Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Discovering Downtown Dough

Twenty minutes north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the delightful, historic town of Cedarburg.  This small town is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in the country.  Decked in holiday finery, a stroll down main street brings the old time spirit of Christmas to life.  Miles of fresh pine garlands and wreaths adorn most every building in the village.  Shops of every size and interest line the streets.  Everything from antiques to fine art, pottery, jewelry, distinctive clothing and unique specialty items can be found in the heart of this Midwest town. 
One of my favorite shops was a bakers paradise, “Downtown Dough.”  If you enjoy baking,  this is the place for you!  Anything and everything a baker would want can be found in this small but exciting store.  I was instantly drawn to the wall of cookie cutters.  Not just a few cookie cutters, but a wall of over 2,000 of them! 

Much to my surprise, as we entered Downtown Dough, there was a small sign that said, “exclusive cookie cutters made for Martha Stewart.”  Martha?  Really?  Indeed… Downtown Dough was the exclusive source for the wonderful cookie cutters used in the Woodland Christmas article in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. 

I couldn't help myself.. I purchased the entire lot of cutters, except the reindeer... it was temporarily out of stock. 

All of the cookie cutters are made in America - and quite sturdy!  If you're in the Milwaukee area, stop by and visit Downtown Dough.  If you're not in the area, visit their website, DowntownDough.com.  Their entire line of cookie cutters, candy making supplies, and decorating supplies are available for mail order purchase. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Martha Stewart's Countdown to Christmas

As the holidays fast approach, Martha Stewart Living is preparing its first ever holiday video series, "Martha Stewart's Countdown to Christmas." 

Launching on Monday, November 26, the 15-part video series will feature Martha sharing her most treasured traditions for the holidays - from seasonal recipes, to festive crafts, decorating tips, and creative gift ideas. 

The video series replaces the annual Holiday issue of the magazine and will only be available on marthastewart.com. 

MSLO recently announced the company is shifting focus from print to online digital delivery of its vast media library.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kris Kringle Heading Back to Macy's for Another Miracle on 34th St

Macy’s New Holiday Brand TV Spot “Another Miracle on 34th Street” follows the 1947 holiday classic film’s original Kris Kringle as he lends a helping hand to Macy’s star designers Justin Bieber, Tommy Hilfiger, Marcus Samuelsson, Carlos Santana, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift and Donald Trump

This season Macy’s is celebrating its storied holiday heritage with a new television campaign that uses modern-day technology to bring the one-and-only Kris Kringle, from Twentieth Century Fox’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” back to his home at Macy’s Herald Square. Set to inspire a new generation of “Believers” with the spirit of generosity and goodwill for all, Macy’s “Another Miracle on 34th Street” is the retailer’s star-studded take on Kringle’s return to a 21st century Macy’s, following Santa Claus as he interacts with Macy’s latest cast of star designers and imparts the true meaning of the holiday season. A beloved classic since its debut in 1947, “Miracle on 34th Street” has through the years cemented Macy’s unique relationship with Santa Claus in the hearts and minds of generations. “Another Miracle on 34th Street” will debut on Nov. 8.

Justin Bieber chats with Kris Kringle, star of the 1947 Twentieth Century Fox film classic "Miracle  ...

“’Miracle on 34th Street’ has been a defining moment in Macy’s storied history since the film first delighted audiences in 1947,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “For decades, we have cherished and embraced the legacy of this wonderful film which along with our incredible Thanksgiving Day Parade has truly helped define the holiday season. Thanks to our special partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, we are able to bring the magic of Miracle to new audiences, in a unique, funny and heartwarming spot that will have millions more believing in the spirit of the season.”

“’Miracle on 34th Street is one of the most treasured assets in the Fox film library and a staple of the holiday season. We are honored to partner with Macy’s on this campaign to reintroduce this beloved classic to fans and possibly introduce it to a new generation of ‘Believers’ this holiday season,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.

