4.24.2018

The Martha Stewart Storefront on Amazon.com

Amazon customers who shop for Martha Stewart products can now take advantage of a one-stop portal featuring all of Martha's product categories, including a few new ones! The Martha Stewart Storefront on Amazon.com launched this morning, showcasing four categories: Books, Food, Pets and Area Rugs. 

Rather than having to navigate through the larger Amazon.com website to find Martha Stewart products, you can now find a collated and curated 'storefront' featuring the best Martha has to offer, including her own personal favourites and tips and solutions for incorporating beauty, functionality and organization into your home. 
This is how the new Storefront appears on my phone.
In addition to Martha's books, you can now shop her new Pets line, place orders for Martha & Marley Spoon meal delivery kits and shop a wide assortment of Martha Stewart area rugs with Safavieh. There is a "Latest Book" link and a "Featured Product" link at the top, which will change regularly. At the bottom is a banner featuring "Martha's Favorites".

USER FEEDBACK FOR AMAZON:

The site is extremely easy to navigate and well organized into categories. The "Books" category, for instance, is subdivided into themes: Cooking, Baking, Entertaining, Weddings, Wellness, Home & Crafts. The Pets category is divided into Toys, Bedding, Feeding and Restraints. It makes it very easy to find what you're looking for in a pleasing, streamlined layout.

I did notice that not all of Martha's books are listed in the Books category, which is disappointing: just 38 of Martha's 90 titles are listed in the Storefront. Also, unless you visit the store link directly, there is no simple way to find the Martha Stewart Storefront from within the larger Amazon.com portal; the user is left to simply search "Martha Stewart" the old fashioned way in the search bar at the top of the main site, bringing up various results.

It would be nice if Amazon created a Storefront index on the main site where all of the Storefronts could be listed alphabetically, or by brand category, to make the Storefronts easier to find for the visitor coming to Amazon.com directly. Under "Departments", for instance, there should be a "Storefronts" link with a listing of all the branded Storefronts to make it easy to find.

As a Canadian shopper, too, I must mention that the Storefronts are only visible to visitors to the U.S. site. Amazon Canada, for instance, Amazon U.K., etc., do not display the Storefronts - at least not yet. Martha's food category is not available internationally, but the new pet products and the rugs can be purchased through Amazon Canada, which is great - they just aren't showcased in a Storefront format on Amazon's numerous international sites.

4.23.2018

Martha to Auction Television Prop Studio Goods

It's the kind of thing Martha Stewart fans and collectors dream of: going through the various prop libraries that are used to furnish and style those beautiful photographs in her magazines and decorate her television sets. For the first time, Martha will be auctioning off numerous items from the television studio prop library: hundreds of items that were used on the sets of Martha Stewart Living and The Martha Stewart Show.
From vintage glassware to antique dinnerware, from milk glass to woodware, hundreds of items will be up for auction through Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Massachusetts, beginning May 5th and ending the following day. Absentee (online) bidding is already open for the items listed and live bidding will begin at 10 a.m. on May 5th at the auction gallery at 117 Elliott Street in Beverly, MA. A portion of the proceeds raised from the auction will benefit the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York.

I've highlighted some of the items below, to give you a sense of what will be on offer. Click here to see the full listing. So exciting!
A group of planters and vases.
A group of antique Yelloware mixing bowls, English Transferware serving pieces and dishes, and light-blue milk glass plates, bowls and teacups.
Frosted pink Fenton goblets.
An antique butcher block, which was once used by Martha at Turkey Hill!
Wooden pestles and mortars.
This is one lot of many featuring the cookbooks of the many chefs and authors Martha has featured on her show over the years.
Antique Limoges Beauvais dinner plates.
Copeland Spode Jewel Creamware.
A large, wood-framed print of a Martha Stewart Living magazine cover, measuring 55" by 43". There is a Martha Stewart Weddings print as well with the same dimensions.
This autographed toboggan is one of several signed pieces. Martha also signed a cutting board and a swivel kitchen chair.

Happy bidding!

