ZAP Bites: Are You #HotforBreakfast?
Did you know February is National Hot Breakfast Month? Chicagoans can certainly use some hot breakfast ideas right now to keep us warm during the extreme cold we’re experiencing!
NOW® Foods partnered with a variety of natural living/food bloggers to participate in the #HotforBreakfast Month program, where the bloggers incorporated a variety of NOW’s Raw Nuts in original hot breakfast recipes. The result = great new “nutrish and delish” ways to warm up your morning routine…Enjoy!
– Alana Horinko, Vice President
ZAP Style Notes: Oscars Best Dressed + Giveaway
Whether you love or hate the Oscars, they’re one of the most watched entertainment programs on television each year. While most of that has to do with devoted movie lovers tuning in to see their favorites win a coveted statue, another huge part of it has to do with fashion lovers checking out the red carpet. From nominees to presenters, everyone is in their best and each year brings innovation and something fresh to the stage. Below, the Zapwater team has pulled together our list of favorite looks and favorite moments from last night’s big show. Make sure you share yours with us!
Just a reminder, no look would be complete without the perfect hair and makeup to match. Block 37 is giving you a chance to recreate your favorite red carpet looks with a $237 gift card to use at any of the shopping center’s beauty retailers — Ladies & Gentleman, Sephora, Sabon NYC or L’OCCITANE. Simply follow Block 37 on Instagram (@blockthirtyseven), share your favorite look with the hashtag #photo37 and you’ll be entered to win. Hurry! Entries must be submitted by February 27.
Zapwater’s Favorite Oscar 2015 Looks + Moments:
David Zapata: Marion Cotillard in Dior Couture
Also, have to give a shout out to Jared Leto! My favorite moment was the opening number, which Neil Patrick Harris did while wearing Zapwater client, Cufflinks.com
Morgan Bellock: Emma Stone in Eli Saab Haute Couture
My pic for best dressed would have to be Emma Stone! As for the best moment, I would have to say when NPK did the Birdman spoof and came out on the stage in his underwear.
Annie Block: Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent
My favorite look was Margot Robbie. That necklace and those lips were incredible. It’s how I want to look every day. Favorite moment was when Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar. I love when first timers win! Everyone expected Michael Keaton to win. Eddie seemed so genuinely surprised and excited.
Sophia Bly: Scarlett Johansson in Atelier Versace
Scar Jo for the win!
Katie Foley: Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford
Timeless, classic and elegant in Tom Ford. Reese always knows how to bring it!
Alana Horinko: Emma Stone in Eli Saab Haute Couture
I thought Emma Stone looked stunning last night. Aside from the Glory performance and Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound of Music, I’d say my favorite moments were a tie between the acceptance speeches of Graham Moore and Patricia Arquette.
Jenn Lake: Neil Patrick Harris in custom Brunello Cucinelli and Ox and Bull cufflinks
My favorite look was Neil Patrick Harris, of course – wearing Ox & Bull tuxedo and stud set on the red carpet and the opening number. His opener was one of my favorite moments – he’s so talented!
Brigid Parr: Rosamund Pike in Givenchy Haute Couture
I had a few favorites, but one of my best dressed of the evening was Rosamund Pike. She’s been lackluster on the red carpet thus far during award season, but she really brought it on Oscar night. I’m completely obsessed with the scalloped cut of the neckline, and the color and fit was spot on. My favorite moment was Patricia Arquette’s speech and Meryl Streep’s reaction.
Stephanie Poquette: Naomi Watts in Armani Prive
Naomi, Naomi, can you do any wrong? That dress, the perfect hair and dark lip = love and serious red carpet moment. While I tuned in for the movies – of course! – Lady Gaga SLAYING for The Sound of Music tribute was by far the biggest highlight. Call me a Fair Weather Monster, but that performance has restored my faith!
Huong Luu-Spais: J.Lo in Elie Saab Couture
J.Lo in Elie Saab!
Stephanie Reay: Sienna Miller in Oscar de la Renta
I love The Sound of Music, so Lady Gaga’s tribute to its 50th anniversary was amazing.
Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone and Rosamund Pike images from People Stylewatch
Scarlett Johannson, Margot Robbie, Sienna Miller, Marion Cotillard and Naomi Watts images from Hollywood Life
J.Lo image from E! Online
Neil Patrick Harris from Metro UK
ZAP Bites: National Paczki Day
Happy National Paczki Day!
While Mardi Gras might be the center of attention down in New Orleans, another – yummy – tradition is starting to make its mark. For some, Fat Tuesday is welcomed with a Paczki in each hand. Paczki are Polish pastries that are deep-fried flat dough with fruit or cream fillings and usually topped with powdered sugar, icing, or bits of dried orange zest. In Polish, Paczki is translated as “donut”.
