Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Men is Dead - Long Live Mad Men!

We are NOT revealing how our favorite series ended- but today the clock strikes:

01/01/0001 in Post Mad Men Time.
And yes, we are feeling a little empty.

But a look at the series' lasting impact is reassuring, the cultural influence enduring!

Put Frank Sinatra on the turntable and read on!

You know a TV series packs a cultural power punch when three 60ties musicals are revived on Broadway and cable and network TV scramble to create more series set in the era.
Curvy women, stylish guys, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew will forever be thankful to costume designer Janie Bryant.

Our industry reveled in 60ties themed parties.
And we will continue to do so! After all, L.A. is home to everything mid-century modern.

If Don's office or Manhattan penthouse is your dream - rent it! Our friends at FormDecor have the largest collection of authentic, iconic modern furnishings.


"I have been very inspired by "Mad Men". The throwback to the 60ties featured so many cocktail and dinner parties. It seems that people made more time for stylish home entertainment back then. It's a great party idea for now because the series has had such an impact on fashion that it's easy to pull off."

The theme also lends itself to stylish summer parties, even private affairs in your backyard.
"Ask your guests to dress the Mad Men part. Buy the Mad Men musical score CD, all 60ties tunes, find 60ties TV series and movies to play on your TV sets, just as visual backdrop. Turn off the volume. Serve popular drinks from the era – screwdrivers, Vodka gimlets, Brandy Alexanders, Classic martini, Sloe Gin Fizz – accompanied by party foods from the era: deviled eggs, fondue if only serving a few, cocktail meatballs and wieners, pigs in blanket and –yes - Jello molds! Absolutely do stick cheese-olives-gherkin kebabs into half a grapefruit!

Start the afternoon or evening off with a 60ties trivia game to get everyone in the mood. And as the hostess, wear your best party apron!"

As we said, Long Live Mad Men!
We will miss our weekly date with Don Draper but we will definitely go on and indulge our 60ties hankerings.
And come to think of it, the 70s weren't bad, either. Glitter Rock, anyone?

Monday, May 11, 2015

California's Exceptional Drought's Impact on Our Industry

On March 17, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an expanded emergency conservation regulation to safeguard the state’s remaining water supplies as California enters a fourth consecutive dry year. Last week the State approved more emergency water use restrictions.

We asked Joann Roth-Oseary, Arjen Bosma and Bob Amano:
 How does this affect our industry?
 How can we be more water-wise?

We checked with Ritz-Carlton San Francisco and the L.A. Convention Center:
Professor David Sedlak assures us: there is hope for the future!

 The Status Report - How bad is it really?

It's bad - historical record breaking bad!
The American Geophysical Union, studying tree rings, determined that "the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years.

 Hearst Castle in San Simeon, managed by the State Park system, complies with mandatory restrictions by leaving the Neptune Pool dry and shutting down restrooms and faucets! The 800.000 annual visitors now enjoy porta potties and hand sanitizer stations!

Restaurants state-wide only serve glasses of water upon specific request by the customer.

How has our industry been affected so far?

Arjen Bosma, Sales Manager, Holland Flower Market, Inc.: Prepare for a Supply Shortage and Price Hikes in Florals. 
"We are definitely feeling the impact of the drought. We buy locally grown flowers from farms in Carpinteria, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Santa Maria and Watsonville. We are experiencing shortages. Growers are cutting fields down because they cannot water the crops. Water is either not available or very expensive. So little supply meets a growing demand. In the case of snapdragons and stock flowers the prices have quadrupled. East Coast buyers are offering very high prices to get them. It's a bidding war. Peonies are in short supply. The growers told me that peonies need natural rain to grow well. Watering them artificially does not work. It did not rain this Spring so the peonies did not grow. We are also short on regular delphinium. The wedding season is underway which will put further pressure on the market and the prices."

Joann Roth-Oseary, President, Someone's In The Kitchen, full service catering and event planning.

