Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Macy's Inspires Us to Believe Again This Holiday Season

Building on the great success of last year’s inaugural “Believe” campaign, Macy’s today announced exciting new elements of this year’s holiday effort to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. This year, Macy’s is adding to the spirit of “Believe” with a national Santa Tour, an honorary National Believe Day, a “Yes, Virginia” animated special, a new TV commercial featuring Queen Latifah, and an interactive Believe Web site at The nostalgic holiday campaign was inspired by the New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897 and includes letter-writing “Believe Stations” in Macy’s stores across the country with Macy’s making a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter deposited in Macy’s Santa Mail, up to $1 million.

“Macy’s Believe effort really inspired people last holiday, and customers and communities across the country responded in a big way,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “Not only did we collect more than a million letters and hit our $1 million goal for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but we saw wonderful and unexpected examples of schools and communities coordinating letter drives to help support this effort. To build on that excitement this year, Macy’s Believe campaign will layer on new elements including taking Macy’s Santa on tour, designating a special Believe Day to celebrate the holiday spirit, and premiering a new animated holiday special that tells the ‘Yes, Virginia’ story. This holiday, America will be inspired to Believe again.”

Beginning on November 6, 2009, believers of all ages are invited to drop off letters – stamped and addressed to Santa At The North Pole – at any Macy’s store in the Santa Mail letterbox. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“The Make-A-Wish Foundation is proud to join with Macy’s to make wishes come true through the Believe campaign,” said David Williams, President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It inspires people to embrace the generosity of the season and think hopefully about the future. Believe ties in perfectly with our mission to grant the heartfelt wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and we appreciate the support of Macy’s and everyone who takes part in the campaign.”

New Believe elements this year include:

Macy’s “The Trek” TV Commercial (breaks Nov. 6) – The Believe advertising campaign will break on Friday, November 6, with a new national television spot featuring Macy’s star Queen Latifah. The spot, called “The Trek” features Virginia making the trip from her home to Macy’s, where Queen Latifah helps her mail her letter to Santa. A Spanish-language version will feature Carlos Ponce.

Macy’s National Santa Tour (Kicks off Nov. 28) – A new and exciting element to the Believe campaign is Macy’s Santa Tour. Following his celebratory kickoff of the holiday season in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa will embark on a whirlwind tour across America, greeting young boys and girls and spreading holiday joy. Stopping in 25 cities across the U.S., Santa’s National Tour will give children the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the man himself. Visit (site goes live Nov. 6) for scheduled stops and to track Santa’s latest location.

National Believe Day / “Yes, Virginia” Animated Special (Dec. 11) – On Friday, December 11, Macy’s will celebrate the first National Believe Day to recognize and reward acts of kindness and generosity from coast to coast. Also that day, CBS will premiere a new original animated special called, “Yes, Virginia.” Building on the story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897, the holiday special takes us on a charming adventure about the existence of Santa Claus and the curiosity amongst believers. During the creation of “Yes, Virginia,” a special wish was fulfilled for 10-year-old Wish kid Taylor Hay – whose voice and likeness were captured for one of the characters. The new half-hour holiday program will air on CBS on Friday, December 11, at 8 p.m. ET. “Yes, Virginia” was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with The Ebeling Group and MEC Entertainment, a division of Mediaedge:cia. website goes live on November 6 with great new features:

•“Believe” Activity Guide – Based on the enormous response from schools and teachers last year, Macy’s and the Make-A-Wish Foundation have created a downloadable online toolkit to facilitate interest from teachers and schools that would like to use “Believe” as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season. The toolkit – including a Santa letter template, coloring sheet and “I Believe” bookmark cut-out – can be found on

•Tell Us Why You Believe – Also new on is a “Tell Us Why You Believe” contest that invites visitors to submit either a short essay or video telling the world why they believe. People can vote on the entries, with the two winners (one essay and one video) enjoying a very special VIP trip to the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To measure activity, the site will feature a working Believe Meter map that inches higher every time an essay or video is submitted. Voters have a chance to win a sweepstakes too!

•Santa Tour Tracker – Macy’s Believe microsite will also feature a map with Santa’s whirlwind tour schedule. All Santa stop details will be listed here for believers of all ages wanting to meet the man himself.

