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winterparty

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

– William Blake

Instead of complaining about the cold weather, how about celebrating it?

Sure, if you want a winter-themed party you can go to the party store and buy all the Frozen movie products. That may be appropriate if your party is for a young, or young-at-heart, young lady.

But consider some of these ideas for hosting your own, more grownup, version of a winter party and host your own winter wonderland.

1. Choose white for your linens and decorations. White flowers, white china, and even white desserts like a lovely white cake (that doesn’t have to look like a wedding cake unless this is a winter wedding).
2. Don’t be afraid to add touches of sparking blue and silver to highlight your decor.
3. Add some white lights for extra sparkle, either on some trees or topiaries around the room or strung across the ceiling.
4. Go for a classy look by making your decor all black and white. Start with the look of piano keys and go from there. Black and white stripes, polka dots, and more can give your event an elegant look.
5. Don’t want to focus on the cold and snow? Go tropical and hold a luau complete with flamingos and flower leis for the guests.
6. For winter food consider traditional things like soups and chilis. Serve your regular cocktails, but offer things like hot chocolate and hot buttered rum.

The possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make these work.

These are just a few ideas to get your creative thoughts flowing.

Let us know how it turns out.

National Popcorn Day

popcorn

The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.

– W. C. Fields

We can’t verify the source or the origin, but apparently today is National Popcorn Day. We’re not going to object.

Whether going to the movies or staying home to watch the big game, popcorn is a favorite treat.

Better yet, if you can cut back on the butter and salt, popcorn is a rather healthy snack.

Go ahead. Treat yourself.

banquet

You don’t have to have an event planning degree or be a Certified Meeting Planner to be a successful meeting and event planner. But it helps.

If you’re still in school there are lots of event planning degrees out there. Check them out. But if you’re already in the industry, already have an event planning career underway, there’s no better time than the present to start working toward your certified Meeting Professional Certification.

First go to the Convention Industry Council (CIC) page to learn about the designation and the steps you’ll need to follow.

From the CIC page:

The CMP exam was developed and is maintained by meeting professionals from all over the world who volunteer their time to ensure that the program reflects the best practices in the meeting management field. More than 10,000 meeting professionals in 55 countries around the globe hold the CMP designation. This unique community represents every sector of the industry—from corporations and associations to government and institutional organizations.

Everything you need to know is there at the CIC site. But here are some things to keep in mind as you make your plans to become a CMP.

To become certified you’ll have to meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam. You can use the information on the CIC site to determine where you are in that process. And don’t be afraid to seek out a CMP study group.

Basically you need three years of experience and recent employment in the meetings industry, or you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a related field plus two years of experience. After that you’ll need a 200-hour internship or completion of 25 hours of continuing education within the past five years.

It’s best to figure out just exactly what you need before embarking on the application process.

Successfully passing the exam will take a lot of study. The handbooks and texts you need are listed at the CIC site. The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and Meeting Planners International offer online and book study options. And be sure to take advantage of the practice exam offered by the CIC.

Once you’re certified you must re-certify every five years as well as maintain employment in the industry.

Best of luck.

Already have your CMP? Share some tips and encouragement in the comments.

hotbutteredrum

Here in the Mid-Atlantic we’ve already had our share of winter weather. But while it’s mild as we write this, winter is far from over.

That’s why it’s good to celebrate things like National Hot Buttered Rum Day. Sometimes coffee or hot chocolate isn’t quite enough.

Hot buttered rum is a mixed drinking that containes rum, butter, hot water or cider, sweetener, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves).

The history of this drink dates back to America’s colonial days when shipments of molasses from Jamaica gave the colonists the chance to add some distilled rum and create such beverages as toddies and nogs, and thus hot buttered rum.

If you fancy the chance to try some hot buttered rum, check out this recipe from Epicurious.

Have a favorite hot buttered rum recipe? Share in the comments.

drking

The third Monday of the month is set aside as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to honor the civil rights leader born on January 15, 1929 who was assasinated on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King’s legacy lives on and is a testament to the fact that, while we may not always like our history, we should always remember it.

Here are five American History blogs to peruse:

Civil Rights Law & Policy Blog
Up-to-date news on Civil Rights issues from Editor Andrew M. Ironside. A member of the Law Professor Blogs Network.

Discourse.net
Michael Froomkin Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law writes about contemporary civil rights issues.

Old Virginia Blog
Richard G. Williams, Jr. is an award winning Southern writer, autodidact, tour guide, relic hunter, preservationist, researcher, and raconteur who specializes in Virginia history and the War Between the States.

History and Women
Mirella Sichirollo Patzer offers a compendium of Women’s History and Biographies.

Religion in American History
An expansive and engaging group blog looking at religion in American history and culture.

leejackson3

Since 1889 Virginia has celebrated the birthday of Robert E. Lee. In 1904 Stonewall Jackson’s name was added. Both men had birthdays in January. The day was celebrated on the third Monday of the month.

But in 1983 the third Monday of January became the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For a time Virginia celebrated the day as Lee-Jackson-King Day.

In 2000 that was changed and now Virginia Celebrates Lee-Jackson Day on the Friday before Martin Luther King. Jr. Day.

Not all localities celebrate Lee-Jackson Day, but state offices are close on both Friday and Monday of that weekend.

Robert E. Lee (January 19, 1807 – october 12, 1870) was the commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia until such time as he surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865. Following the war, Lee served as President of what is now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was perhaps the best known Confederate general after Robert E. Lee. Jackson was accidentally shot by Confederate troops at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He lost an arm to amputation and died eight days later from complications of pneumonia.

Both Lee and Jackson are honored with statues along Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

History isn’t always pretty, but it’s always worth remembering.

Soups for Winter

wintersoups

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Nothing quite warms you up on a winter day like a nice hot bowl of soup. Here are a few resources to find some great winter soups.

The 54 Most Delish Winter Soups & Stews
Delish

Gorgeous Winter Soups Recipes
Jamie Oliver

Winter Soups and Stews Recipes
Allrecipes

Winter Soups
Martha Stewart

8 Perfect-for-Winter Soup Recipes
Real Simple

Have a favorite winter soup recipe (or two)? Share them in the comments.