2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “A Garden By The Sea” To Commemorate 30th Anniversary Of Women’s Council of The Dallas Arboretum Fundraiser

When Melissa Lewis agreed to be president of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, she called Venise Stuart. Melissa would only take the leadership position, if Venise agreed to chair the 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Melissa Lewis

Venise Stuart

After chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb ball, the Aware Affair and Les Femmes Du Monde’s Women of the Year, Venise was the right one to tap for the 30th anniversary of the annual tea that benefits the Council’s A Woman’s Garden.

At Tootsies on Thursday, November 16, Melissa and Venise had about 70 guests in for champagne and to learn about the plans for the spring fashion show.

Before the announcements were made, Venise said that she wanted the annual fashion show and luncheon to be an elegant affair along the lines of the grand days when the ultra-rich sought the cool breezes of Newport in the summer.

When the event was first launched in 1987, it was simply a seated tea with Virginia Nick, Margaret McDermott, Mary Nell Rogers, Barbara Lake and Carol Ann Brown on the terrace of the Camp House with a regatta sailing on White Rock in the background. As one person described it, “Nobody had ever done anything like that. It was like we were in a movie. They had just restored the Camp Estate. It was a simple but elegant affair. It was like Downton Abby. Nobody asked you for anything. It was just a beautiful afternoon.”

Over the years, change was afoot. It was held in different locations, designers like the late Frank Olive attended, fashion shows were added and the hat judgings. In recent years, the tea has settled into a champagne reception in Ginsburg Plaza and the fashion show and live auction in Rosine Hall followed by a seated luncheon on the terrace overlooking the grounds.  

Nerissa von Helpenstill

Lynn Dealey and Linda Ivy

Dyann Skelton and Emilynn Wilson

Linda Burk

With the 70 guests including Emilynn Wilson, Linda and Steve Ivy, Dyann Skelton, Jocelyn White, Donna Darling, Claire Cunningham, Kay Weeks, Barbara Bingham and Tea founder Carol Ann Brown, the twosome announced that Linda Burk would be the honorary chair and that Tootsies under the leadership of Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb would be providing the fashions with Jan Strimple producing the show on Thursday, April 12.

A Garden by the Sea by Lynn Dealey

Then they unveiled the graphics designed by Lynn Dealey with the theme “A Garden By The Sea.”

JUST IN: 30th Anniversary Mad Hatter’s Tea Theme, Date And Plans Revealed

Last night 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Venise Stuart announced plans for the annual fundraiser benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum‘s A Woman’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Melissa Lewis

Venise Stuart

On the ground level of Tootsies, Venise revealed that the 30th anniversary would be a salute to the grandeur and elegance of a bygone era.

A Garden By The Sea*

Women’s Council of the Arboretum President Melissa Lewis stressed it was not a Gatsby-period theme. Rather think of the Vanderbilts summered in Newport at The Breakers, Marble House and Rough Point, when the magnificent estates enjoyed the cool breezes.  

To visually explain the feel, Melissa and Venise unveiled the graphic designed by Lynn Dealey that benefited the “A Garden By The Sea” theme perfectly.

Serving at honorary chair will be Linda Burk, who has been a longtime supporter of the Arboretum.

The fashion show of Tootsies fashions and luncheon will take place on Thursday, April 12, at the Arboretum under the direction of Jan Strimple.

As for the chapeau judging details, stay tuned.

* Graphic credit: Lynn Dealey

Tootsies’ Fashions Were Front-And-Center On Stage For KidneyTexas Inc.’s Behind-The Scenes “Transforming Lives”

The KidneyTexas Inc.’s Runway Report affair at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Tuesday, September 26, may have appeared to be a typical fashion show and luncheon ready for a crowd of 350. The runway was laid out in the ballroom and the luncheon tables in the Promenade. The reception was already underway even before the 10:30 start as guests with flutes of champagne strolled in spotting friends across the room. Emcee Ron Corning with left leg firmly held in place thanks to a brace following a nasty fall in Santa Fe posed for photos with guests like Donna Arp Weitzman.

Soon the room was filled with the likes of Event Co-Chair Susan Russell, Jocelyn White, Angela Nash, Ramona Jones, Di Johnston, Susan McSherry, Angela Randall, Cheryl Hall, Vicki Howland, Lynn Dealey, Jolie Humphrey, Patty Jo Turner, Lauryn Gayle White, Lisa Cooley, Patti Flowers, Delilah Boyd, Tracy Lange, Marj Waters, Mr. Mesero’s Mico Rodriguez and Tracy Williams, who was watching her 15-year-old daughter walk the runway.

