Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from Cathy Lee and RSVPstyle!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ooh la la! A working mom’s dream come true

Let me set the stage—or should I say table? It’s December, work is hectic as always and the schedule is jam-packed with holiday prep and activities for kids and adults. In the midst of all this craziness, a dear friend treated Darrell, Nicki and me to an unforgettable evening of total indulgence: she sent a chef to prepare a meal just for us!

Aline Steiner of A Table Hawaii came over to discuss the menu and scope out our kitchen, and then she was off. Meanwhile, because we were eating outside, I kept things simple. I cut some monstera leaves and areca palm fronds, and our centerpiece was a candle Nicki had made atop a ceramic plate she made four Christmases ago.

The Mediterranean feast that Aline cooked up in our kitchen that evening was amazing. Words simply cannot do it justice, so I’ll keep them to a minimum and let the photos do most of the talking.
Caption1: Trio of bruschetta, perfectly crisped, with shaved parmeggiano, yellow cherry tomato and mozzarella cheese. This was just the beginning!

Caption2: Fresh salad of market greens with fennel, slivered apples and pecans in a shallot vinaigrette—sweet, tart, crisp and so refreshing!

Caption3: Herb-crusted lamb chops. As Aline made the rub, she left a lot of fresh basil leaves on the side—if it was bruised or damaged, it didn’t go in. Also a vegetable Provencale, ratatouille style, with drizzles of syrupy balsamic. Darrell was sucking on the bones, it was so good!

Caption4: Mushroom risotto—moist and cheesy, mushrooms perfectly cooked. Exactly what a risotto should be.

Caption5: Homemade vanilla and rosewater-scented crème brulee. Nicki licked her bowl clean, then finished what was left in mine.

Aline was great—she let Nicki help her with dessert (now my daughter wants to be a sous chef!) and served us each course. It felt like an evening of fine dining right in our back yard!

It was over the top, a wonderful way to spend great family time at home—having someone else come and cook (and not even let me in the kitchen) and then clean up afterward!If you want to experience this indulgence, you can contact Aline at Your tummy will thank you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My second baby—it was worth the wait!

What pain, what joy, what relief! After all this time, my second baby, RSVPstyle’s Starter Set, is in the delivery room—whoops, I mean in the bookstores!

Just as when people say about a child—oh my goodness, yesterday you were a baby and now you’re all grown up!—today when I walked into Borders at Ward Centre and saw our Starter Set on the shelf, I was filled with so much emotion. People have no idea how long it actually took to film that 3½-hour DVD series and write the accompanying book. The whole time we were writing scripts, building sets, shooting, doing post-production, and writing and editing the book, we were also building a website, designing products, organizing full-day workshops and just building the foundation of our company. I flashed back to all the joy and pain of those lo-o-ong months.

It took so long that… sometimes when shooting was interrupted for weeks by other priorities, I’d show up to continue the same scene and James, our director, would say, don’t tell me you got a haircut! Other times my hair was suddenly lighter, or longer, or fluffier. It drove James crazy. But hey, there’s no budget for a hairstylist on set!

It took so long that… by the time someone caught a faux pas I made and we decided to reshoot, the house we’d been using as a set had been sold! But in addition to not being one to really follow rules (or scripts), I’m also a perfectionist. So we got permission, restaged the set, hauled in the truckload of equipment and the full crew, and reshot the segment. (What was the faux pas? I said Sir Isaac Newton first saw the spectrum of colors when he shot a beam of light through a prism. Hel-LO! No flashlights in the 17th century!)

It took so long that… well, instead of reliving every moment, let me just sum up by saying that those seven long months sure were worth it!

Standing in Borders today, looking at our Starter Set on the shelves, Lissa and I high-fived and whooped it up right there in the aisles. We truly felt like proud parents, our little baby standing all grown up with all the other books and DVDs at Borders (and Barnes and Noble too, by the way!).

Just don’t ask us when we’re doing this again!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decorating Can Be Delicious

This past Sunday was a real sweet treat: the RSVPstyle big and little girls headed out to the Blaisdell Center for the Easter Seals’ 9th annual Gingerbread Family Festivals. This was our third year decorating the houses with our girls, but the first year we came loaded with bags and bags of candies and treats to add texture and decorating style. After all, that is part of our business—we gotta start our girls out young, right?

