We Have Two Words for You: Mardi. Gras.

1537938_10151992338919492_28189456_oTomorrow night Saratogians are going to take a break from their post-holiday hibernations to celebrate at one of the biggest bashes this town sees all year, Hattie’s 13th Annual Mardi Gras Soiree! This year’s beneficiary will be Saratoga Hospital’s Community Health Center and the festivities kick off at 6pm with complimentary cocktails for first hour, delicious food from Jasper Alexander of Hattie’s, an incredible silent auction and more. The annual Mardi Gras event has raised more than $300,000 for various charities since and will definitely make a splash again this year.

Michael Panza and his stylish team at Fine Affairs are sure to outdo themselves again with the decor, and Garland Nelson and Soul Session will surely maintain their status as Saratoga faves as they keep party goers on the dance floor all night. Grab some beads, a mask and your closest friends for a photo memory with Heather Bohm Tallman Photography, the only thing more fun than taking a group shot at the Heather Bohm Tallman photo booth is checking out the photos online to relive the memories!

Every thing about this event is larger than life, guests will even be led into the party by the professional dancers of Northeast Ballet Company, so take off those snow boots and put your party shoes on for one of the highlights of the winter social season. This party is sure to warm you up!

Call 518-583-8340 or email acarroll@saratogacare.org to make a reservation today, and maybe we will spot you sipping a Hurricane tomorrow night!

l-r: Beth Alexander, Heather Straughter and Julie Bonacio

l-r: Beth Alexander, Heather Straughter and Julie Bonacio

Stylish Saratoga ladies stepped out yesterday in support of Jake’s Help from Heaven at an exclusive shopping event at Piper Boutique. While they sipped bubbly donated from Crush & Cask and sampled bites donated by Jacob & Anthony’s, shoppers perused the well-dressed racks of the shop, which was generously donating 100% of the proceeds from the event to JHFH.

Spotted shopping were JHFH board members Julie Johnson and Jim LaVigne, Mary Gavin, Julie and Sonny Bonacio, Theresa Skaine and her daughter, Beth and Zoe Alexander, Briana Kuruzovich, Bridget Kraev, Ellen Cuminale, Erin Smith, and Jake’s Help from Heaven co-founder Heather Straughter and her mother Susana Hoffman.

The Tattlers chatted with Heather, who had her arms full of gifts for friends (and a few for herself ) that she found at the popular downtown shop. “We continue to be so grateful for the ongoing support of our community. When Piper reached out to us, we were immediately struck by their generosity and their willingness to create a successful event for JHFH. They donated all proceeds during a 4 hour span and it came in at about $3000. Without events like this and the continued support from friends, family and the community we would not be able to continue to help families who really need our support.” Since it’s inception in 2011, Jake’s Help from Heaven has awarded over $91,000 in grants. Their goal is to assist children and their families affected by debilitating illnesses including neurological impairments, mitochondrial and genetic disorders, and pediatric orthopedic problems.

Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit Saratoga Center for the Family

photo courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photo courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

Corks, Forks and Brews packed the house at Prime at Saratoga National on November 14th in support of the Saratoga Center for the Family. It was a sold out event honoring Sonny and Julie Bonacio, and spirits were high with live music from Bad Medicine and wine tasting, food pairings, beer sampling and more.

Spotted in the crowd was event co-chair C.J. DeCrescente from event title sponsor DeCrescente Distributing Company who attended the event with his wife MaryBeth and three of his children: Jessica, Matt, and C.J. III, there with wife Brianna; and event co-chair Nicole Pitaniello from Fingerpaint. Also attending were Jane and Neil Golub, Michele and Ron Riggi, Patty and Vince Riggi, Neal Estano and Marcie Fraser, John and Suzanne Franck, Denise and John James, Walt Adams and Fran Dingeman from 101.3 The Jockey, Rick Partyka, Ashley Dingeman, Dan and Val Collins, Kimberly Ada, and Jeffrey Russell.

The planning committee, including Erica Dingeman of Social Radiant, Kate Otis from BlueShield of NENY, Erik Budrakey from DeCrescente Distributing Company, Ellen Brodie from M&T Bank, and Leah Slocum from Realty USA really outdid themselves and guests had their choice of samples to try while they chatted with friends. Heather Bohm Tallman’s photo booth was a popular spot as guests had a lot of laughs posing for snaps with her fun props.