Brace Yourselves for Lower Profits.

What does the drought mean to California catering businesses?

"Unfortunately it means lower profits.  Our jobs, particularly social ones, are booked far in advance and are price confirmed, so we cannot go back and change a contracted menu price, regardless of our costs going up.  Corporate books closer in so our edge on current market pricing can be better anticipated."
What can catering do to offer high-end fare at this time?"The drought does not change people's tastes in the food they want to eat. Produce is highly affected and yet is highly consumed and sought after and is not going away."
What changes are being made?"Our changes are more internal as to water usage, as we use a lot of water just in the washing etc. so we are on the employees to have greater awareness of watching what is happening in the kitchen.   We have gone to water at the table side upon request, rather than just filled glass on arrival."
Are you changing offerings? Switching from water-intense beef protein to a more drought friendly protein menu, for example?
"No this is not happening. Clients food likes and dislikes are not water driven. We can't replace the lawn with astroturf!"


Bob Amano, Executive Director, Hotel Association of Los Angeles.

We are all in this together!

1) Most hotels already have refitted their guest rooms with "water sense" toilets.  
In the past, flushes consumed a lot of water. In the past 10 years, the toilet flush designs have been reduced to 1.6 GPF (gallons per flush) and more recently to 1.28 GPF models.
2) At the same time, the shower heads and some faucet fixtures are being refitted to lower flow types as well. The trend of "infinity" or "rain" shower heads is changing to more modest and conservative styles and designs.
3) Eco-minded or Conserve Water tent cards or towel rack cards have been in use for several years. This allows the guest to choose not to change towels, linens and sheets daily; conserving much water used in laundry as well as being gentle on the environment as less detergent is going into the ecosystem.
4) In restaurants and dining spaces, water is only being served when directly requested by guest/patrons.

Of late to comply with the state and local government mandates on reducing water use, hotels are adjusting in the following areas:

5) Pool, jacuzzi and outdoor hot tub restrictions and measures
6) minimize and adjust outdoor landscaping watering (in the case of resorts with golf courses, almost all currently use reclaimed water, however even that is being adjusted within their maintenance schedules.)
7) Public area toilet facilities are going through similar changes. Low flush toilets with sensor flushing, water sense sink faucets with sensor flow, and "waterless" urinals (in mens' rooms) with sensor flushing. These were actually in use by many public restrooms for a few years now, but are becoming a more popular fix these days.

Again, each hotels has other measures independently in place, but in general the hotel industry has been conscious in eco-friendly and water-wise practices for the past 10 it's more noticeable and guests should take advantage and cooperatively participate as WE are all in this together.

The Industry is reacting!

The Ritz Carton in San Francisco goes the Extra Mile in Water Conservation.

Kevin Carroll, Executive Director of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, informed us about the Ritz Carlton's outstanding efforts. We asked their public relations representative Shelby Callas at Brandman PR for specifics.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco has implemented and is in the process of implementing many new techniques to actively conserve water.  ·         The hotel plans to adopt a waterless plate clearing practice in the main dishwasher room, which uses a pressurized airline to clear plates instead of using water. ·         In order to recapture the condensate (grey) water which would otherwise go down the drain, the hotel has installed a holding tank with a pump system. This water is used to facilitate the wash down of the loading dock and irrigation of the courtyard plants. This is especially beneficial because by reusing the condensate water we are not using “clean” potable water to complete these two tasks. This practice results in an estimated water savings of 350,000 Gallons per annum. ·         We are replacing the existing guest room faucet aerators to deliver 0.8 GPM (gallons per minute). ·         We are replacing the toilets with dual flush options, with half flush or full flush options available. ·         The hotel is actively retraining behavioral best practices with housekeeping ladies and gentlemen to avoid unnecessary use of water when cleaning the rooms.


