Me My Life The Blog

Meeting Martha

I met Martha Stewart last week.

Let’s back up for a minute, because that is something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time. Meeting Martha was on my Lovely Life List. I admire her business acumen, her signature look and brand, and I’m grateful to her for being a pioneer and paving the way for what I and many of my blogging peers are able to do today.

Martha was in Chicago to appear at a Home Depot event. I received a casual email from her PR team, asking if I was interested in meeting with Martha and doing a quick interview. I resisted the urge to pepper my reply with OMGs and excessive exclamation marks (!!!), and instead said “yes, thank you.”

Nicole Balch and Martha Stewart

There were five of us there to interview Martha, but her plane was delayed and that threw her schedule off. Instead of one-on-one time, we went in as a group for twenty minutes. She greeted us with a smile and a grand sweep of her arms as she surveyed the surroundings. “Welcome… to the Home Depot break room.” Martha answered questions about her favorite designers (Kevin Sharkey for home, Vince for fashion) and recounted her biggest entertaining emergency (“It’s hard to have a true emergency when you’re prepared”), and then I was able to ask my question.

I was already familiar with the upcoming American Made Awards honoring creative entrepreneurs, and I wanted to know if Martha ever imagined having a brand with such reach and scope that she could do something like this. Here’s our very brief interview.

Nicole: I have this funny job of being a professional blogger, and I feel like a lot of the opportunities that exist for me today are the result of what people like you have done in leading the way. I loved this quote from Pilar [Guzmán] in her editor’s letter this month.

“We believe we are at a defining cultural moment, when so many people are making a go of their creative passions and, in doing so, fueling a new American economy.”

I know you have the American Made event coming up in New York, but looking back, way back to when you were catering, did you ever imagine that you would have a brand that would touch on so many of these things?”

Martha: I don’t know if I imagined it, but I certainly hoped it. Because I really feel very strongly that there are so many talented people in this country, and we’ve always made a point of introducing them to our audience. Our magazines have always been filled with people who were great growers, great artisans, great party-givers – whatever they do, we like to tell people about them. And this event is really bringing to the fore the importance and the need for Americans to start promoting “American made” again. It makes me very sad to go to North Carolina and not see a cotton mill anywhere. A weaving mill, a sheet factory — they’re all gone. And they shouldn’t be gone. We should still be making sheets and bedding in America. We grew all the cotton, and now we’re outsourcing it.

I just did a big piece on Toyota for American Made. Now Toyota, you think “oh, it’s a Japanese car,” but they have one of the largest car factories in America making half a million cars a year in Kentucky. I went and visited the factory, and we made a whole car. They make thousands of cars every single day, and it’s start to finish. So we showed the whole process and these are going to be a series of short videos that will be on their website and our website. We have the ability to do that. To show people a lot of the processes that go into various products, and it changes their business. It changes a lot of people’s businesses when you really show them to your big audience. And we’ve had a very big audience for a long time.

Thank you, Martha (and team) for taking time out of your schedule to meet with an admiring blogger.

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  • Gena@BakeAllTheThings!
    October 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I read the title – raised an eyebrow.
    Read the first sentence – grinned.

    So jealous!

    Also, I so want ‘a casual email’ from someone’s PR team! Guess I better get back in the kitchen, selling more treats and making more blog posts!

  • shana
    October 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    that’s effing rad nicole! mazel tov!

  • Jessica
    October 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Fantastic! Great opportunity and so happy that you received that casual email!

  • Elizabeth
    October 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    That is incredible, what a great Life List accomplishment! How crazy is it that you coordinated with her. I call her Goddess Martha, did she smell like rosemary and have fingers covered in glitter?

  • Nicole
    October 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    What a fabulous opportunity! Congrats!

  • Catherine
    October 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations, that is so exciting! I think it’s especially wonderful that HER team contacted YOU! You should feel incredibly proud.

  • the domestic fringe
    October 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    How fabulous!

    What a wonderful opportunity to meet someone you admire.

