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Sarasota Magazine’s smashing soiree at Selby

Last night’s Sarasota Magazine Best of 2011 party on the great lawn of Selby Gardens was a smashing success. I’m not a big one for the social or party circuit, but this was the perfect party for me — en plein air, fun music, and a very relaxed and happy vibe. Even the 550-person crowd didn’t bother me because the event was spread out across the great stretch of lush greenery, banyan trees, and waterfront setting, and it was fun to people-watch the oodles of people dressed in everything from shorts to suits and colorful, hot-trending maxi dresses.

Bob Harrigan of Channel 7 (photo courtesy of was on hand reporting live for television, chatting up the audience, and introducing the evening’s festivities and magazine folks. bob-2(If you aren’t familiar with my crush on Harrigan click here to read a column I wrote about hurricane season in Sarasota.)

crowdDemocracy was jammin’ live (and let live) reggae, and dozens of Sarasota’s hottest restaurants, clothiers, bakeries, salons, and shopping hotspots were on hand representing and handing out scrumptious light bites, discount coupons, and samples. The whole thing was fab and the setting was magical — the sun was setting, water birds were flying overhead on their way to home nests for the night, and there was just enough breeze to keep things comfortable.

hackett-and-daniel I spotted Sarasota Herald Tribune writer Kim Hackett chatting with Gulfshore Media Vice President and Editorial Director Pam Daniel (photo at left). You probably recall Hackett’s outstanding 2010 “Homeless in Paradise” series for the paper.

charlieI happily met local writer Charlie Huisking. We’ve never been introduced, though I’d seen him out and about occasionally, mostly at the now sadly defunct Forum Truth lectures. I’m generally not much of a schmoozer, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, and I bolted up to Huisking and introduced myself. I messed up immediately — pronouncing his name “Hew”sking instead of “Husk”ing. But he was sweet about my faux pas and we chatted about writing, Forum Truth, etc., for a few minutes. Our conversation was fairly brief but I have to say — he’s one of the nicest, most sincere-seeming people I’ve ever met in Sarasota. If you haven’t read Huisking’s columns for Sarasota Magazine, just click here to visit his Arts & Travel blog.

dorsettLauren Dorsett of Channel 7 was there (at left with a couple of folks I didn’t catch the names of) and looked absolutely lovely; and though she looks nice enough on air, in person, she was nothing less than stunning.

Kim Cartlidge, Marketing Communications Manager for Medical Education Technologies, and from the Community Foundation of Sarasota, Program Assistant Sharna Finkelstein, Director of Communications Ruth Lando, and Process Improvement Manager Maggie Pugh; all sweetly agreed to strike a pose for me, and I caught up, as well, with Susie Bowie, Nonprofit Resource Center Communications Manager for the Foundation, though I missed her in the photo-op.

clupper-devriesLoved chatting with Mary Clupper and JoAnne DeVries (see photo at left) — know them both through the Democratic Club of Sarasota and they told me about the upcoming Economic Forum the club is putting on in partnership with the Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice — that’s coming up May 23, 7 pm at the Golden Apple downtown. I hear Rob Lorei of Florida This Week is moderating. Sounds like a must-go/can’t-miss event to me. I’ll put more details on my blog when I get them.

I said hello to Susan Burns, founding editor for BIZ 941 — sister magazine to Sarasota Mag, and spotted the inimitable (and enviably droll) Robert Plunket — he’s a Senior Editor for the magazine, and known far and wide as Mr. Chatterbox and the Real Estate Junkie.

And I had the good luck to run into the magazine’s Director of Marketing and Business Development Ilene Denton. She and I exchange periodic business-related emails, but had never met, so it was great to put a face to the name. She told me that this was the magazine’s first Best of Sarasota party … “But not the last – we do hope to make it an annual event,” she said. Good thing because I’ve already told everybody I know they have to go next year and I plan to make it my annual “can’t-miss” event.
The best part of the Best of 2011 party is that proceeds benefit the Season of Sharing and the Selby Gardens — not sure how much was raised last night, but judging by the crowd, it had to be a pretty penny to help others in our community throughout the year … and restore the trampled-on grass, no doubt.

L. Boutique was on hand (that’s owner LeeAnne Swor on the right) — I LOVE this store even if I can’t afford to shop there very often. The clothes are almost to die for, and more importantly, the service is just impeccable. If you haven’t checked it out, visit in person at 556 S. Pineapple, or online at

Hot new restaurant … check it out at

Love Mi Pueblo‘s veggie quesidillas, and prefer their cozy and relaxed Bee Ridge location.

Posted on April 27th, 2011Comments RSS Feed
5 Responses to Sarasota Magazine’s smashing soiree at Selby
  1. Thanks for the mention of the Foundation gals. It was great to see the Queen of cool communications there. What a nice showcase of Sarasota, the beautiful gardens…and all for a good cause. Sarasota Magazine rocks, and of course, you do too. Let’s go kayaking soon.

  2. yes, kayaking! i want to see more of those crabs that skitter along the mangroves.

  3. Sorry i missed you last night. Will we ever meet in person?

  4. Oh, drats! I can’t believe I missed you! I tried to get a list of all the 2011 “best of” winners — what category did Local Coffee & Tea win in?

  5. […] type, so when I tell you I’m hitting the circuit, it means something. I’ve had a blast attending past Sarasota Magazine parties at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and I expect this year’s, scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, […]


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