Archive for December, 2013

My 2013 Year in Review

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Wow! 2013 is over. Once again I have had an amazingly interesting and fabulously blessed year. And on this last day of 2013 before we pop the champagne, it’s time again to take a look back at some many of  my highlights and give thanks to all who helped me achieve these business successes and awesome personal moments. So settle in for a long read, the blessings are numerous and my gratitude immense!



My daughter and I were a little under the weather to start the year. That’s right we came down with a little “Bieber Fever”. 😉


But I soon recovered when my pillow collection hit the pages of Traditional Home and a sweet member of my Mastermind Consulting Group sent me some cookie replicas to celebrate! Thank you, Beth.



February started with a fabulous trip to New York and a speaking engagement for Traditional Home with my friends Philip Gorrivan, Gideon Mendleson, Anne Maxwell Foster from Tilton Fenwick, and Patrik Lonn to highlight our trip to Scotland from the year before. Thanks TH and my designer friends.


I returned home from the Big Apple to a feature in Coastal Living, my first time on their pages. How fun! Merci, Coastal Living.



March brought more publishing joy with my Instant Room feature for House Beautiful. Much appreciation to House Beautiful.


Then it was off to the Design Bloggers Conference in Los Angeles where I had fun with masks…


with George Clooney (a little joke for my DBC presentation)…


And joking around with Michael from Lamps Plus. Thanks Adam and the DBC and a big shout out to Lamps Plus!


March also brought a feature in HGTV Magazine. Cheers, HGTV! Thanks for the feature.


And a fabulous family vacation to Disney World including a Disney Cruise thanks to my mom and dad. My family rocks! Thanks for all you do for me.




April was equally exciting with the release of my friend Ronda Carman‘s book, Designers at Home which I am thrilled to be featured in. I even threw Ronda a soiree in Little Rock for her very first book signing. What fun! I’m very grateful to Ronda for including me in her fab book!


Here’s a peek at my profile in the book. So exciting!


And then some international press. What a surprise to find that my home was the photo of choice for British Homes and Gardens‘ feature on Designers at Home. Pinch me!


Here’s Ronda seeing the spread during her book signing. Thanks to our friends at Cobblestone & Vine for hosting the soiree with me and for my sweet friend Johnna for snagging the copy of BHG on her way across the pond.


Then April brought more excitement with me being part of Traditional Home‘s Tried. True. Trad. series. What an honor to be included with so many design greats! And thanks to Traditional Home and their fabulous makeup and hair team for making me look so good.


Oh and then the fun of traveling to Berlin for the Leaders of Design Council‘s annual summit. I love this pic with my friends Steve Rugo, Tish Mills, Frank Ponterio, and Frank Mariani.


Here’s a fabulous evening in an historic building in Berlin. Thanks Mark Cravotta for making me look good via candlelight!


And then a Saturday shopping trip to the Berlin Flea Market just before I flew home to celebrate my 11th wedding anniversary. Thanks to my hubby for putting up with me for so many years.



Well May was a BIG month for me behind the scenes at Tobi Fairley. That’s when I added the fabulous Cheminne Taylor-Smith to my already amazing team and boy is she a power house. Life took about 1000 steps in the right direction when Cheminne joined us. Thanks for taking the leap, Cheminne.


More press for Designers at Home including my dining room in Texas Home and Living.


Plus a day full of fun with my pal P. Allen Smith shooting loads of video at my house for his 3 TV shows. What laughs we had. Thanks Allen and team. I loved it.


I wrapped up the month on the Little Red River with friends. I don’t make enough time for my BFF’s so this was a long overdue and fabulously relaxing retreat.



June leapt into action with a visit from my friend Lisa Ferguson from Canada as she addressed my Mastermind Group. I can never get enough learning and collaborating with progressive thinkers like Lisa.


And then I was off to the beach for more R & R with my BFF’s. I guess I was making up for lost time.


Our daily walks on the beach and biking around Seaside, Florida got this girl rested and ready for the second half of 2013.



July made me a cover girl thanks to AY magazine. This great article about my weight loss and getting healthy was a lovely compliment. Thanks to AY and to Dr. Suzanne Yee for guiding me through her HCG program over the last 2 years. It’s nice looking better in my 40’s than I did in my 30’s.


