An Event At Highland Park Village’s Etro Dallas Raises Money And Mental Health Awareness For The Center For BrainHealth

Susan Jones and Kimber Hartmann*

Inside the upscale Etro Dallas boutique at Highland Park Village, Kimber Hartmann glanced around at the 75 or so guests who’d gathered for an event benefiting the Center for BrainHealth, a research institute that’s part of the University of Texas at Dallas. “It’s nice that people are starting to think about their brain and their health,” said Hartmann, the center’s director of development and strategic operations. “The brain is your greatest asset, and young people especially are excited [about the center’s activities]. Look at the mix of people here. Not to mention, there are fabulous clothes and shoes here!”

Etro overview*

There was indeed a mix at the Tuesday, December 5, 2017, event, including young people and older ones—writers, lawyers, financiers, PR specialists. Among them were Jim Dondero, Jen Seward, Michael Hurst, Pam Hill, Susan Jones, Jeff Kaplan, Tricia Linderman, Brantley Hargrove, Dorothy Pullen, Michael Mooney, Martha Hofmeister, Barbara Kennedy, and Mark Edgar. Many of the attendees were peering through the boutique’s racks of colorful clothing—a new African collection had recently come in—because Etro had promised to donate 10% of all sales (not only that night, but for the following five days) to the Center for BrainHealth, store manager Melinda Rathke explained.

Chris Rentzel, Martha Hofmeister, Jeff Kaplan and Barbara Kennedy*

Melinda Rathke, Pam Hill and Dorothy Pullen*

The event had been organized by friends Kelly Rentzel and Shannon Wherry. Said Shannon: “I love Etro. Kelly and I just thought it would be fun to do a holiday party here. Brain health is something that both Kelly and I are pretty passionate about.” Rentzel especially is intrigued by the subject, since she has suffered in the past from bipolar disorder and has begun to talk about it publicly, in order to help others.

Kelly Rentzel and Jen Seward*

Tricia Linderman and Shannon Wherry*

Rentzel, who’s a corporate lawyer, was diagnosed with the disorder more than two decades ago. But she got better, she said, with the help of “medication and therapy and hard work and faith. I also listened to a lot of music—specifically, George Harrison’s ‘Cloud Nine’ album.” That was a little ironic, she admitted wrly, because listening to the Beatles’ “The White Album” had contributed to her breakdown in the first place. She suffered a relapse five years ago, she said, before undergoing successful electroshock treatment.

Peter Bradley Adams*

While the guests chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Lombardi’s Catering, they also listened to live music by Peter Bradley Adams, who’d flown in from Nashville especially for the occasion. Shannon had reached out to the singer/songwriter, whose tunes have been featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” after discovering his music on her Spotify feed.

After awhile a microphone was set up near the front of the store, and Kelly thanked the guests for coming. She also extended a special thank-you to Peter. “He was originally inspired by the Beatles, which I related to,” Rentzel said, smiling slightly. “I just told him to stay away from ‘The White Album.’”

* Photo credit: Daniel Driensky

 

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Ponied Up With Fashions, Awards And Laughs Thanks To Chair Beth Thoele

Beth Thoele and Angie Kadesky

There are those rare people in fundraising who literally break the ice much to the delight of others with their oops and refreshing spontaneity. On Tuesday, October 3, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele rose to the pinnacle of those ranks of endearment.

Initially, it was a challenge with the weather. One guests swore, “Houston shipped their humidity up here.”

Equest team

Still, the ladies marshaled on as they checked in at the club’s porte-cochere just past the Equest mini-ambassadors, Cisco and Dare, and the dapper riders on their steeds. While the equine set was quite content on the club’s lawn, the guests like Equest Board of Directors Chair Andy Steingasser, Sarah LosingerCara French, Melinda Rathke, Nuz Morshed, Allison Presser, Stacey Walker, Emilynn Wilson and Joanna Clarke discovered rows of beverages awaiting them. One gal announced, “There’s a mimosa with my name on it.”

