Sips and Snacks for Seniors at Irish Times

Thursday night’s celebrity bartenders John Witt and the Tattlers own Jenny Witte were incredibly busy serving specialty drinks at the Saratoga Senior Center’s fundraiser at the Irish Times. “The night more than met our expectations with the upstairs bar being jam packed with standing room only.  So many friends, supporters and seniors turned out to support the Center and helping us raise about $1,000.” said Lois Celeste, the Saratoga Senior Center Executive Director.  Spotted in the crowd we saw Kevin Johnson, Nancy and Richard Bambara, Lisa and Tim Higgins, Becky Kern, Ray Bryan, Liz O’Brien, Justin Hogan, Sally King, Elizabeth Jameson, Ciara Austin, Andy and Susie Corona, Beth Smith and Bruce Schnitz, Elizabeth Macy and many, many more buying rounds of drinks for friends and tipping extremely well to support the center.  Also there to show support were Saratoga Senior Center Board members Tommy Uccellini, Traci Jersen, Brendan O’Hara, George Koshuta, Theresa Bezold, Debra Obenoff, Judy Delong, Tena Bunnell and staff members Patrice Mastrianni and Colleen Kelley. Irish Times owners Niall and Nikki Roche popped in with their beautiful daughters to say hi and show support for the cause. John Witt’s signature margaritas were a huge hit that night and he made each one personally using his own special recipe. Quite a successful evening due to the generosity of the Center’s supporters, the Tattlers can’t wait to help out this cause again in the future. We are already sharpening our bartending skills for the next fundraiser, signature Tattler Martini anyone?

Art Shows at Silverwood & Spring Street Gallery

Silverwood Gallery and Home hosted a fall fete last Saturday for the opening of a new art show featuring the works of John and Gigi Begin. On a cold November evening, guests arrived at the store that was filled with the colors and warmth of the season and was the perfect setting for the show and reception. We were welcomed by the always gracious Chelsea Hoopes Silver and Charlene Courtney, both looking chic in black, the perfect backdrop for their Silverwood jewelry. Soon after we met the lovely John and Gigi Begin and chatted with them about their work and life. The couple moved upstate to Cambridge with their children from New York City and draw daily inspiration from their country surroundings. One of our favorite pieces was a ‘billboard’ for a New York state pig fair painted on reclaimed wood; it was both whimsical and charming. John and Gigi told me the inspiration for the piece came from imagining how advertising would be adapted to farmland, something that they might see while on their way to drop their children at school. Their work is collaborative, with John preparing the canvases, in this case mostly pieces of reclaimed wood, and Gigi painting. Guests sipped champagne and nibbled on hors d’ouvres as they mingled throughout the store and gallery, admiring the Begin’s pieces. We bumped into the beautiful Erika Gough with her husband Matt and also spotted Heather and Jason Ward, Ardie and Dan Russell, Jerry Burke and Kristen Mann in attendance. 10% of all sales on opening night were also donated to the Franklin Community Center food pantry. Chelsea and Charlene are a dynamic mother daughter team and we look forward to attending more of Silverwood’s openings in the future! Saratogians can check out John and Gigi’s works which will be at Silverwood through December.

Not far away at Spring Street Gallery the Tattlers got a chance to see a retrospective of screen prints by Saratoga native Jeremy Fish. The show, called “Prom King Class of 1992” as a nod to Jeremy’s Saratoga High School title, featured screen prints with 20% of all proceeds going to benefit the local skate community. Prints started going fast with curator Belinda Colon and Director Maureen Sager quickly putting up sold signs as the gallery filled up. Guests sipped wine and sampled bites from Spring Street Deli as they chatted about Jeremy’s thought provoking prints. We spoke to Jeremy, whose first job was as a paperboy for the Saratogian, about his experience coming back to his hometown for the show.

“It’s surreal, it’s one of those funny jobs where the personal relationships and the friendships I have made are almost as important as the artistic landmarks I leave behind. It’s things like this where people come back around and you get to see old friends. My next show is in Italy, and the gallery is owned by an Italian artist that I met ten years ago, and it’s those connections you make that create shows like this one.”

