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#100HAPPYDAYS | 2015-01-01
This month’s newsletter marks my 100th missive! I’m celebrating the occasion with an announcement and a challenge.

First, the challenge:...

#100HAPPYDAYS | 2014-12-31
This month’s newsletter marks my 100th missive! I’m celebrating the occasion with an announcement and a challenge.

First, the challenge:...

AM I HERE or WAS I THERE? | 2014-10-26
A friend of mine recently attended a Bruno Mars concert in Las Vegas. When I asked her how it was she said: “I’m not sure I was really there.” She e...

AM I HERE or WAS I THERE? | 2014-10-25
A friend of mine recently attended a Bruno Mars concert in Las Vegas. When I asked her how it was she said: “I’m not sure I was really there.” She e...

TELEGRAM STOP | 2014-09-20
OLD MADE NEW –(STOP)- TELEGRAM TRADITION REVIVED –(STOP)- SEVEN DOLLARS FIFTEEN CENTS TO ANYWHERE –(STOP)-

Hold the Tweets! Telegrams are...

TELEGRAM STOP | 2014-09-19
OLD MADE NEW –(STOP)- TELEGRAM TRADITION REVIVED –(STOP)- SEVEN DOLLARS FIFTEEN CENTS TO ANYWHERE –(STOP)-

Hold the Tweets! Telegrams are...

ART, BY GUM | 2014-08-18
In 1987, the country of Singapore unveiled a new $5B state-of-the-art Mass Rapid Transit operation. Not long after the system was in place, vandals ...

ART, BY GUM | 2014-08-17
In 1987, the country of Singapore unveiled a new $5B state-of-the-art Mass Rapid Transit operation. Not long after the system was in place, vandals ...

THE CLOTHESLINE PARADOX | 2014-07-30
I’m no mathematician or economist, but I was fascinated when I discovered “The Clothesline Paradox.” I first heard about it in relation to the sharin...

THE CLOTHESLINE PARADOX | 2014-07-27
I’m no mathematician or economist, but I was fascinated when I discovered “The Clothesline Paradox.” I first heard about it in relation to the sharin...

SELF(IE) OBSESSION | 2014-06-29
President Obama did it at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Ellen did it at the Oscars. A 17-year-old Russian girl tried to out-do her peers doing it and en...

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME | 2014-04-28
Or is there?

My husband and I are nearing the end of our snowbird getaway. We were lucky to escape three brutal months of Minnesota winter, ...

WISH YOU WERE HERE! | 2014-03-30
This month’s newsletter is a commentary on the final line of Mary Oliver’s poem:

“Instructions for Living a Life.
Pay Attention
...

BE ASTONISHED! | 2014-03-01
Last month I wrote about “The Spectacle of the Ordinary,” inspired by the second line of Mary Oliver’s poem, “Instructions for Living a Life.”
<...

SPECTACLE OF THE ORDINARY | 2014-01-21
We are three weeks into the first month of the New Year, and I wonder if any of you have already broken one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, ta...

SPECTACLE OF THE ORDINARY | 2014-01-19
We are three weeks into the first month of the New Year, and I wonder if any of you have already broken one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, ta...

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE E-CHRISTMAS | 2013-12-14
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Gadgets were recharging, quiet as a mouse; On-line shopping was done, the e-cards co...

MADE IN DETROIT | 2013-11-25
Once upon a time, Detroit was a vibrant manufacturing hub known as “Motor City.” American-made muscle cars (a.k.a. “Detroit Steel”) rolled proudly o...

MADE IN DETROIT | 2013-11-24
Once upon a time, Detroit was a vibrant manufacturing hub known as “Motor City.” American-made muscle cars (a.k.a. “Detroit Steel”) rolled proudly o...

COMFORTABLY UNCOMFORTABLE | 2013-10-29
We had our first snow flurries of the season here in Minnesota this week, and I made my annual meatloaf and mashed potato dinner. The two events go h...

COMFORTABLY UNCOMFORTABLE | 2013-10-27
We had our first snow flurries of the season here in Minnesota this week, and I made my annual meatloaf and mashed potato dinner. The two events go h...

GARDENS AND GUNS | 2013-09-29
One of the basic tenets of my trend tracking philosophy is “walk in other worlds.” I believe you should leave your comfort zone behind as often as po...

GARDENS AND GUNS | 2013-09-28
One of the basic tenets of my trend tracking philosophy is “walk in other worlds.” I believe you should leave your comfort zone behind as often as po...

