Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

After waiting for what seemed like eons, reality TV and Chick Lit fans gathered at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, April 20, to hear from that lightning rod personality/author/business woman Bethenny Frankel.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

From the Cristal served at the VIP pre-luncheon meet-and-greet to the chatter during the presentation of the Community Partners of Dallas’ 2017 Partners for Children Award, the CPD fundraiser ran the gamut from class to crass. And then there were a couple of Bethenny comments that earned giggles and grumbles.

While this post is being finalized, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the peeps who were part of one of the most talked-about luncheons this season.

Not Even Traffic Hassles Could Discourage Chick Lit Patrons From Meet And Greeting Luncheon Keynoter Bethenny Frankel

Lara and Bob Tafel

Twas a perfect storm that valet parkers dread on Thursday, April 20, at Preston Center East. Construction had limited parking, and rush hour at the juncture of Preston and Northwest Highway had cars playing dosey-doe. And to add to the mayhem, Bachendorf’s was the site of the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Patron Party.

Chick Lit Presenting Sponsors Lara and Bob Tafel moseyed up the sidewalk. They had opted to bypass the valet, park a block away and stroll. Bob’s outfit was highlighted by a colorful pocket square. Lara claimed it was the result of last year’s speaker Tim Gunn.

Lawrence Bock, Bethenny Frankel and Katy Bock

Mary Martha Pickens, Bethenny Frankel and Tricia George

So, a patron party in itself is a full load, but in this case the keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel was on hand. Looking at times like a swarm around a queen bee, the party was a bee hive of cellphone snaps. Nonchalance was not the order of the day.

Dan Houchard, Bethenny Frankel and Maura Houchard

Wendy and Boyd Messmann

Guests on hand included Bachendorf’s Katy and Lawrence Bock, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Maura and Dan Houchard, Anne Stodghill, Chick Lit Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha with husband John Pickens and CPD energizer bunnies Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke.

But it was an early evening, because the main act — the Chick Lit Luncheon — was the next day at  the Hilton Anatole.

Grovel Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Let’s hope the Anatole Grand Ballroom has its Spanx on for Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon. The annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser is busting with folks to hear Bethenny Frankel at the podium.

Bethenny Frankel*

According to insiders, there are just a couple seats left. Hurry and get one or two of those last places because ya just know that Bethenny is gonna be quotable and memorable.

And don’t worry about setting Bethenny up on a dating apps blind date. According to her chat with People Magazine, “I wouldn’t have enough time to date online. I thought about it, but I haven’t actually done it because I wouldn’t have the time.”

“If it gets there and it’s a dry country, maybe I’ll think about it — but it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Frankel adds. “At my age I got game, who knew?”

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Who knows? Perhaps Bethenny has changed her mind about online dating.

BTW, ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

Skinnygirl Sangria And Margaritas Plus Peanut Butter Balls Were On The Menu For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Toast

Skinny Girl beverages and Chick Lit glassware

Like a glamorama pep rally, the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Luncheon crowd held forth at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Gail Fischer’s Preston Hollow estate for the Skinnygirl Toast on Tuesday, March 21.While Skinnygirl Founder/Chick Lit Headliner Bethenny Frankel was ways away from the ZIP code making headlines, she was well represented thanks to pitchers filled with Skinnygirl drinks — Grapefruit and regular margarita, White Cranberry Cosmo, White Sangria and Chardonnay — at the bar and making the rounds.

As one gal said, “The sangria is healthy. Just look at all the fruit.”

Cassandra’s peanut butter balls

Across the way on a buffet table loaded with edibles was the star of the yummies — Cassandra Tomassetti’s peanut balls smothered in dark chocolate. A couple of those would fatten up even skinny Bethenny. One gal looked as if she was going put one or two in her purse for a late-night snack.

Jana Nobles, Mary Moore and Paige McDaniel

For the toasting occasion, CPD masterminds Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke had the drinks served up in stemless glasses boasting the Chick Lit Luncheon logo. Little did the guests know that they would have similar glasses and mints to take home. 

Laura Pickens, Mary Martha Pickens and Gail Fischer

As the 100 guests Like Luncheon Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens with her niece Laura Pickens, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Susan Farris, Jan Nobles and Mary Moore filled the home, Gail fiddled with her remove control navigating the Smart TV’s music categories. She wanted to play the right music, but husband Cliff Fischer, who is usually the one in charge of remoting, was out of town on business. With a try at jazz, Carol Seay played advisor, suggesting to move on to something a little more upbeat.

Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere and Susan Farris

Tickets for the Friday, April 21, CPD fundraiser presented by Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel at the Hilton Anatole are available here. Proceeds from the event will help CPD serve “more than 20,000 of Dallas County’s abused and neglected children this year.”

MySweet2017Goals: Mary Martha Pickens

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

According to Chick Lit Luncheon 2017 Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens,

“One of my goals for 2017 is for the community to join my Co-Chair Tricia George and me for the 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel benefiting Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) on Friday, April 21. This year’s event will feature best-selling author, natural foods chef, reality TV star, self-made businesswoman and mom, Bethenny Frankel, as the keynote speaker – you will not want to miss it!

Lara and Robert Tafel (File photo)

Gail Corder Fischer (File photo)

“Tricia and I, along with our underwriting chairs Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees, are planning an unforgettable luncheon, whose proceeds will support the abused and neglected children served by CPD. To that end, we are so excited to announce Gail Corder Fischer as this year’s honorary chair. We are so grateful to Gail for her ongoing dedication to the children in our community and her support of the Chick Lit Luncheon.

“As well, CPD will be presenting the ‘2017 Partners for Children Award’ to the Peacock Alley Bitzer and Needleman families for their longtime support of Community Partners of Dallas. The Partners for Children Award is presented annually and celebrates the recipient’s commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and their years of service meeting the needs of abused and neglected children.

“The 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon will be held on April 21, at 10:30 a.m., at the Hilton Anatole. The event will include a wine reception followed by a seated luncheon and remarks by Ms. Frankel. Tables begin at $1,750 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early April if space permits. For more information, visit communitypartnersdallas.org.  We look forward to seeing you on April 21st!”

JUST IN: Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel To Be Keynote Speaker At Community Partner’s Of Dallas’ 11th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Luncheon*

There were naysayers who doubted that Community Partners of Dallas could actually come up with an author/speaker for their annual Chick Lit Luncheon to top their 2016 speaker Tim Gunn.

Bethenny Frankel*

Well, it looks like they’ve gone and done it — Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel!

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce Bethenny Frankel as the featured speaker for this year’s Chick Lit Luncheon. Following last year’s record-breaking tenth anniversary event, we know Bethenny’s straight-forward and witty approach to relationships, nutrition, business, parenting and all things-‘Real Housewives’ will certainly keep our devoted attendees entertained. This year is not to be missed!”

If you’re new to Bethenny world, hold on to your gelled nails. A week in her life is the stuff that keeps “Page Six” reporters salivating. In addition to creating the Skinnygirl brand of cocktails, chocolates, etc., she shot to fame thanks to reality TV (Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny Getting Married?, The Real Housewives of New York City and you know the drill).

But long before she became the reality boob tube darling/diva, her childhood was fraught with drama. When she was four, her father left her mother Bernadette Birk. A year later her mom remarried. Bethenny has described Bernadette as “trying to commit suicide in the kitchen in front of me. We had abuse, we had alcohol, we had gambling. What mother would ever do that to their child?” That may explain their 12-year estrangement.

But wait, there’s more. Just this past year she divorced husband #2 Jason Hoppy after battling in the divorce courts for four years, got depressed this past year and found happiness six months ago with multimillionaire Dennis Shields, who is married to a high school chum of Bethenny. You can’t make this stuff up!

In her spare time, she has written books with the most recent book seeming appropriate — “I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules For Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.”

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

Tricia George (File photo)

Chances are that by the time Bethenny hits Dallas for the Friday, April 21, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, she’ll have even more tantalizing tales to tell about her life as the “skinnygirl.” The luncheon is being co-chaired by Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens with Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees co-chairing the underwriting.

