Take already popular Girl Scout cookies and create an even grander dessert. That's the challenge of "Dessert First," where more than 200 guests raised $25,000 for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida at the InterContinental Tampa.
Tampa Bay area chefs donated their time to create the dishes. Judges presented the Golden Whisk award to the Columbia Restaurant's Geraldo Bayona and Al Johnson for their Tagalong Panna Cotta. The people's choice Silver Whisk award went to Datz Dough's Andy King, who called his creation "The Piggy Ate My Tagalong."
In addition to all that sweetness, the evening featured silent and live auctions.
World traveler Beverly Yepes talked about how she packs for a two-week trip. Suzanne Fisher demystified scarf-tying techniques. Haven Home's Michael Mastry and his colleagues created holiday tablescapes with an emphasis toward using items already found in many homes.
The second "Girlfriends Give Back" party, held at Marion's Gifts & Clothing boutique in St. Petersburg, was a fundraiser for Florida Resurrection House and a fun educational experience for patrons, who could visit every one of the six learning stations, plus enjoy food and drink provided by members of the Resurrection House auxiliary. (Additional options: holiday makeup, fitness and party tips.)
Executive director Cynthia Sinclair welcomed guests, as did auxiliary members including Betty Shamas, Jane Beam and Gwendolyn Johnson.
Florida Resurrection House is a nonprofit faith-based transitional housing and self-sufficiency program for homeless and near-homeless families.
Pinellas County's Queen's Court is accepting nominations for outstanding women volunteers. Submissions must be sponsored by guilds, auxiliaries or other nonprofits. For an application, call (727) 822-7571. Deadline is Jan. 3.
The 56th annual Queen of Hearts Ball on Feb. 22 benefits the Abilities Foundation, Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg and Daystar Life Center.