Wednesday, June 21, 2006 

Europa Restaurant

After years of passing Europa Restaurant on the Post Road in Fairfield, I finally took my kids out for dinner there last Friday. The outside was not looking great but based on the need to find somewhere new and the fact that an old friend had recommeded it to me years ago, I took the plunge.

As soon as we walked in, there was a very warm and inviting atmosphere. The greek menu was complete from fresh fish to gyros and the smile and kindness from our waitress (I think also Greek) was soothing. We had a great meal that was unique for Fairfield. We all walked out satisfied.

The next day, Saturday, I heard that the restaurant had been sold and was closed.

Say it isn't so! Tell me that they are just renovating the outside but the menu and the staff will stay the same! Tell me that I didn't discover Europa Restaurant too late! Please.

For more ideas on entertaining or party planning or you want to recommend another restaurant in Fairfield County, contact White Linen Events, 203 254 4490.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 

Entertaining Lessons Learned

Well, I am happy to say that my 50 person party is over. After battling over the menu and the smaller details with a client who was busy and distracted, we pulled it together. Tim Labant, www.timlabant.com, pulled through with flying colors! He was cool and calm, his staff helpful and professional and of course the food was to die for!! Everyone was happy. And after my crazy situation with Party Rental LTD, many good things came my way. I was introduced to Stamford Tent and Party Rental, www.StamfordTent.com, who also came through with flying colors. They were helpful when a couple of details became hairy (did that client really send back that table we needed that would fit the 50 people in her livingroom?...crazy). And for Party Rental Ltd, www.partyrentalltd.com, I ended up speaking with someone there that I should have been dealing with in the first place so I will go to her next time which should make my life easier...hopefully!

On another note, I heard from Chris from the Cantering Caterer, www.canteringcaterer.com, yesterday. He couldn't believe that I wrote about him in my blog. He couldn't believe I had something not so great to say about his company (I called asking for a proposal for this party I just did and he promised to deliver within 24 hours and I never heard from him again until yesterday). He said he sent his proposal via email (the first time it bounced back and the second time it went through). Somehow sending a proposal via internet was enough for him...he thought he had done his job. In my book doing your job means checking, contacting and checking on details again. Simply sending a proposal and not doing any follow up is both stupid for a business and crazy when planning a party. That is why I don't trust that he could see through every detail of a party because a successsful party is all about checking, checking and checking.

On a blogging note, this is what blogging is all about. I don't blog to threaten or even to hurt someone's business or reputation. I blog because my experiences and my dos and donts could help others when planning any kind of event. Chris said to me that I should have called him before I wrote about my experience with the Cantoring Caterer. Well, what would have been the purpose of that....to threaten him....to get him to do something for free because I was going to blog....no way...it would not have changed the fact that he didn't follow up with me and it wouldn't have changed my doubts in his ability to follow through.

I, again, blog to share my tales about the entertaining world. Chris should consider this a blessing, a lesson learned that could propel his business forward. Blogging is the best way to hear first hand what is going on with your clients, your vendors, and your industry. The second way you hear from your clients and vendors is through the cash register and the ching ching that slows to a trickle.

For anymore tips on event planning, please call White Linen Events at 203 254 4490 or email (and follow up) info@whitellinen-events.com

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 01, 2006 

Entertaining Business

This is entertaining business at its best...American Idol has captured the audience through different tools (TV, mobile, blogs...) and has worked the timing perfectly so that Taylor's CD is hitting the streets just before we forget who he is. Take a look:


2006 American Idol Taylor Hicks Signs With 19 Recordings Limited/Arista Records!

2006 American Idol Taylor Hicks signs with 19 Recordings Limited/Arista Records. Hicks' first single "Do I Make You Proud" is available in-stores and digitally on June 13th. (PRNewsFoto/J Records) NEW YORK, NY UNITED STATES 05/31/2006
Hicks' first single 'Do I Make You Proud' is available in-stores and
digitally on June 13th

