MySweetCharity Opportunity: 11th Annual Hold’Em For Heroes

According to 11th Annual Hold’Em for Heroes Co-Chairs Mandy-Lu Ristow and Jo Trizila,

Fall is right around the corner, which means it’s time to put on your poker face and save your seat at the table for the 

11th Hold’Em for Heroes Poker Tournament*

and live auction. Guests are invited to experience three hours of competitive poker playing, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and dinner. Tables are run by professional dealers and re-buys are available throughout the evening. Each player will be given their first set of chips and back by popular demand, there will be a sit and go table for those who want to try again after playing out. The top ten winners will choose between a variety of fabulous prizes from trips to gift baskets to sporting event packages. This year’s event will be held at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Thursday, November 2.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Heroes for Children – a unique nonprofit that provides financial and social assistance to Texas families with children battling cancer.

No one plans for their child to have cancer. A cancer diagnosis is expensive in every way and impacts the entire family. Heroes for Children works to alleviate financial pressure by covering immediate financial needs including paying rent and mortgages, transportation costs to and from treatment, costs of hospital visits and, in some cases, even funeral expenses.

The Hold’Em for Heroes event has gotten bigger and better each year. We rely on generous donors, community partnerships and participants at annual fundraising events including Hold’Em for Heroes to support Texas families with children battling cancer.

Texans have always been known for their generosity, and for this along with the 4,500 families we have served, we are forever grateful. We could not do what we do without the time, talent and treasures of the generous people of Texas – whose hearts are as big as our great state.

To purchase a ticket, sponsor the event or for more information about Hold’Em for Heroes please visit,

*Graphic courtesy of Heroes for Children

Heroes For Children Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Designer Handbags And Speed Painting

The walls of the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom were lined with world-famous handbags along with backpacks and all types of extras on Saturday, March 28. The occasion was the 10th Anniversary of Heroes for Children. But unlike years past, the annual luncheon was a nighttime seated dinner hoop-la that included an equal number of men. The hope had been to have 500 in attendance. Instead they hit the 600 mark including Gina and Ken Betts, Lori and Jerry Jones Jr., D’Andra Simmons Lock and Jeremy Lock and Brooke and Aaron Shelby.

Gina Betts

Gina Betts

Ken Betts

Ken Betts

D'Andra Simmons Lock

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Lori Jones, Jennifer Dix, Jerry Jones Jr.

Lori Jones, Jennifer Dix, Jerry Jones Jr.

Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix had envisioned loads of gently experienced couture purses from friends. And, boy, did they deliver. Such brands as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Judith Leiber, Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Victoria Beckham were up for bid in the silent auction amounting to 100 bags valued at $170,000. When Lisa Cooley was asked how many she had donated, the petite blonde smiled and said, “A few.”

David and Jeri Kleiman

David and Jeri Kleiman

Linda Ivy and Suzanne Palmlund

Linda Ivy and Suzanne Palmlund

Jeri Kleiman was in a Lela Rose that she’d had Michael Faircloth doll up with features to give a peacock feel. Husband Dr. David admitted that it was going to be an early event because he was slated for 24 surgeries the next morning…Pete Foster was talking about the overhauling of the Foster kitchen that should be completed in four weeks with the addition of a Thermador gas range. In addition to the range, the Fosters have added a new puppy to the household. Their older pooch, Sparky, and the family cat are helping train the new pup…Speaking of canine additions, Katherine Coker reported that Coker had been joined by four-year-old Max, a King Charles Spaniel. It seems when Katherine takes Max for a walk, the family cat “Happy” strolls along with them….Clay Cooley told how his oldest son had left his law practice to join the family business. But on this night it was daughter Ciara Cooley who was on stage with her dad to introduce the night’s entertainment …Speaking of daughters, Skye and Bill Brewer‘s girls (Marie Brewer and Madalyn Brewer) were on hand for the festivities…Suzanne Palmlund in true blue was with Linda Ivy, who looked like sunshine wearing a mink jacket dyed yellow. The red-haired Linda admitted that she “felt like Sis Carr!”, who has a reputation for favoring yellow down to her nail polish…Cindy Stager decided to sparkle in glitter and rhinestone because the day had been a drag. She also arranged to have a bottle of champagne at their table to celebrate Kristen Johnston Sanger’s birthday.

Cindy Stager and Kate Rose Marquez

Cindy Stager and Kate Rose Marquez

Marie Brewer, Madalyn Brewer and Skye Brewer

Marie Brewer, Madalyn Brewer and Skye Brewer

Clay Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Amy Golem, Jessye Bullock and Lisa Cooley

Clay Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Amy Golem, Jessye Bullock and Lisa Cooley

Following Skye’s and Jennifer’s welcome, Heroes for Children founders Jenny Dowen and Larissa Linton recalled 10 years ago when the loss of their little daughters Allie Scott and Taylor Brewton to cancer had been the inspiration to help other families facing the battle against childhood cancer. They then awarded the 2015 Spirit of Allie and Taylor Award to Elaine and Jim Turner, co-founders of Elaine Turner Handbags in Houston. The Turners have been involved and supported Heroes For Children both in Houston and Dallas including providing female guests with $178 Bella gold purses as favors.

Luke Lange

Luke Lange

Too adorable Luke Lange, son of Honorary Co-Chairs Tracy and Ben Lange, spoke about his battle with cancer. If they’re ever looking for a replacement for Ryan Secrest, Luke is the one!

Next Jenny and Larissa presented the Legacy of Love Award to Dr. Stan Goldman of Medical City Children’s Hospital. It was Stan who took care of Allie and Taylor during their illnesses. At one point, he “even spent an afternoon babysitting Allie, so her mom, Jenny, could take a shower and have a quiet moment in the hospital.”

Louis Murad, David Dunn, Ray Charles and Lady Liberty

Louis Murad, David Dunn, Ray Charles and Lady Liberty

As promised, “Speed Painter” Dan Dunn from the Jimmy Fallon Show appeared on the stage to the left of the main stage. As kids sat at the base of the stage, they as well as the adults were mesmerized as Dan painted on the rotating canvases, producing three mammoth paintings — Ray Charles, Lady Liberty and a longhorn with the Dallas skyline in the background — in a matter of minutes. The paintings, not the kids, were purchased in a live auction with Bill Brewer snapping up the longhorn. Skye claimed that it was headed to Bill’s New York office to add a touch of Texas to the Big Apple.

The final surprise of the night was the presentation of Hopdoddy Burger Bar’s check for $41,794. For each burger sold, a dollar was donated to Heroes for Children.

Grovel Alert: 10th Anniversary Heroes And Handbags

It’s that time of year when “Grovel Alerts” are starting to appear. The first on the scene is the 10th Anniversary Heroes and Handbags fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

Jennifer Dix, Holt Haynsworth and Skye Brewer

Jennifer Dix, Holt Haynsworth and Skye Brewer

Yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day, Event Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix were at Haynsworth Photography for a photo shoot of some of the primo purses that will be up at the Saturday, March 28th event. Now, some folks might think that such a photo shoot would have the co-chairs lounging with flutes of champagne, while stylists and minions hustle around prepping the items for their moment of glory. Well, in this case, the co-chairs were the stylists and minions. Using all types of resources to prop up the Pradas, Louis Vuittons, Elaine Turners, Judith Leibers and dozens of others including adorable Burberry clutches, Skye and Jennifer may have found new careers thanks to photographer Holt Haynsworth’s input and patience.

Jennifer Dix, Holt Haynsworth and Sky Brewer

Jennifer Dix, Holt Haynsworth and Sky Brewer

But until then they’re focused on raising monies for Heroes for Children. According to the ladies, there are only 10 tables left and they can be snatched up for $2,500 per on a first-come, first-serve basis.

When asked if they had finished collecting gently experienced designer handbags from area fashionista, they said, “Heck, no! We’ll take them up to the day of the event.” They’re also on the hunt for items that might tempt the gents to buy a goody for themselves. No, they’re not talking men’s purses (but they’ll take them or briefcases if they’re offered). They’re thinking fishing trips, golf outings, jewelry, etc.

In between shoots, they were extolling Kim Bannister’s pulling together the Big Board that will include everything from a trip to Belize, a one-of-a-kind necklace from Rare Gems of India, and a private dinner with the Zac Brown Band to much more.

