SERVICE CLUB HOLIDAY LUNCHEON; ST. NICHOLAS BALL; AWESOME CHICAGO HELICOPTER EXPERIENCE; RH CHICAGO HOSTS MICHAEL SMITH; TAMARA MELLON LOVES YWCA CHICAGO; BLACK CAT BALL; YVETTE UNVEILS HER BRIDES; CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST IN HAVANA; MICHAEL JORDAN "KISSES" COMMON THREADS; BILL KURTIS' "DECADES"; POLAR EXPRESS AT UNION STATION; CS MAG LOVES ALEX; BEAR TIE BALL'S "MISSION POSSIBLE"; THE CUTEST HOLIDAY VIDEO EVER AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet presented the “sweetest” event of the holiday season, the Nutcracker Family Dinner, celebrating the final season of Robert Joffrey’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” on December 6. Following a matinee performance of “The Nutcracker”, more than 400 guests arrived on festive
trolleys at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel and were welcomed by Joffrey Women’s Board co-chairs Merritt DeWitt and Sandi Hartstein, Joffrey executive director Greg Cameron, and Joffrey artistic director, Ashley Wheater, as well as the Joffrey’s own ballerinas. This family-friendly event featured endless fun for children
and adults alike including activities such as customized beaded jewelry sponsored by AVP Jewelry and Beads, keepsake and decorated pointe shoes from Allegro Dance Boutique, customized
airbrushed beanies from RNR studios, dazzling nail art from Jamberry Nails, face painting from JusFACEit and other creative crafts and fun from L&A Healing Studio. Guests were invited to keep a memento of the fun evening with photos from Smilebooth Photo Booth. This is always such a wonderful event for kids and adults alike. I love attending and watching the attentive little faces of
the younger kids as they paint, glue and craft. Dinner was served in the elegant ballroom with tables surrounding the dance floor. To keep the sugar plums dancing in everyone’s heads, guests were
served dessert first, as is the custom in the “Land of Sweets”, as well as offered chocolate covered candy from Wrigley, a Subsidiary of Mars Inc., trail mix from Whole Foods Market and a sweet swag bag of treats from Magnolia Bakery. Following dinner, guests showed off their own moves on the
dance floor and joined in fun games and raffle prizes. There's so much to do and such beauty to enjoy during this event. Chuck and I went to a performance where husband/wife team of Temur Suluashvili and Victoria
Jaiani danced the roles of the Snow King and Queen. You could hear a pin drop in the audience at the Auditorium Theatre. I'll miss the magic of this Joffrey production (through December 27) but can't wait to see what choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has
in store for the new "Nutcracker"! (Photos by Dave Joel)
The Service Club of Chicago held their annual Sip and Shop Holiday Luncheon on December 8 at the elegant University Club of Chicago. With over 200 guests in attendance, this event was another sellout for the organization. Co-chairs Genine
Shafer and Jennifer Lane hosted a festive afternoon that included holiday shopping with vendors Lulu’s on the Avenue, Just Class Jewelry, Mary Mary, Jo Malone, Alexis Kertsikoff, Alioto’s Gift shop, Baby Quay, Janey Bags, Diego Rocha, Eli’s Cheesecake,
Hinsdale Furriers, Howard Feldstein Mongolian Furs, Kastel Jewelry, Lee Allison Company, Lisa Kendall Designs, Play, Praha and Shop 1021. (A percentage of sales benefited the SC). Myra Reilly, Service
Club president, welcomed guests and helped raffle off 18 holiday presents. Attendees sipped Champagne and mixed and mingled under the grand tree in the opulent Cathedral Hall where carved woodwork and massive stained glass windows added to the holiday atmosphere. A
delicious lunch consisted of Vidalia onion soup; pesto brushed grilled Canadian salmon and a vanilla crème brule for dessert. Entertainment for the event included holiday caroling by the Chicago Gay Men's Choir, a Gingerbread Man posing for photo opps and a 12 Days of Christmas sing-along. Surprise, generous donations were made to the Service Club by the Drake Hotel's Chef Bruno, Elysia Root and beloved designer
Elda De la Rosa. Attendees brought gift card donations to help the event's charity partner, Gilda's Club of Chicago, with crafting and knitting supplies. Gigi's Playhouse assisted with the centerpieces by hand-painting commemorative mugs to celebrate the 125 years of the Service Club. Congrats to all! (Photos by John Reilly Photography).
