VICTORIA'S SECRET ANGELS FASHION SHOW; RYAN AND LEE HOST MACY'S MAGIC; CHICAGO URBAN LEAGUE SHINES WITH VANESSA AND JESSYE; 125TH FOR OUR AUDITORIUM THEATRE; FASHION FORWARD; ZOOLA 2014; RMHC GETS OLYMPIC LOVE; WEIZMANN AND CONSULAR CORPS GALAS; FIRST BITES BASH WITH ALPANA; BUCCELLATI'S 1ST BIRTHDAY; MARCO'S COOL GRINCH PARTY; A GREAT GIFT IDEA FROM ROSEMARY; NEW WATCH312 VIDEO AND SO MUCH MORE!
I hope everyone had a healthy, happy Thanksgiving! There's so much to be grateful for even though it seems like all we hear lately is bad news. I'm grateful for the health of my loved ones and realize that every single day you have good health is cause for celebration. I'm grateful to have this blog that I hope you continue to enjoy as I love sharing the news from our great city and beyond. I was thrilled to begin our holiday season at Macy's State Street for its 107th Great Tree Lighting festivities! (Read all about it below). I'm also excited to have our home decked and ready for the holidays. Since we downsized, I feared many of my cherished Christmas items might not have a spot to shine, but happily, I was sorely mistaken. My four foot-tall Santa, that I
bought at Marshall Field's with my late, beloved mom Elsa Stott, takes pride of place in our entryway. Every single ornament fits on our faux Christmas tree and, even though I thought I would never want anything other than a real tree, I'm grateful for the lack of maintenance involved and the fact that it still packs maximum punch. Our terrace has evergreen trees twinkling with white
lights that flank our fountain. Happily, the neighborhood birds have finally found us and enjoy the fresh water and seed we put out, especially the cardinals, mourning doves,
thrashers and chickadees. I rescued an animated, talking Santa toy from our storage locker and swore to him he will never have to go back. The dogs' Christmas plush toys have replaced their everyday ones and, thankfully,
they haven't noticed yet. And now all I have to think about are Christmas gifts and dinner.....Hope the beginning of your holidays are filled with magic and wonder, too!
It doesn't take much to get me in the mood for the holidays. Heck, a pine scented candle will throw me into a deep reverie about Santa, Christmas, holiday decor...I could go on and on. So, it was no surprise that Macy's State Street's recent (107th!) Great Tree Lighting and its animated windows unveiling just about shot me into outer space. TV/radio host/producer Ryan Seacrest hosted this big
event (his menswear line "Ryan Seacrest Distinction" is carried there now) and American Idol winner (season 9) Lee DeWyze performed soulful holiday tunes. The afternoon began in the beautiful wood-paneled Walnut Room under Austrian crystal chandeliers on the 7th floor where a 45' tree took pride of place. More than 6,000 lights
filled the great tree along with 3,000 sparkling, silver colored ornaments. Excited kids' beaming smiles were everywhere. Little faces were squeezed through the railings from the mezzanine trying not to miss any excitement below. It was reminiscent of
the excitement of Christmas Eve, except in this case, I'm guessing this tree was a little bigger than the ones they might have at home. The Caroling Party singers, dressed in attire straight out of a Dickens novel, opened the program standing in front of the tree (which made
for the perfect photo opp). Macy's Kim Groth and Martine Reardon welcomed the crowd and introduced Seacrest, who was a sheer delight! He took selfies with anyone who asked and was very gracious to all of the reporters on the Red Carpet (moi included). Before pressing the over-sized, glowing red button to light up the tree, Seacrest invited 4 year-old Chase and his family
onstage from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Together, they pushed the magic button and the Great Tree came to life. Snowflakes danced across the ceiling as the light show began. The tree hangs from the ceiling rather than
standing on a base which makes it even cooler. We toured the store and, believe me, it is filled with holiday cheer from top to bottom! The 6th floor is literally a winter wonderland with dozens of themed, decorated trees filling every nook and cranny. Ornaments and gifts of every kind tempt you at
every turn. There's a darling Build-A-Bear shop, Harry Barker gifts for the pampered pooch, Lionel Trains, Boo and Grumpy Cat toys, Paddington Bear products, Madame Alexander Dolls and even a place to write and send (or email) letters to Santa!
