Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Coffee at Kim Cornetet's

Every fall, my dear friend Kim Cornetet has a coffee at her lovely home in Laurel Oak.  Friends from all walks of her life converge for a lively morning of Halloween fun!  Last Friday, in a misty rain, we gathered together to celebrate our friendships.  Kim always makes a delish buffet and asks her guests to arrive with food to donate to the food bank. 

Kim and her husband, James, are generous contributors to many organizations in town.  I first met Kim many years ago in Junior League - maybe 17 years ago?  She and her family spend the summers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, though it seems like her four children are traveling all over the world each year.  Each child has many interests and activities that we all get to share in their summer newsletter, which I so enjoy receiving.  A beautiful couple, a beautiful family, a beautiful Kim.

Hostess Kim Cornetet and Joan Campo Liga

Kim's mailbox decoration

Kim's front yard graveyard

Guests bring food donations for the Food Bank

Diane Slattery and Gila Meriwether

Tish Fitzgerald and Barbie Nielsen

Veronica Brady arriving

Melba Jimenez, Beth Knopik and Karen Fessel

Kim's brunch buffet

A ghoulish greeting

Friday, October 28, 2011

Let's try this again...The Fabulous and Fun Upcoming Artful Lobster

For some reason, yesterday's post did not post - it just disappeared into thin air, so I am trying once again....keep your fingers crossed for success!

On Saturday, Nov.19th, I am chairing The Artful Lobster for the third year for The Hermitage Artist Retreat on gorgeous Manasota Key.  It is truly a day of afternoon delights!  Starting off at 11 AM with an hour of touring the historic studios spaces, mingling with the artists in residence, exploring the extraordinary silent auction items, and just enjoying the soft gulf breezes on a beautiful fall day. 

At noon you will have a very special treat.  World-renowned cellist and Hermitage Fellow, Michael Fitzpatrick will be performing a special mini-concert of music he composed during his residency at the Hermitage.  Shortly thereafter, the famous Michael's On East lobster buffet opens with mouth-watering treats - lobster, b-b-q chicken and ribs, and all the special Michael's fixings - yum!

Then at 1 PM, the real magic starts!  Our auctioneer, GCCF's charming Scott Anderson, has scads of fun in store for bidders.  Here is just a sampling of our fabulous opportunities - a week's stay at a precious maisonette in Antibes, France, just steps away from the Picasso Museum; a weekend stay in Washington DC with many special VIP surprises; an artistic getaway in Santa Fe; an unique dinner for eight at the studio of internationally collected artist Andrea Dasha Reich; lunch with the "godfather of historical fiction", John Jakes, author of the Kent Family Chronicles and the North and South Trilogy (I am getting the vapors just thinking of the dreamy Patrick Swayze in his Confederate uniform); and a very special trip that we can't even announce yet that will make you feel like Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy!

Two once-in-a-lifetime silent auction items for the creative genius in all of us that you will want to look at for either yourself or a very special gift for a loved one - an aspiring playwright workshop and an aspiring novelist workshop.  We will connect you with experts to mentor you and give you constructive feedback and also give you the inside scoop on getting your work published.  How can you put a price on experience, knowledge, and connections?  You can't, so bid high!

The remaining silent auction items range in price from $500 - $1500.  You most certainly will find a bargain there!

Ticket prices start at $125 for all this magic!  You can go to to buy tickets or to find out more information about any of the above items.  And remember, you do not need to have a group to attend with, nor do you need a significant other.  It is a very welcoming atmosphere for singles or a couple of girlfriends in a casual daytime setting.  You definitely will not want to miss one of the most fun charity events in Sarasota County! 

Committee member, Elizabeth Rose at last year's Artful Lobster - Yum!

Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick

The gorgeous Hermitage campus

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't miss The Hermitage's Artful Lobster on Nov. 19th!

