Sunday, March 29, 2009

It’s Girl Scout cookie time!

Just returned from my family vacation on Friday, well rested, rejuvenated and ready to go!

Had a day to unpack and get settled back into home, and then it was time to get back to work—but not RSVPstyle work. Mommy duty called: It’s that time of year again when Girl Scout cookies are for sale, and Lissa and I had volunteered to head booth sales for our daughters’ Brownie troop.

We set up shop in front of Safeway Hawaii Kai. Brownie Troop 313 had two shifts, from 9 to 11 and 11 to 1. Lissa and I got there bright and early to set up a table, post a banner and set out all Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs and other cookies.

The first shift of girls showed up raring to go—after all, I did give them a Cookie Sales 101 course a few weeks ago. Everyone looked great—cute, happy and wearing their Brownie sashes. With smiles on their faces they greeted everyone with, Good morning! Would you like to sample or purchase some Girl Scout cookies?

By the time our daughters showed up for their 11 cookie shift, the first shift had done so well there weren’t enough cookies for the second shift! We had to scramble, calling around to see if anyone had more cookies, can you believe that? Boy, I wish I could hire them.

In the end, some parents came through, glad to unload some of their unsold boxes, so our girls could close their deals in front of Safeway. Grandma and Papa even stopped by to show their support and buy a few boxes.

Sales went so well that when our shift was up at 1, the girls didn’t want to stop—they continued selling til 1:45.

By then everyone was starving—and no, I did not want to eat any cookies, thank you very much!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

See you next week!

OMG, I can’t begin to tell you how crazy things have been! We’re a week into videotaping our $30,000 Style My Room makeover show, and the Agenas have been an absolute dream to work with.

They’re positive, can-do personalities, which is perfect because they’ve dealt with all four kids coming down with stomach flu, a super-early appearance on KITV4, full-day excursions to scope out flooring, lighting, window treatments and furniture, and repeated invasions by an army of contractors and videographers—all in one week. I’m going to let them tell you all about it—you can follow their blog right here at this website, by going back to the homepage.

Right now I’m in a whirlwind of packing for a family trip to Lake Tahoe. I promised Darrell and Nicki that for the next five days, there’ll be no blogging or e-mailing! No skiing either, for me anyway. Say what you want, I guess I’m just not a natural! While everyone is on the slopes, my plans are to curl up in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and some magazines to drift through … and before I know it, I’ll be back, fully recharged and ready to go!

Here’s hoping those of you with Spring Break plans are looking forward to some well-deserved R&R with your families. And to everybody out there, Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And … rolling!

Our grand prize winners, the Agenas, had known for a week that they had won our Style My Room contest. No one can say grass grows under our feet: we started production on our one-hour Style My Room Makeover special yesterday, the very day The Honolulu Advertiser announced that the Agenas had won.

We set our call time for 9 a.m. Because we were invading a family’s home, we decided not to set a crazy-early call time like some of the days during production of our DVD last year. The Agenas do have four young kids, after all, and we didn’t want to cause too much commotion on a Sunday morning in their quiet neighborhood.

Our crew consisted of two video guys, our director, James, two grips (lighting guys), and of course Lissa, Kara, Melissa and myself—talk about a full house!

We shot the first segment outside on the sidewalk, and were probably the talk of the neighborhood. Cars slowed down to watch, neighbors came walking by, everyone wondered what all the commotion was about.

We shot the rest of the morning inside the house, which would have been a little bit cooler if not for all the lighting we had. The kids were great. Sarah, the youngest, was really cute. She kept going around yelling, “…and … Action!” I don’t know where she got that from, because James doesn’t say that! But it was very funny.

Once their part was done, Jo Ann’s mom and brother came to pick them up, because we knew they would soon get bored with our rigid schedule.

We are a low-budget production. There’s no hair and makeup person—well I guess there is: me! And we don’t have a great lunch table with all the fixins. Papa John’s had to suffice. Everyone ate on the fly, whenever they had a moment of down time.

The final shots of the day were done outside, by the infamous clothes line where we ambushed Jo Ann with the great news. This is where we filmed the “confessionals,” where Chris and Jo Ann got to share their thoughts on all the happenings. They were actually put up on little crates to get more of the background greenery into the shot. Lissa was just out of the shot, asking the questions, and we brought out diffuse lighting to make everybody look good.

