decision to postpone the Equest 2017 Field of Dreams Gala to Sunday, April 30. The new Gala start time is 5 p.m. with shuttles running from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and returning at 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The reason is simple — safety for two- and four-legged critters. Very good move on Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder‘s part.

Just think. If you weren’t able to attend the original Saturday night, you’re in luck to see the horses Sunday and can make it happen by checking in here. On the other hand, if you can’t make it Sunday night, why not show your Equest support and consider your ticket purchase as a donation and let Amanda Fastle know, so they can adjust plans. However, if the household budget is tight and you really need that money, then check with Christine Volkmer about a refund.

* Graphic courtesy of Equest

 

Equest Gala Organizers Have The Ponies Rearing To Party And Umbrellas Aplenty Just In Case Of Predicted April Showers Prove To Be True

Saturday’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park is being threatened by local weather guessers with stormy weather. But according to Gala Emcee and former weather-caster Jocelyn White, it’s always a guessing game.

So, don’t let the threats of showers dissuade you from heading to the protected stable area leading to the covered arena, where all the dining and dancing will be taking place. The horses have been spiffing up all week for the big fundraiser, and the humans have been taking precautions.

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Kathy Fielder (File photo)

Co-Chair Kathy Fielder reports, “We are still hoping our Field of Dreams will be dry, but we are prepared if spring showers come our way. Thankfully, the event areas, including the beautifully transformed arena, are covered. If needed, we will have plenty of umbrellas to keep folks dry, and bourbon to warm them up. Our Equest Clients and Therapy Horses are ready to shine.”

What’s more, you won’t have to worry about driving to and back from the festivities. The buses will be running come sleet, snow, soggy roads or whatever. Just make sure you have your spot on the shuttle saved by checking in with Amanda Fastle at 972.412.1099, Ext. 215.

MySweetCharity Elves Turn To Reliable Sources For Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Weather Predictions

Sharla Bush

The MySweetCharity weather elves have been monitoring the wet conditions, since they were knocked out of their bunk beds this morning. The question was: “What about Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea‘s ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ at the Dallas Arboretum?”

After reviewing the various scientific resources, they turned to their reliable Ouija boards. Their decision: The rains should be history with the sun shining by the time the cars filled with hatted folks arrive.

That’s the good news for the sold-out Dallas Arboretum fundraiser.

The not-most-marvelous-news is that the temperatures will be in the upper 60s and a tad bit chilly for sundresses… unless they’re under cashmere coats.

It’s a little ironic, actually. Thursday’s forecast for Tuscany, Italy, predicts a 70% change of rain with temperatures in the low 60s. Mamma mia!

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Is Prepared For Weather Questions About Saturday Morning’s Red Balloon Run And Ride

Wouldn’t you just know that the weather-guessers have been as fickle as Scarlett O’Hara filling out her dance card. Some are saying that tomorrow morning is going to be wet, windy and wild. Others are swearing that it will hit tonight and Saturday morning will be as dry and crisp as a nice bottle of Pinot Blanc.

Red Balloon Run And Ride*

Luckily, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Red Balloon Run And Ride organizers are on top of developments. Yes, they’re in negotiations with Mother Nature, but they’re also prepared to communicate any changes.

According to the Foundation’s Heidi Cannella, “We will provide updates (any delays, cancellations, etc.) from now through tomorrow. Our primary concern is safety.” Those updates will be available at www.childrens.com/runandride.

Red Balloon’s corporate sponsor WFAA will also be providing information about the weather conditions and how they’ll be affecting the annual fundraiser.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

Threatening Skies Cleared Just In Time For 1,300 To Eat, Drink And Celebrate The Inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

When Chef Sharon Van Meter took a flight from New Orleans to Dallas on the morning of Thursday, March 16, she was hoping Big D would be warmer than the Big Easy had been. But she arrived to 60-degree weather, overcast skies and the threat of drizzle.

Sharon Van Meter

Normally, that would not be a problem for a chef, but Sharon was chairing the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival that evening outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum with an expected 1,300 guests.

As the day continued, organizers called area meteorologists hoping to hear that clear skies were on the evening docket. In the meantime, Sharon received at least 200 calls seeking tickets for the sold-out fundraiser.

