RVs are getting a big boost from millennials

RVs are getting a big boost from millennials

RV life

I know two millennials who live in vans – one calls herself a Vanagon! They’re both artists and in the hospitality industry so have a relatively unstructured life but nevertheless it struck me as curious to randomly meet two people, who don’t know each other, but both have a portable lifestyle.

And now I discover that millennials are also starting to get into RVs. Nick Smarto, 29, a Google employee living in Pittsburgh told the Tribune-Review:

“I’m really a huge fan of music festivals and camping, and I love that idea of having everything with you. You don’t really have to over-plan a trip; you can just kind of pick a direction and go.”

RV sales have been climbing for the last six years with more than 374,000 RVs sold in 2015. Younger buyers are also into more expensive models sporting higher-end technology.

The interest is being driven by a desire to go on road trips, see great sites, attend music festivals – and at the end of the day, sleep comfortably in a bed, not on the ground.

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What Makes A Hotel Cooler? An Art Program Is At The Top Of My List!

What Makes A Hotel Cooler? An Art Program Is At The Top Of My List!

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If you’re going to be in NYC – and if you’re into art – it’s worth checking out the fabulous installation by The London Police, at the Quin Hotel on 57th Street. It’s part of the hotel’s global street art series. I was there the day after the opening and half the work was already red-dotted!! I was familiar with the artists (they have a great piece at the Coney Art Walls, curated by Jeffrey Deitch), but I had never heard of the Quin Hotel – so this project definitely put the hotel on my radar!!

I also want to point out that what’s happening today with art is very different to corporate art collections of old. What’s changed is that companies are now seeking out art and artists as a cultural extension of their brand. Absolut Vodka started this trend, way back in 1985, with ads by Warhol, Haring etc. But today, it’s the hospitality industry e.g. The Standard, The Ace and The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, who are leading the way  with phenomenal installations and artist-in-residency programs. The guests get exciting visual experiences and the hotels up their cool factor e.g. KAWS at the Standard was awesome.  Another hotel very active in their support of the arts is The Joseph in Columbus, OH.  Have never stayed there but they collect, and feature, my friend David Skeens’ poetry in many of the rooms. Definitely where I would want to stay on my next visit.

See more pics from the Quin below.

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Here Are My Top 10 Restaurant Trends: Poke Is The Trendiest of All!

Here Are My Top 10 Restaurant Trends: Poke Is The Trendiest of All!

restaurant trends august

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be in Vegas, LA, Dallas, Louisville and, of course, NYC so expect some firsthand reporting on what’s new on the dining front from around the country.

In the meantime, here’s a roundup of what I’ve been keeping an eye on in the restaurant world. And I absolutely must do a shout-out to my current fave restaurant in NYC: Ducked Up at Ludlow House. Have developed a crazy obsession for their Peking Duck! (And I’m lobbying to get poke bowls on the menu ASAP!!)

Here are 10 trends/openings worth noting:

1. Poke (a Hawaiian raw fish salad, flavorful and spicy). I’ve only had it once in NYC but looking forward to adding poke to my repertoire. Poke spots are popping up around the country – and existing restaurants are adding it to their menus – e.g. Mongers Market + Kitchen and Café No Se in Austin, TX, also hearing a lot about the poke and soft serve window at Seamore’s in Little Italy, and friends in Dallas have been raving about the poke places opening there.

2. Food Halls Still Going Strong/Getting More Specialized: I recently tried Great Northern Food Hall by Claus Meyer, one of the founders of Noma. I loved the herring open-face sandwich but the place was deserted. Not sure if NYC is ready for Danish cuisine. I suspect this one will NOT survive. Other new halls to explore: Bowery Market which has a cool assortment of vendors including Butcher’s Daughter and Sushi on Jones, and the one I really want to hit up soon: Gansevoort Market on 14th street. Everyone is RAVING about their Peruvian ceviche from the Mission Ceviche stand!!!!

3. The Protein Flip: The Culinary Institute of America is calling on chefs to “rethink the ‘protein portfolio’ on their menus. Many chefs around the country are getting on this trend including Dan Barber of Blue Hill, John Fraser of Nix, and Top Chef winner Ilan Hall.

4. Alinea 2.0: One of the great restaurants in the world when it opened in 2005 in Chicago. I went there multiple times. Now, ten 10 years later it has gotten a major reset. From what I’ve seen, it has flipped from being dark and dramatic to a lighter, more restrained white/grey palette. This quote from Grant Achatz to Eater sums it up: “When we opened Alinea, one of our creative roads was to look at a dish on paper or in front of us and ask, ‘What else? What else can we do? What else can we add? What can we add to make this better? Now, I feel like we find ourselves constantly asking, ‘What can we take away?’

5. Elote, the popular street food from Mexico, is starting to become equally popular in the Midwest, e.g. in Wichita, Mexican restaurants, food trucks and paletarias (ice cream shops) are beginning to serve this fresh corn, mayo, lime juice, butter, chili powder and cheese treat! It’s served two different ways: most commonly, on the cob but some places serve it in a cup (the corn is shaved off the ear and mixed with the mayo, lime etc).

Read below for trends 6-10.

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How Did Technicolor Hair Get To Be So Big?

How Did Technicolor Hair Get To Be So Big?

technicolor hair

My fabulous colorist, Jo Blackwell of Dop Dop Salon has been doing these dye jobs for years and even got me to dip my toe in the waters a few years ago with a teal rinse but I was not sold on the idea.

Now, however, this unicorn color wave is really blowing up. And based on what I saw on Snapchat this weekend from the Atlanta Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, this trend is still on the ascendancy. And, btw, big shout out to Keyshia Kaoir – your look ROCKS big time!!!

