February 2020

President: Ann Arabian   Editor: Charlotte Ruffner

President's Message

Ann Arabian

A very happy February and Valentine’s Day to all! 

It is with much excitement and gratitude that I begin 2020 as your new president! I’ll never forget when Sandee Crisp of the Nominating Committee extended the offer to serve. Having been a member for less than 6 months, I was a little speechless.  But somehow an enthusiastic “yes” managed to slip out!  Someone once said, “start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”  And that’s exactly what I’m doing.  

It actually started two years ago when my husband and I moved to Glen Ellen after raising our family in Marin. In some ways it’s been a journey “back home” having been born and raised in Santa Rosa. I felt comfortable with our move, but it wasn’t until being introduced to Newcomers that I felt truly “at home.” It’s been a magical new chapter in our lives – having trusted that our leap of faith would provide what we have and will always value:community. Thank you, Newcomers, for that “welcome home” feeling I experience every day! 

FYIs and Thank Yous….

**Have you seen the changes to our SVNC website? Communications Chair, Stephanie Hamilton, has incorporated some very user-friendly ideas and tools. Including showcasing the monthly newsletter, located in the website menu bar. You’re now just one click away to all the club’s news and happenings, should your email copy of the newsletter ever get lost.  And a huge thank you to Editor Charlotte Ruffner for always seeking interesting local events to feature, as well as formatting the newsletter, and so much more.

**Our first Members Luncheon of the year was held at Suite D on January 16th.  The rain didn’t deter seventy members from gathering to enjoy each other’s company, a delectable lunch and featured speaker Priscilla Essert, Executive Director of the Vintage House. Special thank you to D.J. Johnson, 1st Vice President, for creating such a delightful afternoon!  

**One member in particular has been an enormous support while transitioning into my new role – and that’s our gracious immediate past president, Maria Campbell!  Her encouragement, guidance and wisdom continue to be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you!  Here’s to an awesome 2020 and all that SVNC has to offer!


Membership News

Carmela Mezquita 

As of January 26, 2020, we have 343 members and 69 members who haven’t renewed their membership yet.

Please welcome our first 11 new members in 2020!

Florence Bellenger

Lori Burns (Mike)

Nancy Collins (Francesco Adinolfi)

Diane DuBois (Alex)

Elizabeth Filippi (Fred)

Amy Larson (Gregg)

Leana Medina-Beltz (John Beltz)

Amy Oliver

Robin Sheldon (Kent)

Renee Shurstad (Tomll Terry (Jerry Goldstone)

SVNC Dues Renewal – Important Notice

Thank you to all SVNC members who have already renewed their membership for 2020.  Currently there are 69 members who have still not paid their 2020 dues. Although it would be wonderful if everyone rejoined, every year there are a few members who do not renew for various reasons.  The deadline for rejoining is February 15th.  Any member who has not rejoined by February 15th, will have their website profiles archived.  This means they will no longer receive any communication from SVNC.  In addition, the Dining and Activity Chairs and their coordinators will receive a list of lapsed members and these women will not be able to participate in any SVNC events. Please pay your dues online by February 15, 2020, if you wish to continue to enjoy all of the many benefits of membership in Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club!  If you have any questions about renewing your membership, contact Carmela Mezquita at cmezquita17@icloud.com.

Deborah Johnson

Meet Deborah Johnson, who goes by "DJ."  She is the 1st Vice President in charge of Membership Lunches.  She finds the venues, sets the menu and finds the speakers.  She did such a great job last year and had so much fun fulfilling her duties that she signed up again for another year.  Please look in the Out and About column to see photos from the Suite D Members Lunch on January 16, 2020.

Kathy Warye


Originally from Washington, DC. Kathy is a consultant to medical device and diagnostic industries. In her spare time she is a silversmith and has many other creative pursuits.

Stephanie Hamilton


Stephanie worked at Apple from 2000-2017.  She was a Senior Manager in charge of World Wide Development.

Nancy Mallonee


From 1986-2006 Nancy was the controller for the Grateful Dead. From 2006-17 she did Tour Accounting for the band Journey.  

Hospitality Co-Chairs 

Remember your very first Newcomer event? It was probably the introductory coffee for prospective members held at the home of one of the hospitality co-chairs. This year the two co-chairs are Susan Cronkite and Jean Borella.  They send out the invites and open their homes on the morning of the second Thursday of the month to new women in the Sonoma Valley. They work closely with Carmela Mezquita to ensure that the Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club fulfills its mission of welcoming women to Sonoma Valley.   


Arlene Holt

Dining Groups

It’s a new year and we have a new Chair of Dining Activities, Arlene.  Watch here for announcements about dining, lunch groups, wine groups and mixers:  

‘Four new dining groups have launched.  The response for the new groups was overwhelming and two are already full. With close to ten members joining each month, plus those who want to get into groups but find them full, there is a need for more new dining groups.

So, are you interested in a Women’s Dining Out Dinner Group? Women’s Diners & Dives Lunch Group? Women’s Picnic & Wine Group? Couples/Singles Diners & Dives Dinner Group? Couples/Singles Picnic & Wine Group?Couples/Singles Food Pairing Group?

If you are, please send an email to newcomersdining2020@gmail.com.  Get your name on the list.  The wait won’t be long."