Andrea Alcorn

Ron Corning

KidneyTexas Inc. President Andrea Alcorn had lost more weight that she remembered. It wasn’t because she’d signed up for Weight Watchers. It was the “Stealth Juggler’s” diet that many baby boomers are unknowingly part of. She was juggling her day-job as a PR person, her responsibilities as KidneyTexas Inc. president and taking care of her mother Mae Alcorn (the longest kidney transplant survivor) who had fallen and broken a couple of major bones.

Altuzarra fashion

A.L.C jacket

Cinq A Sept gown with LaMarque jacket

Enhanced Rob Bradford gown

Highlighting the Tootsies fashions on the runway was a model in a Rob Bradford figure-hugging gown wrapped in vines ladened with faux butterflies that reflected the day’s theme “Transforming Lives.” 

But it was the behind-the-scenes story that was the real reason for the gathering.

Then there was McKamy Tiner, who just the year before had co-chaired the luncheon. She was also the nation’s youngest kidney donor. Today she was all smiles. Not just because of her kidney sharing, but she was getting married the following Saturday to Joel Looney. Because one donates a kidney doesn’t mean they lost their sense of humor, too. She told how when Joel met with her father months before, the bridegroom-to-be was nervous. Her dad offered him a Scotch to sooth his nerves. As an added calm down, papa Tiner told Joel, “I was always worried that Tiner would marry an a-s-o-e. You are the nicest guy around, so I’m not worried.”

McKamy Tiner

Susan Russell and Christine Martin

John Castorr

Co-Chair Christine Martin was as bright and sparkling as Tinkerbell. But that wouldn’t have been so, if it hadn’t been for two kidney transplants.

Christine’s brother John Castorr told how one of the beneficiaries Camp Reynal was a true getaway for for children with diabetes. In addition to having outdoors activities and being like any other summer camp, Camp Reynal had dialysis machines and healthcare specialist on site. 

But with all these knock ‘em out of the park stories, there was someone missing. His name was Vinny Trezza and he was a hunk. Not only did he play golf and was a Boy Scout, he “had been living with hydronephrosis, a condition from birth that caused his kidneys to swell and not function property.”

While folks sat near Vinny’s mom, Melissa Trezza, they initially didn’t realize the struggle that she and her family had gone through. But thanks to Melissa being a perfect match and Dr. Dev Desai at Children’s, Melissa “donated her kidney to her son, allowing him to avoid dialysis.”  

So, how does a kidney transplant take place?  For Vinny and Melissa it was Dr. Desai working for hours cutting away tissue around Melissa’s kidney with the help of long surgical tools and a TV screen that enhanced the picture of the kidney. Once Melissa’s kidney was removed, time was of the essence. It had to be flushed out and prepared for transplant. The kidney’s turning gray was a good sign as it was placed in an ice chest and transferred to the operating room where Vinny was prepped. Once Vinny’s “bad” kidney was removed, the clock kept ticking. Within minutes, Melissa’s kidney was transplanted into her son.

But this recent transplant and May’s transplant that took place years ago only resulted from research and development funded by fundraising by events like Runway Report.

Sue Goodnight

Steve and Linda Ivy

Natalie Taylor

Dee Lincoln

Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb

Jody Dean

As auctioneer Jody Dean worked the room to bring bids just a wee bit higher, Melissa sat knowing that her Boy Scout son had been the recipient of the power of fundraising with the fashions from Tootsies, the efforts of heroes like Lifetime Achievement Awardee Sue Goodnight, Honorary Co-Chairs Linda and Steve Ivy, Sue Goodnight Services Award recipient Natalie Taylor and Over-The-Top Awardees Dee Lincoln and Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb.

As for Vinny, he was in class just being a normal buy thanks to his mom, Dr. D and the folks who had provided funding to let him get on with life.

And while Vinny let it be known that he wouldn’t be on the scene, there were nearly 50, who no-showed without notifying organizers. The results? Prepared and paid-for meals had to be thrown out. Had the MIA notified the leadership, the Runway Report could have prevented the meals from being prepared and saved some bucks. 