NEW YORK, May 31 -- Following this year's most successful
season of American Idol with over 35 million viewers tuning into the finale
on May 24th, the 2006 winner Taylor Hicks signs a recording deal with Simon
Fuller and 19 Recordings Limited, in conjunction legendary music man Clive
Davis, Chairman of BMG U.S., and Arista Records.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060531/NYW120 )
The 29 year old Alabama native, that captured the hearts of millions of
viewers by pouring heart and soul into every performance, joins the ranks
of other idols that have gone on to have outstanding music careers under
the guidance of Davis. Previous Idol winners and runner ups have sold a
staggering 33 million records which includes music from Kelly Clarkson,
Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard and Bo Bice.
The first single from the charismatic performer includes the original
Idol composition, "Do I Make You Proud," sung during the final round of
voting and again during the finale. The single also includes his soulful
rendition of the Doobie Brothers classic, "Takin' It To The Streets," from
the American Idol Season 5 Encores CD. The single is available in-stores
and through digital outlets on June 13th. Hicks' legion of loyal followers
dubbed the "soul patrol" and fans all across the country can expect a full
length album from Hicks later this year.
About 19 Entertainment
The 19 Group of Companies was founded by Simon Fuller in 1985 and to
date has been involved in the creation of 109 Number 1 singles and 87
Number 1 albums with an impressive tally of 296 Top 40 albums and 465 Top
40 singles.
Fuller created and managed the Spice Girls, who became a global
phenomenon under his guidance, selling over 38 million albums. In 1998,
Fuller's 19 launched S Club 7, which has sold over 10 million CDs
worldwide, while its four television series were sold to over 100 countries
around the world.
In 2001, Simon Fuller's 19TV created and produced the television
phenomenon "Pop Idol" and in 2002, "American Idol." "Pop Idol" launched the
singing careers of Will Young and Gareth Gates in the UK, while "American
Idol" did the same for Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken,
Fantasia, Diana Degarmo, Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood in the United States.
About RCA Music Group
The RCA Music Group includes J Records, Arista Records, RCA Records and
RCA Victor. The J Records roster is home to platinum superstars Alicia
Keys, Rod Stewart, Pearl Jam, Annie Lennox, Luther Vandross, Jamie Foxx,
Maroon5, Mario, Gavin DeGraw, Fantasia and Monica among others. The Arista
Records family includes all-time superstars Sarah McLachlan, Santana, Dido,
Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Carrie Underwood, Barry Manilow and Kenny
G. RCA Records is home to superstar artists Christina Aguilera, Dave
Matthews Band, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Velvet Revolver, Avril Lavigne,
Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, Heather Headley and more. RCA Victor's roster
includes Imogen Heap, Rachael Yamagata, Etta James, Eliane Elias, George
Winston, The Chieftains, Larry Carlton and Fourplay. RCA Music Group is
part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
SOURCE J Records
Related links:
http://www.jrecords.com

Friday, May 26, 2006 

Party Rental LTD not your rental friend

Haven't blogged in a while here but I am glad to be back! Have been working so hard putting a conference together (on blogging and other social media goodies, www.BusinessSmartTools.com) that I have neglected my entertaining counterpart, Entertaining News!

Well let me tell you my story. WLE, www.WhiteLinen-Events.com, is putting a nice party together for a lovely friend/neighbor. 40 high profile, older, eclectic and elegant guests is not a short order to cater to when it comes to the demands for planning the party but White Linen Events is doing it despite the short notice and despite this time of year (June).

I call my regular caterer, Aux Delices Foods from Greenwich, and boo hoo they are busy. I love them and depend on them to provide a high quality product both in food and service. They make my life easier cause I can count on them and don't have to micro manage. Anyway, as I said, they are busy.

