Invicta Cruise

So imagine this:

• You are joining approximately 2,500 super fans, all who love and are passionate about the same thing you are 

• You are sharing your own fabulous collection with other fans 

• You have a chance to own Limited Edition pieces offered exclusively to you 

• You can meet, chat and ask questions with the CEO of your favorite company 

• You can enjoy live television broadcasts streaming onto a huge Jumbo-tron as you soak up the sun stage-side or pool-side 

• You are enjoying fabulous cuisine while tuxedo- dressed waiters dance on the tables

• You are dancing 

* You are partying  

• You are diving for watches 

Wow” and “yes, please,” right?   

That is exactly what happened in mid-February on Invicta’s Ocean Voyage to the Bahamas!  For 3 days, Invicta collectors from all over the country, Evine’s crew, 4 hosts and 2 guests boarded that Carnival cruise ship for the experience of a lifetime!  
For me as a host, it was the event of my career!  Meeting so many Evine and Invicta fans face-to-face was unlike anything else I had ever experienced before. There was this crazy energy from everyone just because we all are a part of this really cool event.

There was a feeding frenzy of everyone trying to get their hands on the latest Invicta timepiece, but there was also  something different happening that was really palpable and very special. There was a warmth, a feeling of gratitude and, most importantly, a feeling of friendship, family and community. To feel so connected and so in touch with viewers was an extraordinary experience I will never forget.  I know who so many of you are now, I have met your wives, your husbands and your children.  You are the vein of why I love what I do.  It was my pleasure to have shared this incredible adventure with you and I thank you for the beautiful memories.

The “Earth” Without “Art” is Just “Eh”

Outside of Evine I am an art junkie.  Yep, there you go, I admit it.  I have worked in the fine art business for about 2 decades.  When I am not on-air shopping with you, I work in a fine art gallery on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota.

I got into art as a part of the design process when working with residential and commercial design clients.  The art was always the most fun part for me, the icing on the cake, and the jewelry for the home.

All types of art mediums and styles fascinate me.  At the gallery we carry fine art on paper and canvas, giclees on paper and canvas, serigraphs, lithographs, silkscreens, etchings, encaustics, glass and acrylics.  Many of these pieces are multimedia with many techniques in one original piece of artwork.  The styles that surround me at the gallery are abstract, architectural, figurative, landscapes, musical, floral, photography, realistic or even sculpture.

People often ask “How do I know what kind of art to buy for my home?”  My response is always, “Oh, you will know, you will feel it.”  Art is such a personal choice.  If it makes you go “wow” then you have a personal connection.  Go with your emotions; go with your gut when choosing art.  Great art that you love gives you the ability to run away without ever leaving your home.

I am lucky enough to go on an art buying trip every year for the gallery and meet some incredible artists and see some really amazing art.  The artists I have met over the years have been creative, sometimes tortured souls, who see the world as their canvas; they just see things that some can only get a glimpse of. Some have formal training, most are just lucky enough to have their talent nurtured from the time they were children.  My favorite spot to pick up new art is down in Atlanta, Georgia.  I know what you’re thinking, “Atlanta, really?” The art community in Atlanta is HUGE!  There is a place I visit that is an old margarine factory converted into artist studios.  Here the imagination runs wild and the sense of community and support is infectious.  I will bring back over 300 original works of art as part of my job as art curator for the gallery.  This is always an exciting time for my clients because they get to come into the gallery, see the new art and dream a little.

So there you have it, an art junkie.  I crave it, I love it and it makes me happy.  Feed your artist soul, visit an art gallery and see how you feel.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”

                           -Pablo Picasso

Spring Vacation

Living here in cold Minnesota, I love planning a Spring vacation…a warm getaway before our beautiful Minnesota summer weather sets in.  I start planning right after the holidays are over.  It has to be somewhere warm with sand and sun.  As a family, we love to go to Hawaii –  Maui is our favorite island.  We have been visiting Maui since 1998 and our sons just love it.  There are so many cool things to do and see on the island.

There are some things that you should do at least once when you visit the state of Hawaii.  Among these, would be a Luau.  These are typically large gatherings with lots of tourists but it can be a fun experience.  The best part of the Luau for me is not the food, but rather the culture and entertainment value that the Luau shows provide. I really like the fire dancers 🙂

A whale watch cruise is something we try to do at least once while we are visiting!  I think it is our favorite excursion.  Because we like to travel during the time that the whales migrate, there is always plenty of activity. We have always been lucky enough to see whales – but even if you weren’t, the view of the island from the water is spectacular!

