Cordoba, Buenos Aires and Rio! Birds to Bikinis.

This Spring I took a great trip through several cities in South America. Here are some details to help you plan your trip.

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach

The planning process started for me when a friend of mine purchased a Dove Hunting Excursion at the local Ducks Unlimited fundraiser. I received a call from him letting me know I was needed on the team for this trip to Cordoba Argentina!

The Outfitter is David Denies. You can check them out at www.daviddenies.com

La Dormida Lodge, Cordoba Argentina

La Dormida Lodge, Cordoba Argentina

I began researching dove hunting in Cordoba and soon discovered that this was a premier location for the sport! There are millions and millions of doves in the area attracting people from all over the World.

Now I am not a huge hunting fan. I may go pheasant hunting a few times a year in Nebraska or South Dakota. That being said I would recommend this trip to anyone.

We hunted two half days and two full days. Each day the crew prepared a field lunch with fresh filet mignon, pork and ribs cooked over an open fire. This was served on white linen table cloths with more food than you could ever eat.

 

dove1

Field Lunch Set Up

Every evening we went back to our compound where a chef prepared a wonderful dinner. We sat around the campfire at night listening to music and telling stories from the day.

Dove hunting is definitely a challenging sport. Doves fly very fast and even though there was NO shortage of targets you needed to lead those birds and pick out a single dove to hit one. After the four days I had used over 2,600 shells and shot 1,400 doves! Not a bad percentage for an occasional hunter. Check out this video to get a feel for how the hunting goes. It’s pretty wild! Cordoba Argentina Dove Hunting Video.

The crew would gather up the doves, have them cleaned and send them to an orphanage to help feed the children. The dove hunting alone made this a great trip.

Since I had traveled thousands of miles for the dove hunt I couldn’t bring myself to return home after four short days. My friend and I decided to hop on a plane to Buenos Aires and see what that city had to offer! Buenos Aires is only a short one hour flight to the East of Cordoba.

Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and has a rich and dynamic history.

Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires

Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel on Alvear. Wow, what a killer hotel and location. Everything you need is a short cab ride away and there are many shops and restaurants within walking distance.

I would highly recommend setting up a driver to show you around the city. You can get a lot done in a very short amount of time. We paid $50 per hour for a 3 hour tour. The hotel set it all up.

Try the Palmero area for lunch. This is a nice area loaded with shops and restaurants. Take a few loops around the area and pick something out that looks good. We ate outside at a pizza joint that was great.

Another area you must visit is Caminito. This area is also loaded with bars, restaurants and shops. You will find Salsa dancers everywhere and getting your picture taken with one will give you a fun souvenir to take home.

For dinner we went to Cabana las Lilas at Puerto Madero. This is a great restaurant on the

View from outdoor seating area at Cabana Las Lilas Restaurant

View from boardwalk area outside Cabana Las Lilas Restaurant

water. Sit outside and enjoy your dinner as the people walk by on the boardwalk. This is a must if you only spend one night in BA!

An interesting fact about BA is that there are actually two different exchange rates. The official rate for us was 6 Pesos per dollar. Our driver took us to a place that gave us 9. That’s a big difference if you are planning on making any kind of substantial purchase.

After a few days in Buenos Aires I went onto Rio de Janeiro for a little beach time.

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Stay on Copacabana Beach. This is a beautiful beach and has easy access to many of Rio’s attractions. Walk up the beach and around the corner to explore Ipanema Beach, the rock formations and relaxed atmosphere is worth soaking in.

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Two places you must make time to visit are the Christ the Redeemer Statue and Sugar loaf Mountain. The views of the city are incredible from both of these attractions. After your visit to Sugarloaf Mountain ask an attendant for directions to the pathway down and hike down instead of riding the tram. You’ll see monkeys, lizards and tons of natural flowers and vegetation.

Christ the Redeemer Statue with Sugarloaf Mountain lit up in the distance.

Christ the Redeemer Statue with Sugarloaf Mountain lit up in the distance.

If you need a little taste of the States try The Clover Irish Pub on Copa Cabana Beach. You’ll think you are in Chicago! This place has a great staff and good food.

