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The VIP treat: Two great events with fabulous "Inside the Scene' options Print E-mail
by Sharon Adams    Sat, Mar 18, 2006, 08:54 PM

Cavalia:  Go behind the scenes and enjoy an after-the-show private party and see these fabulous performers one-on-one.

Art in Bloom:  Be one of just a few to enjoy an up-close-and-personal three hour floral Master Class with Rene van Rems at Art in Bloom Flower Symposium and Festival sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Art League, benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art

Many events have all sorts of VIP features, if you're willing to pay the money, of course.  These two events are happening now and it's the perfect time to join in the fun.

Cavalia captures your heart and soul
"Must see" is such an over-used phrase. So, how about: You'll be really sorry if you miss this stirring feast for the heart and soul.


First of all, there are no bad seats. Each seat is positioned at such an angle that from no matter where you are seated, you can see the horses' hooves. And the sand. And the water pond. Opera glasses are so cool! Very up close.

Concession stands are well-stocked with soft drinks, etc., food, wine and more. Girls, there are plenty of restrooms. Guys, it's worth the trip.

This is one evening where everyone is happy at the end and sort of dreamy, too. The young adults and teenagers we noticed during the show were entranced. Leaning forward in their seats.
Whispering wow.

As a very special treat for yourself, mom, kids and friends  .... everyone ... sign up for the Cavalia Rendez-Vous packages, which include a fine selection of hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, including wine and beer, free parking, a special souvenir, and an exclusive tour behind the scenes in the Cavalia Stables are also available (starting at $165 for adults, $95 for children 12 and under). Prices are before service charges and 8.25% tax.

(Photo of Magali by Lynne Glazer)

If I had a special birthday or celebration between now and April 9th,  I'd sign up, invite a few friends to go dutch treat and have a blast, an early dinner beforehand at the restaurant next door.  I can't remember the name, but it's evident if you drive by:  It's the huge white tents on the southwest side of Dallas North Tollway, in between Belt Line and Spring Valley.

estelleswdallasblog.jpgBest bet:  Go out to the site and buy the  glossy paperback book or two (buy one to 'get-it' even after the show) to present as a teaser to friends, buy your tickets online NOW and you're on your way.

Yes, she is standing up and riding four stallions while jumping over a hurdle ... there are no mares in the show.  This is Estelle, Magali's sister.  Wow.

Go to this link to read more about the experience and see more pics:

Here's the total ticket info.:

Regular tickets are on sale and priced: $49.00 to $83.00. Children 12 and under: $29.00 to $59.00. Seniors and students: $39.00 to $68.00 (Monday to Friday). Prices are before service charges and 8.25% tax.

For more information and reservations, call 1-866-999-8111 or visit the Web site at

We're going back and taking the kids next week. I can't wait!

Now onto a special treat for floral enthusiasts:

2006 Art in Bloom Floral Symposium and Festival
presented by the Dallas Museum of Art League Board of Directors benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art.

March 26 & 27, 2006 at the DMA: 
Sunday is more casual.  Monday is ladies-who-lunch.  Both are a riot and lots of fun.

Event Description:
This year marks the DMA League's 8th annual Floral Symposium and Fashion Show luncheon. Because of the enormous popularity of the Symposium, we are continuing the event as the annual Art In Bloom Floral Symposium and Festival.

Modeled after other successful Art in Bloom events at museums around the country, including The Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Minneapolis Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art in New Orleans, which draw 3,000-20,000 festival visitors and raise significant funds, the Dallas festival promises to be an entertaining and informative event to engage and excite the Greater Dallas community for years to come.

Art in Bloom festival will feature two days of an entertaining array of activities that align the beauty of art with floral design. Masterpieces from the Dallas Museum of Art's collections will be presented with brilliant Floralscapes, created by an eminent group of floral artists on display throughout the festival.

Sunday, March 26th
begins with a wonderful jazz brunch
in 1717 featuring Stoney Savage on piano from 11:30 - 1:30 p.m. Price for brunch is $40 per person. Reservations required.

