3 Tips for better Corporate Travel

Corporate travel is a part of our lives that is always changing, with new technology, airline policies and budget restrictions coming in and going out. One thing about corporate travel that doesn’t seem to change is how stressful it can be. Keep reading for easy ways to improve your corporate travel experience.

3 Tips for better Corporate Travel

Make the leap for corporate Car Service

If you’ve been relying on rental cars, cabs, public transit or ride-sharing services until now, you need to finally opt for superior transportation.

How can corporate car service dramatically improve your next business trip?

Corporate car service provides chauffeurs instead of drivers; chauffeurs are professional, well-trained, drug-tested, background-checked, and have local expertise.

Corporate car service companies are attuned to the needs of the business travel far better than a cab company or ride-sharing service

Corporate car service provides you with a virtually stress-free commute; no driving, hunting for parking or contending with the craziness of other drivers. Just a peaceful ride while someone else drives, parks and negotiates pick up and drop off times.

Ground transportation is one of the most important parts of the business travel puzzle.

Know your technology

Every year, there are new apps for improving and managing your corporate travel experience. Find the apps that will benefit you most this year. Check out some of our favorites:

DUFL: This app is truly revolutionary, allowing business travelers to go luggage-free. Simply set up your DUFL account and create a virtual business wardrobe. DUFL will retrieve, store, clean and dispatch your luggage to you in your destination city. All you have to do is choose the clothes you want to wear. Learn more at dufl.com.

Concur: 2016 is the year to finally let go of traditional expense reporting and get on board with Concur. From the convenience of your smartphone, you can export your expense reports straight to the office, sync your phone with your office account for necessary approvals, and easily keep track of every dime you spend.

Doodle: This group schedule-maker is the perfect solution to any business traveler’s meeting woes.

Squeeze in more leisure time

More and more business travelers are opting to squeeze in some leisure time on top of their business demands, and it makes sense. You’re already in a destination city—why not spend some time enjoying its features and attractions?

Leisure time is also beneficial in avoiding burnout. If all you do for 72 hours is stare at documents and discuss projections, your brain is going to go into a rut. Heading out to see a movie, visit a museum or relax in a park can help break up the monotony and recharge your batteries.

Another benefit of leisure time? It can help you get familiar with the home city of an important client. Remember: good client relationships depend on more than just business. Learning about their home city could help you make a personal connection with them, which is highly valuable in continuing relationships.

Corporate Transportation

Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it driving. Instead, rely on Grand Corporate, our on-call and worry-free business option that allows you to focus on your work, not the wheel. Whether we’re transporting you or your clients to and from the airport or serving as your mobile office for a long-distance drive, count on us to ensure you can get down to business.

The Destination

Expert transportation and navigation. Grand Avenue is prepared to take you anywhere and get you there on time. We guarantee it.

An international network. Grand Avenue seamlessly arranges global transportation in more than 550 cities around the world.

The Service

A dedicated account manager. He or she will work in tandem with your team to meet all your transportation needs.

Customized service. Grand Avenue will attend to your requirements, your tastes and your schedule.

Unrestricted access. Grand Avenue’s highly trained, responsive and efficient staff of professional chauffeurs and organizers is available to you.

The Fleet

The most diverse fleet in Nashville. From shuttles to vans, motor coaches to sedans, SUVs to limousines, Grand Avenue will accommodate your large corporate event or small team gathering.

The latest in-vehicle technology. Wi-Fi and GPS tracking is standard in every vehicle, ensuring the latest technology is working for you while you work.

The Perks

Our Grand Rewards program. Membership in Grand Corporate means automatic enrollment in Grand Rewards, ensuring you or your company earns points toward free travel every time you reserve with us.

Reduced administrative costs. Grand Avenue provides only point of contact for every ground transportation request.

Customized reporting. Grand Avenue helps you control expenses and access your billing online, or we will deliver invoices in any format you request.

Grand Avenue. Transportation for a 24/7/365 business world.

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6 Must-see Nashville Attractions for Country Music Fans

When the Grand Ole Opry came on air for the first time on November 28, 1925, country music history was being made. Up to that point, country music didn’t have a “home,” but the weekly radio show would soon change that.

Over the years, in large thanks to the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville has become the home base for the country music industry, producing country music superstars like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Dolly Parton. When planning your next trip to Nashville, TN, here are the must-see country music attractions you won’t want to miss!

Grand Ole Opry

1. Grand Ole Opry

Known as “the show that made country music famous,” the Grand Ole Opry should be the first stop in Nashville on every country music fan’s list. This weekly live country music show, which is broadcast nationally via WSM Radio, features live performances from country music greats and newcomers.

There are typically 3-4 live shows a week from the Grand Ole Opry House at Opry Mills, with a different lineup every night. In the winter months, the Grand Ole Opry moves from the Grand Ole Opry House to the historic Ryman Auditorium for “Opry at The Ryman.” Before you head out to the show, make sure to take a guided tour of the Grand Ole Opry which takes you backstage, onstage and in the spotlight at the show that made country music famous.

2. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The current home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum sits at 222 5th Ave S in downtown Nashville and holds more country music history than any other place on the planet! This is a must-see for any country music fan wanting to get an in-depth look into the country music industry. A walk through the museum will take you back in time to the roots of country music, as well as showcase exhibits of the great artist and songsmiths of the 21st century.

Remember Elvis’s gold Cadillac? The Country Music Hall of Fame has got it! It’s open seven days a week and is closed on all major holidays.

3. The Ryman

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Nashville, Tennessee, The Ryman Auditorium is downtown Nashville’s premiere music venue. The Ryman originated in 1892 as a place of worship, but in the 1900’s, the building began hosting secular events such as concerts, boxing matches and other attractions. What really made the Ryman Auditorium world-famous was the Grand Ole Opry, which was held at the Ryman from 1963–1974.

