136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club


FEBRUARY 13 & 14, 2012


“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” — Nora Roberts

On January 1st, 2012 I asked. I had done my research and couldn’t believe that I was going to be emailing David Frei a personal email. I admit I was a bit nervous, more star struck than anything else. David is the Director of Communciations and the television commentary for Westminster Kennel Club. He was my ticket in.

Hi David,

Happy New Year!

I am writing today from Grand Rapids, Michigan to see what the possibility might be of getting a photo pass.

We are an online magazine based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have been in dogs for a long time. In fact, I had a Bernese Mountain Dog win Best of Breed in 2005. I hung up showing to pursue my interests in social media and marketing, started the magazine. Now we are branching out of Grand Rapids to other cities. New York is on our list for February.

We are mostly interested in shooting during the day, possibly at night. I have one professional photographer that will be traveling with me. We will also be trying to shoot some fashion while we are in the city.

This has been a life long dream of mine (to cover this properly.) I’m good friends with Clint LivingstonJay Richardson and many other long time dog people. It would be fun to get some great pictures.

I really enjoy following you on facebook as well. We’re friends! 

Let me know what you think. I’d also love to get some portraits of you (and a brief interview) if that might be possible.




David’s response: 

Hi Laura: Please complete and return the credential application form in the Media Center on our home page and we will get you a photo pass. We are very limited in our media capacity for a number of reasons – great media interest is a pleasant problem to have – but I am happy to find room for you. Thanks for your interest in Westminster, we look forward to having you with us.

— David

Upon our acceptance, Terry and I traveled to NYC and experienced Westminster in a way I had never before. I’ve been to this dog show as an exhibitor, an assistant to a handler and a spectator. To experience it as media was by far my favorite. We interviewed David Frei. We hung out in the media center when they broke the news of big changes that would happen in 2013. We hung out with the USA Network cameramen and the major news stations. We were on the floor fighting for the perfect shot. We uploaded live pictures from the floor during the group competitions and our followers loved it.

Our interview with David Frei, Director of Communications, Westminster Kennel Club: 


Our interview with 2011 Pro Plan President’s Award: Silvana Vogel Tedeschi”


Our chat with Photographer and handler Jeffery Hanlin on Day 1 of Westminster Kennel Club:


Chat with Wendy Pinto, dog handler from Medina, Ohio


Our interview with Kim Groves, Avatar Bernese:

For two straight days we lived in the trenches of the dog show, watching the judging process of breed after breed during the day. The applause, the screams of joy, the faces of defeat. We captured it all. We found interesting people to talk to — shooting short videos of random people of interest. The most amazing night was Best in Show. We had found our way down to the floor and were able to shoot professionally and upload behind the scenes photos live to our facebook page right from the floor. Everyone loved it but none more than us.

For four days we lived on bagels and coffee. We worked all day long well into the night. It was an exhilarating experience that we are looking forward to doing again in 2013!

Check out the facebook albums: 

Westminster Kennel Club – Day One
February 13, 2012

Daytime Judging: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.388618107822118.115152.114949308522334&type=3

Groups: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.388656504484945.115159.114949308522334&type=3

Westminster Kennel Club – Day Two
February 14, 2012

Daytime Judging: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.389036304446965.115214.114949308522334&type=3

Groups and Best In Show Competitionhttps://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.389515554399040.115285.114949308522334&type=3

This year’s Westminster Kennel Club 137th Annual Dog Show will be held on Monday and Tuesday, February 11-12, 2013 at Madison Square Garden. Be sure to check them out on FACEBOOK.














Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids Let’s Eat, Drink & Be Charitable for the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market

On the second Thursday of each month, socially-conscious individuals of all ages get together for a fun night out with friends, meet new people, and support a local nonprofit. The events are hosted by the Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids, and this month’s gathering was held at the Ottawa Tavern where over 100 people came out to support the Fulton Street Farmers Market’s $2.6 million “Our Goodness Is Growing” campaign.

I had a chance to speak with Whitney Budden, one of the founding members of the Social Charity Club. Whitney told me that the idea for the organization sparked from a similar group in Chicago in December 2010, and in May 2011 the first event was held. Each month, she and the other founders who brought the idea to fruition—Jordan Carson, Marjorie Behm, Lauren LaTarte, and Ashley Amaya—select a nonprofit organization that will benefit and begin to spread the word via social media for a fun night out at one of Grand Rapids’ many restaurants and bars. The event also has guest hosts, who help to get the word out about that month’s event.

