Thursday, October 30, 2014

You Can't Look Away from a Good Train Wreck

Bri Crum will share her stories in November
performances of Oral Fixation 
I've heard people say that attending Oral Fixation is like a cheap form of therapy. According to their website, what Oral Fixation brings to the table that makes it stand out is twofold: first, every theme is an idiom in the English language, a phrase we use often that has both a literal and a figurative meaning.

Secondly, the evening of stories is curated and edited by creator Nicole Steweart. She solicits submissions. Then, from the submissions, she selects a variety of points of view (different ages, genders, races, socio-economic backgrounds, etc) to create an hourlong evening of stories that will take the audience on a ride from laughing in recognition of shared experiences to poignant moments of courageous exposure of flaws to laugh-out loud incredible moments that would seem too good to be true.

Of course, they are all true and that is another wonderful rule in the world of Oral Fixation. November's theme is “Train Wreck” and headlining the show will be my fun and fabulous pal Bri Crum from Inside Entertainment TV on KTXD47. Bri will share with courage and vulnerability how she’s navigated mental health obstacles to get to a place where she no longer feels like her life is a train wreck about to happen.

Love at First Sight

Roberto Cavalli's Fall 2014 Collection glided down the runway at the Dallas Opera's First Sight Luncheon on October 23, 2014 inside the Winspear Opera House (photos: Cynthia Smoot)

I have always been a fan of opera and classical music. The love affair started early listening to Mozart and Beethoven as background music for my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons and I delighted as Alfalfa crooned to his beloved Darla arias from Figaro in The Little Rascals. The first opera I ever saw was Pirates of Penzance when I was 10 or 11 years old at the Music Hall at Fair Park and I was hooked. The pageantry and extravagance combined with the theatrics and beautiful music was not lost on me and opera has held a special place in my heart ever since that outing so I was thrilled to attend the First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon chaired by Elizabeth Kimple held at the Winspear Opera House on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

This annual event kicked off the Dallas Opera's 2014-15 "Heights of Passion" season and the featured designer was Roberto Cavalli, a luxury boutique that offers the Italian designer's lifestyle brand of women's ready to wear, accessories, handbags, shoes, and sunglasses. Roberto Cavalli is synonymous with joy and optimism, with glamour and success. It was a perfect pairing for The Dallas Opera. The fashions presented at the luncheon were from the 2014 Fall Collection and included sensational evening wear selections. Cristiano Mancini, Director of Marketing for Roberto Cavalli International was in attendance to introduce the show. In addition to the Cavalli presentation, this lavish event, co-chaired by Lynn McBee and Nicholas Even, also include six custom-made gowns created by internationally renowned designers inspired by each of the operas presented this season:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Les Femmes du Monde Celebrates Six "Women of the Year" Recipients

Pat Smith, Nina Vaca, Gina Ginsburg, Faye Briggs, Alyce Heinrich, Lynn McBee, Regina Bruce, Yvonne Crum and Margaret McDermott (seated)  |  Photo: Dana Driensky

You know that everything in Texas is "bigger and better," so why have just one Woman of the Year when you could have, well, six!? On October 16, Les Femmes du Monde held a luncheon at the Harlan Crow Library to celebrate six women - each one signifying a decade of Les Femmes du Monde's existence. I'm not going to pair these ladies to a particular decade... let's just say that the ladies receiving this esteemed accolade were Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca. These women have helped make this organization and many nonprofits in town successful, embracing education for members and youth, while at the same time, helping others in our community. Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum, Honorary Chairs, Regina Bruce, Luncheon Chair and Alyce Heinrich, President, Les Femmes du Monde hosted a Who's Who of female powerhouse players came to acknowledge and lift other each other up including Carmaleta Whitely, Dawn Mellon, Emmitt Smith, Laura Ginsburg Pierson, Cindy Davis, Ashley Berges and Sally Blanton.

Here are some scenes from the day:

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Big Oyster Bash was a Mother Shucker

Chefs for Farmers hosted the first annual Big Oyster Bash this past Sunday afternoon inside the newly renovated Shed One at Dallas Farmers Market. The event featured dishes from some of Dallas top chefs: Matt McCallister, Jon Alexis, John Tesar, Jon Stevens, Kyle McClelland, Stephen Rogers, Houston's Randy Rucker and others using both raw and cooked oysters from Texas and both coasts shucked on site.

Cynthia Smoot with Chef John Tesar

Attendees enjoyed cocktails, wine, an oyster slurp-off, a tarot card reader, and shed-shaking tunes from DJ Souljah. Chef John Tesar won the People's Choice Award for his truffle infused oyster stew and Chef Jon Stevens for his croissant bread pudding with caramel mousse.

