Business travel tips to keep you on top of your game

Skype and other video conference programs have made it easier to conduct business across the miles, but nothing will ever replace the face-to-face meeting. Missed connections, lost luggage, dead cell phones, and just having to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings can all make life on the road less than fun.

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At Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, we welcome business travelers from around the world. 

While business travel may never be entirely hassle-free, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help you stay on top of your game – wherever work takes you.

Ditch the suitcase
Any frequent flyer on a tight schedule will give you the same advice – don’t even think about checking your luggage. A good carry-on roller bag should be able to hold everything you need for at least a week away. This one tip will save you from endless time wasted at the baggage claim, or arguing with an airline over your lost piece of luggage.

Pack strategically
When you need to live out of a carry-on, it’s essential to pack clothes that are versatile and work together. Choose one neutral in a dark shade, and one accent colour. Then add a change of shoes and a few light accessories. If you travel often, create a master packing list to use over and over again.

Charge up
Make sure all your electronic devices are fully-charged before you leave home. Your laptop case can hold a portable charger and an extra charger for when you arrive, but there’s nothing worse than having your laptop die when you’re trying to get some work done on the road.

Bring healthy snacks
If you’re lucky, your hotel will have great food on site – but you never know what you’ll find on the road. Natural granola bars, protein bars, trail mix and dried fruit are all healthy choices to see you through until your next meal. And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Watermelon Salad
Guests at Idlwyld Inn & Spa can choose from a variety of refreshing salads. 

Make the most of your travel time
Listening to audio-books and pod-casts is a lot more productive than scrolling through social media while you wait!

Blue bed
A good night’s sleep is the best cure for jet lag. 

Zap the jet lag
Adjusting to a new time zone can be tricky, and everyone reacts differently. Some people swear by sticking to their routine, while others adjust their watches as soon as they hit the airport to mentally prepare for the change.  A good night’s sleep and an extra shot of espresso can also do the trick!

At Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa, we enjoy welcoming business travelers from near and far. If you have a favourite travel strategy, please share it below!

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5 Makeup Tips for Summer Brides

Summer wedding season will soon be in full swing. If you’re one of the lucky ladies who will be tying the knot this summer, you’ve probably already picked out your dress, sent out the invitations, decided on your wedding theme, and finalized your menu. You may even have had a trial run with your hair stylist.

But what about your bridal makeup?

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An Elm Hurst Bride – ready for her day in the spotlight!

Whether you never leave home without your lipstick or prefer a more natural approach, you probably want your wedding day makeup to differ from your everyday look – without being so different that you no longer look like yourself.

The hot, humid weather in southwestern Ontario can also make achieving a flawless face a challenge. But if you follow these few tips, you can achieve and maintain a picture-perfect face, even as the temperatures rise:

A makeup trial is a must
Always, always have a makeup trial before your wedding. This is your day, and you don’t want any unexpected surprises!

Your makeup should reflect your personality, and your wedding theme. Going gothic? Then you’ll want darker shades with metallics. Planning a country celebration? Lighter shades will give you the natural glow you’re after.

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Make time for a trial run….

Sit down with your makeup artists and discuss how you would like to look. Bring pictures and examples. Have a favourite lip colour? Bring that too!

Bridal skin boot camp
The estheticians at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa recommend that you start any facial treatments at least four to five months before your wedding day. Why so far in advance? Your skin takes about two months to adjust to new facial products – this way you will avoid any redness or breakouts on your big day.

Begin with a basic facial, such as our Balancing Facial from Eminence Organics Skin Care. This 60-minute treatment is customized for your skin type and begins with a consultation with your spa therapist – a great time to discuss any concerns that you have with your skin.

Dead Sea Facial
Treat your skin to some love with regular facials.

At the end of your treatment, your therapist will recommend products for home use.

We recommend having a facial every six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date. The night before the big day, have a relaxing cooling facial to help reduce any redness and relieve stress.

Sparkles. Foundation. Mascara.
Just say ‘no’ to sparkles. They look pretty, but they reflect light in photographs meaning you’ll shine in the wrong way!

