The recently erected life-size bronze statue of one of the zoo’s biggest attractions – the African lion Adelor – greeted more than 900 guests at the entrance of Lincoln Park Zoo for the Women’s Board’s 36th Annual Zoo Ball, this year themed “Wild at Heart”. The evening included a cocktail reception adjacent to the Lion House (where new star attraction, four-year-old lion Sahar, is already gaining popularity), entertainment, dancing to Rendezous and gourmet dining at this year’s fundraiser presented by lead sponsor Guggenheim. It was a perfect summer night in Chicago and the guests were resplendent in their black-tie attire. I especially loved Women’s Board member Kate Covington’s gown designed by Borris Powell: It was a flowing red and white gown inspired by the event’s theme with heart-shaped motifs. Co-chairs Jennifer Caruso, Charlotte Monhart and Vasiliki Weiden were on hand at the East Gate entrance to welcome guests. HMR Designs created a striking decor that featured peacocks and animal prints which provided an elegant backdrop for the zoo’s romantically regal wildlife. Guests marveled at the sight of the lions as they sat, perched within their luscious surroundings, as if welcoming attendees to the picturesque affair. Waiting within the Long Neck Lounge were playfully embellished highboy tables, skilled bartenders juggling cocktail shakers a la Tom Cruise and more than 100 silent auction items. A recorded lion’s roar signaled attendees to be seated in one of two giant tents for a divine three-course dinner. Magnificent tablescape displays featured deep red and plum florals set amidst multiple twinkling candles. For the first course, Calihan Catering treated guests to an avocado and prawn summer ‘wedge’ with marinated heirloom tomatoes and shaved grana padano (a type of Italian cheese), lightly dressed with chervil vinaigrette. Filet of beef atop a fresh herb pesto served as the entrée, paired with mascarpone polenta cake and a medley of grilled vegetables. A video presentation showcased highlights of the zoo and described its importance to the city as the only privately managed free zoo in the country. This was followed by short remarks from Women’s Board president Peggy White and the dynamic co-chairs. I was thrilled to cover this elegant affair for my Watch312.com cameras and am thrilled to announce that my videos will also be appearing online at the Chicago Tribune to accompany my weekly Candid Candace column! (I hope you’re reading/watching every Sunday!) Just before dessert, partygoers were surprised with a top-secret performance by hit disco group KC and the Sunshine Band. The crowd went wild and filled the dance floor as KC, his band and energetic dancers sang their chart topping hits such as “Get Down Tonight”, “Shake Your Booty” and “That’s the Way (I Like It)”. Dancing continued late into the evening, long after the award-winning group played its final number. At the close of the event, attendees received exclusive rolled blankets provided by Guggenheim, along with cool treats from Forever Yogurt and tasty takeaways from More Cupcakes and Garrett Popcorn. Besides Guggenheim Partners, the evening was made possible by the generous support of Silver Sponsors J.N. Pritzker/Tawani Foundation/Pritzker Military Library and Emily & John Alexander. Additional supporters included entertainment sponsor Marcus Lemonis and Beth Levine / Camping World, Paul Stuart, media partner Make it Better Foundation, John Reilly Photography, United Airlines, Graff Diamonds, The Four Seasons Chicago, Lathrop & Gage LLP and Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue. Notable Chicago attendees included Lincoln Park Zoo president and CEO Kevin Bell; Kimbra and Mark Walter; Corporate Chair Biff Bowman; Honorary Chair Barbara Higgins; Rebecca and Charlie Besser; Chairman of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Board of Trustees John Ettelson; Anne Pramaggiore; Cece and Tom Ricketts; Deborah and Bruce Crown; Wendy Krimins and Tina Koegel; Women’s Board member Abby Zanarini and her darling family; Christine Ott and Lynne Nieman; Veronica Zepeda and Bob Loquercio; Cynthia Holbrook and Christopher Beski; Bre Dunsworth and Andrew Hart; Kathleen Carlson; Kathy and Reggie Rush; Christine Zrinsky; and Ken Norgan, Sherren Leigh, Cindy Burns and Jason Posen among many others. Proceeds from the evening – more than $1 million – will support the Women’s Board’s pledge to provide critical support to maintain this community treasure that stands as one of the only free zoos in the nation. Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic landmark founded in 1868, is a leader in conservation science both globally and locally that exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. (For more info, visit www.lpzoo.org.) To see my Chicago Tribune coverage with photos by Taylor Glascock, click here and to see my BRAND NEW video coverage of this elegant, surprise-filled night, please see below!