From the dove hunting to the cool beaches of Rio this trip was amazing! You have to go…

Need a Quick Break? How about a Mid-Week Road Trip!

This summer take a quick Mid-Week break in Denver, Colorado.

Catch a morning flight to Denver and book a hotel room in the Cherry Creek area. I prefer the JW Marriott on Clayton Lane. The hotel is fantastic and there are dozens of bars and restaurants around every corner. You won’t need a cab or a car if you stay here.

JW Marriott in the Background

JW Marriott in the Background

Spend the afternoon browsing through the Cherry Creek Mall just across the street or take a little walk through the parks and walkways nearby. There are many great restaurants for lunch in this area too. Then get ready to Party!

Cherry Creek Mall

Cherry Creek Mall

John Elway’s Steakhouse in Cherry Creek hosts a Summer Concert Series that begins June 19th and continues through August 21st each Wednesday night. They sign great local bands that provide a party atmosphere that really rocks. These events attract the beautiful and energetic from all over Denver.Elways4

The Venue opens at 5 pm and the band plays from 6:30-9:00 pm so get there early. After the band stops duck into Elway’s for a great steak (Make sure to get reservations) or head across the Street to the Marriott where they continue the party into the night.

Catch a flight home the next morning or parlay the trip into a longer break and head an hour and a half up the hill into Vail or Beaver Creek!

Vail's New Solaris Building

Vail’s New Solaris Building

What a great little trip!

Enjoy.

College World Series in Omaha – You have to go!

LSU Baseball

LSU Baseball

I’m am not a HUGE baseball fan and I still consider the College World Series in Omaha a must see event.

This year Mississippi St., Oregon State, Indiana and Louisville are in the Top Bracket and North Carolina, North Carolina State, UCLA and LSU complete the Lower Bracket.

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha

 

The New TD Ameritrade Park is beautiful and a great place to watch a game. You can watch from standing room only seats all the way up to great Club Seats and Luxury Suites. If you need Club Seats or are looking for a Luxury Suite let me know and I will work to help you.

There is no shortage of bars and restaurants around the park. In fact thousands of people come to the park each day without tickets and party all day and all night. Try the Blat or the Old Mattress Factory for starters. Both of these are within a block of the park.

The Blat

The Blatt

Opening Weekend is my favorite but you have constant action here for a week and a half. Come down and join us June 15-26 2013!

You will be glad you did and will certainly want to make a return trip!

Increase your Happiness!

What specifically impacts our happiness and how can we shift it? Happiness
The three greatest predictors of happiness are optimism (the belief your behavior will eventually matter), social connection, and how we perceive stress (as a challenge or as a threat).  If we want to raise happiness we need to make both mindset and behavior shifts.

What are the five key steps that we can take each day to increase our experience of happiness?

1)      Bring gratitude to mind – Write down three things that you are grateful for each day

2)      Journal – About a positive experience you’ve had recently for 2 minutes once a day

3)      Exercise –  Engage in 15 minutes of mindful cardio activity

4)      Meditate – Watch your breath go in and out for 2 minutes a day

5)      Engage in a random, conscious act of kindness –  Write a 2-minute positive email thanking a friend or colleague, or compliment someone you admire on social media

Do these steps for 21 days, and you will begin to see a lasting shift in your mindset towards more positivity.

How are you using this information to increase the success of organizations and leaders?
Happiness is a choice, but leaders and companies can make that choice easier by providing education about how to raise positivity in the workplace, creating social engagements, authentically praising individuals.

What is the Happiness Advantage exactly? 
Your brain works significantly better at positive than at negative, neutral or stressed.  Every single business and educational outcome improves when we start at positive rather than waiting for a future success.  Sales improve 37% cross-industry, productivity by 31%, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, nearly 10 times more engaged at work, live longer, get better grades, your symptoms are less acute, and much more.

How do we help ourselves get there?
Genes and environment will define your happiness, UNLESS you make conscious changes to your mindset and habits. If you do the latter, your happiness will no longer remain under the tyranny of your genes, childhood and environment.

In the end, happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change.  It is the belief that we can.