The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago hosted the 26th Annual Spirit of St.
Nicholas Ball on December 4 to raise funds for its family and children's programs. Held at the Hilton Chicago, the evening brought together more than 1,250 guests to celebrate the holidays with Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, Monsignor Michael
M. Boland, President of Catholic Charities and co-chairs for the event, Mary Ann and Al Moschner. Guests were greeted by holiday carolers and a cocktail reception followed
by a 4-course dinner and entertainment by the Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra, a world-class 15-piece orchestra combining four singers and eleven professional musicians. The event raised more than $1.2 million including generous sponsorships from Al and Mary Ann Moschner, Arthur J.
Gallagher and Co., Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Beth Filip, Mr. & Mrs. Charles W. Mulaney, Jr., Perry Family Foundation and Mr. & Mrs. James N. Perry, Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Speicher, Wintrust Financial and Mr. & Mrs. Edward J. Wehmer. All proceeds benefit the Catholic Charities children's programs which served more than 128,000 children last year, including its child development centers, after-school programs, and counseling services. (John Reilly Photos)
Tamara Mellon, former chief creative officer and co-founder of Jimmy Choo, and creator of her own self-titled luxury lifestyle brand, hosted an exclusive trunk show featuring her apparel, handbags and shoes
with a portion of sales benefiting YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. The trunk show was held at the Library at PUBLIC Chicago. Prior to the luncheon, the YWCA hosted a private, invitation-only luncheon with a special appearance by Tamara Mellon where she
delighted guests with a Q & A session on topics from her life and from her book, “In My Shoes: A Memoir.” The trunk show was hosted by Chicago notables Carmin Awadzi; Heidy Best; Cindi Carlson; Yolanda Daniel; Kathleen Henson; Janet
Mandell; YWCA Metropolitan Chicago CEO, Dorri McWhorter; Grace Sergio; Dr. Jessica Shepherd and Jennifer Worman. (Alberto Ortega Photos)
Chicago’s leading cat rescue and adoption non-profit hosted its 5th Annual Black Cat Ball. The premier Tree House Humane Society fundraiser drew over 250 of Chicago’s biggest animal lovers and most generous supporters at the
Redmoon Spectacle Hall. “It’s events like this that allow us to continue our life-saving work as a no-kill shelter,” said Tree House Executive Director, David de Funiak. “They’re especially important to raising awareness and funds when over 3 million animals a year are euthanized in the U.S.” Steve Dale, a Tree House Board Member and a nationally syndicated pet journalist, acted as the event’s emcee. Actress Kathy Garver and Chicago's own Paul Lisnek also took the
stage to raise much needed funds for the shelter. Event sponsors included Kendra Scott Jewelry, the Cat Hospital of Chicago, Alan Tom Prescott CPA, Blum Animal Hospital, and Matrix Partners. The Black Cat Ball raised over $95,000 to support Tree House Humane Society’s progressive work that has rehabilitated and re-homed over 20,000 sick, injured, abused, and neglected stray cats and provided more than 30,000 low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for local dogs and cats to-date. (Sprung Photos)
Three Arts Club, in the Gold Coast. The recently opened, first-of-its-kind retail concept provided a dramatic setting for guests to enjoy small bites, bubbly and for Smith to mingle with VIPs, including M.K. Pritzker, interior/architects designers Darcy Bonner,
Scott Himmel, Carol Carani, Victoria Lidstrom, Leslie Jones, gallerist Anne Loucks, stylist Janice Barnes-Davis, Ernst & Young CIO Kym Hubbard, art consultant Kate Ferraro and Clayco Corp. CEO Bob Clark. The Curated House is Smith’s most personal book to date tracing the origins and
influences of his design philosophy in depth and presenting a substantial offering of new projects. This beautifully illustrated monograph showcases what is integral to his style and why, and how his design philosophies work for the readers: from the forms that repeat themselves to
the layering of fabrics and patterns, the use of subtle colors, and the idea of comfort in every room. The internationally renowned, award-winning decorator has been named multiple times
to Architectural Digest’s “The AD 100,” and was named Designer of the Year by Elle Decor. In 2008, the Obamas appointed Smith to redecorate the residential quarters of the White House, which is among the many high profile residential, hospitality and commercial projects for which Smith is known.
