MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon is the one occasion when guests see “old friends” on the runway as models display donated outfits up for bid. There have even been rumors that some ladies have bought back their own outfits, especially after having fashion show producer Jan Strimple edit them to current trends.

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Joyann King

So, when Event Chair D’Andra Simmons Lock moved the fundraiser to the Meyerson on Tuesday, May 2, it called for more clothes, a celeb guest like Editor Joyann King, honorary co-chairs/sister Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne and a first-ever presenting sponsor.

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

It all came to pass and even more, like a photographic tribute to The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command. So, while the post is underway, check out the faces and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Ellen And John McStay Hosted The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show Patron Party At Their Traffic-Stopping Home

Ellen and John McStay

Ellen and John McStay’s home on Beverly Drive is one of the real showstoppers. And that says a lot. Unlike other traditional palaces on Highland Park’s show road, this one is sleek, clean and so very contemporary.

Perhaps that’s why the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show patron party was jammed with guests to check out the McStay digs on Monday, May 1.

Kathie King and Margot Perot

But the peeps in the crowd weren’t too shabby either. The hosts were in the entry with Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King looking on as her newlywed daughter/ editor Joyann King was greeting Margot Perot.

In addition to editing and agreeing to be part of the fashion show fundraiser, Joyann had gotten married in July to Jeremy Michael. The twosome met on a blind date set up by Dallas native/designer Lela Rose in 2014. Despite a rainy day, Joyann’s and Jeremy’s wedding at André Balazs‘ estate Locusts-on-Hudson was fabulous including her Lela Rose wedding dress. Mother of the bride Kathie wore a custom design by Dallas designer Patti Flowers.

Joyann King

Elisa Summer

Over their shoulders were Honorary Co-Chairs/sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne and their mom Vicki Howland, Anne Davidson with Mark Porter, Carol Seay, Fran Wittenberg Cashen, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Area Commanders Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich and Dee Simmons.

Late to arrive was Fashion Show Chair D’Andra Simmons, who had been taking care of last minute deets like getting wine for the party. No worry. It was all taken care of. The gal has become a juggling pro. With the fashion show on Tuesday, May 2, and her co-chairing Cancer Blows a few days later, D’Andra is due for some down time.

Twas an early night, since the fundraising fashion show, luncheon and shopping at the Meyerson was the next morning.

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons Reveals Surprises For Fundraiser

Try as she might, D’Andra Simmons cannot do anything without sparkle, splash and special. In this case, it was The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon on Wednesday, September 21, at Market.

It was pretty obvious to area shoppers that something was up with the mini-billboard graphic promoting the 20th anniversary of the SAWA fundraiser.

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D'Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D’Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Then when folks like Elisa Summers, Heather Washburne, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and D’Andra posed in front of the billboard, it was definitely hints of what’s to come. And why did that Lynn Dealey illustration include a copy of Harpers Bazaar?

Inside Market, staffers gathered in groups as guests joined among the goodies and what goodies they were.

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

In the back showroom there was a mammoth graphic in a gold frame about The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex fundraiser, but it would wait until the guests cocktailed in the main room with Ramona Jones, Mary Potter, Lynn McBee, Vicki Howland, Kim Rozell, Jeri Kleiman, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Carol Seay, Jimmy Westcott, Ann and David Carruth and Warehouse Couture Co-Chairs Toni Turner and JoAnna Turner.

Then the guests were herded into the back show room where a floor-to-ceiling frame with the graphic stood. As Elisa and Heather slipped behind a curtain surrounding the frame, husband Ray Washburne leaned against the wall across the way.

Joyann King

Joyann King

Then the reveals were underway with D’Andra and Major Barbara telling of the many ways that The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex were doing more than ringing bells with kettles during the holidays.

D’Andra then announced this year’s fundraiser on Tuesday, May 2, would be a first in many ways. Instead of being held at a country club or hotel, it would be at the Meyerson. It would also be the first time that a national media group would be involved. D’Andra and Kathie King had arranged for Harpers Bazaar to not only be part of the festivities, but Kathie’s daughter, Editor Joyann King, will also emcee.

