Monday, April 25, 2016

2014 Bollywood Oscars Coming to Tampa, Florida in April

Move over Hollywood! The 15th Annual Bollywood Oscars are coming to Tampa April 23-26. This the first time the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) has held these awards in the United States.

In case you’re scratching your head, saying “Huh? What’s Bollywood?” here’s the short answer. Bollywood is India’s Hollywood, centered in Mumbai, India. Mumbai is the former Bombay- so, the B is for Bombay.

Here are some highlights of the events scheduled in Tampa:

Free Indian Festival

The public is invited to a free IIFA Stomp Bollywood dance music festival on Wednesday, April 23. This Indian festival will be at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, starting at 7:00 pm.

The Stomp will feature Indian music, food, and crafts. Popular local and Indian DJs, including Ravi Drums and Akbar Sami, will present the music.

As a Tampa Bay resident, I’ve been to this park many times. It’s located in downtown Tampa, on the banks of the Hillsborough River.

It is a beautiful park, with a lovely view (across the river) of the University of Tampa’s Moorish minarets, domes and cupolas.

Ticket Prices

The IFFA website (see first paragraph) has a link to Ticketmaster, where tickets for the following events can be purchased:

  • Bollywood Oscars – April 26. Tickets range from $343.65 to $1,108.75.
  • Magic of the Movies and Technical Awards – April 25. Prices start around $100 and go up to $836. Fans who already have tickets for the oscar awards show will have first choice for these tickets.

And the Nominees are …

See if your favorite movie, actor, or actress is nominated! To save space, I mention only the major categories of best film, actor, and actress. The complete list is on the IIFA website.

Best picture:

Krrish 3
Chennai Express
Goliyon Ki Rasleela-Ramleela
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Dhoom 3
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Kai Po Che

Performance in a Leading Role (male):

Farhan Akhtar
Hrithik Roshan
Ranbir Kapoor
Ranveer Singh
Shahrukh Khan
Sushant Singh Rajput

Performance in a Leading Role (female):

Deepika Padukone (nominated for 3 films)
Nimrat Kaur
Shraddha Kapoor
Sonakshi Sinha

Thousands Will Attend

Tampa is excited about hosting the Bollywood Oscars and showcasing Indian movies and culture. Mayor Bob Buckhorn estimates that 30,000 people will be coming.

Here’s a breakdown of those 30,000:

  • approximately 5% from India
  • 40% from the Tampa Bay area
  • 20-25% from other parts of the U.S., and
  • the remainder from Canada and other countries

Another 800 million people worldwide are expected to view the Oscars on television. Those are some impressive numbers!

For those of you coming to Florida, you’ll have a pleasant surprise. Tampa’s April temperatures are usually mid to high 70s (Fahrenheit). And, you can count on plenty of sunshine.

You’ll find out firsthand why Florida’s known as the Sunshine State!

Previously published on Full of Knowledge, March 14, 2014

Tags:2014 Bollywood Oscars Coming to Tampa, Florida in April

2014 Earth Day Events in Seattle

On April 22nd 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated. It has now become an annual global birthday, celebrating the power and beauty of the earth. The day aims to raise awareness of community, and give advice on how to be a “friend to the planet.”

We have a lot of celebrations going on in the Seattle area, below are just a few of them.

Earth Day in Bellevue.
Lied Activity Center.
Date: Sunday April 22nd.
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free fun event.
What’s Involved: In 2010 Bellevue celebrated its first Earth Day. The fun incorporates free yoga classes, a sponsored walk and run, exhibitions, food, a fashion show, storyteller, and lots of youth activities.

Bellevue began having “Green Bellevue Day” back in 2010 and has continued the tradition. In 2013 there were at least 400 people in attendance. The activities are open to the people of Bellevue and the whole metro area.

Storytelling Seattle.
Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.
Date: April 13th.
Time: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free event.
What’s Involved: Storytellers from around Seattle get together at this beautiful location, telling stories about Earth, and how we may fit in with the magic of the universe. Paul “Che Oke ten” Wagner of the Vancouver Island Saanich tribe, Blake Shelafoe of the Duwamish tribe, and Allison Cox, co-founder of the Healing Story Alliance, will be the storytellers. Refreshments are provided.

