Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Blog Has Moved!

We've moved our blog to our newly launched website. Check out new posts and all your favorite classic posts at

Monday, May 13, 2013

Eight Survival Techniques That Will Help You During Boulder Startup Week

bswOutdoor survival training has some surprising overlap when it comes to surviving long, action-packed events like Boulder Startup Week, which is taking place this week.  Here's eight survival techniques that can teach us how to make it through the wilds of five days of panel discussions, meetups, and happy hours.

Survival Technique #1: The only person you can ultimately count on is yourself.
Self-reliance is key in the outdoors; no one else will give you the physical stamina, mental fortitude, and common sense necessary to survive. So when making plans, packing, and during those unexpected moments, be prepared to take care of yourself in addition to the needs of any companions you may have.
How It Applies During BSW: No one else -- your boss, your friends, your mommy -- is going to make you get the most out of Boulder Startup Week. It's up to you to show up, learn, engage, and make connections.

smartphoneSurvival Technique #2. Always leave behind detailed plans and timetables with a trusted person.
That way, if you're missing, a search party can be organized sooner rather than later if you don't get back when you expected.
How It Applies During BSW: Planning your schedule is key for maximizing your experience. Download a copy of the BSW schedule of events to your smartphone or tablet and make a game plan for each day. Prioritize the panels and networking opportunities that will help you most achieve your goals (see #4 for more).

Survival Technique #3. Prepare for the contingencies (getting lost or stranded, darkness, weather, illness/injury, etc).
Know how you will cope with unforeseen challenges and have a plan of action for them.
How It Applies During BSW: One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health during an event like BSW is to intentionally leave yourself some downtime. Whether this means starting 0ut the day with yoga, catching up on some reading, or just digesting all the information from the latest panel, give yourself some time to breathe so you don't become overwhelmed.

Survival Technique #4. Assess your situation as objectively as you can.
Plan your next move carefully: ask yourself questions about your immediate circumstances and make a plan of action in your head. If you're satisfied with that plan, make it happen; if not, give yourself time to think up something better.
How It Applies During BSW: You might actually want to do this step first, which is setting goals for your time at BSW. Are you looking to learn more about certain aspects of startup culture? Does your startup have needs you want to address and find solutions for? Or are you looking to network your way to the perfect partner or angel investor? Clarifying your purpose for attending will help you pinpoint the events that are most crucial to meeting your goals.

Survival Technique #5. Take stock of your supplies and immediate needs.
Keep an eye on your water and food supply. A healthy human being can survive several days without water and several weeks without food.
How It Applies During BSW: There's a lot of alcohol at BSW. Between the pub crawls, happy hours, and dozens of restaurants and bars in the downtown area alone, there are many opportunities to imbibe. If you choose to do so, pace yourself, especially if you are coming from sea level. Regardless of whether you are drinking alcohol or not, drink lots of water. Your body will thank you.

Survival Technique #6. Signal.
Carry a whistle, mirror, and matches to start a fire so you can signal for help.
How It Applies During BSW: Join and contribute to the online conversation of BSW. Whether on your blog, Instagram, or Twitter, it can help you get noticed as well as get your thoughts down on what you are learning. And don't forget the hashtag #BSW13!

Survival Technique #7. Find food.
Bring protein bars and other high-calorie energy food with you. Avoid plants unless you know for a fact that it's edible. If it walks, swims, flies, slithers, or crawls, odds are good it's safe to eat. 
How It Applies During BSW: Food is actually easy to find at BSW, especially free food. Use the time you would have spent searching for food to network with the other attendees who are also there for the free food.

Survival Technique #8. Make fire.
Fire will help you cook, stay warm, and signal for help.
How It Applies During BSW: Attend Ignite Boulder to make friends, learn cool stuff, and get inspired. Seriously, if you only attend one BSW event, make it Ignite.
Now you can go out into the wilderness of Boulder's startup community and use these tools and advice to make it the best time of your life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Look Back in Time: Victorian Motherhood

Mother's Day is just around the corner, which inspired me to do some digging into what Victorian motherhood was like.

Social Responsibility
Beginning in the early 19th century, motherhood was idealized in American and British cultures. No longer just a reproductive function, it had been elevated to a level infused with symbolic meaning. At the same time on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, motherhood was becoming a social responsibility. Women were being charged with the responsibility of bringing up responsible, educated citizens. In America, this philosophy was later dubbed republican motherhood. And in order to do this, mothers had to be taught the best way to do so. Motherhood was no longer something natural and innate; it was something to be learned. Instructional publications were widely circulated throughout the 19th century which reinforced domestic femininity and a woman's focus on her husband and children and would recommend advice on raising children, proper nursery conditions, and good foods for infants and children.

The Ideal
A Victorian-era woman was expected to marry, a wife was expected to become a mother, and a mother was expected to be constantly present for her children. Marriage marked entry into maturity, but motherhood meant she passed into the world of female fulfillment. An affirmation of her identity, domesticity and motherhood were considered all the spiritual and emotional fulfillment that a Victorian-era woman needed. Even single women without children were encouraged to find work that would fulfill this need by becoming a governess or nursery maid. The same woman for whom the era was named after, Queen Victoria, became a symbol of femininity focused on motherhood, family, and domestic virtue with her brood of nine children.