Then the reveal of the honorary co-chairs was made as the huge graphic slid to the side and the sisters stood in the frame.

Carlos Nicholls

Carlos Nicholls

The final announcement was the reveal of the event’s theme. Against a black canvas, artist Carlos Nicholls dipped his brush in yellow paint and wrote, “Fashion is art. You are the canvas.”

But thank heaven not everything would be different for the 20th anniversary. Fashion show producer Jan Strimple will once again be coordinating the runway action. What some folks do not realize is the behind-the-scenes preparation. Once clothes are turned in, SAWA volunteers sort through the merchandise. In the meantime Jan does far more than match the donated clothes with models for the runway.  Some of the items are from bygone seasons and need some updating. That’s where Jan’s wizardry comes into place. Perhaps a hem needs to be shortened, or the ruffles on the cuffs need to be taken off, or a belt needs to be added to accentuate the waist. Jan goes through the hundreds of donated outfits, picks out the showstoppers and has them refreshed where there is need.

D’Andra stressed the need for donations. After all, the luncheon’s Chic Boutique, where some of North Texas’ most fashionable types scour the bargains, is a key to the fundraising success.

Speaking of the donations, Jan reported that the deadline for turning in clothes is earlier this year. “We’re doing pick-ups and taking dropoffs all fall, hoping to have the majority of donation in by the end of January.” Clothes and accessories may be dropped off at Tootsies.

JUST IN: D’Andra Simmons Announces Deets About The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon

D’Andra Simmons’ summer vacation was nonexistent. For months, she’s been working around the clock on two mammoth undertakings — chairing The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary 2017 Fashion Show and Luncheon and co-chairing Cancer Blows. Both will take place at the Meyerson within a week of each other.

Elisa Summers, Barbara and Jonathan Rich, Heather Washburne and D'Andra Simmons

Elisa Summers, Barbara and Jonathan Rich, Heather Washburne and D’Andra Simmons

Wednesday night she unleashed news about the fundraiser for The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command. While more deets will be provided in the days to come about the jammed gathering at Highland Park Village’s Market and typical over-the-top reveal, here is a rundown of the news.

Being a smart business woman, D’Andra had already raised $125,000 from two donations — $50,000 and $75,000. Now for more biggie news that Ms. D unveiled last night.

First the showing of “experienced clothes” will take place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Meyerson. But you already knew that. Just wanted to refresh those brain cells. And remember it’s not going to take place on the traditional Monday.

Joyann King

Joyann King

Second, the event will have a national sponsor — Harper’s Bazaar with Editor Joyann King as the event’s emcee. King trivia: Joyann’s mom just happens to be The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s President Kathie King’s daughter.

Third, the honorary co-chairs will be sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

Fourth, fashionable producer Jan Strimple will be orchestrating the fashion extravaganza.

Fifth, the theme for the event will be “Fashion is art. You are the canvas.”

Sixth, clean out those closets now and drop them off at Tootsie’s. But if you have too many to fit in your SUV, give SAWA a call at 214.637.8121 and they’ll send an 18-wheeler over.


MSC Opportunity: Gateway TO Opportunity Luncheon

According to Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon Co-Chairs Tracy Lange and Paula Miltenberger,

Paula Miltenberger (File photo)

Paula Miltenberger (File photo)

Tracy Lange (File photo)

Tracy Lange (File photo)

“Sadly, more than 5,000 children in the Dallas area do not have a place to call home. These children rely on friends, relatives and the generosity of strangers to help make a difference for their world.  Unfortunately the numbers are growing at a record pace of children and families that do not have home.

Family Gateway opened in October of 1986 when Mayor-Pro Tem Annette G. Strauss saw families living on the streets of Dallas and envisioned a facility where homeless families could stay together as a family unit in a safe place. Today, Family Gateway is the largest provider of supportive housing for homeless families in North Texas. We believe that a family that stays together provides the most stability and long term success for children. Our mission is to end child homelessness in our area and with your help we can do it.