When Saratoga Center for the Family first moved into their building over 10 years ago, Bonacio Construction did the renovations. On the night of the fire this past May, Sonny Bonacio was one of the first people that Deborah Tomaso, Executive Director of the Center called, because she knew that she wanted him to do the rebuild. She was worried that he wouldn’t be able to fit the Center’s rebuild in with such short notice given how busy he is, but when Deb called Sonny to ask him, he simply responded with “Whatever you need, consider it done”.

Sonny put the Center’s rebuild right into the mix and made the whole renovation process as easy as possible, making the Center a priority and did an incredible job getting them back into the facility as quickly as possible.

Guests took a break from the corks and forks for a minute to listen to Deborah Tomaso thank Sonny Bonacio for taking a personal interest in helping the Center rebuild. After she finished her speech, Sonny took the mic saying “My mom taught me two important things; first never cook bacon naked and second, never take credit for something that was already deserving of your effort” to much laughter and applause from the crowd.

Deborah Tomaso was thrilled with how the event turned out. “It was an overwhelming evening. To think this is our inaugural year, having so much support is really something special. To top it off, we got to properly thank Sonny. It was the perfect closure to a challenging 6 months and just another reminder of how special our community is”.




Saratoga Hospital Honors Terry Lee on her Retirement

Last Thursday evening friends and colleagues gathered at the Saratoga City Center to celebrate the retirement of Terry Lee, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation who is retiring after 24 years. The evening was styled as a playful “Roast and Toast” and guest knew there would be some good hearted joking going on to celebrate the hard work of one of our community’s most dedicated citizens.

Guests included Michael and Linda Toohey, Charles and Candace Wait, Jeff and Heath Ames, the previous CEO of Saratoga Hospital David Andersen, Joe and Gloria Dalton, Dr. Desmond & Betsy DelGiacco, Jim & Agnes Gavin, Michael & Martha Iacolucci, Mike & Marlene Okby, Susan and Jeffrey Halstead, Barry and Cindy Potoker, and Andy and Kathleen Fyfe.

Saratoga Hospital CEO and President Angelo Calbone took to the stage to kick off the roast while Terry sat next to him on stage looking radiant as always.

“Terry’s Style rubbed off on people: bold, confident, demanding, won’t take no for an answer. I even started asking strangers on Broadway to give me money,” he joked as guests roared with laughter. “Seriously, I think I speak for everyone, particularly at the hospital, it has been an honor to work with you,” Angelo said as he finished his piece. “I have never worked with anyone in your business that has been as supportive, inspirational, and helpful in my entire career. The success of Saratoga Hospital has to a great extent been in your hands, and you’ve made me a better CEO, and I frankly just can’t find the right words to say thank you.”

Ellen Kerness, a colleague and also a good personal friend of Terry’s took the stage next, saying jokingly “Terry, as you can see there are a number of people who want to wish you well, and some who quite frankly want to get some things off their chest”. Messages from friends who couldn’t be there included Judy LeCain who sent well wishes from Paris, and some playful messages from Mark Harmon from NCIS, telling Terry she simply had to come out for an audition and to make sure she didn’t forget her “pink leather booties”, and one from Phil Mickelson, expressing his excitement about having Terry consult on his women’s golf clothing line.

Ellen then read a letter from the White House, assuring guests “this was not a joke”, in which President Obama said “I am pleased to join your family, friends, and colleagues in congratulating you on your retirement. Healthcare professionals enjoy the unique reward of knowing their efforts help improve, extend and even save the lives of patients in need. Their work touches countless lives, and I hope you look back on your contributions and accomplishments with joy and pride.”

Next up everyone’s attention was directed to the big screen as a special video started rolling. First up we saw the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo with the white dress billowing around her waist, and once guests realized Terry’s face was superimposed onto Marilyn’s body everyone knew they were in for a real treat.

Judy LeCain and Linda Toohey appeared on the screen, sitting next to each other both holding cards while Linda asked the first of a series of “Terry Lee Trivia” questions as the Jeopardy theme song played in the background. This got many laughs as they asked questions with deadpan expressions on their faces like “How many hair colors has Terry had in the past 24 years” and “How many pairs of shoes has she worn?” Answer: 912, apparently.

