My 2015 Word of the Year

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It’s time for me to select my word of the year. The word that will define or underwrite the year ahead. My word of the year is like a litmus test for what to say YES (and NO) to. It’s a guide for how I run my company and my life. It is a word I turn to when I am feeling unmotivated, burned-out or overwhelmed. It’s a where I find my inspiration. It helps me stay true to what makes me HAPPY! So getting just the right word is really important to me.

Looking back at my word of the year for the last three years and seeing what I have accomplished in those years is exciting

Last year my word was Action and boy did I take Action.

Tobi U

In 2013 my word was Inspire and I did a lot of work that inspired others and it really led to major growth in our consulting business. It laid the groundwork for my new partnerships and licensing agreements and my new online learning center that I announced this week, Tobi U.


In 2012, my word was Discipline and I got more disciplined than ever that year with my finances and my health. More than my bank account benefitted. My physical and mental health were in a great place as a result too.

tH april 14

So what about this year? Well I have accomplished a LOT in the 15 years that I have owned my company, especially in 2014. Many of the things I have been working towards like magazine covers and licensing deals are happening and it feels SO good.

I am a goal-setter. I am an achiever by nature. In fact the Strength Finders 2.0 test tells me my top 5 strengths are Activator, Achiever, Futuristic, Maximizer and Significance. Activator means I produce results quickly. And Achiever, as you can imagine, means that I am more persistent, unyielding and energetic than many people and that I spend as much time as I need, to reach a particular goal and produce quality results. So Activator + Achiever means I’m Persistent and Unyielding at reaching goals QUICKLY. Yep! That sounds like me.


But after achieving so many of my big goals (and trust me I am really enjoying those achievements) I am ready to dig deeper. I am ready for more meaning. I am ready for more time with my family, time in my home, time at my office. I am ready to go after even bigger dreams–the kind that you find in the inner-most part of your being. The kind you are afraid to tell people about. The kind you are almost afraid to even admit to yourself.

I am ready to create and build some of the things that can only happen once you have marked off all the things you are “supposed to do” to be successful and you really turn inward towards your heart’s desires.

elle and me

I am going for things that don’t just make me Happy but that bring me JOY!  It’s a bit hard to explain because all the things I have achieved so far have made me happy. But with the job of achieving them came a lot of pain too. Pain of being away from home. Pain of working crazy long hours.

Danielle tobi

Just last week I was listening to The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and she asked “Why do we believe that pain is supposed to be part of our goals?” As in “Short term Pain, Long Term Gain” or “It’s Painful but it will all be worth it when I achieve my goals”.  Danielle posed the question, “Why can’t we achieve our goals while feeling good?” Why that’s a GREAT question, Danielle!

And Danielle went on to say that after “goal-chasing” for a while, we would probably hit a point where we are tired of “working so hard” and we start to question if it’s worth it”.  Hello Danielle? Are you there? In my head?

saying no tobi

I then listened to a great podcast by Ali Brown and she said some really profound things too. She was talking about how early in your career, you say yes to everything because you feel like you “have to” and thankfully it usually does pay off for a while.  But after you reach a certain level of personal and financial success, it’s time to say NO! No to some things (or a lot of things) that have been a big part of your life. You reach a point where you would rather stay home more or go after your heart’s real desires. You are finally able to give up your “FOMO”–fear of missing out.  And this allows you to start making decisions based on what you WANT, not what you feel obligated to do.

Wow, were these ladies reading my mind or what?

Oprah tobi

So here we go…My word of 2015 is Significance.

Sig-nif-i-cance (noun)

:the quality of being important

:the quality of having notable worth or influence

:the meaning of something

:the quality of being statistically signficant

Synonyms: Meaning, Implication, Essence, Intention, Substance, Point, Consequence, Seriousness, Moment, Gravity, Magnitude, Sense, Force, Bottom line, Nuts and Bolts, Nitty Gritty

Related Words: Nature, Soul, Spirit, Acceptance, Core, Heart, Matter, Motive

Antonyms: Triviality, Meaningless, Insignificance, Unimportance

Don tobi

Interestingly, my 5th strength from Strength Finders 2.0 is Significance. But in that case it means a need for being Significant. Significant in my Industry. In the lives of others. In the world. And I would agree I do feel a need for that. It’s probably part of what drives me to reach my goals or even which goals to set and what to create like my Tobi Fairley Courses, Mastermind and now Tobi U.

