Friday, January 30, 2009

You gotta love live TV!

So yesterday’s my KITV day, and I’m at the studio bright and early as usual, all set to share a real family’s story about their living room, when oh-oh! A technical glitch pops up that threatens to derail my plans.

As you know, we’re running a $30,000 Style My Room contest along with The Honolulu Advertiser. Every week we’re giving away a runner-up prize, and this week’s winners are the Cadelinia family of Hawaii Kai. Their cream-colored living room carpet had turned more dirt-colored after years of traffic from two active kids, lots of friends and their pet Golden Retriever. They want to make over their living room from the floor up. I’d emailed photos of the room to KITV to flash on the screen during my segment.

Well, as I’m getting miked up just before going on the air, morning co-host Mahealani Richardson asks if I have any photos. They never got my email! My heart just about stopped! I’m a very visual person, and I was counting on those photos to help viewers picture a dramatic before-and-after effect.

Mahealani asked, can you still do the segment? Sure! I said. At least I brought samples of the fabulous European wood flooring that the Cadelinias won from EuroFloor—we’ll just roll with it!

We start the segment, and while I’m on the air, a cameraman notices, lying by my handbag, an 8x10 picture. It’s a printout of the Cadelinias’ living room that I was using to focus my thoughts while I was waiting. He picks it up and starts creeping toward us on the set, just out of camera range.

If you were watching, you probably didn’t notice that while I’m talking, my eyes momentarily dart to the right. Then you hear Mahealani say—quite naturally like the pro she is—oh! Is this a picture of the room you’re talking about? And the camera pans to that printout she’s holding, which is of course grainy and not as clear as what was supposed to flash on screen, but at least viewers could finally see what we were talking about!

My husband Darrell told me later he watched the whole thing and couldn’t tell anything was out of the ordinary. So no one was the wiser—thanks to that cameraman and Mahealani for a smooth save!

To see those actual photos and read the Cadelinias’ whole story, click on Contest in the navigation bar at the top of this page. And if you want to watch that KITV segment for yourself, it’ll be up on our homepage next Tuesday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It’s showtime!

Last night was the first night of the BIA Home Show. We were at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall til 9 p.m. and got a lot of nice compliments on The Honolulu Advertiser booth, which we’re sharing with them to promote our joint $30,000 Style My Room contest. I thought I’d share a few photos of our dramatic yet cheapo transformation.

Originally our booth looked like everybody else’s: standard black carpeting and the white drape that serves as a backdrop and separates you from your neighbor. No, no, no, this will simply not do! This kind of d├ęcor will not excite and motivate people to enter a stylish makeover contest! Our booth has to have style!
So out went the black carpeting and in went camel-colored carpeting graciously donated by one of our contest supporters, American Carpet One. Thank you, thank you, David Arita!

Then we purchased from Pacific Home Furnishings a very affordable black fabric that Lissa and her mom stayed up until midnight the night before last to sew up as drapery that would serve as our dramatic backdrop. Thank you, Carol Ing!

Now our color palette was in place: a dramatic, neutral background. It was time to texturize! We took over some white leather chairs and an accent table from our office, and for color and contrast we layered in a green area rug, candles and plants to create warmth and interest in our space.
And with a comfy, stylish chair, a reading lamp, a bookshelf to house knickknacks and Homescape magazines and Renovation supplements, and a glass vase with freshly cut monstera leaves from right outside the Exhibition Hall (shhh! Don’t tell them!), we created a reading area. We were even able to position our banner in the back to look like a piece of art. After all, this is The Honolulu Advertiser booth, and they are a great read!

We did all this using what we had in the office and what the Advertiser had in storage. The bookcase was in a storage locker. We dusted it off and added what you see. Here’s a quick photo I snapped after vacuuming. It looked fabulous. If we could do this at the Blaisdell, you can certainly do it at home!
We do know that Saturday and Sunday will be the busiest days, but still, it was a little bit quiet last night. We need to liven up the joint! We’ll be here all weekend, so come by and say hello!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let’s set some things straight

There’s been a lot of excitement and a little confusion about our $30,000 Style My Room contest. We’ve gotten some calls and emails about this, so while it’s still early, I thought I’d clear up some of the latter for you with this Q&A.

Q: How come I keep seeing your ads when you already have a winner?

A: What you saw in last Sunday’s Honolulu Advertiser was our congratulations to the first of seven weekly winners, the Saul family of Ewa Beach. For the next six weeks, in the same Sunday paper, you’ll be seeing a fresh story about the latest week’s winners. Our $30,000 Grand Prize winner will be announced in the paper in March. So there’s plenty of time and lots more prizes!

Q: What are you looking for? Are you looking for the worst possible living room?

A: No, we are not looking for the absolute messiest, ugliest living room possible. Nor are we looking for a small living room, a big living room or any other criteria like that. We have seven runner-up and one Grand Prize to give out, so we’re looking for single-family home, multifamily, young, old, retired, townhouse, condo—doesn’t matter.

