Holocaust Museum Of Houston Celebrates Expansion

By Jake Gaines  –  Photography by Dave Rossman


THE SETTING: Recently, the Holocaust Museum of Houston hosted an elaborate gala for 800 attendees to celebrate its $34 million expansion by hosting a First Look celebration for major donors, Holocaust survivors, dignitaries and special guests. Patrons enjoyed cuisine from around the world and music on each floor as they toured the new 57,000-square-foot, fully bilingual facility at the champagne-filled gathering.

THE STYLE: The event’s décor was provided by Dede Loughran of Acme Rental who expertly placed some of HMH’s collection of handmade butterflies throughout the silver-lined tables to give a personal touch to the overall look. The floral décor was created by The River Oaks Plant House. Chef Smirnov Catering provided the Kosher culinary array representing old world Asian, Japanese, Israeli, Russian and Italian delicacies. Music was staged on each floor with Moodafaruka playing in the first floor’s Garden of Hope, Divisi Strings on the second floor, next to the three-story high Butterfly Loft, and John Acevedo playing Flamenco jazz guitar on the third floor near the board room with its assorted desserts.

THE PURPOSE: Tali Blumrosen, former museum chair and current board member, coordinated the evening’s event in conjunction with the Holocaust Museum Houston’s Managing Director Tamara Savage. More than doubling in size, the new facility will rank as the nation’s fourth largest Holocaust museum. The new three-story structure will house a welcome center, four permanent galleries and two changing exhibition galleries, classrooms, research library, café, 200-seat indoor theater and a 175-seat outdoor amphitheater.




Junior League Houston Opening Day Fashion Show

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Emile Brown


THE SETTING: The Junior League of Houston and Tootsies welcomed 300 guests and debuted the season’s hottest fashion trends at this year’s Opening Style Show Fashion Unlocked. The annual Opening Day event  highlighted fashion and philanthropy as well as officially marked the beginning of the Junior League  fall season programing.

Junior League members hit the runway to model the chic ensembles curated by Tootsies’ Fady Armanious and showcased trends like animal print, pumped-up 80s-era volume with dramatic sleeves and shoulders and lots of shine (glitter, sequins, velvet, and satin) from designers such as Carolina Herrera, Alice + Olivia, Veronica Beard, Marchesa, and more.

THE STYLE: Guests enjoyed the three-course cuisine that was provided by the Junior League Tea Room, which included a baby spinach and arugula salad, braised beef short ribs with asparagus and truffle butter,  mashed potatoes and the popular Junior League of Houston Pecan Ball for a sweet treat. Then, new to the event this year, VIP guests had the chance to pop the bubbly and enjoy interactive experiences in the VIP Style Lounge ahead of the show including clean beauty tips from Switch2Pure, mini manicures from Cherry Nails, hair touchups from Fringe Salon and Color Bar, and more.

THE PURPOSE: The Opening Day event is always wildly successful and supports the Junior League of Houston, Inc., an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.




Houston PetSet’s 15th Annual Fierce & Fabulous Soirée

By Jennifer Roosth  –  Photography by Quy Tran


THE SETTING: More than 400 of Houston’s dedicated animal lovers gathered at the Post Oak Hotel to celebrate Houston PetSet’s annual Fierce & Fabulous Soirée, which raises money to support animal-related non-profits in the Greater Houston area. The event was equal parts fabulous party and philanthropic mission. Emcee Deborah Duncan welcomed the partygoers to celebrate Houston PetSet’s 15th birthday, thanking the crowd for coming out to support the nonprofit in its mission to alleviate the suffering and homelessness of Houston’s animals. Guest speakers of the night included Reverend Gregory Han of Interfaith Ministries, Laura Halloran of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, and Lance McCullers, Jr., the world champion Houston Astros pitcher.

THE STYLE: The evening kicked off with a VIP pre-party hosted by Fabergé. On display was the bespoke, two-carat emerald in its setting that was donated to the event’s live auction by the iconic internationally-renowned jeweler. The party kept its momentum as the Club PetSet Young Professionals took over the back ballroom, transforming the space into their own nightclub. DJ Senega got the crowd moving and shaking on the dance floor, while others participated in an ultra-competitive wine toss and silent auction. Champagne flowed as DJ Senega’s beats, accentuated by the live saxophone stylings of Andre Killian, resonated throughout the hotel’s ballroom foyer.

THE PURPOSE: Tena Lundquist Faust, Tama Lundquist and Kisha Itkin, the event’s co-chairs, asked the crowd to open their hearts and their wallets to support the cause. The generous attendees responded accordingly, as the gathering raised more than $440,000 to fund the many animal welfare efforts throughout the city.




Houston Symphony Ball Celebrates Vintage Music Garden Gala

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Jenny Antill, Daniel Ortiz and Wilson Parish


THE SETTING: The ballroom of The Post Oak Hotel was transformed into a Vintage Music Garden themed gala designed by Richard Flowers of The Events Company. Over 450 guests clad in spring-inspired black tie attire sipped cocktails and snacked on tasty hors d’oeuvres while bidding on coveted one-of-a-kind silent auction items.

