Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Do you listen to Howard Stern?

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Howard Stern made it official today, another five years at Sirius XM. And why not? He works three days a week and is live M-W 7:00AM-10:00AM. I love what he has done for the company and he has been spot on during COVID. Good call Howard!

On the other hand, Governor Whitmer added more holiday misery to Michigan’s dining, entertainment and hospitality industries extending the order to December 20. We need these folks in business for their livelihoods. Restaurants, movie theaters and other venues have proven they have taken the right steps to prevent outbreaks. Tell me, when they took our names and phone numbers when we were seated at a restaurant, how many times did restaurants actually have to call customers about an outbreak? None that were reported.

My two new favorite products are Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Red Kaolin Clay Mask and ForPro Professional Collection Peppermint Cooling Gel. I used both products for a pedicure and my feet feet never felt so good afterwards. The clay mask is also amazing for facials and hands. The cooling gel is also excellent for sports massage and sore muscles. Oh, the smell of it is so delicious you will want to eat it, smells just like a York peppermint.

Peppermint leaves next to Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Red Kaolin Clay Mask 64 oz. white jar

ForPro Premium Peppermint Cooling Gel 64 oz. bottle next to peppermint leaves set on a black background

After more than 60 years, IKEA decided to ditch its catalog. Not only makes sense, but they will no longer have to produce and print 200 million copies. Sucks to being the printer losing that business.

Wella formed its own division separate from Coty December 1. What was one of the first things they did? Give Sally Beauty a deal to sell OPI polish for $5 to consumers. 

I haven’t played Texas Hold’em since February and not sure when the next time I will be able to play at a casino in Michigan. So what am I going to do instead? That’s right, after a very long hiatus, I am going to try golf once again.

Inflation is coming. With the dollar falling more than 12% recently and metals increasing due to COVID recovery, we are seeing tremendous price increases from our factories in China from foil sheets to diffusers. Also freight containers from China have gone from $4500 to $7500 and demand is at a near record so costs will continue to escalate. Watch for higher prices second half 2021.

Nitrile gloves continue to be in short supply and prices are going up again. The biggest maker of them, TopGlove, had to shut down most of its factories in Malaysia due to COVID. I would not be surprised to see prices at $30 a box and higher in 2021.

Tesla, Tesla, Tesla. Elon Musk will shortly be the richest person in the world. And just to think that just a few years ago, he was nearly broke. Shorts have lost billions in the stock and come December 21, TSLA will be added to the S&P 500. The stock is already up more than 800% and one analyst pegged it over $1000 (recently at $630) which would put the value of the company near $1 trillion. If Musk merged SpaceX with Tesla, certainly the value would go even higher. Musk is truly an American success story and I look forward to see how Tesla fares over the next decade.

The end of business desk phones? We are exploring options to eliminate them altogether and using desktops for voice calls. Then again, who needs desk phones unless you are a telemarketer?

Happy Tuesday!

COVID-19 Crisis, The Sequel

How are you going to spend Thanksgiving this year?

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Here we are in the middle of November and what are we all talking about? The same thing we have been talking about since March, COVID-19. March/April brought nationwide lockdowns, overflowing hospitals that resulted in make-shift hospitals, shortages of PPE/toilet paper/beans and an unprecedented number of deaths as the novel coronavirus affected the elderly and back then, doctors didn’t have medicine to combat it.

Today, we are experiencing a record number of cases, in fact, more than 150,000 in a single day. Unlike March/April, we have better testing. And unlike March/April we have far fewer deaths per 1000 exposed. However, hospitals are back to being full and while this time around they stockpiled PPE for 90 days, that will not be enough to take care of the influx of patients. All this with a vaccine that will not be available until sometime in 2021.

With 3M and others at full capacity producing N95 masks, demand for KN95 masks remain strong and when it comes to PPE, TNG has the best selection and inventory just like it did back in March/April. Our FDA white list KN95 masks include:

We are selling these for about $1.50 each, the lowest price in the USA and once again, selling these to the users that need them most. Demand for disposable 3-ply masks is very high as well and unlike March/April where prices zoomed to as much as $49.99 per box of 50, inventory is available and one reason why prices are so much lower. Our ForPro brand is the highest quality and before the FDA changed its rules, our mask was (and still is) medical quality filtering out more than 95%. At $7.99, it’s the best value.

