#Eat318 – 318 Restaurant Week Begins Tuesday, March 13 in Shreveport-Bossier

318 Restaurant Week318 Restaurant Week is upon us and I can’t wait to see my social media feeds fill up with delicious foodstuff. Tejas Kitchen Bar Patio in Shreveport helped kick off the week long event with a media preview. I was lucky enough to attend.

If you’re like me, I love to try new restaurants and find out which are sourcing food from local farms. This week gives a chance to try something new with affordable specials that make it a bit easier on the pocketbook.

Menu listings More than 35 local restaurants have cooked up lunch and dinner specials for 318 Restaurant Week. My advice is to preview the list and make a game plan of your “must do” events. Many evening dinner specials are almost sold-out, so if you want to attend, stop reading this and go make your reservation.

Thanks so much to the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and all of the spectacular sponsors who made this week possible. I don’t want to hear anyone say there’s nothing to do in SB!

Chris Jay

Let me know what you intend to try and tell me how it turns out for ya! Oh, hey, don’t forget to follow the 318 Restaurant Week Facebook Page.

That Just Happened!!

Robin Williams

All Y’all Social Glue

11073554_10204945908980605_1294152985240062350_nI recently ran across the words “social glue”. What I understood social glue to be is a way of bonding or connecting people through various actions and/or sharing commonalities. The first thing that I thought about was storytelling, and, in particular, the All Y’all Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts, that my friends Chris Jay and Sara Hebert produce. Chris and Sara are providing a safe space for people in the Shreveport-Bossier community to share experiences and situations through very personal storytelling. No scripts or notes . . . just get on stage in front of, oh, say a couple hundred people, and speak from the heart.

It never occurred to me that being a storytelling could be such a powerful glue that binds a community until I experienced myself. It was the night before the “Under the Influence” All Y’all event when I was contacted by Chris asking if I’d be willing to step in as a substitute for one of the storytellers. I had previously mentioned that I might be interested, and I had been thinking about the possibility but was by no means prepared to step in less than 24 hours before the scheduled event. What the heck? I said “yes”. I didn’t really know what I would say, nor if I would be able to say it. Chris said he’d call me back in a few hours to discuss the details. When he called me later, he apologized and basically said, “nevermind, it’s not fair to ask you on such short notice”. I knew in the moment that I had to do it. I agreed under the condition that I may chicken out at the last minute. That’s the great thing about Chris, whether he was fine with that, or not, he said something like, “don’t you worry, just give me a signal and we’ll keep on rolling with the show”.

10995707_10204945854619246_6626746765654232419_nThe day of the event, I only told four people (two of which were my kids) that I would be speaking that night. I didn’t want the pressure of people giving me encouragement and then bailing on them. I have struggled my entire life with shyness and social anxiety and this was going to be a huge step for me, although, at the time, I had no idea how HUGE. I practiced all day, recording on my iPhone and realized that there was no way that I’d be able to go through with it. My voice was just not there. I worried that no one would even be able to hear me. I was making myself sick with anxiety. As I sat in the audience waiting for my turn, I wasn’t sure until that last second if I could do it, and then I stood up. I walked to the stage and I started telling my story. My voice was there. And soon, there were people nodding, and smiling, and laughing, and . . .  bonding with me. The social glue began to flow.

11751413_10205857145360945_6455528596976410319_nBut that was just the beginning. After the event, as I entered the lobby, the connections started to set in as each person who came up to me said things like “your story is my story”, “I have struggled with the same issue for years”,  “You are so brave”. I then met Karen, who had been sitting in a middle seat near the front row, and had become my anchor for getting through the tough parts of my story. She helped me by giving me something to affix to in the audience. For the next few weeks, I’d be attending an event or walking through the grocery store and someone would stop me to say they had been at the All Y’all event and how much it meant to them. In addition, my life has been enhanced by the friendships I’ve built with other storytellers. Jennifer and Esther were the first two storytellers that I met and I can’t begin to tell you how they have influenced my life. (Jennifer was one of the four people I told that I was speaking that night, so there ya go.)

Below the surface, we are all struggling with something. By sharing (and listening to) stories, we can recognize ourselves in others and become connected through sameness. I have come to realize that Chris and Sara are not just providing social glue for our community, they are pouring social cement. Shreveport-Bossier is most definitely strengthened by All Y’all and the bonds being built are amazing.

To learn more about All Y’all:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

12809503_555978827913503_4557373509850474348_n (1)

This weekend, is the first ever, multi-night event at East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. “Momma,” an evening of stories about moms, motherhood and more, will be held on Friday, March 11, 2016. “Daddy,” featuring stories from, to and about fathers and fatherhood, will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Unfortunately, Friday is sold out and Saturday only has a few more tickets. BUT WAIT!! I have a ticket for both nights to give away.