The Reality
The real experience of motherhood in the Victorian era differed greatly depending on one thing: the mother's class status. Middle-class mothers spent more time with their children, breast-fed their babies more often, and played with and educated their children more than the previous generations of mothers. In industrial cities, high mortality rates were blamed solely on the working women who were not there for their children (even though factors like poor sanitation, overcrowding, and disease were truly the cause). Working mothers were often labelled irresponsible and neglectful even while they struggled with the challenge of balancing the need to work with the demands of home life.

This idealized notion of motherhood waned in the 20th century as Freudianism gained influence. Americans began to see the close-knit bonds of mother and child (particularly sons) as unmanly and what was called "uplifting encouragement" was retermed nagging. And by the 1940s, the idealization of mother was under attack by educators and psychiatrists who believed women should stop seeing themselves as guardians of familial morality, an abrupt about-face from the previous century.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Six Ways to Add Vintage Touches to Your Wedding

Vintage weddings are something we are very familiar with at the Hotel Boulderado. Our hotel opened in 1909 and we have worked very hard over the years to preserve the period nature of the building, including the function spaces where wedding receptions take place. If you are planning a vintage or retro themed wedding, here are six ways to add vintage touches.

Get the theme going as early as your save the date cards and/or invitations. The biggest thing to remember when you add a theme a wedding (or any event) is to keep it consistent. When you say "vintage," do you mean '50s rockabilly? Victorian opulence or steampunk? '60s era glamor, a la Mad Men? Keeping your theme clear, consistent, and omnipresent will help you make decisions along the way. To illustrate, here are three unique invitations that tie back to different "vintage" eras.

When you are deciding on vendors, ask if they can add anything to your theme. For example, does your transportation company offer any fun, vintage alternatives? If you are getting married in the Boulder/Denver area, we recommend Boulder Denver Limousines, who can provide a Rolls Royce dating back to 1939 on your special day. Another fun retro transportation option is a VW bus, especially if it can be decked out in "Just Married" writing and tin cans.

Dress You Up in My Love
Outfits are one of the most visible ways to bring retro into a wedding. It could be just the bride and groom, or the whole wedding party. For lots of extra fun, you could even request your guests get in on the vintage vibe with their attire.

Hair, Makeup, and More
Another very visible way to add vintage flair to your wedding is through the bride's hair, makeup, and accessories.Again, keep consistent with your chosen vintage era. Cat-eye eyeliner and lush red lipstick would be fabulous for a '50s era bride. Cameo jewelry would be a great touch for a Downton Abbey-inspired wedding.

Wedding (Cup)Cakes, Brownie Pops, and Candy, Oh My!
Every wedding cake is as unique as the couple who chooses it. And some couples are so unique they don't even choose a cake. Here's four examples of how you can bring a vintage flair to your wedding cake -- even if the "cake" is really cupcakes, brownie pops, or a candy station.

Table Settings 
 If everyone is sitting down to dinner at your vintage-inspired wedding reception, try bringing your era straight to the table. This can be accomplished with your floral centerpieces, accents, and even the flatware and silverware your guests will be eating off of.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Adding Flair to Your Corporate Event

Who says business gatherings have to be bland? It's easy to get caught up in the same old routing for business dinners and presentations. Here at the Hotel Boulderado, we believe fun belongs in our corporate events just as much as the social ones.We are planning an upcoming spring menu tasting for corporate clients and meetings planners, and this is how we did it.

1. Pick Your Date and Time
Theory: Before you settle on the date of your event, consider things like religious holidays, school breaks, and major sporting games. You want to make sure as many people as possible will be able to attend before you even send out your invitations.
In Action: We checked the local school district's spring break, when Easter landed this year, and finally decided on the date of April 17th, 2013 between 4pm and 7pm.

2. Choose a Theme
Theory: Keep in mind factors like the season, who is attending (Are they clients? Company employees? People you want to educate about your organization?), and also the tone of your event -- will this be a black tie fundraiser for donors, or a casual get-together among employees?
In Action: We loved the idea of a spring themed event for several reasons: 'tis the season, it can be friendly and elegant at the same time, and all the fresh produce and flowers coming into season make it a natural for us to show off our menu and venue.

3. Plan a Mouth-Watering Menu
Theory: People love food. However, it's important to not just choose food based on what you love -- while you might be a huge fan of pizza with mozzarella sticks, this might not be the best fare for a black-tie event. If your event is formal, think about a plated dinner. If it's more casual, a buffet might be the way to go. If you want to ensure your guests mix and mingle, a cocktail style reception would energize them to do so.
In Action: We are planning a mix of platters (e.g. fruit and cheese, vegetable crudite), passed/butlered hors d'oeuvres (Beef Tenderloin on Crispy Polenta, anyone?), and heavier munchies to fill people up and show off as much of our menu as possible.
(PRO TIP: Build options into your menu for people who are vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, etc. That way, when someone mentions to you the night before your event that they have a celiac intolerance, you won't have to scramble to accommodate them.)