During this special day, hundreds of bakeries will sell out of these delectable jelly-filled pastries as thousands of people line up around the blocks to get their hands on one.
Go ahead, indulge in one Paczki….or twenty before Lent. You deserve it!
– Huong Luu-Spais
ZAP Decor: Interior Motives
A new year brings the opportunity to start fresh, and my favorite way to ensure a happy 2015 is with an interior revamp. Thankfully, every January Room & Board launches their New Collection providing the perfect inspiration to get the ball rolling on a home refresh.
This year, some of my favorite trends from the 2015 New Collection include natural wood finishes, drama and year-round whites. Besides the amazing pieces introduced in the New Collection, some of the things I love most about Room & Board are…
- Their commitment to supporting American manufacturers and small, family-owned businesses. More than 90% of the collection is handcrafted exclusively for Room & Board by American artisans.
- The company’s philosophy is that good design should be beautiful, affordable and long-lasting.
- Sustainability has always been a large focus of Room & Board’s business. Timeless, well-crafted furniture is an investment in the future of homes and the health of the planet. When choosing furniture designed and built to last, you don’t have to worry about it breaking down or going out of style.
Here is a roundup of some of my favorite pieces from the New Collection. To see the gorgeous collection in person, visit one of Room & Board’s three Chicagoland locations for some serious interior inspiration!
– Brigid Parr, Senior Publicist
Around Town LA: Hollywood + Highland
It’s an exciting time to be a part of Zapwater’s rapidly growing Los Angeles team, and I personally love working with our newest client, the Hollywood and Highland Center. Located in the heart of Hollywood, this is an iconic entertainment area well known by Angelenos and a place I frequented as a kid. With dozens of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in the area, there is a long list of places to see while visiting the Hollywood and Highland Center. I promise, there is never a dull moment on this stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.
On top of that list are the TLC Chinese Theater and Dolby Theater, both situated on the Hollywood and Highland lot. Just last month, the Dolby Theater hosted the Hollywood Premiere of the final Hobbit movie and will host The Academy Awards in February for the 14th consecutive year. Along with partnerships with venues in the area, including the world famous Hollywood Bowl, Pantages Theater and El Capitan Theater, the H&H Center offers visitors numerous glimpses into the entertainment world.
After searching for my favorite stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I like to get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants located at the H&H Center. You can never go wrong with American classics, such as the Hard Rock Café or California Pizza Kitchen. And if you are looking for something a little more upscale, Trastavere Ristorante and The Grill on Hollywood have you covered.
If I’m ever ending a long work day and need a little relaxation to end my night, I know I can always sip on some margaritas at Cabo Wabo Cantina, play some games at Dave & Busters or try my chance at a perfect game at Lucky Strike bowling alley.
There is no shortage of entertainment options at Hollywood and Highland, and I’m looking forward to spending plenty more time here for both business and pleasure.
– Paul-Michael Ochoa, Intern
Zap Trends 2015: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
As publicists, it’s our job to be “in the know” and constantly stay on top of the latest trends. And, as a health nut and foodie, I’m always looking for the latest food trends and developments. Which is why when a friend asked me recently if I had heard about the “Ugly Fruit Movement” in Europe, I was instantly intrigued.
Let me break it down for you: it makes sense that retailers would want to buy the prettiest and freshest produce to sell to consumers, but what happens to those less-than-perfect fruits/veggies that don’t meet standards? Currently, any produce that doesn’t fit the bill is thrown into the trash or left unpicked altogether. French supermarket chain, Intermarche, recently changed all that.
They recently launched a campaign entitled “Les Fruits & Légumes Moches” which translates as “The Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables,” and aims to highlight issues of food waste and increase access to healthy produce. Essentially, Intermarche has agreed to sell these “aesthetically challenged” fruits and vegetables in store at a discounted price (up to 30 percent off). They launched the initiative with a cheeky ad campaign and video that of course went viral but, more importantly, the produce sold out at record rates.
Clearly, the French hit the nail on the head. In the past few years, numerous European grocery chains have caught on. US grocers, however, have not followed suit—which means that our domestically produced gnarly vegetables continue to end up in the garbage. As you can imagine, in the long run, this has a devastating impact. In fact, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), approximately 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten.
Hunger in America is a huge issue, especially considering so many families can’t afford to eat the recommended five daily portions of fruits and vegetables. It’s my prediction (or hope) that in 2015, “ugly” becomes the new “pretty.” As we have in the past, I predict that US grocery stores will once again look to the French for inspiration. After all, beauty comes from within, right?