And since I was looking so good, it was a great time to be feeling good too and nothing makes me feel better than giving back to those in need. So I was thrilled to do just that through a curated sale with Joss and Main benefitting the Dallas-based charity Dwell with Dignity. How gratifying it was to raise several thousand dollars for a worthy cause. Thanks to all of you who shopped my sale, to Joss and Main and to Dwell with Dignity for allowing me to be a part of their mission.


Lying by the pool in July was great while reading this gorgeous spread on my home in Arkansas Life Magazine. Thank you Arkansas Life and their parent company the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.


Plus July brought with it my Designer MBA course. It was just one of my many live events of 2013 including 3 Designer MBA sessions, 2 getting published sessions, 1 social media intensive and 2 Design from A to Z courses. I am truly grateful to all of you who invested in our events this year. It was a pleasure getting to know each and every one of you! And thanks to Team Tobi for helping me raise the bar on our events this year.



Well Summer was over but the celebrations weren’t, including another piece of international press with this exciting feature in Canadian House and Home. I’m a long time fan of this gorgeous design magazine and was so happy to be featured in it. Thanks H&H for including me. It was an honor.


And speaking of happy…nothing made me more happy than an evening of hot Kundalini Yoga and Heart Therapy in Chicago with one of my favorite guru’s, Mastin Kipp, author of The Daily Love. Can you tell we did a bit of sweating? Thanks for a life-changing session, Mastin.


And since seeing one of my favorite teachers for the month just wasn’t enough, I headed to Dallas the very next week to see my all-time favorite, Oprah Winfrey, and the phenomenal Bishop T.D. Jakes for 2 episodes of Life Class. It got even more exciting when my tweet and I made the big screen when the show aired. I always said I was going to be on Oprah. (LOL) Thanks Oprah and OWN network!


But the glamour of being a “TV Star” with Oprah couldn’t last long because I returned home to the big job of packing. We sold our house and were moving in just 3 weeks. Thanks to my real estate agent Brandy.




My 5 year blog anniversary came and went this month and I forgot to even mention it. Wow, 5 whole years…what a labor of love.

And my home wasn’t the only news with regard to moving. In September I announced that we were not moving, but rather moving and shaking by expanding my business as we opened a second location of my design and consulting firm in the BIG D. YAY for Dallas! Thanks Linda and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for mentioning my big move.


And in September as Fall was approaching, we hosted our Mastermind members with some all new and exciting features for their live events including guest speakers like Beth Greene from Kravet, Stephen Carlson an amazing licensing expert, a fabulous excursion to the Clinton Museum to see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit and…


A glorious field trip to Moss Mountain Farm, the awe-inspiring farm of P. Allen Smith for our deluxe members. Moss Mountain is complete with stunning views of the Arkansas River, a Greek Revival Farm House, Heritage breed chickens, vegetable and rose gardens and sweeping views across pastures with 300 year old oak trees. None of us wanted to leave. Thanks to Beth, Stephen, the Clinton Museum and Allen and his amazing team! And thanks to my super-successful Mastermind Members. It is a privilege to help grow your businesses.


P. Allen put me to work the next week to repay the favor, shooting tons of design clips and tips for upcoming episodes of his show this year and in 2014. I was happy to oblige! Thanks to his production team for making this easy and fun!


It was now time to move to my new house. She’s a beauty with great bones but needs tons of work. I’ll be bringing you inside the design process with me on the blog in 2014. Stay tuned. Thanks to my family and friends that helped with the big move!


And Thanks Luxe Magazine for the blurb on our new Dallas office that month too.



Thanks to HGTV Magazine for another stint in your “what color is that” feature. October made a great month for the orange tones of my Energy House project.

hgtv oct

And unbeknownst to me, my work also came out in a gorgeous new book by House Beautiful magazine in October called Color. I’m very grateful to HB for the glossy double-spread and another glam shot of a tufted banquette I designed.


Another trip to High Point Market meant the Style Spotters Rewind event. I was the original Style Spotter Winner a few years back, so it was fun to have another turn. Thanks to the High Point Market Authority for including me and to the other Style Spotters for their friendship.


And when in Rome  High Point, I launched my first ever Tobi’s Think Tank event, a 1-day whirlwind version of my Designer MBA event, to a sold out group of 15. Thanks to each of you who took the leap!


Arkansas Life made me and my friends at CR Laine look great with this fun trends feature. Thanks again to AL and to my friends at CR Laine for the amazing design and furniture inspiration!


I came home with a Silver and a Gold Award from the ASID South Central Chapter Conference. Thanks to the judges.


