Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Tobi TV: 5 Tips for Family-Friendly Gathering Spaces

Posted by

I love creating spaces where people can gather and visit…it must be the Southern girl in me! And in my farmhouse project – featured on the April cover of Traditional Home – I wanted to give my clients several family-friendly rooms that would be perfect for their large family gatherings!

I have a few tricks for making sure everyone in the family feels comfortable and welcome, and I put them together in a fun Tip Clip for Traditional Home, so let’s take a look:

See how just a few thoughtful touches can make all the difference in a family-friendly space? Let’s review those ideas one more time:

1. The biggest key is to be sure you have lots of seating that can accommodate everyone, including some fabulous swivel chairs that will let people watch TV and still have conversations with others in the room.

2. When you have a lot of kids, you know that games and toys can accumulate, right? So I like to provide cabinetry where those things can be tucked away when guests are expected.

3. Multifunctional furniture is a great way to welcome everyone – like a coffee table that adjusts from a drinks height to a game-table height!

4. Even in formal spaces like a living room you can keep things welcoming for little ones, like using family-friendly fabrics that can stand up to spills and messes. There’s no need to keep anyone out of a room like this!

5. To let your spaces move between entertaining and family time, you can hide the TV away behind a screen like the one I created with wall art. That lets the little ones know when TV time is over!

Try these tips in your home to make every family member feel welcome! And let me know what your ideas are for family-friendly spaces in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Baking, and Mother’s Day

Posted by

Not much “feeds” my soul like being in the kitchen. I have been cooking since I was less than 10 – and today cooking is my therapy and an escape from the whirlwind of my design and consulting business. I loved cooking with my mother when I was younger and still today on holidays, and now my own daughter loves to cook and bake with me! It’s a way that the three of us can connect and make memories. We enjoy getting into the kitchen and cooking for our families because food is definitely a way we Southerners show love to those important people in our lives!

This weekend is Mother’s Day, and I know all three of us will be in the kitchen creating treats for each other, like we always do. But this year, Ellison and I have a fabulous new kitchen for our culinary creations! For my home remodel, I put Thermador at the top of my shopping list for all my appliances. They give me the functional and fabulous tools I need to concoct amazing dishes, food gifts, and meals for all my family.

We took advantage of my gorgeous new kitchen to create a Mother’s Day video for Thermador, showcasing how much fun we have together when we’re cooking and baking and hanging out at home! I am clearly not as cool as she is, but I’m just glad that my almost seventh-grader still wants to be with me, especially in the kitchen.  Just click here to see what kind of craziness we serve up when we’re together!

I wish all of you moms out there a very special Mother’s Day and I hope you’re making amazing memories with your little ones (and not-so-little ones) in the kitchen, too!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

#sp

4 Tips for Falling in Love with Your Business

Posted by

Feeling burned out? If you are constantly giving to everyone but yourself, you can start to feel resentment. Believe me, I’ve been there – several times! And over the years I’ve also discovered that there is one sure-fire method to make you fall in love with what you do again. But it may not be what you think.

Because to rediscover that spark, that thing that gives you the passion for what you do, you have to step away. Yep, you read that right. But if you try these 4 steps, I promise you’ll come back to work ready to take it on with new gusto!

  1. Go away. And I mean AWAY. One day could help, but for me to really unwind, it typically takes several days. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, then at least check out of business mode. Go drive in the country with your windows down and breathe in the fresh air. Take a spin through a museum or a walk in the park. Plan a long weekend at the beach or the lake. Just get out of your office and turn your phone off. Studies show that if you don’t give yourself a break, you’ll never be as creative and effective as you need to be. You really need to recharge your batteries and you can only do that if you step away from your office.  And for me if there is a component of nature involved, my relaxation goes up tremendously!
  2. Breathe deep. You need to relax and get your mojo back, and one of the best ways to do that is through meditation and deep breathing. Don’t believe me? Well the American Medical Association is now talking about big benefits from deep breathing, like elevating your mood, releasing tension, bringing clarity to your thinking, and boosting your immune system. That’s perfect for burnout! Add in meditation to reduce stress and improve concentration and you have a winning combination. And I combine these with yin yoga so not only my mind feels relaxed, but my body feels better too!
  3. Treat yourself well. You are your company’s most important asset, so you should be treating yourself like gold. That means it is critical for you to take time out of your day to exercise – look at it as an investment in your long-term performance. But for you to get the best benefits, find the type of exercise you really like. If you dread it, you are unlikely to keep it up. Plus, you need to take in the right fuel to keep you running like a well-oiled machine. And we are all different with what foods work for our bodies. At the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I have been trained as a health and wellness coach, they call this bio-individuality. It’s the idea that one person’s food is another person’s poison. So learn which foods and vitamins make you feel best and make them a priority. Taking care of yourself isn’t some new age mumbo-jumbo – a Forbes study showed that CEOs who took time out of their day to exercise and eat right were 30% more inspired and effective at work. So take care of YOU and your take care of your company.
  4. Rethink your priority. That’s right, just one. The idea of priorities (plural) is a somewhat recent change to this word that was made in the US in the 1940s. This word originally meant the ONE most important thing, because you really can’t focus on more than one thing at a time right? So what is your priority? I talked a few weeks ago about the fabulous book Essentialism. To find out what’s most important to you, write down everything you are doing as a function of your job and then really start thinking about what is critical and what is really nonessential. And I mean cut it down to the bone. Multitasking is a myth, so what do you really want to focus on? Getting that clarity, and ridding yourself of things that are holding you back or tying you down will truly make you free! Your passion won’t be pulled in 20 directions, and instead you will get fired up and ready to focus on that one thing that will make the biggest difference.