rainy day with izzy

But for my Word of the Year I am going for Significance as in Intention, Meaning, Essence, Magnitude, Heart, Soul and Spirit. I want all the things I choose for 2015 to be “significant” or important–really important to ME. I want them to touch my heart and fill my spirit. It means re-prioritizing.  It means being brutally honest with myself about what I want and more importantly, what I don’t want. And it means having the guts to say no to things. It means asking myself with every single decision “Do I really care about this? Do I really want this? Is this significant for my family? Is this significant for me? If not, the answer will be no.

good vs great

Just this week a designer who has been to several of my classes and took my e-coaching course posted in our Facebook Forum this comment:

“Does anyone remember Tobi Fairley telling us that if you only accept the ‘good’, you might not have room for ‘great?’ Let’s go back to the Fall when I was trying to figure out how to work with a good project. I stood my ground (on some things) and we did not sign a contract. One month later I land the biggest job of my career, doubling my income from last year. The right client, the right fee, the ‘great!’ I might not have had room for this job, if I had forced the other. Thank you for all your support on this site!I want more time with my Family.”

Well it’s time I remember my own advice. It’s time I say no to the good and make room for the great. It’s time I make only the choices that are important or have “significance” to my dreams. It’s time I go for my heart’s desires.

What do I want this year?


I want less travel except for family vacations–I want more of those.

I want to read more books…in my bed…in my PJ’s that help me reach my goals.

I want to say (out loud ) my heart’s desires and lay the groundwork to make those things happen this year.


I want time at home for decorating, and nesting, and cooking.

I want to be in my office more, instead of on the road,  creating new revenue streams that change peoples lives including mine.

What will I do this year?

green smoothie

I will say yes to myself. Yes to my health. Yes to a schedule that feels good, and that looks like my “dream” day. And I will keep this schedule weekly, not just every once in a while. I will nurture my spirit and my soul.

I will give myself permission to make the decisions I want and that feel good. I will no longer believe that goals have to be painful.

I will stop waiting to be really happy “one day” when I have achieved things. I will be happy TODAY in case one day never comes. If I can’t be happy WHILE I achieve my dreams then I need to rethink those dreams.

I will stop doing things because I think I NEED to, if I don’t WANT to. I will say No to things that don’t excite me. I will listen to my gut.

I will say yes to Joy.

I will not feel guilty about my decisions. I will not feel like I am letting others down. I will be ok if people don’t like my No’s.

I will choose ME!

Significance. Importance. Spirit. Soul. Yes! Those feel right.

And as Oprah asks…What is one thing I know for sure? I know 2015 is going to be a pivotal year for me.


What will be it for you? What is your word? Leave me a comment and let me know.  And in case it inspires you…my 9 year old daughter just told me she has picked a word for 2015 too. Her word is “Chillax”.

She is my hero.

Happy New Year friends! I wish you a year of “enough” of everything your heart desires!


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Introducing Tobi U: My New Online Learning Center!

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TobuUhoriz 2015 is an exciting year for me. It’s a year of REALLY living my Dreams in both my Business and my Life. And the passion that I have – that has always informed every part of my business – is that I want to empower others to cultivate THEIR strengths and to achieve THEIR dreams. That really does mean the world to me! I actually believe that it is my calling, what I am meant to do in life. That’s why I am SO excited to finally launch a project that has been in the works for so long. Tobi U, my new online learning center, will launch next week! Keep reading and I’ll even tell you how you can win a FREE semester! Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 2.06.17 PM Over the last five years, I have offered my signature classes to help interior designers transform their businesses. Those have always been live events, and I will still continue to offer them! But I have had so many people ask me to take those courses on the road, or to provide them to designers who can’t travel, or who live in other countries, or for those who just haven’t had the right time to attend one of my live events or even as a refresher or homework for all those who have attended my events and want to review all the content again in depth once they get back home. Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 2.07.05 PM Those of you who know me know that I ALWAYS listen to what my customers ask me for – and that’s what led to the development of Tobi U! All of my content, tools, and strategies will be available in one place online! Tobi U is set up on a semester schedule – and there will be six semesters in all, with a new one launching each spring and fall. Every semester will include 8 modules, with each module focusing on a different topic in the business of design, including Financials, Branding, Finding your Ideal Client, Getting Published, and How to Raise Your Fees. These courses will help designers streamline their processes, rev up their creative engines, learn how to charge what they’re worth and how to sell their services!