Table sales and sponsorships are available now! As for individual tickets, they will be available in April… “if space permits.” Translation: Get your buddies together and lock down that table pronto.

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn, Who’s In ‘Awe’ Of Dallas Women, Attracts Huge Crowd To CPD’s 10th Anniversary Chick Lit Luncheon

Anyone doubting the popularity in Dallas of “Project Runway” co-host/producer Tim Gunn should have checked out the scene at the Friday, April 1, Chick Lit Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. The event benefiting Community Partners of Dallas and featuring the author and TV star drew a crowd of 1,100—up from the annual luncheon’s 650 or so that it’s usually drawn at its longtime venue, Brook Hollow Country Club.

This was Chick Lit’s 10th anniversary luncheon, but surely the huge crowd wasn’t due only to that? “I give credit to our chairs—and to Tim,” CPD President and CEO Paige McDaniel said before the luncheon at the VIP reception in the Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom. “All girls like fashion, and he’s just … well, when Joanna [Clarke, CPD’s development VP] and I used to talk about guests at our fantasy dinner party, we each had two people in common: Tim Gunn and Jesus!

“So, it was easy this year,” McDaniel went on. “Everybody wanted to come.”

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

At that moment, the star of the day was demonstrating his charisma across the room at the step-and-repeat, where guests were lined up to meet Gunn and have their photos taken with him. Among them were Elizabeth Gambrell (she’s a CPD director), Anne Stodghill, Dee Simmons, D’Andra Simmons, and Lara Tafel, who was once again the luncheon’s presenting sponsor along with her husband, Dr. Robert Tafel.

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Soon Dr. Bob joined his wife for a photo with Gunn, who promptly remarked on the doctor’s colorful pocket square. The TV star pulled the handkerchief out of Tafel’s suit coat, demonstrated another way to fold such an adornment, and then stuffed it back into Bob’s breast pocket—much to Bob and Lara’s delight.

Soon enough, the 1,100 guests including CPD Board Chair Krissy Turner, Jocelyn White, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley, Faisal Halum, Holly Davis, Lori Williams, Alissa Gearing, Jennifer Evans Morris, Lauren Reed, Megan Flanagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo, Samantha Wortley, Katherine Coker and Simona Beal began making their way into the Imperial Ballroom upstairs.

Kristi Hoyl*

Kristi Hoyl*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl made the welcoming remarks, thanking the Tafels, Honorary Chair Brian Bolke, Underwriting Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum, and Paige and Joanna (“they are angels walking on the earth”). Then Kristi brought up Rev. Elizabeth Moseley from Highland Park United Methodist Church, who delivered the invocation. (Rev. Moseley, BTW, was introduced as a “minister of discipline,” rather than with her actual title, “minister of discipleship.” Hmmmm. Maybe Queenie needs to hire a minister of discipline for misbehaving elves.)

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

After lunch was served—a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a strawberry “Happy Birthday” cupcake—videos were played honoring Jill C. Bee with the 2016 Partners for Children Award and the Tafels, who were presented with the 10th Anniversary Champions of Hope Award. Then Paige took the stage, telling how all the guests had “agonized over our outfits” trying to impress Gunn, before launching into a tearful talk about children who’d been helped by CPD, like two toddlers nicknamed Princess and King. Paige gave way to Bolke, who introduced the featured speaker as one of two people who’ve had a profound recent influence on the fashion world (the other, he said, was Sarah Jessica Parker of TV’s “Sex and the City”).

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

With that, Gunn—a former chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. who’s written four books—mounted the stage along with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, who would interview him. Kim began by asking the fashion guru what led him to write books (his latest is titled “The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!”). Gunn, the son of an FBI agent, grew up with words and books, he replied, and developed an interest in fashion history as an academic at the Parsons School of Design. “Most of the books [about fashion] are giant snoozefests,” he said. He set out to take a livelier approach, crediting the success of such works as “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and “Gunn’s Golden Rules in part to his editor and co-writer, Ava Calhoun.

Kim asked next what’s behind Gunn’s “kind but firm” approach to young designers on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” now entering its 14th season. “I can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Gunn said he tells the fledgling designers. In lieu of direct criticism he peppers them with questions about their design choices, hoping they’ll eventually see what he sees. What’s his favorite of Gunn’s “golden rules”? “The world owes you absolutely nothing!” he replied quickly. “Even though young people don’t like it. … We each have to make our own way and establish our value.” Gunn also explained his “TEACH” philosophy with students and mentees, using an explanation for each letter in the acronym: Truth-telling; Empathy; Asking lots of questions; Cheerleading; and Hoping for the best.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Prompted by his interviewer, Gunn said that when it comes to fashion, “I’d rather work with women than with men. Women are more open to experimentation, and men are so ridiculously intractable. I’ll tell them, ‘Good heavens, it’s a shirt. Put it on!’ ” He also complimented Dallas women on their fashion sense, adding, “I’m in awe of you! … I’d like to take you home with me!” Expanding on fashion in general, he said most people wear their clothes too big. (“Never use the phrase, ‘I only dress for comfort’ with me,” he said. “If you want to feel like you’re in your pajamas, don’t get out of bed.”) He also ripped the current “athleisure” trend including yoga pants, tights, and leggings worn as pants. “It’s an excuse to be a slob,” he said, calling leggings “a form of underwear.”

Wrapping up with a few questions from the audience, Gunn was asked his advice for budding designers. Since designers are barometric measures of our culture, he answered, they should watch TV and movies, read blogs and newspapers, and “assimilate it all” in order to “have a point of view and know who you are. [Knowledge of] construction is important, too,” Gunn said in conclusion, “as are perseverance and tenacity.”

The thunderous applause from the big crowd that followed was a testament to the fashion guru’s tremendous popularity, as mentioned by Paige at the VIP reception. But so, too, was the long wait for their cars that some in the huge crowd had to endure in the lengthy valet line. Although the luncheon wrapped up by about 1:15, some 50 guests were still standing outdoors in the cold breeze, scanning the horizon hopefully for their vehicles, nearly an hour later. There were just too darn many cars, it seems, for the valets to easily handle.

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

Two Great Fundraisers Were Victims Of A Head-On Collision

An unfortunate situation took place Friday, April 1. It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. It was the taking place of two fundraising luncheons that divided the efforts for those in need. At the Hilton Anatole, Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon was celebrating its 10the anniversary with 1,100 and Tim Gunn on stage.

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Over at the Dallas Country Club, Today Co-Host Hoda Kotb was the featured speaker for more than 350 at the Interfaith Dallas – Family Services‘ (formerly known as Interfaith Housing Coalition) Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon.

Both speakers were beyond remarkable, with guests from each event swearing theirs was the best in ages. But one has to wonder, “What if….?”

What’s that? “What if….what?” It’s, “What if they had been held 24 hours apart?” The guests probably could have squeezed enough money out of their budgets and time to attend both, thereby supporting CPD as well as Interfaith. In turn, they would have been the recipients of two memory-making programs.

Sure, organizers are at the mercy of speakers’ and entertainers’ schedules, but if such a collision of fundraising can be prevented, it really benefits all.

One way to avoid similar situations is to check the MySweetCharity Calendar. If a fundraiser is already on a particular date, then it might be wise to pick another date. Basic MSC Calendar listings are absolutely free to provide the information for one and all. Bells and whistles can be added for a minimal cost.

Grovel Alert: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon With Tim Gunn

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Community Partners of DallasPaige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke just sent word that Friday’s 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon at the Anatole is within a feather of being sold out. Well, but with tastemeister Tim Gunn as the center attraction, what else would you expect?

So, the scant remaining tickets will be available until 5 p.m. Thursday. Yipes! That’s tomorrow!

Suggestion: get your ticket pronto and even if you have one, upgrade. Why? Because the patron types are gonna have a party Thursday night and you just know you would have a blast.

JUST IN: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Featuring Tim Gunn Tickets Are On Sale Now!

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Word just arrived that tickets for Community Partners of Dallas‘ “10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon” featuring best-selling author/ man-with-fashion-sense Tim Gunn at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, April 1, are on sale now! Individual tickets start at $175.

