Holiday cheer, fundraisers and parties abound for locals

| December 29, 2022 | 0 Comments

An ivy-covered wall of champagne-filled glasses greeted 500 decked out guests sporting velvet jackets, satin holiday frocks and heels made for walkin’ at the Dec. 4 Junior League of Los Angeles annual Harvest Boutique fundraiser at the Skirball Cultural Center.

JLLA President Joy C. Williams proclaimed that the 23rd annual event would set the tone for the remainder of the year, and this party didn’t disappoint. Final numbers aren’t in yet, but ticket sales and the live auction alone raked in more than $125,000 for JLLA community projects.

HARVEST BOUTIQUE VIPs: Rosie Herzog (Harvest Boutique co-chair), Tessa Madden Storms (VP development), Joy C. Williams (president), Jane Davidson (Harvest Boutique co-chair) at the Junior League event.

Upon arrival, guests bid on silent auction items including a private suite at Arena, getaways to Iceland and the island of Capri and autographed movie posters and sports memorabilia including a boxing glove signed by Muhammad Ali. More fun was had with the many boutiques that set up tables for shopping and gifting, donating 20 percent of their proceeds to the organization.

Guests feeling lucky could drop their coin on a $25 wine pull that guaranteed “every ticket wins a mystery bottle of wine.” Attendees were then ushered into the hangar-like Guerin Pavilion to celebrate the three honorees of the occasion, Community Achievement Award winner Jesse Draper (founding partner of Halogen Ventures), Community Achievement Award winner Melissa Hanna (co-founder and CEO of Mahmee) and Spirit of Volunteerism Award winner Gayle Wilder (active JLLA member since 1991).

PAST PRESIDENTS AND MORE: Alexa Blei-fer (past president – 2012-13), Julie Guest (past president – 2005-06), Katherine La Spada (president-elect – 2023-24), Joy C. Wiliams (president – 2022-23), Lisa Miller (past president – 2004-05), and Wendi Woods Chandler (past president 2003-04) attended.

The luncheon featured a green salad starter with candied pecans, tomatoes and grapefruit; a main course featuring buttered mashed potatoes and rosemary chicken with sautéed vegetables; and an irresistible dessert plate of mini chocolate soufflé, lemon meringue tart and a ridiculously large dark chocolate-dipped strawberry. The JLLA, built as an “organization of women whose mission is to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration and training,” was established in Los Angeles in 1926. Harvest Boutique Co-Chair Jane Davidson’s great-grandmother, Ethel Coleman Toll, lived in Windsor Square and was the JLLA President in 1943.

“This event was meant to reignite, rebuild and reconnect,” said current president Joy C. Williams. “I’m so proud of this community and grateful for the people who have made it a success, and we’re so fortunate to be able to give back.”

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NEIGHBORS enjoy the horse-drawn carriage festivities in Brookside.

After a two-year covid hiatus, the threat of rain, followed by actual rain, couldn’t stop neighbors young and not-as-young from flocking to the Dec. 4 Brookside Annual Holiday Caroling Party on South Tremaine Avenue. Nearly 100 eager revelers popped in early to the home of Brookside Homeowners’ Association Communication Chair Loren Dunsworth, where they were treated to hot mulled wine, eggnog, hot chocolate, candied chocolate peppermint bark and an array of holiday cookies and treats. The evening’s main attraction, a glowing horse-drawn carriage carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus, made cheery rounds through the winding streets of Brookside, carting children and their parents from street to street, belting out holiday songs to their hearts’ content. Spotted in the crowd were Kes Trester with adult children Luke and Jordan, Deborah Stein, Dana Peterson, Laura Siegel and Bob Wenokur, Laura and Adam Abramson with son Archie, Gina and Jonathan Rudnick with daughter Pearl, and many new and young families who have recently made Brookside their home. By the smiles seen on the children’s faces, these families may never leave!

BROOKSIDERS Adam and Laura Abramson and son Archie exude holiday spirit.

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National Giving Alliance (NGA) members and their BFFs showed up in force on Dec. 1 to shop at Beverly Boulevard’s Mud Australia, a Sydney-based company that offers handmade porcelain home goods. NGA was the beneficiary of 20 percent of sales from 4 to 7 p.m., so local members wanted to show their commitment to the organization by buying for a cause. NGA Hancock Park is the local chapter with a mission to improve the quality of life for economically disadvantaged individuals within its community by collecting, purchasing and distributing new clothes, linens and personal care items for eight local agencies. Shoppers on the list snacked on cheese, crackers, fruit and nuts while they sipped champagne and ooo’d and aaaah’d at the pastel-colored plates, vases, bowls, wine glasses and platters that give an airy quality to any table setting. Favored by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, the guests all made their own difficult picks of “Which color should I choose?” Enjoying the light-hearted decision making were Michaela Burschinger, Megan Drynan, Megan Derry, Nora Suk, Susan Kneafsey, May Isbell, Heather Duffy Boylston, Julie Hoegee and store manager Erin Garvan.

AT MUD AUSTRALIA, NGA members and guests included, from left to right: Nora Suk, Susan Kneafsey, Megan Drynan, NGA President Beverly Brown, Michaela Burschinger and Erin Garvan

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Several Windsor Square neighbors were in the spotlight at the Assistance League of Los Angeles’ annual meeting on Dec. 7.

June Bilgore received the prestigious Anne Banning award, named after the League’s founder.

Flo Fowkes and Kiel FitzGerald also came away with honors for their work for Operation School Bell.

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The Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society fittingly picked the 100-year-old Tam O’Shanter for its annual holiday party on Dec. 11. Just steps from Walt Disney’s favorite table, more than 65 members chatted, cheered and toasted a successful year (including the $16,000 raised from November’s Rimpau Boulevard homes tour) and an exciting 2023 to come. Marine Corps representative Dylan Barney thanked all of the guests for each bringing an unwrapped toy to donate to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots holiday toy drive. WSHPHS president Richard Battaglia welcomed guests and encouraged new members to introduce themselves and reveal what brought them to the historical society.

New member Elizabeth Yeo said she has lived in Hancock Park for more than 20 years and now is both intrigued and excited to get to know the history and architecture of the homes she drove past for all of those years. Linda Nelson and Michael Madison recently moved to Hancock Park after living in Downtown Los Angeles the past nine years. “We joined because we wanted to know more about the history of the area,” said Linda. “We were drawn to Hancock Park because it is quieter and has such beautiful architecture, and we love the idea of shopping locally.”

AT THE TAM O’SHANTER, new Historical Society member Cynthia Paciolla introduces herself as Society president Richard Battaglia officiates.

Windsor Square residents and new members John Iglar and Jeremy Braud chose the area because of their own upbringing and the neighborhood’s historical significance. “We’re from the East Coast and New Orleans,” explained Iglar, “and we wanted to move to one of the most historically preserved areas of Los Angeles. We appreciate the history and want to help preserve it.”

After introductions, guests enjoyed the dining choices of prime rib, pan-roasted salmon, roasted turkey and vegetarian entrees. Longtime members Milli Schuber, Carol Wertheim and Myrna Gintel were all ornamented in their holiday best while celebrating and savoring their English trifle dessert, a fitting finale for a group that was overjoyed to be together in person, celebrating history and friendship and a year of success.

And now you’re in the Larchmont know!

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Category: People

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