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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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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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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Why Do Collectors Collect?

Kendy blog 2 2LThroughout my 30 years in the Home Shopping Industry, I’ve discovered that our customers love to collect. In the 1980’s, die cast cars, dolls, and capitamonte were the hottest collectibles.

Kendy blog 2 1LOnce the 90’s rolled around, sports collectibles, coins, and beanie babies were on the must buy lists of home shopping customers.

Today, watches, Tiffany style lighting, and Waterford Crystal are the collectibles of choice.

Kendy blog 2 1RI think collecting is an essential childhood hobby. It creates opportunities for curiosity and learning. It teaches kids how to take care of objects, spend money wisely, and cooperate when negotiating and trading. As kids, most of us collected marbles, trading cards, stamps, coins, etc. Kendy blog 2 2MMy children collected rocks and gems as they were curious about all of the gems I sold. Did you collect anything when you were a child? What was your favorite thing to collect and your prized possession? I wonder if kids collect as much as we used to Kendy blog 2 2Rback in the day . . .

I, personally, am not a collector of things at all. So, it’s curious to me why people become collectors. Really no one in my family collected anything, except my grandmother who had a plate collection on her wall. It makes me think that collecting begins as Kendy blog 2 3Ra family tradition . . . my parents really only collected family memorabilia, so I do the same in order to preserve the past. We preserve the kids’ photos, artwork, ribbons, letters of accomplishment, etc.

 

So, I’m curious . . .Kendy blog 2 3L

What do you collect?

Why do you collect?

How did you get started?

Is it a family tradition, passion, obsession, habit?

Do you collect for investment purposes, perceiving the items will increase in value over the years?

Kendy blog 2 3RDo you collect for status?

Has your collecting turned into hoarding?

What do you wish you had never collected?

What do you collect that Evine Kendy blog 2 1Mdoesn’t sell that you’d like to see us offer?

If you do collect things we offer, what are you missing in your collection that you’d like to see?

Please let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

 

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Be the change you wish to see in the world

Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

I had been planning my vacation to Jamaica for almost a year!  I envisioned tropical beaches, Pina Coladas, fun in the sun!  I did not count on another version of Jamaica – one filled with poverty and hunger – the other side of the Island in Kingston, Jamaica.

Two weeks ago, I flew to Jamaica to represent Mrs USA in the United Nations pageant system, a pageant based on service and a desire to make a positive and global impact with the less fortunate.  For more than a decade, I’ve been mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kinship of Greater Minneapolis, and as a Career Advocate and speaker for Dress for Success.  As Mrs. USA United Nations, I’d been promoting ‘Become an Everyday Hero: Mentor a Child,’ hoping more adults and families would consider mentoring a young person, helping them to grow and develop into productive young people with a promising future.

Over the years I’ve been partnered up with children who didn’t have much in terms of familial support or material things, but nothing had prepared me for what I was about to experience on my trip.  The Director of the United Nations pageant is a Jamaican gentleman with a heart for the orphans living in the Jamaican Christian Boys Home in Kingston, Jamaica and, once all of the delegates arrived, we headed to the Boys Home to paint the exterior of the building the boys lived in.

Wendi blog 2 clotheslineDriving up I was struck by the condition of the home and property – it was dilapidated, the yard filled with junk and garbage, broken windows, old mattresses stacked up, dangerous wires and pipes, cinderblocks strewn Wendi blog 2 basketballaround . . . and the boys ran around with old, dirty, torn, ill-fitting clothing and bare feet.  Occasionally, one shoe was seen on the driveway but there was no one to tell them to bring it inside.  One boy was trying to bounce a basketball that was worn down to its innards and toss it into the rusty basketball hoop with no net.

Twenty boys lived in this orphanage, and they slowly peeked out and crept over to see who was coming to paint their home.  One 12-year old wasn’t afraid and began asking me questions about the USA.  I asked him what they really needed there.  He said “We really need Wendi blog 2 photo w boy leftanother bike.  We only have one bike and we need a bike for the smaller boys so we can race.”  “You only have one bike for 20 boys?” I asked.  “Yes.” he replied.  I was thinking that, in the US, that would not happen – there would be drives, churches would get involved, people would donate from their excess but, here in Jamaica, there is no excess and no Target or Walmart with inexpensive bikes.  “We also need church clothes – pants and a buttoned-down shirt.”  All the boys had now were ripped jeans and shorts and old t-shirts.  Going to church was their one day out of their compound since it was summer and there was no leaving for school.  They spent 24/7 at the home – riding one bike and playing with a few old balls.

The delegates from around the world painted all day in the hot sun and 100 degree heat (Why didn’t I bring a hat!  Why am I wearing jeans?! Why didn’t I bring suntan lotion?)  Those of us from colder climates found ourselves with sun stroke after a few hours and had to lay on the shady porch to rest and rehydrate . . . did I mention there was no air conditioner inside this home?  After 8 hours, the home had a fresh coat of red paint on its exterior.  Inside was a 90-year old woman who owned the home and had the most beautiful, full smile I’ve ever seen!  To everyone who passed by, she would smile her toothy grin and then go back to her crossword puzzle, occasionally dozing off mid-word, while her stocking fell down to her ankle.  She and her husband had taken boys in to her home decades ago, along with older boys who were not mentally able to live on their own and, now that he had passed, it was just her.  She has a heart of gold.

As we left for the day,  I thought about what more I could do – the bed sheets were filthy and old, the pillows had no pillow cases, the pots and pans were warped and looked like they were 100 years old.  In America, all of these things would have been tossed decades earlier.  We rarely ‘wear’ anything out – we buy new even before something is old!  When I told my daughter about these boys and their single bike, she agreed: first things first – we needed to buy them a bike!

Wendi blog 2 chloe mom bikeIn Jamaica, a mid-sized bike is $125; Chloe picked out a green one that looked like a racing bike.  We also bought chicken, pasta and the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies for the upcoming cooking contest to be judged by all of the boys; then we headed to the orphanage.

The excitement on the boys faces when they saw their new bike was a sight to see!  The jumped up and immediately starting pumping the tires up, adjusting the seat, testing out the bell on the handlebars, and then the first boy jumped on it for its first spin up the bumpy driveway – they didn’t mind!  They stood up on the foot pedals so they didn’t feel the bumps, and sailed back and forth with the freedom a new bike gives – as well as the joy of riding on a bike that has speed since it had 2 good tires!  Here’s the video:

That day my family cooked fried, breaded, pounded cotoletta chicken chicken breast (an Italian favorite), penne with tomato sauce, and I made large, soft chocolate chip cookies (giving tastes of dough and chips to the boys along the way).  I wanted to represent a traditional American dessert – plus I gave each boy a Snickers bar (chocolate is a real treat since it’s expensive there).  After all the different countries’ foods were tasted, the boys started chanting “USA Wendi blog 2 cooking USA USA” – we had won the cooking challenge! (Thank goodness my husband was there to help me cook for that many kids!)

A few days later, I won the title of Mrs. United Nations 2016, my daughter won Little Miss United Nations 2016 and, with it, we plan on doing what we can to create more smiles around the world  – as well as feel more gratitude for all that we have and are able to give.

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