For more photos from the runway and the audience, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Mary Kay’s Annual Suits For Shelters Kick-Off Party Brought Out The Pink With A Surprise Reward For Attending Domestic Shelters

Barb Podbelsek may have looked like your typical shopper returning a purchase on Thursday, July 13. After parking her car across the way from Bachendorf’s, she carried a red jacket on a hangar to Tootsies. Oh, but rethink that one. Barb was taking her gently worn jacket to a private get-together at Tootsies. The jacket was to be part of the annual Suits for Shelters program that provides professional attire and accessories for women in area shelters.

Barb Podbelsek, Jana Jones and Theresa Powerski

As Barb handed over the jacket, domestic violence experts like Genesis Shelter’s Jan Langbein and Bianca Jackson, Attitudes and Attire’s Annabelle Baxter and The Family Place’s Melissa Sherrill, Mary Catherine Benavides and Shivangi Pokharel Perkins were on hand.

Mary Catherine Benavides, Shivangi Pokharel Perkins and Melissa Sherrill

Alas, this clothes collection kick-off was to be the last one for Shivangi. She was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina? The reason? Her husband’s job.

Speaking of The Family Place MIAs, CEO Paige Flink was nowhere in sight. Seems she was taking a break in West Virginia with husband Randy Flink.

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Cynthia Izaguirre and models

Mary Kay Inc. VP of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb scoured the crowd for his wife, Nikki Webb. Perfect timing. She was just walking in as the 100 guests like Jana Jones, Theresa Powerski, Jennifer and Aaron Tobin, Tracy and Abe Minkara, Teresa Flores, Anne Crews, Diana Franzetti, Nancy Thomason, Michaela and Trey Dyer, Ashley Montgomery Lyon, Nancy Gopez, Cindy and Brian Hanson, Amy and Chase Laws, Hadley and Travis Galt, Colleen Jamieson, Bill Bernstein, Genevieve Peterson and emcee Cynthia Izaguirre headed upstairs for the evening’s program hosted by the Tootsie’s crew including Nerissa von Helpenstill, Shelley Land and Dustin Holcomb.

Nerissa von Helpenstill, Shelley Lander and Dustin Holcomb

Crayton admitted that in the days ahead, he would be doing heavy-duty babysitting for the four little Webb-sters. The reason? Nikki is co-chairing the Junior League of Dallas’ Milestones Luncheon on Friday, November 17, at the Hilton Anatole with Co-Chair Jennifer Scripps. Decked out in white, Nikki reported that in addition to Linda Perryman Evans receiving the Sustainer of the Year award, the speaker will be Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer. That’s all Nikki could reveal as she and Clayton hustled upstairs for the evening’s program.

Ryan and Maleiah Rogers

As Mary Kay Ash grandson Ryan Rogers tried to juggle his microphone and a glass, wife Maleiah Rogers was the dutiful wife, walking over and relieving him of the glass. After Ryan told of his grandmother’s longtime concern and support of women in domestic violent situations, he asked all to toast the work of those in domestic-abuse efforts. But just as he realized he had nothing with which to toast, Maleiah was back on the spot returning his glass.

Speaking of Ryan and Maleiah, they looked rather flawless. When asked their secret, they chimed in — Mary Kay products! Maleiah reeled off the whole product line and finished it with Smooth-Action Cellulite Gel Cream. One woman upon hearing that last one nudged her gal pal and said, “Then I want a bath tub of the stuff. Just look at her.”

Ryan also reminded the guests that the next week would be the national gathering of Mary Kay associates.

According to Crayton, roughly 30,000 of them would be assembling in Dallas for the four-day convention, providing the city with “two to three times the economic impact of Texas-OU weekend.”

When it came to the evening’s highlight, there was a problem. The big draw of the night was the raffle item donated by the Rogerses — $5,000 to the domestic violence group chosen by the winning ticket holder. Alas, Piers Hurley was the lucky winner, but he just couldn’t pick just one. Leave it to Maleiah and Ryan to come up with the perfect solution: “All event program beneficiaries (Attitudes and Attire, Brighter Tomorrows, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Hope’s Door New Beginning Center, Mosaic Family Services, The Salvation Army DFW and The Family Place) in attendance at the event would receive $5,000 donations to help support their work and help survivors of domestic violence!”

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Esteem Fashion Show

Rhonda Sargent Chambers (File photo)

According to Esteem Fashion Show Founder and Show Coordinator Rhonda Sargent Chambers,

We hope you will join us for the 8th annual Esteem Fashion Show, sponsored by Lisa Cooley on Saturday, September 16, at 10:00 a.m. at Tootsies, 8300 Preston Center Plaza in Dallas.  