“Our annual luncheon, ‘Gateway to Opportunity,’ will be Tuesday, September 27th at the Omni Hotel. We are honored and excited that Jenna Bush Hager will be our guest speaker. She has been an ongoing advocate for children and ensuring that we all do our part to help the generations to come. Honorary event co-chairs are Tracy and Kent Rathbun. Special Advisors are fundraising experts Gina Betts and D’Andra Simmons.

Kent and Tracy Rathbun (File photo)

Kent and Tracy Rathbun (File photo)

Gina Betts (File photo)

Gina Betts (File photo)

D'Andra Simmons (File photo)

D’Andra Simmons (File photo)

“We ask that you partner with us to end child homelessness by purchasing a sponsorship or table, or underwriting necessary funds need to make sure this event is a success. Metro PCS is our Presenting Sponsor. Please visit for volunteer and luncheon sponsorship opportunities.

“On behalf of the homeless children and their families, we say thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 27, at the Omni.”

Salvation Army Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons Is Moving Fundraiser To A New Venue

D'Andra Simmons (File photo)

D’Andra Simmons (File photo)

While others are going through various forms of graduations and others are prepping for June weddings, Salvation Army of Dallas-Fort Worth Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons is getting her swans in a row for 2017. She just reported that the annual luncheon/fashion extravaganza isn’t returning to Brook Hollow Golf Club nor to a hotel.

Nope! Lady D’A is headed to the Meyerson Symphony Center for the Women’s Auxiliary of the Salvation Army D-FW fashion extravaganza. She’s a veteran at doing mega events at the Meyerson. It was in March 2015 that she co-chaired Cancer Blows!

And, dang it! She teased with promises of additional plans for the annual fundraiser featuring “experienced” fashions and hoop-la.

That D’Andra has something up her sleeve. Stay tuned.

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

Family Gateway’s 2012 Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Ramped Up Its Raucous Status With Chaotic Results And Riotous Fun

Two years ago the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon was a cute little affair with a dozen local celebs working for tips. Kim Fischer led a group of gals in a spontaneous “Baby Bump,” and polo-playing Vaughn Miller rode Brendan Higgins around one of the Ritz-Carlton ballrooms with 150 guests looking on. Luncheon Chair Kristi Bare was thrilled that this first-time venture earned $55,000 for Family Gateway.

Last year Co-chairs Maggie Cooke Kipp and Shay Geyer more than doubled the guest and waiter count. Instead of ramping up the activity one or two cautious steps, the luncheon was the topic du jour for weeks and months to come. Why, there were those who claimed they could hear Steve Kemble leading the guests in “YMCA” during poor old Mike Modano‘s farewell press conference in the next ballroom. The walls shook and a legend was created.

The only problem with a legend is keeping up the legend. That was the issue facing returning Co-chairs Maggie and Shay. Could they actually top last year? Or, would it be a snore in comparison?

The twosome were taking on the challenge without hesitation. They combined all three Ritz ballrooms, arranged for around 50 waiters, upped the guest count to more than 450, and had one lengthy main stage in the middle of the room and four mini-stages in the corners of the ballroom.

Rhonda Sargent Chamber’s table

Veteran waiters dressed up their tables with all types of goodies. They just knew that in order to get tips, they had to impress. Rhonda Sargent Chambers draped pashminas around chairs and had gift bags filled with Laura Mercier makeup products and jewelry.

In keeping with the tradition of the past, the waiters arrived around 9:30 to prep with makeup artists and camaraderie in a meeting room. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, by the time all the waiters arrived, the room seemed like a size six sausage-wrap dressed for a full-figured gal. Any wallflower or sorta-shy-type didn’t stand a chance in this crowd.

One of the waiters had even had a banner made to add to the decor, but the Ritz folks wouldn’t allow them to hang it. However, for $75 the Ritz staff would post it on poles. The fee was paid and the sign was displayed.

