As “A Writer’s Garden” Symposium And Luncheon Nears, Patrons Gather At Diane And Scott Sealy’s For Sipping And Sampling

Just days before “A Writer’s Garden” at the Dallas Arboretum, Diane and Scott Sealy hosted at cocktail reception on Monday, October 30, at their home complete with the pre-event book sales, food and foodies from Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. Here’s a report from the field:

Scott and Diane Sealy*

The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held a reception for the patrons of the 11th annual A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon on Monday, October 30, in the home of Diane and Scott Sealy.

The symposium “Authentic Texas…food and gardensto be held on November 2 features three authors presenting engaging histories showcasing the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about the farming and ranching families that are in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences that celebrate the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.

For the reception, guests were treated not only to a preview of the books that will be available for sale at the event, but also sampled appetizers made with recipes from Texas author Jessica Dupuy’s new cookbook “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State.”

Elizabeth Rois-Mendez*

Marsha Dowler*

Susan Adzick and Kay Weeks*

Chef Elizabeth Rois-Mendez of Classic Gourmet Catering prepared delicious recipes including Pimento Cheese Canapes, The Original Nacho, Texas Gulf Fish Tacos with side of Chipotle Mayo, Tequila Lime Pie, and Texas Pecan Pie. It was a smart marketing ploy by Co-Chairs Kay Weeks and Susan Adzick to kick start the book sales. Marsha Dowler, who manages the sales each year, allowed guests to pre-order the books that evening to ensure they get a copy. In past years, attendees at the symposium have left empty handed when the books sold out quickly. It looks to be another year where attendees may have to order online from Amazon.

Nanci Taylor, Dorothea Meltzer and Terri Taylor*

None of the featured authors could be present, so special guests for the evening were Nanci Taylor and Terri Taylor from the local magazine Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. For eight years, they have shared stories of the North Texas food community including growers, food and drink artisans, merchants, restaurateurs and chefs. The quarterly publication features recipes from each season.

Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis introduced Honorary Chair Nancy Bierman, founder of “A Writer’s Garden” and past president of the Women’s Council. She also thanked Dorothea Meltzer for securing another stellar line up of authors for the program, ensuring the success of the event. Dorothea has worked tirelessly to plan the speakers for the past several years.

Cynthia Beaird, Jill Goldberg and Venise Stuart*

Guests included Mad Hatter’s Chair Venise Stuart, Sarah and Mark Hardin, Barbara and Bob Bigham, Jo Anne and Mike McCullough, Jill Goldberg, Cynthia Beaird, Linda Spina, Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Patricia Cowlishaw.

Sponsors for the event include Dallas law firm Geary, Porter and Donovan (third year of sponsorship), Hilton Dallas/Park Cities, Worth New York and Edible Dallas and Fort Worth.

The symposium will be held Thursday, November 2, 2017, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall and is part of the Women’s Council’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.

As part of the Women’s Council’s 35th anniversary celebration, the featured authors for the Thursday, November 2nd symposium at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall include:

  • Jessica Dupuy of Austin — well-known columnist for Texas Monthly and author of “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State”;
  • Pamela Walker of Santa Fe — local farm and food activist, and author of “Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State”;
  • Andrea De-Long-Amaya of Austin— Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, garden columnist and teacher.

For the past thirty-five years, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development, funding, maintenance and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum. Dedicated to the universal spirit of women, it is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, built by women and funded by the efforts of women. The support of over 550 members of the non-profit, all volunteer Women’s Council makes possible the continued improvement and expansion of A Woman’s Garden.

* Photo provided by Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum

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

Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Soared To Sky With Over-The-Top Toppers And Rachel Zoe Fashions

After a day of chilly-will temperatures and rainy storms, the 29th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea had a bright sun-shiny morning for its “Under the Tuscan Sun” on Thursday, April 27, at the Dallas Arboretum benefiting the Women’s Council of the Arboretum.

Kori Green, Caroline Kraddick and Tracy Rathbun

Tara Green and Micki Rawlings

Niven Morgan and Courtney Kerr

Unlike years before, the event started a half hour earlier at 10:30 with guests finding the Ginsburg Plaza roped off. Evidently organizers had hoped guests would flow away from Rosine Hall and the tented tables. Some heeded the suggestion, but the majority stayed clustered near the entry to watch the hat contestants wannabes hold their numbered cards up as they strolled the red carpet for the judges (Kori Green, Tara Green, Micki Rawlings, Niven Morgan, Lynae Fearing, Tracy Rathbun and Caroline Kraddick) who were seated on the elevated terrace in the shade. Judge Courtney Kerr didn’t sit because she didn’t want to wrinkle her outfit. Someone asked why she was wearing cherries in her hair. The person was corrected, “They’re tomatoes.” Oh.

Judge/designer Rachel Zoe was nowhere to be seen until the last moment. A coterie of lithe lassies popped out of a car with Starbucks in hand for Rachel, who had been sequestered away.

Soni Pancretz

Karen Lukin

Kunthear Mam-Douglas

Jordi Bostock

As for the guests’ interpretations of the day’s theme, it was obvious that Michael’s had been hit hard for sunflowers thanks to folks like Soni Pancretz. Needless to say, the results varied from subtle and beautiful to towering structures with wine bottle, plates, corks and even cars. Mary Tomas wore a Ray Conniff vinyl record with dolls and feathers … Proving that pink is always a standout were last year’s Mad Hatter’s Chair Jocelyn White, Donna Darling, Pebble McGehee and her mom Faye BriggsKaren Lukin’s looked like someone had used her brown hair as a platter for their pasta, complete with meatballs and fork …Corks were the lightweight accessory of the day. Amanda Johnson‘s cork-brimmed sunhat stayed put, but poor Steve Kemble’s cork vest was shedding corks as he strolled the grounds looking like a 21st century Bacchus…Kunthear Mam-Douglas’ hat appeared to be an entire Tuscan village… On the other hand, Jordi Bostock opted for a simpler look with checkered-tablecloth table for two… Lorenda Wyant towered among the group thanks to her Leaning Tower of Pisa … On the shorter structure side, Rene Farren‘s topper was delicious with an upside-down cone of faux spumoni … Still there were others who tossed the theme idea and went with their own vision, like Barbara Daseke with bird in nest and Virginia Chandler Dykes in white fur.

Lorenda Wyant

Rene Farren

Barbara Daseke

Cathy Vieth all in purple arrived with her equally purple hat of feathers, butterflies and flowers by her side. As her car pulled up, her chapeau designer Shane Walker and his partner Billy Fulmer were there to help her plant it on her head. With the wind picking up, Cathy seemed to sway a bit thanks to the “head wind.” Shane told her not to worry — the Plaza was much calmer… at least wind-wise.

