The Case for Gelato

The first gelato cart appeared between the years of 1920 and 1930 in the northern Italian city of Varese. Legend regarding the actual incarnation of ice cream is vague, though history suggests the idea of ice cream started in Sicily, ancient Rome, and Egypt when frozen snow was preserved underground and flavored. A man by the name of Francsco Procopiio dei Coltelli made the first usable ice cream machine in 1686.

To all of these innovators of gelato, I thank you.

I’m not sure my life would be the same without gelato in it.

Gelato means ice cream, and it starts out with the same custard base, but it has a higher proportion of milk than cream and eggs (and sometimes has no eggs at all). When making gelato, it is churned at a much slower rate than ice cream, incorporating less air, which makes the gelato denser than ice cream. And, as an added bonus, gelato has less fat than ice cream.

As you have probably noticed in your local grocery store, sales of gelato are on the rise. In fact, Americans are loving and consuming gelato right now at a record pace. Sales were up 32 percent last year, and the selection of gelato has increased.

With warmer weather comes our increased desire for gelato of all flavors. If you live in Maryland or plan to visit soon, be sure to visit Vaccaro’s in Little Italy in Baltimore for some of the best gelato around. Or, if you’re content to bring some home from your local grocer, I highly recommend the Talenti brand, especially the Sea Salt Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip varieties.

If I had my druthers and an airline ticket, I’d venture to the place of gelato’s birth. Some of the best gelato I ever had was in Rome at Giolitti.

You won’t be disappointed.

imageStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

Take a Trip to Ladew Topiary Gardens



Last fall, my husband and I had time all to ourselves during the week while the kids were in school; I was on fall break and my husband took a day off. We spent the day at Ladew Topiary Gardens in Maryland, just 29 miles north of Baltimore in Monkton. It’s a great way to enjoy “together” time, as you stroll the gardens and see the blossoms and collection of plants. Additionally, the topiary gardens are sculpted beautifully. We did go in early autumn, but springtime and summer must be glorious as well. And the weather was so spectacular, that we ate lunch on the patio outside the small cafe.

Harvey Ladew, who died in 1976,  was an interesting gentleman who was known as a traveler, artist, foxhunter, and gardener. He had many famous acquaintances, including Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Somerset Maugham, and he relished the company of all types of people. He wanted to leave his 200+ acre property for others to enjoy, and in 1971, his home became a non-profit organization for the public to enjoy. To learn more about the history of Ladew, visit the website and click here.

There’s nothing like a day trip to clear one’s head. Strolling gardens looking at nature and blooms of later summer/early autumn reminds me of days gone by when people had no connection to electronics and were able to completely de-stress and just stroll and connect the old-fashioned way—by talking and being together.

I enjoy exploring hidden treasures that are just a short distance from home, and am always looking for a nearby place to spend some time.

Do you?



While we were there, we got to see the gardeners working on trimming the hedges.









A very nice person took a photo of us in one of the gardens.



Topiaries are behind me!!!
Topiaries are behind me!!!


imageStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of the newly released Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.  To visit Stephanie’s Amazon Author page and see her books, click here.


BOOKISH — Sunday Book Festival and Monday Book Talk on the Docket

BaseballGirlFinalCoverwithAwardsTomorrow begins Day One of the Baltimore Book Festival. Book lovers in Baltimore—there’s a lot to rejoice. The lineup of authors is terrific, and local authors and speakers will be there as well sharing stories about writing and publishing.

I’ll be in the Author’s Tent on Sunday, September 27 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. with books in hand, bookmarks, and an opportunity to win a prize. As well, I’ve been invited to speak from 1:30 – 2 p.m. in the Author’s Tent. I hope to see you there, and if you can’t make it on Sunday, please stop by whenever you can to see this well-planned and well-orchestrated Festival in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

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On Monday, I’ll be in my own neck of the woods at the Broadneck Library in Annapolis, and we’ll be talking about my latest novel, Baseball Girl, which was just awarded an Honorable Mention Award for Sports Fiction in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Contest. We’ll also talk other topics, such as writing, publishing, books, and baseball. Stop by from 7-8 p.m. and see if you might win a Frank Robinson replica statue and two signed copies of my books.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I hope to bump into you somewhere.

From the last visit to the Baltimore Book Festival in 2012. It's been a while, and I'm looking forward to being back!
From the last visit to the Baltimore Book Festival in 2012. It’s been a while, and I’m looking forward to being back!


Baseball, Baltimore & Boisterous Real Fans: Well Worth the Wait

Energized Camden Yards.

