Posts Tagged ‘Self Care’

Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Finding the Courage to be Imperfect

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So I don’t really consider myself a perfectionist. Did you just laugh? No, there are definitely people in my life that I think hold that title and I often watch them struggle with thinking anything they do or have is ever really what they wanted it to be. I don’t think that is me. Rarely is anything good enough for these perfectionist people in my life and they beat themselves up in the pursuit of perfection. I don’t do that. Or do I?

Let me be clear,  I think I definitely strive for an extremely high standard. But in my opinion, I am not a person who thinks what I create and what I do is never good enough. I am often satisfied with my work and my accomplishments. I think I am good at many things. I know I am an expert at times. I definitely hit a point of satisfaction and “good enough” for me in all that I do. Eventually.


But isn’t is funny how our self-perceptions aren’t always totally accurate. Isn’t it odd how we can see ourselves one way when the world may see us differently? If I am honest with you (and me), that bar I’ve set for myself in all that I do is pretty darn high and I have to really bust my buns to hit the level where I think I can stand back and admire my handy work, where I think I have accomplished what I set out to. I am a visual and creative person and my visions are not simple or easy to reach. In fact they are often grandiose. So is it perfectionism…I don’t think so. But maybe. Kind of. Sort of. Ok, possibly.

Just this week I found myself wondering if I was at least 50% perfectionist. Or maybe 75%. But certainly I am not 99%. I mean, seriously. Is perfectionism an all or nothing trait or would we be more honest if we looked at our “degree” of perfectionism and how we rank on that scale when it comes to  REALLY reaching our goals and dreams. And am I 50% in my cooking and 87.5% in my interior design? And what about in my self-image?


Ultimately, these are the questions at hand. Can we give ourselves a break? Can we relax and not be striving all day every day. Can we relax? Can we have less proving ourselves, and more being ourselves? Can we feel more comfortable than ever in our very own skin? Can we be at peace? I think those are the answers to whether we are a perfectionist or not and I am beginning to look more and more like a perfectionist with each one of my answers. Yikes!


Just as I was thinking about this idea of perfectionism this week and struggling to tackle my to do lists at home and at work,  a profound article by one of my favorite gurus Brian Johnson hit my inbox. And in it he said “Let’s quit setting ourselves up for failure and burnout by thinking we need to be perfect and just get on with the business of becoming a little more courageous day in and day out!”

Wow! I hadn’t ever thought of how courageous it is to set out every single day to just do your best. I hadn’t ever framed our constant pursuit of our goals and to use our gifts and talents as courage. Courage! What a relief. Just showing up is courageous. That feels good! We don’t have to be perfect. There really is no such thing. All we have to be is courageous.


Brian is totally right! Life is so hard. Even for those of us who have it easy in the grand scheme of things, who have jobs (or even dreamy jobs) and have food and shelter and love and friendship. Even for THOSE of us, life isn’t easy. I mean just dragging our tired selves out of bed each day to start down the monstrous list of to do’s we have can be totally overwhelming at times. And if we throw perfectionism in on top of it all, if we have ridiculous standards of how those “to do’s” are done, then how can any of us ever feel accomplished, feel joy or feel at peace? We can’t.

It is true. It takes REAL courage just to show up everyday. It takes courage to take our gifts and give them away. It takes courage to face the expectations of life and of the world and of our friends and our family and our clients and our community. But most importantly it takes courage to face the expectations we set for ourselves.

The moment we can stop trying so hard to be perfect and just accept ourselves for who we really are in all our perfectly imperfect glory, THAT is when we find true joy.


Brene Brown in her fantastic book Daring Greatly talks a lot about courage and how to be vulnerable and show up in life. She was inspired by the great Teddy Roosevelt when he said…”It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who’s face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”

Wow. Leaves you speechless, doesn’t it. And I love this quote from Brene’s book Daring Greatly where she says…“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

How profound. We can never feel at home in the world, if we don’t feel at home in our own skin; if we can’t give ourselves permission to be who we really are.


