Posts Tagged ‘love’

Love, Baking, and Mother’s Day

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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,

 

 

 

 

 

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The Joy of Yin Yoga

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Yin yoga changed my life. About 6 years ago I discovered Yin style yoga. I had been practicing yoga on and off for years but was typically doing flow yoga or even hot yoga now and again. I had no idea Yin even existed. Sadly there is no Yin yoga studio in Little Rock anymore but I now practice Yin at home in my personal yoga studio. More about that in a bit

So what is Yin, you ask? It’s a type of yoga involving super long holds in typical yoga positions…as in 8 minutes in a forward fold. The point of it is to bypass the muscle and get into the connective tissue. You know the connective tissue? It’s that stuff that basically shrink wraps your joints. And as we age it doesn’t remain as pliable or flexible as it once was which can cause all sorts of joint pain, back issues and injuries. If you are a nerd like me and would like to learn more about Yin and it’s benefits, this book, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga, is for you!

I find that Yin has a lot of the benefits of Restorative yoga too. And I know, I know, lots of “real” yoga peeps think Yin and Restorative are for sissies. Well as Oprah would say “here’s what I know for sure”. I get cardio in my life in tons of ways including walking, hiking, tennis and other intense exercises. So I am not lacking in the sweating and burning calories department most of the time. But where I am always in major need is in the stretching my body and relaxing my mind categories. My personality is definitely Type A and some might say I’m “intense” so instead of adding more fuel to the fire so to speak with hot yoga or something fast paced, what this hard-working mama needs is something that calms me down and makes my body feel oh so good. And I mean YIN FEELS GOOD! It’s truly hard for me to decide if a massage or Yin yoga feels better.

And what I learned about Yin is that it’s sort of like yoga meets meditation. Because trust me, when you are in a hold for 5-8 minutes or longer, it definitely becomes about quieting the mind, especially in poses like Dragon that are super painful. So for me Yin is a double win because it is a major dose of mental work with a super dose of stretching my body.

You can also think of Yin as in the opposite of Yang. Yang qualities are fire, intense, fast, restless, active. Yang isn’t all bad, it is also positive, light and  sunshine. But for me, too much Yang is a problem. And my personality is absolutely way more Yang than Yin. We need to balance our personality with whichever qualities we don’t have. So I am the perfect candidate for Yin yoga because I am definitely high-strung, very active, easily stressed and I also spend a lot of time sitting at work, on airplanes, and in front of my computer so my hips, hamstrings, low back, neck and shoulders get really tight. The difference in my body and my demeanor with a Yin yoga practice is remarkable. Just ask those people who live with me when I’m not practicing Yin (wink!).

I really understood the power of Yin yoga over the last couple of years when I took on a lot of extra things like expanding my consulting company, and 4 licensed product lines, and I let my Yin practice fall by the wayside. Boy did I ever feel the pains of not having this gift of yoga in my life. And my body went from feeling like a 30 something to an 80 year old in about a year’s time. I was actually surprised at how far backwards my health and flexibility went by not making time for this therapeutic form of exercise.

 

So if you are like me, Type A all the way, give Yin yoga a try. I practice every day now and my life is better for it. You can do it right at home with yogaglo.com on your computer, tablet or phone. And if you have Apple TV like me, it’s even easier to stream it on your TV. If you’re looking for peace, health and lots and lots of JOY this year, Yin yoga is the way. Namaste!

Joyfully yours,

 

 

 

 

 

My Word of the Year for 2017

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(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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram Inspiration: A Cook’s Dream

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We’re just two weeks from Thanksgiving and the fun of cooking for family and baking for the holidays – something I absolutely love! It’s my stress relief and the way this Southern girl shows her love. Having my new kitchen this year is going to make it an even more fabulous experience and I can’t wait to get in there with my daughter to whip up treats like the mini bundt cakes she made above. She’s quite a baker all on her own!

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If you’re following me on Instagram, you know I’ve found a lot of cooking inspiration from Blue Apron. The meals they’ve sent have taught me new techniques and ideas that I’m going to try for my holiday cooking!

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But what really has me excited about getting into the kitchen are all of the fabulous new Thermador appliances we’ve installed, like my gorgeous new range above. I may be their brand ambassador today, but I’ve been a long-time believer in their brand and appliances. In fact, I grew up eating the delicious meals and treats my mom created on her Thermador range! Making pancakes is so much fun on the stove-top griddle – it’s the kind of Thermador innovation that a real cook like me loves!