4. Partner Up
Theory: It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes partners to help put together a successful event -- especially if budget is on your mind. Reach out to a local florist to see if they will offer you discounted arrangements if you let them bring business cards and promote themselves.
In Action: We've not only partnered up with a florist (Living Interiors). We also have brought on board the fantastic folks at Shutterbooth, a DJ from Get Up and Dance, and are providing complimentary chair massages from the Bodywork Bistro.

5. Mastermind the Setup
Theory: By figuring out your floor plan in advance, you can manipulate the crowd to go where you want. Registration tables should always be as near to the room's entrance as possible. Spread out your food tables and stations so people have to walk through and mingle more. And put your bar in an easily accessible place to make it easy for guests to grab a drink (or two ... or three ...).
In Action: We made sure to follow our own advice. And to sway guests to go into a separate room with vendor information about our partners, we will be placing the massage chairs so that they are visible from the foyer.
(PRO TIP: If you have an ice sculpture, have seafood served in an ice bowl, or one of those ice luges for shots, place it against a window or source of natural light. The end result is dazzling!)

6. Everybody Loves Games, Because Games Mean Prizes
Theory: There's lots of different games you can offer at corporate events that are professional and fun at the same time. Networking games get your guests up out of their chairs and talking to each other, and can be a great way to get people out of the rut of only talking to people they know. Here are three game ideas that you can use at your next event that includes networking. Present the winners with prizes that they will find valuable: a Starbucks gift card, a product with your company or organization's logo on it, or a special treat from one of your partners is always a hit.
In Action: We are creating our own networking game that asks the attendees to find someone in the crowd who meets a certain criteria; for example, someone who was born in New York, someone who has gone skiing this season, and someone who has held a meeting at the Hotel Boulderado. Once they have met someone in each category, they can enter their card into a drawing for a very special prize.

7. Order Supplies
Theory: Be prepared for running out of anything and everything. Make sure you have enough paper to print out the invitations, enough drink tickets to offer to your guests, enough swag bags for handing out at the end. And by "enough," I mean your estimated guest count plus 10-20% overage. (If you are accepting walk-ins at the event, increase the overage to 25-50%.)
In Action: Done. Done. And done! (We are professional planners, after all.)

8. Invite Everyone
Theory: Use postcards, email, and and the good old-fashioned phone call to invite everyone you can think of.
In Action: We've done that, plus we've added a line about our event to our email signatures to extend our reach.

9. Promote Free Drinks and Food
Theory: Did we already mention people love food? Well, they love free food and drinks even more!
In Action: Did we already mention there will be free food and drinks at our menu tasting on April 17th?

10. Party On!
Theory: Enjoy yourself! This is the moment you've been working towards, so make sure you are smiling all the way through it.
In Action: We haven't gotten there yet, but we hope to see you when we do! We are currently accepting RSVPs to our menu tasting event on April 17th. If you are interested in seeing this event in action in real life, please call us at (303) 440-2880 to RSVP by Monday, April 15th.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Archive Photo ~ North Wing circa 1989

We have a pretty amazing collection at the hotel of historic and archived photographs. The one I'm sharing with you today is a relative newcomer, having been taken in 1989 shortly after the last expansion of our North Wing opened.
To give you an idea of how much the landscape has changed, here's a photo I took a couple of years ago, and you can see the saplings from 1989 have grown into mature trees.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Top 5 Floral Trends of 2013

Flowers are one of the easiest ways to customize and personalize any event, whether it be a wedding, party, or business-related social gathering. While there are always an endless supply of options, there are some trends that we see being big in 2013. Here's a recap of what we think the top five floral trends of 2013 will be.

Succulents are not new to the trendy floral scene, but they also aren't going anywhere. They are versatile enough to be used as an accent on tables, as seen in the photo on the left (succulent provided by Brighter Day Flowers, photo by Jenna Rice Photography), or used in place of a traditional bridal bouquet, as seen in the photo on the right.

Deep Purples and Other Jewel Tones
Striking jewel tones, especially in purple, will be big this year. Again, this is a versatile enough trend to be incorporated into a bridal bouquet or a table arrangement for a business dinner or a purple-loving young lady's bat mitzvah.


Ombre styling has been popular in fashion, hair, and nails over the past couple of years, and it is working its way into the floral industry. This is another versatile trend that could be used in a wedding as well as other gatherings. The photo on the top would be stunning at any party, while the arrangement on the bottom would look equally at home in a simple vase at any social event.

Hanging Flowers
We've seen a big push towards hanging decor items recently. Everything from lights and lanterns to umbrellas and chandeliers have been seen at events, and now the trend has moved into the floral realm. Hanging flowers like the ones you see in this photo can make a stunning backdrop and addition to any event needing a little extra "oomph."

Wearable Flowers

Flowers aren't just for wrists and lapels anymore. They've been spotted on hats, skirts, and even as crowns, as you can see in this photo. While this would be adorable for a casual, bohemian bride, a floral crown would also work for a recent graduate.