Save the Date!! Sandra Stillwell Presents... The Toast of Manhattan!

Hello friends!

I hope your holiday season has been filled with joy, love -- and some dolly fun, too!

It's been a very busy -- and productive -- few weeks for me...

I recently dropped into the Studio Commissary Christmas Party to share a bit of exciting news about my Sandra Stillwell Presents plans for 2014 -- and, though all details are not finalized, I'm excited to share a bit more about those plans with you now...

I've been hard at work on our 2014 convention, and I'm proud to announce that Sandra Stillwell Presents: "The Toast Of Manhattan" will take place August 7-10th at the Crowne Plaza in Edison, New Jersey!

Imagine "The Toast of Manhattan" in exclusive salons and department stores on the most fashionable avenues of 1940's and 50's New York City -- in a private box at the opera, or opening night at the latest Broadway play --  dining and dancing till dawn at THE "most happening" club in town! Imagine award winning American designers and fashion icons gracing the covers and pages of New York's Vogue and Harper's Bazaar -- the height of fashion, their creations in as much demand as the latest from Paris.... Imagine....

Exciting things are being planned for "The Toast of Manhattan" -- the cornerstone of which will be our group tour of the Metropolitan Museum's "Charles James Beyond Fashion", the inaugural exhibition in the museum's newly renovated Costume Institute! The landmark exhibit, which features over 100 of the legendary couturier's most notable designs, will also include sketches, pattern pieces, fabric swatches, and partially completed works from Mr James' last studio in New York City.

I first learned of the Costume Gallery renovations three years ago and have been waiting (though I'll admit, somewhat impatiently) for the galleries to be completed to bring our Sandra Stillwell Presents group to NYC!  The fact that Charles James is one of my favorite designers is a special bonus to me! I  hope you'll agree -- definitely something worth waiting for!!

Those of you in attendance for "Every Day's A Holiday" will remember that George Sarofeen presented a wonderful program on Charles James -- a coincidental but perfect introduction for our 2014 convention! Participants on the Sunday tour to Union Station had the rare opportunity to view one of Mr James' most magnificent masterpieces, the "Swan" dress, in close detail, too!

As in years past, we will once again be offering optional tours on Thursday and Sunday in 2014. Because there is so much to see in the NY area, we may very well add additional tour days  -- so please let me know if you would be interested in coming in earlier or staying later for these. I would strongly recommend that you extend your trip to explore on your own, as well. (The train station is very close to the hotel, and they offer a complimentary shuttle to the station).  

Though a little further away than usual (about 80 miles), one of the excursions we're strongly considering is a day trip to the historical Winterthur Museum in Delaware to view  "The Costumes of Downton Abbey", a major exhibition featuring over 40 exquisite fashions from the award winning television series. We're also considering a trip to the Museum of the City of New York for their "Gilded New York" exhibit, a Broadway show and fabric shopping excursions.  

Plans are in the early stages, so if there is something in particular you'd like to do or see in NYC-- or anything you are not interested in -- now is the time to let me know!

Please RSVP as soon as possible if you would like to join us, as having an idea of how many to plan on for convention and the tours is a big help.

This not to be missed event will be limited to only 50 attendees. Registration will begin in Spring. Those on the RSVP list will be notified before opening registration to the public.

You won't want to miss all the fun and fabulous fashions that we have planned, so mark your calendars and make your plans to attend now!

Our very special Sandra Stillwell Presents group rate of only $129 includes breakfast on the days we do not have a convention breakfast function. The hotel also offers complimentary parking, wifi, and a complimentary 3 mile shuttle (based on availability).

In order for you to experience everything that New York City has to offer, the rate has been extended 3 days before and after convention. If you need to book outside these dates -- or have any problems with your booking,  please contact me directly for assistance.

Hotel reservations may be made by calling 866-279-4813 and asking for the Sandra
Stillwell Presents group rate. Our group code is S08.

