It Was A “Perfect Season” For Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters At Gail And Cliff Fischer’s Estate Thanks To Vintner Norma Hunt

Nothing makes a lady’s leg long better than a stiletto. But along with beauty can come a bit of a pain in traversing certain areas. One of those areas was the auto courtyard in front of Gail and Cliff Fischer’s more-than-fabulous estate on Wednesday, November 9.

Gail Fischer

Todd and Heather Furniss

Robin and Debby Robinson and Barbara and Ralph Babb

The occasion was the Crystal Charity Ball’s Underwriter Party and the POA was for the guests to have their cars taken at the street and the guests to stroll in the moonlight up to the mansion. This made sense since the driveway’s entry only allowed one car at a time to pass through. With about 200 guests including Debby and Robin Robinson, Barbara and Ralph Babb, Pam and Vin Perella, Linda and Les Secrest, Piper and Mike Wyatt, Tincy Miller, Heather and Todd Furniss, Tom Addis, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Sharon Friedberg and Fisher daughter Elizabeth Fischer   RSVPing, the street drop-off made more sense.

Tincy Miller, Tom Addis, Bette Mullins and Garry Cox

Sharon Friedberg, Stephen Pelitere and Elizabeth FIscher

Only there were a couple of hitches in the plans. First there was a big grate between the street and the driveway, and the valets were worried that the ladies’ heels might fall victim to the large slits in the metal panels.

Then there was the stroll. The courtyard is beautiful, but it is also a gravel one and a couple or three gals had to wobble their way up to the steps with the help of their escorts.

As for the moonlight, it had taken the night off and so could not help the guests up the drive.

Ah, but once inside, it was a glorious gathering with CCB 2016 Chair Christie Carter and CCB Underwriting Chair Claire Emanuelson and husband Dwight Emanuelson along with the evening’s presenting sponsor David Blank and his wife Stacy greeting each guest.

On the entry hall’s huge round table were the favors provided by Norma Hunt — bottles of wine from her Sonoma vineyard. It made sense. The wine was 2013 Perfect Season Cabernet Sauvignon and this year’s CCB theme is “There is a Season….”

And while some folks looked a little bleary eyed from late-night watching of the election returns, one gal admitted that she was so tired of all the news coverage that she went to bed before the final numbers were in. So, how did she find out who had won the presidential election? “I asked Siri.”

Amit Berger, Kelsey Halford and Stacy and David Blank

On the other hand, evening presenter David Blank was bright-eyed in introducing Amit Berger, senior VP of Diamonds Direct that had just purchased David’s Diamond Doctor. Amit has been with Direct for more than 20 years and was previously in charge of the Birmingham store. Diamonds Direct VP of  Marketing and Branding Kelsey Halford once again reassured all that Diamonds Direct would not only continue but would perhaps expand on the store’s presence among the North Texas nonprofits.

JUST IN: Sale Of Diamond Doctor Will Not Change Store’s Commitments For Area Nonprofits

David Blank (File photo)

David Blank (File photo)

One of the nonprofit gems has been bought. Yup, Diamond Doctor, from this day on, will be known as Diamonds Direct. If proof is needed, the electronic sign out front of the Preston Center jewel box is flashing Diamonds Direct right now!

So, what does this have to do with North Texas fundraising and charities? Former Diamond Doctor proprietor David Blank reports that nonprofits need not worry about the status of the store’s support of their efforts. Things will remain in place, including his commitments. Why, even David is still going to remain in-house adding sparkle to hands, wrists and necklines.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Sparkled Among The Diamonds At The Suicide And Crisis Center Of North Texas Fundraiser Patron Party

While the rains of Wednesday, March 9, slowed to a trickle, so did the traffic. Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Executive Director Margie Wright found herself stuck in traffic. She was making her way to Diamond Doctor for the Fashion Stars for a Cause reception.

Amanda Ward, David Blank and Gina Marx

Amanda Ward, David Blank and Gina Marx

Luckily the blonde made it without a drip. It had been a busy year for Margie. Despite the death of her husband Frank, Margie had thrown herself into work. No retiring for her. She proudly reported surrounded by counters of diamonds that she had added all types of bankers and executive types to her SCCNT board.

Across the way past the case gleaming with diamond goodies, the red carpet step-and-repeat was taking place with all types like 2016 Fashion Stars Amanda Ward and Gina Marx and even Diamond Doctor David Blank, who was on his way to the Mavericks game.

Jacque Wynne

Jacque Wynne

Amanda sound like a true-blue sorority sister said that at least two of the FSFC would be MIA due to spring break. (Highland Park and Richard ISDs, Jesuit and Ursuline were all on spring break)

Amanda was husbandless initially. It seems spouse Lloyd Ward had been in Arkansas and before heading to the Diamond Doctor event, he wanted to check in with their kids.

Others in the crowd for the event were Regina Bruce, Jacque Wynne, Martha and David Tiller and Bryant Tillery sans wife Carolyn Tillery, who was home in bed. When asked what ailed Mrs. Tillery, Bryant said, “It’s either what’s been going around or she’s on deadline.” What deadline? Carolyn is in the final stages of producing the Fashion stars for a Cause magazine that would debut at the SCCNT fundraiser on Friday, March 25, at the Dallas Country Club.