Kristi Hoyl is chairing the event with Honorary Chair Brian Bolke and Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel returning as presenting sponsor.

Strong suggestion: Hustle. This one is gonna be a sell-out. And remember, gentlemen are more than welcome to attend.

* Photo provided by 
Community Partners 
of Dallas

JUST IN: Project Runway’s Tim Gunn To Headline 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Those Community Partners of Dallas have been sort quiet of late. There’s a reason. Their annual Chick Lit Luncheon is hitting the 10th anniversary marker and CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and Development Manager Joanna Clarke have been hunkered down plotting.

They had already paraded red wagons around The Wilson Historic District and had such adorable authors as Julia Reed, Allison Winn Scotch, Jen Lancaster, Emily Giffin, Gigi Levangie and Stacey Ballis at the podium teasing, chuckling and sharing secrets with guests.

But this time it had to be a smidge over the top. So, they just announced the details.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Hold on to your best-dressed dresses. The speaker will be Tim Gunn and the Friday, April 1st event will take place at the Hilton Anatole. Yup, the always-at-Brook-Hollow luncheon is headed to the Anatole due to the expectation that it’s gonna be a bigger-than-huge turnout.

BTW, love Tim. He’s funny, so adorable to look at and knows/loves style right down to his brown suede monk straps. He also has the gift of gab and speaks his mind. Just ask Anna Wintour. Wait! Better not ask Anna or she might make a frowny face.

And please don’t get him started on the Kardashians. No, wait! Do, because he’ll be overly glad to accommodate you!

Seriously, Tim had his personal bouts dealing with the problems of childhood. He even attempted suicide. But Tim’s honesty and recognition of situations facing children are inspiring and amazingly on target.

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl will be joined by Cindy Stager and Jill Tananabaum, who will be underwriting co-chairs. She’s also been on target with the selection of the honorary chair. You guessed it — Forty Five Ten’s Brian Bolke!

For an added hurrah, Jill C. Bee will be presented with the Partners for Children Award and there will be a special salute to longtime (like nearly forever) presenting sponsors Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel, who will be awarded the special Tenth Anniversary Champions of Hope Award “for their unwavering commitment to Community Partners of Dallas.”

Tables are on sale now and individual tickets will go on sale in March. So, gather up your chickadees and get a table pronto. This baby is gonna go fast. Ah, but you already knew that.

It’s gonna be a great lunch even if the Brook Hollow pecan-crusted chicken ain’t gonna be on the platter.

* Photo credit: Scott McDermott

Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Author Stacey Ballis Proved You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Lovers of chick literature flew to their favorite coop — Brook Hollow Golf Club —on Friday, April 24, for Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon. Early birds like Honorary Chair Carol Seay, Robyn Flatt, Holly Davis, Anne Stodghill, Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel, Dee Simmons, Simona Beal and Danya Anderson arrived for the VIP champagne reception. One face that was new to the flock was author-du-jour/keynote speaker Stacey Ballis.

Robyn Flatt and Carol Seay

Robyn Flatt and Carol Seay

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

While she may have been a bit overwhelmed by the room, that situation changed dramatically when she spotted her mom Elizabeth Ballis and sister Deborah Ballis Hirt, who had flown in from Chicago to surprise her.

Elizabeth Ballis, Stacey Ballis and Deborah Ballis Hirt

Elizabeth Ballis, Stacey Ballis and Deborah Ballis Hirt

But that wasn’t the only surprise of the day. No, the brunette with the long ponytail had something up her bolero shrug sleeve.

Some in the room might have tried to compare Stacey to last year’s speaker Julia Reed. Unlike the red-haired Southerner, who worked the room like a candidate launching an election, Stacey seemed more laid-back and comfortable chatting quietly with one or two. Those deciding that Stacey might not have the same impact as Julie would soon learn they were so terribly off center.

Paige McDaniel and Cindrette McDaniel

Paige McDaniel and Cindrette McDaniel

But first they joined the rest of the hundreds in the ballroom, veranda and Oak Room for the welcome by Event Chair Wendy Messmann and the presentation of the Partners For Children Award to the Orix Foundation. CPD Executive Director Paige McDaniel then told of her dream to become a backup singer for someone like David Cassidy. Her dream did not come true. Then she spoke of the 20,000 children served by CPD, who have a dream. But there are those whose dreams end up as nightmares. Natalia was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend for 13 months, starting at the age of six. As a teenager Makalia was repeatedly raped by her stepfather and her family refused to believe her. When she ended up in protective care, she was so depressed she ended up cutting herself. Still another girl, who was sexually abused by her grandfather, would call out to her grandfather to come to her when she heard her little sisters crying out at his abuse.

These stories of abuse led into a description of “The Heart Program,” in which children and non-offending family members receive treatment. In each of the cases of the above-described abuse, The Heart Program assisted in their recovery.

After the call-out for funding was met, Paige reminded the crowd of the October 15th Stiletto Strut this fall benefiting CPD.

It was then time for Stacey, and the real Stacey came out. First she won the entire group to her side by taking a picture of the beautiful audience. Everyone smiled, of course. Then she thanked individuals and the group for having her. She told how surprised she was that her mom and sister had flown in. Originally, Stacey had planned on Chick Lit author vet Jen Lancaster to pop in, but Jen was waylaid by an Achilles tendon rupture requiring surgery. Finally, she did a “shout out” to the men in the room.

Stacey Ballis photographing Chick Lit-ters

Stacey Ballis photographing Chick Lit-ters

Then she launched into a story about her entry into authorship. After teaching high school for four years, she shifted to theater, went through a divorce and decided that she might try her hand at “chick literature.” So she went to Barnes and Noble and bought every book with a pink cover or a shoe. Upon reading the books, she got mad because they all said that if only they could be thin they could get a guy and be happy.

This anger fueled her into writing a short story that ended up 400 pages, about a women who was a size 24 and had seconds for desserts. Stacey’s reward was a two-book deal. Eventually in 2007 she was able to leave her full-time job at the Goodman Theater in Chicago to focus on writing.

In discussing her writing, she admitted that since she writes at home, she tends to let things distract her from her getting on with her assignments. Straightening closets, alphabetizing spice jars, having lunch with friends, anything that can put off the task of writing. That is until the deadline is on top of her and then it’s an all-out mission. It goes like this: The first two months she pats herself on the back for getting a book deal; she writes the first chapter of the book really fast and “that makes me feel good and I take some time off”; then she writes the first half of the book in five or six months; and the final two months are spent writing the rest of the book 24 hours a day and letting her husband fend for himself.

Stacey admitted that her books were different from the typical chick-lit reads. Her characters had to be normal or on the high side of weight. None of them are self-loathing or undesirable.

Another unique angle for Stacey’s books is how food plays a part. Characters are involved in some aspect of food. This resulted in her developing “foodie fiction,” which include recipes in the back of her books.

Her recipes have been such a hit that she came out with “Big Delicious,” a digital cookbook with 150 recipes. In the fall a for-real cookbook is coming out.

During the Q&A, Stacey admitted that during the writing process, her characters will often do things that shock even her. At times she just feels like she’s not writing as much as channeling her characters. As for the endings, she doesn’t necessarily have everything tied up in a nice, tight bow, but they are hopeful. In every book, there is a nod or reference to a main character in a previous book.

When asked what her favorite snack was, she admitted that being a Type 2 diabetic and being on a weight-loss program requires that she write down everything she eats. Her back-in-the-day guilty-pleasure snacks used to include potato chips dipped in cottage cheese — “I know. So gross. But they have to be the wavy ones… Now, my snacks are just kind of weird. Every week I roast a big bunch of sweet potatoes, like really over roast them at 400 degrees for two hours until they practically mush. So, it’ll be 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ll have a sweet potato. Just heat it in the microwave and pretend that it’s pie… The only other one that I’ll tell about because my mother and sister are in the room and if I don’t say it out loud they’ll tell people is I used to love and actually still do love a plain bagel spread with butter and, uh, dill pickles. And I’ve never been pregnant.”

Stacey reported that her goal is to make the women sound real, so if you don’t want to be her, you want to know her. After the lunch, there was no doubt that Stacey had a ballroom full of BFF.