Here's the VIP ringer:
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Spend three hours with Dutch Master Floral Designer, René van Rems, AIFD. Learn the techniques and style of European hand-tied bouquets. This session will expose participants to a crash course in proper care and handling of fresh cut flowers and choosing appropriate materials for goof-proof decorating or gift giving. This workshop will provide all materials to complete the two projects, including containers. Participants need to bring a floral knife and pruners, both of which will be offered for sale prior to the workshop. At the conclusion of this class, students will take home their finished projects.

Recommend registration in advance because space is limited for some events.
Tickets for the Master Class are $250 for the class only or $280, includes Sunday Jazz Brunch, by reservation only. Priority given to Floral Symposium major underwriters.

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Family Day in Gateway Gallery
for kids of all ages (Free with Museum admission) Your family will enjoy floral decorations, fun art activities, storytelling, festive music, performances by Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company and more.

It's going to be a FUN day on March 27th!

We'll begin the morning at 10:00 with a champagne reception (and coffee:)
10:15 docent-led tours of floral artworks in the Museum's collections
11:30 a.m. Floral Symposium in the Horchow Auditorium
12:45 p.m. Fashion presentation by Turtletique and luncheon under the glow of the Chihuly works-studded glass wall in Hamon Atrium

For tickets, reservations, information:


If you have any questions or if I can help you in any way, about any event, please contact me.  It's a pleasure!


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So, who is that guy on the front of the invitation? Ellison Hurt's fifteen minutes of fame ... Print E-mail
by Sharon Adams    Tue, Mar 14, 2006, 11:58 AM

Invitation concept and design courtesy Holt Design, Inc.

Join us as we Listen to the Music at A Special Evening with the Doobie Brothers hosted by Alliance Data, benefiting Special Care & Career Services (SCCS), a Dallas United Way Agency, April 26th. 

Kristi and Jody Bare, Co-chairmen. Georgia and Douglas Smith, Honorary Chairmen.

scinvitecard2006_f1dblog.jpgWhen the invitation image opened, I had to laugh. What a cool way to interpret a black tie concert featuring the Doobie Brothers. Brings out the John Belushi in all of us. Riding the cycle is Ellison Hurt. His wife, Laura, and Stacey McCord were instrumental in the concept of A Special Evening events five years ago and have served on the SCCS board.

Special Care & Career Services has always been on the forefront in developing programs that promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of the community - where we live, work & play.

Since 1963 Special Care & Career Services has assisted thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities lead independent lives. In 2005 the organization's two exemplary programs impacted a total of 938 individuals with disabilities: Early Childhood Intervention and Supported Employment Services.

Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, April 26th and join us at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center for an amazing evening. At last year's Tom Jones concert, everyone had a rockin' time, literally dancing in the aisles as Jones belted out "She's a Lady" and all of his hits. This year with the Doobie Brothers promises to be even more exciting.

Sponsorships are available. For more information call Cynthia Blackfox at (972) 991-6777 ext. 121 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mark your calendar:Tickets go on sale March 19th and are priced from $80 to $200 and can be obtained by called 1-866-468-7621 or go to

For more information and Party Pics from last year:

Join in the fun!

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by Sandra Lewis    Wed, Mar 8, 2006, 02:21 AM

On Monday I felt lucky to land a window seat on standby status returning home one flight early from nine days in California – San Diego, Costa Mesa, and San Francisco for business, and then three days of pleasure in Healdsburg for the weekend wine barrel tasting event.

Somewhere over the Nevada desert I caught site of another jet flying some distance below and in the opposite direction; another jet just like mine filled with people either going to or returning from somewhere.

I wondered about the anonymous jet and its passengers. What was its final destination, who was on board and why? I’ll never know.

American Airlines claims to know why we fly and built a recent advertising campaign around this theme; mostly it’s a personal list – golf, Labor Day weekend, clean sheets, because kids won’t be kids forever, the list goes on.

Yeah, right.

That’s not the reason why in the first couple of months of 2006 I’ve made it halfway to Gold and a quarter of the way to Platinum status where the real perks start.

Travel means business. And mostly that means I travel alone.

Single-handedly I can tote my backpack, computer bag, and suitcase, navigate unknown airports and cities, manage Southern California traffic, and maneuver all the one-way streets of San Francisco.

I am woman, hear my roar.

Yeah, right.

Not at dinner time. I hate dining out alone.

But I deplore even more the thought of eating marginal room service or lukewarm food from a to-go container so I am forced to flee my hotel room.