Round Robin March 26: Women’s Auxiliary Of The Salvation Army Texas Tea And Côtes Du Coeur Catalog Announcement

Wicked weather hit Oklahoma and the North Texas area dodged the torrential bullet on Thursday, March 26. Since the temps dipped, woolly wear didn’t reappear. But don’t worry. The nonprofits were still hot-to-trot.

Women’s Auxiliary Of The Salvation Army Texas Tea

Dixey Arterburn and Ramona Jones

Dixey Arterburn and Ramona Jones

The question for the Women’s Auxiliary of the Salvation Army on a normal day might have been, “How are the clothes coming?” or “How are ticket sales going for the Salvation Army fundraiser at Brook Hollow?”

Instead it was, “Did you find a parking space?” Seems the Crescent Court launched its face lift on the very same day as the SAWA’s Texas Tea at Stanley Korshak.

Libby Hunt

Libby Hunt

Evidently, everyone didn’t get the memo that the usual valet at Korshak’s front door would be replaced by the one at Capital Grille. But even then Salvation Army Fashion Show and Luncheon Co-Chair Dixey Arterburn arrived early and couldn’t find a parker at the Grille. Upon inquiring in a ladylike fashion with the Capital Grille staff, she was told to just leave her keys and it would be taken care of.

Guess it was just one of the adjustment to new arrangement days, but Women’s Auxiliary President Betsy Chambers, Ramona Jones, Honorary Co-Chairs Libby Hunt, Lissie McCullough and Sharon McCullough were right on time.

Lissie McCullough, Crawford Brock and Sharon McCullough

Lissie McCullough, Crawford Brock and Sharon McCullough

Regardless, Dixey and her Co-Chair Ginger Sager have arranged to have loads of the gently experienced designer clothes hanging around for sale on Monday, May 4, at Brook Hollow. Suggestion: start doing your arm exercises because you’re gonna be carrying out armfuls of fashions.

But on this day it was Korshak’s brand-spanking new clothes and “Texas Tea.”

Côtes du Coeur Catalogue Announcement

David Blank and Kate Rose Marquez

David Blank and Kate Rose Marquez

Later that evening, Diamond Doctor was being hit from all sides by the Côtes du Coeur gang. For a while DD David Blank stood outside greeting guests like Cindy Stager, Gillian Breidenbach, Corry Schiermeyer, Kevin Curley, Kim Bannister, Dick Meyer, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Nick Tarantello and Micheala Davis.

Cindy Stager, Gillian Breidenbach and Corry Schiermeyer

Cindy Stager, Gillian Breidenbach and Corry Schiermeyer

Kim Bannister

Kim Bannister

Mary Martha and John Pickens

Mary Martha and John Pickens

One reason for his doing the meet-and-greet outside was that the store was pretty well filled with peeps with glasses of wine in hand.

Whether it was the Côtes du Coeur wine lovers checking out the Red Escalade in front of DD, hunkering down over the cases of gems on the ground floor or venturing upstairs to see the OMG items, it was an amazing gathering. In addition to the gazillions of dollars of jewels, another reason for the turnout was the presentation of the Côtes du Coeur catalog for the April 25 fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. Just in the nick of time, Côtes du Coeur Chair Kate Rose Marquez rang the bell calling all to the stairs for the catalog presentation. As the information about the wines was being read, it was obvious that some folks were already planning their bids.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Shone Among The Diamond Doctor Gems

Across town at Diamond Doctor, another fashionable group was partying on Thursday, February 12. But there were no hangars or mannequins. Instead there were delicious gems filling cases throughout.

Stacy and David Blank

Stacy and David Blank

Despite Diamond Doctor David Blank’s having a rough month or two (the Blank family all suffered the flu and David’s mom had a stay in ICU), he and wife Stacy were all smiles over the new DD sign out front. The light sign was allowing DD to tastefully showcase causes and specials while not going Vegas Strip.

At one point, Fashion Stars for a Cause Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum tried to assemble the 2015 crop for a photo on the stairs. A couple were missing, but the photo opp took place anyhow.

Toni Munoz Hunt

Toni Munoz Hunt

The normally slim, trim Honorary Co-Chair/model Toni Munoz Hunt looked fabulous in a red lace gown. However there was a slight bulge. Was it a big noontime lunch? Nope. She and husband Daniel Hunt are expecting a baby Munoz Hunt.

At one counter, Nita Hudson looking like a Fashion Star was decked out in electric blue cocktail dress and a fabulous diamond necklace with incredible opal stone pendant. Nita was telling about her rescue St. Bernard/Great Pyrenees, when husband Chris appeared. When some noted Nita’s ring, she told how she had admitted it for a while at DD. One day she was surprised to learn that it had been purchased. Heartbroken she was. That is until Chris presented it to her. Seems sneaky David had met Chris off premises and arranged the purchase including paperwork naming a “faux” purchaser.

Carolyn Tillery and Nita Hudson

Carolyn Tillery and Nita Hudson

As for Fashion Stars, the event will showcase fashions from Belk at the Dallas Country Club on Friday, March 20, with the Suzie Humphreys as emcee and Debbie Murray will be the speaker.