After the Opry left the Ryman in the 1970’s, the venue remained mostly vacant until its renovation in 1994. Since then, the stage of the Ryman has been graced by some of the biggest names in modern music history. The Ryman Auditorium features live performances and events weekly and also offers daily tours of the venue and backstage areas, which are both adorned with memorabilia from over the 100-year history of the auditorium.

4. Broadway Honky Tonks

Stepping onto downtown Nashville’s iconic Broadway Street will take you back to a simpler time when 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots reigned supreme. Broadway (as the locals call it) is home to Nashville’s honky tonks and sometimes even an Elvis Presley impersonator or two.

If you want to see live country music at its best, Broadway is the place to hear it. The bands get started around 10am and go until last-call. Some of country music’s best got their start singing at the honky tonks, so pay attention because you may just be listening to the next great country music star. And don’t forget to check out the world-famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge. Legend has it, this is where country music artists would hang out after their gigs at the Ryman (located right behind the bar).

5. Bluebird Cafe

When you hear a country music song on the radio, chances are that song was written or co-written by one of Nashville’s top songwriters. Songwriters are the staple of the country music industry and are often lesser known than the artist who sings the songs they wrote. The Bluebird Cafe is a music venue that celebrates the songwriter and on any given night, you’ll be serenaded by the guys and gals who pinned your favorite country music songs. Writers who perform at the Bluebird Cafe often show up with only their guitar and sing songs next to 2-3 other writers in a format Nashville has dubbed “in the round.” Make sure to book your reservation in advance because this intimate venue only has 100 seats and sells out almost every night. And if you plan on attending a show at the Bluebird Cafe, dress accordingly because you have to wait outside to be seated!

6. Music Row

On a map of Nashville, they may be called 16th and 17th Avenues South, but locals refer to this area as “Music Row.” These two streets are home to many of the record labels and recording studios that have made country music what it is today. Every major country music artist has spent time on the row, and if you’re lucky, you just may see your favorite country music artist going in or out of a business meeting.

On Music Row, you’ll see historical sites like RCA’s famed Studio B, where Elvis Presley recorded more than 260 songs! Music Row is also home to Sony Music Nashville, Warner Brothers, Curb Records, ASCAP & BMI (music rights organizations), Ocean Way Recording Studio, and pretty much every music publisher in town!

When you come to Nashville, Music Row is a definite MUST on your list.

Grand Avenue Tours

Experience Nashville in Grand style. Large or small, whether one person or an entire convention, we invite you to the beautiful grounds of Arrington Vineyards, to see the landmarks from Johnny Cash's life in Hendersonville, or head up to the Bourbon Trail of Kentucky. Fans of ABC's Nashville will want to check out the real house in Belle Meade where Rayna James lives or drive out to Juliette Barnes' rented mansion.

Grand Avenue's tours are different; view landmarks from the comfort of a Sedan, SUV, Mercedes Lux Coach or any other vehicle in the fleet.

Grand Avenue has become synonymous with customized transportation. Let us show you all Nashville has to offer.

Call 615.714.5466 or e-mail info@grandavenueworldwide.com to book your tour.


How Executives Can Enjoy Air Travel

Even if you’re flying first class, long flights can be an uncomfortable experience. As often as executive’s travel, it’s important that flights are as pleasant as possible. Without trying to produce the luxury experience of a private jet, let’s looks at a few ways executive travelers can improve their flying experience.

Executive Travel

Seat Selection

Although you may be flying first class, not every seat has the same comfort level. Be sure to think about if you prefer a window seat over an aisle seat. If you’re looking to catch some sleep on the flight, the window seat might be most appropriate because you’ll be able to lean against the fuselage, plus you won’t have to worry about being constantly bumped by people walking though the aisle. If you’re looking for optimum leg room, the aisle seat would be your best choice. Also consider the location of the seat in relation to the bathroom. If your seat is right next to the bathroom, expect to have people walking past you constantly during the flight.

Comfort Items

Depending on the airline, the complementary comfort items can vary. Sometimes airlines provide a complimentary pillow or blanket, but these items are often low quality and are not comfortable. If you are looking to get some rest on the flight, you want to think about bringing your own head rest and blanket. If you forget to bring these items to the airport, you can often buy them in a travel shop inside the terminal.

Early Check-in

One way to avoid the airport rush is to check-in early online. Most airlines offer this luxury and it’s an easy way to save time on the day of the flight. Checking-in online allows you to bypass the long check-in lines and arrive at your gate in plenty of time.

Entertainment Items

Depending on the length of the flight and the airline, sometimes movies and TV are offered during the flight. However, not all airlines provide complimentary headphones, so make sure to bring a pair of your own just in case. The entertainment options are usually limited, so be sure to bring your personal electronic devices such as iPods, iPads, and CD players as a backup.

Blocking Out Distractions

It’s impossible to control the passengers around you on a flight, so sometimes noise can put a real damper on your comfort level. Make sure you come prepared with eyeshades and earplugs to block out the distractions around you. Sometimes these little items can have a big difference on your travel experience.

Also, if you’re someone who needs the help of sleeping medicine to assist you with your in-flight rest, make sure to bring the appropriate medicine. Depending on the length of your flight, this can have a big impact on your overall comfort during a flight.

There are many things executive travelers can do to improve their flying experience. From bringing headphones and pillow to eyeshades and sleeping medicine, make sure you bring the appropriate items to make your executive travel experience a breeze.

 

We don’t know how much this can change your air experience but we know that we can change the travel transfer experience.

Don’t waste it driving, after you have landed, Instead, rely on Grand Corporate, our on-call and worry-free business option that allows you to focus on your work, not the wheel. Whether we’re transporting you or your clients to and from the airport or serving as your mobile office for a long-distance drive, count on us to ensure you can get down to business.

The Destination

Expert transportation and navigation. Grand Avenue is prepared to take you anywhere and get you there on time. We guarantee it.

An international network. Grand Avenue seamlessly arranges global transportation in more than 550 cities around the world.