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

Amber Griffin

No sooner had Shane got Cathy on her way to the Plaza than Amber Griffin arrived in an Italian flag dress. Quickly, she took a seat on a bench as Shane and Billy erected the hat that had plates, silverware, wine bottles, grapes, corks, peppers, candles and a loaf of Italian bread. It looked good enough to eat. The structure appeared to weight more than Amber. As soon as she entered the Plaza, the oohs and applause could be heard outside at the driveway.

Evidently Amber’s Italian flag dress wasn’t a one-of-a-kind idea. Lynne Lowder wore a sleeveless version that she got on Ebay with a hat featuring her cellphone playing a video. 

At 11:30 word was passed to head into Rosine Hall for the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of Rachel Zoe’s clothes. Herding the hats and their underlings into the hall and their seats proved to be as challenging as Central Expressway at 5:30 p.m.

And then there was that issue of viewing the runway. Seems that some of the oversized hats may have been eye-catchers in the Plaza, but in the rows of chairs, they were eye-blocking. One gal was seen getting slapped around by the decorations of another guest’s hat, who kept turning her head to see others.

Rachel Zoe

Others had the problem of trying to see around the army of photographers, who were out to capture moments.

Following presentations to Honorary Chair Amanda Hill and her mom Amy Warren, the fashion show got under way with Rachel checking each of the creations, while husband Rodger Berman videoed the show on his phone.

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Next up was the live auction. Instead of relying on local media types handling the auctioneering duties, they had award-winning Wendy Lambert, who kicked things off with Amy Warren raising her paddles and eyebrows with a winning bid of $10,000 for a Tootsies shopping spree. Not to be outdone, daughter Amanda snapped up a cooking lesson for $8,500. UPDATE: The live auction results added up to $33,400, but organizers later reported, “The Live Auction amount raised was $27,000.”

The live auction was followed by the usual shout-out that tends to be more awkward than profitable. Alas, this point became evident when Wendy’s announced the goal was for $35,000. The take ended up being $8,000 $26,000. But who knows? Wendy told the crowd that she would be available afterwards to accept donation from guests who might have been too shy to participate.

Finally, the time came for the judging results, with the following named winners:

Joani White

Cynthia Smoot

Tracy Rathbun, Carmen Surgent and Lynae Fearing

Terry Irby

  • Molto Italiano (Judge Caroline Kraddick) — Joani White
  • Most Elegant (Judge Kori Green) — Cynthia Smoot
  • A Taste of Italy (Judges Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun) — Carmen Surgent
  • Bellissima Botanical (Judge Tara Green) — Terry Irby
  • People’s Choice (Judge Micki Rawlings) — Katherine Phillips
  • Fellini’s Follies (Judge Niven Morgan) — Chad Collom and Steve Kemble
  • Most Outlandish (Judge Courtney Kerr) — Lynne Lowder 
  • Rachel’s Pick (Judge Rachel Zoe) — Amanda Warren

Katherine Phillips and Micki Rawlings

Steve Kemble, Chad Collom and Niven Morgan

Lynne Lowder and Courtney Kerr

Amy Warren and Rachel Zoe

Rachel in making her presentation admitted,”I’ve had a pretty long career. In no part of my life have I ever experienced anything like this….I’m going back to L.A. and talking about this. I love Texas.”

As the ladies and guests headed to their tables to take in the beautiful day, it was learned that Venise Stuart would be chairing the 2018 Mad Hatter’s. Can’t wait to hear how Venise plans to stage the 30th anniversary of this fundraiser for A Woman’s Garden.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

It’s that event of the year in which creative juices are let loose resulting in jaw-dropping expressions by passersby. Benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the Mad Hatter’s Tea has become a feast for gawkers and showboaters.

Amber Griffin’s hat

On Thursday, April 27, “Under The Tuscan Sun” had some of the guests’ chapeaus reaching for Old Sol at the Arboretum, while others looked like an Italian platter had taken residence on their heads. Mamma mia!

While the post is being prepared, check out the hats and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Grovel Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun”

Mad Hatters Tea (File photo)

It seems that Mad Hatters Tea Chair Linda Spina and Vice-Chair Sharla Bush weren’t able to hunt for Easter eggs over the weekend. They were too busy checking the headcount for the Thursday, April 27th fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum.

The results? They discovered that the “Tea is officially sold out.”

Does that mean it’s really, truly a done deal? True, the “buy tickets” links aren’t going to do much good, but there’s still hope. So, before putting away that Easter bonnet, send Sue Ringle an email and see if she can squeeze you in.

Jewelry Designer/Attorney Kori Green (Aka Mrs. Pat Green) To Be The 8th Judge For Mad Hatter’s Tea Hat Competition

Under The Tuscan Sun*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2017 Chair Linda Spina is going “green” with the announcement of the eighth judge for the “Under The Tuscan Sun” theme chapeau competition at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, April 27.

Hold on to your hats! It’s Kori Green. In addition to being a jewelry designer, an attorney and pretty darn cute, she’s also the wife of Grammy-nominated country singer/songwriter Pat Green and mom to their two kiddos Kellis Green and Rainey Green.

She got in the jewelry designing business while studying law at the University of Texas Law School. It provided her with a creative outlet. In addition to her professional activities and community involvement, she and Pat established the Pat Green Foundation.

Kori won’t be the only “greenie” in the judging line up for the eight categories. She’ll be joining Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green plus celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

Tickets for the annual eye-popping fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum are available here.

* Graphic provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Mad Hatter’s Fashion Show And Luncheon

Marena Gault, Marielle Gault, Steve Kemble and Sherwood Wagner

Marena Gault, Marielle Gault, Steve Kemble and Sherwood Wagner

Oh, those Mad Hatters really used their thinking caps in coming up with chapeaus to celebrate this year’s theme, “Steel Magnolias,” at the Dallas Arboretums on Thursday, April 21. Ranging from southern elegance to beauty parlor giggles, the heady creations topped off the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum’s annual fundraiser.

Robin Carreker

Robin Carreker

Carmen Surgent

Carmen Surgent

And if a picture’s worth a thousand words, hold on to your hats because more than 38,000 words worth of photos can be found over on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

In the meantime, the post is being prepped. Stay tuned!

