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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Chanel Gabrielle: Best New Fragrance to Launch in Years

Chanel Gabrielle: Best New Fragrance to Launch in Years

 

This is how you turn a brand loyalist into a new fragrance customer.

I have been looking for a new fragrance for at least 10 years but never found anything I liked as much as my Jo Malone Orange Blossom.

  • But then, at my Christmas party this year, my friend Lauryn Chun arrived smelling absolutely heavenly.
  • Not only did she share the name of her new fragrance: Gabrielle by Chanel, she also gave me one of the small sample bottles the store had given her (very smart move on their part!)
  • I wore it a few times and at dinner recently, another friend couldn’t stop raving about how phenomenal my new fragrance smelled.
  • That was all I needed. The next day I went to Sephora, dropped over $100 and now have two favorite fragrances.
  • And then I also discovered that one of the flower notes that Gabrielle contains is Orange Blossom! No wonder I like it.

I’m also a big fan of their spokesperson, Kristen Stewart. Wrote about her last year because I love her look – never thought I would end up wearing her fragrance.

Read on below for more on the fragrance including the perfumer who created it.

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Howard Street NYC: The Most Creative and Cool Stretch of Downtown

Howard Street NYC: The Most Creative and Cool Stretch of Downtown

 

Howard Street is where you will find the newly opened, totally magnificent Roman and Williams GUILD (photo above).

It’s remarkable how much retail and culinary creativity has found its way to this short span of Howard Street – a mere 5 blocks from Center to Mercer Streets.

And that’s not all. Isn’t it beyond poetic that Howard is now anchored at one end by Le Coucou and at the other end, by the brand new La Mercerie (part of the GUILD). Both are part of the Starr Restaurant Group (and it gets even better? weirder? read below).

  •  Both restaurants were designed by Roman and Williams (my favorite design firm)
  • Le Coucou, located on the ground floor of the 11 Howard Hotel is helmed by chef Daniel Rose (formerly of Paris’ Spring restaurant). It has been one of the hottest spots in town, almost impossible to get a reservation – even for hotel guests.
  • Le Mercerie Cafe, in the newly opened GUILD is at 53 Howard. It is not yet open for dinner (daytime service only). The chef is Marie-Aude Rose, who also cooked at acclaimed Paris restaurant Spring — which is where she met her husband Daniel Rose, the chef at Le Coucou. How crazy is that?

Scroll down for more Howard Street highlights.

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Yoga vs. Meditation? Why Do the Most Successful People Meditate?

Yoga vs. Meditation? Why Do the Most Successful People Meditate?

 

Is it too early to call an end to yoga madness?

  • Yoga has become big business. From 2012 to 2016, the number of Americans practicing yoga — three-fourths of them women — doubled to 37 million, creating a $17 billion industry.
  • As it became super trendy, it got more gimmicky with studios concocting fads like beer yoga, ganja yoga, and even goat yoga, to distinguish themselves in an overcrowded field.
  • As we’ve seen with many other fads from zumba to P90X, what goes up invariably comes down and yoga studios are indeed starting to close.

Having just finished reading Tribe of Mentors, I would say, YES, the time is right for a more mindful approach:

  • What struck me in reading this fantastic book was the frequency with which meditation was mentioned (at least three-quarters of these high performers meditate).
  • At the same time, there was only a single mention of yoga (in 600 pages). I thought that was telling.

Read on below.

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Marc Lore: My Retail Hero and Mastermind of the Walmart Miracle

Marc Lore: My Retail Hero and Mastermind of the Walmart Miracle

 

Here’s proof positive that one strong, motivated person with a clear vision for the future can have a HUGE impact on any business – and in a surprisingly short period of time.

  • Marc Lore, President and CEO of U.S. e-commerce at Walmart was just named Executive of the Year by Retail Dive.
  • And Jeff Bezos may finally have met his match.
  • Too early to say this with any certainty but as someone who has shopped both brands, I see Amazon starting to lag while Walmart feels completely energized.

Read on below for more on my firsthand experiences with the Walmart turnaround since Marc Lore has been at the helm.

PLUS info on a retail concept Amazon is currently testing in NYC, the Calvin Klein x Amazon pop up.

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Year in Google Search: What was Trending in 2017

Year in Google Search:  What was Trending in 2017

This is GENIUS. So revealing about the world and what we’re most intrigued, worried and entertained by. On many levels, 2017 was a TOUGH YEAR.