If you’re going to attend the dinner and want a quick hair fresher, book an appointment via Blownaway app. Just use the code “328larissa” and you’ll get a 20% discount. Better make your reservations now because this offer expires March 25.

Heroes For Children Step Things Up At Jimmy Choo Leading Up To The 10th Anniversary Celebration

Jennifer and Doug Houser

Jennifer and Doug Houser

While the Dwell with Dignity crowd partying at Embree & Lake Antiques‘ “Fall In Love All Over Again…” at the Slocum Street store, the Heroes For Children 10th Anniversary celebrants were literally kicking off their shoes at Highland Park Village’s Jimmy Choo.

It was all for Heroes for Children with a portion of sales going to the 10-year-old group.

Jennifer and Doug Houser were a couple of first guests to arrive at Jimmy Choo and do a test run of the footwear finery. Within a couple of seconds, Jennifer had focused on a pair of black-and-white stilettos that met with both Houser approvals. No sooner were the shoes marked “Sold!” than the shoes and Housers were gone.

But they were soon replaced by a slew of other Heroes For Children supporters, who tried on everything from sea-designed flats to jewel-laden heels.

Jennifer Dix and Skye Brewer

Jennifer Dix and Skye Brewer

As one Jimmy Choo staffer sat on a chair chewing gum and checking her smartphone, guests gathered in the room facing the HP Village Theater. The talk of the night ranged from Kim Bannister’s heading to a volley ball game to concerns about measles and shingles. Ouch!

Heroes And Handbags 10th Anniversary

Nicolette Weber

Nicolette Weber

Co-Chair Jennifer Dix was catching second looks for the bracelet and matching earrings that husband Richard purchased for his wife to wear to this past Crystal Charity Ball…”Fella” Co-Chair Skye Brewer has been juggling the commute between Big D and the Big Apple… Andrea Weber arrived with baby Nicolette Weber in one arm and a Louis Vuitton on the other.

Others in the crowd like Cindy Stager and Missy Kennedy were checking out the “choo-sie” items with the idea of wearing them to the March 28th fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. Unlike years past, this one is going to a seated dinner with “surprise entertainment as featured on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” That means to gents can join the festivities.


MySweet2015Goal: Larissa Linton

According to Heroes For Children Executive Director/Founder Larissa Linton,

Larissa Linton (File photo)

Larissa Linton (File photo)

“When I started Heroes for Children, along with my co-founder, I wanted to create a legacy that would honor the beautiful daughters we had lost to a terrible disease. Ten years later, I am proud to say that Heroes has provided almost 5 million dollars in assistance to more than 4,200 families in remembrance of Taylor and Allie. As we turn the corner of our first decade my hope is to continue to serve these sweet families who are dealing with so much. I know from my conversations with them that knowing there is an organization out there that cares for them and is willing to help with their needs makes a big difference.

“Like the mom who told me they came home after a month in the hospital not knowing how they were going to make their house payment only to find a check in the mail from Heroes that would cover the cost. From urgent financial needs, to new laptops for hospitalized teens, and birthdays, proms and end of life celebrations, Heroes is here to support these families.

“My wish in 2015 is to have 100 Heroes. 100 amazingly generous people that contribute $1,000 to Heroes for Children. This $100,000 would provide much needed assistance to over 130 families who are struggling due to a childhood cancer diagnosis. It would truly make a huge impact right here in the community where we live. This special gift can be split into quarterly or monthly payments at the donor’s request. We will recognize our 100 Heroes at our 10th anniversary gala on March 28th.”

Round Robin November 18: Doing The Most Good, Hope Cottage Ugly Christmas Sweaters And Heroes For Children’s Heroes

People were bumping into each other Tuesday, November 18, just trying to keep up as the pre-holiday festivities kicked into gear. Christine McKenny was toasting and being toasted at Cole Haan in Highland Park Village for the 4th Gingerbread Stroll benefiting Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Only problemo was finding a parking place. Bicycles just may be the solution to getting about nowadays. Other happenings going on during the day included:

Doing The Most Good Luncheon

While in recent years The Salvation Army’s annual “Doing the Most Good Luncheon” has been a star-studded musical extravaganza—think mini-concerts by Wynonna and Amy Grant—the 2014 event held Nov. 18 at the Hilton Anatole was more of a straight-up pep rally for the cause. “It’s supposed to be more interactive this year,” an SA spokesman explained. That translated into video presentations, plus a succession of talks by the nonprofit’s chief cheerleaders.

After guests including Bobby Lyle, Lisa Troutt, Gerald Turner and Barbara Daseke filed into the packed ballroom, SA Lieutenant Jennifer Jones welcomed everyone and invited them to enjoy their lunch (parsnip leek soup, beef tenderloin, dark chocolate pie). As they did so, longtime booster Gene Jones of the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation told them about the group’s efficiency in North Texas—80 cents of every dollar raised stays in the local area, she said—before giving way to Stan Richards, the 2014 luncheon chair.

The much-acclaimed Dallas advertising guru told how important SA services (1.09M meals dished out locally last year) are to people like “Jason,” a former drug addict who strolled out onstage. “Don’t stop giving,” Jason exhorted the crowd. “Please don’t!” With that a gospel choir sang “Amazing Grace,” then began humming softly while Richards described more of the SA’s good works (60 million meals served last year nationwide). Next, poet, speaker, and journalist Amena Brown took the mic to tell what a privilege it is to serve people with the SA, the choir softly punctuating her talk as well.

After Richards came back on to flog the nonprofit’s Angel Tree Christmas program, still more speakers took the stage, including SA local leaders Majors Michele and Ward Matthews; advisory board chair Richard Martin; and Charlotte Jones Anderson, who’s chair of the Salvation Army’s 125th annual celebration. Martin acknowledged the luncheon underwriting chair, Debbie Oates, before Anderson capped the luncheon with a rousing plea to continue supporting the organization.

“The number of homeless children is at an all-time high,” Anderson said. “How can we help? By helping the Salvation Army.” She closed by urging the guests to fill out the giving cards inside their programs—“hopefully with lots of little zeros behind it.”

Hope Cottage Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Here’s a report from the field about one of the first ugly Christmas Sweaters:

From the left: (Front row) Amy Broussard, Taylor Gromatzky and Katie Condry; (Back row) Elizabeth Ygartua, Konrad Kaltenbach, Leslie Clay*

From the left: (Front row) Amy Broussard, Taylor Gromatzky and Katie Condry; (Back row) Elizabeth Ygartua, Konrad Kaltenbach, Leslie Clay*

“The Hope Cottage Leadership Council kicked off the holiday season with their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party aka #BeThereBeUgly. Held at HG Sply Co, these young professionals enjoyed a fabulous rooftop view while munching on ginger garlic hummus and Conchinita nachos. Konrad John Kaltenbach III won the grand prize for the ugliest sweater with his woven Christmas vest. Children in the Hope Cottage Foster to Adopt program will have a very merry holiday this year thanks to the plethora of toys and books donated by event attendees.

“The Hope Cottage Leadership Council is a team of energized, servant leaders, ages 21-40, furthering Hope Cottage’s mission through networking socials, volunteer opportunities, and fundraising events.”

Heroes For Children’s Heroes

Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott*

Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott**

Over at Tiffany’s Heroes for Children founders Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott were being honored for starting the organization that helps “alleviate families’ worries, giving them comfort and a brief respite from the everyday challenges of cancer-fighting and caregiving.” The “thank you” event was the brainchild of longtime Heroes for Children stalwart Kim Bannister and the Tiffany & Co. at NorthPark folks.

It was an especially poignant event for the two moms who lost their adorable daughters (Larissa’s Taylor Brewton and Jenny’s Allie Scott) to cancer. For Larissa, it was that time of year that Taylor died at the age of four on November 26, 2001. Equally painful was Allie’s death on September 13, 10 years ago.

Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix**

Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix**

It was their daughters who inspired the twosome to create Heroes for Children 10 years ago. Since that time this moms’ project has provided 4,200 families with more than $4M to assist in such things as mortgage payments and travel expenses to and from the hospitals.

It was this commitment and mothers’ love that was saluted by Cindy Stager, Cara French, Nancy Gopez, Kristen Johnston Sanger, Cameron Smith, Alicia Wood and 2015 Handbags and Heroes Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix.

