Martha Stewart Bloggers’ Night Out

by Matt on August 8, 2010

Well hello there everyone! How’s your summer? I feel like I haven’t been around here too much and I’ve missed everyone. I’ve been busy with projects and can’t wait to update you on them. Soon enough!

This past week we took a quick break to head to New York.  It was a week of amazing meals, visits with old and new friends, meetings, more meetings, and parties. On Friday night we headed to a beautiful roof-top gathering overlooking the beautiful skyline of Manhattan at a party hosted by Ree Drummond. You may know her as The Pioneer Woman and she’s always as gorgeous, warm and sweet as you can imagine. Scratch that. TIMES A MILLION.  Thank you, Ree!

This past Thursday we had the pleasure of being invited to Martha Stewart’s Bloggers Night Out held at her office in the Starrett Lehigh building in Chelsea.  Before the big soiree a few of us were invited to come a bit early, tour the studios, visit with her wonderful editors, and even say hello to Martha herself.

As one of the charter members of Martha’s Circle there was no way I was going to miss this party.  I haven’t been to the MSLO offices since my appearance on her show back in 2008 and I really wanted to catch up with the folks that have done such a great job making us blogger types feel like part of the family.  We arrived and waited in the lobby and I caught up with some friends and made new ones.

Olga Masov (Sassy Radish), Jordan Ferney (Oh Happy Day), Alice Currah (Savory Sweet Life), Vané Broussard (Brooklyn Bride), Aran Goyoaga (Cannelle et Vanille), some short dude and then Mr. Adam Pearson. Photo by Patrick Butler.

One particular highlight? Meeting Aran of Canelle et Vanille. Just as gorgeous as I thought she’d be.  Next time I must spend more time with her, it went much too fast.

Finally meeting Aran! Finally!

We were given tours of the entire Martha Stewart Living offices but photography was strictly off limits. With pages and pages of future magazine spreads on the walls, proprietary Martha material was kept under wraps and covered by paper until publication. Luckily MSLO provided a photographer and videographer during the tour to capture the moments.

Why do I look so serious? Photo by Patrick Butler

Beautiful offices and open spaces occupy the main area of the offices along with editing suites and digital bays for television and web. From these offices all of the Martha Stewart publications are created – Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Weddings, and Whole Living.  My mind is blown by the amount of creativity here, it’s unreal.

I spent some time in the test kitchens of Everyday Food when they were located on 42nd, but now that everything is consolidated under one roof I was excited to get sneak peaks into the kitchens of the various magazines.

One of the Martha Stewart test kitchens. Photo by Patrick Butler.

In the test kitchen the recipes are written, tested, created, retested, made for photography, and just about everything else that needs to be done with food. I can only imagine how efficient the testers are in these amazing spaces.

We were lucky enough to pop into the studio where Everyday Food is photographed.  Part photo studio, part office, part kitchen and prop room, it was a model of efficiency where we were able to chat with Anna Last, the editor of Everyday Food. She answered questions about the publication’s production schedule while we fawned over all the props and surfaces in the studio. Photo assistants and a digital tech were working on computers and I am sorry if we distracted anyone with our endless questions. And after the tour Adam and I had the pleasure of chatting with Vanessa Holden, Editor in Chief of Martha Stewart Living, and to say this was the highlight of my night would be an understatement! VANESSA ROCKS.

I'm pretty sure Anna Last wants me to stop asking so many questions. Photo by Patrick Butler.

The party was originally planned for the building’s rooftop but windy conditions and blazing heat moved the party inside to the main photo studio. Which was fine with me because a) I didn’t want to be schvitzing and b) hello? In a photo studio? A Martha photo studio? Really.

Party in the photo studio woot woot! Look at those windows.

This is Eliad Laskin. He’s Martha’s right hand blog man and Director of Social Media Content for MSLO.  It’s always nice to see him.

Eliad Laskin

These are FIERCE SHOES as worn by Alexis Stewart, Martha’s daughter. Please don’t send me creepy email about photographing her backside, I couldn’t help it. THE SHOES WERE GORGEOUS.

People were playing ping pong as I had cocktails. Can you believe those windows? This is the photo studio, after all. My heart be still.

Martha provided most of the food and it came straight from the pages of her magazine. I was a very bad and drunk blogger (those cocktails were AMAZING) who did not take as many food photos as he should have. Will you ever forgive me?

I did manage to snap some shots of the view from the offices. Absolutely amazing.

The following shots will most likely get me kicked out of Martha’s Circle, never to be invited back to the offices. But you can’t really put me near props or a photo studio without snapping away, can you? You can’t.  It’s impossible. Martha did call me a troublemaker, after all.

That's right. Martha's Prop Room. Represent.

This is the view of the prop room. Everything is catalogued, inventoried and recorded. It’s a model of efficiency.

Wall surfaces, frames, doors, foam core, surfaces and tiles are kept neatly stacked outside of the studio. I wish I was this organized.

These images are strictly for photo set nerds, I realize.

Towards the end of the party I met Dawn Casale of Brookyn’s One Girl Cookies. I had no shame in reaching for multiple whoopee pies and cupcakes from her Bakery and I was so touched when she actually recognized me! I was kind of hoping she wouldn’t know who I was because it would have been easier to load up on her amazing treats without embarrassment. How I wish she was on the West Coast.

It was an amazing party and on a serious note I really do want to thank Martha Stewart for being open to the whole world of blogging and inviting all of us to see what she does in a very intimate setting. Special thanks to Gail Horwood, Mark Ganem, Eliad Laskin, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Anna Last, Vanessa Holden and every other amazing editor at MSLO.

Self-portrait taken with my G-11 that I'm still trying to figure out but I do love that little camera!