by Lisa A. Grimaldi and Sarah J.F. Braley | December 01, 2014

M&C's Hot Idea of the Day delivers tips of all sorts to planners' inboxes every business day. (Subscribe at; it's free!) Topics range from career advice and décor to F&B and more. Herewith are the most popular 25 for the year 2014. Find lots more at

LOW-CAL MEALS. Chefs often can customize meals based on caloric counts. For one group, the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards created a menu that limited breakfast to 400 calories, lunch to 500 and dinner to 700. Ask your F&B contact if they can offer the same service.

WEB UNIVERSITY. The Muse, a website dedicated to the art of job hunting, launched Muse University this year, a suite of free classes that tackle everything from mastering Microsoft Excel to networking. Users can sign up anytime to start the email-based classes, which last from a few days to a few weeks.

DIY TRAVEL TOOTHPASTE. Refill travel-size tubes of toothpaste with the genius Toothpaste 2 Go cap, which attaches to regular-size tubes to enable an easy transfer. Cost: $5.99.

FITNESS PACK. FitKit's portable packs of fitness gear include an exercise band, a resistance tube, a jump rope and a stability attachment, along with access to a handy online library of exercises developed by famed fitness expert Amie Hoff. Cost, $34.99; customization and bulk discounts are available.

HERBAL CENTERPIECE. For a recent farm-to-table  event, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Culinary Capers Catering filled the middle of a chef's table with handsome stone planters containing parsley, basil and chervil that guests could pull from to garnish their entrées.

CLEAN PACKING. Take packing to a new level of sophistication and order with Hudson+Bleecker's line of protective garment and shoe bags, available in a choice of stylish graphic prints. Cost: shoe bag, $60; garment bag, $128.