PLUS A PARTY FOR JACKIE ROBINSON WEST LITTLE LEAGUERS; A SKY-HIGH FASHION SHOW; ANUPY NEEDS HER OWN SHOW; JENNY & DONNIE (VIDEO); YWCA'S NEW LOOK OF LEADERSHIP FASHION SHOW; JASPER AND SHAUN SITTIN' IN A TREE; TCW CELEBRATES 32!; JOFFREY'S SWAN LAKE; GREEN TIE BALL; CHICAGO LOOP ALLIANCE'S ILLUMINATION GALA; RMHC PARTIES; GIBSONS AT DISNEY WORLD; NEW WATCH312 VIDEO; CO-HOSTING THE U AND SO MUCH MORE!
I have a long history with Playboy, starting as a Bunny in St. Louis all the way to Chicago, the Playboy Mansion and December 1979 centerfold. I've been very grateful for this association, but never dreamed it would be a life long affiliation, almost 40 years and counting. That's why this
weekend's Glamourcon in Long Beach, Calif., was so very special. Glamourcon is a Playmate/Pinup convention where fans can buy pics/memorabilia, take photos and chat with their favorite ladies and it's also a chance for us girls to have a reunion of sorts. I was thrilled to see
my bestie Patti Connors (aka Patti McGuire, Playmate of the Year 1977) along with her look-alike beautiful daughter Aubree. I was also excited to see Debra Jensen (Miss Jan. 1978--who kept us in stitches with a yoga body to die for), Liz Glazowski (Miss April, 1980-- as beautiful as the day she did her centerfold), Devin
Devasquez (Miss June 1985---a dark haired beauty who's also an author with two books to her credit and counting), Lorraine Michaels (April 1981--who can still fit into a Bunny costume if she wanted to), Dolores Del Monte (March1954, celebrating 60 years as a Playmate!), Charlotte Kemp (who still looks just like she did in her January 1982 centerfold) with her
darling hubby in tow, along with others like Julie Cialini (PMOY 1995), Deanna Brooks (May 1998), Brande Roderick (PMOY 2001), Clair Sinclair (PMOY 2011), Kennedy Summers (PMOY 2014), Shanice Jordyn (April 2014), Tamara Witmer (August 2005) and others. It was terrific to see old friends like collector extraordinaire Tom Shimada and Keith (who
always supports Playmates via his Twitter at "SupportPlayboy") as well as dealer and Packer superfan John O'Neill. And it's always fun to see the new crop of Playmates, too. I loved meeting Stephanie Branton, whose recent August centerfold shows a return to elegance. (P.S. She's as nice as she is beautiful and my bet for PMOY!) The show
was held at the Hilton Long Beach (701 W. Ocean), a fabulous hotel with a great pool that overlooks the harbor. On the first night, as I waited for Patti and Aubree to arrive, I decided to check out the Marina. It was a beautiful spot at sunset with the harbor lights winking all around
the docked boats. I decided upon Gladstone's for dinner since they had great views, a wonderful menu and fabulous live music. I especially loved this witty menu description: "Fish so fresh they need to be slapped!" After dinner, I turned in
early so I would be fresh for the next morning. I couldn't wait to see my friends! As we signed autographs for new and returning fans, we all shared the latest news in each other's lives. It's like we never missed a beat even though we hadn't seen
each other in years. As one fan said, "There's nothing like Bunny love and Playmate love" and he was right. It's a very special sorority and we all shared special memories of our lives with Playboy. That night, a few of us were invited to the Mansion. As
we drove up the elegant-tree lined drive and passed the "Playmates at Play" sign, a disembodied voice asked, "May I ask who's calling?".......And then we were in! It was just as I remembered it from a few years earlier. The only thing that has changed is
now there are sponsored parties, which I completely understand in this sorry economy of ours. I heard from a fan who's going to the Halloween party, that he paid $1500 to attend. He also told me, for the more exciting Midsummer's Night's Dream party, that tickets go for $5K! Wowza!
