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Pink and blue and Paris too

By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 28, 2002

THINK PINK: Online RSVPs to "Pink Martinis at the Blue Martini" arrived from 300 people -- mostly women -- to attend the June 19 kickoff of Race for the Cure. Invitations to the fundraiser at the hot new bar in International Plaza went via e-mail to eliminate the cost of printing and postage.

"The only thing printed were some posters," said Brenda Little, marketing chair of Race for the Cure, the Sept. 21 Run/Walk sponsored by the Suncoast branch of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Almost 200 others -- including lots of men -- bought tickets at the door. The 13 Ugly Men club talked up the benefit to its following.

The $25 ticket included a choice of two pink drinks, named and donated by Southern Comfort, makers of the new liquor Southern Twist.

"The Survivor" blends Southern Twist, Chardonnay, champagne, peach puree and a splash of orange juice. "The Big Squish" mixes Southern Twist and red grapefruit juice. If you wonder about that name, ask any woman who's ever had a mammogram.

Emcee Sue Zelenko, Channel 10 News anchor, broadcast live segments throughout the party, gave away door prizes and kept the spotlight on a silent auction to help net more than $12,000.

GARDEN FOR NAPLES: Who would have thought 150 Tampa folks would pay $100 each for dinner and a Tommy Bahama fashion show with the money going to build a "Garden of Hope and Courage" outside the Naples Community Hospital's cancer treatment center?

"But everyone knows someone affected by cancer," said Ian Prosser, who hosted the June 20 fundraiser at his floral shop, Botanica International.

The Naples garden was founded by Tommy Bahama, so many guests wore his casual wear to drink butterscotch martinis garnished with floating butterscotch lifesavers. Art of the Feast ladled crab and corn chowder at an island buffet. Tall white feathers became palm tree centerpieces for sheer muslin-topped tables. An early evening shower added more tropical effect.

Breast cancer survivors and their family members modeled the "Garden of Hope and Courage" collection. Supervisor Paul Schneider said a percentage of the line's sales go to the garden. Ginny Lindquist, owner of Beadazzled, made each model a Tommy Bahama-theme bracelet dangling monkey,hibiscus, surfboard and pineapple charms. Beadazzled designs are available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom's and Sydney Buchanan's.

EAT CHOCOLATE, MAKE JEWELRY. Sculpting chocolate and stringing glass beads doesn't usually top the agenda of the Network of Executive Women. The June 19 get-together at the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn was a hands-on fundraiser.

Michael Baugh, chefand owner of "Let Them Eat Cake," made it look easy to create a 3-D chocolate fish. Eiffel Tower, Buccaneer pirate ship, you name it, Baugh will create it in chocolate.

Artisans Patti Bacun and Connie Parkinson of "Small Craft Warnings" let guests melt glass rods around steel to make their own beads. Suzanne Rood was one who found out how hard that was.

The beaded jewelry was for sale, including watch bracelets made by Barbara Heineken, NEW's vice president of outreach and the city's recycling coordinator. Proceeds fund $500 annual scholarships given to five women, usually single mothers, to spend on whatever they need to get through school, including new clothes, car repairs and baby sitters.

WAY TO GO, JOE: The Ybor City Lions Club celebrated its 51st anniversary honoring Joe Capitano Sr., CEO of the Radiant Oil Co., at the Columbia Restaurant. Felix Cannella, John Centinaro and Angelo Spicola were the greeting committee on June 20. Singer Jeanette Assalti entertained at dinner.

Capitano's impact is felt all over Tampa, but especially in Ybor City by St. Peter Claver School, Housing by St. Lawrence, the Italian Club, the Boys & Girls Club, Central City Elementary charter school and Phoenix House, formerly Daytop.

"Last week, Pope John Paul II sanctified Padre Pio," Fortune Bosco told the 100-plus guests. Tonight, we're sanctifying Joe Capitano." On that note, Bosco sang an Italian ballad to the applauding crowd.

Developer Jack Shiver did a stand-up job following the singing bocce player. The Lions Club will spend the dinner proceeds to buy and train a seeing eye dog.

$60,000 CELEBRATION: A small group of The Spring auxiliary congratulated themselves on the success of last month's fashion show over dinner at the Apollo Beach home of Lance & Karyn Ringhaver.

Tours of the spacious waterfront home included Lance's office, lined with heavy bookcases behind a big wooden desk. But wait, what is this? A bookcase opens to reveal a hidden room. It's Lance's cigar parlor, with his cache of rifles, mounted hunting trophies and a huge television.

The Ringhavers live in the first house in Mustique Bay, the nine-lot community they developed with Don Granowicz. They were mighty relaxed hosts considering Karyn's daughter, Shannon Sawyer, was marrying Sean Orick there the next day.

The auxiliary handed over $57,500 raised at the annual fashion show. The Krewe of Bonney-Read, represented by Karen McKinney and Mina Morgan, gave $2,500 from its its Cigar de Mayo fundraiser.

HOW ROMANTIC: "A client's here," Steve Schmalhorst called out to his wife, Laura, in the office where the couple operates A La Carte Event Pavilion. "Come out front, and bring your purse."

Laura, purse in hand, appeared. "The next thing I knew," she said, "I was in a limo and an hour later we were on our way to Paris for a week."

It wasn't an anniversary or a birthday. Just the surprise of a lifetime from a thoughtful husband.

Their staff kept Steve's secret for a month. Plane tickets and passports were locked in a bank deposit box. Since Laura would have noticed clothes missing from her closet, Steve bought her a new travel wardrobe at Stein Mart.

The day of the trip, June 3, "I dumped her entire cosmetics drawer into a suitcase," said Steve. "Enough make-up for a year," added Laura.

-- Amy Scherzer's Diary will resume in a few weeks. You can reach her at 226-3332 or

scherzer@sptimes.com.

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