Belinda Colon, Jeremy’s mother Nickole Mook, Jeremy Fish and Maureen Sager

The community certainly came out to support Jeremy, including Jeremy’s parents, his fifth grade teacher and many old friends. Since moving to San Francisco in 1994 Jeremy’s work has been shown all over the world, and his work was featured in 2006 when Nike Skateboarding released a version of the Air Classic shoe with artwork designed by Fish. His bold, graphic style is both contemporary and timeless and his work has a voice all its own.

The show will be up through December 14th so head to Spring Street Gallery for a chance to see Jeremy’s work.

Taylor’s Heroes Rock of Ages Birthday Bash at Universal Preservation Hall

On Saturday night guests got a chance to be a rock star at the Rock of Ages Birthday Bash for Taylor’s Heroes at Universal Preservation Hall. Paparazzi, rock star makeup and hair applications by Fusion Salon, temporary tattoos and more awaited guests at this second annual celebration in honor of Taylor Miller, a Saratoga Springs High School graduate who was killed in suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan in 2010. Taylor’s Heroes was founded by Taylor’s mom Leslie Miller who founded Taylor’s Heroes along with her sister Suzanne D’Iorio, with the mission to help children who want to get fit accomplish their goal by providing them with the resources they need to succeed in a fun, non-competitive, easy format in a free program for kids. We spoke to Leslie, who was wearing Taylor’s dog tags in honor of her son, about what the program means to her and to Taylor’s memory.

“Taylor struggled so much with his weight in those key years, middle and high school, I think knowing what he felt, how confident and happy he was when he got into shape, I want to be able to share that as his legacy with other kids and other families. This is a great way for me to honor my son and to share something lasting with the entire community that will be valuable for their whole lives.”

Melissa Zieker with Taylor’s mom Leslie Miller

The event is called the “Birthday Bash” because Taylor would have been 22 on November 11, Veteran’s Day. Taylor’s mom said the event is “about having fun” and the vibe at Universal Preservation Hall certainly echoed that statement. As guests filled in the eclectic space the silent auction table became a hot spot with heavy bidding going on for items including sports memorabilia and spa packages. Everyone was getting into the spirit with the henna tattoos and we spotted committee member Traci Jersen sporting a gorgeous henna tattoo design on her hand and we chatted to committee member Melissa Zieker, there with husband Dr. Chris Zieker, about different aspects of the Taylor’s Heroes program including partnering up with Price Chopper and Longfellows to teach kids about healthy eating habits.

Also in attendance were committee members Michele Jacobs, Melanie Manuel with husband Keith Manuel, Katie Clark, Karen Spickler and Margaret Ida. Seth & Sequoyah Finkell who were decked out in full 80’s hair band costumes. The Tattlers also spotted Joanne Yepsen, Andrea Spungen, Dan & Tanya Warren, Ed Spickler, Chris & Kristin Sica, Trey & Lisa Pittman, and Stacey & Gary Frasier rocking out in support of Taylor.

Upstairs Classé Catering was getting their delicious food stations fired up serving guests bites like wild mushroom and Mediterranean pizza and local favorite band The Refrigerators took center stage to kick things up a notch. Leslie had the crowd all join in singing “Don’t Stop Believing” which was incredibly emotional. It was a song that was special to Taylor and his infantry and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Only in it’s second year this event and it’s program already have some incredible support and momentum in our community, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have on the lives of young people in our city.

The 10th Anniversary H.O.P.E. Gala at Saratoga National

A passion for pets drew a large crowd on Friday night, as Homes for Orphaned Pets Exists (H.O.P.E.) celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a fundraising gala at Saratoga National. Guests arrived to an impressive array of silent auction items, ranging from Knicks and Lakers tickets, to a gourmet pizza oven and a variety of dog and cat themed items, and sipped cocktails as they placed competitive bids.  Attendees nibbled on Prime’s delicious hors d’oeuvres  while circulating amongst the crowd and enjoying the music of Special Delivery.

We spotted owner of Crush and Cask Wine and Spirits Patricia Novo right away, who had donated wine for the event and shared with us her experience of adopting two abandoned pregnant cats. After having a total of 9 kittens, Patty spoke passionately about finding them all good homes.  Her sentiments echoed a common refrain throughout the evening, a dedication and love for animals. We also chatted with Dana Schafer and spotted Bob McNamara, Julie Romano and Jill Perkins in the crowd. Author Jill Sweet was also on hand signing her latest book, “Whiskers and Tales” with all funds raised from the sale of her book throughout the evening donated to H.O.P.E..