The Believe campaign is rooted in a letter to the editor written by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897 asking if there is a Santa Claus. The New York Sun newsman Francis P. Church responded with a poignantly worded essay on the importance of believing, including the famous line “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…”

The Believe campaign launches on November 6 and runs through December 24. For Believers who want to help make a difference, just look for the Believe Stations in every store that feature a Believe Meter, letter-writing station and an official R.H. Macy’s Santa Mail letterbox.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mad Hungry - Meeting Lucinda Scala Quinn

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lucinda Scala Quinn this evening at the book signing event held in Ann Arbor. 

Lucinda, VP and Editorial Director of Food for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and co-host of the PBS Series, "Everyday Food,"  made her stop in Ann Arbor to promote her new book "Mad Hungry."  I have to admit, while just paging through the book so far, I can tell this is one cookbook I will use and not allow to collect dust on the shelf.  It's practical, it's easy, and most of all, it's real food, for real people. 

The very intimate and informal setting at the Ann Arbor Public Library made for a very interactive evening. 


Lucinda started the evening with a brief presentation, sharing her life experiences as a novice cook to how she landed as the VP of Food for MSLO.  She shared tales of her sons, their own love for food, and the challenge of keeping active, growing guys well fed.  Hence, the inspiration for "Mad Hungry." 

Following the presentation, Lucinda did a quick demo on a quick and easy salad that can be eaten alone, with chips, or in a pita.  The tabbouleh salad, touted in her book as "health bonanza" was whipped up in just a few minutes and had the freshest taste of any tabbouleh I've ever had.  (I won't share the recipe... you'll have to buy the book and turn to page 90)

Following the demo, Lucinda took questions from the audience.  From Bacon/Egg/Cheese bagels (a big hit with her sons and with a lot of other people too), to her single favorite kitchen item (cast iron pans), the time spent between Lucinda and the audience felt more like a group of friends discussing food and sharing recipes.  It was so enjoyable to have that interaction.  Kudos to Lucinda for formatting her book signings to allow for that exchange. 

Lucinda then sat down to sign copies of "Mad Hungry" for members of the audience.  Again, sufficient time was spent with each guest.  I enjoyed being able to chat with her for several minutes while she signed the copies of Mad Hungry I had purchased. 

Since my very first interaction with Lucinda was through Twitter, she said, "I have to do this..." and signed my book to my Twitter screen name...

There were a couple things that really impressed me tonight... 1.  Lucinda's oldest son, Calder, is making the book tour with her.  I think that's a great show of support and says something about his character as a person.  (he did have to slip to the back of the room for a fantasy basketball pick.. but still...)  2.  The format of the event was again very interactive with the audience.  The barriers of 'author' and 'guests' seemed to have disappeared.  There wasn't an ounce of pretense about the event.  No food snobs here.  3.  Lucinda is just cool.  Plain and simple.  Easy to talk to, easy to understand, and a wonderful author; Lucinda makes food easy and 'do-able' for the home cook.  Lucinda rocks!

Keep up to date with happenings along the book tour by visiting her blog  There, you can follow along on the tour, find other tour dates, and learn something along the way.

Now.. if I can only talk her out of a Mad Hungry t-shirt....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to Introduce New Food Business with The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. and Hain Pure Protein Corporation

New Line to Include Vegetarian-Fed, Antibiotic-Free Turkey for Thanksgiving 2009 Followed by Natural Baking Mixes and Dried Pastas in Spring 2010

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.  today announced that it has partnered with The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN) and its affiliate Hain Pure Protein Corporation to introduce a new Martha Stewart-branded food line at retail, including poultry from Plainville Farms®, baking mixes from Arrowhead Mills® and dried pastas from DeBoles® using all natural, healthy ingredients. The product lines are expected to be distributed in supermarkets, mass-market retailers and warehouse clubs across the country. Hain Pure Protein is a joint venture between Hain Celestial and Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P.

The new Martha Stewart-branded products will launch with limited distribution of fresh and frozen vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free turkeys from Hain Pure Protein's Plainville Farms in time for Thanksgiving 2009, including online availability via
The launch of the turkey products will be followed by natural baking mixes from Arrowhead Mills and dried pastas from DeBoles in Spring 2010, expanding the gourmet quality of the natural baking mixes and dried pastas using recipes from Martha Stewart.