– Morgan Bellock, Account Director
Zap Trends 2015: Will Our Health Be Tied to Our Footprint in 2015 and Beyond?
This is an important year for those in the food industry. The much anticipated 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be out later this year, with a first public look at the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report in the next month or two. The Guidelines, revised every five years as a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide the basis for federal food and nutrition policy and education initiatives, and encourage Americans over the age of two years to focus on eating a healthful diet—one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease.
While the current Guidelines, issued in 2010, offered improved insight into maintaining a healthy weight by paying attention to calorie intake from nutrient-dense foods and beverages, it also sparked much controversy from both the food industry and consumers alike, specifically over the stark decrease in recommended sodium intake and even more so, the MyPlate icon, which arguably didn’t offer much functional nutrition advice nor a complete picture. Where’s the spoon? The bowl? A cup?
Regardless, studies have shown that over the past few years, since the 2010 Guidelines were introduced, Americans are paying more attention to the nutrients in their foods and the overall healthfulness of their diets. According to the 2014 Food and Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition and Health, published annually by the International Food Information Council Foundation, the number of American consumers who consider healthfulness when purchasing their food and beverages has shown a significant uptick in the past two years, nearly closing the gap on what have consistently been the top two factors – taste and price.
But as important as the nutrients in our food are, so is the way our food is produced and where it comes from. The same Survey reports that more than a third of consumers report regularly buying food that is labeled as “natural” (37 percent) or “local” (35 percent), with 32 percent who regularly buy products advertised as “organic.” In fact, Packaged Facts projected in 2013 that non-GMO foods can account for 30 percent of US food & beverage retail sales by 2017, up to 40 percent if non-GMO food labeling is made a law (voluntary GMO labeling is currently in place by the FDA), with demand for natural and organic foods driving much of that demand.
On a similar note, I found this article from BusinessWeek (October, 2014) very interesting. Titled, “Sustainable Could Become a Food Group,” the article predicts that the “2015 Guidelines for the first time may tell Americans to pay attention to how their food is grown, not just what’s in it,” tying environmental protection to healthy eating. While the article speaks more to consuming plant-based foods because they’re associated with lesser environmental impacts—energy, land, and water use – choosing non-GMO, natural, organic and more local foods are also tied to sustainability and a more healthy environment.
I, too, predict that the 2015 Guidelines and recommendations for a healthier diet will include more focus on choosing foods based on how they’re grown/produced and from where.
– Alana Horinko, Vice President
Zap Trends 2015: Curls, Lashes and Keeping It Natural
Keeping with tradition, my annual trend prediction blog is driven by the beauty industry. As a publicist in the lifestyle industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and even try predicting them. Based on the spring 2015 runways, I’ve rounded up my top beauty trends.
Curly haired girls rejoice! It’s time to put down the flat irons and embrace that natural texture. I predict we will see lots of voluptuous curls and volume, volume, and more volume this year. While straight and loose wave styles are great for the popular “lob” cuts, those with long, flowing locks should try to venture to the wild side and cue up the curl.
The legendary doll look of the 60s model Twiggy with her lush, black lashes is back! Inspired from my favorite Leighton Meester/Kim Carnes song “Bette Davis Eyes,” deep, dark lashes offer a sultry look that are appropriate for the board room and the nightclub, if worn correctly. Stay away from too much liner and shadow and instead place all emphasis on the lashes.
One of the biggest runway trends for spring was the no-makeup makeup. It’s all about the natural look next year and people will be wearing barely-there foundation or nothing at all! To keep your skin looking fresh, I’d suggest investing in a great skin care routine, including facials. Check out the spa at dana and one of my favorite facials, the resurfacing microderm facial for an “au natural” glow.
– Stephanie Reay, Senior Publicist
Zap Trends 2015: What’s Next in the Social Sphere?
- A lot more I’s than We’s: As humanization becomes more prevalent and necessary for brands, I think we’ll see a lot more brands using I’s and my’s than we’s and our’s. Behind-the-scenes, there may still be multiple people drafting content calendars, reviewing, scheduling and interacting, but brands will focus on re-branding from a singular person’s voice/character to humanize the brand and connect with their fans. I’m personally more of a “we” girl and like brands to come off as a team, but I see a lot of brands moving in this direction.
- Increased Corporate Leadership and Team Member Visibility: As brands and agencies continue to humanize brands, corporate leadership will insert themselves into conversations more and more. People want to connect with the brands they follow and feel like they know the inside scoop. By humanizing and showcasing leaders and expert team members, fans will not only see the humans behind the brand, but also feel a deeper connection. Who doesn’t love a little BTS, typos and cussing?! The more authentic, honest and human, the better!
