Archive for September 2009

Laura Bush Let Her Husband Tag Along Friday

by Joy Donovan on September 20, 2009

Former First Lady Laura Bush

Former First Lady Laura Bush

I had lunch the other day with someone you might remember…her name is Laura Bush, and she used to be First Lady of the United States.

Yes, I along with about 1,000 other people met Laura–I think she’d let me call her that–for lunch at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. She was the featured speaker for the 20th anniversary of “A Conversation With a Living Legend,” the annual fundraiser for The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center ( .  It was a pretty big deal.

In fact, it’s a big enough deal that she brought along someone else you might have heard of: her husband, former President George W. Bush. In fact, he introduced her as the “living legend.” You go, girl. It was her turn to be the one in the spotlight, don’t you think?

It was a very swanky lunch, as one might expect for a first lady (not to mention the $300 per person price tag). We entered the ballroom with a fabulous string orchestra playing the most lovely music, and the tables set with massive yellow rose centerpieces interwoven with flag-like ribbon. Event chairwoman Allie Beth Allman had arranged for 76 flags, all from the 76 countries the former First Lady visited during her husband’s eight years in office, to be displayed around the ballroom.

Lunch began with a very patriotic red, white and blue salad of blueberries, baby tomatoes and bleu cheese over greens. Then we were served marinated shrimp and beef skewers, spicy cheese grits. For dessert? The menu said it was “President’s Homemade Pecan Pie.” It was delicious, but I wonder if we might should have had ice cream in honor of Dolly Madison, a first lady known for that dessert.

Anyway, exciting for me, the journalist, was the appearance of Cokie Roberts, TV commentator, journalist and author. She interviewed Mrs. Bush on a set that resembled the White House’s Green Room, one of the parlors on the White House’s first floor and one Mrs. Bush redecorated during her stay there.

Smart and articulate, Mrs. Bush and Roberts chatted for longer than the schedule had allowed, but no one seemed to mind. She had a lot to say about the plight of women around the world, literacy and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Among the party favors were recipe cards for the meat marinade and the pecan pie. I did love the pie, so I’m including the recipe. Make it, invite me over and I’ll bring the ice cream.

President’s Pecan Pie

1 C. sugar

1/2 stick of butter (unsalted and melted)

1 t. salt

1 t. real vanilla extract

1 C. plus 3 T. dark corn syrup

4 large eggs, beaten

1-2 C. pecan halves

10-inch piecrust

Combine sugar, butter, salt and vanilla and mix together. Add corn syrup and blend until just combined. Add eggs and blend till mixture is smooth. Place pecan halves on the bottom of the piecrust. Pour filling over the pecans. (Pecans will float to the top.) Bake at 325 degrees until filling is set, about 55 to 75 minutes. Let cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Makes one pie.

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Celebrate this Cheesy Holiday With Family and Friends

by Joy Donovan on September 17, 2009

A trio of sliders...such a lovely way to observe the holiday.
Love holidays. Love special events. Love a celebration. So guess what Friday is!

National Cheeseburger Day! And in honor of this special day, I suggest you mark the day by eating one. Heck, live on the edge and have one for lunch and another for dinner.

Just like you would buy the turkey for Thanksgiving or decorate the tree for Christmas, I have made preparations for this holiday. I plan to observe the day among friends with a simple celebration–enjoying a trio of sliders at Morton’s ( in downtown Dallas.

Oh, but I could wax poetic about the cheeseburgers I have known in my day…Many cheeseburgers in my life remain close to my heart and waistline…the blue-cheese covered burger at Blu Fine Wine and Food (  in Norman, OK; a Goldie’s Special with cheese (plus those delish pickles from the pickle bar) at Goldie’s Patio Grill ( in Tulsa, OK; and the cheeseburger with the spectacular view on the patio of Ventana Inn (  in Big Sur, CA.


There are so many lovely ways to make this holiday special. So please, do your part to mark this important day. Cheddar, American, mozzarella, Swiss, pepper jack, whatever, you have the right to choose how you celebrate. But eat a cheeseburger–big and juicy. It’s the all-American thing to do.