The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center is in West Seattle, and is definitely worth the trip.

Seattle Earth Day Run.
Where: Alki Beach, Seattle.
Date: Saturday April 19th 2014.
Time: 9.30 a.m.
Cost: $1.00
What’s Involved: Seattle Magazine is hosting the 2014 Earth Day run along the beach. You can run with a friend or alone, either way you will have loads of fun meeting all the new people. This is a 3 mile run, which can also be walked.

There will be refreshments provided and the run is raising money to help charities.

One thing to remember, even though this is a very cheap run to enter, if you are late, there is a $40 charge!

Earth Day Education. Earth Day for Schools.
Where: Seward park Environmental and Audubon Center, Seattle.
Date: April 22nd
Time: Two hour talks and educational walks and exploration starting at 8.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m., and 12.30 p.m.
Cost: Free event.
What’s Involved: Students will learn about ecology, join in a restoration project and be educated on Earth Day meanings.

I might take my son to this.

Seattle Magazine

Tags:2014 Earth Day Events in Seattle

2014 San Diego Chargers NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

The San Diego Chargers coming of a playoff berth and a 9-7 season. In my 2014 NFL Mock Draft I had them taking Louis Nix at NT. They chose a CB and I really can’t argue the pick because they had their board set-up to take the NT in the 4th. Without a top prospect at WR, I don’t see San Diego equally last year’s record. I think they may finish the opposite at 7-9 instead of 9-7.


Jason Verrett CB, Texas Christian Round 1 Pick # 25

Filled their biggest need and Verrett is an exact match for the CB that fits into their schemes. As I wrote in my mock, Chargers biggest need was a CB. Can’t argue postponing a nose tackle draft and taking Jason Verrett. Excellent pick

Jeremiah Attaochu LB, Georgia Tech Round 2 Pick # 18

Moved up seven spots to draft this natural ability pass rusher. 6’3″ 250 lber with a great inside move, can also flash the edge, and an unstoppable motor makes this smart football player a huge draft pick. Adding some size will not take away from his raw ability so his upside is tremendous. Will be a great complement to Manti Te’o and should combine with their defensive line and secondary to present a very formidable defense. Things looking up in San Diego.

Chris Watt OG, Notre Dame Round 3 Pick # 25

Possible insurance policy if RG Jerome Clary walks when asked to take a pay cut so could easily be groomed to play Right Guard or get coached to play the Center position.

Ryan Carrethers NT, Arkansas State Round 5 Pick # 25

A monster of a physical specimen. Benched 36 times and squats 700 pounds. This guy is a beast. Has limited athletic ability and some of the worst times in any agility test. Will excel in the interior but heeds to find some speed to become a force in the NFL.

Marion Grice RB, Arizona State Round 16 Pick # 25

Will focus on taking passes in the flat and running to the outside of the edge. Could become an impact player as he has the heart to succeed and the desire to learn the position. Fits in well with Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead.

Tevin Reese WR, Baylor Round 7 Pick # 25

A project player that could be groomed to take kickoffs or work from the slot cause of his small size. Had some amazing Combine numbers for his stature and will be tough for anyone but the fastest corners to keep pace.

Analysis and overall draft grade

San Diego Chargers didn’t have a lot of room to make draft day trades either up or down. They did when they had to grabbing linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu. Always a problem finishing a season and barley and not making it past the first round, better off finishing 4-12 and getting a top pick. Lean draft year but they filled a couple of key positions that should make their defense one of the more rounded ones in the AFC.

Draft Grade: B+

First 4 players they drafted will have an immediate impact and fill their needs on the field. Was hoping they went after a more prolific WR as it is a position that is sorely needed if they are going to improve on their record.

