A Busy Weekend Included Candles, Supper Club, Live Music, and a Graduation Party

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It’s Monday morning, and I might need two cups of coffee. It was a busy weekend filled with socializing. And it began on Thursday, not Friday, as my friend Elizabeth invited me to dinner and candle making.

That’s right. Candle making.

We’ve been friends for 33 years, and we figured, why not? Let’s make some candles. We’ve done a hell of a lot of other things together, so why not add this to the list? (She says she’s now making a bucket list for us to do the next 33 years of our friendship…this will be interesting).

Candles Off Main in Annapolis offers workshops on candle making, and it’s replete with a little education on candles and their existence in today’s world. We got a short history lesson, along with some really cool facts about candles that may come in handy for a game of Jeopardy. Moreover, we made candles and the unlit one I brought home is smelling up my living room without even burning. It smells like black cherry.


On Friday night, it was my husband and my turn to host supper club. Our theme, thanks to our friend Jackie, was “Under the Tequila Sun” —Mexican night. Supper clubs are great and relatively easy. The folks that host at their house are responsible for the main course and drinks. Other club members bring appetizers, sides, and dessert. It works out to be fun for all, and we spend hours talking, eating, drinking, catching up, and having lots of laughs. I highly recommend creating one with your friends and neighbors if you don’t already do so. We get together every other month, and we take turns hosting.


On Saturday night, my husband and I went to see a band he loves called The Record Company. If you’re a blues and/or rock and roll fan, you would love this energetic band. They played at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and we went early for dinner at Matchbox and then headed to the show. My husband loves seeing live music, and the band was high energy, and the volume was so loud in there that my ears were still ringing on Sunday morning (and I have bad hearing to begin with!).


Finally, on Sunday, we were invited to our friends’ daughter’s graduation party in Virginia. The Murrays know how to throw a party, and we’re so happy for their daughter, Erin, who will attend the University of Dayton in the fall.

And so here we are, folks, on Monday morning. I have a lot to accomplish this week, including some reading and writing and (hopefully) some relaxation by the pool.

Bring on the fairies…

 

Stephanie 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.

 

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Kind of Obsessed with John Mayer

JMEver since I saw his concert two weeks ago, I’ve been listening to my entire John Mayer catalog of music. I own all of his CDs, and I’ve been a fan for years, and I do listen to him often. But now I think I’ve crossed a line and have become a little obsessed. You know how some artists are just so talented that when you’ve listened to all of their songs a million times, you just wish they could just keep turning out new music because you can’t get enough?

That’s how I feel about John Mayer.

And honestly, I am talking about his music, his lyrics, and the soul he pours into everything he makes.

I am patiently waiting for his new album to arrive from Amazon.

When I saw his concert, I loved the way he broke the night up into “chapters.” He started his first set, Chapter 1, with his full band. Chapter 2 was acoustic. (I could listen to acoustic music all night long.) Chapter 3 was the Trio. Chapter 4 was the full band. And his encore was John (and he also played the piano).

I enjoyed every second of this concert and was blown away by Mayer’s talent. I’d seen him a few years ago at another venue, and unfortunately, thunderstorms curtailed that show. I was disappointed. I wanted him to play longer. Luckily, two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending this tour at Verizon Center. The whole night was electric. And his bands were phenomenal.

And so, here I am, back in my John Mayer mode. I can’t get enough of his music right now. And the lyrics to his songs move me. His guitar playing is brilliant, and his voice sounded crystal clear and strong in concert. As an added bonus, he played the piano and sang a song from his new album that made me melt.

“Stop this Train,” and “Back to You” are two older favorites of mine, and the one that still gives me chills today is “Dreaming with a Broken Heart,” so I thought I’d end today’s post with those lyrics. 

They are poetry in motion, and remind me of something that happened in my life. They are also another reminder of the universality of music and lyrics.

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part
You roll outta bed and down on your knees
And for a moment you can hardly breathe
Wondering, “Was she really here?
Is she standing in my room?”
No she’s not, ’cause she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone….

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The giving up is the hardest part
She takes you in with her crying eyes
Then all at once you have to say goodbye
Wondering, “Could you stay my love?
Will you wake up by my side?”
No she can’t, ’cause she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone….