To remember the evening, Larissa and Jenny were presented with etched Tiffany-glass platters.

* Photo credit: Kaltenbach Photography 
** Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

10th Anniversary Celebration Plans Revealed For Heroes For Children

With the 10th anniversary of Heroes for Children coming up, the core group decided to do something different from the annual Heroes And Handbags fundraising luncheon.

Thursday, September 4, at The Mercury, the plans were unveiled. Talk about a change of plans!

In the private dining room with former chairs, board members and HfC staffers assembled, 10th Celebration Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix revealed those plans.

Jenny Scott Dowen and Larissa Linton

Jenny Scott Dowen and Larissa Linton

Ah, before they did, they announced a surprise that caught many off guard ­– Co-founder Larissa Linton had been named executive director! First up to congratulate her was Co-founder Jenny Scott Dowen. Both of these women established Heroes For Children when they personally experienced the agony, pain and loss of children to cancer. Turning that grief into gratifying effort, they started the organization to “provide desperately needed financial support and administrative guidance for” families” with children battling cancer.

But back to the plans for the 10th anniversary. Instead of a lunch, it will be a seated dinner at the Hilton Anatole for 650 including cocktails, dancing to Downtown Fever and a “surprise entertainment, as featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

And what about its handbags. Shoot. There will be purses, and since the gents will be part of the guests, there will be “men’s items.”

The funds raised “will ensure that Heroes for Children continues to serve as an advocate for, and to provide social and financial assistance to, families with children battling cancer.”

Round Robin April 25: Handbags And Heroes, Recess And Art From The Heart

Ah, spring has arrived. It wasn’t the first robin that signaled the start. It was the runny noses and teary eyes. Tis the time to check with your stockbroker about pharmaceutical investments.

But on this day even the worse weeds and pollen could be forgiven. The silks and sandals sprouted to the delight of event planners. But there was a cloud or two on the horizon. Sunday boded bruised clouds and fears of terrible weather.

But on Friday, April 25, the Pot of Gold for the Rainbow Days was in high gear at the Hilton Anatole for lunchtime and then the evening was stock-full of the fun with day two of the John Wayne Film Festival with the after-party at Trinity Groves with the Robert Lee Kobb band singing.

Handbags & Heroes

The Richardson-based fundraiser has amazed itself. About 10 years ago, two mothers (Larissa Linton and Jenny Dowen) bonded as they suffered the loss of their children to cancer. Turning their grief to helping others in similar situations, they created Heroes for Children. Their “biggy” fundraiser of Handbags and Heroes turned into a major success. Using smartphones for electronic bidding and purses from well-known socialites for auction items in Dallas and Houston, their brainchild grew dramatically.

Michael and Alison Feinstein, Jenny Dowen and Larissa Linton

Michael and Alison Feinstein, Jenny Dowen and Larissa Linton

This year’s “Heroes & Handbags Under the Big Top” took place at the Omni with the looking and bidding starting at 9:30 a.m..

"Jewel box"

“Jewel box”

But what was up for bid? How about a Chloe red leather handbag valued at $1,200. A Kate Spade black quilted mini-purse with a value of $318? It could have been “snagged” for $636. An adorable red lizard “jewel box” for $78? An Escada black leather handbag that was snaggable for $3,600? Or, a Nina Ricci neutral snake bag valued at $2,600?

Nina Ricci bag

Nina Ricci bag

Among those looking, bidding and looking some more were Kate Rose Marquez, Maggie Kipp, Simona Beal, Cara French, Lisa Troutt, Ashley Hunt, D’Andra Simmons, Cindy Stager, Kim Bannister, Keri Kaiser and Honorary Chair Tina “Bag Snob” Craig.

Keri Kaiser and Skye Brewer

Keri Kaiser and Skye Brewer

When the doors opened, the ballroom enhanced the circus theme with centerpieces and favor bags topped with toy lions. Even the luncheon menu was big-top oriented — “lemon chill” yogurt parfait with fresh seasonal berries and granola; pretzel crusted breast of chicken, whole grain mustard sauce and lobster corn dog, warm potato salad and roasted seasonal vegetables and a dessert of duo of popcorn panna cotta, caramel popcorn garnish candied apple tart and cotton candy anglaise.

Andrea Weber

Andrea Weber

When the lunch began, Luncheon Chair Andrea Weber got a bit teary eyed describing her new role of being a mom.

Larissa and Jenny presented Alison and Michael Weinstein with the Spirit of Allie and Taylor Award. Upon accepting the award, they sincerely encouraged guests to get involved.

In addition to speakers Lauren Brown and Kitty McGahey, the big news of the day was the announcement that Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix would be co-chairing the upcoming Heroes for Children 10th anniversary celebration.

Stay tuned for deets as they develop.


Ralph Gorman and Faye Briggs

Ralph Gorman and Faye Briggs

When guests asked who was in charge of the glorious weather for Recess, all fingers pointed in one direction — Faye Briggs. Evidently the petite philanthropist had cut a deal with Ma Nature to make the evening perfect — not too hot, not too cold, but just right, especially at her estate for the 2nd Recess.

Amy Turner, Meredith Camp and Christina Norris

Amy Turner, Meredith Camp and Christina Norris

Even Co-Chairs Meredith Camp and Christina Norris were amazed at the perfect conditions for the Dallas AfterSchool fundraiser.

Alan and Sarah Losinger

Alan and Sarah Losinger

 Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge

Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge

Barry and Jan Baldwin and Anne and Terry Conner

Barry and Jan Baldwin and Anne and Terry Conner

Guests included Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Amy Turner, Lynn McBee, Paige McDaniel, Joanna Clarke, Robert Weatherly, Aimee Sheahan, Nancy Gopez, Jan and Barry Baldwin and Anne and Terry Conner, who will be feted at the Can Do! Luncheon on May 13.

The gorgeous estate had become a playground with areas marked The Gym, Monkey Bar and Hopscotch Bar with drinks provided by Moët Hennessy USA, Neiman Marcus Sandbox, Art Class and Cafeteria.

The Sandbox was a big hit with Dallas’ best manicured hands grabbing shovels to dig for coins that would garner such prizes as a Waterford decanter, Ippolita sterling silver men’s wavy disc cufflinks, a $1,000 Neiman Marcus gift certificate and whole lot more. BTW, this wasn’t just any old sandbox that can be found at Toys R Us. No, siree. The NM folks had arranged for eight “budding artists, ranging in ages from 7 to 12, from Color Me Empowered to design and construct” the stained-glass mosaic sides of the sandbox.

And, yes, if you’re wondering, Color Me Empowered along with Big Thought, Bridge Lacrosse, Circle of Support, Communities in Schools, Dallas Can Academies, Dallas ISD’s After School Achievers, City of Dallas Park & Recreation, Family Place, Foundation Communities, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Heart House, Heart of a Warrior, Interfaith Housing Coalition, Jubilee Park, Junior Players, Project Transformation, Rainbow Days, Reader 2 Leaders, R.O.C.K., Voice of Hope, Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Wilkinson Center and YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas are all served by the Dallas AfterSchool program.

Mac and cheese

Mac and cheese

In addition to new silent auction items and games, there were electronic basketball games, bean bag tosses, and music and food that hit the spot with the grown-up kiddies. The Mac and Cheese Bar had smoked Gouda mac and cheese with cured ham assorted toppings. The Southern Comfort Food Station offered Gramma Minnie’s fried chicken strips, chunky Yukon potatoes with black pepper maple gravy and housemade ‘corn dogs’ with apple mustard. The Slider Station had guests lined up for hickory grilled buffalo sliders with pepperjack cheese and smoked bacon and parmesan-white truffle steak fries.

There were also games to keep the youngsters busy, like a hula hoop contest and musical chairs.

Art From The Heart

Report from the field:

Lindsay Lee McCain and LeeAnne Locken*

Lindsay Lee McCain and LeeAnne Locken*

“Local nonprofit Dallas Challenge held its 5th Annual ART FROM THE HEART Celebrity Art Auction & Benefit at Seven for Parties in the Dallas Design District on Friday, April 25, 2014.  Co-Chairs LeeAnne Locken and Lindsay Lee McCain welcomed guests and encouraged attendees to mix and mingle with some of the celebrities and professional artists who’s [sic] work was up for grabs and enjoy bites and beverages, all while listening to tunes spun by DJ Danny Salinas.  Jody Dean of KVIL, TV personality Hilary Kennedy and Melissa Poe Carson from Big Rich Texas were in attendance and working the crowd to drive up the bidding price on their artwork. Among those vying for these one-of-a-kind pieces were D’Andra Simmons Locke [sic] and new husband Jeremy Locke [sic], Rick and Janet Fresquez, J.B. [sic] Hayes, Shane Walker and Steve Kemble.