The new offerings extend MSLO's relationship with Hain Celestial, which is producing Martha Stewart Clean, a branded line of all-natural cleaning solutions that is expected to launch next month.

Martha Stewart, Founder of MSLO, stated: "As an avid cook with an appreciation for good food made with wholesome ingredients, I'm delighted to be offering consumers antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed turkeys that are moist, tender, and absolutely delicious. I'm also pleased to be developing natural, healthy baking mixes and pastas from Arrowhead Mills and DeBoles, two well-respected food brands."

"We're thrilled to be expanding our offerings with MSLO. The name Martha Stewart is synonymous with good food, and Hain Celestial is known for helping consumers to lead A Healthy Way of Life(TM). Working with MSLO is an ideal partnership for Hain Celestial and Hain Pure Protein and for consumers who will benefit from the offerings," said Irwin D. Simon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial.

Food is a cornerstone of MSLO, which encompasses the Martha Stewart and Chef Emeril Lagasse brands. Martha Stewart is widely recognized for her culinary prowess. She first gained national attention with her 1982 book, Entertaining, which showcased over 300 recipes, and has since published numerous bestselling cookbooks, including the recent Martha Stewart's Cooking School and Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and the just released Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home. Food and recipes are a key element of all of MSLO's magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Martha Stewart Weddings and Body + Soul. It is also an important part of The Martha Stewart Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and, which features more than 10,000 recipes.

MSLO Executive Chairman and Principal Executive Officer Charles Koppelman said: "Building out our food business is a natural next step for MSLO. We have tremendous brand equity in the space and our partnership with Hain Celestial allows us to take it to the next level."

Turkey from Hain Pure Protein, Baking Mixes from Arrowhead Mills and Dried Pastas from DeBoles

Martha Stewart Turkey from Hain Pure Protein's Plainville Farms is humanely raised on family farms, vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free with no added growth hormones. It will be packaged with a booklet providing consumers with instructions from Martha Stewart Living's "Turkey 101" and ideas from about how to prepare and cook the turkey as well as recipes for stuffing and gravy. The baking mixes from Arrowhead Mills and dried pastas from DeBoles contain no artificial flavors or preservatives; the relationship may expand into additional categories.

"Our previous experience in the retail food arena has taught us a great deal about how to develop high-quality, healthy and delicious food for the retail shopper. Our expanded relationship with Hain Celestial is part of our merchandising strategy to partner with the best manufacturers who have vast and robust retail distribution networks," said Robin Marino, MSLO's President and Chief Executive Officer of Merchandising.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Teams with Age Group and PetSmart to Create and Market New Line of Pet Products

Apparel, Bedding, Grooming Supplies and More to Debut at PetSmart Stores in Second Quarter of 2010

 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a multi-year relationship with Age Group Ltd. to manufacture, market and sell pet-care products, which will be sold through PetSmart, Inc., the largest specialty retailer of services and solutions for pets. The line will include a wide range of pet accessories, including apparel, collars, leashes, bedding, grooming supplies, toys and more. The first products are expected to roll out in the second quarter of 2010.

Martha Stewart is widely known for her devotion to animals. Pet-related content is featured in Martha Stewart Living and on the nationally syndicated daily TV series The Martha Stewart Show; Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS XM offers pet programming daily. The company recently introduced a pets channel on, including "The Daily Wag," a popular blog written from the perspective of Martha's beloved French Bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey. Martha herself is actively involved in promoting animal welfare; earlier this year she was recognized for her efforts with the ASPCA Presidential Service Award.

Martha Stewart, Founder of MSLO, said, "I have always loved having a lot of pets - dogs, cats and birds, and consider them members of my family. It is very important to me that domestic animals be well fed, well groomed and well cared for, and I have always prided myself on the good health and happiness of my pets. I look forward to working with Age Group and PetSmart to provide other pet owners with the types of Martha Stewart-designed products that will keep pets happy, safe and healthy."

"We're bringing two world class brands together under one roof," said Matt McAdam, PetSmart's Vice President of Merchandising. "By being the only pet specialty retailer to offer Martha Stewart's pet products, we're giving our pet parents yet one more reason to shop our stores to find the unique solutions they want and need to keep their pets healthy and happy."