Using cutting-edge editing and green screen technology, Macy’s in partnership with JWT New York, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and special effects house Framestore (known for their work on several Harry Potter films), selected elements of Edmund Gwenn’s 1947 performance as Kris Kringle to digitally add to the live action scenes. Seamlessly interacting with the star designers, Kringle’s return to Macy’s is often funny and heartwarming, proving that the miracle is still alive and well, even in the fast hustle and bustle of modern day New York City.

Continuing with Macy’s fall sitcom-themed TV concept, “Another Miracle on 34th Street” features new Macy’s Herald Square store manager Harold, as well as star designers including Justin Bieber, Tommy Hilfiger, Marcus Samuelsson, Carlos Santana, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, and Donald Trump. Taking place on his first day back at Macy’s Herald Square, Kringle is greeted by an amused Harold and Martha Stewart. In a hurry to see Mr. Macy, Kringle is seemingly unaware of his modern day surroundings. After his introduction to the incredulous staff, Kringle once again finds himself in familiar territory as the stars seek proof that he is indeed the real Santa Claus, especially the skeptical Donald Trump. Proving his credentials as the real jolly old elf, the tide soon changes as the stars try to secure their place on the nice list with Justin Bieber leading the way.

“Another Miracle on 34th Street” begins to air nationwide in both a 60-second spot and a 30-second cut. Miracle is part of the retailer’s fifth anniversary celebration of the Believe campaign, which brings tidings of joy and goodwill to customers nationwide and lends support to Make-A-Wish. Beginning Nov. 2, Macy’s once again invites believers of all ages to drop-off their letters to Santa at their local Macy’s, and for each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million.

Since the late 1800s, Santa Claus has been a fixture at Macy’s, helping generations of children experience the magic and generosity of the holiday season. With “Another Miracle on 34th Street,” a new generation will warm to the man of the hour, Kris Kringle, as he takes us on another journey that will make us all “Believe.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Restructure Means Changes to Everyday Food and Whole Living Magazines

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.  today announced that it has taken further steps to restructure its portfolio of popular media brands. The new actions include transitioning Everyday Food from a print publication to a digitally-focused brand and exiting Whole Living. Following the reorganization of the Company's Broadcast TV group earlier this year and its recently announced partnerships with Hulu, The AOL On Network and FremantleMedia, these initiatives accelerate the Company's strategic plan to deliver its expert lifestyle offerings via digital, mobile and video platforms in response to strong, sustained trends in how audiences consume and engage with media content, while streamlining its approach to broadcast and print distribution. The Company expects the new actions announced today to result in substantial efficiencies, new revenue opportunities, and approximately $33-35 million in annualized cost savings.

The Company's media portfolio restructuring actions include:
  • Expanding the reach, frequency and audience of the Everyday Food brand across multiple digital platforms. Beginning in 2013, more Everyday Food content will be available online at www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood, on the Everyday Food YouTube channel and via the popular daily video newsletter, "Everyday Food with Sarah Carey."
  • Publishing the Company's Everyday Food print publication as a supplement five times per year in the Company's Martha Stewart Living flagship magazine rather than as a stand-alone monthly.
  • Exiting Whole Living either via a sale, regarding which the Company is in discussions, or, if a sale is not completed, by folding its content into Martha Stewart Living in order to sharpen the Company's focus on delivering exceptional lifestyle content across the Company's more established brands.
  • Partnering with The AOL On Network and Hulu to deliver popular video content – in both full episodes and short-form video – across new platforms.
  • Reorganizing the Company's Broadcast group to expand beyond the TV platform and create and distribute premiere multi-platform digital video content, including the recently announced venture with FremantleMedia, a key player in the global content and brand space, to co-develop programming featuring contemporary lifestyle personalities.
  • Launching "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" on PBS, bringing a Master Class in culinary basics and classics to more than 92% of US households, with viewership trending steadily upward to more than 1 million viewers per episode.
  • Introducing several exciting new digital video series made for the web, including the upcoming "Countdown to Christmas," the first web-focused series featuring Martha Stewart.
  • Unveiling the Martha Stewart Living Apple iTunes storefront for iPad – a branded digital storefront for the presentation of all Company magazine content and the cross-sale of popular Martha Stewart Living utility products like Martha Stewart Craft Studio, Cookies and Cocktail Apps. In addition, last week the Company launched an Everyday Food app in conjunction with the launch of the Windows 8 platform, for PCs and tablet devices.
Lisa Gersh, President and Chief Executive Officer, said "We have taken decisive action to drive the Company's return to sustainable profitability, in part by reducing our costs for production and distribution and in part by creating even more engagement with our audiences, and better and more valuable opportunities for our advertisers. The initiatives announced today, coupled with those we've taken over the past year, further the emphasis we have been placing on digital, mobile and video platforms, reflecting our commitment to put our expert lifestyle content in closer reach of consumers, with greater frequency and in the ways they demand today and will expect even more in the future."
Martha Stewart, Founder and Non-Executive Chairman, said, "All of these initiatives underscore the natural evolution of our great brands and of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as a company. Our goal has always been to continually enhance and improve the way we provide our audience with our unique and engaging content. We have long embraced technology as a driver of innovation and creativity, and by expanding our digital presence, we are able to connect with our audiences and share all that we do in wonderfully rich new ways."