I love a beautiful sunrise and sunset.  Among the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen is the view from Mt. Haleakala, a dormant volcano 10,000 feet above sea level.  You will need to leave your hotel at about 3:30 in the morning (wear a warm jacket) to make the drive to the top…fingers crossed it is a clear morning. The experience is spiritual and it is clear to see why the name Haleakala means “house of the sun.”

 

One of our favorite day trips is driving the road to Hana.  This is a full day trip and you will want to be prepared.  Have a full tank of gas and pack a lunch, or stop in Pa’ia town at the sandwich shop for a box lunch.  This beautiful drive is very steep and winding with narrow roads and passes and over 59 bridges….46 of which are only one lane wide.  The views are breathtaking! If there has been rain, the waterfalls are flowing and you get the sense you are in a tropical rainforest.

These are just a few of the things we like to do when we visit Maui.  There are so many others…. the beach, snorkeling in Molokini Crater, dinner at Mama’s Fish House (don’t miss it) and hanging out in Lahaina town.  And of course, make sure you watch the sunset….at least once.

The Story of a Simple Sticker

Isn’t it funny how we can get so attached to our cars? They have no emotions or feelings, yet we treat them like family. Who knew a twisted mess of metal could bring out so many feelings and experiences. I am no exception and I am still driving my car 12 years after buying it! I still remember vividly going into the lot to investigate cars. I was in Alaska, of all places, and I had just arrived there had nothing to my name except two suitcases, filled with clothing mementos and a few kitchen supplies. to start my career as a news anchor. I literally rebuilt my life from scratch.

My dad had come with me to make the adjustment easier. I could tell he was nervous for leaving his little girl alone in the vastness that is Alaska and we went over to the lot to buy my very first car. I had saved the money to put down a substantial amount but I needed to find the right fit for me. We looked at a lot of cars and none of them really felt like the right fit. I was getting nervous because time was of the essence. I had to start my new job within a matter of days and I was driving a rental car as my means of transportation. It was a Toyota RAV 4 that caught my eye that day. It was white and looked like a zippy little SUV for me. I liked all the room it provided and I was pretty sure I had found my ride! I remember clearly the whole negotiation process and writing the biggest check that I had ever written in my life!

I remember driving off the lot feeling so grown up and like a real adult! I had bought my first car with my own money! I wanted to scream it from the rooftops and I felt a special connection to my automobile. As I drove off the lot I thought of a name for my car! He would be “Jinah” after the founder of the country of Pakistan. Sure it was cheesy but it represented my culture and lineage and it seemed to be a perfect fit.

The next day my dad had a little surprise for me. He got some stick on letters and taped them on my car with the name of my car. They were lopsided and crooked but I didn’t care because it was from my dad and it was special; now my car had an identity all its own.

Fast forward a few years and I was a news anchor in Oregon. One night I was leaving a friend’s house and I backed into a pole. It was one of those silly moments that you have where you are just not paying attention. The “Jinah” sign was still there but now I had a dent in my back bumper that was unsightly. I decided to not even bother getting it fixed and decided to just live with it instead. Oh well!

Fast forward a few more years and I was engaged to my fiancé! He has always been so great about fixing things for me and making my life easier and he decided I needed to get that back bumper fixed no matter what. He took matters into his own hands and bought a whole new door for my car. In no time my car looked brand new again but the “Jinah” sign was gone with the old back door.

I was so sad about it that I made the kind repair man show me the back door so I could at least get a picture of my beloved sign that had truly been a labor of love from my dad and it meant so much to me. My car just wasn’t the same without it.

My fiancé was acting suspicious about a week ago and kept making me go check my mailbox. He was insistent that I not throw away ANYTHING even if it looked like junk mail. I wondered what on earth he was up to! Well the answer soon came…

He had found a site and sticker company that made specially designed images. He wanted to surprise me so he sent them a picture of the “Jinah” sign my dad had put on my car and made it into a sticker for my vehicle! I could not believe his thoughtfulness and I almost started to cry. I now have a perfect replica of the sign my dad had put on my car more than a decade ago!

My car may not have the dent in the back anymore but it’s still beautifully “flawed” with a crooked sticker that means more to me than most people would ever know.