And for each letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, its holiday charity partner, up to $1 million to grant the wishes of
children with life-threatening illnesses. Macy's truly embodies the giving spirit of the holidays! Can't wait to return and share my list with Santa! (The really great photos are by Sebastian Biedron, the rest are mine!)
The Lyric Opera of Chicago hosted a star-studded Anniversary Concert at the Civic Opera House this month – sixty years after the company officially launched its very first season. Jane Lynch, the force-of-nature comedic actress and Illinois native, rocked the house in her Lyric debut
as emcee. Lynch mixed it up with an internationally acclaimed roster of musical artists including Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, plus opera stars Stephanie Blythe, Johan Botha, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Quinn Kelsey, Ana María Martínez, Eric Owens, Marina Rebeka, and
Amber Wagner. Returning to wreak merry havoc on the opera-house stage were ensemble members from The Second City. Writer-performers Kate James and Tim Sniffen were joined by RaShawn Scott and Steve Waltien and drew appreciative laughter from the near-capacity crowd. Sketches included a Sound of Music send-up featuring Renée
Fleming and Jane Lynch. Current artists and alumni of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric’s artist-development program, were also featured on the program. Sir Andrew Davis conducted the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Michael Black in the position of chorus master. Repertoire for the concert included excerpts from Beethoven’s Fidelio, Mozart’s
Idomeneo, Verdi’sMacbeth, Nabucco, and Falstaff, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Bizet’sCarmen, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
and Turandot, Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Kern & Hammerstein’s ShowBoat, Williams’ Serenade to Music, and Arlen & Harburg’s iconic, “Over the Rainbow.”Following the Concert, the elegant Diamond Ball was held at the Hilton Chicago. More than 450 guests enjoyed complimentary coach bus transportation from the opera house, a reception, a beautiful seated dinner in the Grand Ballroom and
dancing until the wee hours. Amy and Paul Carbone and Elizabeth and Michael Cole served as co-chairs. Ball decor was by HMR Designs, with music by Alex Donner & His
Orchestra (NYC). Broadway singer-actress Jenn Gambatese (star of last season’s The Sound of Music at Lyric Opera) made a surprise appearance at the Ball in glamorous evening attire that included $10
million worth of eye-popping diamond bracelets, necklace, rings, and earrings by Graff Diamonds, to perform “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Concert Master of Ceremonies Jane Lynch also performed spontaneously, singing “Slappin’ the Cakes,” with pianist Craig Terry, music director of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center. Audience members received a complimentary commemorative book, 60 Lyric Moments following the 60th Anniversary Concert. The evening netted $3,200,000 for Lyric programming. Happy anniversary Lyric, long may you reign! (Photos by Dan Rest, Cheri Eisenberg, Robert Kusel and Jaclyn Simpson).
Driven by the theme, Opportunity, Community, Impact: A Movement that Matters, the Chicago Urban League (CUL), along with many of the city’s business, civic and elected leaders, hosted its 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner at the Hilton Chicago. Committed to the success of Chicago’s African
American communities, the Urban League hosts the Golden Fellowship Dinner to provide financial support for its programs, collaborations and advocacy work in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, housing, human capital, and workforce development. Andrea L. Zopp, CUL President/CEO, highlighted some of the organization’s success stories over the past year, but challenged the
crowd of more than 1,700 guests to do more to improve the lives of African Americans and all who are underserved. “At the Chicago Urban League we have been taking on the tough fights and building a movement for change for close to one hundred
years,” said Zopp. “We see the potential in people that they do not see in themselves. We understand the power of opportunity and know that one opportunity can have a profound impact across generations.” This year’s gala was co-chaired by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement for Nielsen, and Stephen E. Thomas,
area vice president of field operations for Comcast. Among the evening’s special guests were former Governor Pat Quinn, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial. One of the world’s most celebrated performing artists, opera legend and humanitarian
Jessye Norman accepted the Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award at the dinner along with North Lawndale resident Clyde Ross, a civil rights and fair housing advocate and a founding member of the Contract Buyers League. The award is named for Edwin C. “Bill” Berry, who led the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and
was a key leader in the civil rights movement in Chicago. Both Norman and Ross were presented with the honor for making a mark on the nation through their hard work, perseverance and creativity. The 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner was hosted by comedian/actor Damon Williams and culminated with a show stopping performance
by multi-talented performer Vanessa Williams. (Photos by Powell Photography, Inc.)
