Scene & Heard
The filly Zenyatta got so much of the attention at the Breeders’ Cup last November at Churchill Downs, but we had our own star there ... glamorous Heather Fitzenhagen of Fort Myers. Heather, an accomplished lawyer and devoted soccer mom and charity volunteer, turned heads in an outfit the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal termed a micro-trend. Says Heather: "I wore a black skirt and top rimmed with black ostrich feathers." It was the feathers that got them, and the paper ran Heather’s picture in full regalia. Consider this a feather in her cap—and ours (Heather is the newest member of Gulfshore Life’s Style Council).
Honor and gossip
I’ve got choice honors and some good gossip to report from the APEX Awards gala back in November at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, celebrating women in business, presented the prestigious APEX Award to Dr. Mary Kay Peterson, a radiologist. Dr. Peterson is on a mission to eradicate breast cancer, donates time to treat women who can’t afford insurance and educates the community about the disease. Great dedication, great cause and a most deserving honor, Dr. Peterson.
I shared emcee duties with beloved radio goddess Gina Birch of 96.9 WINK-FM and gorgeous FOX4 anchor Amy Wegmann. Amy’s coming up on her first wedding anniversary. And guess what? She and husband Trey Radel (former WINK news anchor and current radio host) just might be announcing some baby news in the very near future. They certainly deserve positive things like this. In an almost unimaginable first year of marriage, Trey’s mom choked and died suddenly in the middle of their wedding reception and Amy’s cousin lost her life in a horrific car crash on the way home from the wedding weekend. I admire Amy and Trey so much for the way they’ve handled these tragic circumstances … and for their excitement about the next chapter in their lives.
Hats in bloom
The seventh annual Hats in the Garden luncheon played to a sellout crowd of 450 at the Naples Botanical Garden last November. The ladies (and a few men) didn’t bat an eye shelling out $500 a ticket, and they got exquisite food from The Ritz-Carlton under the tent plus the ambiance of the beautiful gardens. The hats, as usual, showed great creativity, many featuring cascades of flowers in honor of special guest Carolyne Roehm. Ms. Roehm, designer and author, has a new book out about flowers and decorating. The elegant chestnut-haired beauty shared a little of her life story, describing her arrival in New York City from Mississippi in her early 20s and two decades as Oscar de la Renta’s assistant. Kudos to the three-time chairs, Vicky Smith and Karen Scott, for this swell event. Along with their husbands, they not only donate countless hours to put on this terrific afternoon but also put their money behind their actions. Each couple, deservedly, has a garden in their name. A blooming good day all around.
It’s hard pulling yourself away from Love and chocolate, but that’s exactly what Christin Collins has done in taking on an important new challenge. Christin is leaving her marketing job promoting Norman Love’s chocolates to raise funds for a new children’s hospital at HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers. She’s been a force on the charity circuit in recent years—including her leadership of the Love That Dress event—and her new role as director of development for Lee Memorial will enable her to keep that momentum going. Sure, she’ll miss the chocolates, but this new mission will be sweet in its own wonderful way.
A glitch, too
The good news is that Robbie Roepstorff, Eva Freeman and Lou Pontius created a most wonderful Take Stock in Children Holiday Auction last November at Paseo Country Club in Fort Myers. The ladies moved the annual dinner to Paseo’s elegant dining room and served up an elaborate array of food and drinks. It was all to raise money for scholarships for deserving students in Lee County public schools. But, alas, the bad news came two days later when more than 50 of the 200 guests came down with the norovirus … you know, that sickness you hear about on cruise ships. I was one of them—the first time in 15 years of hosting more than a thousand charity events that I’ve become a casualty while serving a good cause. Pleasingly, the disturbing parasite is gone, and the scholarships will be doing their good far longer.
U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy took time out from his day job putting criminals behind bars to put smiles on the faces of many local women. As auctioneer for the Handbag Happy Hour last November at the Miromar Design Center, he raised money for the Island Coast AIDS Network and watched many happy women snap up some great deals. Michelle Eddy got away with two of the best bags of the night: a Tory Burch and a Prada. The oh-so-generous Robin Thompson donated a Louis Vuitton for the occasion. Miromar Design Center is the new hot spot to host fundraisers, and the amenities definitely step things up a notch. The new director of marketing, Lynne Groth, tells me to expect exciting new things at the design center this year and even more fabulous parties. Promises, promises. We’re up for that.
Talk about an exclusive shopping spot! Did you ladies know that Chico’s has a company store where you can get rock-bottom prices on all three brands—Soma, Chico’s and White House/Black Market? Only a select few, besides employees, are allowed in. You need a personal invitation and have to clear security to gain entrance. But, boy, is it worth it. Supporters of PACE Center for Girls in Lee County were invited last October, and the women scooped up armfuls of jackets, pants and dresses. Those famous Chico’s necklaces, selling for $6, were so popular that women were only allowed to buy three apiece. Thanks for this amazing shop op, Chico’s, on behalf of PACE. I’d certainly wish this, too, on all you über-shoppers out there.