Chaired by Whitney Kutch, with Honorary Co-Chairs Rhonda Marcus and Emmy Marcus, Esteem is a celebration of body image and self-Esteem. By helping to increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy.  Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

Whitney Kutch (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

This year, fashion sponsor Tootsies will highlight the hottest fall trends, including designs from featured brand Cinq a Sept, with local celebrities and notables walking the runway and former reality personality Courtney Kerr serving as emcee. Chosen for their support of The Elisa Project and for serving as mentors by giving back to the community and to those with eating disorders, this year’s models include: fitness instructor and model Melissa Rountree and daughter Morgan; community volunteer Yvonne Crum and granddaughter Samantha Crum; lifestyle expert Amy Vanderoef; award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Kellie Rasberry, co-host of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning and daughter Emma Kelly; jewelry designer Amanda Sterett Albritton; blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas” Jane McGarry; designer and creator of BAHZ jewelry Britt Harless; FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny AnchondoCatherine Lowe, mom, owner of local luxury stationary line LoweCoand founder of Hello Whitney blog and Esteem Chair Whitney Kutch.

2016 Esteem Fashion Show*

Esteem will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a Mimosas and Munchies reception featuring trunk shows for featured brand Cinq A Sept and jewelry designer Auden, including a personal appearance by the designer. Raffle tickets will be on sale with prizes such as designer Elizabeth Showers jewelry, a gift card from Tootsies and more. Raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. The celebrity fashion show will begin at 11:00 a.m.  

Tickets are $75 each for VIP seating or $20 each for student/standing and are on sale now. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.theelisaproject.com or dial 214.369.5222.

I cannot believe it has been eight years since we started this awareness fashion show and now it has turned into so much more! Our mission is to lead by example… teaching healthy lifestyles, supporting one another and encourage others to love themselves. We hope to see you on September 16!

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

Mary Kay Foundation’s Suits For Shelters Kick-Off Party At Tootsies Proves That It Pays Off To Show Up

With the sizzling heat growing, there is a hesitation to venture out of one’s air-conditioned comfort zone, even it if means just moving from the office to the car to the destination.

But for some domestic abuse nonprofits, it paid off big time in the pink.

But first let’s back up. Tootsies hosted The Mary Kay Foundation’s annual Suits for Shelters kick-off party on Thursday, July 13. Despite June being tepid, July was making up for lost time in the temperature department. Still, the place filled with supporters of the program including some of the domestic abuse nonprofits that would benefit from the clothes collection.

Ryan and Maleiah Rogers

Despite the decision not to have a fashion show, the raffle commenced. It was an unusual raffle. One of the prizes would have the winner go home with just great feelings. Their win would be deciding which domestic abuse nonprofit would receive $5,000 thanks to Maleiah and Ryan Rogers (aka Mary Kay’s grandson).

But when Piers Hurley’s name was called, he couldn’t pick just one recipient.

Leave it to Maleiah and Ryan to come up with the solution. They decided that each of the seven nonprofits in attendance would be awarded $5,000 each. So, those walking away in a daze with $5,000 were Attitudes and Attire, Brighter Tomorrows, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Hope’s Door New Beginning Center, Mosaic Family Services, The Salvation Army and The Family Place.

See, it does pay to show up!

Speaking of which, it also pays to contribute to the clothes collection. In return for the donation, the donor will receive a $25 gift certificate from Tootsies. But better hurry, because the Suits for Shelter program ends on Friday, August 4.

8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show Tickets And Raffle Chances Just Went On Sale For The Elisa Project

Tickets have just gone on sale for the 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show benefiting The Elisa Project. Chairing this year’s runway action is Whitney Kutch, with Rhonda Marcus and her daughter Emmy Marcus serving as honorary co-chairs.

Whitney Kutch (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

Sponsored by Lisa Cooley, the event will take place at Tootsies on Saturday, September 16. Things kick off at 10 a.m. with Mimosas and Munchies followed by the fashion show featuring local celebs modeling Tootsies fashions.

2016 Esteem Fashion Show*

Established in 1999, The Elisa Project has a mission of helping “increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body images” for young people and adults.

This year’s raffle will include Elizabeth Showers jewelry and a gift card from Tootsies.

Tickets are available now with VIP seats going for $75 and students/standing placement available for $20.  

