Friday, August 29, 2008

Behind the Scenes: KITV, false eyelashes and a happy girl

How do these newscasters do it? They have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so early in the morning. On the other hand, I’m still recovering from Wednesday’s segment on KITV. Here’s the story.
Every other Wednesday, I’m on KITV’s morning show with Mahealani Richardson and Dan Meisenzahl, giving home style tips. I’m on at 6:45, so I try to get there at 6. Translation: I need to be up by 5, because it takes me a long time to guzzle my coffee and put on these impossible false eyelashes, which I don’t quite have the hang of yet.
Anyone who knows me knows I love makeup. I’ve been hooked since I was 13 years old and discovered strawberry Lip Smackers. But for TV, you have to spackle a lot more on just to look like your normal self. For me that means eyes that look like Tammy Faye.

This week I had to wake up at 4:30 because my daughter Nicki wanted to go in with me. She was starting school the next day, so this would be her last opportunity to see Mommy on TV. I got up extra early to get myself ready and feed her breakfast.

We arrived at the station a little after 6 and waited in the wings while Mahealani did the newscast. Nicki was enthralled. She’s such a performer that she can’t wait to be on TV someday. To Nicki’s disappointment, Dan was not there. He was away on assignment. She loves Dan! But don’t tell Mahealani that!

When it was my time to get set up, I laid out my area rugs, and Nicki my helpful assistant snapped some great behind-the-scenes photos.

My topic for the day was shopping with focus, and focusing on how to find the right area rug. Here are a couple of tips:

Tip #1: If you have a sofa you need to tie into, take a cushion from the sofa when you go shopping—you’ll save yourself a lot of guess work. I used a sample of a dark green fabric.

Tip #2: Don’t go for the obvious tie-in and look for a green area rug. Find one that has some green as its secondary or accent color. This way, the sofa will not get lost: instead, it will accentuate the green in the rug and your room will begin to feel much more pulled together.

Tip #3: Don’t let your patterns fight with each other! If there is a lot of pattern on your sofa, tone it down in the rug. By the same token, if you want a fabulous statement rug with lots of color and interesting designs, top it with a more understated sofa. Let one or the other have top billing.

Before you knew it, the segment was over. Boy, do five minutes go by fast when you’re trying to get all that information in. Mahealani was great enough to call Nicki in at the end for a little face time, so she got bragging rights to share at school.
We were out of there by 7. Mission accomplished: I got to share a few tips, give my daughter a thrill, and finally take my Tammy Faye eyes off!

For more tips from Cathy Lee logon to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Living with Style: a parallel blog

Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately.

I’ve just been enjoying my last bit of slugdom. I’ve been talking to The Honolulu Advertiser, one of the presenting sponsors of our workshops, and they asked me to be one of their bloggers. My first reaction was joy and my second was dread. What a fabulous opportunity! Just imagine all those eyeballs reading my blog! OMG! But then I thought WHAT? All those eyeballs reading my blog! OMG!

That’s why you haven’t heard from me, because I knew this time was coming. I’m going to have to work much harder to keep up with the Advertiser’s schedule. The good news is I’m going to be much more consistent and post at least three blogs a week, so be sure to check in more frequently, and feel free to make a post or comment here or on the Advertiser blog. Doesn’t matter, I just want to hear from you!

My Advertiser blog is titled Living with Style. Here’s a link if you want to check it out: the first one went up this past Tuesday. From here on out these blogs will be twins, posted both here and at the Advertiser’s website. But there will be times when we’ll just blog here with information for our members, whether about RSVPstyle updates or upcoming events that you need to know about. Or if I really need to rant and rave and can’t do it at the other place! Thanks for being so patient with me, and stay tuned!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You asked for it, you got it—another workshop!

We’ve just confirmed the date and location for our next big Invitation to Design workshop: Saturday, October 25 at the Dole Cannery Ballroom. As always, it’s going to be an action-packed full day of learning with lots of fun thrown in!

Like our past big workshops, this one will be more of an introduction to design and decorating for those who want to learn how to incorporate color, texture and style into their spaces. But also, in this economy, we’ve had lots of requests to teach about staging. Those who have homes languishing on the market can learn how to spruce them up quickly and affordably to get them sold. So it’ll be great for homeowners and sellers and Realtors alike.