The Service

A dedicated account manager. He or she will work in tandem with your team to meet all your transportation needs.

Customized service. Grand Avenue will attend to your requirements, your tastes and your schedule.

Unrestricted access. Grand Avenue’s highly trained, responsive and efficient staff of professional chauffeurs and organizers is available to you.

The Fleet

The most diverse fleet in Nashville. From shuttles to vans, motor coaches to sedans, SUVs to limousines, Grand Avenue will accommodate your large corporate event or small team gathering.

The latest in-vehicle technology. Wi-Fi and GPS tracking is standard in every vehicle, ensuring the latest technology is working for you while you work.

The Perks

Our Grand Rewards program. Membership in Grand Corporate means automatic enrollment in Grand Rewards, ensuring you or your company earns points toward free travel every time you reserve with us.

Reduced administrative costs. Grand Avenue provides only point of contact for every ground transportation request.

Customized reporting. Grand Avenue helps you control expenses and access your billing online, or we will deliver invoices in any format you request.

Grand Avenue. Transportation for a 24/7/365 business world.

Contact Grand Avenue today and choose to be driven.


Exploring Nashville

Heralded as Music City, U.S.A., and the country-music capital of the world, Tennessee's fast-growing capital city also shines as a leading center of higher education, appropriately known as the Athens of the South. Nashville has prospered from both labels, emerging as one of the South's most vibrant cities in the process. The District, the downtown area along 2nd Avenue and historic Broadway, has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with restaurants, specialty shopping, and entertainment options. The historic sites throughout the city—such as the Hermitage and the Belle Meade Plantation—add another dimension.

Exploring Nashville

Because there are many interesting and amazing things to see and experience in Nashville, today we give a first short list of must see’s

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

One of the world’s largest museums and research centers dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see for everyone visiting Nashville. The museum has amassed one of the world’s most extensive musical collections since its charter in 1964. The museum immerses visitors in the history of sounds of country music, its origins and traditions, and the stories and voices of many of its architects! In addition to the galleries, the museum has the 776-seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Education Center, and multi-purpose event rental spaces. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm. This is one museum you don’t want to miss out on visiting!

Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium is a 2,362-seat live performance venue best known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. Built in the 1880s, the Ryman Auditorium is named in honor of the man who built the Nashville landmark. As the largest structure in the area, the Ryman Auditorium soon became a popular place for community events, political rallies and popular turn-of the-century entertainment including operas, symphonies, bands, ballets and theatrical productions. While the Ryman was gaining recognition as an entertainment site, George D. Hay was creating a radio show that would become an international phenomenon - the Grand Ole Opry®. In 1943, with crowds too big and too rowdy for other Nashville venues, the Opry found a home at the Ryman. For the next thirty-one years, the Ryman served as the premier stage for the Opry’s live radio shows, which included such legends as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff. There is something truly special about visiting and catching a performance at the Ryman Auditorium, which makes it an extremely popular Nashville landmark!

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

This privately-funded 55-acre estate on the western edge of Nashville was formerly the residence of Nashville’s prominent Cheek family. Converted into a museum in 1960, this gorgeous Georgian-style mansion is a must-see. Cheekwood’s art collection was founded in 1959 upon the holdings of the former Nashville Museum of Art and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The core holdings include broad collections of American art; American and British decorative arts; contemporary art, especially outdoor sculpture acquired for the Woodland Sculpture Trail. Extending across the grounds from the Museum of Art, the Botanical Garden encompasses the entire 55-acre (22 ha) site with an emphasis on display, education, and study.

 

Centennial Park and Parthenon

The Centennial Park is a large urban park approximately two miles west of downtown Nashville. This gorgeous park was originally farmland that had belonged to Anne Robertson Johnson Cockrill, the first teacher in the state. In 1897, it was the site of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition and was renamed Centennial Park. Most of the buildings and exhibits were dismantled after the exposition ended, with the exception of a full-scale model of the Athenian Parthenon. The Parthenon replica, built largely out of plaster as a temporary exhibit building began to fall into disrepair and was proposed for demolition on several occasions, but public sentiment in favor of this symbol of Nashville as the "Athens of the South" precluded this. Finally, in the 1920s it was agreed to replace the temporary plaster building with a permanent, concrete and steel replacement which remains today and has been refurbished on several occasions. Today, the Parthenon functions primarily as an art gallery. It contains a statue of Pallas Athena, said to be the largest indoor sculpture in the Western world.

Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion, also known as Acklen Hall, and originally known as Belle Monte, Belle Mont or Belmont, is a historic mansion located in Nashville, Tennessee on the campus of Belmont University that today functions as a museum. In 1849, Adelicia Hayes Franklin married Joseph Alexander Smith Acklen, a young attorney from Alabama, and they immediately began construction of Belle Monte (Belmont) on 180 acres (73 ha) in Davidson County. It was completed by 1853 as an Italian villa style summer home. Months before her death, Adelicia sold Belmont, and the surrounding land, to Lewis T. Baxter for around $54,000. In 1890, it opened as a women's academy and junior college. The school merged with Ward's Seminary in 1913 and was renamed Ward-Belmont. The Tennessee Baptist Convention purchased the school in 1951, and created a four-year, coeducational college. In 2007, Belmont University separated from the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Today the mansion is owned by the Belmont Mansion Association and Belmont University while it is operated and preserved by the Belmont Mansion Association. Gilt frame mirrors hang over marble mantels reflecting the elaborate gasoliers and elegantly furnished parlors. Much of the original Venetian glass still adorns the windows, doors, and transoms of Belmont. The Grand Salon is considered by architectural historians to be the most elaborate domestic interior built in antebellum Tennessee. The gardens are now maintained as part of the University campus, including five cast iron gazebos. The 105-foot (32 m) water tower remains on the grounds and today serves as a Bell Tower for Belmont University.