Front row from the left: Yvonne Crum, Toni Munoz Hunt and  Daniel Hunt with the Fashion Stars for a Cause

Front row from the left: Carolyn Tillery, Yvonne Crum, Toni Munoz Hunt and Daniel Hunt with the Fashion Stars for a Cause

Known within fundraising circles as the Raffle Czarina, Yvonne told the crowd “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the raffle.” She reported that raffle tickets for a Royal Raffle Dinner Party are available from any of the 2015 Fashion Stars (Jennifer Fleming, Jamie Fowler, Leah Frazier, Rebecca Hallam, Caroline Harrison, Dr. Naila Malik, Charmaine Marshall, Dawn Mellon, Jessi Moreau, Dawn Neufeld, Melissa Rountree and Cathy Williamson) or by contacting Yvonne. The drawing will take place on Thursday, May 21, with proceeds from the event and raffle going to the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.

Round Robin December 1: Tree Lightings, Wine Tastings, Holiday Gatherings And Diamonds Galore

The rule of thumb is that Mondays are usually quiet for hairdressers and fundraisers. It provides the opportunity to rest up and/or catch up. But since December is the month of being special, Monday, December 1, was anything but quiet, especially with temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s.

Late afternoon Children’s Medical Center Dallas lit up a 40’ tree in the Butterfly Atrium for patients, their families and staffers to enjoy. Of course, they just couldn’t have anyone “throw the switch” to the light up the tree. It was a jolly, old fellow in a red and white suit.

That evening activities exploded. The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society was warming up at Patrick Sands’ home-sweet-home on Lakeside. Anne and Steve Stodghill along with Robert Weatherly were hosting wine-world impresario Jean-Charles Boisset of the Boisset Collection for a seated bubbles and tastings in the Stodghill ballroom for the likes of Annika and Dennis Cail, Katina Anderson, Julie Horn, Carmen and Jerry Miller, Lynae Fearing, Bryan Curran, Kristen and Ross Gatlin and loads of others of the legal-drinking age.

Still others were lighting outdoor trees and checking “ice” inside.

Lee Park Tree Lighting

Gay Donnell and Theresa Daniel

Gay Donnell and Theresa Daniel

Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservatory President/CEO Gay Donnell was rather amazed and gratified by the success of the tree lighting at Lee Park. Last year the event had attracted 300, but this year the headcount was rising to the 500 mark despite a last minute change in arrangement. Had the event been held just 24 hours earlier, it would have been a T-shirt and cargo shorts affair.

But with the cold front courtesy of Canada, it turned out to be heavy-duty coats, Hammacher-Schlemmer heated gloves and necks wrapped in cashmere scarves.

Sharon Galer and Ruth Wiederkehr

Sharon Galer and Ruth Wiederkehr

Thanks to Event Chair Sharon Galer, the Lee Park Conservancy membership was in full force in Arlington Hall enjoying all types of refreshments and decorations. On the grounds, the public with munchkins all bundled up were filling the white folding chairs and sipping hot chocolate waiting for the tree on the grounds to be lit.

Crystal Charity Ball Diamond Dipping

Crystal Charity Ball Just up Preston Road, Diamond Doctor  David Blank opened his two-story “jewel box” for the Crystal Charity Ball crowd.

David Blank and Aileen and Jack Pratt

David Blank and Aileen and Jack Pratt

Well, duh! With a theme of “Jewels of the Garden” for the upcoming children’s fundraising gala, David arranged for a showcasing of $100M worth of diamonds. According to David, this was the first time that a $100M event like this had taken place in Texas. In the spirit of the season, David was donating a percentage of the sales to CCB.

Pat Harloe

Pat Harloe

Even those who had avoided the previous temptations of jewelry ecstasy before couldn’t help falling for  the dazzling red ruby ring surrounded by a star-burst cluster of diamonds with matching ruby and diamond necklace on the ground level.

39-carat fancy intense yellow radiant Diamond ring

39-carat fancy intense yellow radiant diamond ring

And then there was an incredible pink diamond ring keeping company with diamonds on the upper level.

They were all in fine company as millions of dollars worth of jewelry filled the cases — a 39-carat fancy intense yellow radiant diamond for $1.8M; a 30-carat fancy yellow pear-shaped diamond for $1.15M; a 32-carat Harry Winston signet earrings for $2.8M and a 3-carat fancy pink pear diamond ring for $900K to mention a few.

Claudia Jacobs

Claudia Jacobs

But not all were displayed under glass. David’s sister Claudia Jacobs’ neck was surrounded in a rainbow of gems… a 68-carat multi-colored diamond necklace going for $775K.

While the ladies hunkered over counters and tried on the goodies, the fellows (Jack Pratt, Don Conlon, Charles McEvoy, Vin Perella, Brian Diers, Tom Swiley and Kevin Kadesky) made note to check with Santa and David.

Speaking of David, he was in a recovery mode. Seems that the Blank household had been stricken by the season’s first wave of “Yucky Flu.” But this evening was too important and David got his doctor’s “OK,” checked into the hotel, and was in the pink for the night.

One chap was checking out the loose diamonds for a future surprise. Can’t reveal. It would spoil the sussie. Don’t ya just love a surprise?

Round Robin April 22: Crystal Charity Ball Theme Reveal And Trinity Trust’s Trails & Ales

The night of Tuesday, April 22, was one of those rare evenings when the outdoor Dallas was simply beyond perfect and Dallasites were taking full advantage of it. For instance, the Community Partners of Dallas celebrating the Dallas County Child Protective Services Caseworkers and their families at the Dallas Arboretum. It was a very special evening for those who are on the frontline of protecting children in neglectful and abusive situations.