Carrying peacock-inspired cosmos and groovin’ to one of Chicago’s hottest DJs (Meghan Taylor), attendees of the Illinois Eye-Bank (IEB) Gift of Sight 15th Annual Gala raised an impressive $100,000 at its recent fundraiser at the Peninsula to help
restore sight to the more than 1,100 people IEB serves each year throughout Illinois. Themed “All Eyes on You”, the gala honored Sun-Times Splash! editor Susanna Negovan as the Eye-Bank’s 2013 Woman of Vision and Northwestern
University ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Feder as the 2013 Gift of Sight Honoree. The night’s focus on preserving and restoring vision was underscored by a unique ‘photo booth’ where guests’ eyes were the focus and an expressive collage of
these ‘soul-windows’ was pinned up for all to admire, including a twinkling contribution from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. A poignant four-minute video – “An Eye For an I” – premiered at the gala, highlighting the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation in the lives both of the
grateful transplant recipients and their donor families. Last year’s Woman of Vision honoree Mamie Walton proudly presented Susanna with her award. Dr. Joel Sugar introduced his colleague and friend Dr. Robert Feder and awarded him his honor. The peacock-themed décor was by Tom Kehoe, The Mark Olen Trio performed during the cocktail hour, and the
master of ceremonies for the evening was the incomparable Bill Zwecker. Attendees included past honorees Greg Hyder, Mary Ann Rose and Heinz Kern, Michael Christ, Mamie Walton, Peggy and Steve Lombardo, Bill Zwecker, Dr.
Randy Epstein, and Dr. Joel Sugar. Additional guests included Warren Barr, Vonita Reescer, Maria and Robert Zec, Dr. David Donnersberger and Dr. Claire Kenneally, Eileen Howard-Weinberg and Marshall Weinberg, Sheryl
Dyer, Sherrill Bodine, Nina Mariano, Rochelle Trotter, Justine Fedak, Eleni Bousis, Lana Bramlette, Saira Cooper, Laurie Davis, Anna Davlantes, Jon Harris, Charles Hocevar III, Azeeza Khan,
Whitney and Jerry Lasky, Kristina McGrath, Tom Negovan, Frances Renk, Yolanda (Dusty) and Alex Stemer and Neal Zucker. Congrats Susanna! (To learn more about this worthy organization, visit www.IllinoisEyeBank.org.)
It was such a thrill to shoot the fall fashion feature for the fabulous Sheridan Road Magazine! Even though it was an early call for a night owl like me (8 a.m.), I was SO energized once I got on set! Taylor Reese’s famed hairstylist Charles Lord along with Tom Collins worked their magic on Factor Models Katrina Hoernig, Hilary Anderson and Elena (one name only, thank you). Makeup artists Jake Broullard and Nicole Cap made everyone look so glam and creative lensman David Leslie Anthony had even downloaded the movie and soundtrack that the shoot was inspired by! I must tell you, it wasn’t easy getting to Highwood for this early call but once I arrived, I was awed by the fabulous offices of this much-loved publication. Publisher/founder John Conatser and editorial director Kerrie Kennedy Mudd (along with her glam staff who should all be models themselves) were on hand to oversee details and digital editor Jake Jarvi captured all of the fun on film. They made everyone feel so comfortable and couldn’t have been more supportive of all of the talent. Styled by Michael Favia, wardrobe included oh-so-chic selections from Ikram (15 E. Huron, Chicago) and Neapolitan (715 Elm St., Winnetka). I loved meeting handsome Ford model David Neeser, who was a star in this shoot along with beautiful models Hilary, Katrina and Elena. If you don’t have a subscription to this incredible magazine, you’re missing out on some GREAT visuals and info! Click here for more details and I'll see YOU in the Fall Issue! :)
Caribbean shirts, rum cocktails with umbrellas and hula skirts with ukuleles? Welcome to the Goombay Bash! This highly anticipated fundraiser for cancer research will be held on August 3rd from 5 p.m. to midnight in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. This event, which is expected to attract more than 1,500 guests, will benefit The H Foundation which works on the principal of taking a little money from fundraisers and leveraging that into a lot of money for cancer research through strategic government and private grants. By this strategy, The H Foundation has raised over $4.5 million in the last 12 years to seed over $35 million in grant-supported research towards finding a cure. The Goombay Bash is the signature fundraiser for this non-profit organization and is the largest basic science cancer research charity in Chicago. Special guests expected to attend include Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); George Wendt (actor); Kendall Gill (Comcast SportsNet analyst, former NBA player); Rob Johnson (CBS 2 news anchor); Bill Cartwright (former NBA player); Ashley Bond (Miss Illinois 2009, Luvabull); Ron Kittle (former MLB player); and Desmond Clark, Adrian Peterson and Alex Brown (former and present NFL players). (For tickets and more info, click here.)
