Archive for December, 2011

Ask Tobi

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Q: Tobi, I loved your list of non-goals last year. Is this something you will be practicing again? It was so inspiring.  Thanks for bringing me inspiration all year long! Happy New Year.   Amanda, New York, New York


A: Thanks Amanda.  I, too, loved my non-goals post last year.  I got the idea from this creative blogger and it turned out to be so inspirational to so many people. And the answer is yes, I am excited to create my non-goals for this year too.  Thanks so much to you and everyone for reading my blog this year.  It means so much that I can be an inspiration to you all. Without further adieu, let’s get to those non-goals… 

 Non-goals are those habits or practices that you have that are great.  They are the things you love about you. You’ve already mastered them and would hate to change them. They are the things about yourself you should celebrate and if you are accomplishing your goals each year, then your list of non-goals should also be growing.

Last year was my first acknowledgment of my non-goals.  And I loved them so much, I think they are worth re-reading if you missed them. But now that I am a pro at them, I wanted to take it a step further and build my non-goals around my strengths.

Fortunately, I have just been reading that great book Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath. The premise is that the world is really focused on our shortcomings and makes us think we should fix all our weaknesses. But instead shouldn’t we just be focusing more time on our strengths? those things that we do well? Our A-game? And not wasting a minute on those things that aren’t?

Well now that I know now what my top 5 strengths are: Activator, Achiever, Futuristic, Maximizer, and Significance, I think I’ll focus on really cashing in on them next year.  So I thought it would be fun to write my non-goals around my strengths and then maybe it would help me focus on my plan to make the most out of these traits of mine all next year.

 And if this is your first attempt at writing non-goals, your strength finders report will give you a cheat-sheet of sorts so you can take what they tell you about yourself and just put it into a fun and energetic voice.

So here they are, my Strength Finder 2.0 non-goals for 2012…

1. Activator–Tobi, you have a knack for making decisions quickly and putting them into action. While most people are still trying to figure out what they should do, you are already 10 steps on your way. Keep it up, my friend and your 2012 year in review will be even more impressive than 2011.


2. Achiever–Hard Work is your middle name, my dear. You never shy away from doing whatever it takes to realize your goals and dreams. And short-cuts aren’t even an option. Your mama always said anything worth doing is worth doing well. Your mantra is the 3 P’s…Persistence, Perseverance, and Positive Attitude and if you keep these up, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

3. Futuristic–Well Miss Big Thinker, you are inspired and motivated by your thoughts of the future. You spend so much time planning for all the things you will achieve in the coming weeks, months, and years, there’s no wonder you actually make them happen! There’s nothing you like better than brainstorming with your progressive thinking friends. Well, don’t stop now. You know how the saying goes…you are the average of the 5 people you hang around with most, so keep spending time with those cutting-edge peeps and you won’t just be wishing upon a star, you’ll be holding them in your hands!

4. Maximizer–Hello, Rainmaker! You are really skilled at taking things from good to great! You regularly generate more big ideas than others and you have a gift for finding the right words and stories to express your view points and emotions. Surrounding yourself with supportive people is your habit and distancing yourself from those not-so-supportive ones is too.  These practices will ensure you keep your eye on the ball and before long those chunks of coal with be shining like diamonds!

5. Significance–You have a reputation for wanting to succeed, be noticed, and make a good impression on others…what’s wrong with that?  You are driven to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Keep it up, lady because in the design and blog world’s, setting yourself apart is what really pays off! And don’t stop embracing those people in the world who are different from the crowd. You all bring out the best in one another and it shows!

So there you have it! My non-goals for 2012 based on all the things I learned about myself in Tom Rath’s great book! I always knew I had these traits, but there is something so validating about hearing them written in such positive ways.

 If you haven’t taken the Strength Finders quiz, now would be a great time to do so.  There is a code in the back of the book and you go on line for the assessment.  I purchased the book on my iPad through my Kindel app so the code was emailed to me through . The best news about that is that you can get it even at midnight, right from the comfort of your easy chair like I did.

Starting the New Year with a whole new awareness of what your strengths are could help you make better choices all next year. And instead of spending loads of time trying to get better at things that don’t come naturally to you, why not spend all your efforts on enhancing those gifts you already possess?!?! Instead of trying to go from bad to good, why not choose good to great!

Happy New Year and Good Luck becoming of better version of Y-O-U! You are already fabulous and I look forward to getting even better with you all 12 months of 2012.

See you there! xoxo, Tobi


2011 Year in Review

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Every year I take a day at the end of December to celebrate all the exciting things that have happened in my life and career over the last 12 months.  Last year was so exciting that it seemed as if I just couldn’t top it.  But I also thought that the year before. And what’s exciting is that every year seems better and more blessed than the one that came before it.

So please take a journey with me across 2011 while I reminisce about the things that I am most grateful for this year.

January started off with a bang as I followed my beloved Razorbacks to the Sugar Bowl with my family. With my birthday thrown in this month and lots of resolutions and strategic planning, January seemed to fly by. My favorite thing that happened that month is I added sponsors to my blog and I was so thrilled with the vendors that came on board with us to showcase their products. A special thank-you goes out to everyone who advertised with us this year.