Hilary Kennedy*

Hilary Kennedy*

“This signature fundraising event featured an array of artwork from local and national celebrities, personalities, athletes and chefs. Wearable art was featured in the form of luxury, designer and fashion items as an interesting twist to the auction line-up. Among the artwork up for auction were pieces donated from celebrities including Willie Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, Richard Rawlings of Discovery’s Fast ‘N Loud, Chynna Phillips of Wilson Phillips, Lisa Loeb, Emmitt Smith and his family, Drew Pearson, PGS golfer David Feherty, and wearable art from Abi Ferrin, Nha Kahn [sic], SMITH II, Prashe and Status. Artwork from select professional artists such as Mary Tomás, Micheal [sic] Ledoux and Max Jones and young artists (most from Dallas Challenge youth programs) was also up for auction.

Fiona Pestell and Jody Dean*

Fiona Pestell and Jody Dean*

“Since 1984, Dallas Challenge has been a leading provider of programs to help youth stay in school, off drugs and alcohol and out of the criminal justice system. These programs and services are supported by the Annual ART FROM THE HEART Celebrity Art Auction & Benefit. To learn more, visit”

* Photo credit: Thomas 

Round Robin March 26: Celebrating Women Announcement Coffee, Life Lessons, Contact Tea And Heroes And Handbags Live Auction

Wednesday, March 26, was a black hole of activities swirling. From morning coffees to SMU basketball, it seemed like every minute of the day required families making Solomon-like decisions on what to attend/support. So, what events were so demanding attention?

How about for starters:

Nobody can say Dallas is a hayseed town! Here are some flash points of the day that started off with the butterflies that serve as the symbol for both Celebrating Women and The Elisa Project:

2014 Celebrating Women

As mentioned before, Brenda Cockrell along with her caged perky, chirpy finches hosted the 2014 Celebrating Women Luncheon Kick-Off. What was revealed was that the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser for breast cancer would return to the Hilton Anatole on Friday, October 24. Luncheon Chairs Lisa Longino and Daffan Nettle and Underwriting Chair Maggie Kipp were joined by a slew of past chairs including Celebrating Women First Lady Lindalyn Adams.

Celebrating Women leadership past and present

Celebrating Women leadership past and present

Ethel Randall

Ethel Randall

Seated near Lindalyn was Ethel Randall, who manages the remarkable Baylor mobile mammogram operation that weekly helps 100 people to learn about the health of their breasts.

The standing joke of the gathering was that Rob Lowe would not be returning this year. However, all were impressed with the final reveal of the 2014 speaker — ABC’s “Good Morning America”’s Amy Robach. And that was before she had been promoted to replace Josh Elliott!

Okay, let’s be honest. Amy may not initially raise eyebrows like the mention of Rob Lowe. But pause and recall that the 40-year-old journalist made headlines with her first-ever, on-air mammogram that revealed the she indeed had breast cancer last year.

Dr. Alan Miller

Dr. Alan Miller

But as Dr. Alan Miller, who is chief of oncology at Baylor, reported, Baylor advancements, from the mobile mammogram to the navigator program, are part of the remarkable survival rate of women . . and men … with breast cancer.

Sure, Amy may not be Rob Lowe, but she has firsthand knowledge of being an unsuspecting breast cancer patient and survivor.

As the guests headed out the door, they received delicious butterfly cookies created by Kim Crigger Warren.

Life Lesson’s Luncheon

Robin Bagwell, Kim Bannister and Jan Osborn

Robin Bagwell, Kim Bannister and Jan Osborn

Over at the Anatole, the butterflies were very much present as The Elisa Project’s mascot for the 9th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon in the Khmer Pavilion, chaired by Kim Bannister and Sawyer Bannister. As luncheon honorees Robin Bagwell and Jan Osborn schlepped signage to the Jade Pavilion in the Atrium’s lobby, a coterie of Hockadaisies gathered to meet keynote speaker, seven-time Olympic medal winning swimmer Amanda Beard.

Amanda Beard

Amanda Beard

The duo was thinking about life after the lunch. Jan had wanted to go with Robin to the SMU game or the Heroes and Handbags live auction, but she was committed to chair the Contact cocktail party at the Bush Center.

On the other hand, Robin was headed to the SMU basketball game, while husband Norm was going to host one of the tables at the VNA’s Legends and Leaders dinner at the Khmer.

As Amanda posed for photos with the schoolgirls and adult guests like Leslie and Rick McCall, Elisa Project Executive Director Kim Martinez was reporting that 540 guests were expected for the fundraiser. It was easy to spot Amanda in her cornflower blue sundress, equally blue eyes, killer looks and tattoos on her calf.

Despite having attended a patron cocktail party the night before at Matthew Trent and making the rounds of local TV programs just a couple of hours before, Amanda looked bright-eyed. Perhaps it was due to her relatively new mommy duties and/or those twice-a-day swims.

Zoe Besser

Zoe Besser

It was hard to imagine this top athletic beauty would have ever had a problem with body image or self-esteem, but she had. And she had overcome the issues and encouraged the guests: “Don’t allow what others think and say define you.

But before Amanda spoke at the luncheon, an overpowering reading of entries by Zoe Besser and others from Elisa McCall captured the importance of self-esteem for young people. It was haunting to hear the words of a little girl, whose death had inspired her parents to help others suffering from an eating disorder, struggling with her frustration, confusion, anxiety and depression. Her emotional turmoil life hit home, with many in the audience having a greater understanding for the need for The Elisa Project. Even those who never knew Elisa now knew, understood and appreciated her struggle.

Contact Tea

Just as the crowd was being let out from The Elisa Project luncheon, a Kappa Kappa Gamma tea was underway at Jan Hegi’s home-sweet-home in Highland Park.

 Jan Hegi, Benaye Rogers, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Leigh Anne Haugh

Jan Hegi, Benaye Rogers, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Leigh Anne Haugh

The reason was Contact keynote speaker/honoree/Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, who just so happened to be a Kappa and was in town as the keynote speaker for the next day’s Spirit of Contact luncheon at the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion.

Before arriving at Jan’s, true-blue Kappa Kaitlin had visited the sorority house on the SMU campus.

As Jan and her “little sister” Marla Boone chatted in the entry hall, blonde Kaitlin took a seat on the couch in the living room. Her high heels were starting to get the best of her. Seems, like Amanda Beard, Kaitlin had been an early bird making the rounds of the local TV news shows. Learning that Amanda had also been staying at the Anatole, Kaitlin perked up. But then she learned that Amanda was already headed to the airport.

Editor’s note: Keynote and guest speakers may seem like they live an exciting life. A new city being feted, interviewed and photographed. Actually, it’s a demanding lifestyle — living out of a suitcase, being asked the same old questions, being shuttled around, trying to juggle their home life from long distance, being at the mercy of airline schedules, etc.

But back to Kaitlin. Despite having living through one of the nation’s most horrific mass murders, the 30-year-old teacher made no bones about her commitment to not let the tragedy define her or her students.

When asked if she had returned to the 3’ by 4’ bathroom where she and 15 of her students sought refuge from the murderer wandering the Sandy Hook halls, she looked a bit surprised. There was no way she would have ever returned to that room that had been demolished along with the school.

In 2012 Kaitlin admitted there were so many “angels” like her deceased grandmother who had been watching over her and her 15 first-graders, who were literally crammed in a room smaller than a coffee table. She recalled one student, who had been on vacation that day. When his parents asked her what she would have done if he had been at class, Kaitlin didn’t hesitate — “I would have put him on my shoulders.”

Heroes and Handbags Live Auction

Along with popularity comes challenges. In the case of the Knox-Henderson area east of Central Expressway, it’s parking. The guests of the Heroes and Handbags Live Auction found that out. Valet parking had been promised for the event at The Dram. But as guests trudged along Henderson, nary a parker nor sparking space was in sight.