And from Brene’s book The Gifts of Imperfection she says, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

Talk about needing courage! Can you show your TRUE self? I am a bit nervous just thinking about this concept. And I do strive to be honest and authentic in all that I do…but wow! Our true self–the one that is vulnerable, and doesn’t know everything, and is flawed. Can you show her?


Well that brings me back to Brian Johnson and his admiration of the wisdom of Alberto Villoldo in his book Courageous Dreaming where Alberto says…

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers… even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

We are human, friends. And humans aren’t perfect.

And Brian also highlights the words of Abraham Maslow who said “No, what we need is to be honest about what it means to be human: that we are fated to miss the mark of perfection but achieve small and impressive acts of courage and greatness. Instead of thinking that some people are flawless, we ought to take inspiration from the fact that our heroes, celebrated or not, brought themselves back on course again and again whenever they realized that their behavior was out of alignment with their intent. Simply saying, “Enough—I’m moving on!” is an act of courage that breaks the spell.”


So can you do it? Can you show up as your perfectly imperfect self? Can you give yourself a break? Can you do less proving yourself and more being yourself? Can you achieve “small and impressive acts of courage and greatness” each day in spite of your “human-ness”? Well, I am an optimist, so I think we can. And this my friends, is definitely the Secret Sauce to a life of joy.

Happy Saturday from this imperfect almost perfectionist. xo,


Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Say No to the Good and Make Room for the Best

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Life is so interesting. We work hard for opportunities, for money, to reach our dreams. We set goals and kill ourselves to reach them. And even when our wants and wishes and dreams do start to happen, it’s not always what we thought it would be. Isn’t it ironic? How many times have you thought to yourself “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?” Well I’ve certainly thought that while standing at the crossroads of which amazing things in my life to say “Yes” to and which to say “No” to or maybe not No but “Not Now”.

You may be thinking, wow, Tobi you got what you wanted and you’re not happy! But it’s not that at all. What I mean is that life has this interesting way of offering you tons of choices and opportunities and many of them are good and a few of them are Great. And you have to be able to tell the difference to craft and create and mold the life you really want. Finding Joy…that is my objective. And for me, finding joy means saying no a lot. 


One of my all-time favorite quotes and ideas is this…”You have to say No to the Good so you can say YES to the Best!” I have been highly focused on this quote for the last few years. It’s one of my mantras when life presents so many opportunities to me. I can’t say yes to everything. Well I can, but that doesn’t equal the life I want. I’ve tried it and it only caused me to be tired or overwhelmed or overworked or unavailable when the GREAT things happened. And that’s not at all what I was looking for. My family and my health suffered when I said yes to the good.


So today’s Secret Sauce is this…Say YES to the Best! Let that sink in. Say YES to the GREAT! Say yes to the BEST for you and say no to EVERYTHING else. This sounds simple but it’s really hard. How do you answer these questions? What is right for me? What do I want? What is my Purpose? Which is my path? How can I say No to this?


And what I often find is that what I thought I wanted turns out to be not exactly what I wanted. It may be close, but it needs a little work. Or it may be completely wrong for me. And that doesn’t mean that I am unhappy with what I get. It’s more like this…I strive for something and work hard to achieve it and I have fun in the process or at least I learn something. And then when I get there, I have to do what I call “Measure and Adjust”. I get to decide if the path I was heading down is the right one or if I need to tweak it a bit or even do a 180 degree turn. And you know what? Nothing is wrong with that. Nothing is wrong with changing your mind when you have more information. Nothing is wrong with wishing you could travel more only to decide you want more time at home. Nothing is wrong with thinking you want a big giant business only to decide a small one fits you best. Nothing is wrong with wanting a big house and then deciding you want less to maintain and less to pay for.


