Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JFCS Magical Moments Gala

Creating "magical moments" was all important for this year's JFCS (Jewish Family and Children's Service) gala, as that was their theme, and they came through with flying colors!

Always a very elegant affair, this year did not disappoint in the glamour department.  The tables in the Ritz Carlton ballroom had beautiful soft turquoise cloths with beaded appliques that looked like delicate fireworks, especially when the light were dimmed and the candlelight glistened on them, making it look like they were dancing.  Yes, I was quite enamored with it! The centerpieces were "Boxes of Hope" that contained gifts to help 55 families have brighter holidays.  Each box could be "sponsored" and raised more than $13,000 with that donation alone.  It was indeed a sold out event with 550 attendees.

I love it when the event chairs really get into the theme and boy, I have to commend Margie Barancik and Clare Segall for following through in style!  Both looked marvelous in top hats and tails, which very few women could pull off, but they most certainly did!  They are both stunners anyway, tall, slim, and both with those gorgeous heads of silver white hair.  They were the perfect "magicians" of the evening!

Okay, so what else went on while everyone was looking so beautiful?  First of all there was a "flash mob" dance by members of  Leymis Bolanos Wilmott's Fuzion Dance Artists, along with a few New College students thrown in for good measure.  All were dressed as waiters and they were quite energetic bounding around the room with serving trays!

Then of course, the highlight of the evening was a performance by the Sarasota Orchestra under the direction of Dirk Meyer.  The orchestra followed the "magical" part of the theme by starting off with Harry's Wondrous World from the Harry Potter movie.  Eight additional songs followed and included soloists Gary Mauer and that darling Maria Wirries.  Both were quite fabulous.  As always, the orchestra's performance was underwritten by the ever generous Bea Friedman.  Gotta love Miss Bea!

JFCS President/CEO, Rose Chapman and board chair, Rich Segall announced a $50,000 gift made by Betty Schoenbaum to establish "Betty's Feed the Hungry Children" initiative to ensure that no child served by JFCS would go hungry.  Gotta love Miss Betty!

The Ritz Carlton did an excellent job with food and service.  A special shout out to my friends there Kathe Nasby and James Harries.  A lovely beet salad, beef short ribs, and chocolate mousse were served.  As an interesting aside, the Ritz performed what I am calling a "kitchen parade", which I have never seen done before!  The entire kitchen staff was literally paraded out in front of the guests from the head chef right down to the dishwashers.  It was quite the parade.  There are a lot of people working in that kitchen!

Truly a magical evening in Sarasota!
Others attending and not photographed below were Ilene Friedman and Greg Gregory, Alice Berkowitz, Anne Folsom Smith, Gary and Nina Gitomer, Billy Robinson, Caroline Zucker, Veronica Brady, Jocelyn Stevens, John Simon, Mary Anne Servian, Norma Cohen, Sue Jacobson, Roxie and Mike Jerde, Gerri Aaron and Marv Albert, Barbara Brizdle and Larry Schoenberg, Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy, Sheila and Jules Rose, Sharon and Herman Frankel, Kathy Killion and Steve Miles, Sydney and Jerome Goldstein, Dottie and Bob Garner, Margot and Warren Coville, Lois and Bill Cohodas, Myrna and David Band, Flori Roberts, Carol and Mort Siegler, Ina Schnell, Molly Schechter and Harold Ronson, Alfred Rose, Barbara and Charles Miller, Judy Zuckerberg and Geoge Kole, and the list goes on practically forever!

Rich Segall and Rose Chapman

Margie Barancik and Clare Segall
(this photo only by Cliff Roles)

Steve Stein with Margaret and Matt Callihan
(Side story - Steve told me he CANNOT take a photo with his eyes open.  He said for his LBK Club membership they tried 15 times to to take his photo and every time he had his eyes closed, so I tried twice and just went with this one. I should have asked Margaret and Matt to close their eyes, too, so they would all look the same!)

