Saturday Bliss: Finding Joy in the Kitchen

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baking loveNot much “feeds” my soul like being in the kitchen. I have been cooking since I was 10 or maybe a bit younger. And whether cooking or baking, I am at home in the kitchen and it’s a place where my creativity soars.

One of my favorite things about making a meal or a sweet is that even the most labor intensive recipes are still complete in a few hours. So much of my work is never-ending or at least takes months to complete, so there is something super satisfying about the beginning and the end of a culinary creation all happening in the same day. Plus cooking is definitely a way we Southerners show love to those important people in our lives.

banana breadToday I’m baking my mom’s delicious banana bread. Here’s the recipe:

1/2 Cup Butter

1 1/2 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cup Flour, sifted

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda in 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

1 Cup Mashed Ripe Bananas

1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Cream Butter and Sugar together. Add Eggs, Flour and Salt. Mix thoroughly (I use my Kitchenaid Mixer). Add Buttermilk Mixture and Beat. Mix in Bananas and Nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done. I like to bake in 5 mini loaf pans so I can easily share with friends. For 5 mini loaves my oven takes 30-35 minutes.

And here are a few of my other recent creations…

salmon Ramen with Miso Broth

vegetable soup

mushroom penne

chocolate chips

valentine's cupcakes

To see more of my cooking adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Happy Saturday from the Kitchen!


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Don’t Miss Out on Tobi U!

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I had an AMAZING response to the launch of Tobi U, my new online learning center for interior designers! So many designers have signed up and are already telling me how these business courses are changing their businesses and their lives!

If you haven’t made the leap to join me for the first semester of Tobi U at the very limited Early Bird Pricing, now is the time! Early Bird pricing will close on Feb. 28, and Spring Registration will officially close on March 31st and won’t reopen again until Fall when I launch my second semester of Tobi U.

In each semester of Tobi U you get 8 modules of content, each module focusing on a central topic that is CRITICAL to the business of interior design. I give real, honest and straightforward information on how to REALLY take your business and your life higher, no matter what level you are in your business right now. It isn’t fluff, it’s roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work content.

Each of the 8 modules includes a video that walks you through the topic, like how to get a handle on your financials, and gives you a clear focus of why it’s so important to your business. Then I include a webinar for each module, made up of the best-of-the-best of the foundational business content from my classes and courses plus all new cutting-edge ideas on how to reach your goals in the state of our industry right now.

Each module also has downloadable PDF worksheets for your HOMEWORK! Yep, that’s right! Tobi U brings you homework. As I love to say, “This won’t work if you don’t do the work!” And then I offer you a podcast in each module that helps keep you motivated. To see more about how Tobi U works, check out this blog post from a few weeks back where I walk you through the process step-by-step.

If you start with Tobi U NOW, you can have tools and strategies in place to help turn your business around by this summer – and isn’t that what you want? So what are you waiting for? Register NOW for Tobi U (by Feb. 28) and get the limited time early bird special of $999 while you still can. The regular price is a fabulous value for all this great content and the Early Bird Special makes Tobi U a steal of a deal!

Here’s what a few of our Tobi U students are saying…

“Excellent job on Tobi U. It’s easy to use, has great and valuable content and the badges are fun. Thanks for sharing your secrets to success. And thanks for being accessible to all of us striving to achieve the best we can be!”–Maria Adams

“It’s horrifying to work the numbers (for your design business) but when you finally get them- and understand them- you can get a plan and take action! The Tobi U Financials module is so great!”–Kathleen DiPaolo

“Most helpful was the goal discussion. I am all in with the go big or go home! I like getting permission to do that, to think that way, to shoot for that.Thank you Tobi U!”–Mara Malcolm

“The content is great and so far. This is the most fun I’ve ever had doing homework!” –Wendy Fisher

So what are you waiting for? Don’t spend another minute waiting to change your life. Don’t put off building your dream business. Sign up TODAY…6 months from now you will wish you had!









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How to Change Your Interior Design Business

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The interior design business is a tough one. It’s a creative business that also requires some serious entrepreneurial skills, and too often those aren’t taught in design school. So many designers tell me that they were blindsided by the business itself, and the need to understand financials, marketing, pricing, negotiation, sales, and so much more.

But here is where I can help – in fact, it’s one of my PASSIONS to help other designers improve their businesses! I have an accounting degree and an MBA, in addition to my interior design degree, and I have years of experience in coaching and teaching other designers how to improve and refine their businesses for maximum success!

My Designer MBA course is the deep-dive business education that has completely transformed design businesses across the country! Taking place March 17-18 in Dallas at the historic Stoneleigh Hotel, this two-day event will give interior designers the tools and confidence they need to professionalize their processes and to sell their services with confidence.

