I was so honored when almost 200 friends showed up to celebrate. Crack PR whiz Lynne Bredfeldt approached me on Dismero’s behalf and planned a party that rocked America at
It was my first time attending the “Lunchtime Lecture in the Lounge” at the Arts Club of Chicago but it sure was timely. Thanks to my hostess, Leslie Hindman, I enjoyed an incredible reading of one of my favorite books, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas narrated by Michael Halberstam. Michael is co-founder and artistic director of Writers’ Theatre, where he has directed and acted in numerous productions over the past 17 years. He has read this delightful story at the Arts Club for the past five years and it has become an endearing tradition for many people who attended. His Welsh accent made the story come to life and it should be on everyone’s must-read list. The invite read that “this story was a return to the Welsh landscape and a celebration of domestic life and dreams of ordinary people” but it makes us all appreciate the basic things in life and it’s a perfect story for our troubled times. Among the lucky guests were Ina Pinckney, Ellen O’Connor, Bernice Pink, MK Pritzker, Shawn Donnelly, Deborah Chapman (who reported that the PAWS 36-hour Adopt-a-thon saved the lives of more than 131 pets), Maria Pappas, MK Pritzker and many others. TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE! Photo: Michael Halberstam and Leslie Hindman.
I was invited to be a guest on the Geoff Pinkus "Livin' Large" WIND radio show recently and I tell you, these guys have so much fun on the air that you wish you were there too! At least you can listen in and be a part of this wonderful and energetic show at 560 WIND. Geoff has the gorgeous Amy Jacobson as his co-host along with Frank Mahoney and my friend from the International House of Wine & Cheese, Tom Jiaras. This week, Tom brought along his new catering director, Chef John Schnupp, and all sorts of wine, cheese and desserts for an on-air party! It was wild and fun. Geoff is the perfect host: funny yet irreverent but with a very kind heart that makes everyone feel comfortable. Starting Monday, January 5th at midnight, Geoff will host a new show called "Chicago Overnight." Don't miss him…I know it will be a big hit! I will be calling in from time to time reporting on what's happenin' in the ‘hood. J FYI, I used Chef Schnupp to cater a recent holiday get together and the food was incredible! We served retro appetizers from the '50s like cheeseballs, pigs in a blanket, bacon-wrapped chestnuts and more. Then on the front page of the food section in the Tribune this week, the headline read “Say Cheeseball….Retro Party Food is Ripe for Comeback!” Who knew? J Photo: Geoff Pinkus, Amy Jacobson, Frank Mahoney, Tom Jiaras and Chef John Schnupp.
A big congratulations to Ann Dwyer, the president of Residential Homes of America, on her successful benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Ann was the honorary chair and this charity is her passion. It was called “Dream a Little Dream” and it was held at the Rosemon Convention Center. She had over 900 guests attend and they raised over $95,000. The daily operating cost for the high-quality care and research at St. Jude’s is nearly $1.4 million. This is possible only through donations and wonderful events like “Dream a Little Dream.” Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams, Antonio Banderas and Jason Taylor are all spokesmen. Photo: Ann Dwyer with her son John Dwyer.
It was an eventful night out for the Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas Show at the Chicago Theatre last week. I went with Christine Ott, Chris Long, Helen Melchior, Ann Waters, Sandy Deromedi and Melinda Jakovich and after the performance, a friendly elf (hello CCC!) got us all backstage to meet Harry. What a charmer he was! Photos from top right: Christine Ott with Harry Connick, Jr.; Girls Night Out at the Chicago Theatre!
On Friday, December 12th, I volunteered to participate in Common Threads’ annual Etiquette Class at the Hotel Monaco. Fifty-four students from four schools attended the class taught by Simi Ranajee. She was so knowledgeable and entertaining that every person there benefited from it. All of the children walked away with information to share with their families and friends. Common Threads has created so many ways to help children better themselves. I’m grateful to be a part of it. (BTW, Simi is writing an etiquette book for children and I saw the proof for it. I will let you know the details when it’s finished but I’m sure it will be a bestseller!) Photo: Common Threads Etiquette Class attendees.
We attended a very elegant holiday party on Friday, December 5th, at the home of Deb and John Gross. Their décor was so holiday perfect that Martha Stewart would've been envious! Everything was made from scratch with love by Deb; she had so many specialties I don't know where to begin! How about chanterelle mushroom and French lentil soup with foie gras for starters? There was also chestnut agnolotti with fontina and shaved truffles, broiled sake marinated Chilean sea bass, crown pork roast with apple stuffing and too many more delicacies too mention. Chef Martial Noguier from Café des Architects was a guest and I bet he was taking notes under the table! It was an elegant and festive evening in their gorgeous art-filled home. Did I mention everyone wore black tie and incredible Venetian-inspired masks? Tres elegante! Photos from top right: Deb and John Gross; Chef Martial Noguier and Laurence Noguier; Laurence Noguier; Jack and Leslie Kavanaugh; Jan and Cindy Melk.
On Tuesday, December 2nd, Karyn Calabrese, Paula Fasseas, Suzie Glickman and Brenda Sexton hosted a “Spirit of the Holidays Dinner” at Karyn’s Raw restaurant at 1901 N. Halsted. About 50 friends toasted Karyn and enjoyed raw yet yummy food offerings. The food is completely free of meat, dairy, eggs, preservatives, additives and refined sugar. We all agreed if we could look like Karyn looks at 60, we might try it! She also has a wonderful spa atop the restaurant. (Karyn’s, 1901 N. Halsted, (312) 255-1590). Photo: Karyn Calabrese.
The opening night for the Joffrey’s Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre was just what the Washington Post said it was: “the perfect ballet.” From start to finish, the production visuals and the dancers were in their most perfect form. Please don’t miss this holiday classic—all of the papers in town are raving about it so you should see it before it leaves on December 28th! Photos from top left: Sugar Plum Fairy Victoria Jaiani and Nutcracker Prince Fabrice Calmels; a scene from the Nutcracker.
Well, this is my last blog before Christmas and I wish you and all of your loved ones the happiest of holidays. We will be spending New Year's with Hef at the Playboy Mansion in L.A. this year so I will have much to report when I return. This year, his Christmas card is a photo of him with the twins. (BTW, those aren’t little “Hef” tops these girls are wearing. It’s body paint and it’s all the rage at Mansion parties. Hef hires artists to come in and paint the girls before the fun begins ….) He sure doesn’t let any grass grow under his bunny feet! Photos from top right: Hef with the twins; Christmas decorations on the Mansion lawn.
Also, if you're in need of a laugh, check out SNOW DOG for some fun in the snow!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!Love, CandidCandace J