Rain And Chill Didn’t Hamper Mission Ole One Little Drop Thanks To Laurie Sands Harrison’s Hospitality

After last week’s drench by the clouds above on Cattle Baron’s, Mission Ole‘s Co-chairs Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez braced up for their Saturday night fundraiser for Trinity River Mission.

That may sound easy, but when you have more than 200 guests plus gaming plus entertainment plus an auction . . . well, there aren’t many homeowners who can accommodate a rainy backup plan.

Kristi Bare, Laurie Sands Harrison, Steve Kemble and Nancy Gopez

But Laurie Sands Harrison ain’t just any homeowner. When she got her divorce a couple years back, she considered selling the marvelous home, but then she rethought that idea. After all, she had remodeled the home ages ago with the idea of making it entertaining-friendly. Why, there are three spots just ideal for bars! And then there were the girls. Her girls. Her beautiful daughters, who saw home-sweet-home as a great place to bring friends over for partying and family celebrations. Well, that did it. Laurie stayed put and Mission Ole was oh-so grateful.

But still . . . the decision to tent the outdoor terrace still can throw even the most fabulous property into disarray. Again, not Ms. Laurie. The tent not only fit the terrace perfectly, its see-through walls allowed guests to see the marvelous grounds including “that pool.”

It was a perfect decision on the part of Kristi and Nancy, because with tables and chairs plus a bar, guests took to the tent like Texas-OU fans to a party. To play it safe because of the dip in temperatures, they girls also arranged for outdoor heaters including at the sign-in area, so guests would be nice and warm while registering.

Angela Choquette, Maggie Cooke Kipp, Shay Geyer and Katy Bock

But the chill of the night still inspired most of the gals to pull out those high-heel boots and vests and jackets in a variety of materials. Maggie Cooke Kipp had no idea what her vest was made of — it was on loan from her St. Valentine’s Day co-chair partner Angela Choquette.

Among the crowd who filled the mansion and the tent were Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel carrying a small Neiman Marcus shopping bag. It was a gift for Greg Nieberding, who had hosted Paige and CPD Development Director Joanna Clarke at Cattle Baron’s. In addition to being the gals’ host, he also won the Mercedes in the CBB raffle. Knowing that Greg was going to be at the Mission Ole shindig, Paige was going to present him with a silver Gucci keychain. Speaking of raffles, Paige teased Joanna about her winning a $10,000 spending spree at Highland Park Village last year.

Now, you know why people buy raffle tickets!

In the back of the house right next to the kitchen, Robert Colombo was talking about his upcoming plans, including opening another Sfuzzi’s at the Shops at Willow Bend. It’s going into a redesigned space where Saks used to be. . . Betsy and Richard Eiseman were checking out the goodies in the open kitchen and making their way through the crowd. . . Caterer Wendy Krispin somehow managed to be everywhere — the outdoor grill, the kitchen and serving champagne — but she got stopped in her tracks by fans and friends … for two whole seconds. This Mission Ole is Wendy’s sixth year to cater the party.

Wendy Krispin, Jill Tananbaum, Nancy Gopez, Roz Colombo and Cindy Stager

Wendy Krispin, Jill Tananbaum, Nancy Gopez, Roz Colombo and Cindy Stager

One of the evening’s highlights was the live auction, with Steve Kemble doing the auction duties. The Grammy package was so successful that it sold twice to Simona Beal and to hostess Laurie. Perhaps they can get together with TACA Grammy package winner Annette Presley. Just wondering if L.A. is ready for that trio.

Saturday’s Mission Ole Is Going To Be High, Dry And Warm Despite Mother Nature

Weather check: It’s 72 degrees outside right now and there are some clouds in the sky.

Tomorrow at this time it’s going to be an entirely different story, with temperatures limited to the 50’s and humidity in the air.

After last Saturday’s Cattle Baron matchup with Old Ma Nature, the Mission Ole co-chairs Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez decided to shore up their backup plans for the outdoor party at Laurie Sands Harrison’s estate. Actually, it was smarter than smart. Evidently more than the originally planned number of guests are attending, so it makes perfect sense to do an outdoor/indoor party. Plus the ladies, who are old hands at putting on events, have arranged for the paved terrace to not only have an enclosed tent, but heaters, too! 

