Posted by: dbradbury | February 1, 2011

One month into 2011!

I’ve been told that the older you get the faster time flies…well I guess that’s true, or in my case, the more you procrastinate.    I have neglected this blog over the past month and I will blame it on travel.  After a quick trip to St. John’s NL for the holidays,

View of St. John's from the Battery

I was off to Las Vegas for the PCMA  Annual Conference, January 8 – 13, (see my guest apperance on the Westin Nova Scotian Blog for details).  What a city and what a conference.  Here’s a little glimpse:

Sitting in the Chandlier Bar at the newly opened Cosmopolitan Hotel

New York, New York, Las Vegas Style

At the end of the conference I side tracked to Vancouver for a visit with my sister and her family.  While there we snow shoe’d to their cabin and I got a good dose of healthy living, perfect after five nights in Sin City.

Hiking near Squamish, BC

Back for a while now I can concentrate on life in Halifax.   The Canada Winter Games are 10 days away.  The city is gearing up with great sporting events and entertainment.  Stay tuned for more on these exciting two weeks in February!

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Posted by: dbradbury | December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!  Our Sales & Catering team celebrated the joys of the season with a party at Durty Nellies last Friday.  Those of you who know us may enjoy a glimpse into the evening.  We had a lot of fun and even met Santa… 

Jackie and Santa

Our New Castle Hotels sales family cozied up on the banquette and  got to know each other a little better. 

Teri & Sarah (Westin Nova Scotian), Stephanie (Hampton Inn Dartmouth Crossing), Angela & Monique (Moncton Marriott Residence Inn)

 Everyone won a prize!

Swapping Presents.

We are a great team and always have lots of fun.  Many of us have worked together for over 10 years and have great memories… 

I am cleaning out old files and sorting through piles of paper on my desk in hopes of welcoming in the New Year clutter free! It’s a tall order but I should to accomplish a portion of what I want to before the end of the day.  As I do this I am reminded of December 1999 when we were backing up all of our bookings and account information with hard copies for fear of computer blow ups when the clock struck midnight at the start of a new Millenium.  We were all at the hotel in ball gowns waiting for a big blackout at 12 am.  Glad that didn’t happen!  

Here’s to 2010 – out with the old and in with the new.  Happy New Year, see you in 2011!

Posted by: dbradbury | December 15, 2010

Ugly Sweater Day!

Seems like the ugly holiday sweaters are coming out of the wood work!   There are ugly sweater days taking place everywhere.  Considered fashionable in the 80’s, the bedazzled sweaters adorned with reindeer, Christmas trees, snowflakes and snowmen are now considered tacky and ugly.  I hope you kept at least one to wear this season.

Last Friday was Ugly Sweater Day at the Westin Nova Scotian.  In an attempt to raise additional money for our adopted family we encouraged associates to come wearing their finest…not many participated but here we are, the small but mighty sweater crew!

The Ugly Sweater Family Photo 2010!

 

Thanks to Sarah's Mom for our Holiday Sweater Vests!

Posted by: dbradbury | December 2, 2010

Holiday parties galore!

Happy December 2nd!  Tis the season, the holiday songs are playing and the festivities have begun.  I even got into the holiday spirit last night and made a Gingerbread Train (a.k.a. Train Wreck) last night with my friend’s 8 year old…FYI, the icing is very sticky!

Polar Express or Crazy Train?

I don’t know about you but all of a sudden I feel the need to make plans to see everyone I know for a pre-holiday visit.  There’s nothing like Christmas to get people socializing…and I love it!  The hospitality industry is pretty social throughout the year but the weeks leading up to Dec. 25th are particularly busy with parties and networking events centered around elaborate buffets and festive cocktails.

I hope to see you at one of the many holiday events this month! 

And if you are still looking for a holiday lunch buffet, dinner & Yuk Yuk’s comedy show or a “Reserve a Bird” (turkey dinner to go) check out our Holiday Happenings

Bring on the Smart Egg Nog, Cheers!

Posted by: dbradbury | November 24, 2010

Dining at the Press Gang

When dining out in Halifax I tend to keep returning to the same great restaurants and forget that we have so many excellent options to choose from.  Last  Tuesday night I had an impromptu dinner at the Press Gang with some Starwood Hotels colleagues.  I have to say that I had one of the best meals I have eaten in a long time, anywhere.  All menu choices were creative and sounded delicious when reading the descriptions.   As soon as decisions were made menus were closed or we never would have decided on what to order. 

Two of us couldn’t resist the Beet & Goat Cheese appetizer, “Warm goat cheese and roast mixed beets with shaved asparagus, tender organic greens tossed in champagne vinaigrette”.  Served as a tower of diced multi coloured beet and goat cheese salad with goat cheese crostini it was very unique and delicious.  For main courses the Halibut was cooked to perfection but as far as interesting flavour combinations go the winner was the “Sticky Bison Short Rib With a Blue cheese bread pudding, roast carrots and parsnips, Yukon puree”.  A close second for unique presentation was the “Seafood Lasagnette, Fresh pasta sheets in a mushroom and pear cream with lobster, shrimp and halibut topped with truffle cheese”.  Everything was so good I am going to bring a friend back next week for a birthday celebration.