Mad Hatter’s Fashion Show And Luncheon Patron Party At Betsy And Guinn Crousen’s Mansion Was An Over-The-Top Draw

The line-up of luxury vehicles pulling up to Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s palatial Highland Park digs was impressive just 10 minutes into the Tuesday, April 19, affair. The valet parking company had been advised to expect 50 guests, but that number ended up being tripled including Jocelyn White, Linda Spina, Barbara Daseke, Linda Ivy, Connie Carreker, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Jennifer Houser. Needless to say, the car parkers were scurrying around the streets like roadrunners.

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

The event was the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum‘s Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. Some like Leslie Ann Crozier were splitting their time between Mad Hatter’s and making it home in time to learn the outcome of the New York presidential primary.

Betsy and Guinn Crousen's courtyard

Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s courtyard

As a first-time event, the house with its marvelous courtyard had guests wandering throughout. Some even decided to check out the Crousens’ closets!

In the kitchen Emilynn Wilson was receiving congrats on being named 2017 Callier Cares chair. Another one receiving pats on the back was Barbara Bigham for the recent Bighams’ million-dollar donation for Scenic Overlook in the Arboretum’s newest project — A Tasteful Place.

Dallas International Film Festival And Mad Hatter’s Tea Are Going To Have A Star

According to the weather guessers, all of this wet and chilly stuff is supposed to be in the rearview mirror come Thursday. And Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White is betting that they’re right on target for the annual Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council fundraiser.

Mad Hatter's Tea (File photo)

Mad Hatter’s Tea (File photo)

Of course with Joce at the helm, there will be some well-known faces underneath those brims. In addition to emcee Kellie Rasberry and live auctioneer Jody Dean, plans call for actresses Linda Gray and Janine Turner to be on hand.

Yipes! What does one talk with Janine about? She’s probably a little weary of recalling the good old days of “Northern Exposure.” So, why not be cool and current by asking her about “Occupy, Texas” that premiered Friday at the Angelika as part of the Dallas International Film Festival, that’s running through Sunday, April 24.

"Occupy, Texas" at the Dallas International Film Festival*

“Occupy, Texas” at the Dallas International Film Festival*

Here’s some scoopy, so you’ll sound so in. It was co-produced by a bunch of locals including Steve Stodghill and siblings Libby Hunt and Wayne McCullough. Booker T. Washington grad Gene Gallerano wrote the screenplay and stars in the 93-minute film about Beau Baker who has been living in a tent in Zuccotti Park as part of the “Occupy, Wall Street” protect. He gets word that his “upper-class” parents in Texas have died and he must return to take care of his teenage sisters and the estate.

BTW, one of the teenagers is played by Lorelei Linklater, the daughter of director Richard Linklater.

Some of the locals seen in scenes include co-producers Libby and Steve, Cannon Wise, Gail Cronauer, Nikki Moore, Terri Cooklin and Tim Lovick. BTW, this is the fourth time at bat as a producer for blonde Libby.

Just think how smart you’re gonna look with that cute chapeau and that head filled with that in-the-know-info.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas International Film Festival

Mad Hatter’s Tea’s Chair Jocelyn White’s Arranged For A Passel Of Celebs To Be On Hand For “Steel Magnolias”

Jody Dean and Jocelyn White (File photo)

Jody Dean and Jocelyn White (File photo)

When Jocelyn White becomes the trail boss of a fundraiser, she brings her posse of celeb pals in on the fun and the raising of money. So, it’s only natural that her chairing the Mad Hatter’s Tea’ “Steel Magnolias” on Thursday, April 21, at the Arboretum would be her cup of tea, literally.

Where to start? Well, it’s already been revealed that fashions will be from Tootsies and blonde Connie Carreker will be the honorary chair, but the newest well-knowns to join up are Celebrity Co-Chairs Linda Gray and Janine Turner. BTW, Linda will be doing double duty while in Big D. In addition to her helping Joce at the Arboretum, she’ll be the headliner the next day at “Authors at The Adolphus” luncheon in the hotel’s French Room chatting with Joce about her memoir, “The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction.”

Linda Gray (File photo)

Linda Gray (File photo)

But back to the Mad Hatter’s. Serving as emcee Jocelyn has tapped KISS FM 106.1 Kellie  Rasberry with KLUV 98.7’s Jody Dean handling the auctioneering.

But there’s still more. The announcement of the hat judges has just been announced. Now, before the names are listed, remember that bribes are tacky. Well, they are if you’re caught. Here is the rundown of the judges:

  • Karen Carroll, contributor, Flower Magazine;
  • Kathy Fielder, lifestyle designer, creator and manufacturer;
  • Janelle Friedman, author of “You Are Invited: How to Plan Everything from Intimate Gatherings to Texas-Sized Parties” and executive with Friedman & Feiger, Attorneys At Law;

    Diane and Daryl Johnston (File photo)

    Diane and Daryl Johnston (File photo)

  • Diane and Daryl Johnston, professional model and former National Football League fullback with the Dallas Cowboys/current NFL analyst, respectively;
  • Matthew Campbell Laurenza, jewelry designer. His jewelry will be in the Fashion Show and the Live Auction;
  • Robert Leleux, editorial director, Domino Magazine;
  • Jane McGarry, host, “Good Morning Texas” on WFAA Channel 8;
  • Gary Riggs, interior designer and owner, Gary Riggs Home.

As for the categories that are in keeping with the “Steel Magnolias” theme, here’s the list:

  • Most True-To-Theme:  Magnolias in ev’ry incarnation. Faux or real.
  • The Southern Belle:  Shelby’s girly-girl look. Can you say pink?
  • Simply Elegant:  Beautifully chic!  If Audrey Hepburn had been Southern …
  • Mother Nature Winks:  Makin’ Mama Nature proud with the best use of her bounty.
  • The Social Sorority:  Best Sisterhood (Brotherhood?) award.  We come in groups.
  • Miss Merry Christmas:  Crowns, Tiaras, Headdresses. Oh, my Stars!
  • What Was She Thinking?: The Ouiser Boudreaux Award. It’s what YOU think!
  • Best of Show/People’s Choice: Self-explanatory. The Steel Magnolia.   Best of the Best!

Don’t you just know somebody’s gonna should up with a red-velvet armadillo!

A Woman's Garden (File photo)

A Woman’s Garden (File photo)

Tickets and sponsorships are available here with proceeds going to the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden.

Round Robin November 19: Mad Hatter’s Reveal, Art Of Film Patron Party And Vine And Dine

With Thanksgiving just one week away, the evening of Thursday, November 19, seemed like a Republican debate with all types of fundraising activities vying for attention. And, boy, did they get it!

