Astrology Is More Popular Than Ever. Here’s Why.

Astrology Is More Popular Than Ever. Here’s Why.

Lower left: Madalyn Aslan (my favorite astrologer and palmist)

 

I’m not particularly new-agey, but I do believe a good astrologer can point you in the right direction.

Which is why I booked a reading with my favorite astrologer and palmist, Madalyn Aslan, (pic above left) exactly a week ago today. I needed clarity about 2018 so it was important to get this reading in on the last day of 2017.

Let me start by saying, I have had life-changing experiences thru astrology.

However, I don’t get readings often – only when I run into a wall and am flummoxed about what I should do next. That’s when I look for higher level insights about paths that may not be obvious to me. What I look for in a reading is a spark of an idea – and when it is right, I feel it intuitively.

I’ve always enjoyed horoscopes as entertainment but in 1986 I had my first reading. 

This is what happened:

  •  I arrived at the astrologer’s apartment (I don’t remember her name) and before I even had my coat off, she said, “Irma, why are you looking for a job when you should have your own business?”
  • I was stunned. First, I was looking for a job and second, I had never, in my life, considered being an entrepreneur but the moment she said it, it clicked for me.
  • I went to see her one more time. Again, everything she predicted, happened!
  • Within two months I had my business up and running and had signed up a retainer client (exactly as she had foretold). I never looked back and never regretted this decision. I also doubt I would have taken this step without the astrologer’s suggestion.

It was an amazing introduction to the power of astrology and the intuitiveness of the psychic world. Over the next 20 years I had a couple of readings with Frank Andrews who was very renowned but we were never in sync. I don’t recall a single thing he told me that “clicked” for me.

This is a very important aspect of astrology. The more you and your astrologer are on the same wavelength, the more you will get out of it.  In many respects it’s no different to other professionals – your lawyer, dentist, hairdresser, accountant – they can all have similar skill sets, but at the end of the day, the one who delivers superior results for you, will frequently be the one who best “gets you.”

Read on below for more on my experiences with Madalyn as well as some of the daily astrologers I follow online.

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Air Fryer: Top Trend on Pinterest, Up a Whopping 1809% in 2017

Air Fryer: Top Trend on Pinterest, Up a Whopping 1809% in 2017

 

Invented by Philips in 2010: STILL one of the hottest kitchen gadgets.

For healthy home cooks who also love fried foods, this is your must-have kitchen gadget. I’d seen it around but fried foods are not my thing, so went right over my head.

But when it became the BIGGEST trend on Pinterest, it got my attention:

  • Air fryer pins increased 1,809% in 2017
  • Brussels Sprouts and tater tots are among the most popular recipe items (on both Pinterest and Google)

On Google Trends, the growth spurt for “Air Fryer” searches was also impressive.

  • It really popped over Thanksgiving/Black Friday especially for Walmart
  • Based on google, Cuisinart is a top brand.
  • Other brand names breaking out: Nuwave and Haier.

And in case there is anybody out there who doesn’t know what an air fryer is:

  • It’s a self-contained, countertop convection oven cooker that promises the taste and texture of deep-fried food, but with just a fraction of the oil, a fraction of the time, and a fraction of the kitchen skill.
  • There’s actually no frying going on inside your air fryer.
  • From most reviews I’ve read, the taste of air fryer food isn’t quite on a par with real deep-fried foods but the process is just so much easier, cleaner and hassle-free.
  • BOTTOM LINE: Most people feel the taste differential is minimal and they’d rather go the easy route. Air Fryer WINS.

See below for more.

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Sherry is Back in Vogue? I Don’t Believe This, Do You?

Sherry is Back in Vogue? I Don’t Believe This, Do You?

 

I remain skeptical that sherry is having a moment. I am out and about a lot, generally at pretty cool places, and NOBODY – and I mean NOBODY – has ever ordered a sherry in my vicinity.

But this week, at Ludlow House, I sidled up to the bar and asked the head bartender about sherry and he became ecstatic. He offered me a glass of Lustau Amontillado. It’s interesting but definitely an acquired taste.

Another comeback I am hearing about is rum. I was equally skeptical, but it turns out that both Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled have liquor deals with Bumbu Rum out of Barbados (launched April 2016?). More on this below.

But let’s start with what’s going on with sherry:

According to Majestic Wine, out of the UK, they’ve seen a 25% increase in sales of sherry in 2017. They claim it’s being newly popularized by millennials who love to be seen, out and about, sherry glass in hand.

Currently trendy in sherry circles: pale fino or manzanilla, served ice cold in a wine glass (as opposed to a traditional sherry glass)

Aldi recently introduced a fino and amontillado to their Exquisite Collection of wines (the surest sign that sherry may actually be a thing in Aldi’s European markets).

And it’s not just sherry that’s undergoing a renaissance. Port sales are up 18% and Madeira is up 224%.

On Google Trends, the uptick for sherry primarily comes from one country (Ireland) driven by searches for “How to make sherry trifle?”

I will keep an eye on this but remain skeptical. But big shout out to the PR team! Good job.

 

Read on below for what’s going on with rum. And as a counterpoint to all this boozery, the growth of Dry January.

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Real Estate: One of the Best Barometers of Trends for 2018

Real Estate: One of the Best Barometers of Trends for 2018

 

Why write about the real estate market?

Because the real estate market is one of the most in-tune economic barometers for tracking important shifts in lifestyle, the workplace, retail and hospitality.

 

Here are 5 of the most compelling trends/opportunities coming out of real estate market.

