Common Threads recently launched a new cookbook entitled Eat the World: Good-For-You Food for Families. I was fortunate to co-host this event along with the Omni Hotel who graciously underwrote the party. Chef Daven Wardynski, who will be participating in Chef Art Smith’s World Festival this year, prepared delicious hors d’oeuvres for almost 200 guests along with the “Small Threads” who also prepared some of the recipes from their new cookbook. The cookbook is full of simplified versions of the healthy, ethnically diverse recipes the students cook together in class. Along with the cookbooks, which were for sale for $20 each, we also sold darling Common Threads aprons. The Small Threads – Stephanie Sarabia, Starla Journet, Isaiah Spears, Jai Caldwell and Sakiya Campbell – signed the books for the guests and posed for photos. You can see from the pics that EVERYONE had a great time! The Omni Hotel is gorgeous and perfectly situated at 676 N. Michigan Ave. (The entrance is on Huron between Michigan and Rush.) The views from the 676 Restaurant on the fourth floor are breathtaking with the twinkling lights of the avenue in full view. The room was decorated beautifully for the party with a gorgeous fountain in front of the massive bank of windows. I was introduced to Chef Daven by man-about-town Patrick Plante and it is thanks to him that this wonderful party became a reality. If you’re not familiar with Chef Art Smith’s charity Common Threads, its philosophy is a noble one: “We are Common Threads. We teach low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals because we believe that through our hands-on cooking classes we can help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, while celebrating our cultural differences and the things people all over the world have in common.” Supportive guests included Ann and Kevin Dwyer, CT co-founder Jesus Salguiero, Laura Wallace, Martha and Tom Wallace, Sherren Leigh, Cindy Burns, Hedwig and Bob Golant, Barbara Samuels, Daniel Kinkade, Charlie Kam, Sheryl Dyer, Rhonda Sanderson, Ken Norgan, Helen Melchior, John Regas, Amanda Puck, Terrence Chappell, Paul Iacono, Nashaub Ahmed, Jim Cobb, Mailaka Otedela, Chef Jason McLeod, Bridget Quinlin, Ben Soldinger, Lucinda Hahn, Ed Howlett, Executive Director Linda Novick O’Keefe, Lori and Don Shroud, Andrew Mann, David Chihuahua, Attila Gyulai, Ernest Ward, Scott Bobek, Patrick Plante, Kim Kline, Kelly Rainey, Hunter Manzo, George Jewell, Sue Leonis, Kip Rodrigue, Shelley Howard, Carey Knowles, Andrea Schwartz, Peggy Lanigan, Terri Hickey, Veanca Campbell, Kelsey O’Neill, Erica Stimac, Chris Sofka, Donald Morris, Chris Free, Renisha Campbell, Karen Peters, Eileen Weinberg, Sherrill Bodine and Bonnie Rickard among many others. For more info on this worthy organization or to purchase a cookbook, please visit CommonThreads.org. (Thanks to Caitlin Saville for the fab pics...click here for more!)
Last week, we hosted a Playboy photo shoot in our home. It was very exciting and brought back fond memories of my years with both the clubs and the magazine. Pat Tomlinson, a makeup artist and stylist, has been with Playboy for 34 years and I hadn’t seen her in a long time. Jeff Cohen, a long-time art director and friend was also there so it was like Old Home Week. The model Jenna, a Pittsburgh native, had flown in that morning for a seven-hour shoot and video taping. The shoot was for three of Playboy’s special editions magazines, “Book of Lingerie,” “Hot Housewives” and “Vixens.” It was so funny to see Chuck trying to act like this was an everyday occurrence! Even my stepson, Charley, happened to “drop by.” There were two photographers (including staff photographer George Georgiou), two assistants, a makeup artist/stylist and Maria Hagen, another stylist, who initially contacted me. I had recently met Maria at a party and she had seen our home featured in some magazines and since she knew I was a Playmate, it was a natural fit. They loaded in so much equipment and lighting that you couldn’t find anywhere to walk. After a brief makeup touch-up (though her skin was flawless), Jenna and the photogs were off to find locations to shoot. The first setup was in the den. When Jenna posed naked in my husband’s favorite chair, our cozy sanctuary was transformed into “Playboy After Dark.” Jenna couldn’t have been sweeter….She came to this point by winning a Playboy sponsored golf tournament called “The Girls of Golf.” The participants voted on the most charming and attractive model and Jenna won. So now here she is in our kitchen trying on the teensiest, weensiest wardrobe you’ve ever seen. Her figure is flawless and measures 34D-25-35. During her taped interview hosted by another gorgeous model, Chernise (who had recently tested for Playmate), she said she never exercised. Sigh! Anyway, one of the secrets Pat shared with me was the lotion used to make the model’s skin come alive—it’s Nivea’s Silky Shimmer Lotion. Take note girlfriends! By the end of the shoot, Chuck had slipped into his velvet smoking jacket…when he goes for the pipe, I don’t know what I’ll do!! View more photos from this fun day here!