THE STYLE: Guests were wowed by a green lattice gazebo covered in fresh flowers and characters in vintage garb strolling throughout the foyer. As the dinner chimes rang, patrons made their way to their tables, which were covered with floral arrangements in various vases including gramophones, brass bowls, and tall mossed vases. Enormous murals, inspired by the theme, hung on the walls which were draped with spring green curtains.

Following the presentation, which honored all past Houston Symphony Society presidents; John Cater, Robert Hermance, Janice Barrow, Rodney Margolis, Ed Wulfe, Jesse Tutor, Robert Tudor III, Steven Mach, and Janet Clark, the guests enjoyed dinner prepared by Executive Chef Jean-Luc Royere. Everyone then danced the night away to the sounds of The Jordan Kahn Orchestra at the circus-themed aftrer party..

THE PUPOSE: The event, chaired by Courtney and Bill Toomey, with support from BB&T, raised more than $1.3 million for the Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement programs. Phillips 66 served as the Presenting Sponsor for the fifth year in a row. The silent auction was chaired by Allison Harper, while Lexi Sakowitz and Elisa Lubanko served as the event’s after party chairs.



Houston Grand Opera Ball’s Cielito Lindo Gala Shines

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Jenny Antill, Priscilla Dickson, Wilson Parrish


THE SETTING: The Houston Grand Opera hosted its annual white-tie fundraiser, this year titled Opera Ball: Cielito Lindo. Cielito Lindo—loosely translated to pretty darling or heavenly one—is a traditional Mexican song written by Quirino Mendoza y Cortes in 1882 and beloved throughout the Spanish-speaking world and beyond as a symbol of love and unity. The evening had over 450 guests gather at The Revaire for an evening of celebration inspired by Mexico’s rich, vibrant culture and an extraordinary mix of creative influences.

THE STYLE: The décor, by Mandarin Design Lab in Austin, included a towering butterfly diva seemingly summoning guests, cocktails served by a 20-foot-high sombrero-laden wall, and a ballroom framed by a custom 60’ long calla lily chandelier and Talavera blue tile and climbing bougainvillea. The tastes of the evening included traditional Mexican cuisine by A Fare Extraordinaire, and the sounds of Mexico were also center stage with a special performance of Besame Mucho by guest artist soprano Ailyn Pérez. One of the evening’s highlights was the Mariachi los Camperos musical performance of the night’s theme, Cielito Lindo, bringing the crowd to their feet in a spirited sing-along worthy of a grand opera.

THE PURPOSE: Chaired by Marcia and Alfredo Vilas, with Monica Fulton and Hector Villarreal, and Sara and Gabriel Loperena chairing the auctions, the gala raised over $1.2 million to support the internationally renowned performances and community programs that distinguishes the Houston Grand Opera as one of America’s greatest opera companies. Following the gala, guests carried on with a festive, late-night celebration at the Encore After Party chaired by Lady Stephanie Kimbrell and Joshua Allison and featured dancing, a proper taco station, passed frozen mangonadas, and churros with chocolate sauce for dipping.



UNICEF’s 6th Annual Gala In Houston Raises Key Funds

By Jennifer Roosth    Photography by Gregg Harrison and Bob Levey/Getty Images


THE SETTING: Nearly 400 Houstonians recently packed The Post Oak Hotel as the Southwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA hosted its sixth annual UNICEF Gala Houston. Black-tie attired guests sipped on cocktails, enjoyed a seated dinner, and celebrated outstanding humanitarian leaders who make UNICEF’s work possible. Susan and Dan Boggio were honored with the Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award and Sue Smith and Lester Smith (posthumously) with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award.

THE STYLE: The evening was as fabulous as it was lively. The live auction packages included a week-long safari in Kenya, earrings from NINI Jewels and tickets to the legendary Elton John Oscars Party in Los Angeles, which was sold twice for almost six figures each. The paddle raise for UNICEF Kid Power was matched with a generous $100,000 from The Alkek and Williams Foundation. The gala also featured a vibrant performance by The Garden State Guys performing a special tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Then, UNICEF’s Young Professionals NextGen hosted a silent disco after party. Afterward, Lester Smith’s book, You Gotta Dance Like No One Is Watching, was a take-home gift for all the guests.

THE PURPOSE: The evening’s gala, emceed by Deborah Duncan, raised over one million dollars, which will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world. The gala chairs were Cheryl Byington, Mary Ann McKeithan, Beth Wolff, and Hallie Vanderhider (who also served as the lead benefactor of the event). Shelly and Brian Hendry, Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Limor and Stuart Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, and Randa and Charles Williams served as the honorary co-chairs, while Anika Jackson and Catherine Clarke Murphy served as the NextGen Chairs.