More than 95 guests gathered at Bottega Veneta’s Chicago store on July 11th for a private cocktail reception to kick-off the third annual Gallery Weekend Chicago (GWC), which will take place September 19th through 22nd. During this intimate evening, Monique Meloche of Monique Meloche Gallery and GWC introduced its notable host committee for this year which included Sandra and Jack Guthman, Martin Horner, Scott Hunter and Richard Renfro, Gary Metzner and Scott Johnson and Laura Spicer. Other notable guests included Heather Becker, Toni Canada, Tony Karman, Catherine De Orio, and Rhona Hoffman. As guests arrived, they proceeded to the store’s second floor where the Bottega Veneta’s Fall 2013 collection was on display including the famous “knots”. These beautifully crafted clutches are much coveted and come in a variety of colors! (They are definitely on my “Lust List”.) Can’t wait till September for GWC! (For more info, click here!)
I know everyone loves SWIRLZ Cupcakes but I just had to share this darling photo of these wedding cupcakes: For $200, you get 80 mini cupcakes decorated with this beautiful pearlized finish. I thought these were so lovely!
For almost 30 years, I've been looking for someone to repair my Playboy Bunny of the Year trophies. One I won as Chicago’s 1976 Bunny of the Year and the other trophy I won as a finalist in the International Contest that was televised live on ABC. First they both broke off at the base and then arms started falling off. I was miserable until one man stepped up to the plate, the Fence Doctor Fred Gebbia! I knew he was a master iron worker - he has done miracles on our vintage fence out front - but after he returned my trophies (repaired and even better than before except for one lost arm), I just couldn’t believe it. So a special shout-out to my friend and miracle worker, Fred!
Huge congrats to Patrick and Thomas Strehle who recently wed in New York!!! A reception is planned in October for this happy couple! Much happiness forever and always! :)
On August 14th, join the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation at Cafe Brauer for its inaugural Cook-Off for Cancer benefit which will feature upscale versions of ballpark food prepared by notable Chicago chefs and served by Chicago Cubs players! A three-person panel of local celebrities will offer their take on the inspired dishes with guests voting for their fav chefs and dishes by tipping their Cubs server. All tips and proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. This year’s proceeds will benefit Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Bear Hugs Program, Family Reach Foundation and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for lymphoma research. (For tickets - $200 - call Abby at email@example.com.)
On September 13th, please support Garden of Eve 2013, an event benefitting women’s health services at Howard Brown Health Center. Located at the gorgeous River East Art Center overlooking the Chicago River, the evening will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres by George Jewell Catering, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. Early bird tickets ($125) will be available until July 25th here!
What a day to remember for Mieka Blackman-Reese! June 23rd marked the day her high-end online consignment and retail shop made its debut at JellyFish with more than 300 supporters in attendance including Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose. Mieka, who has been one of Chicago’s most sought-after stylists for some time now, was pleased with the attendance of the event and the support she received: Not only did guests come out to support the launch of her brand, they purchased nearly all of the sports clothing she had on hand the night of the event! Rich Girl Candy offers sportswear at very reasonable prices and include jewelry, tees, tri-colored hoodies, jogging suits, boy shorts and more from only $40 to $200. “Fashion is so personal and we try to cater to all women by not only offering designer items as lower price points, but also our branded RGC line,” said Blackman-Reese. Congrats Mieka!
