April 24, 2014

Stand Up to Long Flights and Other Travel Tips

Courtesy of


It’s three hours into a flight and you haven’t budged. Sure, your book is good or you can finish that report in 15 more minutes. Besides that, you’ll be at the gate in no time, so remaining seated is just fine.

Or is it? According to Dr. Luis Navarro, a top New York City board-certified vein specialist, your travel experiences would likely be a lot more comfortable by taking a few minutes to increase healthy blood circulation mid-flight or during long drives.

Here are a few tips from Dr. Navarro to get you moving in the right direction:

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April 22, 2014

Guess Who’s Played the Arizona Biltmore’s Piano?

9 Fun Facts About 9 Greater Phoenix Area Resorts

When Visit Phoenix takes you on a tour of resorts, they really take you on a tour of resorts. Earlier this month, I visited nine properties in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler, Ariz., in less than 48 hours. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was also a fantastic opportunity to learn about one of the prime meeting destinations in the United States and all the posh options for groups. In some ways, the resorts began to blend together by the end of the trip, but they all had their unique little quirks that set them apart. Here are just a few of the fascinating factoids I learned at each location.

Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Phoenix

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April 21, 2014

Extreme Hospitality!

Cool guest room at Icehotel in Sweden


They range from an 8-by-10-foot unit above a coffee shop to an 8,108-room property in Las Vegas, but they all share one thing in common—they’re all extreme hotels that offer travelers a highly unique experience. Curbed recently created a list of the hotels that rank at the very top in the world in different extreme categories.

The Venetian, Las Vegas

Smallest: Central Hotel in Copenhagen, located above the city’s smallest coffee shop, consists of a room with a double bed and flat-screen television.

Tallest: JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is 1,165 feet tall and has twin 77-floor towers. Plans call for a third tower to be added in 2015.

Largest: The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas together offer 8,108 rooms, along with a casino and shopping mall. The property actually is two connected hotels that share one huge complex.

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April 16, 2014

GMIC 2014 Sustainable Meetings


Adrian Segar leads a keynote debrief on the opening day of the Sustainable Meetings Conference


This year’s Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) conference kicked off with an invigorating session featuring GMIC board member and Oracle VP Paul Salinger moderating a keynote panel on the theme of “The Value of Sustainability Across Brands, Organizations and Sectors.” The presenters included KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, CEO and founder of Sustainable Brands; Jenifer Willig, founder of Whole World Water; and Shawn Rosenmoss, senior environmental specialist with the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Issues presented covered how meeting planners can influence what an organization or company’s commitment to sustainable meetings means in a practical sense, and how telling the story of green initiatives can benefit them both through employee or attendee engagement and ROI.

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April 15, 2014

Spring Break for Adults


South Walton in Northwest Florida boasts 26 miles of sugar-white beaches and turquoise water, so meetings held in the area are always popular. The area has a number of signature events that make for after-meeting fun: The annual South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival, for example, runs April 24-27 this year, and features more than 800 wines from top winemakers in the world. The food isn’t too shabby either, and famed Chef Emeril Legasse (the 2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year) is slated to make a special appearance. Educational seminars and cooking exhibitions are also on the schedule, and entertainment by Nashville’s top songwriters–such as Dylan Altman and Kendell Marvel–round out the weekend.

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April 12, 2014

Glass in the Garden

2014-04-09 11.26.02

OK, gardeners: Can you identify the red plants in the photo above?

Actually, it’s a trick question, because the stalks are a series of glass sculptures by arguably the most noted glass artist of the last 40 years. You’ve probably seen Dale Chihuly’s work—perhaps hanging from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Vegas or at dozens of art museums around the United States.

You can also currently see his work amid the saguaro and succulents at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Chihuly in the Garden is on display through May 18.