* * * *

How is your level of positivity and happiness shaping your success?  Take these five steps for 21 days and share with me what transpires for you. 

Top 10 South Beach Restaurants

As many of you already know, I am a big fan of South Beach in Florida.images (83)

 

 

Below is a list of My Top 10 Restaurants. If you can get down there try out a few.

 

10. Monty’s on Miami Beach Marina

Casual Marina Tiki Hut Restaurant. Friday nights draw a great crowd. Lunch is also a nice way to do this restaurant.

Monty's on the Marina

Monty’s on the Marina

9. Phillipe

Great Asian food at 1st and Ocean Drive.

8. Mr. Chow 

More Asian at the number 8 spot!! At the W hotel. Beautiful restaurant and a fun bar.

7. Red

A South of Fifth Steakhouse with a very good Wine List.

6. Gotham Steak

One of the best at the Fontainebleau Hotel on 44th Street.

Glow Bar outside Gotham Steak

Bleau Bar outside Gotham Steak

Get there early so you can have a few cocktails at the Bleau Bar in the Lobby

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The Forge

Newly remodeled and a hang out for a number of Celebs. Machine operated wines by the glass at the bar are a great way to do happy hour.

4. Prime 112

Prime 112

Prime 112

One of the best, but a little crazy at night. If you are in South Beach you must eat here!

Try lunch if you don’t want to wait at night.

3. Hakkasan

The best restaurant at the Fontainebleau serving great Asian! They also just opened in Las Vegas.

2. Smith and Wollensky

Smith and Wollensky's

Smith and Wollensky’s

Dine by the water for lunch or dinner. I would recommend Sunday afternoons to sip champagne and watch the cruise ships depart!

1. Prime Italian

Just across the street from sister restaurant Prime 112. Great Italian and Steak!

What more do you need? Try the deep fried Oreos for dessert.

You can’t go wrong with any of these great restaurants. Miami Beach has so many more to offer too!

The Best Cities For New College Grads In 2013

colorado-fans-hot_display_image_display_imageWe’ve all heard the stories or experienced them first-hand. The 24-year-old with a political science degree working as a barista at Starbucks. The math major waiting tables at the diner. The English B.A. living with her parents because she can’t find a teaching job.

To be sure, your prospects are even worse if you only have a high school diploma. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for high school grads age 20 to 24 with no college under their belts was 17.9% in 2012, compared to 7.7% for those with college degrees. But it’s still rough out there for college grads, and student debt burdens continue to rise. Those who graduated in 2011 are carrying an average of $26,600 in debt, according to the non-profitProject on Student Debt. That’s up from $25,000 the previous year. Meantime, though wages for new grads ticked up in the last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over the long run pay has come down. According to a 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute, the hourly wage for new college grads fell over the last decade by 11% for men, to $21.68 and 6.7% for women, to $18.80.

With those challenging statistics in mind, in some cities it easier for new college grads to find both a job and affordable rental housing. A new ranking from Rent.com, a rental housing listing site, looks at the top 25 markets with the most rental listings, and then compares figures for unemployment, cost of living and annual mean wages. The research relies on information from the BLS, the Census Bureau and Rent.com’s own apartment rental database.  From those numbers, Rent.com came up with a list of ten cities where young grads would be most likely to find housing, work and a reasonable paycheck. Rent.com gave double weight to the unemployment rate. Here are Rent.com’s top ten cities for college graduates, with unemployment and wage figures from the BLS. These are the top ten cities, in no particular order:

Atlanta, Ga.
Mean annual income: $46,600
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 8.4%

Boston, Mass.
Mean annual income: $57,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,590
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Houston, Texas
Mean annual income: $47,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 6%

Denver, Colo.
Mean annual income: $50,300
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $970
Unemployment rate: 7.4%

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
Mean annual income: $49,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.1%

Seattle, Wash.
Mean annual income: $54,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,300
Unemployment rate: 6.7%

Dallas, Texas
Mean annual income: $46,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Raleigh, N.C.
Mean annual income: $45,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 7.5%

Washington, D.C.
Mean annual income: $62,900
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600
Unemployment rate: 5.2%

St. Louis, Mo.
Mean annual income: $44,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $960
Unemployment rate: 7%

 

 

Source: Susan Adams, Forbes

10 Tips for a Better Life!

Here are some great ways to pump up your exercise, eat better and live a healthier life.

