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Why Wal-Mart is the New "It" Store

Depressionista? Why Wal-Mart is the New "It" Store

The failure of the auto industry bailout, high end stores virtually liquidating their stock, and "Depressionista" replacing the term "Recessionista" as the new "ista" term, Wal-Mart and other discount mass market stores are in the prime position to be the "hot new thing".

Why is Wal-Mart so hot?

First, it's the economy stupid. Wal-Mart, through its mass bargaining power and its revolutionary distribution system, is able to sell items at a low price, at a time when our incomes are dropping at an alarming rate. In a challenging economy, brand loyalty tends to go out the window and cheaper prices equal more costumers. For example, a pair of black leggings, which retail for $19.99 at H&M and $9.99 at Target, can be found at Wal -Mart for $6. Don't even get me started on the Sam's Club brand of groceries-- the brand's powered lemonade mix is a full $3.00 cheaper than the Crystal Light version. As consumers struggle to meet their basic necessities, having the brand named version of items in which you can't really distinguish between the branded version and the "generic" version, like in the case of black leggings, will frankly not be a priority.

Second, reckless consumerism is dying. Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, one of the most popular female fictional characters of the past decade, treated consumerism as if it was a personality trait. In fact, one of the most popular episodes from the series focused on the fact that Carrie had $30,000 worth of shoes in her closet, but no money in the bank. If the show was still on air, we would find Carrie laid off from her columnist gigs and forced to sell her shoes on eBay to cover her mortgage. Instead of taking a Lincoln Town car to Barneys, she would be taking a Zipcar to the Secaucus Wal-Mart.
The Carrie Bradshaw's of the world are not the only ones changing. We're also seeing several, very interesting trends, such as the reemergence of layaway and stylistas choosing the more time consuming process of sell their clothing on eBay and to consignment stores, rather than throwing them in a bag and dropping them at the local charity thrift shop.

Third, one stop shopping is back. Like a lot of men, my husband doesn't like to shop. In fact he breaks out into hives at the mere thought of having to spend time in a retail establishment.....except for one....Wal-Mart. Why does he, and apparently a large number of the male population, like to shop at Wal-Mart? In the words of my hubby: "I can get in and out of the store in less than 20 minutes and I don't need to comparison shop because I know it's the cheapest price". The Wal-Mart brand embodies traits that men (and women) admire - realism, practicality, efficiency. These are the very same traits we're seeing praised and encouraged in our society today. Case in point: the realistic appeal of Michelle Obama and the way she wears very practical outfits from mall-based stores like Gap, a store where she can efficiently purchase items for herself, the President-elect, and then walk next door and purchase items for her children.

Fourth, Wal-Mart itself has become more fashionable. The store upped its style game, remodeling its women's apparel section, getting rid of product lines by corny c-list celebrities, launching organic lines while Target was still pushing Proenza Schouler to folks who frankly didn't care, and launching the brilliant Norma Kamali for Wal-Mart line. Wal -Mart, unlike it's competitor Target, also didn't forget their core consumer. While Target focused on expanding it's junior lines, totally ignoring the working moms who usually shop at the store,Wal-Mart developed a partnership with Kamali, to create stylish versions of the sweats Wal-Mart costumers love in, OMG, misses sizes. I predict that many top designers, (my dream is Marc Jacobs), will beg Wal-Mart to allow them to produce budget, mass market lines for the store.

Fifth, the cool kids want to play. Apple iPhone and Nintendo Wiis, arguably the two hottest holiday gift items are now being sold at select Wal-Marts. As any former high school student can tell you, once the cool kids accept you, it's only a matter of time before you become a cool kid yourself.

New Year's Eve Tips

A-list celebrity party planner Marcy Blum divulged to us her ideas of how to create a great New Years Eve party at home that will blow everyone away!!

