Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dreamers - Day Two!!

Wednesday, Jan 20 - Eileen and I wake to great anticipation for the day ahead. Our Dreamer group had been divided for the day's activities. Eileen dashed off early to be in the audience when Martha's show aired LIVE that day. I lounged over coffee and met my group for our 8 block walk back to MSLO for a guided tour. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined how fantastic that would be. We were met by Hanna, SVP of Crafts for MSLO - she's been with Martha for 19 years. She was almost as excited to meet us as we were to meet her! We dropped our coats in her office, amid the glitter and sparkle from Christmas decorations they had just removed from the Blair House - official residence of our Vice President. Every where we went MSLO staffers knew about our group and welcomed us with warmth and enthusiasm. We went to test kitchens where new recipes were being tested, peeked in on photo shoots in progress, saw flower arrangements being made and story boards for future issues. We walked by the Macy's line, met the Weddings editor, and the magazine editor - who was generous enough to talk with us for a good while. Emeril Lagasse interrupted lunch at his desk to come and talk with us. We saw new craft products in development and enough glitter to make a girl's heart skip a beat!! And .. the prop room ... OMG what girl wouldnt want a room to hold all her dishes, glasses, cake stands, candle sticks, vases -- you get the idea -- it was Heaven!! We passed by Martha's office and saw the wonderful view of the Hudson River - just as she sees it. With just enough time to grab lunch on the go, we dashed off to the TV studio to be in the audience of the afternoon taping. Alexis T. from Martha's staff put forth monumental efforts on our behalf - we owe her Big Time!!

Once we showed ID, and signed the legal waivers, we were all given 'luggage tags' to fill out with our names and addresses. I knew this had to be a drawing for some kind of prize - luggage perhaps? - and I made sure to write my name very clearly :) There's a great energy leading up to the beginning of taping and the arrival of Martha on set. Joey, the warm up guy, keeps everyone entertained and briefs us on audience protocol -- when to clap, when to be quiet, not to chew gum - turn off cell phones, etc.

And then -- the music begins, Martha comes out and the screaming applause from the audience is genuine excitement!! The theme of this show is all about travel -- tune in Friday, Feb 19 to see my big SURPRISE!!! Let me just say -- everyone in the audience was thrilled with the gifts they received and a few lucky persons were OVER THE MOON with excitement!!

Our Dreamers group was so enriched from the creative inspiration that swirled among us, that we nearly floated on air the rest of the day. Martha and her staff arranged for Co Pizzeria to host our group for dinner -Alexis and 2 other staffers joined us - and MSLO picked up the tab. We all felt MSLO was unbelievably generous during our entire adventure. A couple of group pictures rounded out the evening.

The next morning we had time for a quick breakfast and a dash into a couple of shops before catching the train home -- back to real life - but with a new zest for living and new energy for working, and new friends for life!

Friday, January 29, 2010


If January is any indication, 2010 is going to be one fantastic ride for me. It surely has started off with a bang!!!

Some months ago I joined an online group on Martha Stewart's website. Its called Dreamers Into Doers. It began as a way for Martha to recognize and reward women who have non-profit businesses to help other women and their community. It expanded to women with all kinds of businesses and creative 'dreams'. No more prize money, but a new "Doer" is still picked every week, and the honor and recognition are still wonderful.

Just after Christmas I discovered this group planned to gather in NY to finally meet each other face to face - and to attend a taping of the Martha Stewart show. With the help of Martha's staff they also made plans to make a difference for women living in a domestic violence shelter. Through a flurry of emails and online postings, and with major involvement and help from Martha's staff, we flocked to NY January 19 and 20 for a most fantastic excursion.

My friend, Eileen, and I caught the 5:30 am train from Wilmington, DE and hooked up with Taryn, Holly, and Dawn once we got to NY. We walked to our hotel to store our bags before check in time, only to find the staff so welcoming and accommodating that they checked us in at 9am!! Waiting for us in our room was Lisa's wonderful home made banana nut chocolate chip bread - yum - we ate it right away.

We stowed our luggage and hot footed it off to the MSLO offices. Two members of our group gave fun and informative cooking demos in Emeril Lagasse's test kitchen! Pinch me I must be dreaming. Rachel, who arrived in the US from Ireland in the 1990's, gave us Irish Soda Bread, Bailey's Cheesecake, and Leek and Stilton Tarts - and stirred in great Irish stories along the way. Lisa made her Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread and Sourcream Lemon Pound Cake - pretty as a picture in her polka dot apron!

All that yummy food, plus a glorious spread from Whole Foods arrived at Studio A along with us and the women from the shelter. We walked into a perfectly "Martha" room with rows of white tables, with long white cloths, white chairs and a simple vase of multicolored roses on each table. The front wall was a bank of windows looking over the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty off in the distance - a powerful feeling filled the room right from the beginning.

We filled our plates with food and filled our hearts with inspiration, encouragement and love from the many speakers of the day. Our 'Dreamers' group had lots of messages of hope to uplift the women of the shelter. Each Dreamer had donated gifts to the shelter according to their talents. When Debbie's handmade quilts were presented to three lucky shelter women emotion overwhelmed the room - not a dry eye in the house. We finished the day with smiles, pictures, exchanges of names and numbers - and hugs all around, plus Martha gift bags for everyone!!!

and that was only the first day ......