Chicks who lunch
Lisa Vanderpump rules at Dallas' Chick Lit Luncheon, but she's not the only star
What: Chick Lit Luncheon benefiting Community Partners of Dallas
Where: Hilton Anatole
The 411: Chick Lit is one of Dallas' most anticipated luncheons of spring, annually drawing 1,100 guests to hear from a celebrity author and raise big bucks for Community Partners of Dallas.
The 17th edition, held Friday, April 28, brought in reality TV personality Lisa Vanderpump as featured speaker. But the Vanderpump Rules namesake wasn't necessarily the brightest star on stage. This year's event also honored CPD's president and CEO Paige McDaniel, who is retiring this month after 21 years with the organization.
Luncheon co-chairs Sally Dutter and Beth Thoele and honorary chair Debbie Scripps had some surprises for McDaniel up their sleeves. The program began with a funny video intro featuring McDaniel in a “Real Housewives-style” introduction. As the lights came up, CPD board chair Travis Dent and former board chair Lynn McBee (who hired McDaniel 21 years ago), took the podium with other board chairs - the self-proclaimed Paige McDaniel Fan Club - who paid tribute to McDaniel and her many successes.
As McDaniel walked onstage to her favorite song, "September" by Earth Wind and Fire, cannons of confetti went off and "Happy Retirement" was projected on large screens throughout the room. Dent then announced that CPD’s annual Partners for Children Award would be renamed the Paige McDaniel Partners for Children Award.
Joanna Clarke, who will succeed McDaniel as CEO in June, gave a personal tribute to her mentor, before McDaniel gave heartfelt thanks to the CPD staff, board, patrons, and all who had helped make her time there a success. Thanks to four generous donors offering matching funds, the live "Fund the Need" ask that followed raised more than $300,000. (And that doesn't include monies raised from the day's auctions and raffles.)
All this and there was still a multicourse lunch (featuring some of McDaniel's favorites, including Key lime pie and coconut macaroons) and speaker presentation to get to.
Underwriting co-chairs Noelle LeVeaux and Lacie T. Crow introduced moderator and co-anchor of NBC5 Today, Laura Harris, who conducted a fun and wide-ranging Q&A with Vanderpump onstage. They dished about her life, businesses, husband, her charities, and of course, Vanderpump Rules, currently embroiled in a bit of scandal. (And oh yes, this being Chick Lit Luncheon, it should be noted that Vanderpump is an author of a best-selling book on entertaining, too.)
A few fun highlights from their chat:
"I am here and loving it and personally I have never seen such a group of such glamorous women," she said to the audience. "I don’t know what you all do – but this isn’t happening in LA for sure – and so much pink, so thank you."
To McDaniel, she said, "I have heard everything people have said about you… and from one woman to another my hat goes off to you. And good luck to you in the future. You have left a legacy, so congratulations.”
Of the show's cheating scandal (dubbed “Scandoval”) and going back to shoot additional episodes after it broke, she said, “I found out – and I have to be honest here – as a producer this is very exciting. But as a mentor and maternal figure in their life I knew there was also devastation and emotional upheaval, not just with Ariana but also with the group.”
Three tips for a successful dinner party she offered: “One cardinal rule if you want a successful dinner party – never invite a Real Housewife… But also, ambiance is key… beautiful lighting… I always have a couple of homemade things that I can whip out. Also, the visuals – but I don’t think in Dallas I need to tell these people about that – look at all these women – everybody looks so gorgeous.”
Once the conversation wrapped, attendees went home with fun gift bags filled with some of McDaniel's favorite things - Cheetos, Hot Tamales, a caramel apple lollipop, a daily planner pad from Paper Affair, and more goodies.
Since 1989, Community Partners of Dallas has ensured safety and restored dignity and hope to abused and neglected children by providing crucial resources and support to the caseworkers of Dallas County Child Protective Services. CPD provides items such as winter coats, diapers and formula, holiday gifts, school uniforms, personal hygiene products, food and more, to send the abused children in the community the message that someone does care.
Who:Andrea Cheek, Carol Gourley, Kimberly Dean, Anne Richardson, Jamie Charles, Lindsey Hutchinson, Jennifer Longhofer, Jana Williams, Annie Grant, Jennifer Lonergan, Whitney Wagner, Brynn Dent, Katie Thomas, Helen Lary, Maggie Kipp, Elizabeth Saab, Claire Catrino, Anna Curnes, Courtney Underwood, Kate Boatright, Laura Price, Erica Brown, Kelley Schadt, Mara Richter, Lauren Hill, Joanna Clarke, Margo Goodwin and Lynn McBee, LeeAnne Locken, Kameron Westcott, Emberli Pridham, Whitney Harmon, Kelly Echols, Laura Briggs, Cayce Kemp, Kate Powell, Whitney Turner, Elizabeth Starts, Tanya Rice, Megan Generale, and hundreds more supporters and guests.