Monday, June 29, 2009

Design dilemma: 2 TVs on one wall

I was writing the latest article in our Makeover Style Tip Series when I realized I was veering off course. The article was about how we solved the problem of two big-screen TVs on the same wall of the Agenas’ living room: One TV was for the adults, and one was for the four kids. There was no way of getting rid of one of the TVs. So what to do?

Well, that’s certainly straightforward enough. The problem was, I kept digressing into what other people with the same problem could do. Once I realized the problem, the solution was simple: blog about it!

To see how we solved the problem for the Agenas, you can check out the article at And if you have this problem but are not lucky enough to have friends who are glass artists and can create custom artwork to hide one of the TVs, read on.


You do not need to spend a lot of money or do any special construction. A more affordable option that would minimize one of the TVs would be to put it in a bookshelf or an entertainment center with doors. Or simply move it to an adjacent wall so that both are not viewed in the same plane.

If that’s not possible, even angling one TV in a corner and flanking it with plants would provide a different treatment that could also solve the dilemma.

The bottom line: If you need to have more than one TV in a room, be sure to give them different visual treatments. You’ll still be able to enjoy them without the distraction of a pair of TVs staring at you when you walk in.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Birthday cake .... again ?!

More Gemini babies! James Brennan, our video producer, and Kara Wagner, our office manager, are also celebrating their birthdays this month, so we headed to Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company in Pearl City.

James’ birthday wish had already come true: This restaurant has his absolute favorite sandwich in the world, their chicken, avocado and bacon sandwich. I swear, this guy is soon going to grow feathers! He eats nothing but chicken every time we’re with him.

We all ended up choosing the same thing, except for Lissa, who had to be the rebel and try the French dip. It was OK, but I would highly recommend that if you’re a chicken lover like James, this is the place you have to go and the sandwich you want is the amazing chicken, avocado and bacon!

Kara has the sweet tooth, so we let her pick the dessert. She was still contemplating what her birthday wish would be as they got ready to blow out the candles on their birthday cake/mud pie.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to sing Happy Birthday—the wait staff took care of that—because none of us can carry a tune. Thank you, wait staff! And oodles of happy birthday wishes to our very own James and Kara!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Our day in the sun

I’m sure this will come as no surprise to many of you, but I’m not a golfer. I don’t like the sun, I’m not athletic, and chasing a little white ball around for half the day is not my idea of fun. However, supporting good friends and a great cause and having some mojitos sounds like a party to me!

kayLast weekend, Kay Mukaigawa and Nelson Oyadomari of Primary Properties and Primary Residential Mortgage held their annual MDA golf tournament. Lissa and I attended last year as guests; this year we decided to sponsor one of the holes.

We were on the seventh hole—don’t ask me what green that is or whatever—but it was a nice, shady spot to serve up drinks … with style!

It was a hot afternoon, absolutely perfect for some nice, cool libations. We served up virgin mojitos and mango mojitos—yum! Cheers to Sommer Meyer, regional sales manager of Bacardi USA, for providing us with the amazing mojito mixers. All we had to do was get pitchers and mix a part of this with a part of that, squeeze in some fresh lime and mint, pour it over ice, and voila, we had our mojitos!

mojito-boogie-buttonSo when people came up to our table, we offered up drinks and asked them to hit the boogie button. When they hit it, it played Shake Your Groove Thing. We were having fun!

with-dukeWe even had Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona stop by our booth, one of the very few who passed on our mojitos! Maybe he had to work right after.

lissa-driveWe had a great time getting to know the golfers and heckling them on their golf swings. But the highlight for me was when one of the teams came by and said, Hey, do any one of you want to hit for us? I was like Yeah! Lissa golfs! And I snapped this shot of her drive.

lissa-golfersAnd although I’m no golfer, their appreciative wow must mean she’s pretty good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And the celebration continues

Yay, party party party! Everyone’s special day comes around only once a year, right? And I certainly got maximum mileage out of mine! The next day, my dear friends Mary Lavoie and Brenda Chung threw me a birthday party at Mary’s house. About 25 people came by. It was great to see so many faces I hadn’t seen in a long time.