The Tattlers bumped into Michele and Ron Riggi, who were gold sponsors of the event and enthusiastic supporters of H.O.P.E.’s mission and President, Wendy Mongillo. Michele told us  “First I would like to Congratulate Wendy on doing a fabulous job for the past 10 years! When animals are abandoned by their owners H.O.P.E. makes it possible for them to be placed in loving homes that they deserve. It is a wonderful non-profit animal rescue.”. Other gold and platinum sponsors of the event included Tom Newkirk, a dedicated supporter of animal rescue organizations, Ballston Spa Witch Walk and McMurry Marketing Firm. As the Gala got underway, emcee Benita Zahn welcomed the crowd and introduced Wendy Mongillo, who spoke about starting H.O.P.E. ten years ago and thanked the crowd for their continued and enthusiastic support. She noted the hundreds of animals H.O.P.E. has been able to save over the years as well as recognizing the work of the volunteers within the organization and foster families. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco then took the stage and spoke about not only his love for animals, but the legislative efforts being made to keep our companion pets safe as well as continuing low cost spay and neuter programs. Congratulations to event committee Sandy D’Ambro, Wendy and Dave Mongillo, Jeanette Sparks, Kristina Kline, Jill Perkins, Joette Aisenstat, Janice and Bob Shorb, Nancy Burke, Pat Casey and Kelly Mandart on a wonderful and successful evening!

Saratoga Hospital Legacy Society Luncheon at Longfellows

The Saratoga Hospital Foundation held another beautiful and meaningful luncheon at Longfellows to thank and acknowledge those people who have tied their legacy to the hospital’s future.
This year’s honoree, Anne Bokan, was surrounded by dozens of family members and friends including all six of her children: Peggy and husband Rich Greenawalt, Marianne Bokan Blair, Susan Bokan, Patrice Bokan, Joe and wife Kathy Bokan and Beth Burt. Peggy spoke on behalf of the family about Anne’s life in Saratoga, first growing up at her father’s Russel Hotel, and then owning and running The Washington Inn, which had the fitting beginning as a hospital for the poor.

Others inducted into the Legacy Society this year were: Ruth Alsop, Kate Calbone, Bruce Clements and Joanna Zangrando.
Saratoga Hospital CEO Angelo Calbone spoke about the importance of the new Community Health Resource Center that will serve a growing group of people in need of primary healthcare services. Also, he thanked the people who have created a legacy at the hospital. He told the gathering that, decades from now as a result of these commitments made today, our successors will have endowment proceeds to help pay for the capital budget. He said that they will think back to this decade and thank us for having the foresight to help strengthen the hospital’s future in this way.

One Stop Holiday Shop and Fashion Show to benefit the Prevention Council at Longfellows

Shopping and philanthropy came together in perfect harmony at Sunday’s One Stop Holiday Shop and Fashion Show to benefit the Prevention Council. Guests arrived at Longfellows restaurant, filled with pop up shops from around the area and were able to browse and snap up goodies before the luncheon and program began. Some of the participating stores included Karalinas, Little Red Millinery, RM Irish Jewels, Thirty One Gifts and Saratoga Debut. Also on hand to keep guests looking coiffed and glam were Spa Cascada Salon and Spa and Fusion Salon.

Ashley, Fran and Erica Dingeman

We bumped into the always gracious Heather Kisselback , Executive Director of the Prevention Council, on the way in who spoke to us about the significance of the event. “This is our third fashion show to support the Prevention Council programs, which range from bullying, to drug and alcohol programs in school. We work with everyone, kids from kindergarten up to high school age. State funding keeps disappearing, but we want to keep our programs at the same level and fundraisers like this one help us fill in that gap.’ Heather managed to run the event while looking fabulous in a navy and pink ensemble, complete with fascinator. The room was hopping with eager shoppers and supporters of the Prevention Council and we bumped into the lovely Christine Joyce, Carolyn Willard and Llona Hogan who were mingling in the crowd. We also chatted with Deborah Docyk of Sanctuary Spa, who was one of the event’s raffle donors.

