Thursday, December 3, 2009

JUDY DILLON WILKINS 11/24/60 - 12/3/09

Thank you all very much for your support, prayers and love these past 18 months or so. Around 10PM tonight (Thursday) my beloved, brave older sister Judy said good bye to this world. One of the things Judy told my family this morning was that she would be with the angels and then she said "I'm leaving now."
A few hours later she passed away surrounded by her family Husband Walt, daughters Colleen & Lauren, two of our sisters and our mother, who held Judy's hand as she passed on to my father and grandmother who were waiting for her. (Today was the 6th anniversary of my grandmother's passing.)Her BFF Beverly was with her every day for the past year or so. They met working at Children's Hospital in Atlantic City where they were both nurses. (We all went to the Phila Flower Show earlier this year together. No matter how ill my sister felt, it was important for her to attend the show. She was an avid gardener. This year Beverly did Judy's garden for her.)
Special thanks to all who supported us in the Ovarian Cancer Walk we did in September, also for those who left messages on the CaringBridge Page.
Recently, she told me now you're going to be the oldest now, please take care of our brother, sisters, Mom and the Family. Oh and lose some weight. (She never lost that older sister maternal instinct.)

Services will be private. PhillyChitChat will be dark for the next few days, but please visit some of the many wonderful charities I have covered over the past two years, and support them if you can. Thank you, Hughe Dillon

Little Smiles Stars Ball 2009 - Please Touch Museum

First I have to apologize, I misplaced the note pad for this nite. I remember it was a really emotional event for me to cover, I wasn't going to go, but I thought it was very important that people see this story. So if you are in one of these photos please email me so I can ID them correctly. Thanks Hughe
The Little Smiles Stars Ballwas held on Saturday, November 14th at the Please Touch Museum from 7 PM-Midnight. The Stars Ball is a black tie optional gala modeled after the Oscars. The only difference is the actors are replaced with people much more important; the children in our region battling cancer and other chronic and terminal diseases.
This evening includes the red carpet debut of our “Stars” with the Oscar presentation and filled with fun, food and an open bar.

One of the special guest for the evening was Celebrity Apprentice 3/Philly's Dancing/Street's with the Stars winner (and my friend who told me about this great event) Erin Elmore with new beau Nick
Little Smiles mission is to help kids escape, at least for a little while, from their treatment rooms into a land of fantasy. We respond to the needs of the children and provide whatever we can to make their world a better place. Little Smiles was Co-Founded by Steve Grandizio (Friendly Mortgage) who is a past chair of the YPN board.
Each of the kids walked the red carpet
looking stunning, blinged out
and signed autographs. It was so cute Little Smiles pre-prints
Tutu cute
Thanks to all the sponsors and the folks who donated items for the silent auction
Which was a huge success

Thanks to the ladies who came out to support the eventWally Zimolong, Mara Toukatly and Scott Sigman (Scott's recently started a new firm Sigman & Rochlin)

Fusion Fitness bootcamp friend Kristy on right and her friends.

Philly Chit Chat fans supporting the cause

One of the little stars of the night and his familyChelsea Nodeland, held by mother Liz, got a "special Oscar" from NBC10's Dawn Timmeney during Little Smiles Stars Ball at the Please Touch Museum. (I'm always excited when I can get a charity shot into the Inquirer giving it a few more eyes and perhaps another donation towards reaching it's goals).

So adorable... Chelsea Judith Nodeland was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The next day she began chemotherapy. The 1st spinal tap took all of the leukemia cells out of her spinal fluid. As of April 18th, the chemo portion of her 1st stay ended and now they are working on building her immune system enough for a 1 week stay at home. (Taken from a FB page posted last spring)

Please take a few minutes to watch the event from 2008 at

Little Smiles is able to create little smiles thanks to the support of generous individual donors like you. We welcome all levels of donation, whether it's a one-time gift, a monthly donation as part of our Friend of Little Smiles program.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Last Tuesday was busy not only did I cover the Comcast preview show, the Digital newstand, but I also covered the John DeBella Annual Turkey Drop at Love Park all before noon. Crazy day. Then I went and saw my sister for her 49th birthday. Judy is still with us, and I do appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

John DeBella & MGK are once again raising money & food for City Team Ministries - a LOCAL organization dedicated to feeding the hungry & less fortunate in the area. Make a SECURE donation to City Team Ministries- HERE (DONATE HERE)

Lee Schneider, Kelly Cummings, ABC6 Anchorwomen Monica Malpass, WMGK morning man John DeBella and Brianna Ulrich. The girls are the "Parkettes" from the Parx casino. Mr Philadelphia, Concierge from the Independence Visitor Center's Albert Lee has been participating as the turkey for the past 8 years!!