And I headed west to San Francisco for a grueling but fabulously fun 21 hours of teaching Design, with my How to Use Color in Home Design with CreativeLIVE sponsored by House Beautiful Magazine. WOW, what hospitality from the CL team. They could give us Southerners a run for our money. And thanks again to House Beautiful. We’ve had a fab year together, huh?


Decor Magazine from the parent company of Traditional Home gave me a gorgeous 4-page spread and fantastic write-up in their Fall/Winter issue. I am so grateful for the feature.





The Design Leadership Summit was fabulous in New York City and included a gorgeous night at Lincoln Center here with my designer friends Rob Passal and Mary Douglas Drysdale and Rob’s partner Tony.


And included inspiring talks by Andy Spade, Oscar de la Renta, Tyler Florence, and the brilliant Arianna Huffington just to name a few. Thanks to the DLN for the outstanding conference!


Southern Living was so kind with a spotlight on my holiday decor in their special Holiday Issue. A giant hug to Southern Living for this beautiful feature!


My lovely friend Pam threw me an exquisite party in her gorgeous new home in Dallas to welcome me to the Dallas design community. Thank you Pammie! The party was perfect. And thank you to the many Dallas designers, editors and friends that made me feel so welcome.




And December didn’t disappoint with features on Rue Daily (thanks Crystal!)…


A mention in House Beautiful about our next 2 CreativeLIVE courses (merci!)…


A visit by the chic Alex Papachristidis and Scott Nelson to my Getting Published Event. Thank you both for the grueling 13 hour trip through fog and ice to get there. And thanks to the other superstar presenters that were part of our event!!! (Sandy from Rizzoli, Chip and Tiffany from At Home in Arkansas, Nancy Nolan, Beth and Michelle from Domino, Cassandra Lavalle, Crystal from Rue, and Krissa from Traditional Home!)


My fourth One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale was great. Thanks OKL!


The launch of my Bamboo Trellis fabric for Lamps Plus and their new Designer Lighting Series was super exciting. Thanks to Ivette and the Lamps Plus team!


A feature of my Holiday House New York Room in the December issue of Traditional Home was thrilling. Thank you Ann, Krissa and the TH team.

And finally a surprise cover of Small Room Decorating for their Winter 2014 issue. Who knew? Thanks to Harris Publications for this and to my photographer extra-ordinaire, Nancy Nolan for making my work look so gorgeous!


Whew! We made it. I can’t actually believe you hung on to read it all. But with so many people to thank and be grateful for, I just couldn’t bear to leave any of these events out. And there are so many, many more people who I need to thank that were a big part of my events, my photo shoots, my speaking engagements and my life in 2013 including our event sponsors (some of who I have already mentioned above) CR Laine, Kravet, Bernhardt, The Gilded Stag, Olioboard, The Editor at Large, Joss and Main, Madcap Cottage, LaPlates, Bear Hill Interiors and Lamps Plus. And to all of you who I haven’t mentioned here but that made my 2013 great, you know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do. I wish I could name every single one of you.

And now to you, my blog readers. I love being able to revisit all these fond memories, so a special thanks to each of you for indulging me today. And thank you for your 5 years of dedication to this little blog. You are the reason I keep writing it and for that I am eternally grateful.

Here’s wishing you the Happiest and most Prosperous year ever in 2014.

Much love to you!


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A New Home For My Design Trainings in 2014: Dallas!

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That’s right! Since I now have a design office in Dallas, it only makes sense that we would share the LOVE and bring my signature trainings to you THERE in 2014!

Moving our events to Dallas will offer so much more opportunity for YOU to join us.  The site is right next to our new Dallas office, and being in Dallas provides many more direct flights, hotel choices, and restaurants for ultimate convenience. We’re cutting down on your travel time and expense, and turning up the volume on your experience! It also allows us to bring you even more exciting, high-profile speakers and special guests.

The location I’ve chosen for the events is the entirely fabulous Stoneleigh, a historic 1923 Art Deco Le Méridien hotel that is close to businesses, museums, shopping, cutting-edge cuisine, and more.


The  Signature Event dates that are already set for 2014 include:

Design A-to-Z, March 18-19: If you are a Design-lover or a Designer, you can’t miss this course on decorating and design. This is my all-access training in how I approach each and every design project including the ones you’ve seen on the pages of top shelter magazines! In just two days, I cover the fundamentals of design and answer all of your burning questions, whether you are looking for tips and techniques to update your own home or you are a designer and you want to reconnect with what inspired you to create a career in design in the first place or you’re looking for brand-new inspiration to get you excited about design all over again.