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More content from this contributor:

  • 2014 Draft Report Card and Player Analysis for the Cleveland Browns

  • 2014 Tennessee Titans NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

  • 2014 Houston Texans NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

  • 2014 NFL Draft Results and Grades for Each Team for Round 1

Tags:2014 San Diego Chargers NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates: Who's in and Who's Out

The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame voting was amongst the most interesting in baseball history. We saw arguably the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history, the greatest home run hitter in baseball history, the most decorated Cy Young pitcher, two members of the 3,000-hit club, a member of the 600 home run club, and two other members of the 500 home run club not get elected.

With suspicion of PEDs (or flat out positive tests for PEDs) amongst many players, the 2014 Hall of Fame vote will be very interesting. Baseball writers can only vote for up to ten candidates. In a field with a plethora of viable candidates, one can only guess how the voting will turn out.

The returning candidates to the ballot in 2014 are (in order of voting in 2013): Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro. By most measures, there are five first ballot Hall of Fame candidates in 2014 that are legitimate candidates to enter: Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, and Frank Thomas.

Definitely In

Normally, “Definitely In” would be a lot easier to consider. However, with PED connections to so many players, it’s hard to gauge who will or will not get votes in 2014. Some voters have pledged to never vote for players connected to PEDs. Some have said they only did not want players connected to PEDs to have the privilege of being voted on the first ballot. Add in the fact that no candidates were voted in in 2013, voters will be incentivized to ensure someone gets in in 2014.

First, Craig Biggio is likely to get in. Voters put Craig Biggio on 68.1% of the ballot last year. It’s very hard to believe that Craig Biggio can’t secure an extra 7% of the vote to get in. In the history of Hall of Fame voting, it’s very rare for a player to receive such a high percentage of votes and not get in the next year. The last Hall of Famer to get such a high vote but not get in the next year was Phil Niekro. Niekro garnered 65.7% of the vote in 1993 but didn’t get into the Hall of Fame until 1997. The last player that received as much as 68% of the vote and didn’t get into the Hall of Fame the next year was Enos Slaughter, who received 68.9% of the vote in 1978 but only 68.8% in 1979. Even if Craig Biggio isn’t elected in 2014, he can take solace that he will get into the Hall of Fame eventually.

The other two players that should get inducted in 2014 should be Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. The pair won a total of five Cy Young awards together for the Braves in the 1990s. They are often considered to be part of the best pitching rotation in baseball history (along with John Smoltz, who will be eligible in 2015). Greg Maddux should be a shoe-in, as his 354 career wins and 4 career Cy Young awards make him one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Tom Glavine, who is also a member of the 300 win club, should easily get in as well. If Glavine had been on this ballot without Maddux, he might have had to wait a year, but the many voters are going to want to vote for the pair together. Add in the fact that Maddux and Glavine were well liked by baseball writers and have no connection to PEDs, I can’t imagine both won’t be elected in 2014.

Gonna Fall Short

First we have the curious case of Jack Morris. This will be Jack Morris’ last attempt on the ballot. He is very close to the necessary 75% of votes after getting 67.7% in 2013, up from 66.7% in 2012. Many voters seem convinced Morris is not Hall of Fame material. After 14 years of voting, it seems voters just aren’t convinced and he’s going to fall short again.

After Jack Morris, we get to the players from the steroids era that seem like sure fire Hall of Famers, but connections to PEDs or the steroids era hurts their chances.

First we have Jeff Bagwell, who got 59.6% of the vote in 2014, up from 56% in 2013. Bagwell has never tested positive for PEDs or been connected to PEDs, which helps him greatly in this voting climate. It appears some don’t believe Bagwell is Hall of Fame material, with his relatively low 449 career home runs for a steroids era player. However after getting only 41.7% of the vote in 2011, it appears voters are changing their mind. I think voters will eventually vote Bagwell in, but it won’t be in 2014. He’ll claw a few more percentage points in his favor, but he’ll need a few more years still.

Next we have Mike Piazza, arguably the best hitting catcher of all time. 2013 was Piazza’s first year on the ballot and he got 57.8% of the vote. Just like Bagwell, Piazza’s only sin was playing during the steroids era. He never tested positive or had a connection to PEDs. Jumping from only 57% of the vote to 75% of the vote is historically hard. It’s more likely he’ll get a nice bump in votes into the 60% range. Longer term, I do expect Piazza to be voted in.