The Lee Park Junior Conservancy was doing a very happy hour for the young professional crowd at Texas Ale Project on N. Riverfront. A percentage of sales was going to the group’s support for “the care and conservation of Lee Park and Arlington Hall.”

Mad Hatter’s Tea Reveal

Jocelyn White, Renee Farren, Connie Carreker and Nerissa Von Helpenstill

Jocelyn White, Renee Farren, Connie Carreker and Nerissa Von Helpenstill

And speaking of care and conservation, the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum was filling Tootsie’s to sip champagne and more importantly to learn 2016 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White’s plans for the Thursday, April 21st fundraiser.

Connie Carreker hat

Connie Carreker hat

First off, the honorary chair should have been nobody’s surprise — Connie Carreker. And already living up to honorary responsibilities, Connie was wearing a hat that promoted the event reading, “Wish You Were Here” on the white sunhat brim.

With typical sparkling personality, Jocie revealed the theme for the event at the Arboretum would be “Steel Magnolias” with fashions on the runway in Rosine Hall from Tootsie’s and produced by Jan Strimple. Well, duh!

Tootsies fashions

Tootsies fashions

Steel Magnolias logo designed by Rongrong Devoe*

Steel Magnolias logo designed by Rongrong Devoe*

But she wasn’t finished. Unveiling the logo by Houston illustrator Rongrong Devoe for the heady affair, she announced that Linda Spina would be in charge of the judges, who would include Gary Riggs; “floral engineer” Shane Walker would be creating the luncheon centerpieces and Patricia Armstrong would be chairing underwriting.

With the announcement of the theme, smoke was seen arising from the heads of Women’s Council President Reneé Farren, Mary Lee Cox and Nancy Labadie on how their chapeaus would vie for prizes in the hat competition. The clock is ticking. Get those designs going.

The Art Of Film Patron Party

Brett and Lester Levy

Brett and Lester Levy

Brett and Lester Levy Jr.’s love of the late artist Andy Warhol was obvious to all as they entered the Levy home. In the entry of their Highland Park residence were the Warhol portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Chairman Mao.

Was this interest new? No, according to Lester, who’s also a photographer, he started collecting art when he was in his 20s.

And exactly what was the connection between the Levys’ Warhols and their hosting The Art of Film patron party the night before the Dallas Film Society’s fundraiser? Simple. The dinner and conversation with featured actress Isabella Rossellini would be taking place at The Space, where an incredible collection of Warhol drawings and photos would serve as a backdrop for the film lovers.

Seems so right, since Isabella was one of the late artist’s muses and friends.

Stan Levenson, Stacy Girard and Lee Papert

Stan Levenson, Stacy Girard and Lee Papert

In the crowd was Honorary Co-Chair Stan Levenson telling Art of Film Co-Chair Stacy Girard and Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert that wife/Co-Chair Barbara Levenson was under the weather, but she would definitely be showing up the next night fit as a fiddle.

Vine and Dine

At the Neiman Marcus flagship store in downtown Dallas, meantime, about 145 guests gathered for the eighth annual Vine and Dine event benefiting Ability Connection Texas, which provides a range of services for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford**

Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford**

The fundraiser, co-chaired this year by Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford, provided the nonprofit group with money to “empower individuals to live the best life possible by removing barriers that inhibit independence and autonomy.”

Now that Margaret has “retired” from her duties at PaperCity, she’s turned her sights to supporting various efforts like Ability Connection Texas in addition to watching son/Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford playing football on Sundays.

DeeDee Lee, Kayla Roughton and Inette Brown**

DeeDee Lee, Kayla Roughton and Inette Brown**

Pam and Vin Perella**

Pam and Vin Perella**

Among those enjoying the festive evening were new Uptown residents DeeDee and Jim Lee (they sold their big old home and decided to downsize and revitalize in the Uptown neighborhood), Debbie and Chuck Wilson, Lynn McBee, Meredith and Jack Woodworth, Kayla Roughton, Inette Brown, Kristin and Quintan Cockerell and Vin Perella with wife Pam Perella, who was receiving congrats on being announced just a couple of days before as the chair for the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball.

Jack Woodworth, Jeffrey Woodworth and Meredith Woodworth**

Jack Woodworth, Jeffrey Woodworth and Meredith Woodworth**

Following a cocktail reception on the store’s ground level, the guests moved up to the sixth floor Zodiac Room for a wonderful dinner prepared by NM Chef Kevin Garvin, complete with wines. Then there was a live auction.

* Graphic provided by the Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum 
** Photo credit: Andy Keye + Whitney Photography

Former Neiman Marcus Model Marilyn Hailey Named Honorary Chair For “A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea”

Back in the days when Neiman Marcus’ Zodiac Room had jackets available if gentlemen guests had forgotten theirs, there was a small group of legendary models who strolled among the tables to tell diners about their ensemble. One of those super stars was Marilyn Hailey.

Like the others, she was a fav of international designers. One of her favorite designers was the late hat designer Frank Olive. So much so, that she collected a delicious group of his chapeaus that was displayed at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s new member part in 2013.

Marilyn is lending her name as honorary chair of the “A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea” at the Dallas Arboretum on Tuesday, February 10.

Marilyn Hailey and Marena Gault*

Marilyn Hailey and Marena Gault*

In addition to landing Marilyn, Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Marena Gault, Event Chair Margaret La Rocca and “A Writer’s Garden” Chair Dorothea Meltzer have arranged to have Michael Devine as guest speaker.

Like Frank’s love of fabrics and designs, Michael “has an internationally recognized line of hand-printed fabrics. His textiles and garden have appeared in numerous print and online magazines, including House Beautiful, Ell Décor, Traditional Home, World of Interiors and the Peak of Chic.”

It might be very smart to upgrade your involvement to the patron status because it will include an invite to a patron party the night before to meet Michael.

Proceeds from the event will benefit A Woman’s Garden at the Arboretum.

* Photo credit: Deborah Brown

A Writer’s Garden Featured Three Authors Plus A First Look At The Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days Of Christmas

Judge Clay Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins

Everyone was in various stage of election recovery on Thursday, November 6. In the shadow of downtown Dallas, CitySquare had celebrated the official opening of its much-needed 52,000-square-foot expansion with a host of dignitaries and supporters like County Court Commissioners Clay Jenkins and John Wiley Price.

Over at the Dallas Arboretum, the annual Writer’s Garden commenced starting at 9:30 with writers galore. Here’s a report from Rosine Hall:

A Writer’s Garden

“The Dallas Arboretum was in full fall color for ‘Treasured Legacies’, the eighth annual A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Attendees got an extra bonus because it was also the preview day for the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit which opens November 16.

