Before and After: First Impressions

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I love to think about the entrance to a home as the perfect chance to make an amazing first impression on guests and family. This is the first thing most people will see in your home, and you want them to get a good idea of the gorgeous house they’re about to see, right? So no matter if you have a tiny foyer or a grand entryway, you want this space to speak volumes!

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The entry in my client’s house above already had good bones. The front door had gorgeous windows around it and there was a beautiful sweeping staircase. It just needed an update to give them a contemporary look rooted in traditional pieces, something they loved from all the boutique hotels they’ve stayed in around the world.

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And they really wanted that first impression to make a bold statement that showed their style and personality. The one piece from the original space that they did love was the brass light fixture that you can see below.

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To give them that bold but fashionable look, I used a Nina Campbell wallpaper, and I took it up all the way to the top of the two-story entry, giving them a sweeping entrance that complemented that fabulous staircase.

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We also removed the black flooring and replaced it with a much more sophisticated marble tile, which also took advantage of all the fantastic light from that front door.

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Finally, I added some lovely color with the turquoise glass lamps, and highlighted the subtle gold in the wallpaper with a mirror and a demilune that had the same color in its details. The result is a chic space that says a lot about what guests will see in the rest of the home!

So what do you think about this bef0re-and-after? And are you also inspired by boutique hotels? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

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Shopping Guide: Game Day Essentials

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If you know me at all, you know that fall in our house is all about football! And this Saturday, my Arkansas Razorbacks are kicking off the season with a big game against Louisiana Tech. My whole family will be there cheering our team on, and that has me in the mood to get a few game day goodies!

Whether you’re tailgating at your team’s stadium, or you’re hosting a party at home to watch the game on TV, I’ve selected some must-have items for you and for the football fan you love! Go Hogs!

xo,

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  1. Sports Folding Chair– Gone are the days of those flimsy tailgating chairs! This lightweight fold-up chair offers a side table and storage pockets so you won’t lose your keys, phone, or bottle of water in all of the fun.
  2. Lauren Ralph Lauren Tartan Tech Gloves– Tartan chic and technology ready, a touch sensitive thumb and index finger make these gloves perfect for those cool autumn games!
  3. Prada Bicolor Mini Leather Crossbody Bag– A cute mini leather crossbody bag is a must for all of your game day activities! It’s small size makes it easy to carry from tailgating to the game to the victory party – and you know I like this one in my favorite Arkansas colors!
  4. Burberry Giant Check Cashmere Scarf– Just because it’s football season doesn’t mean you can’t be chic! Bundle up with this luxurious Burberry cashmere scarf in their classic camel check pattern to look fabulous and warm while you cheer on your team.
  5. Tory Burch Collins Leather Strap Watch– Always be on time for kickoff with a gorgeous merlot leather watch from Tory Burch! So beautiful, you won’t just wear it for game day!
  6. Hampshire Plaid Throw Blanket & Carrier– Football nights can get a bit chilly after the sun goes down. Snuggle up under this fabulous plaid throw blanket that’s easy to bring along with its handy leather strap carrier!
  7. Collegiate Arrow Frame– Show off your favorite memories from your alma mater with these fun collegiate themed frames! As you know, I’m an Arkansas Razorbacks fan, but there are plenty of schools to choose from!
  8. Silver Street – Happy Hour Flask– Happy Hour lasts all day long with this cute silver plated flask from Kate Spade!
  9. Tory Burch Cat Eye Sunglasses– Football games are an all-day affair, with tailgating starting early and games lasting into the night, so you’ll need a fabulous pair of sunglasses to be all-day chic!
  10. North Face Laney Trench Raincoat– Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop the mailman or the most loyal football fan! Bundle up this season in a cool trench style raincoat with a removable hood and waist-defining buckled side tabs!
  11. Nikon COOLPIX Digital Camera– Snap a picture of the game winning touchdown or capture tailgating memories with this Nikon Digital Camera.
  12. Monogram Insulated Backpack Cooler– Tired of lugging around those bulky, ugly coolers? Me too! This season, let’s try this easy-to-carry backpack cooler in classic navy. You can even add a monogram, and you know I love a monogram!
  13. Hunter Original Refined Gloss Rain Boots– Rain delays have you feeling the game-day blues? Not anymore with a pair of these glossy Hunter rain boots!
  14. Cashmere Turban-Style Beanie Hat– Don’t let a bad hair day or chilly forecast ruin the football fun! Keep warm and cute in this soft cashmere beanie hat.
  15. ‘Vulcan’ Barbecue Grill & Cooler Trolley– This is a tailgating game changer. The portable grilling station features a steel grill, stainless-steel tools, and an insulated cooler that all fits together on a rolling trolley to easily get you from parking to set up!
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Tobi TV: Top 4 Tips to Give Your Kid’s Room a Kick

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It’s back to school time, so this week’s Tobi TV is all about the kiddos. But I love making every day all about them in their own spaces by creating kids’ rooms with “kick,” lots of bright colors and fun! After all, your little ones are special every day. And you’re stimulating little minds with these spaces, while also giving them rooms that will spark their imaginations and allow them to dream!

