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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Together

I treasure my friendships!  My husband Lewis is my best friend – we are great companions and have the best time together.  We also enjoy spending time with an amazing group of friends that we met through Evine years ago.  We’ve remained close and enjoy traveling together.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have a great group of friends like this. What’s so cool about this group is the age range – 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s! The thirty-somethings teach us old dogs a thing or two.  Talk about great dating conversation!  Wow, wow, wow!!  Times have changed since Lewis and I were dating!

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One of our favorite weekends with them is our canoe trip to Wisconsin.  We spend a leisurely weekend at our friend Lisa’s cabin – laughing, eating and catching up on life.  This is an annual trip that’s been going on for 10 years! We all sign up for our food assignment a couple of weeks out.  Who’s doing dinner?  Well, it’s usually my sweet Lew and our dear friend Brett – they’re both talented when it comes to cooking.  I love to bake a cake or bring a fun dessert, and everyone else signs up for breakfast or lunch on the Namekagan River.  Oh . . . and someone’s always given the fun cocktail assignment!  We spend all day Saturday floating down the river enjoying the beauty of nature and just being together.  We love that word ‘together’ and we use it a lot.

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With this great group of friends we always travel to some place new every October.  We try to pick a place that none of us have ever been to, and all get to experience something new together.  We’ve been to the vineyards in California, Whidbey Island in Washington, Savannah, Georgia and, this year, we’re going to Santa Barbara, California.  What a treasure friendship is!

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We love to close out the year together celebrating the holiday season. Lewis and I host a Christmas get-together for our group at our house.  We enjoy an amazing meal – last year it was lobster!  Then we enjoy exchanging gifts and doing a fun elephant gift exchange too! This night goes on forever with fun games, great conversation and everyone usually ends up spending the night.

I feel incredibly grateful for our friendships.  We’ve been through a lot together and it feels so good knowing that you have their love and support.

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Cheers to friendship!

 

 

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Traditions

kathy blog 2 homeThere is something so nostalgic and a bit romantic about creating great traditions with family and friends. We started going ‘up North to the cabin’ every July with our college friends about 30 years ago.  Back then we were just a group of crazy couples (with even some of our parents), then babies came and weddings and funerals  . . . but we never missed this time together.  Fast-forward to more recent years and it’s back to just us crazy couples – now all empty nesters!  The events of the week have started to revolve around food, what could be better?!

kathy blog 2 beach fireSo picture this . . . lakeside cabin with a great beach, bonfire, loons (the bird not the people) and some great classic rock music . . . and now add in a traditional CLAMBAKE!

Here’s how we did it, and now it’s part of the tradition and everyone can participate.

Start with a visit to your local fish market to get the clams, shrimp, mussels and lobsters!  And the rest is kathy blog 2 lobstereasy.  We wanted to do this on the beach over an open fire, so we started with a huge galvanized tub and started picking rocks out of the lake to use at the bottom of the tub. Filled it with lake water – yep, lake water (a really clean lake) – and then started layering in all the goodies.

Here’s the recipe I use (not created but use, and it’s perfect every time):

Beach Clambake

1-½ lbs of baby red potatoes                                                                        1 lb little neck clams                                                                                         2 cups water                                                                                                      4 tablespoons salted butter                                                                              2 large yellow onions, cut into eighths                                                           8 garlic cloves                                                                                                   ½ bottle of dry white wine                                                                               1 ¼ lb of kielbasa sausage, cut into bit size                                                    3 lobsters, each 1 1/2 lbs or larger                                                                      5 medium ears of corn, husked and broken in half                                         1 lb of deveined shrimp                                                                                    8 lemons, quartered for serving                                                                 Tons of melted butter for serving                                                     Sourdough bread for serving

  1. kathy blog 2 guysPre boil the potatoes until tender
  2. Fill large bowl with cool, slated tap water and submerge clams for 30-45 min. This way they purge the sand.  Scrub.
  3. Start adding ingredients to the tub in this order (with enough water in the tub to cover the rocks) and steam the ingredients: onion, garlic, wine, cooked potatoes, sausage. Steam for 5 minutes by covering with wet beach towel. Add the lobsters and cook for 6 minutes. Add the corn and clams and cook another 6 minutes. Add shrimp, cover and cook another 6 minutes.
  4. Pour onto a newspaper-covered table and serve with lemons and melted butter and some fresh warm sourdough bread.

The bar is easy, we usually have cold beer in a tub and some crisp, cold, white wine.

We spread newspaper over a picnic table down at the waters edge, throw out a few plates and lobster crackers, and go to town!

Dessert?  That’s easy….s’mores of course!  Enjoy!

kathy blog 2 filled tubs

 

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