Family and Friends at the Table

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  My husband Lewis and I are so fortunate to have such a beautiful family and amazing friends, and we love spending time with them.  We enjoy entertaining throughout the year but there is something about November and December that is so very special.

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We have been collecting Waterford Crystal for over 20 years and we have quite the collection… and we use it!  We love entertaining with Waterford Crystal. There is something so supremely elegant about seeing it on the table and the way the light enhances its beauty.  I also notice how people react when they hold a stunning champagne flute, or a beautifully cut double old fashioned… it is special.  We really do believe in living your best life and we want to bless our family and treat them well when they are in our home.

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I think it starts the moment you greet them at the door and we see the smile on their faces as they glance over at the table to see how it is set…whether it is a casual gathering or a formal affair.  The anticipation of an incredible dinner begins right then and there, and the smell coming from Lewis’s kitchen just excites everyone.

The wonderful thing about using Waterford Crystal is that it easily compliments existing pieces…family heirlooms, estate sale finds, or your Grandmother’s china, all can be used to create a unique and stunning table.

We wish you a joyous and beautiful season….surrounded by family and friends gathered at the table enjoying life and making sweet memories.

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Style Forecast!

I am so excited that Evine has asked me to host their new fashion show called Style Forecast!  It’s destination programming that will happen every Monday night at 7:00 pm ET starting October 10th.  The team has been busy working on the concept and show planning since early this Summer. There have been loads of fun meetings to discuss this exciting show as well as our set design!  It has just been so much fun being involved at every level.mm-blog-4-production-meeting-1

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I’ll help you figure out what you’re comfortable in, what you like best on yourself, and how to style your clothes in a unique way.  Monday nights are for you!  A girlfriend’s celebration to talk style!  Solve your daily wardrobe dilemma (What should I wear?) with smart fashion tips and clothing advice from your trusted fashion guests like one of my favorites . . . Sam Saboura from One World Fashions!  You know I love what this brand does for my curvy shape and I know you will love it too!

mm-blog-4-melissa-sam-4mm-blog-4-one-world-5Paula’s Closet by Paula Deen is one of my new favorite fashion brands on Evine, and our customers love it too!  You’ll appreciate her great sense of style and humor while she presents her beautiful clothing line.  Oh, and if you have been watching me on Evine . . . you know I have a weakness for a great handbag!  Madi Claire, Anushka, and Pietro will be just a few of the stylish brands that I’ll have the opportunity to present to you.

It may sound silly . . . but I have a passion for fashion! As a teenager,  I would beg my mom to take me to the mall to shop for clothes.  And, of course, I would try on everything.  I’ve always loved fashion but it really clicked for me in high school when I started to realize that a really cute outfit made me feel good and boosted my confidence.  To this day, shopping for a great wardrobe is still fun for me . . . textured fabrics, patent leather, ribbed knits and more!

mm-blog-4-melissa-paula-6mm-blog-4-handbags-7Are you ready for a new you?  It’s a new season, new trends, new must haves, new ideas, and new ways to WOW you!

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Behind the Scenes in NYC

Behind the Scenes with our fashion designers in NYC:  As a former NYC native, I was excited to do some family sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty, visit Ground Zero where two waterfall monuments have been built, naming all of those who passed during 9/11, eat fabulous food and of course,  SHOP!

wr-blog-3-chloeThe shopping in NYC can have your head spin with high end fashions and large chain stores that have cute fashion, but EXPENSIVE –  I was so excited to visit some of our biggest names in fashion to see what they had coming down the pike for fall- Marc Bouwer, WDNY, Indigo Thread Co. and the manufacturer who creates V by Vanessa Williams for Evine.