Here are a 5 reasons why this trend is only going to get BIGGER:

  • Celebrities are all in (and getting tons of coverage) for their rainbow hair colors e.g. Katy Perry, Kesha, Rita Ora, Tyra Banks, Miley Cyrus, YesJulz
  • 30K influencers at the Atlanta Bronner Hair Show this past weekend all about the pastel hair trend
  • It’s Instagram-worthy e.g. #pastelhair has 511,865 posts, #rainbowhair 288K
  • Pinterest features thousands of boards related to multi-hued hair color
  • YouTube is filled with tutorials (since 2014) on how to do multi-colored dye jobs

More pics below.

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Amazon Prime and Hyundai Partner Up: This Is Cool!

Amazon Prime and Hyundai Partner Up: This Is Cool!

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Here’s how it works: you book a test drive for the new Elantra thru Amazon Prime Now, they send the car (with a trained expert?) to your home or office for you to test drive for an hour. If you’re interested, you end up at the car dealership. That last part seems like a lot of pressure but….

Only running two weekends, ending on August 26-27 and only available in Los Angeles and Orange County. Presumably if all goes well, they might expand the program.

From a branding perspective, both brands benefit because it shows they’re game to try some cool new stuff.

Amazon and Hyundai, btw, have collaborated previously on an Amazon Alexa project for the Genesis.

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Aging is Trending: Here are 10 examples of the range of opportunities!

Aging is Trending: Here are 10 examples of the range of opportunities!

aging is trending

Aging 2.0 is where it’s at! And while youth must always be served, more companies are waking up to the power of the 75MM baby boomers whose annual economic activity amounts to $7.6 trillion. With the over-55 population projected to increase by 62% from 2010 to 2040 (vs. a 15% increase for 24-55 year olds), everybody is gearing up to jump on this new wave of aging.

Here are 10 recent examples:

1. Nike’s “Iron Nun” TV spot is amazing. Check out 86-year old Sister Madonna Buder’s new “Unlimited Youth” ad where she runs, bikes, and swims.

2. Older women increasingly showing up in fashion and beauty advertising e.g. Sissy Spacek, age 66, for Marc Jacobs (pic upper left above), Grace Coddington for Calvin Klein, Andie MacDowell for L’Oreal’s anti-ageing Revitalift.

3.Evelo: an electric bike company founded by Boris Mordkovich, a 30-year-old serial entrepreneur, who was inspired to develop products for the aging boomer market after he saw his parents using an electric bike that his brother had modified. The company has doubled its revenue to $4 million, and is profitable.

4. Foot care is a huge market. Bruce R. Katz (a founder of Rockport), reinvented himself in 2013 by starting the Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company to sell footwear to boomer men. “As people get older, walking is one of the most important exercises,” said Mr. Katz, a third-generation shoemaker.  The company logged $2 million in revenue in 2015 and expects to reach $12 million this year. (Former President Bill Clinton, who turns 70 this month, wears Samuel Hubbard’s sky blue shoes – see above.)

Read on below for examples 5-10.

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The new Zagat app is Gorgeous: quality of the reviews, not good

The new Zagat app is Gorgeous: quality of the reviews, not good

zagat

Google just launched their new Zagat app (above) for the iPhone. It is easy to navigate and I love the clean design and the functionality e.g. being able to make reservations directly from the app thru Open Table and Reserve. And thankfully, they’ve streamlined the rating system from 30 points to 5.

That said, from a quick browse around the site, I much prefer the quality of the reviews on Foursquare.

For example, on Zagat, I learn that Uncle Boon’s (my favorite Thai restaurant) is “different from the norm” and is in a ”knick-knack filled basement space.”

Foursquare, meanwhile, tells me it is ranked #1 for Thai restaurants in NY and recommends I get the Golden Curry, the banana blossom salad, the blowfish tails and the beer slushie (all amazing!!).

In my opinion, Foursquare has the best restaurant reviews because the people who use the site go out a lot and their frame of reference is excellent. They will never compare a fine dining restaurant to their experience at fast casual.  Zagat’s reviewers, on the other hand, seem more like yelpers.

However, foursquare has gotten old and buggy. I’m hoping they dial up their game in the face of this competition.

BOTTOM LINE: Love the design, ease of use and functionality of Zagat. For actual reviews, Foursquare is a winner by a landslide.

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Being a Good Listener is a Most Important Trait

Being a Good Listener is a Most Important Trait

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Some people are great listeners, I envy them! Some (like me) are way too likely to hear something interesting and immediately interrupt the speaker with what they want to add to the conversation. It’s a horrible habit. And I am making it a priority to fix it. It annoys me when I do it and I can’t imagine how exasperating it must be to anyone I am in a conversation with…..

I know I’m not the only one who has this infuriating habit, even professionals have it e.g. Charlie Rose would routinely interrupt his guests to add his two-bits which I found utterly annoying. But old dogs can learn new tricks. When he moved to CBS This Morning, he learned to listen and in the process, he turned into a much better interviewer on his own show. I’d love to know what training they gave him.

Mark Suster also has some great advice on how to become a better listener and why it’s so important for your business – as well as your personal life. He refers to non-listeners as Crocodile Salesmen: “Big mouth and no ears”  (always pitching, never listening!).

Suster’s favorite business (life) book — The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen Covey) — includes listening as one of the 7 habits, “seek first to understand, then to be understood.Per Suster, if you follow that mantra it will lead to more positive results in whatever you’re doing.

Listening has also been identified as a core soft skill for all entrepreneurs by smallbiztrends.com.

And finally, if you google listening vs. presenting, you’ll get 3 X as many results for talking vs. listening. I’m going to try to flip this around and make listening the priority:

  • How to become a better listener: 327MM results
  • How to become a better presenter: 947MM results
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