Gift Guide for Graduates

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College Graduates

It’s that time again already. The time that lots of our family and friends are reaching the milestones of High School and College Graduation. And I, for one, am always trying to find the perfect gift for them, particularly for the girl grads in my life. Because I know they are the ones who especially love my clever and creative gifts. So here are a few of my favorite finds, and there are even a few on here (like the mophie–ok maybe in another color) that even the guys will love!

Onward and upward my graduating friends! xo,







  1. Scalloped Leather Card Holder: Hold all of your new business cards in style with this leather scalloped card holder!
  2. Black and White Bluetooth Speaker: Pump up the jam to your graduation party with this dice inspired Bluetooth speaker!
  3. kate spade new york Tackle Box: This isn’t your grandfather’s tackle box! This fabulous gift box features everything your graduate will need to make their new office one-of-a-kind!
  4. Ikat Nestling Box Set: Getting organized has never been so easy or chic! I love these ikat leopard print boxes for storing all of those little odds and ends!
  5. Acrylic Stapler: Give your grad’s new office a sleek look with this acrylic stapler!
  6. Acrylic Tape Dispenser: I love when something boring can become a beautiful source of inspiration, like this acrylic tape dispenser!
  7. Acrylic Letter Tray: Everyone will want to fill up your inbox when it looks this fabulous! In fact I have all 3 of these gorgeous acrylic pieces from Kate Spade on my own desk!
  8. Navy Greek Key Notepad & Holder: Any gift can be even more special when it is personalized! This classic Greek Key notepad will surely help keep your new grad organized while on the job hunt!
  9. Daveney Laptop Bag: Is your grad always on the go? This classic black and white stripe laptop bag is perfect! You can always fill it with other goodies!
  10. Mophie Juice Pack Ultra Charging Case: Nobody wants to miss that all-important job offer because their phone died! Save the day with this sleek gold phone case that can extend your phone’s battery life by more than 150%!
  11. Rose Faux Leather Passport Holder: Do you know a graduate that’s jetting off on vacation as soon as they get their diploma? I do! And this fun, floral passport holder can get her there in style.
  12. SeeThru Snap On MacBook Laptop Case: I love this bright blue laptop case that can add some fun personal style to the work place!
  13. Beats by Dr. Dre in Rose Gold: I love these rose gold headphones. They are perfect for travel, the commute to work, or that 5 o’clock workout!
  14. Elana Pointed Toe Pumps: Dress your grad in these classic black pumps that never go out of style! Perfect to wear from work to play!
  15. Slim Runway Leather Strap Watch: Timing is everything! And nobody wants to be late for a job interview! Keep your graduate on time this summer with this sleek gold watch with a white leather strap!
  16. Personalized Passport Case & Luggage Tag: Does their new job require a lot of travel? This set of personalized passport case and luggage tag can make all of those business trips extra sweet!



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Tobi TV: How to Layer Color for a BIG Result

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Tobi-TV-logo-600x332It’s Tuesday so it’s time for Tobi TV, and this week’s episode is about my favorite topic – COLOR!


In this fun video, I wanted to make layering color easy-breezy for you. So just before I moved to my new home, I stripped my living room down to its bare neutral bones, and layered the color back in a piece at a time so you could see exactly how and why I make color work in this space. Let’s take a look:

Wasn’t that fun? I love working with color – so let’s review those tips one more time.

1. If you fear color, start with a neutral base, keeping your largest and most expensive pieces in your favorite neutral tones. This gives you longevity for investment pieces and then brighter colors can be introduced in smaller doses.

2. Let items you truly love and cherish set the tone for your color palette. A blanket I picked up in Scotland inspired the pops of blue in my former home, and my favorite color of green makes a big splash in the Spitzmiller lamps and Barclay Butera chairs – two of my favorite designers’ products.

3. Layer in color through fabrics, flowers, accessories, and art in varying shades. It’s all about the collected and “not perfectly matched” look that makes a room look chic and like it has been gathered over time. That’s much more interesting than looking like everything is new and straight off the showroom floor.

So what do you think? Are you ready to embrace color in a whole new way? Leave me a comment below and tell me if you can add more color in your home, what colors you are currently loving, and any great tips or techniques that you’ve used to make color work for you!

Colorfully yours,






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

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Just Say No

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no (1)

A few weeks ago, I talked about how important it is to say no to the “good” in order to make room for the “best.” But I wanted to dive a little deeper into that concept so that you really understand how important this is. Because I want you to start saying NO, and often!

Too often in my consulting business, I talk with creatives who let their clients cross professional boundaries. They give in on their fees, they give in when pushed about their hours, they take clients that their gut says won’t be ideal, and they take on too many commitments and responsibilities. In each of those cases, they should have said no.

There’s often a fear factor at work, a fear that the client won’t work with us if we don’t say yes to right now, a fear that we won’t get any other clients than the one in front of us, and a fear of missing a great opportunity. And we even tell ourselves that we’ll just give in this once, that we won’t do it again later. But once you let that guard down, it becomes far too easy to let it down again and again. It becomes a habit.


Unfortunately, our clients often talk to each other. So if you give in on your fees, going lower than you really should just to get a client, you may find that client telling others to work with you because of your “great price” aka you’re cheap. And then you’re stuck and saying no becomes even harder.

When I see designers and creatives who I work with, continually charging less than they are worth, I ask them this important and valid question…”Why would you take money away from your own bottom line and ultimately your pay check (which impacts your family’s budget), just to help a client get a cheaper deal? Does that even make sense? I’m sorry, but it’s not your responsibility to help other people furnish their home to your family’s detriment. You are in this business to make money. And I know your clients REALLY want that stuff that is outside their means, lot’s of us want to buy stuff we can’t really afford. And we as designers and creatives really want them to have those things, especially if we can take pictures of the finished room and get it published. But it’s not your job to discount these items if it takes money out of your pocket. You have to say no to protect your company’s income, and the salary you use to support your family. Think of your family and your grocery list and your kids’ college funds the next time you are tempted to give yourself and your products away for less than you should and just say NO!