Write down goals — a savings dollar amount or a target weight — on your bathroom mirror using a dry-erase marker. This simple act both helps confirm your commitment and serves as an easy and fun reminder to start each day with purpose.

dog

 

Get a dog. Research from Michigan State University shows that man’s best friend can be a powerful motivator to get us to exercise. The researchers found that study participants who owned dogs were more likely to be active than those who did not. In fact, the study found that 60% of dog owners meet federal criteria for regular, moderate or vigorous exercise, compared with around 30% of people who don’t have a dog.

Head outdoors. Burn calories when you chill out. A study found that going for a 20-minute al-fresco stroll twice a week was more restorative than getting the same exercise in an indoor environment like a mall.

Heavy, light, heavy, light. To hit the entire spectrum of muscle fibers, set your workouts so that you train heavy one day, then lighter with more reps later in the week.

workoutTrain with like-minded peopleWorking out in a gym with an intense atmosphere, surrounded by people who are equally as passionate about achieving their goals as you are, may push you further and do more for your progress than another factor.

Stay hydrated. Start the day with at least 16 ounces of water. It’s filling, and getting more will improve your recovery after workouts. Aim for one gallon per day.

Cut calories from chicken. Cooking up skinless poultry for dinner is an affordable, easy and fast way to get in quality muscle-building protein. To make it even better for you, skip the swirl of oil and use a tablespoon of water to coat your non-stick plan instead. Cover with a lid and let the chicken steam, then flavor with herbs and spices for a perfectly guilt-free meal.

Eat the oat. You know better than to skip breakfast and risk noshing on extra calories throughout the day. And while oatmeal is a great way to start your morning, you should always aim for balance in every meal. For a little protein and healthy fat, add slivered almonds, and for some fruit, throw in fresh or frozen berries or raisins.

Srong7Cultivate gratefulness. Start each day by remembering any experience that recently made you happy — the birthday card you got from an old friend, the compliment your colleague gave you or the tasty new recipe you cooked for dinner. “When negative events happen, people who regularly practice gratitude cope more positively,” says psychologist Alex Wood from the U.K.’s University of Manchester. “They’re less likely to run away from the problem or pretend it’s not happening.”

Curl up with a book. Six minutes could be all it takes to curb that frenzied feeling by 60%, say British researchers. So catch up on your overdue reading — even if you have to do it one chapter at a time.

Awesome Las Vegas Weekend… See How!

cindy

Cindy, Our Las Vegas expert delivers her Can’t Miss Venues for a Killer trip.

What could be more fun than a Spring trip to Las Vegas.

A Thursday through Sunday filled with lounging in the sun, dining out, gaming in the Casino, shopping and relaxing in the clubs and bars.

Here are a few places you should try while you are there.

How many can you fit in?

 

Hyde at the Bellagio

Hyde at the Bellagio

Hyde at the Bellagio

 

The Hyde Bellagio is a restaurant and night club that opened in December 2011 and it’s my favorite place in Vegas.  It opens at 5:00pm every day and on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 10:00pm it turns into a night club.  Be there for when they turn it into a nightclub.  Watching the changeover from the restaurant to a club is a cool experience.

Hyde does take reservations for dining so call ahead @ 702-693-8700. This space was formerly the Fontana Bar. It’s been completely overhauled and is amazing inside!

 

The Cosmopolitan Casino

The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino

The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino

This is in City Center.  The Cosmopolitan Casino is the hip new place to be in Vegas.  It’s filled with lobby bars that are fun to hang out in and there is a cool night club called the Marquee. I have a blast just hanging out in the Lobby bars at the Cosmopolitan.  The Chandelier Bar and the Bond Bar are great. The Bond Bar is my favorite.  There’s also a cool space right off the main casino floor that serves beer and is filled with televisions and game consoles, it’s a great place to go during the day if you need to kill some time and you like to play video games!   Also at the Cosmopolitan Casino is a great breakfast place called “The Henry.”  It’s across from the Bond Bar.  It’s open 24 hours and has a good breakfast and awesome Bloody Mary’s.