Food is so important, but I don’t seem to do a good job with photos … by the time I remember the camera, the food’s always half-gone. There was prosciutto with melon, caprese salad, osso bucco, a seafood pasta and a meatball pasta, all of it homemade. It was an Italian-themed dinner with one of my favorite desserts, tiramisu, and thank goodness Mary only put five candles on it! I don’t think it could have held the actual number.


Lissa and I had a chance to catch up with Deena Nichols, and although you’re not supposed to talk shop at a party, we couldn’t help it. The possibility of working with Macy’s on a corporate level? Too exciting!


I had a great time with my friends, and then it was time to blow out the candles and make a wish. My wish was that next year’s birthday comes much slower—they come way too fast these days!

Birthday burger

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that food is very important to RSVPstyle. Anyone’s birthday is an excuse to go out to lunch. Finally it’s my turn!

I just celebrated my birthday last week, and the decision on where to go was pretty easy. Back to the Counter: A, because I love burgers and don’t eat them very often, and B, because Nicki and Megan are on summer break and would be coming along too.

Kara and Melissa are out of town, but Mari and Marie joined Lissa, me and the kids, and off we went to Kahala Mall. The burger was huge, as usual, but yummy, and yes, I did finish the whole thing.

Mari and Marie split a beef burger with blue cheese and cranberries as well as the special of the month, an ahi burger with greens and a wasabi aioli—a little too artsy-fartsy for me! Bacon, mushroom and cheese I think are all a true burger need.

Instead of my usual diet Coke, I decided to go with their mango mojito because we’d be making mojitos of our own in a few days. It was light, refreshing and yummy—the citrus taste went well with the ranch dripping off my bacon and cheese!

I got some great gifts, birthday kisses and a full tummy. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A star is born--or rather, six stars are born!

Finally, the day is here! It’s our long anticipated living room makeover show! But as beautiful as it is, the star is not the living room. It’s the quiet yet effective father of four, Chris Agena, and his bubbly and organized wife, Jo Ann.

Chris and Jo Ann are a totally typical Hawaii couple. He’s a postal worker, she’s a schoolteacher, and they’ve never been in front of a TV camera in their life. They’re the focus of the show: they learn the basic RSVPstyle design principles and transform their living room—with a little help from me—but their four kids manage to steal the show every time they’re on camera. >wink wink<>


With only seven weeks to design, remodel, decorate and film the entire grueling process, Chris and Jo Ann quickly learned the ropes of video production. They got used to the pose—being photographed displaying everything on their hands, feet and backs—so that when shooting of one scene continued on different days, they could show up wearing the exact same things. After the first day, Jo Ann learned to let us know whenever there was a shine on her nose, and I’d get out my compact and give her a quick touchup.


The first time we filmed their confessionals, we had them stand on top of apple crates to get the best angle. After that, Chris was always ready with those crates. Was he a great man about the house! If the crew couldn’t get around to doing something, whether it was touching up paint, screwing in light bulbs, even sewing—yes, I repeat, sewing—the curtains for his dining room, Chris was ready to volunteer.


Jo Ann kept her cell phone on standby and was always ready to field family emergencies, whether it was her mom calling about a sick uncle, or a message from the kids. In between takes, there she was, checking up on the kids and other relatives and still managing to run her household.

And although we spent little time with them on camera, we sure got to know the Agena kids pretty well, and boy, are they charmers and stars in their own right! Their friends have been telling them they’ve seen them on TV and in the newspaper, and now they’ll get their primetime TV debut!


One of my favorite moments was on the final day of filming, when we took this picture for a newspaper ad. I yelled, OK, everybody put your arms out! Chris, Jo Ann, Matthew and Caleb were at one end; at the other, I held Sarah’s hand. Little Noah, who always seems to have a special little smile for me, slyly pushed Sarah’s hand out of mine so that he could hold my hand instead. When Sarah said hey! and grabbed my hand back, I held both their hands in mine. It was a perfect way to keep the peace, get the shot and end the show—and it’s still a charmer of a memory for me.

Yes, the Agenas truly are stars, and they are ready for their hour in prime time!