We had the first shift in the morning, and I noticed that Nicki was putting one marshmallow shingle onto her roof and the next into her mouth. Pretty soon all of us were eating almost as much candy as was going onto the houses. We were the last ones to finish, and boy, what a mess our table was! There were bags of candy and cookies and gumdrops all over the place. I sure am glad we didn’t have to clean up!
Even with all that snacking, we were starving by lunchtime, so it was on to Bucca di Beppo, where we ordered for the girls spaghetti and manicotti and for us, eggplant parmigiana, penne basilica, a Caesar’s salad and my favorite, the garlic cheesebread—mmm, mmm! Greasy and cheesy to the last crumb, it was delicious!
What made it extra special was the over-the-top Italian theme, with the blown-up pictures of Sophia Loren and in the Pope’s Room where we ate, the bust of the pope in the middle of the table. Gotta love that focal point!

The big and little girls had a great time decorating and eating in style. But I have to say, after all the carbs and refined sugar, boy oh boy, I already know what my New Year’s resolution is going to be!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ho ho ho!

The holidays are here, and that means it’s time to think about gift-giving! It was also time for me to think about what to do for my KITV segment this week. I decided to share some great gift ideas for the home.

I showed up on the set bright and early as usual at 6 a.m. with a few surprises for Mahealani and Dan. I decided we should be a little festive—it is the season, isn’t it? So I brought cute reindeer ears for Mahealani and me and a surprise hat for Dan!

I started out by showing them a recent discovery. For those who still have shoeboxes full of photos or collections of photo CDs and memory cards, why not turn those precious memories into a special, one-of-a-kind book for Christmas? Wouldn’t this be a great gift for grandparents, or for a family reunion? I found these at a local company, Valenti Print Group. Their custom photo books start at around $30—affordable, practical, memorable, and it looks beautiful on the coffee table!

Next, if you want to splurge and really do something special for someone, how about an antique Chinese wedding basket? This is an Asian accessory that adds an understated yet sophisticated flair to any Island-Asian room. As a gift, you just open it up and place some potpourri inside, and you have a gift basket—easy, beautiful, fabulous! I found both at C.S. Wo: basket for $75 and the gorgeous potpourri for less than $25.

Something a bit more affordable? I love the whimsy of these cupped hands holding tea lights. A fun accessory for a powder room, foyer or even your desk. It’s perfect for the holidays because you could display them with some scented or holiday colored candles, but the piece itself is not holiday-themed, so can be used throughout the year. And it’s only $33 from HomeWorld.

Finally, a really amazing gift that’ll be available for the first time in bookstores: RSVPstyle’s affordable Starter Set! Wow, what a great idea (hee-hee)! It’s $69, three how-to DVDs and a training guide book with fun lessons and tips on home design and décor on any budget. It could save you thousands in mistakes you’ll avoid, plus add value to your home. It’ll be available at Borders from next Wednesday, and in other bookstores shortly after.

The segment wrapped up with my final gift: the holiday hat on Dan’s head, which magically came to life! For a full appreciation of what I’m talking about, you have to check out the video at It was hilarious! People on the set couldn’t stop laughing once the cameras stopped rolling.

We had a ball, another fun segment. Hope I gave you some special gift ideas for the homestyler you love!

Monday, December 1, 2008

An Evening with Michael Jordan

No, I’m not talking about the Michael Jordan of Chicago Bulls or Hanes underwear fame! Better than that, I’m talking about Michael A. Jordan, host extraordinaire of Napa Rose, the premier restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.

Darrell, Nicki and I were at Disneyland to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with Mickey Mouse and all of his friends. Daytime activities were all about Nicki, from roller coasters to cotton candy and silly stuffed animals with mouse ears. But evenings were a treat for Darrell and me, with the amazing cuisine of Napa Rose right in our hotel.

Our old friend Michael Jordan is the general manager and master sommelier of Napa Rose, which was voted “Most Popular Restaurant” in Orange County in Zagat’s 2008 survey. Many people will remember Michael from Matteo’s restaurant, which his family owned. We enjoyed an incredible Thanksgiving feast at Napa Rose, and Michael invited us back on Friday, this time to be a part of his weekly live radio broadcast, which he does right out of Napa Rose to inspire people about wine.

