No ask too many questions!

Years ago, when a large part of my job involved literally making invites ( or melting hot wax in a spoon at midnight in the corporate cafeteria to seal those invites- true story) we would scour NYC for the best of everything. We knew the really good paper houses. We knew which store had the perfect envelopes. We knew where to get great flowers and even prettier vases. We spent hours on font styles and spacing. Hours. But that’s what happy insane planners in their twenties do. Right? I’m sure the Millennials are confused. Oh you of Etsy luxury. You have no idea what it means to be really grass roots. Or maybe you do. I dunno. I’m just a middle-aged Gen Xer trying to get by.
Wait, what was I talking about?
It was so nice in the city today that I walked to a further train station than usual and passed a small, stationary shop. It reminded me of the shops we would haunt and hunt in. My favorite of these oldies was a ribbon store on 28th Street or 29th street. That’s right people. A ribbon shop. Imagine a world without Michaels or AC Moore. Before The Knot or even Martha Stewart Magazine. There was/is a little shop devoted to ribbons. You can look for hours for ribbons for weddings, for gifts, for your hair – whatever you want. What you can’t do is “ask too many questions”. All along the walls are small, but clear signs,” no ask too many questions”.
To this day if one of my kids is badgering me, or if my husband is interrogating my trip to the store – this is what I think in my head. NO ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS!

The Nerve

window cleaner

When you are on the 19th floor of a high rise, seeing this dude outside your window is a bit unnerving. I did what any insane person would do, I grabbed my phone to take a picture.

As I was taking the pic I heard him say,”this ones takin’ a selfie!” to the other guy hanging on the building. I turned around and shouted to the sealed window,” no, no! I’m taking a picture of you!” “I was trying to take a picture of YOU not ME”.

He smiled, knodded and went about his business. Tonight he’ll tell his wife about the employee that take selfies instead of working, and they’ll both shake their heads in condemnation. Or maybe he stopped thinking about me a nano second after this happened. I dunno.

Just thought I’d share.

 

 

Peace out NOLA

The conference ended yesterday and we all headed home after a long 7 days. Like every major event there are highs and lows.

High – we registered 755 people in 5 hours one day. That’s 151 people an hour. About 3 people a minute. No one had to wait. Not one person/family waited on line. That’s miraculous. Also miraculous? We fed, entertained, moved, and formed relationships with this group.

Low – I won’t go into the depth of how horrible the hotel was. It was a case study in bad service. If I were a hotel GM, I’d send my staff there to see how horribly wrong it could get.

In the end, and this is what I told my team, the odds were with us.

Because we had almost 800 people – not everyone had the same experience. Some folks loved the food, some hated it. Some folks made the best of New Orleans – some locked down and never went out. There were smiling faces in the crowd. Many of them.

I know my role on site. I’m the complaint department. I get it. I own it. I went on a daily apology tour, but that’s my job. That isn’t what I’ll remember. I’ll remember hugging a lot of people on the last day. I’ll remember the kind words we all heard. People telling me how amazing and committed my team is. I’ll remember laughing every single day with that team. Laughing hard.

New Orleans didn’t let me leave without a fight either. Flight delays. Turbulence. A missed 4th grade concert. I won’t even tell you about the hit and run I saw while waiting for my car to the airport. Another story for another day.

Here’s some random pics. The ballroom before and after. A beautiful plate of oysters (just because I won’t eat it doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by it!). My first Jamba Juice (too sweet). The stepping stone clings we had all over the hotel – helping people find their way. And then my view on the plane. A thick, cloudy fog that opened up to pockets of sun.