Other activities in the area included:

2014 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Party

The first clue should have been the location of the Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party — The Joule. As guests exited their cars curbside, they were directed to the glass elevator that took them to the rooftop terrace. Perhaps it was the weather being so spring-like, but the ladies in attendance had their brightest colors on. And those jewels!

Stacy and David Blank, Robyn Conlon and Linda Secrest

Stacy and David Blank, Robyn Conlon and Linda Secrest

CCB Chair Robyn Conlon, Linda Secrest, Patty Leydendecker and Shelle Sills were diamond dolls from the tips of their fingers to their ear lobes.

As soon as they got out of the elevator into the open-air terrace, word was passed, “Have you seen the model in the back?”

Mariah Wilcox

Mariah Wilcox

A couple of guests decided they would wait for “the model” to mosey in their direction. Wasn’t going to happen. The model was as stationary as the big eye across the street. In a scene akin to Dallas Blooms was model Mariah Wilcox lounging in an elevated garden setting with fern eyelash extensions and Mother Nature bustier from the brains of Jan Strimple, Tom Addis and Junior Villanueva. Twinkling among the greenery was around  $3 million worth of jewelry. Yup! As Diamond Doctor David Blank looked like a proud papa, the jewels were spectacular rings in the shape of butterflies and flowers and sweeps of diamonds draped from her ears. In her up-swept brown hair were broaches and around her neck was an OMG diamond necklace.

Diamond Doctor "Jewels in the Garden"

Diamond Doctor “Jewels in the Garden”

Jeweled broaches, earrings and necklace plus fern eyelash extensions

Jeweled broaches, earrings and necklace plus fern eyelash extensions

Midway through the evening Robyn told the gathering, “I wanted to do something that had never been done before, something important to me that involved family, friends, summer in California, and Christmas. The last thing you want from Tom Addis is to have his eyes glaze over, though, so it was back to the drawing board! Then we came up with something every woman loves: flowers and jewelry. The theme is Jewels of the Garden.” The announcement was met with approval as the ladies already were thinking jewel-tone gowns and new gems to go with them.

Earlier, Bank of Texas’ Bob White thanked the group for their tireless work to help the children of Dallas and said how pleased he and his team were to be part of the effort.

Also speaking was new Joule General Manager Justine Fields, who had previously been the hotel’s chef. He joked that if they enjoyed the food being served, they could attribute it to him.

After her announcement, Robyn told the group to get back to partying.

Instead of long, drawn-out speeches, the whole reveal and follow-up lasted less than five minutes. The CCB ladies have to raise more than $5M, so there’s no time to waste.

Trails & Ales

Report from the field about the Trinity Trust’s Trails & Ales.

The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats members held the second event of its Trails & Ales series on a perfect spring evening. More than 150 people and pooches met underneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to explore the soon-to-be-completed Trinity Skyline Trail that runs along the Trinity River for 4.6 miles in the Trinity River Corridor. Guests enjoyed beer and wine with sliders from the Butcher’s Son, while they played corn hole and took many photos of themselves along the skyline. Daniel Rodriguez, an acoustic guitar player, played music that set the mood for this outdoor party.

Daniel Rodriquez*

Daniel Rodriquez*

Amber Arseneaux, The Trinity Trust events and center coordinator, led the scenic walk for the group and pointed out the Trinity Skyline Trail connects to the Trinity Overlook Park and the Margaret McDermott Bridge, currently under construction. She told guests, “The Trinity Skyline Trail stretches from Commerce Bridge in West Dallas to the Sylvan Bridge, where it crosses the river and back down to Commerce on the downtown side.”

Amber Arseneaux and Gail Thomas*

Amber Arseneaux and Gail Thomas*

Dr. Gail Thomas, president of The Trinity Trust, said, “The view of downtown Dallas and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from the base of the Trinity was spectacular, and we want everyone to enjoy the green space we have right here in the heart of the city.”

Tierney Kaufman, Stephen Ellis with his dog Bill*

Tierney Kaufman, Stephen Ellis with his dog Bill*

Tierney Kaufman, The Trinity Trust development and outreach coordinator, said, “For those who enjoyed this event, you will want to join us for our exclusive sneak peek of the Continental Avenue Bridge on May 4. In order to do so, join The Trinity Trust Rat Pack or River Rats, and you will receive an invitation before the general public opening in June.” She thanked the sponsors of the event, Ben E. Keith, Dexter & Company and Pinnacle Financial Group.

Kaufman also mentioned several upcoming Trinity related events, including the opening celebration of the Trinity Skyline Trail on June 15:

May 13: The Trinity Trust salutes Judy Kelly for her third Emmy for Bridging The Trinity For The Love Of The City, a documentary commissioned by The Trinity Trust. The event, which is free, is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at The Trinity Trust, 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75207. RSVP to [email protected] or 214.740.1616.

May 17: Trinity River Wind Festival – A free family and dog-friendly event that celebrates the beauty and spirit of the wide open spaces along the Trinity River right in the heart of this thriving city. Activities include the spectacular Japanese Kite Makers and other wind driven recreational fun and action at the show kite arena, Frisbee dogs, bounce houses, clowns, music and more. Visit for information.