However, nothing can prevent this crowd from getting to a Heroes for Children (H4C). Determined guests finally pulled into the lineup for Tei-Tei/The Porch parking lot that was as crowded as a Springsteen concert at the Final Four. Drivers were given understanding smiles by the parkers, who told them that they were indeed in the right lot. Once out of their vehicles, guests were directed down a walkway to the Dram.

One guest was so frustrated that he drove his SUV into the lot via the exit. To make amends with the attendants, he paid them $40 to keep his car nearby, saying, “We’re not going to be here that long.”

But once inside the dark bar with the cozy banquets and bar with a mirrored wall with glass shelves boasting loads of grown-up beverages, guests felt right at home.

Angela Choquette and Andrea Weber

Angela Choquette and Andrea Weber

H&H Chair Andrea Weber was celebrating a mommy’s night out. This was her first outing since giving birth to her daughter, Nicolette on March 5.

Darren Woodson

Darren Woodson

Andrea admitted that she indeed had had her hands full with the baby and the H&H fundraiser. But despite it all, the blonde new mom delivered more than the baby. She also arranged for adorable former Dallas Cowboy Darren Woodson to be the honorary chair. Well, she did get some help from husband John, who offices with Darren.

Taking the mic from Andrea and prodded by H4C Co-Founder Larissa Linton, Darren managed to articulately get the party-hearty crowd to face the reality of the program that helps the children battling cancer.

It was the perfect message to get the live auction hitting $37,000 for H4C.

Kristy Hensel and Larissa Linton

Kristy Hensel and Larissa Linton

Speaking of Larissa, she said that it appears that 200 handbags from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, YSL, Jimmy Choo, Susie Straubmueller, Chanel, Valentino and Rag & Bone will be up for auction at the H&H brunch on Friday, April 25, at the Omni.

Elaine Turner handbag*

Elaine Turner handbag*

Once again Elaine Turner has created a limited edition bag for the event.

In addition to having Tina “Bag Snob” Craig as the honorary chair, the H&H is being sponsored by Sewell, United Healthcare, Traxxas and TXU Energy.

If you love handbags and you just know you do, you’d better get on the stick and get your tickets. Insiders indicated “some tickets/tables are still left,” but they’re going, going, nearly gone.

* Photo provided 
by Heroes For 

Heroes For Children Will Be Flush With Diamonds Thanks To Hold’Em For Heroes And Harry Winston

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

There’s something about Heroes for Children that once you get involved, you can’t stop. That was the case for Kim and Nevin Bannister. Here Kim chaired this year’s Heroes and Handbags and she signed up again. But this time she officially included husband Nevin. No, they’re not going to hold a fall version of Handbags. The Bannisters are co-chairing the 7th Annual Hold’Em for Heroes.

The three-hour poker tournament will be held on Tuesday, October 29, at the Dallas Country Club. The $250 ticket includes the first set of game chips, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The 10 winners will choose between a variety of prizes.

Alas, one of those prizes doesn’t include the Harry Winston Hope Collection Bracelet. Dang! Oh, you haven’t heard about this nifty bauble? Well, it seems that Harry Winston Inc. has created a limited edition bracelet featuring “a sleek white gold and engraved mother-of-pearl design set with a delicate Winston diamond at the center.” Now, comes the yummy frosting on the cupcake. Retailing for $2,500, the Harry Winston team is donating 100% of the price to Heroes for Children.

This type of giving shouldn’t surprise anyone. The late Harry himself started the company’s emphasis on supporting nonprofits. From 1949 to 1953, his “The Court of Jewels” toured cities to raise money for local charities. The headliner in the exhibition was the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond. And where is the Hope nowadays? No, it won’t be at Hold’Em For Heroes. It will be at the Smithsonian Institution, where it has resided since 1958 when Harry donated it for the legendary museum.

April 19 Round Robin: Heroes And Handbags And Recess!

Friday, April 19, resulted in a slam-bang traffic jam around the Omni Dallas Hotel, as well as a pop-up playground in Preston Hollow. Here are the details:

Heroes and Handbags

An absolute perfect storm of valet parking took place at the Heroes and Handbags brunch on April 19. As it was explained, a major volleyball event was taking place at the Dallas Convention Center at the crack of dawn. The players, coaches and friends had pretty much wiped out all the parking lot next to the center as well as the Omni Hotel Dallas garage. Then an impressively large medical group was swamping the hotel’s front drive and personnel. By 10:30 when the HfH guests started arriving, there were two valets on the scene to handle their parking needs, resulting in a two-block backup of vehicles.

But nothing was going to come between the ladies who love purses and the auction of designer handbags for Heroes for Children.

Some industrious ones parked a block over and hiked on over. Impressing friends, Lynn McBee did it in sky-high stilettos. Others seeing the lineup opted to run the gauntlet of the front drive. Sky Brewer, who already had a migraine headache, proved to have the driving skills of a “Bullet” stunt driver.

One veteran staffer admitted that it was one of the worse traffic jams that s/he had seen since the hotel had opened.

But once the gals got upstairs to the third floor and started checking the merchandise on display in the Trinity Ballroom lobby, the parking frustrations were history.

Handbags up for bid

Handbags up for bid

Honorary Chair Nancy Dedman and gal pal Mary Watson checked out the purses, but admitted to being a bit thrown by the cellphone bidding process. The twosome retreated to a couple of comfy chairs until the ballroom doors opened.

Nancy Dedman and Mary Watson

Nancy Dedman and Mary Watson

Not having one iota of problem in the bidding were the 600 gals who quickly filled the room. When they weren’t cell-bidding, they were talking. Gillian Breidenbach, who was getting ready for a girls’ Hawaiian vacation, reported that fireman/husband Mark had just returned from West and, “Yes, it was as bad as it sounded.” . . . Honorary Co-chair Rachael Dedman was feeling a bit guilty. Seems she told daughter Nancy to wear her Hockaday uniform for the event.

Nancy Dedman

Nancy Dedman

Turns out Nancy’s classmates wore their civvies. Not to worry. Daisy fashion is always a headturner. Plus the school girls had front-row couches in the ballroom. Yup, you read that right. Some very special guests had tables with couches for sitting. . . .Speaking of moms-and-daughters day out, Heroes for Children Co-founder Larissa Linton had her daughter Tessa Brewton visiting with mother/daughter team Dee Simmons and D’Andra Simmons. Those two teams alone could hold their own seminar on how to be fashionable.

Dee Simmons, Tessa Brewton, Larissa Linton and D'Andra Simmons

Dee Simmons, Tessa Brewton, Larissa Linton and D’Andra Simmons

And speaking of fashion, oh the treasures that were found on the tables and shelves around the room. Of course, you want some bag name dropping and, of course, you’ll find it here. “Previously Carried” Jimmy Choo camel barrel handbag (Value: $1,200), Brahamin Crocodile embossed bag in pecan (Value: $325), “Previously Carried” Prada camoflauge bag (Value: $1,200), a floral purse stuffed with a puppy (Value: $18), “Previously Carried” Valentino cognac leather handbag with gold buckle (Vale: $200), Salvatore Ferragamo camel handbag (Value: $1,200) and other goodies. Don’t you just wish they would list who had “previously carried” some of those hand-holding darlings?

But there was much more. Companies like Neiman’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Bulgari, Four Seasons Resort and Club and NorthPark had kicked in their own contributions ramping things up to a “bid or die of envy” situation.

Kristi Bare played the waiting game. She was determined to get a certain item, but decided to wait til the very last moment to put in her final bid.

Kim Bannister

Kim Bannister

Event Chair Kim Bannister was commandeering the situation and didn’t let on that the parking was not to her liking. Even when the scheduled opening of the doors was delayed 15 minutes and then another 15 minutes, no one seemed the least bit bothered. Only problem was that brunch (Fresh seasonal fruit and berries with crème Chantilly and selection of croissants and bakers with apricot and grand Marnier butter, brisket hash with poached egg and hollandaise sauce and chicken crepes and asparagus and macaroons, assorted truffles and tres leches petit fours) was now moving into the “noon lunch” territory. But again — nobody seemed to care.