For some reason my blog did not post today - not sure why.  I will try it again tomorrow - same subject!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kelly Gettel & Co. Launch Party

The gorgeous, smart, and philanthropic Kelly Gettel had herself a little launch party the other night at Michael's Wine Cellar to celebrate the opening of her eponymous residential real estate firm, Kelly Gettel & Co.  With 200 of her nearest and dearest joining her, she kicked off the evening by making a donation of $2500 to Manatee Operation Troop Support - MOTS - which supports men and women from Sarasota and Manatee Counties who are serving in the military in the Middle East by sending them packages of goodies and supplies each month.
Kristine Saldivar, Anne Weintraub, Kelly Gettel, and Gary Edelin 
Before starting her firm, Kelly had worked for many year's at her family's Auction World USA, which is a real estate auction company.  She also started the company's property management division.  She is continuing her role there as president and operating broker.

Among the evenings attendees were other glamorous fashionistas such as Amiee Cogan, Molly Klauber, Deborah Blue, and Rochelle Currey Nigri.

Good luck, Miss Kelly.....You are off to a fabulous start!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sarasota Opera's Curtain Raiser Dinner

I hadn't been to Michael On East Wine Cellar for an event since they did the redo.  I really liked the atmosphere inside.  It was very cozy and romantic.  Lots of candlelight.  I wasn't crazy about having the cocktail hour out on the sidewalk with a view of the parking lot, though.  MOE really needs to develop something a little nicer.  Even though they have tried to make the sidewalk area a tad appealing, it just feels weird to be all dressed up with people traipsing through the crowd on their way to the drugstore and the supermarket and to have cars driving by you just a few feet away. 

Sunday night was the Sarasota Opera Curtain Raiser Dinner at the Cellar, which is a terrific event for all those hard-core opera supporters - not a dilettante amongst them.  It has always been a nice, intimate event that had a family feeling to it.  I even saw some younger folks there, which is always a good thing, as the opera crowd seems to be a bit, ahem, mature.  A couple at my table was even talking about having children at Southside School, that's how young they were!  Also, everyone there is so friendly.  You could attend by yourself and still have a delightful time.  Everyone really did seem so charming and Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Susan Danis, Executive Director were each very welcoming.

I think this was the weekend of Scott Anderson, (but of course, isn't every weekend!), as he was the auctioneer and had just come off his big win the night before at the CANDance.  He told me he had sprained his ankle during all that shimmying, but he was fine.  The live auction always has some "only at the opera" items, such as special backstage seats during a performance so you can see all the inner workings and a "Dinner with the Divas", which is a dinner from all the female leads of this year's winter opera season.

The coup de grace of the evening is always the performance of the opera singers with Maestro Kristen Kemp. This year Youna Jang, Heath Huberg, and Matthew Hanscom all entertained beautifully.  A very pretty night and an enchanting way to end a busy weekend.

Sandra and Per-Erik Lindqvist with Jackie Morton

Denise Mei, Teri Hansen, & Veronica Brady

Julie Milton and Gordon Okawa

Monte Davis

Monday, October 24, 2011

Can we CANDance? Yes we can!

I arrived Saturday night prepared to have fun, and Poodle, I most certainly did!  The Community AIDS Network's major fundraiser, CANDance - Dancing with our Stars, was a hoot from the time I stepped through the doorway.  During the cocktail hour everyone was carrying around their signs, lobbying for their favorite celebrity dancer or signing up for taxi dances (more about that later).  All of the dancers were nervously pacing, preparing for their big moment.  Oh, the electrifying excitement!

I must say, this is one of the most delightful charity parties I have been to in a long time.  I am not usually a fan of the Chelsea Center for events, but it was perfect for this event.  It is an odd-shaped room that intimately wraps around the dance floor and everyone has a good view.

As a take-off of the ABC network show, Dancing with the Stars, CANDance does a great job mimicking the reality show, right down to the mirrored ball hanging from the ceiling.  I have wanted to attend this event for a few years, but somehow never did.  I am now putting it on my Don't Miss list, as have the other 300 in attendance.  This was the 12th year for the event and they have it down pat.  First of all the professional dancers do "taxi dances", taking turns around the dance floor with the mere mortals in the audience.  There were around 20 pros who danced with attendees for $20 a dance through 15 ballroom favorites, such as the tango, the rumba, and the ever-favorite, pasa doble.  One of the pros also performed a special dance with octogenarian and ballroom champ, Gloria Moss, to the tune of Teenage Dream, and by the look on Gloria's beautiful face, she was living her teenage dream.  So that's how she stays so young looking!

