The Curator News Feed: October 17, 2014

"Time is Ticking Out" by mao_lini is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There's an interesting Reddit thread that attempts to explain why, as we get older, time feels like it's speeding up. The reasoning boils down to: (1) When you're a kid, everything is new and interesting, and being inundated with new input (oh look, a leaf!) all day long makes it seem like everything takes a long time; and (2) When you're young, a year is a significant percentage of your life, whereas once you're 20 or 30, a year really doesn't represent that much of your life so far.

Anyway, that's why you're like Holy shit, it's October 17? right now.

Here are some links, and some highlights of Curator clients in the news.

This Flaming Hot Cheetos Bagel Looks Insanely Delicious (Photos), Elite Daily. Dorito bagel. Mmm.... - Ann Marie

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015, TopRank. Agree with these or disagree? I like that we're seeing a consistent thread of thinking around leaving "promotional" digital marketing and heading toward simply being helpful. - Scott

Brogamats Are Yoga Mats For Guys, Buzzfeed. Saw this and immediately thought of Paul and Shawn. Now you two can bro-out over crockpots and brogamats! - Jennifer (Editor's note: Paul and Shawn are not doing this, but they do love crockpots.)

Michelle Obama Makes Best Vine Ever for 'Turnip For What’, Jezebel. Brilliant. Cue the deranged commenters. - Ann Marie

Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users, The Guardian. Creepy shit. - Ann Marie

Let’s Get Interactive: Bluetooth Beacons, Storytelling and Mobile at Seattle Interactive, Flip the Media. One of my professors in the Comm Lead program showcased his new app, Mixby, at the Seattle Interactive conference. - Maren

Shep Smith's rejoinder to "irresponsible" Ebola coverage, Fox News. Everyone—particularly mainstream media (including Fox)—needs to chill out.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Shopping Block Is Coming to Brea Mall

This Saturday, October 18, from noon to 5 p.m., an event merging the digital and physical experiences of fashion is coming to Orange County, CA's Brea Mall, one of our Simon clients, and I’m excited to experience such an innovative event firsthand. It’s called The Shopping Block, and it’s a totally new retail experience in partnership with the amazing Refinery29 that is targeted toward millennials, who often merge online and in-person experiences together. The pop-up mini-marketplace offers a way to build a connection with local shoppers and influencers that reflect the way they shop and explore fashion across multiple channels. What’s cool about The Shopping Block is the interplay between what’s trending locally, and national retail brands, set against the backdrop of the mall landscape.

This Saturday, October 18, from noon to 5 p.m., an event merging the digital and physical experiences of fashion is coming to Orange County, CA's Brea Mall, one of our Simon clients, and I’m excited to experience such an innovative event firsthand.

It’s called The Shopping Block, and it’s a totally new retail experience in partnership with the amazing Refinery29 that is targeted toward millennials, who often merge online and in-person experiences together.

The pop-up mini-marketplace offers a way to build a connection with local shoppers and influencers that reflect the way they shop and explore fashion across multiple channels.

What’s cool about The Shopping Block is the interplay between what’s trending locally, and national retail brands, set against the backdrop of the mall landscape.

At Brea Mall’s event, in celebration of “indie-lux” style, indie boutiques like Highlow Jewelry, Crap Eyewear, Cult Gaia, Mimot Studio, Cleobella, Joelle Hawkins, Mr. Kate and Jill Aiko Yee will all be on hand, with additional style representation from City Chic, Ann Taylor, GUESS, Marciano, Express, Vans and H & M.

In addition to browsing the latest trends for fall and seeking style advice from onsite stylist concierges, the event will offer opportunities to interact and socialize, including a DIY Station where shoppers can personalize a tote bag inspired by current runway trends, and a Beauty Bar where they can get the scoop on the latest beauty tips during mini-makeover sessions. 



TV personality and blogger Grasie Mercedes and DJ Lola Langusta will also act as hosts to welcome shoppers and guide them through the experience.

Brea Mall was chosen of one of just six of Simon's premier shopping centers across the nation to showcase The Shopping Block, with Brea’s event marking the only experience slated for the West Coast.

The Shopping Block was also held at King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, South Shore Plaza in Massachusetts, Dadeland Mall in Florida and Houston Premium Outlets in Texas. It will wrap up the six-city tour at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York on October 25.

If you want to check out the event in real-time, make sure to follow the hashtags #TheShoppingBlock and #FoundAtSimon, as well as visit Brea Mall’s FacebookTwitter or Instagram pages to view updates from the event.

Attendees who post their style on Instagram or Twitter using #FoundAtSimon #Contest will be entered to win a $500 gift card from Simon. Refinery29 editors will select the best Shopping Block inspired entry in October.

Don’t forget to stop by and say hi if you’re in Brea!

