Being that we are experiencing one of the coldest, wettest, and darkest winter seasons, do you have symptoms including lethargy, sluggishness, and lifelessness? If you have one or more of these symptoms then you most likely have torpor, a state of physical and mental inactivity. These symptoms are also seen in our friend Punxsutawney Phil, who by seeing his shadow tells us we will be suffering with this bug for six more long weeks. Here is your prescription from Dr. Ted for how to recover from your case of the winter blahs: take an evening with the Nashville Opera, La Bella Notte; Ignite your night with a healthy Heart Gala; take one big dose of the Antiques and Garden Show. Take after each meal thrilling news of the 2014 Swan Ball, two cocktails, and an extra dose of Winter Lights followed by a tablespoon of the Go Red For Women Men’s Event. If you are still feeling lifeless, try some I Love Lucy Vitameatavegamin at TPAC.

Photos with Flamencos on the red carpet, the romance of a Spanish guitarist, Rositas with roses, a Spanish market, and a splendid silent auction, Sevillian Sangria Bar, Figaro’s Fantasy photographs, and breathtaking arias! Sounds too good to be true? Well, it was all that and more at this year’s La Bella Notte, the Splendor of Seville, complete with Tom Rogers performing as the Barber of Seville! I have watched this gala become so popular over the years as it has become a sought-after invitation party! Dressed in black tie with Spanish flair were Chairs Morel and Howard Harvey greeting Sally Levine and George Barrett, Tish and Jackson Brown with Stephanie Moore, Betty and Ed Thackston, Jeanne and Bob Dudley Smith, the lovely Sandi Irvine on the arm of Raymond Pirtle, Debbye and Hunt Oliver, Barbara and Jack Bovender, Joanne and Max Horkins, Lucie Carroll and Carla Nelson, Steve Hyman and Mark Lee Taylor. A fine evening of song, dining, and dancing amongst two thousand red roses (an Amos event, of course), all benefiting the Nashville Opera’s education and outreach programs.

 Lucie Carroll, Carla Nelson, Dancey Sanders – La Bella Notte
Chairs Morel and Howard Harvey – La Bella Notte
Jack and Barbara Bovender – La Bella Notte
Rob and Nikki Peal, Bob Dudley and Jeanne Smith – La Bella Notte
Stephanie Moore, Jackson Brown and Tish – La Bella Notte
Betty and Ed Thackston, Judy Williams – La Bella Notte

Perched high on a hill, one of Nashville’s premier homes was the setting for the 2013 Top Tails Donor Society. Jennifer and Billy Frist hosted a lovely evening of Top Tails and fundraising benefiting the Nashville Humane Association. OK, yes, I love animals; I love Robin Patton and the Nashville Humane Association, but believe me, folks, this was a sellout evening. Not often do we get to be entertained in a major home that is not only of Architectural Digest quality but was on the front cover last year. Colleen Welch and I were oh so fortunate to be given the private tour by my bud Carole Rose, Jennifer’s mom that looks to be Jennifer’s sister. The art, OMG—there is so much fabulous art one feels that this must be a fine gallery, not a private home. In fact, Billy, being the collector, rotates art on a regular basis and has a wing of the lower section of the home devoted to framed and unframed art waiting to be hung. Seen enjoying the cold January evening high upon the hill were Tim King and Randy Rhodes, Lisa and Terry Ward, Sherry and Andy Walker, Liz Himes, Laurie Eskind, Jennifer and Dave Rawlings, Ann and Kirby Davis, Richard Patton, Edie and David Johnson, and Peanut, the featured four-legged guest of the evening. You know the phrase: if you are going to act like the big dog, then you must raise your checkbook and donate like the big dogs do. That’s why all these folks are Top Tail donors!

Laurie Eskind, Peanut, Sherry and Andy Walker – Top Dog Society
Liz Himes, Jennifer and Dave Rawlings – Top Dog Society
Colleen Welch and Carol Rose – Top Dog Society
Tim King and Randy Rhodes  – Top Dog Society
Lisa and Terry Ward  – Top Dog Society

Red-sequined cloths, tall gold vessels filled to the brim with long-stem red roses, gold Chiavari chairs, golden flatware, a laser show, the Laura Turner Hall in a wash of red . . . an outstanding Amos Event, oh my! If this does not say Happy Valentine’s to you then you need to crawl back into your hole next to Punxsutawney Phil. “Ignite” was this year’s Heart Gala theme, and ignite the night it did, seeing chairs Sharalena and Dick Miller along with Sheila and Nelson Shields greeting each and every one of their 650 guests at the annual American Heart Association fundraiser. After a lovely seated dinner, an energetic laser show crisscrossed the hall bringing patrons to the dance floor to the hot beats of the Jimmy Church Band.

Valentine love was in the air as this Cupid was amongst the hundreds dancing late into the evening along with Karen Matkosky and Robert Sharp, Mary Katherine and Earl Simmons, Kelly Sutton and Paul Benton, Adela and Lee Ferrell, Dana Perdue and Tim Pagliara. (Tim was so proud of his lovely Valentine date as he said to me, “Is she not beautiful?” Yes indeed, Dana was stunning in a long, red-satin gown—and not too shabby an engagement ring either. Good boy, Tim!) The Inaugural Martin E. Simmons Award was given by Judy Simmons, in her husband’s honor, to long-time Heart Volunteer Marion Pickering Couch. Yes, for sure Cupid was flying high and shooting love arrows at this year’s wonderful red Heart Gala at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center!