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If my daughter continues to make delicious treats like the chocolate lava meringue cupcakes she made above, though, I’m going to have to break out another great machine in my kitchen…

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Thank goodness I’m a huge fan of juicing! It will help me keep some balance in this fun and crazy holiday season! What are your favorite traditions and dishes for the holidays? Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Cooking!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

Gift Guide: Cooking and Entertaining with your Valentine

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Cooking and Entertaining

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Yes, 2016 is already flying by. And though I’ll be sure to buy some gifts and make a few “sweets” for my Hubby, it’s my 10-year old Valentine that I love cooking and entertaining with most. She’s my kindred spirit when it comes to the kitchen,  and we especially love baking for any and every holiday and special occasion. In fact we’re busy planning our Valentine’s menu as we speak. And these are a few of our favorite Valentine-inspired items that could help make our “Love-ly” celebration even better.

Are you going to be making sweets and treats for your honey this year? My little and honey and I would love to know your favorite “sweet” recipe.

Happy Cooking and Baking, Friends!

XOXO,

 

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

  1. Red Dublin Iced Beverage Glasses – Fun red glasses with starburst pattern facets cut into the surface are a great touch of sparkle to any holiday dinner!
  1. Ruffled Heart Dish –Baking is one of my daughter and my favorite things to do together. We could make such sweet treats in this Williams-Sonoma heart shaped dish! Bring on the Pies.
  1. The Cast Iron Way to Cook – This cook book has all of the great recipes I’m looking for to start using my new cast iron Staub pot! Are you looking for a fun way to spice up your dinner routine? From comfort food to international cuisine, this book has it all!
  1. Pink Square Baroque Dinnerware Service – Pretty in pink and oh so fabulous! This baroque style dinnerware set is beautiful to display and so easy to use at any dinner party! I happen to think it’s extra sweet for Valentine’s day!
  1. Cast-Iron Heart-Shaped Dutch Oven – If you’ve stolen someone’s heart, maybe it’s time you give it back- with this cast-iron heart-shaped dutch oven by Le Creuset! I bought this exact pot about 20 years ago in college as one of my first real pieces of cookware and I still use it today.
  1. Valentine’s Day Apron – Cook in style this Valentine’s Day with this apron from Williams-Sonoma. Isn’t that tiny little heart accent adorable?
  1. Cold Hands Warm Heart Mug – Kate Spade’s thermal travel mug is a fabulous gift for the chic girl always on the go this Valentine’s day. In fact, anything Kate Spade is the way to this girl’s heart!
  1. Red Tea Kettle – I love adding a punch of color with useful kitchen tools, like this red tea kettle! And a bit if relaxing chamomile could be the perfect recipe to relax on the day of love this year.
  1. Crown Tuscan Pedestal Servers – I love hosting family and friends for any holiday or event and I also collect cake plates and stands! So what better way to serve up sweet treats this Valentine’s Day than on this pair of blush pedestal servers!
  1. Personalized Guest Towels/Buffet Napkins – I love to add a personal touch to any party I host, like this set of monogrammed guest towels/buffet napkins! Those little red details and monogram are classic and fun.
  1. White Dinnerware with Red Trim ­­– Just a hint of red, like the trim on this dinnerware set from Williams-Sonoma could be the perfect accent to your holiday décor! The great thing about buying dishes with a hint of red is they are also great for birthdays, all the summer holidays, and then again on Christmas. So these are a great purchase.
  1. Valentine’s Day Mini Silicone Spatulas – Valentine’s Day is the a great opportunity to get into the kitchen and bake all of the mini sweet treats my daughter and I love! This set of mini silicone spatulas from Williams-Sonoma would be great for icing and batter alike!
  1. Red Acrylic Tumbler – A large jewel tone acrylic tumbler would be a great addition to any colorful tabletop! I’ll take a set of these “jewels” for Valentine’s day, please.
  1. Valentine’s Day Towel – Such an easy piece of décor to add for the holiday, this Valentine’s Day towel from Williams-Sonoma is a great gift for your baker or even a lovely hostess gift or surprise for any of your friends with a kitchen.
  1. Le Creuset Shallow Oven – I love entertaining! This shallow Le Creuset oven is designed for smaller meals and easily transitions from oven to table while looking fabulous in red!
  1. Let’s Chill Drink Cozy – The Let’s Chill drink cozy from Kate Spade is the stylish way to keep your drink cool this Valentine’s Day! Looking pretty in pink (and red) this striped drink holder is a festive way to celebrate with your favorite canned beverage.
  1. Pink Stoneware Cake Pan – A beautiful blush pink stoneware cake pan to bake a cake for that special someone is definitely on my list. My husband’s favorite cake is a chocolate chip pound cake and it would look so pretty in this spiral design.
  1. All You Need Is Love Glass Tray – A simple little trinket tray to serve your fresh baked sweet treats at your next gathering! I’m making French Macaroons this weekend for the first time and wouldn’t a couple of them look cute served on one of these tiny trays?