Frozen turkeys, turkey coupons, and monetary donations were being accepted from 6am-10am.

Last year, 7,000 turkeys were collected during DeBella's turkey drive. He hopes to top that number this year.

Parx Casino made a donation of $30,000 consisting of cash & poultry. Look there's Carrie Nork Minelli in her new position working for Parx Casino. (undefined title at this writing)

You can also make a donation online at . Every $100 that is raised will be matched by Parx Casino.

Philadelphia City Hall, Love Park & Rittenhouse Square Tree Lighting Ceremonies PLUS Chanukah in the Square

Yesterday Franklin Square had their holiday light ceremony as reported here by my friend Hadas Kuznits of KYW Newsradio
TONIGHT: Philadelphia City Hall and Love Park will have their Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

Mayor Nutter and Mrs. Nutter to participate in the City Tree Lighting Ceremony
The traditional tree lighting ceremony will feature performances from the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Miss Philadelphia, and the Department of Recreation Performing Arts Troop.

At 5:30pm Mayor Nutter and Mrs. Lisa Nutter will light the tree.

At 5:40pm Mayor Nutter will walk to Love Park to light the second tree at 6:00pm.
You will recall that the local community rallied together to raise the necessary funds to pay for the Rittenhouse Square lighted balls this year:

Friends of Rittenhouse Square:

LET THERE BE LIGHTS! Thanks to an outpouring of support from many generous donors, and a lot of help from our Friends, the popular tradition of holiday lights on Rittenhouse Square has been saved.

We thank Inga Saffron of the Philadelphia Inquirer for helping bring public attention to this project, and for making the case why the holiday display is important. A huge thank you to John J. Dougherty, the IBEW 98, and Michael Barnes at IATSE Local 8 for providing free labor to install and un-install the lights. This not only saved us money - it saved the day for the lights at night. And much gratitude to all who gave donations by paypal, in the mail, and in person. This is what Friends are for."
(all these pixs are mine, I just tagged some of them)

The Square's balls are in place and lit, the Tree Lighting will be tomorrow:

At 4:00 stop by the 10 Rittenhouse Square’s Walnut Street lobby (next to Barney’s) for complimentary warm beverages

Also at 4:00, bring your little ones to Tavern 17 at 220 South 17th Street for a complimentary ornament making activity

Then, meet us in the Square for complimentary souvenir photos from Philadelphia Magazine, restaurant gift certificate contests from Infiniti, holiday movie giveaways set to the festive sounds of WOGL 98.1 FM.

The public is invited to bring a new unwrapped toy for a deserving child for the CBS 3 and CW Philly 57 Joy of Sharing campaign to benefit The Salvation Army.

At 5 p.m. The Rittenhouse Square Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin, featuring holiday entertainment, character visits, a special visit from Santa and other holiday surprises. Celebrate the holidays under the glow of the giant TD Bank Tree and the spectacular lights surrounding the park. CBS 3 Meteorologist Kathy Orr will host the event.

From 5:30-7:00, visit TD Bank at the corner of 18th and Walnut Streets to visit with Santa and enjoy complimentary refreshments

Join us in the heart of the Square at 5 PM on Thursday, December 3 for the magical moment when the holiday tree is illuminated...along with the light globes overhead.

Santa, caroling, character visits, cocoa, and lots of excitment.� This is a wonderful family activity.

You are invited to bring a new toy (please do not wrap it) to benefit The Salvation Army.

Chanukah in the Square! Free

On Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 5 PM, join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, to enjoy the amazing Budapest Jugglers.

Doughnuts, dreidels, and chocolate gelt!

This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Rittenhouse Ssquare and Lubavitch of Center City.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


UPDATE: Jennifer Carroll filled me in 12/2 about the book signing in SF, of course what she said was off the record until I can tell you in 2 weeks. Just know that she is no longer on the book tour, but will be preparing your meal next Wednesday for the Finale, posing for pixs & signing your menus. See info below with changes (last nites pixs that I took should be on Michael Klein's blog today ):

Top Chef Finale News December 2009:

This week taste her Top Chef dishes available Tues thru Sat during dinner.

As I told you a few weeks back 10 Arts is having two finale parties. The first party is a low key event on 12/2/09 with their regular three-course Bistro Supper menu $35 price fixed menu that Top Chef Chef'testant Jennifer Carroll will be on hand to prepare. She may stop by your table, but she prefers to invite folks to peak into the kitchen if they'd like. During the show it's been her habit not to pop out. You might also want to catch the show in the bar area where there are several large screen TV's set up, some on Closed Captioning so you can catch every word. Party starts at 7PM and goes until 11PMThe Grand Finale Party is on 12/9/09; Jen will prepared a special meal that is off the menu, and will be priced @ $65 per person and includes a glass of Champagne. (Hmm champagne?)