Chicago's Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, built in 1889, is celebrating a BIG birthday! This national historic
landmark, located at 50 E. Congress Pkwy., will toast 125 years at its Anniversary Gala,, Living the History – 125 Years of the Auditorium Theatre, on December 9 at the Theatre and the Palmer House Hilton. The glamorous
affair will be led by Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Weber, with Music Direction by Conductor/Music Director Doug Peck. The star-studded performance begins at 6 p.m. and will be immediately followed by the Gala Celebration where guests will be shuttled to the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, and welcomed by Rich Daniels and The
City Lights Orchestra before being treated to an elegant dinner and more Anniversary surprises. As a special salute to the veterans who were accommodated at the Auditorium during World War II, the theatre is planning a salute to their service as part of the festivities.In honor of this special occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama, will serve as the Honorary Chair
for this historic season-long celebration kicked-off by the gala. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs. Co-Chairs for the 125th Anniversary Season include Norm and Virginia Bobins, Steve and
Nancy Crown, Jorge and Catrina Ramirez, Mike and Beth Reese, Jim and Sandy Reynolds, Jack and Carole Sandner, Ed and Dia Weil and Jeff Tweedy and Sue Miller. Gala Dinner Co-Chairs are Joan Colmar, Phil Lumpkin and
Helen Hall Melchior. (The Gala Dinner Celebration is sponsored by the Pasquinelli Family Foundation). Hosted by Chicago actor John Mahoney, the evening will include performances by Broadway legend Patti Lupone, the Apollo Chorus of Chicago,
members from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Joffrey Ballet, Jim Peterik and the All-Star Band and more! “The Auditorium’s 125th Gala Celebration showcases the diversity and scope of talent that has graced the historic landmark stage since it opened in 1889. "We've estimated that over 20 million audience members have attended the theatre in its 125
year history and the memories created for those patrons have helped to make the Auditorium the iconic destination that it is for all Chicagoans,” said Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson. Performance-only tickets are $35-$125 and Gala Celebration tickets begin at $500. For tickets and more info, click here.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s (MSI) Fashion Forward event celebrated innovation and the future of design and honored French blogger, photographer, illustrator and
author Garance Doré, for her inventive approach to the style and design world. Blending science and fashion, the event featured an installation of cutting-edge wearable technology curated from around the world. Some of the items on display included the Galaxy Dress, the world’s largest wearable LED display, by CuteCircuit; 3D
printed hats by Gabriel Ligenza Hats; Visijax Cycling Jacket, designed with built-in LEDs to enhance cyclist safety and a Fiber Optic Heartbeat Dress, which responds to the wearer’s heartbeat, by Alison Lewis for Switch Embassy. The night also featured music by DJ Matt Roan, performances by the ChiArts Dancers, and the
opportunity for guests to experience the Museum’s Wanger Family Fab Lab 3D printers and cutting-edge software. World-class Museum exhibits including Science Storms, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze and Fast Forward were open for guests to visit. Garance Doré, best known for her eponymous fashion blog and credited for creating the
“street style” movement, was recognized for her innovative contributions to style and design with the Museum’s first Fashion Inspiration Award. New York-based Doré is also the modern architect of digital partnerships within the fashion
industry and her work can be seen in collaborations with major brands like Chloé, Christian Dior, Chopard, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Doré has previously been fêted by Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
The Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo gathered 150 guests for an elegant evening of treasures and
temptations at ZooLA 2014, a distinctive and sophisticated annual live auction to support initiatives of Lincoln Park Zoo. The intimate evening
unfolded in one of Chicago’s most exclusive private clubs, The Casino, with the support of underwriters Peter Francis Geraci and Geraci Law LLC, Denise and John Ginascol and Abby Zanarini and Don Funk. Combining an inviting cocktail reception with an engaging live auction,
ZooLA attracted a mix of business, social and civic leaders in support of the city’s beloved
landmark. Notable attendees included John Fornengo (auctioneer for the evening), John Ginascol and Denise Stefan Ginascol, Don Funk and Abby Zanarini, Kimbra Walter, Myra and John Reilly,Holly and Peter Geraci, Kim Theiss (Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo President), John Ettelson (Chairman of the
Board of Lincoln Park Zoo) and Kevin Bell (Lincoln Park Zoo President and CEO). The co-chairs for the evening were Susan Erler, Lisa Genesen and Karen Peterson.
