Runaway Spoon

A Classy Swan Song

May 15, 2016

It was a class act, in all ways. 

First Lady Michelle Obama was the guest of honor for her last time at Congressional Club’s First Lady’s lunch Thursday.  But several times she made it clear that she would like to be invited back when she is just Citizen Michelle.

In stressing diversity, she delivered a flawless talk to the two thousand or so guests on how great it is that today’s young people are so naturally attuned to the acceptance of all people -- of all origins and nationalities. 

On the arm of a military escort, The First Lady, smiling broadly, traversed the long runway – from one end of the huge International ballroom at the Washington Hilton to the other – then on to the podium. She was attired in a peach-colored dress that gave a sartorial nod to the color theme of the event: anything to do with Georgia.  The luncheon chair of the event, called "Georgia Posh, Peach Southern Hospitality," was Vivian Bishop, wife of Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Georgia Democrat.

(Photo by: Natalia Janetti)

The club's membership includes spouses of members of Congress, ambassadors, Supreme Court justices and cabinet secretaries. The club, founded in 1908, nurtures and encourages bipartisan friendships.

Mrs. Obama has attended the yearly luncheon as guest of honor for the entire time she has been first lady, a long-standing tradition for all first ladies. She was introduced by club president Vera G. Davis, wife of Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill.

“Today’s luncheon pays a tribute to Mrs. Obama’s dedication and work with military families and her program to encourage healthy eating and exercise,” read the event program.

One of the gifts presented to Mrs. Obama was a painting of first daughters Sasha and Malia done by 13-year-old Columbus, Ga., student Barbara Joy Tillman, 13.

The charitable recipient of the 2016 luncheon is the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, a service unit that provides support for both professional and family caregivers.

Among entertainers were Grammy Award winner Tasha Cobbs, Grammy Award winner Monica, and Timothy Z. Mosley “Timbaland.”   Into the swing of things, Mrs. Obama, from her chair on the dais, clapped in rhythm, gave thumbs up and blew air kisses to the performers. 

Next year, the club president is slated to be Mrs. Jennifer Messer, wife of Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind.

Guests included Cabinet spouses, Mrs. Janna Ryan, wife of the Speaker of the House; Mrs. Mary Kennedy, wife of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; Dr. Joanna Breyer, wife of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; Mr. Steven Hargrove, husband of the Attorney General, and Mr. Paul Pelosi, husband of the  Minority Leader of the House of Representative. 

Like each recent luncheon, Pelosi took to the runway with obvious glee and enjoyed every moment of his fame, even if only a minute or two, as he waived to the audience who cheered his presence.

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Outta Here to Italy

May 9, 2016

So, let’s guess. Tired of politics?  Need to get away for a while?  Do we have an event for you!   A chance to spend real quality time in Italy.

The American Initiative for Italian Culture acts as a two-way bridge between Italy and the USA seeking to promote art and culture in both countries.   On Thursday, May 26, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Dumbarton House, the AIFIC is doing its spring benefit event (cocktail buffet) that will offer auction items that’ll take you to great places in Italy. Once over there, expect wonderful Italian cuisine, wonderful Italian music and wonderful Italian views.

Ticket price is $150 per person and $275 per couple, with other ranges of sponsorships and participation.  Dumbarton House is 2715 Q Street NW in Georgetown.  Valet parking will be available.

To pique your interest, here’s just some of the live auction offerings:

*One week in the medieval village of Castagneto Carducci - Tuscany on the Etrusan Coast, the best kept secret of Tuscany, in a a cozy one-bedroom apartment a few steps from the Gherardesca Castle, visiting sprawling wine estates including the Tenuta Biserno. Seven nights for 2 people.

*Queen of the Dolomites, Cortina has all the credentials to be crowned the all-seasons paradise with its spectacular scenery, lifestyle, culture and gastronomy. Cortina D’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy. Spend one week in the four star Cristallino Hotel.  Seven nights for 4 people.

*Southeast Sicily Baroque.  Experience the history, clear waters, traditional events and culinary journey in the world heritage of Sicilian Baroque.  Five nights for four people in a large private house in the historical center of Noto, Sicily.  Dinner at  Michelin-starred restaurant for four people. Tours.

*Venice – CINI Foundation.  Sleep in the private rooms of Foresteria of the Giorgio Cini Foundation Monastery not open to the public on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.  Enjoy its hidden treasure and secret masterpiece collections. Listen to The Quartetto di Venezia, the complete Beethoven String Quartets, and more.  Three nights for 4 people.  Breakfast for the entire stay. Dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant  Osteria Da Fiore in a private balcony for 4.

Get the whole scoop on these auction items at:


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CARE Speakers Reach For Compassion

May 3, 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Alright delivered an impassioned talk to CARE’s 2016 National Conference Monday night on the importance of aiding displaced people around the world.
Julianna Margulies (left) & Betsy Noonen (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Julianna Margulies (left) & Betsy Noonen
Albright, lamented what she labeled a “deficiency of compassion” in politics today. She wondered how the United States can lecture other countries unless there is a “more compassionate response” from this nation and “if we aren’t doing more ourselves.”  Mrs. Alright, who was born in Prague, noted that she, as a young girl, and her parents came to America from a foreign country (Czechoslovakia). 
President and CEO of CARE USA Michelle Nunn presided over the event at the Ronald Reagan Building which “celebrated 70 years of the CARE package.”  CARE is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.  Among its missions is to deliver emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters. 
Berta De Pablos-Barbier, vice president of marketing for Mars Chocolate North America, announced a one million dollar donation for a partnership with CARE for use in improving the life and business acumen of women in emerging nations.
Michelle Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Michelle Nunn
Actress-producer Julianna Margulies of CBS’ TV series “The Good Wife,” mixed and mingled at the reception and dinner, which drew some 350 guests.  At the ceremonies, Margulies presented "Delivering Lasting Change" awards to Sandra Bitarova, Houda Atassi and Maria Alabdeh for their work in helping the Syrian people.  All three, who themselves fled Syria, were in attendance to accept the honor.
The event was held in conjunction with CARE's National Conference in Washington, D.C.
Attendees: Judith Terra (left), Colleen Nunn,Beth Solomon (back) & Maxine Champion (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Attendees: Judith Terra (left), Colleen Nunn,Beth Solomon (back) & Maxine Champion

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