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

It’s Time To Free Your Gently Experienced Clothes From Closet Confines For The Mary Kay Foundation’s Suits For Shelters Program

It’s time for an honesty check. Isn’t there just one, maybe two or even a dozen outfits in your closet that you will never, ever wear again? Perhaps they’re a season or two behind the times. Or, perhaps your body has changed just enough that it just isn’t simpatico with those duds anymore. Yes, it’s a hard fact to face. But it’s time to let your former fabric friends escape the dark confines of your closet and find a bright new life with someone who would think they’ve hit a jackpot.

Suits For Shelters*

Perfect timing all the way around. Not only is there a great chance that there will be one rainy day during the upcoming “four-day holiday weekend,” but the Suits for Shelters is kicking off this weekend. So, why not spend that rainy day editing your wardrobe and taking your gently experienced professional attire and accessories to Tootsies for the Mary Kay Foundation’s “Don’t Look Away” program that benefits women in need.

Not only will you have more space in your closet for new goodies, you’ll earn yourself a $25 Tootsies gift card to shop. Plus you’ll make a difference for someone you may never know.

And if you’re away for the holiday, not to worry. The Suits for Shelters collection program runs through July until Friday, August 4.    

* Graphic courtesy of The Mary Kay Foundation

Can Do Luncheon Patron Party Brought Out Guests In Spring Colors And Honorees Ashlee And Chris Kleinert And Texas Real Estate Council

With winds blowing skirts and leaves every which way as a norther trumpeted it the weekend nearing on Thursday, March 23, The Wilkinson Center’s Can Do Luncheon Patron Party wasn’t ruffled at all at Tootsies.

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert and Helen Hunt and Harville Hendrix

As Luncheon honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert received a bouquet of flowers from Ashlee’s aunt Helen Hunt and her husband Harville Hendrix, other family get-togethers were taking place.

Kristi Francis, Chris and Ashlee, Beth, Kelcey Hamilton and Anne Reeder

In another part of Tootsies, Kelcey Hamilton, who was repping honoree the The Real Estate Council, was being congratulated by Can Do Underwriting Chair Kristi Francis.

Chuck and Beth Thoele

Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele greeted husband Chuck Thoele and admitted that she was torn between going bright or black. Evidently bright won out, since she was wearing a turquoise jacket.

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder’s daughter Laura Reeder reported that the EarthxGlobal Gala had had a change of plans. Originally, organizers had scheduled the gala for Saturday, April 22 at the Women’s Center at Fair Park. Then they discovered that the Art Ball was taking place on that Saturday. So, they moved both the date and the location to Friday April 21, to the Texas Discovery Garden.

Laura Reeder and Dana Fay

But on this evening the Kleinerts were receiving congrats from Chela Moros, Dana Fry, Missy Quintana, Linda Secrest, Heidi Meier, Annie Wang, Kay Weil, Meridith Myers, Angela Jones, Ann Francis, Chrystie Trimmell, Melanie Myers, Darlene Ellison, Tucker Enthoven, Bianca Sterling and Dorothy Amin Modabberi.

Tickets for the luncheon honoring the “can-do” spirit on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Country Club can be gotten here. This event is one that runs right on schedule and leaves guests smiling about the accomplishments of both friends and strangers who have experienced the Wilkinson Center program.

JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests’ finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy. Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats. Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish. Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Reveal Party Had Loads Of Surprises And Rachel Zoe Name Dropping

With just five months to prepare their dazzling headpieces, the Maddest Hatters gathered at Tootsies on Thursday, November 17. Besides celebrating any occasion connected with the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the guests were there to learn the details for the Thursday, April 27th Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum.

Dyann Skelton, Melissa Lewis and Emilynn Wilson

Yes, the date was important because, unlike a few years back when guests shivered in near-freezing temperatures, Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis and Event Chair Linda Spina picked a date in late April when frost will be long gone. It also allows more time to prepare those hats for showing and competing.

Linda Spina and Lynn Dealey

Under The Tuscan Sun*

But the big news was the event’s theme. This news was the one that warmed the hearts and glue guns of hat designers. Drum roll. The theme for the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea will be “Under the Tuscan Sun.” No wonder the gals picked a sun-friendly date and artist Lynn Dealey’s sunflowers artwork took full advantage of the theme.

But wait, there was still more news and it was a real head turner. Thanks to Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and the Mad Hatters brain trust, super-duper special guest will be fashion designer, author, business woman, nuclear scientist Rachel Zoe. (Okay, so maybe not that last one about the nuclear scientist, but she’s everything else and so much more.) Is anyone surprised that Mad Hatters fashion sponsor Tootsies carries Rachel’s line of fashions? Nah!

