Archive for May, 2013

Why “Faux” Can Be Fun!

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Now, you know I’m a champion for being totally authentic and transparent in life, in business, and in your creative work! So, no, “fake” isn’t one of my favorite words. But let’s get real, some of us wouldn’t have a green thumb if we painted it with my favorite shade of Kelly.


So when it comes to flowers, artificial arrangements–or “floral reproductions”–can really give you the daily uplift of flowers without the constant fuss and maintenance. And though the great quality faux flowers are expensive, so is buying fresh at the store every week. So if you are like me and really LOVE what flowers do for your decor and your spirit, FAUX just may be the way to GO! Peonies are my favorite, and this one from NDI is a perfect substitute for the real thing when they are not in season.

I spoke about all this on KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas yesterday. Here’s the clip:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

In fact, when my team gathered all of these arrangements in my office to bring them to the TV studio, I left them waiting to be loaded up and got busy working on something else in another part of the office. When I walked back into the room, it took a second for my brain to catch up and remember that they weren’t real! That’s how great-looking some of these reproductions are. Here’s another look at the examples I showed on the segment:



And a favorite tip of mine for photo shoots is the tuck fresh flowers into the faux arrangement just like I did in the photo above. Then the artificial flowers take up most of the “space” in a large vase and you only have to buy a handful of the fresh to fool the camera’s eye. If you wanted to do this for a party, be sure to put the tiny vials of water on the end of each stem so it will stay fresh for several hours and your guests will think the whole think vase is fresh and gorgeous!

And some more arrangements to LOVE:

This one is a favorite mentioned by designer and blogger, Grant Gibson:

Love the drama of this red:

And if you like a more eclectic look, these are so happy:

So, yes, fresh is best, but if your life needs a little more flower power, consider reproductions like these for amazing impact!


Tobi Signature


What Do You Want?

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Yesterday I asked you if you know your signature style? Today I want to know what you want. I mean what do you want in your life? Things? Experiences? Balance?

I do have a point here. I have so much to bring to you in the coming days but until you know what you want and who you are, you won’t be able to put it all into practice in your life.

This week on Instagram someone asked me how I do it all. In particular, how I find balance. Well I don’t just find balance, I create it. It is a job but a very rewarding job and I will be bringing you my top tips for creating a life that you love.

But first you have to know what you want. Because how can you know how to get there if you don’t know where you are going.

And because I know you are here with me because you love all things design–for creatives like us, it isn’t just about creating a life of balance but rather a life of balance AND beauty.

Ahhhh…there’s where the style piece comes in.

So let me ask you again…What do you want? And what is your style? Write them both down and I’ll help you bring them full circle in the next few days. And if you are willing, share your thoughts in the comments below. This is exciting stuff!


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p.s. This morning, I’m on KATV Good Morning Arkansas, sharing some ideas for incorporating very high-quality, artificial flower arrangements in your home along with fresh ones! I’ll be posting the video here tomorrow, so be sure to check back then!

What’s Your Style?

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bill blass

As I think more about how to create spaces that are authentic to my client’s personalities, wants and needs, but bring the best of what I have to offer to the table, I thought I would pose a question to all of you…

Do you know your personal style? And is it consistent from your wardrobe, to your home, to your hobbies, parties, or lifestyle activites? Do you have a signature style in all that you do and can you describe what it is?

Here are 3 fun photos that I found on Pinterest that I think tell a similar story and might just get you started in defining your Authentic style in all areas of your life. They could just be the work or style of the same person, don’t you think?

pink and red

table to room


They are all fun, flirty and don’t take themselves too seriously, right? Oh, and let’s not forget the daring use of color and pattern.

Can you be consistent in your own style? Do tell!


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Happy Memorial Day!

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I think this was quite possibly the perfect weekend. The beginning of Summer. Time with Friends and Family. Bar-B-Q and Bubbles.




This weekend I had Farm Time.



Followed by some Lake Time.


And then I had Hammock Time in my Garden…all in one weekend.


Now I am enjoying some quiet time with a little Watermelon, a cool glass of Pellegrino, and the cool sounds of Dean Martin, Harry Connick Jr. and other Ultra-Lounge tunes helping me wind down.