June 15: Trinity River Revel – The Continental Avenue Bridge and the West Dallas Gateway will open for pedestrian and bike use. Also opening that day is the Trinity Skyline Trail and the Sylvan Avenue Bridge. Visit for the latest details.

* Photo credit: Jerry McClure

JUST IN: 2014 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Revealed

Last night Crystal Charity Ball Chair 2014 Robyn Conlon revealed the theme for the December 6 CCB fundraiser. The first hint should have been the location of the announcement — The Joule. The second hint — the most amazing and, perhaps, most expensive vignette since Dallas Blooms. Think $3M worth of fabulous gems from Diamond Doctor David Blank‘s treasure chest.

Jewels of the Garden vignette

Jewels of the Garden vignette

More deets to come, but let’s get the theme out there now — Jewels of the Garden.

JUST IN: Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party Postponed

Fashion Stars For A Cause*

Fashion Stars For A Cause*

Word just arrived that tonight’s Fashion Stars For A Cause patron party at Diamond Doctor has been postponed to a later date due to the weather.

Translation: Stay at home and be fashionably warm.

UPDATE: The new date for the champagne toast to the patrons and Honorary Co-Chairs Melody and Rick Rogers is Thursday, February 27.

* Graphic courtesy of Fashion Stars For A Cause

Round Robin November 7 Night: DIFFA Wreath Auction, Urban Revival, Crystal Charity Underwriters Party And More

Yes, Thursday, November 7 continued to be a thriller after lunch. The evening of fundraising had folks trying to be three places at the same time. Alas, choices had to be made. Some committed themselves to just one event like the Flora Award honoring Jan Pickens at the Texas Discovery Garden or the Art for Advocacy Auction. Others party-hopped, like Doris Jacobs, who hosted a “Fall Fashion Reception for Realtors” benefiting the Salvation Army at Tootsies and then headed to the Crystal Charity Ball underwriters party. Here are just a few of the evening highlights:

DIFFA Wreath Auction

At the stroke of 6, Market Hall’s acres of parking were as filled as a stuffed turkey. What the heck? Signs read, “Sample Sale This Way” and “Antiques This Way”.

Seems the Dallas International Art, Antique and Jewelry Show’s ginormous showcase of luxury furnishings and collectibles was in half of the building and a Super Sale was going on in the other part of the building with a wall separating the two.

John Phifer Marrs, Simona Beal, Gillian and Mark Breidenbach

John Phifer Marrs, Simona Beal, Gillian and Mark Breidenbach

Clint Bradley, Debra Nelson and John Bobbitt

Clint Bradley, Debra Nelson and John Bobbitt

For the savvy DIFFA crowd, they either used the valet parking at the entrance or parked across the street in the Dallas Trade Mart parking lot. The not so savvy ones searched for priceless parking spots along the narrow lanes of the Market Hall parking. As the farthest end of the hall, the DIFFA wreath silent auction was underway with champagne flowing and guests snapping cellphone photos of other guests (Debra Nelson, Simona Beal, John Phifer Marrs, Matthew Simon, Clint Bradley and Greg Haynes Johnson), designers and the wreaths, of course.

Alas, sadly to report — the silent auction was a one-nighter. So look for them on the most fashionable Dallas doors.

Robert Chapa's white gift box wreath

Robert Chapa’s white gift box wreath

So, what did you miss? Tractor Beam’s green and red Legos version, Gallerie Noir’s steer skull topped off with a wreath of red roses, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen of herbs and spices that included a dinner party or cocktail party, Moet Hennessy USA’s collection of fans, Robert Chapa’s white wreath of miniature gift boxes surrounding a Christmas morning motif and so many more. But perhaps the most fascinating of the group was the Gensler Architects’ 3D printed prototype that could have been snapped up for $1,200. Or, maybe Cunningham Architects’ wreath of wood shaving surrounding a 19th century bronze signed by Barye?

Cunningham Architect's wood-shaving wreath

Cunningham Architect’s wood-shaving wreath

BTW, thanks to John Bobbitt’s curating the show’s “DIFFA/Dallas Designer Showcase,” DIFFA received a percentage of the opening night’s proceeds and a very nice thank-you in the four-figure range. Speaking of John, his own vignette in the showcase was a treasure of Napoleon III furnishings (1860-1870) with a backdrop of the most magnificent paneled walls with beautiful carvings. But then what else would you expect from him?

John Bobbitt's showcase

John Bobbitt’s showcase

If you did miss this wreath auction, don’t miss the DIFFA 2014 Masquerade this spring.

Urban Revival

Taking the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over the Trinity, more than 250 guests headed for Trinity Groves for Urban Revival benefiting Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. An addition this year was the entry tent with the pop-up shop with all types of goodies from Commonwealth Couture. According to the store’s Lynda Piepgras, not only were 20% of the sales going to Habitat, but Bank of America was going to match that figure.