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Don\’t Mess With Texas Music

by Joy Donovan on

Date: 2009-10-10

Location: Palace Theater, Grapevine

Start Time: 5:00 pm
End Time: 9:00 pm

Description: A variety of artists team up to raise money for Texas School Music Education.

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Don\’t Mess With Texas Music

by Joy Donovan on

Date: 2009-10-10

Location: Palace Theater, Grapevine

Start Time: 5:00 pm
End Time: 9:00 pm

Description: A variety of artists team up to raise money for Texas School Music Education.

Comment » | Events

Addison Oktoberfest

by Joy Donovan on

Start Date: 2009-09-18

Location: Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, Addison

End Date: 2009-09-20
URL: Click here
Description: From beer to dancing to food, celebrate all things German at this three-day festival.

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Night of a Thousand Stars

by Joy Donovan on September 16, 2009

Date: 2009-09-19

Location: Hilton Fort Worth

Start Time: 6:00 pm
End Time: 11:00 pm

Description: Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce\’s annual awards gala. Black-tie optional.

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An Evening With Dale Hansen, Unplugged, Part II

by Joy Donovan on September 14, 2009

Date: 2009-09-30

Location: Park Place Bentley, Dallas

Start Time: 7:00 pm
End Time: 9:00 pm

Description: Dale Hansen will help kick off the 2009 Clayton Dabney Foundation Golf Tournament, sponsored by Regency Centers and benefiting the Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer. RSVP by contacting Alexis Westbrook O’Connell of VGS Marketing Group at 972-395-9034.

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Race to Read

by Joy Donovan on

Date: 2009-11-07

Location: Colleyville Public Library, 110 Main Street, Colleyville

Start Time: 8:00 am
URL: Click here
Description: Third Annual 5K Run and 1-Mile Run to benefit the Colleyville Public Library. 817-503-1150.

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Huddling with a Football Hero

by Joy Donovan on September 13, 2009

I do love football, especially the OU Sooners, but I have nothing against Southern Methodist University’s ponies.

Ponies–that is what you call those Mustangs, right? Anyway, I could have been an SMU fan, because I was accepted and everything, but…I digress. The other evening I found myself chatting with SMU royalty, but being a Sooner, I didn’t even realize it.

I just want you to know that I spent a long time visiting with the oh-so-nice Lance McIlhenny at a reception, and only when the organizer of the soiree ask how long he was he able to stay, did I learn he was an honored guest. Yes, the polite, mild-mannered guest once tore up the Cotton Bowl and is the winningest quarterback in SMU history. Well, I declare.

Anyway, we met at City Cafe ( , where Karim Alaoui, one of my boyfriends holds court (bonjour, mon ami), to celebrate dallas author Gene Wilson’s new book, Kings of the HIlltop. (  As we sipped wine and some vodka-concoction called “Pony-something,” Wilson autographed the book dedicated to SMU football and its quarterbacks. I didn’t get to read the book yet–the line was long to get your autographed copy–but evidently Mr. Quarterback Lance is mentioned prominently in the tome.

The book-signing reception benefited Children’s Cancer Fund. Helping children, talking football, sipping wine–score!

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Cyndi Lauper Award Winner at 2009 Charity Dinner

by Joy Donovan on

Cyndi Lauper will be honored at the 2009 Black Tie Dinner in Dallas.

Cyndi Lauper will be honored at the 2009 Black Tie Dinner in Dallas.

Singer Cyndi Lauper will be honored at the 28th Annual Black Tie Dinner, set for Oct. 3 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

The entertainer who became an MTV star with her “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video will be the Black Tie Media Award Winner. Keynote speaker at this year’s event will be San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome.

Black Tie Dinner was launched in 1982 in Dallas to support the Human Rights Campaign. With 140 guests in attendance, the first dinner raised $6,000. In contrast, last year’s Black Tie Dinner contributed $1.19 million to 18 local beneficiaries and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Past dinners have spotlighted such notables as Maya Angelou, Geena Davis, Goldie Hawn, Gov. Ann Richards, Sharon Stone, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and most recently, Kenneth Cole. In its 27-year history, Black Tie Dinner has distributed nearly $13 million.

Tickets start at $300 per person, and further information is available at

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