Even at 5 p.m., things weren’t looking so rosy, with the clouds staying put. Then, magically, right on cue at 6 p.m. as the VIP patrons approached the Main Parking Gate, the skies cleared, with the sun slowly slipping into the west over White Rock Lake and temperatures in the low 70s.

The festival was a way to start building the anticipation of the under-construction, two-acre “A Tasteful Place” slated to open this fall. The Place will be a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a 3,600-square-foot Garden Pavilion for dining and teaching. But for now, the guests were on the scene to dine and wine throughout the Arboretum. 

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The VIP types were directed to the DeGolyer House for a private reception, where they had expected to see the Chef With No Name. But, no. No Name was a no show. Still, there were other chefs like Chad Houser and Craft Spirits specialist/mixologist Matt Orth making magic.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

Christine Stein and Haley Muse

Alexis Abril and Danielle Abril

Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson and Melora Leiser

The VIPs enjoyed the terrace better than even the DeGolyer family had with incredible dining, view of the grounds and White Rock and seeing such folks as Gail and Cliff Fischer, Connie and Denny Carreker,  Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson, Melora Leiser, Christine Stein, Haley Muse and Danielle Abril with her brother Alexis Abril.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Terry and Anne Conner

Kay Weeks

In the meantime, the early-arrival general admission guests lined up for the official opening at 6:30. What they discovered were four areas throughout the grounds, each one representing a different region (Pan Asian, Southern American, American Bistro and Mediterranean) featuring loads of area chefs (Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Chef Alex Astranti of Uchi, Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows, Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Chef April Barney of Miller and Associates, Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas, Chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus, Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Chef Daniele Puleo of CiboDivino, Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, Chef David Gauthier of Smoky Rose, Chef Eric Dreye of Fearings, Chef Gianni Santin of Haute Sweet Patisserie, Chef Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Chef Jay Valley of Saint Rocco’s, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Jean-Marie of CADOT, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs of The Slow Bone, Chef John Doumas of Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Chef John Tesar of Knife, Chef Josh Harmon of Kitchen LTO, Chef Junior Borges and Chef Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Chef Justin Box of Cedars Social, Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate, Chef Larry Williams of Sallio, Chef Luis Olvera of Trompo Taco, Chef Mark Wootton of Garden Café, Chef Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies, Chef Matt McCallister of FT33, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Co., Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Mike Shetsky of SĒR Steak and Spirits, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia/Whistle Britches, Chef Rebecca Jolly of Grayson Social, Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, Chef Samantha Rush of Rush Patisserie, Chef Samir Dhurandhar of Nick and Sam’s, Chef Scott Nakachi of Paul Martin’s American Grill, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos of Cheesecake Royale and Royale Desserts, Chefs Sonny Pache and Michael Scott of Ocean Prime and Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown) and wines to match. The people-watching merrily continued with Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi supporting her CapRock Services husband Alex Laurenzi and Smoky Rose brother David Cash, Kay Weeks and Anne and Terry Conner. Alas, the servers like Sonny Pache, Sandra Reyes and Roberto Cabrera were so busy serving, they rarely got a chance to look up.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and David Cash

Another highlight of the evening was checking out the Dallas Blooms’ “Peace, Love And Flower Power” displays.

Dallas Blooms’ Love, Peace and Flower Power

Just after 8 p.m. Hobo Cane was in concert at the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn, along with desserts from around the world.  

Dallas Arboretum VP Terry Lendecker looked like a person amazed at how perfect it all turned out — the 500,000 blossoms were vying for attention skyward; the guests grazed happily at the 40-ish chef stations; the weather was a step above spectacular; and there was not a mosquito in sight.

Summed up Chef Sharon: “What a perfect place this was for it. We all love the Arboretum. I call Arboretum people ‘little fairies,” because they go around spreading good cheer all over the place!” 