POSH TRAILER PARKS | 2013-06-29
The summer solstice has come and gone. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to plan your summer vacation. Whether you’re a tramper, a glamper, ...

FORAGE * FERMENT * FEAST | 2013-04-14
The world of food serves up a rich smorgasbord of trends and countertrends. In this modern era of gastro-molecular innovation, it’s interesting that ...

RETHINKING RETAIL | 2013-03-10
Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage.” Today, he’d be just as correct saying: “All the world’s a store.” Thanks to technology, every minute o...

REWILDING | 2013-02-03
Last month, I wrote about “reopening” as a trend, and used Faribault Woolen Mills as an example of the old made new. This month I want to continue on ...

A STORY STILL BEING WOVEN | 2013-01-20
How many times have you heard someone exclaim: “boy, they sure don’t make (blank) like they used to?” Every day we hear stories about once-great bran...

HOPE & DESIRE | 2012-12-24
The shopping is done, the packages are sent, the cards are mailed, the stockings are hung, the fire is laid, and the cookies are baked. Even the driv...

OPEN DOORS/CLOSED MINDS | 2012-11-18
Many of you are probably getting ready to head over the river and through the woods to someone’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones. Or,...

THE BEST KNOWN UNKNOWN U.S. ARCHITECT | 2012-10-28
This is the 73rd issue of Trend/Countertrend. My first missive was published 6 years ago this October. While trying to decide what paradoxical topic...

LUMPY TO LUSCIOUS | 2012-09-21
Fall has officially begun, and while the frost isn’t on the pumpkin quite yet, pumpkins are on display at roadside stands and the first frost warnings...

SUNFLOWERS AND BOUGAINVILLEA | 2012-08-12
I am an IDEA geek. Curiosity should have been my middle name. I love learning new things, and this time of year I get nostalgic for “back to school....

TALK OR TWEET? | 2012-07-08
As a Trendmaster, especially one named Robyn, it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that I do not tweet. I’m aware of Twitter, the online social networ...

FUNCTIONAL ICE CREAM | 2012-06-11
Hey, everybody, it’s summer, and the global ice cream market is hotter than ever. The $20B US ice cream market is one category that hasn’t been affec...

ALONE TOGETHER | 2012-05-27
If you live alone, you’re not alone.

During the past half-century, our species has embarked on a remarkable social experiment. For the fi...

RETRO MOD | 2012-03-28
Those of you that tuned in to Mad Men’s long-awaited return last Sunday must have noticed the dramatic set and fashion changes. Where the first four ...

GARAGE-MAHALS | 2012-02-13
In 1632, Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor of India, began construction of the greatest monument to love in history. The grief-stricken ruler ordered the T...

A TOAST TO 2012 | 2012-01-01


To standing out

To fitting in

To going out

To staying in

To working out

To getting ...

PEARLY KINGS & QUEENS | 2011-12-12
The recent recession has had a big impact on Americans’ giving habits, so charities and non-profits have worked hard to make it easier to give. Speci...

SMALL IS HUGE | 2011-11-21
Ready. Set. Eat. Shop. That’s probably a fair description of many Thanksgiving plans this year. The turkey isn’t even unfrozen yet and retailers ...

PUMPKIN PARADOX | 2011-10-28
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Pumpkin Paradox.

OK, I was desperate. The end of the month was approaching and I didn’t know what the top...

A REALISTIC UTOPIA | 2011-09-29
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all create our very own customized utopia? That’s exactly what Therese Clerc, founder of La Maison des Babayagas is ...

SOLIDERS & BALLERINAS | 2011-07-26
What do soldiers and ballerinas have in common? At first glance, they appear to be opposites. One wears camouflage and boots, the other pink tulle a...

DIVORCE REGISTRY | 2011-06-28
There has been a lot of attention focused on weddings recently, with the pageantry of the Royal Wedding last month, and the legalizing of gay marriage...

THE NOT SO BIG HOUSE | 2011-05-25
As I write this, eight men are hammering on the roof above my head. It is really hard to concentrate, so if I flounder or flub, please forgive. My ...

PLEASURE PROCRASTINATION | 2011-02-25
When I was a little girl my parents occasionally treated the family to dinner at McDonalds on Monday nights after piano lessons. McDonald’s was a bra...

TRY SOFTER | 2011-01-01
Happy New Year! As the wave of celebrations traveled across the globe last night, you could almost hear the whispered question that followed the midn...

