Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tasty Thursdays: Healthy Holiday Living

The words “holidays” and “healthy” never seem to go together, but if you prioritize correctly, you can make it through the holidays without too much damage and without depriving yourself. MSP has lots of experience staying healthy on the road, so check out some of these tried and true tips!

·         Scout out your fitness options. Check out local trails and outdoor areas in the area you are headed to- it can be a great way to enjoy the area with family and friends! If you are staying at a hotel, try to stay at one with a fitness center. If you have a membership to a nationwide gym, go online to find a gym nearby!

·         Sandwich your meals with exercise! If you start your day with a workout, your body is a lot happier processing that giant Thanksgiving dinner you just ate. After dinner, why not go for a walk? Just getting up and moving instead of succumbing to the “food coma” will help your body process those excess calories the right way.

·         Be creative and motivate yourself. Before you leave, treat yourself to something that will motivate you to work out on your trip. Buy a new fitness DVD, some new songs for your iPod, or portable exercise equipment. Also, many exercise studios have affordable and even free trial sessions, so hunt one down in the area you’re going to and try something new!

·         Don’t go solo. The holidays are spent with loved ones, so a lot of people justify skipping workouts to take advantage of family time. But what could be better family time than a morning hike or walking around to look at holiday lights? Try to plan something more active in between watching football games.

·         Pack accordingly. Don’t let yourself show up to a dangerous holiday meal famished. Pack high protein snacks, lots of water (especially when flying), and fruit to curb your appetite. It will make the seconds (or thirds or fourths) a lot easier to skip out on!
For more tips, check out this great article! Wishing everyone a fit and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Sao Paolo, Brazil

Sao Paulo is one of the key business areas in Latin America, but its culture and attractions are sure to be the main event. This busy city is home to an array of activity all year that grab the attention of people everywhere. Here are a few reasons to visit Sao Paulo: 
·    Sports: The beloved Brazilian sport of soccer (or football as they call it) has given the city three different stadiums, all which are home to different teams. No matter which one you visit, the energy is unprecedented and will make for an unforgettable experience!
·    Ibirapuera Park: This impressive park has winding bike paths, lakes, and attractions from an open-air theatre to a roller skating rink. It’s a wonderful escape from the busy city with breathtaking scenery.
·    Culture: However you like to get a taste of a city’s culture, Sao Paulo has something for you. Musical performances and ballets at the Teatro Municipal, hundreds of museums, outdoor fairs and markets, and even Liberdade, a Japanese district, are great places to see. Also keep an eye out for different events at the stadiums in between soccer games!
·    Shopping: Home to the major Sao Paulo Fashion Week, you can’t leave Sao Paulo without shopping! Both in Sao Paulo and Guarja, a beach about an hour away from Sao Paulo, you can shop at countless stores that vary from casual shops to luxury boutiques.
·    Municipal Market: Latin America’s production of produce, plants, flowers, wine, and other goods is one of the most impressive in the world. The Municipal Market gives you a chance to see colorful displays with different fruits and plants that you might have never seen before!
Click here to learn more about visiting São Paulo!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Black Friday Travel Steals

Black Friday Travel Steals
Skip the mall on Black Friday and find some awesome travel ideas online! Although all deals for this year haven’t officially been released, here are a few that have.  Keep your eyes open for these deals and more similar packages so you can travel often and affordably in 2013.
Major Hotel Discounts: If you book on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, hotels all over the country and even internationally are slashing prices. You can book luxury getaways at prices that are unheard of, especially if you have some flexibility in traveling outside of peak season. Resorts that are offering these deals include:
·         Hacienda San Angel, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

·         Grand Lucayan, The Bahamas

·         The Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California

·         Trump Hotel Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

·         Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sonoma, California