Not sure what to do in Nashville?  Choose Grand Avenue Tours

Experience Nashville in Grand style. Large or small, whether one person or an entire convention, we invite you to the beautiful grounds of Arrington Vineyards, to see the landmarks from Johnny Cash's life in Hendersonville, or head up to the Bourbon Trail of Kentucky. Fans of ABC's Nashville will want to check out the real house in Belle Meade where Rayna James lives or drive out to Juliette Barnes' rented mansion.

Grand Avenue's tours are different; view landmarks from the comfort of a Sedan, SUV, Mercedes Lux Coach or any other vehicle in the fleet.

Grand Avenue has become synonymous with customized transportation. Let us show you all Nashville has to offer.


Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
05/20/2016

Executive Travel
Nashville
Nashville Airport
San Francisco

I Left My Heart (and cocktail) in San Francisco

I Left My Heart (and cocktail) in San Francisco

When United Airlines and the Metro Nashville Airport Authority announced a nonstop flight to San Francisco, they opened the press conference at Nashville International Airport with a trio of Victorian era carolers who sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. The announcement was applauded by a large (very happy) group, led by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

This follows a string of recently announced new nonstop service from Nashville International Airport including Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Oakland and Indianapolis. BNA is currently served by 10 airlines and offers 390 daily flights. Nashville International Airport provides nonstop air service to more than 50 destinations.

The 5h 5m daily flight to SFO began on May 5, 2016. This is Nashville’s only nonstop flight to the Golden Gate City. In 2011, SFO was the 8th busiest airport in the U.S. and 22nd busiest in the world, handling over 40.9 million passengers. I’d be curious to know what that number is today.

San Francisco is known for many things -- its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridgecable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal PenitentiaryFisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district.

One thing not listed on The City by the Bay’s Wikipedia page is their famous cocktail scene. See below for a list of 10 of hottest spots according to cocktail expert, Camper English.

 The Bar Report: San Francisco

By Camper English, August 5, 2015 -DEPARTURES

San Francisco's greatest cocktail bars, from the classics that keep us coming back to the brand new spots we find most impressive.

Long at the cutting edge of the craft cocktail renaissance, San Francisco’s beverage scene has now settled into a comfortable middle-age in which every new bar and restaurant hosts a quality drink list. Because the average cocktail program is of such high caliber, it's hard for the visitor to know which members of the old guard are as exciting as ever, and which new venues are worth making a trip to visit. Enter our cocktail expert (and San Francisco native) Camper English: Here, he highlights the top five longstanding cocktail spots in the city, as well as the most promising new additions to the landscape.

NOPA

The massive, bar-centric restaurant NOPA has been doing cocktails so right for so long it’s fallen off the media’s radar; but as the throngs of patrons prove, locals still line up for their unique creations. Always ahead of the trend, the bar championed once-esoteric ingredients like shrub syrups, sherry, and vermouth-based cocktails long before the cocktail cognoscenti widely adopted them, and began emphasizing low-proof, food-friendly drinks on their menus while other bars were still promoting boozy “brown, bitter, and stirred” classics. Drinks here can be a touch obscure for the budding cocktail enthusiast but the bartenders are there to guide you toward options that suit your mood. The former bank building features an impressively long bar where many patrons choose to dine with their drinks; it's especially delightful to grab a seat here for brunch, when the sun streams through the massive wall of windows. 560 Divisadero St.; 415-864-8643; nopasf.com.

 NOPA San Francisco

@Alanna Hale - NOPA

Bar Agricole

Fine dining meets farm-to-glass at Agricole, where the world’s most meticulous recipe and ingredient sourcing is par for the course. Take, for example, the House Old Fashioned—what you'd assume to be a simple drink. Based on a private-barrel cognac procured in France by the bartenders on a research trip, the drink is made of a dry rye gin plus a spoonful each of a locally made gomme syrup and a maraschino liqueur developed in partnership with the bar owner; two different housemade bitters, which take up to two months to infuse; served over hand-cut ice in a delicate tempered Japanese glass. Each cocktail on the list is given this much attention, and everything Bar Agricole does is utterly deserving of yours. 355 11th St.; 415-355-9400; baragricole.com.

Comstock Saloon

The most popular order off Comstock’s short-and-simple drink menu isn’t a cocktail at all, but rather the option to let the bartender create something à la minute. Order the Barkeep’s Whimsy and specify something bourbon-based and effervescent, for example, and the bartender might recreate a classic or invent something totally original. Bars around the country have adopted this system, but that no place does it as well as Comstock. The bar’s two rooms have restored or recreated accents from the 1907 building (built, as most things in this part of town, after the Great Quake of 1906), including the tile floors, horizontal chain-pulled ceiling fans, and under-bar spittoon trough that is, thankfully, not in active use. Don’t pass up the Barbary Coast-era fare (pot pie, oysters, chicken livers, and the like), and cross your fingers that your visit coincides with the live, old-timey music performed from the tiny balcony. 155 Columbus Ave.; 415-617-0071; comstocksaloon.com.

Trick Dog

A remarkable balancing act between quality, speed, and fun, Trick Dog remains a destination cocktail bar that—despite its location slightly off the beaten path in the Mission District—is (nearly) always busy. Its menus, which change twice annually, are a thing of legend: once the drinks were listed on an album’s inner record label, another time on a Pantone color strips; and a third in the style of a Chinese restaurant menu, complete with pictures and numbered cocktail names. Drinks contain tiny amounts of exotic ingredients like balsam fir, raisin liqueur, and walnut-infused Fernet Branca. With the bustling crowds and remarkably speedy bartenders, drinkers usually breeze into Trick Dog for a few quick cocktails then head elsewhere: Thanks to the great service, it’s a quick visit but one that always leaves a lasting impression. 3010 20th St.; 415-471-2999; trickdogbar.com.