On Friday evening we walked in, and I was totally shocked when someone yelled, “Is that Cathy Lee?”

Lo and behold, it was Clint Schroeder, advertising guru for the Honolulu Advertiser, having some Disney fun with his friends! We got a kick talking about what a small world we live in. Then I joined Michael at a broadcast table covered with microphones, headsets and bottles of wine.

Michael’s guests included Tony Lombardi of Ascentia Wine Estates and Michael Horn, president and CEO of CRN Digital Talk Radio. When he told me they reach 25 million households in 250 markets in the U.S., I had to have a gulp of one of the wines to start the interview.

It was lots of fun. Michael interviewed me about our new Starter Set coming out in bookstores and what we do at RSVPstyle, so I tied it into their wine show and said hey, just as Michael educates people so they can expand their palates, we inspire and educate people so they feel more confident when they’re out there looking for furniture, finishes and accessories.

Phew! The show ended with high fives and we headed to the dining room. Joining us was Tracy Rafter, principal of the Rafter Group, former publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News and a really fun gal to talk to. Mike, being the incredible host that he is, arranged an unforgettable dinner that began with sautéed, hand-harvested scallops made with a sauce of lemon, lobster and Tahitian vanilla. Oh my God, it just melted in your mouth! I think we licked the plate clean.

Then we had the duck meatballs with pumpkin fettuccine and roasted shallots in a sage duck sauce. Duck meatballs? Dare I saw they tasted like chicken? Just kidding—they were delicious! I don’t know that I really tasted duck, all I know is they were exquisite!

We had to have the steak (because of all the amazing red wine, more coming right up)—a grilled petite fillet mignon of Angus beef. And finally, for dessert, a warm chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream, and yes, it tasted even better than it looked.

As only a master sommelier could, Michael introduced us to some absolutely fantastic wines, like the 2000 Domaine de la Romanee Conti St. Vivant, which is a mouthful! It’s a pinot noir. We also had a ‘96 Chateau Petrus and an ‘82 Leoville las Cases. They were refined, elegant yet complex—just a few of the words I heard around the table. My words? Absolutely delish!

We just about had to be rolled out of that restaurant. It was a wonderful evening with an old friend and meeting new ones. Nicki was an angel throughout. After that feast she still wanted a snack, and only Mickey Mouse would do! Boy, did this night live up to Disneyland’s billing—this really is the happiest place on earth!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hello from the happiest place on earth!

Hope you all enjoyed your turkey feast with all the trimmings! I’m sure many of you even ate it outdoors in Hawaii’s beautiful weather while this local girl is freezing her butt off in Anaheim, California. With highs in the mid-60s and lows in the high 40s, brrr, it’s WAY too cold for me!

But hey, the holidays are all about the kids. Darrell, Nicki and I are enjoying a much-needed vacation in the happiest place on earth—for kids, that is—Disneyland! I’m having a great time and riding roller coasters til my head is spinning, so I’m going to keep this one short.

Despite a year that’s been crazy-busy with work, there’s so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful that the people I love are healthy and happy. I’m thankful to be surrounded by amazing friends and colleagues. I’m thankful for you, all of you who’ve been there with us, for us, encouraging us on. And I’m thankful that I get to live this wonderful life in Hawaii—where I hope you all are basking under a warm sun, surrounded by bountiful food and lots of love and good things today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A great day (phew!)

Yesterday was a day of traditions and good wishes. As Nicki and I walked into the Hawaiian Humane Society for a Brownie troop outing, I made her promise that she would not beg me, as she usually does, to let her adopt a pet. With our busy schedules, we just cannot give a pet the time it needs and deserves.

The Girl Scouts are steeped in tradition, Nicki’s favorite of which is the annual cookie drive. That’s why we were at the Humane Society—the troop was donating their cookie proceeds. That was followed by another tradition: each of the girls, including Lissa’s daughter Megan and Kara’s daughter Keri, brought a canned good for the Salvation Army, which is putting together holiday food baskets for needy families. Two good deeds: hooray Brownies!
And then the girls were unleashed for what they had been waiting for all day: playing with the animals! There was the cat house, where they played with adorable cats and kittens, and the line of dog kennels with puppies to seniors up for adoption. Nicki, Megan and Keri made sure to read every sign and call every dog by name.