 

Empowering Future Leaders to Bloom

I can remember being a little girl and visiting my Dad at his work—he was a Director for the Guiding Light, a soap opera that was very popular at the time.  He showed me the control room, where he told people what camera to go for for the reaction shots, calling for each camera to create the story we all saw on TV and had me go out on the set where I could see myself in the monitor.

I ran off the set—I was shy and although I secretly wanted to be on camera, I was afraid to be there!  After being in corporate sales for many years, I decided to head back to my original dream of becoming an actress which led me to the career I’m in today!  Although my father didn’t necessarily nurture a career on TV (my parents divorced when I was 7), it did spark an interest in my own mind.

I decided to do the same for a non-profit group of young girls called “Diverse Daisies.” This is a group to bloom nurturing young girls of all ethnicities to learn new skills and engage in new opportunities, designed to motivate, empower and inspire the lives of young women!

The Daisies were so excited to visit Evine and experience behind-the-scenes of our home shopping world!  I gave the girls a tour of our control room where there area many monitors to view different shots on the set, showed them where the product is set up for us to review,
toured the studios, the host room where all of the hosts prepare and they loved seeing the “pink” room (although it’s not pink), where all of the hosts get their hair done before our shows!

The girls were screaming with excitement when I took them to our fashion studio with a runway!  They ran out on the set and wanted to reenact a show, so I picked 2 girls to be a host and a guest and 3 girls to be models with 2 others behind the camera, learning how to operate a jib (moving camera) during fashion shows.

I taught the 2 ‘hosts’ the basics of selling a new Holly Robinson-Peete cardigan and showed the 3 ‘models’ how to walk the runway and model the clothes with attitude and style, and the other girls learned how to move the camera around the set to follow the models.   They had a BALL! The girls were strutting their stuff and were all so proud of themselves afterwards.  Each girl had an opportunity to present and they didn’t want to leave.

A few of the girls were VERY good at speaking and presenting so who knows, we might see them on air in the future!

At the end of our tour, the girls gave me a bouquet of flowers and thank you notes and lots of hugs.

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society started the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the parking lot of an elementary school in 1955.  Today, over 55,000 gem enthusiasts arrive over the course of 2 weeks in January/February to attend over 40 shows taking place all over Tucson.

Evine’s hosts, buyers, and designers have attended the Tucson Gem fair for over 20 years.  Chuck Clemency was the first vendor that joined us in Tucson.  He introduced us to Prickly Pear Margaritas, Cactus Body Slamming, Cheese Troughs, and more colors of Topaz than anyone else in the business.

Years later, Paul Deasy and Michael Valitutti joined the Evine family, and the Three Amigos were born!  Today, many of our best designers attend the Tucson Gem Show in order to find the most magnificent gems in the world.

We just returned from Tucson after broadcasting live from the event with many of our customers’ favorite collections: Gems en Vogue, Gem Treasures, Gem Insider, Dallas Prince, JOYA and Sunwest.  I spent a few days walking the shows with our buyers and designers and am looking forward to sharing with our customers what we are bringing “Back from Tucson” this week during our shows Thursday through Saturday!

Winter

You may think I’m crazy when I say…I’m missing our typical, deep freeze Minnesota winter this year. I spent much of my life escaping winter, even going as far as moving to Florida for several years! Finally, I have started to embrace the icy cold climate and low and behold, we have an unseasonably warm winter this year.

One of the annual events that keeps me looking forward to winter each year is called the luminary loppet.  It is a whimsical night replete with ice lanterns, live music, hot chocolate stations and a festive atmosphere.

We went this year with the entire family: myself, my husband and our 2 boys, ages 11 and 1. We took turns towing the little one along on a sled and he had a ball!
The luminary loppet takes place overlooking the Minneapolis skyline on a trail that winds along a frozen lake and into the woods. Even though I have participated in this event for the last few years, it always creeps into my mind how many people the frozen lake can accommodate! Thousands of people turn out and even in the chill of winter, you experience a warm and inviting crowd with lots of smiles and cheer. And no, the lake has never cracked! It’s completely safe. I even laid on the ice to investigate just how thick it was. 

The entire trail is lined with ice lanterns and luminaries of varying shapes and sizes, including some that are even taller than us. Luminaries continue into the enchanted forest and captivate participants of all ages.

