Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kitchen disaster

On Design Star, they call it the dreaded kitchen challenge, and for very good reason. The second episode of my favorite show was really disappointing.

Not one contestant, in my opinion, truly stepped up and showed their talent. One team finished, but the end result looked amateurish, and the other team did not even complete their kitchen.

The homeowners who got a completed kitchen had asked for a Moroccan/Mediterranean theme. Accessorizing is my favorite part, but it looked like the design team went shopping at Ross and picked out everything that had a mosaic or was red or green. The guy in charge of accessorizing was Jason, who brags a lot, but his staging skills leave a lot to be desired. Has he never heard of the concept less is more?

Had the losing team finished their concept, I think they would have won. But they had very poor time management and execution. Their leader, Amy, was voted off because she was a weak leader, crumbled under the pressure, and really didn’t step up herself.

However, I did not feel that she was the one who should have been let go. Tashica was in the bottom two again, and I think it was definitely her time to go. So Tashica, you better step up, because three strikes and you’re out!

The losing team’s kitchen was so poorly executed, and it belonged to a real family that was pinning their hopes on the quality of the design contestants on the show. But cabinets weren’t set properly, counters weren’t aligned and baseboards were missing, so Clive actually announced that an HGTV crew would be going in to clean up the work. The losing team all looked like they just wanted to hide.

I've tried to post pictures, but for some reason that's not working for me this week. But you can see the results for yourself if you go to

So, sad to say, I give my favorite show two thumbs down for this week. Let’s hope things get better this Sunday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's gonna be good!

Did you tune in on Sunday night to HGTV’s Design Star? If you didn’t, you missed out—the show was fabulous! It blew away last season by a mile, and let me tell you why: Everything was better—the judges, the contestants, and the design. And the home that they’re staying in!

Judges Candace Olsen, Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder were brutally honest, fair and very helpful in their critiques. One contestant even mentioned in the waiting room after being ripped to shreds that she learned more listening to the judges than she had in school.

All in all, the contestants seem better, stronger and more interesting than last season’s lot. I’ll just mention what I thought were the best and worst designs of the week.


First, the worst. NataLee and Tashica’s room was unfinished and poorly executed. Crybaby NataLee got booted off, and deservedly so. However, I do not believe they had the worst design. They had a decent concept and design, they just could not execute it well. I still think Natalie should have been voted off, but in my opinion the worst design belonged to Jason and Jen. They tried to be unique and interesting, but their design fell flat. After they explained, in response to puzzled questions, that the room was designed with a National Geographic writer in mind, Candace Olsen even said that no space should have to be explained. It didn’t make any sense, it wasn’t functional, and it wasn’t designed well. There was one lonely chair in a corner, a chair at a desk was way too small. A room can be interesting and over the top, but still cohesive.

The best design, hands down, belonged to Dan and Nathan. My prediction: These will be the guys to beat. They both seemed cool and collected, had good vision and execution, they worked well together, and right away came up with the brilliant idea of going bold with a wall mural that Nathan drew from one wall down to the floor and up the other wall. Simply amazing. Dramatic, beautiful and in his word, chaotic.


They balanced that chaotic feel with wood planks on an adjacent wall that added something natural and with more symmetry. And Dan built a big, bold, white dining table that grounded the space and created balance, because it was such a big space with a lot of chaotic pattern. It blew me away. All the judges loved it.

The worst idea of the show was allowing the 10 contestants to pick their 11th cast mate. They brought in three more design contestants, each said a few words and showed their body of work and credentials. Then the 10 contestants cast their blind votes. Obviously they weren’t going to pick the best possible challenger. They voted in the least threatening, who became the final contestant, Torie. The strongest one by far, who should have been on the show, was the brunette.

So, if you didn’t get a chance to tune in, I’m telling you, this is a show to watch! Check it out this Sunday night—and let me know what you thought!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time for Design Star!


I saw a commercial the other day that got me jumping off the sofa. The new season of HGTV’s Design Star is starting this Sunday. I love that show! Do you love that show?

The first year’s winner was cutie-pie David Bromstad. You remember him, the guy who couldn’t keep his shirt on? Men and women all appreciated him taking it off, but that got to be old news after a while. He won Season 1, and that was a very well-deserved win.

The Season 2 winner was Kim Myles. She now has her show, Myles of Style. She’s got a great smile and personality and good design sensibilities as well. Both of them seem to have done very well with their own shows.

But hmmm, whatever happened to Season 3’s winner? Come to think of it, I cannot even remember who won last season! I think it came down to two people who I wasn’t all that excited about, and one of them won. So I guess that tells you that not everybody is cut out to be a design star.


Hopefully this season will have a better group of candidates. I’m always amazed at the challenges they come up with, and how the designers are able to pull off some pretty incredible rooms in the short time frames they’re given. It’s drama, it’s catty, it’s over the top, and it’s fabulous!

The show will be on HGTV Sunday nights at 10/9 Central. I’ll be tuning in and giving you my thoughts, and I want to hear what you thought also!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tastes like America

Happy 4th of July! As you enjoy hot dogs, fireworks and barbecues with your families, let's take a moment to think of those men and women in uniform who are fighting to keep our country free so that we can celebrate and enjoy Independence Day!


On Thursday, Iolani School (where Nicki and Megan are spending their summer) held their 4th of July parade, and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from that day.


The theme was Always Faithful. The program started with all the classes marching around the football field while the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band played a variety of patriotic songs on the field. Uncle Sam, one of the students dressed in a cute costume, was the emcee and he took a turn at conducting the band.


Besides all the parents and grandparents, you had the famous "Go for Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team from World War II taking part as well!

There was song and dance, and music that filled you with pride. But I must admit, my biggest moment of pride was when Nicki took her place on the field. You see, she was one of three students asked to recite her poem about America, and here it is:


A Recipe for America
By Nicki Lee

Mix fireworks and hamburgers in a White House bowl,
Add blueberries and strawberries and put them in whole.
Add a tablespoon of Democracy and a teaspoon of pie,
Then mix it and stir it, and watch the Bald Eagle fly!
Stir in the Liberty Bell and Yellowstone Park,
And make sure to say, "HI" to Amelia Earhart.
Add a bit of freedom and President Obama,
And when you are done, it should taste like America!!

See, even a 9-year-old knows what America tastes like ... yes, freedom is delicious!