Archive for the ‘ festive ideas ’ Category

The Thanksgiving of Sports

Don your helmets, bring on the jerseys, call your friend with the huge screen TV and don’t forget massive amounts of goodies – it’s Super Bowl! Super Bowl is the Thanksgiving of Sports; when it comes to snacks for the day, there needs to be plenty of them. Here are my ideas for what to cook up for the big game!

Chicken Wings are hot! They have become the food of choice and rank as the most popular food for Super Bowl gatherings. Alton Brown shares his recipe for the best chicken wings on Food Network; his secret – cook them twice. If you are looking for some new twists on the classic hot wing, check out this Squidoo page for ideas.

Football Fans will love these Meatball Parmigiana Sliders and Cheesesteaks with Peppers and Onions from Delish.

On to dips! Check out Rachel Rays Lucky 7 Layer Dip.  Another all time favorite is Guacamole. Bobby Flay has a yummy recipe that will have all your guests saying “Ole!” Guaranteed to disappear quickly is Dill Dip in Rye Bread; make sure to start this recipe the day before so the flavors can meld.

Don’t forget to put out some bowls of snack mix! Check out these ideas from Cooking Light.

Oreo-Football-Cookie-Balls-52162Finally, and perhaps most important (at least in my book), dessert! Score one for the team with Oreo Football Cookies; easy, fun and perfect for the day. These Touchdown Cupcakes will definitely clear the field.  Or you can just take everything yummy, throw it in a bowl and you’ll have Kitchen Sink Super Bowl Bars – your team will totally be cheering you on when they taste these.

Enjoy the game, the food, the commercials, the social media and the fun!!! And may your team win – go team!


Super Quick Holiday Goodies

Hello my ever-busy meeting planner friends! I am not a fan of harried holiday goings-on; the simpler the better as far as I am concerned. That being said, there are times when we are caught off-guard and need to whip up some holiday goodies ASAP. Have some of these items on hand and be ready in minutes for those surprise guests, last minute hostess gifts or office gatherings!

White Almond Bark is easy to melt and is yummy on just about anything. Make some microwave popcorn, toss with melted white almond bark, spread it out on a cookie sheet to set (place the tray in the fridge for quicker setting). You can get fancy if you wish and add in peanuts, pecans, Chex cereal or small pretzels.

Ready to bake Cinnamon Rolls can bake up quite the Christmas treat. Separate the rolls and place into a triangle Christmas tree formation on a baking sheet. Save one roll to use at the bottom as the base; you can unroll it if you wish to form a more rectangular shaped base. Bake according to directions. Frost with the included icing, then decorate with green sprinkles. Get creative with silver dragees or star-shaped sprinkles!

Small Pretzels can be used to whip up some ultra-fast Christmas treats. Here are some easy ideas:

* On a cookie sheet, make rows of small pretzels, top each with a unwrapped Hershey’s kiss, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 2 minutes, top each with a mint flavored M&M (the holiday versions are out right now and have pictures of bells and Christmas trees on them). Let them cool, eat, enjoy.

* Make your rows of small pretzels, but top each with a Rolo instead. Same deal as before, bake at 350 degrees for about 2 minutes. Top each with a whole pecan and you have made yummy turtle treats.

Coffee or Loose Tea is always good thing to have on hand to warm up your holiday visitors. You can make it even more special by adding a few additional ingredients in with the coffee grinds or loose tea leaves. Add some holiday cheer by mixing in cinnamon, dried orange peel and a piece of star anise. Rather than serving with cream, try eggnog instead.

These easy to find ingredients, combined in yummy ways, can help you sail through the holidays with a celebrated spirit. Have any other ideas? Please share them with us!

I am thankful for –

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, many of us will gather around a table with friends and family to celebrate. We will eat too much, we will move too little, but one thing for sure, gratitude will be at the forefront of it all.

Before you hop out of bed tomorrow morning I am going to ask you to do this one simple exercise that is sure to start your day off right. Spend a few moments saying “thank you” for all that you have. Be in a state of gratitude for the people in your life, the comforts you enjoy, and the warmth and safety that you feel. Even be thankful for the people that are difficult to be thankful for – thank them for keeping you on your toes and teaching you patience (or the ability to keep your mouth shut even though it is filling up with so much to say!).

Here is a fun idea to bring this feeling of gratitude to your guests as well. Make some place holders with each guest’s name and the reason you are thankful for having them in your life (that morning exercise could come in really handy here). Also give them the opportunity to express their gratitude. Buy a white tablecloth for your Thanksgiving table. Provide some permanent markers to your guests and ask them to write what they are thankful for in 2011. Hold onto that tablecloth and use it again in 2012 and every year! It will be fun for everyone to see and remember what they have been thankful for over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Please share some of your Thanksgiving traditions with me below.