In fact, fans in NYC will get a chance to catch Top Chef Contestants on the Top Chef Book Tour too!!

(as it's written on the book signing website)
The top four contestants from "Top Chef", signing copies of Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook

  • Monday 12/7/09 7:00 PM at Borders Books - Colombus Circle. New York, NY.
  • Wednesday 12/9/09 6:00 PM at Borders Books - Union Square. San Francisco, CA.
Holiday Happenings at 10 Arts include:
Indulge in a delectable Hot Chocolate and Cupcake menu created by Pastry Chef Monica Glass, now until Dec 30

An A la carte dinner on Christmas Eve 2PM - 8PM (Finally Jen will get home at a decent hour.)
Christmas Day - $110 Holiday Dinner 2PM - 8PM
New Years Eve - Celebrate ringing in the New Year with their four course tasting menu, midnight champagne toast, live music, a 2010 balloon drop at midnight, and favors $155 per person, starts at 7PM
Jan 1 - Dinner from 5:30PM to 9PM, but feel free to come in from the mummers cold all day long for hot or spirited beverages in the lounge.


Years ago on 12/1/09 World AIDS Day, there would be a march to Love Park to hear speeches and demand a cure for AIDS. (It wasn't raining, the were specialty made umbrellas for the day with the proceeds going to AIDS organizations; or people could bring their own black umbrellas.)
The Marchers would even cover the Love statue in a black cloth as it's message is "A Day Without Art." The statue would be uncovered after the sunset. (I do have pixs somewhere of the entire statue covered, which they did in the earlier years. I should look for them.)
There are a lot of events marking this day, World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.

In the Philadelphia area there are a wealth of various events and ways to be involved! Click attending to show your support and participation and check back here for updates!

Manna is hosting events:

There is a Vigil in Doylestown:

Safeguards at the Broad Street Ministry:

MUSIC: Today is World AIDS Day. Some events you can attend.

Press Conference with Action AIDS: Tuesday: John Wind to announce his new limited-edition line of jewelry to raise money for local AIDS research, education and services

Details of the John Wind AIDS Jewelry Project will be unveiled at a World
AIDS Day press conference at 5:15pm

WHAT: Press conference and reception to announce “Take Action,”
ActionAIDS’ new advertising campaign – its largest since the early-90s – and
the launch of the John Wind AIDS Jewelry Project

50 percent of the proceeds from the project will go to ActionAIDS,
Pennsylvania’s largest AIDS service organization, and the Mazzoni Center,
Philadelphia’s LGBT Health Center.

WHERE: Raw’s SumoLounge, 1224 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
(Frosted white glass facade)

(I'd like to take this moment to remember some of my friends who have passed away from AIDS: (My BFF's) Shawn Conley, Wayne Cohen, Michael Root and my friends who are currently living with the disease who I will not name. Including my friend Philip who was diagnosed in 1985 is still alive today too, just finishing his 2nd Masters this time in Library Science. He's very open about his status and gives talks.)

Friday 12/4/09 there will be a fun fundraiser that will have a direct impact on local youth living with HIV/AIDS. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund’s third-annual TOY returns this year and is expected to draw a record number of guests, and I hope you will be one of them.

The toy drive will be held from 7-10 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Marc Phillips Showroom at Marketplace Design Center, 2400 Market St. Each guest is asked to bring one unwrapped non-plush toy, which will be donated to the pediatric HIV/AIDS Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS: 2008 co-chairs Heshie Zinman (left) and Joe Matthews are surrounded by some of the more-than 500 toys collected last year for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Tickets to TOY are $30 and can be purchased by visiting photo: Scott A. Drake


Over on Sansom Street the WRAP is up on the windows to Bar

announcing that it is coming soon.

What's does this mean?Zavino's announced that In October, Chef-partner Steve Gonzalez will debut Zavino (112 South 13th Street, 215-732-2400), an Italian pizza kitchen and wine bar. Featuring a seasonal menu, classic cocktails, an approachable selection of wine and beer and the area’s best late-night menu, Zavino is sure to become a neighborhood favorite in the city’s trendy Midtown Village.

They're a little behind schedule, but the wrap is off the windows as to restore the confidence of the neighborhood. Watch us we're going be finished soon, and it sure does look like they are moving along.
The exposed brick

Looks like the rendering...