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!