Now do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand?
Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand?
Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand?
Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my, roses in my hand?
would you get them if I did?
No you won’t, ’cause you’re gone, gone, gone, gone, gone….

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part

-John Mayer

15781589_865992106837911_1585157622209528074_nStephanie 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.

Wednesday Wisdom From Last Night’s Paul McCartney Concert

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PART ONE: The Wednesday Wisdom Advice

“Don’t wait—if you have something to say to somebody, say it now.”

The words above were uttered by Sir Paul McCartney last night at his concert at Verizon Center in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. He was making reference to his friend, John Lennon, and regrets he had about not saying words he wanted to say to him before John’s untimely death. Regret is a tough thing to live with, for sure, and Sir Paul was sharing his own very personal account and wishing things had turned out differently.

But it’s not too late for us if we heed the advice. We hear this type of advice a lot from people, even from huge celebrities. Maybe it’s time to actually do it.

Before it’s too late.

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PART TWO: The Concert

Last night was the second time my husband and I saw Paul McCartney, and both times we caught his concert at Verizon Center. While his voice may have been a little raspier at his young age of 74, it still was exceptional. He played a lot of Beatles numbers, along with some Wings tunes, songs from some of his newer records, and even a tune that was pre-Beatles. To sit and watch a legend at work still is amazing to me. His songwriting, singing, and instrumental abilities are beyond comprehension, and he played for almost two hours and forty-five minutes.

What’s ever-charming about McCartney is his humility; he is humble and kind. He brought two women with signs up on the stage at the end of the night, and both of them had him autograph their bodies. The first woman had him sign her shoulder; the second younger girl, asked him to complete her tattoo on the side of her rib cage. Apologizing to his wife who was in the audience, he did so, in very good humor. He also teasingly asked a gentleman who was holding up a sign that read “108 shows” if he knew his behavior was “a little obsessive.” The crowd got a charge out of that.

 

At the concert.

Another aspect I loved about the concert was that McCartney made no political references or took any stances—even in Washington, D.C., which is typically a pulpit for acts and celebs to spew their political beliefs. I loved that McCartney did not get embroiled in any of that last night. He kept political comments out of his show, which was entirely refreshing.

But overall, the amazing thing about McCartney is that he gives it his all, and he tells us stories from his past along the way; his passion is not difficult to see. From his interactions with the fans, the band, and the music, McCartney’s talent is one we want shared until he can bear it no longer. He still has so much to give, and we appreciate all of it.

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xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

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My Precious 45 RPM Records (are in the box)

The Box From My Parents
The Box From My Parents

Last night my parents dropped off a box they found while cleaning out their basement. They brought it to me, and I was surprised to see what was inside.

Obviously, if you either (a) follow my blog, or (b) know me personally, you know that I LOVE MUSIC and always have. As a kid, I would would listen to 8-track tapes, these babies pictured here on my record player, and I’d write down Casey Kasem’s Top 40 each week. Every song. Every week.

I’ve always enjoyed the pleasure of music, play the piano a little, and spend money each year to see concerts and Broadway musicals. I love everyone from Sting to Mr. Buble to Usher to Eminem to The Rolling Stones and Van Halen. I listen to classical music when I’m working and our Christmas library of songs grows each year.

These 45s remind me of how I first fell in love with music of all types. They represent my childhood. They also remind me of playing my music loudly in my room and having my parents tell me to turn it down. Ah, the memories!

But how sweet that they kept these 45s all these years for me. I will treasure them always.Old45s45coversOriolesMagic

Nevertheless…

I was definitely born in the wrong era; this wicked-ass hopeless romantic loves music from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. It’s the reason why I’m such a fan of Mr. Buble. He brings back all the classic standards that I love and makes them his own…with charm and sex appeal.

“Nevertheless” has always been one of my favorite songs, written back in 1931, and I love the poetic lyrics so much. This song can make you swoon.

Perhaps this is one of the shortest post I’ve ever written because when it comes to music, all we need to do is let the song tell us a story. Maybe it’s your story, too.

So, sit back, read and “feel” the lyrics, and enjoy this snippet of Mr. Buble with the Puppini sisters.