Marcy’s suggestions include:

¨ Use candy or food as decorations: Put Hershey’s kisses in a clear bowl as decorations or M&Ms for a colorful treat

¨ Use traditional things in a non-traditional way: For place cards, buy plastic champagne glasses and write everyone’s name on them

¨ Things don't have to match, even if you think they do: Mix up plates or dining ware that you have in your house in a color theme

¨ Do a balloon drop at home: You can buy a pre-set balloon drop at party stores

¨ Use multiple table cloths draped on your table: Different fabrics like a velvet topper over a silk underlay let you use various sizes without it looking awry

¨ Use star shaped cookie cutters: Be festive everywhere they look.

¨ Make a little goody bag of candy for your guests: Filled with sour candy or chocolate; your guests will be happy to have something later on at night if they’re hungry.

Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!


Speakaboos (, a publisher of exceptional digital content for children, today released its holiday classics library, featuring storybook videos of well-known holiday stories read by celebrities, as well as holiday songs and e-cards. All storybook titles are available for immediate viewing on for free, and may be downloaded for offline viewing. Additionally, the complete Speakaboos digital library is now available via and, making it easier than ever for parents to download educational and entertaining content for their children to their computer, mobile device or DVD.

Currently in beta, Speakaboos already offers over 35 titles such as Arthur, Goldilocks, The Ugly Duckling, Old McDonald and Aesop's Fables with audio provided by talented actors and musicians such as Kevin Bacon, Nick Cannon, Kelly Ripa, Marcia Gay Harden, Harry Shearer and Chazz Palminteri. At least fifteen percent of Speakaboos' revenue is contributed directly to the National Education Association (NEA) to support children's literacy and The Creative Coalition (TCC).

The titles released just in time for the holidays, include stories such as A Christmas Carol read by James Eckhouse, The Fir Tree read by Phil Brock; holiday songs such as "12 Days of Christmas," "Deck The Halls," "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah," "In The Bleak Midwinter," "Jingle Bells," "Rock of Ages," "The Dreidel Song," "We Wish You A Merry Christmas;" and e-cards for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa.

Speakaboos provides a safe, fun and educational online destination for children and parents alike. For children, each story is accompanied by educational activities, games and contests that they can play alongside their parents. Parents and teachers enjoy story guides, lesson plans based on national education standards, community content and resources that reinforce the educational lessons at home and in the classroom.

"The holiday season is the best time of the year and we are thrilled to be able to offer our first ever library of holiday classics for children," said Noelle Millholt, Associate Publisher of Speakaboos. "With these offerings, children and parents will be able to celebrate traditional holiday classics in a fun, unique and modern way."

The entire Speakaboos library is available for viewing online for free on and available for download on the website at $0.99. Select titles that are combined into albums are available for the price of $8.99 per album. All Speakaboos audio tracks are also now available on and

Not Your Normal e-card - For Christmas

Now you can be the star of your own online holiday greeting – launched today, Animoto Holiday Greetings ( are an easy, quick and inexpensive way to create and share unique holiday greetings with family and friends, using your own photos and music. Animoto videos are the perfect way to visually capture and show off your 2008 memories and express the sentiments of the holidays through personal photos, set to the beat of your favorite song.

Combining professional-quality effects, a whimsical snowscape background and a new text feature, Animoto Holiday Greetings stand out as the most personalized, vivid, and festive way to send online holiday sentiments to loved ones via email, blogs, personal websites, social networks, YouTube or mobile phones.

And, Animoto is on the nice list for your wallet - 30-second videos are FREE, full length videos are $3, and an annual subscription is $30 for unlimited full length videos. Animoto videos can be downloaded in DVD-quality too for just $5.

Moms Go Green

Here are two fantastic products and websites that feature GREEN merchandise.

Organic Lounge Jumper

UPPAbaby G Lite -  Green UPPAbaby G Lite – Green

Johnson's Buddies - soap for kids

The Johnson's Buddies are an easy-grip sudzing bar of of soap. It is perfectly shaped for little fingers and the soap is actually contained within a with the super-soft pouch so it won't slip out of her hands. It is similar to a soap on a rope, minus the rope! My kids love these and since it's made by Johnson's baby-line it's mild on their eyes in case of accidents. These often are priced well with coupons at places like Walgreens or CVS. Clean someone you love, today!