I call another caterer, Cantering Caterer http://http://www.canteringcaterer.com/, out of Westport, CT. I have seen their ads, I have seen their website, and I have talked to Chris on the phone who goes on and on about how great they are and he seems to be right...well, guess what, they promised a proposal and they never even delievered that. I always say that if a person or company cannot deliver a small detail, what about the big ones??? Can I count on them to be at the party on time, to get the rental order right, to make the food just so??? I don't think so...they are out for sure!!

Then I call my holiday buddy/caterer Tim LaBant, www.timlabant.com, who I have written about before. His food is to die for...he is an artist for sure but can he deliver for a party of 40? For a caterer or any business owner, it always requires more than your special skill in order to be a success. You need to call back in a timely manner, you need to be proactive vs. reactive with your clients, you need to please, you need to understand a budget. Anyway, Tim says yes and even puts his vacation on hold to do this party (thank you Tim). Working with Tim requires more work on my part which is fine in this case. We will all band together and put on a party that everyone will chatter about for quite some time.

OK, keeping in mind that Tim doesn't oversee the rentals and I have to manage the situation, I need to have a rental advocate cause it can be hard some times to think of every rental detail (Aux Delices is great at this..thanks Ellen for all you do)! I call the rental company that says they are the best, Party Rental LTD http://http://www.partyrentalltd.com/. They have offices all over the place including Greenwich. I know of others who use them so I go for it. I call a salesperson there, I won't mention her name but it begins with J. I call her because she is friends with a collegue but despite that connection, she always sounds cranky ( I have dealt with her before when consulting on a party for Kathy Hilton in NYC) and she sounds like I am keeping her from much bigger and much more important work. Not a good sign. I asked for her help and she is unsure that she can take me on...they are too busy and too important for a party of 40 in CT is what I hear as an undertone. She does check with someone and comes back to me and says for me to send her the order (thanks, that's a good sign). I finally get the order and send it. Yahoo, maybe now she will talk to me and give me the advice on round plates vs. square and other questions I have (I needed to have this talk before I put the order in but oh well, I am flexible and always hope for the best). I call, she isn't in, she's in their showroom and they tell me she has access to her email so not to worry. OK, I say. So, I don't hear from her, so I call the next day and guess what? She is out for the day, the weekend, and the following Monday (Memorial Day) and won't be back until Tuesday (the party is the following Sunday)(did I say that she never mentioned this?)...oh my gosh, it is time to sweat...these people are not helping me at all. I call again (should a customer have to call 3 times and beg for business?) and ask for someone else's help and you know what they tell me? They can't help me...I have not been approved and J. is out of the office (she has no claim to my business by the way...she won't even call me back)....I will have to go to another rental company because they are just too busy to help me. Wow, so bold. Can a rental company be that busy and that arrogant that they never have to worry about their next new client? I guess these guys can...good luck to them. I know that if one client can be treated this way, many can, so good luck again!

Now here is the positive side of my story...I went to another rental client, Stamford Tent and Party Rental, www.StamfordTent.com, and spoke with Suzy who has saved my life. She sat on the phone with me, talked out the list, made her suggestions, and will do a proposal. They are busy too but they took the time to talk with the customer. Thanks Party Rental LTD. for pointing me in the right direction towards a positive, customer focused and helpful rental company...that is the only thing you were capable of!

Stay tuned for more details about the fabulous party!

For party planning help, please call White Linen Events, 203 254 4490 or email info@whitelinen-events.com

Monday, May 01, 2006 

Entertainment at its best: Carolines!

Went to NYC over the weekend. I had won a night out at Carolines Comedy Club from a silent auction a year ago..time was running out on the gift certificate and I had to make the date. So, the time has come, we go to the city. We are told that we can eat while listening to the comic...Ok that sounds convenient, right?

Well let me tell you, it was great!!! We had a perfect little seat (and I mean little but who cares when you are having fun). We had great drinks (golden margherita's were had by all), and the food was pretty good. They filled up the place, they had a three warm up comics...one got better than the last..then our star came out...Lisa Lampenelli.