Maggie Cooke Kipp, Faye Briggs, Scott Murray and Shay Geyer

As Maggie, Shay and emcees Scott Murray and Steve Kemble started to explain the POA, someone announced that Honorary Chair Faye Briggs had arrived. The applauding crowd made way for the petite patron saint of celebrity waiters. All wanted their picture taken with her.

2012 Celebrity Waiters

But then it was time for the annual celeb group photo and there was no room in the prep area, so an adjacent empty room was opened up. Like college kids at Padre Island, the crowd partied their way from room to room. With Faye seated in the very middle, photos were taken.

D’Andra Simmons, Jeremy Lock and Pamela Martin-Duarte

Then the celebs’ official cocktail hour was underway. D’Andra Simmons was introducing her new boyfriend, Master Sergeant Jeremy Lock to one and all. He’s a six-time winner of the Military Photographer of the Year. . . Matt Nordgren was in the hallway getting friendly with Sydney Kaplan. . . Jane McGarry was catching up with old buddy Brendan Higgins. . . It got so loud in the room that you couldn’t even hear Dee Lincoln laugh!

Daylon Pereira, Sydney Kaplan and Matt Nordgren

In the meantime, the guests were checking out the silent auction items and each other in the lobby outside the ballroom.  Some were comparing notes on Thursday’s overload of fashion experiences (Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon and Fashion’s Night Out); others were looking forward to the formal launch of the social season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala Saturday night.  

But as soon as the ballroom doors opened, the guests quickly made their way to their tables like children to a Christmas tree on the 25th. They all knew surprises were in store.

On the main stage, Scott welcomed all saying that “this is one of the most fun, exciting events. We’re here to have fun.” After a brief summary of Family Gateway’s program including the fact that on any night, 3,000 children are on the streets of Dallas, the first cannon blast exploded in the room with the arrival of Steve K.

Running up on the stage, he pointed out Faye Briggs seated at a front row table, saying, “She’s such a special person. Thank you so much for everything you do.”

Steve Kemble and Teresa Frosini

The ballroom lights then dimmed for a video to be shown explaining how waiters earned tips from guests. Beyond the ballroom doors, cheers from the waiting waiters were heard. Following the video, with the lights still turned down, slides of the waiters appeared on the screen. Hardly a dozen pictures had been shown when two doors at the far end of the ballroom opened to a nonstop flow of manic celebs. Some headed to their tables, but the multitude seemed to go straight to a stage, dancing to “Call Me Maybe” and then “Celebrate.” Rhonda, Courtney Kerr and Maria Sullivan danced on one of the mini-stages near their tables. Jewel Shona Gilbert joined them, waving her boa around.

Even guests got into the action. Or, rather, were drafted. Realtor Doris Jacobs found herself dancing on the main stage between Karen Lukin and LeeAnne Locken. Courtney left the mini-stage and headed to the big-time main stage. She waved a sign reading “Courtney Loves Family Gateway” as if she were a presidential candidate looking for votes.  

Karen Lukin, Doris Jacobs and LeeAnne Locken

Great! The luncheon started where the last one left off, with raucous singing and dancing. Now it was time for the waiters to sell silverware for tips and perform requested acts of embarrassment. Well, that’s not exactly what happened. There were savvy veteran guests like Lynn Dealey, who brought their own knives and forks. But throughout the rest of the day there were flashmobs of celeb waiters back on stage, dancing wildly. It was starting to take on the appearance of a Celebrity Entertainers Luncheon.

Instead of past luncheons, where the emcee would announce the next stunt to be performed for a tip, the developments seemed more like a three-ring circus with no rings. The roof was being raised along with the much-needed funds.

According to Family Gateway Executive Director Rob Alberts, last year’s event netted “right under $100,000,” but the demand for Family Gateway services had increased 500% in the last two years in terms of the number of families served. This day’s luncheon was the organization’s major single event. But Rob also admitted that the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon was not the norm. As he stood in the back of the room watching the over-the-top antics, he admitted that he had earlier told his staff, “The train just left the station. All we can do now is hold on.”