CHEAP CHIC SLEEP | 2010-11-22
I love a good design story almost as much as I love a good night’s sleep. So, finding out about Motel 6’s “Phoenix Project” was a sweet dream.
<...

AUTOMATED UPSCALE RETAIL | 2010-10-24
When we think of upscale retail, we envision fancy stores in high-rent locations, staffed with elegant sales associates offering pampered personal ass...

BOURGEOIS BOHEMIANS | 2010-09-29
At the cusp of the millennium, social critic David Brooks wrote a witty and wise book called “Bobo’s in Paradise.” The book had a big impact on my r...

BOURGEOIS BOHEMIANS | 2010-09-29
At the cusp of the millennium, social critic David Brooks wrote a witty and wise book called “Bobo’s in Paradise.” The book had a big impact on my r...

MODERN HERITAGE | 2010-08-13
Fashion designers have been scouring the archives of American heritage brands and reinterpreting them in ways that make sense for today’s modern lifes...

FUTILE BUSYNESS | 2010-07-25
Did you know that in 1839 it was considered elegant to take a tortoise out walking?

I came across that tidbit on the “Idler” website, www...

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING TEST | 2010-06-17
My mother is 83 years old, and sharp as a tack. That said, she does occasionally forget something, or make a mistake. (Sorry, Mom.) Here’s a g...

THE HAPPINESS PARADOX | 2010-05-23
Here we go again. The stock market is fluctuating wildly, countries are going bankrupt, and who knows where the Dow will end up tomorrow? If your ha...

MOROCCO'S ALLURING CONTRADICTIONS | 2010-04-25

“Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa, but whose leaves breathe in European air.” That is the metaphor that King Hassan I...

LUXE AUSTERITY | 2010-03-14
Mademoiselle Chanel was the ultimate paradox. Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, the woman we know as Coco Chanel rose from a childhood of poverty and ob...

DESIGNER DOUGHNUTS | 2010-02-20
I’m curious. What did you give YOUR Valentine this year? Red roses, perhaps? A box of chocolates? Or maybe a bottle of champagne? I find m...

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD | 2010-01-03
The month of January is named after Janus, the mythological Roman god of gates and doorways, beginnings and endings. He is most often depicted as hav...

A WHOLE LOTTA LESS | 2009-12-16
The holidays are upon us. The airwaves are flooded with Christmas carols and stores are filled with shoppers. Retailers are discounting, e-tailers a...

DENTAL VACATION | 2009-11-15
A trip to the dentist takes on new meaning these days. Last year over a quarter of a million Americans packed their suitcases and their toothbrushes ...

VIRGIN CONTRADICTIONS | 2009-10-25
I wonder. Is it possible to love a brand without ever really experiencing it? And if you could, would that qualify as a paradox?

I’ve ...

URBAN FARMING | 2009-09-20
We’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes lately. My husband planted several varieties in large terra cotta pots this summer. We had plump red Big Bo...

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT | 2009-08-17
Last week I baked a birthday cake from scratch that was perfectly delicious, but definitely not perfect. It was an old-fashioned 2-layer chocolate ca...

FANCY vs UNFANCY | 2009-07-19
Summertime and the eating is easy…that is to say, uncomplicated, inexpensive, and unfancy. I’m talking paper plates, picnic tables, and din...

BACK TO BIKES | 2009-06-18
There’s been a lot written about the struggling automobile industry lately….most of it not good. American car makers, traveling in the slow...

HURRY UP, SLOW DOWN | 2009-05-26
Summertime, and the living is easy….at least it’s SUPPOSED to be ‘slow and easy.’ For most of us, however, that’s not the ca...

THE ROMANCE AND SEX LIFE OF THE DATE | 2009-04-01
Every once in awhile during my travels I come upon an amazing story that I can’t resist sharing. This one is about dates, and a farm boy from Io...

GREENER GRASS | 2009-03-23
The month of March is known for two green holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of Spring. On St. Paddy’s day we WEAR green, and on...

THE SUNSHINE PARADOX | 2009-02-24
I am on vacation in Maui, Hawaii, as I write this newsletter. I’m trying to take my own advice and practice a little “extreme relaxation.&#...

THE PARADOX OF THRIFT | 2009-01-13
Our economy hasn't been this tough since the Great Depression. The reasons are both complicated and simple, but one of the major culprits is our hype...

WE or Wii? | 2008-12-19
The holidays are a time of giving and togetherness, a season of ‘we.’ We do for others, we share our bounty, we give our time to meaningful...