Smuggler's Cove

This three-level, but ultimately tiny, tiki bar will forever stand in the shadow of the magnificently grandTonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel, but the opposite can be said of the cocktails. The roughly 80 drinks on the list are constructed by several of the world’s best bartenders (objectively speaking), who throw together rounds of eight-ingredient cocktails like they’re mixing vodka sodas. Accordingly, Smuggler's Cove is the only San Francisco establishment consistently placed on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Waits can be long and no reservations are accepted, so the regulars here know to arrive early and, importantly, to eat first: The rum is strong and the drinks are so good, it’s hard to get your sea legs once you’ve found reason to leave. 650 Gough St.; 415-869-1900; smugglerscovesf.com.

 Smugglers Cove San Francisco

@Allison Webber - Smuggler's Cove

Dirty Habit

Despite its slightly unappetizing name, Dirty Habit—located at the site of the former Fifth Floor restaurant in the Hotel Zelos—serves up some of the city’s most impressive cocktails and cocktail-friendly food. The multi-environment space includes several lounge and restaurant areas, barstools, and an outdoor patio—parts of which are often cordoned off for private cocktail parties. The drink list is one of the longest in San Francisco and emphasizes fresh ingredients like rhubarb, pear juice, baked apples, and carrots, so let seasonality be your guide. There is a short list of shareable beverages, too, which are ideal for small groups at happy hour. 12 Fourth St.; 415-348-1555; dirtyhabitsf.com.

Dirty Habit

Despite its slightly unappetizing name, Dirty Habit—located at the site of the former Fifth Floor restaurant in the Hotel Zelos—serves up some of the city’s most impressive cocktails and cocktail-friendly food. The multi-environment space includes several lounge and restaurant areas, barstools, and an outdoor patio—parts of which are often cordoned off for private cocktail parties. The drink list is one of the longest in San Francisco and emphasizes fresh ingredients like rhubarb, pear juice, baked apples, and carrots, so let seasonality be your guide. There is a short list of shareable beverages, too, which are ideal for small groups at happy hour. 12 Fourth St.; 415-348-1555; dirtyhabitsf.com.

 Pabu

A decadently huge, modern Japanese izakaya by chef Ken Tominaga in partnership with Michael Mina (whose namesake restaurant is located across the street), Pabu has quickly become one of the most grand and exciting dining and drinking spots in the city. The cocktails, available at the large square atrium-enclosed bar or while dining, reflect the restaurant’s philosophy of refined subtle simplicity: a drink may contain gin, citrus, and lavender-wasabi salt, and come served with hand-cut ice with flowers frozen inside. Japanese ingredients including yuzu, tea, and sake are featured, and the Japanese whisky selection is one of the best in town—if not the country. 101 California St.; 415-668-7228;pabuizakaya.com.

Dirty Water

Situated within the large atrium inside the Twitter building on Market Street, Dirty Water (apparently San Francisco really has an issue with naming its bars), opened as an all-purpose, all-day bar-cum-restaurant last year. The food program now includes brunch, a late night menu, and a more expanded lunch menu, and the roomy lounge area is equipped with over 100 wines by the glass and more than 50 beers on tap. The cocktail menu lists thirteen classic and original drinks but a wide range of additional offerings are listed on an iPad, along with the complete wine and beer lists. Early stand-outs include the earthy Long Strange Trip cocktail with candy cap mushroom–infused rye whiskey, as well as The Bank Exchange with its combination of pisco and ginger beer. 1355 Market St.; 888-393-0530; dirtywatersf.com.

ABV

In the guise of an easygoing, friendly Mission neighborhood watering hole, this bar runs one of the tightest ships in town. All of the bartenders at ABV work a shift on the floor each week, so everyone on staff is able to expertly guide patrons through the exotic-sounding cocktails on the drink list, organized by base spirit. Strongly flavored, high-proof cocktails are the specialty of the house (the name is the acronym for “alcohol by volume”), but those seeking a little less kick can opt for the bucket-sized Michelada, or the rose wine on tap. With probably the best (and speediest) bar food in town (the quarter-pound pimento cheese burger is a particular favorite) there are plenty of alcohol-absorbing bites to keep you steady while you work your way through the cocktails. 3174 16th St.; 415-400-4748; abvsf.com.

http://www.departures.com/travel/best-bars-in-san-francisco-classic-spots-and-new-places-to-drink/13


Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
05/09/2016

Nashville
Hubspot
Limo Industry

15 Quick Quotes For When You're Having A Bad Day

bad day

Sometimes this world is tough and all we need is a small piece of inspiration to help pick us up and dust us off. 

 

1. "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." - Judy Garland

2. "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." - Margaret Thatcher 

3. "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, it's all the same day." - Janis Joplin

4. "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." - Coco Chanel

5. "The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it." - Roseanne Barr

6. "Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then." - Diana Ross

7. "I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life." - Eleanor Roosevelt

8. "I am the American Dream. I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said, you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country. That’s exactly what I’ve done. I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities." - Whoopi Goldberg

9. "The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

10. "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself." - Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

11. "You wanna fly, you got to give up the [things that weigh] you down." - Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

12. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any." - Alice Walker

13. "Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use." - Ruth Gordon

14. "There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

15. "It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to." - African Proverb

 http://www.womensforum.com/15-quick-quotes-for-female-empowerment.html


Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
05/05/2016

Nashville
The It City
Visit Music City

Up Your Cinco Game With These 6 Authentically Weird Mexican Street Foods

By Joanna Gryfe - www.tastemade.com
May 3, 2016
 
For some, Cinco de Mayo just means five times more margaritas at happy hour than usual (just me?). But for those looking to keep those taste buds intact for the festivities, there can be so much more to celebrate with than tacos, guac, salsa, and oral-inferno quesadillas.
 
Mexico’s street food scene is exploding right now, and the flavors of its stalls are popping up on menus the world over. Specialized foodie trips like Intrepid Travel’s Real Food Adventure – Mexico, exposes the secret stash of insane corner stoop and back alley eats that only those in the know have been aware of – until now!
 