We also have in stock a full range of nitrile gloves (all sizes), EPA-registered wipes and our best-selling alcohol-free foaming instant hand sanitizer.

The next 3-4 months are going to be the litmus test on how the world deals with COVID-19. No matter what happens, prevention is the best course of action and that means wearing a mask and social distancing. While the NDC allowed non-medical quality cloth masks to be used instead, doctors and hospitals know first-hand they are not effective like N95 and KN95 masks and even our 3-ply masks.

Let’s see what happens, at least the voting process for the election is over with but now we have to wait until January 5 to see who wins the senate. YIKES!

Happy Thursday!

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

OK here we go, last chance to vote in 2020!

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One week and counting to election day Tuesday. TGIT! Not since the 1860 election has an election been as contentious. With all the issues confronting America in 2020, who would have dreamt that our next president would be the oldest white guy in the history of our country? According to all major polls, betting parlors and my blog, Biden is the hands-down favorite.

Then again, I subscribe to a very insightful publication that has correctly identified the winning candidate since 1996. Their pick: Trump. Then there is this cookie bakery in PA that has correctly picked the last three presidents based on the number of cookies sold (they bake cookies with Biden and Trump). Read here to see what the bakery has predicted.  If Trump wins, most likely the Republicans will maintain the Senate (James over Peters in MI may clench the deal if that happens) and there is a tiny chance of winning the house too. One things is for certain: Everyone has an opinion…..And what do I think? Hmm, I have a couple bets going with one of my son’s and Mr. Cuccio (who not only hates to lose but hates to pay his bets even more). I bet long ago that Trump will win and the Republicans will retain the Senate, all before the debates and such. I would love nothing more than winning a $1 from Tony AND getting paid!

The latest stat: The average American will spend 6 years and 8 months on social media during their lifetime. In case you were wondering, the average American spends 9 years watching TV. OK, in case you were really wondering, the average American will spend more than 3000 hours waiting for traffic lights.

I decided that has the owner and CEO of one of the largest privately-held beauty companies in the USA, I need to talk about one of my favorite products each blog. Why not do a little advertising while writing about life? And besides my loyal readers, I am sure you will love my favorite products enough to buy them. With winter arriving shortly, Triple Treat is my winner right now. Not only do I love it for massage (amazing glide and way better than Biotone’s Dual Purpose), but I love it for how it works into the skin. I created it to be like a cream, oil and lotion all in one and I assure you, once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Think Neutrogena Norwegian Formula on steroids. Best, it is available in fragrance-free and luscious jasmine vanilla.

I can officially retire and collect Social Security Thursday. It is hard to fathom that in 1900 the average life span was 50 and in 1960,  66. Now if you live to 65, you can expect to live until 85. 

My last book: 28 Summers, quite enjoyable as it takes place in Nantucket. The author being from Nantucket has written 25 books (she claims two per year no matter what). I love the premise of the book, Same Time Next Year and you really get an understanding of each of the characters.

Based on your response, I also decided to add one of my favorite dishes to my blog. You can’t go wrong with this one: Eggplant Parm, healthy style. I love homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and freshly grated parmesan cheese. It is no wonder that everyone loves pizza. But pizza is more dough than anything else, that is why eggplant parm is so good. I like to buy baby eggplants but regular size are OK too. To prepare: Take 6-8 baby eggplants, cut off the ends and cut into 1/4” slices. Or take 2-3 large eggplants and do the same, salt and let stand for an hour. After an hour, rinse salt off. Add Panko crumbs to a casserole dish. Whip 3 eggs and add to another casserole dish. Prepare a fresh batch of marinara sauce (if you must, use a store brand) and have ready thinly sliced mozzarella (16 oz.), 1/2 cup freshly grated parm and 1t dried basil. You are now ready! Grab a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 400F. First dredge both sides of eggplant in the egg, then in the Panko crumbs, then lay on the cookie sheet. Do this until all eggplant is used. Bake for 10 minutes, remove, flip, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from oven and reduce oven to 350F. Now the fun part! Using a 9 x 13 dish, cover dish with sauce. Add a layer of eggplant. Cover each layer with sauce, some mozzarella and sprinkle of parm. Repeat with another layer. Sprinkle top with basil. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If desired, sprinkle more parm and broil for 1-2 minutes. Best served with homemade garlic bread. My next blog with feature this along a quick sauce recipe.