4.19.2018

Martha's Flowers - Deluxe Edition

In October, Martha will issue a deluxe edition of "Martha's Flowers" just in time for the holidays. Printed on high-quality paper, with a dust jacket and a new cover, the deluxe edition will not have any additional content but it will feature new design elements and be larger in size: the current edition is 9 x 11 inches and the new edition will be 11 x 13 inches. In a word, it will be deluxe! For Martha enthusiasts, or those who simply love flowers, this edition will be anxiously anticipated. Click here to preorder.


4.17.2018

Martha to Star on "Chopped"

Several years ago, Martha Stewart appeared as a guest judge on Food Network's "Chopped Junior" television show, weighing in on how well the pre-adolescent contestants were able to whip up culinary creations using unusual ingredients. In the next season of "Chopped" (the grown-up version!) Martha has signed on to be a regular judge and will appear in each episode, taste-testing the final dishes and proclaiming whether they are or are not "a Good Thing."
I've never watched the show, but it seems like an interesting premise. The reality-based game show pits four chefs against each other in three challenges per episode; the aim is to make something fabulous out of a basket of surprise ingredients under the pressure of a countdown. Once complete, a panel of judges (this is where Martha will come in) tastes the dish and remarks on its success or failure. After a consensus is reached by the judges, one of the contestants is "chopped" - removed from the competition - with no winnings. The winning contestant receives $10,000, plus any bonus winnings earned during special rounds of the challenges throughout the series.

Martha is the most well-known host to have graced the judge's panel, aside from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (a personal friend of Martha's) and cookbook author and restauranteur Chris Santos. Click here to learn more about the show.

4.15.2018

How Do You Make a Difference?

When it was announced that Martha Stewart Living was launching a new environmental-awareness initiative called "Change the Day" (a new ecological theme and champion is highlighted every month in the magazine), I started thinking about the choices I have made over the years to reduce waste and cultivate a healthier, more eco-friendly life. As the old saying goes, 'Charity begins at home.' By making smarter, more-conscious decisions around the house and throughout our daily routines, we really can make a change.

It turns out, my husband and I are actually doing a pretty good job of things, considering. We're not perfect and we could certainly be doing more, but we've struck a balance and the decisions we make have, I believe, made a difference. From biking and walking most places (or taking public transit) to making sure we always bring our tote bags to the grocery store with us, we're keeping a car off the road and plastic out of a landfill. That's something! And if more of us did 'something' - anything, really - to reduce waste and conserve energy then the effect would be felt more widely, I believe.

Below I've highlighted some of the ways we 'change the day' by reducing waste, conserving energy and living our lives with a bit more awareness by making sensible choices at the grocery store. By doing so, we're supporting brands that help make a difference, too. Is it always easy and comfortable to make a choice that results in a bit more effort or costs more money? No, but when I consider the alternative (a planet laid to ruin by irresponsible choices in the name of ease and convenience) I can take it on the chin. Hopefully you'll find some of our tips helpful in your own home. Maybe you practice the same logic - and go a step further! I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments.
SOAP AND WATER DOES THE TRICK:

My grandmother taught me this: almost anything can be cleaned with either water - or soap and water. I keep these two bottles under the sink and use them every single day. When a bit of tomato sauce splashes onto the counter or the floor, I don't attack it with chemical-laden sprays and cleaners. There is no need. I simply spray it with water and wipe it up with a bar cloth. Each night before bed, I wash down the counters, stove and fridge with a solution of soap and water: I mix about two teaspoons of Dr. Bronner's lavender liquid soap in about three cups of water to make the solution in a large spray bottle. Dr. Bronner's soap is all-natural, pure-castile soap, which is olive-oil based. For disinfecting, I use a vinegar and water solution (vinegar acts as a disinfectant, killing both the E. coli and salmonella bacteria) or one of the green cleaners mentioned below.
BUY GREEN OR MAKE IT YOURSELF:

For cleaning glass, I use a solution of white vinegar and water. It also works well on stainless steel sinks. It can also be used to unclog drains and clean coffee-makers. Similarly, lemon juice and baking powder can be combined to make a cleaning paste that's effective on numerous surfaces, including wood, copper, ceramic and stainless steel. Both lemon and baking soda are effective stain removers and deodorizers.