The Showplace Icon Theatre opening at 150 W. Roosevelt (Clark and Roosevelt Roads) was loaded with familiar faces. Since Jerry Kleiner and Judy Neidermaier had collaborated on this redo, it was no surprise that the place was packed. It is a very unique concept: a club within a theatre. You can mingle, eat and drink and then see a movie in the luxury of huge over-sized loungers. You can even drink adult beverages while watching the movie which is exactly what we did on opening night. They offered a 16 minute sneak peak of the blockbuster “Avatar” in 3D and it was quite a treat. (We’ve since seen the film and it is nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Make no doubt about it, director James Cameron is a genius. The imaginative world he created is something you’ll never forget.) Jerry was in his element and seemed very pleased with his latest venture. Seen on the scene were Victor Skrebneski, Shelley Howard, Carey Knowles, Lori and Don Shroud, Alan Sax, Ira Epstein, Trevian Kutti, Richard Foreside, Ben Soldinger, Lucinda Hahn, Ed Howlett, Rhonda Sanderson, John Regas, Jocelyn Stoller, Helen Melchior, Tim Egan and Jon and Andrew Landan among many others. Congrats on another winner, Jerry! We love 33 Club too as you know! Do you ever sleep? :) Many more images can be viewed here!
The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker dinner was held recently at the Palmer House. Co-chairs Astra Gamsjaeger and Kerrie Kennedy Mudd outdid themselves and took the event back to its roots. There was a matinee before the dinner and then an evening performance after so guests could take their pick of the experience they wanted. The dinner was held in my favorite room, the Red Lacquer Room. The massive chandeliers, dripping in clear and red crystals, make this room a perfect choice for the holidays. The co-chairs welcomed the crowd and then the Children’s Ballet Master, Carla Graham-White, was acknowledged for her outstanding support of the little dancers who participate every year in the production. After the meal, there was a “Kingdom of Sweets” set up in the Ballroom. It was a sight to behold and many of the magical visuals were created by Jonathan Ryan. The little kiddies’ eyes almost bugged out of their heads when they saw the marzipan snowmen, the life-size rocking horse and the princess and the snow king who were on hand for photos. It was such a fun event and everyone seemed to have had a wonderful time. Guests included MK Pritzker with her darling daughter, Ann and Ron Waters, Christina Gilberti, Carol Stone, Kathy Smith and her son Austin, Claudine Shramko, Edward Wagoner, Kelly Dettman, Ellen Distelheim, Jessica Steffenson, Judith Pierpont, Lauren and Marina Tatar, William Holitik, WB President Christine Ott and her son Liam and Executive Director Christopher Conway among others. Watch for the upcoming production of “Cinderella” beginning on February 17th! Victor Skrebneski shot this image of dancer Megan Quiroz who will be playing Cinderella for the invite. As you can tell, this WON’T be your grandmother’s “Cinderella”! Click here for more images!
Kristina McGrath and her beautiful twin sister, Korinna Isselhardt, hosted their annual Christmas Party at Kristina’s gorgeous home! There was beautiful décor everywhere you looked and immediately upon entering, you were offered your choice of a Korinna or Kristina custom martini. It was girl’s night out and everyone had a blast—there was no way you couldn’t at a party hosted by these twin dynamos! Lucky and happy guests included Jan Flanagan, Toni Canada, Heather Farley, Nina Mariano, Maria Nasharr, Gayle Anthony, Julie Lampert with her darling mom and grandmom, Melissa Kann, Cathy Hofman, Kelli Christenson, Jacqui Woolbridge, Sheryl Dyer, Ava Vorwaller, Patty Nalepa, Ann Caron, Bobbi Jo Rittman, Lisa Allegra, Kristine Oakley, Trevian Kutti, Suzie Glickman and Melissa Gamble among many more. Here are some more photos!
That’s all for this week! We are in L.A. now and will be spending New Year’s Eve with Hef at the Mansion. I can’t wait to see all of my old friends again! I hope Santa was good to ALL of you and I hope you all have a very Happy New Year’s!
P.S. Huge congrats to Pat Pulido Sanchez for her feature in Latino Leaders Magazine! As president and CEO of Pulido Sanchez Communications, she has been instrumental in showcasing and promoting leadership in the Latino community in America. Keep up the great work Pat!