wr-blog-3-marcFirst stop – the meat packing district – a hot fashion mecca downtown just steps away from Ground Zero and Marc Bouwer Unlimited Headquarters.  Marc was the picture of a working designer in jeans and a t-shirt, working on a stunning gown for some of his big name celebrity clientele’s red carpet moment.  I saw racks and racks of fully beaded gowns, shirts, jersey gowns that he was adding crystals to and day dresses for spring!  He had bins and bins of jewels, trim, lace, Swarovski crystals and all color coded – an artist’s dream!  He began showing me the gowns wr-blgo-3-sequinsworn by celebrities, telling me who wore what and to which major event, and then showed me works in progress for us at Evine – let’s just say sleeves are BIG: bell sleeves, details on the sleeves, and faux suede.  I have his faux suede pants and LOVE them!  What would his fall collection be without a moto jacket in faux leather? Of course those are coming!  While I was there he had me try on some of his samples and I loved them!  They fit so well and his print is fun and inventive!  Marc is a genius with fashion and can make any body look their best – that is the ‘mark’ of a true designer.

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wr-blog-3-yellowNext was a visit to Warren Donner, fashion designer for WDNY.  Warren has been in the fashion business for 35 years and has impeccable taste for trends!  When I saw his studio it was well-organized by color story and I saw so many beautiful pale pink romantic blouses, full bell sleeves with chiffon, sequins galore for the holidays, faux fur chubbies in black and white, and one I wanted to take home featuring chocolate/pale pink and ivory.  He is a master at bringing us affordable trends that make bold and fun statements.  You’ll LOVE what is coming up!  Warren himself has a penchant for ‘Veuve’ and apparently a day doesn’t go by without a glass of his favorite champagne –  you won’t hear me complaining!

wr-blog-3-wdYellow is his color and his yellow Corvette makes a statement everywhere he goes – he drove me to his favorite restaurant, Mr. Chows downtown where everyone knows his name.

wr-blog-3-wd-vetteMy daughter, a budding fashion designer, experienced duck for the first time. Great ready for a fabulous fall line up from Warren!

wr-blog-3-wd-dinnerThe manufacturer who works with some of our most popular brands like Indigo Thread and V by Vanessa Williams is located in NYC, and Susan Gainsborg is instrumental in working with our celebrity lines and helping them to bring their ideas to life!  Vanessa is bringing us jeans in the fall, along with more accents of color that flatter all body types.  There are a few pieces from Indigo, as well – of course I loved the sleeve on this top!  wr-blog-3-white-bellIndigo is bringing you more of what you love in faux suede, tie dyes, tunics, dramatic sleeves, lace and earthy tones that are denim friendly!  we’ve got a lot of Fashion coming up on the calendar, with a big Fall Fashion Day on the list.  See you there!

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I Love Collecting

I love collecting.  But unlike people who collect to accumulate, I collect to use.  My Waterford collection gets quite the workout.  My home furnishings collected over time bring me and my guests great enjoyment.  And my not-so-secret obsession with luxury goods at bargain prices brings me extra excitement in life.  Remember: shopping is a sport and I went professional at the age of nine.

I never should have jumped on EBay.  But I did.  And there is nothing I can (or want) to do about it.

bk-blog-4-ebayYou know.  It seems crazy hearing about Ebay.  People gone wild with excitement and you just think your friends are foolish for spending their money buying something from some stranger on the other side of the globe.  And then, suddenly, something catches your eye.  For me, it was a pair of Puruti Crocodile loafers in mint condition in my size, that new would have been $2,400, which I couldn’t pass up for $130.

bk-blog-4-hermes-ribbonThen it was an Hermès scarf that I wanted to hang as wall art in my second floor landing: The Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Equestre.  The colors in red, gold and black just pop and it indulges my love for all things equestrian.  And then I spotted my prize: a rare edition of the Hermes Attrape Tes Reves in Hermès orange that made me hit the ‘Bid’ button again.  Luckily, I had the good fortune of coming across 12 huge, gold wooden frames with glass for $1 each that I’m able to get my contractor to rebuild to fit these silk scarves and other art I’ve collected for my home.  Each frame has saved me about $150- $250.

bk-blog-4-real-framedLooking back, I think I’ve bought more Hermès for others than I have for myself.  They receive new items, and I buy myself a mix of vintage and bk-blog-4-horsenew.  And that’s perfect.  They’re friends that appreciate great quality.  My favorite Hermès tie is one of horses in the most beautiful collection of colors.  May the patron saint of plastic bibs always watch out for me.