The Los Angeles Convention Center, currently the focus of major expansion and renovation plans, has already implemented water saving measures and technologies. Furthermore it searches for ways to reuse water whenever possible. Just last month the LACC partnered with Green LA in such an effort.

Victoriya Karpilovich, Marketing Specialist, Los Angeles Convention Center, AEG Facilities  provided details.

1.    What measures is the Los Angeles Convention Center taking to conserve water? 
•    As a USGBC LEED-EB Gold certified facility, environmental sustainability has been at the fore-front of the AEG Facilities’ managed venue.
•    We achieved a 7% overall reduction in water consumption in 2014 compared to 2013
•    Beginning in February 2014, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) has replaced 80% of sprinklers located throughout the facility’s vast outdoor areas. The improved irrigation system features leak-preventing nozzles, which have measurably reduced water usage and waste at the Center.
•    The LACC reduced irrigation by 33% compared to 2013 by introducing a new, water-saving irrigation plan consisting of separating vegetation areas into two zones. 
•    As part of the refined irrigation system, the LACC Operations team is also monitoring irrigation meters on a weekly basis to ensure a timely response to any excessive water use or waste and to mitigate any issues before they arise. Project leaders have found that such precise monitoring will contribute to the LACC’s on-going effort to lead the convention center industry in environmental sustainability, a vital facet of the LACC’s commitment to excellence.
•    Water conservation efforts also include updating the fire pump systems; the LACC West Hall jockey pump was replaced with a mechanical seal pump, which has zero water loss emission. 

•    We have done even more this Spring (April 2015): 
o    Following the SCVA Junior Qualifier competitions (4/11-4/13 AND 4/17-4/19), thousands of gallons of water were left over from their setup (volleyball courts)
o    The LACC teamed up with a local organization, Korean Youth and Community Center, who are part of Green LA. They plant on average 1000 trees annually.
o    LACC and KYCC shared the water
o    The results: total water reused across both weekends: ~6,000 gallons (about 1/3 of total water used by the show)
o    How was it reused?
•    KYCC: parkway tree watering and pressure washers for graffiti removal
•    LACC: scrubbers, pressure washers, & specific deep-tree watering

2.    Do you have more projects in terms of conservation in the works to save even more?
•    The LACC is in the process of reducing its landscaping area by 30,000 sq. ft. and replacing it with drought-resistant plants.
•    The LACC has an upcoming project to retrofit existing toilets with low-flush technology.

Brad Gessner, SVP of AEG Facilities and General Manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center: “Environmental sustainability is an area of critical importance for the Los Angeles Convention Center. Water conservation is a vital facet of our environmental initiatives and we constantly seek opportunities to invest in sustainable products, technology, and practices to reduce negative environmental impact.”

What does the future hold? What can be done? 

David L. Sedlak - 
Author of “Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource", Malozemoff Professor in Mineral Engineering, Co-director of Berkeley Water Center, and Director of Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE) offers insight.

With kind permission from Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley Media Relations, here excerpts from her Q&A with Professor Sedlak. February 18, 2014.

Time is now for a new revolution in urban water systems

As California grapples with what state water officials have called a drought of “epic proportions,” UC Berkeley urban-water expert David Sedlak has been watching for signs that people are ready for a water revolution.
Could this drought, perhaps the worst in five centuries, provide the kick in the pants needed for a major shift in how we source and deliver water throughout the state?

Consider this. Even without the drought, Sedlak, deputy director of Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), sees signs of stress in the state’s current water delivery and treatment system. Decaying infrastructure, ranging from aging treatment plants to levees that could fail in a major earthquake, must support an ever-growing population.

Instead of finding new ways to pipe in water from other areas, Sedlak projects significant growth in water recycling, rainwater harvesting and seawater desalination.

“Here in California, we’ve got a confluence of factors that could spark major advances in technologies that usher in the fourth generation of urban water,” said Sedlak, a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

In a conversation with UC Berkeley Media Relations, Sedlak described what this fourth generation might look like.