What a perfect opportunity to wear those wools, cashmeres and leathers that you’ve been dying to pull out of the closet. And you know you really look good in ’em.

If you’ve ever been in Laurie’s home, you know that’s the dream place to spend a chilly evening with food by Wendy Krispin, beautiful people and silent and live auctions.

Speaking of which, two of the live auction items to note are:

  • Grammy Award Show (Value: Priceless)Enjoy the Grammy’s live from Bronze/300 level seating for two on Sunday February 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. Both of you are also invited to the Official Grammy Awards After-Party following the award show that evening. Package includes round-trip coach air transportation for two on American Airlines and a three-night stay Friday, February 8 to Monday, February 11, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza or similar hotel. Donated by:  Anonymous. (If this one goes for less than $55,000, it’s a bargain. A Grammy’s package went for $55,000 at the TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala a couple of weeks ago.)
  • Ultimate Sports Package (Value:$7,250) — The sports enthusiast will enjoy watching a 2012 Texas Ranger regular season home game from two front-row home-plate seats at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and the upcoming November 19th Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State regular-season home game from two front-row seats at the American Airlines Center. Both games come with parking passes. The package also includes the use of a JLT Beverages, LP, Flagship Level Luxury Suite for the upcoming Tuesday, January 8, 2013 Dallas Stars vs Phoenix Coyotes regular-season home game. Suite includes 12 tickets, parking passes and Platinum Club access and amenities. Donated by: JLT Beverages, LP/Julie and Jim Turner.

This event presented by Texas Capital Bank is the major fundraiser for the Trinity River Mission, so it’s on regardless of what Mother Nature thinks. So there!

Share-A-Date: Mission Olé

2011 Mission Olé’s Wendy Krispin outdoor buffet (File photo)

Saturday, October 6, 2012: Mission Olé co-chairs Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez just revealed that invitations will be hitting mailboxes for the annual Trinity River Mission fundraiser. Along with Honorary Chairs Sandra and Henry Estess, they’ve arranged something old and something new this year.

The new item is the event’s presenting sponsors.

“We have received so much support already from the community, including a new presenting sponsor, Texas Capital Bank,” said Nancy.

As for the something old, don’t go thinking it’s something dusty and worn.


The girls have arranged to have the event to return to Laurie Sands Harrison‘s marvelous home.

According to Kristi, ­­“We are also so fortunate that the wonderful Laurie Sands Harrison has graciously agreed to open up her beautiful home and outdoor garden for this special evening.  It is sure to be a can’t-miss event as we raise funds for the important programs of Trinity River Mission.”

Laurie’s estate is simply fabulous for this “casual chic” evening. Heck, it’s pretty darn perfect for any occasion.

But Kristi and Nancy aren’t relying on Laurie to hit a home run. “We hope everyone will make plans to join us; we promise a casual chic evening, silent and live auctions, casino and lots of great drinks and food – all for a wonderful organizations that helps ensure academic success for disadvantaged youth in West Dallas,” said Nancy.

To do this they’ve also drafted the talents of their buddies to help out. Among the draftees are Wendy Krispin, who “will be back with her sumptuous Latin-inspired dinner buffet complete with a made-to-order Gordita station, pal Julian Leaver of Bella Flora Design will put his professional touch to the event décor and  America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru Steve Kemble will serve as master of ceremonies.”

BTW, Steve will be emceeing this Friday’s Celebrity Waiter Luncheon. The question of the week is whether he can outdo his performance last year?

Mission Ole! Has Connections That Pay Off For Trinity River Mission

Mission Ole! Event Co-chair Dawn Weeks Spalding proved it helps to have connections Saturday night. It must have worked because before the first guests arrived, they were $20,000 ahead of last year’s event benefiting the Trinity River Mission.

Laurie Sands Harrison

First they wisely got Laurie Sands Harrison to host the event for 250 at her home. In turn, she arranged for her mother Caroline Rose Hunt to serve as the honorary chair for the fundraiser. Laurie must also have had some type of favor exchange with Mom Nature because the weather was perfect allowing Laura to make full use of the back grounds — high round tables set

Wendy Krispin outdoor buffet

up around the pool, round dinner tables set up under mammoth trees and jazz harpist  Carlos Guedes playing.