Gersh continued, "We have unique, expert lifestyle content and products that speak to the hearts of consumers – we simply need to continue to innovate in the ways we reach them. As a whole, MSLO's total digital audience has grown an average of 20-25 percent year over year every month since January 2012. Following a careful evaluation of our media portfolio, we are responding to clear trends we are seeing across the industry to give our consumers what they are telling us they want: more video, more of the inspiration, solutions and expert advice and how-to content our brands offer in digital formats, across more platforms and on a more frequent basis. As these initiatives take hold, we believe we can create more value for our stockholders."

As part of the new restructuring initiatives, the Company will eliminate certain positions within the Publishing segment. Including the annualized cost savings of approximately $12.5 million associated with the Broadcast TV reorganization earlier this year, the Company is now removing an estimated $45-47 million of annual costs from its media businesses overall on a go forward basis. The Company will provide additional details regarding the financial impacts associated with these actions when it reports its earnings for the third quarter.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: Martha Stewart's Cooking School

When I first started watching Martha on the [old] Martha Stewart Living television show, one of the first things I enjoyed was the clear, concise, instruction Martha provided for each project or task.  Long time viewers who enjoyed the “Living” format will rejoice with Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. 

 The new PBS series, which debuted October 6, is a throwback to what Martha does best on camera – teach.  Each weekly episode is focused on a particular cooking skill.  This show is a wonderful visual how-to follow up to the best-selling book, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”, published several years ago. 

 Season one of the show was filmed on the former “Martha Stewart Show” set, with new backdrops of the countryside in the kitchen window.  The way the show is filmed, again, reminds me of the former “Living” production.

 Martha’s instruction is clear.  There is nothing standing in the way (such as idle chatter with celebrities) of Martha’s teaching.  It’s refreshing, it’s well done, and it’s informative for even the advanced home cook. 

 When I first learned of the show last summer, I was less than enthusiastic.  I wasn’t sure there was a need for yet another “cooking show.”  While I enjoy watching such shows, there seemed to be such saturation in the market, and I feared that Cooking School would get lost in the sauce (every pun intended).  After watching the first three episodes, I take back my early reservation!  This show is a standout!

 You can watch Martha Stewart’s Cooking School on most local PBS stations.  Check your local listings for weekend time/dates.   

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Window Shopping for Thanksgiving

I've been thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and doing a little "window shopping" for pieces I would like for my dinner table this year.  Here are just a few of my favorite finds for the Thanksgiving table:

This turkey platter from Pottery Barn caught my eye. 

This wonderful two-tier cheese server from Pottery Barn is a perfect way to display and serve our favorite cheese - Beekman Blaak.  I can think of a few other decorative uses for this piece as we look ahead to Christmas decorating!

There is something about simple white serving pieces that I love.  These pieces are from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's. 

Another "must have" from Martha.. this domed porcelain server is simply beautiful.  I saw this in the store last weekend and came **this** close to snapping it up!

We stopped at the Beekman 1802 Mercantile during the Harvest Festival this year and purchased this beautiful pear bud vase.  I've yet to use it as a bud vase, but it is part of an autumn display. 

