Archives for category: music
Crew Café in Canada offers dedicated co-working space for rent

Crew Café in Canada offers dedicated co-working space for rent

Whether you reside in the United States or anywhere else in the world where there are newspapers, magazines, radio, television and access to social media, you are likely aware of the turmoil that has beset America since the 2016 presidential election. As an active participant in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings and events, and yes, even in the world of journalism, the discussions have been pervasive as to the ramifications on travel, meetings, and tourism.

I know how recent upsets affect me personally. I find myself more assertively political, whereas before I sat back on the sidelines and strove to be merely objective as I covered events. As an entertainer, I am concerned events will be smaller, less frequent, or hosted last minute while planners survey how visas will be honored or rejected for international attendees or whether the unstable nature of business will create havoc on budgets and extraneous expenditures. I live in the Orlando area, so tourism and conferences are huge to the area’s bottom line. I’m near the bottom of that trickledown effect, but nonetheless, personally impacted.

I want to know about you. Are you impacted? How? How do you see our future industries evolving to cope with current and future Read the rest of this entry »

Northern Lights are visible during the Southern Iceland Tour, led by Big Chill Adventures

Northern Lights are visible during the Southern Iceland Tour, led by Big Chill Adventures

Some of the most interesting gigs I’ve had as my alter-ego personality, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, have come without forewarning. Don’t laugh. I know the irony of not predicting the phone calls. I may not have used my tea leaf reading or tarot card abilities to see into those future bookings, but I actually asked the Universe/higher power… whatever name is used when one puts out call for an exciting opportunity, for both of the situations that popped up within a few days of my “Hello, it’s me and I’d like…” call outs.

Natasha, The Psychic Lady when I was the dancer for the Eastern Gypsy Band, Tzighantzi, at EPCOT

Natasha, The Psychic Lady when I was the dancer for the Eastern Gypsy Band, Tzighantzi, at EPCOT

The first memorable time was me asking to be a featured performer in a Disney World spectacle. I particularly wanted to dance. Mind you, at that moment I was already working as a psychic for the Disney theme parks and corporate events and had been belly dancing for Morocco promotional events even before the Morocco pavilion was erected at EPCOT, but no dance or big show opportunities loomed in the horizon. Within a few days of my thoughts transmitted to the universe, I received a call asking if I’d like to be the dancer for a new Eastern gypsy band forming at EPCOT. Would I? For the months that followed, I was the dancer for Tzighantzi. Looking like and dancing like the embodiment of Esmerelda (at least all the girls holding their Esmerelda dolls and watching me thought so). I also was backup musician/singer/and co-emcee. Six shows a day, rain or hot summer sun. Loved it!

Most recently, I pondered that several of my entertainment friends had been getting TV and press coverage and it had been a while since that happened to me. I wasn’t jealous of their largesse. It just pointed out that my life had transitioned from a higher profile to one less noteworthy of media attention. Less than 24 hours later, I got a call asking if I was available to be on a TV program, analyzing handwriting of the news team’s anchors. Did I mention it would be early the next morning or that this would be live? I also needed to be available to work during the Pen & Inc Fair that the Channel 35 Good Day Orlando’s show was promoting for Sam Flax’ art store that Read the rest of this entry »

Capture the holiday with a Belvedere Pomegranate Royale at Conrad Miami's Jack Frost Happy Hour

Capture the holiday with a Belvedere Pomegranate Royale at Conrad Miami’s Jack Frost Happy Hour

IT’S ALL ABOUT A NEW EXPERIENCE

With the holidays approaching as rapidly as I could pop the cork on a bottle of champagne (and if you know how badly I open any bottle of alcohol you’d be laughing at this vision), may I be the first to toast you the happiest of days ahead? If I was enjoying a corporate reception at the Conrad Miami (FL) during its Jack Frost Happy Hour, I’d likely be raising one of their special drink options—the Belvedere Pomegranate Royale to my lips. For an extra treat, the resident mixologist offers an exclusive group mixology class. After happy hour, smaller groups can reserve the intimate Wine Room at Atrio restaurant next door for one of Executive Chef Virgile Brandel’s Mediterranean-inspired gourmet meals. Throughout December, the Conrad Miami’s sky high Bar at LvL 25 also opens its Jack Frost Happy Hour December 1-30 to hotel guests and locals. Experience “snowfalls” over the bar every 30 minutes. Sample the menu, Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween approaches and the call came for Natasha, The Psychic Lady to get her spook on!