Yvette Klobuchar spent her life as a dress designer of spectacular wedding gowns at Mira Couture in the Gold Coast. She can now add author to her resume. Klobuchar just penned a novel, "Brides Unveiled" (fiction/Amazon.com) after hearing so many incredibly romantic wedding stories
in her business -- as well as a few poorly timed break-up tales (that left beautiful, unclaimed wedding gowns hanging in her shop). She decided it was time to realize a longtime dream-- to write a book about everything from bridesmaids to weddings and the crazy
things that happen in a couture bridal gown business. Over 400 guests attended Yvette's book launch party Friday, December 4 at the Intercontinental Chicago, munching on an array of bites from Intercontinental Chicago’s chef and desserts by Urban Icing. Attendees admired spectacular wedding gowns designed by Mira Couture’s new
owner Julie Mersine and showcased by stunning models that rotated throughout the party. Zzazz Productions assisted with the pizzazz, of course! Lifestyle expert Andrea Metcalf and Tracey Tarantino of Zzazz hosted the event and introduced Yvette. She delivered a heartfelt speech about her book and brought her son Alec to the stage to share a special moment.
Husband Lou Klobuchar was Yvette’s knight in shining armor, helping her off the stage and whisking her to the book signing area where the line grew all night long. Guests literally started reading their books in the elevator. Yvette happily embraced the two "most amazing love stories" at the party--her parents Mira and Bogdan Horoszowski, married for 56 years, and close family friend and client Judge Anne Burke, married to Alderman Ed Burke for almost 48 years. (Photos by Ron Gould and Christina Pawlak)
Delegates from Cinema/Chicago's Chicago International Film Festival attended and
participated in the 37th Havana Film Festival (aka The International Festival of the New Latin American Film in Havana), continuing a friendship started in Chicago in 2000. In 2000, in partnership with the State of Illinois, Cinema/Chicago hosted a
delegation from the Cuban film industry and featured a special "Cuban Cinema Today!" program at the 36th Chicago International Film Festival where seven Cuban films were screened. Fifteen years later, Chicago International Film Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza, Programming Director Mimi
Plauché, and members of Cinema/Chicago's Board of Directors traveled to Havana, Cuba for the 37th Havana Film Festival. While at the Havana festival, Kutza, Plauché, and the Board connected with local Cuban artists and directors as well as Chicago Fest alumni filmmakers and
fellow Chicagoans. Between films in Havana, Plauché also met with filmmakers, actors, and producers, strengthening relationships with important Latin American industry leaders and long-time Festival friends. Kutza served on the Feature Film Jury from Dec 3 - 13. During that
time, the Jury saw nearly 50 films, including 27 features and numerous shorts. Award-winning British actress and Charlie Chapin's daughter Geraldine Chaplin, who received a Silver Hugo for Best Actress in Sand Dollars (2014), headed the jury. Chaplin and Kutza were joined by acclaimed French
director Laurent Cantet who received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for The Class (2008); Argentinean director Diego Lerman whose feature film Tan de repente (2002) won multiple awards at the Locarno International Film Festival; and Cuban filmmaker Manuel Pérez (Páginas del diario de Mauricio, 2006).
What better way to celebrate the holidays than with friends!? It was a very festive gathering of pals at Fred's at Barney's recently for our annual get-together. Hosted by Michaela Parrillo, Jan Flanagan and Dede Lubeznik, the room was filled to the brim with holiday cheer. Michaela, as usual, had done a masterful job of decorating, not only our table but the entire restaurant, for the
occasion! She added a massive oversized bow to the restaurant's existing wreath and the hosts had lovely gifts at each place setting for guests. A gift exchange that allowed "stealing" brought laughter and some tears (kinda kidding). Attendees included Korinna Isselhardt, Kristina McGrath, Patty Nalepa, Dusty Stemer, Nina Mariano, Rebecca Besser and me! Ho! Ho! Ho!
Even though we've been on a helicopter before, it was nothing like the exhilarating experience of flying over our beautiful city from the comfort of a luxury EC130 and enjoying the epic views and glorious holiday lights during our Chicago Helicopter Experience. This company is
exactly what its tag line states, luxury redefined. Starting with its 6,000' ft. customer experience center at 2420 S. Halsted, where you can check out displays of Chicago highlights before boarding one of its fleet of helicopters, to
the actual flight over the city, every moment is exciting and memorable. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the ambiance is warm and cozy and sets the mood from the moment you walk in. They offer 3 different tours, a day tour ($128), a twilight tour ($178) and a night tour ($158).
