Archive for April, 2013

Committing to the BEST life, not just a good one!

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I have a confession to make. I find myself back in a place that is not exactly where I want to be. Thats right. Although I have changed SO much in my life with regard to being healthy and happy, I struggle so very much with saying NO to amazing opportunities and saying YES to a schedule and a life that support me at being my BEST!


You see, I hate to complain because I am nearing the end of 8 weeks of what looks like a dream life. It went something like this…Sunny Los Angeles fun with friends with some work thrown in, a 10-day Disney family vacation and cruise, a dream trip to Berlin with the world’s top designers and architects, High Point Market which is like Fashion Week for the Design Industry…a hot spot for seeing and being seen,  and now I’m rounding it all out with a quick trip to my favorite place, New York City, for a party with THE Martha Stewart tomorrow night to launch my friend Ronda’s book which I happen to be featured in. And yes, every single one of these experiences in and of themselves have been dreamy and amazing. But I am happy to say (albeit a bit embarrassed to admit) that the 2 months of crazy, insane travel are almost over.



Why embarrased you ask? Well I think it’s the “Be Careful what you wish for” syndrome. You know…You just might get everything you ask for, right? And I seem to have an uncanny knack for making all my “dreams” come true. It’s fantastic. It’s empowering. It’s “dreamy”, really. But at the end of the day, it’s hard to maintain the calm, healthy, lifestyle that I want and keep this “movie star” schedule too.


So what’s a girl to do? Well this girl is faced with some choices. This girl needs to get REAL with what I want and get serious about what that really looks like. It’s time to finally commit for good, to living my BEST life, not just a good (or even a great one). Did you hear that…MY BEST LIFE!!! So what the heck does that look like for me? And to what do I need to say goodbye?


Well I can at the very least say I am making great strides. I am much closer to MY BEST, than I have ever been. You see, just last week at High Point Market, instead of killing myself (and my team) for 5 days seeing every conceivable showroom and product in town, I paced myself. I worked for a few hours each day in as effective a schedule as possible but with VERY specific quitting times and lots of self-care. I mixed in AMAZING yoga in Greensboro (I can’t wait to tell you about the yoga wall!!) and I went to the Spa for a glorious and relaxing facial and an hour of lying (and sleeping) in “the nest”–a big comfy daybed with hoards of pillows, sheer drapery all around, ethereal music and hot tea. And I took my team with me for these self-care experiences. Did we miss seeing several showrooms and favorite vendors because of our “time outs”?…of course we did. But at the end of the day, to have the life I really want, I MUST make these decisions where I put myself first before all else. And can I rotate and see those amazing showrooms I missed on my next market trip…of course! And having that sort of attitude is the key to finally living a balanced life.


So how many of you are feeling SO over-worked and imbalanced again even though you swore that you would never go back to that place? I know, me too.  But what I have learned AGAIN (why do some lessons take so long to sink in?!) is that it’s not a one-time fix. There is no vaccination for a balanced life. Rather, it is a life-long quest that has to be continually revisited and tweaked to stay in that “sweet spot” you dream of. It takes effort to live your BEST life. But it is SO worth it.


And the BEST news…each time you make strides, you are closer to staying on track and balanced than ever before. And each time you “fall off the wagon”, it takes less time to notice and get back on.


I knew before I started March and April that my schedule was insane. Did you hear that?…I KNEW! And I decided to do it anyway. So pretending like these last 2 months were something that “happened” to me instead of something I chose would be lying to myself. I did this to me. I wanted this. At least I wanted it more than I wanted balance at the moments that I said YES or I would have made another decision. So finding peace in the fact that this IS the life I chose and learning to “Lean in” to it is the AH-HA that has come from it all.


And to put it into even more perspective…I recently re-read one of my favorite books, Hard Goals, by Mark Murphy. And this time I heard something in the book that I had never heard before in the 2 or 3 times I had read the book. This is what I finally heard…”People grossly over-estimate the amount of free time they will have in the future”. OMG!!!! Did you hear that?!?!?!?  We actually think and believe that at some point in the future life will be less crazy, or busy, or hectic, or (insert your delusional thought here)!!! We think ONE DAY we will start living the life we want. But it simply isn’t true! And if we don’t start TODAY making the choices and living the life that we want, we will NEVER and I repeat NEVER start living the life we say we want. And life is short people! So what the heck are we waiting for?


And that’s why yoga and spa made it onto the High Point agenda. And that is why I am now working on a Two-week (yes, I said TWO week vacation this summer…work will still be there when I get back), and that is why I am working on planning all my personal time and family time in before work more than I have ever done before. And that is why some of the dreams I have for myself that are not work related are making it into my life THIS YEAR, before it is too late.


