The Crowd: Shop until you drop for cancer research

There are those who can turn a negative into a positive and those who can turn a negative into positive cash flow.

The second Divorcée Sale, also billed as "A Charity Shopping Event at Pelican Hill Resort," unfolds July 22 through 24. If you think you've heard of everything, you probably haven't heard of this.

What a concept. A woman named Jill Alexander and a confederacy of compadres, many of whom belong to the Divorcée Society of America, came up with a brilliant idea to resell gently used luxury merchandise that had to go when they had to go. For most women — and plenty of men — purging the closet, cleaning out the house and emptying all of the drawers is cathartic. Out with the old, time to start over and begin a new phase of life.

"If you have always wanted a certain handbag, but hesitated spending the money fearing your husband would divorce you when he found out, this is the perfect sale for you," Alexander said. "It's a win-win in the best sense of the term."

Alexander and pals have been getting plenty of buzz over their concept, with mentions online and in the mainstream press, including a recent blurb in the Huffington Post.

It is more than just a marketing concept. A portion of the sales volume is donated to breast cancer research and Meredith Israel, a woman diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer who blogs about her experience.

Karen Todman, the stunning brunette and former wife of television game show heir Bill Todman Jr., is helping Alexander coordinate next weekend's shopping spree.

"You wouldn't believe how much fun the women have attending this event," she said. "The laughter is contagious, the prices are incredible, and we all feel like we are doing something purposeful for ourselves and also for women struggling with breast cancer."

To find out more about the sale, go to JillAlexander@TheDivorceeSale.com, or call the Resort at Pelican Hill: (800) 315-8214 or (949) 467-6800.

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From the Divorcee Sale to the White Party — and, no, we are not talking about a linen sale at Macy's. The beautiful people, all attired in white summer casual attire, gathered at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in support of the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation.

Formed in 1997, the foundation was created to promote amateur sailing competition and to support amateur sailors training for national and international competition. In the Newport-Mesa community, without exaggeration, this is serious business.

The Newport Harbor Yacht Club, as well as the other prestigious clubs in the harbor, including the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club and the Balboa Yacht Club, are mainstays of rigorous competitive training beginning with very young children, continuing all the way through grade and high school, college and into adulthood. Otherwise stated, sailing is a way of life.

Led by President and Director Warren Person, the foundation counts among its dedicated board of directors and volunteers local sailors, including Tom Linden, Paul Stemler, Rick Emsiek, Doug Welsh, Robert Kinney, Michael Daily, Richard Robinson and Adam Deermount.

It was the East Coast Hamptons set arriving on the Balboa Bay front as the crowd in billowy white cotton outfits mingled on the Yacht Club terrace, toasting tall crystal champagne flutes, sparkling as the final rays of sunlight bounced off the harbor's Main Channel. A steel drum band played the obligatory calypso beat as the crowd got in the mood to bid on a massive silent auction prior to a sit-down dinner in the club.

By the end of the evening, some $40,000 was raised for the foundation, extremely substantial given that the evening dinner ticket was priced at $40 per person. Spotted in the White Party crowd were Molly Calder with father and mother-in-law Scott and Jane Calder, Bill and Lisa Johnson, Carter and Sarah Ewing, Justin and Julie Wilson, Jim and Deena Warmington, and Pat and Libby Werner.

Also supporting the foundation were Graham Tingler, Annie McCray Pauley, Tim and Sheila Collins, Peter and Harriett Pallette, and John and Jennifer Drayton. To find out more about the work of the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation, visit http://www.nhsailingfoundation.org.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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