·         Tanque Verde Ranch, Tuscon, Arizona

·         Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida
Lift Ticket Deals- With ski/snowboarding season coming up, keep your eyes out for flash deals that offer huge lift ticket discounts at luxury resorts. Nothing has been released this year, but last year sites like  Liftopia offered great savings all over the country on lift tickets. Stay posted!
Sleep & Shop- For those of you who can’t say no to shopping in-store on Black Friday, the Hyatt Regency Irvine is offering deals on Black Friday weekend and through December for hotel rooms starting at $79.00/night.  Its location next to Irvine Spectrum (Irvine), South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa), and Fashion Island (Newport Beach) can’t be beat.
Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tasty Thursdays: Best of San Diego

It’s always fun to try new foods when you travel, but this week MSP wanted to try some favorites in our own backyard. San Diego is thriving with diverse restaurants all over the city, and whether you live or vacation here, you should give them a try! Here are some of our favorites:
Taco Shops:
What’s San Diego without tacos? San Diego has some of the best Mexican food on this side of the border, so make sure you try these top picks.
El Indio Taco Shop: Although famous for its rolled tacos, you won’t be disappointed by anything on this menu! Located in Mission Hills, this Mexican food place is about 10 minutes north of downtown San Diego. It is worth a visit at any time of day!
Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop: Coincidentally, our other top Mexican food pick is just down the street from El Indio. Both are delicious in their own way. Lucha Libre branches out with their own creative taco creations and a festive décor. It was even featured on Man V Food!
This American staple has to be included, especially with some of the delicious options San Diego has to offer! If you’re from out of state, In N’ Out is always a must, but here are a few great places that are a little less well-known.
Hodad’s: Hodad’s is located in Ocean Beach right near the water, and the place is full of character. The décor embodies California, and the menu is simple but delicious. You will never worry about going hungry after Hodad’s! Try a milkshake if you think you can handle it.
Burger Lounge: Burger Lounge is a newer, sleeker burger joint that has found the balance between healthy ingredients and a high-quality burger. The beef is grass-fed, and all the ingredients are high quality. There are several around San Diego, so stop by one whether you are downtown or in La Jolla!
Ocean Views:
If you’re traveling to San Diego, nothing beats a nice dinner with a beautiful view of the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean. These restaurants offer equally stunning food with their ocean views.
C-Level: Nearby downtown and the airport, this is an elegant restaurant that offers a gorgeous view of San Diego Bay. The menu includes steak and seafood, so save a night of your trip for a nice evening at this restaurant.
The Marine Room: The Marine Room requires a little bigger budget, but the food doesn’t disappoint and you can’t beat the location. This restaurant is literally right on the sand, and the waves crash against the window during high tide. Stay dry!
Aside from these favorites, San Diego continues to have an endless array of dining adventures for both locals and visitors. Check out this list  for more of them. Bon appetít! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

Not too long ago, the newly moved Four Seasons Hotel Toronto opened its doors on October 5. Having moved their location about 400 yards, the hotel has brought the best of the best to Yorkville Avenue and the look that only a Four Seasons can provide.
The newly opened hotel has 259 guest rooms and the décor inside is sleek and designed to make the guest feel comfortable. It is located in the charming Yorkville Village. You are steps away from Bloor Street boutiques if you’d like to do some shopping. A few minutes more and you are in the business district of Bay Street. You can also go visit the Royal Ontario Museum which is nearby.
When you’re not spending your time touring around Toronto, you can enjoy the wonderful 30,000 square foot spa or do some laps in their sky lit indoor pool. After you’ve done some laps, you can enjoy the delicious food at the Hotel Toronto’s Café Boulud cooked to perfection by Chef Daniel Boulud.
The hotel has over 14,000 square feet in meeting space with a total of 12 function and 5 pre-function rooms. The highlight of their meeting space is the Aria room which is a glass enclosed ballroom showing off beautiful views of the Bay. The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is an ideal place to have a meeting, social gathering, or conference to meet any needs.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tasty Thursdays: Pumpkin Pie Bites