I set out one evening this past week in San Francisco feeling apprehensive, uncertain of how my evening would unfold, good book in hand for comfort.

 I’m very glad I did.

Just a few doors down and across the street from the Prescott Hotel, I spotted Farallon with its elegant, jellyfish-looking lights hanging from the ceiling in the bar. The menu far exceeded what my company expense limits would allow, but I stopped in for a glass of wine simply because from the street it looked inviting.

I took the first empty chair I spotted at the bar, and over a glass of Pinot Noir I met and chatted with longtime friends and locals sitting to my right, Mike and Michael.

We laughed about the disappointing photography exhibit they had just browsed. Mike said he was glad to have gotten the intrigue of it out of his system. I learned that Mike is godfather to one of Michael’s daughters. And they both explained why they loved the city by the bay and I shared why I have a Texas-shaped heart.

Mike insisted I try the food at Farallon and left his tab open with instructions to the bartender to close it out after I had dined. A prior commitment prevented either from joining me for dinner.

So I enjoyed a luscious meal and even though I dined alone I didn’t feel alone.

I had made a chance connection with two delightful people who previous to that moment had been complete strangers to me. I ventured out and they opened their lives to me for the hour or so we chatted at the bar with the seaweed columns, the generous dinner offer totally unexpected.

I’ve reflected on that nameless jet that passed by a couple of days ago.  So close yet a safe distance away. That could easily be me, jetting in, around, and out of a beautiful city keeping my distance, succumbing to a hermit-like life in my hotel room.

I’m glad it wasn’t.

I took flight and came in for a landing in San Francisco all at once which was a thing of beauty.

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Your name carved in stone or emblazoned in brass: Print E-mail
by Sharon Adams    Mon, Mar 6, 2006, 04:01 PM

How your family, business or foundation can have a positive impact on your city and enjoy the view at the same time.

2005Fall4Bridge.jpgThere are many venues for donations in Dallas but very few are seen by over 100,000 people in just a few weeks’ time, are open year round and serve as a testament of your community spirit and dedication to making Dallas a more beautiful place to live.

I’m talking about the new donor naming opportunities in Phase II of A Woman’s Garden presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, nearing completion after about 20 years of planning and implementation, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Now is the time to get in on one of the most fabulous opportunities for ongoing name recognition of your family, foundation or business supporting your community.
From the Acequia Garden, The Rockery, The Bride’s Walk to The Grotto and more, naming opportunities are available now and will disappear quickly, once the word gets out.

Donor Naming Ops and parties, too!
Permanent recognition in A Woman’s Garden is included in some of the underwriting opportunities for the April 19th Mad Hatter’s Tea and the May 17th black tie gala celebrating the completion of Phase II.

9FAG0835Talldblog.jpgMad Hatter’s Tea: You will see the wild, wacky, sophisticated and sassy at this too-much-fun event. Definitely a destination event for ladies from all over the United States, Mad Hatter’s Tea is held at the Dallas Arboretum and includes luncheon, fashion show, tours of the garden and much more. April 19th at the Dallas Arboretum. By reservation only. Linda Ivy, Honorary Chairman. Donna Miller, chairman. Teresa Smith, Co-Chairman and Underwriting chairman.
For more information, and Party Pics from past Mad Hatter’s Teas, click here:

Photo from 2004 Mad Hatter's Tea of Linda Ivy, Honorary Chairman 2006 MHT and her husband, Steve Ivy; Carolyn Rogers, president-elect, Women's Council 2006-07.  Photo by Dana Driensky.

A Woman’s Garden Phase II Gala opening : This festive black-tie event sponsored by Wachovia Bank will begin at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails and guided tours of the Garden, followed by a seated dinner at the DeGolyer Verandah and tented terrace. Tables are for 10 and it is the perfect opportunity to entertain clients and actually see your piece of the garden. May 17th. By reservation only. Honorary Chairman, Mrs. Eugene McDermott, Our Founder. Gala Co-Chairmen, Emilynn Wilson, Shelby Marcus, Patricia Cowlishaw. For more information:

Donor Naming Contact : For further information regarding donor naming opportunities, please contact Patricia Cowlishaw, phone: 972-239-1702, fax: 972-960-8799 e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dallas Blooms, presented by Chase, a celebration of spring at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden begins March 10th and runs through April 17th. Last year, over 120,000 people visited the Dallas Arboretum during this celebration.