 

#1: INDUSTRIAL WAREHOUSES AND DISTRIBUTION CENTERS

  •  E-commerce sales are booming and expected to reach $700 billion by 2022.
  • Companies like Amazon and walmart.com need massive amounts of space, close to major population centers, to get products to customers within hours, not days.
  • In the Atlanta area, 17 million square feet of new industrial space is currently under construction and in California’s Inland Empire, nearly 28 million square feet is being built.
  • One of the most promising new opportunities: “mini-distribution hubs” (approx. 60,000 sq. ft) for last mile delivery.

Read on below for trends 2-5.

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Swedish Death Cleaning: This is the Kind of Decluttering I Can Get Behind!

Swedish Death Cleaning: This is the Kind of Decluttering I Can Get Behind!

 

Thank you Jamie Dwyer for putting this on my radar. Margareta Magnusson’s book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter was published yesterday (Jan 2, 2018) by Scribner.

It’s gotten a lot of buzz and in digging into it, I feel it is right up my alley. I will be using its principles for my annual spring cleaning. I haven’t done a major purge in a long time and am up to my eyeballs in stuff I don’t need or want anymore. (Blogging keeps me too busy to declutter apparently.)

Now before you get all gloomy, here are the details:

Swedish Death Cleaning – or the much nicer, Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – is about decluttering with the end in mind.

But it’s also about living a more streamlined existence today, unburdened by all the junk we accumulate month after month.

I feel anyone, of any age, can get better organized using this method.

And similar to Marie Kondo’s decluttering method which revolves around asking key questions about whether items give us joy, this method asks us to consider the following:

  • What will happen to this item after I die, will it be of value to anyone in my life?
  • Will this item be a burden to my family/friends after I’m gone?
  • Does this item reveal some secret about me that I’d rather not have people know?
  • Is this a meaningful item/keepsake that somebody would like?
  • Will anyone be happier if I save this?

Bottom Line: You keep the items that you enjoy using/wearing/displaying and toss, or donate, anything that doesn’t serve a purpose for you anymore. And same as Kondo, she recommends you start with the least personal items and leave photos and mementos for last since they tend to bog us down and slow the decluttering process.

Read on below for more on this method.

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It’s Jan 2, 2018 Which Means? Nose to the Grindstone!

It’s Jan 2, 2018 Which Means? Nose to the Grindstone!

 

2017 felt like a tough year. Although the stock market was booming, people were stressed. EVERYTHING was tinged by politics and nothing made much sense e.g. can anyone explain Bitcoin’s crazy pricing?  Or the fact that the stock market rocketed 20% (maybe it’s the Russians?)

As we head into 2018, I anticipate another difficult year – although the burgeoning cannabis industry may provide a mellowing influence. I have no idea which way the stock market will go – it increasingly operates untethered from reality. I do expect politics to continue to be front and center, infiltrating every aspect of business (which is strange considering the administration ran on getting out of the way of business).

Here are 5 business trends I’m keeping an eye on this year.

1. Tech/Silicon Valley loses its allure, takes on the attributes of Wall Street

Technology which has been so remarkable and such a great equalizer is losing its cachet. Look for the industry to continue to be demonized much as Wall Street and hedge funders have been in the past.

  • Tech companies are seeing themselves blamed for everything from gentrification to income inequality to lack of diversity in hiring.
  • Facebook is facing congressional hearings for their role in running Russian-backed ads that may have impacted the outcome of the U.S. elections. They’re also in hot water for spreading fake news and most recently for using their algorithms to exclude older workers from seeing certain job postings.
  • Apple, while still doing well (trillion dollar company), feels like it’s on a downward spiral. Although I am not ready to move on, it doesn’t feel exceptional anymore and I wish there was an alternative for me because I don’t see Apple getting their mojo back anytime soon.
  • Tech IPO’s are no longer a sure thing. Most recent losers: Snap, Blue Apron.
  • Overall, watch for tech to be regulated both here and abroad.

Read on below for more.

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Here We Go, 2018: My New Year’s Resolutions

Here We Go, 2018: My New Year’s Resolutions

 

2017 all wrapped up. Not in Times Square last night freezing my a** off but cozily at home with a great bottle of Barolo.

And 2018 is starting out frozen but great. I’m happy to be doing my thing, contemplating the year ahead, excited about fresh starts, new discoveries and lots of travel!

  • My trip to the Antarctica is now only 2 weeks away.
  • I am beyond excited about my planned 6-week sojourn in the Nordic countries in June/July.
  • And then, as if that’s not enough, will be wrapping up the summer with another state fair. This time, Wisconsin in August. So a good mix of global and domestic trips.

Above all else, I want to take everything to another level in 2018.

  •  Madalyn Aslan, my astrologer and palmist, just told me that my stars are aligned to make 2018 a gigantic year. I need to think more globally, I need to have the guts to say what I feel, to stop holding back.
  • Overall, I must be bolder with my insights and predictions. I’m working on it Madalyn!!

So with that as a backdrop, read on below for my three resolutions for 2018.

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The Opinionator’s 17 Most Popular Posts of 2017

The Opinionator’s 17 Most Popular Posts of 2017

 

In reviewing my most popular posts of 2017, here are 3 things I learned:

  1. Writing about a company on the cusp of an emerging trend will get you lots of traction (e.g. I first wrote about Herschel backpacks back in 2015) and as that brand got more popular, my post continued to show up in searches. My post about Open Table is getting similar traffic – and will for years to come since it is only now dawning on people how many restaurants are abandoning Open Table.
  2. Honest storytelling – and opening up about your vulnerabilities – attracts readers. People gravitate to the the personal e.g. my weight-loss saga.
  3. People want to learn and discover new things – especially if they trust your point of view e.g. Nat Geo trips, Des Moines as a cool weekend destination, how to host a great party.

And finally, and most importantly, the content has to be original.

 

Read on below for the 17 top posts 0f 2017.

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