How To Make A Heat-Map In Excel

Quick mental exercise: When I say “Microsoft Excel,” what’s the first thing you think of? Wait, don’t tell me—I can probably guess:

  • Excel? That shit is my jam!
  • Ain’t no party like an Excel party, ‘cause an Excel party don’t stop!
  • Poppin’ data into cells—like a blizzard / when we analyze-data, we do it right, gettin’ slizzerd….

No? Just me…?

Whatever, look: If you’re the average person, yes—Excel is probably boring. But it can do some awesome stuff and make you feel really smart.

One of the things you can do really easily is create a heat-map, using a tool called Conditional Formatting. I’ll show you how to do it here, and it shouldn’t take you more than about five minutes.

What you’ll need:

  • Some data (pull maybe the last six months of your Facebook posts, for this example).
  • Excel (ideally for Mac, because that’s what these screenshots are from).

STEP 1 – Organize Your Data

For this example, I’ll be using a heat-map to decipher what the best times-of-day are to post to a Facebook page. The first thing we’ll need to do is clean up the raw data Facebook gives us, so:

  •  Delete the top row of descriptive tags, and;
  • Add a new column next to the “Posted” column, and call it “Day of Week.”

STEP 2 – Add In Days Of The Week

In the first “Day of Week” cell, type this formula:

=TEXT(d2, “ddddddd”)

Hit Enter, and you’ll see a day of the week appear—that day should correspond to the date in the “Posted” column*. Now click and hold on the little blue square that appears in the bottom-right of that selected cell. Drag it all the way to the bottom of your data set, and you’ll now have days of the week associated with all your posts*.

*Those are bonus Cool Things That Excel Does.

STEP 3 – Make A PivotTable

Yet another Cool Thing Excel Does! #Learning, amirite???

This one’s easy: Click anywhere in your spreadsheet, click Data at the top of the screen and click PivotTable. Click OK. Done.

STEP 4 – Organize Your PivotTable

A PivotTable basically groups data so you can start to make sense of it. Click anywhere in the PivotTable, and you’ll see the builder show up. In the builder, drag “Posted” into the row field, and “Day of Week” into the column field. Then go find “Engaged Users” and drag that into the data field.

Next, move your cursor over to the PivotTable itself. Click anywhere in the “Posted” rows, right-click, hover over Group and Outline, and click Group. Tell it you want to group by Hours.

At this point, you should be looking at something like this:

OPTIONAL: Average out your Engaged Users data.

At this point, the data in the middle of your chart will be totals. That’s useful, but it’s also not necessarily representative of how all your data performed. If, for instance, you posted 100 times on Wednesdays at noon, and you only posted twice on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., the totals will give you the impression that Wednesdays at noon are a better time to post.

Averages can help that, but not fix it entirely. You’ll still need to pay attention to sample size—how many times you posted during each time. The way to get that data is to remove Engaged Users (just drag it out of the Values field in the builder) and replace it with Posted. When you drop Posted into Values, you should see that it’s showing you a count of Posted, as opposed to a sum or average. That count shows you how many times you posted during the times listed.

STEP 5 – Heat It Up

This is the easiest part.

Highlight all the data in the middle of the table you’ve created. Do not highlight the times of day or days of the week. Now go up to the ribbon at the top of Excel, and click on the Home tab. Click Conditional Formatting and hover over Color Scales.


From here, you can pick any color scheme you want, and even customize one. I like the one that goes from red (on top) to blue (on the bottom) because that’s your standard hot-to-cold heat map. Here’s what your table will look like once you’ve selected an option:

Now you can visually scan your chart and get an idea of when your best times to post are. Remember, this is only to give you an idea—you need a lot of data before you can draw any definitive conclusions about what it’s telling you.

If you want to string together spreadsheets (i.e. download multiple Facebook spreadsheets over several years) to build up your data, that’s an option. Just remember that all kinds of things can bias the results you see:

  • Post types
  •  Length of posts
  • Content
  • Context
  • Quality

Play around with all the variables and analyze your results to make sure you’re getting a full picture. In other words, keep that crazy-ass Excel party going for as long as possible. 

The Curator News Feed: October 10, 2014

This week we thought we'd try something new. In addition to sharing our favorite reads from around the world wide web, we wanted to highlight some of the places you can read about our clients this week. Have a great weekend!

