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Happy Birthday, Martha!

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Happy Birthday to the extraordinary and incomparable Martha Stewart. Thanks to her for all she’s done to promote beautiful things for people’s lives, and better, healthy living. At 74, she’s still surprising us with new things. Happy Birthday, Martha!

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MSLO CEO Lisa Gersh is Stepping Down (Already)

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After only 5 months in the CEO position at MSLO, Lisa Gersh is stepping down. Gersh joined the company in June 2011 as president and COO but was named CEO in July. Before joining Martha Stewart Living, Gersh co-founded Oxygen Media LLC where she was president and COO from 1998 until 2007 when it was acquired by NBC Universal.

Two things:

1. Gersh’s television background doesn’t really fit with MSLO since Martha’s cable TV show was cancelled by Hallmark. Now, Martha’s only regular television presence is on PBS, where she hosts “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”. Of course, being a commercial-free channel doesn’t exactly make PBS the best place to promote Martha’s own products and those of her sponsors.

2. Word on the street is that there was tension between Gersh, an experienced media executive, and Martha herself. Uh-oh.

Wall Street was not happy with the news of Gersh’s departure: Shares of MSLO fell as much as 9.7% in early trading after the news surfaced.

FOMs: Whew! With all the changes that occurred in 2013, MSLO is positioned to have a stellar 2013. There are lots of new projects on their way: a new vegetarian EDF cookbook in January, resolution of the Macy’s lawsuit in January, the new store-within-a-store at J.C. Penney in March, Martha’s “Living the Good Long Life” book in May. Full speed ahead!

From Bloomberg.com:

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO), the company founded by home-decor guru Martha Stewart, said Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gersh will step down, part of an effort to bolster its merchandising business.

After sluggish advertising sales in its media business contributed to four straight years of losses and declining revenue, Martha Stewart Living is focusing more on selling merchandise through retailers. The company entered an agreement in late 2011 with J.C. Penney Co., a deal that will start boosting revenue by early 2013, according to the statement.

“We are now increasing our capabilities in merchandising and plan to take full advantage of that opportunity for the benefit of our shareholders,” Stewart, who serves as non- executive chairman, said in the statement.

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Martha Stops by The Today Show to Judge Centerpiece Contest

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Martha stopped by The Today Show to judge their Thanksgiving centerpiece contest. FOMs: Watch the video and let me know your thoughts about Martha’s decision.

From The Today Show’s website (as is the above photo):

After beating out hundreds of other submissions, three viewer finalists compete to have their homemade Thanksgiving centerpiece named TODAY’s best by the queen of crafts herself, Martha Stewart.

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Martha Stewart Talks About the Influence of Julia Child

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Martha’s new TV show is only weeks away from its premiere on PBS. Martha acknowledges that she is stepping into some very large shoes at PBS. Her predecessor, Julia Child, was much-loved and very highly respected by all. In this video, Martha pays tribute to Julia. FOMs: I’m certain you are all counting down to the October 6/7 start (check your local listings) of Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, right? Can’t wait!

 

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Happy Birthday, Martha!

A birthday toast to you and your endless curiosity, your passion for learning, and your generosity in sharing your knowledge with others. You have truly made the world a better and more beautiful place. On behalf of all FOMs, I thank you. Here’s to a fantastic year ahead–new ventures, new partnerships, and new ideas. Look out world, the best is yet to come!

FOMs: If Martha has inspired you to create something beautiful in your life, and you would like to celebrate Martha’s birthday, I encourage you to visit marthastewart.com. Choose from there a recipe, a craft, or any project to complete in the next seven days. I’m certain that nothing would make Martha happier than to know something beautiful was created in honor of her birthday. FOMs: If you send me a photo of your project, I will share it here with others.

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Surprise Judge Martha Judges TODAY Viewers’ Birthday Cakes

Martha made a surprise appearance on the Today Show this morning, to act as judge for the show’s homemade birthday cake contest. Martha’s criteria for judging a cake’s success: 1) Creativity/originality; 2) beautiful design; and 3) taste. Later, she added that, of the three, taste is the most important. I love this segment: Martha, while friendly and encouraging to all contestants, takes the tasting and judging of the cakes VERY seriously. FOMs: How nervous would you be in Martha was tasting YOUR cake? I would freak!

BTW, if you’re brave enough to do so, you can check out classic birthday cakes, with mouthwatering photos as well as recipes, on Martha’s website. WARNING: Do not click if you are hungry! You have been warned! 🙂

From The Today Show’s website:

Surprise guest judge Martha Stewart selects a winner from three viewer finalists in the competition for the title of best homemade birthday cake in America.

Surprise! Martha judges TODAY viewers’ birthday cakes – food – TODAY.com.

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Martha Stewart Fine Furniture Website to Launch August/September

Originally scheduled to launch this month, the Martha Stewart Fine Furniture (MSFF) website launch has now been moved to August/September. I will update with additional information as it becomes available. Well, FOMs: Looks like we will have to wait a little bit longer to browse the MSFF collection. I can’t wait!
UPDATE: I’ve heard from Miles Talbott’s National Sales Manager that the launch has been moved to September/October. (Today’s date is 10/02!) Seems like they’d want the site up and running by the time Martha’s new cooking show debuts on PBS–which is this weekend–right?

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Williams-Sonoma Classes: Martha’s American Food

Williams-Sonoma stores have chosen Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast as the May selection for their ongoing Cookbook Club. On May 9, there will be in-store demonstrations of recipes (see list below) from the book. Classes are taught by Williams-Sonoma team members and participants enjoy some perks along with the live demonstration:

The class fee of $75 includes the cookbook with signed bookplate. Participants also receive a 10% discount on purchases made the day of the class. (I SO want some jam jars to make the Blueberry Jam on page 131 of the new book! The jam will be spooned over the New York Cheesecake shown on page 134, of course.)

You can see if the Williams-Sonoma store near you is participating by checking the Williams-Sonoma website. If any of you FOMs attend the Williams-Sonoma cooking classes, please email and let me know about your experience!

From the Williams-Sonoma website:

In Martha Stewart’s American Food, Martha celebrates America and its diversity of food with recipes that represent the very best of the country’s flavors. Organized geographically, this book showcases Martha’s recipes for regional specialties from drinks to desserts. Together, these recipes reflect the unique character of each part of the country while also celebrating the deliciousness (and comfort) of American food.

Featured Recipes and Tasting Menu:

Cheese-Stuffed Jalapenos
Tomatillo Guacamole and Chips
Stuffed Pork Chops
Green Tomato Gratin
Boston Cream Pie

via Store Events | Williams-Sonoma.

HELLO, FRIENDS OF MARTHA!

It’s finally here–The OFFICIAL Friends of Martha blog! This will be the place for us to celebrate and share all things Martha; recipes we’ve tried, crafty things we’ve created, design ideas inspired by Martha, and so on. If you are reading this and are unsure what the Friends of Martha are, then be sure to check out the About the FOMs section of the blog.