“Nevertheless”

Music by Harry Rubin/Lyrics by Bert Kalmar

Maybe I’m right and maybe I’m wrong
Maybe I’m weak and maybe I’m strong
But nevertheless I’m in love with you Maybe I’ll win and maybe I’ll lose
And maybe I’m in for crying the blues
But nevertheless I’m in love with you

Somehow, I know at a glance
The terrible chances I’m taking
Fine at the start
Then left with a heart that is breaking

Maybe I’ll live a life of regret
And maybe I’ll give much more than I get
But nevertheless, I’m in love with you

Maybe I’ll live a life of regret
And maybe I’ll give much more than I get
But nevertheless, I’m in love with you

Once Upon A Time, There Was Stevie Wonder and 8-Track Tapes

StevieWonderIn my room as a teen, I had a stereo. It consisted of a receiver with a turntable, two speakers, and an 8-Track tape player. I’ve always loved music, and my weekends were often spent writing down each of the songs Casey Kasem played during the American Top 40 Countdown. And when that was over, I loved listening to my 8-Track tapes.

I didn’t have a ton, but I had a handful of them. Soundtracks to some of my favorite movies were in my player, including those from “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” and “The Sound of Music.” For funk and rock, Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” and The Rolling Stones live album recorded in Canada entitled “Love You Live” rocked my room on Pointer Ridge Drive.loveyoulive

In today’s world of techno-music and bland, unimaginative songs that all sound the same, we stand to be blessed with a blast from the past; Stevie Wonder is coming to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on November 9, and tickets go on sale tomorrow morning. When I heard this news, I immediately floated back to my apple green room, pink shag wallpaper, large Snoopy stuffed animal on my striped bedspread, and John Travolta’s poster on my wall. I can hear my friends knocking on my door, ready to play air guitar and act out scenes from one of the musicals as we’d put on shows or just dance in my room. Just hearing Wonder’s songs will bring me back to that innocent time when I was younger, carefree, and the sound of my 8-Track player filled the room with songs in the key of my life.

 

Holy Moly. Move Over Mr. Buble—This Girl’s Got Swag.

Only occasionally do I post music clips, but today I am unusually compelled to do so.

With a strong affinity for Mr. Buble and Sinatra, I tend to watch something when their names are mentioned alongside a singer–especially one so young. At seven years of age when this video was shot, this girl has got some serious swag. Her name is Angelina Jordan, and you are in for a treat as you listen to her sing Sinatra’s classic, “Fly Me To The Moon,” with perfect tempo and timing. This aired on Senkveld Norwegian “The Late Show.”

Moved To Tears

JohnMayerI don’t know what it is about driving in a car by yourself with the ability to listen to whatever music you choose, but there are some songs that are so poetic, they move me to tears. I’m back to my old tricks–the hopeless romantic in me has returned. Full force.

On my way up to Local Authors Day at the Bel Air Library (a 45-minute drive), I was listening to John Mayer. He’s one of my favorite artists, primarily because his lyrics are so incredibly moving and realistic.

Back in the car on the ride home, I popped the CD back in again. Every time I listen to “Comfortable,” it gets me choked up. It’s one of those songs where you can almost hear the artist’s heart breaking. I am no singer or performer, but I remember watching American Idol when the judges would comment that they didn’t “believe the contestants when they sang.” I know what the judges mean by this—all you have to do is see Anne Hathaway sing “I Dreamed A Dream” in the film “Les Miserables” to witness an incredibly believable performance. She won Best Supporting Actress for it.

But back to John Mayer: he feels the lyrics. We hear his voice become affected by the words and story he is telling. And that’s why I pay attention to lyrics—I want to listen and interpret the story that’s being told to me through song.

There was something about his song that made me tear up today. Maybe it was because all afternoon I told the plot of my novel to potential readers over and over again…a plot that focuses on love, heartbreak, and forgiveness, or maybe it’s because of entirely different reason all together. I don’t know if I can put my finger on it, but it was somewhere in these lines of lyrics that I felt myself become weepy:

“Can’t remember, what went wrong last September
Though I’m sure that you’d remind me, if you had to…

Our love was, comfortable and
so broken in …

She thinks I can’t see the smile that she’s fakin’
and poses for pictures that aren’t being taken
I loved you
grey sweat pants, no makeup, so perfect

Our love was, comfortable and
so broken in
she’s perfect, so flawless
I’m not impressed, I want you back.”