Haunted Hotels

Is your group looking for a spooky twist to their typical sales meeting, or wishing to scare up some new marketing initiatives? Perhaps they should check out and check into one of these hotels.

  • Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans has seen some celebrities as it was featured in the movies Double Jeopardy, starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones, and 12 Rounds, starring WWE wrestler John Cena. The movies may not be reality but word is that the ghosts are, according to the International Society of Paranormal Research; they documented over a dozen ghosts at Hotel Monteleone.
  • The Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables is said to be haunted by Al Capone’s bodyguard Fats Walsh, who was shot dead during an illegal gambling party.  If unoccupied, ask to check out the Al Capone suite on the 13th floor, complete with bullet holes in the coral fire place.
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is said to be haunted by none other than Marilyn Monroe. It is reported that she hangs out at the poolside nightclub, Tropicana. If you don’t bump into Ms. Monroe, then head on up to the ninth floor where you may hear the tortured trombone musings of Montgomery Clift. Ask to stay in his favorite room, 928.
  • The Stanley Hotel overlooks the Rocky Mountain town of Estes, Colorado. Rooms 401, 407 and 418 are said to be terrorized by Lord Dunraven, whose plans to become the Earl of Estes was thwarted by legal battles.  Famed King of Horror, Stephen King, is said to have been haunted by the ghost of a dead hotel maid in room 217, and was then inspired to create the fictional Overlook Hotel as the spooky setting for The Shining. Check out The Ghost Hunters Experience!
  • Hotel Chelsea, New York has served as a home to countless authors and musicians. The ghost of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, who is thought to have stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungeon to death in room 100, is said to be hanging out in the elevator. Other ghosts include those of Dylan Thomas, especially around room 206, and Thomas Wolfe.
  • 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has been named America’s Most Haunted Hotel. Legend has it that many guests who have checked in never check out – yikes! For more information on their Halloween inspired activities, be sure to check out their website. The Ghost Hunters had an amazing experience! To learn more about their experience and the many spirits that haunt the hotel, check out this link.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween! For some other interesting superstitions that surround hotels and our industry check out this earlier blog.

Add a Touch of Royalty to Your Next Event

Prince William and Kate’s wedding was the first Royal Wedding in West Minster Abbey in 900 years; keep the spirit rolling and add some “royal touches” to your next event.  Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing!

Rather than a coffee break, how about a high tea á la the Brits. High Tea traditionally includes tea, of course, along with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. You can jazz up the menu by offering a selection of quality teas; English tea, green tea, white tea, and herbal teas. Don’t forget to include Earl Grey which was named after the 2nd Earl Grey, a British Prime Minister in the 1830s. Legend has it that he was presented with this exquisite tea, flavored with bergamot oil, by an envoy on his return from China.

Scones with Devonshire cream are heavenly, as well you could offer fruit or crème curds, which come in a variety of flavors including lemon, lime, coconut and vanilla. Pastries include shortbread, cakes, cookies, fruit and more. For ideas check out the Joy of Baking page.

Take into consideration your color pallete for the event. Divine Weddings & Events suggests champagne, blue, cream and brown; now doesn’t that just sound decadent? On their blog they share gorgeous pictures showing how these colors can be incorporated into the table settings, invitations, floral arrangements and other event accessories.

If you are hoping to mimic William and Kate’s wedding, you can download your own copy of the 28 page official Royal Wedding Program at Karen Pecora Event’s Page. Keep in mind that is was a rather costly affair, the security alone cost $30 million, so you may need to be open to some more budget-minded choices. Just in case you missed the wedding (my invitation got lost in the mail), you can check out the highlights here.

Take note, dear planners, Sir Macolm Ross is the event planner for the royal family. Before the wedding he was interviewed by Barbara Walters.  When she asked him what could go wrong, he didn’t even skip a beat, he confidently stated, “Nothing will go wrong, there is no room for error.” Stated like a true event planner. We all know that tons of things can and will go wrong, but as long as it all looks good on camera, no one will be the wiser.


Jill Stone has been a HelmsBriscoe Associate for over 10 years and in the meeting planning industry for over 20 years. Her dedication, powerful negotiating skills and top rate service have earned her an impressive list of devoted clients. She consistently places at the top 5% in sales for HelmsBriscoe and consistently achieves President Club Status. To contact Jill; or 636-797-3405.