MSLO Executive Chairman and Principal Executive Officer Charles Koppelman stated, "We see tremendous potential for MSLO in the estimated $50 billion pets market and are very pleased to begin establishing a retail presence in this category through PetSmart. This new relationship is an important addition to MSLO's growing portfolio of Merchandising partnerships, which includes our recently announced agreement with The Home Depot to develop an exclusive Martha Stewart Living brand of home improvement products; our Martha Stewart Collection of home products exclusively at Macy's; as well as our Martha Stewart Crafts line available at Michaels and specialty crafts stores, among others. Through these programs we continue to deliver on our promise to provide consumers the Martha Stewart products they want and need wherever they shop."

Age Group Ltd., which will manufacture the new product line, has been in business for over 25 years. With over 15 licensed properties, the company's labels include Hello Kitty, Disney, Roca Wear, American Tourister and more. In addition, Age Group merchandises and designs for many retailers under private label agreements, including Macy's, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Kohl's.

"We're very excited to be working with Martha Stewart and her team of designers and pet experts, pairing our product development, marketing and retail distribution knowledge and capabilities with such a trusted and influential brand," said Sarah Gerard, President of Age Group's Pet Division.

Robin Marino, MSLO's President and Chief Executive Officer of Merchandising, said: "These important new relationships extend our brand's presence in the pet marketplace. We look forward to offering consumers inspired, well designed products they will love giving their pets."

According to the 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey, an estimated 71 million U.S. households include at least one pet. In 2008, consumers spent an estimated $52 billion on their pets, a number that has more than doubled in less than a decade*. Approximately one-third of those expenditures are dedicated to pet supplies, grooming and boarding.
Photo courtesy of Newscom

Monday, October 19, 2009

Everyday Food - November Issue

The November issue of Everyday Food arrived in my mailbox today and this is definitely the issue to keep handy as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast this year!

Inside, you'll find a simple Thankgiving menu that will let you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your friends and family at the table.  You'll discover the secret to a golden, juicy turkey, plus there are easy recipes for favorite holiday side dishes like bread stuffing with sage and bourbon sweet potatoes.  (p. 116)  Anyone hungry for more?

If you wake up the Friday after Thanksgiving wondering what in the world you'll do with the leftovers, wonder no more!  There's no b etter way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers than in sandwiches.  The November issue has the editors' favorites from savory turkey BLTs to decadent pumpkin-pie treats.  The possibilities are endless.  (p. 148)

Make your pies ahead of time and make a big impression at the feasting table!  For an unforgettable finale to the feast, serve up a creamy, indulgent treat pulled straight from the refrigerator like a chocolate mousee tart with hazelnuts or coconut cream pie.  No one will be able to resist! (p.128)

Plus, the Thanksgiving Handbook found on page 85 is a strategy-packed guide that will make this year's holiday the easiest ever.  Find turkey tips, a shopping list and schedule, and step-by-step instructions on stuffing, gravy-making, and carving. 

Let the November issue of Everyday Food make your Thanksgiving holiday one of the best (and easiest) ever!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Farm to Table

Our favorite hotel and our favorite 'gentlemen farmers' will be featured in an upcoming episode of the Food Network show "Rachael's Vacation:  Farm to Table." 

Rachael's Farm to Table Vacation takes viewers on a delicious journey across the country, visiting restaurants that encourage fresh eating by cooking with just-picked ingredients straight from the farm! Rachael travels across the country to find a bounty of farmers' markets, cafes, and supper clubs that are participating in the Farm to Table movement which is sweeping the nation.

Host Rachael Ray visited Sharon Springs earlier this year and paid a visit to Beekman Farm and the American Hotel to film segments for the show. 

Rachael's Vacation:  Farm to Table will air Friday, November 6 at 11:00 pm and again at 2:00 am. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Martha's Planning Calendar

There's a new feature on  Martha's Planning Calendar.

Martha's calendar, has always been a favorite with readers of the magazine.  After a brief absence, the calendar returned this year to the delight of hundreds of thousands of subscribers and readers. Now, it's available on the website. 

Martha's Planning Calendar can be customized to your own interests, and you can even add Martha's calendar to your own if you use Yahoo, Google, Outlook, or iCal.  Simply click on the calendar topics you wish to subscribe to and indicate your calendar of choice.  The calendar will automatically download, keeping you ahead of the rest, with timely seasonal reminders, holiday reminders, and more. 

