Saturday, June 26, 2010

DJ Calvin is in the house

Calvin in the DJ booth at Liv - Photo courtesy of Graham
There are times in life when the stars align, everything goes your way and things happen that you couldn't possibly create if you attempted or tried to buy it.

Some people call this "Self Actualization." If anyone remembers Abraham Maslow from university Psych class, you know what I'm talking about.

Well, tonight I had my "moment." Here is how it all went down.

This is the last night of the conference and the entire hotel has been opened up for us to go anywhere we want, all paid for! Our group decided to bee-line to the night club LIV - known as one of the top nightclubs in the world, and uber impossible to get in. Just the other night, it was closed for the 14th Annual American Black Film Festival.

Anyways, we walked right into the club and took over a VIP booth (usually it was $30 to just get in - If you can - and the booth would normally cost $2000 for the night) and ordered drinks and food - all free!!!

Once the music got cranked up and people were dancing, I happen to look up to the giant DJ booth and inside the booth was my friend Graham. He had somehow asked security if he could hang in the booth. Amazing!

The back story here is Graham and I both put ourselves thru school as DJ's, and we were sitting together at dinner at Nikki Beach just the other night chatting about the new technology of the DJ art.

I went over to the booth and Graham was able to swing it to allow me in the booth also. From then on, it was like a dream - the whole club was pounding to the beats, and we were at ground zero. We were able to see the best technology in clubbing being put through its paces right before our eyes. After 3 hours in the booth, the club needed to shut down so it could reopen at midnight for regular business. The head of security told Graham and I to come back and he would let us back in. Tonight there were rumours of guests like Jennifer Aniston, Luke Wilson and Shaquille O'Neal visiting to see some hot girl DJ star from New York.

Did we get back in?? You bet. And things picked up right were they left off (except the drinks were $25 instead of free now - yowch).

My real take away from the experience was this - It was the best time I've had in a long time, and something so unexpected. It really is to me about being open to letting life come at you and just going with the flow. You don't get what you don't ask for, be a nice human and others will be nice too. Oh, and just live a happy life!

Here is a YouTube video of Liv -- not the same night, but you get the idea.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Buy from us but NO CAMERAS ALLOWED!!

Ok, this will be my last slam on South Beach for service. I just had to share this video.

Sandy and I were shopping on Lincoln Road in South Beach - picture Robson Street only longer, no cars, palm trees and sun. Got it?

We went store to store browsing and the retailers all did a excellent job decorating and coming up with cool eye catching concepts to draw in the streams of shoppers outside.

One store caught our eye from outside because it had old fashioned sewing machines in the window. Now I'm no antiques collector, but this was cool. There were hundreds and hundreds of sewing machines, floor to ceiling in the store. Enough to make us stop, do a double take and then turn into the "clothing" store.

The work they had done merchandising and decorating the store was impressive. So much so, that I pulled out my iPhone to film the unique surroundings.

BUT WAIT!!! Here comes the camera police - some security guy in the store who tells me " turn that off, no filming in the store". See for yourself - No cameras allowed:

Not sure what the name of that store was, and don't really care now. I just don't get it... why dress up your store, impress your customers and then shut them down when they admire your work?

Seems there is a short circuit in their customer service philosophy. Were they afraid I might put a video of the inside of their store on YouTube? Hmm.

Cheers, (and always ready to pose for a picture)

When is 2 for 1 drinks not a good deal?

I needed to write the Nikki Beach entry and experience some great service while here in SOBE, since I have seen some real doozies of bad service.

The beach front restaurants in South Beach along the main strip from about 30th street to 2nd Street all have these very cool patios to sit and eat outside. What we found strange was that they all have a hostess at a podium on the sidewalk, trying to get you to come in as you walk by. Kind of felt like the midway at a carnival: Step right up - $5 for 3 darts!!! Pop a balloon and win a prize!!!

The hostesses try to entice you with specials like 2 for 1 drinks all night, so we fell for it and went in one of the bars. Here is the kicker - 2 for 1 drinks (but you must buy AND drink the two drinks yourself:  "No no no!") Oh, and the one drink is $25.00!

Yeesh, they should have just given us a wedgie and pick-pocketed us at the same time, because I wouldn't have seen that coming either.

Caveat Emptor - "Buyer Beware!"

Night Time in SOBE is beautiful still. Love the old school architecture.


Nikki Beach - Service Extraordinaire!

Giant coconut shrimp, with Thai dipping sauce served in a coconut!
Tonight was an all Canadian Dinner hosted by our local rep Paul.

He graciously hosted about 25 office supply dealers from all over Canada at the famous Nikki Beach restaurant in South Beach.

Nikki Beach is a hot restaurant chain known all around the world - what makes Nikki Beach Miami so special is the size of the property they have RIGHT on the beach. I don't know how they do it, since the size of lot could easily hold a mega resort tower. By the looks of the building, it has been there for a good 30-40 years, so whom ever owns it sure must not need the money.