Amongst the new candidates, Frank Thomas is the player that normally should be inducted in the first ballot. A career .301 hitter with 521 home runs and a career .974 OPS (14th all time), the vote should be more clear. However, he’ll lose votes due to playing in the steroids era just like Bagwell and Piazza. He has no connections to PEDs, so I think it’s very likely he’ll get votes in the range of 40-50%. I expect Thomas to eventually get in the Hall in later years.

Clawing Their Way Up

It’s quite amazing to me that Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds would be discussed in this category. We have the most decorated Cy Young and MVP winners of all time. They should have both been elected in their first year of eligibility, but connections to PEDs tarnished their reputations. Clemens and Bonds got 37.6% and 36.2% of the vote respectively in 2013. A number of voters have indicated they did not want Clemens or Bonds to be inducted on the first ballot while others refuse to vote for them period, so it’s hard to say how many votes they can get in 2014. I expect both will get a nice bump in votes, perhaps into the 40% range, but they will both be well short of induction.

Tim Raines had his best vote yet, getting 52.2% of the vote in 2013. It appears the momentum for Raines in the Hall of Fame is gaining traction, as he only got 24.3% in 2008. It’s really hard to jump from 52% to 75%, so a nice bump into the mid 50s should be expected for Raines.

Curt Schilling had a nice 38.8% of the vote in 2013. Schilling’s overall numbers are quite decent when compared to other Hall of Famers. I think there is a decent chance for him to make a run at induction, but it’ll be with a slow climb just like Jack Morris. I expect him to maybe crack the 40% barrier in 2013 but that’s it.

I believe that Mike Mussina has very similar credentials to Schilling and he will begin his march to induction with a 20-30% vote in 2014. Much like Blyleven, most people will need time to realize his Hall of Fame credentials.

The other major player that will begin his march into the Hall of Fame this year is Jeff Kent. With so many talented players, and Jeff Kent not being a clear cut Hall of Famer, Kent will likely get a 20-30% of the vote too. He won’t be close, but he’ll begin his climb.

Lingering on the Ballot

With so many quality candidates in 2013, many players lost votes from their peak percentage in 2012. This includes Lee Smith (from 50.6% to 47.8%), Alan Trammell (from 36.8% to 33.6%), Fred McGriff (23.9% to 20.7%), and Edgar Martinez (36.5% to 35.9%). With Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Kent, and Mussina on the ballot in 2014, things probably won’t get easier for them. I expect all of them to lose a few percentage points of votes, but the still stay on the ballot.

The other major player I see lingering on the ballot is Sammy Sosa. While Sammy Sosa has some connections to PEDs, it seems hard to knock a 600 home run player off the ballot in his second year. After gaining 12.5% of the vote in 2013, Sosa has some wiggle room to lose some votes but not get kicked off. In addition, he may gain some votes from those who simply did not want Sosa inducted in his first year of elgibility.

Will Fall Off the Ballot

Normally, I would only discuss the players that really have no chance of entering the Hall of Fame falling off the ballot. However, I have already discussed 18 players above in this article. As voters only have 10 votes, that means some players are going to fall off.

With their connections to PEDs, I am predicting that Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro will both fall off the ballot in 2014. Palmeiro had a terrible 8.8% of the vote in 2013, so it’s hard to imagine a player with less than 10% of the vote staying on the ballot. McGwire had 16.9% of the vote in 2013, so he has a bit more wiggle room, but I doubt even he can stay on the ballot in his 8th year of eligibility.

Don Mattingly who will be in the 14th year of eligibility still is struggling to get notable Hall of Fame votes. He got only 13.2% of the vote in 2013. With only two more years of eligibility and being very far off from induction, I doubt voters will use their votes on Mattingly.