I loved receiving this photo from a fellow Playboy Bunny friend of mine, Cheryl Carioscia. A friend of hers from the old LA Club obtained a group of tickets to attend the Playboy Jazz Fest. Cheryl immediately bought a ticket and the next thing she knew, 22 bunnies were invited to the Mansion the day before the Fest. This is exactly the kind of man Hef is: He never forgets the girls who brought him to the party! #LOVETHIS
The Illinois Restaurant Association invites Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet fans to prep their palates this summer at a special series of Wine & Spirits Dinner events, featuring various themes and participating Chicago Gourmet restaurants. Attendees will enjoy a personal sneak preview of the main event in Millennium Park to be held from September 27th through 29th. Events will be held in top dining spots across the city until the end of August! Check here for tickets and dining info and I hope to see you there!
Factor Models is hosting the Second Annual Chosen Man’s Best Friend & Factor Felines benefiting Anti-Cruelty Society on July 31st from 6 to 8 p.m. at Public Hotel, located at 1301 N. State. The event mixes models, fashion and pet adoption awareness...all for only a $20 ticket!! Armani Exchange will provide chic fashions for the models and raffle prizes include $1,000 cash, a stay at the pet-friendly Public Hotel, dinner at The Pump Room and more! The event will include a two-hour cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, DJ and a video presentation. (Tickets are available at the door and for online tix, please click here!)
Burberry hosted the announcement party recently for the Women’s Board of the Rehabilitation Institute Medicine Ball to be held on September 7th at the Peninsula Chicago. The chairs for the ball are Paula Smith, Miller Shivers Vance and Kristi Brown and the evening will feature dinner, dancing, lavish decor and a live auction. (Dazzling diamond earrings donated by Harry Winston are one of the fabulous auction items!) For tickets and more info, visit www.ric.org.
Have you seen the fabulous Odyssey Cruises $2-million renovation yet!? Well, stay tuned to my “Candid Candace Chicago” show on Watch312.com and I will take you for a cruise! Video coming soon! (For info on Odyssey Cruises, click here!)
Congrats to PAWS Chicago and Governor Pat Quinn: On July 21st, the Guv signed the pet protection bill (the Anti-Tethering Bill HB 83) into law! Congrats and thanks, Governor Quinn – you are a wonderful animal advocate! (Thanks to Howard Tullman for the great pic!)
While cleaning house, I came across this memo from the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago. It was addressed to the butlers letting them know that “A bunny by the name of Candy Collins is transferring here from St. Louis. She is due to arrive Sunday, September 22. She will be going into B Dorm Bed 10. Please have her see me first thing on Monday morning. Lottie Flores” It seems like only yesterday... :)
I’m sure you all know the Squire of Society, my friend Bunky Cushing. He has an encyclopedic knowledge about the social set of today and years gone by and his blog is a must read. Well, I’m beyond grateful for his recent write-up about me and my never-to-be-forgotten Stanley Paul Honor. Take note of his website and make sure you don’t miss a week of his well-written, photo-filled musings about all the places and people to go and know in Chicago and beyond. Much love and thanks, Bunky! Hope you enjoy his wonderful recent essay here! I know I will be forever grateful...
And last but certainly not least, congrats to newlywed lovebirds Jennifer Sutton and her handsome husband Dr. Joaquin Brieva on their recent nuptials! They married at City Hall, danced in the Daley Center and smelled the roses in Lincoln Park’s Garden of Flowers. This is a match made in heaven. “For me, this man has changed my life...made me appreciate life and love in a completely new way. He has given me a reason to be the best wife, daughter, sister and friend I can be every day,” said Jennifer. A fairytale come true. Love and congrats to one of the cutest couples I know.
Hope you’re having a fabulous summer and making lots of memories! Until next time...
P.S. You know how much I love sweet animal videos....well, here’s another one to make you smile!