The main thing we’re looking for is people who are not simply looking to get the prize, but those who want to learn, be inspired and empowered to add style to their space, who are going to be able to take what they learn from us and apply it to their other spaces. We want to hear your story, we want to know about you, your family and your home and what you hope to learn from this experience. So when people tell me, my living room isn’t falling down and beat-up, it’s pretty nice, we just have white walls and I don’t know what to do—perfect! Sign up!

Q: Do I have to design a living room makeover to enter?

A: Nope. This is for you to learn how to design your living space. All you have to do is enter, answer a few questions, and click the submit button.

Q: Will I win $30,000 in cash and do the makeover myself?

A: No. If you win the Grand Prize, you’ll receive up to $30,000 in products and services from our sponsoring companies to be used on your living room makeover. I will be there to take you by the hand and teach you how to add style to your space. And no, we will not be painting walls or building bookshelves—we are using the money to buy all the furniture, finishes, lighting et cetera and to have professionals install everything and do the work they’re expert at.

Q: Why does the winner have to be an Oahu homeowner?

A: Because of production costs—we’d love to help the Neighbor Islands, but our video crew are all here on Oahu.

Q: Are you going to come to my house and do my living room if I win?

A: I will definitely come to your house! But we are not sending you off somewhere while your makeover is done for you. This will be a process where you will learn how to find your style, shop for the furniture and accessories that will go into your living room, choose the styles and colors you want, and pull together your own unique look. You and your family will be involved in every step of the process.

That’s it! I hope I’ve answered some of your questions. Let me know here if there’s anything else I can answer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A whirlwind of a weekend

I’m not talking about the weather! First thing this past Saturday morning, Lissa, Kara and I were at John Dominis for KSSK radio’s Perry and Price show. I was being interviewed about our $30,000 Style My Room contest. We had their breakfast buffet—yummy, but not nearly as good as their Sunday brunch!

That show is always a fun time. Mike and Larry are the old pros and Sweetie Pacarro has the perfect name—she’s an absolute sweetheart. Their antics are always the same but nevertheless, they always put a smile on your face!

That evening, Lissa was part of the Coronation Ball for the new Narcissus Queen. It’s their 60th anniversary, so they had all the former queens in attendance and actually walking the runway. Lissa is a Narcissus Queen from many, many, MANY years ago! (I won’t tell you how many or she’ll kill me.) But she still looked good, she worked that runway in her black evening gown! I must say, she could still be a Narcissus Queen today—if you squint your eyes really hard! Just kidding, Lissa!
Sunday was the final day of the Sony Open. We walked the course and ended up at The Honolulu Advertiser’s Skybox. They had great food and most importantly, a great view right on the 18th green. I was there for a lot of the day, but we had to stay until late to see the hometown favorite, Tadd Fujikawa, end the tournament. I know he was a little disappointed, but he still made all of Hawaii proud.
The moment Tadd was done, there was a mass exodus. Lissa and I ran out of there because we had a 6:00 dinner with two of our advertisers, Kay Mukaigawa of Primary Properties and Ann Isobe of Reneux Spa. We had gift certificates from Morton’s. Loved the crab cakes—my favorite! There was a little business involved, but mostly we had fun. We ended the evening at Menchie’s yogurt, which is a build-it-yourself yogurt bar with lots of yummy ingredients.

Lissa and I both had our cameras, but somehow didn’t take any pictures at Morton’s or Menchie’s. I don’t know if we were just exhausted from our whirlwind of a weekend or were just too preoccupied with the food—probably a little bit of both!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do

I woke up Saturday morning totally feeling blah. I had a sore throat, a queasy stomach—I was just really not feeling well. But, we had a big day ahead of us.

The Girl Scout cookie sale kicks off in March and it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the girls. Lissa and I had volunteered to be in charge of our daughters’ Brownie troop cookie sales. The troop was having a pre-sale cookie party and I had volunteered to give the girls a pep talk and tips on how to be good cookie salespeople.

Feeling blah was no excuse! So I popped a few Rolaids, drank a bunch of water and we set off.

This was one of the few presentations that I had to sit down to give, but that worked out fine because I was eye-level with the girls. I let them know that I was not feeling well and could possibly throw up on them. Now that got their attention! They shrieked and scooched back. I continued by saying it didn’t matter because a dedicated salesperson puts a smile on her face and gets the job done. So let’s get going!

I started with this question: What makes a good salesperson? The girls came up with, “Look people in the eye!” “Being friendly!” and “Speaking clearly!” These girls are great budding salespeople! Then I asked: What makes a bad salesperson? One little girl knew right away. She said, “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Smart girl! This led me to the next part of my presentation, which was product knowledge. We practiced saying the name of the new cookie, Dulce de Leche (like the Spanish candy). It’s sweet with milk caramel chips in it. This part of the lesson gave the girls an opportunity to sample some cookies and vote on their favorites. Once again, Thin Mints ruled!

We did some role playing. We practiced smiling and being a good representative of the Girl Scouts. I taught them whether anyone buys cookies or not, to say “Thank you” and “Have a nice day.” Then we all did a Girl Scout cheer and it was time for the potluck, which was my moment to exit.

As I was getting ready to leave, a little girl came up to me and said, “You know, you do look kind of tired and sick.” Kids are so honest! Then a mom came up and thanked me for the presentation and said, “You were joking about throwing up on the girls, weren’t you?”

