River City Gems “Sparkle 2018”
Or , Wow What a Week…
Wednesday: Arrival in Sacramento…
Every year during the first week of October for the last 11 years the River City Gems have hosted “Sparkle” which is one of the best organized and planned CD/TG/TS events on the West Coast. This year was no disappointment, I’ve attended the last 5 and each one seems better than the one before while all have been very memorable. The event “Sparkle” has grown into a 4- or 5-day event thanks to many of the attendees planning luncheons, dinners, dancing and outings in the days prior to large party. I began my “Sparkle week” on Wednesday when I checked into the Crowne Plaza at 3:00pm.
I arrived checked in and texted my friends, Heidi Phox and Gina Lee of my arrival and room number. I unpacked and got dressed in the outfit I had pre-selected for the first evenings dinner at “The Olde Spaghetti factory” with several of my Gems sisters. Heidi Phox arrived and began getting ready as well, as we were getting ready Gina Lee arrived and we all planned to drive to the restaurant together and after go Country Line dancing at Stoney’s Rockin Rodeo.
We left the hotel driving to “The Spaghetti Factory”, I was wearing a multi color Northstyle dress with cap sleeves, beige hosiery and taupe classic heels pumps. My jewelry was silver and from Brighton. I took my black leather coat in case it turned chilly and carried my small beige nine west purse. Heidi and Gina were both dressed very fashionably for the dinner with approximately 12 of our sisters, it was great fun just chatting, seeing old friends and making some new ones.
After dinner we raced back to the hotel and changed into jeans, western boots and tops, then to “Stoney’s Rockin Rodeo” for Line-dancing and country music.
When we arrived at Stoney’s we observed it to be very crowded, we used one of the VIP cards Heidi and I were given on our last visit and the three of us entered the club. We noticed that the music was not country and the crowd was 18+…..which was just a little young for us…LOL… the dance floor was so crowded that line dancing looked almost impossible and they were doing some dances that looked freestyle. While we are comfortable in all mainstream clubs this was definitely not a night for us, but Heidi not to be put off wanted to get onto the dance floor for at least a few dances since we had taken the time to go. She danced a few and then we all realized that that the long travel day had taken its toll on all of us, and none of us truly fit in with 18 year old’s.LOL, so after an hour we drove back to the hotel to finish unpacking and prepare for the next day’s activities. Heidi and I roomed together, and Gina visited for a while for a lot of girl talk and planning…Gina’s roommate Jenn Williams was to arrive the following afternoon.
Thursday: Sparkle week Day 2…
Thursday morning Heidi needed some items from Walgreens which was close to our hotel, while she was gone I showered and began getting ready, Heidi got back and what a roommate she is…she brought me Starbucks and had a story to tell…maybe she’ll share that on her blog.
We decided to go to the Arden Mall for shopping, Heidi, Gina Lee and I drove to the Mall in my car which I had driven up 450 miles from L.A.
We looked in a variety of shops, one called “Buckle” we all really liked because they carry a lot of western themed clothes and boots. Lunchtime we went to the food court and decided Chinese (Panda) sounded good so took a break and had lunch… After lunch on to Sephora to spend my gift card, I found a wonderful new lip color and gloss.
We drove back to the hotel to change for dinner with the other girls who were arriving for Sparkle.
Dinner was at El Tapatio and was wonderful, having dinner with approx. 15 other sisters and meeting new girls is always fun
After dinner Heidi, Gina, Jenn Williams and I drove to the hotel and changed into our jeans and boots for another night at Stoney’s, hoping they were not having an 18+ party again.
We arrived at Stoney’s and the door person said, “Hi ladies welcome back, not as crazy here tonight”, referring to the 18+ party of the previous night. We were allowed entry without a cover and were joined by Diana Baker and Diane Grace, neither had been to Stoney’s before but wanted to try line dancing.
The DJ (Will) at Stoney’s is also a line dance instructor and made himself very available to us for dances we knew and dances we wanted to learn or improve. We had most of the dance floor to ourselves with most people sitting at the bar or in the front room of the bar for Karaoke….
We may do that next time…it got late very fast and they were calling “Last call”…at that time our DJ finally found a song I had requested over an hour before, he said he would have to find it..LOL…it began to play and he looked at me and pointed to the dance floor, I immediately raced to the floor and started doing the Boot scootin boogie, I took off so quick I think the girls wondered what was happening, but Heidi got it right away and joined me on the floor…later she said “I wasn’t leaving my Wing girl hangin by herself for the last song of the night”….all the girls had a fabulous time, whether you dance or just participate it’s a real blast. We left and drove back to the hotel to get some rest for the next day’s activities.
Friday: Sparkle Week day 3…
We decided to take a drive to “Olde Towne Auburn “to see the sights and have lunch in a completely unknown place, the location proved to be wonderful for photo OPs with many old and rustic looking buildings and shops. Myself, Heidi Phox, Gina Lee, Kim Rydick, Diana Baker and Diane Grace all had lunch at an out of the way cafe in the woods…they called it “The best kept Secret in Auburn” …not sure it’s a secret anymore…LOL, But it had many terrific photo OPs and we used most of them after lunch.