Round Robin April 23: Thrift Studio Preview, Anna-Sophia Van Zweden Reception And Chick Lit And Genesis Annual Luncheon Patron Parties

People were literally bumping into each other trying to hit all the fundraisers on Thursday, April 23. As one vet put it, “I just keep telling myself that June is up ahead.” But until then, here’s just a smidgen of the fundraising hit-and-runs that were taking place on April 23. While patrons of the Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy’s Day at the Races prepped for the Kentucky Derby, others headed to:

Thrift Studio Preview

2015 Thrift Studio vignette

2015 Thrift Studio vignette

Before the sneak preview of the Dwell With Dignity pop-up Thrift Studio even officially opened the doors in the Design District, a lineup of people were spilling into the parking lot waiting to get in. Luckily, the mobile photo trailer was a fun distraction.

The reason for the plethora of folks was the goodies provided by area interior designer types. Surrounded by his “faithful gals” Valerie Cain and Lauren Thomasson and looking as pleased as a peacock, Thrift Studio Honorary Chair John Phifer Marrs proclaimed that the vignettes and furnishings were “Great!”

Lauren Thomasson, John Phifer Marrs and Valerie Cain

Lauren Thomasson, John Phifer Marrs and Valerie Cain

When asked why the Dwell With Dignity team had decided to reduce the Thrift Studio from two-a-year to once-a-year, John looked a bit amazed at the question. His answer was a question, “Do you know how much work goes into this event?”

He then admitted that the good resulting from the funds raised was amazing. As the crowds poured into, John recalled a boy who didn’t have friends to his home because he was ashamed. That changed once Dwell With Dignity stepped in and created a home that he was proud to show off to his friends.

2015 Thrift Studio vignette

2015 Thrift Studio vignette

As for this Thrift Studio, it will continue through Saturday, May 23. As items are purchased, new merchandise will be brought in. In other words, it’s an ever-changing cornucopia of marvels.

Chick Lit Patron Party

Carol Seay

Carol Seay

Wendy Messmann

Wendy Messmann

Over at Highland Park Village it was beautiful clothes and loads of gals including Chick Lit Luncheon Chair Wendy Messmann and Honorary Chair Carol Seay.

Paige McDaniel and Stacey Ballis

Paige McDaniel and Stacey Ballis

Over on the couch at the back of the salon was author Stacey Ballis, who was observing the crowd including Lynn McBee and Jolie Humphrey.

Before long she was meeting and greeting folks like a veteran politician the night before an election with Community Partners of Dallas Paige McDaniel making the intros.

Genesis Annual Luncheon Patron Party

Kathy Helm

Kathy Helm

Emilynn Wilson and Larry Helm

Emilynn Wilson and Larry Helm

Just south of Highland Park Village, Kathy and Larry Helm created a traffic jam with valets running non-stop. The draw besides the Helms’ home, with their lanai, terrace and pergola with fire pit, was the Genesis Annual Luncheon patron party.

Suzy and Tom Rhodes and Jan Langbein

Suzy and Tom Rhodes and Jan Langbein

As Larry and Genesis CEO Jan Langbein greeted guests like Gail Turner, Underwriting Chair Robin Bagwell, Angela Nash, Donna ChereckEmilynn and Claude Wilson, Eve Wiley, Brenda and Bob White, Michal Powell and Suzy and Tom Rhodes.

Bianca Jackson, Robin Bagwell and Angela Nash

Bianca Jackson, Robin Bagwell and Angela Nash

According to reports, tickets were flying for the May 5 luncheon featuring Maria Shriver.

This year it’s taking place in the Anatole’s Trinity Ballroom. Leave it to the Genesis crowd. They’re planning on dressing up the huge room for the fundraiser.

Departure

Up north at NorthPark, Dallas Symphony Orchetra First Daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden was being toasted at Mont Blanc for her masterminding the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Soluna International Music and Arts Festival, Dallas’ three-week festival of music and art.

Laree Hulshoff, Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Barbara Daseke

Laree Hulshoff, Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Barbara Daseke

This mega three-week visual art and music festival runs from May 4 through May 24, capping off with a free concert on Sunday, May 24, conducted by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Maestro Jaap van Zweden at Klyde Warren Park honoring members of the armed forces and “showcasing” work by Monte Laster.

The project includes artists from around the world, as well as local talent, to provide a feast of visual and orchestral delights.

JUST IN: 2015 Chick Lit Author And Cheeping Deets Revealed

Chick Lit Luncheon*

Chick Lit Luncheon*

The chic Chick Lit-ters nestled down last night to learn the deets for Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon. While others may have chattered in other parts of Dallas due to the evening’s chill, the gals warmed up with llittle girl jammies and  tunics at Roberta Roller Rabbit in Highland Park Village.

Wendy Messmann, Carol Seay and Paige McDaniel**

Wendy Messmann, Carol Seay and Paige McDaniel**

CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel served as emcee telling the 50 guests (Sandy and Barry Moore, Jill Goldberg, Nikki Webb, Lindsay Ballotta, Andrea Cheek, Francie Mancillas, Katie Robbins, Jennifer Lelash, Maggie Kipp, Elizabeth Dacus, Lisa Bhattacharya, Elizabeth Gambrell and Jennifer Tobin) the luncheon is scheduled for Friday, April 24, at Brook Hollow, with Wendy Messmann as luncheon chair and Carol Seay serving as honorary chair, and the ORIX Foundation receiving the 2014 Partners for Children Award.

Stacey Ballis*

Stacey Ballis*

As for the author, it’s going to be Stacey Ballis, who in addition to writing such novels as “Off the Menu”, “Out to Lunch” and “Recipe for Disaster”, is currently working on a cookbook called “Cooking for You: Wellness in the Kitchen” for release in 2015.

Returning once again as presenting sponsors are Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel!

So mark your calendar and buy a couple of places. They’d make terrific holiday gifts and need minimal wrapping. All you need is to buy one of Stacey’s books and put the invite inside.

This luncheon is a sell-out each year, so don’t put it off.

BTW, if you want info on sponsorship, Joanna Clarke is your go-to-chick.

* Graphic and photo provided 
by Community Partners of 
Dallas
** Photo credit: Daniel 
Driensky

A Blonder Emily Giffin Creates A Major Traffic Jam In Highland Park With Her “One And Only” For Community Partners Of Dallas

As Dallas eased into the summer heat, the OMG too-adorable-above-the-knee sundresses were pulled out with their equally OMG stiletto sandals on Wednesday, June 4th. On the other hand, the Highland Park police must not have been too happy about Lorraine being clogged all block long. . . and this was one of the longer Lorraine blocks.

Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin

Sandy Moore

Sandy Moore

The reason for the call-to-arms for these chic chicks was author Emily Giffin, who was signing her brand new book, The One and Only, at her buddy Sandy Moore’s home. Emily and Sandy became buds when Sandy had read Emily’s first two books. When she ran into Emily at the Ritz, she “talked her up” at the bar and got her to be the main act at the Chick Lit Luncheon in 2011 benefiting Community Partners of Dallas.

As part of the deal to attend The One and Only event, CPD wunderkinds Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke asked guests to bring items and money for the CPD’s back-to-school program. As the guests paraded through the front door, they dropped stuff and ca-ching and scurried into the den, where books were snapped up like first-day released iPhones.

Paige reported that Emily and recent author Julia Reed are all-time Chick Lit crowd pleasers.

Joanna was impressed with the turnout, admitting that they had expected around 85, but that mark was hit within the first 20 minutes, including Leigh Anne Haugh, Nikki Webb, Tara Cosgrove, Holly Scimeca and Emily Upson.

Tara Cosgrove, Holly Scimeca and Emilee Upson

Tara Cosgrove, Holly Scimeca and Emilee Upson

After her gangbuster appearance at the Chick Lit Luncheon, Emily’s legion of local fans dramatically grew. So much so, that the Texas. . . especially Dallas . . . way of life had really made an impression on the New York Times best-selling author. The results? She became blonder and wrote The One and Only about Texas college football. In fact, she did a heck of lot of her research in Dallas.