“With three noted authors, the program featured vivid portraits of two of the most widely read and beloved writers in literature and compelling personal stories exploring our gardening heritage. Each speaker had captivating and varying stories to share from their books.

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Greg Grant, a seventh generation Texan and co-author of Heirloom Gardening of the South, lives in deep East Texas in an old dogtrot house of his great-grandparents. He renovated it through the years and transformed the grounds with heirloom gardening from seeds that have been passed down through the generations. He has dedicated his entire lift to gardening, nature and family and has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry.

Kelsey Mullin is the Director of Public Programming and Education for the Mount and author of The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home. Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence. Mullin shared the transformational effects of Wharton’s magnificent home and gardens on her success as a writer.

“Author Kim Wilson’s new book At Home with Jane Austen was published less than two months ago.

“’Jane’s life was deeply influenced by her surroundings and travels in Southern England,’ said Wilson. ‘The importance of house and home to her characters is a noted hallmark of her brilliant and endearing stories.’

Books selling briskly*

Books selling briskly*

“Their books were available for purchase and were bought by the armload! Several were sold out before the program even began.

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

“The event was chaired by Dorothea Meltzer. Marena Gault is president of the Women’s Council.

“Proceeds from the event make possible the continued expansion and improvement of A Woman’s Garden. Since 1986, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Arboretum.  A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women.”

* Photo credit: Danny Campbell

Dallas International Art, Antique And Jewelry Show To Feature Sherry Hayslip Showcase And Lectures By Industry Experts

The Dallas International Art, Antiques and Jewelry Show is a bit like Brigadoon. It magically appears for a brief spell with wonders and delights. Then all too soon it is gone. This year’s collection of treasures is returning to Dallas Market Hall from Thursday, November 6, to Monday, November 10. Yipes — a scant four days!

Sherry Hayslip*

Sherry Hayslip*

This year’s Designer’s Showcase will be in the hands of Dallas’s award-winning interior designer Sherry Hayslip. She’s decided on “a la Coco” theme “inspired by Coco Chanel’s iconic Paris apartment.” And let’s face it. Since December’s Métiers d’Art, isn’t it about time for a Coco fix?

According to Sherry, “The Dallas International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show brings together as impressive a collection of exhibitors as can be found anywhere in the United States. It was an exciting opportunity to work with all of them to create this fun tribute to Coco and her style.”

But as Scott Diament, CEO of the Show Producer and President/CEO of The Palm Beach Show Group, admitted, “Sherry has done a remarkable job gathering such spectacular pieces and working with so many different exhibitors while maintaining and executing her vision for the Designer Showcase. It’s not an easy task to take on an icon like Coco Chanel, but Sherry certainly came through in a big way. Our guests are going to be very impressed with what she has put together.”

And there’s far more than just eye candy. This year they’ve added lectures by curators from area museums and “other industry experts and pioneers.” The lineup of lecturers includes

  • Friday, November 7 at 1 p.m. — Olivier Meslay, associate director of curatorial affairs and the Barbara Thomas Lemon Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art
  • Friday, November 7 at 2 p.m. — Margaret “Maggie” Alder, assistant curator Amon Carter Museum of American Art
  • Saturday, November 8 at 1 p.m. — Carolle Thibault-Pomerantz, expert in fine vintage wallpapers from XVIII to the mid-XX centuries
  • Monday, November 10 at 11 a.m. — Dr. Thomas Wide, managing director, Turquoise Mountain Trust

Hint: The Thursday night private preview party on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. not only allows you to have a first look but you’ll benefit Texas Cultural Trust. But if you can’t make opening night, you can still support the show’s other nonprofit partners — The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Dallas AfterSchool —during its all too brief stay.

* Photo credit: Dan Piassick

2015 Mad Hatter’s Tea Announcement Reception Bubbled With Champagne, Jewels And The New Dallas “It Girl”

Sharon Popham is planning on breaking things come Thursday, April 9th… like records. With Dallas Symphony Orchestra League pals like Women’s Council President Marena Gault and Announcement Party Co-Chairs Dixey Arterburn, Allison Brodnax and Ginger Sager, she’s already working to establish a new record breaker for the Dallas Arboretum fundraiser, the 2015 Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Marena Gault*

Marena Gault*

First step, she’s decided on a French theme. That was obvious at the Brook Hollow Golf Club announcement soiree from the champagne and delicious French ooh-la-a theme. There were delicious French decorated cookies at the table in the Oak Room and French champagne flowing.

Sharon had hoped for pink roses but ended up settling for Texas yellow roses.

Sharon Popham, Yanni Kyriazis and Sherwood Wagner

Sharon Popham, Yanni Kyriazis and Sherwood Wagner

Sharon had also lined up her honorary chair to be adorable Sherwood Wagner. According to Marena, “Sherwood is a beautiful, energetic, stylish young woman, modest and humble. She embodies everything about A Woman’s Garden, epitomizing the complexities of the essence of women with all their virtues and strengths. She is the new Dallas ‘It Girl’.”

According to insiders, “she grew up in Midland and graduated from Hockaday and TCU and worked for PSI, a public relations firm. She is involved with various charities in Dallas and West Texas and served as president of Girls Inc. Auxiliary. She is a board member of Ellen Noël Art Museum in Midland, which is named after her grandmother. She has graciously donated a heart-shaped pulpit to A Woman’s Garden at the Arboretum that will be named The Ellen Noël and Lissa Noël Wagner pulpit, in honor of her mother and grandmother.”

To celebrate the Thursday, October 16th  announcement, “Sherwood’s mom Lissa and a plane load of women from Midland flew in for the special occasion. 10 ladies filled the plane which left only the jump seat for Lissa to sit on for the trip.”

Front row: Sherwood Wagner in blue and Lissa Wagner in green*

Front row: Sherwood Wagner in blue and Lissa Wagner in green*

To add that touch of gold to the occasion, Sharon had jewelry designers David Lee Holland and  Yanni Kyriazis on hand and revealed that they’re creating a special piece of jewelry for the Mad Hatters to auction off. Should be very interesting, since David and Yanni specialize in “botanically themed jewelry.”

Sherwood volunteered to model “a stunning 110 carat orange zest necklace of natural colored Bolivian amethyst and diamonds valued at $92,000” created by David Lee Holland Fine Jewelry. Tough assignment!