Our room block is extremely limited, so I highly recommend that hotel reservations be made as soon as possible. The cut off date for reservations is July 6th, or until our block is sold out -- which ever comes first.

If you plan to join us for "The Toast Of Manhattan"  but are not ready to make hotel reservations, it would help greatly to know what days you plan to book.

Please remember that, in order to keep costs down, it is VERY important to stay at the hotel and book within our group block. With our many planned activities, you'll find being on site not only more convenient, but much more fun, too!

With all the fabulous fashions planned for our "Toast Of Manhattan" souvenir package and convention collection, your doll will be the toast of the town!

To those demanding divas who are pushing for a head start on their wardrobe of Charles James inspired fashions, I extend an invitation to visit my Sandra Stillwell Presents blog sales pages, where you'll find "Under The Mistletoe" and "Yuletide Splendor" --   two designs to whet your appetite for the amazing fashions that await "The Toast Of Manhattan"!

And you'll find other must have holiday fashions, just in time for some last minute Christmas shopping and New Year's Eve parties, too...

Before closing, I want to extend my deepest appreciation to you all for your friendships, support and patronage in 2013! Thank you for helping to make it a very special year!

I look forward to more fun in 2014!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a FABULOUS New Year!!

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Holiday Greetings!

Hello friends,
Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season so far!!

The days between Thanksgiving and New Year's have always been amongst my favorite times of the year -- I simply can't help but get that giddy "kid again" feeling at the first signs of Jolly Old St Nick! (A giddiness that becomes VERY difficult to contain in anticipation of a holiday surprise or two...)

This year I have a double dose of holiday spirit, after having kicked off the holiday festivities with many of you this summer in Kansas City! I'm still flying as high as Santa's sleigh, remembering the frivolity and fun we had at our "Everyday's A Holiday" convention!! Being surrounded by so many dear friends for my Sandra Stillwell Presents holiday celebration was truly a special blessing for me!

To further add to my year of "Every Day" holiday fun, I decided to give a gift of sorts to myself and take the opportunity to combine holidays in New York City with scheduled convention work!  

The magic of New York City -- from it's chicly dressed holiday shoppers and festively decorated department store windows, to the Rockettes kicking in crisp formation and the magnificently lit tree in Rockefeller Center twinkling in the snow -- can be a real inspiration (even when not working on a holiday themed event)! I'm pleased to say that I found inspiration at every turn...

And the fun didn't stop there!

From an elegant dinner in a picture-perfect setting with the Center City Doll Club of Philadelphia, to a delightful evening with the Capital City Fashion Doll Club in the DC area followed by a brief stint of "playing elf" with holiday preparations for a friend-- at every stop, my journey was blessed by the company of wonderful friends. 

Now settled in at home, my whirlwind travels all seem a bit like a beautiful Christmas dream! A big THANK YOU to everyone who played a part in my dream!

I would like to share a couple of wonderful holiday surprises and gifts that have come my way this season...

The first surprise was the exciting news that our Sandra Stillwell Presents "Every Day's A Holiday" convention coverage had been featured in the digital Holiday Edition of FDQ Magazine, in the form of beautiful article written by Terri Gold! If you're interested in hearing more about the background of convention or reading the candid interview,  you might want to visit the FDQ web site and order a copy. (I printed mine for a keepsake!)

My second holiday surprise -- the funtastic full sized version of Annie Sattler's "Every Day's A Holiday" mini calendar from convention -- was waiting for me when I arrived home! A Studio Commissary exclusive, it's the perfect remembrance of our 2013 event to carry you through to our 2014 convention -- and longer!

Another very meaningful gift for me this season has been seeing your posts and receiving emails with photos of your holiday displays!  The knowledge that our "Every Day's A Holiday" convention fashions are playing a special part in your holidays (and will be cherished for many holidays to come) continues to lift my spirits to new heights!

Speaking of convention fashions... I want to give you a brief update on the backordered "Every Day's A Holiday" fashions. I'm happy to report that most of the backorders are in, but we're still waiting for shoes and several accessories.  Also -- the "Flight Before Christmas" TWA inspired uniform has, unfortunately, been delayed and is expected to be rescheduled for arrival in time for a New Year's landing! I will be in touch with information as soon as I have definite confirmation.

