This year's Epicurean Evening was no small feat. I mean... for eating. Of course, again, this year I couldn't even make it to all the tables because I was just THAT full. And, I mean...I tried!!
Frances Weller was the night's honorary chair and emcee. And just FYI- she can make you bid a lot more money than what you were planning! That lady can work a room. She called on me to tell my adoption story, and I'm so glad she did. I am an international adoptee, but I have also worked a lot with foster children here at home.
Read a little bit about my adoption background
The money earned from the night goes to the Methodist Home for Children. The organization does a lot of great things, but ultimately, it helps foster children in North Carolina.
Epicurean Evening is a great contest that features local chefs and restaurants. At the end of the night, the grand winner takes home the coveted Copper Kettle award. This year, the Hilton Riverside took home the big prize!
My favorite?? This lobster concoction from the Wilmington Convention Center (I think...) I got a little confused in my gluttony, so I'm hoping that I put the right food with the right place. Usually, I'm much better at being specific, but this year I just enjoyed myself too much.
The event, as always, was a huge success thanks to the organizers, Miss Kitty Richardson, Regina Hawse, Neal Richardson, Missy Sumrell and many many more. It is one of my favorite things to do in the Port City because it's fun and such a worthy cause!
Hopefully you've been saving up your Weight Watchers points for this event (wink)! Frances Weller and I will be in attendance for the Epicurean Evening Thursday, August 30th. Fran will be the emcee, I will be walking around eating the food! Fox Wilmington and WECT are both sponsors.
Last year, I had the honor of sharing my adoption story... and this year, I can't wait to hear from our speakers. It's a fun event that raises money for the Methodist Home for Children. I can't wait to see which chefs will win for their dishes... and how we can help some children with their wishes. I hope you try to make the difference in the life of a child everyday. This is just one, fun way. Come up and say HI if you see me!
If you gave yourself a year to write a novel, could you do it? Emily Colin gave herself that goal, and now The Memory Thief is being called a "mesmerizing debut" by New York Times best-selling author Caroline Leavitt.
I had the chance to meet Emily during a recent Wilma Magazine function. She is currently the associate director of the non-profit organization, DREAMS... but she's got so much more going on for her! She has accomplished so many wonderful things.
I'm really excited to read her book. We featured it with Encore Magazine on our Friday 6:30 newscast. Emily said she was inspired by an article she read about a woman losing her husband because he was an extreme mountain climber.
WATCH the book trailer:
CHECK OUT THE LAUNCH: Emily will be reading parts of her book tonight (8/25) at the DREAMS Center. Pomegranate Books will be selling her novel, as well.
The book officially launches on August 21st, which means you can then buy it just about anywhere. I think it's pretty cool that someone locally wrote a novel and had it published by a major player like Random House... on her first go! Congrats to Emily and all of her hard work.
How do you get your news? I bet it's not just by sitting in front of the TV anymore. Chances are you go online at work or find news out from your phone. You may be on your ipad while simultaneously watching the news on television.
This is why we're all trying to give you the news a little differently. We're stepping out of the box and trying to talk to you about what's making news. News organizations are trying to figure out how to monetize it. We're trying to figure out what kind of social media is relevant.
As many of you know, we've been playing around with Google Plus. Some of you like the changes from Bambuser... some of you are adjusting. The thing I have discovered recently is that G+ can be much like Bambuser. If you have a G+ account, you can set up your webcam and talk with us. If you're not, you can watch from YouTube. You can also post your comments via YouTube and we'll chat with you there during our stream. We do this everynight at 10 p.m. EST. Jon and I alternate channels, so that we both meet and greet people on G+.
Here's a recent hangout. Sometimes it can get loud in there, but overall, it's a great way to meet people, share your thoughts, and truly interact with us. I like two-sided interaction very much... it seems very genuine to me.
I also put together a video to show how I use social media everyday. It's a good way to figure out how to reach us and how to have your voice heard. Hope you'll check this out!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Robb Ellis just debuted his new project, "Six Things" on WECT's new Saturday morning newscast. He had a short version air on the TV box, and then a full episode on the web.
It's a little web show about the six things you may have missed during the week - since WECT is traditionally channel 6. You'll get to see Robb and his guests a little more off-the-cuff than usual. I had a great time taping the first show with Z107.5's Suzanne Jalot.
Robb will rotate guests, so it might be interesting to see who he brings on set next.. perhaps, a politician? An actor staying in Wilmington? You?! You just never know. If you've got a great candidate in mind, send Robb an email! It was a ton of fun!
With summer nearing its end, I wanted to share one of my favorite videos from this summer in North Carolina.
It's not everyday you see someone catch anything on the beach, let alone a stingray! Ben Powell was out covering a possible shark attack at Ocean Isle Beach when he saw a guy reel one in.
