Teen Idols

Teen Idols.  We all had one. My mom’s teen idol was Elvis Presley.  My nieces? Justin Bieber. And for me? Donny Osmond!

So you can imagine my surprise when Evine approached me to launch a show on the network called Donny Osmond Home and that I would be presenting with the one-and-only, Donny Osmond!  I would be meeting and working with my teen crush! Surreal to say the least.

Have you heard of Tiger Beat Magazine? It is a teen fan magazine and back in my teenage years this glossy magazine kept me up-to-date on my favorite celebrities with stories, teen quizzes, and of course, posters to hang on your bedroom walls!  I had it bad, real bad, for the guy who sang “Puppy Love.” I knew his favorite color was purple so it became my favorite color too!  My mom painted my bedroom walls purple and I had purple carpet as well.  Thanks mom!

We launched Donny Osmond Home on April 9th and it was a great success. Donny is as charming and nice as you would imagine him to be – he really is the real deal.  The products were beautiful and the customers love him.  It was easy to see his passion for quality, home, and family. I loved everything about the show, but the highlight for me was when Donny Osmond danced with me and sang “Puppy Love” on-air. Can you believe it?!?!

Recently during the Las Vegas JCK jewelry show and live remote for Evine in June, I had the chance to see Donny again! We were able to attend the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino and I had the unbelievable opportunity to interview Donny backstage for a behind-the-scenes segment on Facebook. We started our visit in Donny’s dressing room to get a firsthand look at where he prepares for the show.  His dressing room is filled with mementos and really shows his personality.  What an experience! If that wasn’t enough, Donny then gave me a tour of the stage where the show is performed. I was on stage with Donny Osmond! We reenacted the show’s opening number….Donny and I walked down the stairs together singing “It Takes Two.” The Donny & Marie show has been in Vegas for nine years now and I can see why. They work so well together on stage and every song brings back so many fun memories.

Teen crushes are great. What is really amazing is when you get to meet that person and they turn out to be kind, genuine, and everything you thought they would be.

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Waterford Ireland Remote

In Waterford, Ireland, the tales of adventure go back over 1,000 years to 914 A.D. A time when fierce Viking warriors in their magnificent, tall, masted long ships with dragon carved prows appeared like mythical beasts on the River Suir. Reginald’s Tower, The Quay, is a Viking treasure…a tribute to those who settled here and established Waterford as Ireland’s oldest city.

 

To help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership between Waterford Crystal and Evine, we will be broadcasting live, beginning April 27th from Waterford, Ireland! Last year, we took an amazing trip, inviting our viewers to help us celebrate our 9th anniversary with Waterford Crystal by broadcasting from amazing locations including the House of Waterford Crystal, the Viking Triangle, and the Waterford Castle.

This year, we will begin our celebration at the House of Waterford Crystal for the kickoff of our 10th anniversary. We will give you a tour of the factory and you will get to meet the talented Irish craftsmen who have been an integral part of Waterford History. Many of these craftsmen have been with Waterford for 30, 40, up to 55 years! You will get to see all of the steps the crystal piece must go through before we have the opportunity to present it to you on Evine.

The tour starts in the Mould Room (check out the name on the mould I saw last year), where a treasure trove of historic wooden moulds are housed. We then move to the Blowing and Furnace room, followed by Quality Inspection and Hand Marking. Then, on to the Cutting Department, where the craftsmen rely on an abundance of skill and dexterity to cut the pattern onto the crystal using a diamond tipped wheel. The tour concludes with a sculpting and engraving presentation – the one-of-a kind and limited edition pieces you will see here are amazing.

The hosts and guests really enjoy sharing this experience with you. Beginning in 1783, when George and William Penrose created this iconic brand, the pride in the craftsmanship and love of the beautiful crystal have been a constant thread that has been woven into the history of Waterford, Ireland.


I hope you can join us for the 10th anniversary celebration and hear from the talented craftsmen and brilliant designers as they share their love and passion for the brand!

It takes an amazing team to pull off broadcasting from so far away, think about that for a moment. All of the logistical planning and production equipment being shipped in for the event, even before we arrive. And, as busy as it is, the team always seems to find the time for a bit of fun. With hometown boy, Tom Brennan, serving as our tour guide, we are treated to some of the most beautiful sights, including Lismore Castle, The Rock of Cashel, and Ireland’s enchanting countryside.

I am so excited to take you back to the Emerald Isle!

Live your best life, a crystal life! See you in Ireland.

 

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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.

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My Valentine

Meet my Valentine, the love of my life, my “Sweet Lew”

I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate him this month in my blog since February is the month of love.  We will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary this year and we have two wonderful sons who bring so much joy and love to our lives.  We are now empty nesters so we have a lot of time on our hands but don’t waste a minute of it.  We really enjoy spending time together and just hanging out.  He really is my best friend.

I would have to say travel is our favorite thing to plan for and do, whether it is hopping in the car and driving to Glacier National Park in MT, or taking a trip to Italy for my 50th birthday (best trip ever), or just a weekend up at the Northshore in MN, we always have a great time together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also enjoy being Great Aunt Melissa and Great Uncle Lewis!  We have 4 great nieces and 3 great nephews and are enjoying watching them become parents and let the next generation begin.