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In my daughter’s most recent bedroom, I used her favorite color at the time. It’s important to give kids a lot of input into what their room looks like, so they really feel at home there. I also gave her a daybed that she could use both for lounging and sleeping, and of course we set up a desk for her homework. In our new home, her room is something more grown-up with brighter colors and hints of her favorite color now…blue!

It’s key to combine function, style, and creativity in a child’s room, so here are some tips that will help you create that perfect space:

Let’s recap those tips that will help you give your kids’ rooms a “kick”:

  1. Use accessories that not only provide color, but also sneak in a little educational value! Use maps, globes, and charts to bring in bold color and bright ideas.
  2. Create an art station with a magnetic chalkboard. Offer bins of chalk, magnetic letters and poetry, as well as fun stencils to spark that creativity!
  3. Design “zones” in the room, for sleeping, lounging, homework, and play. Give your child “ownership” of their room with places for them to hang out with friends, to study, or to just dream!
  4. Function is all-important in a kid’s room, so consider how you’re using each square foot of space. You can fit beds into dormer windows to create more room, or use multifunctional pieces of furniture that can serve more than one purpose. And no matter what – don’t forget lots of storage!

Use these tips to kick your kids’ rooms up a notch! And let me know what ideas you love to use in your children’s spaces. Also, be sure to share this video with your friends who have kids, too!

Happy decorating with your kiddos!

xo,

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For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!

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10 Tips for the Most Effective Emails

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There is one thing that I think is critical to the best customer service, and that’s communication! Clients want to feel like they’re being heard, that you’re working hard on their project, and that you are being an effective steward of their money. The best way to let them know that is to tell them exactly how things are going.

My team and I send weekly emails to all of our clients to keep them up to date on every detail of their project. We want them to know that we really care about them and that we want to deliver the best result possible for them, every single time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that there are great emails, and then there are emails that can cause communication to break down. So here are my top do’s and don’ts for getting the very most out of your emails:

1. DON’T write too much. People do not have time to read a novel via email, so tell them everything they need to know, but keep it concise and to the point.

2. DO get to the point quickly. Put the most important info at the top – it’s human nature to stop reading after a paragraph or two. People notoriously now have shorter attention spans than a goldfish (it’s true!), so be sure that you let them know the most critical things quickly.

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3. DO use proper grammar. It matters – it really does. So be sure everything is spelled correctly, that you’re using appropriate language, and that your email has a greeting, full sentences, and a conclusion.

4. DON’T get cute. Do not – and I mean don’t ever – use emoticons, funny fonts, garish colors, or any other “cutesy” items in your emails. You are a professional businessperson and there is just no place for all that in a business email. Also be careful with abbreviations.

5. DO reread before you hit send. Be sure you slow down and read the email several times before you hit send. Is it clear? Is it spelled correctly? Does it make the points you need it to?

6. DON’T cut corners. Email is notorious for creating misunderstandings, so be very careful about being abrupt or too terse. That can be perceived as being angry or irritated.

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7. DON’T deliver bad news. If something has gone haywire or off the rails, don’t use email as a crutch. That type of news should be delivered via phone, no matter how hard that can be. It’s unprofessional to use email for difficult conversations. And please don’t fire off an email when you’re mad – stop and let it simmer for a while before you hit send.

8. DO keep a record. If you are having important conversations on the phone or via text with a client, it’s equally important to have a record of that conversation. Use email to recap any points or decisions made on the phone. People can remember things differently, so it’s good to be sure everyone is on the same page.

9. DON’T send email after email after email. If you haven’t heard from a client after sending an email that needs a reply, you can send one more reminder email. But don’t annoy them by sending a flurry of emails one after the other. That’s the time to pick up the phone.

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10. DO reply. There’s nothing more irritating to a client than to send an email and hear crickets from you. They will fill that silence with all sorts of ideas, and I can promise you they won’t reflect well on you. Reply as soon as you can, and certainly within 24 hours. If you’re out of the office, have someone else on hand to take care of replying to your clients.

Hopefully these tips will help you be a fantastic email communicator! Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

xo,

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