February was full of fun with the launch of my new Design Camp website and a trip to L.A. to be a keynote speaker, along with my friend, the great Jan Showers, at the inaugural Design Bloggers Conference.

In March, I took my consulting business to the next level and launched my very first Mastermind coaching group. It went so well we are just about to launch into year 2.

Then Luxe Magazine included me in their Winter issue which was amazing.

April was absolutely crazy with an invitation to the prestigious Design Leadership Summit with the World’s Top Designers in Copenhagen shown here with my friends Ronda, Phillip, and Rob and my new friends Malcolm, Tammy, Jay, Oliver, and Joel. Then I headed straight to a panel discussion at High Point Market, participating in “My Market” for the High Point Market Authority. 

April also meant doing a tabletop design for the second year in a row for Lenox Hill. This year I used my new fabrics and this great candlabra designed by my friend Stacy, for the New York City Charity the Lenox Hill Gala chaired by my friend Christopher .

This month as I continued my Design Time with Tobi Fairley segments for the second year, I launched my first-ever Room Rescue Contest.

Also in April was a beautiful feature in Southern Living of a kitchen project I designed.

My DIY design service InBox Interiors was featured in the inaugural issue of Trad Home, the hot new digitial magazine collaboration between Traditional Home and Lonny Magazine.

Nate Berkus was kind enough to include one of my projects on his show in April.  Thanks, Nate! And another great big thanks goes to one of my very favorite magazines, Canadian Home + Home, for naming me to their list of “Design Sites We Love“.  I love you to CH+H!!

May was definitely a highlight of the year as my home debuted in Traditional Home magazine.

In May I also attended Kravet’s first Blogfest 2011 which was fabulous by the way.

As a result I discovered that I was featured on 7 pages of House Beautiful’s new Blue Book.

May also was the month for lots of blog features including the great interview by HGTV Design Star winner Kim Myles, a feature with blogging great Emily A. Clark, and a fun rustic feature on Bubble and Squeak.

June marked the launch of my gig writing for Williams Sonoma’s Designer Marketplace. You can see all my articles with Williams Sonoma to date over here.

In July I had my very first (and very successful) One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale and a fun feature on the Huffington Post

I spoke at the Atlanta market to some fabulous designers and retailers. I then had dinner with HGTV designer Courtney Novogratz and all the ladies from America’s Mart which was great fun.

I designed a room in the prestigious Traditional Home Magazine Hampton Designer Showhouse with lots of gorgeous furniture from Hickory Chair, lovely fabrics from Schumacher, “killer” lamps from Swank Lighting, and artwork by Soicher Marin. A big thank-you to my sweet friend Lisa at Hamptontoes for her gorgeous feature of my showhouse space and all these great vendors who helped me bring my showhouse space to life.

August started off with a speaking engagment at the Las Vegas market for Luxe Magazine with my friend, NYC designer Amanda Nisbet and the fabulous designers of Brown Davis. Since President Clinton was also speaking at the market, our topic was Presidential Style.

Then I rolled into September with more than I could keep up with including a great feature on eBay’s Inside Source called Fairley Fabulous, my first guest post on my friend P. Allen Smith’s new blog, and lots of travel.  But the big news for the month was my Cover and fabulous feature in the September issue of At Home in Arkansas.

And let me not forget the lovely spread in Southern Lady Magazine, and the thrill to win 3 Gold Awards and the coveted Ovation Award for the second year in a row at the ASID South Central Chapter conference.

October didn’t slow down a bit with a fabulous trip to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee with the Design Investors.

I had the privilege of helping my dear friend Kathryn Greeley launch her new book in New York at the fabulous Archivia Books and we had great friends join us at the signing like Michael and Thomas.

Then I headed to High Point Market for a panel discussion and a keynote address sponsored by ASID and the High Point Market Authority.

But especially exciting was my launch for the centennial celebration at Hickory Chair Furniture of my fabrics, pillows, and lighting. (photo courtesy of Hickory Chair and their Albert Sack Collection)

 And celebrating my launch with many friends like Barry Dixon was so special.

I was very excited to win the top spot as a High Point Market Style Spotter on Pinterest.

After months in the making, I launched my all new e-commerce site Tobi Fairley Home in October. And this month,  I started a regular guest spot on The Collected Room with Kathryn Greeley.

I also received some very exciting press in October including being the Elle Decor Design Registry Designer of the Day and this fabulous press on of my new fabric, pillows and lighting.

In November I launched my holiday pillows on Tobi Fairley Home.

InBox Interiors was featured on in a great article on e-Design Products.

Plus I launched my all-new, all-inclusive Design Camp A to Z which brought almost 40 campers from 13 states across the U.S. and even a camper from Canada plus a pink limousine.

December brought this amazing year to a close with another fantastic feature in Southern Living of one of my very favorite dining rooms. 

And At Home in Arkansas also gave me another great feature showcasing my mom’s holiday decor  which included a give-away for my new holiday pillow line.

In December, At Home also introduced my brand new monthly blog column Color Confidential:Top Tips from Tobi Fairley where I will be writing about color each and every month. Wow! Thanks At Home for all you do for me.

