Thursday, September 30, 2010

Catching up: May to September

Phew, I have a lot to catch you up on! Where do I even begin? Let’s start with one of my passions, shopping for furniture! You know me, I love to attend the annual Las Vegas Market to keep up with what’s happening in new furniture designs. Mel, Sam and I were there in July. In three days we ogled our way through three buildings of about 10 storeys each, something like 150 million square feet! My feet hurt just thinking about it. As for designs this year? Movement is still clean and contemporary, with lots of texture and metallics. Just what I love!

Right on the heels of that whirlwind was another trip to South Carolina to finalize details for our bedding and furniture lines. We met up once again with Travis and his family. Boy, am I learning a lot! And it’s a blast. I’m designing totally new textiles that are to be manufactured in coming months. I can’t wait for you to see them and will definitely keep you posted.

In early September we had the privilege of giving something back to the men and woman who give so much for our country. Being asked to do a mini decorating workshop at the Navy Exchange over Labor Day weekend was a thrill for all of us at RSVPstyle. As I did at Macy’s home department last year, I put together live onstage mini-vignettes of rooms for NEX shoppers. Military families are challenged with personalizing temporary housing, so for them I created different looks for bedroom, bathroom and living room. I loved that my mom and dad, a retired major in the U.S. Army, were able to be there. Click here to read more about that story.

Our website and company are built around inspiring people, so it was a real treat when Chaminade University asked me to speak to business students in the Hogan Entrepreneurial Program. I shared my experiences, insights, successes and failures, and most importantly, what I’ve learned through all of it. The best part was the end, when the students stood in line to shake my hand. Seeing their fresh faces and enthusiasm for the future they’re about to embark on reminded me of myself many, many, many years ago!

And now? I’ve done final tweaks for the bedding line. When our manufacturing plant in China is ready, I’ll go have a look at the samples. And tonight I’m writing a short thank you speech. My alma mater, Sacred Hearts Academy, has named me as one of its distinguished alumnae, and they’re honoring six of us at a dinner tomorrow night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It’s a lot to condense so many emotions and thoughts into 90 seconds, but I’m finding it’s a tremendous opportunity to reflect on all that’s been happening.

That’s it for the catch-up. I’ll keep you posted later with more!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today I had the best Mother's Day ever -- I got to spend it with Mom and Nicki! There's absolutely no better way to spend this special day than with the people you love the most, a point which I really appreciate, having been away from them for nearly a week.

On this beautiful day, I hope you were also able to spend time with the most special people in your lives. And to all you moms out there, I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Aloha from South Carolina!

For months now, my blogs have few and far between. Yes, I’ve been lazy, number one, but I have also been extremely preoccupied with two huge things that I couldn’t share until they were closer to reality.

The first is Cathy’s Collection. It’s a tremendous undertaking—an online marketplace for upscale new and gently used furniture and things for the home. You may have seen our first ad in the paper letting people know it’s coming and if you have any items to sell, go ahead and sign up! Our whole office and especially Lissa has been nurturing this project for months now, and it’s finally right around the corner!

Now these last few days, Lissa has also been holding down the fort along with Celsie, Sam and Chelsey, while Kara and I have been in South Carolina, working on our brand new bedding line! I can’t announce the details just yet, but when it comes out late this summer, this bedding line is going to be unlike anything that’s on the market!

We’re working with Travis Blackwood and his company, Trinity Source International. I just love these people! Travis and I, we’re like two peas in a pod! He’s like the male version of me. It was so funny, I rolled up the sleeve of my jacket, and the lining matches his shirt! Great minds think alike!

Kara and I had our first taste of real Southern food on our first night in South Carolina with Travis and his lovely wife Christy. We went to the Blue Fin restaurant in Spartanburg, and Kara and I both had the shrimp and grits—mmm-mmm, yummy! But probably the best dish of the night was the golden fried shrimp that Christy had.

The second day, Travis had me booked on Your Carolina, a morning talk show with Jack Roper and Kimberly Kelly that has an audience of about 300,000 people. So click on here and go about halfway through and you’ll find my interview, which is about five minutes.

So that was a lot of fun! We brought Jack and Kimberly fresh leis to show our aloha spirit, and of course traditional macadamia nut candies and Kona coffee that we gave them prior to the show—that put a big smile on their faces!

Dinner was at City Range Steakhouse Grill, where I had the bourbon pecan chicken (it looks half-eaten because I had a few bites before I remembered the camera! I tried to put it back together again). Kara had the brie and apple gouda sausage stuffed chicken breast. One of Trinity’s designers, Angela Lancaster, joined us.

Friday was just as exciting—we got to see where all the action happens at Trinity. They recently moved into their brand new facility, a 25,000-square-foot warehouse. Fifteen thousand feet of it is 40 feet high, which means they can stack racks and double the usable space. Another 3,500 square feet houses a showroom and offices. This is where our bedding will be distributed all over the country!