I encourage readers of to really pay attention!  New features are often added with little or no announcement and you could very well miss out on something you might enjoy.  I always take a few moments to really search through the site to see what I can discover!

Martha's Planning Calendar... it's a very good thing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Broccoli-Goat Cheese Tart

David ran across this recipe for a Broccoli-Goat Cheese Tart in a magazine and I have to say, it was delicious!  It can be made in a 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan or inbaked in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.  Use your favorite pie crust recipe. 


Pie Crust
6 eggs
1C. half and half
1/4 tsp garlic salt
10 oz of frozen chopped broccoli (or you can use fresh)
6 oz goat cheese
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped.

Place baking sheet on lower rack of oven.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the piecrust into the tart pan or deep dish pie plate.  Refrigerate until ready to fill. 

Next, in a large bowl, blend the eggs, half-and-half and 1/8 tsp of garlic salt.  Scatter the broccoli over the bottom of the piecrust and season with the remaining 1/8 tsp of garlic salt.  Cromble the goat cheese over the top;  evenly sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes over goat cheese and pour in the egg mixture. 

Set the tart pan (or pie plate) on the heated baking sheet and bake at 400 for appx. 40 min or until a knife inserted in the center tests clean.  Cool the tart on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Remove the tart ring by loosening with a small paring knife if needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This tart is excellent with a nice fresh tossed salad. 

Beekman 1802 Introduces Beekman BLAAK

The good guys (and goats) at Beekman 1802 have introduced the first artisanal cheese produced from the goats at Beekman Farm. 

Beekman Blaak is an Italian-style semi-hard cheese made from a 60:40 mix of unpasteurized goat and cow milk giving the cheese a mild but distinctive flavor. In keeping with traditional cheesemaking practices, this rare cheese is aged for 4 months in our caves and is coated with ash at each turning to promote the ripening of the wheel. The resulting edible black rind gives the cheese its name and makes it a true conversation piece on your table.

On our most recent visit to Beekman Farm in September, David and I had an opportunity to sample the cheese.  I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of goat milk cheese; but this cheese is very different.  With a smoother 'bite' than other goat cheeses, the taste will leave you wanting more and more.  Combined with sun-dried tomatoes in a delicious tart, to a stand alone midnight snack, Beekman Blaak will quickly become on of your favorite cheeses to have on hand for the holidays and for every day.

Beekman Blaak is only available in full 2-3 pound wheels, the perfect size for dividing and sharing. 

To order a wheel of this incredible cheese, visit the Beekman 1802 Mercantile.  While you're at it, don't forget to stock up on soap!  A bar or two will make a wonderful gift for someone you know this holiday season!

Martha Stewart Weddings Celebrates 15th Anniversary and Provides Winter Brides Bevy of Offerings to Plan Their Big Day

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. today announced that Martha Stewart Weddings, the best-selling weddings magazine on newsstands, will launch the first ever national digital Luxury Wedding Expo, an online destination where women across the country can have access to the latest bridal information and learn more about wedding planning and trends. In addition, the company announced that on November 9, Martha Stewart Weddings will publish Martha Stewart's Destination Weddings & Dream Honeymoons, the magazine's first special issue on destination weddings and honeymoons.

On November 14, the Martha Stewart Luxury Wedding Expo kicks off online with a live two-day event where brides will be able to browse the digital booths of leading bridal vendors and interact directly with vendor representatives, Martha Stewart Weddings editors and bridal experts. Brides will be inspired as they learn planning tips, creative cost-cutting ideas, fashion advice and more. The expo, which is taking registrations at, is open from November 14 until February 28, 2010, allowing brides anywhere to access inspiring ideas, resources and information when they need it as they plan for their big day.

Amy Wilkins, SVP Publisher, Martha Stewart Weddings stated: "Our digital expo, which features 29 advertisers in bridal fashion, fine jewelry, registry, travel and more, is the first of its kind. It also reflects the trail-blazing spirit that distinguishes our brand, which appeals to the bride who places a high premium on quality and who is always looking for fresh ideas that allow her to put her unique stamp on every aspect of her special day."

Commenting on the special Weddings travel issue, Ms. Wilkins added: "Destination weddings are a growing trend. Those who envision a distant setting for their nuptials will find the perfect guide in our special issue, which is the bride's passport to the destination wedding and honeymoon of her dreams."