Of course, if there are any remaining fashions that are on your wish list for Santa, there's still time for Christmas delivery! Just let me know as soon as possible!

Finally -- I want to close with a small reminder and note of thanks --

For even as much as our hearts may be filled with "holiday spirit", Christmas can still be one of the loneliest times of the year for those who have lost loved ones or may be experiencing hardships -- and yes, even for me.  

My personal "grown up" Christmas dreams have always included the romanticized vision of spending it surrounded by loved ones -- whether they be that "someone special" or loving friends. Though I always carry my dear Danny and beloved Mother close in my heart, the warm feeling there can never take the place of a big Christmas "hug" and a welcoming smile.

I want to thank you all for helping to fill the empty space in my heart this Christmas, and for your friendships, support, "cyberhugs" and welcoming smiles throughout the years. I feel fortunate and privileged to have made so many dear friends through our shared passion for dolls.

I hope that we will each remember to take a moment to open our hearts and extend a helping hand, warm smile, or maybe even a big hug to those in need-- not only during this holiday season, but always.

With Warmest Wishes for the Happiest of Holidays...


Holiday request....

Hello friends!
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!
I've enjoyed a wonderfully productive, whirlwind December -- including work, travel and friends -- and I'm excited to report that our 2014 Sandra Stillwell Presents convention announcement will be forthcoming VERY soon!!
But, today I'm reaching out to tell you about a true Christmas blessing bestowed on one of our doll friends, Kim Hayes (Kim in Ohio), who some of you may remember from the early Gene years and boards, or my "Radio Days" convention -- and how we might play a small part in this miracle for Kim...
After 4 years on the transplant list, Kim's young daughter, Tiffany Greer, got the long awaited call that lungs were available, and underwent a double lung transplant on December 10th.
But with blessings can also come challenges -- and though Tiffany is progressing well, there is a long road ahead for all involved.
Kim is having to take unpaid time off from work to be by her daughter's side now, at the hospital, and afterwards to care for her during the long healing process.
The hospital is in Cleveland -- over 200 miles from Kim's home in Dayton -- so the travel and lodging expenses are mounting.
After being discharged, there will be many hospital follow ups, and Tiffany must stay within 15-20 minutes away from the medical center for 6-8 weeks while her recovery continues.
And, meanwhile, Kim's rent and living expenses in Dayton continue.
In addition, there will be various uncovered medical expenses and other mounting needs...
So, though it's something I've never done before, I'm asking for your help -- I'm hoping our caring doll community can be of assistance to Kim and Tiffany.
No pressure -- I realize that money is tight for us all during the holidays, and it may not be possible for everyone to contribute. But donations of any amount -- no matter how big or small -- are greatly appreciated!!  
A Paypal account under the ID has been set up for donations to cover necessary expenses.
Or, if you would prefer to send donations through me, I'm happy to pass them along to Kim -- just please be sure to earmark them "For Kim Hayes".
For those of you who would like to follow Tiffany's progress, Kim posts updates on Facebook when she has the opportunity (Kim's facebook account in under Kim Stephens Hayes).
Though she's been lurking a bit more in recent years, Kim has touched a lot of lives and made many friends in the doll collecting community -- 
Just a little background on Kim, for those who might not be familiar...
Kim has been a long time doll collector --  as "Kim Kouture" in Gene's early years, she created exquisite doll fashions for our favorite star-- and, more recently, teamed with Jinky (Judy R) as one of the Studio Commissary "designer's of the month".
She has been active in many avenues of the doll collecting community, including Gene and other fashion dolls, Bleuette, French Fashion, and Wendy Lawton, among others.   
If you know of anyone else who might be interested in Kim and Tiffany's journey, please feel free to pass this information along...
I thank you all for your help!
Wishing you all a blessed holiday season....

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