Stat: Nearly 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. So much for the days of shark oil.

We went on our first vacation since March and flew Delta. Both Detroit and Charleston airports were “dead”  and in Charleston, most of the businesses were shut down. However, Delta did a great job albeit they no longer serve coffee or alcoholic beverages (beer and wine only). Regardless where you sit, you get the same snack bag: Bottle of Dasani, bag of Cheese Nips, and biscotti. Masks required the entire time and middle row empty. Overall, they get you from Point A to Point B with no issues. But sorry, I miss my Starbucks.

Stat: 10% of Twitter users post 92% of all tweets, according a new study.

Don’t forget, Halloween is full of tricks and treats and also the end of daylight savings time. Now the BUB will really comment on how dark it is so early!

Happy Tuesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

Election Day is coming soon! Who are you voting for now?

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Our very first virtual trade show was this morning, You Got to Believe in Magic LIVE! I have to say it went very well, quick paced as the action went from booth-to-booth demonstrating our newest products and offering amazing show specials. Good news for attendees: They learned and saved without the expense of traveling to a trade show. Good news for us: We saved all the costs from renting show floor space to drayage to travel, hotel and food. Bottom line: More savings for our customers and no time wasted. All this good stuff while Vegas convention space is dark.

I’m loving the new mini bottles of Luxe lotion in both the EMMA and Ginger Lily Farms Botanticals brands. Incredible stocking stuffers, perfect for purse, car, anywhere. Best of all, we are the only brand of offer this size for the holidays. Candy Cane Crush is my fav!

Amazon Prime Day’s are here and will change holiday shopping like never before. I’m super excited for this event just to see the outcome. For us, we have a ton of best-sellers so it is going to be a great event. The question becomes is Amazon going to move it to an October event or keep it in the summer?

I dropped off my ballot over the weekend. Love the mail-in ballots, no idea why I never did them before. Even better, all the junk mail from the candidates is now worthless. And who has to worry about stealing lawn signs anymore?

I have to watch the movie, Social Dilemma, on Netflix. It is a documentary with ex-key employees from major tech companies telling viewers the inner workings of social media and the affects on us. I don’t know about you, but Amazon’s Alexa is a bit like this. I order a lot of Propel during the summer months, and recently Alexa has been asking me if I need to order it. Just yesterday, Alexa asked me to do a voice recognition test for her to better understand and learn my voice. Voice, eyes, palms, what is next?

I will say this. The smart phone has made us more reliant on social distancing to the point where we don’t even have to leave our home to do what we want to do. I have yet to go back to Equinox as I love Aaptiv and to a point, SoulCycle. The gaming industry is now 4-5X times bigger than the movie business and more games are being played on smart phones than ever before. And what device will be used to order on Amazon’s Prime Day’s? This is only going to get more magnified in years to come. No wonder more people are lonelier than ever.

And speaking of smart phones, Apple’s big 5G event is tomorrow. 5G will help drive economic growth the rest of this decade. While the phone will be available, most of the USA is not yet equipped with 5G, as we are years behind China and the rest of Asia.

Last on my mind is food. I’m thinking about updating my blog and including recipes and hints for cooking since that is all I do on weekends. What do you think? I know everyone loves fish tacos and I just mastered the best way to make the perfect fish for them. The secret? Using a cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, get one, especially good for steaks too), I like to use wild cod, grouper or snapper, whatever is fresh and looks good. Pat dry the fish filet, season both sides (I like the salt-free fish seasoning in a can you can buy at most stores) and add a little salt. Heat skillet to high and when hot, add a T canola oil and then add fish. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove skillet from stove, flip fish and put in a 400F oven for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness of the filet. Remove and fish should be fork tender and perfect for fish tacos. Enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Who and how are you voting?