There was one special pooch who stole their hearts. Her name was Emily, a 5-year-old mixed breed who we were allowed to take into the getting acquainted tent. Emily patiently sat while the girls rubbed behind her ears and lavished her with love and attention. What I dreaded happened soon enough: “PLEASE, Mom, I’ll do anything! Why can’t we adopt Emily?”

Just in the nick of time, the loudspeaker announced that the Humane Society was closing in five minutes. So then began the final tradition—the friendship circle, where Brownies clasp hands and each girl makes a wish, then squeezes the hand of the next girl to signal that it’s now her turn. Our wishes canceled each other out: I knew Nicki’s wish was to adopt Emily; mine was that Emily would find a wonderful home. I’m sure the Humane Society will make that wish come true!

For more information on any of these organizations, check out their websites:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving back always comes back to you

This afternoon as I was straightening out my desk, I came across a thank you card I’d received a couple weeks ago from some teachers who attended our Invitation to Design workshop in October. Reading their really sweet and sincere note made me smile: just as our moms always said, it’s always good to do good, and you’ll get it back tenfold in return. The person who came to mind at that moment was Dr. Lawrence Tseu.

A few weeks prior to our workshop, I spoke to Dr. Tseu, an old friend and just someone I’ve admired over the years for his incredible generosity. Dr. Tseu was Philanthropist of the Year for the state of Hawaii in 2007. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.

Dr. Tseu told me he has been watching the growth of our company and would love to come to our workshop, but was unable to attend. Instead, he wanted to purchase a table for others. I said well are you sure you want to do this? He said I want to support you, and I know the people who would be at the table would enjoy your show, and I want to be a part of that. He said, Cathy, just give the tickets to some deserving people who could benefit from being there.

‘Deserving’? That was easy. I picked up the phone and invited a few teachers from my daughter, Nicki and Lissa’s daughter, Megan’s school. After all, who’s more deserving than the people who are educating our kids?
They were thrilled. They came, had a great time and sent me this beautiful card along with a note they sent to Dr. Tseu as well.

In our conversation, Dr. Tseu did tell me that helping others is all about helping without recognition, and he wanted no recognition. He even told me to tell the people I chose for his table that the tickets were from me. I said absolutely not, I want people to know what a wonderful and generous man you are!

And now you know!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I’m hungry—let’s go shopping! Part 2

A few months ago, I blogged about some of my favorite places to find something good to eat after working up an appetite from shopping. Now I have a few more yummy finds for you!

If you’re in need of new cushions, window treatments or just something fabulous to re-cover a piece of furniture, IDS is the place to go. International Design Source is on the second floor of the Gentry Pacific Center. They have everything from sumptuous fabrics to fantastic wall coverings and draperies and even some furniture and accessories. But the main reason to go is for fabric, and lots of it. I could spend hours in there looking for just the right zebra print, faux fur, or amazing sheer for a window panel.

Just downstairs is Matters of Taste, a bistro-type café that has sandwiches, salads, specials like the fish of the day, and pastas. But my main reason for going there has to be their carrot cake. In my opinion it’s the best on the island—if you have a better suggestion, you let me know! To me, it’s not carrot cake if it doesn’t have a crunch. Theirs is moist and sweet, the carrot has great texture and the walnuts offer just the right amount of crunch, and the cream cheese frosting is to die for. It’s just over-the-top decadent!

My latest shopping-eating discovery is right opposite Kahala Mall on Waialae Avenue. I was at Honolulu Lights and came across this amazing fixture that I thought was so fun, especially after I found out the name: Confusion! It certainly does look confused, it’s fun and fanciful and definitely would make a statement in any room. This was a bit pricey, but Honolulu Lights has a wide array of affordable fixtures starting from $100—pendant lights, sconces, great accent lighting as well as task lighting.

Then a light bulb went off in my head: hey, how about some lunch! Right next door is Chin’s, where Tony Roma’s used to be. The plum tree beef was what the waiter recommended—lightly fried beef with a sweet plum sauce over it. The green tea shrimp on bamboo net looked absolutely amazing. It tasted great too, but I would have preferred it without the shells—too much effort for lunch! And finally, my favorite, the Chinese broccoli with dried baby fish. The broccoli was sautéed perfectly, with a delicate sauce, and the dried baby fish was fried and sprinkled on top to give it a nice salty crunch. Mmm-mm delicious!