Curator Picks

talkingfood on Instagram. My new favorite Instagram account! - Brooke

The Most Extravagant Gifts From The Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalog. Talk about a holiday gift guide! - Chelsey

The Best Beer From Every State. I love maps. And beer is quite nice, too. - Ann Marie

The 5 Stages of Louis C.K.'s Amazing Twitter Rant on Evolution. Louis C.K. went on a weird/brilliant Twitter rant this week that simultaneously showcased why Twitter is awesome, and why your grandmother will never get it. - Paul

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager: How to Spend Time on Social Media. As a social media manager, there are a lot of ways to organize your time. Here are like, a bunch of them. - Paul

Virgin Hotels. I love how Virgin is going traditional category by traditional category and innovating it. It's about the experience! - Scott

Teens Prefer Twitter to Facebook (But Instagram is Number One). I feel like there's some weird data thing going on here, and Facebook better hope there is, because: "45 percent of teenagers say that they are now using Facebook, compared to 72 percent in Spring 2014." - Paul

Comment on Greenpeace campaign and the LEGO® brand. Greenpeace video pushes Lego to announce they won't renew their partnership with Shell, but not without a dig at their tactics. LEGO: Everything Is Not Awesome. Good example of savvy storytelling pushing big brands to change course - this is pretty tight. - Shawn

The Washington Post Regains Its Place at the Table. If you're not reading The Washington Post, add them to your list, because they are absolutely killing it lately. - Paul

Digital is the New Arrival in Retail

Photo Credit: WWD

Fall is always such a fun season for fashion. I mean we have the September issue of Vogue, Fashion Week, plus a change in weather, which means a true wardrobe shift. It’s the time of year when I personally pay the most attention to the industry and often find myself making lists of items I need to add to my closet this year. 

Lucky for me, I get to track trends and dabble in the retail industry for work. But aside from the fashion trends themselves, it’s always interesting to see what brands are doing to stay top of mind and reinvent themselves. The integration of social media and digital elements in-store has become more commonplace, but I still get excited to see what retailers will try out next. 

I think that’s one of the reasons I am so eager to see what Bloomingdale’s has up their sleeve for their new concept store, opening this week at our client Stanford Shopping Center. It’s no surprise that this department store chose Silicon Valley to be the first market to see this “reimagined” store. 

The new store is actually smaller (125,000 square-feet) than the older space, which stood at 220,000 square-feet, but still plays home to the 68 designer shops within.

In a recent interview with Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), Bloomingdale's chairman and CEO, Tony Spring, shared that this is the model of the future, and a way to compliment flagship stores in the same or nearby markets. 

In Silicon Valley fashion, the new Palo Alto location at Stanford Shopping Center includes high-tech features like sleek dressing rooms equipped with iPads for shoppers to use to browse items and request them in alternate sizes by sending a message to sales associates. Staff will also be able to ring up customers on the floor using handheld technology vs a register. Did I mention the dressing rooms also have adjustable lights? Finally someone understands the importance of making shoppers want to try things on in-store! 

I’ll be traveling to the property later this month, so lookout for Instagrams (@Cmallodi@CuratorPR) of this crazy cool new store!

** Photo Credit: Women's Wear Daily

The Curator News Feed: October 3, 2014

Today we celebrate October 3rd, a date made special by Mean Girls. We are also sharing our favorite picks from the Internets this week. Happy Friday!

Danny Macaskill: The Ridge. Watch danny go.. 3:50 your palms get sweaty, and at 6:00 you pretty much scream "SHUT YOUR FACE!" at your screen... - Shawn

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Logos Are Ingeniously Redesigned for Breast Cancer Awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what better way to pay homage than these redesigned social logos? - Chelsey

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. If you're at all fascinated by career advice or the field of journalism, you've gotta check out this Q&A Brian Williams did on Facebook. - Paul

“Ghostbusters”-Themed Doughnuts Are Coming To Krispy Kreme Today. Must.Buy. - Noelle

Heirloom Popcorn Helps a Snack Reinvent Itself. Well I'll be damned! An answer to how popcorn could possibly be reinvented. Look at those precious, tiny little ears of corn. - Ann Marie

4 Things Jessica Alba Wants You to Know About Her Booming Lifestyle Brand. But Alba said she prefers listening over talking and likes to personally scan responses to posts across social networks. For example, one fan posted an Instagram comment that began, "You probably won't even see this" and went on to explain that she loved Honest products but could no longer afford to use them. Alba said she made sure that the woman would receive the product for free as long as she needed. - Brooke

The #HungerGrams: Week One

Hello tributes, welcome to week one of The #HungerGrams. We’re 10 days in and all tributes are still in play for our Instagram challenge.

As of today, it's a tie for the top performing photo. In the lead we have Day 4 "American" by Chelsey and Day 5 "Snack-a-clock" by Ann Marie, which both earned 16 likes. 

Want to join us for the remaining 90 days? Upload your Instagram corresponding with the day’s theme with #hungergrams.

May the filter be ever in your favor! 

News Nerd Alert: Is There a Role for Drones in Journalism?

Credit: YouTube

Credit: YouTube

I’m a news nerd. I love to delve into the influences that will shape the way people gather, share and consume news in the future. Innovations in consumer technology and the contributions of citizen journalism are fascinating. Lately, I’ve been keeping an eye on the debate over the use of drones to gather video footage. Sure, there was that one guy who lost his drone in a Yellowstone National Park hot spring. Oops! But are they a significant safety risk? And is the heightened concern over privacy real? I tend to believe there are some very practical (and pretty cool) uses for drones in journalism. 