Tobi U students can move through the courses on their own schedule and at their own pace, a semester at a time. That’s the beauty of it! You can do some of the work in the evenings, on a weekend, while you’re on a plane – whatever works for YOU! The content is provided through videos, webinars, podcasts, and downloadable PDFs. And Tobi U includes a little fun to keep designers smiling and upbeat as they work through the courses. It’s a badge system that will reward them for finishing a module or semester, for achieving specific benchmarks, or even for just interacting with me on social media or at an industry event! How fun is that?! Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 2.06.53 PM

Some of the badges available on Tobi U!

Traci Zeller, of Traci Zeller Designs, has been through the first semester of Tobi U (along with many of my live courses and my Mastermind Consulting Program), and here is what she has to say:

I’ve taken every course Tobi teaches, and there’s no way to sum up the incredible amount that I’ve learned.  If you put in the work, you will see the results.  Tobi U is an amazing opportunity to learn from Tobi in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.  You’ll even be able to review the material whenever you need a refresher.  I’m a little jealous, actually!  Truly, though, I’m thrilled — because now Tobi’s knowledge and insights are more accessible to designers across the country and even the world.  I love the saying “a rising tide lifts all ships.”  I view Tobi U as raising our industry up to a higher tide, and I’m one grateful “ship.”  

So how can YOU be a part of Tobi U? Pre-register TODAY at the Tobi U landing page ( and click on the Sign Up button – register before Jan. 15, which is the official launch date, and you will be entered to win a FREE semester! Even if you don’t win that semester, you will still be registered to receive a special early-bird price for Tobi U! Good luck, and I look forward to working with YOU on Tobi U to make your business the best in can be in 2015! xo, Tobi-Signature

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New House Diary: Some Decisions and Moving Full Steam Ahead in 2015

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New House Diary

We’ve been at this house-designing thing of mine together for a while now, haven’t we? I’ve been writing New House Diary for a year, but the progress has been slow-going over here. Mainly because, like the old saying goes, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes,” and the designer’s house is never designed. Ha! But that is all about to change in 2015.


Yes, I have been working on what I want for my house at a slow pace and I have been ok with that. Even my coffee cup has reminded me to Trust the Process. Last year we made several investments in our new home, but not the kind that look so pretty to you and me. Let’s see, there was the new pool heater, and the new fence and remote-control gate (thanks to insurance requirements and needing a safe place for my pups), and then there was the tree cutting, and the maintenance on the air conditioner, and adding those whirly-birds in the attic, and mainly there was my crazy-busy schedule that just wouldn’t allow me to bring myself to gut my kitchen and master bath while my life and travel schedule were nuts. It was for my sanity.

tobi coffee table

And though everything isn’t perfect, it’s certainly pleasant and comfortable here, pre-remodel, since I am surrounded by things I love. But I’m getting to the point where my sanity cannot look at this place another minute in 2015 without taking some BIG leaps forward. So now what? Well, I am on “the waiting list” for my contractor at the moment. I think we’ll have a Spring start date for the demolition, which should be perfect so that most of the dirty work can happen this summer while we are at the beach. I hope to be back up and running and looking gorgeous by Fall. Fall – that will be here before we know it, I’m afraid!


So that means I have about 8 weeks or so to get SERIOUS about my decision-making so I can hand over my gigantic design specifications book by the end of the first quarter to my contractor for final pricing. Then we can start ordering materials and fixtures and get me on his schedule with all the subcontractors by April. Eek. This is getting real!

So what decisions have I made (thanks to your help) so far? Let’s talk about some of them…

First, the entry. It looks like I am still going with these decisions and this color palette.


And this gigantic-scale Designers Guild wallpaper is really growing on me as an option for the walls!

entry wallpaper

And the kitchen?? Well, I am strongly leaning toward a pale gray cabinet paint similar to this design by Benjamin Dhong. And I think I’m going with marble countertops – most likely Carrara.

kitchen gray

Although I can’t seem to get an all-white kitchen (boring? maybe. classic? yes!) out of my head, sort of like this one from New England Home Magazine.

kitchen white

But I am for sure choosing the Thermador Appliances! Steam wall oven, you are SO MINE!


I am definitely swapping the dining room with the study, and adding a door from the breakfast room to what will now be the dining room, for more of a “function-driven” design approach.