Will you join me? Will you start living the balanced and happy life TODAY that you say you want. Will you start making your BIG DREAMS a part of your daily life while you are still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy them? Will you make a promise to yourself and actually keep the promise to not wait another second?

Let me hear from you! What is imbalanced in your life? What are you afraid will happen if you start making choices to live the life you want TODAY? What excuses are you telling yourself about money or time that is keeping you from making good decisions THE BEST DECISIONS in your life? Well I am here to tell you that you simply cannot afford NOT to make these changes today. And YES you do have time to do anything that is a REAL priority for you. All you have to do is DECIDE! It’s really that simple.


So no more excuses for me! I’m getting serious about my life choices and I will be walking this walk with you here on my blog…with full transparency as always.Will you join me in creating the life you dream of.

Let’s do this!

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IDS National Conference Today!

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Tobi's Talk

Today is a big and exciting day for me, because I’m giving a keynote presentation for the Interior Design Society. My topic is The New Design Business: Building a Dynamic Brand that Will Evolve and Respond to the Changing Economy. I’m so SO energized by this talk because I think it’s going to really give designers in the audience new ways of thinking about how to work leaner and meaner.

If you’re still in the High Point area, consider joining me for this talk, today at 1:30 pm in the ballroom of the Downtown Greensboro Marriott. For more conference information, CLICK HERE.

I’m really excited to get home and share with you all of the great things I saw and learned at High Point Market and the IDS Conference this year!


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Quick #HPMKT Update and an Announcement!

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Adamsleigh Showhouse, Design by Madcap Cottage

The highlight of today–my first FULL (very, very full) day at High Point Market this Spring–was the amazing designs at the Adamsleigh Showhouse, hosted by the Junior League of Greensboro.

The photo above is from a room in Adamsleigh designed by John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage. The colors and textures and whimsy in this room are really stunning! This is one of the top showhouses I’ve seen, and well worth the visit while you’re in the High Point neighborhood.


We also celebrated the launch of Madcap Cottage’s new line of pillows with CR Laine!

Madcap Cottage Pillow LIne

Aren’t they fun?! And it was at their pillow launch that Jason and John told me that they are going to be joining me for Design A to Z! Along with Scot Meacham Wood, a virtual visit with Susanna Salk, John Lochte and Jason Oliver Nixon are going to round-out this “madcap” crew!! I’m so excited! Will you be joining us? Learn more about Design A to Z, HERE.

More peeks from Market tomorrow!


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High Point Event Round-Up

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Today is a travel day for me; I’m winging my way to High Point, excited to see what inspires me this Spring! There are a number of events happening this week that sound great (a few of which I will have to miss because of timing). I thought I’d round-up a few of the schedule highlights you might want to consider if you’re also headed to Market.

Lunch with Olioboard CEO Sheilah MacSporran: How to Create 2D & 3D Room Designs on Olioboard, That Your Clients Will Love

  • When: 12:15pm – 1:45pm, Sat. Apr. 20 (That’s TODAY!)
  • Where: Market Square – Antique & Design Center Lecture Room MS-G6

Then later this afternoon…the fabulous Marjorie Skouras at Currey & Co.!

One of the Sunday high points of High Point will be the launch of Traci Zeller’s new line of textiles!

And THEN you’ll want to join CR Laine for the launch of the chic and amazing new pillow line from Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke! It’s Sunday from 3:00pm until 5:00pm in EDT at the CR Laine HPMKT Showroom, 310 N Hamilton (2nd Floor)!

And, of course, I can’t miss an opportunity to show some love to Ronda Carman and her new book, Designers at Home! Currey & Co. is hosting a signing on Monday afternoon, in celebration of the book release.

And, on Wednesday at 1:30pm, I am giving the keynote presentation for the 2013 IDS National Conference! I’m honored to be presenting on “The New Design Business: Building a Dynamic Brand That Will Evolve and Respond to the Changing Economy.”

As always, there are lots of fabulous events going on during High Point Market week. I am just counting the moments until I touch down.


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Fun Video Interviews from Lamps Plus!

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Just yesterday I was sharing on my monthly #DesignerMBA Twitter Chat how important it is to know what your goals are for building authentic relationships at industry events! And one really fun and exciting connection I made at the Design Bloggers Conference this year was Lamps Plus — they are a team with such great energy!

They interviewed me about my advice to new designers, what I have going on in the near future, and how I approach lighting in my designs. To get my answers, see the video below!

And for a bit of extra fun, they asked a bunch of designers what rules they love to break! I give my answer in this video, along with lots of other designers including Susanna Salk and Scot Meacham Wood who are joining me for Design A to Z in May, back by popular demand! Listen to what everyone said:

I hope you enjoyed these! Tomorrow, I’ll be bringing you the things I’m most excited about as I depart for High Point market!


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