I’m in my sweet spot of really concentrating on these 4 core ideas right now – and it’s been paying off in a BIG way! I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I am really feeling the fire again, but not for business as usual. It’s for a new and improved version of my business – one that feeds my family and my soul.

So what do you think? Where have you made changes this year to give you a better, more productive, and happier business and life? And if you haven’t made changes yet, what’s your plan? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

My Project on the Cover of Traditional Home!

Posted by

I am so happy to share some exciting news with you: My project is featured on the cover of the April issue of Traditional Home that hits newsstands and mailboxes across America this week! It’s such an honor and I am so thankful to Ann Maine, Krissa Rossbund and the entire Traditional Home team, especially because they also gave the project 10 pages inside!

It really means so much to me to have the cover on this issue, since it’s one of the last to have the stamp of Ann Maine, who is retiring as editor in chief of Traditional Home. She has been such a mentor and huge influence on me, and I wish her well as she moves into a new chapter of her life!

In the coming weeks, I’ll bring you more inside looks at this luxe farmhouse project, including before-and-afters! If you see the article, let me know what you think. It’s definitely one of my faves!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

My Word of the Year for 2017

Posted by

she-designed-a-life-she-loved

(By the way, get this fab mug here…)

Oh how I love the turn of the new year! I love nothing more than a fresh start–a new opportunity to design our lives just the way we want them to be. And for a big believer in goals, this is THE best time for setting a path to the life you want. I enjoyed time with family this weekend to relax and restore and eat my black-eyed peas. But today it’s serious goal setting time. And every good goal need a plan.

For the last five years, at the beginning of the year I’ve chosen a word to represent my intentions and goals. A word to be my guide for the next 12 months. It’s an annual ritual that I love, and that I take very seriously. Over those years I have chosen the words Discipline, Inspire, Action, Significance, and last year I chose Focus. I would say of all these, Significance was maybe my favorite because it meant looking for experiences and work that were truly meaningful. My favorite that is, until now.

I really believe what one of my favorite gurus, Dr. Wayne Dyer (who we lost in 2016) said. He said that intentions create reality. In other words what we put our minds to, becomes what we are.

wayne-dyer

In 2016, my word was Focus. My intention was to be laser-focused mentally and emotionally on things that I wanted to achieve all year long.  Many times we as humans focus on the bad in life, or gossip, or challenges. And if what we focus on is what we become, that can be a dangerous practice, right?

Last year I wanted to have a head-down approach to my life.  I planned to forgo things that were merely good in lieu of the GREAT!  To say no to things that only seemed urgent so I could focus on what really matters. I decided to dig deep with the help of a few key advisors including my husband, in order to decide what I wanted my next few years to look like. I decided to focus on laying the ground work for the future that I want to manifest.

And though I had some HUGE successes in my design and consulting businesses and especially in my product designs last year, it was my marriage and my family that became my top priority. And oh WOW, have I ever reaped the rewards in those areas! It’s been so much fun when many of you have noticed and commented (on my social media and in person) over the last few months, about the changes you can see in my happiness. You’re right!

Relationships are like flowers, they need time and attention to bloom. And though my life seemed perfect before this year of focus, I didn’t realize that some of my relationships needed more time and attention than they were getting. As so many of you know, it is so hard to balance business and life, and for years my family has been patiently supporting my endeavors while I have tried to give them everything they needed. So 2016 was their turn to get major attention from me and I am thrilled that my family and I are truly happier than we have ever been because of it! Yes, I needed to be more connected to them too, and I was often too busy to even notice.

I also focused last year on downsizing the parts of my business that weren’t bringing in big profits or big success (like getting rid of my big brick and mortar we no longer need in lieu of a fabulous studio at home) so that I could be sure that the time I do spend on my business has the biggest payoffs with regard to fulfillment and finances. It was all part of my focus to balance work and family for the biggest rewards.