Patti, Aubree and I walked into the dining room and squealed with delight when we saw our longtime friend Alison Reynolds and her cute hubby Joel Berliner, a travel writer for CDN. She's Hef's right hand and he's so lucky to have her around! She said
he'd been so excited waiting to see us that he'd even donned a PJ jacket as opposed to just his regular ones. LOL! We all sat in the breakfast nook overlooking the manicured lawns and the pool and ordered cocktails--Jack Daniels and Pepsi for Hef, wine for us....:-) Monique St.
Pierre, PMOY 1976, joined the party, too--looking slim and trim with her sexy voice. Other visitors that night included Hef's brother Keith and his wife Caya, legendary big band leader Ray Anthony (who Hef introduced as "Ray Agony"), film historian Richard Bann and Leon Isaac Kennedy. I told Hef
a fan had brought a rare piece of Playboy memorabilia to Glamourcon that day, a first edition of his first book of cartoons titled "That Toddlin' Town" that he'd dedicated to his first wife, Millie, his
"soulmate". He said, "I wanted to be a cartoonist. I'm sure glad that didn't work out." He still has it, that rapier wit that he's always been known for and we were thrilled to be back in his company! This night was movie night and he was presenting The Awful Truth with Cary Grant and
Irene Dunn. Aubree and I took this opportunity to stroll the grounds where we visited the menagerie filled with exotic birds, squirrel monkeys, rabbits, peacocks and more. We ducked into the grotto for a pic and saw party people frolicking in the heated water just like old times (well, not quite!). I can't
imagine how happy they must've been to be on such hallowed ground. I convinced Patti and Debra to go to dinner afterwards so we all went to Patti and Jimmy's favorite Japanese restaurant, Nanbankan (11330 Santa Monica Blvd.) The
next day was bittersweet because I knew we would all be scattering to the four winds soon. Everyone scooted around taking photos, collecting their own autographs and saying goodbyes. Happily, in the world of Playboy, there are no goodbyes, only "until we meet again." As
with all these get-togethers, it was a memory of a lifetime. Thanks for bringing us all together Hef! Keep hop, hop, hopping along until we meet again at Shangri-La! (To see nearly 100 more
The Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers are our town's littlest heroes, as everyone knows. Giordano's Famous Stuffed Pizza celebrated the team in style following the recent downtown Chicago parade and rally for these Little League USA Champions on Aug. 27. The celebration in Jackie Robinson Field, where it all began, had more than 150 attendees and featured Chicago-style deep dish pizza (of course), congratulatory balloons and signs. Love this!
Another lovely tribute was offered by noted
children's book author Joe Brown, also known as the father of makeup guru Bobbi Brown. His beautiful poem, titled Jackie Robinson West, summed it all up: Jackie, himself, was seen clapping his hands as he cheered for his team from his seat in the stands....He said, “Too many bad kids make way too much noise but these are the good ones. These are our boys. “We got
Prentiss, we got Larry, we got Jahelm and Trey....We got Brandon and Joshua and a kid named D. J. “We got Pierce, we got Eddie, we got Darion and Marquis and Cameron and Darlon and the coach, if you please.” We have never heard cheering so long and so loud....Because
Chicago has never been quite so proud! LOVE THIS SWEET POEM, JOE!
Southwest Airlines flight #904 returning from New York to Chicago recently gave customers quite a surprise when the flight was turned into a Runway in the Sky to kick
off The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival. Six Factor models took to the aisle-turned runway, showing off the latest fall fashions from Macy's at Water Tower Place. The show included fashions from MICHAEL Michael Kors, RACHEL Rachel Roy, Calvin
Klein and I.N.C. for Men. For the finale, a midnight blue mini-dress from Adrianna Papell brought wild applause and lots of phone pics! At the end of the show, beloved fashionista Carrie Lannon, who commentated, announced that each of the 140 passengers would receive a $100 gift card to spend at a retailer on The Magnificent Mile. The annual Festival, presented by MasterCard, included a live concert by Andy Grammer at the John Hancock Center plaza as well as pop-up shopping displays and interactive experiences. I count this as one helluva creative kick-off idea!
Bestselling cookbook author Anupy Singla hopes to bring authentic Indian cuisine to your kitchen via her Kickstarter campaign! Wondering what the difference is between chana, chaat and chai masalas? Anupy and
her Chicago-based company Indian As Apple Pie unwind the complexities of Indian cooking and reveal the healthy simplicity of the cuisine in a new cooking show from Indian As Apple Pie TV.