But hold your horses, there’s a bit of home schooling you need to do before you go crazy on the Bay.  Lots of luxury goods are knocked off left and right, and sell right beside the real stuff on so many websites.  My advice: learn about what you like and then proceed with caution.  The only thing worse than owning a fake is having paid authentic prices for your trifles.

And trifles they are: things of little value or importance.  Whether it’s race cars or clown figurines, Fiesta ware or velvet paintings of bullfighters, your real wealth is your health and that’s where your money needs to go first.

Back to shopping.  Now, if there was ever a person with a divining rod for luxury bargains, it’s my Aaron.  His first score in this sport since we met was a mint condition Gucci wool blanket that he found at a hipster resale shop for $39.  It was an odd item for them to resell, so likely they didn’t know that it sells today for $1,500.  His second score was a pair of vintage Ray bans made with solid 14K gold frames.  They’re worth about $525.  He got them for $30. Then, (because everything has to be done in 3’s :-0), Aaron bought me a black leather Dolce & Gabbana jacket that was new with tags (and still selling on their site for $5,000), which he grabbed for $100.

I’ve always said and I stand by it today: the world is a bargain if you know where to shop.  Whether it’s $3 or $3,000 . . . it’s only worth what someone will pay.

For those of you who are curious as to this legacy brand I collect:

HISTORY OF HERMÈS

A family-owned label for five generations, Hermès is the epitome of true class and the perfect picture of ‘blue blood.’

bk-blog-4-hermes-boxIn 1837 Paris, Thierry Hermès founded his namesake brand as an equestrian harness and saddle workshop. I wonder if he had any idea that he was creating a dynasty that people all round the world covet among the best brands in design and quality.

bk-blog-4-hermes-horse-logoIn 2016, Hermès luxury goods are sold new and resold pre-owned at jaw-dropping prices, because the lasting quality and designs are just that good.

Some notable points in Hermès History:

bk-blog-4-kelly-bag1929:    Hermès first women’s couture collection was previewed in Paris.

1930’s:  Hermès began to sell their products in the US in Neiman Marcus, New York.

1937:    The first Hermès silk scarf is born.

1956:    The Kelly bag debut after Grace Kelly carries a crocodile handbag to hide her pregnancy.

1984:    Actress Jane Birkin replaced her straw handbag (Thank God! See photos)with a leather Hermès handbag, and thus began the trend of the Birkin handbag.

bk-blog-4-birkin-bag2016:    The Birkin bag has the longest wait list for an accessory today, 6 years.

Remember the episode in Sex In The City when Carrie Bradshaw quipped that she would be “the woman who lives in her shoes”. Well, take a look at the tiny crocodile house that one might be living out of some day, should the money run out.  This Hermès handbag and/or future home could have been yours if you had only bid a single dollar over $300,000.00 on June 6th at Christies, NYC.

bk-blog-4-birkin-bag-saleKnow that you would not be the first person to find an Hermès scarf while thrifting.  A friend of ours found one for a dollar at Goodwill and sold it to someone in Japan for $450.  May the Vintage Gods be with you.

Please share your collections with me.  We will then know each other’s Achilles heel and can keep our eyes out for the must haves that excite us.

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24 Years!

I can’t believe I just celebrated 24 years in the Shopping Network Industry!  Looking back at my first headshot is hilarious!  I was a baby!!!  It is truly one of the biggest blessings in my life to have a career that I absolutely have so much passion and love for what I do.  It really is the perfect fit for my personality.  I can remember being a little girl and my dad saying you talk so much.  LOL!  I guess I was getting ready for “3,2,1 –  you’re on!”  at a very young age.

mm-blog-4-headshot-1992-1So many people ask me, do the hosts read a teleprompter?  NO!!!!  We ad lib everything!  I do study all of the products I present so I understand how to explain it to our viewers.  Some products are easier than others – for example, gemstones/jewelry.  I received the highest credentials in Gemology when I received my G.G. (Graduate Gemologist) diploma in 2003, so I really don’t have to prep very much in that category.  However, Electronics is a different story – a lot of show prep there.

