Observant Curiosity

Skillfully observant. Passionately curious. Absorbing it all.

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Trends: Holiday Shopping 2011

As much as I love the traditions of Christmas & the holiday season, it doesn’t exist to me until Santa has closed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not coming earlier and earlier each year. The gift guides are slowly popping up along with trends and predictions. Here’s a peek at some of the forecasts: 

Consumers are estimated to pick clothing over gadgets this shopping season.

  • Plan to buy more at Costco, less at Best Buy
  • Confidence still weak
  • However, purchases expected to increase from last year (est: 2.8% in sales in Nov & Dec)
  • 70% plan to purchase apparel (which is apparently the same as last year)
  • With focus on clothes over products, people will be willing to spend a little more on apparel
  • $824 is the expected amount for Consumers to spend on Holiday shopping

To read more about  the effect of fuel prices, lack of innovative electronics and “Let’s Rock Elmo” being predicted as one of the best toys, see here



  • 72% get gift ideas from Facebook I’m going to assume that Pinterest will gain a lead as idea generator 
  • 38% have already started shopping wait what?? pressure is on! 
  • Free shipping is the winning deal that makes people more likely to purchase from a specific retailer  – they’re less interested in   free returns
Do you buy yourself a holiday gift? 6 out of 10 consumers plan to spend an estimated $130.41 on themselves.
The theme is going from practical & necessity  to “everyday appropriate”…people will be willing to pay a little more but expect it to be versatile and provide a lot of use …giving them their money’s worth.
The free shipping everyone loves (see infograph) … brought to you by 20,000 additionally hired Fed Ex employees.
Oprah keeps her “Favorite Things” tradition alive….through her magazine. You wont be able to hear the audience’s gasps  but you will be able to rip out the pages for a shopping guide. So what made the cut ? Check out a few of her favorite things here.

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Link Gathering: The Street Vendor Project, Smarter Lunchrooms & Food Aversions

  • The Street Vendor Project : buy a protester a meal no matter where you are and support local vendors With Occupy Wall Street taking over street vendor territory, vendors have seen a decrease in revenue. To help support them a website was created to encourage continuing sales.
  • Smarter Lunchrooms 2011   Given that I’m not heavily involved in school systems since I don’t have kids, am not a teacher and have been out of school for a while, I’ve only been mildly aware of  the lunchroom debates. Since I had to be knowledgable of nutrition since I entered the school system (the perks of being a Diabetic) I was always focused on making the healthy choices…I never really thought about those who weren’t. That said I know taking away the pizza and forcing vegetables wont work – it’s about incorporating both and learning about a “well-balanced meal plan.”  However, the psychology minor in me is loving this article about how design and presentation are equally important in leading to healthy decisions.  It’s all about presentation people.
  • The Psychology of Food Aversions : our brain is just trying to protect us from being poisoned I am lucky to have not gotten violently ill in a long time (the whole going through College sober thing definitely helped with that) so while I may have love / hate relationships with certain foods no serious food aversions here. {Please don’t let me get food poisoning tonight…}
  • Retailers are expanding their product offering to become a one stop shop…in attempt of downsizing their square footage & going urban in the near future. Target offers more fresh fruit Walmart increase it’s Neighborhood Market grocery stores Walgreen, with it’s acquisition of Duane Reade  offers beauty services.

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Link Gathering: Laundry Packing, Girl Scouts pitch to CEO & Parents hide candy

It’s so common for us to throw a little extra detergent in with our load of laundry. Extra soap means that our jeans will become realllly clean right ? Maybe it’s fear of running a whole cycle with not enough soap resulting in a washer of wet still dirty clothes – wasting our time and money. Did you ever think that maybe it’s because we don’t know how much to actually put in? I mean, hey laundry was one of the first chores I learned, but think about it, how often do you pour out the detergent estimating the suggested line? They put it inside the cup, just enough to let us know it’s there to give a sense of help and direction but enough to be vague. And to guide us to add just a little bit more to make sure it’s enough.

Blog Her author, Spinneo, smartly points out this packaging design ….and suggests using a sharpie to outsmart the design. 

I was never a Girl Scout, the closest I ever got to a badge was what my American Girl Doll earned. Needless to say, any 12 and 13 year old that creates an app and gets the opportunity to pitch it to AT&T CEOs  gets impressive points from me.

 Children aren’t too happy when their parents tell them they ate all their Halloween Candy.

Parents submitted videos revealing how their kids reacted when they told them that their Halloween Candy was gone to Jimmy Kimball Live. Some people aren’t to please at subjecting kids to emotions for humor. Given that the kids will most likely get the candy back minus a piece or two I see it as harmless. But maybe that’s because I always knew I wasn’t getting my whole candy bag anyways. (yeah, put a Diabetic kid through Halloween – that’s cruel).

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Awesomeness: Movember & Birds

TOMS Shoes Movember {shefinds}

(what may be equally awesome – Picnik has a whole Movember section of icons)

Mr. CleanMashable announced that Mr. Clean is also getting in on the Movember action, becoming the first  & only icon in North America to become an ambassador for the cause.

–   Read all about MOVEMBER – 

                                                                                                                                                              Safe behind a screen this is amazing … in person it might be a little more terrifying

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Trends: At this rate Christmas really will be in July (retail)

10 points for Nordstrom.

We think it’s important to celebrate each holiday on its own so we’re doing it again this year. – Colin Johnson, company spokesman

Nordstrom knows what its customers want. And it’s not Christmas before Halloween.

While the holiday shopping season seems to come upon us earlier and earlier each year, Nordstrom is standing by tradition and wont haul out the decorations until the day after Thanksgiving.

We try to be careful about not being over promotional…Our customers appreciate it and it seems to work well for us. – Johnson

Read more about why it works here

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Link Gathering: Plus Size Salons, Sesame St Addresses Hunger & Vending Machine Pizza

Apparently as a result of overweight clients feeling discriminated against. I get it, I think. The movie scene of salons filled with glamorous people getting their weekly highlights amongst other spa treatments …or something like that. I usually just feel discriminated against for my dark circles & ragged look  of neglected “me time.”

The article interestingly asks if the aim is to comfort children facing the problem or to bring awareness to children who might not know their classmates struggles ? 

  •  Spotted in Marie Claire’s October issue, a collaboration between Sprint and fashion blogger Jessica Quirk from What I Wore, upon the release of her new book. Gary Kim touches upon it in his article. | Content Marketing Institute News
  • These days you can get anything from a vending machine: soda, bathing suits, candy, condoms and now freshly made pizza. Because hey, why not? | PSFK

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Link Gathering: Faxes, Gray Hair, Self Check Out & Holiday Vendors

Why do people still use fax machines? I hate when a venue/business will only operate through fax. Why not use email where you can make sure the document is received by the right person? Like myself, the author prefers reading print over digital for books and magazines but thinks faxes need to be marked obsolete. 

Now, while I have a whole slew of questions like why and what??, the most obvious one: wont this cannibalize sales of hair dye

  • Some supermarkets are cutting back on self-checkout lanes. So what sends people to the cashier lane? Some miss the human interaction (ie: customer service), others would rather skip over the slow machines, delays and confusions. | Supermarket Guru

I pretty sure half the time I use self-checkout lanes it requires me to call someone over, taking more time and frustration – and no smiles to be found in that situation.