Unfortunately if you didn't get there early, you didn't get to eat. While the event ran from 2pm to 6pm, I arrived at 3:30pm and all but three vendors were out of food. The good news is that two of the three dishes I did get to eat were the award winners. While I can't say much about the dishes created, I can tell you that there was plenty of booze, tunes and good energy.

Spotted slurping, noshing and toe-tapping in the crowd were foodies like Bev Garvin, Steven Doyle, Jennifer Miller, LeeAnne Locken, Catherine Downes, Angus Wynne and Lucien LaBarba.

Scenes from the day are below:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dallas Market Center Connects Designers to Retailers

Have you ever wondered how the products created by emerging designers find their way into your favorite retail stores? Connecting those dots are wholesale apparel marts across the US, including Dallas Market Center which welcomes 75,000 buyers and conducts more than 50 trade and special events annually. Opened in 1957 and last expanded in 2007, the four buildings that comprise Dallas Market Center feature more than 5 million square feet and showcases apparel, accessories, gifts, decorative accessories, housewares, lighting, tabletop and stationery. There are more than 1,500 permanent showrooms and 500,000 square feet of temporary exhibit show space available to registered buyers.

Last Wednesday, I hosted a Sneak Peek and gave a group of Dallas fashion bloggers an exclusive inside look at what a day in the life of a retail buyer is like. We visited several showrooms and saw a variety of lines that ranged from local designers to national brands. Even a fashion guru like Holly Quartaro (style expert for the Galleria Dallas) said to me as we passed the Michael Kors showroom, "It never occurred to me that buyers could come here to see a line like Michael Kors... I just assumed you had to go to New York or LA." Nope, buyers can come to DMC and find almost every designer known to them - and discover many new ones every time they come to market. We ended our day with a thrilling runway show featuring Spring 2015 trends and champs (of course!) Many thanks to Dallas Market Center for playing such an important role within our fashion community.For more information, visit

Dawn Neufeld got snuggly with fur wraps from Kelly Kouri  |  Dawn Mellon, Tiffany Hendra and Holly Quartaro 
toasted our fun day together with some champagne before the fashion show finale 

Check out the fashion/style bloggers who attended and find a few you connect with! Each of these lovely ladies has a unique style and their own voice to share with you:

Kelley Barnes, The Style Barn
Stephanie Drenka, Geek Glam
Ellen Flowers, The Perennial Style
Leah Frazier, DFW Style Daily and The Examiner
Tiffany Hendra, Sanctuary of Style 
Jaleesa Howard, The Fashion Geek
LeeAnne Locken, The Fashionistas
Dawn Neufeld, Co-Host of KTXD's The Broadcast and The Gridiron Goddess
Dawn Mellon, The Savvy Stylist
Holly Quartaro Fashion Stylist, Galleria Dallas 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cupid launches the first arrow at the 2015 St. Valentine's Day Luncheon and Fashion Show

Lisa Singleton, Jennifer Houser & Carmaleta Whiteley
helped to kickoff the LLS St. Valentine's Day Luncheon
For those of you who drove past Highland Park Village on Tuesday night and wondered what all of the high-pitched buzz was about, let me tell you what you missed: It was a high-wattage group of dynamic women gathered to kick off the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show.

Presiding over the soiree were Lisa Singleton, Chair, Lynn McBee, Honorary Chair, Jennifer LeLash and Nikki Webb, Underwriting Chairs, Maggie Kipp, Raffle Chair and Carmaleta Whiteley, Advisory Chair. Milling about the evening, I also spied Dee Dee Lee, Claire Emanuelson, Janie Condon, Gigi Potter Salley, Holly Davis, Deb SoRelle, Hamilton Sneed, D’Andra Simmons Lock, Kim Alexander, Kerstin Retig, Rainey Fogiel, Natalie Moon and Heather Randall from Trinity Industries (who so generously sponsored the evening).

Mark Tuesday, February 17, 2015 on your calendar for a “Fashionably Late” Valentine’s Day celebration. It's going to be another fabulous event and here's why:

Highland Park Village will be the sponsor of the fashion show component of the Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show. The dynamic variety of contemporary and luxury boutiques at Highland Park Village will create an inspired show under the guidance of producer Jan Strimple. Jennifer Houser will receive this year's Lynda Adleta, Heart of Gold Award Recipient and Brooklynn Alexander (who was in attendance with her family) will receive the Spirit of Tom Landry Award Recipient. While there will be many new & exciting elements to this year's event, what won’t change in 2015 are the elements that attendees know and love. The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center will play host, local blood cancer survivors and supporters will be honored with the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold Award and the Spirit of Tom Landry award and FOX4’s Clarice Tinsley will return as the gracious host of the afternoon. It is sure to be a fabulous day, so save the date and stay tuned for further details in the months to come.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BubblyQ 2014. Because #CancerSucks

YTAC Board Members

BubblyQ 2014. Because #CancerSucks
by Ashley Powell

Ashley and her healthy cupcake from Unrefined Bakery
What could be better than being surrounded by all the beautiful people in Dallas while sipping champagne and enjoying delicious nibbles from some of the best DFW dining? The fact that it was all to benefit charity!