Sherwood Wagner's Alexander McQueens*

Sherwood Wagner’s Alexander McQueens*

And talk about being dressed from top to bottom, Sherwood’s Alexander McQueen stilettos with six-inch heels were eye catchers with “jewel-encrusted skulls sporting mohawks.” (Please note her toenail polish matched her truly blue dress.)

As for Sherwood’s own spectacular jewelry, Marena volunteered to “babysit it” for the evening. ‘nother tough assignment.

When asked about the judges, Sharon implied that there would be a French flair on hand. The fashion show will be coordinated by Jan Strimple with clothes from Betty Reiter, Canary, Nardos Imam and V.O.D.

Stay tuned and get your berets warmed up.

* Photos provided by 2015 Mad Hatter's Tea

Round Robin April 3: Chick Lit And Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Parties and Girls Party

Once again Thursday proved to be an overabundant serving of appetizers for the weekend. In the case of Thursday, April 3, it was on the eve of the Final Four and the night of SMU playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Madison Square Garden.

Oh, did we mention that tornado warnings and watches were lighting up the skies and local newscasts?

Among the activities taking place were

  • Racing for the Sight patron party at Vinnette and Mike Montgomery’s new home benefiting the Retina Foundation
  • Fashion Cited with Ron Corning emceeing at Frontiers of Flight Museum for the Retina Foundation

Chick Lit Patron Party

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera is the jewel box of couture clothing. And despite the threatening weather, the CH boutique in Highland Park Village had the ladies turn out for the Chick Lit Luncheon patron party.

While waiting for guest of honor/next-day’s-luncheon-speaker Julia Reed to arrive, about 100 guests chatted and checked out the gems on the hangar. One poor gent looked at a spectacular shimming evening gown and queried, “$2,000?” A broad streak of shock swept over the nearby gals. He just knew he had insulted the creation. From the sidelines, one understanding female suggested, “That would pay for the label and perhaps the hangar.” As for the gown, in an addition to the gold, it also comes in green and blue. . . and it will probably be a showstopper in the months to come at galas.

Melinda Rathke

Melinda Rathke

As for Julia, she eventually arrived and immediately became best friends with everyone. As for dinner, she had a dinner date at Café Pacific with a local gal-pal — Laura Bush. But it was an early dinner because Julia had the Chick Lit Luncheon the next morning at Brook Hollow.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Party

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg and husband Scott hosted their very first “philanthropy” gathering at their new Highland Park mansion. Four years in the making, the residence would have delighted French royalty pre-revolution — and the Rolling Stones.

In the two-story library, a life-size photo of Mick Jagger was in place upstairs, while paintings by JD Miller were just at eye level at the room’s entry. The old masters would have been very impressed with JD’s talents.

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

In the formal living room that was as proper and traditional as King Louis XIV, a very modern portrait of Marie Antoinette stopped traffic. It wasn’t the Marie A. that one recalls. Imagine a very stylized Marie A . Despite attempts to find an artist’s signature on the painting, Scott smiled and insisted that he had done it and Gina was the subject — “I didn’t know what to do with her face, so I gave her a face mask.”

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Eventually the crowd of around 100 gathered in the den where Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin welcomed the group and then had Jocelyn White reveal that as a thank you, Lisa and Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council President Bettina Hennessy had arranged to have a blooming bed in the Ginsburg Plaza dedicated in Gina’s honor — “Sweet Gina’s Blooming Bed”. Only problem? They were going to present Gina with a certificate to seal the deal, but it “was in the mail.”

Girls Party

Nancy Carlson

Nancy Carlson

The day before, Nancy Carlson had been giving real thought to moving the Girls Party benefiting the Dallas Children’s Theater into the Carlson mansion. After all, the weather guessers had threatening everything excluding the plague and swarms of locusts hitting the area.

But surprise! Like a general leading her troops into battle, Nancy decided she would chance it and held the party outdoors and Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Tara Lewis were on board.

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Ma Nature cooperated, providing what appeared to be a fireworks show with lightning flashing in the skies above and making the thunder clouds looking like bruised meringue. She even added a touch of a breeze to keep things cool for the 200 gals.

Tented backyard

Tented backyard

As for the Carlson estate, it was once again a whimsical setting with tents, mountains of desserts, grown-up beverages and entertainment all over the place. Artist JD Miller did one of his live paint-a-thons with his bride Lea Fisher watching. The Dallas Youth Repertory Program did a “flash mob” performance. Guests found themselves donning leis and learning how to hula.

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

But the big surprise was the song dedication to Dallas Children’s Theater Chairman of the Board Sharron Hunt, who had been the DJ sponsor for music by DJs Jen Miller and Paul Paredes.

Sharron and Maggie also coordinated efforts to have Linda “Dallas” Gray on the scene as honorary celebrity chair, thanks to their friendship with Elaine Saab. In addition to being Sharron’s friend, Elaine’s kids grew up with Maggie. It was a few years ago that Elaine tracked Linda down to speak at a Mississippi women’s conference. Learning about the Girls Party, Elaine reached out to Linda who, despite having a 5:30 a.m. call the next morning, looked spectacular and was overly accommodating to one and all.

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

DCT’s Robyn Flatt looked like a school kid herself with the recent success of “Mariachi Girl” and the evening’s fundraiser. For the past 10 years the Cabaret Gala has been the main fundraiser. The Girls’ Party has become delicious frosting on the fundraising cake for the theater that has become a treasure to parents and kids throughout the area.

Despite the threatening weather, Nancy made the right call.

Mad Hatter’s Live Auction Items Just Revealed

Mad Hatter's Tea 2014*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2014*

The Mad Hatters are putting the finishing touches on their chapeaus. Or, in some cases, their hat designers are for Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum. One of the items on the day’s agenda is the live auction. Thanks to Jacque Kennedy, the following over-the-top packages will be up for paddle waving:

Item 1: My Fair Lady Package — Enjoy a day of beauty for you and three friends.  Begin the day by spoiling yourselves with hair and makeup done by The Hair Bar. Head on over to True Foods in Preston Center for lunch with your guests and conclude your day with four tickets to the Arboretum Concert Series.

Hostess will receive:

  • Pink Python Clutch by Laura Ginsburg
  • Black and gold Escada watch
  • Earrings from Szor’s

Item 2: Ladies Who Lunch Package — You and your four closest friends are invited to a private luncheon with MacKenzie Child’s designer, Rebecca Proctor, at Neiman Marcus.

For each guest, the luncheon includes:

  • Private Meet & Greet before the luncheon
  • A signed gift from Rebecca Proctor
  • A makeover in the cosmetics department at Neiman Marcus NorthPark prior to the luncheon!