 

Lavo

The Bar at Lavo

The Bar at Lavo

 

 

I really like eating at Lavo in the Palazzo casino.  Whenever I eat there I eat at the bar on the couches or outside on the patio.  It’s not on the menu, but if you ask your server; they can take their signature Kobe meatballs and make a meatball pizza.

 

 

LaGasse’s Stadium

LaGasse's Stadium

LaGasse’s Stadium

Also in the Palazzo is LaGasse’s Stadium. It’s the best sports bar/sports book on the Strip.  It’s a must see if you like to watch sports.  Make a reservation if there are big games going on so you can have a table or seating area.  Or, get a seat in the “stadium” which is in front of a 9’x16’ TV screen.  There’s over 100 HD TVs and you can see a screen from wherever you are.  There are also sky boxes if you have a bigger group and want to entertain and watch sports.  The food is good and from Emeril LaGasse.  To make a reservation call 702-607-2665.

 

Mon Ami Gabi

Outdoor Seating at Mon Ami Gabi

Outdoor Seating at Mon Ami Gabi

This is a great place to eat brunch or lunch on the patio at the Paris Hotel. As you can see the outdoor seating is magnificent.

 

Hard Rock Casino

Hard Rock Casino

Hard Rock Casino

The Hard Rock Casino is not on the Strip but is easy to get to.  The Hard Rock now has 2 main casinos jojned together.  I really like the Hard Rock as a place to go and relax.  I like the atmosphere of all the restaurants and lobby bars, especially the Center Bar. Also at the Hard Rock casino is a cafe called “Lucky s 24/7″ they have a special meal called the 777 meal.  It’s $7.77 for a steak, salad, shrimp and mashed potatoes.  It’s not on the menu and you have to ask for it by name, it’s a “locals” special.

 

Culinary Dropout and Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Casino

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

A fabulous new restaurant opened up very recently at the Hard Rock called Culinary Dropout that has an outdoor patio and it overlooks the Hard Rock pool area.  It’s got some unique food and drink choices and I really like the restaurant.  Also at the Hard Rock is the Pink Taco restaurant.  They have great Mexican food and it’s a Vegas staple that’s been there a long time and is still a favorite.

 

Baacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace

Bacchanal Buffet At Caesars Palace

Bacchanal Buffet At Caesars Palace

 

This is the premier new buffet restaurant on the Strip.  It’s an experience to have at least just once.  The buffet has so much high quality food to choose from including unlimited crab legs and even though I’m not a buffet person, I really enjoy this one..

 

 

Caesars Forum Shops, Shops at Crystals and Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show Mall

 

I like all the shopping in Vegas.  You really can’t go wrong anywhere you go. I hit the Fashion Show Mall each time I go to Vegas.

 

 

 

Wynn and Encore

Wynn Golf

These are great casinos and still places I like to go each time I visit Vegas.  There is a great restaurant at the Wynn that overlooks the golf course. When you sit out on the patio on a nice day you don’t feel like you’re in Vegas at all.  It’s a beautiful view and a great place for lunch.

More affordable places to go, fun places to hang out:

Blondie's Sports Bar

Blondies Sports Bar

Near the Flamingo is the Planet Hollywood Casino and Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile shops.  It’s fun to walk through the Miracle Mile shops. Inside is a sports bar called Blondies   I’ve never personally been to Blondies but my friends in Vegas say it’s a great place to go.

 

Waitress at Gilley's Bar

Waitress at Gilley’s Bar

Gilley’s Country Bar at Treasure Island

We stopped at Gilley’s last Summer.  They had $3 draft beer the night we were there and they are constantly having some sort of drink specials. The drinks are always affordable.  They also have Bud Light Lime on draft. The waitresses wear chaps and bikinis.  They have a mechanical bull which gets a lot of attention at the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for few more ideas try Mastro’s Ocean Club at City Center for dinner followed by a little dancing and rooftop viewing at The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay!

Enjoy your trip!