The seventh annual BubblyQ hosted by the Young Texans Against Cancer was hosted on Thursday, October 16th at the amazing Fearings at the Ritz Carlton. The who’s who of the 35 and under crowd showed up for this event donning their best cocktail attire and very colorful menswear. Is that a thing now? I think I saw maroon, yellow, blue, black and tweed slacks.

As a newish Dallasite who has only been in town for about 6 months I thought the event was fantastic! It was such a great way to try out so many of the restaurants I’ve been hearing about since moving here but just simply haven’t had the time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Verdict on Cattle Baron's Ball 2014

Kenny Chesney was the featured performer for CBB 2014
For the past several decades Cattle Baron's Ball had socialites tromping the fields of Southfork Ranch in support of the American Cancer Society. Earlier this year, 2014 Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum shocked the social scene with their announcement that one of our city's most iconic fundraisers would be moving to Gilley's. This bold move had tongues wagging, wondering how the change of venue will affect the vibe of the event.

My guess, is that after several consecutive years of torrential rain the night of this annual outdoor shindig, people were tiring of spending boatloads of money only to have their hair frizz, boots muddied and VIP seating disappear as organizers scrambled at the last minute to shove the event under a tent and throw hay on the ground (which FYI, does not help much). Some called it social career suicide, but Jill and Cindy held firm in there belief that a change was needed.

Their gamble paid off in spades.

Mad Hatter's Tea Announces Theme and Leadership for 2015

(top left) Lissa Wagner with Honorary Chair Sherwood Wagner (top right) Sue Ringle with Nell Broughton
(bottom) Allison Brodnax, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Sharon Popham, Dixey Arterburn,
Women’s Council President Marena Gault, and Ginger Sager. Photos by Chuck Clark

Plans are underway to make the 2015 Mad Hatter’s Tea one most grandiose events in recent history. With an “April in Paris” theme, it will be chaired by veteran event organizer Sharon Popham and is scheduled for Thursday, April 9, 2015 at the Dallas Arboretum. How many Eiffel Tower chapeaus and Chanel-themed looks do you think we will see?! The Announcement Party was hosted by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum at the Brook Hollow Golf Club on October 16 to introduce Honorary Chair Sherwood Wagner. Sherwood wore jewels by jewelry designers David Lee Holland and Yanni Kyriazis who flew in from New York City for the evening. David Lee Holland Fine Jewelry is the brainchild of the two designers who create botanically-themed jewelry. They will be custom-designing a piece of jewelry to be auctioned at the Mad Hatter’s Tea. Dallas’ premiere fashion event producer Jan Strimple will orchestrate the style show for the Mad Hatter’s Tea featuring the collections of fashion sponsors Betty Reiter, Canary, Nardos Imam, and V.O.D. Celebrating its 27th year, this fabulous and fun party has been an ongoing fundraising event raising monies to grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum. It's no secret to readers of this site that I think Mad Hatter's is one of the best events of the year. I already have Shane Walker working on my hat for 2015!!

For more information visit

Carnival Cruise Lines celebrates partnership with Dallas Cowboys

Cynthia Smoot and LeeAnne Locken poses with Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts during Carnival's "Tailgate Takeover" before the Dallas Cowboys game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 19, 2014

After a long night of boot scooting' at Cattle Baron's Ball, I rolled out of bed and headed over to AT&T Stadium this past Sunday to spend the day with Chef, restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author, Guy Fieri and country music's Rascal Flatts. as a guest of Carnival Cruise Lines. "I spent last night with Kenny Chesney and here I am today with you!" I said to Rascal Flatts. "What's Kenny doing in town?" asked Gary LeVox. When I mentioned that LeeAnne Locken and I had been at Cattle Baron's Ball the night before they all laughed and said they had great memories of that rainy appearance 2 years ago. Carnival is Texas’ largest cruise operator and this shindig was to celebrate their new partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys. Fieri, whose Guy's Burger Joint dining venues are featured on select Carnival ships, hosted a Burger Battle as part of the cruise line’s pre-game activities in which local contestants, working with chefs from Legends Hospitality, created their best tailgate burger. “There's nothing like cookin' it up with family and friends at a big time tailgate party, so I'm stoked to be part of Carnival's gameday experience,” said Fieri. Katy Grantges of Cleburne, Texas was crowned the winner of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Gameday Burger Battle.