 Stephanie Brown

Social Activities

Stephanie moved from Chair of Dining Activities to Social Activities.  She is your go to person for activities that don’t involve food and drink.  Watch here for announcements:

New Newcomer, Amy Larson, a certified health coach and Mind Body Eating coach, is interested in starting a monthly group for discussion of various facets of personal health and wellness.  Topics would include:   various dietary systems, meal planning and eating habits, forms of movement/exercise, methods of relaxation and self care,  and self acceptance and compassion. Depending on the group’s interest and comfort level, we can offer support of member’s personal health goals.   If group is interested, outside speakers could be part of our agenda.  

If you are interested in exploring this further, email the Newcomer's Activity Chair:  ncactivities2020@gmail.com and you will be contacted as the group forms.


This Dynamic Duo, Sandee Crisp and Judi Preusse, bring Newcomers the two fabulous socials.  They did it last year and they signed up again to do it this year.  They work their magic in the summer and in December.  Be sure not to miss these two really great events.  

Event Calendar

February 6-8 at 7:30 pm

February 9 at 2:00 pm 

ENCHANTED APRIL - A Comedy at the Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St.

Written by Matthew Barber and Directed by Larry Williams.  Lottie Wilton sees an advertisement in the paper to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April.  It is described as an idyllic spot “for those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine,” and she jumps at the chance to escape her downtrodden existence. Feeling lost in the shadows of marriage in the post-war rush of the 1920’s, she gathers three very different London housewives to pool their savings for a ladies-only getaway. Together, under the backdrop of the Mediterranean sun, the four women clash, bond, and finally bloom - until surprise guests arrive and threaten to spoil everything. 

February 6 at 5:30-7:30 pm 

First Thursday of the month Art Walk.

This is a free community event. Start at Cheveux Salon, 156 East Napa St to pick up your walking map and to enjoy some wine and small bites. Check all the artists and locations at the website: www.sonomaartwalk.org.

February 22nd -  11th Annual Chili Bowl Express

Tickets on sale now for the 11th Annual Chili Bowl Express Fundraiser!

On Saturday, February 22, at the Sonoma Community Center, there will be 700 handmade ceramic bowls and gourmet chili from 25 local restaurants and chefs all to support Art programming at the Center.

The two lunch seatings are accessible to all at the low price of $30, which includes your choice of a handmade chili bowl filled with your choice of chili, cornbread, and all the toppings. And since it was so popular last year, the event is bringing back a special cocktail hour preceding the $60 dinner seating which includes free cocktails and mocktails in your choice of a handcrafted ceramic cup to keep. Local beer and wine will be available for purchase throughout the day.

Your ticket supports the art programs at the Center and includes:

•   Your choice of handcrafted ceramic bowl made by local artists

•   Choice of gourmet chili and cornbread (meat and vegan options)

•   Coffee, tea, and light desserts (beer and wine available for purchase)

•   Live music 

•   Ceramics demonstrations by local artists

•   Created at the Center exhibition in Gallery 212

•   Silent auction, Raffle, and Fund-A-Need 

Get your tickets now before the event sells out! https://sonomacommunitycenter.org/chilibowl/

Newcomers Out and About

The First Wednesday Hikers braved the cold weather and had a great hike on Wednesday, January 8th at Lands End in San Francisco.

Ten members of Newcomers Co-ed Cycling Group met on January 13th for their monthly ride.  They cycled from Skyline Park in Napa to Soda Canyon and back for a total of 20 miles.  One cyclist quipped, "Anyone not going on these rides is living a pale imitation of life."

Test Kitchen Fun at Maria Campbell's.  

Four Newcomers spent the afternoon of January 14th making appetizers and taste testing them with champagne (of course).  Seated are Jean Behse, Ann Arabian and Cindy Belluomini.  The photographer and host, Maria, is not pictured.

The Sonoma Sippers Wine & Picnic Group gathered on January 15th at Robledo Winery.

Newcomers Membership Lunch at Suite D

On January 16th over sixty Sonoma Valley Newcomers attended the first Members Lunch of 2020 at Suite D.  The menu choice was either (1) Pan-roasted chicken breast, fennel, fingerling potato ragout with red wine pancetta jus; or (2) Ricotta gnocchi, fall squash coulis, pomegranate seeds and water cress.  The lunch started with a little gem salad and ended with a beautiful tiered carrot cake with whipped cream cheese frosting and salted walnuts.  

Past President Maria Campbell opened the lunch

Patricia Essert Executive Director of the Vintage House was the speaker

This was the first lunch of the 2020

Over 60 Newcomers enjoyed a delicious lunch 

Marie Koller, the Program Manager of Vintage House, also spoke

2020 President Ann Arabian introduced her new board

Noteworthy Newcomers

Newcomer Jean Behse and Bill Thomson tied the knot on October 2, 2019.  Congratulations!

After transitioning out of her term as Newcomers President, Maria Campbell, left us for warmer climes.

Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club is here to help you form friendships as you ease into your new life. By offering an array of activities in a group setting, our hope is that you can meet other women who share your interests. 

                                                            Address: P.O. Box 26 Sonoma CA 95476

Website: http://sv-nc.org

"Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club" is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization. Wild Apricot Customization by POP.

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