OK, just looking at all these pictures is making me hungry. I guess it’s time to go shopping again! Let me know some of your favorite shopping-eating combos—I’d love to add them to my list!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So did your favorite win?

No, I’m not talking about the election, silly, I’m talking about Top Design! I just finished watching the finale and it was a doozie! I hope I’m not spoiling it for you if you Tivoed and plan to watch later.

I’m so excited because my early fave, Nathan, won the title and in my opinion was totally deserving. The final challenge was incredibly daunting. It was to design and fully furnish a townhouse, about four rooms, in just a matter of days. As Ondine says, it normally takes her up to a year to do an entire house—this was absolutely insane. But of course this is made for TV, so there needed to be stress and trauma-drama, and I’m sure we only saw a fraction of it.

So where do I even begin to give you a recap? Let’s start with Preston, or as the judges called him, Perfect Preston. He’s won a number of challenges with his perfectly polished, pristine design style and execution. His rooms all looked finished and were styled impeccably: clean, masculine, subtle, elegant, but ultimately a little too safe for the judges.

Ondine completely surprised me. Throughout the season, her designs have been quite erratic. She’s done a few great things but a lot of times she found herself in the bottom two. I was surprised when she made the final three and was completely wowed. Her rooms were playful, original, and I loved her pink, black and white room—it was fresh and fun and really looked like a room you would want to hang out in. It was a space that put you in a good mood—isn’t that what design is all about?

And finally, Nathan. Truly a talent. Many of his rooms, you could totally see them being photographed for Architectural Digest or Elle Décor, which is one of the prizes he won. His style is controlled, wild creativity. He was fearless. When I saw him dripping paint on a canvas, I thought, oh my God, that is so brilliant, it’s going to be amazing. It was such a simple thing, but it made such a huge impact in the room, and the judges loved it.

The other room that I really enjoyed was his office, where he chose some quirky pictures to put up on the wall—Jonathan Adler called them ex-boyfriend pictures. It was so out of the box and something you would never think of, but seeing it made you smile, and it spoke to his talent and fearlessness.

One of the things I hated about this show is how they bring back contestants who were just kicked off, like Eddie. Gag me, he was so obnoxious that I was glad to see him leave last week, and then to expect him and everybody else who just got booted off to help the others who are still around goes back to more trauma-drama. But that’s television!

So it’s a new day. We have a new president, and bravo! We have a new top designer!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time to cut loose!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a planner. My Halloween plans have been in place for a long time. After weeks of insane hours leading up to our big workshop last weekend, the big girls would work a well-deserved short day and then pick up our little girls from school. We had a party to go to and Nicki and I had our costumes weeks ago—we were going to be matching Skull Fairies, with black dresses, wings, skulls and bones around our necks and daggers dripping with blood. (No, I'm not that creative, we bought these at Price Busters!)

But Halloween came a little early! Lissa, Kara, Melissa and I were working when we got a call from Kay of Primary Properties inviting us to their Halloween party. Tough decision: work? Or eat, play and dress up? Quick thinking: no meetings, no deadlines. It took us all of 30 seconds to shut down the computers.

Give me a break, it usually take me days, if not weeks to plan one costume, and now I had to think of four. Lissa ran home to get her devil costume from last year, and I went to my daughter's bedroom for inspiration. I found her Hannah Montana wig and her Barbie guitar from a few Christmases ago. Then I dug up my old high school cheerleader uniform and pompoms for Melissa, and took out my skull necklace and wings for Kara to go with a wig that Lissa brought.

An hour later, devilish diva Lissa, radical rocker Kara, cutesy cheerleader Melissa and Hannah Montana Lee were getting lots of laughs and comments as we walked toward Primary Properties’ offices, and we cracked up everyone there too. But what we were all eyeing were the sweet treats. They had all kinds, lots homemade, like the ghost cookies and the red velvet spider cupcakes. They were all ghoulishly good!

Can you believe that Oprah herself was there to interview me?! But that darn Madonna kept trying to steal my limelight!