These six dishes are amazingly delicious Mexican staples that are as authentic as the mezcal is strong and as surprising as a Lucha Libre bodyslam:
 
Taco Arabes

1. Taco Arabe
This is going to be one beautiful food baby. 
The history of Cinco de Mayo goes back to when Mexico defeated France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. So it’s appropriate to celebrate with a street food that you can only find on the streets of Puebla itself, the Arab-style taco.
 
If a shwarma and a taco had a baby, it would be this. Introduced by Arab immigrants in the 1930s, it’s one of the most popular fast-foods in the city.
 
Unlike the similar taco al pastor, this taco’s traditional tortilla is replaced with a pita-like flatbread that is topped with sliced, spit-roasted pork and seasoned with salt and lime juice. The ultimate fusion food to fuel your celebrations!
 
2. Escamoles
I can’t really tell if I should be ogling this or gagging at it. 
So its fancy sounding name masks the fact that technically these are ant larvae, but don’t swipe away! These little morsels look and taste like tiny white beans.
 
Also referred to as insect caviar, this delicacy is only available between March and June. The usual preparation has them sauteed with butter and green pepper and served with guacamole, onion, and fresh tortilla.
 
3. Huitlacoche
Again with the ‘ogling or gagging’ quandry, but apparently this is V good. 
A secret ingredient of Mexican street stalls is huitlacoche, a black corn fungus also lovingly referred to as “corn smut.” It’s essentially diseased corn that turns the infected kernels into swollen black and blue mushroom-like bites (we’re really selling this, aren’t we?).
 
What could easily be mistaken as the leper of the maize family develops into a beautifully balanced sweet umami flavor bomb. Rather than being banished to the outskirts of gastro society, huitlacoche can thankfully be found in tacos and quesadillas from Oaxaca to Mexico City.
 
4. Chapulines
Hey, we warned you we were upping your authenticity game. Get on board. 
Some say insects are the protein of the future, but huh? Roasted or friedchapulines, known north of the border as grasshoppers, are the standard bar snack in every mezcaleria around the country.
 
Always cooked to a crisp, chapulines have the same lightness, crunch and consistency as kale chips. They’re spiced differently depending on the region you find yourself, but often use lime, salt, and chili. Walk any street corner in Mexico and you’ll find locals hocking baskets full of these healthy treats.
 
5. Sweet Potato Candy
Is that a sweet potato or candy? Trick question! It’s BOTH. 
Corn is king in Mexico, but other vegetables have made their way into the mix … in candy form! Mexican candy is unique in that it often blends sweets with salty, sour and spicy flavors to transform whole, real fruits and vegetables into candy.
 
Also known as fruta cristalizada, candied sweet potatoes are boiled and roasted with sugar, chili, cinnamon and other spices. They can be found whole or sliced and served with other confections such as candied tamarind, with a sugary outer exterior and a soft fruit center.
 
6. Cheesy Hot Chocolate
Yep, they’re about to pour hot chocolate ALL OVER those creamy sticks of cheese. 
 
Traditional Mexican hot chocolate steps it up with the addition of Oaxacan cheese. Strands or curds of Oaxacan string cheese – a denser, slightly saltier version of mozzarella – are stirred into steaming cups of hot chocolate along with a sprinkling of chili. A little salt, a little sweet and a little heat makes this the perfect taza!




Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
05/05/2016

Limousine
Executive Travel
Nashville
Chauffeured Transportation
Luxury Tour

All Dogs on Deck: A Luxe, Canine-Friendly Cruise

By Jane Stern - DEPARTURES May 2, 2016


An American Dog in London
 
Somewhere over the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, in the North Atlantic Ocean, it is dinnertime on the Queen Mary 2. Per the dress code for four of the seven nights of this transatlantic crossing, men are in tuxedos and women in evening gowns. The table next to mine has already consulted with the sommelier and has been served appetizers. A waiter in a jacket and cummerbund is about to place the entrées on the table when one of the men, in a commanding British accent, instructs the server to hold the entrée, the cheese course, and the dessert until he gets back from the kennel, on deck 12, where he must now go to give his dog “a good­night hug.” 
 
The waiter does not blink an eye. He whisks the plates back to the kitchen and assures the man that after his dog is settled in for the night the food will be remade and brought to the table. Dogs and their owners on the Queen Mary 2 expect to be catered to this way. 
 
This tender nautical scenario could happen only on the Queen Mary 2, a ship that is remarkable in many ways. A mere 118 feet shorter than the Empire State Building, it is one of the largest passenger ships ever built. It is the only transatlantic ocean liner currently in service, and its foghorn can be heard from ten miles away. 
 
The stately QM2 is more like a floating English manor house than a vessel plowing its way across an endless blue­gray ocean. Even in the stormiest seas, the QM2 cuts through the waves like a warm knife through butter. But better than anything else, the QM2 is the only major cruise ship that accommodates dogs. 
 
Because what is a British queen without dogs? The British­American shipping line Cunard, which operates the QM2, has a long and venerable history of ferrying animals across the ocean. Long before refrigeration, the ships had a cow on board to provide fresh milk and cream for the passengers. On the maiden voyage of the Britannia, in 1840, there were three guest cats, and shortly thereafter, like a posh Noah’s Ark, the menagerie grew. Circus elephants, canaries, a monkey, and even a boa constrictor have traveled Cunard.
 
As it does for its clientele of human royals and movie stars, Cunard has rolled out the red carpet for notable pets. On the roster was Mr. Ramshaw, the world’s only trained golden eagle, who made at least 21 transatlantic crossings on mid­20th­century liners. Rin Tin Tin, the German shepherd star of dozens of silent films, traveled on the Berengaria? Tom Mix and his horse Tony, of the 1930s Western series The Miracle Rider, were frequent passengers. Tony’s hooves were fitted with rubber shoes to prevent him from slipping on the gangplank. 
 