What would this new revolution look like? Where do we need to go from here?

In California, I predict we’ll see major investments in local water supplies. These new water systems will feature lots of water recycling, the capture and use of rainwater that would otherwise become urban runoff that pollutes beaches, and seawater desalination.

The tough thing about upgrading water infrastructure is that it requires smart investments over a long period of time. We’re not talking about downloading software from the Internet. These are complex systems that are meant to last. Now is the time to start planning systems that will be built in the next decade.
[ ] 

So, as we face a future of severe drought, how is Water 4.0 shaping up?

Revolutions always have frontlines, and the frontlines of the water revolution are the places where the water problems are most severe. California has been on the frontlines for water recycling and is poised to take a lead on stormwater capture and use. In the case of seawater desalination, Australia, Israel and Spain are the new frontlines of the revolution.

The revolution has begun, but we need public policies and investments, like those described by the president, to support its growth. I think it’s just a matter of time, especially in light of current predictions that suggest that this will not be our last severe drought.

Please find the whole article online here. 

We agree with Bob Amano: We are all in this together!
The way we live and the way we do business - with regards to water use - is changing. Our mornings now start with quick showers. We replace English lawns with drought resistant landscaping, we love the rebate programs that reward us for replacing old technology with water-saving new technologies in our households and businesses. We sweep our driveways and loading docks instead of washing them down. In the long run, every drop counts and every small little effort will make a difference in the big picture.

As we hope for rain and snow this coming winter we are also reassured by the fact that Californians have a knack for adapting and most of all innovating. California is the birthplace of Google, Laser and Apple computers, after all. Our Silicon Valley companies and state-wide technology industries have sufficient financial resources to launch the New Water Revolution if the state should fail to support it.

L.A. Times featured a headline last week: A State of Denial. I personally think that we have awoken to the fact that we live in a desert - and that we have to adapt to the natural facts. I don't think our state is doomed. Many countries thrive in desert climates.
We can too! 

Thank you for reading!

Monday, May 4, 2015

How to Give With Confidence to Nepal Quake Victims


Donate Wisely!

Check out Charity Navigator and Consider Becoming a Cause-Shopper!

We did some research on how to donate wisely to ensure that our support really reaches the quake victims.

We want to help but we are also very leery of fundraising scams.

Here the results of our inquiry:

Check them out!

Charity Navigator evaluates the financial health, accountability and transparency of over 8000 American charities!

Click below the image to get to their landing page. They pre-vetted 41 charities that assist in Nepal. Charity Navigator advises caution!
Their advice:
1) vet your charity of choice
2) Don't click on social media links that claim to help.
3) Beware of new non-profits that pop up now.


Turn Online Shopping into Philanthropy - for Free!

Cause-Shopping! Install the iGive button on your browser - their cookie generates an automatic corporate donation from the retailer that gets earmarked for the non-profit of your choice. You shop as usual - and donations pour in! It does not cost you a penny!

How much can this generate?

If only 10 000 supporters spend 25 dollars a month online and generate an average of 3% in earmarked donations, that results in 7,500 dollars in donations.

Just our industry travel bookings and office supply purchases will make a difference.
And yes, they have department stores, too!


The fact that even little efforts made by many have an impact is a comforting thought.

Let's do this.

Warm regards,


Monday, April 27, 2015

We Are Sharing Brynne's Coffee Lover's TOP 10!

 Like many of us in the event industry our #Hipsterfoodie Brynne Price, Account Executive, loves coffee as her beverage of choice. Brynne has been known to come back with gifts of sustainably and shade grown, organic, fair trade beans for the office to share and she sources amazing coffee bars around the nation during her business travels. We love her taste in coffee and cafĂ© choices!We asked Brynne for permission to share her personal favorite coffee shops- in town here in L.A. and On the Road!
Here is Brynne's Top 10!