It was a hilarious, spur-of-the-moment day, but the best part was when we picked up our girls from school. Even in the drive-by pickup line, they could see their moms were different. Their eyes got big as saucers as they took in the wigs, bright makeup and costumes. Lesson of the day: Halloween’s not just for kids!

Here’s hoping all of you out there had a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Have you missed me?

I know I've been MIA from my blog lately, but it's not because I haven't been working. In fact, Lissa, Kara, Melissa and I have been working waaay too much! All that hard work paid off this past Saturday at our Invitation to Design workshop at the Dole Cannery Ballrooms. I am sooo tired and so glad it's over. It could not have gone any better!

To my amazement, there were 75 people standing in line before the doors opened at 8:15. We set up for 320 attendees, and we even had to bring in another table. In today’s economy, we were thrilled that so many people decided to spend most of their Saturday and their hard-earned money to attend.

I always start my workshops by sharing a little about my background. For the first time, I shared a few photos from my childhood in Pearl City. I wanted everyone to see the not-so-stylish home that I grew up in. From the boar head hanging in the living room to the Korean lacquer furniture to the water buffalo carving from the Philippines, yes, it was a very eclectic home...but not in a good way. (Sorry Mom and Dad!)

The energy from the audience was amazing—everyone really seemed focused and ready to learn. Early on I talked about putting textures and patterns together, then gave people a chance to work with their tables to try their hand at it. It was great to see how excited and involved everyone was. But that involvement is always heightened when there’s a prize on the line.

I am a total believer in games. I think that learning should always be fun, and adults love to play too! They key is to create a game that can be a fun learning experience. The first table to successfully put together their dream space with the materials at their fingertips—color fan decks, books of fabrics, samples of granite, carpet and wood flooring—plus complete a mock ‘mortgage application’ would win. The winning table was loaded with guys from American Carpet One! Each received a $100 gift certificate from Honolulu Lights.

Just before lunch, I introduced our presenting sponsors, Amy Kunz from The Honolulu Advertiser and Nelson Oyadomari from Primary Residential Mortgage. They were both so great to work with. Not to mention, they are both a lot of fun! Amy left her husband home to babysit so she could come with her mom. Nelson, who is such a clown, came up on stage dressed all in black except for a red napkin hanging out of his pocket—he said it was his pop of accent color!

The final part of the day was a segment on staging a home. We had a lot of Realtors and their clients there. As I was asking the audience questions, most everyone was responding...and with the right answers. I always love this part. I call it the part when the light bulb goes off—it's the moment when people realize that they are learning, and it does make sense, and they are really getting it, and maybe they can learn to decorate after all!

When the workshop was over, there was a line of people waiting to talk with me and give me a hug. That was when I really felt that all the hard work was worth it. Everyone was so sweet and their thanks so sincere. I was really touched. It made me feel special. It almost made me want to do another workshop...NOT!

Next: Moments that will make you say ‘Awww…’: the human side of the day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's in a name?

You have no idea! Lissa and I just got our federal trademark registration for RSVPstyle in the mail this week. Thank you, United States Patent and Trademark Office! Yahoo! It's been almost a year and a half in the making.

Let me start from the beginning. When we first started RSVPstyle, we weren't RSVPstyle. We came up with the brilliant name of IDesignNetwork—catchy, huh? We wanted to inspire and teach people to do home design and décor projects themselves, so that's what the I signified, and we chose Network because we knew we were going to be a web-based company.

We went to It's the biggest domain name registrar in the world, and sure enough, wasn't taken. All set! We registered it, printed business cards, and got ready to open for business.

Problem was, our attorneys didn't agree.

Even though we had registered, if anyone else was already using that name, even if they didn't own the dot com, they could potentially sue us. Come on, IDesignNetwork?! OK. Back to our search.

Every time we came up with a name, we would immediately check Go Daddy to see if there was a dot com. Nine point nine times out of 10, our brilliant idea was already taken. So we started grabbing any name we could think of and registering it before anyone else could—we’d grab the dot com first, think about it later. After all, each dot com only cost a few dollars.

So, what’s catchy? What words would set us apart? How would the name look in advertising? To give you an idea of how all over the map we were, how hard our brains were working, and how stymied we got, we were blowing through names like,, and Let me tell you, about $500 later we were still searching!