Emily Giffin and Dallas friends

Emily Giffin and Dallas friends

And just in time for summer poolside reading, the book just came out and Emily returned for Big Darling D. With cellphone cameras as plentiful as flags on the Fourth of July, Emily posed with book promptly held. Why even the back of Emily’s cellphone case had been personalized with the cover of the book. As for the signing of the books, it was a teal-colored pen to match the book’s cover. That gal knows how to market!

As the crowds kept growing, the books kept selling and Emily kept signing, the chatter was about locals being mentioned in the book. Yup, Sandy and her husband Barry are in there. Paige smiled. CPD is on page 326.

Writer Julia Reed Became Everybody’s BFF At Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon

There were rumblings about writer Julia Reed. At the Chick Lit patron party on Thursday, April 3, in the Carolina Herrera boutique, Community Partners of Dallas Executive Director Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke were just downright giddy. “You’re going to love Julia!”

But a half hour into the party, the guest of honor hadn’t arrived. That was okay. There were tornado warnings in the area and bumbershoots were starting to be the accessory du jour. Perhaps Mississippi-born Julia was too dainty to broach the threatening weather. That theory would later prove to be as wrong as wearing muck boots to the Art Ball.

The next day those previous rumblings of “You’re going to love Julia” had heightened to the likes of a pep rally at Brook Hollow for the Chick Lit Luncheon. The VIP party was jammed with guests. Which one was Julia? Word had passed that she had indeed made it to the Herrera party and won a whole new crowd of fans before heading to dinner at Café Pacific with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Say, “What!” She had dinner with Laura?

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

Finally edging through the crowd, a tall brunette with poreless skin and a thick head of brown hair with excellent highlights was spotted. She was surrounded by other women, who were not budging. After all they had come to the conclusion that they were indeed the brunette’s new very best friends in the entire world.

But the camaraderie was obvious. There was an ease about her that made her appear to be comfortable whatever the situation. Let’s just face the fact that there are people who have the gift to make others feel like they’re unique and confidantes. Julia Reed is one of those rare creatures. She makes you remember those slumber parties when you and your very bestest bud shared secrets, or at summer camp, when your camper galpal taught you how to shave your legs.

But there was no time to talk during the reception. The fundraising luncheon schedule had to be respected and hundreds like Kate Rose Marquez, Skye Brewer, Elizabeth Gambrell, Sara Martineau, D’Andra Simmons, Christie Carter, Kristina Whitcomb, Liz Tankersley and Honorary Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef were waiting throughout Brook Hollow for the program to begin.

Cindrette McDaniel

Cindrette McDaniel

In the ballroom Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel’s guests like Cheryl Brown and Amanda Ward were taking their place front and center just before the stage. To the side of the stage, Paige’s mom Cindrette McDaniel was joined by Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden. That was curious. NM presence had been present in the past. Hmm.

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Before Julia took over, Luncheon Chair Jennifer Evans Morris presented the 8th Annual Partners for Children Award to the Junior League of Dallas for their “commitment to meeting the philanthropic needs of our community.” Of the 25 years that CPD has been “ensuring safety, restoring dignity and inspiring hope to abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services,” the JLD has been involved for 21 of them.

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

Before Paige led the group in singing “Happy Birthday,” she had guests don party hats. At the completion of the song confetti showered the stage. Party hats were soon removed as Paige talked about the children who are helped time and time again through CPD.

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Following lunch (pecan-crusted chicken on mesclun greens, dried cherries and apricots and maple-balsamic dressing accompanied by ciabatta bread with goat cheese and Southern-style cherry pie), Paige returned to the podium, where she announced that NM had sent a birthday gift to CPD. Out of a NM box, a pair of Louboutin stilettos were pulled. The message: CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. (In checking with Marjon, it was learned that NM would be taking a pass this year on the annual strut-athon and would return in the fall of 2015.) Ah, so that’s why the two NM gals were lunching.

At 12:20 p.m. Julia took over the podium. Now, this group has seen and heard some of the country’s most popular girly-type speakers including Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch and Emily Giffin, so this wasn’t their first talk-rodeo. They had heard everything from Hollywood gossip to personal challenges. Now, their word-of-mouth, built-up expectations were on the line.

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

With a Southern drawl that is longer than the Mississippi River, Julie connected immediately with her audience. It was obvious that she was comfortable in her skin and made everyone else in the room feel right at home with her. If she name-dropped, she did it not to impress but to share. She talked about

  • her landing her job as contributing editor for “Newsweek” handling both New Orleans politics and the monthly “Food and Drink” column
  • writing for Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour and fashion guru André Leon Talley
  • and her latest book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!”

Let’s face it. To have described in a post her stories would not do the tales nor Julia justice. Her delivery was just too engaging and hit the spot. So, for the first time, MySweetCharity is going to post a couple of video clips of Julia on highlights:

The first dealt with a previous Chanel fashion show in which designer Karl Lagerfeld focused on transparent skirts. Following the show, Julia, André and a movie producer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, attended a press conference with Lagerfeld. (Editor’s note: This clip includes some language that some might feel inappropriate. If so, pass on viewing.)

Following her talk, Julia took questions from the audience including what she thought of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of “Vogue” and what would be [Julia’s] last meal. For your consideration, here is the G-rated video.

The videos are proof why MSC realized its own limitations in describing a situation. Julia in person was simply indescribable. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t there, you missed a great time.

Author Gigi Levangie Reveals Her Life Of Glamour And Not-So-Chic Life At Chick Lit Luncheon Once Again

Every year the Chick Lit Luncheon is a surprise package. The seventh annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser 2013 was indeed a surprise. But more about that later.

Thursday, April 4

The Chick Lit-ter patrons gathered for evening cocktails at Eiseman’s Jewels in NorthPark. The reason may have been to meet luncheon speaker New York Times bestselling authoress Gigi Levangie, but it also provided the perfect opportunity to test drive some Eiseman jewels like the nifty pair of earrings that Luncheon Chair Lisa Singleton did.

Lisa Singleton

Lisa Singleton

When asked which one was Gigi, someone smiled, “She’s the tall drink of champagne with no cellulite.” OK, so maybe Gigi had the longest legs and shortest skirt, but she also sported the biggest smile greeting one and all.

Mersina Stubbs

Mersina Stubbs

Just as Community Partners of Dallas President Paige McDaniel was officially recognizing and thanking folks, Partners for Children Awardee Mersina Stubbs tried to quietly slip in. But that would not do. She was greeted and congratulated by all on sight.

Friday, April 5

10:30 a.m. — The champagne reception was taking place in one of Brook Hollow Golf Club’s private dining rooms. These guests even scored an exclusive VIP parking entrance.

When teased about having an itty-bitty derriere, Gigi said she sure had one once and one day discovered it was gone.

Richard Eiseman and Gigi Levangie

Richard Eiseman and Gigi Levangie

As the champagne continued to flow, gents Richard Eiseman and Marvin Singleton were loving the fact that they were minority members of the gathering.

But two gals who stayed a bit to themselves had good reason. They had more in common than the rest of the crowd realized. They were Jaklin Kaden and Cashell Taylor and they were unsung heroes, who would be applauded at the luncheon. Why? They had both fostered munchkins, who had not had the best starts in life. But fostering proved to not enough for Jaklin and Cashell. They ended up adopting their little wards.

11:20 a.m. — In the main ballroom, patio and Oak Room, the rest of the 600+ guests were gathering. One gal admitted, “I didn’t know what to wear.” The reason? There was indeed a chill in the air, but the need for spring fashion was a high priority with this crowd. Wool just seemed so yesterday and silk after Easter more appropriate. Smart fashion vets, like Mersina, wore their lightweights and brought along pashminas and shawls. Leigh Anne Haugh’s sizzling pink Tibi sleeveless frock was getting second looks. She said, “Feel it.” It was made of neoprene scuba material.

Leigh Anne Haugh, Holly Hassmann, Heather Hicks, Joanna Clarke

Leigh Anne Haugh, Holly Hassmann, Heather Hicks, Joanna Clarke

The place was now rocking as the music was vibrating throughout the place.