Get used to the idea, too, of using cloths and mops to do most of the dusting and wiping up. The aisles at the grocery store are packed with convenient housekeeping options that only result in more waste. We keep paper towels on hand, but rarely use them, opting instead to use washable cloths and repurposed t-shirts that have now become cleaning rags. On our floors, we use a good old-fashioned mop with a removable sponge that can be washed and disinfected: no magical 'erasing' wipes or sweep-and-toss stuff in our house.

Does it require a bit more effort? Yes, it does. Does it cut down on toxic chemical use in the home, as well as the amount of trash we throw out. Yes, it does. To me, the results are worth it. (You also save money by not having to replenish disposable cleaning supplies - a vicious cycle - so it's a win, win).

DO YOUR HOMEWORK:

We do buy some commercial cleaners but use them fairly infrequently. We also research most of the companies we buy from to make sure they're on board with a commitment to reducing their impact on the planet. We buy method products, because they work extremely well and smell very nice. (Unlike Martha, I do enjoy cleaners that have a touch of fragrance. Nothing overpowering, but a little hint of something nice). This company's commitment to a cleaner environment was another big draw for us. All of their products are completely non-toxic. All of their bottles are made with recycled plastic, and are fully recyclable in turn. Its corporate offices are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an environmental rating system developed by the United States Green Building Council), meaning they take extraordinary measures to reduce their impact on the environment through energy conservation and waste reduction. At method, employees compost on site. The company also works with its suppliers in implementing sustainability programs and renewable energy initiatives. Many of its products, such as its laundry detergent, are super concentrated, meaning the consumer uses less. And because they can be packaged in smaller containers, there is a reduction in the fuel and packaging needed to transport it to distributors.

Because we use natural cleaners most, these store-bought cleaners last us a very long time, reducing the need to buy more often.

It takes a bit of time, but doing some research on the products you buy really is a learning experience and can greatly impact your selection process. As consumers, we have enormous clout and purchasing power. How we choose to spend our money influences the larger market forces. Spend wisely by supporting brands that actually care about the environment and we may see more companies jumping on the Green bandwagon.
IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM:

When it comes to laundry, we have opted to make choices that are beneficial to our personal health and to the greater health of our planet. We've opted to buy Canadian brands as much as possible, since we live in Canada. (Buying products that are produced and packaged in far-off locations increases shipping - fuel - and packaging). We buy eco-max lavender laundry wash, which is free of any parabens or sulfates and the solution is entirely plant-based. Again, the plastic used is fully recycled and recyclable. Instead of bleach, we use Soap Works Safe Bleach - a super-concentrated, environmentally-sound formula that is free of phosphates and is odorless. You only need one teaspoon per wash, and it's safe to use on dyed fabrics as a brightener. You can also use it as a whitener in other areas of the home, just as you would with bleach. Grandma's Garden is another brand we love. It is not only Canadian, but local to our city. Shown in the image is a linen spray made entirely of all-natural ingredients. They also sell laundry soap, which we do occasionally buy as well. Buying local is another great way to reduce our carbon footprint and support a local economy.

The method dryer sheets we use (right) have naturally-derived, plant-based ingredients and are fully biodegradable. The box it comes in is made with recycled paper and is recyclable. The laundry bar is by Grandma's Garden as well and is vegetable-based. (Lemon, baking soda and vinegar can also be used in laundry as whiteners and fresheners).
IN THE KITCHEN:

One of the best things we did was to invest in glass storage containers, forgoing plastic entirely. There is no plastic in our fridge or cupboards at all. All of our food is stored in these glass containers with rubber lids. We have a multitude of them and have used them for over ten years without needing to replace them. They are easy to clean and don't leech chemicals into our food the way some plastic containers can, especially when they come into contact with hot foods. Additionally, it eliminates the need for plastic wrap completely - another item to remove from your grocery list (and the landfill) once you select a more permanent, eco-friendly option. These ones were made by a Canadian company called Anchor TrueSeal.
ON THE GO:

One of the biggest contributors to landfill mass is our convenience-based culture: plastic cups, plastic straws, water and soda bottles, paper coffee cups that, let's face it, get thrown into trash cans far more frequently than recycling bins. Americans throw out 58 billion disposable coffee cups each year. Yes, 58 billion. Each year. Again, there are options out there that can completely eliminate the need for disposable convenience packaging.