Designer MBA, May 6-7: If you are ready to really build the profitable design business you’ve dreamed of, this course is for you! Whether you’ve been struggling to build your design business or you are making design a new career for you, you will not want to miss this life and business changing event. It’s a real (but fun) business education for design industry professionals. In it, I share the lessons I’ve learned as a business owner in the interior design field for over 15 years now. From fees to staffing to marketing, I bring you my tried-and-true strategies to give designers at all levels of training and experience the confidence you need to professionalize your processes, charge what you are worth, define your niche, and to sell your services with conviction.

And there are more date announcements coming for Fall 2014!

And in honor of my 15th business anniversary, I’m discounting each and every ticket to my signature events in 2014! There won’t be any additional promotions, but but we are talking about MAJOR savings: How exciting, right?! More convenient location + more value for your money = Put it on your calendar quick! 2014 is definitely the year to take advantage of my signature trainings if you have been waiting for the perfect time, because you can’t beat savings like these.

To sign up for Design A-to-Z and to sign up for Designer MBA click the link below. The great news is you are saving money with your ticket and your travel, the bad news is that space is still limited to don’t miss out on these amazing trainings in 2014. Sign up TODAY so you are sure to have a seat!!

Will I see YOU in Dallas in 2014?! I hope so.


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Planning to Succeed in 2014

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Today is the day. The day I plan my success for 2014. The day I set all my appointments for the year to the hair salon, nail salon, doctors, dentist and the like. Then I put in time for family, friends, organizing, vacations for the entire year and then there’s the business obligations. And though it may be hard to believe, my 2014 is already about 90% booked in the way of work and work travel committments.

I also set my weekly schedule for exercise, yoga, meals and meditation for at least 6 months out. Ok, I am a little be anal with my scheduling. And you may think that living like this is just too much.


But I beg to differ. I firmly believe that the reason that I accomplish so much in my life and also the reason I am happier than most people, is because I plan and I organize my life. And yes, I leave “holes” in my schedule for spontaneous things or laying around with my daughter and watching movies. I am not a machine, but my life runs like a well-oiled one. And that actually brings me less stress and more satisfaction.


Planning and scheduling allows me to add in new things to my life, like more vacation. And it allows me to plan in the work and revenue streams to pay for the vacation. In fact, this year with the packed but VERY EXCITING business schedule I am keeping, I am taking a minimum of 4 weeks of vacation including a 2 week stint at the beach and I will actually probably take 5 full weeks for the year and another week’s worth in single days here and there that I am taking off with my daughter and my husband for long weekends at the River or the Lake.

So though I consider myself a work-a-holic in many ways, I take more vacation than most people I know. You can’t work this hard year after year and not replenish yourself and spend time with family if you want everyone to be healthy and happy.

And if I didn’t plan my vacations 6 months to a year in advance including paying a deposit on them so I can’t change my mind, I would never really take them. I would come up with one million excuses when the time came for why I can’t afford to be away.


And I don’t know about you, but to do all the things I am committed to doing in my life, I prefer to be as efficient as possible, so if planning now saves work later, I’m all in! Are you?


So just like this pretty pic above, I am hunkered down with my Mac, my planner, and a cup of Starbucks planning my success for 2014.

What about you? Do you have any habits, practices, or rituals you use to plan your schedule and ultimately your success for each new year? If so, leave me a comment and tell me all about it. I am always open for new tips and techniques for making my new year better than ever.

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Falling off the Wagon is a Good Thing!

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Why is it that we fear falling off the wagon so much? Why is the worst thing that could ever happen to us that we take a few steps backwards?

cd010f668bd89a529545dc33cfdf32a7Maybe it’s that we don’t want to have to do the hard work again that we have already done once. Yes, that can be frustrating. But what makes us think things, fixes, solutions are permanent anyway?

Or maybe the reason we hate falling off the wagon so much is because of what other people will think of us. That we are lazy, stupid, fat, undisciplined, a bad business person or worse. Well you know what I think about what other people think of us, right?

Or maybe the real reason is that the person we will disappoint most is the face that stares at us in the mirror every day. Maybe the harshest words and biggest criticisms will come from inside ourselves and maybe we can’t possibly bear that pain again.