Those who attend pay just $10 which includes a complimentary drink and 100 percent of the night’s proceeds are directed to the nonprofit. The February event raised $2,200 for the Fulton Street Farmers Market.

Christine Helms-Maletic, the Fulton Street Farmers Market’s Development Project Manager, was at the event and told me a little bit about the campaign. So far, $2 million has been raised from over 550 donors, and construction has begun on the first phase of the project. When the market opens on May 5, visitors will see that many changes have been made to improve the 90-year-old farmers market. Covered, open-air sheds for the vendors will allow for improved access to water and electricity; there will be improved traffic flow, well as new landscaping, and the plaza will have been reconstructed with added space for seating, bike storage, and vendor overflow.

When the remaining $600,000 has been raised, the Fulton Street Farmers Market will add a 2,000 square-foot indoor facility that will house offices, restrooms, and have 12 stalls for year-round vendors. The market is a wonderful asset to the community and sees over 8,000 visitors each week. Be sure to check it out when it opens for the season on Saturday, May 5. The market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am-3pm each week. Head on out and support your local growers!

To learn more about the Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids, visit their website: http://www.socialcharityclub.org/

LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialCharityClub?sk=info

To donate to the Fulton Street Market’s ‘Our Goodness is Growing’ Campaign: http://ourgoodnessisgrowing.org/

Contributing writer: Danielle DeWitt :: Photographer: Tim Motley

On the Road: Paintings by Jason Eisner

Last night, New York artist, Jason Eisner made an appearance at the Richard App Gallery to talk about his work. He is visiting West Michigan this weekend with a show dedicated to animals that have lost their lives on the road.

Jason Eisner, a painter and multimedia artist, uses public spaces in NYC as his medium and venue. He has an ongoing exhibit of street art that he places on view for the public to enjoy.

Eisner’s connection to Grand Haven is through his association with Chris Potus. The artists are part of a group of New York City painters, called Painting in New York. Their relationship began in the mid-1990s when several of the artists trained under first- and second-generation abstract expressionists at Manhattan’s New York Studio School. These relationships offered them the flexibility to travel and paint in different places by supporting each other with housing, and opportunities to explore and create new work.

“On the Road, Paintings by Jason Eisner” opens Thursday at The Fire Barn Gallery, 18 N. Fifth St. in Grand Haven. The artist will give West Michigan another gallery talk on his work, set for 6—9 p.m. Thursday. The exhibit runs through February 25. The gallery is open from noon—6 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

The Fire Barn Gallery is a collaboration between Grand Haven Artwalk and the MSDDA. The gallery underwent substantial renovations in September of 2011, and is now under the direction of artist/curator Chris Protas.

Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fire-Barn-Gallery/120748537968591?sk=info

The Richard App Gallery is located at 910 Cherry Street in the East Hills Shopping District.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/353977615523/

Photography: Terry Johnston






Hanon McKendry/Mindscape at Hanon McKendry Super Ad Poll IX

For the past nine years Hanon McKendry & Mindscape have held a fun Superbowl themed party for their clients and friends. This party is quite a bit different than the typical Superbowl Party. Its focus is on the ads, not the game. Super Bowl ads have become big entertainment. In fact, the 2012 Hanon McKendry Harris Interactive poll revealed that 55% of U.S. adults who planned to watch the Super Bowl tuned in as much or more for the commercials as for the game.  More at www.superadpoll.com/superadpoll-news.

The way it works is Hanon McKendry pits their home team against a panel of visiting judges in a battle to pick U.S. consumers’ favorite Super Bowl ads. Then their results are compared to those that ranked highest in the annual USA Today Ad Meter poll. Uniformed agency referees keep score as each judging panel awarded the ad a “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” based on the question: “Is it brilliant or is it stupid?”

Judging began after the first quarter and panels switched it up after the quarter completed. The hosts at Hanon McKendry made sure their judges were well taken care of by dropping off festive beers and delicious food provided by Tommy FitzGerald, Chef. Stellafly’s team served as judges in the 2nd quarter and stayed through half time to enjoy Madonna‘s stellar performance. Still sexy at 50+! Loved it!

Their predictions for America’s Favorites? Volkswagen‘s ‘To the dogs’, Bud Light‘s ‘Here we go’ and Chevy’s ‘Doomsday‘. According to the USA Today Ad Meter Poll, #1 went to Doritos: Sling Baby; #2 Kia: A Dream Car. For Real Life; and #3 Bud Light: Weego.