Halloween approaches and the call came for Natasha, The Psychic Lady to get her spook on!

You know how Christmas trees, wrapping, and twinkling lights crash land in stores these days by August, bypassing all the other approaching holiday celebrations? That’s how I’ve looked at Halloween parties that have already been in full swing in September. For you readers who live in countries that don’t celebrate Halloween, you won’t understand the frenzy of costume parties that has increasingly attracted adults to attire themselves as characters from favorite books, TV or movies, or to parody trending political figures. Halloween used to be about youths dressing up as pirates, princesses, and super heroes one night a year to amass all the candy they could carry from neighbors doling out sweet treats. Halloween has morphed into one of the biggest expensed holidays in the world.
I mention Halloween because many of you who don’t know me personally have asked about the part of my bio that says I am also Natasha, The Psychic Lady. Yes, this is not a joke or just an act. Come October, I am put to the sleep-deprived test of having more work entertaining at corporate and social parties than I can possibly do. I constantly have wished some of this work would spread out to other months, and this year, it appears that wish has been granted. By the end of September, I have already worked several Halloween-flavored parties. At this rate, it won’t be long before I’ll be dressing for an assortment of themed Halloween events in August. Here’s just one of my looks for the “darker, witchier” themes that seem to be trending.
Now, on to the reason you regularly read this column: what exotic destinations are offering discounted deals, events to amuse or educate, and where you can travel either leisurely or with a group.
HOT DEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS
Design Hotels offers exceptional international destinations with unique venues and great promotional discounts. Here are just a few of current offerings. Save up to 20% for a stay til December 31 at the 101-room Avalon Hotel (Gothenburg, Sweden). The deal includes Read the rest of this entry »

Anchor Bar, original creators of Buffalo wings, is crammed with memorabilia.

Anchor Bar, original creators of Buffalo wings, is crammed with memorabilia.

In Part 1, Architectural Icons Were Examined

Before I met my husband Russ, I would have looked at ornately-designed buildings or décor and thought, “How pretty” and likely that would have been the end of it. Married to someone who has taken me travelling internationally and domestically just to admire fine, sleek lines or fanciful carved motifs or intricately-patterned ceilings and has made a career from his knowledge and creative building skills, has turned my passing admiration into deeper appreciation for the art, skills and craftsmanship necessary to erect these structures. That so many cities have managed to preserve, restore and renovate buildings that could never again be (cost-effective) to be built in our lifetime is worthy of recognition. Buffalo is one such city.

Of course, having walked and gawked all day, one must eat to refuel energy. Just as architects and patrons of the arts have left their imprint on Buffalo, so have culinary artists who have created legendary dishes, such as Buffalo wings, that are (likely) known across the globe.

RESTAURANTS WE RECOMMEND

Panorama on Seven in the Buffalo Marriott Harborcenter was one of three places A Chamber of Commerce woman suggested we’d find the best Beef on Weck sandwiches in the area. What separates these three, including Schwabl’s and Bar-Bill Tavern, from others is that the seasoned meat is slow-cooked for hours, contrary to places that import frozen beef and then reheat at the last minute. For those of you not from Buffalo, Beef on Weck is a signature sandwich. Mounds of thin-sliced roast beef are piled onto a Kümmelweck bun, which is salted and caraway-seeded. The Panorama’s were served on sliders. Russ enjoyed the sliders and was eager to try the sandwich at Schwabl’s.

Schwabl’s began serving German-styled cuisine and Beef on Weck sandwiches 1837. Their current West Seneca restaurant is a step back in time. The waitresses might call you honey, the tables are close together, and you watch the chef slicing the meat on a counter, after Read the rest of this entry »

Buffalo City Hall, one of the finest examples of art deco in the world

Buffalo City Hall, one of the finest examples of art deco in the world

“You came to Buffalo for vacation?” was said with undisguised bewilderment each time my husband Russ and I were asked where we were from and why we were visiting Buffalo, NY.

Obviously, even the locals were oblivious to Buffalo being touted by travel publications as booming with resurgent pride. The primary attraction for us was the vast numbers of renovated and recycled historically-preserved architectural masterpieces. Second was the tour guide-worthy acclaim of what to see and especially what to eat, by well-travelled former Buffalo residents (Bob and Dianna Duffy and Mark and Laura Cosgrove) whose opinions we respect. Third, and quite important to Russ, was to tour the Darwin Martin House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and to this day is being slowly and carefully restored to its original design.