The ambiance of stone walls and candle light was perfect for a cold, dark, fall evening.  The meal & service were impressive and to top it off our server told us that the restaurant’s chef is still in his 20’s!   Chef Matt Costain, originally from Elmsdale, Prince Edward Island, graduated from the Culinary Institute of Canada in 2001.  Following graduation, he moved to the west coast and trained with some of the best chefs in Alberta and British Columbia.  Returning to the Maritimes in 2006, Matt worked at Da Maurizios in Halifax for one year before joining The Press Gang in 2007. Matt is very passionate about providing customers with the best in fresh local products, including extensive menu selections and a wide variety of flavors and cultures.  Matt prides himself on presentation excellence.

http://thepressgang.ca/

Posted by: dbradbury | November 19, 2010

Holiday Happenings

The festive season is just over a month away and  the holiday parties have begun.  Decorations are in full swing and our holiday events are filling up.  I bought egg nog last week – the first indicator for me that Christmas is around the corner however it seems like preparations begin earlier each year.  The Parade of Lights, Halifax’s annual Santa Clause Parade is on Saturday night, downtown at 6 pm, details at www.halifax.ca.   The last time I went to the Parade of Lights is rained so hard we thought the bearded man on the last float would be Noah, literally floating down Barrington Street!  Saturday’s forecast is calling for 4C and mixed precipitation so fingers crossed for a dry evening.

I am planning to get in the festive spirit this evening by visiting the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council’s Christmas Designer Craft Show at the Cunard Event Centre,  http://www.nsdcc.ns.ca/main/Christmas_market.html.  The show is on all weekend and in my opinion is one of the best of the holiday season.

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If you haven’t booked your holiday party, office luncheon or Christmas Day & New Years Day brunch there is still time – call our Holiday Happenings Hotline at 902-496-7985 or on our website at http://www.thewestinnovascotian.com/halifax-holidays.

Posted by: dbradbury | November 17, 2010

Great Big Dig for the IWK Children’s Hospital

Saturday night I was fortunate to attend one of Halifax’s premiere fund raising events, the Great Big Dig on beahlf of the Westin Nova Scotian.  This annual event focuses on raising funds for a new piece of equipment each year through dinner ticket sales, silent & live auction items and entertainment.

This year, the money raised is to purchase The Retcam – a special direct contact digital camera that is used to take pictures of the retina. The IWK uses the Retcam on a weekly basis to examine premature infants in the NICU. When babies are born too early, the blood vessels at the back of the eye have not fully vascularized and it is possible for them to develop abnormally weak, leaky vessels that leads to scarring, and in some cases if not treated, they can develop retinal detachments and be left blind.

Unfortunately the current Retcam at the IWK no longer takes reliable images and is no longer serviced because of its old age.  A new Retcam will be more reliable, easier to use and is useful for early detection of disease. Digital images will be stored and transferred to the hospital network and will allow for better visualization, better documentation of images and can be viewed in full screen mode for maximum visualization of detail. This piece of equipment is the standard of care currently across the country in every tertiary centre.

Eventhough this is an event for a serious cause some fun was had with one of the generous silent auction items from DeWalt…

Mike Holmes or Charlie's Angel?

Tim the Tool Man? Don't you know that Martini's and Power Tools don't mix!

2010 DeWalt Calendar Girl!

Posted by: dbradbury | November 16, 2010

Another Halifax International Security Forum is over.

What an exciting four days the Westin Nova Scotian had last week as we hosted the second annual Halifax International Security Forum.  We worked round the clock to make the event truly spectacular for visiting dignitaries from around the world, including host Peter MacKay, Canada’s Minister of National Defense, Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security and Condoleezza Rice.  Our hotel associates dressed in black and white and with a red poppy to commemorate Remembrance Day we really stood out and looked like a team.  Stay tuned to our website for more photos and a video but for now here are a few fun photos.

Girls in Black.

Commonweatlh Ballroom A - Showcasing Nova Scotia on the big screen.

Sitting in the hot seat.

The lobby as a lounge.

Posted by: dbradbury | November 4, 2010

GMF has begun

Preparations have begun for the largest event in the Westin Nova Scotian’s history.  For the second year we are hosting the Halifax International Security Forum.  The event entails a hotel take over and transformation unlike anything our building has seen.  As of 6:30 pm on Nov. 4th our lobby is morphing into a lounge and our Commonwealth Ballroom a television studio/salon.  It really is exciting and all will be in place by tomorrow when our high profile guests arrive.

Fruit carving by one of our chefs, Azur.

Setting the Commonwealth Ballroom

Posted by: dbradbury | November 2, 2010

CanSPEP 2010

I’m just back from another conference.  This one was for the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners and was held in Muskoka (North of Toronto) this past Halloween weekend.  This educational event comes with a great deal of fun and is a great way to catch up with friends & colleagues.   The networking at CanSPEP gets better every year and falling over Halloween made it particularly entertaining…

Sonny & Cher, aka Conference Chair Bettyanne Sherrer and her husband Geoff!

The Halifax She-Devils. I'm wearing red pony tails!

The Fredericton Rappers.

With our devlish Halloween party host Jeremy from Casino Windsor.

In 2009 the CanSPEP conference was held in Halifax at our very own Westin Nova Scotian.

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