Sharla Bush and Amy Warren

While a couple of the guests (mostly guys) looked a little baffled about the younger crowd getting downright thrilled over Rachel’s participation, they’ll wise up by the big day, especially if they check out The Zoe Report.

Adding to the namedropping of the occasion, it was revealed that Amy Warren and her daughter Amanda Hill would serve as honorary co-chairs thanks to their buddy Mad Hatter’s Co-Chair/Warren buddy/McKinney shop keeper Sharla Bush.

But there was even more good news. Individual tickets are available now at $350 via the Women’s Council website. Later in the spring a limited number of tickets will be made available for $250. But who wants to wait and take a chance on missing the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple, a seated luncheon overlooking the Arboretum grounds, and being seen on the scene?

Proceeds from the event will “grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden.”

* Graphic courtesy of Lynn Dealey

KidneyTexas’ The Runway Report Had Everything From Heartfelt Stories To Bewitching Close Encounter With A Chandelier

There are just some things that your mammy and pappy harrumphed about as dinner table talk. Such things included one’s inner plumbing. Love the folks, but they weren’t always on the spot. While the subject of kidney disease may not have been considered as appropriate in years past, its outing has allowed countless people to learn and help.

McKamy Tiner and Anna Bland "AB" Aston

McKamy Tiner and Anna Bland “AB” Aston

Since coming out of the topic closet, the battle against kidney disease has added young people to the ranks of warriors. This situation was apparent on Tuesday, September 20, at Brook Hollow. Sure, it was billed as The Runway Report Luncheon and Fashion Show benefiting KidneyTexas, but the Tootsies fashions and luncheon were just lovely window dressing compared to the day’s message.

KidneyTexas President Anna Bland “AB” Aston had overseen the selection of The Price family (Carole Cleveland Price, Alicia and Scott Price, Stacey Price Wright and Larry Wright) as honorary chairs and McKamy Tiner to chair the luncheon.

The reason for McKamy’s chairing the lunching was not due to her being a sixth-generation Dallasite, an Idlewild deb and a 10-year associate of Dave Perry-Miller. It was a very personal reason — childhood bud Ian Arena.

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

Their families had known each other through Ian’s childhood battling with cancer. Then, at the age of 13, he was diagnosed with kidney disease that had resulted from his chemotherapy. When McKamy’s folks discussed the situation at the dinner table, 15-year-old McKamy declared that she knew that she would be a perfect candidate for Ian’s transplant.

This announcement may have sounded like a very optimistic comment by someone who hadn’t even gotten her driver’s license yet. But to everyone’s surprise but McKamy, she proved to be the perfect match.

Martha Tiner

Martha Tiner

Michael Tiner

Michael Tiner

Robin Arena

Robin Arena

As McKamy’s and Ian’s folks (Martha and Michael Tiner and Luncheon Co-Chair Robin Arena) sat nearby admiring their kid hero/ine, Ian told the audience that almost immediately following the transplant, he felt great and color had returned to his face for the first time in years.

Emcee WFAA’s Ron Corning encouraged the filled-to-capacity ballroom including Nancy Carter, Marena Gault, former blond Holly Davis now more brunette-ish, Lisa Cooley with soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pietrovic and some walking wounded types like Vodi Cook with arm in cast and Sharon Popham on a walker, to consider following McKamy’s lead. He told of one man who had donated his kidney to another with the understanding that if and when his grandchild needed a kidney, the child would be higher on the list of recipients.

Then Ron interviewed 16-year-old kidney patient Jira (aka cutest guy in the room), who told how in addition to spending three days a week in dialysis, there was an emotional toll. He felt out of the loop at school due to his kidney disease.

Jira and Ron Corning

Jira and Ron Corning

But thanks to efforts and fundraising by KidneyTexas, such transplant recipients like Ian, Christine Martin and Andy Meyercord were all on hand.

But it wasn’t all talk about kidney disease.

Andy Meyercord

Andy Meyercord

Emilynn Wilson

Emilynn Wilson

In the humor department, Ron once again provided the laughter. In announcing KidneyTexas co-founder Emilynn Wilson was being honored with the Sue Goodnight Award, he said that the plan had been to present her with a nice piece of Baccarat. But realizing that Emilynn had applied a frugal eye to the organization’s dealings, they decided to give her “a bag of M&M’s… the peanut ones. I mean, they’re not the brand name. They’re the ones from Costco, so you get more. They’re nicely wrapped. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.”

