BHWF Holds Anniversary Party & Charles Street Fashion Bazaar

Story by Marianne Salza

Beacon Hill Women’s Forum (BHWF) members raised a toast to a decade of friendship while exploring the most popular accessories and frocks for the summer during the May 14 Anniversary Party & Charles Street Fashion Bazaar at the Hampshire House.

“This organization has exceeded my expectations in many ways,” said Lisa Macalaster, Founder/Co-President. “I never imaged we’d have such a diverse lineup of offerings that foster friendships. Over the years, the Connections events expanded beyond our initial offerings such as ‘feast with friends,’ ‘backyard adventures,’ and ‘book group,’ to include ‘laughs and libations,’ a cocktail hour gathering each month, and ‘Sunday Funday,’ a weekend brunch. It’s a very social group. Never a dull moment.”

The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum recently changed the layout during forum cocktail hours from lecture seating to round tables that can accommodate eight friends; and Macalaster feels that the new arrangement encourages more intimate conversations.

“One of the key factors to achieving true happiness is having a sense of community; and that is exactly what the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum provides,” beamed Macalaster. “In addition to our monthly speaker series, we have book groups, dinner groups, holiday parties, fashion shows, and so much more. These activities foster friendships and a sense of being connected to the neighborhood. It feels good to belong.”

Macalaster recognized Tom Kershaw, owner of the Hampshire House, for his generosity during BHWF monthly gatherings. 

“I’m pleased to have had the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum with us for the past 10, outstanding years,” said Kershaw, who gifted Macalaster with a framed photographed of the two of them.

Macalaster presented white roses to the current, incoming, and past board of directors – who she described as a “dynamic group of women” — as well as the professional staff who have maintained and beautified the website with photographs and announcements.

“I think the commitment from board members over the years, and the continually inspiring speakers have contributed to the successful run of the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum,” said Tricia Stone, Co-President. “Beacon Hill is a vibrant community, and our members support this organization year after year.”

Stone also expressed her appreciation for Macalaster and the incredible impact that she has made.

“Lisa’s energy, true love of community, and her gift of connecting and bringing people together is unbelievable,” exclaimed Stone, who is equally impressed by the engaging and fascinating BHWF members.  “Women of all ages and backgrounds come together to connect, celebrate, and learn from women in the community. Everyone I’ve met is so interesting. All of this make me grateful to be a part of the Beacon Hill community.”

Stone is delighted about the upcoming season, starting in September 2024. Guest speakers include a physician transforming healthcare, a New York Times best-selling author, and a dermatologist renowned for her involvement in the creation of laser treatments.

New members, like Grace Lee — who was accompanied by two of her friends – were eager to mingle at the Fashion Bazaar and introduce themselves to the community.

“I’m so grateful to have a local organization, like the Women’s Forum, to gather together. I work from home, so this is a chance for me to go out and meet people in the area,” shared Lee, who enjoyed the colorful fabrics of the spring and summer seasons.

Following acknowledgements, ladies browsed the displays provided by local boutiques and jewelers: Arte|Facto Boston, J. McLaughlin, Phoebe Jon, Sara Campbell, and Soodee.

“Our accessories are our best sellers,” revealed Lauren Reece, Sara Campbell. “Our big things for spring are lilac linens, and also patterns. We have a lot of florals.”

Reece — who is most excited about flowy, subtle, and fun dresses of the season — arranged a table featuring Sara Campbell’s popular handbags, jewelry, and ponchos.

Soodee stylist and sales associate, Angie “The Mermaid,” described the boutique’s styles that are inspired by luxurious designs — but without the high-end prices.  Large prints and patterns, such as flowers and butterflies, have been summer favorites amongst customers; and comfortable, high-quality, knit dresses are versatile for work, dinners, and weddings.

“Today we are showing some of our stunning and unique pieces. Soodee aims to bring a classic and feminine look to the girls of the city. It’s an international vibe.” said Angie. “The word for this summer is ‘whimsical.’ We’re bringing fantasy and drama, like a more casual Met Gala.”

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