Every day at the network is so exciting – from different products, guests and timeslots that I work. I think the highlight of my job would be the people.  All of the incredible people that I have met from all over the world that I get to work with, and have established friendships that will last a lifetime.  I will always remember getting to meet and work with on-air Chief Design Director of Waterford Crystal – Jim O’Leary from mm-blog-4-sonia-melissa-2Waterford, Ireland. We became very close and he took me to the top of the world . . . well, the top of  One Times Square to see the Waterford Crystal Times Square Ball in April 2013.  I have also met so many guests from Italy.  Two that stand out in my mind would be Stefano Virgino and Manuela Biancospino.  I present their jewelry collections on-air and had the pleasure of spending time with them on my recent trip to Italy.  mm-blog-4-melissa-dimitri-4Sonia Bitton has the sweetest soul and means so much to me.  Chuck Clemency and Dimitri James are so incredibly funny and I have a blast working with them both!  I have known Dimitri since 1994 when I launched him at Shop At Home!  Speaking of Shop At Home where I began this fabulous career, I have a bond with 3 hosts that started there with me.  We are all still in the shopping network business and still in touch.  I love you Connie, Jennifer and Kim . .

mm-blog-4-melissa-shop-at-home-hosts-5It would be impossible to list and thank every guest that I have worked with and have established friendships, like Dallas, Vince, Judy Crowell, Paul Deasy and Nick Kwan.  Again, it is the highlight of my job!

mm-blog-4-melissa-with-tucson-group-6Besides my gift of gab, I guess it is my passion for shopping!  I can’t believe I get to shop with 88 million viewers every day!  It really is a dream job that I am so incredibly grateful for.  I want to thank each and every viewer that has invited me into their homes for the last 24 years.

The pleasure is all mine!

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Scratch one more off my bucket list . . .

Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to travel the Amazon River.  On September 1, 2016, I was able to scratch that off my bucket list.  My wife, Jennifer, and I spent a week exploring the Amazon and some of its tributaries on an Amazon River Boat called the Delfin I.  It was and will be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

sc-blog-4-1First a little background history. The mouth of the Amazon River was discovered in 1500, when a Spanish expedition led by Vincente Pinzon sailed up it to a point 50 miles (80km) from the sea.  Forty years later, another Spanish expedition, of 50 men under the command of Francisco de Orellana, achieved an epic journey from the distant Andes by way of the Napo River and the Amazon mainstream to the Atlantic.  By the 19th century, naturalists finally began to learn the secrets of the rivers and the surrounding rain forest.  Between 1848 and 1859, the British naturalist Henry Bates collected thousands of insect species entirely new to entomology.  Now, the Amazon is thought to have 2.5 million species of insects, 1,300 bird species3,000 types of fish430 mammals and a whopping 2.5 million different insects.  The botanist Richard Spruce gathered some 7000 new plant specimens.  Now, the Amazon is estimated to have 40,000 plant species, 16,000 tree species and 390 billion individual trees.  The Amazon River is by far the world’s largest river by volume.  It has over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are longer than 1000 miles. We were only able to explore a few of these.

sc-blog-4-2We flew into Lima, Peru then onto Iquitos, a bustling city completely surrounded by jungle.  There are no roads leading in or out of Iquitos.  You can only enter or leave on foot or by boat or plane.  The primary mode of transportation is a motor carriages or “Tuk Tuk”.