We miss our girls terribly. We try to catch them in the morning as they get ready for the day and we try to say good night. Our husbands seem to be doing just fine, but the girls miss their moms and we miss them even more!

You know, it’s funny, Southern charm and hospitality so reminds me of home and Hawaii. I’m even starting to say y’all a lot! So see you soon, y’all!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A very special thank you

I’m writing this blog on the road. Kara and I are on a quick business trip, and as usual, things are going a zillion miles an hour. But often in the last few days, my thoughts have been with The Honolulu Advertiser, and the people who have become our friends.

Two and a half years ago, when Lissa and I met Lee Webber for the first time, we were a tiny business with a ton of determination and not a lot of history. He listened to our vision, asked a few questions and while he didn’t say much, from that day he put his support behind us. As we’ve grown, the Honolulu Advertiser has been there, and I cannot say how much that has meant to us.

With his decision, Lee and the Honolulu Advertiser were not just supporting a fledgling local business. Lee also became a friend and mentor whose door was always open for me to get advice from and bounce ideas off. The sale of the Advertiser means Lee is retiring, but to me he will always remain a friend and mentor.

Clint Schroeder, Tom Kunz and his wife Amy, Mark and Sara Platte all have a special place in our hearts as well. In the ad department, Stella and Dora have been more than patient with our many requests for deadline extensions—and believe me, this has been appreciated!

For Lissa especially, having left the Advertiser’s IT department to start up RSVPstyle with me, the end of the paper hits close to home. Like a lot of people, neither of us would ever have believed that our hometown would one day lose a newspaper that not only we, but our parents and grandparents grew up reading. And like a lot of people, we look forward to what the new paper will bring.

As the Advertiser merges with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin into a new Honolulu Star-Advertiser, we want to say a very heartfelt and personal thank you to all our friends at the Advertiser. From all of us at RSVPstyle, best wishes and good luck to everyone.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A heartfelt (and belated) thank you!

I’d have to say this has probably been the craziest month of my life—going straight from preparing for our most intensive workshop ever, right into preparing for a Traditional Home magazine interview, photo and video shoot that I’ll tell you about in another blog. Seriously, it was so crazy that at times I thought I was going to have to be institutionalized!

For us the workshop was bittersweet, because while it was fun to launch our new mini-room demos with new sponsors Central Pacific Bank, whose Blenn Fujimoto and crew were amazing, this was also our last workshop with longtime sponsor The Honolulu Advertiser at our side.

Another longtime supporter, Macy’s and Deena Nichols, provided lots of props that I used to create the mini-rooms.

But really, there are so many people to recognize. Sam Brewer and Melanie Kyker worked tirelessly for two weeks prior, running around gathering nearly 100 items to use onstage. The two of them really were my left and right hands in pulling together the pieces, and Melissa Daley Shipman joined them in helping me on workshop day. Douglas Simmons put off his knee surgery so he could help out—now that’s commitment! Thanks also to Juan Rubalcaba from Matador Painting, who painted our ‘walls’ for that day, and The Dudes—Al Ness and Nick Ybl—for constructing our set, and Jay Rea and Wisteria Lane for providing our beautiful onstage wood floor.

Helping out at the office were Celsie Day and Chelsea Sponsler. And I have to mention Melissa Blake from Your Perfect Party and Designed to Perfection, who has become part of our events team and who put together the most beautiful flower arrangements for me to use onstage.

Behind the beautiful directory/workbook that everyone got—not one single copy was left behind at the Convention Center, and that says a lot—were WavenDean Fernandez and Mike Portillo from Mana Brand Marketing, and of course Mari Taketa, our editor who is always right!

Photographers David Cornwell and Dave Rezendes captured some amazing images that you can see in this slideshow. And of course James Brennan, our director who has been with us since day one, and his crew did an amazing job with our Jumbotron projection.

Melissa Chang, our Twitter bird, organized a pre-workshop Twitter contest. It was great to see all the Tweets and Twitpics going out from the workshop! Thanks Melissa and all you Tweeters, I loved your Tweets—keep chirping!

I can’t mention all the sponsors who either participated or donated a prop to use onstage in my demos. We appreciate every one of our Experts.

If I missed any of you, I’m sorry, it’s been a crazy month. But it was a great event—thank you all for your wonderful comments and feedback! It’s great to know how much you enjoyed our new format and how many of you said what a difference it made and that you left feeling inspired, with actually a vision of what you want to create at home. I’m so thrilled to hear that, because that has always been my goal!

And finally and most importantly, I would not have my sanity if it weren’t for the insane hours put in by RSVPstyle’s Lissa Rodrigues and Kara Wagner—you guys are awesome!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

90mph again!

In my work as a design diva who teaches people how to bring style to their spaces, no production is bigger than a workshop. Not only do we put on these all-day affairs for hundreds of attendees, we also combine them with tradeshows featuring dozens of businesses and booths. And you know me, no event is a success unless everybody has fun, so we always jazz up our workshops with high-energy games and fantastic prizes!