Nikki and Crayton Webb and Brynn Bagot Allday

Nikki and Crayton Webb and Brynn Bagot Allday

Brint and Amanda Ryan

Brint and Amanda Ryan

Mary Kay village

Mary Kay village

This year’s Co-Chairs Heather and Malcolm Hicks and Nikki and Crayton Webb along with Amanda and Brint Ryan arranged to have 11 “bird mansions” along with little birdhouses for sale. Some were signed by all the Dallas Cowboys, another by the Texas Rangers and still another was inspired by MacKenzie-Childes. One of the birdhouses truly stood out. Underneath a miniature tree with itty-bitty birdhouses was a birdhouse village. At first glance it was a knockout, but look a little closer and you realized that it was made of mascara, lipstick cases and a thatched roof of brushes. Who was responsible for the cosmetic feat? Michael Glassmoyer and his team at Mary Kay!

With a goal of $150,000, the room was soon filled with such folks as Kathy and Richard Holt, Charlene Howell with Habitat Board Member Anne Haskel, Jill Magnuson, Brynn Bagot Allday, David Boyett, Becky and Tommy Bain and Gillian and Mark Breidenbach, who were fresh from the DIFFA wreath auction.

Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters Reception

Kandis and Bill Hutchison and Vicente Fox and Marta Sahagun

Kandis and Bill Hutchison and Vicente Fox and Marta Sahagun

While former Mexican President Vicente Fox with his wife Marta Sahagun was three-deep in fans and friends at Kandis and Bill Hutchinson’s estate the night before addressing the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, just a couple of blocks away at Ann and Lee Hobson’s marvelous home, the underwriters of Crystal Charity Ball were being honored.

David Blank

David Blank

Caren Kline in Diamond Doctor diamonds

Caren Kline in Diamond Doctor diamonds

Thanks to Stacy and David Blank of the Diamond Doctor, the party sparkled with champagne and loads of jewelry. Unlike last year when there were models wearing the beautiful baubles, the ladies of CCB were sporting diamonds like Marilyn Monroe only wishes. In some cases, it was actually hard to tell the loaners from the owned necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets.

Among the crowd glittering and chatting were D’Andra Simmons and fiancée Jeremy Locke, Jeff Byron, Pam Perella, Ralph Babb, Linda and Steve Ivy, Libby Allred, Carol and Don Glendenning, Karen and Bill Seanor, Marilyn Augur and daughter Margaret Hancock, Mary Clare Finney, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Lee Bailey, John Clutts and Dr. Sami Arslanlar and Heather and Bill Esping.

And when guests picked up their vehicles for their ride home, “the doctor” had a lovely surprise for them.

November 1 Round Robin: Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters, Graeme Jenkins Farewell, Flora Awards And Art + Advocacy

Halloween costumes and decoration were old hat last Thursday, and the fundraisers were back in full gear from the Park Cities to Fair Park and from the F.I.G. to the Winspear.

Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters Party

Old timers were eager to see the used-to-be Jimmy and Carl Westcott‘s mansion of red-brick tradition that had been transformed to a cool estate of the very cool. Since Tracy and Richard Cheatham purchased the 12,957-square-foot home-sweet-home, it had gone through a very dramatic transition from classic to ultra contemporary. Let’s think moving from Burberry to Giorgio Armani.

Lucky were the Crystal Charity Ball underwriters. For they got the opportunity to see the mansion at its grandest, with beautiful weather and diamonds galore. No, the diamonds weren’t part of the digs.

Jim and Julie Turner, Aileen Pratt and Stacy and David Blank

As if the diamonds on the guests weren’t dazzling enough, David “The Diamond Doctor” Blank and his wife Stacy arranged to have a dozen freeze-framed, tall-drinks-of-water models decked out in their rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. And these weren’t just big diamonds. These were beautifully designed pieces of gem artwork.

Diamond Dollies

The first hint of the glitter was on the wrist of CCB Chair Aileen Pratt. Yes, the ring was hers thanks to husband Jack, but the scrumptious, 13-karat diamond bracelet was courtesy of Diamond Doctor David for the evening. Alas, Aileen had to return it at the end of the evening because it will be one of the items up for grabs at the CCB auction..

Dallas Opera

Don Winspear, Stacie Whitley and Graeme Jenkins*

There were some real surprises at the Winspear Opera House as 175 people showed up for the Dallas Opera’s “Toast to Graeme Jenkins.” Organized by the opera’s Women’s Board, the reception event marked Jenkins’ 20 years as a conductor and music director of The Dallas Opera—and his decision to retire as director when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season. Jenkins cited an expanding schedule with European opera companies for his decision to step down.

Just before event chair Stacie Whitley welcomed the crowd at the Winspear, a flash mob “spontaneously” broke out in the room. Thirty-five or 40 members of the Dallas Opera Chorus put down their drinks and hors d’oeuvres and broke suddenly into a rendition of the va pensioro chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” opera. Later, DO Concertmeister Jing Wang played the “Meditation” from Jules Massenet’s “Thais” opera, accompanied by Michael Heaston on piano.

Leading the guests in a literal “toast” to Jenkins, Don Winspear, chairman of the DO board of directors, praised the London-born maestro’s brilliance and versatility. And Keith Cerny, the DO’s general director and CEO, said he’s been especially proud of Jenkins’ work on the operas “Boris Gudunov” and “Tristan und Isolde.”

During the reception, Cerny said discussions are continuing to bring Jenkins back to Dallas on occasion as a guest conductor. Winspear, meantime, said that a search for Jenkins’ successor is “ongoing,” and that he is “very excited and encouraged by the candidates interested in the position.” He added that he hopes a replacement can be named by early next year.