After a brief tour of the city, it was onto Nauta, the riverboat port.  Once we embarked, we met our guide and our fellow passengers, two couples from Lima, Peru.  We didn’t waste any time and immediately boarded a skiff (motorboat) to search for pink dolphins.  Even though our guide made no promise we would be able to see any pink dolphins that day, we spotted dozens just during that 2 hour excursion.

sc-blog-4-3The next day consisted of a jungle hike where we observed several forms of wildlife.  We got close to a sloth that really seemed to be posing for our cameras.  Our jungle guide discovered a Tarantula and brought it close for us to view (I hate spiders).  We also got close and personal to a boa constrictor, a small poisonous frog, and a monkey (see photos below).  Even though it was 90+ degrees with high humidity, we all had to wear long pants and sleeves due to the huge population of mosquitoes.  Thank goodness I brought along my Para’Kito mosquito repellent wrist band.

sc-blog-4-4sc-blog-4-5sc-blog-4-6sc-blog-4-7The scariest and most unforgettable excursion of our journey was the jungle canopy walk.  It is a series of several tree platforms around 35 meters (115 feet) high connected by swing bridges giving you a unique perception of the wildlife and vegetation seldom observed from the ground.  For someone who is afraid of heights (me), this was quite a frightening but awesome feat.  Had it not been for Jennifer encouraging me from behind, I would have never conquered that fear.

sc-blog-4-8I can now actually tell my grandchildren (not) that I swam in the Amazon, I fed a Manatee, I kayaked in the Amazon, and fished for Piranha in the Amazon.  Fishing for Piranha is an art that I will never master.  Normally, a fish will hook itself while going for bait.  A Piranha is smarter that.  As they bite into the bait (not hook) you have to pull them quickly into the boat.  Well, we fed a lot of Piranha that day but didn’t catch any.  What we did hook was Amazonian Catfish.  I was so proud that I caught one. Jennifer caught five!

sc-blog-4-9On our final day we visited a local village and spent time with some of its 150 inhabitants.  I will never forget that day.  We all brought the children some toys and school supplies which they desperately needed.  Jen and I purchased some beautiful straw items they handcraft which provide their village with income.  I tried to converse with one of the village leaders with the little Spanish I know.  He just smiled.  Many of the jungle people are very happy and live to be over 100 years old.  When asked the reason for their longevity . . . ”no stress”.

sc-blog-4-10The Amazon is more than just the World’s largest river, it is the life force of the surrounding rainforest which is one of the one of the world’s greatest natural resources.  Because its vegetation continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the “Lungs of our Planet”.   About 20% of earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit this area, it will be one of the most extraordinary experiences of your life.

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Making meal time quick & healthy

I think it’s happened to all of us, right?  A long day at work and we get home to find there is absolutely ‘nothing to eat in the fridge’!  So, what do we do?  Either go out for fast food or spend the money at a sit down restaurant.  Or, race to the store and grab anything that sounds good to our grumbling stomachs, which usually results in overeating and over spending.

So, one night after the mad dash to the store and coming home with some lettuce and a rotisserie chicken, I started thinking.  Hmm, I love chicken and it’s a great source of protein, but this bird has been sitting in a ton of grease (a.k.a. flavor) for I don’t know how long.  That grease is equating to how many calories and fat?  There’s gotta be a better way!

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I thought about my friends that blot the grease off of a slice of cheese pizza (which I find blasphemous, btw) but maybe they are onto something? So I pulled off the skin, rinsed the darn thing off and pulled off just enough chicken to top my salad. Dinner was delicious and I had enough meat left on the bones to make two more meals!kw-blog-4-2kw-blog-4-3

 

 

 

 

Now, granted, having it cooked for you may cost you a few bucks more, but I found that Costco has a bird that is double the traditional size of most stores – I can get 5 meals out of that bad boy.  And my local grocery has a ‘$1 off cluck’ weekly special every Thursday.  I love starting the weekend off with some meals already prepped and ready to go!

From chicken salad (two ways),to tacos and pot pies  – I think you’ll love this quick way to get meals done in a jif and save a few calories along the way.