There’s a famous photograph from the 1950s of Elizabeth Taylor leaning over the rail of the original Queen Mary with her little poodle in the crook of her arm. A regular transatlantic voyager, Taylor frequently exercised her dogs by strolling around the sports deck with them. She also consulted with the chef to provide her dogs’ favorite seafood dinners. Not to be outdone, the dog­mad Duke and Duchess of Windsor often traveled with their pugs. At the duke’s behest, Cunard installed a lamppost beside the kennels to facilitate the royal lifting of the legs.
 
I am on the vast open deck 12 of the QM2, where the kennel is located. I am tightly holding on to my puppy, Ivy. A gale­force wind is blowing so strong I am afraid Ivy will become airborne, like Dorothy en route to Oz, with me dangling at the end of the leash.
 
Ivy is now six months old. A week after she was born, she was found in an animal hoarder’s house filled with garbage and dead dogs. She was rescued by animal control, sent to a shelter, and then adopted by me when I saw her sad little face on an adoption website. No one knows her exact breed (best guess: a cross between a Chihuahua and some sort of wire­haired terrier), but at five pounds she is a mere scrap of a dog, gentle and accepting. I thought that the Queen Mary 2 would be a good counterpoint to her pitiful beginning. 
 
Taking Ivy as my travel companion required an enormous amount of time and paperwork. Dogs entering the U.K. are no longer quarantined, but I would advise anyone who plans to make the crossing with a dog to start the process a good four months ahead of the trip.
 
If you are coming from the United States, you will be expected to fill out a byzantine array of forms that establish everything from your ownership of the pet to the markings on its fur. The dog will also need an easily readable microchip, an official pet passport or equivalent identity papers, a recent rabies vaccination, and a tapeworm test that must be taken a few days before the trip.
 
Know that your pet’s documents (I had 22 pages of signed and certified forms) will be scrutinized at length by customs. No matter how cute your dog is, or whether it just came off the Queen Mary 2, it will not be allowed into the U.K. unless every item and requirement is checked. There are no exceptions (except possibly Queen Elizabeth’s corgis). 
 
Now that Ivy’s fully certified and legal, she and I are welcomed on board by Oliver Cruz, “the first official kennel master in maritime history,” as he describes himself. Except for service animals, all pets must stay with Oliver in the kennel. This is not a hardship. Owners can visit throughout the day and evening, relaxing in a comfortable lounge with couches, chairs, plaid deck blankets, and every kind of dog bowl and toy imaginable. Cunard is currently updating and expanding the kennel facility, scheduled to be completed in time for the New York– Southampton crossing on July 6. In addition to the 22 kennels, ranging in price from $800 to $1,000, the upgraded deck will feature a larger communal dog run, as well as a streetlamp post and a fire hydrant for target practice. 
 
Oliver could not be more excited about his job. It takes him away for months at a time from his family in the Philippines, but the dogs and cats he cares for are his other family and his passion. He finds it almost hard to express how much he loves dogs. “You know the place right behind the ear?” he asks me after five minutes of chitchat. “That is the best smell of all!” I say that I like the smell between the pads of the foot, and he heartily agrees. Obviously we speak the same language. 
 
He tells me about his own homegrown remedies for dogs that get ill on the ship. (Boiled pumpkin chunks work like magic on diarrhea, he’s found.) He is keen on observing dogs that may be having anxiety in their new environment. When a dog seems especially gloomy, he will serenade it with his medley of Beatles songs. Oliver is scrupulous about introducing each dog to the others, formally, by name: “Ivy, this is Mauri? Mauri, this is Ivy.” He remembers the name of every dog on board. If he has favorites he is too diplomatic to say. 
 
When Oliver puts on his spiffy kennel­master outfit, he resembles a bellhop from The Grand Budapest Hotel. We guests take turns posing with him and our dogs for the ship’s official photographer. Oliver hoists an old­fashioned life ring with Queen Mary 2 stenciled on it. Our dogs will never have to depend on such outdated gear, because the first day aboard they are fitted for state­of­the­art canine life jackets. In this animal­loving atmosphere, it is easy to imagine “Women, children, and dogs first!” being called out as we are guided to the lifeboats. At the conclusion of the voyage, our dogs are issued diplomas from Cunard attesting that they have completed a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. 
 
In my dog­rich life, I can honestly say I have never met a group of people who love dogs as much as the passengers and crew of the Queen Mary 2 do. All day and into the evening, non­dog­owning passengers brave the very windy deck where the kennels are located to stand behind a gate and watch dogs run around and relieve themselves. At times the onlookers are ten deep. Cameras flash and squeals of delight issue forth. It is like preteens catching a glimpse of Justin Bieber. 
 
This appears to be a very British thing, and the few times I sneak Ivy out of the kennel for a stroll around the deck in my arms—a no­no per Cunard rules—it is as if I am cradling a bird of paradise or a basket of emeralds.
 
“Please, may I see her?” 
 
“Oh, she is so beautiful.” 
 
“How precious!” Ivy is, of course, the best and most extraordinary dog in the world, but before boarding the Queen Mary 2 I thought I was the only one who knew this. “What is she?” I am asked repeatedly. I learn to call her a “mixed breed” rather than a “mutt” to avoid getting death stares. I also learn not to share her sad shelter background because on a few occasions when I do, old dears in their pearls, tweeds, and gum­soled sensible shoes begin to weep.
 
It is the final night of the voyage. I am rigged up in one of the four formal dresses I have bought for the trip. I am not a formal­dress person? the last time I wore one was at my high school prom. I am desperately trying to remember how to walk in heels. 
 
At the Grand Britannia dining room, I am seated at a table with three couples. Two men are in tuxedos and one is fully arrayed in a kilt and all the finest accoutrements, including a silver dagger in his knee sock. The ladies are equally splendiferous. “Are you traveling alone?” one couple politely asks me as the waiter removes an extra place setting. I feel awkward. There is a long silence. “Actually, no,” I say. “I am traveling with my dog, Ivy. She is in the kennel.” 
 
