Rock the Vote! And no, we’re not talking about the presidential election. The MISOSURI BOTANICAL GARDEN and 14 other prestigious gardens around the country recently accepted the invitation to participate in the AMERICAN GARDEN AWARD competition, a new national campaign that will allow visitors, gardeners and patrons to vote next summer via cell phone for their favorite flower!

    In the spotlight…JIM BLAIR, principal and family CFO at MONETA GROUP, has gotten another national call-out recently. Barron’s magazine ranked Blair as one of the country’s ‘Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors,’ and Worth magazine named him one of the country’s ’Top 250 Wealth Managers.’

    In other business news, ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR announced its president and COO, PAMELA NICHOLSON, has been named to this year’s Fortune magazine’s ’50 Most Powerful Women in Business.’ Nicholson started behind the rental counter with the company and now oversees more than 8,000 Enterprise, National and Alamo Rent A Car locations.

    RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF METRO ST. LOUIS has expanded its services to local families in healthcare crisis with the debut of its third Ronald McDonald Family Room, opened recently at CARDINAL GLENNON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. The 1,600-square-foot room provides families a comfortable place to do laundry, shower, take a nap, catch up on e-mail or just have some peace and quiet, all without leaving the hospital. The organization counts on volunteer donations to keep the room stocked with snacks, laundry detergent, toiletries, games and other necessities. To learn more, call 773-1100 ext 433.    

    Combine a world-renowned chef (LARRY FORGIONE), a beautiful downtown restaurant (AN AMERICAN PLACE) and a wonderful cause (HAVEN OF GRACE) and it’s a recipe for success! The organization will benefit from a dinner and auction hosted by Forgione on Nov. 9. Co-hosts include VINCE and PATTI MANNINO, DUNARD and DONNA MORRIS, MELISSA HAUPT, and BREN SOUERS. Proceeds from the evening will help the nonprofit further its mission to help men and women overcome poverty of body, mind and spirit.

    Happy fifth anniversary to THE LADIES OF LUCERNE TEA ROOM in Ballwin. As a thank you to its customers, owners ADRIANNE RITTER and LEE HEMENWAY are offering their customers special discounts in their gift shop through Dec. 21.

    Congratulations to BUSTER, the English Bulldog from Ladue who took second place in the PURINA FARMS DOG SHOW recently. Buster belongs to Valerie Engel. He was considered the underdog in the AKC-certified show, as it was his first dog show and he’s had no formal training!

    Hitting up the mall anytime soon? Between now and Nov. 15, local CBL Malls (including Chesterfield Mall and West County Center) are accepting canned food donations for local food banks. On Oct. 31 the malls will host a trick-or-treating event for kids and their parents and are encouraging costumed visitors to bring canned goods for the drive.

    Parenting without screaming? It can be done! Just ask parenting expert HAL RUNKEL, who will be visiting THE WILSON SCHOOL Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Runkel will discuss his new book, ScreamFree Parenting, at a free lecture for parents. His theory is that by choosing to focus on themselves, grow themselves up and calm themselves down, parents can better relate with their kids. The lecture is open to the public, but RSVPs are required at

    Shopping for a cause…a luncheon and fashion show featuring looks from Talbots will take place Oct. 30 at noon at THE HAWKEN HOUSE in Webster Groves. The historic 1857 farmhouse (1155 S. Rock Hill Road) originally stood on Big Bend Boulevard along Grant Road, and was moved to Southwest Park in 1970 in order to preserve the structure. On display that afternoon will be vintage clothes from the WEBSTER GROVES HISTORICAL SOCIETY. For more information, call 968-1857.

    Bravo! Congrats to CONNOR and LAUREN JENKINS, children of ROSS and CHRISTINE JENKINS, who spent a year preparing for the WORLD PIANO COMPETITION in Cincinnati recently. Connor is a seventh-grader at Crestview Middle School and was a semi-finalist in Level 6, and Lauren is in fourth grade at Wildhorse Elementary School and was a semi-finalist in Level 2. Both are piano students at NOEMI CHERTOK PIANO STUDIOS.

    How cute! In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month, BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP is selling its ‘Hopeful Wishes Teddy’ to support breast cancer education, research and support groups. The pink (of course) bear is available in stores and online for $25. For every purchase, a $5 donation will be made to SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE, NETWORK OF STRENGTH and YOUNG SURVIAVL COALITION.

    Congrats to KIDSMART, which announced recently that it has collected and distributed more than $10 million worth of school supplies to St. Louis children since its founding in 2002. That’s the equivalent of 300 million pencils, 850,000 backpacks, 38 million glue sticks and 526 million sheets of construction paper! For more information about the organization, visit

    Cheers to CARL TALLEFIERRO of J. Buck’s and IIYA NAYENDOV of IL BEL LAGO, who were winners of the 2008 Mixology bartender competition held recently at SUB ZERO VODKA BAR.

    Pilates nuts, take note! The PILATES AND YOGA CENTERS of Ladue and St. Louis will host an open house charity event to benefit WOMEN’S SAFE HOUSE on Saturday, Nov. 1. A minimum donation of $10 is required, and a variety of classes are available. Call 569-9400 for reservations or more information.