Runway recovery

Runway recovery

And as for the fashions, Jan Strimple‘s fashion show featuring Tootsies day- and night-time clothes went flawlessly until… well, there was that dramatic series of black gowns highlighted by towering black hats. It was like a bewitching grouping of Herve Leger, Cinq A Sept, David Koma and ML Monique Lhuillier. The almost-oops resulted when the first model in the series walked the elevated runway down the center of the room… right under the ballroom’s mammoth chandeliers.

Yup, you guessed it. It was a brief encounter of “towering black hat” with the room’s center “mammoth chandelier.” But you’ve got to hand it to the model. The hat stayed put and she didn’t lose a beat. Her reward was the guests smiling in amazement that she had handled it masterfully. Evidently word was passed among the lovely catwalkers and the rest of the lineup steered clear of the hanging glass and light fixture.

This year’s beneficiaries include Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Health/Children Medical Center Foundation, Camp Reynal — National Kidney Foundation, Parkland Foundation, Methodist Health System Foundation and Texas Health Resources Foundation.

If you couldn’t make the lunch and missed the moving stories and the show’s tip of the hat, you can still donate to KidneyTexas or sign up to be considered as a transplant. There are more than 4,000 Texans in need of a healthy kidney that you could share.

For more photos of the fashions and folks in the audience, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 The Runway Report

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

Hey, the fashion-show events are well into marching ahead for fundraising. The KidneyTexas’ The Runway Report was in the front line on Tuesday, September 20, at Brook Hollow Golf Club. But unlike others, this one had a very special personal story driving the efforts thanks to KidneyTexas President Anna Bland “AB” Aston, Luncheon Chair McKamy Tiner and a grateful Ian Arena.

The Runway Report with Tootsies fashions

The Runway Report with Tootsies fashions

Ah, but that’s a story that is being written up. In the meantime, check out the peeps and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Especially check the bewitching model, who received smiles of approval following her interaction with the Brook Hollow chandelier.

Esteem: A Fashion Show Had Celebs And Community Leaders On The Tootsies Runway For The Elisa Project

As if fundraisers were worn out by the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon, Hope’s Door Fashion Show and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala on Friday, September 16, they were up bright and early Saturday for Esteem: A Fashion Show benefiting The Elisa Project. Here’s a report from the field:

Co-chairs Melissa Rountree and her daughter Morgan welcomed more than 250 attendees to Tootsies on Saturday, September 17, for Esteem: A Fashion Show. In its 7th year, Esteem helps increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy.  Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

Morgan Moore, Lynn McBee and Melissa Rountree*

Morgan Moore, Lynn McBee and Melissa Rountree*

As attendees perused the store’s fall fashions and accessories, with 10% of sales going to TEP, they enjoyed mimosas and tasty bites courtesy of True Foods Kitchen.  The raffle table was the place to be with a chance to win amazing prizes: including a $250 gift card to any Lombardi Family Concepts restaurant, Glamboxes acrylic makeup designer box; Elizabeth Showers earrings; 3-month membership to Veranda Health Club at the Hilton Anatole; a gold necklace with lemon-green quartz and diamonds from Pratiksha Jewelry; gift cards to get fit at Meredith Boyd-Camp Gladiator; six months unlimited classes at Bar Method, a $100 gift card to Tootsies and much more!

The crowd then moved upstairs for the much-anticipated fashion show. As patrons took their seats, co-chairs Melissa and Morgan thanked everyone in attendance before introducing TEP’s Board President Dr. Stephanie Setliff. Stephanie added her thanks and recognized Honorary Chair Lynn McBee and TEP Co-Founder Leslie McCall. She also shared details about the important work The Elisa Project is doing throughout North Texas through advocacy, education and support, which touches the lives of more than 31,000 individuals suffering from eating disorders each year.

Holly Pellham Davis, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Landry Davis*

Holly Pellham Davis, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Landry Davis*

Emcee Gloria Campos then took the stage and recognized TEP Executive Director Kim Martinez, the TEP staff and board of directors, as well as ESTEEM Founder/Event Coordinator/Board Member Rhonda Sargent Chambers. Tootsies store director Nerissa von Helpenstill, joined Gloria to kick-off the two fashion scenes, “Borrowed from the Boys” and “She’s a Lady” featuring local celebrities and notables in fall fashions from Tootsies, with children’s fashions provided by KidBiz/The Biz.  DJ Blake Ward provided a cool vibe as the models walked the runway.