Playing Tom Bergeron and Brooke Charvet were The Bobs - Nosal and Trisolini, who were also kind enough to have me at their table.  Hugs and kisses to them.  Stephen Sieg was the producer.

Looking as beautiful as the dancers, were co-chairs Jackie Rogers and Penny Hill.  Jackie in a stunning red dress with a flouncy treatment on the bottom and Penny in blue with discreet sparkles.

Michael Klauber auctioned off a couple of really terrific items - a party cruise on the Golden Eagle for 20, a private dance party for 24 catered by Michael's On East, and this fab one - a wine trip to Spain with Michael and Admiral Travel, which was purchased by Renee Hamad and Flora Major - lucky girls!

Then it was time for the big competition.  Each pair's time in the spotlight started with a short video recording of their practice sessions and then it was dance time!  First in line were HGTV Design Star finalist Jason Champion with pro Molly Demeulenaere.  Jason was dressed as a 50s nerd, but looked cute as could be in jeans with suspenders, white oxford shirt with rolled up sleeves, and black-rimmed glasses.  He looked like a natural dancer and did some professional booty swinging.

Next was Clerk of the Court Karen Rushing with pro Max Lototskyy.  Karen wore a beautiful orange/red costume with feathers and a ruffled bustle.  She performed charming twirls and dips in dramatic fashion. 

Then Gulf Coast Community Foundation's Scott Anderson was up with pro Tayna Vy.  His dance was full of enthusiasm and shimmies.  His bronze silk shirt was the perfect accompaniment to his complexion, exuding warmth and sexiness.  In his video, he mentioned that his butt had never been so hard.  Well, that's a little TMI, Scott!

Slinky Rita Greenbaum followed with pro Sid Procius, who was seemingly the Derek Hough of the evening.  Rita looked like quite the sex-kitten in her red dress and in some of her very advanced moves, such as riding on Sid's back, ahem, among other things.  The song they danced to was All That Jazz from Chicago - enough said about sexy.

Restaurateur Mark Caragiulo danced with pro Elizabeth Cartier, and though he didn't do much dancing, he did do a stunning cartwheel, but mostly used a chair as a prop.  His video actually had him doing a few dance moves for Baryshnikov - very cute.

Finally Dr. Allison Silver and pro Jim Helmich took the floor and I thought she was quite spectacular in her light blue full fringe dress, shaking with every move.  Though she tried to smile, she had an intense look on her face and was giving it her all, along with some great Jagger rooster moves. 

 The most boring part of the evening - when a professional couple from Clearwater took the floor to dance.  They were fine, but at this event, we want to see our local celebrities!

Seen in the crowd - Emily Walsh Parry, Myrna and David Band, Margaret Wise, Mary Ann Robinson, Kyla Weiner, Julie and Brock Leach, Denise and Roberto Mei, Flora Major, Renee Hamad, Victoria and Harry Leopold, John and Janet Hunter, Hillary Steele, Lee and Ira Barsky, Terri Klauber, Carolyn Michel, Bob Plunket, Dennis Stover, Phil King, Veronica Brady, Dr. Karen Hamad, Sally Schule, Susan Jones, Nate Benderson, and Community AIDS Network CEO, Michael Cuffage.

And now to the winners....The overall winner was Rita Greenbaum who took home the trophy and the fundraising winner was Scott Anderson, who took home a painting by Debbie Dannheiser.  You could buy votes for $10 a vote.

The goal for this year was to beat last year's profit of $94,000.  And guess what?  Not only did they beat last year, but Scott Anderson raised more than ALL of last year with his votes alone!!!  Now he is definitely someone you want on your team!  You are the best, Scott!

Put this one on your calendar for next year!