As if avoiding the proverbial iceberg in the North Atlantic, I have safely navigated my way around social disaster. Manicured hands reach into purses and pockets. Pictures of cairn terriers, Yorkies, corgis, and scruffy dogs like Ivy are thrust at me: “This is Smithy? here is Mr. Biggles and his sister, Ruggles.” Under the table I kick off my high heels. I am having real fun with my new friends. 
 
Transatlantic crossings from $1,250 for an inside room, $1,700 for a room with a balcony? 661­753­1000? cunard.com. 
 
After docking in Southampton on the Queen Mary 2, my puppy, Ivy, and I continued on to London, and to the exquisite Rosewood Hotel (rooms from $540? 252 High Holborn? 44­20/7781­8888? rosewoodhotels.com). When we arrived, we found Pearl, the hotel’s resident golden retriever, splayed out in the middle of the stylish lobby. 
 
To say the Rosewood spoils its dogs is like saying a Bentley is a cute little car. In my room there was a wicker hamper overflowing with dog food, cookies, treats, and toys. There was a big, soft dog bed and beautiful walnut bowls for food and water. In front of Ivy’s bed was a starched linen mat embroidered with her name. It was changed daily. 
 
The only thing to do after luxuriating in such stellar digs is go shopping. Below is a selection of the delightful canine salons and haberdasheries we discovered. 
 
Since 2002 Holly & Lil (103 Bermondsey St.? 44­20/3287­3024? hollyandlil.co.uk) has been the maker of the most beautiful bespoke leather dog collars and halters. Unable to restrain myself, and without a shred of buyer’s remorse, I ordered a black leather halter with a skull and bones on the chest plate and a hand­stitched leather Union Jack collar. 
 
At Bow Wow (50A Earlham St.? 44­20/7240­0818? bowwowlondon.org) you will find a perfectly curated collection of unusual dog items, from French dog perfume to whimsical beds in the shape of log cabins, garden homes, and sports cars. 
 
With locations in Notting Hill, White City, and Chelsea, Purplebone (purplebone.com) offers gentle grooming services and a variety of dog paraphernalia all expressing the house credo, Bold Statements. Especially charming are the tartan and lumberjack­checked collars. 
 
With prices starting at about $1,400, LoveMyDog (36 Ermine Mews? 44­20/7739­4337? lovemydog.co.uk) creates custom coats and outfits in a vast array of tweeds, velvets, trimmings, embroidery, and fabrics. The process involves a design consultation with a staff designer and, after the approval of sketches, at least two fittings. Clothing is usually ready in eight to ten weeks. 
 
http://www.departures.com/travel/dog-friendly-cruise-ship-queen-mary-2
 
 

Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
05/02/2016

Events
Chauffeured Transportation
Chauffeur
Nashville Car Service

5 Ways To Show Mom Just How Special She Is

Mothers Day

 

1.  Treat her to a spa day.

Who doesn’t love an opportunity to relax, unwind and indulge? Give mom an upscale spa experience she won’t forget, A Moment’s Peace Salon & Day Spa delivers every time.

 2. Make her home shine

Thank her for all she does by cleaning her house from top to bottom while she puts her feet up and enjoys some much-needed rest. Here’s a printable house cleaning checklist.

 3. Take her on a surprise adventure

How about a Tennessee Wine Tour? Enjoy area vineyards and wines without worrying about the drive. Sit back, relax and let Grand Avenue do the driving while you have her undivided attention.              

4. Walk down memory lane

Put together a scrapbook just for mom. We found one that we love from A Beautiful Mess with a step-by-step guide to creating an awesome, personalized gift using recycled materials and your favorite photos.

 5. Take her to brunch

How does Applewood smoked bacon, crab shooters and country ham wrapped beef tenderloin sound? Kitchen Notes (Omni Hotel) has a Mother’s Day brunch 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Mom will love the vintage interior designed with repurposed materials that include décor discovered from local antique stores and flea markets.


Posted by: Grand Avenue - Valerie
04/28/2016

Wedding Limo
Nashville
Wedding Car
Events
Vintage Car

What is your role as MOH?


Jarvie Digital

Today’s MOH might be a Maid of Honor, a Matron of Honor, or a Man of Honor. Whichever applies in your case, you’ll be playing a very important role on the wedding day! Here are some of the responsibilities you need to know:

Financial. Being a MOH means you’ll be investing in things like your attire, travel fees, hosting a bridal or wedding shower, and gifts for the happy couple. These things can really add up, especially if it’s a destination wedding. It’s perfectly within your right to ask for contributions from the rest of the wedding party for things like the shower, which can help offset the cost.

Emotional. You’re going to be a sounding board for the bride and will likely have to support her through what she thinks are dire decisions or impossible family interactions, which can sometimes lead to you taking on her stress. Just remember that this is only for a limited time and you’re there to help her through planning the biggest day of her life.

Physical. Being the MOH generally means a lot of running around. You’ll probably end up helping the bride shop for her gown and accessories, the wedding party’s attire, her wedding invitations, and any number of other things. You’ll also likely go with her to a wedding show or two and possibly attend vendor appointments with her. Do your best to keep your schedule available for her, especially close to the big day.

Critical. As the MOH, there are several essential tasks for you to handle on the wedding day. You may hold one or both of the rings during the ceremony, as well as the bride’s bouquet and any note cards she may have. You’ll make sure her gown and veil look perfect for every photo. You and the Best Man will likely serve as witnesses and sign the marriage certificate. Then there will be your speech during the reception and possibly collecting all of the gifts for the couple after the event ends. On top of everything else, your job is to make sure the couple has an amazing day. Pretty important, to say the least!

Being a MOH is truly an honor and one of the best ways you can support the happy couple. Hold onto your patience and perform every task with love. That way you’ll all enjoy the big day!

APRIL 28, 2016 BY SUSAN SOUTHERLAND Via Head Over Heals - Perfect Wedding Guide