Chairs Dick and Sharalena Miller, Sheila and Nelson Shields –  Heart Gala
Marion Couch and Judy Simmons – Heart Gala
Dana Perdue and Tim Pagliara, Adela and Lee Ferrell – Heart Gala
Margie and Tim Arnold – Heart Gala

“Be Inspired!” was the theme of this year’s most impressive Antiques and Garden Show, the 24th annual event benefiting Cheekwood and the local charities supported by the Economic Club of Nashville.

Be inspired . . . how could anyone not be inspired, with lectures given by some of the world’s top design personalities, including Alexa Hampton, my friend Mario Buatta, Nina Campbell, Jennifer Boles, and Honorary Chairman Charlotte Moss? Top antique and horticultural dealers, gardens to die for, spectacular design settings, and yes, dinner in a pond created by Amos Gott and Cheekwood. Amos shared with me that his and Cheekwood’s design for the front center garden (a show stopper!) was based on the thought of the Cheek family enjoying an outdoor living space and dining while overlooking the beautiful gardens in the day. I am not sure that Huldah Cheek Sharp would have been dining in a pond, but what a great design setting this was, with water flowing from the top of a custom Lucite dining table adorned with crystal candelabras, fine porcelain, china, and silver surrounded by cascading water flowing into the pond beneath. Not only was this magnificent garden display fitting for the grounds of Cheekwood but also for the grounds of the British Highclere Castle, home of this year’s keynote speaker the Right Honorable Countess of Carnarvon (and the home in Downton Abbey). Lady Carnarvon, the eighth and current Countess of Highclere Castle, was most taken by our Nashville, her first stop in North America while on a book-signing tour.

Elizabeth Akers, Larry and Sandra Lipman  – Antiques and Garden Preview Party
Co-Chairs Vee Vee Scott and Mindy Jacoway, the Countess of Carnarvon, Andrew and Marianne Byrd – Antiques and Garden Preview Party
Went and Barry Caldwell, Nicky and Jim Cheek, Margaret Ann Robinson – Antiques and Garden Preview Party
Ann and Tom Curtis, Karyn Frist, Jean Ann Banker – Antiques and Garden Preview Party
Jackie and John Hicks, Casey McAlister, Mary Lewis – Antiques and Garden Preview Party

Antiques and Garden Chairs Mindy Jacoway and VeeVee Scott with some two hundred volunteers made this year’s show, held for the first time in the new Music City Center, a most educational and enjoyable four-day event, starting out with the Benefactor/Preview Party on the Thursday evening before opening to the public the next day. Party Hosts included Elizabeth and Clark Akers, Beth and Dave Alexander, Julie and Sam Alfrey, Mary and Tom Gambill (Mary was so excited that she found an antique fish platter for the Sea Island home), Laurie and Steven Hooper, Shay and Randy Howard, Mary and Kevin Lavender, Ashley and Joe Levi, Sandra and Larry Lipman, Mary Catherine and David McClellan, Birgitta and David Williamson. What an inspirational show orchestrated by volunteers and Cheekwood. Yes, I was totally inspired, and as a result my bank account is a bit, oh well a lot, minus many dollars. Oh and by the way, Lady Carnarvon extended a gracious invitation to all of us to tea!

Mayor Karl Dean and Anne Davis  – Winter Lights
Torry and Mary Leyden Johnson, Mary Carol and Charles Friddell – Winter Lights
Brent Blane, Stephen Graw, Paul Dent, William Liles – Winter Lights

Oh what a night! Winter Lights, seated dinner by Dani Kates, cocktails courtesy of Robert Lipman, dance your backend off to Nashville’s finest professional musicians, The Big Greasy, and raise funds for Family and Children’s Services!  OZ was the new unique and majestic venue for this just plain ole good-time event. Mayor Karl Dean and First Lady Anne Davis were honored with the Jane Eskind Leadership Award. This award honors Jane Eskind’s dedication to living a purpose-filled life through her strong community leadership and legacy of service at Family and Children’s Services. Jennifer and John Steel, Mary Leyden and Torry Johnson, Amy and Owen Joyner, Gail Greil, William Liles, Marlene and Bob Moses, Donna and Jeff Eskind, Judy Simmons, Mary Carol and Charles Friddell, Carolyn Yates and Lex Rambo, and Jackie and John Hicks were all seen making this year’s Winter Lights the best ever!

Keith Churchwell, Kevin Carter, Keith Pitts, Andre Churchwell  – Go Red Men’s Event

Keith Churchwell, Kevin Carter, Keith Pitts, Andre Churchwell
– Go Red Men’s Event

Men with big hearts gathered recently for the Go Red For Women Men’s Event. Never have I seen so many red ties in one room before. Yes, red ties enhancing the generous men that attended this evening to send love notes and valentines to the women in their lives. The main mission of this group is to increase the awareness of heart disease, the leading cause of death in women. Joining Co-Chair Chase Cole were Andre Churchwell, Keith Pitts, Tom Ozburn, Keith Churchwell, Larry Lipman, Jack Wallace, Bob Weigel and Steffon Hamulak (both men looking quite dapper in their Clayton Collection attire), Al Ganier, and Bernard Reynolds. You know, the social rat pack! Heart disease has been called the silent killer, but believe me these men are anything but silent when it comes to the good health of their ladies! Deby Pitts, Co-Chair of the Heart Association Campaign, was present only to tease the guys. Just love that Deby!

As one can see, the socials have not in any way been like Punxsutawney Phil, for we did not climb back into our hole but supported and partied as never before in this cold and wet winter season. For note during the arctic freeze weekend, I decided to head out to the local movie theatre to see The Wolf of Wall Street. I was expecting to see no one, but to my surprise the socials were tired of home also. Enjoying the Saturday afternoon were Clare Armistead and Peggy Joyce, Anita and Don Baltimore, Donna Tucker, and Lyn Doramus. Just goes to show, one cannot go anywhere in Nashville incommunicado!

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