He didn't even get the guy's name, but you can see in the video that he had a dickens of a time getting the hook out of the stingray's mouth. The kids nearby also wanted to pet it before the man set it free into the ocean.
How cool! What's your best fish tale? Ever seen anything like that at the beach?
There were many highlights from a recent trip back to Kansas City and Southwest Missouri. I visited several good friends and my parents, but I was still sad to miss seeing so many others. Plus, no offense to my mom... but since I was traveling with her, I didn't really want to ditch her in Springfield!
Still, I thought I better take advantage of being in SWMO and get some fun pictures taken with my friend, Randy Bacon. Randy and Shannon Bacon are two of my favorite, creative people from my Missouri days. We used to go to lunch and talk about big ideas and projects.
Now, the Bacons are making it happen. Randy and Shannon are getting into the cinematography game. They recently produced an extremely moving documentary called The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives. Now they're about to premiere a new project called Man Up and Go, which focuses on American men who are sparking change across the world. I'm not going to officially name drop, but if it makes you more intrigued to see the film, one of Brad PItt's family members is featured in this production. There's also a North Carolina connection, though I'm not sure who that is yet.
Whoever is in it, it will be brilliant. If Ethiopia is a place that's close to your heart, or if adoption is on your radar, this will especially touch you. But, really, I know this will just be a great story. Man Up and Go will premiere in the fall. I'll make sure to keep you posted.
I am a huge dog lover, and I always talk about my Minnie. Well, a couple of months ago, Piper joined our family, and I gushed about her, too...
However, what I'm discovering is that we haven't given Piper a real opportunity to be her own dog. We want her to develop her very own personality, rather than how she acts around big sis, Minnie.
So, we went to Dog Train. Diane Gallagher is the owner. I met her when I did a Does It Work? story on the Bark-Off, which you can still catch on America Now episodes.
Anyway, Diane suggested we bring Piper solo to puppy play time. We went Saturday afternoon for an hour...at only $5 a pop. One cool thing? Two other rotties were there!
FYI - Times are Saturdays at 1:45 p.m. and Wednesdays during lunch.
Another great thing - the dogs. Not only are they well-behaved (I'm assuming most are students of Diane's), but they're also carefully watched. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I love the idea of taking my pups to dog parks. But, I have realized there are often careless visitors--even careless dog owners--who shouldn't bring their dogs to the public parks. I'm not even talking about the potential for fights. I worry about germs, disease, broken glass, etc.
The cool thing about Dog Train's play time is that it's puppy playtime with a lifeguard. We all watch the dogs play, but nothing weird happens. Diane will call for us to grab our dog's leashes when someone new walks in or out. We don't have to worry about dogs stepping on broken glass or tripping in a hole. She holds PPT on Saturdays and Wednesdays... and we can't wait to go back! I may see you there sometime!
By the way, Piper hasn't quite figured out how to play with other puppies. She's working on it. So far, she just likes to follow around my husband.
Talk about getting a shot of inspiration first thing in the morning! A handful of lucky women are selecting a handful of amazing ones for WILMA Magazine's Women to Watch.
The idea is to recognize the top, up-and-coming women in the Wilmington area in five categories: arts, education, healthcare, business and non-profit. WILMA will also recognize one woman as a rising star. I'm so grateful for the chance to be involved in the selection process and want to recognize the other judges:
UNCW Director of Women's Studies and Resource Center, Michelle Scatton-Tessier
YWCA Executive Director, Susan Fennell
National League for Nursing, Virginia Adams
HGTV and Food Network President Emeritus, Judy Girard
DREAMS Associate Director Emily Colin
UNCW Entrepreneurship Center Interim Director, Fran Scarlett
In all, more than 200 women were nominated for this new project. It was incredibly difficult to choose one person for each category because so many women are doing wonderful things in this community. And, thanks to Susan Fennell, I think we even identified some women who'd make great candidates for the YWCA's Women of Achievement Award.
Thanks so much to the WILMA co-editors, Nina Bays Cournoyer and Vicky Janowski, plus the publisher, Rob Kaiser for putting everything together.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - The big reveal will be in the October issue. A luncheon is scheduled for the end of October. Really looking forward to it!
One of my favorite musicians is Brandi Carlile. The voice, the writing and the storytelling is really what keeps me loyal.
Brandi performed in Wilmington at the Brooklyn Arts Center, but she took out time to sing one of her songs off her new album, Bear Creek. She also talked about some of her upcoming projects, including working with a symphony.
I tried to be a cool cucumber but at the end of our interview, I totally geeked out and told her I was HUGE fan. If there are any Indigo Girls fans out there... she says Amy Ray is one of her BFFs. Seriously, I'm closer to fine right now!