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco with his adorable dog Gracie

As guests were seated for the luncheon, the models lined up backstage to get ready for the fashion show. Some of the models included Jerilyn Hogan with her beautiful children, Katie and Jack, John Witt of Witt Construction, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco with his adorable dog Gracie, Jim Murphy’s statuesque daughters, Caroline and Claire, Fran Dingeman and her lovely daughters, Ashley and Erika, Angela Beddoe, Gloria Griskowitz, Heather Green, Stephen Heidorn, Dr. Barbara Messier, Mike Piccarillo, Melissa Ward and Mindy Wormuth. The Tattlers, along with our families, were also delighted to be modeling in the show and we were thrilled with our chosen outfits. Robin’s coat from Saratoga Saddlery was to die for and Jenny’s shearling lined Ugg boots from Mountainman Saratoga Outfitters were coveted by more than one guest. The models were dressed in a range of apparel from evening wear from Rockabella and Violet’s and Stella’s, The National and Spoken Boutique, to fabulous ski wear and winter apparel from Saratoga Saddlery and Mountainman Saratoga Outfitters and Alpine Ski Shop. Event chair Deirdre Ladd and her committee did a wonderful job organizing the event. The luncheon was a seamless blend of fun and fashion, all for a wonderful cause.

The Horses and Harvest Event at Druthers to Benefit Camp TLC

On Saturday Druthers was the warm and cozy backdrop for the first annual Horses and Harvest Event to benefit Camp TLC. Outdoor heating lamps dotted the tent and filled it with as much warmth as there was support for this great cause, which brings a camp experience with educational and creative programming to children living in isolating circumstances.

Camp TLC Executive Director Caroline Baumis spoke to the crowd about what camp means to her and to the children it serves. In the past two years since the launch of Camp, Camp TLC has toured the country and delivered Camp to 5 selected organizations in the states of NY, MA, CA, and MD and served approximately 500 children.  Thanks to donors, they were able to deliver Camp to well known facilities such as St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, The Children’s Inn at the NIH, and Housing Families. Camp TLC spends five days in each city and delivers themed filled activities that were facility in which they are residing. Camp TLC was developed to simulate a day for-profit camp that works within the constraints of the facility and allows children who would not otherwise be able to attend a summer camp, the ability to do so. The Camp held in Saratoga Springs provides camp to children of backstretch workers here for the Saratoga racing season.

Camp TLC Board Member Kate Veitch and Executive Director Caroline Baumis

Many local businesses helped support the event, including Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio and Crush and Cask Wine and Spirits and guests perused the stocked silent auction tables with hot items like a gorgeous red Dooney and Bourke handbag, gift baskets, and a four hour limo ride snapped up by Honorary Chairs Julie and Mayor Scott Johnson. The Tattlers chatted with President of the Board of Camp TLC Vincent Spencer, Heather and Brian Straughter, Catherine Hover from Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio, Meg Hegener, Chris Wallace, Oreste Cipollaro and Camp TLC Board Member Kate Veitch. Lisa Burke was there selling beautiful items from the Stella and Dot line with a portion of proceeds going directly to Camp TLC. Musicians from the NYC band Sweet Cyanide were up from the city playing favorites for the crowd, and guests enjoyed wine and specialty beer from Druthers as well as delicious hors d’ oeuvres.

Druthers co-owner Chris Martell and his beautiful wife Jenn attended the event as well and was very excited to be part of this first annual Camp TLC event. “We are very pleased with how the event went and are excited to be a part of the Saratoga community.  It is an honor to bring Camp TLC to Saratoga Springs. I am honored to be a part of the community and incredibly thankful for all of the support”.

Part of what makes Camp TLC so successful is the tireless work of Executive Director Caroline Baumis who never stops working to make it possible to bring camp to more and more children. She is already hard at work at providing a special Hurricane Relief camp to kids on Staten Island, and knowing her tireless devotion to this cause the Tattlers are confident she will make this camp a successful one for even more children in need.

For more information on Camp TLC click here, and to help support their Hurricane Relief efforts in Staten Island click here.