Hostess will receive:

  • Diamond earrings from Rare Gems India
  • Elaine Turner handbag from Tootsies
  • Portrait session and an 11×14 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 3: A Spot of Tea Package — Enjoy an exclusive opportunity with a Mother/Daughter Tea Party for 8 hosted at the Dallas Arboretum. Afterwards, enjoy a memorable tour of the Children’s Garden with your guests, and the hostess will receive a head and shoulders pastel portrait of her daughter by Nancy Curran. Conclude the day with dinner for eight in your home catered by Gil’s Elegant Catering.

Item 4: C’est la Bonne Vie! Package — Escape for the morning to the French-inspired Rush Patisserie for coffee and croissants with 8-12 of your closest lady friends. Each guest will receive exquisite French Affaires greeting cards by Elizabeth New Seitz.  End the day with a $1,000 gift certificate for dinner at Nick & Sam’s in Preston Center.

Hostess will receive:

  • $500 Bachendorf’s gift certificate
  • Portrait session and a 16×20 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 5: Run for the Roses Package — Enjoy a private garden consultation at your home with Michael Shoup of Antique Rose Emporium.

Package includes:

  • Three beautiful rose bushes
  • Signed copies of Michael Shoup’s books Empress of the Garden and Guide to Antique Roses
  • Select gardening tools for handling the roses
  • Five different holiday gift box sets delivered throughout the year from Stacy’s Elegantly Chocolate

Item 6: Picture Perfect Party Package — Enjoy an afternoon tea party with 8-12 of your friends, sampling French delicacies at the French-inspired Rush Patisserie. Capture the special occasion with a Custom Portrait Package and an 8×10 lustre coated professional portrait by Tiffany Hankla Photography.

Hostess will receive a 10-inch Waterford Crystal Cassidy Vase

* Graphic courtesy of Mad Hatter's Tea 2014

2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea Categories And Judges Revealed At Lela Rose

Lisa Loy Laughlin, Carolyn Loy and Lindi Loy Frank*

Lisa Loy Laughlin, Carolyn Loy and Lindi Loy Frank*

It’s time to start those creative brain cells revving. 2014 Mad Hatter’s Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin revealed all types of good things at Lela Rose Boutique in Highland Park Village Monday. Despite a brisk wind and a chilly temperature outside, the crowd didn’t let that dissuade them from being on hand to learn about the April 10 “tea.” Let’s face it. This fundraiser is a tea in name only. It’s a heck of a lot more — champagne reception in the Dallas Arboretum’s Ginsburg Plaza, fashion show in Rosine Hall and back to the plaza for a seated luncheon overlooking the grounds. All this benefits the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden.

Bettina Hennessy*

Bettina Hennessy*

Speaking of Ginsburg Plaza, Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg was on hand for the news along with Dallas Woman’s Council President Bettina Hennessy, Underwriting Chair Kathy Cothrum, Carol Seay, Kay Weeks, Karen Settle, Linda Spina, Anna Bland Aston, Carole Lawson, Jill Goldberg, Janie Robertson, Sue Ringle, Elsa Norwood, Kim Mathews, Linda Loy Funk and Tea emcee/advisor Jocelyn White topped off with an animal-friendly alpaca hat and scarf.

But back to the announcements. Centered around this year’s theme of “Serenade To Style,” Lisa revealed the categories will be:

  • Over the Rainbow: Most Colorfully Flamboyant
  • My Favorite Things: Chic Couture
  • The Yellow Rose of Texas: Most Elegant
  • Edelweiss: A Vintage Look
  • Tip Toe Through the Tulips: Most Whimsical
  • Do Re Mi: Most Creative use of Natural Materials
  • Best of Show. Criteria: Integrity of Design and
  • Creative Use of Botanical.
Jan Strimple and Jocelyn White*

Jan Strimple and Jocelyn White*

If you’re new to Mad Hatter’s, the reveal of the categories is very important. Some guests spend loads of time, effort and money in trying to come up with a potential winning hat to fit the categories. Hat designers, in particular, take the information and hit the drawing boards to provide their clients with real eye catchers.

In addition to the categories, Jocelyn announced the hat judges, who include: Heidi Dillon, Founder of The Fashionistas; Michael Faircloth, Fashion Designer; Patti Flowers, owner of Patti Flowers Design Studio; Sam Ratcliffe, head of Bywaters Special Collections in SMU’s Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library; Gary Riggs, interior designer and artist; Clarice Tinsley, news anchor, FOX 4; Maxine Trowbridge, editor, PaperCity; and Janine Turner, actress, author, talk radio host.

Patti Flowers and Sam Ratcliffe*

Patti Flowers and Sam Ratcliffe*

Other news included the return of Jan Strimple as fashion show producer for the April 10 fundraiser at the Dallas Arboretum; plus, fashions will come from Diane von Furstenberg, Lela Rose and Escada.

Suggestion: Receive your tickets now because you’re gonna need to concentrate on your chapeau.

* Photo credit: 
Dana Driensky

Pitch Your Nonprofit: The Women’s Council Of The Dallas Arboretum

According to the Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council‘s President Sue Ringle,

Chihuly Yellow Icicle Tower (File photo)


“The Women’s Council of the Arboretum is a support group for the Arboretum, primarily for A Woman’s Garden, the only garden in American that was conceived, designed, and maintained by women.

“You’ve seen it—it’s where the Chihuly boats are. Dale Chihuly chose A Woman’s Garden as the place to display several of his glass sculptures.  And your donations and support of our fundraisers and our non-profit will go towards guaranteeing that this garden will be a part of the Arboretum’s gift to Dallas for decades to come.

“The Winter Tea, February 24, Sunday from 2-4 will feature Janine Turner (‘Northern Exposure’) and her daughter Juliette (age 15), who has written a book, ‘The Constitution Rocks.’

“’We love to salute a Mother-Daughter team at our Winter Tea. Janine and Juliette Turner are perfect! Both have interesting stories to share as authors, actresses, political activists!  I’ll serve as moderator but will be surprised if I get much of a word in edge-wise!’— Jocelyn White

“The Mad Hatter’s Tea and Luncheon, Thursday, April 11, 2013, our largest fundraiser, will include a fashion show, followed by luncheon on the Ginsburg Plaza.

