Art of Gathering Book Club Party!

In May, when Priya Parker launched her book The Art of Gathering, I knew it would be the perfect read for my co-workers.  Since I am always looking for an opportunity to host a party, I offered to lead the discussion.   I already lead my own personal bookclub Mrs. Twist Reads This,  and I was up for the challenge.

Book selection:

The Art of Gatheringdraws on Parker’s expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, and takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn’t, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings–conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp–and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.

The result is a book that’s both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue–and how you host and attend them.”


I wanted this to be interactive, not just me sitting at the front of the room talking, so I enlisted the help of Kahoot – an online game-based learning and trivia platform used on our campus by professors, but it’s also a popular tool in business.  It helps you create all kinds of fun ways to facilitate learning.  I wrote seven questions I came up with using important points in the book and the group played along.  We also used the book to find key concepts that coordinated with the questions.

Before the book club gathering,  I asked the group to come with three ideas they found interesting and willing to adapt or try and a concept that seemed out of their comfort zone.  We took time between trivia questions to share their responses.

Getting personal:

Since we combined two different departments to collaborate on this book club, I felt it was important to get to know one another to find common interests.  Before we started, everyone shared their name and two fun facts about themselves.  When they arrived at our gathering they were asked to write down on a slip of paper their favorite book as a child.  I pulled out the slips of paper throughout our discussion and it was fun trying to figure out who wrote what.


The most important rule:  You cannot have a book club without food!  I enlisted the help of Georgie Girl Bake Shop for the delicious and stunningly creative sugar cookies.  She designed Miss Bee’s graduation party cookies so I knew she could make something fab.  I showed her a copy of the cover art from the book and TCU’s current tagline “Lead On.”  She made cute bookmarks and purple bookworms, too.

I also had my niece, who is very handy with her sewing machine, help me construct candy bags from pages of an old book.  She sewed up the sides with colorful thread.  They were the perfect pouches for everyone’s personal candy stash.

Speaking of color, I knew this gathering called for a big tray of colorful candy!  I bought bags of Dots, Hot Tamales, Lemon Heads, Sour Patch Kids, Licorce twists, Skittles and jelly beans and filled a white tray.

And to wash all the sugar down…little cans of sparkling lemonade piled in an ice bucket with colorful napkins and matching straws!

Everybody wins at the end of a gathering is the moral to this story.  We fed our intellect with a new subject matter.  We noshed on fun and creative snacks.  We learned something new and we made connections.  I’d said we scored an A+ at The Art of Gathering!

Breakfast Fit for a Queen

You’re invited to join me for a look back at a post I penned on April 29, 2011 when William and Kate were wed.  It was such a special day with my mother, Miss Bee and me enjoying royal breakfast while we watched the nuptials.  My photography has improved since then, so indulge me more on the sweetness of the occasion.  Enjoy this “best of” the blog.

Earnie and I shopped at Central Market yesterday in preparation for the big day today.  I set the table last night with her Wedgwood Wild Strawberry china and wedding crystal.  We set the alarm at 4 a.m.  Even Little Miss Bee wanted to be in on the fun.  She came in at 3:45 a.m. to make sure I didn’t oversleep…

Up at 4 a.m., Diane Sawyer on the telly and Cinnamon Bun coffee brewing.  Here’s our feast…

I didn’t prepare a traditional English breakfast because that would have involved frying eggs, frying bread, mushrooms sautéed in butter and fried sausages.  Did you notice I used the word “fried?”  Mr. Bee is English and when we go to see relatives, this is the typical fare.  It’s good every once in a while, but not everyday if you’re trying not to die of coronary artery disease.

Rather, we enjoyed the fare I would have liked prepared for my own coronation. We had Quiche Lorraine, chocolate filled croissants, scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, fresh fruit, strawberry goat cheese muffins, coffee and fresh squeezed pineapple orange juice.  I really think food tastes better when it’s dark outside (as seen in the lower right corner of the photo).  The cats weren’t quite sure what was going on…why are we getting to eat so early…they weren’t complaining..

Mr. Bee said no thank you to our invitation last night.  He said he would watch the reruns on CNN today.  So, it was just Little Miss Bee, me and the Queen Mum.

At 6:15 a.m., Little Miss Bee went back to bed….and so did the Queen Mum.  I got ready for work…and a wedding reception!

My co-worker and I brought in a cake we had made at Central Market and prepared a mock Champagne punch.We also asked everyone to make a name tag with their “Royal Name” — Lord or Lady, the first name of your Grandmother, the name of your first pet, and street name of your childhood home.  It was a lot of fun seeing people’s names…mine was Lady Ruth Orange Oliver on Meadowbrook.  Some day, I’ll tell you about Orange Oliver.

So, like the Windsors, I will retire tonight in my castle bedroom, without servants, however.  And recall the day’s events.  How excited I was to wake up this morning to watch with the world the beginning of a new life together.  Best wishes, Prince William and HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.  God save the Queen!
This Saturday, May 19 at 6 a.m. CST, I will be up again to witness true loves kiss again with Harry and Meghan.  I am gathering up my breakfast stuff and will be enjoying noshing with my bestie whilst we watch the telly.  God bless you Harry and Meghan.