We Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Blog Post


It’s a funny thing how things shift after the first month of the year. Plans are made on New Year’s Day and for a while things are just great.

You make it to the gym every day. You don’t have those extra sweets. You read like you promised yourself you would.

But then, life happens.

For me, the plan to maintain three blogs was just a bit much.

And so, we’re taking another break.

Follow us on The Write Side of My Brain.

We’ll be back again after we regroup.


Hosting a Winter Theme Party


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


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.

Becoming a Certified Meeting Planner


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.

Soups for Winter


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

Gorgeous Winter Soups Recipes
Jamie Oliver

Winter Soups and Stews Recipes

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.

Event Planning Degrees


Just finishing high school and looking to the future? Or wanting to go back and get another/different degree and start over as an event planner?

Here are some places where you can get the necessary education. The list is not exhaustive, but it lets you know the types of programs out there.

Hospitality Management
Bryant and Stratton College

Georgetown University
Master of Professional Studies in Hospitality Management

Emory University Continuing Education
Certificate in Event Planning

The University of Iowa
Event Planning Certificate

Those links will get you started. Check with your local college or university, or even community college.

We’ll be back in coming weeks to talk about this more.

Already have a degree in event planning or hospitality management? Tell us about it in the comments.

Books for your Favorite Event Planner


Have a meetings or event planner on your gift list this year? Why not help them along in their career
by giving them one of these great event planning books.

settingtableSetting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
Danny Meyer pents this New York Times best seller and teaches professionals how to move from fear-
based to trust-based control in business practices.

Special Events: A New Generation and the Next Frontiereventsgoldblatt
Long time industry expert Joe Goldblatt brings the sixth edition of this valuable work and includes
chapters on corporate social responsibility and greener events. Interviews with industry leaders and
students offer valuable perspectives.

boringmeetingsBoring Meetings Suck: Get More Out of Your Meetings, or Get Out of More Meetings
Jon Petz takes a humorous look at the good and bad side of meetings.


Confessions of an Event Planner: Case Studies from the Real World of Events–How to Handle the Unexpected andeventconfessionsHow to Be a Master of Discretion
International Best Selling Author Judy Allen writes a narrative about a fictional event company and
turns this into an “apprenticeship in a book” with stories of the real world of event planning.

beourguestBe Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)
Theodore Kinni takes a look at the customer service that makes Disney parks the happiest place on earth. Kinni uses the wisdom of Walt Disney to help planners gain a new perspective.

Have a favorite event planning book? Share it in the comments below.