Heads and tails

Heads and tails

Once in the ballroom, there was a mini-version of “heads and tails” that had proved so successful back in March was tried again. Only this time there were lots of heads and tails. OK let’s get our calculators out for this one. If 300 guests put up $20 per person to play and the payout was $1,000, that means Heroes for Children took in a cool $5,000 within five minutes.

And the tally for the day?

  • The largest attendance of 600 guests ever for Heroes and Handbags.
  • The silent auction of 280 homebound handbags earned $93,000.
  • The net total for the day that started off with a traffic jam — $326,000.

Ooh, la la!


Kate Rose Marquez and Julie Bagley were at Taco Diner when they came up with an idea to raise money for the Dallas AfterSchool Network.

Kate Rose Marquez, Faye Briggs and Julie Bagley

Kate Rose Marquez, Faye Briggs and Julie Bagley

The pair wanted to develop a new fundraiser—something that would be fun and unique. The result of their brainstorm: a debut event called Recess!, held April 19 at the beautiful estate of philanthropist Faye Briggs.

Event Co-chairs Kate Rose and Julie—who sits on the DASN board—said Recess! was intended to celebrate “all the fun parts of school,” including games and food. The DASN also is about fun, aiming to improve the quality of free afterschool and summer programs by providing staff training, curriculum, volunteers and other program resources.

Recess! was unique and fun, indeed. Tables in Faye’s sprawling backyard were groaning with “for-sale” educational toys donated by The Toy Maven. There was a casino, plus plenty of adult beverages. A “cafeteria” offered comfort food like gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, chicken pot pie, tater tots and sliders.



Julie and Kate rose even cooked up a new kind of treasure hunt, burying 100 coins in an actual sandbox. Partygoers paid $25 for one scoop of sand from the box, or $100 for five scoops. If they dug up one of 25 lucky, marked coins with their scoops, they won prizes including an Apple iPad, a Harry Winston coffeetable book or a $1,000 gift card from Ralph Lauren.

Kristy Robinson, Forest Hoglund, Kelly Compton and Sally Hoglund

Kristy Robinson, Forrest Hoglund, Kelly Compton and Sally Hoglund

Among the more than 200 guests at the event were Honorary Chairs Sally and Forrest Hoglund; their daughters Kelly Compton and Kristy Robinson; and Lynn McBee, whose husband Allan McBee was MIA due to spending the day helping his pal Trammell S. Crow prepare for Earth Day Dallas.

By 10:30 p.m., when the casino and the bars had closed and the raffle winners were announced, Julie and Kate Rose could report that more than $100,000 had been netted for DASN’s 140-plus locations serving 11,000 children.

Not bad for something that started with a meeting-of-the-minds at Taco Diner.

Hundreds Of Handbags Are Up For Bid At The April 19th Handbags & Heroes Plus So Much More

Dallas women do love a handbag. Sure, it’s an accessory, but it’s also that mini-lifesaver for the day’s necessities like lipstick, credit cards and cell phones. Why, there are women who would rather gain five pounds than lose their purse!

Rebecca Griffin, Larissa Linton, Diane Digiuseppe and Cheryl Carter (File photo)

Rebecca Griffin, Larissa Linton, Diane Digiuseppe and Cheryl Carter (File photo)

That’s why the April 19th Heroes & Handbags at the Omni Dallas from 9:30 to noon is shaping up to be such a hit. Heroes for Children Co-founder Larissa Linton just sent word that they’ve got “almost 200 handbags in and are hoping to have around 250!!! (Lots of last minute donations rolling in!)”

And if this is your first purse rodeo, you need to know these handbags are not former KMART red light specials. Want proof? Of course you do. According to Larissa, “Some of our top bags include:

  • 2 amazing Nancy Gonzalez bags donated from Neiman Marcus downtown
  • A Vintage Louis Vuitton Epi Bag from Heritage Auction Gallery
  • A Celine top spring bag from Bergdorf Goodman NYC
  • A VBH bag, handmade in Italy
  • A Judith Lieber bag from Bachendorfs
  • A Bvlgari overnight duffle including a night at the Four Seasons and $500 NorthPark Gold!
  • Also, Elaine Turner once again will have a fabulous spring boutique, featuring 15 of her beautiful bags!

She also strongly indicates that there will be some surprises in store, but she ain’t talking details.

This year’s raffle will be for a wine tasting trip in Napa and a Jimmy Choo handbag from Stanley Korshak.

BTW, don’t leave your trusty cell-/smart-phone at home. It’s extremely useful when it comes to bidding at this auction and raising money for Heroes for Children.

Also, you don’t have to be a female to be a “hero.” A smart gent, who wants to impress the lady in his life, might want to join the fun and pick up a purse for her.

Heroes And Handbags Bags Live Auction Prizes At Cameron And Clay Smith’s Preston Hollow Mansion

Parenthood is tough. The pain of taking a child to get their shots. Watching a munchkin try their hardest and not quite surpassing hopes. The waiting in the back of the carpool line. Parent-teacher meetings that are more excruciating than a root canal.

But it also has those moments that beat taking home the Nobel Peace Prize. That first party outfit. That first date. That loss of a first tooth and relying on the tooth fairy to make things right. Both good and bad are moments that make up the tapestry that most parents experience and treasure in the years to come.

Larissa Linton

Larissa Linton

Unfortunately, there are parents whose memories take a different direction. Instead of taking their child to the pediatrician’s offices, they go to the oncologist. Instead of parent-teacher meetings, they seek out medical experts like a lost soul in the desert. Instead of a party outfit, they cheer the wisps of hair that appear after way-too-many chemo treatments. They are the parents who have gone through cancer with their children. Those are mothers like Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott.

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

On March 6 the Heroes and Handbags patrons gathered at Cameron and Clay Smith’s Preston Hollow home for a live auction. No, it wasn’t one of those stomping-romping auctions. It started with thanks to Medical City Children’s Hospital, Gold Crown Valet, Pioneer Wines, Bowl and Barrel, Enchanted Rock Vodka, Cakes by Kim, Dana Driensky and Dean McCurry and the Smiths, of course.

Then everyone including Katherine and Key Coker, Lynn McBee and Kate Rose Marquez fresh from the Mad Hatter’s patron party hunkered down in the living room.

Kim Bannister

Kim Bannister

After welcomes and pep-up talks by Kim Bannister, who told how tables sales were “going like crazy,” Heroes for Children founders Larissa and Jenny described their mission. They were so upbeat and positive. It’s hard to imagine how their days of watching their children dying from cancer could result in such a giving program. But those tragedies brought the girls together in their mission to help others.

You’ve just got to know these two ladies have weathered very tough times together. Their camaraderie was obvious when Jenny laughed that Larissa’s body language was indicating that her talk needed to come to an end. That’s what gal pals are all about, don’t you know.

Jenny Scott

Jenny Scott

First they played heads and tails. Please don’t ask for an explanation of this game. The visuals alone provided proof why it’s always a game winner.

Then it was on to the live auction action, with the bowling with food going for $1,750 and the sports package of Mavs and Rangers hitting $2,750.

BTW, this year’s Handbags and Heroes is taking place at the Omni Dallas Hotel, complete with such stellar sponsors as the Dedman Foundation, Medical City Children’s Hospital, Sewell Automotive Group, United Healthcare and Dee Simmons. If you love purses and/or munchkins, this event is a must-attend. Last year’s crop of purses was simply remarkable. Shoot! Wish we had had a really smartphone to bid on some of them. Get your rezzies in now and warm up your keypads to bid.

Share-A-Date: Heroes & Handbags

Friday, April 19: One of the surprise hits in the past years has been the Heroes & Handbags luncheon. Maybe it’s because Dallas gals love their purses. Not only is it something to accessorize their look, but it’s also invaluable when storing the necessities of ladylike lifestyles — cellphone, lipstick and credit cards.

Some of the handbags available for purchase are gently experienced types donated by fashionable leaders. Others are brand spanking new and are dying to be clutched.

The Kate

The Kate*

Speaking of clutching and handholding, designer Elaine Turner has designed a custom bag exclusively for the Heroes for Children fundraiser. Larissa Linton reported that “only 150 were available and we have already pre-sold over 50!”

Rachael Dedman and Nancy Dedman (File photo)

Rachael Dedman and Nancy Dedman (File photo)

Now for the best part. Elaine’s creation is called The Kate, “named after Prince William‘s wife, hence the crown!” If you email Larissa ([email protected]), she’ll reserve one for you for $199 with a portion going to HfC. If there are any left by the luncheon, you can take your chance and pick one up then. But that’s a chancy chance, don’t you know.

