Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

New venue for Nov. 14 Naturally Sweet event

Ginny Mac, right, returns to Naturally Sweet this year with her unique brand of accordion blues and a live band for dancing.
Ginny Mac, right, returns to Naturally Sweet this year with her unique brand of accordion blues and a live band for dancing.

It may be deep into the fall event season, but there are still a slew of not-to-miss occasions to put on your list. Southlake’s Naturally Sweet party is one of the season’s best and is scheduled for a new date and location this year.

This seventh edition of the increasingly popular event, which benefits the Bob Jones Nature Center, is set for Nov. 14 (the second Saturday rather than the traditional first Saturday of November) on the chic terrace of the Marriott Solana Hotel in Westlake. Guests will still enjoy an enchanting evening including live music as they visit and stroll among various food stations to sample delicious sweets and savory samplings from upscale area restaurants.

Board Chairwoman Debra Edmondson explained that the new venue was chosen to accommodate the growing attendance at the event. “The lower level of Marriot Solana will enable guests to comfortably enjoy an indoor-outdoor experience with the event spilling onto the lovely patio area under the stars,” Edmondson said.

“We expect it to be a fun evening with plenty to see and do. Ginny Mac is back with her unique brand of accordion blues and a live band for dancing. There will be great food from the Marriott and sweet tastings from local restaurants.”

Carroll school board President Chris Archer and his wife, Stacey Archer, are honorary co-chairs of the event. Heading up the event committee are Norman Lyons and Rattana Mao with help from Kelly Workman and Lori Palmer. Special guest will be Bobby Jones, grandson of the nature center’s namesake.

“This year we have stepped up the event with a new venue allowing us growth and the indoor-outdoor atmosphere, which represents the nature center. Another new element is the addition of a live auction,” Executive Director Lori Higgins said.

Restaurants serving their signature dishes include Nothing Bundt Cakes, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Oak St. Pie Co., FnG Eats, Feed Store BBQ, Tommy Tamale, Cake with a Kick, Yelibelly Chocolates and MaxFrut. And the Marriott will offer delicious food from its chef’s table.

Auction swag will wow guests with hotel stays, spa packages, tickets to awesome entertainment venues, a hot air balloon ride, jewelry, gift cards and baskets, sports tickets, trail rides and more.

“The monies raised at this event will ensure that we continue to have the resources to help sustain and protect the natural beauty of the Bob Jones Nature Center, preserving important habitat for birds and other wildlife, providing a place for outdoor experiences and education for our children and preserving this land for future generations to enjoy,” Edmondson said.

Tickets are $65 for nature center members and $75 for nonmembers. Call 817-491-6333 to make reservations, or email Cocktail attire is suggested. Learn more at

Bragan Foundation honors LaDainian Tomlinson Nov. 11 to aid college-bound eighth-graders

Former TCU and NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson is the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala at 6 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. NBC5 sportscaster Newy Scruggs will emcee this year’s gala, which is hosted by the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation.

“I am especially excited about the opportunity to be this year’s Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation honoree,” Tomlinson said in a news release. “The similarities between the Bragan Foundation and the Tomlinson’s Touching Lives Foundation are amazing — improving the lives of children through education and self-esteem are an integral part of my foundation and are also clearly part of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation’s mission.”

The former running back set an NCAA record for most rushing yards in a single game, a record that stood until 2014. He was first-team All-American, won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Tomlinson’s NFL honors included 2006 Most Valuable Player Award and impressive rushing yard and touchdown accomplishments. He is an analyst on the NFL Network.

Since 1991, the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation has awarded $1.7 million in college scholarships in $2,500 increments to 695 deserving area students. Students are chosen in the eighth grade and are awarded the scholarships after they graduate and enroll in college.

Spokesman David Hatchett said the event was moved a day earlier to Nov. 11 because of a conflict in Tomlinson’s schedule. This is the 24th year for the gala. Past football winners include Tom Landry, Roger Staubach and Gene Stallings.

Tickets are $250 each or $2,000 for a table for 10. Contact Janet Cooper at 817-870-2300 or to order tickets.

High Tea Time Nov. 15 features royal chef to help fight against cancer

Come enjoy a spot of tea as the former royal chef “pours out tasty tidbits of life behind the palace walls” at the High Tea and Conversation charity event at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Piazza in the Village, 77 Piazza Lane in Colleyville.

Royal Chef Darren McGrady will regale the audience with fascinating stories from his career as the former chef at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace for Queen Elizabeth II, the late Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry.

Guests are encouraged to wear hats in the British tradition for this very special afternoon of tea, finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and pastries.

“McGrady is an expert on the royal way of life, and he knows a little bit about American royalty, too, having cooked for Presidents Ford, Bush, Reagan and Clinton,” said Zoe Kirby, who is chairing the event. “His book, Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances From a Palace Kitchen, is now in its sixth printing.”

A dedicated event committee includes Valerie Skinner, Susan Dunkel, Mary Morton, Adelaide Griffin, Tanya Morris and D’Lissa Cunningham. This is the second year for the event, which offers a peek into life at Kensington Palace. “Last year’s event was such a success that we couldn’t help but do it again,” spokeswoman Stephanie House said.

A fun silent auction will be a departure from the norm with an all-British theme that features a wooden rocking horse similar to one Prince William owned along with fine English china teacups commemorating the recent christening of Princess Charlotte and other lovely items.

Tickets are $150 per person. Purchase online at or call Meredith Millard at 817-570-0618 or Zoe Kirby at 817-676-2795.

Events at a glance

▪ McCammon Voice Recital starring award-winning tenor Jonathan Blalock is Tuesday in a private home (address to be provided at time of ticket purchase.) It is hosted by the McCammon Voice Competition committee and the Opera Guild of Fort Worth. Blalock will be accompanied by Stephen Carey, principal pianist for the Fort Worth Opera. Get tickets at or call the opera box office at 817-731-0726. Direct inquiries to Nathan DePoint at 817-288-1221.

▪ First Ladies Luncheon is at 11 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Petroleum Club. It honors all the ladies of Shriners and is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fort Worth’s Moslah Shrine. Special guest is Benedicte Valentiner, a retired general manager of Blair House in Washington, D.C. She will tell stories of her experiences with foreign personalities during her 13 years serving four presidents. Tickets are $25. Purchase at the Moslah Shrine office, 1100 Henderson St., by Nov. 1. Call 817-335-9469 to inquire.

▪ UTA Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the University Center Bluebonnet Ballroom. The evening honors alumni for their individual achievements, contributions to their industries or professions, service to their community and loyalty to UT Arlington. Tickets and details at

▪ Painted Violins is at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 onstage at Bass Performance Hall. Notable artists have created striking works of art on 27 bare-wood violins. Guests will enjoy live music, fine cuisine and cocktails. The fundraiser benefits the Fort Worth Symphony’s Adventures in Music children’s programs. Make reservation at 817-665-6500, ext. 118.

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