Next week I will start sharing with you my dining room choices. Then we will move on to the master bedroom and sunroom before my Spring deadline. We must have at least all my decisions squared away for the main floor by then, so get your thinking caps on. We gotta make this all happen soon!


And I will be sure to show you when we swing the hammer for that first bit of demolition in just a few months. I hope it feels like HGTV’s Property Brothers, where the homeowner gets to rip the sheetrock off the walls themselves, because I could really take out my frustrations on this celery green paint with stained trim that came with the house (and that cabinetry that doesn’t even hold my plates and cookware). You haven’t really even seen how dated my Master Bedroom is…whew! Can’t wait to demo that, too, baby!

Cr laine

Oh and another VERY fun part of all this? Well I now have THREE licensing deals signed: CR Laine, which you know about, and 2 others that I will be announcing soon! Plus I have 2 more in the works. So it’s getting really fun to put my own “Tobi Fairley” pieces in my home design! Feels very satisfying that not only am I designing pieces for the world, but for my very own family, too. And now that my first collection is almost designed and will be in production in the next couple of weeks, it is getting real. I now know all the dimensions and details to include these actual pieces in my own home design and furniture plans.


I knew there was a reason that I didn’t move ahead too fast in this home renovation, and now I know WHY! I didn’t know it at the time, but it only makes sense if I am designing all these home furnishing collections to include them in my own home, right?

So mainly today I want to say thanks for your help so far. This year is going to get really fun for New House Diary! I am glad you will be with me along the way!



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Which Would You Choose? Wood Burning Fireplace or Gas Logs?

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evans fireplace

Each morning at 5 am I wake for my morning ritual. I sit by my fireplace in a cozy swivel chair, with a comfy throw, and drink a cup of coffee. I check my email and social media to start my day. This is followed by my morning meditation and then my morning workout. It’s this quiet time before I rush into the busy world, with no one but me and my Shih Tzu Izzy, that helps me ease into being awake. I adore it. It’s so nice just to turn a key and click a lighter and my fireplace is ablaze.


But oh how I love a wood-burning fireplace. The smell of the wood, the crackling as it burns. My parents have a second home that we visit some weekends with a fabulous firepit outside, and I often wind down my nights by sitting in the brisk air by the fire with a glass of red wine and reflect on my day, or reminisce with my brother about fun childhood or early adult memories. Such special time.

So lots of important moments in my life are spent fireside, both wood-burning and gas logs. I can’t decide which I love best. What about you? When deciding for your interior fireplace which would you choose – wood burning like the photo of my client’s family room above with dueling televisions? Or a gas fireplace that is traditional, or even like my client’s home at the top that has fun, contemporary round stone fireballs?

Leave me a comment and let me know your choice. I think I might take one of each!









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Tobi TV: Displaying Collectibles

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It’s a new year and it’s Tuesday. What’s that mean? Time for more Tobi TV!

Adding personality to your home can be as easy as putting your favorite collected items on display. If it means something to you, it’s great to share it with others by showcasing it in your home. I love to collect jadeite, vintage cake plates, antique oyster plates, and glass grape clusters – they are all special to me and many of them have been handed down to me by family members!

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.45.42 PM

With the holidays this year came lots of entertaining and using my collection of Jadeite and definitely my collection of cake plates for all the baking I did. Collectibles can be anything from vintage china like Flow Blue to something like my client’s antique Russian boxes from her grandmother. Decorating your home with these special items can bring your personality and interests to your space, so don’t hide those precious treasures!

Having a collection also creates wonderful gift opportunities. Two of my special friends gave me gifts for my collections this Christmas. One, a lovely pair of Jadeite vases and the other, a gorgeous turquoise vintage majolica ware oyster plate from France. Both gifts I now cherish particularly because they remind me of these special people in my life.

So what to do with those collections other than bake or have a dinner party? Well here are some of my tips for displaying your collections all year long.

Let’s recap those tips for putting your collectibles on display:

1. Put collections of small items, like my client’s Russian boxes, in a bold and beautiful cabinet to make a big statement.

2. Use acrylic risers to add scale to your collections or put very important pieces under an acrylic box. Putting anything under an acrylic box makes it seem more important!

3. Display your collections in one place. Spreading them out throughout your home diminishes their importance and displaying them together will have a greater impact.

Use these tips to help you create the perfect home for your cherished collections! Please share this video with your friends and let me know what you collect and how you’re making a home for your favorite treasures. Happy collecting!








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