Dottie and Bob Garner

Terri Klauber, Veronica Brady, Michael Klauber

Flora Major and Renee Hamad

Jim and Charlie Ann Syprett

The Centerpiece

Richard Carpenter and Shannon Ruedlinger

Dr. Karen Hamad and Scott Anderson

Phil King and Dennis Stover

Bob Trisolini and Bob Nosal

Jackie Rogers

Susan Jones and Sally Schule

Hillary Steele

Penny Hill and Dr. Lawrence Wild

SCENE photographer Cliff Roles

Jason Champion and Molly D.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All the Pink Girls - Key to the Cure

Saks Fifth Avenue was a sea of pink last night at Sarasota Memorial Heathcare Foundation's Key to the Cure party.  The store was so full of the 650 men and women, that even though I was there for a couple of hours, I still didn't see everyone.  In fact, when I arrived, there was a line extending out the door with people just waiting to get in.  The committee must have been thrilled!  The parking was quite a pain, though for a nice touch, they did have golf carts picking up people from the outer Mongolia areas and taking them to the door.  I appreciated that feature when I was trying to get back to my car in the dark.

There were food stations galore (Flemings, Libby's, Mattisons, Michael's On East, Roy's, Cosimo's, etc.), though I did not have one bite, which is usual for me.  I cannot stand to be walking around talking to people worrying about if there is food in my teeth or not, so I solve that by never eating at these things. 

Even though it was so terrific to have such a large attendance, it was difficult to hear and to move around.  I couldn't see the runway program to save my soul, so I left before the winners of the Breast in Show (love, love, love the name!) were announced.  If you know who won, feel free to list the winners in the comment section.  Some who were finalists in the many categories were Kim Hull, Sue Lee, Paula Lambert, Pure Barre, Massimiliano and Rochelle Nigri, James and Alene Fowler, Suzy Kalin, Deb Knowles, Miqui Lora, Susan Jones, Darla O'Brien, Allison Lerario and the Sarasota Ballet. 

This is definitely an event you want to attend if you want to see a good mix of people.  There were many people there whom I had never seen before.  I think with the low ticket price, it encourages a wide variety of people to attend.  There were lots of silent auction items, though I could never get close enough to even see them, let alone bid.  SMH Fdn. staff Lisa Intagliata and Kaye Chase did a fab job of putting it altogether, along with the chairs, Sally Schule, Kyla Weiner and Susan Jones.  Susan's sparkly pink make-up was just a gorgeous sparkle fest!

I was talking with Alex Quarles, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's CEO, and noticed she had a glittery pink breast cancer awareness ribbon "tattoo" on her neck, Leslie Loftus and I had to assure her it did not look like a hickey from the make-out sessions of our youth.  A question - do kids still give hickeys?  Ewww....By the way, the tattoo looked very pretty on Alex.

Lots of familiar faces in the crowd.  In addition to those pictured below - Marsha Panuce, Albert Joerger (wife Pauline was at a spa on the other coast), Bea Elden, Julie Milton, Jane Kiebitz - just back from England, Gina Clamage, Kathryn Carr, Sarasota Memorial Hospital CEO Gwen MacKenzie, Dr. Paul Brennan, Dr. Heidi Anderson, newlywed Beth Cannata-Keefe, Ron and Pat Pantello, Chip Gaylor, Jody Fountain, Vanessa Opstal, Andrea Hillebrand, Monica Barth, Alisa Pettigell, Ann Moore, Bob Plunket, Susie Bowie, Jocie Stevens, Dick Donegan, Joy Naylor, Mia McCormick, Susan Kenyon, Bev and Dr. James Marsh, Elle and Dr, Bill McComb, Barbara Banks, Charlie Ann Syprett, Betty Intagliata - proud mom of Lisa, Jan Chester, Terri and Michael Klauber, Veronica Brady, Donna Barcomb, Helen Sosso, Penny Hill and Ann Logan.