No table is complete without beautiful napkins.  This paisley print from Pottery Barn is the perfect addition to any table.  I think I would skip the monogram - and just keep it simple. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Look Back: Harvest Festival 2012

After a year absence, we returned to Sharon Springs, New York to attend the 2012 Harvest Festival.  It was great to be back in the village with so many wonderful friends (and we made new friends along the way!).  Here are a few photos from our visit: 

From our hotel room we had a wonderful view of the sunrise.  First light in Sharon Springs is spectacular!

The beautiful sunrise gave way to an incredible sky for the first day of the Harvest Festival

My 'duty' during the Harvest Festival was conducting tours of the Beekman Farm.  During one of the tours, two friends, Casey and PJ came to visit.  It was wonderful to see them again!

The barn at the Beekman was adorned with beautiful mums.

The goats were happy to greet visitors to the farm. 

Oh, the drama of it all... Polkaspot was her usual diva self.  Such a beautiful llama - and she knows it.

Bubby, the chief barn cat at the Beekman was making his rounds to make sure everyone was orderly during their visit.  He's a charmer!

The view from the heirloom garden at the Beekman. 

The garden table featured a harvest centerpiece.  The pumpkin grew around a piece of equipment in the garden.  This simple arrangment was quite lovely. 

The steps of the Beekman were full of beautiful mums and pumpkins. 

A young tour guest.  She was thrilled to visit with all the animals at the farm!

The heirloom garden at the Beekman.  Despite the warm temperatures and dry summer, the garden produced a bountiful harvest!

We took a few minutes away from our farm duties to visit with our friends Josh and Brent at the Beekman Mercantile.  There's nothing like a Josh and Brent hug!

November Living

November brings us Thanksgiving, and who doesn't love a delicious pie and all those savory side dishes at our Thanksgiving feast? 

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living is full of wonderful ideas and inspiration for a Thanksgiving feast that your guests will certainly be thankful for! 

Inside this issue:

** A Pilgrim's Feast - Thanksgiving dinner at its traditional best.

**Martha Stewart American Made Awards - A look at fifteen trailblazing artisans and craftspeople, from coast to coast. 

** Founding Gardener - Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden at Monticello was home to some of the country's earliest delicacies. 

** The Centerpiece Reimagined - Kevin Sharkey makes bouquets to celebrate the colors an textures of harvest time. 

** Pies and Sides - Turkey is universal, but the sides and desserts vary by region.  There are undisputed favorites! 

**Winterizing the Garden - Martha shows us how she prepares her grounds for the harsh cold weather. 

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living is arriving in mailboxes now and will be on newsstands Monday, October 15th. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Passing of Time

My last post to this blog was in early March of this year. So much of this year has passed and so much of it is a blur.

 For much of the last seven months, I have "existed" without really participating.  I moved about in my day to day, without really being fully present.  I would attempt to move forward but frequently felt like I was standing still.  Standing still in time. 

I've started to move forward once again.  Moving forward sometimes means looking back and "taking along" part of what was yesterday to make it a brighter tomorrow.  As I looked back and as I move forward I recognized that part of what I missed all these months was this blog.  I'm glad I took time away, to learn to move forward; but I'm glad to pick up where I left off - living life, loving living, and being fully present. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fun, Easy, Festive April

When the April issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine arrived in my mailbox this week, I was immediately in love with the festive colored eggs scattered on the cover.

April means Easter, and this issue is filled with wonderful ideas for decorating and celebrating the holiday. 

- Go beyond you typical Easter basket with four DIY alternatives to hold your Easter treasures. 
- Lucinda Scala Quinn takes readers on a Greek retreat, with a delicious recipe for a fall-off-the-bone-tender leg of lamb. 
- Kevin Sharkey is feeling a little blue as he tosses the idea of pink and white flowers of spring and shows readers how to use more celestial shades of blue.
- Finding the right veterinarian is as important as finding your own personal physician.  Living is paging Doctor Doolittle with great advice on selecting the right vet for your pet. 
- Labels, labels, labels!  Learn how the right label can help you stay organized as we lighten up our surroundings for the warmer weather ahead. 