11:26 a.m. — Honorary Chair Allie Beth Allman arrived via too late for the champagne reception but just in time to locate her table before the chimes started calling all to their places.

Gigi ducked into the powder room before the luncheon began. Paige and her trusty sidekick Joanna Clarke seemed to hug every one of the 600. Cheek bumping was rampant. Happiness was in the air. All the rooms were packed to the max. Getting through the forest of tables without chairs being occupied was tough enough. Now, it’s tighter than a petite girdle on a queen-size figure.

Luncheon tables in ballroom

Luncheon tables in ballroom

11:33 a.m. — Guests kept coming as the waiters tried to make their way to tables with plates of food. Ah, good. The menu included a Brook Hollow chef Dave Sokol fav (pecan-crusted chicken on mesculin greens, dried cherries and apricots with maple-balsamic dressing, ciabatta bread with goat cheese and chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream and raspberries).

One “older” woman got her entrance messed up and came through the club’s front door. Her challenge was to get by the elevated stage that was blocking the ballroom’s doorway. With the help of a couple of gentlemen, mission accomplished.

Amanda Ward, Simona Beal, Lara Tafel and Rana Chehabi

Amanda Ward, Simona Beal, Lara Tafel and Rana Chehabi

11:41 a.m. — Lisa was at the podium calling the group to order. She was all smiles and rightly so. This was the largest gathering ever for a Chick Lit Luncheon. She aimed special thanks to Presenting Sponsors Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel, Allie Beth and Lynn McBee.

11:44 a.m. — Rev. Elizabeth Moseley gave the invocation. As soon as “Amen” was said, the room filled with the sound of 600+ chattering throughout the club.

12:04 p.m. — Lisa returned to announced that Mersina was the Partners for Children Award recipient. A video recognizing Mersina was shown featuring friends like Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’s Jill Cumnock and Paige. Typical of Mersina, she played down her importance by simply silently accepting the award and returning to her chair.

12:08 p.m. — Paige recognized Lisa and Allie Beth, the CPD Women’s Auxiliary, the sponsors, and all who had supported CPD.

Then Paige shared her TV watching habits including “The Voice.” She recalled how one of her favs had been “Murphy Brown,” in which Candice Bergen’s boss was a younger chap by the name of Miles Silverberg. Paige said that in her case, her boss’s name was Graham, who went on to have an amazing life with his family. She read his recent Christmas card to her emphasizing the importance of his children. She started tearing up as she read it.

Cashell Taylor, Paige McDaniel and Jacklin Kaden

Cashell Taylor, Paige McDaniel and Jacklin Kaden

Paige recovered to report that “something exciting has been happening at CPD.” It seems that foster parents had ended up adopting their foster children. She told of Jacklin’s adopting Olive, an adorable baby. Then there was Cashell, who had adopted twins years ago. During her work as a caseworker, Cashell met foster child Nella when she was in the fifth grade. Over the years they bonded. But one night Cachael received a call at 2 a.m. from Nella that resulted in Cachael’s bringing her home. After Nella and Cachael’s daughter met and talked that night, her daughter told her mom that she needed to adopt Nella. Cachael said because she was a caseworker, she couldn’t. Her daughter didn’t hesitate and told her mom to quit her job. That wasn’t necessary and Cachael is in the final stages of adopting Nella.

As Paige put it, Jacqueline and Cachael were the “Celebrity Moms.”

Paige then told of Felipe, who had suffered a rough . . . very rough beginning. His mother died of cancer when he was 4 years old. Eventually his father married and his stepmother verbally and emotionally abused him. She made him wear female clothes on the front porch to embarrass him. She would make him stand naked in the kitchen basin and force him to drink water until he urinated with his stepsisters watching. His father was killed in a car wreck. Three days after the funeral, the stepmother left him at Child Protective Services. Immediately he was taken to CPD’s Onsite Rainbow Room, where he was provided with “emergency clothing, a stuffed animal to hug and a book to inspire his imagination.” He was taken to a foster home. Eventually his mother’s cousin was located in Irving and she was approved to make him hers with the assistance of CPD. Results? He was now going into the second grade, had a closet filled with little boy clothes and a dog named Jace.

While each of these cases is totally different — an abandoned baby, a teenage girl at a turning point and an abused boy — CPD provided the human compassion and resources to help make their transition to their present lives. For 24 years, CPD has been so successful that it’s been copied throughout the nation, resulting in a domino effect of goodness for children who have known very little of a good life.

At that point Paige started asking for a show of those who would support CPD at certain financial levels starting at $5,000. The result was hands sprouting like flowers at the Arboretum.

12:28 p.m. — Lisa introduce Gigi. Ah, but this was when the surprise started to take place. For vet guests, past authors have regaled guests with Hollywood gossip and name-dropping tales. In other words, the plates on the tables weren’t the only dishing expected.

Some expected Gigi to really unload. She had been married to film producer Brian Glazer, who “used her acid powers of observation and scathing satire of L.A. society to produce bestselling books and screenplays.”

The intro made it sound like this was going to definitely be a diva-delicious talk. Gigi had asked Lisa to introduce her as a “general goddess.” As she brought her laptop to the stage, guests prepared for a show-and-shell-out on the movie kingdom. But it didn’t work out that way.

Oh, sure, she provided much laughter about her subject, but it was the subject that threw some guests. It was about her life and how it could have turned out totally differently.

She admitted that she wasn’t much a cool kid growing up. “I was born with a foot in my mouth.” Unlike her older sister Mimi, who was a typical California blonde, Gigi recalled how she failed the President’s Fitness test and boys refused to sit next to her because “they were afraid they’d catch something.”

It was her dad who told her three things:

  • What other people think of you, is none of your business.
  • What’s the worst they can do — kill you?
  • Who’s got the last punch?

Fast forward to high school. Mimi got into drugs. Gigi went from LeConte Junior High “Class Clown” to Hollywood High School’s “Class Legs.” Instead of playing the violin, she became a cheerleader. But she added the warning: “Fat kids have minds like steel traps.”

Continuing forward: Mimi met and married a Columbian drug dealer. Gigi decided to become an entertainment attorney. That didn’t work out but she took on a number of film industry entry-level jobs before getting her dream job of working for “TV guru” Fred Silverman for eight years. It was during this time that she realized that her talents lay in writing. So, each day she would get up at 5:30 and write before going to work.

In her spare time, she married a blues musician and acquired four dogs and a shotgun. But eventually she decided the marriage was slowing her down, so a divorce solved that problem. It also “eats up a lot of calories.”

As for Mimi, she was shot in the stomach by her husband in their penthouse surrounded by drug paraphernalia. She recovered and got pregnant with a baby boy, then a second and a third. Gigi found herself working like a “baby daddy” to help her older sister.

It was about this time that she met and married Hollywood wunderkind Brian Grazer. “I was the only person at my wedding that I didn’t recognize.”

Throughout their marriage, she wrote screenplays and books (“Step-mom,” “Rescue Me,” “Maneater,” “The Starter Wife,” etc.) and learned a great deal about the mechanics of film producing. It was just as “The Starter Wife” was adapted to TV that the Grazers divorced. As Gigi put it, “I gained a series and lost a husband.”

Their home ended up being sold. “Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner bought our home. . .  Ben is sleeping in my bed.”

Mimi, on the other hand, wasn’t faring well. She went to prison. Her children were taken away and Gigi didn’t know where they were. Eventually, Gigi and the kids found each other and all were doing well. Alas, Gigi didn’t mention the current status of the “typical California blonde.”

12:57 p.m. — Gigi tied her talk up by quoting Audrey Hepburn, “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

What Gigi didn’t add was what happened to her nephew Frankie during her divorce with Brian. But that’s another story for another day.

One problem in the talk was the screen presentation. Instead of enhancing her talk, it was difficult to read for many.  The graphics were too light to be seen. Not to worry too much. Gigi was the one to watch.

And while some were disappointed not to have a National Enquirer talkathon, others were reminded that Gigi’s life proved that one’s fate is not cast in stone. It can take different directions through the help of others and one’s own determination.

