Just An Online Minute... Town & Country And Longines Honor Women Who Make It Rain For Others
Women Who Make A Difference Award, Hearst Tower, New York
September 1, 2010
Town & Country magazine reminds me of my early childhood in Mentor, Ohio, where my family lived in a perfect new house, in a perfect cul de sac with perfect neighbors with perfect children. Softball games, block parties, running for cover under shrubbery at the bus stop when flocks of Canadian geese flew over - bombing us with whatever they ate earlier. The works. Comfortable living. Of course, then my parents got the perfect divorce and I ditched Town & Country living for Sheep Fancy. It looks like Town & Country is still aiming for the crop and polo crowd, but they're not just honoring seersucker and suede elbow patches, they're honoring Women Who Make A Difference along with Longines, a swanky watchmaker.
"Elegance isn't just about style...it's about how you treat people" - Jennifer Judkins
"Money can't buy you class...elegance is learned, my friends" - The Countess
True and true.
Money can't guarantee an easy life, either, as the women honored last night can attest to. Town & Country's Editor-At-Large, Pamela Fiori, introduced the evening, painting the act of giving in deed as "the greatest gift of all" and recognizing that "some people make so much money, they don't want to give it to their children," and applauding people like Oprah, who is someone "born to give lavishly, time and again."
The waitstaff gave us a delicious salad with cool crunchy radishes and a blackberry vinaigrette. While munching away, I got to know my table mates. Paula Keung, Editor-In-Chief of online publication Travel Savvy Magazine, was to my left. http://trvlsvvy.com/ is a community-driven local expertise tip site. So, if I were to contribute, maybe I would let people know my favorite camera gear store, or even what gear I choose to travel with. When Paula discovered that Karen Ram, my date for the night from AttentionPR, was having a blast with her client, Barbie, they got to talking about potentially collaborating. AND it sounds like Ken is going to be having a blast at Fashion's Night Out, so keep an eye out for his square head.
Bill Macatee was the master of ceremonies and he conducted a little podium side chat with tennis great Stephanie (not listed as Steffi in the program!) Graf, whose organization Children For Tomorrow "provide(s) assistance to children and families who have become victims of war, persecution, and violence." The voiceover was weird throughout the event. It was happy singsong over images that were meant to be emotionally jarring. It was particularly odd during the Graf's reel as crying children, worn torn villages, and medical tents flashed across the screen, narrated by a happy voice.
Bill Macatee introduced New York favorite and YouTube sensation ("keep [sounds like duck]ing that chicken!") Ernie Anastos, whom I saw at the Silver Star diner a good four years ago. Anastos introduced Margaret Martin, a woman overcome with emotion over the award she received for her work with The Harmony Project, an organization celebrating the human spirit through music. Her voice raw with emotion, Martin said, "These kids that affluent America sees as 'at risk' we see as "high potential."
Honoree Valerie Sobel made me question my survival skills. Introduced by Pamela Fiori as someone who "knows all too well how profound loss and grief can be," Valerie is a mother whose son died of cancer. Then, a year to the day after his death, Valerie's husband took his own life. I gasped. I don't know how strong I would be in the face of such emotional destruction. But Valerie didn't lie down and take a forever nap. Nope, she realized that while she had wealth and resources, others may not - so she created the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation to help single parent families in financial crisis. When Valerie accepted her watch from Longines, she said, "I always wear fake watches!"
Kristen Malfara was awesome. All big blond hair and no nonsense, she took charge of the podium, yanking the microphone upward, towering over previous honorees "This is a very uncomfortable position for me," she began. "I'm from a small town in Florida." But, she said, she was going to take advantage of her position to shine a light on the M.O.R.G.A.N. project, named after her son, whose doctor told her wouldn't live past his 4th birthday. "You just don't tell a parent their kid won't see their 4th birthday," she said, incredulous, as were the faces in the audience at hearing how her son's doctor coldly delivered the news. "He's now 13," she proudly continued, "This is the little boy I'm not supposed to see every day because he was supposed to die 10 years ago." The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project supports her belief that getting proper treatment and support shouldn't be a luxury, it should be available to all walks of life.
Thank you to Town & Country and Longines for a fulfilling night, one that made me feel a bit better about the human race and one that also filled my belly with the most delicious pesto-crusted beef filet (I think I was humming with happiness while shoveling it in) I have ever eaten.
I even had a special cab ride home - my bulletproof-glass-encased cabbie was blasting "Until It Sleeps" by Metallica and eating a very fragrant peanut butter sandwich. "Only in my cab will you hear this!" he proclaimed, "Always look for my cab!"
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