The April issue hits newsstands on Monday, March 12.  Oh... don't be confused with the simple typo found on the cover... It's still 2012. 


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Martha Stewart's Cooking School Enhanced e-Books

Martha Stewart's Cooking School can be in session any time you have the time with these great new enhanched e-books, available through iTunes for an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. 

Martha Stewart's Cooking School is divided into six 'lessons' from stocks and soups to desserts. 

To learn more about Martha Stewart's Cooking School culinary master class e-books, log into the iTunes store.  

The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Organizing

The latest "Bookazine" from Martha Stewart Living is on the newsstands and it's all about organizing. 

This glossy, instructional guide offers the homemaker over 200 excellent ideas on keeping their home neat, tidy, and well organized. 

This "Best of" bookazine covers nearly every space in the house;  entryways, kitchens, bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, kid's rooms, utility rooms, and home office.  Each section features some of the best ideas from past issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and helpful how-to for some of the organizing projects. 

As an added bonus, each section contains "get the look" hints, with product recommendations to recreate the organizing tip in your own home.  While many of the "get the look" suggestions feature Martha Stewart products - it also suggests numerous other product recommendations.  (The Container Store seems to be a favorite place!)  It's an excellent resource for readers.  Each section ends with several "good things" as well, with simple, 'why didn't I think of that?' hints to make organizing easier. 

I have read and re-read this bookazine time and time again.  There is so much inspiration within the pages, it's hard to put it down! 

While some may squawk at the 9.95 cover price, I think these "very best of.." bookazines are a steal and so valuable.  I hope Martha Stewart Living will keep them coming!  I'd love to see one on gardening this spring!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martha Stewart Home Office is Here!

I stopped at one of our local Staples stores tonight and much to my delight, the display of Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery was up and stocked!  I snapped a few pictures (click to enlarge):

Labels, and binders and more, oh my!

A lot of different labels.  there are very cool chalkboard labels.. and chalk. (sold separately)

Journals and binders galore!

Spiral notebooks for recipes, ideas, or secret love letters

Dividers, sheet protectors and pockets

Create your own planner.  Everything you need in one place!

Cool dry-erase large labels and boards

The stack and fit boxes/desktop organization is very cool

These pockets for storage and filing have SO many uses!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Window Shopping - Sort of...

I was browsing through a few websites the other day and ran across a few interesting and beautiful items.  I love window shopping... on line and in person!

This butterfly centerpiece was something that caught my eye.  I think it would look beautiful on a table set for a lovely spring brunch.  I love the mix of greenery (albeit silk.. not real). Available at Grandin Road.

There is also a matching butterfly wreath.  

Now, I'm not sure I would ever buy or use these... but some creative soul could put these to an interesting use... cabbage leaf placemats.  Available at Grandin Road. 

Perhaps cabbage is the in thing for 2012.  Here is a cabbage swag for your front door.  Available at Grandin Road. 

I LOVE this tapered pedestal cake stand from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's.  I purchased one of these!  (who could resist?)  Available at Macy's. 

Another spring time inspired piece of table decor from Grandin Road.  A moss table runner.  I saw this and immediately thought about an Easter table, or using it on a sideboard during Easter.  How would you use this?

The new Martha Stewart Collection song bird china is beautiful.  It immediately reminded me of my friend Elaine. 

I DO NOT need another piece of dishware, but these are from the new Skylands Blue collection that is part of the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's.  Tempting... very tempting. 

This Victorian platter was interesting and it caught my eye.. Available at Grandin Road, this is something I could see my friend Andrew owning.. or perhaps Josh and Brent. 

I'm a sucker for a good kitchen tool and I think this new hand beater/mixer from the Martha Stewart Collection may be the next addition.  I can only think it would be easier to use this than to hand whisk egg whites! 

From the good folks at Williams Sonoma, these delightful "hugs and kisses" smores for Valentine's Day would be oh so cute to give to that special someone.  I wonder how hard it would be to make these... hmmmm...