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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 26

Hobnobbing With Helen


Delicious and delightful.

That pretty much sums up Altrusa’s fashion show and chocolate extravaganza held on Aug. 18 at the Elks Lodge.

Strutting their stuff on the runway for this first-time combo event were models Josie Baldiviez, Maria Robb, Gina Rodriguez, Yolanda Soares, Loretta Talamantes, and Kathy Telleria.

They all looked simply smashing and ever-so-chic in California casual outfits plucked from the racks of Rosa’s Boutique in Pismo Beach.

The fashions were terrific. They were appropriate for all age groups, including—dare I say it—older women (whom I prefer to think of as elder-chicks).

Also wearing a Rosa’s garment—a glamorous sequined top—was club president Jackie Brunello, who was loving the excitement. Former club prez Sylvia Ng was having too much fun, as was president-elect Linda Cordero.

Models (left to right) Loretta Talamantes, Maria Robb, and Josie Baldiviez exchanged greetings in the dressing room of the Elks Lodge before they strolled down the runway for the Altrusa fashion show on Sunday, Aug. 18.

More than 100 guests paid $40 for this zippy fundraiser. Of course, there was lunch (chicken salad) and, oh my, all the complimentary wine you could drink from a special Altrusa bar.

Altrusa glammed up the bar area with elaborate displays of the Chinese raffle items. There were two categories of goodies: some required a red ticket ($5) and some, a white ($1).

“Magical Chocolate Delights and Fashion Show” was the official name of this party. Altrusa members brought mostly homemade chocolate cookies, cupcakes, and assorted confections, which were placed on the tables in two-tier trays. It was choco-euphoria.

We nibbled away as we sipped wine and drooled over the clothes—a perfect afternoon out for the girls.

Sue Sword, Barbara Urbanske, Carolyn McCall, and Vonnie Stewart were among the crowd.

Some of the Altrusa members at the event were Diane Araujo, Gini Bauer, Blanca DeLeon, and Donna Viadella.

You haven’t lived until you have heard Santa Barbara County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino emcee a fashion show and extol the virtues of palazzo pants and au courant, two-color handbags He and his sidekick, wife Marian, were charming and entertaining commentators.

Gillian Cole-Andrews, executive director of the PCPA Foundation, had a table where she sold her homemade jam and lemon curd and some darling aprons. Gina Rodriguez had a table where her daughter sold Gina’s flashy, reasonably priced jewelry.

Bruno and Jackie Brunello made a splash at the Golden Valley Altrusa Magical Chocolate Delights and Fashion Show on Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Elks Lodge. Jackie wore the wedding dress she wore when she married her husband 53 years ago.

Mike Cordero sold 50-50 tickets, while Bruno Brunello and Roy Reed manned the hosted beverage bar. Kiyoshi Sakurai gallantly assisted the models in getting off the stage. This is not a ladies-only organization!

The gals in charge of this event were co-chairs Barbara Fleming, Yolanda Soares, Alicia Ashbrook, and Linda Wilkins.

The one live auction item was a two-night stay at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn near Universal City in Los Angeles. The package included overnight parking (no small item!) and a daily breakfast buffet for two.

Now for the grand finale. Club president Jackie Brunello and husband Bruno have been together for 58 years, according to the emcee, and they have been married for 53.

Jackie, with Bruno in black tie by her side, made a spectacular end-of-the-event entrance wearing—get this—the wedding gown she wore when she and her husband tied the knot so many years ago.

Talk about a beaming bride and a glowing groom.

Well, this was just the most fun ever. We all love a bride, even 53 years after the fact.


If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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