Embrace Your Event Venue Surroundings!

February 4th, 2016

When hosting an event, it’s always better to go with the vibe of the event space than against it, which is exactly what we did at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The ICA does an amazing job at highlighting artists that have a unique style, so we decided to highlight some of our favorite unique “artists” at our event! A true artist can take an ordinary item, like a sharpie or a mirror and elevate them into something distinctive.  Similarly, a talented musician with the right ear can reimagine a classic instrument and pair it with contemporary music to give it new life. We never want our guests to experience an ordinary evening and this event was no exception.

Artist Ethan Murrow creates stunning black and white drawings. Instead of using traditional paints, pencils, and brushes, he uses sharpies. You might think “sharpies, what’s so special about that,” but these are no small drawings, and they end up looking like they could be real photographs. Recently at the ICA, he spent two weeks drawing a colossal mural on an entire wall in the museum! It was the perfect masterpiece to set the mood for the rest of the night.

An up-and-coming local Boston musician greeted guests with his talented violin playing, but he wasn’t playing any classical music. Instead, he brings a modern style to the classical instrument by playing songs from a range of popular artists such as The Beatles, Adele, and Drake. Even giving songs dominating the Hip Hop charts an elegant flair.

A mirror with elegant scripted font was used as directional signage to invite guests to take a tour of the gallery space and informed then when the dinner would begin. You can read what time dinner starts AND look at how amazing you look in your outfit, who wouldn’t want that?!

With help from a brilliant local florist company, the centerpieces for the event were anything but ordinary. The company takes simplistic flowers and arranges them to make stunning works of art. Adding height and drama to the tables in the theater with branches and cherry blossoms; reminding us that spring really is right around the corner.

To end the night, ice cream mixologists served tasty ice cream that looks like your average ice cream, but is created using liquid nitrogen! The trained mixologists used their homemade ice cream base, added flavors and mix ins, and froze the mix in liquid nitrogen. Somehow, they’ve made ice cream even more exciting!

We couldn’t be happier to have had our favorite artists share their talents with us at the ICA for the night.

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Adventures Abroad: PCMA Convening Leaders

February 2nd, 2016

At the beginning of January, Megan and Micha took an adventure to Canada to attend the PCMA Convening Leaders Conference in Vancouver. Over 4,000 planners attended the conference that was held at the Vancouver Convention Center, the world’s first LEED Platinum certified convention facility.

Being sure to see the city outside of the conference walls, Megan and Micha landed in Vancouver a day before the conference started to explore Vancouver and all it has to offer. The two drove down long and winding roads with some spectacular views, and after about two hours they finally made it to their first destination, Whistler, the largest skiable area in North America!

After Whistler, Megan and Micha took a stroll across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. At 450 feet long, the bridge stretches just as far as two Boeing 747 airplanes wingtip-to-wingtip. The bridge is 230 feet high and is supported by two thick steel cables, which together can hold more than 200,000 pounds. That means it can support over 1,300 people standing on it at the same time! Alternatively, you can parade 96 elephants over the bridge at once. It’s nice to know we have options.

Their final stop before the conference began was Granville Island, a popular shopping district in Vancouver. The two were able to explore the famous Public Market and revel in all the culture (and food) the market had to offer.

After the fun adventures came the exciting conference! The opening session of PCMA Convening Leaders was a lively one, filled with giant robots you could control and Micha tearing it up in the golf simulator, in heels no less!

Although giant robots are ridiculously cool, the attention-grabber of the week came when the lights turned down and the conference started: The General Session screen. I know, what’s so special about a screen? But at 32 feet in height and 145 feet in length, it lit up the room and became the only thing you wanted to use your own hand-held screen to take a picture of. Fun fact: If you were to take down and disassemble the truss pieces used for the screen, they would run over a mile long!

The conference opened with Arne Sorenson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc. He shared his ideas on emerging macro trends that could change the face of the meetings and events industry in the next five years, and of course the recent acquisition of Starwood!

The following day, Juliet Funt taught the conference attendees what it means to reclaim and use Whitespace (AKA free time). She believes that organizations today are in the Age of Overload. By doing more with less, there’s an increasing pressure of always being ON. Julie thinks that by consciously and strategically adding Whitespace to your work calendar, you can begin to create habits where deep thinking occurs, creativity soars, and focus returns. She gave insights on how to clear up some of the clutter in your calendar with email response time codes (for example: NYRT means Need Your Response Today while NYR-NBD means Need Your Response Next Business Day).

