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Dancing with the Stars - Looking Back and Now Ahead!

Five years ago I was asked to participate in an event that definitely got me out of my comfort zone. I was called by Kevin O’Malley one day who asked if I would be up for participating in the Arizona Kidney Foundation, Dancing with the Stars! Having watched the television show a few times I thought, this could be fun and obviously a great cause. Kevin called me like sometime in October and the event was in February – plenty of time. Little did I know what I was in for! More about that in a bit.

Meanwhile, move forward five years, and I come to find that one of my clients, Julie Van Etten, whom we are designing a beautiful home in Desert Mountain with builder Richard Sinagoga of RS Homes, has taken on the challenge back at her home in St. Louis, MO. Her big night is this Saturday! I remember the anxiety and anticipation the day leading up to the big event. So I am asking all of you to even make just a small donation to her effort tomorrow night as small ripples combine to make big waves!


Here is a quick letter from Julie about the event:


Each year St. Louis corporate and community leaders join an elite group for a once in a lifetime experience – a fun and challenging journey that culminates under the bright, white stage lights at Dancing with the St. Louis Stars, a benefit for Independence Center.

 Highly regarded as one of the most unique fundraisers in St. Louis, Dancing with the St. Louis Stars offers a night of entertaining dance performances by corporate and community leaders, all in effort to raise vital funds for mental illness.  I accepted the invitation to dance and will rehearse and campaign for votes until I debut my performance on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

 I am competing against six other dance couples to fundraise the most votes (1 vote = $10) and each vote is a direct donation to Independence Center. Please consider supporting me with your gift of votes at


 You'll be supporting an amazing organization that provides hope and resilience for those living with mental illness.

As Independence Center’s signature fundraising event, it is crucial to providing charity services every year to people that are eager to restore their lives, manage their illness, and become contributing members of our community.

Independence Center provides programs and services to adults with severe and persistent mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and major depression. Their goal is to assist these individuals to live independently and with dignity by helping them find work, pursue their education, secure safe and affordable housing, improve their physical and mental wellness, and participate in age appropriate social activities. Adults diagnosed with a mental illness over the age of 18 may be eligible for services and once someone becomes an active recipient of the program, they are considered members.

 Thank you for your consideration! 

Your dancing friend,

Unruly Julie

Ok Julie – so I don’t know how your lead up has been but teaching me to tango from October to February was quite the feat! First of all they paired me with a professional dancer, Gergana, from Romania or Bulgaria or somewhere over there! Well she was tall, blonde and very lovely and so keeping focused on dancing was not easy but she worked me hard and I met with her two or three times a week for three months. Wow – is dancing difficult and what a work out! I lost ten pounds during those three months – so that was nice.

Anyway, I made it through the big evening. I didn’t win or even come close to winning the competition but I did well and didn’t make an absolute fool of myself….. We raised several hundred thousand dollars which was the best part of the event.

I have long forgotten all of my routines and moves but now that I think about it…..maybe Isabel and I need to take this up and get some refresher lessons! Help my good friend Julie out and give her your vote! Those of you in St. Louis make sure you attend the event. Thanks everyone for the support!