Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Environmental Awareness: Social & Green Team Building

Meetings FocusWest has a great article this month on environmental awareness--social as well as green ones. Focusing on San Francisco, Maria Lenhart quotes Teambuilding Unlimited in her article, "San Francisco Bay Area: "Green, Golden and Glowing". Here's a portion of the article. To read it in its entirety. Go HERE.
When it comes to environmental awareness in the broadest sense—social aspects as well as green ones—the San Francisco Bay Area has long been on the cutting edge. For anyone looking to hold a meeting where green practices, sustainable catering fare, eco-oriented venues and CSR (corporate social responsibility) opportunities are high on the agenda, the Bay Area is an ideal locale.

"The Bay Area is a place where people really think about sustainability. It’s important to most hotels and venues here—and they make it easy to do green events," says Janet Rudolph, owner of Berkeley-based TeamBuilding Unlimited. "There’s a real sense of responsibility."

According to Rudolph of TeamBuilding Unlimited, the Bay Area provides an abundance of settings and opportunities for team-building programs with a CSR and/or green focus. Among them is Project Green Thumb, an activity that combines green practices with community service, in which participants engage in tree planting and other activities at parks, community gardens and schoolyards.

"Tilden Park in Berkeley and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco are great locations for this, as are community pocket parks," she says.

Eco Adventures
The Bay Area brims with opportunities to learn about and experience nature. One option is a scavenger hunt organized by TeamBuilding Unlimited on Angel Island, home to an array of flora and fauna."People have to locate and identify plants and birds. At the same time they are enjoying incomparable vistas of the Bay Area," Rudolph says.

For more on Green TeamBuilding, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crowd Moving in a Hotel

Recently on one of the forums on LinkedIn someone asked a question about how best to move 400 guests from one area of a hotel to another. If the areas are on the same floor, it's pretty easy. Using elevators and stairs gets a bit more complicated, but can be done, even in a timely manner.

Crowd Moving Suggestions

* Make it a parade with a few characters or musicians going through the crowd, leading the way.
* Be sure and close the bars 5 minutes in advance
* Lower lights or dimming off and on
* Raise the music to at least 60 decibels - (so they cannot hear each other/kills conversation)
* Lightning, thunder special effects
* Conga line
* Samba/Zumba dancers
* Jazz band (start on stage and then lead the group): New Orleans funeral procession? leads the parade
* Barbershop Quartet
* Chimes
* While waiting for elevator: Disco Dancers performance.. get everyone involved
*Announce the move rules early in the day and assign some leadership responsibilities to key players who can gently nudge any stragglers.

I definitely like the Parade idea but if you can make it local it will be more fun and get the group's attention: Fog Horn if you're on the ocean, Bagpipes if you're in Scotland, Car Engines in Daytona. Embrace the locale.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Funny Wedding Cake Toppers

The meeting industry may be slowing down a bit, but the wedding industry isn't. Here are a few funny and unusual Wedding Cake toppers. What does your wedding cake topper say about you?

And my own Wedding Topper. Yep, Betty Boop & Dudley Do-Right:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chocolate Biscuit Cake for the Royal Wedding

Sometimes traditions die hard, and Prince William certainly had a tradition from the nursery that he wanted to perpetuate at his wedding. His choice for wedding cake (there were two) was a Chocolate Biscuit Cake. Although the recipe was not divulged by the court bakers, it is known that the cake was made with McVitie biscuits and lots of chocolate.

Here are two recipes and links to recipes for Chocolate Biscuit Cake in case you'd like to make this for your next wedding! Part of this text appeared in my other blog: DyingforChocolate.com

I know McVitie's is making the Royal Wedding Chocolate Biscuit Cake, but I couldn't find that top secret recipe. I did post a link to a great recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake from The Daily Spud, and I do think it probably comes quite close, especially since it uses golden syrup.  Walkers has a fabulous recipe that I posted from the Millstone Cafe in Connecticut.

Well, in case you plan to serve all the wedding guests (the Queen's not, but that's another story), here are two recipes for Chocolate Biscuit Cake. The first recipe is from Butlers Chocolates in the UK. You have the option of using either white or milk chocolate. For the wedding, use milk chocolate (or maybe even something darker?). Since it's an English wedding, I didn't change the measurements. You can find a converter on the Internet. This recipe is a cinch and delicious. A hob is a stove...but you knew that!  The second recipe is from Betty Crocker. A bit more complicated, but definitely satisfying.


100g Butter
400g Butlers Milk Chocolate / 400g Butlers White Chocolate  (or your favorite brand)
1 can of condensed milk
150g/250g rich tea or digestive biscuits

1. Melt your butter and preferred type of chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of near boiling water. Turn on the hob and melt it slowly because if it melts too quickly it will curdle and you will have to start again!
2. While the two ingredients are melting break up the biscuits either by hand OR with a rolling pin in a bag, put the broken biscuits in a bowl and leave to the side.
3. Open the can of condensed milk.
4. Remove the melted chocolate and butter from the hob when there are no lumps left in the mixture and the ingredients are a shiny, rich, brown/cream colour.
5. Gradually add the condensed milk to the chocolate mixture.
The ingredients will look as if you have done something wrong as they will combine and then separate. DON’T WORRY, this is normal. KEEP adding the condensed milk until there is none remaining in the can. Eventually the mixture will get thicker and smoother than before
6. Gradually add the biscuits to the mixture, as much or as little as you want.
7. Line a squared baking tray with tinfoil. Add the chocolate biscuit mixture.
8. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
9. Cut up into squares


1 pkg (8.8 oz) McVitie's® chocolate digestives tea biscuits or rich tea biscuits
1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips (8 oz)
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (4 oz)
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter

1. Line a 6- or 8-inch round cake pan with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Break each of the biscuits into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, place 1 1/3 cup chocolate chips; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 2/3 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and stir smooth.
3. Add biscuit pieces to chocolate mixture, gently fold until all pieces are coated. Spoon into the prepared cake pan. Gently press mixture into pan. Refrigerate cake for 3 hours or until firm.
4. Remove cake from cake pan and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Remove foil. In small bowl place remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips. In 1-quart saucepan, heat remaining 1/3 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and stir smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake; frost top and sides using a butter knife or offset spatula. If desired, decorate with melted milk chocolate.