Of those who know me, I have this crazy obsession with service quality, some even say I'm servicephobic (bad service makes me sick). I am also hyper sensitive to exceptional service and so when I see it and experience it - I rave about it. So here goes a Great Service Rave - Nikki Beach knocked my socks off! We had a huge table of people and through all the drinks, order changes and loud cavorting in our group - the service was unobtrusive yet noticeably present. We lacked and wanted nothing - we were treated like kings and queens without pretension (big in Miami).

I knew I would write a Nikki Beach blog update about the servers so I asked their names... but... wouldn't you know, a few Tom Collins later and good luck if I remembered. So anyways, KUDOS, Nikki Beach servers from Miami.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Buccaneer Bash!

Tonight was a pool side party hosted by our supplier and Hewlett Packard. Each year they seem to out do themselves with a new and exciting theme. This year was no exception at the pirate themed Buccaneer Bash!

We were entertained with copious amounts of "grog", scraps of finger food, and a host of pirates and wenches.

There were ladies with giant snakes, sword fights, free (fake) hand done tattoos and plenty of free pirate hats and eye patches for everyone. By the end of the night, you knew that out of 4000 people, there was going to be a few "happy" souls jumping in the pool with their hat, eye patch and not much else (Yup, it happened.)

It was great to connect with other business owners whom I have become close friends with. We all have stories, experiences and ideas to share and there is no better place than around a pool in Miami with a pirate spinning your beer on the end of his knife - have a look.

Oh, and I can't forget Darrin and his two new friends:

Arr, me pretties!


Monday, June 21, 2010


What do you get Sandy and I for our birthday? Well I didn't expect a $400 bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.
We received a knock on your hotel room door and room service had a special delivery courtesy of our fantastic friends at The Sustainable Group.

Thanks David and Brant for an incredible surprise. It really means a lot. So much so, that I Paid it Forward and let Kirsti and Sandy drink it while they were getting pedicures. You should have seen their eyes when I strolled in with the bottle of Dom Champagne and people touching your toes, I guess that's a girls dream come true.

Kirsti enjoying some champagne!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Talk about an upgrade!

Tomorrow is both Sandy's and my birthday. (Yeah, same day!!) - Can you believe we were upgraded by the conference coordinating manager to a top floor ocean view king suite! THANK YOU Deborah! xoxox

This room was unbelievable. It actually was more like an apartment with two balconies, a living room, 2 bathrooms, 4 TVs, an iMAC computer and a corner view of the beautiful turquoise ocean. Yeah, I could live there every day (if room service wasn't so expensive.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CSI Miami!

If you are a long time reader of my blog then you'll know that each June one of our suppliers hosts a huge VIP event for it's top customers. This year was no exception, and 4 of us were invited all expenses paid to Miami for what turned out to be a once in a life time event.

Darrin, Kirsti, Sandy and I had the tough job of representing Costless Express at the event so we flew out on Saturday the 18th on the red eye thru Toronto. Over 4000 attendees converged on the Fontainebleau resort for a week of seminars, parties and a huge trade show.

The Fontainbleau has a rich history dating back to the 1920's and was the cornerstone for the development of South Beach. Today the resort is still considered "Ground Zero" for the hippest experience in SOBE. Recently the resort went thru a "Billion" dollar renovation, and it is incredible.

Here is a quick bio on Bleau Bar - our new favourite watering hole in the hotel.

The legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach is the resort where James Bond and Goldfinger played a game of gin rummy, where Frank and The Rat Pack played and where Elvis was really in the building. This iconic playground to the stars is back and more alluring than ever. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Fontainebleau was the place to be and seemed to host the who's who in entertainment, including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Reynolds and many others. Bleau Bar in the lobby level has been long regarded as the meeting place of the stars. Offering classic favorites and new world libations, Bleau Bar is part of a master mixologist's cocktail universe like no other on Miami Beach.

The trip has so many great moments I'll break things up into several entries.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy 30th anniversary to Post-It Notes!

June 15th is the 30th anniversary of the 3M Post-It note! And here's a cute animated video on YouTube to celebrate.

Of course we carry 3m Post It Notes... our favorites are the recycled ones!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Miracle Weekend 2010

It's that time again - Miracle Weekend at BC Children's Hospital.

2010 has been a special year for me as I stepped into the role of Vice Chair for the Retail Wholesale Council. For 2011, I will be stepping up again as Chair, so watching Shawn Loftus — our current Chair this weekend — feels like a bit of training for when it's my turn.

Shawn sharing his wisdom:

Shawn has been an incredible chair over the past few years and he has led a great team of supporters in creating this year's incredible record donation of $4,600,000. An amazing increase over last years total of $3,900,856.

Later in the evening, some of our council members will be sitting on the Miracle Maker Panel and "Dialing For Dollars." My shift is 9:30pm to 11pm and this is my 3rd year. Last year we dressed up in costume (makes for good TV and good donations) and I was dressed as ZORRO, the masked fund raiser. This year I opted for a suit, since sick kids is a serious business.

Here we are as a group marching over to the Studios -

Getting ready for the Miracle Maker Phone Panel:

And of course we can't forget Sunny Bear!
Thanks to all the Costless Express staff, vendors, associates and customers who donated to my fund raising page. Together we raised $7363.00, with more donations still coming in.

Have a great day!