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I have blocked the following words from my online experience: COVID-19, protests, racism, NFL, Donald T. Trump, and Joe Biden. Now the only thing on my news feed are recipes and travel destinations that I cannot get to. I love it.

I don’t know about you but I love sushi, or should I say, I used to love it. Sushi used to be authentic: Nice fresh tuna rolls, fresh wasabi and pickled ginger, ginger salad and miso soup. Over the past few years, sushi has become overstuffed rice rolls filled with fried shrimp tempura, cream cheese and other high fat pollutants. So I decided to Sushi Wushi. That’s right my friends, make my own. With a little online research, I learned I needed a decent rice maker, couple rolling mats, seaweed paper, and fresh ingredients. I went to the only Japanese supermarket in town figuring they would have it all. No rice cooker, barely any utensils but they did have fresh ingredients, wasabi powder (that is the secret to the best wasabi), and Japanese rice (has to be authentic). I learned that sticky rice Is not just steamed rice, but steam rice blended with rice vinegar, a lot of sugar and a lot of salt. No wonder it tastes so good! I ended up making the rice in a saucepan and it turned out fine. I got to add as little rice as possible to the seaweed wrapper and add my fresh ingredients. I made homemade spicy sauce for the tuna (Japanese mayo, Sriracha, lemon juice and a touch of sesame oil), and I made the spicy tuna two ways: One very small diced cubes plus the spicy sauce and second, blended in a food processor for a few seconds plus the spicy sauce. Both versions were excellent. I ordered the rice cooker from Amazon for next time and highly recommend you try your own Sushi Wushi experience.

Our premier issue of the TNG Catalog is out and I have to say it is quite impressive. It is truly amazing with everything digital how people still love their catalogs. RH stock is at an all-time high and they are the king of catalogs. There is something special about catalogs that will keep them around for years to come.

Remember your first Cinnabon? OMG! That was when they made them fresh in the airport and you could smell them as you checked in. Ooeey, gooey and so tasty. They just introduced their first frozen line of breakfast foods with their cinnamon specialties taking center stage. YUM!

Equinox is open as are all gyms in MI. I have yet to go and doubt I will be going anytime soon. The club now opens at 6AM instead of 5AM and the classes are later too. I cannot imagine doing yoga or spinning with a mask on. Steam room, spa and cold plunge pools closed and zero amenities in the locker room too. And for all this, you get to pay the same $150 monthly fee. With Peloton announcing triple sales last quarter, how many people are ready to go back to the gym? Are you?

Is it time to blame CA for the downturn in the beauty business? After all, CA is the only state to close down salons and spas unless they perform the services outdoors. Remember CA accounts for 1/7 of the USA economy. Or should we blame face masks as women no longer need as much lipstick? Or should we blame COVID-19 as millions of workers no longer need to go to the office? Coty, Revlon and Sally Beauty keep trending down. I wonder how much longer Coty will stay solvent; if and when Revlon will finally sell; and the future of Sally (most likely private equity will take them out and/or they will spin off BSG). With airports still mostly deserted, cruise ships not sailing until 2021 and spas open with limited access and capacity, we have a long ways to go before we see normalcy again.

Speaking of normalcy, I love a good steak like the rest of us (unless you a vegan like Ben). I also like a good pizza, nacho and grilled wild salmon. But there is still nothing like fresh burgers and fries. I make my burger with Piedmontese beef (all the flavor of chuck but only 4% fat) and truffle fries using fresh cut potatoes and truffle oil. The secret to making the best fries? Soak in ice cold water for 2-3 hours, then dry with paper towel. Fry for a few minutes in 300F oil (do not brown) and take out and drain on clean paper towel. When ready to serve, fry for a couple minutes at 375F until golden brown, season and serve. So good!

Happy Tuesday!