POSITIVE AGING | 2008-11-22
Frances Lear was a wise woman. She once said: "I believe the second half of one’s life is meant to be better than the first half. The first hal...

IN LOVING MEMORY OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS | 2008-10-24
I was lying awake early this morning worrying about my 401 K. Or what’s left of it. As a baby boomer contemplating retirement, I’m feeling...

THE SAME, ONLY DIFFERENT | 2008-09-28
“The Leopard,” one of Italy’s best-loved books, tells a story about the decline of a noble Sicilian family. The novel, written by Guis...

PENNY POWER | 2008-08-25
The dollar may be on a downward slide, but in true Trend/Countertrend fashion, pennies are trending upwards. Some would say that the penny is practic...

SERIOUS FUN | 2008-07-28
Scientists have only recently begun to realize that people may do their best thinking when they are not concentrating on work at all. It turns out th...

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE ELSEWHERE | 2008-06-01
Ahhhh, summer is finally here. In Minnesota, that’s a big deal. Growing up, I remember anxiously awaiting the start of summer vacation. It too...

CLEARLY AMBIGUOUS | 2008-05-21
I recently attended two art events, one in my hometown of Minneapolis, and one in Chicago.  They couldn’t have been more different from eac...

THE NEW RURALISM | 2008-04-22
My dad was ahead of the times. As a custom homebuilder in the late 60’s, early 70’s, his business ran counter to the trend of suburban spra...

FAST, FINE, CHEAP.....FOOD? | 2008-03-24
You know the old adage: "Fast, fine, or cheap; you can have any two." That used to hold true for food. Fast food is cheap, and usually not that g...

BASIC DELUXE | 2008-02-19
What do pillows and pasta have in common? More than you might think. Both are great examples of Basic Deluxe, everyday products that when presented ...

GIVE MORE. EXPECT LESS. | 2007-12-20
I keep an “I” file. (“I” is for “Interesting.”) It’s where I put bits and pieces of inspiration that I come acros...

THE NEW RAGE FOR OLD MASTERS | 2007-11-16
Our Thanksgiving turkey arrived FedEx at our doorstep yesterday. Her name is Red, as in Bourbon Red. She's a small-breasted beauty from a good family ...

GLOCAL | 2007-10-23
It’s awfully dark out there when you get out of bed these mornings. Soon, we’ll be setting our clocks back in an effort to manually adjust n...

THE BEAUTY OF DOING NOTHING | 2007-09-01
I’ve always been a hard worker, and as such, not very good at doing Nothing. But that’s changing. I’m happy to say that I have learne...

GLEAMING DARKLY | 2007-08-10
One expects fine crystal to glitter brightly, but an interesting counter-trend has been developing in the world of home décor. Today, high fashi...

THE PARADOX OF DEMOCRACY | 2007-07-04
You’re probably wondering how I could turn the 4th of July into a paradox. To be truthful, it’s not my original idea. Ever since I heard G...

LIVING SMALL | 2007-06-28
America is the poster child for everything super-sized. From the McMansions we live in to gigantic food portions served at our favorite restaurants, ...

THE PARENTING PARADOX | 2007-05-09
It’s no secret that in today’s time starved, overworked society, many parents are finding it extremely difficult to balance work and family,...

FINDING THE SWEET SPOT | 2007-04-13
A good Trendmaster knows how to find the sweet spot on the trend curve…the place where new is exciting and attractive, yet understandable and acc...

LITE GREEN | 2007-03-16
St. Patrick’s day is upon us, and Americans will be spending millions of dollars on everything green, from T-shirts to party hats to beer. I hav...

A GLORIOUS DILEMMA | 2007-02-14
A glorious dilemma. In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about the game of golf. If you’ve ever obsessed about your golf game, you&#...

ROUGHING IT IN COMFORT | 2007-01-23
There are many worshippers at the altar of luxury, where “having arrived” is defined by the status symbols we accumulate and “living th...

SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE CAN BE COMPLICATED | 2006-12-14
Not enough time. Too much stuff. Sound familiar?

The holiday season is upon us, and I’m betting that like me, most of you have been...

QUIET IS THE NEW LOUD | 2006-11-14
Sometimes a soft whisper can be clearly heard above a loud roar. In “The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend La...

THE BEST KNOWN UNKNOWN U.S. ARCHITECT | 2006-10-20
Welcome to my first issue of Trend/Countertrend, the official RW Trend newsletter. Some of you may know me as the Trendmaster. Others may know me as...

 

 

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