    Congrats on being chosen for the interview.

  • Nora
    October 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    That was a really terrific question. I loved getting to read her thoughts on the topic.

  • Tina Ramchandani
    October 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Ohh I’ve been waiting for you to tell us what happened! Exciting that you got to meet Martha. She really is a pioneer! I might make one of those lovely life lists too. It’s a good way to focus on the future. Congrats!

  • Danielle
    October 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Soo awesome! I’m a bit jealous as I’ve been a fan of Martha since the mid-0s when I started getting her magazine. (one of the smartest things I’ve done was to hold on to all of them!) Thanks for sharing!

    • Danielle
      October 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      dur, that would be the mid-90s!

  • Sandra
    October 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Love the look on your face – I can JUST imagine thinking “I’m with Martha!!!”.

    I was lucky enough to go to ALTNYC and when she popped in to speak for a few moments you could FEEL the electricity in the room and the energy SURGE. She’s built an amazing empire.

  • Jennifer Eastman
    October 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Congrats on such an amazing opportunity and for crossing something off your Lovely Life List. Big things can happen when you dream big!

  • Danielle
    October 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Congratulations! What and amazing opportunity. I just love her.

  • Giulia
    October 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Congratulations on this great opportunity. This must have been so much fun. I’m always surprised by her voice, it seems to get the attention of the whole room without being loud.

  • Danielle
    October 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I always feel when I read her site, watch her show, or flip through her magazine inspired to create! Thanks for sharing. She is a true role model for American women.

  • Emily @ Peck Life
    October 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Congrats! What a wonderful opportunity and a dream come true! I LOVE MARTHA!

  • Nancy Rosso
    October 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    OMG! Thats incredible!!!! LOL!

  • Julia
    October 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    OMG! OMG! OMG!
    How cool is that! I’m happy-jealous that you mat Martha. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Patty
    October 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I have been a fan of Martha’s for over 25 years. I began collecting her recipe books in college and I haven’t stopped. I loved how she revived the role of the homemaker. I do remember one summer afternoon in my early 20’s listening to my mother and her friends talk about how Martha put women back into the kitchen after women fought so hard to get out of it. I understood where they were coming from, but to me, that’s where I wanted to be. Martha made it stylish and very chic to construct a good lobster roll.
    Congratulations on meeting Martha. It’s my life’s dream, too.

    • Jo
      October 16, 2012 at 7:17 am

      I’ve thought about this too, but I think what I love about Martha is that she owns it. She didn’t “put women back in the kitchen” to me. Rather, she made it so we can pursue the crafts and cooking and what have you for their own sake and enjoyment.

  • Mefi
    October 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hard work paid off! You too are an inspiration.

  • Sarah
    October 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Wow, just…wow. You spoke to her. TO HER!!!! Definite life list check off is in order. More like a party is in order!!!

  • Heidi S.
    October 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Nicole that is amazing! Congratulations and what an awesome opportunity! You are just checking off that Life List like crazy. I think this might make me finally put a list together for myself.

  • Tiffanie
    October 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    That is just wonderful, Nicole. Great question, great answer. She is a total American icon and a personal hero to me! Lucky you!

  • Heather B
    October 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    That was a really good question! I would have said something dumb like “Uh… what’s your favorite color?” Well done Nicole!

  • Mara
    October 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    How fantastic! Meeting Martha is on my list too… Congratulations on another item checked off your list.

  • patricia
    October 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Congratulations Nicole, you rocked!

  • Jen @ Bungalov
    October 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Nicole you are one lucky lady! Congrats on such an honor :) If it were me I would of been shaking like a leaf and so nervous. You seemed so calm and cool. Like a cuc! I too live in Chicago and wish I could of gone. I had only heard of the event on my way home from work and had to get home to the babes!

  • Becca :: Making Room in Sicily
    October 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    What a fabulous opportunity! And you didn’t just get to “meet” her, you really got to talk to her. I’m so glad for you! Good question, too. :-)

  • Miss B.
    October 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Congrats on being to cross this off your list! What a wonderful + thoughtful question you posed. So thrilled for you!