Next up Terry’s husband, Dave Povero, got perhaps the biggest laugh of the night. He took guests on a little tour of the closets at their home. He showed everyone how Terry, a notorious clotheshorse known for her signature flashy style, packs each of their closets with her own clothing and shoes, to much laughter from the audience. At the end of his tour he looked at the camera and said, “You’re probably wondering where I keep all of my clothes, then. Well, I have to wear them!” he said, as he started unbuttoning his shirt to reveal another shirt underneath, and then another, and another, then doing the same routine with his pants. The crowd was nearly in tears they were laughing so hard at this point. He finished off his piece with a joke about how despondent the UPS delivery guy was going to be with Terry ordering less shoes now that she’s retiring. “There’s nothing more sad than seeing a guy wearing brown crying over a Zappos box”. To much applause Dave took to his feet for a second and gave a happy little wave as everyone cheered his pitch perfect retirement send off for his wife.

Next in the video tribute we saw Charles V. Wait from Adirondack Trust sitting in his office. He wished Terry well on her retirement, and then told how he was going to give a chronicle of his experiences with the feisty fundraiser as John Mellancamp’s “Hurt So Good” began playing in the background. A series of snapshots flashed on the big screen from “previous years”, showing him first with a black eye, then with a bandaged head, a broken arm, a neck brace (that one really got the crowd in stitches) and finally hobbling out of his office at the present day with a cane, bent over in pain. As he limped out he joked “Terry I’m so glad you’re retiring”. It was a hilarious ode to Terry’s never give up attitude in finding the vital funds needed to keep our community’s hospital going.

As friends and colleagues appeared on screen to wish Terry well, it became clear to even an outside observer that this woman is a much beloved, and well respected member of our community. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the video could have gone on for hours if they had included everyone who wanted to wish Terry well, and wanted to commend her on her hard work and dedication. The amount of guests who came out to show their thanks that evening was also a testament to the impact she has made on our community.

Terry appeared next as Wonder Woman before Stephan von Schenk, executive vice president at Adirondack Trust Company came on to tell guests that Terry would be getting the largest wing at the National Museum of Shoes. Before the video was up Terry would appear on screen as Mona Lisa, Lucille Ball (“We Love Terry”) and Queen Elizabeth, each getting more laughs than the last.

The “Ga Ga Gala Girls” appeared next, and Julie Bonacio, Colleen Carlson and Mara King relived some of Terry’s finest moments running the always incredibly successful Annual Benefit Auctions for Saratoga Hospital, congratulating her in raising an astounding 6.2 million dollars in gala monies over the years.

The crowd was just thrilled with the hilarious video, and Terry herself was still laughing as she took to the stage to thank everyone for attending. She remarked on what a special community Saratoga Springs is, and expressed how thankful she was that they let an “outsider” (she’s from Chicago) into the fold. Terry graciously accepted all of the well wishes and kudos, and insisted that she could not have been as successful without having such a great team at Saratoga Hospital, a team dedicated to giving them best care possible for the community.  As she finished her speech, everyone was on their feet in a rousing standing ovation, so very well deserved.

Tattler Preview: Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family

email2v2This Thursday at Saratoga National Golf Club head to Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family. This great event will be an evening of wine tasting, food pairings, beer sampling and a lot of fun.  They’ll have entertainment by Big Medicine and a Crazy Photo Booth by the lovely and talented Heather Bohm Tallman.

Saratoga Center for the Family works to strengthen children, families, and our community by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy.

Tickets are going fast for this event, click right here to make sure you don’t miss it!

The 9th Annual To Life! Pink Ball at the Hall of Springs

To Life! held their 9th Annual Pink Ball on Friday, November 1st at the Hall of Springs. The theme for the evening included a fabulous red carpeted entrance with guest photos for all attendees with a very festive “Oscars” theme. The Pink Ball is the inspiration of dancer and breast cancer survivor, Leslie Valencia. Since 2005, To Life! has hosted this special celebration to benefit women and families in our community affected by breast cancer.

At the event Marcie Fraser, YNN Medical Reporter, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and To Life! presented Community Service Advocate Awards. The gracious winners of the awards were Joseph Bell for Leading Surgeon for Breast Cancer Patients, Eileen Guarino for Supporting Role – To Life! Volunteer, Dr. Richard MacDowell for Leading Surgeon for Breast Cancer Patients, Turbine Services Ltd. received a Lifetime Achievement – To Life! Philanthropic Support Award and Michele Riggi received an award for Philanthropic Leadership.