Make plans now for the next Food and Wine Festival. It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Despite The Threat Of Rain, North Texas Food Bank’s Empty Bowls Had Guests And Restaurants Spooning Throughout The Meyerson

Paula Lambert, Simon Powell and Meaders Ozarow

As the herds headed out of town for early spring break on Friday, March 10, 1,300+ supped up at the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for the North Texas Food Bank. It was the first Empty Bowls, since the death of full-of-life NTFB CEO Jan Pruitt. While her spirit championed on with restaurants setting up at the Meyerson. Her team including Interim President/CEO Simon Powell rallied the area restaurants and foodies resulting in the event coming off without a hitch.

Even as Mother Nature threatened to damped the outdoor activities, the experienced NTFB-ers simply took the precaution of pulling the VIP entrance and Bowl Tent and Checkout back to the lower level of the Meyerson.

The True Food Kitchen and Paradise Bakery and Cafe stations were moved to the Opus restaurant.

Joseph Alexander, Diana Ivette, Brandon Williams and Juan Prado

Empty Bowls’ bowls to take home

As one poor soul sought a parking space in the bowels of the underground parking, cutie pies like Joseph Alexander, Diana Ivette, Brandon Williams and Juan Prado welcomed guests and handed out blue bags and direction for guests. But the crowds didn’t mind the hassle of finding parking spots. They were there to pick out their bowls, bid on the ones in the silent auction and graze on two levels of the Meyerson.

Suzy Sotelo, Jolie Oree Bailey and Oscar Aponte

Low Country Quisine’s Jolie Oree Bailley was pleased that their participation last year evidently moved them from the upper level to the main lobby. Others didn’t care one iota. They were too busy doling out food.

The chaps at the Samsung Photo Booth encouraged guests to step inside the oversized capsule to sample the next stage of selfism that proved to be pretty awesome. Just past the booth was the KPMG VIP area with tables and wine.

Bailee Weeks, Salvatore Gisellu and Monica Leibowitz

Upstairs Hill and Knowlton’s Mark Edgar sampled Salvatore Gisellu‘s handmade beef meatball in a cup from Urban Crust.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then there are thousands over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery of the restaurateurs who made it all possible.

An Early Start Might Be Wise For This Weekend’s Home Tours

It almost seems like every house in North Texas is part of a home tour this spring. This weekend a couple of them —Park Cities 15th Annual Historic Home Tour and Munger Place Wine Walk and Home Tour — are bracing for some stormy weather.

4825 Miramar*

According to the weather guessers, the bruised clouds and blowing winds won’t hit until late-ish Saturday afternoon. So, why not tour early, grab a bite to eat to compare notes with your buds and head to your home to watch South Carolina play Gonzaga and Oregon play North Carolina?  

* Photo provided by Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Recess

Another state of “Sold Out” has been revealed. Friday night’s Recess at the Dallas Arboretum is a done deal. 

As for those predictions of stormy weather, they won’t be a problem because the NorthPark-sponsored Sandbox, games, spiked juice box and music provided by Prophets and Outlaws will all be safe and sound inside Rosine Hall.

Recess*

And no need to wear stuffy, grown-up attire. It will be strictly “schoolyard chic” (aka casual chic).

Benefiting and celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dallas AfterSchool, Event Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Siegel and Honorary Co-Chairs Tanya McDonald and Janet Mockovciak have arranged for the following sponsors:

  • Capture the Flag ($25,000) – The Baldridge Foundation
  • Simon Says ($10,000) – Lydia and William Addy, Baird, Strategic Wealth Partners/Colleen and Peter Bowler and Janet and John Mockovciak
  • Red Rover ($5,000) – Anne and Terry Conner, Christina K. Hanger and Tanya and Ken McDonald
  • Duck Duck Goose ($2,500) – Philip Theodore Bee Charitable Trust, Kristi and Brian Erickson, Cherri and Jack Musser, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Ernst and Young and Tenet Healthcare
  • Four Square ($1,000) – Christy Bednar, Sheela and Marc Birnbaum, Kathi and Chris Child, Serena Simmons Connelly, Maria and Douglas Cramer, The Donachie Foundation, Laurie and Craig Dunn, Angela and Mark Frederiksen, Abby and Michael Gregory, Sarah Losinger, Christina and Tim Norris, Tricia and Eric Stammberger, Social Venture Partners Dallas, Stacy and Mack Hicks and The Fijolek Family
  • Special Thanks and In-Kind Donors – Aimbridge Hospitality, BANCO, Cindy Ferris, Dallas Arboretum, Kent Rathbun Catering, LeForce Entertainment, Live Nation, McShan Florist, Microsoft, NorthPark Center, Paper City, Pop Parties, Topgolf, Yellow Rose Distilling and Housed Real Estate
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas AfterSchool