Stay tuned—this is the first of my behind-the-scenes reports as we stay with the Agenas through their living room makeover.My, my, the things that go on behind the scenes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Carpet, pets and kids: some solutions

You may have noticed that my KITV appearances have been slightly off recently. This is because we’ll be introducing our Grand Prize winners live on the air next Wednesday.

So for my segment just yesterday, realizing that a lot of people who entered our contest have been wanting to learn about flooring options, I decided to talk about one of our second-place winners.

The George family of Mililani was our sixth weekly winner, receiving $1,500 in carpeting generously provided by Marc Haine and The Floor Store. Their living room photo shows sadly soiled carpeting from their big old dog and their cute little girl. It definitely needed to be changed!

So here comes Marc to the rescue, and it was my job yesterday to show some of the options available to the Georges. Check out the video on our home page to see the three options that I showed—the Pirate’s Cove line (their “bullet-proof” carpet that’s soil- and stain-resistant), another one with pattern, and the new Precious Metals collection.

Now here’s what I didn’t have time to go into. The Georges are a second place winner, so they get the carpet but not the entire living room. They have to work with what’s already there. So what do they have?
They’re starting with what looks like a microfiber sofa. Good choice: neutral, easy to work with.

The Pirate’s Cove option would definitely help, given their big dog/small child situation—they may want to pick a complementary color or go with a deeper brown so it doesn’t blend in with the sofa. Better yet, a carpeting option that has a slight texture or pattern would add a little bit of interest to the room.

The Precious Metals collection also has a really good stain warranty, but with a higher price point, it might not be in the budget for their second-place prize (maybe they could upgrade?). Here’s a picture of a Precious Metals carpet with a candlestick to show how nicely it works with accessories and accents that have a metallic sheen.

Definitely throw color on the wall!

What seems to be the Georges’ focal point right now? The Bowflex exercise equipment! How about artwork? Even one of their daughter’s paintings, nicely framed, would add color and character.

Finally, I wrapped up with tips on underlayment. Even if you select a more inexpensive, thinner carpet, you can make it feel a bit more plush and expensive with the right underlayment, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

A really good choice for those of us who have kids or big pets is the underlayment I showed. Because the moisture barrier is on the top as well as the bottom, you won’t retain any odor from doggie no-nos that otherwise get soaked into your pad.

Hope these tips have helped you. Congratulations again to the George family and thanks to The Floor Store for coming to the aid of a family that is serving our country.

And by the way, don’t forget, my KITV schedule is still slightly off—next week I’ll be on again, this time with the Grand Prize winners of our $30,000 Style My Room contest. Tune in at 6:45 a.m. to meet them!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It’s over

After all these weeks, the $30,000 Style My Room contest has come to a close. We’re no longer taking entries, but are in the final phase of selecting our grand prize winner. And I can tell you, it has been a huge process. We have not taken this lightly. The overwhelming response has touched and uplifted us.

We wish we could give everyone a prize. It’s been the most difficult thing, narrowing down well over 1,000 entries to just a few finalists. Fortunately we’ve had a lot of help and support from our sponsors, who also sit on the judging committee.

There have been entries from people who we just want to be friends with and have enjoyed meeting, both virtually and in person. You’ve inspired us to want to do more with our company and our website.

There have been heartfelt stories, funny stories, and most importantly, stories of you wanting to learn to be empowered to do your own space.

Just yesterday a gentleman submitted his entry, saying he would be happy for the opportunity to learn and get guidance from me—and that if he won, he would donate the $30,000 grand prize to the family of Asa Yamashita, the Waianae High School teacher who was killed last week. He said, I’d be happy to give up the $30,000 to the family that really does need something.

So here’s a heartfelt thank you to all of you who entered. We read every one of your stories. The contest may be over, but hopefully our time with you isn’t. Please continue to stay in contact with us. Move your photos on over to our online community so we can help you there. We’ll keep putting up teaching videos, articles and events. We want to do everything we can to help you attain those dreams you have for your living room!