I've had my Swell water bottle for close to five years and it's still in perfect condition. Swell is another company committed to environmental causes and reducing consumption of disposables. I use the bottle every day for cold or hot drinks; I can't remember the last time I purchased bottled water, or bottled anything, while on the go. Also, get used to tap water. If you live in North America, you should be ok. Besides, it's been proven in numerous studies that bottled water is no more 'sanitary' than tap water.

I am not a coffee drinker, but if I were, I'd probably get the Stojo collapsible coffee cup. Made of food-grade materials, and completely leak-proof, the cups collapse to be easily stored in your bag or pocket until the next use: a nice alternative to bulky travel mugs. And then there's the tried-and-true Thermos, which has been around for 110 years. It's perfect for any hot or cold beverage, soups or even hot cereals.

If you find yourself at a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop, ask your server nicely if you can use your Swell bottle, travel mug or small Thermos for your beverage. Chances are, they'll say yes! And then you've avoided using a disposable cup you have in your hand for an average of ten minutes, only to toss into the garbage, where it will languish for years in a landfill. Click here for more insight about reusable bottles from the New York Times.

CONCLUSION:

In short, it's all about reducing how much and how often we buy by making informed consumer decisions about the brands and companies we choose to support. If we're doing our part, the companies we buy from should be doing theirs as well.

So, here is a checklist of some of the things you can do to make an impact:
  • Buy local and/or support homegrown entrepreneurs and makers when possible
  • Do your homework: do the companies you support care as much as you do about the environment?
  • Buy less plastic: invest in a few good-quality, reusable containers for storage and convenience and you'll have them for years to come.
  • Avoid disposable cups and straws: brew your coffee or tea at home and use your Swell bottle, Thermos, travel mug or Stojo mug instead for beverages on the go. (If you're at Starbuck's ask your barista to fill your container with the equivalent amount of a tall Pike Place roast and you're golden).
  • Avoid disposable dusters, wipes and brooms and use washable cloths and mops instead
  • Avoid chemical-laden cleaning products and opt for greener choices
  • Make your own cleaning solutions using water, castile soap, lemon, vinegar and baking soda.
Visit the Martha Stewart Change the Day site to learn more.


4.13.2018

The Martha Stewart Collection Expands With "Food" and "Essentials"

The Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's will be adding two new brand categories to its merchandising lines. Martha Stewart Food and Martha Stewart Essentials will be rolling out at Macy's locations and online at macys.com in the coming weeks.

Martha Stewart Essentials is an assortment of the fundamental products necessary to start a new home or complement what you already own. The line offers cookware sets, tabletop, textiles and bath items at an affordable price, made with high-quality materials and attractive design. Perfect for someone with their first apartment or home, the Martha Stewart Essentials line will tick all the boxes on the new homeowner's checklist.

Martha Stewart Food includes baking mixes, drink mixes, pantry staples such as olive oil, pasta and pasta sauce, as well as seasonal items for holidays, such as Valentine's Day, Easter and summer grilling. The recipes were developed by Martha's team of food editors to yield the best results, taste like they were made from scratch and help consumers cut back on preparation time.
Some of the food items have already begun to show up on store shelves in several locations. Martha Moments reader John Roberts spotted these Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates at his local Macy's in Detroit. Shop the Martha Stewart Collection.

Martha to Attend Newport Flower Show

Martha will be attending the annual Newport Flower Show in Rhode Island this June. She will be in attendance at the Opening Night Party and Reception on Friday, June 22nd, which you can buy tickets for. The following day, she will host a flower-arranging demonstration and will sign copies of her new book, "Martha's Flowers."
This year's theme is Cottages: Smart and Small, and Rosecliff will host a tiny house village with accompanying gardens, extravagant floral and horticultural displays, and plenty of unique shopping opportunities.

Tickets to the opening-night party with Martha Stewart are $175. Tickets to the Saturday Luncheon and Flower Demonstration with Martha are $125. CLICK HERE to purchase.

OTHER UPCOMING BOOK SIGNINGS FOR MARTHA'S FLOWERS:

APRIL 20: Book event at the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show with Kevin Sharkey
MAY 11: Book event at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden with Kevin Sharkey
MAY 19: Book signing at Trade Secrets Charity Garden Event in Sharon, Connecticut