Lee Peterson, Jim Helmich, and Gloria Moss

Tom Shapiro, Mike and Sherry Edwards, with Ron Milton

Richard Dorfman, Suzette Jones, and Brent Greeno

Bishop Frank Dewane with Jewel and Mike Ash

Nikki and Rev. Jim Nilon

Dr. Arthur and Lynn Guilford

Judy Cahn and Tana Sandefur

Vivian Kouvant and Marie Monsky

Lois Stulberg, Hillary Steele, and Sally Yanowitz

Julie and Phil Delaney

Scott Anderson with Wendy Feinstein

Phil King with Sally and Sam Shapiro

Gary Heard with Brenda and David Mariman

Brian Lipton and Joseph Gianguzzo

Betty Schoenbaum and Diana Lager

Gayle Guynup and Melissa Lerner

Steve Wilberding and Teri Hansen

Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri

Maria Wirries

The table - the tablecloth was truly turquoise, not the green it appears here.

The salad - the beets are hiding under the lettuce.

The dessert

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Melba and Cucho's Great Gatsby Party

I believe I am going to give Melba and Cucho Jimenez the title of best party givers ever!  It is always an experience to attend one of their parties at their beautiful home.  This year's theme was The Great Gatsby and most everyone dressed in costume but me!  All the ladies looked so charming in the flapper costumes and a few of the men also dressed 20s style, though most were in black tie.

A stunning antique Rolls Royce was parked at the entrance giving lots of atmosphere to the event.  The house sits back a bit from the street, so you walk a bit down the drive to the house.  It gives a sense of the magic that awaits you when you arrive.

There is a large, expansive, bricked motor court area at the front of the house that is always set up with lots of round tables, a big bar, and an area for light bites.  Melba and Cucho make the majority of food themselves.  I think they must work a week to get all the food prepared!  The games, dancing, and entertainment always takes place in this area.

I believe the Jimenez house was built as a party house.  They are just that kind of folks.  The living room has a big bar and the it all opens up to a real cook's kitchen with a big island that has a place built right in to serve shrimp on ice, always a favorite!

The dining room is set up as a buffet that has a constant stream of hungry revelers around it.  I especially enjoyed the broccoli salad and my husband enjoyed the spinach strawberry salad, along with all the other goodies.  To top off the evening, Melba served her famous bread pudding.  I can most certainly vouch for its extreme tastiness!

After dining, all gathered round to play a quick game of Balderdash, a classic bluffing game where you try to guess which facts are true and which are made up.  We kind of hung out in the periphery, as my husband is battling a bad case of plantar fasciitis and my toes were hurting from wearing new shoes, so I was just sitting there having my husband rub my feet.  Speaking of shoes, Miss Melba is the shoe queen, with an entire separate closet for just her shoes.  It is a sight to behold.  She did not disappoint on this night either with gorgeous, blingy stillettos.

Dancing took over after the game and the party lasted until after midnight.  Time for all good little boys and girls to go home.  As far as the bad little boys and girls went - they stayed a did a few Gangnum style dances under the moonlight!

Melba and Cucho Jimenez greeting guests

Melba and Cucho's son, Sebastian, a dapper young man!

Me and my husband, Jan

Tony and Joan Liga with Tom Shapiro 

Larry and Carol Bold

Christine Winsler and Barbie Nielsen

Patti and Bill Haarz

Art and Terri Kowalski with Holley Schroeder

Julie Johnson, Melba Jimenez, and Dina Malloch

Tony and Dee Dee Rice

Jennie and Don Buehner with James and Rose Robertson

Judi Gallagher and Marsha Fottler

James and Kim Cornetet with Barbara and Mark

Laura Shukovsky and me

The entrance of the Jimenez home with Cucho's collection of lanterns

Lots of tables set up outside for dining

The Christmas tree in the foyer

The buffet table in the dining room

A Christmas display

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Coffee at Gloria's 2012

I always enjoy a morning at Gloria Koach's Christmas Coffee each holiday season.  It is a marvelous opportunity to see old Junior League friends and get caught up on the latest gossip and hear about everyone's families.  Gloria's home always looks so festive and she is a wonderful hostess!  

Gloria Koach, Donna Barcomb, and Pam Beitlich

Emilie Kimbrough, Liz Lindsay, and Melissa Dunlap

Megan Natherson and Valerie Dorr

Leslie Jeffrey and Carla Plush Smith

Anne Garlington, Chris Atkins, and Laura Rees

Kim Binkley Seyer and Gloria Koach

Gloria's welcoming front door

The stockings hung by the chimney with care...

The "spread"...notice the rocking horse as the centerpiece!