There are a number of reasons (not just budgets) that taking on a client who raises red flags is never a good idea. Think of it this way, if you say yes to that not-so-great client, you’re not only going to drive yourself crazy, that client is going to take up way too much of your time and energy that could be focused on finding the right client. They’re going to burn you out and drain you.


And if all these fears we have regarding potential clients weren’t enough to keep us totally over-committed and underpaid, then there’s FOMO. You know what I mean, it’s the Fear of Missing Out. Earlier in my career, I felt like I had to be at every event, take on every challenge, say yes to every single interview and opportunity. I thought I was really making a name for myself and raising my brand awareness, which was true to in many ways. But I also was burning myself out – not sleeping enough (I need 8 good hours), not taking care of myself or eating right, not there for my family as much as I would have liked. It wasn’t worth it. I could have said no to just a few of those events and saved myself a lot of heartache.

Now I think of FOMO as Frankly One More Obligation – and I remember to say No to the so-so or only good events so I can say a hearty YES to the great things that have come along. I’ve learned to really weigh the client and the opportunity against my company’s bottom line, only taking on the things that give me a great ROI.

And yes, I know how hard it is to say no. Especially when a friend is asking the question. So here are a few ways to start practicing how to say NO so you feel more comfortable saying it during those critical times. First, ask for time. If you feel yourself cracking, say something like “I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.” That gives you time to build up your confidence and to remind yourself of why you need to say no.

Second, make a mental post-it note that you can refer to over and over. It could say “You are the CEO and you cannot give in.” Or it could say, “Is this the right decision for my business? For my family?” Whenever you feel cornered, picture that post-it in your mind. You can even make one for your desk so you can look at it when you’re on the phone or answering an email request.


Third, don’t make it personal. You’re saying no to the request, not to the person. It isn’t rude or “mean” to say no to something. You aren’t obligated to fulfill every request someone makes of you. You’re a busy professional with a jam-packed life, others should understand that sometimes you won’t be able to say yes.

Fourth, remember that there is strength in standing firm. People often test your limits to see how far they can get. And many times they don’t actually respect someone they see as a pushover. Stand firm in your decision. You can even say something like: “I know we’re both strong-willed people, and I wish I could give on this, but I really can’t.”

Finally, practice saying no. You can use a friend or family member as a sounding board, as someone to practice with before you meet with that pushy client. Just like giving in can become a habit, so can saying no.

Let me know when you’ve faced a decision where you stood firm and said no, or where you wished you had, in the comments section below. Remember that you’re saying no to the so-so to give you the time and energy to say YES to the fabulous clients and opportunities that are out there waiting for you!








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What Is That Color? Vibrant Periwinkle

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Nothing creates glamour like saturating a room with color – yes, all one color on the trim, ceiling, walls, cabinetry, and shelves! This is a great design look that works best on smaller contained rooms, like this study, or in a powder room or library. What really took this room for my Riverside Penthouse project to the next bold level was the high gloss finish I added, along with color-matched upholstery!

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So what is this color that looks purple in some light and blue in others? It’s a periwinkle hue by Sherwin-Williams and it has the perfect name – Mesmerize! I absolutely drenched the study in this gorgeous color and added in touches of yellow, the complementary color for periwinkle. The great effect that all this color has is to make the room both sophisticated and cozy at the same time, a perfect result for my fashion-forward clients!

What do you think of this bright and bold color choice? Would you go all-in with one color like this? Let me know in the comments section below!

Colorfully yours,






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New House Diary: Dining Room Color Palette

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New House Diary

I am now less than a month from moving back into our house after all the renovations! After months of design, construction, and selections, the day will soon be here. I am pinching myself just thinking about it.

And as much as I would like to show you every single detail as soon as we move in, I won’t be able to do that. That may surprise many of you who’ve taken this New House journey with me, but when you’re a designer doing your own home, you want to eventually have that house published and if things go according to plans, you’ll see the big reveal before long in a glossy, colorful spread!

But that’s not the only reason I can’t show you the big reveal just yet. The main reason is because though the construction phase will soon be finished, that doesn’t mean that the design is complete. Next comes possibly my favorite part – the furnishings, drapery, and decorating. Plus some tweaks that can only come together once I am living in and really understanding how our newly redesigned home will work for us.

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S0 not to worry, I’ll still be able to show you design updates and “teasers” from my home like the one above for quite some time. And get ready, they are about to get really fun! Most of the “pretty” stuff will be happening in these last 30 days to the structure and with the decorating. Yes, settle in friends, we still have a few months on this journey before my masterpiece is complete!

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But for now, let’s take a peek at how the dining room is coming along. Here’s the updated view from the entry into that space. And that ceiling gives you a big color hint. That lovely pink on the ceiling is the fabulous paint from C2 called Belle’s Nose, from my friend Barry Dixon’s collection! Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s going to give the room a lovely glow.

But don’t start thinking this room is going to be too sweet. In typical Tobi style, there will soon be fabulous bold floral wallpaper in the dining room in richer shades of pink, yellow and charcoal gray. It’s a fashion-forward color scheme that is sophisticated and chic! And my beautiful new Jan Showers canary yellow lamps, will be the perfect POP in the space.

My husband isn’t quite sure what to think of the pink ceiling yet, but I certainly am – I love it! What do you think about the use of pink in the home and in particular the dining room? Does my color choice surprise you? Let me know in the comments section below!







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