ZooLA evokes a personal philanthropic experience unlike any other! With a selection of luxurious pieces and rare offerings, the live auction beckons guests with tempting treasures, often exclusive to Lincoln Park Zoo. This year’s affair was no exception, dazzling attendees with a selection that included eye-catching “Double O” pink sapphire and diamond earrings from
Bochíc; once-in-a-lifetime journeys to Africa, Costa Rica, Peru, and Canada, where winning bidders will observe polar bears in the wild, coordinated by Jet Set World Travel; and lunch for five
with Gillian Flynn, author and screenwriter of Gone Girl, hosted by Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue. Karen Peterson, event co-chair, reflected on the wonderful evening, “On behalf of my fellow co-chairs and the Women’s Board, we would like to thank our sponsors and guests for their overwhelming generosity. It is their support on evenings like this
that helps keep the zoo free and accessible to all.” Proceeds from ZooLA, more than $270,000, will support the Women’s Board pledge to support the zoo, including projects such as Regenstein
Macaque Forest, (opening later this fall) and the new South African penguin habitat (set to open in 2016). These are just two of the upcoming innovations that will reinforce the zoo’s mission to connect visitors with wildlife and nature while deepening the zoo’s worldwide leadership in animal care, science and conservation!
(And don't miss the zoo's amazing ZOOLIGHTS now through January 4th)!
The holidays came a little early this year for the families of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI). Olympic bronze medalist Jason Brown handed out toys and stuffed animals at the House near Lurie
Children’s to brighten the spirits of families with a child who is receiving life-saving care at a nearby hospital. It is a well-known figure skating tradition that fans often throw stuffed animals onto the ice after their favorite skaters perform. Brown was so touched by the support and love he recently witnessed at a Ronald McDonald House that he decided to share the love fans have bestowed upon him by donating ALL of the stuffed animals he’s received this season to RMHC families. Known for his
remarkable athleticism, trademark dark ponytail and big heart, a smiling Brown met and took photos with RMHC-CNI families and gave away toys. Awwwww.....#AthletesGivingBack
The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS) hosted its annual gala on Nov. 8 at the
Fairmont Chicago Millennium with approximately 570 guests in attendance. This year’s gala raised almost $1 million for the Weizmann Institute, based in Rehovot, Israel, which is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary
research institutions and home to hundreds of scientists. Dinner chair Renée Crown and event chair William A. Marovitz hosted the event whose theme was “Passion Leads to Discovery.” As part of the program, ACWIS honored Avy Stein, managing partner
of Willis Stein & Partners. Stein was celebrated for his outstanding civic leadership and his philanthropic contributions to the Chicago area and
beyond, and in particular for his commitment to supporting cancer research, education, and the environment, with a particular focus on renewable energy. Stein inspired guests when he discussed how the drugs developed at the Weizmann Institute were critical to his battling cancer. Justin Stein, Avy Stein’s youngest son, sang a beautiful song in honor
of his father. The highlight of the evening was Ari Shavit, author of the bestseller "My Promised Land: the Triumph & Tragedy of Israel." Shavit spoke passionately about Israel, the challenges it has faced recently and how he believes the
nation can flourish in the future. He also took questions from the audience. Shavit is a leading Israeli columnist and
writer who was born in Rehovot, Israel, and served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces. Following the presentation, guests filled the dance floor to celebrate another
Chicago Sister Cities International and World Business Chicago hosted the annual Chicago Consular Corps Gala: A Tribute to Our Global Partners on December 1, at the