Chick Lit Luncheon’s $2,500 Tables Are Gone With The Wind

Lisa Singleton and Paige McDaniel

Lisa Singleton and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

The April 5th Chick Lit Luncheon tickets are moving faster than yesterday’s winds. The $2,500 tables (aka Queen Takes King sponsorship level) is already sold out. As for the Rescue Me Level ($1,750 tables), it’s going, going, nearly gone. 

However, Luncheon Chair Lisa Singleton and Honorary Chair Allie Beth Allman report that other levels including $10,000 and $5,000 tables are still available.

You already know that Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel are once again the presenting sponsors and that the guest author will be Gigi Levangie.

Since the annual chic chick gathering benefits Community Partners of Dallas, you need to check with non-stopper Joanna Clarke at [email protected] about tickets and sponsorship opportunities. If anyone can make your ticket dreams come true, she’s the gal.

 

November 29 Round Robin: Gingerbread Stroll, Chick Lit, DIFFA, Dwell With Dignity, Artful Bowls And Artreach

“Why is Thursday the must-night for all events?” asked Jill Rowlett Wednesday, considering the plethora of goings-on the next day. Good question. Haven’t a clue. But last night proved her right. This Thursday night was especially taxing. Perhaps it was because it was the last hurrah before the December holiday parties kicked into gear. The full moon above seemed to the only place where Dallas gadabout weren’t partying.

Gingerbread Stroll

Lynn McBee, David Perry-Miller, Paige McDaniel and Christine McKenny*

Community Partners of Dallas‘s Paige McDaniel juggled fundraising events to a new max. On one side of the Highland Park Village she was thanking and shopping at Cole Hahn. Oh, it just so happened to be the site of the last-gasp of the Gingerbread Stroll benefiting CPD with

Gingerbread Mansion by the Rosewood Mansion’s Nicolas Blouin*

Gingerbread Stroll founder Christine McKenny thanking all for their support and encouraging them to keep bidding and voting on the houses located throughout the Village. Kids and parents filled the store along with chefs Nicolas Blouin of the Mansion and Joy Lynn . Nicolas admitted that in France they have no gingerbread houses, only castles. Dave Perry-Miller added that Nicolas had asked about the kind of house that DP-M agent Christine sold. Dave’s answer, “Park Cities mansion.” Voila — Nicolas created a gingerbread castle smack dab in the middle of Cole Haan. No sooner had the presentation been made than CPD VP of Development Joanna Clark was at Paige’s elbow reminding her of the Chick Lit announcement party benefiting CPD across the way. It was in a hold-mode waiting for Paige. So, paying up her bill and gathering her purchases, Paige followed by CPD fans like

Harker Sherrill with Melissa Sherrill*

Lynn McBee in beautiful stilettos with heels as skinny as toothpicks and Melissa Sherrill and her twins, Harker and Lily,  headed to Billy Reid.

Chick Lit Luncheon

Joanna Clark has a lot of personality highlighted by a laugh that could fill a ballroom. She also can smile when she threatens one with death. And that was the situation when someone asked her to name the author of the April 5th Chick Lit Luncheon at Brook Hollow benefiting Community Partners of Dallas. She had even threatened her boss Paige McDaniel with the same fate if she told one person.

Lisa Singleton and Paige McDaniel*

With Lisa Singleton assisting in the unwrapping of pashminas covering the reveal poster in the back of the stylish clothes boutique, Paige revealed the author would be movie producer Brian Grazer‘s ex — Georgianne Levangie. In addition to writing “The Starter Wife,” “Maneater,” “The After Wife” and “Queen Takes King,” Georgianne has promised to have tales to tell at the luncheon. In other words, dishing will not be limited to the plateware.

Ah, but there were still more surprised to be revealed. For instance, Allie Beth Allman will be the luncheon’s honorary chair.

Kristin Baker*

Then there was the drawing for a $250 gift certificate at Billy Reid’s. It was limited to only those who had successfully guessed the author. And the lucky person was Kristin Baker.

And to add to CPD’s win-win-win evening. Billy Reid’s Hillary Gilbert announced that 10% of all sales through the weekend would go to CPD.

DIFFA Holiday Wreath Party

More than 125 let’s-get-in-the-holiday mood types gathered at Timothy Oulton for the wreath auction benefiting DIFFA. Everywhere you looked, there were wreaths in every nook and cranny. Now these wreaths weren’t just the regular old garland splattered with holly berries and a ribbon or two. Nope! There was one blue one with fishes and a seahorse that was valued at $1,700 from Olivia Riegel. Excuse us. What? It was nice but $1,700? Ah, but upon reading the description card it seemed a three-day stay at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui was included.

Clint Mordecai’s “Holidazed” wreath*

And then there was Clint Mordecai‘s “Holidazed — Dirty Martini” wreath that came along with a Smartini gift basket and two uptown players tickets. That one was valued at $1,200.

Scott Pharr, Donna Sedota and Omar Esparza*

And just like the designer wreaths, the guests like Holly Haber, Joani White, Scott Pharr, Omar Esparza, Donna Sedota, birthday gal Carmaleta Whiteley wearing a brand new necklace, Lee Bailey, James Campbell, John Phifer Marrs, Simona Beal, James Shackelford, Rob Brinkley and Oulton neighbor Lisa Garza were standing, sitting and sipping everywhere you looked except in the tank with the yellow submarine.

James Shackelford and Simona Beal*

BTW, instead of the usual British guards in very proper, buttoned-up red jackets at the door, the delicious male models were totally unbuttoned.

Dwell With Dignity

Up on the 20th floor of The Azure high-rise condo building, guests enjoyed libations and light hors d’oeuvres as Sarah and (personal injury attorney) Doug Monsour opened the doors of their spectacular new three-bedroom unit, once the home of former Dallas Cowboy Terrell Owens. Redesigned recently in a “soft contemporary” style by Susan Smith and Vicki Crew of Urban Interiors, the Monsours’ place features lots of beautiful artwork from the Craighead Green Gallery. Urban Interiors and Craighead Green are donating a percentage of the gallery’s art

Vicki Crew, Sarah Monsour and Susan Smith**

sales to the nonprofit Dwell with Dignity group throughout the month of December.

Brad Ellis**

Partygoers including Kenneth Craighead and artists Kendra North and Brad Ellis enjoyed the stunning views of Dallas at night, while Vicki described what the place looked like when T.O. had it. Back then it featured a big central column that was covered in glass mirrors, a disco ball, and walls that were painted with different colors. Sarah, who said the Monsours spend 80 percent of their time at their more traditional home in Longview, showed off an automatic neon-lighting feature in the kitchen ceiling that flashes a rotation of different colors, like turquoise. The family’s three children like to keep the feature going 24/7 when they’re in town, Sarah said. Added Vicki: “It’s like a little remembrance of T.O.”

Over in the Design District, two more parties were also raising money for good causes.

Artful Bowls

Quan Dang and Mary Tomas**

At the Mary Tomas Gallery, about 150 guests showed up for the second annual Artful Bowls fundraiser, benefiting the 2013 Paws Cause. Under the direction of chair Karol Wilson, the event was on track to match last year’s net of $4,000. The funds will go specifically to the SPCA of Texas spay and neuter clinic at Village Fair in South Dallas.

Guests including Joe Pacetti, Diane Brierley, John Acton, Jocelyn White, Teena McMills, and SPCA president James Biasput in their silent-auction bids on a wonderful array of hand-painted ceramic pet-bowl sets. Once again, the ceramics were provided at a “very reduced rate” by BP’ers Ceramic Art Studio in Richardson.

Karol Wilson, James Bias and Diane Brierley**

One of the artists painting for the cause was Quan Dang, whose two kitty dishes drew a $100 bid. Asked what he called the dishes, if anything, Dang replied, “Can we call them Pussy Galore?”

Artreach-Dallas

Artreach holiday trees**

Up the street and around the corner, meanwhile, Artreach-Dallas hosted a holiday affair called Bough Wow! at the 129 Leslie space. With catering by Wendy Krispin, the bash showcased the likes of one-of-a-kind decorated wreaths; clothing from J. Hilburn Men’s Clothier; food from Mother Shucker’s Tamales; and several spectacular, 7.5-foot-tall holiday trees. Two that caught our eye in particular were sponsored by the Ben E. Keith Co. and Kaleta Doolin. Kaleta’s on the board of directors for Artreach, whose purpose is arts outreach to low-income families, the disabled and the elderly in North Texas.