The elegant evening included dinner, cocktails & hors d’oeuvres with a live and silent auction and live music by TS Ensemble got the guests on their feet for some dancing. Auctioneer LeGrande Serras worked his magic for the live auction, and Andrew Giordano was the lucky winner for a trip to wine country including a hot air balloon ride. A weekend at the Otesaga Hotel was snapped up by To Life! board member Cynthia Shenker and some other hot items included an evening at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway including a limo ride, dinner and some fun at the Vapor nightclub, a beautiful Frankie Fores print, and a Thanksgiving dinner catered by Mazzone Hospitality. LeGrande got the crowd whipped up into a bidding frenzy and everyone was in a giving mood, raising over $25,000 during the event.

Eileen Bird, Executive Director for To Life! was thrilled with the event. “It was a magical evening, the room filled with a warmth and camaraderie of true friends. We are fortunate to have community support for our work and are looking forward to utilizing the funds raised tonight to support educational programming those affected by breast cancer”.

Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball to benefit the Capital Region office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

photo by Ed Burke

photo by Ed Burke

The organizers of the annual Halloween Masquerade Ball were delighted to announce they raised nearly $70,000 for the Capital Region office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Board Chairman Sam Palazzole and his wife, Linda, Gala Committee chairwoman, did a marvelous job organizing this well-attended event. The evening was both festive and fun, all while raising money and awareness around the most serious issues facing our children.

Guests arrived at Saratoga National dressed to the nines in fabulous costumes, sipping cocktails and enjoying hors d’oeuvres as they perused the many silent auction items. Bob McKenna, Yono and Donna Purnomo, Kevin Johnson, Deidre Chuckrow, Ed Evers, David Fallon, Melanie Grossman, William Hawkins, John Kelly, William Leege, Gary Mattison, Edward Moore, Patty Riggi, Bob Quick and NCMEC Executive Director Ed Suk were all in attendance, as well as several members of local law enforcement, including members of the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshall’s Office, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Hudson Falls police and Saratoga Springs police.

Families of missing children were represented by the Frear, Lyall, Heiber and Reyes families. The silent auction items were bid on heavily and ranged from jewelry to sports tickets and memorabilia, to restaurant gift certificates and entertainment packages.

As guests made their way into the ballroom, mistress of ceremonies Liz Bishop welcomed everyone and began the evening’s program. Speakers included Sam Palazzole, Laura Emanatian of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and Mike Giovanone, the recipient of the John Walsh Award.

This was followed by some very spirited bidding for some fantastic live auction items.

David Stack and his wife were the lucky winners of an outstanding car experience that included a personal tour through Jim Taylor’s automobile collection followed by a drive through the Adirondacks in which they will try four of Taylor’s different cars, such as a Ferrari and Aston Martin.

McKenna and Ryan Van Hall will get a chance to escape to some warmer weather this winter, both winning a week in Naples, Fla., generously donated by the Basiles.

David Geliebeter and his wife were delighted to bring home Jets tickets, as well as a day at the races with Parting Glass Racing and Tom Gallo.

Last, but certainly not least, the evening’s costume awards were handed out, with Dan and Donna Barber winning for best couple as clowns, Andrew Grazulis of BBL taking home the scariest costume award and Frank Mitola winning for most original as the Mad Hatter. Dressed as Fred Flintstone, Daniel Shepard won the funniest costume award and was joined by Lisa Dunney, dressed as Wilma Flintstone. Andrew was joined by his wife, Tahnya Grazulis. The Masquerade Ball was enjoyed by all and marked another success for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

TJ’s Turkeys EAT & FEED benefit at The Brook Tavern

TJ Tracey receiving a check from Brook Tavern owner Bob Lee for the proceeds from the EAT and FEED event

TJ Tracey receiving a check from Brook Tavern owner Bob Lee for the proceeds from the EAT and FEED event

A full turkey dinner at the Brook Tavern in Saratoga Springs is hard to pass up, and it was a not to miss event on Monday, October 28th for the TJ’s Turkeys “Eat and Feed” Event. The sell out event saw the community rally to support this great organization.

TJ’s Turkeys was started by a local 13 year old named TJ Tracy, with the mission of providing turkeys to those in need on Thanksgiving Day. Started when TJ was just 8 years old, he collected $200 within his first year and was able to provide 10 turkeys to those in need through the Franklin Community Center. The next year, he raised $1,200, which provided around 60 turkeys to those in need. Last year he raised $3,000 dollars, providing 100 turkeys with many of the Thanksgiving extras including gravy, potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Spotted at the dinner were Tom and Kristie Roohan, Charles Wait, Heather Straughter there with son Ethan, Ron Ireland, Valerie Collins, James Williams Ness there with daughter Addie, Erica and Ashley Dingeman, and Amy and Rod Sutton.

