Friday night, I was lucky enough to be sitting 6 feet away from Martha Stewart. She was doing a talk about her new book, Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations, put on by Rainy Day Books in Kansas City. I was feeling terrible, did not want to go at all, but I knew that I needed to get it together and just go. The ticket was $75, and when was I ever going to be in the same room with Martha Stewart ever again? I took a shower, threw some makeup on, got in the car (by myself!), belted out some Adele (because she can’t right now, so someone needs to be singing her songs, right?), and made it to the theater in time. Thankfully, my friend Johnna saved me a seat, a really good seat at that, and at exactly 7:00, (it is Martha after all), she sat down in her seat and I spent the next hour hanging on her every word.
1. She is stunning. I know, I know, you shouldn’t love someone for how they look, but she is beautiful. She is tall and graceful, elegant and poised. Her skin, is not the skin of a 70 year old woman. Neither were her stilettos, or her leather skirt. She was perfectly dressed, yet fashionable at the same time.
2. She has been a fervent supporter of organic farming and sustainable living long before it was on trend. She has working farms on her properties and her magazines and shows use the eggs and produce from her farms. She cooks at home, using the produce she grows, and the eggs from her chickens, and the roosters that get too old. If they say you are what you eat, I’ll have what she is having. She is a testament to eating a healthy and unprocessed diet, if that is how I will look at 70, build me a chicken coop STAT.
3. She is funny. I always expected her to be drab and sort of boring. But she was not. She laughed at herself, and even Martha knows that you cannot take yourself too seriously. She made a comment about “an unfortunate time when she had to spend 5 months at home”, and had the place laughing in moments of her being on stage. She told a few stories about things that she made mistakes about, or decisions that she did not think through. She laughed about her mistakes and never made them again. She was charming and warm. Unlike how I think she can be perceived.
4. She only got better after an obstacle. Whether you think that it was right or wrong that Martha served time, she did it with grace. She did what she had to do, and came out even more successful than before. Despite the embarrassment, the loss of income, and what have you, she has only proven to be more resilient. Don’t we all need to learn to bounce like that?
5. She is a teacher not a perfectionist. During the Q&A, she was called a perfectionist. She said that it is something that really irks her because she feels that the term is not accurate. She went to explain that she is a teacher. When someone teaches you something, it needs to be taught correctly. If you were in high school Algebra, and the teacher taught you how to do the equation incorrectly that would be irresponsible right? What she is saying is that she is no different. She is teaching people how to cook, decorate, garden, and it needs to be right. As a blogger, this hit home. I write this blog to teach you how to cook something, and I need to make sure that there are no mistakes.
6. Everyone makes sacrifices for success. Whatever your definition of success is, you will make concessions and sacrifices in your life to reach those goals. I do not believe that we can have it all, and neither does Martha. I know that in my life, someone is always losing. My husband, my children, my job, someone is always coming in second place at some time or another. Juggling is hard, and the more opportunities and successes that come your way, only make the juggle harder. Martha spoke honestly about this topic, and it is nice to hear someone else agree that it is not as easy as it looks.
7. She is very, very, smart. It absolutely amazed me how much knowledge she had about so many topics. Whether it be about plants (she knows all of the Latin names) or antiques (she knew which dates of random pieces were collectors), or food, she knew it off the top of her head. She has a genuine interest in the world around her and soaks up any knowledge she can.
8. Martha was asking about Kansas City barbecue, and she told us that she had it ordered for her and her staff for the flight home. She rattled off a crazy huge order of any and everything that was on the menu, and was particularly interested in burnt ends. I am curious as to which institution she ordered from. Arthur Bryants? Oklahoma Joes? I loved that she was taking advantage of what Kansas City is famous for.
9. She said that they had a few hours to kill before the show, and that she and her staff went to museums, shopped at the Plaza (can you imagine working at Williams-Sonoma, just minding your own business and having Martha Stewart come in to browse? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.), and visited a candle factory. She said that she could have been sleeping on the plane, but if she did, she would have missed out on opportunities to learn and new experiences. I like this about Martha, I have always said that one of the best things about moving as much as we do it is to be a tourist in your own town.
10. Her attention to detail shows in her new book. It is hands down, one of the most gorgeous books I have ever laid my eyes on. It was shot in film, and the photographs will take your breath away. She styled and cooked (all of the sweets) a great deal of the book herself, and it makes me want to be at one of her parties. She shares a very intimate look into parties that she has thrown in her home for friends and family. How she chooses who will be invited, how she plans the menu, every last detail.
It was one of the best nights that I have had in a long time. When I left the Unity Theater, I felt inspired and invigorated. I think that we all could learn a few things from Martha.