Jenna Turner and Brendan Higgins

Then there was the live auction chaired by Jenna Turner Alexander. First she called in her bud Brendan Higgins to emcee the auction. Nice move. The live auction alone brought in $40,000. Course, it didn’t hurt to have a last minute donation of a four-night-stay in a Las Ventanas penthouse provided anonymously the day before. Last year’s co-chair Gail Fischer and her husband Cliff won that one.

Of course, it didn’t hurt for Jenna to have her parents Julie and Jim Turner donate a Rangers playoff package.

But not all the action was limited to the bidding area. While Wendy Krispin was cooking up a storm in both the indoor and outdoor kitchens, the guests were chatting about the Charles Wyly Celebration of Life earlier in the day at the Wylys’ home. . . Allan McBee was recalling his morning jumping out of a plane. He had been one of the Senior Source skydiving jumpers earlier in the day at Whitewright. . . Paige McDaniel and

Paige McDaniel

Joanna Clarke were wide-eyed and open-mouthed hearing about the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon tales from Mission Ole! Auction Chair/Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Co-chair Maggie Kipp. Whatever she told them, it must have been great because they were already asking how to sign up for seats next year. . . BTW, Maggie and her CWL Co-chair Shay Geyer have already agreed to chair the luncheon next year.  Maggie admitted that this year’s event was a tad bit crowded. Seems the original plan was to use the entire Ritz ballroom, but at the last minute they had to reduce the size so hockey star Mike Modano could have a spot for his retirement press conference. . . Honorary Chair Caroline was tableside with Catherine Jean Phillips, who is the niece of the late Jean Howard. If Jean’s name isn’t at the front of your thinking machine, scratch it and look under Hollywood socialite/actress/photographer. After a brief career as a Goldwyn Girl , the Longview-born Jean married producer Charles Feldman (“The Seven Year Itch,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “The Group,” “Casino Royale” and many more). It was during the 40’s and 50’s that she started taking photos at parties and celeb gatherings with such guests as Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Richard Burton, Cole Porter, Judy Garland, Hedy LaMarr, Jennifer Jones, etc. In 198 at the age of 79, her photos were published in “Jean Howard’s Hollywood” as a tribute to Hollywood’s golden era.

In addition to having a sale of Jean’s haute couture collection on Oct. 12-14 at the Phillips’ home benefiting impoverished schoolchildren, Catherine is working with bon vivant Nicky Haslam on a bio about her aunt based on 50 taped conversations.

Trinity River Mission tamale flyer

Trinity River Mission tamale flyer

When the guests finally sauntered to their cars, they discovered gift bags. No big surprise. Lots of events have gift bags, but these were a little different. Inside the orange, white and green IBB Design shopping bag were a number of things. In addition to glamorama gift certificates, there was a flyer from Trinity River Mission reminding guests to order pork and chicken tamales ($10 a dozen) by Monday, October 2, for pickup between November 7-16. Now to newcomers this may seem a little odd, but holiday veterans know that tamales are synonymous with the holidays like eggs are at Easter time. If you want to support Trinity River Mission and have tamales galore, just call Gabriela at 214.744.6774 Ext. 104/

The other item of note was a colorful flower pot with a pouch of soil and a packet of seeds and a note from a Trinity River Mission  student —

“Thank you for supporting TRM. At TRM I am a reading buddie. When I grow up I would like to be a researcher. Plant your seed and watch me grow.”

Nice touch. Nice event. Nice people.



Sold-Out Alert: Mission Olé

Laurie Sands Harrison and Dawn Spalding*

Laurie Sands Harrison and Dawn Spalding*

Sorry, but you’re out of luck if you were hoping to attend Saturday night’s Mission Olé at Laurie Sands Harrison‘s. Yesterday the final ticket was sold.

We didn’t post this as a “Grovel Alert” because it’s very doubtful if even groveling would work at this point. But you can always try wooing Event Co-Chair Dawn Spalding, Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt (aka Laurie’s mom, as if you didn’t know) or Event Founders Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt. Just think what you’re going to miss — food provided by Wendy Krispin, music by Carlos Guedes, auction items (floor seats to an upcoming Mavericks game, trips, etc.) and “a special party favor made by students at Trinity River Mission.”

Benefiting Trinity River Mission, the event is being co-chaired by Dawn “because of the amazing work of the Trinity River Mission,” she explained. “The need for this type of extended day of education for children in West Dallas is so immense.

Photo by Dana Driensky