I hope your weekend was amazing, too. And I hope you took a little time to remember all the troops that have fought for our Freedom so we can live such a glorious life. Without them, we wouldn’t be living the American Dream!


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Taking a Trip but Enjoying the Journey

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I am taking a short trip today to my parent’s lakehouse to enjoy family for this holiday weekend. And just this morning one of my daily email subscriptions I have spoken about to you before, en*theos, got me to thinking about journeys or more importantly our life’s journey.


The email included an article by Ran Zilca that referenced the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu script considered to be one of the most important texts in literature and philosophy and it also referenced the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism. Both of these works are familiar to me because they are often referenced in the practice of yoga and by my favorite spiritual thought leaders including Wayne Dyer. And it is actually on my “to do” list to read them both in their entirety–I guess you can say it’s on my bucket list.


And that brings me to the point I am trying to make here. We spend a lot of time thinking about our future. What we want to cross off our “bucket list” or even what we “should” be doing in this life. And we often get more preoccupied with the destination we are trying to get to rather than enjoying the journey. And sure, we have all heard “Enjoy the journey”, or “the journey IS the destination”. But I can’t say that it really sunk in for me until this morning. Here’s what what Ran said that gave me my Ah-ha!

(from the Bhagavad Gita)…
You have a right to your actions,
but never to your actions’ fruits.
Act for the action’s sake.
And do not be attached to inaction.
Self-possessed, resolute, act
without any thought of results,
open to success or failure.
This equanimity is yoga.
It’s hard to find text that encapsulates so much wisdom in so few words. Inner peace comes when your reward is simply being proactive, liberated from preoccupation with future results.  You just go on the road and enjoy the ride, leaving your comfort zone to face the challenges of being out there. When you do that, results follow, but perhaps not the way you’d expected. As Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism wrote in the Tao Te Ching:
the more we don’t desire something,
the greater the chance of getting it,
and all the more exciting.


So there it is…another epiphany for me. It’s not just about enjoying the journey while still keeping your eye on the ball of the destination. It is forgetting the destination completely and the reward itself is just taking the journey.


Talk about living in the present! Can you do that? Not sure that I can, but my heart and my gut sure want to try. Can you begin to practice creating your goals simply for the joy in the journey itself? Can you write a book because you really are fulfilled by writing, not because it will make you loads of money and bring you fame? Can you design a room even if it is never published because of the sheer joy and fulfillment of creating a successful and meaningful space? Can you get healthy and change your habits just to make yourself well and whole each day, not to fit into a certain dress or swimsuit or impress another person?


I recently read in The 4-hour Work Week this profound statement…

“Time without attention means nothing, so value attention over time.” 


It made me think of my daughter. And it made me realize that just being with her and not giving her my undivided attention (which I have done so many times) because I am working, or on my phone or iPad, is the same as not being with her at all. In fact, it is actually worse, because it reinforces to her that she is less important than all these electronics. Or she is less important than the person on the phone. And why would I ever want her to think anything is more valuable to me than she is? Yikes! What a gut check, right?


So I think all these ideas come full-circle for me today. It is not just about enjoying the journey. It is about being 100% present in the journey knowing all the while that if nothing comes from the journey but the journey itself, it was more fulfilling than any future result we could ever imagine and strive for. And if valuing those on the journey with you by giving them time AND attention is your only success, then what a blessed life you have had. It’s like the Tao Te Ching says…The more we don’t desire something, the greater the chance of getting it and all the more exciting.


Will you enjoy the ride? Will you leave the “baggage” of your past and your future and just live for today giving both time AND attention to the people and the moments that are most important to you?


Remember my resolution for this year to “Collect Moments, Not Things”. Well things are the destination and the moments are the journey.

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend with family and friends and hoping you enjoy the ride!


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And for those of you design-lovers here are a few AMAZING rooms that leave the “baggage” as gorgeous elements of design and not limiting beliefs that hold us back. Enjoy…









p.s. To see all these great room images and travel inspired photos visit my Pinterest Boards called Destinations and Trunk Love. And while you are there, feel free to daydream about all the amazing places you want to travel and visit in this life, simply because the journey would fill your soul! Bon Voyage.