DesignerMBA-300x250-marchWhat separates Designer MBA from any other business course or event is that I am also in the interior design trenches every single day. I know how hard it can be – and I have developed Designer MBA to answer all of the pain points you can have as a designer. I’ll teach you to:

  • Charge what you’re worth
  • Get your financial house in order
  • Attract your ideal client
  • Market your business like a pro

Here’s what a few of our Designer MBA customers have to say about the course:

“Since attending Tobi’s event, I had a 500% increase in profits! What Tobi will spoon-feed you is a roadmap to making money.” Mara Malcolm

“Tobi is so generous with her time and her knowledge. I walked in frightened about the future of my business. I walked out a confident designer! I have the tools to restructure, and I am rebuilding for success.” Alison Johnston

“I would have paid twice as much for the results I have already reaped!” Suzy Watkins

“After returning from Designer MBA, everything has changed in my business for the better. I have been sprinting just to keep up with everything happening. Now my time is not wasted running around, but in meeting new, quality clients and closing the largest contracts ever!” Kim Layne Gonzalez

Let me give YOU the same results! Join me at Designer MBA! Learn more by clicking here.

Stop leaving money on the table, and start feeling empowered!








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Tobi TV: Wing Chairs That Soar

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One of my favorite furniture designs ever is the wing chair, or wing-back chair. The chair design is an older one – featuring an upholstered arm chair with “wings” on the back that seem to enclose the person sitting in the chair. Back in the day, that design helped hold heat in for people sitting near a fireplace.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.05.46 AM

Today, modern wing chairs are really versatile pieces that transcend a particular style, and they can really make a room look complete. I use them a lot for my clients, in my own home, and I’m even designing one for my collection with CR Laine that will debut in April at the High Point Market.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite spaces with wing chairs:

I’m already excited to create more designs with wing chairs! Here are some of the best things about wing chairs:

1. Wing chairs can be traditional and stately or modern with fantastic fabrics!

2. The perfect wing chair hugs you and makes a great place to get cozy with your favorite books and magazines.

3. A traditional wing chair can be updated with geometric patterns and contemporary colors.

What are your favorite wing chair designs? And how do you use them to make your home soar? Please let me know in the comments below how you’re “winging it” in your home!








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Mastermind Spotlight: Minhnuyet Hardy

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Today, I want to spotlight one of my Mastermind Consulting Group members, Minhnuyet Hardy – a fabulous and high-energy interior designer based in Atlanta! Minhnuyet has been such a great addition to my Mastermind Deluxe group and she has really found a unique niche to call her own, focusing on designing interiors for professional men and bachelors.


She is one of the only designers in her city to focus on that target audience. “[Last year] I started working with my first single male client, a recently divorced man with two young girls,” Minhnuyet says. “He was living in a small hotel room and needed his condo finished quickly and with everything: new furniture, linens and pots and pans and, of course, several TVs.  We had a blast and the project turned out very modern and stylish while incorporating all of his technology needs.” Minhnuyet soon found herself working with three other male clients with similar requests. “I realized that working with men was a natural fit for me,” she says. “I really understand their design aesthetic and what they want in their interiors.”


She also has teamed with a smart home technology specialist in Atlanta to help men fit all of their fun gadgets into her inviting and functional design. In addition to finding her perfect niche, Minhnuyet says her greatest triumph so far is her upcoming publicity. She will be published for the first time in Modern Luxury Men’s Book Atlanta’s March 2015 issue. “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect magazine to feature my work!” she says.

Her biggest challenges, she says, have been pulling together her social media strategy, re-branding, and launching her new website. “I am slowly getting the hang of it, one tweet at a time. It’s fun to see a lot of high-profile men following me on Twitter,” she says. “Another challenge has been the re-branding and the new website. That was almost like having another large project on my books, so I’m glad that we are at the finish line on that chapter of my life.”

Minhnuyet has just launched her new website, which helps focus her marketing efforts toward her niche clientele. “I really want to focus on taking projects that elevate my brand and business model,” she says. “I would also like to hire a junior designer to help with projects. I am most looking forward to getting published. This was my goal this year so I am beyond excited that has come to fruition. If only I had a crystal ball to see what the future holds for me!”


Minhnuyet is married to Joe, an air and space attorney and part-time actor, and together they have two kids, Owen, 13, and Melia, 10, as well as a fur baby, a Doberman named Beatrix. Minhnuyet was born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam,and likes to hang out with her kids and travel in her spare time. “I love to visit restaurants, hotel lobbies and museums,” she says. “It just fascinates me to see different and interesting foods, cultures, art, and interiors.”

While balancing work and personal life has been a challenge for Minhnuyet since going into full-time design, she is working on hiring so she can delegate and assign tasks and have more time to spend with her family. Minhnuyet says that her biggest “a-ha” moment happened when she was traveling home from her first Mastermind session in Dallas, which was about licensing agreements and making partnerships.

“Serendipitously, the gentleman sitting next to me turned out to be the CEO of Republic Tequila. We chatted the entire plane ride back to Atlanta and we have since kept in touch. We are discussing some different ideas of how to work together,” Minhnuyet says. “Had I not attended the session, I would have never even thought about partnering with such a company. Tobi’s classes and coaching have opened my eyes to new ideas and thoughts about my design business.  Her coaching is really worth the investment of your time and money, she is truly a very smart and savvy businesswoman.”

Aren’t Minhnuyet’s designs gorgeous? And she really is proof that knowing your niche, and really keeping your focus on it, can propel your business into the stratosphere!









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