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago. The gala’s international guest list included members of the 84 foreign consulates and honorary consulates in Chicago plus keynote speaker Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of
Commerce, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Judy Baar Topinka, Comptroller of the State of Illinois. “This event showcases why Chicago is a global city,” said Jeff Malehorn, president and
CEO World Business Chicago. “We are proud to be the hosts of this event and to honor the consulates, as well as our award winners for their work representing Chicago as an international city.” The Gala had an attendance of over 600 and raised more
Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for Chicago and producer of Chicago Restaurant Week, announced today that ticket sales are now open for First Bites Bash, the official kick-off event for
the eighth annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Alpana Singh will host the highly-anticipated event that will include 50 celebrated restaurants
One of my favorite jewelers in town
celebrated its first anniversary in style on Oak St.! Milanese jeweler Buccellati opened the doors of its two-level store at 62 E. Oak Street for its First Anniversary Celebration with a portion of proceeds going to the Harris Theater’s
Access Tickets Program which provides the uplifting benefits of music and dance to children and families coping with illness and life challenges. Buccellati showcased spectacular one-of-a-kind pieces, exquisite silver and beautiful time-pieces
and each guest left with a beautiful silver Oak Leaf necklace to mark the occasion! The menu was as elegant as the store with attendees enjoying pepper crusted bison filets, steak tartar with quail egg, foie gras Torchon with fig jam & pistachios, truffled new potato ravioli and
seared scallops. A bar gleamed with Buccellati sterling silver champagne buckets holding a selection of fine wines. The signature drink, a Buccellatini, was guaranteed to lift your spirits and was shaken, not stirred. Here's to many more happy occasions Buccellati! We love Marit and Jacques Bohbot!!
This winter, Chicagoans will be able to celebrate the holiday and heat up the season in style, while giving back! Infusing philanthropy with unforgettable holiday spirit, beloved man-about-town Marco Foster will host his fourth annual The Grinch Who Gave Back Christmas celebration on Friday, December 12, at Underground, 56 W. Hubbard, from 9 to midnight. Guests will enjoy premium drinks, live music, and even a chance to meet the Grinch himself – all benefiting a statewide organization, The Brain Injury Association of Illinois. For tickets, beginning at $35, and more info, click here!
More than 40 Victoria's Secret Angels strutted the runway Tuesday night, Dec. 2, for the annual event held for the first time in London. Models included Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, Joan Smalls and Jordan Dunn to name a few of the
fabulous faces. Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio modeled Fantasy Bras valued at $2 million each while Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran and Hozier performed. The NY Post reports that 25 makeup artists, 25 hairstylists and nine manicurists were required to pull off the model perfect looks. The show will be aired on CBS, Dec. 9, at 10pm. (My
favorite, Lily Aldridge, is the beautiful supermodel daughter of my friend, Playboy centerfold Laura Lyons Aldridge, who I know is filled with happiness and pride)!
Love seeing Caffeinated Club's Winter Campaign ads all around town featuring lots of familiar Chicago faces! I found one on the Eisenhower Expressway! #GetCaffeinated
And, in case you missed this week's Candid Candace in the Chicago Tribune's Life & Style section, please check out my coverage from The Service Club of Chicago's beautiful Moulin Rouge Gala here!
Hope your holiday season is off to a wonderful start! And if you're in the gift-finding mode, one of my favorite ideas is a portrait from beloved illustrator/artist Rosemary Fanti! Her work is exquisite and Santa would be wise to include her work in his big bag!
Love, as always,