Hunter Sullivan and and Janet Ivy

Benny Black did a lap dance for a female guest on stage. . .Crooner Hunter Sullivan earned $150 serenading Janet Ivy. . . One of the guy waiters did an impression of Ethel Merman singing Happy Birthday. . . A fully-clothed Teresa Frosini belly danced. . . Dallas police celebrity Rich Emberlin made a thong out of yellow caution tape, when he wasn’t handcuffing people including a major law firm partner . . . Brendan chop-chopped a board with his hand. . . Reality TV

50 Shades of Fabulous waiters

personality Connie Dieb and her Fifty Shades of Fabulous entourage commandeered the mini-stage near the screen. . . Marco Rivera and Ashanti Blaize did 15 pushups on stage. . . Hamilton Sneed, Dawn Neufeld and Yolanda Banks hip-hop danced on stage. . . NFL types Marc Colombo and Ryan Neufeld did whatever they wanted. . . Dan Pritchett sans his usual hat

Jackie Pittman and Ty Treadway

brought his guitar for strumming. . . Ty Treadway, who had donned pink rabbit ears and a matching hula skirt, got on stage and slowly started stripping items off. To the disappointment of many of the ladies at his table, he stopped at opening his shirt. New mom Jackie Pittman immediately jumped up on stage for a photo with the bare-chested hunk. . . Jody Dean started to do the Centipede Dance and ended up being wheelbarrowed by LeeAnne Locken. Afterwards, Jody grabbed his stomach, confessing, “You don’t do that if you’re wearing a belt buckle.”

First-time waiter Terri Provencal admitted to being overwhelmed, saying, “Next year I’ll be a guest. I’m not good at being a waiter.”

Unfortunately, Honorary Chair Faye, who had been applauded by the celebs and treated like a princess during the lunch, was met with reality at the valet stand. She found herself among those waiting for more than half an hour for her car. Ah, how fleeting the place of honorary chair can be.

For more photos, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

With The 2011 Junior League Gala A Recordbreaker, D’Andra Simmons And Colin Duchin Are Making Engaging Plans

Just as the Monarch butterflies return to Mexico for the winter, the mega-fundraisers of Dallas are preparing to wing back to Dallas from all parts to raise more money for the nonprofits. But don’t think they’ve been lolling around working on their tans and recovering from various types of “refreshening.”

There you go again. You want an example. All right, since you demand.

Colin Duchin and D'Andra Simmons

Made-by-Mattel-adorable D’Andra Simmons and Colin Duchin have taken each other officially off the most wanted list of beautiful eligibles. D’Andra had hinted that once she had marshalled a successful Junior League of Dallas campaign and closed the books, she and Colin would focus on their future. Well, Ms. Simmons’ JLD gala broke past records and the accountants were smiling when the final total was written in ink.

But D’Andra’s cross-country travels put a detour in plans. Well, a girl’s got to take care of business and Ultimate Living had her making personal appearances all over.

Finally, this weekend the twosome managed to escape the Texas heat and the demands of work. They headed up to Colin’s sister Courtnay Duchin‘s place in Bozeman, Montana. Friday a slew of Duchins were on hand including Courtnay, her husband Jason Bill, their two kids (Eli and Teddy) and Courtnay’s brother Jason when Colin popped the question just like a vintage Cary Grant scene.  According to D’Andra, “It was very sweet. He said, ‘Now that you have met my family and they all love you and I love you, and since you do not have any brothers and sisters, I propose that we be married and you become part of our family.'”

Now, most gals have female intuition when something big is going to happen. But Colin is a romantic at heart and loves to do things with panache. D’Andra was “so shocked that it was in front of his brothers and sisters that I was totally taken aback!! It was hard to process it all and then he was on his knee and I was saying to myself, ‘What just happened?'”

Despite a temporary state of shock, our gal D’Andra didn’t lose her bearings. “My face was bright red! Of course, I said, ‘Yes!’ before I even looked at the ring!!”