To Heck With Winter Chills, Spring Is Heating Up With Summer Temps

Spring breakers, welcome back to the school drop-off/pick-up cha-cha and Daylight Savings rehabbing. Missed you tons during the spring break, but the nonprofits are rearing to go for the upcoming weeks.

Cold days of 2015 (File photo)

There’s just so much on the agenda. But not to worry. There isn’t a sold-out among them … yet.

Christian Dior stilettos (File photos)

So, while you’re putting those woollies in deep freeze storage for a while and pulling out those skimpy cottons, start checking your calendars for which ones you’ll be dressing up for.

In the meantime, replace whose yawn-last season stilettos with new kids-on-the-heel and spiffing up your oh-hum silks of last season with some spiff-ier frocks.

If you need help, you just know the retailers can advise you.

And while you’re at it, re-think your thermostats. The threat of the mercury hitting 90 is out there this week. The weather guessers are also suggesting that something not-so-friendly is coming up the end of the week. Stay tuned with bumbershoots in hand.

A Gentle Reminder: Greenville Avenue’s St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk, Parade And Festival To Take Place This Saturday

2017 Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival map**

While St. Patrick’s Day is still a week away, the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade And Festival will take place this Saturday along Greenville Avenue benefiting the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association.

2017 St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville 5K*

But before the parade kicks off at 11 a.m., the 22nd Annual St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville will start at 8 a.m. Organizers are predicting 5,000 participants will run/walk the 5K down “the St. Patrick’s Day parade route, tree-lined Southwestern Blvd., Skillman and University Blvd.,” benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Hopefully, all the runners/walkers will be across the finish line before the parade’s floats hit the avenue.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival (File photo)

Now, some suggestions:

  • Barriers and other preparations for the run and parade will start showing up Friday afternoon. So, it might be wise to run those errands today and early tomorrow. Be forewarned: Some stores like Office Depot along Greenville might be closed Saturday during the parade.
  • Weather guessers are claiming that Saturday morning may be damp-ish, so if you’re gonna be among the 100,000+ spectators, you might want to bring along a slicker or umbrella.
  • Take DART to the Greenville station because parking is going to be painfully limited.
  • If you decide to linger into the afternoon and night enjoying the adult libations, reconsider driving yourself home. No matter how responsible you may think you are, you’ll be much more so by having Uber or another professional service drive you home.
*Graphic courtesy of Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival 
** Graphic courtesy of St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k

JUST IN: Friday’s18th Annual Empty Bowls Will Be Totally Indoors At The Meyerson

Just heard from the North Texas Food Bank team and “due to anticipated inclement weather conditions,” they’ve already kicked into back-up mode for the 18th Annual Empty Bowls food fest on Friday at the Meyerson. That means everything is gonna be indoors!

18th Annual Empty Bowls*

All the restaurants (Aisan Mint, Blue Bell Creameries, Blue Mesa Grill, Carso Mediterranean Grill, Celebration Restaurant, Dining at the Meyerson, Empire Baking Co., Kroger, Low Country Quisine, McAlister’s Deli, Meso Maya, Mozzarella Company, Norma’s Cafe, Paradise Bakery and Cafe, Royal Cup Coffee, Shake Shack, Snappy Salads, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Tejano Brothers, Tortaco, True Food Kitchen and Urban Crust) will be high and dry inside the Meyerson serving up all type of goodies.

Bowls for sale (File photo)

And then there are the bowls that will be auctioned off and for sale.

Since parking is going to limited, why not buddy together for Uber?