“’We are overjoyed to chair the 25th Anniversary Mad Hatter’s Tea! With Honorary Chair Patty Dedman Nail, a fashion  show produced by Jan Strimple featuring designers Roberto Cavalli and Oscar de la Renta, floral designs by Shane Walker and Steve Kemble and many other surprises, you know  April 11th will be amazing!’—Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer

“Giving  to the Women’s Council or attending these events will go a long way towards ‘giving back’ to our community. And giving in 2012 might even go further!  I sincerely hope you will decide to put the Women’s Council on your philanthropic list!”

-Sue Ringle

Mad Hatter’s Tea Patrons Partied At Connie And Denny Carreker With Plans Announced For Thursday’s Hoop-la

Connie Carreker

With the Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “The Art of Nature” this Thursday, the patrons gathered at Connie and Denny Carrekers’ mini-palace last Thursday. Luckily, the grounds within the mansion are so perfect, one isn’t even bothered that their formerly perfect view of Turtle Creek is no more, due to the 20,000+-square-foot mega-mansion under construction across the street.

By the time guests started pulling up to the Carreker driveway, the construction workers’ pickups and trucks had skedaddled for the day, making the valet’s task of parking cars a lot easier.

Steve and Linda Ivy and Don Daseke

Among the first to arrive were Linda and Steve Ivy. Reminding some of Sis Carr, Linda was a confection with bright yellow highlights thanks to her Oscar heels, canary diamond necklace, Judith Leiber purse and the big flower on her sling. What’s that? A sling? Yup, the girl’s been recovering from surgery on her rotator cuff. The flower was to dress up the black, non-fashionable sling. Linda giggled that designer Nicolas Villalba, who had created her “Technicolor dream coat” for the past Dallas Opera’s “First Night,” offered to bling the sling up, but since it’s being retired on April 26, she thought she would just stay with tried and true black.

Upon hearing Ivy and Leiber mentioned, Don Daseke chuckled. Seems that years ago he won a slew of Leiber purses at one of Steve’s Heritage auctions for wife Barbara. When asked if he was addicted to Leiber, Steve beat Don to the punch saying: “I don’t think it’s him that’s addicted.”

Steve reported that Heritage has got a number of auctions coming up. While the Ivys can’t resist eyeballing the art items, Steve tries to direct Linda to other parts when the jewelry is up for bid.

Patron Party Co-chair Doris Jacobs was already wearing a hat in preparation for the Mad Hatter’s, but it wasn’t the one that she’ll be wearing Thursday. She wore it a couple of years ago and resurrected it for the night. Not to be outdone by Doris’ very colorful look, husband Jack wore a shirt that would have been a perfect look for an Easter egg.

Fellow Co-Chair Jocelyn White greeted fiancé Kim Seal. The two should be tying the knot sometime between right now and the end of May. They won’t reveal an exact date.

Carreker next-door neighbors Diane and Hal Brierley strolled on over for the festivities. Hal smiled that the walk over saved him “$20 for the valet.” An offer from a nearby guest came, “Heck, I’ll park your car in the future.”

Dena Miller and Allyson Aynesworth

Checking out the delicious food from Lombardi’s were Allyson Aynesworth and Dena Miller. When asked about the week-that-was including a lawsuit filed against Dena by Big Rich TexasPamela Martin-Duarte, Dena shuddered with eyes closed saying, “I’m not talking about it.” To which a bystander added, “But you’re thinking about it.”

Carreker grounds

Carmaleta Whiteley and Barbara Daseke

With the weather so perfect for the gathering, organizers found themselves having to coax guests into the breezeway from the grounds with their fabulous fountains and ponds to learn about the upcoming chapeau fest. Just as Mad Hatter’s co-chair Barbara Daseke and Carmaleta Whiteley started to tell about plans, last year’s Judges Co-chair Yvonne Crum arrived.

According to the ladies in charge, WFAA’s Ron Corning will serve as emcee this year and for the first time there will be a live auction with Steve Kemble as auctioneer. Then they reeled off the seven items that will be on the block:

  1. FLOATING DIAMONDS IN A SHINING STAR  (Value: $2,000) — Shining Star floating diamond ring by Royal Asscher Diamonds. Like snowflakes in a snow globe, this one of a kind half carat of round cut diamonds float in a sapphire crystal globe.
  2. DALLAS RELAXATION WEEKEND (Value: $1,100) — The Anatole Hilton Hotel Weekend Stay (Friday and Saturday) for two in a deluxe room with suite upgrade if available (room, tax and parking included). Complimentary bottle of chilled champagne upon arrival, two complimentary passes to the 80,000-square-foot Verandah Health Club & Spa  and two 50-minute classic massage treatments at the VSpa (gratuities are included). Also includes breakfast for two at the Terrace restaurant each day (tax & gratuity is included).
  3. TEA ON THE MANSION TERRACE FOR 20 (Value: $,2500) — Continue the spirit of the Mad Hatter’s Tea with an exclusive afternoon on The Mansion Restaurant Terrace. The package includes afternoon tea for 20 guests alfresco on the Mansion’s beautiful and breezy terrace. Enjoy cocktails, canapés and conversation with your closest companions!
  4. BETTY REITER PRESENTS PARIS  (Value: $2,800) — Luncheon and Fashion Show for Ten. Enjoy the newest collections as Jan Strimple and Betty Reiter guide you through the latest fashions from Europe. Includes a $250 Better Reiter gift certificate.
  5. RARE JEWELS BY INTERNATIONAL JEWELRY DESIGNER TIANA WAGES (Value: $4,900) — A 33-inch Labradorite Necklace with hand-carved rare wood accent hand crafted by jewelry designer Tiana Wages.
  6. DREAM GET AWAY TO CABO SAN LUCUS (Value: $3,300) — Featured on the cover of Conde Nast 2011 Reader Choice “Best in the World” Issue and voted as one of the top five resorts in all of Mexico, Capella Pedregal redefines ultra-luxury in the Baja. Located at the base of Pedregal Mountain on the Pacific Ocean, the resort offers its guest the best of both worlds. Exclusion and privacy in the resort and direct the access into the town of Cabo within minutes. This amazing packages includes three nights in a spectacular Capella Room featuring a sitting area that leads into the guest room. The Capella Room is  1475 square feet and has its own private outdoor terrace with an private infinity-edge plunge pool and a beautiful ocean view.
  7. DALLAS DINING AND SHOP TIL YOU DROP  (VALUE  $7,500)  – Dinner or lunch  at Fearing’s, The T Room at FortyFiveTen, Stephan Pyles, Abacus, Scardellos  and Winston’s Super Club Plus a $500 gift card to Brooks Brothers and a $5,000 Gift certificate from J. Pacetti Precious Jewels. (In honor of Honorary Chair Nancy Rogers)