Other Reading

Looking Ahead to 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame First Year Eligible Players
Looking Ahead to 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame First Year Eligible Players
Looking Ahead to 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame First Year Eligible Players
Looking Ahead to 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame First Year Eligible Players
Is Alan Trammell A Hall of Famer?
Is Jack Morris A Hall of Famer?
Are Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling Hall of Fame Worthy?
Should Fred McGriff Be a Hall of Famer?
Should Jeff Kent Be a Hall of Famer?
Should Omar Vizquel Be a Hall of Famer?
Should Frank Thomas Be in the Hall of Fame
Should Jim Edmonds Be in the Hall of Fame?
Are Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera Hall of Fame Worthy?
Is Billy Wagner a Hall of Famer?
Is Jeff Bagwell a Hall of Famer?
Should Lee Smith be in the Hall of Fame?


“ – Major League Baseball Statistics and History”, Baseball-Reference


Tags:2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates: Who’s in and Who’s Out

2016 Brings Olympics to Rio, Changes to Olympics

In 2016 the Olympic Games brings excitement and glamor to Rio de Janerio. 2016 also brings several notable changes to the Games.

The Return of Golf

When the games return, they bring with them golf. This sport hasn’t been featured since 1900 in Paris. Construction on the official course is under way right now according to the official website of the Olympic Games. Golf was included following consultation, and it has been mentioned that Tiger Woods and other pro golfers would lend their presence to promote the sport for 2016.


The games are also to include rugby according to the Olympic Programme Commission report. Rugby is an extremely popular sport in many countries. In America, it is still a growing sport. Rugby was up against sports such as karate and squash for inclusion. It beat them by a majority vote and earned its spot in the 2016 Olympics. The version included is called Rugby Sevens. This is a seven-man version of rugby that follows similar rules.

Media Issues

The IOC has also issued an announcement about the stringent rules regarding the importing of media equipment to Argentina. This includes completing a media importation affidavit and submitting to review by officials upon arrival in on the ground.

Tags:2016 Brings Olympics to Rio, Changes to Olympics

2024 Olympic Games: 10 U.S. Cities Most Likely to Host

Commentary | The United States Olympic Committee launched the early phases of their 2024 Olympic Games bidding process with inquiry letters to the mayors of 35 U.S. cities from CEO Scott Blackmun on February 19.

Blackmun, along with USOC chairman Larry Probst, devised the letter to gauge the interest of U.S. cities in hosting the games, and also give a blunt, preliminary list of requirements for building a successful Olympic bid.

Among the requirements detailed in the letter:

  • 45,000 hotel rooms.
  • An Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and has a 5,000-person dining hall.
  • Operations space for over 15,000 media and broadcasters.
  • An international airport that can handle thousands of international travelers per day.
  • Public transportation service to venues.
  • Roadway closures to allow exclusive use for Games-related transportation.
  • A workforce of up to 200,000.

A brief timeline of the Olympic bid process:
2013: Cities explore the possibility of Olympic bids.
2015: USOC narrows list of candidate cities
2016: USOC selects candidate city to present to IOC
2017: IOC votes on 2024 Olympic host city

Here is a list of the top 10 cities most likely to host the 2024 Olympic Games:

10) Philadelphia. The city of Brotherly Love has expressed interest in the Olympic Games before. Following the USOC’s letter, Philly mayor Michael Nutter was quoted in a CBS Local article as saying he believes the region could host the Olympic Games and already has a lot of the infrastructure needed to host.

Opening Ceremony: Lincoln Financial Field

9) Miami. Miami made headway into international athletics when it hosted delegates from the Pan American Sports Organization in December 2012. Miami is positioning itself to bid for future Pan American Games and, hopefully, an Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosted the Pan Am Games in 2007; they will host the Olympic Games in 2016. Miami could be next.

Opening Ceremony: Sun Life Stadium

8) Boston. Bostonians want the Games, having already created a website and Facebook page in support of hosting the 2024 Olympics. A Boston bid could follow the Atlanta blueprint, utilizing the abundance of local colleges for facilities, housing, etc.

Opening Ceremony: A renovated Harvard Stadium, but more likely Gillette Stadium.