But I am here to tell you that some of my biggest positives, some of my game-changers in life, some of my most important break-throughs have come as a result of me falling off the wagon…again. Not once, but many times.


They say there is a silver lining to everything, and I would agree. In fact one of my favorite habits is finding the good, the lesson or the opportunity in challenges. And for me falling off the wagon whether in self-care, my diet, my parenting, my friendships, my relationship with my husband and even my client work, is one of the best things that could happen to me each time it happens. And you may say that sounds weird, like I WANT to not be at my best in all those areas or I hope I fall off the wagon again. And of course that isn’t true. My preference would be to be perfect all the time, but of course that’s not possible. And we are all going to back track in different parts of our life at any given time, so why fight it? Why not embrace it. Or as I love to say “Lean in” to it? It just might help us find our wings and learn to fly.


So here’s where the truth comes in for me. Over the last six months, I worked my buns off. I worked nights and weekends again like the old days which I swore I wouldn’t do again. I traveled like a mad woman and I neglected many things, myself mainly, in the process. I put on 10 pounds of the 40 I had lost, I stopped doing yoga to the detriment of my body, and I found little time for other practices like meditation and reading that really are the foundation of my healthy lifestyle and my happiness. But I also accomplished a TON of amazing things during that time.  Things that I am proud of. Things that in many ways were worth the price I paid.  Things that you will see in the coming weeks and months.


And here is the silver-lining…here is the lesson that will be a game-changer for me in 2014. If I hadn’t fallen off the wagon, if I hadn’t felt the pain of what not doing yoga, what not eating right and meditating, and what becoming disconnected from friends and family felt like, then I would NOT be even MORE committed than ever before to getting these things right in 2014.


I thought I had fixed all these parts of my life for good and somehow must have believed that with no time or attention they would stay fixed. But I now realize that even the most gorgeous and lush garden will die if you stop weeding and feeding and watering it, right?


So falling off the wagon this year came at the perfect time for me. It was a very welcome “wake up call” and I was able to get back on track faster than ever before. I took responsibility for the behaviors that caused my set-backs, and I honestly am grateful that I gained ten pounds not 40 pounds. So with this attitude of gratitude instead of abusive self-talk, I was able to plan and to get back on track with my healthy eating and exercise immediately instead of procrastinating or making excuses for why it would be too hard to diet during the holidays. And now I am already 8.5 pounds down this month, with less than 2 to go and they should be off by the new year. And trust me, I allowed myself a lovely plate of food for each of my holiday celebrations. So I wasn’t deprived. In fact I think that for me falling off the wagon before the holidays actually kept me from gaining more weight in the holiday season—another blessing. And now I am thrilled to be starting the New Year in a happy AND healthy place.


So what about you. Can you find the silver lining and opportunities in your life if you have recently fallen off the wagon? Can you resist beating yourself up and telling yourself how miserable your path is going to be for the new year because you have taken some steps back? And can you give yourself credit for all the other AMAZING things you did accomplish while you were not 100% in an area or two?


I learned 2.5 years ago when I first began my weight loss journey and getting healthy regimen that I had to forgive myself and love myself first with all my imperfections, at whatever weight I was before I could ever be successful at loving myself thin and staying that way.  It’s the same with relationships, your work or any other area you have experienced a set-back in your life. Acceptance and Love are the first 2 steps to success.


So what do you think? Can you make any area in which you have Fallen off the Wagon this year a silver-lining that will move you into your best year yet? Can you start today? I for one think you can do it. And I’ll be here rooting for your success.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of my silver-living approach to life and how you think it will or already has worked for you.

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A Day of Rest or a Day of Work?

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I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. Today, I will not get out of my brand new PJ’s and will spend the day immersed in a good book, or several.


Now let me be clear, for me a good book is usually non-fiction, typically self-help or business related and yes, I totally consider reading these a luxury, not a job. It is really what I do for pleasure. Crazy, huh?

Then tomorrow I will move into my typical year-end ritual of reviewing all my successes and memories from the past year, writing my resolutions for the year to come, and creating the strategic plan to make those things actually happen next year. I am giddy about these next few days. They may just be my favorite time of each year! Yep…I’m pretty sure they are.


What about you? How do you spend the days after Christmas but before the new year? Working? Shopping? Or curled up with a good book like me? What are you reading?  And are you thinking about 2014 and what you want to achieve? What will you do differently to have your most successful year yet?

Do tell.

Happy reading or however you spend your final days of 2013!

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