We took several photos in many different locations, Kim Rydick is an amateur/semi pro photographer and took some wonderful pics using the old buildings and surroundings.
It got late in the afternoon, so we drove back to the hotel to get dressed for dinner at Mango’s in the Lavender district of Sacramento. I wore a black and white sleeveless dress gathered at the waist with 4-inch Black ankle strap pumps and silver jewelry by Brighton.
This Friday night dinner has become an unofficial event every year and is hosted by Cindy Shelton who has done a fabulous job as it has grown over the last 10 years. We dressed for dinner and arrived at Mango’s at 6:00pm, there were approx. 45 girls at the dinner this year, Mango’s allows us the large patio bar area with tables seating and bar service until 9:00pm, at which time some of us walk down the block to the Mercantile Saloon or as it is called by the local girls “The Merc”, it’s a fun friendly atmosphere for a drink or two and gives a chance for more chat with old friends and to make new ones. We left the Merc at about 12:00 midnight and my car had not turned into a pumpkin and I didn’t lose a glass slipper…LOL… (Goofy fairy tale reference) so I drove all of us back to the hotel. We got into our PJ’s and chatted in our room into the night and there may have been a pillow fight…?
You may have to ask Heidi Phox about that on her Phox Den blog, she got some good shots in but I think I won the fight ha-ha.
Saturday: Sparkle week day 4…. The Big Event Night
We slept a little later Saturday morning and decided to go to Ulta because I needed some nail polish to match my black and gold dress for the evening, we dressed casual in jeans, tops and booties. Heidi suggested a product she had tried called “Incoco” that are nail polish appliques and are real nail polish but applied by sticking the polish to the nail so there is no chance of mess, also you can get designs and several colors. I was helped by a very friendly salesgirl at Ulta and bought a few sets in different colors but found one perfect to go with my dress for the evening. The other girls, Gina and Jenn had gone in their own direction after cosmetics.
We all met up and decided on a quick small lunch at Burger King and then back to the Hotel to get our dresses and things ready for Sparkle.
I wore a Black and Gold dress with half sleeves, knee length by Jory Axuan. The gold was embroidered on the upper bodice of the dress, shoes were Black and Gold Nine West 4inch pumps, Jewelry was a Gold cuff bracelet and Gold bangle earrings. We were ready at 6:00pm and walked to the Ballroom of the Hotel for Sparkle 2018.
We checked in at the door and observed the Red Carpet photo area along with a “Barbie box for taking arrival photos, the Gems had a Professional photographer at the event who was marvelous and got pics of just about everything through the evening. We had some pics taken and moved on to see all types of Hats and heels decorations every where and Tables set up with a variety of things. I think my favorite was the chocolate table…LOL. I spoke with the DJ and requested the first song later in the evening be “Man I feel like a Woman” and told her we planned to jump to the dance floor and do the electric slide, hoping to get more girls dancing.
I was having such fun meeting new girls and visiting friends I met previously when I saw a girl I met at last year’s Sparkle who had told me her story of feeling trapped in her apartment and that she had come to Sparkle to meet me because what I wrote inspired her to be herself I cried.
I walked up to her at this year’s Sparkle, we hugged and began to chat at which time she introduced the girl on her left , it was her wife , and I could not have been happier for a couple. If what I write can possibly inspire people to be happier in their lives I feel truly blessed. I may not be saving the entire community but if I can help one two or three at a time to improve their lives it warms my heart.
We all sat at our tables and were served dinner, dessert and coffee. We were entertained by a comedian and then had a Fashion show for the theme of Sparkle 2018 “Hats and Heels” it was a voluntary entry but somehow it didn’t feel voluntary when Heidi and I got pushed into doing the walk….Hopefully we represented our Sisters proudly, so many wonderfully dressed beautiful women all in one place with warm and open hearts to match. The Winner had obviously taken a lot of time with her outfit and was a clear winner.
After the contest we had a break for photos and then the dancing began, Myself and Heidi had planned ahead by bringing our Cowgirl boots to the ballroom and keeping them under the table, we quickly changed our shoes and began dancing the evening away. A lot more chats and people met until 1200pm when Sparkle was officially over. We began slowly emptying the ballroom saying good byes and exchanging hugs, I straggled a bit chatting with Lady Dianna the Gems President, and Marla, Rachel and Jeanni who have so much to do with the success of this annual party. I can’t give enough praise to these wonderful people who plan a truly wonderful Fairy Tale like event for so many girls to enjoy.
I said my good byes and was a little late behind my girlfriends so heading for the elevator a man had entered before me and held the door, he was obviously coming from another party in the hotel, he asked “what floor”, I told him and then he said, “too much Party?” I said “No it was a good one though” …and he said “would you like to finish it in my room” …. I declined quickly as even though the evening had been fairy tale like I was certain he was not Prince Charming…LOL
Sparkle 2018 was a huge success in my opinion with approx. 120 girls in attendance, all of whom had a fabulous party and a wonderfully magical night.
This is all for Sparkle 2018, but I’ll be back soon with my week after Sparkle shopping and out at some of the Jazz clubs in L.A. with Gina Lee. By for now and as always be safe out there girls.
Sisterhouse Style and Fashion Columnist
You can read about last years Sparkle event here