The Experience was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Trevor Heffernan and now includes Airbus models EC130 and EC135 helicopters. They will fly you anywhere in the Midwest with hourly rates available too. Chuck and I loved our flight and can't wait to go back for the other tours. We had never seen the city from this
Good news for Chicago Charities including one near and dear to my heart! Chef Art Smith and Jesus Salgueiro's Common Threads was one of the lucky recipients of Michael Jordan's undisclosed Dominick's settlement. Twenty-two other kid-based charities will also be receiving funds including Chicago Scholars, Chicago Youth Programs,
Children's Literary Initiative, Christopher House, Erikson Institute, Gary Comer Youth Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, La Rabida Children's Hospital and Make-A-Wish-Illinois. Good job Mike and congrats to all!
Thanks so much to the legendary Bill Kurtis for including me on his fabulous "Decades" show! Former Playboy photographer/editor Jeff Cohen and I discussed the Glory Days of Playboy and we had great fun skipping down
memory lane together! Watch segment here! "Decades" airs on RCN (ch. 75), Comcast (338) and WOW (ch. 172). Don't miss it! You'll thank me later. :-)
Well, are you coming? Rail Events Productions is proud to announce service on board THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride at historic Chicago Union Station this holiday season. The magical story comes to life when the train departs Union Station for a one-hour round-trip journey through downtown Chicago. Powered by Amtrak, the journey runs daily through Jan. 3. Exact excursion times are available by visiting the Schedule & Tickets link here. Deluxe Class tickets are $55 for adults and $43 for children ages 2 to 11. Each ticket includes a souvenir hot chocolate tumbler and keepsake sleigh bell! Families are encouraged to wear pajamas for the ride! What fun, count me IN!
I loved seeing one of my favorite PR peeps and friend, Alex Sabbag, featured in this month's CS Magazine! She is one of the "What's Next Entrepreneurs", a title very well deserved! Congrats Alex!
Mark your calendars now for next year's Bear Tie Ball, "Mission Possible" set for February 27 at The Geraghty! Co-chaired by Paul Iacono and Frances Renk, the event benefits Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation! I hope to see you there!
Thanks so much to Sally Schwartz and her awesome Randolph Street Market for allowing me to do what I like best, shop for Christmas collectibles! During the Market's Holiday Tastemaker event I had the honor of creating a holiday table alongside Luxe Mag's Brittany
McGuire and Studio KL Chicago's Ken Ludwig and Darren Fink! This Market has it all--vintage treasures, delicious food, free gift wrapping, entertainment and so much more! Check out their website for next year's schedule here! (The next Market will be Jan. 30/31st)!
Another year almost gone....can't believe it all went by so fast! And what an amazing year it's been too! I love to reflect on the past but look forward to the future. I'm fortunate to have so much to be grateful for....good health, loyal friends, exciting memories, great "kids" and a loving, wonderful
husband. I know Christmas will never be the same without my mother-in-law Jean Jordan, who left us too soon, or my mom Elsa Stott who I lost in 2002 (and so many others) but we can't dwell on the sad. Life goes on and so shall we.
Here's what I'm hoping for in 2016. For one, I don't plan on answering each and every email I receive. As much as I love staying connected, my emails have become like a giant nest of baby birds--always needing to be fed. Sadly, I will miss some messages, but I hope you'll understand. I plan on being outside breathing fresh air, taking walks with the kids and Chuck, enjoying new adventures and creating more lasting memories. Maybe we'll think about an exotic land...somewhere that will take us out of our comfort zone...we haven't decided yet but it will be fun dreaming and doing. And I hope that you will continue to enjoy what I love to do--my blog, my Chicago Now blog, my Chicago Tribune column and my Candid Candace TV internet show. I love taking you along to all my
parties and events. It's a great way for you to attend without buying a ticket! It's also is a wonderful way to shine a light on all the unbelievable charity organizations we have in this extraordinary city. So, I hope you stay with me so we can take more great journeys together in 2016!
Here's hoping you, your families and friends are having a magical holiday season! I'll "see" you next year!
P.S. As always, something to make you smile....Santa's little helpers!