Can I tell you that I laughed until I cried and then I just started screaming cause she was so funny. The sublock I had on my face from being at the soccer games (yes in addition to making fun of everyone, she picked on the soccer moms) came got in my eyes but who cares when you are having fun right? Right!

Carolines made our night fun and enjoyable between the food, drinks, service and entertainment..I could not have asked for anything more!! Even booking the reservation was easy.

That is what it is about...exceptional entertainment made easy! Check it out!!

For more tips or advice on entertaining check out White Linen Events, www.whitelinen-events.com

Have fun!

Friday, April 07, 2006 

A Warm Greeting

Did I tell you that I put together an event for a local not for profit? There were many issues to handle...many generations (really young kids, older adults having problems with stairs and everything in between), watch the budget but make it elegant, celebrate big without being gaudy, watch the venue closely because they were doing us a favor.

This is what I did. I provided kid entertainment on a lower level so they could be amused and be loud without annoying the adults, I hired the best caterer but made the menu simple but elegant, I had a large floral arrangement in the middle of the room that wowed everyone but wasn't over the top, I had a band that played tunes the adults knew but they weren't too loud so people couldn't talk.

All of this was wonderful but do you know what I think really made a difference? I had greeters at every door and at every level (there were 2 levels). The first greeters were lovely women who represented 2 generations so any guest walking in felt comfortable. Once everyone made it up the stairs, there was another set of greeters welcoming and guiding people (these greeters also kept the kids from going downstairs with food or juice which was prohibited because of a nice carpet).

The key to any event is that you the guest feel welcomed immediately. It sets the tone for the rest of the event and it starts with a warm smile and a simple hello!

For more tips or help on your next party, call White Linen Events, 203.254.4490 or email info@whitelinen-events.com. Go to the website too: www.whitelinen-events.com

Monday, March 20, 2006 

Is Spyglass Entertaining?

Never thought I would write two entries about the Westport based Spyglass but here it goes..I couldn't help myself.

So, took the kids and the parents to Spyglass at the Westport Inn. They push the fact that while they are cool and a lounge, they are also focused on the family and so off I went to try it out seeing that my first experience was so great.

Well the food was good but there were some other issues. A lighter problem was the fact that all of the dishes are like big bowls and each time you put your fork on the edge, it falls in. This is small but a pain nonetheless. It is the little things that get people (especially my mother).

On a bigger note was the service. We had a lovely looking waitress but what happened to her common sense, her ability to handle a customer request, or frankly the ability to wait on a table? When asked for some basics, it was as if she couldn't understand english: "My son would like a cheeseburger," I said. She said, "it comes with cheese would he like more on top," I said "no, just a regular cheeseburger." After all that talk about how much cheese to put on the burger (I have never had this kind of conversation about a cheeseburger, have you?), it then comes out of the kitchen with no cheese and it had to be sent back.

And that brings me back to a very big point about service and well life in general. I hate the word "no." I hate hearing it and I never say it to my clients (Ok, i do say no to my kids often). Well, my son asked for a plate of iceberg lettuce. We made this clear to this "lovely" waitress that it was plain iceberg lettuce, no dressing, no tomatoes, no nothing. She nodded and went on. When the plate came out, it was a mound of lettuce with all sorts of things on it plus a big wallop of dressing. I asked her for a simple plate of lettuce like before and she said, "no!" "No?" I said ask the kitchen, I am sure they can handle it. She said, "no!" I said ask the kitchen...you get the point. Finally she asked the kitchen and out she came with the lettuce...oh my do things have to be so hard.

If I were to train any staff, the first thing I would teach would be to say, "certainly, let me check into that for you!"

Wouldn't it be great if everyone had that attitude?

I will try Spyglass Restaurant again and hope that my next experience will be like my first, entertaining, fullfilling, and fun!

If you would like tips on events or full event management or you just want to chat, call Valorie Luther, 203.254.4490 or email info@whitelinen-events.com or go to the site, www.whitelinen-events.com.

Have a nice day!