Three steps out the back door and snip, snip. Parsley and mint for tabbouleh; rosemary, basil, dill, sage and fennel to trick up hummus. Harvesting homegrown herbs brings Valarie Blau joy every time.
Both Mediterranean mezzes are mainstays for the health-conscious Blau family. Val, a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Medical Mobile Clinic, runs, bikes, swims or works out six days a week, her family history of heart disease never far from mind. ...
05/20/16 Human Interest
Tampa General Hospital Foundation gala
Pow! Bam! Kaboom! Supermen, Batmen, Catwomen, Thors and Hulks got a kick out of the comic theme of A Night to Marvel, Tampa General Hospital Foundation's celebration of super heroes of health care. As Captain Americas, hospital CEO Jim Burkhart and gala co-chairs Mickey and Dianne "Wonder Woman" Jacob empowered Saturday's benefit for TGH Children's Medical Center. USFHealth chief operating officer Ed Funai made a suave Penguin; gala sponsor John McKibbon identified as his hero, Donald Trump; Alexis and David Ciesla came as the Bolts, caped in Tampa Bay Lightning banners ...
05/15/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Lee Bird Leavengood has spent the better part of four decades rushing to class, running meetings and developing programs at the University of South Florida. First she was a volunteer, then a graduate student and, before long, an instructor and administrator. She was the first female named to the USF Foundation, founded the Friends of the Library and a gallery at a contemporary art museum bears the Leavengood name. Leavengood, 87, and her late husband Vic immersed themselves in campus life practically from the moment they arrived in Tampa in 1960....
05/13/16 Human Interest
St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Heroes Ball
More than just this year's honorees, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital board member Lauren Dungy and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dungy contributed quite the New York adventure to the Heroes Ball live auction Saturday. Coach Dungy arranged for a tour of NBC Studios, tickets to a Saturday Night Live dress rehearsal and a live taping/behind-the-scenes visit to Football Night in America, with hotel and airfare included. Mike and Lori Kosloske were top bidders at $16,000....
05/05/16 Human Interest
Tampa Bay Heart Ball
Jaws dropped, hearts nearly stopped at the Tampa Bay Heart Ball when the bid reached $55,000 for a one-week vacation at a 15th-century villa in Florence, Italy. Real estate developer Bob Schmidt made the bid, surely a local record, even though the package didn't include airfare or food. Elated co-chairs Trey and Nina Traviesa celebrated their 16th anniversary raising $1.3 million for the American Heart Association. ...
04/28/16 Human Interest
Pride & Passion
Always colorful, Pride & Passion burst the rainbow at Now in Technciolor, hosted by the LGBT community and friends for the Tampa Museum of Art. Hundreds of colorful celebrants hopped the galleries, admiring Jaume Plensa's Human Landscape exhibit — and one another — Saturday. Dan Medina, one of the 20 artists exhibiting technicolor-inspired work in the atrium, handed out markers for drawing on his white suit jacket. Jauntily clad in the full spectrum — pastel tuxedos to bold gowns — the 900 guests were rewarded for their creativity with a one-year membership from museum executive director Michael Tomor....
04/19/16 Human Interest
Lowry Park Zoo baited and captured Karamu donors with gamboling giraffes and lumbering elephants, tiger paw art and a chance to bid on an exclusive clouded leopard meet and greet, all while dining and dancing at the black-tie benefit.
"The zoo is an easy sell," said Jenny Jones, co-chair with husband Ken of the sold-out gala in the Safari Lodge and surrounding savannah. Their theme, Legacy, salutes the mission of caring for 1,300 diverse animals at the community asset led by CEO Joe Couceiro. Also saluted: former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, recovered from serious health issues, with a standing ovation for his government legacy....
04/14/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Jennifer Stancil is that cool mom who flashes the newest apps and plays the latest games.
As the new Glazer Children's Museum president and CEO, she's presenting her latest game to more than just the kids in her neighborhood.
Stancil brings the Situated Multimedia Art Learning Lab (SMALLabs), developed at Arizona State University, to the museum this month and it will allow visitors of all ages to enjoy an embodied-learning exhibit loaded with hundreds of interactive game-based scenarios— from learning the ABCs to chemical titrations — with the help of 12 motion-capture cameras....
04/13/16 Human Interest
Moffitt Cancer Center CEO Alan List and "guiding star," retired legislator H. Lee Moffitt, celebrated 30 years of medical break-throughs, expansion to four campuses and 1,000 researchers at the Magnolia Ball headlined by the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday. Fueled by filet mignon and lobster tail, gowned and tuxed supporters added $2.5 million to the search for a cure through auctions, raffles and appeals at the $1,000-ticket bash....
04/06/16 Human Interest
Bolts Better Halves' Fashion for a Cause
The Bolts Better Halves, a.k.a. Tampa Bay Lightning wives and significant others, must have used all their feminine wiles to assemble the unrivaled lineup of player experiences auctioned at the first Fashion for a Cause benefit for the Spring of Tampa Bay. Rarely has an event raised so much, so fast — $97,000 in about 20 minutes, thanks to a small audience of fans, suite and season ticket holders, some Spring board members and friends. ...
04/05/16 Human Interest
DeBartolo Foundation's 13th All Star Charity Gala
"You're family," sisters Lisa and Nikki DeBartolo greeted a wide-ranging roster of guests and celebs, from NFL legend Jim Brown to NBC's Cheers' George "Norm" Wendt at the 13th All Star Charity Gala, "one helluva party," said Joanne Petrella emceeing for the DeBartolo Family Foundation on Saturday. ...
03/31/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — When things aren't going her way, pop culture pro Leeza Gibbons recommends visualization.
To remind herself who's in charge, the Emmy Award-winning former co-host of Entertainment Tonight pictures herself wearing a tiara.
"I am queen of my life," Gibbons said. Feeling glum, head cast downward, "will only make the crown fall off.
"So throw your shoulders back, look up and stand tall."...
03/22/16 Human Interest
Rob Canton beamed at Athletes + Causes, the third annual benefit he has hosted for Athletes and Causes. Huh? One is the name of the auction fundraiser, the other is the organization he founded to provide "major-league athletes and coaches strategic financial planning to leverage celebrity and brand philanthropy," explained Canton, senior adviser to ownership for the Vinik Family Office....
03/18/16 Human Interest
Dream Keepers Ball
Like excited new parents, Champions for Children executive director Brian McEwen and development director Liz Kennedy hovered, pampered and coddled guests at the Dream Keepers Ball, a first-time benefit emceed by Mark Rivera of WTSP-Ch. 10 and board member Peter Lewis for the rebranded Child Abuse Council. While entertained by Aerial Dragons acrobats on silks, supporters learned about developmental play groups, home visits, parent education classes as well as Kids on the Block, Layla's House and other programs to help families overcome society's challenges. During dinner at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, auctioneer Greg Benjamin pitched fancy dinners, trips and staycations, getting a $4,100 bid from board member James Armstrong for week at a Manasota beach house....
03/09/16 Human Interest
Jesuit High: Gaudiosa, An Evening in London
School spirit swept the Gaudiosa gala, galvanizing Jesuit High parents, alums and other guests to help cover tuition costs for 25 percent of the all-male Catholic school. Example? Four guests raised their hands when asked to fund a full year at $14,000. That's when a lively math lesson took off, as donations added up to $660,000, averaging $1,000 per partygoer, all while having a jolly good time at An Evening in London on Feb. 27....