American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Gala


On November 14, 2015, The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) honored me(!) with the 2015 Humanitarian Award for my advocacy in promoting AFSP’s overall mission: to end the silence and reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide.

When Garden Wellington (PR for the AFSP) approached me a few years back, asking me to get involved in the organization by photographing the Out of the Darkness Walk, I turned her down. I told her I was too busy. But the truth was that I didn’t want to face my past. She persisted, and a few months later asked me again, saying the organization could use a little HughE love on a subject, that at the time rarely was covered in the media. I told her I’d get back to her.

I realized I could help others by telling my story, when I struggled with the issue in my 20s. I then told my story on my blog and on social media. They tell me that with my help over the past three years they have double the number of people who come to their annual walk, held in October; this past year 5,000 walkers participated.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leader in the fight against suicide. They fund research, offer educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. The 350 guests who attended enjoyed dinner, dancing and the most amazing silent auction from generous sponsors. Thanks to everyone who supported the event by attending, or making a donation. We’re saving lives.

Photos after the jump »

Big Brothers Big Sisters 100th Anniversary Gala


The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania held their 100th anniversary gala last night.

Guests walked the purple carpet and posed for a handful of paparazzi, then continued into the purple-themed Kimmel Center where they enjoyed several cocktail parties. Upstairs on tier two, guest performers Vanessa Williams, Macy Gray, Stephan Jenkins, Marlon Wayans and Shontelle mingled with VIPs. Meanwhile, downstairs in Commonwealth Plaza another cocktail party was going strong in the beautifully designed area decorated on a grand scale by Petah Bashano Event Décor and Design and food by Garces Catering.

Since its inception in 1915, the Big Brothers Big Sisters has offered mentoring to thousands of boys and girls by reaching out and believing positive adult role models make a difference. And they do, many of the speakers during the program said.

Several people and organizations were honored during a program in Verizon Hall, including Comcast, The Bentley Family, Dr. Wilson Goode, Fox Rothschild, and two long time volunteers, Tom McElvogue and Joan Tishgart. The goal for the evening was to raise $1 million dollars; that goal was exceeded, but there is still an opportunity to raise even more funds to help mentor a child.
Photos after the jump »

Marc Vetri Hosts Annual Great Chefs Event at Navy Yard


More than 1,200 guests attended the 10th annual Great Chefs Event on Tuesday, June 9th. The yearly eating party thrown by Philadelphia super-chef Marc Vetri was held at Urban Outfitters in the Navy Yard, with proceeds going to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand fight childhood cancer, and to the Vetri Foundation for Children. Neuroblastoma took Alex Scott’s life when she was eight, and her parents, Jay and Liz Scott, carry on her goal of helping doctors find a cure for the disease.

The event attracts four dozen top chefs from the U.S. and Italy who created delicious dishes and desserts, and features both a live and a silent auction — which included clothing, lavish trips, sports tickets and experiences — that raises nearly $100,000 every year.

This year the after-party was held just a few blocks away, under a white tent in front of Vetri’s restaurant Lo Spiedo, with Questlove spinning at the bash again. 

Photos after the jump »

85th Annual Radnor Hunt Races


The Radnor Hunt Races celebrated its 85th Anniversary on May 16th during the spring tradition of steeplechasing at the Radnor Hunt. Six exciting races featured horses vying for purses totaling $180,000. Guests dressed in fashionable derby party outfits, with many of the ladies wearing hats of elegance and style. They enjoyed tailgate picnics, buffet luncheons in the sponsored tents and just took in the fresh air while watching the races along the fence with friends and family. All proceeds from the Radnor Hunt Races benefit the land and water preservation programs of the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. BNY Mellon celebrated 31 years as lead sponsor of the Radnor Hunt Races.

Photos from the Radnor Hunt after the jump »

Fairmount Park Conservancy 8th Annual Centennial Celebration


More than 500 park supporters attended the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s 8th Annual Centennial Celebration held at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center last night. This year’s honorees included John Crowe, president and CEO of, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations, for corporate leadership; Kathleen McGinty, chief of staff to Governor Tom Wolf and a longtime environmentalist, for civic leadership; and Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC (which includes a tree planted in his honor at Belmont Plateau), as the John Binswanger Park Champion. Crowe’s Saint-Gobain is one of the main sponsors of The Oval; it will kick off the summer season and commemorate the company’s 350th anniversary with a never-before-seen global exhibition, “Future Sensations,” which will make its only U.S. tour stop at The Oval from May 30th through June 6th.

Kristen Welker, NBC News White House Correspondent, was a great master of ceremonies, filling in for Andrea Mitchell, who was on the Hillary Clinton trail. Welker was grateful to be back in her hometown with her mother and among friends in the park where she played softball as a kid.

Photos from the Fairmount Park Conservancy Gala after the jump »

The First Annual Rad Girl Rad Awards


Last year Leah Kaufman founded, a digital platform that celebrates innovative and inspiring women making a difference in Philly. This year they hosted their first ever awards ceremony and celebration to honor local inspiring female leaders in the fields of technology, media, culture and business.