We already have our presenting sponsor on board. Primary Residential Mortgage is a great company headed by Nelson Oyadomari. I’m looking forward to working with them and seeing you at our next workshop—stay tuned to this website for details!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And the winner is (drum roll, please)…

Shirley Okumoto of Nuuanu has won our $1000 Tommy Bahama rug, compliments of Pacific Home Furnishings! Now how did she win this fabulous prize? Well, Shirley was one of the many who entered our online contest by registering for free membership at during the one week following the Remodel It Right expo. Just yesterday, her name was selected as the winner in our random drawing. We sent her an email, and the first thing she said when she called this morning was, I’ve never won anything before!

What a perfect winner! She sounded so enthusiastic and truly happy. Shirley told me that she and her husband are remodeling their living room and family room. They put in new hardwood flooring and are trying to figure out what colors to select and how to decorate the spaces. So they came to the expo and bought our Starter Set. Shirley said it’s been very helpful—not only is she learning about colors and color schemes, she also discovered she has too much wood in her house, so she wants to start layering in more textures.

And her husband is really getting into it as well! When they got home, he was the one who reminded Shirley to register for the contest. He also watched the DVD, which is great and happens many times, and that’s going to come in handy because they do go shopping together.

Shirley said this rug is going to be perfect for her home. When I told her that she can go to PHF and pick the rug she wants, she was really happy. She said Good, she’s going to watch the rest of the DVD first because she wants to learn more. I can’t wait to see what she selects!

So congratulations Shirley, and don’t forget to upload your photos of your space before the rug and then after! And thanks to PHF for being such a wonderful supporter of RSVPstyle. I know the rug will find a very happy home in the Okumotos’ remodeled space!

Monday, August 4, 2008

What a weekend!

This year’s Remodel It Right Expo is now history, and it was an absolute whirlwind. I went in looking forward to two things: a chance to meet you—style students who’ve been learning through our workshops and website, people who have heard of us from friends or seen our ads or television spots, and those who simply chanced by and connected with our mission of teaching personalized home design and d├ęcor. I was also looking forward to introducing our Starter Set, which combines our DVD series and Training Guide in an affordable package that many of you had requested.

Guys vacuuming and working while I eat--that's the way I like it!

The expo was a great success on both counts. So if you were one of the thousands who stopped by, thank you! Did you notice our booth? In the middle of the cavernous Hawaii Convention Center, we were able to transform a 20x10 space into a beautiful sitting area layered with colors and textures. I’ve been teaching about harmonious colors, and that’s exactly what we did—we mixed neutral colors with harmonious greens, darker yellows and creams. We pulled the space together by subtly featuring these colors in artwork, an area rug and accessories. Some of you said you wanted to move in!

Al, Gordy and Nick, aka "The Dudes"--responsible for the construction of our beautiful booth

And to my delight, when expo workers laid down the aisle carpet, guess what color it was? Green! Unfortunately it was a cooler shade than I would have liked, because we decorated with warm colors, but oh well, it was still harmonious. Compared to the bright blue carpet of the BIA Home Show last January, this one was much better!

One of the highlights was when a woman named Kathy came to meet me, which was so nice. She divides her time between Honolulu and Guam because she has a home furnishings store on Guam that also does design work. She purchased a Deluxe Style Kit a while ago and was so happy with it that she shared it with her employees. They all loved it, but what she really loved was that whereas before, she had to train her staff on how to help clients, now she can let me train them through the DVD! She said they feel so much more confident about layering textures and colors and pulling together styles that they’re able to help their customers better. She said who knows? She might even offer, as an incentive for her staff, a Deluxe Style Kit or even a chance to fly to Honolulu to attend one of our workshops.

If any of you have had the experience of putting your heart and soul into making the best product you possibly can—as we at RSVPstyle did for nine months—then you understand how happy I was to hear that Kathy is using our Style Kit and DVD to make her job easier.

Now it’s time to get back to regular work. We’ve got a whole lineup of exciting things coming up. Just wanted to say I enjoyed meeting all of you!

P.S. As I predicted, Jennifer won America’s hearts and votes and emerged as the winner of HGTV’s Design Star. Even though I was so impressed with Matt’s architectural design and his strong sense of style, Jennifer was ultimately better able to combine sophisticated, artistic style with a bubbly personality that just shined on television—even within the impossible constraints that the show threw at them.

I still think that given enough time, Matt could have pulled off much stronger designs. Good design can’t be pulled together in 24 hours. But he still fell short on personality, even though he improved over the course of the show, and in the end the format proved a better showcase for Jennifer’s strengths.

If you watch Matt’s last video on, he says it was an honor to lose to Jennifer. So it was a bittersweet but satisfying ending. You can bet I’ll be watching Season 4!