Health Update: 9 Weeks in with MBT, Down 8 lbs, Feeling Fantastic!

Health Update: 9 Weeks in with MBT, Down 8 lbs, Feeling Fantastic!

 

My last post on my weight loss journey was on November 5th and I had lost 4 lbs in 20 days.

  •  Now, after 9 weeks (including Thanksgiving and numerous holiday parties), I’m down 8 lbs.
  • I have another 4 lbs to go (or potentially 9) depending on how far I want to take this.

The only reason I’m not giving MBT  my full 100% endorsement YET is that I want to have a lengthier experience with it. I want to make sure it’s a sustainable weight loss before I recommend it to one and all.

That said, I love the program so far and am fairly confident that my brain is being re-wired to reflect this new way of thinking about food. The experience reminds me of how my gym habit gradually developed – from never wanting to go, to now when I can’t imagine living without my early morning workout.

Read on below for more on MBT and what works for me. Also, changes I’ve made to my approach to food. And finally, stumbling blocks I have yet to fully overcome.

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Vivino’s 2018 Wine Awards: What the People are Drinking (or Want to)

Vivino’s 2018 Wine Awards: What the People are Drinking (or Want to)

 

Not sure if I 100% agree with the winners coming out of these awards but 26 million people have scanned and spoken. Although, when it comes to Italian wines, my favorite Barolo is not to be found! Instead, the people prefer Amarone, Brunello and Bolgheri’s Massetto.

The Vivino app, for those not familiar, is used to scan and rate more than 500,000 wines every single day.

Overall Standouts

  • France has the most categories on the list, with 39 different styles.
  • The highest rated wine goes to Chateau d’Yquem for its 1976 Bordeaux Sauternes, with an average rating of 4.92.
  • The #1 red is the 4.89 rated Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec blend, Viña Cobos Volturno 2010, owned by winemaker Paul Hobbs.
  • Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is the only producer that won in every single style of its country and racked up the most winners with 15 total winning wines.

Trends that Sparkle

Acclaim for Spanish Sherry

Comeback Kings

From a popularity standpoint, the following categories were tops in 2017:

  • Non-Vintage French Champagne
  • Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Argentinian Malbec
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Italian Chianti
  • Chilean Carménère
  • Portuguese Vinho Verde White
  • Spanish Rioja Red.

See below for more on Vivino, the world’s largest online wine marketplace.

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HQ TRIVIA GAME: Download it Now, Have Fun, Win Cash!!

HQ TRIVIA GAME: Download it Now, Have Fun, Win Cash!!

 

I just discovered this game – although it’s been around for 4 months (since August). It’s a lot of fun although I am dismal at it. Have yet to make it to 3 correct answers (sad).

  • HQ is currently only available for iPhones.
  • Download the free app and twice a day (at 3pm and 9pm), you get to play live trivia – complete with host and 300K fellow trivia nuts.
  • I played for the first time on Tuesday and got knocked out at my 3rd question. Since then, I have not made it past 2!
  • The questions haven’t been particularly hard – I just didn’t know the answers.

Here’s the deal:

 It’s a live game show with a standup comedian hosting (Scott Rogowsky, although there are occasional stand-ins).

  • After you download the app, they alert you a few minutes before a game is about to start.
  • The game consists of 12 multiple choice trivia questions (3 potential answers for each).
  • You have 10 seconds to answer (which is not long enough to google the answer).
  • You swipe on the answer you think is correct.
  • Once you get one wrong answer, you are knocked out of the game – although you can stay on the app and watch the remaining players.

Read on below for more info on the jackpot and the founders.

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Influencer Culture: Too Fake to Be Real?

Influencer Culture: Too Fake to Be Real?

 

The more I learn about the influencer ecosystem, the more bogus and shady it seems. I last wrote about this topic in September (and sadly now find two of my favorite influencers swept up in the ongoing sexual harassment scandal).

  • I still believe influencers can be effective if they are authentic experts and users of a brand or service e.g. Adrian Ballinger who has summited Mt. Everest seven times is believable when he touts the benefits of his sponsors, Eddie Bauer or La Sportiva.
  • Conversely, in image categories like cosmetics or fashion, any number of young modelly types can promote a lipstick or a pair of sneakers and influence millions of teen wannabees to do likewise.
  • However, even in cosmetics, it’s not always a sure thing. Kendall Jenner and her Estee Edit line for Lauder was apparently a total bust.
  • According to WWD: The primary reason it didn’t work is because she openly said she doesn’t like makeup. She told them [followers] repeatedly she’s not into cosmetics. (Perhaps, Lauder got the wrong Jenner. They should have gotten Kylie instead!!)

Read on below for top influencer trends – as well as watch-outs – as we head into 2018.

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#TravelTuesday: Top Travel Trends for 2018

#TravelTuesday: Top Travel Trends for 2018

#TravelTuesday: Petra, Nat Geo Around The World Trip

 

Two major trends I’m tapping into this week:

Trend 1.  #TravelTuesday, a top twitter hashtag, I will be using for the next couple of weeks and will report back on how it is impacting engagement.

Trend 2.  Travel is a top priority per the excellent new study from Synchrony Financial and the Atlantic (especially for the 50+ crowd and millennials).

Here are 3 highlights from the study:

1. Americans want to DO something, not just see something.

  • Travel for those in their 50s and 60s is all about doing and learning.
  • Millennials are traveling for longer periods of time—and trying to learn something from each trip
  • People are looking for experiences that are authentic and meaningful.