Hanon McKendry is a multi-platform branding firm that helps clients weave all their customer interactions together into one seamless brand experience.  Services are scalable, based on client needs, through distinct specialty teams: IRON (Brand Positioning), DESIGN CULTURE STUDIOS (Brand Design) and MINDSCAPE (Brand Engagement).  Hanon McKendry has worked extensively with high-profile corporate clients including Rayovac Batteries, Rubbermaid Home Products, Furniture Row Shopping Centers, SentrySafe, Wilsonart and Zondervan (a division of Harper/Collins Publishing).  The firm has also earned national recognition for its cause and issue-based campaigns and brand development for clients such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Salvation Army, National Arbor Day Foundation, World Vision, Young Life, Focus on the Family and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.  Hanon McKendryis a Gravity Six Alliance partner. Hanon McKendry is located at 25 Ottawa Ave, SW, Suite 600 in downtown Grand Rapids.

Check them ou ton the web: www.hanon-mckendry.com / www.mindscape-hm.com / www.gravitysix.com

Photography: Katy Batdorff :: Story: Stellafly

Ramona’s Table Catering Event for 22nd annual Children’s Charity Ball

The Kent County Medical Society Alliance held its 22nd annual Children’s Charity Ball at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Saturday night, and the hundreds in attendance feasted on delicious food provided by Ramona’s Table, located in Gaslight Village. 

The night began with a cocktail hour, and passed appetizers included Boursin Cheese Bruschetta, Shrimp Shooters, and Wrapped Grapes—a mouthwatering combination of red grapes wrapped in goat cheese and rolled in crushed pistachios. Delicious!


Following the cocktail hour, the dinner bell was rung and the hundreds of guests were treated to the mouthwatering food stations, each with a mouthwatering food and wine pairing. The staff at Ramona’s Table puts a great deal of time and thought into their culinary creations to ensure that everything on the menu is absolutely perfect.

Lamb Pops and Butternut Squash Ravioli were paired with Eco Carmenere; and Tandoori Chicken Skewers and Chipotle BBQ Meatballs were paired with Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir. Pear salad in an endive leaf, stuffed cherry tomatoes, and smoked salmon were served with Dreaming Tree Chardonnay; and the combination of beef tenderloin and roasted fingerling potatoes with Avalon Cabernet were a huge hit.

One of the best things about Ramona’s Table is their fabulous desserts, and Saturday night they pulled out all the stops. The desserts station included hot chocolate shooters, black forest tarts, winter fruit tarts, and turtle cheesecakes. These delicious sweets were accompanied by Baileys, Kahlua, and coffee. It was the perfect way to round out this amazing evening of culinary enjoyment.

Ramona’s Table offers many catering options from small, intimate occasions to larger events like this one. Visit their website for more information: http://ramonastable.com/ and be sure to LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamonasTable

If you have not tried Ramona’s Table yet, be sure and make a plan to do so next time you are in East Grand Rapids. You will love every single bite!

Contributing writer: Danielle DeWitt :: Photography: Tim Motley

Linc Up First Friday Networking Event

Last evening we stopped by the Linc Up First Friday Networking Event, a “Monthly Groove for the Professional.” These monthly events offer a premiere happy hour and networking opportunity for professionals in the Grand Rapids area. First Fridays are designed to accommodate a growing need to network and socialize in a relaxed urban setting.

LINC is a community development corporation that provides services to Kent County, and are involved in a host of projects and services that reach families, houses, businesses and neighborhoods at large.

“Revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity of residents and grass-root organizations.”

LINC was incorporated on June 13, 2000 as Lighthouse Communities Inc after a community-based collaborative planning process that included local community development corporations, neighborhood associations, builders, foundations, representatives from the City of Grand Rapids‘ community development office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and, most importantly, residents of core city neighborhoods.

LINC engages in effective community revitalization through partnerships and collaborations with numerous community-based organizations and other neighborhood stakeholders.

 LINC is founded on the premise of linking community organization efforts with real estate development. We use both cutting edge community development techniques and the latest tools for real estate development in helping neighbors, business owners, and community stakeholders realize their visions for the community.