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What do YOU do with your bird? I’d love to hear!

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My Summer Tradition

Pretty much every summer for the majority of my life, I have traveled to Lake of the Woods.  Have you heard of it?  It occupies parts of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, and northern Minnesota.  It is over 70 miles long and wide and has 14,552 islands.

When I was young, we would attach one of those Winnebago foldout campers to the back of our car, and drive three hours up and three hours back.  Somehow, we packed: my parents, my brother, a couple of my stepbrothers and sisters and our huge black standard poodle, Mitzi into the car.  We did this EVERY weekend of the summer!  This is where I sat on a bee and got my first sting, and had my first wee little crush on a boy a few campers down.

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From the Winnebago, we graduated to a little white house on Rainy River. Rainy River runs into the big lake and is just outside of Baudette, Minnesota, population about 1,100. Now that we had the benefit of heat, plumbing, etc., we started traveling here during the winter months, too . . . again, EVERY weekend.  This is about the time where I just wanted to be home on the weekend.  I had friends and a social life where, if I missed out on something happening, my life would be over and I would die (I’m a teenager now). I had a hard time convincing my parents I should stay home so, instead, I would bring my friends along.

lynne-blog-3-2There is a tiny little island that my best friend, Jillie, and I would love to sneak off to. She had a tiny fishing boat, kind of like a dinghy. She would pull up to my dock, pick me up and off we went.  We were always alone on this island; it was like our little secret.  The island was very remote, had nothing on it to speak of except a bunch of sand ,so no one ever ventured there but us. One time, we thought we would be super grown up and sophisticated and sunbathe topless.  That was the very rare time that another fishing boat came floating by.  Now, the island has somehow been discovered and is full of big boats and lots of families picnicking.  My family and I still love to go there.

My parents decided to build their dream home at the Lake about the time I was starting my own family.  I had moved to Minneapolis and, so now, the three-hour drive is a seven-hour drive.  The drive takes us through many quiet, small towns and truly is a slice of Americana.  Homes with wrap-around front porches, lawn art and flags waving proudly.  Nobody is in a hurry to get anywhere, and everything is slowed way down.  So lovely.

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There really isn’t that much to do at the lake . . . except for fishing, and so heading out onto the huge lake means spending the entire day on the boat . . . fishing.  I’m not that great of a fisherwoman as it takes great patience, and I get extremely bored waiting for something to happen.  We usually catch walleye and trout.  Nowadays, we bring a couple of boats onto the lake and have fishing competitions between them, which can get really loud and boisterous.  To this day, my boat has never won.

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Fourth of July celebrations at the lake are my favorite part. Thousands of people come into Baudette for the street fair and fireworks.  At the street fair you can listen to bagpipes, enjoy fried walleye, get a tattoo or our favorite thing, watch someone else get a tattoo. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the tattoo truck is located right next to the Beer Garden. At dusk, it is so cool to see all the families sitting on blankets with their coolers, fluorescent light-up necklaces and twirly thingies in anticipation for the fireworks.  Our neighbors in Canada across the river have lit up American flags in their backyards as a sign of friendship.  The fireworks are choreographed to music, and always end with Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” When it’s all over and we’re walking back to the car, it’s always the feeling of “best night ever.”

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Another life . . .

I love my life as a host at Evine, a wife, and a mom.

At one time, however, there was my first love . . . dance!

These blogs have been a wonderful way to share more about our other passions that we don’t often get to talk about on air.  I couldn’t wait to share my discovery of salsa dance!

fatima-blog-3-1I found dance late in life, well, relatively.  I was in my early 20s and my girlfriend dragged me out to a salsa club.  As I started to learn the steps and become familiar with the music, the obsession . . . oops, I meant passion, grew intensely.

It wasn’t long before I was out dancing 4-5 nights a week, pouring over YouTube videos, and traveling all across the country in search of the ultimate dance fix.