Recently, she launched a Kickstarter campaign on Seed Chicago, microlender Accion Chicago’s curated Kickstarter page, asking her thousands of avid followers to
support Indian As Apple Pie TV. Seed Chicago highlights local, impactful small business and community development projects that create jobs and economic growth in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Singla’s six-episode, 30-minute show will transport Americans to India with her years of travel and background in Indian culture and
cuisine, adding to Indian As Apple Pie’s longstanding repertoire of Indian cooking tools for Americans. “Confusion is what holds people back from cooking Indian food – the spices, the health misconceptions, the hard-to-pronounce names,” says Singla. “My goal is to fill the knowledge gaps and bring excitement and authentic simplicity to American kitchens.” Good luck Anupy!!!
Mark your calendars now for the YWCA's annual "New Look of Leadership" fashion show at Macy's on State Street on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The show will feature men and women who have made a positive impact in the Chicago community. Models will include Steve Pemberton, Ji Suk Yi, Sherman Wright, Whitney Reynolds, Karyn Calabrese, Kathleen Henson, Andrea and Laura Schwartz, Kara Wright, Shilpa Hingwe, Evelyn Diaz and many others. Click here for the complete list and more info!
Don't miss The Joffrey Ballet's Swan Lake VIP Luncheon to be held on Thursday, October 1 at the brand new RPM Steak, 66 W. Kinzie! Co-chaired by Ellie Forman and Kathleen Henson and presented by the Women's Board, this event will be held in anticipation of the incredible production of Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake that debuts Wed. October 15. For tickets and more info, click here!
Chicago Loop Alliance will hosts its annual Illumination Gala on Friday, Sept. 19, at the Palmer House Hilton. This year's event will honor Alderman Brendan Reilly for his commitment to the Loop. For tickets and more info, click here!
Congratulations to darling Jenny McCarthy, 41, and Blue Bloods actor Donnie Wahlberg, 45, who tied the knot in a twenty minute ceremony at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Illinois, on August 31. I don't want to brag, but I'm pretty sure I called it on December 20th, 2013, when Jenny hosted a Generation Rescue event at Parliament with darling Donnie by her side. I call this Watch312 video "The Love Interview"!
More wedding news for beloved Fig & Olive's Jasper Nowell and the Drake Hotel's Shaun Rajah who will be married on Sunday, October 12, in a black tie ceremony at The Drake Hotel. Shaun's longtime friend, Dorothy Whealan, will serve as his Matron of Honor. Shaun shared that this will be the first gay wedding at the hotel since it became legal! Awwwwww.....love these two!
Chicago Gateway Green will hosts its 23rd annual Green Tie Ball, themed "The Great Green Gatsby" on Saturday, September 13. This year's event will be held in the UIC Parking Lot, a departure from the Finkel Steel Factory (which I'll miss). This star-studded gala will benefit Gateway
Green's Expressway Partnership Program and feature Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction) as guest deejay. For tickets and more info, click here.
Congratulations to TCW Magazine (Today's Chicago Woman Magazine) who will be celebrating its 32 years in October! Join them for an anniversary celebration at The Chopping Block on Tuesday, September 30, that will include networking, cooking demos, cocktails hors d'oeuvres and more! Great job Sherren Leigh, Carrie Williams and the rest of the
TCW team! (The event will benefit the TCW Foundation that supports women and children through various programs). For tickets and more info, click here! Love your recent cover with Joffrey Ballet star and new mom, Victoria Jaiani!! What a perfect choice!
Glamorama 2014 is finished, but have you heard my interviews with Jason Derulo and Before You Exit!? They were too cute for words! Join the party with me on my latest Watch312 video below!
The V Foundation for Cancer Research will host, UNDEFEATED 2014: An Unconventional Gala, on Thursday, September 18, at The Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. This event, benefiting one of the nation's leading cancer research funding organizations, will feature a walking, progressive-style event filled with sports, arts, fashion and music. Improv-based sketch comedians from Chicago's Second City will be on hand to entertain while survivor stories will provide a touching, inspiring element to the evening. Food and cocktail stations will be plentiful along with installations by gallery artists, fashion from local designers and other live entertainment acts. For tickets and more info, click here.