The Rad Awards were held at The Dreaming Building in Northern Liberties, an innovative co-working space for artists and young entrepreneurs. The venue was “rad” itself as the building filled with many of the nominees and supporters, allowing just a sliver of a stage for the awards to be given out.

The focus of the evening was on networking and celebration. The spirits flowed with speciality cocktails from Bluecoat American Dry Gin and light fare from Rouge (who knew they catered?). Music from DJ Diamond Girl kept the crowd grooving before and after the ceremony.

Photos and the full list of Rad Award winners after the jump »

Red & White Ball for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Philadelphia


On Saturday night, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Eastern Pennsylvania held their 2nd annual Red & White Ball at the Westin Hotel in Center City. More than 500 well-dressed attendees wearing the colors of the night — red and white — walked the red carpet and posed for photos, before joining the cocktail party and checking out the silent auction items ranging from trips, to experiences to sports outings. There was also a raffle to win a brand new 2015 Mercedes-Benz SUV.

At 8 p.m. guests headed into the dinner in the Grand Ballroom to honor a courageous young woman, 15-year-old Karlee Hofmann, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) as a child and lost the use of her legs, but with treatment beat cancer. She attends Council Rock High School, has lots of friends, participates in many activities and is a remarkable cheerleader. (You can make a donation in her honor here).

Photos from the Red & White Ball after the jump »

Philadelphia Flower Show Black-Tie Gala and Afterparty


The 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show opened on Friday, February 27, 2015, with a black-tie gala. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail party under a marquee of beautiful flowers while surrounded by Caribbean pirates, playful rats, princesses, and chickens in the barnyard. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Movies,” and as you may have guessed, there’s a large contingent of displays inspired by Disney movies as well as Hollywood classics. After the cocktail hour, dinner took place among the floral displays. As dinner ended at 10 p.m., guests joined the afterparty where DJ Montone and DJ Jason Weiss kicked off dance party which continued well after midnight. The Flower Show runs through March 8, with a schedule full of special events, celebrity appearances, and lots and lots of beautiful flowers and shopping.

More photos from the Flower Show Gala after the jump »

Philly Cooks: The Ultimate Philly Eating Experience

From left: Sandy Mullen, Open Table, Nick Elmi, Laurel, Stacey Lyons, GM at  Ela, author/chef Jeremy Nolen, executive chef of Brauhaus Schmitz, Jason Cichonski, Ela and Gaslight.

From left: Sandy Mullen, Open Table, Nick Elmi, Laurel, Stacey Lyons, GM at Ela, author/chef Jeremy Nolen, executive chef of Brauhaus Schmitz, Jason Cichonski, Ela and Gaslight.

Philadelphia magazine and Foobooz hosted another successful Philly Cooks (more photos from the event here) on Wednesday, February 18th. Guests at the annual event enjoyed delicious bites and spirits throughout the night with more than 40 participating restaurants, live music by East Coast Entertainment, beer, wine and a VIP Infiniti Lounge where Luke Palladino served saba-glazed braised beef shanks. As for spirits, imbibing took place at the Crown Royal Corral, where guests enjoyed banjo music by Greg Wright and specialty drinks from the whiskey company, and the Foobooz Speakeasy, which was located in the center of the ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Hotel, where guests enjoyed drinks from Franky Bradley’s, The Olde Bar and The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co.

More photos from Philly Cooks after the jump »

Hair O’ the Dog 2015


The 21st Annual Hair O’ the Dog gala took place Saturday night, January 17th, at the Crystal Tea Room in the John Wanamaker Building. Hair O’ the Dog was started in 1995 by friends and business partners Dan Cronin and Robert Molinaro (of Chorus Communications) as a small party of friends and has grown into a must-attend 1,000-strong charitable event.

This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia chapter of UNICO, which provides clothing to the homeless. Often described as an adult prom, the glamorous event attracts guests who really dress in their gala best, from black tie to gowns, cocktail dresses to your best dark suit.

I’ve gone to about five Hair O’ the Dogs, and this was by far the best: The crowd was beautiful, the event was well-organized, and the space was perfect. I’ve never seen the Crystal Tea Room used so well.

The lounge outside of the ballroom was dubbed Ibiza, and there guests could lounge on sofas, hang at cocktail tables, be entertained by feathered dancers, and dance to the tunes of DJ Montone, all while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a light buffet.

The main ballroom was dubbed “Sin City,” a Vegas-inspired area with reserved tables, an extensive silent auction of sports memorabilia, and rotating musical acts — The Rockets, DJ Dan Cronin, Maxim Model, DJ Paola Shea of CBS’s Big Brother and, at midnight, Natalie Guercio of VH1’s Mob Wives debuted her new song, “Throttle” — with a light buffet served all night.

The final room was the super exclusive Miami bottle service room; entertainment included DJ Bizz, Mr. Robot, lighted dancers, and the Jewelz dancers. The standout of the night was definitely the dresses. I’m running a few of my favorites, which ones do you like?

Photos from Hair O’ the Dog after the jump »

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