* Photo credit: Jeanne Prejean
** Photo credit: Glenn Hunter

Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon Once Again Caused Talk Even Afterwards

Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon is always memorable. Last year author Emily Giffin made news by saying Jennifer Aniston had been the victim of her then-husband’s future fiancée’s placing stories in the media about Jen’s not wanting to have children and that being the cause of the breakup of their marriage. Guess Emily won’t be invited to the Brangelina wedding.

This year the news resulting from the April 20 luncheon came from a different source and, while not dealing with the shock and awe of tabloid fodder, it took the air out of the rooms filled with Community Partners of Dallas fans and friends.

But more about that later.

Before the masses gathered, VIP’s assembled for a private get-acquainted reception with author/keynote speaker Allison Winn Scotch. Those who had met Allison the night before at the patrons’ party on the upper level of Barneys were rather astounded at her recalling details from the brief chat. Hey, folks, the gal hasn’t made a reputation for interviewing the likes of Steve Carrell, Kirsten Bell, Brooke Shields and Jennifer Garner for nothing. Unlike Emily, Allison is a tad bit more stealth, subtly gathering and stockpiling info. Don’t worry. No one betrayed any family secrets of gal-pal indiscretions . . . or, or at least, it didn’t appear so.

Allison Winn Scotch

Allison fit in so easily with the ladies that one guest thought she was a member of the local CPD posse.

Well, they were almost right. It seems that back in the early 2000s, Allison moved to Dallas The reason? A guy. And like many of those types of romantic gestures, it ended quickly with Allison’s mom arriving on the scene to help her daughter escape the scene of the relationship-gone-bad.

Allison admitted that when the invite to attend Chick Lit came, she was a bit apprehensive and curious about returning to Big D. No, the chap was long gone and Allison has happily moved on with her life — getting married, developing a stellar career as an author and having a couple of kids and a Lab.

But she wondered how Dallas had changed, too. Luckily, she discovered the city had progressed but like Allison still maintained its core self. She even found time to get together with an old friend from her Dallas daze at Bread Winners in Uptown. While there she checked out her old digs.

Tanya Roberts, Lynn McBee and Mary Gill

But Luncheon Chair Mary Gill and Honorary Chair Jan Miller had planned for the Chick Lit luncheon to be more than an occasion for Allison to reminisce about her previous Dallas experiences and her life now. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the support, contributions and friendship provided by Lynn McBee, who received the Partners for Children Award. With husband Allan and his mother, Tina McBee, watching tableside, Lynn accepted the award and a standing ovation throughout Brook Hollow.

Allan McBee and Tina McBee

And then there was the moment mentioned earlier. No, it wasn’t Allison or Lynn. It was CPD Executive Director Paige McDaniel, whose infectious smile and enthusiasm are legendary.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Paige McDaniel

Paige in her typical ebullient style captured the room’s attention by telling who the heroes were in her life.

Cindrette McDaniel

Cindrette McDaniel

There was her mom, Cindrette, who was seated nearby. Then there was Lynn, Oprah, Mother Teresa, George Washington and  . . . WFAA’s sports anchor Dale Hansen.

Now, nothing against Dale, but more than a few well-coiffed eyebrows were raised at his being on Paige’s heroes list.

But Paige had set the scene up perfectly. She told how following the Jerry Sandusky revelations, Dale did his “Thank God for Kids” commentary during the holidays. A video of Dale’s revelation was played in which he admitted to his own experience of being abused as a child at 10 and how he had kept it secret for 53 years. The video ended and it served its purpose of reminding the guests of the horrors that child victims live with. The room was silent.

Ah, Paige was not through with this POA. Follow the jump for the rest of the story. [Read more…]

Guess Who’s Coming To Chick Lit Luncheon To Chat For Community Partners of Dallas?

Paige McDaniel

Whether it’s the adorably cute gals who support the annual Chick Lit luncheon or the enthusiasm over ever-lovable Community Partners of DallasPaige McDaniel, you just know that when the announcement party is held it’s going to be fun, eye-catching guests and shopping. That’s exactly what happened Thursday night at Trina Turk in HP Village.

Before the guests even arrived, they had been given three clues on whom the author would be for this year’s April 20th luncheon at Brook Hollow. The plan called for the guests to guess who the author/speaker would be. Those who guessed correctly had their names put into a drawing for a trinket from Trina’s. Now, these are smart gals, who know their authors, and yet only three qualified for the drawing. Who won? Later.

Lara Tafel, Simona Beal and Mary Gill

Before the drawing or even the announcement of the author, the gals had to chat and shop. It’s in the genes, don’t you know. Luncheon Chair Mary Gill was thrilled that Lara and Robert Tafel had once again signed on to present the luncheon that provides funds CPD. . . . Lynn McBee was shopping and still receiving rave reviews over the test lighting of the Margaret Hunt Hill

Nancy Gopez

Bridge. . . Just as Nancy Gopez was preparing to take a photo of Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Holly Davis and JB Hayes, something went wrong. No, the trio was

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Holly Davis and JB Hayes

picture perfect, but the lithium battery in Nancy’s camera was dead. A first! Nancy is the “Energizer Buddy” of her pals when it comes to shooting them (with a camera, that is). She admitted that her dad always reminds to keep a back-up battery nearby. Ah, the saged words of

Elizabeth Tripplehorn and Alex Laurenzi

fathers! . . . Elizabeth Tripplehorn with Alex Laurenzi was making a quick stop-shop-run before heading to Nick and Sam’s. Alex was a brave man to have agreed to venture into this very chick event.

Then the moment of revelation took place. Ah, but first Paige reminded them that the luncheon was oh-so much more than just gals lunching and listening to an author.  She told them how CPD helped 16,000 kids this past year including kids who had been left in the care of their brother while mom, a fast-food worker, was away at work. The mother was called and told there was trouble at the house. When she arrived, it seemed that the brother’s old gang pals had come by and starting creating real trouble. So much so that the children were found hiding in a closet with a blanket over their heads. Those are the kinds of situations that CPD helps.

Lynn McBee

Finally it was announcement time. Receiving the “Partners for Children Award” this year will be Lynn McBee and the author will be Allison Winn Scotch, who wrote “Time of My Life, “The One That I Want,” “The Song Remains the Same,” just to mention a few. In addition she has done celebrity profiles on Steve Carrell, Kirsten Bell, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Garner, etc.) for American Way.

According to Paige, “She has been described by one of our past authors, Jen Lancaster (2010), as ‘someone who is not only an excellent writer, but also a wonderful storyteller.’ “

Then the drawing was held for a bracelet from Trina’s and the winner was. . . follow the jump to find out. [Read more…]

Nobody Slept At The Chick Lit Slumber Party

Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash

Last week if you spotted a bunch of gals in their pajamas at the Mansion Bar Tuesday night, there’s a good explanation. Blame it on the Chick Lit crew. Seems they decided to have a Chick Lit Slumber Party at the Studio Movie Grill. And like any fun(d)raiser, the gals just couldn’t wear their familiar old T-shirts or holey granny gowns. Instead it was a fashion show of caftans, robes, flannel pj’s and peignoir sets. Why one guest even brought her “blankie.”

Because it was such a girlie affair event chairs Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash arranged to have “Pretty in Pink” shown on the big screen, popcorn served with wine, and, of course, the typical slumber party necessities like lip gloss, nail polish and sleeping masks.

After the movie was over, the ladies didn’t really spend the rest of the night at the Studio Movie Grill. While some headed home, a bunch of them headed to the bar at the Mansion in their “pajama chic” attire.

BTW, if you’re wondering why the Molly Ringwald movie was shown, it was picked to set the mood for the April 1st Chick Lit Luncheon‘s author Emily Giffin, who has a movie coming out in early May based on her first book, “Something Borrowed,” starring Kate Hudson.

Photo credit: Dana Driensky