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September 2009


DISPATCHES

Reason To Celebrate

AS CTC&G TOASTS ITS 5TH YEAR, WE ASK AREA VIPs: WHAT WAS A NOTABLE MILESTONE FOR YOU?

Perhaps the quietest, yet deeply meaningful, celebration I have enjoyed happened last June when I was announced as the new president of Near & Far Aid. Our organization is all volunteer; together with donors and event sponsors, we have been able to grant more than $6 million since 2005 to those affected by poverty in Fairfield County.
—Patsy Devine, president, Near & Far Aid

The most important marker in my life was marrying Peter Megargee Brown, followed by our decision in 2007 to leave Manhattan and live in our weekend cottage in Stonington full time. It is now where my grandchildren come to visit. This is our happiest chapter and we have never looked back.
—Alexandra Stoddard, author

My 30th birthday was the one milestone that I embraced with great gusto. I rented out the most fabulous, over-the-top restaurant of the year, QV, the reincarnation of the legendary Quo Vadis. It's sensational cuisine in a heart-stopping space of antique grandeur on the Upper East Side. Eighty of my closest friends celebrated with me and danced the night away.
—Jamie Drake, Drake Design Associates

Turning 40 was a big event in my life: I was expecting twin boys on my birthday so my husband and I planned to celebrate a month early. We invited 50 guests to Greenwich for a Mexican-themed party. We ate, danced and even had a piñata filled with my favorite candy. It was a wonderful evening and two weeks later I delivered our twin boys.
—Kelly Forsberg, vice president of the Executive Committee for The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

I accepted an invitation from Outward Bound to participate in a Maine sailing trip. We set us off on a seven-day expedition on a boat in darkening skies with 12 strangers and two instructors. No motor, only ourselves, our oars and a sail. We had to stand watch, cook meals, swim in the sea to bathe, handle ropes and climb over high walls. I learned more about people and how they treat each other than from any other experience. It taught me more than anything that I have ever done.
—Susan Magrino Dunning, CEO and founder, Susan Magrino Agency

When I won my Emmy award, I celebrated on board a private plane on my way back to Vegas because I didn't want to miss a show!
—Joan Rivers, entertainer

One Valentine's Day, my boyfriend, Simon, suggested we go upcountry skiing in Aspen to an area I hadn't skied before. We rounded a corner and there was a wonderful, catered winter picnic: a table and bench carved out of the snow, wine and Champagne and lots of red roses, all overlooking an amazing view. It was such a total surprise and it was so thoughtful for someone to take all that trouble to make it an amazing, memorable day.
—Carolyne Roehm, author and entertaining expert

On a whim, John Rosselli and I decided to open a garden and interiors shop called Treillage. For the opening party we went to Hunts Point Market and bought cases of fruits and vegetables. We came back and created huge still lifes based on 17th-century Italian paintings. It was such a thrilling night and not only did we launch a very creative shop, but we fell in love and are now married. – BUNNY WILLIAMS, INTERIOR DESIGNER

My 80th birthday was an incredible black-tie event in the old Le Cirque space hosted by Barbara Walters, Ann Richards, Joan Ganz Cooney, Cynthia McFadden, Ellen Levine, Louise Grunwald, Marie Brenner and Joni Evans. I only had to show up and be seated between Mike Wallace and Mike Nichols. Bette Midler and Liza Minnelli sang, and Michael Bublé warbled "Just the Way You Look Tonight." It was a night to remember, and I truly do! I felt so lucky to be 80."
—Liz Smith, wowowow.com columnist and "The Grand Dame of Dish"

The only marker in life that I was actually acknowledged with a reward was when I started my company and set my first goal at $1 million in sales. The prize to myself? A gorgeous Cartier ring with a large gold band engraved with elephants. My logo at the time incorporated elephants and I became obsessed with the possibility of obtaining this ring. Luck came knocking by my second season, when I started designing a mini collection of skirts using scarves printed with vintage maps. They were an instant phenomenon—I beat my sales goal at my first Coterie show in NYC.
—Amy Smilovic of Tibi, fashion designer

Five years ago, several months after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, we decided to be married on Nantucket. We had told only a few friends at home in Connecticut and had invited no one. It had been raining during the day but as we walked out onto the beach with the Justice of the Peace, the setting sun appeared from behind the clouds. Here we were, in the open for anyone to see, expressing our feelings for each other. After having grown up at a time when we had to conceal our feelings, we realized we were suddenly part of a new world.
—Alan Shayne, former president of Warner Brothers Television, and Norman Sunshine, artist

A shoe I designed while I was still in college was being sold in the I. Miller store on 57th and 5th in New York City, and it was very exciting to see people buying it. It got a very good response. That's when I decided to forget about Wall Street and to turn to fashion instead.
—Stuart Weitzman, fashion designer

In 1974, I started my company in Fairfield with myself, a desk and a phone. Twenty-five years later, I celebrate every day when I see my sons working in our business. As a family, we have the strength of commitment to clients in four states, and we've shared our gratitude by raising more than a million dollars for breast cancer support at UConn and Dana Farber hospitals. Today, with four grandchildren, I expect to be celebrating for 40 more years!
—Bill Raveis, CEO, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance

An important marker would be the decision to leave the security of a corporation, to follow my risk-laden love of cooking.
—Tim LaBant, chef/ owner, Schoolhouse at Cannondale

The most recent major marker in my life was being elected to Congress in November 2008. I celebrated by sleeping for 12 hours straight, then getting together with friends over a good meal to talk about possibilities and pitfalls, hopes and ideas. Rarely am I happier than to be in the company of good friends over a nice meal.
—Jim Himes, congressman, 4th District

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