The community of dancers is one of the reasons that I dove in so deep.  Not just locally, but anywhere I traveled, the environment was electric with people from all cultures and all walks of life sharing a common thread and a universal love of music and dance.

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Within our local community, many of us attended classes and events at a dance studio.  I began teaching there, and soon after, started performing with the dance teams.  I have to admit, my favorite part of performing was the costumes!  And yes, there were many hours spent “bedazzling” .

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Another huge draw to being on a performance team was the challenge of each new routine and creating something unique and special with our groups.  We did most of our own choreography and having it come to life was such a thrill!

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Being so immersed in the world of Latin dance, I quickly became intrigued and enamored with the Afro-Caribbean rhythms melded with jazzy big band sounds that create this genre of music. Salsa, Cha cha, Bachata, Merengue . . . I love it all! I became a fiend and began amassing a collection of music that may be enough to start a small radio station.  At some point, I think my weekly iTunes budget was more than my grocery budget!  I was truly eating, sleeping, and breathing salsa.  The next step: I started DJ’ing salsa music.  That was a whole new level of indulgent fun.  I would put together a playlist of my favorite songs and dance on the job.  Work and play came together as one . . . it was a beautiful thing 🙂

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Fast-to post knee injury and a one-year old at home.  Salsa dancing may now be a seldom enjoyed delicacy but, to me, it’s just as juicy and sweet as it’s always been. The great news: it’s like one of your oldest and dearest friends.  You may not see one another for ages, but the moment you reconnect, it’s like no time has passed.

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Coffee with Coffee

allison-blog-coffee-1Coffee = Happy day.  Period.  That is the main ingredient to my diet.  I have to confess that there is no better way to know if the day is going well.  My fun factor, laughs and concentration level is singularly determined by one little bean.  I’m quite finicky about the coffee I drink and could write a book on the nonsense and seriousness of coffee beans and preparation. 

In fact, there’s a cold brew in front of me now.  

Over the past few years, when traveling around the world, I’ve found that there is a problem with cold or iced coffee.  Coffee houses love to serve them, as they use day old or left over coffee for their iced coffees.  I believe that’s why so many people don’t like the bitterness that normally comes with first sip.  Coffee has a personality and can lose that when it is over-processed. 

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Recently, on a trip to Seattle, I was invited into one of the biggest coffee specialty roasting houses in the world to taste a few new roasts and blends that will be coming to the market next year.  It was spectacular!  Know how the effect of the growing climate, water, soil, temperature can affect the taste was spectacular. Growing up in the chocolate business, the cocoa bean source would be the sole basis for the flavor of the chocolate.  I found this is the same with Coffee.

allison-blog-coffee-3-tastingDuring the tasting, we were served an iced coffee with cream. I turned and asked the age old question, how?   It seems that we’ve been doing it wrong all along. Don’t take the morning brew and pour it over ice, or take the morning brew that has been sitting on heat for hours and think you’ll get a smooth, unadulterated sip.  You won’t.  This seems so simple, but the result is one that may take you from a hot joe drinker to a iced cold brew aficionado.   You can add cream, flavor, mint, basil or any other flavor to this.  Remember, this is a concentrate and will be perfect to have in the refrigerator.  Just promise me you’ll try it black the first time so you can enjoy the clean, smooth taste!  And, if you’re going all in, make yourself a tray of coffee ice cubes!)

Cold Brew Coffee

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee beans (for the best quality, use deep french roast)
  • 4 cups cold water

Directions

Add ground coffee and cold water together in a large bowl. Stir briefly to combine. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 12-24 hours.

Then remove the bowl, and place a strainer covered with a cheesecloth in a second bowl.

Pour the coffee mixture over the strainer, and wait until the liquid has filtered through the strainer. Discard the grounds and remove the strainer.

Serve the coffee over iced, stirring in water to dilute the coffee at 1:2 coffee/water ratio. (Example would be; 1/2 coffee and 1 cup water)

Refrigerate the remaining coffee concentrate in a sealed container for up to one week.

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