7) Baltimore/D.C. The two cities, roughly 40 miles apart, tried unsuccessfully to bid for the 2012 Games. The U.S. capital city could be an attractive location for an Olympic Games, and Baltimore adds a scenic waterfront and extra viable venues that are already in place. Public transportation between the two cities would need to be streamlined, but a Games in the region is feasible.

Opening Ceremony: A new D.C. stadium or a renovated RFK Stadium.

6) Dallas. Everything is bigger in Texas, so it is safe to assume a Dallas Olympic Games would not be short on grandeur. The Dallas Morning News reports ground work for a bid has been taking place for three years, and that there are already ideas of venues and a potential Olympic Village location.

Opening Ceremony: A renovated Cotton Bowl.

5) Seattle. In a KOMO News article, it states Seattle has all the requirements listed in Blackmun’s letter. Add that with one of the country’s most scenic back drops and culture-rich cities and you have a potential perfect location for the Olympic Games. A multitude of local universities, including the University of Washington, and several professional franchises provide most of the necessary infrastructure.

Opening Ceremony: CenturyLink Field.

4) Chicago. The most recent U.S. city to bid for an Olympic Games said they weren’t interested when the USOC’s letter came out. The city is still stinging from its embarrassing defeat in the bid to host the 2016 Games. Now that the USOC has cleared up a revenue sharing deal with the IOC, the door is open for Chicago to bring the Olympics to the Windy City — and they just have to update the 2016 bid book. Don’t be surprised if Chicago decides to make a bid.

Opening Ceremony: An Olympic Stadium in Washington Park as per 2016 bid plans .

3) Los Angeles. LA is the veteran of the group having hosted the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984. While venues would need to be updated or built, many of the concepts from 1984 could be revamped for a 2024 bid. The city is no stranger to the spotlight, making it a viable option to host its third Olympic Games, which would tie London for the most all-time.

Opening Ceremony: Los Angeles Memorial Stadium for the third time.

2) New York City. It is the epicenter of business in the United States. Our most famous city—with The World’s Most Famous Arena for basketball…or gymnastics—already has a bid plan to follow. NYC pushed hard to host the 2012 Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the IOC voting. A revamp of the 2012 plans could land the Olympic Games in New York City.

Opening Ceremony: The potential West Side Stadium.

1) San Francisco. No U.S. city is courting the rings quite like San Francisco. After being short-listed by the USOC for previous Games, Huffington Post reports that in 2013, San Francisco is considering a permanent group tasked with bringing the Olympics to the bay area. With several universities and professional sports teams in the area, an Olympics in this unique culture and climate are realistic. Can you imagine the five rings hanging from the Golden Gate Bridge?

Opening Ceremony: New Santa Clara Stadium or a waterfront Olympic Stadium.

My vote: Seattle 2024 Olympic Games…see you there!

Tags:2024 Olympic Games: 10 U.S. Cities Most Likely to Host

2014 Sandestin Wine Festival in Destin, FL, Invites You to "Uncork Some Fun"!

DESTIN, Fla., Are you ready for the 28th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival, which runs from April 10-13, 2014 at the beautiful Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort on the gorgeous Emerald Coast? Thousands of wine enthusiasts and joy seekers are expected to descend upon the Baytowne Wharf and Baytowne Marina at the Sandestin resort.

This headline event, which has been drawing wine aficionados and foodies from all over the Southeast for nearly 30 years, is affectionately called the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals.” A rare opportunity to sample wines from across the United States and around the world, the Sandestin Wine Festival will give attendees the chance to talk to winemakers and other experts in the field of oenology – the science of wine!

The event, which has been lauded as the “Best Annual Event” by Destin Magazine, will showcase hundreds of popular and exotic labels, food pairings from renowned chefs. Sandestin Wine Festival event features include:

  • A plethora of wine and food products at special discount prices
  • Thursday night wine dinners
  • Friday champagne-and-seafood luncheon
  • Sunday champagne brunch on the bay

“We’re extremely proud of the festival’s historic rise and the countless memories the event has created for fans over the years,” said Dan Keyser, executive director of sales for the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. “We’re sure this year’s festival will live up to its reputation.”