2016 models were: jewelry designer Amanda Sterett Albritton with daughters Anna and Olivia; FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny Anchando; author, community volunteer and co-founder of Sawyer Collection Kim Bannister and daughter Sawyer; sisters Erin Bulcher, Sr. SEO and content manager for farecompare.com, and Nicole Bulcher, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader; WFAA-TV’s Alexa Conomos and daughter Annick; community volunteer Yvonne Crum with granddaughter Samantha; organic lifestyle and healthy living expert Holly Pellham Davis with daughter Landry; Jazmyn Dorsett, daughter of Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett and super mom Janet Dorsett; Lauren Foreman, community volunteer and communications manager for Thompson and Knight; Roshawnda Foster, Kim Dawson model, and daughter Logan; Pam Skaggs Frank, veteran Kim Dawson Model and owner of Gloss Luxury Rentals and Gloss Interiors; community volunteer Alissa Ferguson Gearing and daughter Ansley; community volunteer and 26-year Brinker International employee Nancy Gopez; designer and creator of Bahz jewelry Britt Harless; Tiffany Hendra, wife, television host, lifestyle mentor and creator of Sanctuary of Style blog;  founder and creator of Model Behaviors, writer and activist Toni Munoz Hunt and daughter Darlington; lifestyle management consultant Jackson; host of nationally syndicated morning show, Eye Opener, blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; Whitney Roberts Kutch, TEP board member and founder of Hello Whitney blog; Carlotta Lennox, Kim Dawson model and entrepreneur, and daughter Alle; LeeAnne Locken, author, actor, model, producer and community volunteer; wife, mother grandmother and co-owner of Lombardi Family Concepts Vivian Lombardi and granddaughter Sarah Taylor; healthcare professional and Bar Method instructor Candice Wynn Mason; Jane McGarry, host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas;” fashion stylist and blogger Dawn Mellon; sportscaster and TV host Gina Miller; Allison Mitchell, designer and founder of her namesake line of clutches; model and former Miss Texas and Miss USA Courtney Gibbs Mokarow and daughter Everett; Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Dawn Neufeld, reigning Mrs. Frisco and former cast member of VH1’s “Football Wives,” model and on-air host, with daughter Bryn; Jamie O’Banion, co-founder and president of luxury skincare line Beauty Bioscience and daughters Aubrey and Ava Grace; licensed clinical social worker Jennifer Passanante and daughters Morgan and Taylor; fashion stylist and spokesperson for Galleria Dallas Holly McCracken Quartaro and daughters Sophia, Sara and Emily; legendary Dallas real estate agent Ralph Randall; Esteem co-chairs Melissa Rountree and daughter Morgan; Amy Vanderoef, lifestyle expert and former WFAA-TV “Good Morning Texas” co-host; model and hair stylist Gary Walden; Kathryn Wahlstrom, medical marketing and media relations expert; and community volunteer Kameron Westcott and daughter Hilton.

Vivian Lombardi and Sarah Taylor*

Vivian Lombardi and Sarah Taylor*

Logan Foster and Roshawnda Foster*

Logan Foster and Roshawnda Foster*

As a thank you, attendees received a swag bag featuring items from Tootsies, Vita Coco, The Hair Bar and Scout Guide Dallas.

Esteem models and leadership*

Esteem models and leadership*

The event would have been possible without the generosity of this year’s Esteem sponsors:

  • Fashion Sponsor: Tootsies;
  • DIVA Sponsor: SAP;
  • Super Model Sponsor: Acute Center for Eating Disorders in Denver, CO;
  • In-kind donors – Bob Manzano Photography; Center for Discovery; DJ Blake Ward; Eating Recovery Center; Kid Biz/The Biz; Laureate ED Program; Lawson Event Rentals; RSC Show Productions; Scout Guide Dallas; The Hair Bar; Timberline Knolls; True Food Kitchen; Vita Coco; Elizabeth Showers Jewelry; The Bar Method; Pratiksha Jewelry; Amanda Sterett Jewelry; Abi Ferrin; Veranda Health Club; Lombardi Family Concepts; Level 3 Active; Meredith Boyd/Camp Gladiator; Tootsies; Glamboxes; and City+Sky.
* Photos provided by The Elisa Project