To date, LINC has grown from an affordable housing organization renovating 12 rental units in 2002 to a community revitalization agency with annual investments and expenses of over $10 million, collaboration and partnerships with over a dozen community groups, financial institutions and government agencies. LINC has helped invest over $42 million in our communities in several housing and commercial projects. With a staff of 31, LINC serves a specific targeted area in the southeast side of Grand Rapids known as Southtown with a population of close to 20,000 people, administers a citywide Lead Remediation program, and anticipates working with the city, county and state in the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to help sustain our neighborhoods.

LINC holds many events each month supporting the programs they offer. Be sure to check it out on their website: http://www.lincrev.org/events.php

For more information on LINC, be sure to visit their website: http://www.lincrev.org/


Rauschenberg The After Party — 2.2.12

The Grand Rapids Art Museum previewed their newest exhibit on Thursday night. The evening began with a member-only event that was followed by Rauschenberg: The After Party. This was not your typical art preview party. For the first time in its 102 year history, the art museum was transformed into a nightclub for an event that was open to both members and non-members alike. The typically reserved atmosphere of the museum was replaced with lively chatter and music from DJs The Boogiman and Mr. Fables, which created the perfect environment for viewing this fantastic collection of pieces by Robert Rauschenberg.

Officially opening on Friday, Rauschenberg In Context and Rauschenberg At Gemini are two of three very distinct exhibitions by Robert Rauschenberg, recognized by many as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. The many pieces that make up each of these collections chronicle contemporary life with a focus on the American experience and the themes of cities, technology, multiculturalism, and the environment. Rauschenberg used materials that can be found in the everyday and combined them with paint, sculpture, drafting, photography, performance art, choreography, theater design, and print making. His works are a commentary on social, political, and cultural events in history, and each one causes the viewer to take pause and examine the details carefully.

On March 3 the third exhibit by Rauschenberg, Synapsis Shuffle, will open at the GRAM, and Grand Rapids will be only the third city worldwide to host this extraordinary work. The only other two cities to have had this opportunity are Paris and New York. Synapsis Shuffle is the first of a three-exhibition collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Be sure and take some time to visit the GRAM to experience Rauschenberg for yourself. It will be here in Grand Rapids through May 20, 2012. Check out their site for more information: http://www.artmuseumgr.org/

Contributing writer: Danielle DeWitt :: Photography: Tim Motley

Local First Hands Out the 2nd Annual LocalMotion Awards

Last evening we attended the Local First LocalMotion Awards and Annual Meeting. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to local economy, sustainability and neighborhood revitalization in West Michigan.

The event celebrated its second year, recognizing outstanding contributions to the West Michigan economy by local businesses, organizations, individuals and families. In particular, the LocalMotion Awards honor those whose commitment to local business ownership, sustainability and neighborhood revitalization has had a pronounced impact on West Michigan. Winners were selected from public nominations by a Local First Awards Committee and announced at the Goei Center.

“The Local First LocalMotion Awards are an important part of our continuing effort to recognize and promote best practices in growing the West Michigan economy,” said Elissa Hillary, Executive Director at Local First. “We’re excited to honor those organizations and individuals whose embodiment of the Local First values of sustainability, support and collaboration is moving our communities forward.”

2012 Local First LocalMotion Award Winners

The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business was presented to Dwelltech, a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Must be in business between two and five years.

The Triple Bottom Line, Longstanding Business was presented to Gazelle Sports. Gazelle is a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Must be in business longer than five years.

The Mover & Shaker Award went to a business that demonstrated a significant shift in their supply chain to local over the past twelve months. This year’s recipient was Ninth Street Bridge.

 The Local Hero Award honors an individual or family who has demonstrated a significant shift in their individual purchasing and/or sustainability habits. This year’s recipients, Julie and Pat Wise.

The Change Agent Award is presented to a locally owned business or organization that is growing successfully and can be accredited for revitalizing a neighborhood or business corridor. This year it went to Welcome West.

The Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award recognizes lifetime achievement, this award honors an individual or business dedicated to promoting locally owned businesses and sustainable business practices in West Michigan. Amy Ruis, from Art of the Table, took home the honor.

Winners were presented with custom made awards, framed courtesy of Frames Unlimited with photographs by Jonathan Stoner Photography.

Local First is a nonprofit organization supporting local business ownership in West Michigan. Representing nearly 600 local business members, Local First is the largest “Buy Local” organization in the Midwest and the 3rd largest per capita in the United States. For more information on Local First and its efforts to promote a local living economy in West Michigan, visit www.localfirst.com.