The amount of hours that the production staff invests into this is so impressive. It truly bodies the magic of winter and just how beautiful it can be. I look forward to it all year round!

More photos from The Luminary Loppet:

My Brother

I am so thankful for my brother Joe.  He is not only the best big brother you could possibly have by your side, but he also has a chocolate factory.  The best of both worlds – wonderful brother and delicious chocolates.  He has been leading my family for years with is patience and strength.  He is also really funny and loves to play practical jokes on everyone.

People ask me all the time about Joe and Waggoners Chocolates.  I thought giving you a behind the scenes look might shed some light on how amazing he is and cool it is that he has a chocolate factory.

Joe as been creating confections for some of the most renowned chocolate companies in the world.  Many of the chocolates that you love have been developed by Joe and his team.  He also travels the world to bring the cocoa beans from harvest to market.  He can taste a bite of any chocolate in the world and tell you the quality, level of cocoa and usually what region it has come from.

That leads me to Waggoners Chocolate.  When Joe decided to build his own company, he wanted to keep it small creating some of the finest confections in the world.  Every piece of chocolate is created in small batches, with ingredients that are local.  Fresh creams and butters from the Ohio valley.  Fresh pretzels baked and shipped right to the factory to be drenched in chocolate. Made in the USA which is so important to Joe as he served his country for 8 years in the Army.

When Joe was asked to come on television, he was initially worried about the delivery to customers, freshness and quantity.  He chose to come on when he learned he could ship right from his factory to the customers.  His visits are limited; he only makes what he can make.  He has always believed that customers are family.  So many folks over the years that shopped in his store are now close, personal friends. His wonderful wife, Stephanie and daughter Cierra share in all the work with Waggoners Chocolates.  That is why every time you take a bite, you know the box was packed with love and pride.

I am not involved in the business at all, but last year he gave me the honorary title of ‘president of taste testing’  and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Give Joe a call next time he is on air next time and let him know what new flavor you would love to try!

My Forever Valentine

February is the month of love so I wanted to dedicate this month’s host blog to my sweet, wonderful husband Noel.

This is our 5th Valentine’s together.  Noel has delighted me over the years with many lovely gifts and cards, for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and just because. One tidbit  about my sweetheart Noel is that he’s a romantic, but a more fitting title would be practical romantic. Noel’s gift are always thoughtful, sweet and often useful.  I’ve been gifted a survival gift for my car (needed for Minnesota winters), mace (for my long walks), a GPS (with a large screen for easier, and safer navigation), gloves for fishing and gloves for yard work (to protect my hands and nails) and a flashlight for my keychain (great for parking garages). Please know these gifts fill me up with so much love and gratefulness. Noel not only cares for heart but also my safety.

With that I have to share the 3 best Valentine’s my honey has gifted me. These lean more on the romantic side than the practical.

Here we go, 3 of my favorites:

3 years ago, on February 11th to be exact (because he said he couldn’t wait for the 14th), he proposed to me at our favorite restaurant.  He made reservations and planned it with the help of the owner and our “regular” waitress.  It was perfection.

With my dear husband direct communication is the best.  To me greeting cards are really important. I love getting and reading mushy cards. I told Noel that I love all of the gifts he’s given, but I also want to open up a card.  He responded like he always does, “Thanks for telling me, now I know. You got it honey.” Well, here’s the card…huge, sweet and adorable.  I keep it up all year round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, Noel created a photo montage of me fishing. I squealed when I opened it.  It captured so many wonderful memories.

 

 God has given me a man of love, honor and faithfulness. I’m a blessed woman.

What are some of your most beloved Valentine gifts and memories? Please share below, I’d love to know!

Be Good to Others

We all lead busy lives and time is often a commodity that we never seem to have enough of. We barely have enough time to get all we need done for ourselves and our families, let alone carving out time for random strangers or the numerous causes that pop up.

As we begin to get settled into the new year, NOW is the perfect time to reflect upon the past and how ‘doing good unto others’ may not actually be as hard to accomplish as we might think.

 

Whether it’s as simple as holding a door for a stranger, dropping spare change into a collection tin or taking a few hours to deliver meals, run errands, or help finish a ‘to do list.’ Find an organization that speaks to your heart and I promise you the personal reward is so worth it when you see the moment of surprise, gratitude, happiness and unbiased love on a strangers face-I sure hope you’ll try it at least once this year.

Cheers xx