  • Based on this list, people sought out survival information e.g. on hurricanes (how to board up windows) as well as other natural disasters (e.g. how do wildfires start).
  • Besides floods and fires, we googled shootings, refugees, North Korea, nuclear war, building the wall.
  • We are also insatiably curious about sex scandals with top searches for Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
  • Political awareness is through the roof as is involvement in elections (e.g. how do you make protest signs).
  • “How” is the way the majority of searches start. Highly recommend scrolling down to watch the video below – 2 minutes well spent.

One item on the list totally caught me off guard:

  •  SLIME. Who would have thought How to Make Slime would come in as a #1 search item?
  • In researching further, I found the internet’s obsession with slime has nothing to do with Nickelodeon (as I had thought) but instead with slime as a Thai stress relief product.

Per High Snobiety:

  • There are 6 million Instagram posts tagged #slime as well hundreds of YouTube tutorials – some with over 18 million views teaching you how to make your own goo.
  • Teenage girls almost exclusively run the slime market. They serve both as trendsetters and businesswomen when it comes to slinging their goo mixtures for roughly $7-10 per tub.
  • Check out Prim Pattanaporn’s Instagram account SparklyGoo. At 23, she’s a grande dame of slime, with other creators being as young as 11. Videos on SparklyGoo give you a good look at the product and why it’s so fascinating for people.

Read on below for more google searches for 2017.

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Health Trends for 2018: Never Too Old To Get Healthy. Merry Xmas!!

Health Trends for 2018: Never Too Old To Get Healthy. Merry Xmas!!

Source: Futurity.Org Photo Credit: Getty

 

WHY AM I WRITING THIS TODAY?

Because good health is the BEST gift you can give yourself. It’s better than anything you might find boxed up under a tree. And although sickness strikes randomly there is also a lot we can do for ourselves to increase our chances of leading healthier, longer, better lives.

 

#1:  OLDER AMERICANS ARE GETTING HEALTHIER.  AT LEAST SOME ARE.

Fascinating study from the University of Michigan exploring what distinguishes the healthiest people over-65 vs. those not so healthy.

  • A graduate degree was the biggest differentiator between those in excellent health vs. those in poor health.
  • Other major differentiators were wealth and race.

What I found so intriguing about this new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, is how they flipped the script.

  •  In the past, when measuring changes in health over time, researchers would always focus on the sick and disabled.
  • With this study, however, they focused on older Americans who have managed to stay in excellent health.
  •  It isn’t necessarily more comprehensive, but it does provide new perspective and unique insights into how Americans manage to stay healthy.

Lead author Matthew Davis, assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Nursing explained:

  • “Prior to our work, little was known about healthy older adults. Our argument is that using poor health as a measure of population health is analogous to making conclusions about the economy based only on the poverty rate.”

If this subject is of interest, read more here.

 

#2:  REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

Walking just 30 minutes a day will go a long way toward making you healthier, extend your lifespan and potentially save you from heart disease.

People in the 7-year study who met the physical activity guidelines:

  • Were 30% less likely to die during the time of the study
  • 20% less likely to develop heart disease
  • You don’t even have to go to the gym. Walking or biking to work or taking the stairs all count towards the physical activity guidelines.
  • Link for more from Live Science here.

 

Read on below for an update on arthritis (my personal nemesis) including info on Kittie Weston-Knauer, the 69 year old female BMXer who just had both her hips and both her knees replaced in a 12 month span and is right back on her bike. Impressive!!

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Want to Hang With the Ultra-Wealthy? Here are Their Top Spots Per Wealth-X

Want to Hang With the Ultra-Wealthy? Here are Their Top Spots Per Wealth-X

 

Most interesting discovery  – Wealth-X  – a company that tracks where the ultra-wealthy have homes, whether it’s their primary residence or a second or third home.

The report cites the cities where you’re most likely to rub shoulders with the ultra wealthy. Number #1 on the list is Monaco where the density of the rich is at its peak.

The report also looks at the places where the wealthy buy the most real estate. Topping that list is my city, New York.

While most of us find it a pleasant pastime to fantasize about such a lifestyle, tracking and pitching the ultra-rich is a serious business for the sellers of luxury goods as well as for fundraisers and portfolio managers.

Per Fortune Magazine, Wealth-X (and its competitors) are used by most large global banks, most Ivy League schools, every yacht manufacturer, many high-end retailers and an increasing number of casinos.

Read on below for Wealth-X’s synopsis of their own findings. If this is of interest, I highly recommend you also read Real Deal’s take on it. Fascinating to explore the tribal movements of the ultra-wealthy around the globe.

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