* Graphic courtesy of 
North Texas Food 
Bank

BEWARE: Mother Nature Has Cooked Up A Weekend Of Weathery Upsy and Downsies

That Mama Nature is a tricky old gal. She had the weather guessers convinced that she would just snow flurry around this afternoon. And there were all types of impressive maps to back her claim. But then the white stuff started falling. Just one flake made people smile. Then a dozen made folks think how pretty the flurry is. But then the flurry became an afternoon drive-home fury of flakes that as soon as they hit the ground, they froze together making Central Expressway a glorified parking lot and teeny-weeny hills become icy roller coasters.

Traffic in the snow (File photos)

Now, what’s in the future? Take a deep breath and read this before venturing out Saturday morning. The stuff that’s wet and on the ground this evening is going to freeze thanks to temperatures in the 20s. Roads that were slippery today are going to be treacherous Saturday until afternoon when the temps get just barely above freezing.

Are you relieved? Don’t be. Sorry to report that Saturday night the stuff that started melting Saturday afternoon will refreeze Saturday night thanks to returning temperatures in the 20s. Rethink Sunday brunches and church services.

Dallas Arboretum squirrels (File photo)

But you deserve some good news and here goes. Sunday afternoon the temperatures will start rising above freezing and will stay there the rest of the week.

So, tell those sandals and shorts to take a break. Come Tuesday they’ll be needed for walking the dogs, sipping on patios, comparing notes with the penguins at the Dallas Zoo and checking out the blossoms at the Arboretum.

In the meantime, rethink that subscribing to Netflix and reading that book that has been gathering dusty. And what about that needlepoint that you’ve been meaning to finish up?

Mother Nature’s Going To Give North Texas A Real Cold Shoulder For A Couple Of Days

If you think it’s cold now, brace yourself. It’s downhill from here until Sunday. Head to the grocery now to get those fixings for soups, casseroles and brownies.

You’ve already gone over your chilly weather checklist of taking care of the “4 Ps” (people, pets, plants and pipes). The duvet is on the bed. The flannel jammies are ready for duty. Excellent

But before you totally close down the must-do freeze list, think wet. For instance, if you don’t want to be the neighborhood slip-and-slide pain, turn off your sprinkler system.

Dripping faucet

And, if you’re one of those folks who lets faucets drip, why not put a bucket or major league bowl under the faucet and use the water for your plants and pets? No sense in wasting that water.

If you have munchkins, be prepared for some unhappy campers. It appears Friday will not be a snow day. Rather it will be a dusting of flakes and schools don’t close down for that. Sorry.

The Winter Of 2016-2017 Continues To Have Its Ups And Downs

For all those that scurried to the Rockies and other high points in search of cooler temp, snow and the holidays, good move. Those photos of you on the slopes and partying with your pals around the fireplace have been memory keepers.

2016 fall/winter leaves

As for those seeking the perfect tan on sand-covered beaches, nice but wasn’t it sorta waste of American Express points?

With North Texas flirting with record-breaking temperatures, knee-high boots and swell sweaters have battle sandals and tantalizing tank tops thanks to 70- and 80-degree weather.

Instead of shimmering, ice covered terrain, the Christmas/Hanukkah week has been golden thanks to leaves now covering neighborhood as if it were Halloween.

But as local out-of-towners head back to North Texas, be forewarned. Winter ain’t over. So don’t put those warmies back into moth ball status. Stay braced and keep the Irish coffee prepared for appears to be on board for Wednesday.

Put On The Sunscreen And Take Advantage Of Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days Special Deal

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

The roller coaster of temperatures has resulted in cottons and shorts doing overtime. Just imagine — the end of December in the 60s and 70s!

But what luck! With the kids out of school, the malls jammed, the thank you notes written (well, almost) and running out of things to do, the Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days special is just made for these balmy times.

Instead of the usual two-figure entry fee ($15 for adults and $12 for youngsters), it’s a mere $7 for both adults and kiddos over the age of two.

And why not avoid all traffic by taking DART’s Red Line to the Dallas Zoo Station. 

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 4

Chances are that you just returned from midnight services. Or perhaps, you just were way late in the gift wrapping duties. Regardless, you’ll be hearing drips of rain on the roof as well as the patter of reindeer. Makes sense. Rain and reindeer on the roof.

But really, should you be up so late? If so, MySweetCharity twin elves Cherry T. and Jerry T. have provided the background music for you to chill.