Flora Awards (Check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for more photos)

Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen

The Texas Discovery Gardens had never looked more elegant.Thanks to Flora Award Co-chairs Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen, it had to be. After all, Barbara Hunt Crow was the recipient of the annual award that recognizes “outstanding Americans, who have demonstrated their commitment to community involvement, education and advancement of the environment and quality of life.”

The cocktail reception looked like central casting had assembled the overflow crowd of black-tie types including  Libby Allred in tomato

Mary Anne Cree

red low-cut gown with exquisite ruby and diamond necklace, Ebby Halliday Acers holding her “elephant” handbag, Penny Rivenbark with her Judith Leiber butterfly purse and turquoise floral gown, Sue and Phil John, Sue Smith sans husband Bob (he was in Las Vegas), Cindy and Andy Clendenen with daughter Caroline Fung, Fred and Jan Hegi, Mary Ann wearing a butterfly pin (you do know that the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium is named after her late mother, don’t you?) and Richard Cree, Wendy and Michael Jenkins and Betty and John Crawford and loads of Hunt relatives (Herbert and Nancy Hunt, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lyda Hill and Libby Hunt).

Dinner time

Or perhaps it was the exquisite Grand Hall all decked out with glorious table settings from Posh Couture and the Steve Bayless Orchestra playing just the right tunes. And, of course, a simple daisy in a glass vase wouldn’t do on this night. Nope. Floral designer extraordinaire Junior Villanueva literally “rose” to the occasion providing the best for scents and sights.

As for the feast, Jim Lee Events served up

  • First Course — Mediterranean salad “Martini” accented with a grilled shrimp “Martini Pik”
  • The amuse — Rose petal and passion-fruit sorbet “spoon”
  • Second course — Pecan wood smoked beef tenderloin served with 3-peppercorn demi-glace, timbale of champagne risotto with Parmesan crust and brandied lobster cream, French green bean “bundle” with caramelized lemon glaze and artisan breads with custom butter
  • The dessert —Amaretto Godiva molten lava cake with cointreau-infused berries

Art + Advocacy

Lynn Davis, Laura Green and Jordan Roth*

Lynn M. Davis, president and CEO of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, said he was very pleased.

Before the 6th Annual Art + Advocacy Auction Party had even begun, the fundraiser had raked in $400,000 for the advocacy center, without selling a single piece of art.

That figure was already $25,000 more than was netted in total for the group at last year’s affair.

And, the 620 guests who turned out for the 2012 event at the Fashion Industry Gallery were determined to raise even more for the center, which serves about 2,000 local child-abuse victims and their families each year.

Chuck and Lindsay Jacaman*

The guests proceeded to do so by bidding in live and silent auctions on works of art by new and established artists, as well as art created by child-abuse victims in DCAC’s art therapy program.

Among the offered works—all of them donated–were oils, pencil drawings, photographs and mixed-media creations from galleries including Barry Whistler, Holly Johnson and Craighead Green.

Helping set the party mood at the F.I.G.—honorary co-chair John Sughrue donated the trendy space—were DJ Lucy Wrubel; Andrews Distributing; and caterer Wendy Krispin.

Patricia Meadows*

Event chairs Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman served as event chairs, while Patricia B. Meadows was the honorary art chair.

The day of the auction party, Davis disclosed, an anonymous donor came forward with $25,000.

During the evening’s Call for Cash this donor matched an additional $25,000—and then offered an additional $50,000 if the noisy crowd would pipe down so the auction could proceed.

Thanks to his and others’ generosity, the final net for the children’s advocacy center was more than $500,000. Now that was a pretty picture.

* Photo credit: Glenn Hunter

October 25 MySweetCharity Round Robin: Curtain Call, Zoo-To-Do And Crystal Charity Ball

The tsunami of events continues with three-a-days becoming the norm. Due to the MSC elves working in overdrive and the MSC community in need of info, we’re launching MSC Round Robin for those occasions when there are a slew of events taking place at one time.

First out of the gate is Tuesday, October 25, that had Dallas’ boldfacers gathering for everything from Curtain Call’s 2012 plans, Zoo-To-Do’s updates to Crystal Charity Ball’s sneak peak of luxury silent auction items.

Curtain Call Announcement Party

Costumed staffers

The announcement party for the Dallas Summer Musical’s 2012 Curtain Call had all the inklings that the Saturday, March 31, fundraiser would have an Asian headliner. After all, it was being held at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the theme was “Honor the Children in the Year of the Dragon” and members of the staff like Development Director Melinda Ogden were in beautiful costumes.

Sandy Watson

Ah, but no. It seems that Curtain Call Co-chair Sandy Watson had ventured into the DSM warehouse two years ago and discovered $800K worth of hand-beaded costumes that the DSM owned from its “Flower Drum Song” production. So, she thought it would provide a marvelous look to support the theme and the purpose of the gala — to bring the Best of Broadway to Dallas and provide for children’s education and outreach programs.

Before announcing the plans for the gala, Co-chair Steve Watson recalled his parents started going to the DSM back in 1951 and how the production of “Oklahoma!” with its tornado scene made such an impression on him as a youngster. Fast-forward to 1989 when he “seriously” started getting season tickets and now to 2011 when he and Sandy are heading up the major fundraiser.