The first ever Martha Stewart's Destination Weddings & Dream Honeymoons will share insider tips and beautiful, creative ideas on how to throw a destination wedding with panache and on a budget. From choosing the right location to inspiring ideas to personalize their nuptials, the special issue will provide brides access to everything they need to plan their destination wedding. On newsstands November 9, the issue comes at a time when destination weddings are on the upswing. According to recent research from Martha Stewart Weddings and The Futures Company (formerly Yankelovich), 31% of brides ages 21-30 are planning to have a destination wedding; previous studies indicated that destination weddings represented 10% to 20% of all weddings.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating Martha Stewart Weddings' Crystal Anniversary and proud to be providing the most inspiring ideas, the best products and the most trustworthy resources to help brides realize the wedding of their dreams," said Darcy Miller, Martha Stewart Weddings Editorial Director.

The online expo and special issue coincide with the 15th Anniversary of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. The magazine is the cornerstone of MSLO's Weddings franchise. The franchise also encompasses extensive online content on, including wedding planning tools and local vendor search powered by WeddingWire, blogs featuring MSW expert editors, and robust, exclusive content such as a D.I.Y. weddings center and off-the-runway wedding gown collections, as well as video-on-demand, television specials and radio programming on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS Channel 112 and XM Channel 157. This past year, MSLO announced plans to introduce destination wedding packages with Sandals and Beaches Resorts and partnered with Crane & Co. to develop stationery products including personalized wedding invitation suites. In addition, the Martha Stewart Collection exclusively at Macy's, which ranges from linens and kitchenware to fine china with Wedgwood, is the No. 1 brand on Macy's bridal registry. In 2008, MSLO took an equity stake in, an online invitation and planning company. The company also offers weddings-related books such as Weddings by Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Martha Stewart Living - November Issue

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living has always symbolized the true start to the holiday season in my home.  As Halloween nears, I begin to anticipate the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season.  Some may 'poo-poo' at the thought of holiday planning so early; but I've always had a 'retail' mentality when it comes to holidays!

I was so happy to see the November issue of Living in my mailbox today and I immediately sat down to page through the beautiful pages of this issue.

If you're planning your first Thanksgiving dinner, or if you're a seasoned pro at this family feast, you'll enjoy "A Delicious Tradition" on pages 78, 144, and 170.  Learn how to prepare a turkey in about an hour, family pleasing side dishes, and perfect pies every time. 

Looking for an interesting craft idea?  Try glitter-painting.  Paint by numbers meets the digital age using the new photo-conversion tool on  Upload a picture and print it in simplified color fields.  Add glue and glitter to transform favorite photos into one-of-a-lind work of art.  Turn to page 152 for all the step by step how to. 

Kevin Sharkey, editorial director of decorating, continues his home renovation:  essential basics for a small kitchen with some help from Martha.  Get Martha's help in your own kitchen on a nice pull out section on page 103. 

The ad pages give us something to look forward to this holiday season: 

The Fine Living Network is devoting every Wednesday night to holiday planning.  A new television special, "Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving Desserts" will premiere on the network November 4 at 8 p.m.  "Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving Special" premieres Wednesday November 11 at 8 p.m.  Don't miss these specials as you prepare for your family feast. 

Martha and Grandin Road are teaming up again for the holidays with beautiful decorations for your home. Watch the Grandin Road website for details on the new line from Martha Stewart.  (I checked this afternoon but no details quite yet!) 

Also, Martha is teaming up with Dove Chocolates.  Look for the blue Martha circle logo on packages of Dove Promise candies, where you will find helpful holiday tips from Martha on each wrapper.  Who doesn't love chocolate and who doesn't love a few tips from Martha?

I have a feeling this holiday season will bring one good thing after another!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Wishing my dear Canadian friends and all Canadians a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving day!