The City of Chicago will honor exemplary artists and arts institutions at its inaugural Fifth Star Awards on Wednesday, September 17, in Millennium Park. "The Fifth Star Awards honors artists whose work has forever changed and enhanced our city; artists who have made Chicago their muse, their stage and their canvas; artists who have been our ambassadors, bringing Chicago to the rest of the world, and the world to Chicago, " said Mayor Emanuel. There will be a diverse lineup of performances in tribute to the honorees. Fifth Star Awards coincides with EXPO CHICAGO, which opens (Sept. 18-21). For more details, click here.
The Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation (ICECF) teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club recently, bringing five semi-trucks filled with more than 750,00 school supplies to the Broadway Park Armory. These supplies were then distributed to 500 children who were in attendance as well as to 60 YMCAs across the state. The event was an overwhelming success with NBC's Stefan Holt on hand to help. How cool is this?!
Gibsons Restaurant Group will be in Disney World!! This beloved Chicago based operation has been hired to run the new Boathouse Restaurant in Disney Common at Walt Disney World in Orlando, slated to open next March. This group is on fire also opening the Polo Lounge in mid-November at Ralph Lauren's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. So, if you're wondering where RL's Rich Varnes is now, look for him there! Hope I can score a res in Disney World! :-)
One of my fav vintage resale stores, Luxury Garage Sale, (1658 N. Wells St.) will be hosting a fun shopping event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities! Held on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 6-8 pm, the event will include drinks, small bites and, of course, awesome shopping! Hope to see you there! :-)
And speaking of RMHC, City Winery will be the site of RMHC's annual Cocktail Party on Tuesday, October 21 (from 6-9 pm). Think great wine, music, incredible food, raffle and fun for ALL for a great cause! For more info, click here.
I can't wait to celebrate one of our own, philanthropist Vonita Reescer, at the Chicago Lighthouse Flair event on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Fairmont Chicago. The afternoon fashion show (with looks from Winnetka's Frances Heffernan) and luncheon will provide resources and support for the blind or visually impaired. Congrats Vonita! For tickets, $175, and more info, click here.
Hope you're checking out Candid Candace in the Chicago Tribune's Life & Style section every Sunday! This week's column celebrated Taste of the Nation, a foodie's paradise held at Navy Pier to
benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. For the 5th year, RJ Melman chaired this event that included nearly 100 restaurants. The event was emceed by entrepreneur/reality star Bill Rancic. Read more here!
Thanks so much to Cari Meyers, for including Mickey, Rooney and me in her much anticipated Puppy Mill Project Portraits book, a collection of photos of people with their pets alongside a personal, heartfelt tribute. Photographed by Karen Morgan Photography and "styled" by Kim
Williamson, this book will raise funds and awareness in the fight against puppy mills. Thanks for your good work Cari, Morgan (aka Karen) and Kim!
Cece & Melinda's (Cece Gonzalez and Melinda Joseph) recent Nautical Networking event was a sell-out on the Odyssey Chicago! These ladies
sure know how to plan a party! You can always expect a great time as well as a wonderful mixing and mingling opportunity at their events! To find out where their next party will be, click here!
Happy birthday wishes are in order for two great friends, Mary Pat Burns and Yvette Cusack! A celebration at beloved Fig & Olive Restaurant (104 E. Oak St.) included Sheila O'Grady,
Tracey Tarantino, Sheryl Dyer, Stacie McClane, Sharyl Mackey, Jean Antoniou and me! VP of Operations Joe Taylor and guest relations manager Jasper Nowell couldn't have been more charming!! Thanks F & O and congrats Mary Pat and Yvette! #GreatTime
Congrats are in order for noted restaurateur/designer Jerry Kleiner and his
beautiful Marisa Molinaro! They welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Capri Molinaro Kleiner!!! I know she will grow up to be as creative and darling as her parents!
And speaking of babies, what famous and much loved couple are expecting twins?
Thanks to my favorite show WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" for having me back as co-host! As you can tell from this video, Jeanne Sparrow and I had a LOT of fun! On Monday, Sept. 8, the show expands to THREE hours! I can't wait!
Thanks, as always, for checking out my blog! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it!
Love, as always,