This is exactly what I’m in the midst of preparing for. And this time I’m adding a twist: I'll be turning into a magician (of sorts), because I’m going to create beautiful spaces right up onstage before everyone’s eyes! I got the idea from an event we did at Macy’s, where I did this and people came up afterward and said how great it was to see design concepts come to life.

The workshop’s coming up fast—it’ll be on April 10 at the Hawaii Convention Center! Aaaahhhh! Lissa, Kara and I are already going 90mph getting ready. It’s going to be fun, fast and furious. Look for our half-page ad in the Island Life section of this Sunday’s Honolulu Advertiser.

Meanwhile, it's almost the end of the workday and I've still got places to go, things to do, people to see! Aaaahhh!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sin City, here I come!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet because I’m packing my bags—yeah baby, I’m off to Vegas!

No, it’s not what you think! I’m not there to roll the dice or bet on the Super Bowl. Even better, I’m going to World Market Center for the Home Furnishings Las Vegas Market.

What’s that? It is an industry convention and trade show for designers, buyers and retailers, but mainly it’s an opportunity to buy furniture. It can be overwhelming because the show occupies floor upon floor in building after building. There are thousands upon thousands of people, and the displays of furniture and accessories and lighting just go on and on and on!

So it can be overwhelming, but for anyone in the industry, it’s beyond fabulous! I can’t wait, it’s so much fun, like being a kid in a candy store.

I know you’re going to want to take a peek too, so I’ll be sure to send you some pics from Vegas! And who knows, maybe I’ll have a go at the slot machines! Ciao, baby!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's Hot: A one-of-a-kind fashion show!

I’m getting hot just thinking about it! What, you ask? Our What’s Hot in 2010 Home and Business Trend Fashion Show that we had at our business mixer last week.

mix networking

We had our first Mix It Up! event of the year at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii last Thursday, and it was smoking! Almost 300 people showed up to mix business with fun. There were delicious pupus, and as always, fun networking games to get the crowd mingling and getting people to meet our online experts.

mix heidi

mix game

We even had booths where companies could display their products and services—the biggest and the best belonging to Central Pacific Bank and Central Pacific HomeLoans, our presenting sponsors for the night.

mix cpb

The big winner of the night was Chuck Allen, who won a $1500 diamond and blue topaz pendant from Dale Cripps and Mihye Cortese of Dale Cripps Antiques and Treasures, longtime sponsors of RSVPstyle events.

mix necklace winner

But the highlight of the evening was our What’s Hot in 2010 fashion show. You know me, I like to do creative, out-of-the box, crazy things, and this was no exception! I emceed as our participating experts worked the runway, showcasing what’s going to be hot in their fields in the coming year. And boy, did they rock the stage!

mix cathyThere was all kinds of action, from Jeff Fox of Kahala Associates throwing money into the crowd to show how he can put money back into your pocket, to Tracy Wright Corvo, who brought out adorable models to illustrate how to adorn your walls with giant art photographs of your child. They were so cute as they paraded onto the stage with their photos in front of their faces.

mix photog

One of the most creative was American Carpet One, showing why Karndine flooring is hot: It can withstand pets, spike heels and babies, and on top of all that, it’s water-resistant! Very clever.

So if you missed out on all the fun and excitement of this Mix It Up!, be sure to make time for the next. As I always say, Who says you can’t mix business with fun?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy (belated) 2010!

Where has the time gone? It almost seems too late to say happy new year—but Happy New Year!

2010 is already going by way too fast. My apologies for not posting sooner. To give you an idea of why, it’s almost 10:00 at night, and we’re still here at the office preparing for Thursday night’s event.

It’s our first big one of the year, a new feature for us, our Mix It Up! business-to-business event. It’s to get businesspeople together to network and do some business in this tough economy. There’s going to be pupus, cocktails—and you know me and games, love ‘em!—and networking games to make sure people are circulating and having a good time.

I’m very excited because we’re doing a first-of-its-kind home and business trend fashion show. What is that? I’m glad you asked. Being that it’s the first month of the year, I’ve asked some of our online experts for their predictions of what’s going to be hot in 2010. I’m going to give you a sneak peek of what’s coming down the catwalk on Thursday.

Color Me Devine is going to strut their predictions for the hottest colors of 2010. I can’t give it all away, but 2010’s accent colors will include apricots, turquoises and aquas.

American Carpet One is going to feature their ever-popular Karndine flooring. I heard that to show how durable it is, they’re even going to have a dog walk down the Karndine runway. How cute is that?

Central Pacific Bank and Central Pacific HomeLoans are the presenting sponsors. Here’s a hint at what they’ll be doing: CPB is cooking up a recipe for success, and their HomeLoans Division is doing double-duty as superheroes!

It’s going to be fun, I can’t wait, but right now I’m totally stressed out. My next blog, I’ll show you all the highlight photos and let you in on all the fun. We’ll have fabulous prizes—I’ll show you those pics too. But for now, back to work!