Enjoy this time with family and friends. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Martha Stewart for 1-800 Flowers: My Picks for Fall

While browsing through the 1-800 Flowers website this afternoon, I looked through the Martha Stewart arrangements for Fall.  Here are three of my favorites:

The Pumpkin Spice Wreath would look beautiful on any door! (49.95)

The Harvest Spice Bouquet is simple, yet spectacular! (39.95)

The Autumn Festival arrangement is nothing short of stunning.  (49.95)

To view all of the arrangments available, visit 1-800 Flowers and click on the "Martha Stewart" tab.  While there, read Martha's top 10 tips for fall decorating

Martha Stewart Living Sales Team Gets Top Kudos as Sales Team of the Year

Whether it’s selling for flagship publication Martha Stewart Living,, The Martha Stewart Show or any one of the other brand assets that falls under the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia umbrella, the MSLO sales team lives and breathes as a holistic unit. All team members adhere to a shared philosophy that sets forth the notion that everyone on the team is a leader; there are no followers. Everyone is a teacher; there are no preachers.

This outlook has infused the MSLO sales team with the drive and power to establish a model of excellence in the 360 degree, cross-platform programs they develop and execute. With domestic/crafts doyenne and eponymous company founder Martha Stewart as its guide and inspiration, the sales team prides itself on selling brand solutions as opposed to selling ad units like a commodity. “It is rare to have multiple assets that share such a clear, singular voice,” says Jacki Kelley, EVP of media sales for MSLO.

Power Programs

An example of a program that both leveraged brand equity for all those involved while surpassing advertiser expectation was for client Mars and its My M&M’s initiative. Dubbed “Your Holiday, Your Way,” the campaign was devised to generate awareness of the new M&M’s technology that allows consumers to put images on custom-made M&M’s, and to generate incremental sales during the 2008 holidays. Aligning the client’s product with MSLO holiday content across all platforms, the team created ornaments and gifts using My M&M’s, offering enticing reasons for consumer purchases. The results were a 27% increase in traffic to the My M&M’s Web site; 12% increase in orders, 36% increase in intent to purchase; 40% ROI; and 167 million impressions during the holiday season.

Another notable initiative was Nestle Baking’s “A Million Reasons” initiative, which encompassed the TV show, the Web site and in-book advertorials in Martha Stewart Living with an eight-page Nestle 2009 calendar insert. Here the challenge was to drive consumers to use Nestle Toll House by creating seasonal and emotional reasons for baking. Leveraging MSLO’s expertise in crafts, the sales team created custom projects that coordinated with specific Nestle recipes. The results were millions of targeted media impressions for Nestle, which generated massive consumer action. Also, according to Vista, the November 2008 advertorial was the top-scoring ad in the whole issue for actions taken.

Talent Surplus

It’s no surprise that the exemplary skills shown by the MSLO sales team has brought it high grades from agency partners, in addition to clients. “The Martha Stewart team has set a new standard in integrated marketing programs,” says Tracy Benson, VP of marketing strategy for imc2. “Their ability to bring a unique set of valuable assets together to create deeper and more meaningful programs is critical in today’s fragmented environment, but what truly sets them apart is the combination of their talent, accountability, structure and creativity that brings it all together to drive results.”

Key members of MSLO’s sales team include Sally Preston, SVP, group publisher; Eileen Kiernan, SVP, marketing solutions; and Lee Heffernan, SVP, integrated marketing.
This article originally appeard on

Sunday, October 4, 2009

If Brownie Can Do It - So Can Martha

Now, doesn't everyone dress like this to shop and prepare a meal?

In 1946, Earl Tupper introduced “Tupperware” with that famous ‘burping,’ tight sealing lid, to the American public. Originally available only in department stores, sales of the plastic wonder were not as robust as Tupper had hoped. The revolutionary product had one significant flaw – consumers didn’t know they ‘needed’ the product or how to use the product. A burping lid? What did that mean?!

Flash to south Florida. Brownie Wise, a mother and top seller with Stanley Home Products discovered the Tupperware product on store shelves and made a decision to add the burping wonder to her array of home cleaning products and brushes. Brownie, who was a direct sales genius, knew a good thing when she saw it and became the sales leader of Tupperware products, quickly out-selling department stores.

Brownie Wise

Brownie knew what the problem was – education. She combined her sales pitch with educating the consumer on the many uses of Tupperware. This combination of education and sales proved successful and the Tupperware Home Party was born.

In 1951, Tupperware products were taken off the shelves at department stores and became exclusively sold at home demonstrations.