So when considering my word for 2017, I took a look back at my previous Word of the Year posts and something interesting happened. My intention to “Focus” in 2016 naturally led to my 2017 Word of the Year. In fact, if you look back at the blog post from January 2016, you’ll see the list of things I vowed to focus on…

I will forgo the good and Focus on the GREAT.

I will say no to many things that seem urgent and Focus on what matters.

I will travel less so I can Focus on my family more.

I will Focus on what I REALLY Want.

I will Focus on change.

I will Focus on what I can control.

I will Focus on what excites me.

I will Focus on being healthy.

I will Focus on finding Joy.

And what you will see is this year’s perfect word right there in the post. Because the last thing that I said I wanted to focus on was…

joy

That’s right, my word for 2017 is JOY! I said last year Joy would be part of what I wanted, but it was probably more of a side note, a secondary thought or at least one of several things I intended to seek.

This year it’s THE word. So what’s the difference in Joy and Happiness you ask? One definition I found said it this way…Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion. Feeling spiritually connected to a god or to people brings joy.

So my intention for this year is to let JOY shine in my life, both personally and professionally! I guess I got a taste of real happiness last year when I up-leveled my personal relationships, and now I want MORE. Joy will be the litmus test of every decision I make this year. If it doesn’t REALLY bring me JOY then it just won’t make the cut in 2017.

ara-joy-1

But it goes deeper than that. It won’t just be the test when an opportunity arises. Joy will be the catalyst for more BIG changes this year for me and my business.

I want to make sure there is JOY in my design work. I definitely love my work but often a lot of “have tos” creep into my schedule or my projects. This year, I will go back to just taking the work that I am passionate about. And what I am most passionate about? Designing homes that support people in their goals, their intentions and their wellness. So look for some shifts in the design work I do. I am no longer willing to do work that doesn’t truly inspire me and bring me JOY. But if you want a home that makes you healthy and happy, then I may just be your designer!

I will expand on the JOY I feel when I help others through my consulting work. Many of you may not know that I don’t just work with designers, but all sorts of businesses to help with their marketing and social media, their online presence, their personal wellness and work-life balance and their overall brand. Our list of consulting clients includes all sorts of creatives types from lawyers, realtors, designers, and contractors to info product companies, telecommunication companies and financial advisors. Every type of small business can benefit from the work we do and this work brings me JOY! I will also do more personal and life consulting this year. Yes, consulting will be a big part of 2017 for me.

I find much JOY in my product designs and media partnerships and I will expand those in 2017. I can’t wait for you to see what I am up to in this area of my life. I have a few big announcements that will be coming soon.

But, most importantly, I want to focus on the JOY I have with my husband, my daughter, my family and a few close friends plus our 2 amazing pups this year. Have you seen how cute our new puppy is?!? Yes, I guess I am elated by the connection and fulfillment that my relationships brought me in 2016, so more than anything else, I want more of this in this new year.

There are turning points in all of our lives, more and more as we grow older, that cause us to stop and take stock of our lives and where we are. I’ve had some of those (a few bigs ones in 2016), and I’m sure you have, too. They remind us of what is most important to us and who we really care about in our lives. They also show us who really cares for and supports us,too. They make it clear who and what brings us JOY!

sun

Does that mean I’m turning my focus away from work? Not at all! Okay, well maybe some of it. I am going to travel less for work (yes, even less than last year). I am going to live less out of habit and more from intention. I plan to celebrate what I love about my job and my partnerships. I will do more of what makes me happy and less of what makes me stressed. It’s almost like I’ll be cleaning out my emotional closets and only keeping what brings me JOY. It’s sort of like Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up” but for my life.

spark-joy

Life is short. It really, really is. And I am so glad that JOY will be the motivator for me in 2017 to stop “thinking about what will make me happy” and start only doing the things that will. It’s going to be a BIG push out of my comfort zone, even for a person like me who spends quite a lot of time out there on a limb. It will mean pulling the trigger on a few things I have been meaning to start and on more things I have been meaning to stop. And that’s scary stuff.

fullsizerender-2

I want more time. Free time, family time, down time. And the only way to create that kind of white space in my life is say no to a lot more and yes to a lot less. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. I plan to choose wisely.

I am going to lean into to my purpose and let go of some outdated dreams and expectations that I have been hanging on to. I am going to let go of the past and enjoy my present because being in the now is really just that, a gift.

I am so blessed, and my days of rushing towards the next gigantic achievement in some effort to make me happy are over. Because what makes us happy isn’t “out there” its an inside job. And inside is where I will cultivate the most JOY this year!

So what is YOUR intention for 2017? Can you seek more joy? We all need more happiness in our lives, but maybe it’s JOY you should really go after! No matter what you plan for the next 12 months, I truly wish you a JOYous new year!

with love and gratitude,

Tobi-Signature