Fall is hands down one of my favorite seasons out of the year although there are only four to choose from. Fall for me means that we can start pulling out scarves and boots while still getting to pretend it is summer sometimes. It also means that the holiday season is coming up very quickly and with the holiday season comes all the yummy pumpkin treats that I wait for all year to become appropriate.
One of my favorite desserts every year to make are Pumpkin Pie Bites. They are very simple to make but everyone will think you are the queen or king of desserts when you bring them to all those holiday parties that you’re going to be attending.
I found the recipe several years ago while looking for a perfect treat to bring to a pre-Thanksgiving function. Check out the original recipe here:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How To Prepare For The Unexpected

Planning meetings and events is a very rewarding process but sometimes it can be a roller coaster ride. You can usually expect things to go a little awry despite all the best preplanning. There are many variables that can cause a disruption in your planning process so it is best if you have a contingency plan set up to help you prepare best for any potential disturbances brewing on the horizon. Successful planners are proactive in their actions and like to prepare ahead for potential trouble. Being prepared is what makes them successful. Careful planning is a strategic tool that allows you and your business to succeed and grow. It allows you to provide excellent service to your clients and maintain your brand and reputation that you have worked so hard for.
Three key pieces of advice to help prepare for any potential disruptions:
1.      Always anticipate potential problems that could arise during the preplanning process. It is always better to over prepare and go over things three times over than get to the event and realized that there was something you had forgotten.

2.      Give yourself sufficient time to develop and roll out back up plans to implement should anything go wrong. Although it will not always be the case that you will have all the time you need, try to think three steps ahead when planning so that you can get more done in the time that you do have.

3.      Remember to always keep your client and the attendees in mind as they your most important priority. Know what they expect of you and how you can deliver that to them with the exceptional service that I’m sure you are known to provide. You don’t want your clients to see that there is a problem so being able to anticipate them and know what to do if or when something happens is important.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: D-Cube City

We love the new Sheraton Seoul D-Cube City Hotel, located in the lifestyle complex D-Cube City in Seoul, South Korea. D-Cube City is an advanced, exciting complex that includes themed restaurants, high-end malls, a theme park, living and office spaces. These are all connected to the hotel, and also include easy transportation options to see the rest of Seoul. It’s a wonderful tourism center to experience all that Korean culture has to offer in one place.
The hotel itself includes a high-tech golf course simulator, 11 meeting & event spaces, a high-end fitness club and more.  You’ll never run out of things to do, and everything is right outside your door.
D-Cube City is located in southwest Seoul, the capital and largest city in South Korea. Even with so many things to do at the Sheraton, you will want to take some time to explore one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. It is a global economic, cultural and political center with so much to offer. The city has quick and advanced public transportation options, and tourist attractions ranging from old rivers and palaces all the way to brand new outdoor shopping and cuisine.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tech Thursdays: Meeting Apps

In today’s world, everyone has a smart phone glued to their hands.  These smart phones, while tiny, bring a world of possibilities literally to your fingertips.  The best potential for business on phones comes from apps – applications that can do everything from booking a hotel, checking traffic, or even just pinning a mustache on a friend.  How can you tap into this world of opportunity at your next meeting? Check out these apps that can help get your next meeting and event connected.
GamifyApp - Everyone loves to play games on their phone, so why not turn your conference into a game?  In the GamifyApp, attendees can earn badges by ‘checking in’ to exhibitor’s booths or specified areas, answering questions about sessions, or taking part of an event specific scavenger hunt.  Organizers receive this information and can use it to share with the clients or for their own feedback.
Pathable - Pathable, a custom online community brings social networking at events to another level.  This app integrates with registration systems to create a virtual presence for each attendee.  This allows them to network with each other, create custom agendas, and download session handouts.  Pathable is a great way to get attendees to connect with each other and stay informed about everything happening at the conference or meeting.
CardCloud - The days after an event, attendees find business cards everywhere.  How great would it be if all those cards could be stored in one place? With the CardCloud app, it’s possible!  CardCloud allows users to swap online business cards or send the contact information through email.  It can store multiple cards for each user and each new contact is marked with a time and location stamp for an easy reminder of where and when a particular connection happened. 
Now more than ever you can easily connect your attendees to your event.  With these apps and so many more, you can keep the focus on the event while participants still feel connected to their favorite thing – their smartphone!