Getting around downtown Buffalo is easy. A trolley that runs about every 15 minutes is free from Canalside on the harbor to Fountain Plaza in the center of downtown. Go past that stop and the fee is $2 unless you opt for a city pass. We took the clean, comfy trolley several times, but mostly walked.

Our hotel’s location next to the harbor and across the street from parks and attractions made getting around easy, especially because we had splendid weather all the while.

You enter the Buffalo Marriott Harborcenter on the seventh floor of the building, where registration, lobby and their restaurant/bar Panorama on Seven is located. The restaurant’s floor to ceiling windows overlook Lake Erie and harbor, parks, and decommissioned Navy vessels, now used as museums. For the seven nights of our stay, the bar area was always buzzing with activity.

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bufbd-buffalo-downtown-marriott/

Before telling you about all the famous original Buffalo dishes we tried (in Part 2), here’s an overview of why we travelled to Buffalo and to report our expectations were not just met, they were exceeded.

Frank Llloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House, his most iconic prairie -styled home.

Frank Llloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, his most iconic prairie -styled home.

LACK OF MONEY PREVENTED ARCHITECTURAL JEWELS FROM BEING DESTROYED AND MONEY RESTORED THEM TO LIFE!

Many tour possibilities exist to view the six-structure complex of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House.  We reserved the hour tour, which ended up being an intriguing two-hour guided examination of what is considered to be one of Wright’s most iconic Prairie-style homes, finished in 1905. A nine-minute film preceded the tour, illuminating the historic significance of Martin hiring Wright for such a prestigious commission after the architect’s success at designing the Larkin (Soap) Building, where Martin worked. Like the Martin house, The Larkin Building (designed 1903, completed in 1906 and demolished in 1950) contained innovations. The five-story office building had air conditioning, stained glass windows, built-in desk furniture, and suspended toilet bowls. The Martin House is a masterpiece of quality materials. The philosophy for the house was to bring the outside in through design elements. Signature stained glass windows have five distinct patterns, some distinctly flower-like. A porch is glass lined. Exterior staircase entrances are hidden behind decorative walls. Bookshelves Read the rest of this entry »

The Silver Chalet Dome at St. Louis Union Station wants to be your group party venue

The Silver Chalet Dome at St. Louis Union Station wants to be your group party venue

In this issue: Vintage Trains roll on in St. Louis and Napa Valley
Making Moonshine: the new teambuilding event guaranteed to bring smiles
Exotic destinations and discount offers
HOT DEALS!!!!!
Exotic getaways that offer discounts or incentives is always exciting, but Design Hotels, has cranked up their summer offerings. Take for instance, the chance to enjoy a three-course set menu dinner in The Dining Room, a trendy new restaurant at Blakes Hotel in London, UK. The South Kensington couture hotel designed by former Bond girl, Anouska Hempel, features individually-styled boutique furnishings in each guestroom. No minimum stay requirements. At the Nakar Hotel in Palma De Mallorca, Spain you will have to book at least three nights, but you get great rates, free breakfast and WiFi, and the chance to be on Avinguda Jaume III, one of the area’s liveliest shopping streets. The 57-room hotel is fashioned from local materials and the onsite restaurant serves authentic “urban Majorquine” cuisine. Of course, if you’re looking for a relaxing, food-driven stay without all the

C-hotel, Lake Como, Italy

C-hotel, Lake Como, Italy

glamorous décor, check out C-Hotel & Spa in Cassago Brianza, Lake Como, Italy. You can smell the rich chocolate notes of freshly ground coffee the moment you step in to the stone-clad lobby that emanates from the family-owned 18-room hotel’s Italian bar and confectionary shop. Incentives include breakfast and those tantalizing dishes made from locally-sourced products.
http://www.DesignHotels.com
Omni Hotels & Resorts knows you work hard and wants to reward your efforts by using your work travel as a vacation opportunity when staying at one of their luxury hotels. Group guests (at participating Omni properties) can extend their stay by two days either before or after the original stay dates at an exclusive rate. Simply apply the promo code EXTENDG for 15 percent* off the best bar rate. Omni will also send a “reminder” email two days after a room reservation to notify the guest that the reservation is eligible for the exclusive rate extension. The offer only applies to reservations that are originally less than six nights. There are other restrictions but you can check Read the rest of this entry »

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