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New Orleans – Day 3

It was a soft start to the conference. Our VIPs, some senior execs and about 110 of the 900 expected guests checked in.
Here’s what went down today:
– the ballroom/staging was set. Before and after below.
– our security operatives arrived (don’t ask).
– I yelled at approximately 3 people before 8am. Pretty good for a Sunday.
– we had birthday cake for one of the planners and I decided to pass on a piece and have some fruit. Or! I had a delicious hearty piece. Which one of these scenarios is more likely you think?
– we took our guests to a beautiful historic building called The Chicory for some live jazz and dinner. It was a perfect evening – complete with the largest piece of meat I’ve ever seen being served. A 65 pound roast called a Steamboat something or other. I spoke to the chef – he said it took 7 hours at 350 degrees. Have you ever? I know this sounds awkward but I’m obsessed with this piece of meat. Pictures below. Ofcourse.
– official kick-off tomorrow! Say a prayer to all the gods that you know and love for me.
– peace out

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New Orleans. Day 1

I’m going to one of our biggest conferences of the year and I thought you should come along. Whether you want to or not.
So the next few days I’ll be posting some pics and some stories about my time in New Orleans (pronounced NuOrlins, not New. Or-Leans).
I left a rainy, humid airport and headed south.
2.40 hours and mucho turbulence later – I was here!
My first time post Katrina.
Here’s a few pics of today. The rainy terminal back home. The beautiful blue skies when we landed. And then of my view for the majority of the time here. A war room. If you don’t like a lot of clutter, this place isn’t for you. It’s computer cords gone wild here.
But there are plenty of snacks to take your mind off the fire hazards.
Ok, let’s do this!

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3 Dessert Afternoon

This is what happened.

I needed a pick-me-up and went to the company cafeteria for some frozen yogurt. They had plain old chocolate, my favorite.

But then I saw that they had bread pudding. Warm bread pudding with warm caramel sauce. And it’s cold out. So I thought,”that’s a better option than cold frozen yogurt.”

But then I thought again,”how would this cafeteria know how to make a good bread pudding? It’s not possible.”

What’s a girl to do? To hedge my dessert bets – I got both.

Then, as I was heading to the register I noticed a big pile of sugar cookies. Simple, unassuming sugar cookies.

I got one of them too.

Don’t judge me. Or do. I don’t care. I had 3 desserts.

 

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Poor me

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My conference ended today. I have a few more hours of work and then I’m on the red-eye home. But I did get to sleep in and enjoy my room for the first time all week. And I ordered room service. Look at the size of this French toast. And the size of the butter on top. Toasted coconut and a caramelized banana? Check. Although I miss my family a ton – this isn’t all that bad. Just sayin’ (the newspaper came with the breakfast. Bless their hearts)

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One more pic. Just to show off.

 

Roots-Trees-Forest

That’s a mantra I heard from a speaker at our last conference. The talk was about leadership. So simple and clear. A good leader has to see the roots, the trees and the forest. Got it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Something about the idea bothered me.
It’s a perfect concept for leadership. Don’t be stuck in the weeds. Don’t get bogged down by the minutiae.
Except that for events it’s all wrong. An event is all about the roots. The dirt. The seed. You start at the top and then you deconstruct.
You focus on every little detail.
Minutiae is my life.
You know that expression “stuck in the weeds”? I’m living in the weeds. So for all you future event planners out there – here’s the truth – Events is weeds, roots and dirt. You’ll be in it. All the time. Knee deep.
I should be a motivational speaker.
I get very reflective on 5 hour flights to the West Coast.
Here’s what I saw outside my window while writing this. Forget the roots – I’m up in the clouds. Oh the irony.

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Ode to Putzing

For as long as I’ve known my father-in-law – a couple of decades – he’s used the phrase “I’m just putzing around” when asked what he’s been up to on a particular day. It’s classic Pappa Joe. 

I love putzing around. Humming about. Doing nothing of any importance or consequence. I’ve always loved it – I just never knew what it was called. So much of my time during the week is spent going from one efficient time block to another – it’s nice to wake up and putz around. It doesn’t mean you do nothing. No no no. It means you do stuff you want that leads to other stuff. Maybe you start a project, but you certainly don’t need to finish it. Maybe you go to a store where you need nothing and kill an hour. Or two. It’s like surfing the net – but outside in the real world. It’s passing the bagel place up the road to go to the better bagel place inconveniently located on the other side of town. It’s not about errands. It’s not about chores. It’s about a few hours of unproductive activity. 

Can you guess what I did this morning? 

 

Easy Button

I’m deleting these permanently from my phone. Here’s one last hurrah for these quotes, images, etc. that made me smile. Enjoy! (Yes, this counts as a post. Haters be hating.)

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