I also concluded another great year of column in print with AY Magazine this year and if the year wasn’t fabulous enough already, I just got two fab new Design projects that I can’t wait to reveal to you in 2012. What a way to end the year! It certainly seems like the economy even here in Arkansas is  finally opening up a bit. Now if that isn’t a Christmas wish come true, I don’t know what is!

Whew! And we sometimes think we aren’t getting anything done at the office.

So at the end of this very exciting year, I want to take another moment to thank once again all my sponsors, all the vendors, bloggers, and magazines that have featured me this year and each and every one of you, my faithful readers, who support my blog and all that I do.  I am continuously amazed at how many of you follow me and encourage my efforts so unconditionally.  There is no way I could ever thank you enough.

I look forward to a glorious 2012 with you all. I have so much in store that I can’t wait to share with you including my second One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag sale coming in just a few weeks.

Happy New Year! xo, Tobi

Post-Holiday Organizing with Spectrum Organizing

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Today I’m excited to have Suzi here from Spectrum Organizing to get us all organized and ready for a clutter-free 2012!  Tobi


With the holidays behind us and a sparkling new year ahead, it’s fun to spend this time imagining new possibilities for 2012, not only for our lives, but for our homes as well.


Seasonal Storage

Take this opportunity to reevaluate your current storage solutions while gathering your holiday decorations to put away. Keep in mind that holiday items are only used a few weeks, but take up storage space 11 months of the year. Consider the following insights to improve the efficiency of your seasonal storage.

1. Wrap strands of lights around cardboard to prevent tangling and store in a sturdy plastic container. Extension cords used with the lights can be included in the same container to expedite next year’s holiday decorating. (image via
2. Fragile keepsake ornaments can be stored safely in an ornament storage box by Snapware® which includes 3 modular stackable trays with dividers that separate and hold up to 48 ornaments.
3. Store long rolls of gift wrapping paper in a storage box that slides easily under a bed. (Iris Gift Wrap Box via
4. Conveniently store sterling silver and silver-plated holiday ornaments and tableware in zippered bags or flapped pouches that prevent tarnish! They’re offered in a variety of sizes by SilverGuard and are surprisingly affordable.
5. Shred leftover remnants of gift wrapping paper to cushion fragile holiday ornaments for storage. (image via
6. Containers designed with straight sides can help maximize your storage space. They hold more in the same space than containers with tapered sides. Visibly label each storage container with a description of its contents for quick and easy identification. Make good use of those little silica gel packets found in your shoe boxes. Drop them into your storage containers to absorb moisture that may occur, especially in humid climates.


New Storage Strategies

Some of your newly acquired gifts from the holiday season may require new storage strategies if you’re unable to find places for them in your home. While making room for your new things, there’s no better time to enhance the style and functionality of your closets and other storage systems.

1. Slim velvet flocked hangers are only a quarter of an inch thick and designed to maximize your closet’s hanging space. The non-slip feature is a bonus. (image via Container Store)
2. Storing handbags in storage ottomans or a storage bench at the foot of your bed can free up valuable closet space and provide additional seating. (image via
3. Houndstooth upholstered storage bench (image via Elle Decor)


Think Creatively

Regard your storage spaces as actual rooms. Make thoughtful choices in the details with lighting, paint color, and storage furnishings that coordinate. These areas include, but are not limited to closets for clothing, linens, and household supplies. Think creatively and incorporate labels as a design element. Labels help to ensure that items are easily found and returned to their proper places.

1. Labeled roll-out shelves help accessories stay organized and easy to find at a glance. (image via
2. Shelf labels designate specific spots to store different categories of clothing in your closet. (image via Real Simple)
3. Linen closet shelf labels encourage family members to return items to their designated spots and stay beautifully organized. (image via

Here’s to an organized 2012!

Spectrum Organizing: Click Here


KATV Design Time with Tobi Fairley

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Today on KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas, I highlighted some of the top Design Time with Tobi Fairley segments for 2011.  Here’s a recap of 2011…


To brighten up the winter months, back in January I gave my tips for creating a coastal look in your home. 




I shared my secrets to finding inspiration and creating an inspiration board on February’s segement.




The month of March found me showing Good Morning Arkansas viewers how to get “The Look for Less.”




April was the month that I revealed the very first “Room Rescue Plan.”  I gave my tips for giving a new look to an outdated kitchen.




In the month of May it was all about outdoor style.  Check out the blog post here



Bathrooms are one of the top rooms to remodel in your home.  In June, I gave my tips for creating beautiful bathrooms.




It was time to reveal another Room Rescue Plan in July.  This time I created a plan for a master bathroom in need.




 During the August segment, I showcased a step-by-step DIY project turning flea market nesting tables into stylish furniture pieces for today.




September found me showing Good Morning Arkansas viewers how to get their homes ready for fall.

Autumn box display 



It was exciting to reveal a completed Room Rescue Plan in October.  My winner from the April segment executed the tips laid out in the plan.



Gearing up for the holidays, in November I showed the hottest color trend of the season – Ruby and Turquoise!



Thanks to everyone at KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas for another fun year!

xo Tobi