- Instagram Analytics: This is more of a request than a trend prediction. Instagram, you made community managers and brands thrilled when you introduced ads, and verified accounts but please, please, please do us a favor and let us all see some data. I love comparing apples to apples when it comes to performance even if the numbers vary from channel to channel; however, it drives me absolutely nuts that we can’t see how many viewers vs. doers we have on Instagram. Even if you can just show us reach, that’s totally fine. We’ll do the dirty work – a little 3rd grade math never hurt anyone. Oh and while you’re add it, integrating RG’s into the native app and being able to post from our desktops would be nice too!
- More Mobile Commerce: Venmo, Snapchat, what’s next? Mobile money transfers cross banks (and even credit cards) are already happening, but I see it increasing and becoming a lot more popular in 2015 and beyond. For social media platforms, it’s absolutely genius. We already know Millennials love purchasing experiences over goods. And when I buy concert tickets or go to dinner, I’m not sitting alone. I’m going with a group of friends and transferring money all over the place. We know that fans hate ads, so social platforms with mobile commerce could replace ads with a commission on money transfers (what’s 2% anyway?); however, what we’ll probably see is the use of both. Ads aren’t going away even if social platforms are finding news ways to make the mullah.
- More Cohesive Branding: Again, another request more than a trend. Ok, so I might be a little OCD, but I hate messy anything (my bedroom floor when I’m getting ready for a Saturday night doesn’t count), but what I hate more than anything is messy branding. In a perfect world, websites, public relations, advertising, social media and campaigns are married. And if not married, at least teammates who know what each other are doing all the time and are working with each other instead of against each other. Maybe I’m biased, but I think social media is the glue that holds the team together; however, to really work, the communication needs to go both ways. Here’s to 2015!
– Sophia Bly, Senior Publicist
Zap Trends 2015: Food Predictions
I wish 2015 was the final death of the moniker “foodie,” but I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. As someone with a professional background in food and beverages and a personal passion for cooking, it always amazes me how once rare ingredients end up as kitchen staples. In middle school French class, we were asked to define a typical American meal. I included rice in my answer because this was a standard in my house; unfortunately my teacher felt that the only acceptable American starch was a potato. Now, quinoa, couscous, black rice and all sorts of grains are commonplace. I was right all along.
In 2015 and forward, several factors will continue to impact our culinary landscape. The focus on health continues to take precedence; second and third generation Hispanic and Asian Americans are seeking flavor profiles that reflect their upbringing; food entrepreneurialism is on the rise with artisan companies like Chef’s Cut Jerky and easy gourmet DIY meals like Plated.
Here are a few predicted trends:
- Coconut sugar: Coconut oil and milk have become mainstream in grocery aisles and even at coffee chains. Coconut is a popular alternative as it’s safe for people with nut allergies and many consider it to have good, satiating fats. It’s also quite tasty (but when cooking with it, it can be too strong). Given the continued increase on health, people are seeking natural sweetners with a lower glycemic index. Nielsen predicts that coconut sugar will be a hot trend for 2015. I am inclined to agree.
- At home cooking: The rise in same day delivery services like Google delivery, Instacart and Amazon Fresh combined with millenials’ desire for more clean eating will increase people wanting to eat at home. Dinner parties are becoming more common place as people have access to ingredients and recipes once reserved for wholesale markets and coveted by chefs.
- Local goes even more local: Big CPG companies are buying up artisan brands because they recognize that people are willing to spend more on higher quality foods with ingredients they can trust. This year, local will take the next step with people making their own grains using their vitamixes, house-purifying their water and going to local fish markets and butchers for regional proteins.
- Heightened flavors: While people are seeking better-for-you foods, their desire for flavor isn’t going away. This, coupled with America’s increasing Asian and Hispanic population (with money to spend), will drive the trends towards spicier foods and stronger flavors. Pickling will be in and will extend beyond cucumbers to other veggies such as carrots and beets. Mixing spice with sweet will also be a trend; we’ve already started to see this with cold pressed juices incorporating ginger or cayenne. Spices that are also considered to have potential immune boosting properties such as turmeric will also be seen on plates. 2015 will move beyond Sriracha.
- More matcha: Functional beverages are becoming too cluttered. With the array of waters to juice from flavor profiles that mimic one another, people want beverages that stand out. Less sweet drinks will become popular. Aside from mainstream varieties, people want powerhouse beverages. According to the Sterling-Rice group, matcha will become one of the year’s superfoods. It’s a powered up version of green tea that will be packaged in a consumer-friendly way.
Whatever the trends end up being, cheers to the power of food to delight, unite and nourish us.
– Nora Sarrawi, Vice President
*** Image courtesy of Love and Lemons (http://www.loveandlemons.com/)