And, how do you WIN THE GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened blog reader will receive a ticket from season sponsor Holiday Lanes to both Friday 3/11/16 and Saturday 3/12/16 events. Simply go to ALL Y’ALL BLOG, listen to a few of the podcasts, paste your favorite storyteller title in the comments section of this blog below. (It doesn’t have to be my podcast, but here is the link in case your want it: UNDER THE INFLUENCE: ROBIN WILLIAMS, “MR. BOURQUE”) . Winner will be announced on Friday, March 11, 2016 at around noon.

UPDATE 3/11/16: Congrats Pat Gill – you are the winner!


How to find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier (and a Giveaway)

FullSizeRender-1Do you have something that makes you cringe when you hear it? Something that drives you to roll your eyes and stomp your feet? I sure do. When I hear the phrase “there’s nothing to do in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana” I have to restrain myself from completely wigging out. You see, when I first moved to Shreveport-Bossier, I will admit that I said it myself. I moved here from South Louisiana and I really just wanted to go home. For many years, I went to work and then headed straight to my house. On occasion, I looked to the arts and entertainment section of the newspaper to find things that might be of interest to my family. I didn’t know many people that could help connect me to the community, so I just stayed home. That was then. And now, I subscribe to the thought that there are things to do wherever you may be.

Somewhere along the way I found out that if I wanted to be connected to a community, I first needed to leave my house, and secondly, I had to put some effort in on my part. I kind of had to be a researcher in my own life. I started, uncomfortably and awkwardly, attending events. I visited tourist welcome centers to find attractions located in Shreveport-Bossier. I scoured the newspapers to find events. I asked people what was going on in town. As the internet became more ingrained in my life, Googling and Facebook events became the go-to places for my inspiration. These are all fantastic ways to get information, and I will maintain that flow, but my favorite way to get the SB scoop is through the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s (SBCTB) newly redesigned website Shreveport-Bossier.org. Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 3.36.00 PMThis website has been around for a while and was already one of my go-to sites, and in particular, the SB Fun Guide link that holds the events page. Today the SBCTB unveiled a redesign of the website with a celebratory launch party at Great Raft Brewing. SBCTB President Stacy Brown gave an introduction to area partners and shared some of the new features of the website. With the redesign, there is so much inspiration and a resource for both locals and tourism visitors. What you will find out is that Shreveport-Bossier has more to do than you can even imagine.

What can you expect to find on the site?  Maps, brochures, photo and video galleries, trip advisor and social media integration, geo-triggers for coupons and events, and itinerary planning:

  • CASINOS – gaming, night life and horse racing
  • THINGS TO DO – Attractions, shopping, family fun, sports, nightlife, group experiences and outdoor recreation. Be sure to click on the Attractions Link to see the multitude of experiences such as performing arts, museums, art galleries and historic places. There is also a great link for free offerings!
  • EVENTS – Festivals, music and annual events – <<<< This is one of my favorite parts of the site because it hosts the SB FUN GUIDE, which is the event driven piece
  • RESTAURANTS – food and drinks!
  • HOTELS – where to stay
  • MY TRIP – a personal trip planner to build an itinerary for a visit to the big SB

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.06.05 AMIn my job at Holiday Lanes, I have become active in the SB Attractions Association and am currently serving as president of the association. One of my personal goals is to share local event information with as many people as possible in the community. First, I’m asking my attraction/hotel/restaurant/travel industry colleagues to BE AWARE that you can UPDATE your venues on the newly designed site; and ADD events to the SB Fun Guide. For the event driven page to be successful, it will take input from those who are planning, marketing or hosting local events. The SB Fun Guide is also undergoing redesign and will hopefully be launched next week (Feb 2016). Secondarily, I want this site to be top-of-mind for locals and visitors when looking for inspiration for things to do in Shreveport-Bossier.  Chris Jay, social media and public relations manager of the SBCTB, says that he is super excited that the new site will allow easy and quick uploading of featured events which will showcase partners, whether they are festivals, restaurants or attractions. Ideally, a venue would like to promote for several weeks, or months, prior to an event, but being able to make changes in a matter of minutes will be transformative for local tourism partners who might find themselves in need of a last-minute promotional boost.

So . . . how do you find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier?

And, how do you WIN A GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened blog reader will receive Bowling for Six people from Holiday Lanes. Simply go to Shreveport-Bossier.org, find the attractions link and locate the Holiday Lanes link on the site. Paste the Holiday Lanes Attraction page link in the comments section below AND THEN tell me which part of the Shreveport-Bossier.org website gave you a bit of inspiration. Winner will be announced on February 17, 2016.

Panderina Soumas and David Doe, local ambassadors and SB visitor guide cover models share a smile at the website Launch Party.

Other ways to connect with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes


2/17/16 – CONGRATS Bill McGill – you are the winner of a bowling certificate for six to Holiday Lanes!