  • Dana @ This Silly Girl's Life
    October 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm


  • Kristina
    October 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    This is fantastic, she sounds like a great interview. Talk about a dream come true!


    Kristina does the Internets

  • Nicole B
    October 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    So cool!! Great job Nicole!

  • janeb
    October 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    first off, wtf are you wearing? frump anyone?
    second, stalker!

    • janeb
      October 16, 2012 at 1:08 am

      i agree, get a life!

      • Heather B
        October 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

        Jane sweetie, it’s good to see that you agree with yourself. Now, you should give yourself a high-five. Way to go! So clever.

      • Puck
        October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        One word: FAIL!!!!

      • Miss Beef
        October 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

        Is Jane a pseudonym for “complete pratt?” Yep, thought so.

  • Yelle
    October 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    So dreamy!

    I believe my friend was the photographer that day!

  • jenn aka the picky girl
    October 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Whoawhoawhoawhoa! This is so cool. I’ve long been a fan of Martha. I think I was the only high schooler paying attention to Martha, other than one of my best guy friends. When I saw this pic in my bloglovin, it took a second for me to register, but when I did, I was so excited for you!

    Love that you guys match, too! I also really love your question and her answer. I like that these big important names in fashion, design, etc. are all about getting back to basics. I met Nate Berkus in NY in June, and his new book Things Matter is very much in that vein. Lovely.

  • Jeanne Rondeau
    October 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    So exciting! Martha has been a/the major force in bringing craft and domestic life back into the daylight. The things our grandmothers took for granted had been lost for many. Thank you Martha for making the humble be seen as beautiful again. And you asked her a great question!
    – Jeanne,

  • Sarah W
    October 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    That is ah-mazing! I would love to meet Martha! I am so happy for you, and jealous of you. :)

  • Jody
    October 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    What a wonderful question! I hadn’t heard about the American Made Awards, but I’m going to read more. Thanks for sharing your incredible experience!

  • Jessie {My Mod Style}
    October 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I am so happy for you!!! I love her answer and how she talked about Toyota. My husband and I want a Prius and we know our families will be like, “GASP! You aren’t buying an American car!??” It just goes to show you gotta do your research. You look so happy in the picture. I got to meet Peter Hammarstedt this year from the TV show Whale Wars. It was a dream come true and I was so VERY nervous. So I can relate to your excitement. :)

  • Donna
    October 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    How awesome! and I really enjoyed your question and her answer. It IS sad not to see cotton mills in North Carolina! One question: Did she request that you all color coordinate or is it just a fantastic coincidence that you both are wearing similar shades and look so fabulous together? Congrats!

  • Astrid
    October 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I can only imagine what I might have said in your position- but many OMG’s I’m sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your great experience!

  • Sarah
    October 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    This post epitomizes everything I LOVE about Martha! Well said!

  • Vanessa@Decor Happy
    October 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Congrats – that’s huge! And I loved your question and her thoughtful reply.

  • Lisa
    October 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

    O.m.g.!!! ;)

  • Sarah M.
    October 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

    This is very awesome. I would love to meet Martha one day myself, and am so jealous. Way to go on achieving this goal!

  • Jo
    October 16, 2012 at 7:19 am

    How neat is this! I’m going to have to take a moment to live vicariously through you, as the one time I had the opportunity to meet Martha (book signing), my train was delayed and I missed her.
    Also loved your thoughtful question and her answer :)

  • Maria @ Redecorate Blog
    October 16, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Wow, what an experience! I think your question was a great one, and I really admire her answer! :-)

  • Evii
    October 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Amazing! & congrats on such a huge opportunity.

  • amyks
    October 16, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Lucky you! How fun to meet Martha…the original inspiration to so many “crafty” women!