But you’re still wondering who is going to razzle-dazzle at Curtain Call. None other than gorgeous and talented Vanessa Williams, who has performed on Broadway and in films and television series like “Desperate Housewives.”

Zoo-To-Do Underwriters’ Patrons Party

Gregg Hudson

The Dallas Zoo Executive Director Gregg Hudson had a long day Tuesday. Earlier in the day Koko, a 25-year old chimp, had escaped from her cage. Declaring a Code Red situation, the staff immediately got the errant zoo resident back home with the general public never in danger.

There was no truth to the rumor that she was headed to the Zoo-To-Do announcement party at Jennifer and John Eagles’ nest, where staff members serve as lifeguards making sure no one slips into the dining-room pool as they cross the marble walkway into the living room.

The great thing about the Edward Durrell Stone-designed home, besides the art and the graciousness of the Eagles, is the white spiral stairway in the living room. Yes, it does provide access to the upstairs, but it also serves as a great place to make announcements. There is one step in particular that seems to be a favorite, where speakers can be seen easily from all parts of the room.

In this case, Dallas Zoological Society Board Chair  Jennifer Burr Altabef announced that the Zoo-To-Do’s “ZTD Goes Hollywood” at the Wilds of Africa Plaza on Saturday, November 5, would be celebrating its 20th anniversary with Honorary Chef Jim “Sevy” Severson and 25 other top chefs providing the food, literally. Often in chef-cooking events, the organization has to arrange funding for the food products, but in this case the chefs and their restaurants provide for the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

Martha Fordyce

Jennifer also went on to say that in addition to Neiman’s hosting the cocktail reception at the Giants of Savanna exhibit the night of the event, Hermes’ Martha Fordyce had arranged for zoo-themed scarves and ties to be created especially for the event with 20% of sale proceeds going to the zoo.

Gregg replaced Jennifer on the staircase and thanked the core supporters saying their efforts have resulted in attendance records already being broken as of September 30 by 100,000.

Mike Gruber

Zoo-To-Do Co-chair Mike Gruber, with

Diane Gruber

wife/Co-chair Diane watching from the floor, took to the staircase and thanked the many who had supported them including Honorary Chair Ruth Mutch, who lives most of the year in Sheridan, Wyoming. He reminded the gathered group that zoo attendance had grown from 400,000 in 1993-1994, 500,000 in the mid-2000’s and now nearly 800,000 so far in 2011.

For the business-oriented in the audience, Mike added that underwriting for the event stood at $730,000 and suggested that the evening’s silent and live auctions should boost that number even higher.

Since this was an animal-oriented group, it was predictable that talk among the guests would touch on critters. Holly Reed was still reeling from her recent falconing weekend in New York, thanks to a New Zealand gal-pal’s purchasing the adventure at an charity auction. They were supposed to be at Bobby Kennedy Jr.‘s place, but he suggested they venture over to his friend Glenn Close‘s, since the Kennedy and Close kids were friends. Glenn couldn’t have been more accommodating and charming. When she heard that one of her guests was from New Zealand and the New Zealand team had just won the Rugby League World Cup, Glenn went upstairs and returned wearing a New Zealand rugby shirt.

But the highlight of the Close encounter for Holly was seeing the infamous knife from “Fatal Attraction” on display . . . and in a frame.

Crystal Charity Ball’s 2011 Luxury Silent Auction Preview

David Blank

In the gem neighborhood bordered by Highland Park Village on the south and NorthPark on the north, there is a new kid on Preston Road- the Diamond Doctor. Formerly located in the Galleria for 10 years, DD relocated to Preston Center last month when owner David Blank bought and renovated the 7,000-square-foot, two-story building after Washington Mutual went out of business.

With nary a timepiece in sight, the place dazzles with gems of all cuts, carats and clarity. Why, even earlier on Tuesday, Louise Eiseman of the NorthPark Eisemans was in to check out the baubles. And you know Louise knows her gems from amethyst to zirconia.

So it was only appropriate that the Crystal Charity Ball had a sneak preview of its luxury silent auction items amid the high-intensity lights and multimillion-dollar diamonds just waiting to be worn.

David, who was on crutches after roughhousing with his son, pointed to one necklace of gold and diamonds, close to 70 carats, that had been made by the DD staff. Had it been offered by a nationally-renowned jewelry retailer, he suggested that the price range would be floating around $2M. But at DD, it could be picked up for a cool $750K.

BTW, if you’re wondering why it’s called the Diamond Doctor, it’s not because diamonds, sapphires and emeralds have physicals or get vaccinated there. Nope. David’s dad was a physician back in South Africa and he just considered the name Diamond Doctor to be a tribute to his father.

Connie O'Neill, Peggy Meyer and Kim Miller

As for the CCB ladies, they were in countdown mode for the December 3 mega-gala. CCB Chair Connie O’Neill was still keeping deets about the ball under wraps, but did admit that the holidays were her favorite time of the year since “it’s all about family, celebration, gratitude and thankfulness.” Thus the theme “Tis the Season.”

But the gift giving has already started. As the couples boarded their vehicles to head home, they were presented with a sizable, gift-wrapped package compliments of David and the DD staff. One person asked if it was an appliance since it was heavier than a box of chocolates. Well, sorta. Looked like a Tassimo, but it was a Jewel Jet steam cleaner and in some households that’s as important as a microwave.