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.

Give Me A Break



I go to a lot of meetings. A lot.

And before I moved to Richmond nearly 20 years ago, I planned meetings. I was the Director of Conferences and Meetings for a DC based association where I scheduled meetings from 20 member board meetings to five-day conferences for over 2,000 people.

I know what I’m talking about when I talk meetings.

And I know that, unlike many “leaders” that the average person can pay attention for about 20 minutes (roughly the time of an average sitcom) before becoming restless.

At about 90 minutes the observant leader will note that attendees aren’t paying attention. They’re fiddling with papers, checking their email, nodding off. But they’re not paying attention to the important things you have to say.

Reality is the average butt and the average bladder were not designed to endure a three hour meeting without a break.

Had the Skipper and Gilligan stopped to let everybody pee the Minnow may not have been lost.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many graduate degrees you may have, how many years of experience you have. If you don’t recognize that people need to get up and stretch, get a glass of water, use the restroom, get some air, then you’re really not an effective leader at all.

It doesn’t matter how important your discussion is or how much material you have to cover.

People. Need. Breaks.

What you’re missing by refusing to call a break is a more effective meeting. Ever hear about people going to bed to sleep on an idea?

Take a break. Walk away and come back. You’ll get more work done and likely produce a better product.

Cross posted at The Write Side of My Brain.

Scenes from the 2013 Virginia Orchid Society Show

We stopped by Strange’s Florist in Short Pump to visit in on the 2013 Virginia Orchid Society Show.

Don’t ask me to identify, but here are some of the beautiful flowers we saw.


Yes, I know.  this is an Hibiscus, not an Orchid.

Yes, I know. this is a Hibiscus, not an Orchid.




If you missed the show, not to worry. Orchids Galore!: A Love of Living Color is now open at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and runs daily through March 31, 2013.

Barboursville Vineyards Awarded 2013 Governor’s Cup


Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has awarded the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup to Barboursville Vineyards’ 2009 Octagon 12th Edition.

A press release included McDonnell’s remarks at the Governor’s Cup awards. McDonnell said “As Virginia’s wine industry grows in standing and collect accolades from around the world, it means more tourism and more jobs here in the Commonwealth. Shining the light on Virginia’s wineries is another way we can promote this homegrown industry that creates jobs for Virginians. I congratulate Luca Paschina, the Zonin family, and the entire Barboursville team for winning this year’s Governor’s Cup for their 2009 Octagon, one of Virginia’s most iconic red wines. Luca’s Octagon wines are personal favorites of mine, and I know this award winning 12th Edition will make the Virginia wine industry proud now and in the years to come. I also commend the winemakers of the other distinguished wines that comprise this year’s Governor’s Cup Case. I am confident that wine aficionados and enthusiasts alike will take notice of Octagon and the other impressive offerings in this case. The advancements in Virginia winemaking are on display in every bottle we have here tonight and the stringent requirements of the Governor’s Cup competition ensure that Virginia wines receiving medals have been through the most demanding evaluation process.”

Read the full press release.

Located in Virginia’s Piedmont region, Barboursville Vineyards is built on the grounds of Barboursville, the home of James Barbour, the 19th Governor of barboursville2the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 870 acre estate is divided between Albemarle and Orange Counties. Based on a design by Thomas Jefferson, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Octagon is Barboursville Vineyards’ flagship wine, it is a Bordeaux-style blend, mainly based on Merlot, with parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Abraham Lincoln’s Visit to Richmond

This drawing by L. Hollis was engraved by J.C. Buttre and depicts Lincoln’s visit to Richmond.

This drawing by L. Hollis was engraved by J.C. Buttre and depicts Lincoln’s visit to Richmond.

It was two days after Confederate forces evacuated the City of Richmond. On April 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and son Tad visited the City. Former slaves greeted them enthusiastically.

Admiral David D. Porter landed with Lincoln and said, “No electric wire could have carried the news of the President’s arrival sooner than it was circulated through Richmond. As far as the eye could see the streets were alive with negroes and poor whites rushing in our direction, and the crowds increased so fast that I had to surround the President with the sailors with fixed bayonets to keep them off…They all wanted to shake hand with Mr. Lincoln or his coat tail or even to kneel down and kiss his boots.!”

Crowds made Lincoln’s short journey to the U.S. military headquarters, the former Confederate White House nearly impossible. There he found a delegation of Southerner seeking to have a discussion with him about ending the war in a swift and peaceful manner.

Lincoln left Richmond the next day never to return. Four days later General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse. Less than a week later, Lincoln was assassinated. Events at the end of the war and Lincoln’s death drew attention away from the visit.

In April, 2003 the National Park Service rekindled that interest when they unveiled a statue Lincoln and his son Tad depicting the 1865 visit. The sculpture by Louis Frech resides at the Historic Tredegar Iron Works. The words “To Bind up the Nation’s Wounds” from Lincoln’s second inaugural address are displayed behind the sculpture.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He died on April 15, 1865.