Not really, but with all the thanks and appreciation from the little girls and their moms, I have to say that was the best medicine I could have gotten. Nicki was happy, I did my good mom deed for the day—and we are going to break some cookie records!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

High five!

Cathy: We did it! What a relief—our contest went live this past weekend and Lissa and I had been holding our breath along with everyone else in the office. She’s here with me and we’re doing a joint blog. Just think, with all the glitches that could have happened—
Lissa: It’s cool to see a contest coming to reality. Remember six months ago when it was just an idea? We were having a meeting in this conference room and James came up with the idea of doing a makeover contest, but one that was different.

Cathy: Well of course James—he’s our video director and the only guy we work so closely with—it all has to come back to him! He said not only do a makeover, it should turn into a TV show. We started brainstorming and one thing led to another, and we came up with the concept that it shouldn’t be just a makeover, the homeowner should be involved!

Lissa: And then as we started plotting out the contest and how it was going to work, Mari was on board to conceptualize the ideas for the website—

Cathy: What’s great about Mari, our editor, is not only does she put words in our mouth, she also puts a lot of food in our mouth! She’s a foodie, and we like that!

Lissa: And all the work that went into the look of the contest, all the ads, that was Katie, our graphic designer.

Cathy: But I have to say, the MVPs of this whole process have to be—

Lissa: Bigger Bird Creative.

Cathy: Absolutely. Annie and Aaron are our web developers and Bigger Bird at is their company. They’re responsible for the look and functionality of our website. This contest was a whole new ballgame. It’s a whole new functionality—

Lissa: And making sure it was easy for people to enter, looked visually pleasing, going back and forth as the rules were being approved by lawyers from two companies, making sure every page was easy to navigate and user-friendly, right down to the wire!

The contest launched at midnight last Sunday, and last Saturday was amazing, let me tell you, the whole day a bunch of us—Annie, Aaron, James, Mari, Kara, Melissa and I—we were working the whole day doing last-minute touch-ups, proofing, banging out our test system and making sure it all worked, til just about midnight.

Cathy: And amazingly, everybody came through on deadline! Needless to say, it was a huge group effort.

But you know what I’m excited about, Lise? I’m excited about finding a winner. Actually finding lots of winners, because we have the seven weekly winners and the final Grand Prize winner. Seeing the entries that have come in so far, it’s heartwarming because people are saying they really want to learn.

Lissa: And you get to help them spend $30,000!

Cathy: I can do that!
Lissa: That’s going to be a heck of a living room.
Cathy: I can’t do it for everyone, but I can do it for the winners, and it’s going to be documented on TV and that’s how everybody will learn.
Lissa: Yeah, you can’t go to everybody’s house, but with the TV show at the end you’ll sort of be going into everybody’s living rooms.

Cathy: I’m relieved, I’m happy, and really excited about helping some Hawaii homeowners. We wouldn’t be able to do this without The Honolulu Advertiser promoting this contest and really getting the word out.

Lissa: And making that great full-page ad—

Cathy: And also KITV for agreeing to air the program in June.
It’s been a tremendous team effort, so I just wanted to give credit where it’s justly due and let you meet some of the people who don’t get the recognition, but who play such a huge role behind the scenes.

Great job, team! High fives all around!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What a great way to start the New Year

Bright and early on the second day of 2009, I drove up to the KHON studio. I was excited about my interview with Kirk Matthews on the morning news show. But to my disappointment, a huge downpour opened up on me as I was going into the station!

Well, it’s the New Year, so what does everybody want to talk about? New Year’s resolutions, of course. So when Kirk asked me what’s the biggest New Year’s resolution? That was easy—edit and declutter! The biggest challenge people have is knowing where to begin.

So my tip for him and for you is first, determine your style. Pick a dominant style. Then pick a dominant color. A lot of people have too many different styles and colors going on in their space and it becomes chaotic. You need a focus.

Once you determine a dominant style and color, it becomes a lot easier to see what you can get rid of, what you can repurpose, what you can donate, and what you still may want to purchase.

Kirk latched right onto that! He said, So donating, is that a good idea for some of your things? I said yes, there are so many great charitable organizations that can use our help, especially in times like these, and it’s a great way not only to get a tax write-off, but to edit things you don’t need.

And for those of us who need to be budget-conscious? Instead of out with the old and in with the new, maybe you just need new cushions or a fresh coat of paint. Or give your lanai a fresh look with some furniture from the living room.

The segment went well and Kirk was a great host. And as I left the studio, I saw that the sun was shining! What a great way to start the New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

I hope you had a wonderful celebration with those closest to you. For me the transition from 2008 to 2009 was spent with family and close friends. When the moment came, Darrell popped firecrackers—they do ward off the evil spirits, right? And then, at five minutes past midnight, the skies opened with a huge downpour. It felt like a blessing! The little girls played in the rain, sloshing in the puddles, and it was great: happy kids, happy adults, together in a blessing rain at the dawn of the new year.

May 2009 bring you and yours the riches of love, health and happiness. Happy New Year, everyone!