Brynne is on a mission to visit all Top Coffee Spots listed on Eater L.A.
So far, these are her favorites in Southern California:

Balconi - Los Angeles
11301 W. Olympic Blvd #124, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Caffe Luxxe
925 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403
"#EaterLA coffee tour continues in Santa Monica."

Primo Passo Coffee Company.
702 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, Ca 90403
"Stop #9 on #EaterLA #coffeetour. Because waking up at 6am requires multiple cups."

Brynne ventured inland for an assignment and found Taza.

TAZA. A social coffee house.
11 W Huntington Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007
"Fueling up for Picnic Day #2"

Stop 26 on Eater's Coffee Tour!
Tierra Mia
653 S Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90014

Frequent business travel heightens our need for a good cup of java even more!
Brynne battles fatigue and time changes at some of these spots we love.

Cartel Coffee Lab
7124 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, AZ

and yes, they have another life-saving location right inside of Sky Harbor Airport!

The Perq
SLS Las Vegas, 2535 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
"Thank you #ThePerq for the best plain ol' coffee I've had in Vegas yet. #hipsterfoodie @SLSlasvegas"

Storyville Coffee Pike Place
94 Pike St #34, Seattle, WA 98101


140 Bay St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
"Non-GMO gluten-free coconut cereal and Intellegentsia coffee!"


Pavement Coffeehouse
1096 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215

"First stop in Boston - one of the 25 best coffee shops in the country according to USA today and T&L. Eee!!"

Brynne really liked it!
"Round two. This latte is delicious #hipsterfoodie #coffeeaddict #boston"

I confess to my very own coffee addiction and I know many of you are part of our club.
We'd love to hear from you! Please post your favorite coffee shops on our Facebook page!

Thank you for sharing!
Warm regards,


Monday, April 20, 2015

The New Bells and Whistles in Our Custom Event APP!

Last year Executive Producer Kristen Rensch worked with a client and our App Developer to create the perfect custom Event App. The result: 95% event engagement.

2015 we took it further! "The Little Event App That Could" now includes a Social Responsibility Engagement and it has become completely internal, providing maximum security.

Kristen Rensch: "The client's audience doubled in one year, so we sat down with this client and our app developer to update and customize the event app even more! As last year, the app was integral to networking, connecting attendees and messaging attendees. However, in order to garner relevant information from a much larger group we became more strategic on how to engage attendees and how to direct them in the use of this app. We created Rules of Engagement that outlined the desired use of the app and established app etiquette. As last year, participation was encouraged and users could earn points. Winners received rewards.
Since we streamlined the process and created a more directed use of the app the results were more meaningful. I monitored the engagement live during the event and thus was able to provide the client with immediate, live results."

However, we are really proud of two novel aspects we were able to create this year!

    New technology allowed us to push this app through Enterprise Distribution! The app remained completely internal within the company and the attendees! The client retained complete control over the app and all generated content. This insures complete privacy and protects as best possible from hacking and industrial spying.
    We can now incorporate Corporate Responsibility Programs in the app. In this case, the client asked the attendees to use a QR code dedicated to raising funds for Stop Hunger Now, a non-profit that works together to end world hunger. We added a competitive angle: top participators were rewarded. The fundraising levels were much above average!

The process of custom app development is laborious and time-consuming but a task Kristen truly enjoys. 

"The results are convincing! This Sales Meeting managed to engage and motivate at a very high level. Nearly 80% of a very large audience engaged by using the app very well. This allowed us to provide the client with more meaningful data while it allowed attendees to connect and network instantly while having fun with the gamification content at the same time. 
The fact that new technology allows us to ensure security and privacy will make it a lot more attractive to many corporate clients who want to retain control through enterprise distribution."

We look forward to creating more custom event apps for our clients.
It is well known that younger participants are more comfortable communicating via smart phones. Apps now allow us to bring this means of communication to the meeting world in a secure and meaningful way.

But I am still happy if you call me!

warm regards,