Jonah Berger, the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” was up next, speaking about characteristics that make products and ideas go viral by walking everyone through his 6 STEPPS including Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories. Jonah also taught the conference-goers how to generate more word of mouth, harness the power of social influence, and get their messages, ideas, and events to catch on.

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” introduced herself to the conference the next day. She spoke on how to obtain a clearer understanding of why it might be difficult to adopt a new habit, how to take the first step to changing habits, and how to implement strategies to increase the likelihood that you can succeed in breaking your habits. Gretchen also talked about how you can set yourself up for success based on your current habits.

Amy Purdy was an inspiration to all as she took the stage. At age 19 Amy was diagnosed with Meningococcal Meningitis and lost both of her legs below the knee to the infection. Just under three years after losing her legs, she entered the USASA National Snowboarding Championship where she went on to win medals in three events. Today she is one of the top ranked adaptive snowboarders in the world and was the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist. Needless to say, she was a motivational speaker at PCMA, talking about how to acknowledge your own obstacles (big or small) as opportunities to grow. Amy also spoke on the topic of reexamining the widely-held idea that disabilities mean limitations, being living proof that they clearly don’t.

And who doesn’t love a reunion? Professor Joe Goldblatt, a lecturer Micha had while at university, attended the conference. Not only has he written most of the event planning textbooks that are used in classrooms (which Megan used to study while she was attending university), he brings nine students from Scotland to PCMA every year to give them the opportunity to see what the event planning business is like.

We can’t wait for Austin in 2017!

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CE On The Town: The Friendly Toast

January 28th, 2016

In early January, The Friendly Toast opened it’s third location in Back Bay and we couldn’t be more excited! No longer do we only have the option of traveling to Cambridge to taste the delicious food the diner has to offer – we can just walk right on over to Stanhope Street!

The Friendly Toast is known for its quirky interior design and retro furniture, and the new Back Bay location doesn’t disappoint. Vibrant colors fill the room, vintage signs hang along the walls, and funky lights dangle from the ceiling. This diner also has two floors, both containing bars, with the bottom floor being unofficially called “The Boom Boom Room.”

And to no surprise, the food is as tasty as ever at the Back Bay location. All the same fan favorites are offered, including the hearty Chicken and Waffles!

Although the vibe and food are just as great as the other locations, what makes the Back Bay location even better is that it’s open until 3AM on the weekends! Now you can enjoy the Boston nightlife AND a stack of pancakes afterwards, and who doesn’t want that?!

Overall, the new location for The Friendly Toast gets the CE seal of approval.

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An Evening in the Emerald City

January 26th, 2016

Unlike a traditional red carpet, guests entered the Fairmont Copley Plaza on rolled out lavish green carpets for “An Evening in the Emerald City.”

This holiday party transformed the classic Boston hotel into a scene from the Wizard of Oz. Guests found themselves far from the streets they know as they were  swept up and transported into a land with hints of fantastical elements and décor adorned in rich shades of green and metallic tones.

Projections of a brewing tornado on the celestial ceiling mural and green uplights filled the ballroom. The famous Yellow Brick Road stamped a lighted golden tone and brick pattern through the green into the middle of the dance floor. The center of the Yellow Brick Road featured a golden candy bar with an oversized statement piece including outstretched branches and golden antlers. The bar added dimension to the space and certainly enhance the already beautiful ballroom.

Scattered throughout the Grand Ballroom, high and low tables allowed for varied seating and perching. Mirrored and gold tables also featured metallic and glass center pieces, which were filled with test tubes, apothecary jars, and lush green floral arrangements. Soft seating sections allowed for lounging and featured the face of the Wizard himself! Along with this, glass and metallic candle holders, as well as ornamented lanterns, sat atop the sparkling green tables.

‘Wiches of Boston brought an ice cream bar made right before the guests’ eyes from a cloud of liquid nitrogen with festive flavors: Triple Ginger with Cherries and Roasted Almonds and Green Peppermint Chocolate Chunk with Mini Marshmallows. It was both entertaining and delicious!

Behind the Grand Ballroom, the Ballroom Foyer was an ode to the story itself. Black and white striped soft seating, reminiscent of the Wicked Witch’s tights, and a pair of ruby slippers were the focal point of the space. Ruby uplighting gave a different feel to this space while guests had the perfect oasis to retreat from the dance party. Small arrangements of red poppies sat atop the guest tables like the fields of poppies in the Land of Oz.

Both the ballroom and the Foyer transformed the Fairmont space to the Land of Oz, full of fantasy and holiday spirit for all to enjoy!

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