“There will be ample opportunities for guests to taste these superb wine products from great wine-producing spots around the globe, as well as sample some marvelous cuisine,” Keyser went on to say. “It’s the perfect time of year and a wondrous location for enjoying the festival and the Gulf Coast, and a chance for visitors to discover Sandestin’s exceptional character and stunning style.”

The theme of the 2014 Sandestin Wine Festival is “Uncork Some Fun,” the perfect name for an event that is slated to feature a comprehensive collection of hundreds of domestic and international wine products. What’s more, the event’s trademark white tents will be the scene of wine pourings from more than 70 labels.

Sponsors of the 2014 Sandestin Wine Festival in Florida include Coastal Living magazine, Fresh Produce women’s apparel and accessories, Visit South Walton, Florida tourism board, and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits.

Proceeds from the 2014 Sandestin Wine Festival will benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, an organization that helps provide free and low-cost housing to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical facilities.

Tags:2014 Sandestin Wine Festival in Destin, FL, Invites You to “Uncork Some Fun”!

2014 Valentine's Day Restaurants in Midland, Texas

Looking for Valentine’s Day plans in the Tall City this February? It can be tough since Midland is not known for its romance. Pumpjacks, pickup trucks, and pandemonium from overcrowding do not a romantic scene make. Fortunately, there are some nice spots for a Valentine’s Day evening.

Alldredge Gardens Cafe is a new hot spot. Formerly just a nursery and lawn-and-garden supply store, Alldredge Gardens has gone upscale and recently added a restaurant tucked into the far end of its greenhouse! Tables are placed around an elaborate indoor pond, complete with wildlife, and the cuisine is decidedly fancy. And they’re having a Valentine’s Day special! The location is great, being far from the urban parts of Midland, and the prices are very reasonable. Plus, it features water in the desert…something memorable indeed.

Luigi’s is a memorable Italian eatery tucked into downtown Midland. If you’re heading south on Big Spring Street you might miss it – it’s tucked in among the big buildings that give the Tall City its nickname. Once you find it, it definitely has the dark-and-cozy romantic thing down and provides the sensation of a night in the big city. Prices are reasonable and the place is popular for its nostalgia. Good for a cold Valentine’s night!

Venezia’s is another Italian eatery, this one on the north side of town. Larger than Luigi’s, Venezia Restaurant offers more parking and a less-crowded atmosphere, though the dark-and-warm romantic ambiance is just as grand, if not more so. Prices may be a bit higher than other locations, but many feel Venezia’s is the must-go dinner location for all romantic needs.

The Garlic Press is also on the north side of town. Featuring a mix of fancy cuisines, it is not as “heavy” as a dedicated Italian eatery. Suitably romantic and with decent prices, The Garlic Press is tucked into a nice shopping center that features upscale and romantic-looking shops, including a baby boutique. Good for a quick romantic stroll afterward!

A final suggestion is Abuelo’s. Though not intentionally romantic like the other venues, it has a vibrant and ornate interior, good cuisine, decent prices, and a dark-and-mysterious ambiance complete with indoor fountain. The cuisine is Mexican and the place is very popular, so arrive early.

Tags:2014 Valentine’s Day Restaurants in Midland, Texas

2015 Social Media Marketing Spending to Hit 60 Billion USD or More

I was amazed to notice 12 social media jobs listings in just one of my many linked in groups this morning – so I did a little research: truly a blind squirrel could find a nut in this forest!

  • From Forrester Research is holding its own conference down in Orlando and has just revealed its predictions for the growth of online advertising. The bottom line is that social media and mobile will be the hottest, but just about everything will see an upward trend.

At, the largest social media advertising agency in the world, we are creating standards of value, quality, performance, and pricing in an otherwise messed-up marketplace.

  • This chart from Leman shows how huge the field is: moving from print and traditional media to various forms of digital social media: Thanks to for making this article available :

Tags:2015 Social Media Marketing Spending to Hit 60 Billion USD or More

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