BTW, if you haven’t attended the event in the past, don’t leave your cellphone at home. It makes the purchasing oh-so-much easier and fun.

Those purse-hugging girls Nancy Dedman and Rachael Dedman are honorary chairs and Kim Bannister is luncheon chair.

*Photo provided by Heroes for Children

Pitch Your Nonprofit: Heroes For Children

According to Heroes for Children‘s Executive Director Kristy Hensel,

Heroes for Children

“Heroes for Children provides financial and social assistance to families that have a child battling cancer.  When a child is diagnosed with cancer, typically, Mom or Dad has to take an extended amount of time off of work, or quit their job entirely to help care for their child.  Cancer treatment is lengthy, and many times the child is hospitalized for a long period of time.  The time without pay, medical and prescription bills and copays quickly add up. The average costs for cancer treatment is $600,000. The financial assistance HFC provides, helps pay rent/mortgages, utility bills, transportation costs and sadly even funerals.  In 2012, HFC will provide more than $800,000 in financial and social assistance, donate 100+ laptops to older kids and teens with cancer, and provide a holiday celebration for 72 families and all their children!  HFC also puts on a Valentines Dinner for the parents, has a Heroes Milestone program that provides celebrations such as birthdays, bar mitzvah’s, graduation, etc. for the kids and teens we serve.  HFC provides assistance to patients (age 0-22) at all the major pediatric cancer centers in the DFW area, as well as the entire state of Texas.  A gift to HFC will make a big difference in the life of a child with cancer by relieving some of the intense stress (emotional and financial) that their parent/parents are dealing with.  We are so thankful for the support of our community and wish you all a very blessed Holiday Season!”

-Kristy Hensel

Graphic provided by Heroes for Children

MySweetCharity Follow-up: Slipper Club of Dallas

Olivia Liland and Matt Nunley (File photo)

More good news! The calculators around town must have been burning up lately.

The Slipper Club of Dallas’s 16th Annual Casino and Silent Auction Gala raised $40,000 for Heroes for Children. Part of the $$ “will go to a retreat for all of the families, and will also help pay for medical supplies for children while not in the hospital.”

Don’t you just love starting the week off with all this good news?

Cellphones Earned Their Keep To The Tune Of $312,000 At Heroes And Handbags For Heroes For Children

Checking cellphone bidding

Heroes and Handbags was a pretty phoney affair. Never has a fundraiser seen so many cellphones drafted into full duty as this one benefiting the Heroes for Children. It was strictly a brilliant move by Co-chairs Danya Anderson and Andrea Weber for this crowd of highly skilled smartphoners. Using phones to check bid status and up the ante on gently-experienced and donated purses from fashionistas* at the Hilton Anatole on May 4, the ladies who clutch were not playing by the old silent auction rule of, “Wait til the last minute before bidding.” Nope, they were punching their numbers like the boxers who just hours before had been duking it out in the very same room for The Real Estate Council’s FightNight 24.

In fact FightNight was one of the topics that the organizers were still rolling their eyes about. Seems that in the waning hours of FightNight, the ladies of HaH were moving into the Chantilly Ballroom to set up shop for the Friday morning brunch/shop-a-thon. One female, who certainly wasn’t faint of heart, reported, “It was sorta amazing. I saw one man rushing to the bathroom with his hands over his mouth.” Interpret that as you wish.

Shoes shopping for handbags

But back to the ladies in their pursuit of the right purse. This was definitely not your granny Gertrude’s affair. Nope. These were the leggy gals who work out year round just to stay toned and healthy. With their best stilettos and wedges in place, they made the rounds of the room hunting for a new home for their now-overworked cellphones. After all, today’s smartphone demands accessories like Barbie. One just can’t toss the phone in a back pocket!

Gucci monogrammed fabric bag with bamboo handles

While first-timer Stephanie Korte was checking out the Gucci-monogrammed fabric bag with bamboo handles and turquoise leather accents that was valued at $850, she admitted “I’m a $25 ranger type. I’m scared to bid on anything.” Not to worry. If a mistaken bid was placed on the phone, it could easily be resolved by notifying organizers.

Prada straw bag

By 10:20 a.m. gals and their phones were checking out and bidding on the likes of Elaine Turner, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Marc Jacobs and Chanel. You know, a nice little Prada for your iPhone to cuddle up in. Or a feathery Antony Luciano brown satin evening bag for your Android to call home for a night. Nancy Rogers’ donated Valentino red flower handbag valued at $2,200 was already hitting $1,200. The Ralph Lauren gold hobo bag donated by Elaine Agather valued at $1,5000 was at $1,015.

Anthony Luciano brown satin evening bag with ostrich feathers

And the numbers continued to rise as the ladies moved into the other part of the Chantilly Ballroom for brunch and still more fundraising for Heroes for Children, a group that does so much good for families like brunch speaker Hagan Hoppess, who gave a moving talk about her battle with cancer and the effect it’s had on her family. Thank heaven for ladies who love their handbags and help Heroes for Children.

This year’s hoped-for total of $300,000 was topped by $12,000 with 260 handbags going home with new owners. Plans are already underway for next year’s event. It’s gonna be in the bag (oh, so sorry, but we couldn’t resist).

One suggestion for next year: Get a cellphone provider to be a major sponsor.

* Jennifer Houser, Jennifer Tobin, Jenna Alexander, Skye Brewer, Cindy and David Stager, April Willingham, Alicia Wood, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Janine Steiner, Tamara Bickel, Amy Detwiler, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Danya Anderson Stacy Kelly and Joe Wiseman, Tavia Hunt, Misty Quinn, Alison Weinstein, Emily and Todd Massey, Stacy Elliott, Anne Fontaine Paris, Andrea and John Weber, Megana nd Brian Flanagan, Angela Ruble, Megan Adams, Christi Houser, Stacey Butler, Wendy Konradi, Ashard Richley, Stacie Whitley, Kim Monk, Katherine LaLonde, Maura Bradshaw, Tanya Foster, Leigh Koch, Margot Keller, Donna and Ken Reese, Katherine Coker, Marianne Wilshusen, Melanie Gayle and Erica Robins

Heroes And Handbags Have Top Names In The Bag And Elaine Turner In The Clutch For Friday’s Brunch

Don’t know if it’s because gals are emerging from winter hibernation or a sign that the recession recovery may be taking place, but shopping has once again returned as the fav indoor sport in these parts, especially if it’s for fundraising.

For instance, one of the first “departments” to be wiped out at yesterday’s Salvation Army Fashion Show & Luncheon (to be covered soon) shop-a-thon was the three tables of handbags. Like their shoes, Dallas women love their handbags.

Ah, perfect timing! Just got word from Heroes and Handbags General Larissa Linton that the bag booty for Friday’s benefit brunch benefiting Heroes for Children at the Hilton Anatole includes such names as Fendi, Bulgari, Jimmy Choo, Anthony Luciano, Abi Ferrin and “an amazing $4,500 ostrich skin tote from Susie Straubmueller. . . to name a few!”

Bella custom clutch by Elaine Turner

FYI: Elaine Turner “has designed a custom Bella clutch exclusively for the Heroes and Handbags event!” The good news: They are only $125. The not-so-good news: There will only be 100 available at the brunch. A bargain begging to be bagged!

BTW, if you haven’t got your tickets, hustle or you may end up groveling.

Jimmy Choo Gives A Glittery Foot Up And Goodies For The Seventh Annual Heroes And Handbags Wednesday Evening

A Jimmy Choo glittery stiletto

OK, so the focus may be on handbags for the May 4th Seventh Annual Heroes &  Handbags brunch, but Wednesday night it was shoes, shoes, shoes. Oh, how Dallas gals love their footwear. And to find a fix. . .  and an out-of-this-world-fix at that. . . they turned to Jimmy Choo in HP Village. While others dined upon the marquee at the Marquee Grill in the oh-so-perfect weather across the way, the leggy ladies with fabulous pedicures were getting down and strapping on the glittery, colorful and vertigo-challenging stilettos for a test run. Let’s face it. Jimmy Choos are simply jewelry for the fashionable feet.