With Brownie Wise leading up the sales department, Tupperware experienced massive growth. Brownie realized that the women (and a few men!) who sold Tupperware at home parties were responsible for the success of the company and rewarded them in ways unheard of during that time period. Cars, furs, trips, merchandise and the famous annual Jubilee celebration, recognized Tupperware’s top sellers and motivated others to set and reach higher goals.

Other companies learned from Brownies expertise and began direct home sales plans, rewarding multi-level participants with awards of product and income. One of the most successful ‘spin-offs’ is the Pampered Chef home party. With cooking demonstrations that use Pampered Chef products, and recipe exchanges, guests of the home party learn how to use the tools to their best advantage, making their lives easier in this ever fast paced world.

Recently, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has gotten into the home party plan in the UK, with his product line “Jamie at Home.” Through the direct sales model, consultants of Jamie at Home hold home parties, to demonstrate and educate, resulting in sales of the ‘must have’ products.

and look.. a "Martha Blue" bowl!

Hmmm.. can you imagine Martha Stewart Home parties?

Enthusiastic Martha Home consultants, donned in the standard uniform of khaki’s and “Martha blue” polo shirts (emblazoned with the Martha logo) could teach the world how to live the Martha way, using Martha Home products. The Martha Home consultant could not only demonstrate the best way to prepare a meal using Martha products, they could even demonstrate how to arrange and hang pictures on a wall using the Martha Home picture hanging kit. It would be a ‘must have’ in every household!

Holiday themed parties would bring glittering to life at a Martha Home party. Confused on how to use a punch around the page paper punch? No worries! The Martha Home consultant can provide the careful guidance to make any paper crafter successful. The possibilities are endless.

Now, think about a Martha Jubilee… a huge hall filled with consultants eagerly await the keynote speech from Martha. Martha herself would hand out the annual sales awards to deserving consultants. Editors from “Living” would conduct workshops to educate and strengthen the sales force. New product introductions would bring thunderous applause from the enthusiastic participants who eagerly place their own orders to add the new product to their sales kit. Pumped up and ready to sell, the consultants would return to their communities and hold party after party. Brownie Wise wanted Tupperware in every home. Why not set the same goal for Martha Home products?!

As I was writing this post, an email came in from my friend Mike.  I couldn't believe my eyes...

Yes, you read correctly.. a Martha Stewart Crafts House Party! 

Sponsored by EK Success and people interested in hosting a Martha Stewart Crafts House Party can apply on line to be a host for this special event. The selected hosts will receive a party kit filled with Martha Stewart Craft Products and other items to help make the home party a success.  There are no direct sales involved - rather it's an educational session to 'entice' others to purchase and use items from the craft line.  I love the idea.

Yes.. I did apply to be a party host.  (it has potential to be fabulous) I need to pull out the khakis and Martha blue polo just in case I'm selected. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Martha Stewart Everyday - Holiday

With the relationship between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Kmart coming to a close, I was surprised to see holiday decorations from Martha Stewart Everyday begin to appear on store shelves. 

One of the readers of House Blend, armed with his camera phone, took some photos for a sneak peek at the various collections available for 2009.  Take a look!

It looks as though the stores shelves will be well stocked for the holidays with a beautiful assortment to choose from. 

We'll be posting more pictures and details about MSE-Holiday soon!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favorite stand-by desserts for fall is a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. 
The moist, dense, single cake layer is plenty of sweet goodness to satisfy that urge for a delicious autumnal treat. 

For our recent trip to Sharon Springs, I made a pumpkin cake to share with Brent and Josh. It wasn't long before the cake was sliced and everyone was enjoying a piece of the spiced cake.

The cake is easy to make and is nearly fool-proof!  Here's the recipe:

1-2/3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grind your own.. much better!)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 C sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter (the best you can find)
2 large eggs
1 C homemade pumpkin puree.  (canned will work fine too)
1/2 C warm milk (110 degrees)

You'll also need your favorite cream cheese frosting. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9-inch round cake pan (or butter and flour). Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round and lightly spray the parchment. 

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, and beat until combined.  Add the pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined.  Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until JUST combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.  Let the cake rest 20 minutes. 

Unmold the cake; set aside.  Using an offset spatula, spread cream cheese frosting over top of the cake.  Decorate with caramalized walnuts or pecans (optional). 

This cake is an excellent alternative to pumpkin pie at holiday time and is especially good with a cup of your favorite coffee.