In October every year for the last 10 years, the River City Gems host an event called “Sparkle” it is without a doubt one the most organized and fun events held in California. The Gala party was held on October 7 this year at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sacramento Ca. The accommodations and staff were fabulous. Sparkle is the main event and happens on Saturday, but what happens a few days before is wonderful as well. I arrived on the Wednesday prior to the event as did several other girls, we got together for dinner at La Tapatia restaurant for dinner and after had a glass of wine at the hotel to start the weeks fun.
The following day we went to lunch or malls in small groups since even more girls arrived Thursday morning. I had lunch at with my roommate after she arrived from the airport. We went back to the hotel to get ready for a planned dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, this is another event that takes place and is planned solely by the arriving or local girls and all girls are invited to attend. Prior to dinner my roommate (Heidi Phox) and I went down to the lobby and ran into Nora Simone who just arrived and was not going to dinner but asked to take pics of us. Here are some of the fun pics Nora took.
Girls were just having fun before dinner….
The other girls arrived in the lobby L to R Jennifer Williams, Heidi Phox, Diana Baker, Heidi Lower and I (DonnaKelli). We took this pic prior to leaving the hotel for the Spaghetti Factory.
We were met at the Spaghetti Factory by about 12 other girls from various organizations in the Northern California area. Dinner was fun and lively with good conversation. After dinner some of the local girls went to a karaoke bar they frequent regularly. Heidi and I really wanted to go Line dancing (boot scootin boogie etc.) and found a Country bar listed not too far from the spaghetti factory. The other girls decided not to venture out to an unknown location so Heidi and I decided to check it out …only because we really wanted to country line dance.
The club was called “Stoney’s Rockin Rodeo”, Heidi and I drove the 20 minute ride and arrived at the club, from the outside we weren’t sure how nice or rough it might be inside. We did what girls who want to dance do and went inside. They had Karaoke in the front bar and line dancing with a large floor in the back, and a mechanical bull (More on that later).
We were greeted by several patrons and the bartender. We made our way to the dance floor ordered drinks and the DJ came down from the booth and asked us what we would like to dance to, I suggested Brooks and Dunn, the place was not crowded so he asked what line dances we knew after observing us teaching each other he informed us he was also the line dance instructor at Stoney’s so we got un-scheduled semi private lessons in some more difficult dances. We had a great time and are putting that on the events to do next year at Sparkle week as I came to call it.
Pic is Heidi and I on the dance floor and then came the mechanical bull. We asked the DJ if it was ok because it was roped off, he was more than accommodating, he blew up the pads and helped us on. Stoney’s is a fun Country Bar.
We were leaving and the bartender at the front bar and the DJ asked us if we could stay or would we be coming back, I told them we were in town for an event (work) but we would definitely be back, we would not provide numbers so the bartender made us VIP members at Stoney’s. Girls we had a great time and the staff was outstanding.
We drove back to the hotel and had drinks with a few of the girls we know in our room, one had brought 6 bottles of wine with her, no names mentioned (Cindy)…
Friday October 6th the day before Sparkle we all got together for a Pre-Sparkle luncheon at BJ’s Brewery hosted by Carollyn Olson (also writes for Sister house), 12 of us attended and below are a couple of pics that were taken.
L to R Jenn Williams, Heidi Phox, Nora Simone, DonnaKelli, Heidi Lower, Cindy Shelton, MaryAnn, Diana Baker and Hostess Carollyn Olson.
At BJ’s Brewery Jennifer Williams, Heidi Lower, Diana Baker and Nora Simone, who also writes for Sister house. Nora was very generous and paid for the entire luncheon. After lunch we were directed to one of Carolyn’s favorite picture locations. We all took pics on her favorite “Butterfly Bench”.
After our photos we all headed back to the Hotel to get ready for Friday nights activity. A dinner planned by Cindy Shelton who has done this for at least 8 years is held at Mango’s in Sacramento, this also is an unplanned event but has become a Pre-Sparkle event because so many girls attend.
We arrived at Mango’s at 6:00pm and there were already about 30+ girls on the patio area, it’s a terrific location in the Sacramento Lavender district. We ordered our dinners, mingled and of course took some pictures.
After dinner 9:00pm we walked down the street to a club the local girls called “The Merc”, it’s a friendly place that was not overcrowded but had a large crowd. We ordered drinks and of course took more pics while conversing with old friends and new friends..
Left pic, I was photo bombed by Heidi… We all had a great time at the Mercantile bar. We went back to our Hotel and of course sat up with friends and chatted for a while.
Saturday Morning the day of Sparkle Heidi and I decided we were going to make a trip to the local mall, we needed some cosmetic things, Heidi Lower and Diana Baked decided to join us.
L to R Diana Baker, Heidi Lower, DonnaKelli and Heidi Phox. Second picture is Heidi and I after lunch with our drinks in the mall looking for the Sephora store.
We left the Mall at 3:30pm to prepare for Sparkle at 6:00pm.
I wore a Black and gold shimmery dress from Venus.com with Black and gold pumps by Guess, my jewelry was mostly from Brighton, my watch was a gift from my wife. Heidi Chose a black dress with lace sleeves and black Jessica Simpson pumps.
The event entrance was decorated like the Red Carpet for a premiere with Celebrities arriving all the girls loved it.
Picture on left is Heidi Phox and DonnaKelli,The picture on the right is Rachel Collins and DonnaKelli on the Red Carpet. I would like to point out how well Rachel is dressed, her outfit is wonderful and suits her style very well. She looks elegant and by no means like she’s over or under dressed. She matched her shoes to accentuate the dress and coat perfectly. I think Rachel is an example of how we all can dress for our own body type and style. By the way her wife helped her pick it out, I met her wife she’s wonderful too.
Jenn Williams, Carollyn Olson, DonnaKelli and Heidi Phox on the Red carpet at Sparkle 2017.
I would like to thank the River City Gems for hosting an event of this size (110 Girls). I joined the gems 3 years ago after I attended my 2nd Sparkle event. It was obvious that a lot of work, planning coordinating and love goes into each event they plan. I spoke with their President Diane who was, and always, is a delight at these functions. It always makes me wish I lived closer so I could attend all the parties, but I have the big one Sparkle on my calendar to attend every year, maybe you should too.
Top Left is Carollyn Olson and DonnaKelli, Top Right is Diana Baker and DonnaKelli, Bottom Left is Jennifer Williams and DonnaKelli, and finally DonnaKelli and Heidi Phox.
I planned to include my trip to Palm Springs for Ali Annalora’s show and Dr. Sharen’s Fall office masquerade party but I fear I’ve run long. I’ll do those in my next column in a week or so.
I hope you enjoy this column, I enjoy writing it for you and it serves a purpose. While I was in Sacramento at Sparkle a pretty young girl walked across the dance floor introduced herself and told me that I was the reason she was out and not still trapped inside her apartment. She added that she attended Sparkle because she read that I was a member of the Gems and she wanted to meet me. I nearly cried right there, I do hope that in some way I inspire others to be the best they can be and take it out in the world, the world belongs to all of us..enjoy it.
Note from Tasi: Although by happenstance, the following Sister House Stylish Crossdressers are West Coast gals and attended Sparkle 2017: Donnakelli, Carollyn Olson, Diane Baker, Nora Simone, Rita Doyle, and soon to join them, Heidi Phox. You can read their style interviews on Sister House here.
As always be safe out there girls…I’ll be back soon..
Sister house Fashion and Style Columnist