TJ was recently honored by the Saratoga Spring Rotary Club as an outstanding citizen of the year, alongside Sonny and Julie Bonacio and Barbara Messier, Lake Avenue Elementary School principal. This is the first time a child has ever won this award, and many have commented on how poised and gracious TJ was at the ceremony.

The Brook Tavern generously donated 50% of the evening’s proceeds to TJ’s Turkeys, and owner Bob Lee was thrilled to host the event. “TJ’s enthusiasm and charitable nature is contagious. It will be an annual event at The Brook Tavern.”

TJ definitely has a lot to be proud of, already exceeding his fundraising goal and raising around $8,000. We spoke to TJ about the event. “We are so grateful to the Brook Tavern for hosting the first EAT and FEED for TJ’s Turkeys, and to the Saratoga community for selling out the event. We are exceeding our goals and have more than doubled last year’s money raised, which means there’s so much more we can do to help our needy families with all of this generosity.”

If you’d like to support this inspiring young man’s mission, the next TJ’s Turkeys event will be held on Wednesday, November 6th at Cantina in Saratoga Springs. If you dine at Cantina that day, mention TJ’s Turkeys and 33% of your bill will be donated to the organization.


Sipping for Seniors to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center at Javier’s

Javier’s was the hotspot on Thursday, October 24th as supporters packed their 1st floor Chicchetti Bar for Sipping for Seniors to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center as Guest Bartenders took their turn behind the bar serving up drinks to raise funds. John Witt was a popular bartender as he mixed up his signature margaritas, always a crowd pleaser, and Tina Nigro and Lisa Gabryshak had fun and raked in the tips.

Friends and supporters came out to order up their favorites, and Brian Straughter and Jeffrey Halstead came out to support their favorite bartenders Heather Straughter and Susan Halstead as they took their turn pouring the drinks. Spotted in the crowd we saw Jacob Hopper, Terry Leahy, Saratoga Senior Center Executive Director Lois Celeste, Natalie Sillery, Rick Partyka, and Jessika Poulin.

Rich Flaherty, Dimitri Khazin, Jenny Witte, Janet Franco and Ryen VanHall rounded out the knockout group of Guest Bartenders and kept the energy going as Ericka O’Donnell entertained guests with some latin tunes.

Raising well over $2,000 the night was as successful as it was fun, with everyone already looking forward to the next one.

Signature Chefs Auction for March of Dimes at Canfield Casino

On Tuesday, October 22nd guests at the Signature Chefs Auction For March of Dimes at Canfield Casino were treated to an evening of tastings by great chefs of the Capital Region. Event chairs Angela Beddoe, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief , Herlife Magazine and Joanne DiMarco, Vice President-Select Sotheby’s International Realty welcomed guests to the delicious event which celebrated the March of Dimes 75th Anniversary and honored Dave Vanderzee and his dedication to March of Dimes for over 30 years.

Guests perused the fully stocked silent auction and table hopped among the tasting tables as they mingled and chatted. The evenings tastings were provided by Adirondack Winery, Bellini’s, Century House, Gideon Putnam Resort, Heven Hill Distilleries, Hilton Albany, Mazzone Hospitality, Portofino’s, Sweet Temptations, the Edison Club, the Inn at Erlowest, The Mallozzi Family, The Meat House, The Wine Bar-Saratoga, Chianti’s and Valente’s Restaurant. The Fund the Mission sponsor was Community Care Physicians: Division of Pediatrics

Spotted doing some sampling we saw Melissa Ward, Michelle Moricone, owner of Piper Boutique Alessandra Hall, Mike Mihaly, Rich White, and Steering Committee Members Lois Celeste, Lisa Austin, Margaret D’Andrea, Heather Duval, Lisa Higgins and Rachel Uccellini, there with husband Tom.

The competition was stiff and judging was a tough job that night, but Portofino’s came out on top and was voted Best Table winner, and Chianti’s was voted best tasting. Chef Fabrizio Bazzani from Chianti took home the top prize and won the Iron Chef Competition.

We spoke to Event Chair Angela Beddoe about the popular event. “It was a wonderful evening with some of the area’s top chefs, all for a good cause-Healthy Babies.  The work of the March of Dimes is so very important and we are grateful to everyone who helped make the evening a success”.

Numbers were still being tallied as of press time, but the event was a total success, raising between $55 and 60K for March of Dimes.