When planning a web event, try to avoid scheduling it on a Monday, when participants are typically busy with in-office meetings, or Friday, the day of the week many people take off or leave early, advises Tricia Heinrich, senior director of strategic communications, at on24 (on24.com). To accommodate attendees on both coasts, choose a time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST.
This chocolate-covered cupcake on pretzel stick has a sweet surprise: a fluffy center. Popsycakes, perfect portable desserts for receptions and banquets, come in five flavors: Vanilla Bean Dream, Dark Chocolate Decadence, Strawberry Milkshake, Red Velvet Rush, and Peanut Butter Burst. Cost: $55 for 13. (888) 752.6149; Popsycakes.com
Music City Map
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a neat sign system, known as wayfinding, to help conference-goers make the most of their spare moments in the Music City. The signs, scattered throughout the city on sidewalks and roads, include easy-to-read, 3-D maps that spotlight major tourist attractions, hotels, and landmarks. www.visitmusiccity.com
Winner of a 2011 Gourmet Product Award, the Keep Cup is a "barista standard" reusable cup that fits under most commercial espresso machines used by coffee shops. Cost: $12.20 for a 12-ounce Keep Cup, plus shipping. Branding and bulk discounts available. Keepcup.com
To avoid running out of food too quickly during a reception or buffet, instruct the catering and wait staff to "stagger" the food service. "Putting it out all at once will lead to some people cleaning out all the food before others get to it," says Kateri J. Harried, principal of Washington, D.C.-based Klover Events (kloverevents.com). "I tell the catering team to bring the food out in small amounts -- perhaps a fourth of it to start with, until they see the line go down."
Badgetec's new badges use a specially designed "contour clip" to attach to clothing without adhesives, pins, metal clips, or a plastic holder. And a heads up to eco-conscious planners: both the clips and badges are 100 percent recyclable. Cost, $62 for 600 badges and clips.(877) 403-7797; badgeteconline.com
Park it here
Attendees can track down a quick and convenient parking facility with the Parking In Motion app, available now for iPhone and coming soon for Android. The free app displays, via Google Maps, parking facilities nearest your location; a quick tap displays a rundown of all the necessary details from entrance points to hours of operation. The app also includes the quick-find list of cheap airport parking. (310) 451-9109; parkinginmotion.com
Though the weather may not cooperate now, come spring (or anytime, in warmer climes) Boxsal's charming (and eco-friendly) picnic boxes can set the mood for casual outdoor dining. Each Boxsal is packed with everything needed for a picnic for four people, including recyclable trays, utensils, cups, compostable trash bag, and a handy cardboard briefcase to carry it all. Cost: $25 for one box with four place settings. (214) 377-1582; www.boxsal.com
Create buzz with unique invite ideas from Amy Malin, president of Los Angeles-based Trueheart Events. One of her most recent creations: A faux prescription save-the-date notice, followed by a prescription bottle filled with a formal invitation and branded mint "pills." Cost: about $2,000 for 500 invites. (818) 672-1268; www.trueheartevents.com
Between the Lines
Scripsmart.com ranks and reviews retailer gift cards so you can give the best and most user-friendly options for your customers, staff or top performers. The site even includes a rundown of state-by-state gift card laws. www.scripsmart.com
Maps of Distinction
JHill Design's customized map prints -- perfect to mark milestone events or to recognize outstanding achievement -- are so lovely that recipients will actually want to display them. Prints, $22 each and up. (857) 225-4917; www.jhilldesign.com
If you're bored with your typical go-to source for event décor, try strolling through a home improvement store for some unexpected inspiration. These floor/wall tiles from Home Depot (homedepot.com) make unusual place mats. Cost, from $5.