This week, a building in Seattle caught fire in a well populated area. Reporters on the scene shared their stories, with photos, video and interviews. Station helicopters circled the area from a safe distance. And peopled grabbed their phones and began taking and sharing photos and video of the event. Soon, both traditional and social media was full of images from the scene. 

A business owner down the street from the fire sent his drone up into the air and captured aerial footage of what was happening. It’s pretty compelling. Here is GeekWire’s story including the footage. The comments quickly get into speculation about FAA rules and discussion on why newsrooms aren’t already using drones.

CBS shared drone footage to provide context for the size of the pro-democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong. And Wired shared this amazing story on a team that sent a quadcopter above a fiery volcano in Iceland.

In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, I think there are some pretty amazing opportunities. What’s your take? Tweet me your thoughts at @amricard. 


Fall Trends Hit the Runway in San Diego

Last week marked the official arrival of fall, and that of course means it’s time for a wardrobe makeover! It’s finally cooling down a (teeny) bit in SoCal, so it was only fitting that Curator client Fashion Valley, San Diego’s premier retail shopping destination, marked the stylish arrival of the season with its annual Fall Fashion in the Valley runway shows.

Fall fashion took center stage at Fashion Valley, with a showcase of the latest trends from retailers like AllSaints, Halston Heritage, HUGO by Hugo Boss, Joe's Jeans, Scotch & Soda, Ted Baker, and more.

Check out my Top 3 personal favorite trends from the event’s two runway shows below:

Capes  (C. Wonder)

The cape is the new statement piece for fall, perfect over a holiday dress to add a bit of polish to your evening wear, or even with jeans to add some class to a more casual look. This one from C. Wonder is adorable with the polka dot silk shirt.

Leather (AllSaints)

Leather accents are back this season, and can be seen in everything from leather skirts, boots, jackets and even jean details, including these looks from AllSaints. This season, colored leather is a new take on this classic fall staple too.


Rockin’ Red (Halston Heritage)

Red in all hues is a great statement color for the season, especially when worn head-to-toe. This evening-inspired look (perfect for a formal gala or holiday party) from Halston Heritage lit up the runway last week.

In between the runway shows, attendees got an up-close demo of ArcoYoga, presented by the newly opened lululemon athletica store at Fashion Valley. If you haven’t heard of AcroYoga, prepare to be impressed! It’s a blend of yoga, acrobatics and performance arts.

The event also gave guests a chance to kick off the season of giving, with the holidays just around the corner. In support of Rady Children's Hospital – San Diego, shoppers who made a $10 donation to the organization received a Fashion Pass to get their shop on, with special savings throughout the weekend.

Fall Fashion in the Valley also kept guests entertained with in-store parties, exclusive discounts, and interactive pop-up makeup, styling and fitness demonstrations. The Beauty Garden area, located near Hugo Boss and Chico’s, treated fashionistas to mini makeovers from Sephora, dry bar hair styling from Carlton Hair Salon & Day Spa, and hand treatments and skin demonstrations from Kiehl’s Since 1851.

The first 250 attendees scored swag bags, and one lucky shopper won a $500 Simon gift card and makeover styling session with Fashion Valley’s new team of personal shoppers.

Thank you to all the amazing shoppers, media and bloggers who came out to support!

Fall TV Picks

Fall means a the beginning of a lot of things. New weather, new wardrobe, new recipes to make. It also means new shows or episodes of old favorites. Here's what the Curator team is most looking forward to watching this season.

Technically this show doesn’t premiere until midseason, but I’m trotting it out anyway because it’s the only thing I’m interested in that isn’t Game of Thrones: I’m talking about CSI: Cyber. I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, what? Another CSI show?” But this isn’t just any CSI show; it’s CSI show with a murderer’s row of 90s talent. Tune into this show and here’s what you get: James Van Der Beek. Lil’ Bow Wow. Luke Fucking Perry. If Mischa Barton shows up, it’ll basically be The Package Tour of 90s/early 2000s teen dramas. I’m jacked up. Let’s hop on Luke Perry’s motorcycle and into Van Der Beek’s little rowboat, and solve some goddamn computer crimes.  - Paul

Parenthood on NBC -  Ann Marie

Boardwalk Empire on HBO - Scott

Scandal on ABC - Brooke

Selfie on ABC could be a guilty pleasure this season. I like the idea – a modern take on My Fair Lady - Noelle 

The Voice and Chicago Fire, both on NBC - Jennifer

The Blacklist on NBC and Modern Family on ABC - Chelsey

The Cleveland Cavaliers 2014-2015 season - Shawn