Cathy Vieth

And just as quickly as the gals settled into shoe slipping, the Jimmy Choo folks revealed a percentage of the evening’s sales were destined for H&H’s beneficiary, Heroes for Children. And to top that off they donated a handbag, iPad case and perfume set on the spot.

Rebecca Griffin, Larissa Linton, Diane Digiuseppe and Cheryl Carter

If you’re new to Heroes for Children, prepare yourself. Sadly it was the result of the deaths of Taylor Anne Brewton and Allison “Allie” Leigh Scott, who were just the littlest of munchkins when they and their families faced the daunting challenges of cancer. Taylor died in 2001 at the age of four and Allie in 2004 passed away at just eight months 27 days. While the excruciating ordeal and loss of their daughters were overwhelming, their moms, Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott, were inspired to create Heroes for Children to “provide financial and social assistance to families, within the state of Texas, with children (0-22 years of age) battling cancer.” To date, Heroes for Children has provided “over $3.5 million in program services since its inception.”

Kristi Bare and Cindy Stager

To meet the soaring needs of families having children with cancer, Brunch Chair Cindy Stager is aiming high for this year’s event. She’s looking at a higher attendance count (650) as well as higher results. To do this Cindy has moved the event to the Hilton Anatole and she’s having Danya Anderson and Donna Miller serve as her honorary chairs.

Another change is the way the much-talked-about silent auction bidding will be handled. It will be the touch screen method. This way if you’re outbid, you’ll be texted and you can up the ante without all that fussy back-and-forth monitoring.

And the 250 namedropping vintage and brand-spanking new handbags that are being assembled for the silent auction are simply jaw-dropping — “Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Elaine Turner, Chanel,  just to name a few.” In fact Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez were heading home after the shoe-fest to pick out their best handbags for donating, just as Danya’s Karaoke Lounge co-chair Cary Deuber arrived with husband Mark. Ah, the sacrifices men make for their gorgeous wives!

Be forewarned: Don’t wait to get your tickets and don’t be late for the 9:30 a.m. start time. This one sells out ASAP and you really don’t want to miss out on the silent auction. It’s simply a one-of-a-kind auction.

Slipper Club’s “An Arabian Night” Was Dreamy From Invitation To Henna And Hookah Booths For Heroes For Children

Back in 1934 the Idlewild Club was just 50 years old, the Junior League was 12 years old, Neimans was 27 years old and the young people around town were “the Margaret’s” (as in Hunt Hill and Milam McDermott) and the Marcus boys. But there were four former Idlewild debs (Mary Blakeney, Bonnie Compton, Lucy Jo Davis  and Sally Dunlap), who felt young Dallas women needed their own social club. After all, the men had Idlewild, Calyx, Dervish and Terpsichorean. The gals should have a social club, too.

So, they created the Slipper Club. Over the years, the club changed with the times. It maintained its reputation for elegance, but in 1995 the membership realized that it could be both social and socially responsible by becoming a non-profit organization and raising funds for different charities each year.

Sara Huggins, Fritz Konker, Laura Koch and Genevieve Collins

Saturday the Slipper Club’s 16th annual charity gala, “An Arabian Night,” at Brook Hollow Golf Club proved once again that it has gorgeous members who know how to raise money for Heroes for Children and how to be ultra fashionable.

Perhaps the first indication that the night was going to be a step-above-gorgeous was the invitation. One of the prettiest to hit a mailbox in ages. Everything from the quality of paper, the design and the elements were right on target to set the mood for a black tie event. It was created by the Wilkinson Rhodes Events & Invitations that has just opened up shop here in Dallas. Seems Billinda Wilkinson has been ruling super-duper social events down in San Antonio and decided to expand to Dallas with her daughter at the helm.

Silent Auction in the terrace

Before the 400 expected guests arrived, Slipper Club President Christina Conway hosted a president’s dinner in the Oak Room. For some of the diners, it was a little hard to get to the Oak Room. After all you had to walk through the main ballroom and terrace. Like the invitation, it was beautifully done and kept the Arabian Nights theme going without being hokey. Despite a mammoth four-sided bar in the center of the room, loads of silent auction items and games throughout, there was still plenty of room for guests to dance to Motion. And dance they did.  

Olivia Liland and Matt Nunley

The guests looked like they had been the pick-of-the-litter for a Vanity Fair cover. Gala chair Olivia Liland greeted guests with Matt Nunley at her side. She was in a fabulous navy-blue sequined David Meister that she was hesitant about buying. It didn’t have the pizazz on the hangar, but once on and with that slit on the right side of the skirt, she fell in love with it because “it was so comfortable.”

The underwriting for the event was a huge success thanks to Lauren Chapman. According to one committee member, this was “one of our strongest years for underwriting historically!” She must get it from her mother, Vicki Chapman. To emphasize the fact that this was a fundraising event, representatives from Heroes for Children did a great job of explaining where the money was going.

Among the members and dates was Slipper Club advisor Barbara Paschall Averitt, who looked like she had just returned from the Auriga Spa, instead of supervising the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s mega-successful presentation ball weekend. But this is nothing new to Barbara. She’s seen all sides of the deb scene from making her debut in 1982, being president of the Slipper Club and serving as coordinator extraordinaire for all things débutante in Dallas.

President's dinner

In addition to hosting the dinner of “the best-looking and most lively crowd” ever seen at a president’s dinner, Christina and Olivia carried the success to the main event itself. In addition to the games, auctions, grown-up beverages and the setting that indeed looked like something out of Scheherazade’s dream of a palace, the gals arranged to have henna and hookah booths open up at 10. Only thing missing was Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. Too bad. They missed a tale to behold.

Heroes For Children Had Success In The (Hand)bag

Linda Armstrong-Kelly

Friday’s Heroes & Handbags at the Ritz Carlton was jammed with ladies interested in bags and hearing from Linda Armstrong-Kelly. She was the perfect speaker for the event benefiting Heroes for Children that helps families with children suffering from cancer. As you probably know, Linda’s son, Lance, successfully battled cancer.

Little did the guests  know that across town the members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra were preparing to announce to-be-DSO CEO/President Bill Lively had turned in his resignation.

Ah, but back to the luncheon. It’s a well-known fact that ladies who love handbags, really love handbags. So one can only imagine the anticipation of the crowd about the silent auction for the one-of-a-kind and hot-of-the-runway handbags. These types of events can turn best friends into raging ruffians. Ah, this was a civilized brunch.

Skye Brewer

Following the silent auction, the ladies adjourned to the ballroom for brunch, a talk by Linda and to await the results of the silent auction.  As event chair Skye Brewer handled the logistics, the room was filled to the brim with ladies including many mother/daughter teams like honorary chairs Peggy and Jacquelin Sewell. You do know that the love of handbags is hereditary, didn’t you?

D'Andra Simmons

Speaking of which, D’Andra Simmons was showing off her new bag designed by gal pal/handbag designer Marin Hopper that was overnighted just in time for the brunch. Warning: Don’t remind mother Dee Simmons how much the bag cost.

Share-The-Date: Heroes And Handbags

Friday, April 29:  Some people are shoe lovers; others are purse fanatics. They buy handbags when they don’t even need ’em. So it’s no surprise that last year’s Heroes and Handbags was a definite and quick sell-out with 500 in attendance. Suggestion: get your tickets now for this brunch at the Ritz-Carlton. In addition to the brunch, there’s a silent auction of one of a kind vintage and new designer handbags.

Peggy and Jacquelin Sewell are chairing the event that benefits Heroes for Children. You HfC. It provies financial and social assistance for families with a youngster battling cancer.

This year’s top sponsors will receive handbags from designer Elaine Turner for their support.

“Hold ’em for Heroes” Shuffles Over To Lakewood Country Club Tonight

In just a couple of hours, the poker players of Dallas will head to the Lakewood Country Club for Heroes for Children‘s “Hold ‘Em for Heroes.” The annual card game raises funds to “help support families with children battling cancer by reducing the financial burden that often co-exists with cancer treatment.”

If you haven’t registered already, the online is closed, but they’ll allow “walk ups.”

When you think of it, the date for the game was just perfect! The Rangers have the day off.

Tee Time: The Merry Month of May

If you’re a die-heart golfer or golf watcher in need of a reason to get out of the office and do some good, then have we got some deals for you! [Read more…]