  • Perilously Pale
    October 16, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I have no idea why but your question to Martha gave me goosebumps! What a great opportunity! I love seeing people living their dreams and only hope I can be successful in my attempt to live mine. Thanks!

  • Béa
    October 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Liking the matching ranger inspired tops :)

  • Adventures in Dressmaking
    October 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    How incredible to meet and get to talk to/ask a question of Martha. Regardless of how people feel about her style or lifestyle, she really did blaze a trail for us independent blogger-turned-author/entrepreneur/personalities… Nice to hear her remind us of her beginnings!

  • Benita
    October 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Lucky, lucky you :)

  • Cristina
    October 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    This is just too cool! Glad you got the opportunity to do this! :)

  • Dianne
    October 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    OMG I am so very excited for you!!!! I completely understand what Martha is saying about “American Made”. When given the option, I almost always buy American. I do however, have an issue that Martha doesn’t practice what she preaches. I was at Macy’s today and her line of bedding is NOT made in America and neither are her dishes.

    • Jane
      October 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Dianne – I, too, was disappointed to see that none of her products are made in the USA.

      In other news, that’s awesome that you got to meet her, Nicole! Regardless of the US or non-US origin of her products, she’s an incredible businesswoman and I’d still love to meet her!

  • Sylvia
    October 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

    What an amazing opportunity! Congrats to you, Nicole.

    Thank you for posting your question & Martha’s response. I LOVE her response. It frustrates me to no end to see people with bumper stickers which say, “Out of a job? Keep buying foreign!” without realizing that so many of these “foreign” cars are wholly made in the US or Canada. Yes, the parent company might be foreign, but the skilled workers they employ are not. What frustrates me more is when those bumper stickers in a Wal-Mart parking lot and not at a farmers’ market or local shop. It’s not the one big purchase you make every 5-10 years that counts to me; it’s your every day life choices.

  • kate
    October 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I once met Martha too, many years ago in Buffalo NY. A friend had won a radio sponsored contest that had Martha do a barbecue for friends and family in their back yard. Martha was something of a big deal then but of course nothing as compared to today. She was quite snotty, the food was not that good and she made nasty comments to the press about Buffalo that got her a kind of official banishment from the city. It was all pretty funny and I don’t think Martha was left with any desire to return to Buffalo anyway:).

    • joy
      October 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      My grandma also met Martha many years ago and had the same impression.

  • Cherie
    October 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I like that you’re kinda leaning into Martha for the photo.
    She could be your aunt or something. I was a little confused though
    because I first thought the email meant she was going to interview YOU!
    And then you were going to tell her about your amazing life and
    awesome family, and she’d be all like wow cool blog gig. But I wasn’t disappointed or anything. Isn’t it great to live in America?

  • Kristin
    October 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    You’re kidding me…

    And I don’t mean meeting Martha – although that’s quite cool – I just mean that she visited my home town and my parents said nothing about it! The Toyota plant is in Georgetown, Ky and it was built when I was in middle school. We had two Japanese families that lived on our street – some of the sweetest people we’d ever met.

    I always thought it was cool that I went to a small town high school in central Kentucky that offered Spanish, French and Japanese language classes – I’ll have to look up that episode on the plant.

    And also – you’re kidding me – you met Martha Stewart!

  • Holly
    October 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I knew of all people you would ROCK this and you did. Your question for Martha was so well thought out, researched, and well said/spoken. Wait to go Nicole and thanks for making all the blogworld proud!

  • Tara
    October 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Why have I not thought to add meeting Martha to my life list?? Definitely doing so now. What an amazing experience for you! And how funny that she welcomed you all to the Home Depot break room like that :)

  • @Sandloves
    October 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Nicole, you inspired me to add a Bucket List board on my Pinterest page:

  • Anna
    January 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Nicole! you are such an inspiration to me! I love your blog and your house is just lovely! My husband and I just bought a house and we are slowly but surely transforming and your ideas come in handy every time.
    thank you for doing what you do!

  • Style: Pink. Always. | Making it Lovely
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