I consider myself so incredibly blessed that I found my true love, my life partner who stands beside me through all of the ups and downs in life.  I have always said he is the tree by the water, so calm and steady in my life.

Happy Valentine’s Day sweetheart, I love you!

 

 

 

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Made With Love

One of my favorite things to do in my downtime is to crochet!  My mom taught me this craft when I was teenager.  I remember how special it felt for me to sit by her side and watch her make incredible afghans as gifts for family and friends.  I will always remember how much joy she had going to the craft store to buy yarn – always picking out just the right color for that special someone.

 

When my mom gave me my first crochet needle (I still have it – #9 – I), it felt wonderful in my hand.  The first stitch I learned, as I am sure it was for most people, was the chain stitch – super easy!  From there I learned single crochet and double crochet which are stitches used to create my favorite pattern – the basket weave.  It is the only pattern that I do.  It is my specialty.  It is just so very easy.  My mom has encouraged me to try new stitches and patterns like she does….but to no avail, I’m a basket weave girl! My mom is very skilled at the craft and loves learning new stitches and patterns and makes everything from afghans, hats, scarves, baby clothes, sweaters, pot holders, wash clothes and so much more.

My absolute favorite thing to crochet is baby blankets, because…I LOVE babies!  I think they are one of God’s most precious gifts to us.  When you think about it…what a miracle!  They are so sweet and innocent.  I remember how I felt when I had my sweet babies and how special it was to wrap them up in a beautiful homemade blanket. To me, the gift of a baby blanket is so personal – I have had new parents bring their babies home from the hospital in their blankets and baptized in their blankets.  How special!

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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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Together

I treasure my friendships!  My husband Lewis is my best friend – we are great companions and have the best time together.  We also enjoy spending time with an amazing group of friends that we met through Evine years ago.  We’ve remained close and enjoy traveling together.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have a great group of friends like this. What’s so cool about this group is the age range – 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s! The thirty-somethings teach us old dogs a thing or two.  Talk about great dating conversation!  Wow, wow, wow!!  Times have changed since Lewis and I were dating!

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One of our favorite weekends with them is our canoe trip to Wisconsin.  We spend a leisurely weekend at our friend Lisa’s cabin – laughing, eating and catching up on life.  This is an annual trip that’s been going on for 10 years! We all sign up for our food assignment a couple of weeks out.  Who’s doing dinner?  Well, it’s usually my sweet Lew and our dear friend Brett – they’re both talented when it comes to cooking.  I love to bake a cake or bring a fun dessert, and everyone else signs up for breakfast or lunch on the Namekagan River.  Oh . . . and someone’s always given the fun cocktail assignment!  We spend all day Saturday floating down the river enjoying the beauty of nature and just being together.  We love that word ‘together’ and we use it a lot.

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With this great group of friends we always travel to some place new every October.  We try to pick a place that none of us have ever been to, and all get to experience something new together.  We’ve been to the vineyards in California, Whidbey Island in Washington, Savannah, Georgia and, this year, we’re going to Santa Barbara, California.  What a treasure friendship is!

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We love to close out the year together celebrating the holiday season. Lewis and I host a Christmas get-together for our group at our house.  We enjoy an amazing meal – last year it was lobster!  Then we enjoy exchanging gifts and doing a fun elephant gift exchange too! This night goes on forever with fun games, great conversation and everyone usually ends up spending the night.

I feel incredibly grateful for our friendships.  We’ve been through a lot together and it feels so good knowing that you have their love and support.

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Cheers to friendship!

 

 

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Summer vacation!

Summertime for me is going on a really cool vacation!  I start planning our vacations months in advance.  I find so much joy in researching the destination that we plan on visiting. I will go online to read reviews of hotels, restaurants and museums. I even ask my friends and family their advice on what they recommend if they have been to that destination before.

For me, it is like being a child again anticipating Christmas gearing up for the trip.  I’m very lucky that my husband and I both enjoy the same things and we both have a passion for travel and experiencing new places every year.

Mel Venice blog

This year we planned our first trip to Italy to celebrate my 50th birthday.  It was a trip of a lifetime and a dream come true for me.  We landed in Venice on my 50th birthday and then traveled to the Tuscany region and toured some great wineries and had dinner with Stefano and his lovely Mel Stefanowife!  He is one of our best gold vendors and has been going on-air at EVINE for almost 20 years!

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I also had dinner with my friend Manuela Biancospino in Rome. She is another fabulous guest and represents the Toscana Jewelry line.

 

MEl UffiziWe enjoyed going to the Uffizi museum and the Accademia Gallery to see David – just incredible.  From there we left Florence for Positano and Capri, and enjoyed the Mediterranean for a week before finishing our trip in Rome!  We had great walking tours and also were lucky enough to see Pope Francis give his blessing in St. Peter’s Square on Father’s Day.

What about you? Where would you like to go on a trip?  A vacation doesn’t need to be anywhere far off or exotic to be a dream come true, it can be down the block or around the corner!  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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