As I sat in the Club Level at Camden Yards on Thursday night, excited for Game One of the ALDS to begin between the hometown Baltimore Orioles and the visiting Detroit Tigers, I basked in the atmosphere. The ballpark hummed. Why, it was only a few years ago when it was devoid of Orioles fans while intruders, fans of the successful Red Sox and Yankees, took over the seats during non-glorious seasons. Thursday night was a different story; Camden Yards was cradling 48,000+ energetic fans donned in orange and white and black. The ballpark was smiling.

Two gentlemen in their 20s sat down in front of me. They were both wearing Orioles shirts, and each carried his orange and black rally towel replete with the Angry Bird on it. At the first sign that the team was about to take the field, the two young men stood, ready for the first pitch. As the National Anthem played, they respectfully removed their caps as we listed to an operatic tenor sing in splendid fashion. After Manny Machado threw out the first pitch, it was game time, and they were ready.Rally

All throughout the game, I couldn’t help but notice the two gentlemen, mostly because they involved me in their contagious enthusiasm for the night, the team, and what would be the Orioles first win of the series. At each electric moment, whether there was a hit or a solid fielding play or a run scored, the two of them were on their feet. They were jumping up and down like schoolgirls, not caring about what anyone thought of them. They high-fived each other, and then turned and high-fived all of us: my husband, my son, my daughter, and me. We all danced to the music that blared through the O’s PA system; we chanted “Let’s Go O’s” and “Cruuuuuzzzz”; and we sang “O’Day…O’Day…” together. They never stopped smiling.

Those two guys represented all of us who are real fans—Orioles fans—especially those who have waited years for our team to have a shot at the World Series. Their glee was infectious, as was that of the rest of the folks cheering unrelentlessly in the ballpark.

Real Orioles fans were experiencing a real treat.

Many of us have cheered on our team faithfully during the losses, endured the rebuilding of the team, and continued to attend games at the ballpark proudly wearing our Orioles gear despite the years of half-filled seats and mediocrity.

It doesn’t matter when you are a real fan. It is well worth the wait.

The gentlemen in front of me.
The gentlemen in front of me.

Women Supporting Women


“True, happy, successful women usually don’t want to hurt but HELP other women.”- Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth: singer, actress, Broadway star.
Kristin Chenoweth: singer, actress, Broadway star.



Last night, my colleagues and I attended The Daily Record’s recognition event at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore to honor Maryland’s Top 100 Women in Business. It was an inspiring night, and it was wonderful to hear the support of each winner’s colleagues, family, and friends, as she went up to receive her award. Women in the fields of healthcare, law, government, public relations, education, and many more areas were among the winners.

It is wonderful to see a publication like The Daily Record take the time to recognize women in business. As well, it’s wonderful to see the support of other women helping to raise up and congratulate their leaders. One particular segment of the program involved a video of some of the recognized women offering advice to other women. Sentiments such as “follow your dreams and your passions,” “don’t be afraid to succeed,” “don’t let fear guide you,” and “do what you want because you’ll be criticized anyway,” were some of the key points these leaders made to encourage audience members to always pursue our dreams.

What I loved most about the event in general was that strong women were in the room supporting other strong women. Kristin Chenoweth’s quote above should be a reminder to women to always rise above pettiness and insecurities and be confident enough in ourselves to be able to wholeheartedly support other women around us.

More and more women are having amazingly powerful, strong, vibrant, and influential careers. Women are continuing to become empowered in business, and it’s high time we support and encourage each other as we constantly challenge ourselves in our respective fields.

Congratulations to all the winners. They should all be so proud.

PhotoScrapbook From The Baltimore Book Festival

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Baltimore Book Festival, you missed out. What a great day it was! I got to connect with friends, both old and new. There were books, food, demonstrations, live music, a kids area, book talks, and so much more. The weather held out for us until about 5:45 p.m. when the rains came. We can’t complain, though. It was a terrific day, and I hope to be there again next year. All photos taken by Jennifer Scott Bumgarner. More about the experience, the authors,  and a great reconnection story to come later in the week…For now, nighty-night. I’m pretty tired.

I’m Off to the Baltimore Book Festival!

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I’m just about to walk out the door and head to the Baltimore Book Festival. It’s a gorgeous day here in Baltimore, and one you may enjoy spending in the Mt. Vernon are of the city. There are lots of great things happening at the festival today: my friend Ann is presenting at 3 p.m. in the Romance Writer’s tent, and I’ll be in the Author’s Tent from noon – 7 p.m.

I hope you’ll come out and visit local and national authors today. There will be treats at my table. BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE and I could use your support!

See you later!