The Simmons-Duchin engagement ring

Speaking of gems, Colin came through in true Duchin style. The engagement ring is an 8- to 10-carat oval Tanzanite surrounded by diamonds. Don’t you just know it dazzles with D’Andra’s deep blue eyes. Dang, but Colin has great taste and knows how to win a girl’s ring finger.

Saturday the now-engaged twosome spent the night at Becky Fonda‘s ranch. It was rather bittersweet. Yes, they continued the engagement celebration, but it was probably the last time the group would gather there. Seems Becky was forced to sell the ranch as part of her divorce agreement with her ex-, Peter Fonda. Also on hand were fabulous photo Bruce Weber and his equally fabulous wife Nan Bush, who picked up the tab for dinner at The Bistro in Livingston.

Dee Simmons and Peter Duchin

And how are the folks of the two beautiful people reacting? D’Andra claims, “My parents (Dee and Glenn Simmons) are in shock!! Everyone is happy!! Peter (Duchin) was yelling, ‘Colin just got engaged’ to his group of friends on the phone in Sun Valley. Family is so happy!!!”

Planning next year’s wedding in NYC should be a snap after chairing the JLD gala. Want to bet the theme will be, “And they lived happily ever after”?

Last-Thank-You-Note: D’Andra Simmons

D'Andra Simmons

“The letter is to Alf Khumalo. He is a South African photographer/photojournalist who welcomed me to his home and shared his photographs from the apartheid period along with others of Mandela, Muhammed Ali etc. –Alf is one of my African inspirations! It was a wonderful afternoon I will never forget. He kept on taking pictures even at the threat of death, punishment and persecution on every level during apartheid. What a courageous man!  I have tried to get some of his photos for our new home, but so far no luck getting them here from Africa without picking them up myself. I do have a book of his works that is signed by him from our meeting.

“Dear Alf ,

“One of the great moments in my life was meeting you, hearing your stories, and seeing the humbling photographs in your home of your life’s work. Your documentation of the apartheid period in the history of South Africa made me realize how fortunate I have been on one hand, and how much of a bubble I live in on the other.

“How do I say thank you to someone who impacted my life forever?  They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” let me just say that for me, your pictures were worth a thousand feelings. Alf, our meeting was all too brief. Your photographs will remain with me for the rest of my life and our meeting is stamped on the memory of my soul, along with the haunting images that I will never forget.

“It is in our suffering that we determine the value and the meaning that we place on human life. How much we can endure and how we choose to endure it, defines our human experience. Your photographs and our brief meeting showed me that I have not suffered at all. My trials and tribulations are mere bumps on the road of life, but no great tragedy to be lamented.

“Thank you for sharing your stories, your photographs and your life. But most of all, thank you for instilling in me a renewed compassion for the sanctity of human life.

“With utmost respect and admiration,

“D’Andra C. Simmons”

-D’Andra Simmons

It’s Still Possible To Go “Into Africa”

Ran into Junior League of Dallas Numero Uno Leigh Anne Haugh at lunch and asked her if there were any spots left for Saturday night’s “Into Africa” at the Hilton Anatole.  Wunderkind that she is, Leigh Anne replied that if someone wanted a seat, it would be found. Smart girl! She knows that every seat sold will help support the works of the JLD.

Colin Duchin and D'Andra Simmons

She also reported that international pianist Peter Duchin will be playing until midnight. If you know “Into Africa” Chair D’Andra Simmons, then you’ve probably met her oh-so adorable “friend” Colin Duchin, who inherited his good looks and charm from Papa Peter.

D’Andra Simmons Announces Junior League of Dallas Fundraising Plans With Peter Duchin As A Key Player

D’Andra Simmons (pictured) knows how to get people to attend a party. Just have Peter Duchin, the darling of New York cafe society, not only show up, but play a few tunes on the ivories. And that’s what happened Thursday night at Galerie Zuger for the announcement of JLD’s plans for the upcoming year. What an announcement it was!

Just as the place was in over-fill capacity, the crowd learned that D’Andra  [Read more…]