Inside the club, the ballroom was filling to the max with the likes of Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky, Equest Executive Director Lili Kellogg, Sarah Losinger, Lisa Cooley, Linda SecrestJennifer Dix, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Amy Hegi, Libby Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Jennifer Swift and Vicki Howland.

Nuz Morshed, Melinda Rathke and Allison Presser

Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson

But according to schedule, the infamous voice over the PA system stressed the need to get guests in chairs, which this crew did.

Considered the little sister of the Crystal Charity Ball (perhaps that’s because so many past chairs, presidents and attendees are CCB-ers), there was a certain panache in the air.

Robyn and Don Conlon

Unlike the week-ago KidneyTexas Runway Report with celeb emcee Ron Corning with a glittery crutch and KLUV’s Jody Dean raising funds with a live auction, this one is traditionally as proper at your grandmother’s thank-you notes. Instead of a live auction or the fearful shout-out for funds, there is just a certain simplicity that keeps things a-going.

Reins of Hope scarf

 After Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky introduced Tova Sido for the invocation, Beth arrived at the podium to present Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon with her husband Don Conlon at her side and daughters-in-law Marybeth Conlon and slowly-becoming-blonde Megan Conlon.

Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne

Beth then announced that a one-of-a-kind scarf had been created by Katherine Coker celebrating Equest and would be on sale at the lunch for $150. She then introduced Mother of Equest Women’ Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, who reported that despite last year’s anonymous matching offer, they were gearing up to top that number for the Equest Hooves for Heroes and other programs supported by Equest. The 2017 Equest Awards for Community Service Co-Honorees/sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne were presented Tiffany boxes by a couple of hunky dressage-attired fellas.

But this year there was an unplanned twist. It was Beth. Sure, she had a script, but it didn’t always go as planned. For instance, in announcing that she was handing over the “reins” to 2018 Luncheon chair Heather Randall, she said, “Good luck.” But there was a slight tone in Beth’s voice that resulted in the crowd busting out in laughter. Beth quickly recovered saying that she meant really, sincerely good luck. The laughter only continued.

Veronica Beard fashion

Hadleigh fashion

Lela Rose fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Then it was on with the show with fashions from HP Village merchants Veronica Beard, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose, Escada, Etro, Market and Carolina Herrera. Naturally, the willowy, poreless models were upstaged by the adorable munchkins in Hadleigh’s fashions.

The show was well edited with HP Village merchants videotaping their merchandise on the catwalk.

So as the guest adjourned to their tables, what was the talk of the day? St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon Co-Chair Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on moving the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas fundraiser to NorthPark Center… Table talk was about what TV shows were being watched — “Game of Thrones,” “Rain,”  etc. ….Tanya Foster was snapping shots of The Garden Gate centerpieces with a spanking new iPhone 8 Plus. Seems husband Pete Foster was using Tanya as sort of a guinea pig and was holding out for the iPhone 10… Lisa Ogle was writing a check for a scarf or one of the centerpieces…Mary Meier-Evans had to duck out early and get back to work at Sons of the Flag.

Despite all the festivities and laughter, no one knew that in the days preceding, red-haired Beth had been masterfully juggling another life issue… her mother-in-law had been in hospice and died the weekend before. But that is Beth. She champions on with compassion and without a glimmer of self-pity.   

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show

Beth Thoele and Angie Kadesky

During the fundraising luncheon circuit, some guests get jaded by the very scripted and rehearsed speakers at the podium. On Tuesday, October 3, at Brook Hollow Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show Chair Beth Thoele received great vibrations as her refreshing and off-the-cuff remarks broke the guests into smiles, chuckles and one really big laugh.

Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne

Robyn and Don Conlon

Following Beth, the awards presentation of the Community Service Award to sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne and recognizing Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon, the runway was filled with an array of Highland Park Village fashion curated by fashion producer Jan Strimple.  

Veronica Beard fashion

Hadleigh fashions

Lela Rose fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

While the post is being prepared, check out the peeps and fashion at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon List Of Highland Park Village Merchants Participating In The Annual Fundraiser Revealed

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele just revealed the list of Highland Park Village merchants for the Equest fundraiser “Reins of Hope” at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 3.

