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Heather ponders Aviva's invites, Sonja's business, and LuAnn's attitude.

By Heather Thomson

Funny how much things change in a week. . .

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LuAnn and Jacques' wine tasting party was a lot more fun than it looked. Jon and I brought my friend, Alexandra Elman who also produces her own wine label "Alex Elman Wines," and I learned a great deal that evening.

Ramona Knows Her Wines

I for one, certainly did not see the essence taste test as a set up against Ramona. Jacques was maybe having a bit of fun teasing Ramona, but I felt the point was to promote her wine at his party and show everyone that be it an expensive white Bordeaux or a Ramona Pinot Grigio -- all good wines have layers that appeal to different senses on the palette and I learned from the experience. The best part was that Ramona excelled and proving to all that she knows her stuff and she had fun with it too. I certainly didn't see it as a mean prank and I don't know why Aviva chose to stir the pot. . .but what I do know is that I want off the Ramona-coaster! I've always said we don't have to skip down Pinot Grigio lane together, but this is silly and I just wish we could be more comfortable around each other and just keep it moving but I guess it is just going to take more time or. . .not.

I asked Sonja to meet up at my Yummie offices so James Bernard and I could present her with the graphic options we had worked up on her logo. I agreed to help Sonja create the proper architecture for her brand and to creative direct a marketing campaign that hopefully will her help her sell a ton of toaster ovens! Go Sonja! James and I have partnered on many projects and we make a strong team and I am grateful he agreed to partner with me as art director. It's feel good to lend your expertise to help out a friend and as James and I sat over coffee discussing it, we both felt excited because we know we can help her.

We needed to get started by getting feedback on the fonts we designed for Sonja's umbrella brand concept (housing both Sonja Home and Sonja in the City catering), and to possibly select one to start the process. What you don't know is that I had already given James initial direction on the project and insight into Sonja.

I purposefully told James not to research Sonja and not to go on her website right off the bat, I actually didn't want James to see what I had seen when I visited her site. The images of Sonja with the leather gloves and the "S" and "M" burnt onto toast frankly speaking, were a bit scary and I wanted him to approach this project with an unbiased opinion and fresh eyes and to meet her in person first.

After visiting several appliance retailers, I also concluded my earliest concerns: that Sonja's toaster oven will have to stand-out on the shelf in a competitive set of credible, big name appliance companies and this means we will have to create a campaign that is driven by the marketing and not necessarily the product. I spoke to James about this and some of my earliest creative ideas for Sonja's campaign. There are a lot of elements that go into a successful product launch and much Sonja will have to address to build a successful brand. I have a ton of questions for her, but, for now, my focus is on the creative and I felt the logo selection meeting was the right place to introduce James and Sonja. And yes -- she did pull her toaster oven prototype out of a suitcase. Everything is just perfect!! I know from experience that the logo she chose will translate perfectly across all her product lines and can be applied to the several creative concepts I plan to show her. Sonja is new to business and she needs to learn that you have to put your emotions on the back burner when making key decisions. You have to think big picture and long term. I know she is going to be successful, but she's got a lot to learn. It took me years to get where I am now, and I've made many mistakes along the way. What I am trying to do is help her avoid the same mistakes I made. This is a real process and you will see us navigate through it in the upcoming episodes and I promise, there will be ups and downs and bumps along this journey. I have a feeling, the Somonja coaster is now about to begin for me, so stay tuned for that!

Coffee with LuAnn downtown gave me the chance to start a conversation about the issues some of the ladies are having with her strong personality. What could be better than bonding over having our brows done!?! I love Boom Boom Brows and had a blast watching Lu scream as they waxed her brows into total perfection.

LuAnn is truly a beautiful woman and she needs to know that her confidence can be intimidating to others. She isn't aware of what others' perception of her can sometimes be, and I simply want her to step back and share the spotlight more with others. I haven't quite gotten that point through to her yet, but I am trying because I see thru her Countess "M.O." and I adore Lu. I want the others to see through it and feel the same way too. Overhearing what Carole had to say to her friend Ranjana Khan was proof that LuAnn is rubbing people the wrong way. But, Carole shouldn't sweat the small stuff, allowing the petty things to get under her skin. I am not sure how endearing pumpkin head really is? And I feel a direct line with LuAnn might be a better approach to Carole's frustration. We'll see if the Princess decides to take that route with the Countess.

Miami. . .I guess turnabout is fair play, and I am certainly not upset that neither LuAnn nor me were invited along. But I am compelled to point out the obvious: how is it that Aviva can choose her guest list for Miami and exclude whomever she chooses while I was demonized for leaving Ramona behind on the trip to London? Maybe you see it differently. . .I would love to hear your feedback on it!

Thanks so much for tuning into the show each week! I love all your comments and your tweets! For more on me and my shapewear company, check out Facebook,, and And please remember to go to to be an organ donor.

Love to you all,


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