It really takes a community

People tell me every day that I seem to have such a fun life and then they ask how I know what’s going on in the Shreveport-Bossier community. Most of the time, I rattle off how I heard about particular events. One of the things that annoys me most is when people say that there is nothing to do in our locale. It is so NOT true. Sometimes my calendar has so many events that I have to cull my choices. I thought it might be fun to make a list of the people and organizations who contribute community event information to my life each day.

BCC new logoBossier Chamber of Commerce – I have been a diplomat for the Bossier Chamber for 5 years. This year I decided to take some time off in an official capacity, but I still make an effort to be at the events. The Bossier Chamber is probably my best resource for networking. I find the info to attend on their website calendars:

facebookFacebook Events – I hear people say they hate getting all of the event invites on Facebook. Not me! I rejoice in them, because behind each one is a person that created the event with hopes for even one “going” response. This is my main resource for finding out information about events in our community. Of course, from time to time, there are events that I’m not interested in attending, but I still look at them and value them as a contribution of knowledge in my life. I link my Facebook events with my iCal and Google calendars so that I don’t miss an opportunity. ALSO, I invite people to those events and share, share, share!

IMG_9723Jada Durden – Recently Jada was named my true soul mate by Captain Quizz, so you know it must be true. Jada has a very similar vision as mine and has made a huge impact in contributing to my life. She is in the know when it comes to the events, restaurants and attractions that are appealing. Jada writes the Loving This Life blog and has been honored by Louisiana Travel as a top 11 blogs to follow in Louisiana. She also writes for the Shreveport Times, has her own videographer and more plans in the works for sharing.  Her contribution is enormous and you should be following her every move.

IMG_7664Chris Jay and Sara Hebert – This dynamic duo = THE cool kids in town. Chris knows lots, and even more about food. Sara is who I strive to be, even though I’m sure she is 20 years younger. I follow both on social media just to pick up any nuggets they might be chucking, especially the events that they share. They know about music, food, events and even weird stuff that you didn’t think you needed to know. I’ll let you figure out those on your own. Oh, and they dress really cool. I want to rip off their style, yet I’m afraid I’m too old to pull it off. Together Sara and Chris produce the All Y’all Blog, Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts. Sara is the marketing genius at Moonbot Studios and Chris is the extra hard working Public Relations and Social Media Manager for the Shreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and writes the 20×49 Blog (listed next).  I hear that Chris writes for six magazines. Ask him about it.

19120_10153133965946328_887482314413511101_nShreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau (SBCTB) – I serve on the Attractions Association Board with the SBCTB and get lots of info just by hanging around those folks. On days when I can’t think of anything to do, I check out the SB Fun Guide and 20×49 blog:

1507837_10201883458861266_1240861387_nRobert Trudeau – Robert is one of those people who you just want to stand close to in hopes that his creativity will waft over to you. If I’m looking for info about music, art, or community, Robert is the one I look to. Robert is the editor of the Shreveport Blog and I look to him for my cultural arts fill. His wife Talbot is a fabulous artist and they make a great team.

Shreveport Chamber of Commerce – As with the Bossier Chamber, the Shreveport Chamber has many opportunities to connect with others in our community.

These are just a few of the info powerhouses that I look to for my pulse on the community. I wanted to add paragraphs to acknowledge the likes of:

but we would be here for quite a while. It really takes a community to know your community. I guess what I’m saying is . . . get to know those who know.

That just happened.
Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

Get ALL Y’ALL BLOG the NPR attention it deserves

recommend allyallblog.com to NPR

Chris Jay and Sara Hebert are changing the makeup of storytelling in the South with allyallblog.com – What started as a podcast has become a live storytelling event that crosses crucial boundaries in the community.

Chris & Sara are such a compliment to their community

Chris and Sara’s wide circle of friends is a deep well of diverse people who are submerging themselves into the sometimes unknown world of storytelling. If there is a glimmer of a story, Chris and Sara will shine more light on the subject.  Floating on hope that they just might have something to share, the storytellers rise up at each event, leaving us wanting more. It’s about getting everyday people to tell everyday stories. What’s amazing is the clarity that I’ve gained from listening to other storytellers. I’ve finally come to understand that we need to look outside of ourselves and see that there are folks just like us with trials, struggles, happiness, fears and accomplishments.  Many stories mirror similar experiences in my own life and I’ve been able to step out of my self-centered world where I think things only happen to me.

All Y’all Blog

I think it’s time for the big time NPR geniuses to scoop up All Y’all Blog and share it with the world. Could you take a few moments to answer NPR’s short and easy survey about you favorite blog of all time, assuming it’s All Y’all?

  • NPR Survey: Take NPR Survey
  • Enter the All Y’all blog link: http://www.allyallblog.com/
  • Select your favorite episode and enter that link as well.
  • Share the survey with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, etc.

Let’s try to get Chris & Sara the recognition the deserve.

This IS happening!

Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

April 6, 2015 – UPDATE! I was a storyteller in September 2014 and that podcast episode has been released: LISTEN HERE