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April 09, 2014

NYC in Springtime: Hyatt Union Square Specials

Urban Terrace Studio

Our one-day Smart Meeting in August takes place in New York City at Hyatt Union Square New York. We can’t wait–not only because NYC in the fall is the best and the Smart Meeting is always a fab experience, but also because the Hyatt Union Square is the newest hotel in that dynamic neighborhood in over a decade, and we’re eager to see it.

The area includes Union Square’s Greenmarket, organized by GrowNYC and consisting of dozens of local farmers, butchers and bakers. It takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. along the north and west sides of Union Square Park. Also nearby is Greenwich Village, with its arts, culture and great shopping.

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April 07, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration from a Life Coach

Rhonda Britten

Beyond coffee, Monday mornings often call for a kick start—a dynamic shot of inspiration. Perhaps what you need is a pep talk from a life coach. Rhonda Britten is one of the most famous members of this growing profession, which is focused on helping clients develop and achieve personal goals, thanks to her stint as co-host of the daytime reality TV show Starting Over and guest appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Life coaches traffic in motivation and perspective, and Britten offers plenty of both in her books, blog posts, workshops and speaking sessions. In fact, she’ll be providing insight to attendees of the Smart Meeting Seattle on April 17 to get them primed for successful one-on-one appointments.

Britten’s Facebook timeline is filled with inspirational messages designed for sharing. Here is a sampling of recent images to get you ready to rush the field of life. Put us in, coach!

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April 02, 2014

The NCAA has a Ballroom Named in Honor of My Mentor!

Christine Grant, courtesy of

This blog is of special interest to women’s sports fans and anyone else who appreciates college athletics. While researching an upcoming story about Indianapolis for our May issue, I was very interested to learn more about the meeting space at the NCAA Hall of Champions and Conference Center. I knew the NCAA had moved to Indianapolis from Kansas more than a decade ago, but was unaware that the adjacent museum and meeting space was so expansive.

Most people are probably well aware of the namesakes for which the event spaces have been named. There’s the Pat Summit/John Wooden Room, the Theodore Roosevelt Room and the Jesse Owens Room.

Much to my surprise, the largest dedicated meeting room in the NCAA complex is the 5,351-square-foot Christine Grant Ballroom. If ever there was a woman who deserves to be recognized for her contributions to women’s sports and encouraging young women to pursue careers beyond the status quo, it’s Christine.

I met Christine in the late ’70s as a graduate student at University of Iowa. She was the women’s athletic director and I was in the women’s physical education master’s program studying sports communication. Christine really supported my career goal of being a sportswriter, almost willing me to make a difference of my own.

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March 31, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Meet in Fort Worth, Texas

Sponsored post

Sundance Plaza in downtown Fort Worth, Texas,
celebrated its grand opening in November.

1. Sundance Square: The heart of Fort Worth, Sundance Square is home to the new Sundance Plaza, leading businesses, modern convention hotels, and a wide range of cultural and artistic venues.

2. Fort Worth Convention Center: With a convenient location near downtown hotels, restaurants and entertainment, and a wealth of state-of-the-art business technologies, the Fort Worth Convention Center is an ideal choice for meetings of any size.

3. Fort Worth Water Gardens: Take advantage of Fort Worth’s beautiful natural surroundings by holding your event at the spectacular outdoor events plaza of the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

4. Fort Worth Stockyards: Fort Worth’s Western heritage is on vibrant display in the historic Stockyards District. The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, a twice-daily cattle drive, the world’s largest honky-tonk and a veritable stampede of authentic hitching-post saloons all await you in Fort Worth.

5. Restaurants: We’re not all barbecue and Tex-Mex in Fort Worth. In addition to succulent steaks, righteous ribs and mouth-watering Mexican fare, you’ll find world-class flavors from around the globe, including sophisticated Italian dining and exotic Asian cuisine.

6. Cultural District: The Fort Worth Cultural District features five internationally acclaimed museums in a beautiful, park-like setting. The Fort Worth Botanic & Japanese Gardens, Will Rogers Memorial Center and Casa Manana Theatre border this beloved area.

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