Lela Rose (File photo)

Hadleigh Shaikh (File photo)

Equest finale (File photo)

Six of ’em are returning with the latest fashions of the season — Carolina Herrera, Escada, Etro, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose and Market. Joining the veteran retailers will be first-timer Veronica Beard.

The fashion show will be produced by Jan Strimple with Robyn Conlon serving as honorary chair.

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Shopped And Partied Among The Luscious Lips And Fashions Of Alice And Olivia

Alice and Olivia lips

Alice and Olivia lips

With season in high throttle, a cluster of guests were filling Alice and Olivia on Tuesday, September 13. The draw and beneficiary was the Equest Women’s Auxiliary, which is holding its annual Equest Fashion Show chaired by Kara Axley. While no equine ambassadors were present, the mannequins were dressed to the max and the displays were filled with luscious lips. Fashion-loving and newly-engaged Fleming Longino was an early arrival to check out the goodies.

Kara Axley and

Kara Axley and Fleming Longino

Di Johnston and Kathy Fielder

Di Johnston and Kathy Fielder

Equest Board Member Kathy Fielder dropped by to check out a try-on in the dressing room, handed over her charge card and was off. Not bad. A percentage of the evening’s sales went to Equest.

When asked how the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show on Tuesday, October 4, at Brook Hollow was going, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Di Johnston reported that it was moving along smoothly. Once again the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show will feature highlights from Akris, Alice+Olivia, Carolina Herrera, Etro, Lela Rose, Market and St. John.

Unlike the cross-town Texas Trailblazer Luncheon being held smack-dab on the same day at the same time, Di suggested that it was an apple and oranges situation. One is an elegant and intimate fashion show and the other is a 1,000 plus award presentation with speaker. The fact is both groups are benefiting area families and that’s what matters.

Grovel Alert: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show

Sure, it’s damp, but the temperatures are so user friendly. That’s especially true for retailers, who are stocking fall and winter goodies like cashmere sweaters, snugly coats and high-strutting boots.

Alice and Olivia boot (File photo)

Alice and Olivia boot (File photo)

Evidently that feeling of cooler times are just around the corner has inspired the horse-loving, fashionistas to get their places at the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show on Tuesday, October 4, at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

Fashion producer Jan Strimple has been working with presenting sponsor Highland Park Village and its merchants like Akris, Alice and Olivia, Carolina Herrera, Etro, Lela Rose, Market and St. John for what will be on the runway benefiting the Equest program.

Just heard that perhaps it’s because of the drop in temps that tickets are starting to get scarce, so contact Event Chair Kara Axley for your ticket. Then head to your closet and clear out your old winter duds. Because after this fundraiser you’re gonna need more room for the new looks.

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair Kara Axley Finds A Match Made In Shopping Heaven

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion Show Chair Kara Axley is having a real relationship with high-end merchants. The matchmaker is fashion-loving producer Jan Strimple. To have the most marvy fashions on the runway at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 4, the following merchants will be showcasing the fall fashions: Akris, Alice and Olivia, Carolina Herrera, Etro, Lela Rose, Market and St. John.

Akris (File photo)

Akris (File photo)

Lela Rose (File photo)

Lela Rose (File photo)

Caroline Herrera (File photo)

Caroline Herrera (File photo)

Adding to the luxury feel is the couple, who will be the honorary co-chairs. Yup, longtime supporters Lezlie Noble and her HPV jeweler husband Bill Noble.

Lezlie Noble in the center (File photo)

Lezlie Noble in the center (File photo)

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

And still another plus is the presentation of the Special Recognition Award to Lindalyn Adams. No, Lindalyn has not taken up residence in HPV, but she does shop and lunch there.

This fashion show is always a home run with handsome gents in riding attire as window dressing and, if the weather is user-friendly, the Equest Mini-ambassadors will be grazing on the lush Brook Hollow grounds.

Funds raised from the event will “benefit Equest’s therapeutic programming for children and adults with all types of physical, cognitive, emotional and learning disabilities.”

Oh, and, yes, HPV is the presenting sponsor for the 2016 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show.