Sally Schule - Saks GM, Michael Scott, Denise Ames

Sheryl Vieira and Selena Wilhoit

Angie Stringer, Alica Chalmers, Jamie Becker

Leslie Loftus and Alex Quarles - SMH Fdn. CEO

Alfred and Adela Rose

Deborah Blue and George Adley

Rob Kohnen and Dr. Sheri Weinstein

James Scardelli, Pam Daniel, George Augustin, Connie Scardelli

Stephania Feltz and Lynn Currin

Scott Anderson, Stephanie Hannum

Suzette Jones and Richard Dorfman

Michelle Butler and Denise Mei

Margarete van Antwerpen and Susan Brennan

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Diana Vreeland - Visionary and Icon

I have always adored Diana Vreeland.  For those of you uninitiated in the magical fabulosity that is Diana, she was the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar (1936-1962), the editor-in-chief of Vogue (1962-1971), and really made the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1989) what it is today.  Now Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Diana's granddaughter-in-law, has compiled a new book chronicling her 50 years of fashion, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.

It is more of a picture book, than anything, though the pictures show you the genius of Mrs. Vreeland, and also, as the inside of the book jacket says, "shows fashion as it was being invented, through the pages of magazines that shaped American taste with their superb fashion editing, photography, and art direction."

In the opening pages, Lisa says, "Her career spanned five decades and bore witness to major social upheavals and changes: the crash, WW II, and the sexual revolution.  She made sure these phenomena were reflected heavily in the pages of Bazaar and Vogue - in pieces that were considered shocking at times, but always innovative, vibrant, and unforgettable."

Mrs. Vreeland in her office at Vogue.

I have enjoyed all of the books I have read either by or about Mrs. Vreeland, including two she wrote, Allure and her autobiography, D.V., along with the biography, Diana Vreeland by Eleanor Dwight, which told much more about her life, but this book is so visually stunning, I was quite enraptured reading it and most of all, learning and continuing to train my eye.  Its large-scale size is perfect to present her stunning originality of thought and grasp of the new and exotic. 

What I love most about her though, is she is not afraid.  Not afraid to be different in her looks, in her ideas, in her decorating, and in her words.  As a true original and an icon, she inspires me to be more of my true self and more confident in my vision for myself and my world.

I see Mrs. Vreeland as having a very aesthetic brain, as I feel I do.  When I was given one of those personality tests that are so popular with companies and non-profit boards, I thought I truly knew myself, but at the age of 50, I realized something new.  I must give a shout-out to Mary Beth Bos, who gave me the test, for helping me discover something very life-changing about how I approached things.  After completing the test, Mary Beth asked me which of the several things listed did I think drove my actions.  After looking at them, I selected power and money.  She informed me that those things were definitely NOT what drove me, aesthetics were what made me tick and I realized she was right.  I never really did enjoy money or power just for the sake of money and power, but for the beautiful things they could buy and the interesting projects that were offered to me.  I see Mrs. Vreeland as the same type of person, only she intuitively knew that about herself early on and embraced it enthusiastically.  I am just starting down that path.

There are many jolts of red throughout the book.  Red, red, red is the color of her much photographed apartment.  I have seen the pictures many times and each time I see something new and different in what she referred to as her "Garden in Hell".  Mrs. Vreeland says about red, "Red is the great clarifier - bright, cleansing, and revealing.  It makes all colors beautiful.  I can't imagine becoming bored with red - it would be like becoming bored with the person you love."  Anyone who knows me, knows I also love red.  I think I have about seven or eight red St. John suits, a red Louis Vuitton handbag that I carry often, and most of the time, bright red finger nails and lips.  Red is divine.

Mrs. Vreeland's "Garden in Hell" living room designed by Billy Baldwin

Even though I loved, loved, the magazine years of the book, what truly mezmerized me was the section regarding her years at The Met.  Prior to Mrs. Vreeland's arrival, exhibitions were styled for historical accuracy.  That all changed when Diana walked through the hallowed halls.  She added drama.  Props were brought in, music was piped in, and perfume was sprayed through the galleries.  An experience was created.

Mrs. Vreeland at her Man and the Horse exhibition

I strongly urge anyone interested in educating their eye and expanding their taste level to buy this book, study it assiduously, and revel in all things Vreeland.