Phillip Phillips and My Mother

Phillip Phillips. Photo Credit: AmericanIdol.com
Phillip Phillips. Photo Credit: AmericanIdol.com

As I was putting away my Christmas presents this morning and trying to organize the children’s bundle of gifts, I came across a gift that my mom gave me yesterday: the Phillip Phillips album on disc.

Yes, I’m still one of those people who prefers to receive a CD; I realize most people are of the iTunes generation, but I still like the physical disc of the record. There’s something about holding it and having it that makes me feel connected to the artist. I actually enjoy reading the liner notes.

To use the words a teenager might say, “My mom rocks.”

I put the disc in the player and have been listening to it this morning. My friend Jenny’s sister Sue had said she loved the album. Boy, was she right. Phillip Phillips has that je ne sais quoi factor that I love in musicians. His music makes me tap my feet, and he generally makes me feel happy and carefree. He has such a talent, and it’s a pleasure to sit back and enjoy it.

Don’t get me wrong, Mom. I adore the Michael Kors watch you gave me — and can’t wait to wear it — but I’m happily tapping my toes right now, relaxing after a week of entertaining, shopping, and generally freaking out about the holidays.

It’s time to relax.

And dance while no one’s looking.

The Best Thing About Pottery Barn Stores

One of Pottery Barn's compilation CDs for sale. Amazon.com

I’m a big fan of Pottery Barn, and it’s not just because its merchandise is so appealing. It’s because of another reason that’s unrelated to the merchandise in the store. It actually has absolutely nothing to do with the merchandise at all.

It’s because Pottery Barn plays good in-store music.

When I can shop and hear the likes of Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong, Etta James or Nat King Cole, I’m relaxed. It makes my shopping experience that much better.

All stores have gimmicks to get you to go inside: large signs, sales signs, awesome window displays, balloons, or buy-one-get one ½ off posters set outside the doors. However, I know what I’m getting when I walk into a Pottery Barn store. I actually look forward to strolling around—whether I buy something during that visit or not—because I get to listen to some of my favorite Songbook crooners. I love that.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a library of Songbook music at home. I have countless Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and even the newest contemporary crooner (and my personal favorite ♥), Michael Buble, CDs in my house. And yes, I listen to them often.

So perhaps that’s why when I enter a Pottery Barn store, I feel like I’m already home, like I could just hang out and start cooking some dinner whilst I listen to my favorites deliver some of the best music around.

I may sound like an old fart, but I’m not. My students can attest to it. I have a wide variety of taste in music. I listen to the Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris, Notorious BIG, Rolling Stones, One Republic, Adele…I could go on and on. I love them all. But the standards—and in particular the Songbook songs—take you back instantly to a simpler time, whether we were alive back then or not. The lyrics are clear and easily understood. We feel the sense of the music and understand the simplicity of love and love lost.

Michael Buble’s popularity is a testament to the fact that some of us miss that type of music. And I, for one, wish there were more of it out there right now.

I guess others do, too, because Pottery Barn has a collection of CDs available for purchase that features its favorites. So maybe it is about the merchandise, after all. But this is one piece of merchandise worth promoting.

These Kids Stopped for (and created) Beauty: A Follow Up

As a quick follow-up to my post a few days ago entitled “Do You Stop to Appreciate Beauty? This Writer’s Confession,” I discussed a certain experiment The Washington Post and writer Gene Weingarten engaged in a few years ago that won Weingarten a Pulitzer Price. You can read my post by clicking on it above. Also, within the text is a link to the actual article in The Post.

My friend Liz linked to a clip this morning on her Facebook page and I was intrigued. I clicked on it and found something that gave me hope. Maybe, just maybe, we can learn from Weingarten and Joshua Bell and the hurried, crazed, frenzied people dashing to work every morning, iPods on, cell phones in hand, looking down and around, but not really seeing—or hearing—what is around them.

This video is wonderful.

Stop, look, and listen. It’s worth our time.

And happy holidays.

Click here to see it!!!!   Carlson School of Management