The Dallas Arboretum is arguably one of top five floral display gardens in North America. This year’s festival features more than 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs, 20,000 spring-flowering azaleas, 70,000 pansies and violas and thousands of other spring blooming annuals and perennials.

Not to be missed: Eiffel Flower
This year's festival theme is Eiffel Flower featuring a 15-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower atop a festive topiary filled with thousands of flowers and so much more!
Link to the Dallas Arboretum’s website for more information about Dallas Blooms:

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by Sandra Lewis    Sun, Feb 26, 2006, 10:33 AM

People rarely sit on the fence when it comes to liking or disliking Indian food. They either really dig it or don’t want to go near it. And a small percentage of those who don’t want to go near it have never even tasted it.

My parents used to fit into that last category.

I figured the earth would stop spinning on its axis before they would be adventurous enough as to give Indian food a try, but thanks to a little goading on my uncle’s part recently they were - and they liked it.

Last time I checked the earth was still spinning.

But I can't poke too much fun at non-adventurous eaters simply because I’m a hold out when it comes to one particular cuisine – sushi. I know it’s a shock especially for someone like me who loves food to be a sushi holdout, but in my book raw fish = fish bait.

I hear such wonderful things about this puzzling foodstuff from friends and from Ariel whose boyfriend got her hooked on sushi that I’m inclined to give it a try one of these days. But that’s a story for another blogging day.

I love Indian food for its unique combination of spices like exotic fenugreek and kalonji seeds; cinnamon and clove, two spices that Americans rarely reach for outside the holiday run from November to December. And, then there’s cumin and cilantro, a spice and an herb most commonly used in dishes from south of the border.  That's just to name a few.

Rarely does the average American recipe call for the same quantity of individual spices for a single recipe, salt and pepper don’t count. 

The  beef curry and carrot sambal dishes posted below call for five different spices; if you make your own garam masala that would increase the count by an additional nine spices.

If you aren't an Indian food convert yet you soon will be. 

Go ahead.

Try it, you'll like it. 

Dry Beef Curry
4 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oi
2 fresh green chilis, seeded and chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 lb. 4 oz. stewing or braising steak, diced
7 oz. canned tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons curry paste (see recipe below)
1 ¼ cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish

To make the curry, heat the ghee in a large heavy- bottom pan. Add the chilis and onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light golden. Add the steak and cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes, or until browned all over. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt to taste.

Mix the ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, the cumin, the curry paste and coconut milk together in a bowl, then add to the pan. Stir well, half-cover, and let simmer over low heat for 1 ½ hours. Remove the lid from the pan and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick. If it dries out too much, add a little water. Transfer to a warmed dish, sprinkle with the remaining garam masala and chopped cilantro.

Carrot Sambal
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 ½ oz shredded coconut
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
12 oz. carrots, grated
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup golden raisins
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Heat the ghee in a small skillet. Add the coconut and mustard seeds and cook over low heat stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until the coconut is starting to brown. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the carrots, lemon juice, golden raisins, and mint. Mix well.

Curry Paste
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 curry leaves
2 dried red chilies
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoon chili powder
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
½ cup vegetable oil, plus extra for sealing

Grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, curly leaves, and dried red chilies in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the turmeric, chili powder, vinegar, and water to make a smooth paste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet, add the paste and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the oil rises to the surface.

Let cool, then spoon into a glass jar with a lid. To preserve the curry past, heat a little more vegetable oil in a clean pan, and pour it over the surface. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Sandra’s Kitchen Notes:

  • The recipes above can be found in “The Best Ever Indian” cookbook. The introduction section with its detailed explanations of Indianthebesteverindian.jpg spices, cooking techniques, and curry recipe is alone worth the price of the book (which won’t break your bank account to begin with).
  • If you have challenges locating the curry leaves for the curry paste, no worries. I bought curry leaves from my local Indian grocery then promptly forgot to include them. The curry was tasty enough without them.  Making your own curry paste is half the fun of Indian cooking so go for it.
  • Anytime I use whole spices in Indian cooking, I toast them for a few minutes to release their oils and heighten their flavor.  Be sure to let them cool before grinding.
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