Avoid using heavy, caked-on foundations or your face will be melting by mid-day. Stick to something light, especially during the summer months.

Waterproof mascara and eyeliner are a must! You don’t want streaks down your cheeks when you shed a few tears of joy.

2017 summer makeup trends
In the past, we’ve seen lots of smokey eyes in neutral shades of brown and grey, paired with nude lips. This year, many brides are returning to a more natural look, with various shades of pink a popular choice for both lips and eyes.

Brides who want to add a bit of drama to their look are pairing neutral eyes and cheeks with a pop of colour on their lips – think corals, plums, and even red.

And of course, the trend for full, natural brows continues. So brides, put down those tweezers and let your brows grow in before your big day!

Don’t forget to use a primer and fixative spray
Using a primer underneath your makeup is an absolute must. Primers fill in any skin imperfections, such as fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a soft, perfectly-smooth look for your makeup application.

Square Footage. Real estate. Taylor Klapsis. Spa. Santa Monica, CA.
Eminence Organic Skin Care’s Stone Crop Hydrating Mist will keep your face looking fresh…..

Fixative sprays are an essential step for any bride during the summer months. Eminence Organic’s Stone Crop Hydrating Mist is a great choice, and doubles as a refreshing toner. A light spritz over your makeup application will set it for a longer-lasting look. Then freshen up again between the ceremony and reception.

The trained spa therapists and estheticians at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa would be delighted to help you put your best face forward on your wedding day.  

3 steps to holding an eco-friendly meeting or conference

Business conferences and meetings are a great opportunity to showcase your company brand – and your commitment to sustainable practices.

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Make your next meeting or conference an opportunity to showcase your company’s commitment to sustainable practices.  (Photo: The James Harris room, Elm Hurst Inn & Spa)

Hosting an eco-friendly meeting demonstrates the values of your business, and can make a lasting positive impression on your employees and customers. And that just makes good business sense.

Here are a few simple suggestions to add some green to your next meeting or conference:

Book a green venue
Reduce carbon emissions by choosing a venue that is close to home, or in a central location with easy access to public transit.

You can also encourage your team to go green by offering incentives for ride-sharing. Or, provide a shuttle service to and from your venue so people can leave their cars at home.

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Located in the heart of London Ontario’s ‘Old South’, Idlewyld Inn & Spa is a short walk to one of Canada’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.

Look for conference venues that integrate environmentally-sustainable elements into their day-to-day operations through recycling and composting, the use of water-saving equipment and techniques, and through the use of pourers for sugar and cream and small serving dishes for butter and jams.

Eat local and drink from a glass
Choose a venue or caterer committed to cooking with local, seasonal products. Then, cut down on your food waste by taking a close look at consumption at past events. Arrange to have any leftover food donated to a local shelter or food bank, and consider providing a compost receptacle next to the traditional recycling and waste cans.

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The Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa are proud to support local farmers. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your venue to provide pitchers of water instead of bottled water to help eliminate plastic waste.

Go paperless (as much as possible)
With online registration and promotional tools like Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s easy to get the word out without using paper invitations and registration forms.

Create an event website – or mobile app – instead of a printed program. This is also a great (and green) way to provide attendees with any last-minute updates.

Choose recycled paper and environmentally-friendly inks for any printed materials you just can’t do without – and don’t forget to collect lanyards for use at future events.

The corporate sales team at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa can help you ‘green your meetings’ in style.

Wedding Planning – Where to Start

The holidays are a popular time for couples to get engaged. And if you were lucky enough to find an engagement ring under the Christmas tree, you may be starting the New Year with visions of wedding planning dancing in your head.

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If Santa brought you an engagement ring, you may be busy planning your dream wedding! Photo credit: HRM Photography. Location: Idlewyld Inn & Spa 

Although you may have been dreaming about your big day for years, organizing such an important celebration can seem like a daunting task.

At Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, and Idlewyld Inn & Spa, our wedding coordinators have helped thousands of Brides plan their dream wedding.

So if  wedding plans have you feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and read our advice on where to start:

Set the date(ish)
There’s nothing like having a deadline to make you focus! Choosing a date will help you build a wedding planning timeline, and will make it easier to make concrete plans like choosing a venue, booking a photographer, and buying your dress.