2. Our purchase patterns reflect the types of trips we’re taking.

  •  Traditional luggage sales are down —even as travel has grown—but backpack sales are way up.
  • Tour companies report a spike in sales of experience packages, such as Italian cooking courses. Conversely, sales of traditional multi-city European jaunts are dropping.

3. We’re traveling further, more often and to more remote places

  • The number of international flights booked by Americans increased by more than 4000% between 1950 and 2015.
  • We’re spending more time in places that are less similar to home
  • Over the past two decades, travel from the United States to Europe has increased by 47% but travel to most other regions has seen larger gains. Travel to the Middle East, for example, has risen by 406%.

Read on below for more travel trends for 2018 including info on transformative and isolation travel, hotel design trends and 5 top hospitality trends.

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73% of Americans Made a Major Purchase During the Last Year

73% of Americans Made a Major Purchase During the Last Year

 

Interesting new study by TD Bank that might bode well for the economy – although I often find that when “everybody” starts doing something, it’s a signal that there’s about to be a correction.

The study also has a few quirks that I find inconsistent with my experience with consumers e.g. millennials are the most brand loyal?

Nevertheless, there’s enough here to provide value. Here are 5 key takeaways:

#1  High spenders ($2000 or more) are more tech savvy.

  • They’re more likely to do their research on social media and blogs (32% compared with 21% of shoppers overall).
  • They’re also more likely to use retailers’ mobile apps (23% compared with 12% of shoppers overall).
  • Big spenders who made a purchase in-store were significantly less likely to buy during their first visit – 23% vs. 40% of all consumers.

 Read on below.

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NORDIC POLE WALKING: Expect to See More of This!

NORDIC POLE WALKING: Expect to See More of This!

 

Over the last couple of months I’ve seen small groups of people (Europeans?) strutting down the Bowery with their Nordic poles.

Didn’t give it much thought until this week, when I saw not only more Nordic pole walkers but, in another first, a very fit young couple on SpikeBoards (like longboard skateboards but instead of kicking off with their feet, they were each using a gigantic Nordic pole that looked almost like a golf club).

Of course, I had to investigate. This is what my research turned up:

Nordic pole walking is, according to some experts, the fastest growing fitness activity in the world.

  • Over 10 million enthusiasts regularly take part in what was originally used by cross country skiers in Finland as a way to stay fit during the summer.
  • It is highly popular in countries such as Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, the U.K., Germany and Canada.
  • According to recent statistics, 2 million Germans and 1.5 million Finns are regular Nordic walkers.
  • It is especially popular with women.

It is still in its infancy in North America. I did, however, find the American Nordic Walking Association (cool website, here).

  •  Nordic pole walking is highly recommended for people 55-plus who have joint problems but still want to be fit and active and get a great workout.
  • Using poles offloads weight from hips, knees and lower spine, and into the upper body, making it ideal for those with arthritis or lower back pain, or those easing back into activity after surgery.
  • It burns 20% more calories, and engages over 50% more muscles, than regular walking.
  • It is recommended by both the Arthritis and Parkinson’s Foundations as well as by physical therapists and sports medicine experts .

Read on below for more on the relatively new sport of SpikeBoarding. Invented in 2010 by Enrique Cubillo, it is being watched by many who believe it has the potential to become the next big sport.

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3 Tips for Hosting the Most Festive Holiday Parties

3 Tips for Hosting the Most Festive Holiday Parties

 

Had my Holiday Party this past Monday and it was stellar. I’ve written about how to host great parties previously so will only reiterate my top 3 tips:

 

#1:  DON’T DRINK AND HOST

 This is something I started doing a couple of years ago and I cannot tell you how much of a positive impact it has had on my parties.

  •  As the host it is easy to get stressed and drink too much which has way too many downsides to enumerate.
  • But the primary problem with a “toasted” host is that your party is now rudderless. So Just Don’t Do It! And I must add that as much as I like drinking, the positive outcome of being a sober host is so phenomenal that I don’t feel deprived at all. It’s 100% worthwhile.

 

#2:  KEEP IT EASY PEASY

Simple, not complicated is the way to go. Only serve things you can prepare in advance, no last minute slaving away in the kitchen. I don’t even do a Christmas tree because it is too much of a hassle to take down. However, I did do a wreath that I shamelessly copied from Katarina Matsson’s instagram (she’s the content director of ELLE Sweden). Hers is way chicer than mine but it was a big hit nevertheless.

I’ve also gotten more confident about how much food I really need. My preference is to have very little in the way of leftovers.

For this party, with 35 people, that ran for almost 6 hours, I served:

  • 4 salads (farro, barley, quinoa and black-eyed peas): based on the recipes, the salads could serve 20 people
  • 4 lbs of various cheeses
  • 4 lbs of cold cuts and saucisson sec
  • 2 lbs olives, dried tomatoes, cornichons, etc.
  • 2 large baguettes sliced
  • 4 boxes of crackers
  • Chocolates and cookies (not an excessive amount) – all from Jacques Torres
  • Fresh strawberries

 

HIRE THE BEST HELP YOU CAN AFFORD!!

 This is my second party with Kyle Banks and it was even more of a success than the previous one (my birthday, back in August).

  • A good server has the skills to make sure everything looks amazing and consistently keeps service dishes perfectly plated and clean.
  • Kyle also kept cheeses and charcuteries looking so appetizing even as people dug in.
  • Wine was served, platters were washed – AND he kept me hydrated with sparkling water.
  • And my guests love him – he’s a super cool, interesting guy.

 

Bottom Line: The Annual Holiday Party was a huge success (see more photos below).

Also, below read more on what is happening to corporate holiday parties (especially in the real estate industry known for their wild, over-the-top bashes).

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