Finally, in frustration, we took a cue from the founders of Apple, who at the end of their own agonizing name search said that if they could not come up with a name by the following day, they would just name their company Apple. We said if we cannot come up with a name, we'll just name our company TheBrownChair. And you know what? The more we thought about it, hey,, that's kind of catchy! We like that! Let's get the dot com!

Can you believe was taken?

Four months later and counting, I decided to go back to the drawing board. OK, Cathy, think out of the box. We're not going to get any name that has home or decorating, they’re all taken.

I started just rattling off ideas. We're fun, we're inclusive, almost like a party, and we want to invite everybody to join in. Invitation, party, how about RSVP? And whatever we’re going to do, we're going to do with style. That’s it! RSVPstyle!

And guess what? We got the dot com, sent in for our trademark, and now, almost a year and a half later, we can officially use the magic trademark stamp. We're now truly legit and we have the mark to prove it.

After all that angst, I could honestly say I would give up my daughter's name before our company’s!

Monday, October 13, 2008


No, Wisit—as in the latest contestant kicked off Bravo’s reality TV show Top Design. As judge Jonathan Adler says, Wisit is absolutely j’adorable. He has such a sweet quality and talent in his own style—what did he call it? Timeless design. Wisit has a special elegance about him, a look of gracious self-consciousness, eyes downcast, very geisha-like. He is multitalented, trained in art history, fashion design and interior design, and to top it off, he is an opera singer—and a fairly good one, at that!

But unfortunately, he has no talent when it comes to eco-friendly design. Last week’s challenge was to redesign an office for an environmental consulting firm. Wisit, eco-friendly? Going green? I don’t think so. Mr. Frou-frou Flamboyant wanted no part of this challenge, choosing instead to stick to his own preferences and showing complete ignorance of green materials and sensibilities. And sure enough, he found himself in the bottom two with Natalie.

Bottom line was, Wisit wanted to do what Wisit wanted to do, and all in all, his room was quite boring.

But I have to say, when the final curtain came down and Wisit was told that the judges could not live with his design, it was a very sad moment for all of television-land. And as the credits rolled and he sang his final aria, I shed a tear for poor Wisit.

That’s the bad news. Wisit’s gone. The good news is, I heard that they’re auditioning for Madame Butterfly (joke!).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breakfast of champions

Forget Michael Phelps. I know who should be on the cover of the next Wheaties box: Perry and Price! The state of Hawaii has been waking up and having breakfast with these two pros for the last 25 years, can you believe it? When it comes to the breakfast of champions, they take the cake—or the pancake, hahaha! (I crack myself up!)

This past weekend, I had a chance to be interviewed on Perry and Price’s live Saturday morning broadcast from John Dominis. Kara, Lissa and I were there bright and early. We noticed a very rowdy bunch of people wearing these funny red hats. When I took a closer look, they had shrimp on their heads! They were from Turtle Bay Resort, promoting the Seafood Festival that’s coming up. I thought that was really cute.

Soon it was my turn to be interviewed. Mainly I wanted to talk about our upcoming workshop. Sweetie Pacarro, who I’ve known for years, joined in and told Mike and Larry how our DVD had helped her in remodeling her house. As I was heading back to our table, a woman extended her hand and told me, You have a long and brilliant career ahead of you in this business. I said thank you! She said I know that, because I’m psychic Dayle Schear, and you were born to do this!

She made my morning—after all, it must really be true, right? Now I could relax and enjoy my brunch and the rest of the show. And boy, what a show! There were all kinds of people. I ran into Tia Carrere, actress and singer, who I went to school with at Sacred Hearts Academy. But there was someone else there who always has me starstruck: my former principal, Mrs. Betty White, who’s looking great as ever!

Later we were treated to the sounds of the Society of Seven, who have been around forever. They did a number, sounding as fabulous as ever, and Jasmine Trias also serenaded us. And Mike Moniz, a world-famous natural body builder, was there to promote the upcoming Food and New Products Show.

All in all, it was fun morning of networking and catching up with friends from the past. We had a wonderful breakfast (with champions!) with an amazing ocean view, got in a little plug, were entertained and I even got my fortune told—who could ask for more?