Of course, it’s not as easy as simply picking a day out of thin air.

Is your heart set on an outdoor ceremony? Then you’ll probably want a summer wedding. Are you working with a tight budget? Then you may want to consider a winter wedding to take advantage of off-season pricing.

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A Winter Wedding can be a beautiful and budget-friendly choice. Photo credit: Dudek Photography. Location: Elm Hurst Inn & Spa.

If you’re planning a large event, you’ll need to leave ample time for preparation – and you may want to check with important out-of-town guests to see what dates might work best for any travel plans.

Remember, no matter how hard you try to choose a date that will be convenient for family and friends, it may be impossible to please everyone. In the end, remember that it’s your day so choose a date that works best for you.

Make your guest list
Many of your most important planning decisions will be influenced by the size of your guest list. You can’t host 120 people in a venue that only holds 60!

The number of guests will also be the most important factor in setting your budget.

And even though not everyone who receives an invitation will be able to attend, we recommend choosing a venue that can comfortably accommodated most of your guest list.

Book your venue
Once you know when you’d like to get married, and how many people you’d like to invite, it’s time to start looking for a suitable venue. More than any other decision, your choice of venue will set the tone for the big day.

A formal ballroom will create a different atmosphere than a rustic barn, urban restaurant, or chic wine cellar.

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Your venue choice will set the tone for your celebration. Photo credit: Dudek Photography. Location: Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, Carriage House.

Save time by doing preliminary research online.

You should be able to narrow down your choices based on location, venue size, food and beverage options, and price. Then, it’s time to contact your top picks to find out about availability and to book a tour.

Once the date is set, the guest list is determined, and the venue is booked, other details – like the style of your dress, flowers, venue decor, and menu selection – should start falling into place.

Happy planning!

At Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa, we are pleased to offer all-inclusive Wedding Packages to suit any budget. 

10 tips for a stress-free dinner party

Hosting a dinner party is a great way to build relationships and create a circle of friends that will last a life time.

And since December is such a busy month for social occasions, we thought it would be the perfect time to ask Elm Hurst Inn & Spa’s executive chef, Michael Davies, for some tips to help you make your evening a night to remember – minus the stress!

Plan ahead
Create a menu, write a grocery list, and make sure you are well organized. Prepare a familiar recipe, perhaps with a new twist. If a dish can be made a day ahead, save yourself some last minute stress. If you’re hosting as a couple, divide the duties beforehand, to avoid any last minute arguments.

Use your best
Why wait to use your best china, cutlery and linens? Seize the moment and enjoy the occasion!

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Now is the time to use your table linens and good china!

Decorate your table
Fresh flowers or candles make an instant impression. But make sure people can see over them.

Start on empty
Always start the night with an empty dishwasher and bin. It will make clean-up so much easier!

Get yourself ready first
This way you simply have to slip off your apron to greet your guests.

Break the ice with some cocktails
When guests arrive, offer them something special to drink. This will set the tone and get  conversation flowing. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss who will be the designated drivers.

Skip the appetizer
Instead of serving a formal appetizer, offer stationed or butlered hors d’oeuvres. This gives you and your guests more time to mingle.

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Offer a delicious cheese platter instead of a formal appetizer.

Have a seating plan
To keep things interesting, guests should be seated boy/girl/boy/girl, and couples should not be seated next to one another.

Stick to two courses
A soup or salad followed by a main course is plenty, takes less time in the kitchen (both to prepare and clean up) and will give you more time to sit down and enjoy the meal.

Keep dessert simple
Choose a dessert that can be prepared ahead of time, or that only requires some last minute assembly. Try a delicious scoop of ice cream served with some fresh fruit, or an assortment of pastries from your favourite local bakery.

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A simple scoop of ice cream with a few fresh berries makes a wonderful dessert.

Remember – it’s about fun, not perfection. And if you simply don’t have time to do it all yourself, book a table at the Elm Hurst or Idlewyld for some delicious holiday dining.

From all of us at the Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa – Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2017!