The exciting part is that we can determine our own destiny. And yes, of course there are some things we have to do for a while until we can say no to them. For example we can’t quit our jobs to start our dream jobs if we have a family to feed and no other source of income. But the best news is these choices are ours to make. And if we are going to be happy we have to go deep inside and see what we really want. And then we can start putting things into place so before long we can say no to everything that isn’t serving us, even that old “bill-paying” job that wasn’t part of our Best, because we have created a new way of living and supporting those we love that is truly right for us. Making these transitions are scary. But we have to have the guts to say NO to the good so we can say YES to the best.


John F. Kennedy said to those that “much is given, much is required”. And I know he likely meant this from a perspective of service to others and I agree. But I think this is also profound in just thinking about what is right for each of us. When we are given many opportunities and avenues in life, there is a lot required of us to make sure we are making the right choices. There is big responsibility to be true to ourselves and those we love and those we can help. There is the huge job of picking the path that lets us live in our sweet spot and live up to our potential and use our talents and gifts and to find joy and fulfillment. WOW! No pressure, right?


One of the biggest killers of picking the right path is FOMO. What’s FOMO you ask? It’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. Yep, there it is. That little devil sitting on our shoulder saying “But all your friends will be there” or “You’ve worked so hard for this and now you are going to change your mind” or “What if people think I’m a flake” or any other number of things that run through our heads when we know that we are saying yes to good and fun and fabulous, but it doesn’t align with what we say we really want. It isn’t the BEST. So beware of FOMO. It’s the thing that will keep your dream life just out of reach. Be patient my friends and be diligent. Say No to the good and make room for the BEST!

Here’s to wishing you the Courage in 2016 to make your life exactly what you were meant to be. Here’s to your BEST life.



And speaking of the best, sometimes the best for me means living life to the fullest with those I love, like baking with my daughter every chance I get. I gave you a glimpse of this beauty in my blog post yesterday. Yes, sometimes we CAN have our cake and eat it too and today’s recipe is the Best Cake Ever! My Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine about 15 years ago.

Here’s wishing you a Sweet 2016 with those you love and to Living your Best Life (while eating the BEST cake)!

Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing

  • 2 pounds (about 3) sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • Unsalted butter, for pans
  • 2 cups cake flour, (not self-rising), plus more for pans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound white chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat potatoes with 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, and mash flesh with a fork into coarse puree.
  2. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Butter two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup vegetable oil; beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the cooled sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
  3. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix into sweet potato mixture. Mix in vanilla and brandy until combined. Remove batter from mixer; fold in 1 cup macadamia nuts by hand.
  4. Evenly distribute cake batter into prepared pans, and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; cool completely, about 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, chop white chocolate into small pieces; set aside. Bring 1 cup cream to a boil; pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. When chocolate mixture has cooled, pour remaining cup cream into an electric mixer; whip on medium until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.
  7. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally, creating four layers. Spread 2/3 cup chocolate frosting on one layer, then stack next layer on top, and frost. Repeat frosting-and-stacking process until each layer is frosted. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup macadamia nuts on top of cake, and serve.


Saturday’s Secret Sauce: The Grass Isn’t Greener

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So how Happy are you? Yes, that’s a deep question isn’t it for a Saturday Morning? So I hope you’re on your second cup of coffee. But I’m serious. Are you happy? Do you feel joy and fulfillment every day? If you answered yes, congratulations! But if you didn’t, do you know why not? And are you looking for that “Secret Sauce” that would finally help you love your life more than anyone else’s?

In my job and personal life, I deal with so many people every single week in all different cities and even from different countries. And it is easy to see that many people just aren’t that happy. People are grumpy and stressed and cynical and sad and definitely insecure.  There are a number of reasons I think people are generally unhappy, but I think the main reason is often that they are comparing themselves to others. You know, the Grass is Greener syndrome?


Insecurities and a general lack of confidence is epidemic these days in both children and adults. I’ve always had a healthy dose of confidence which I credit to my parents because they gave me so much unconditional support both as a child and now as an adult. They are my biggest cheerleaders for sure. But I know that so many people don’t have this kind of support system and it really takes a toll. Everyone needs someone to make them feel like a million bucks. But what everyone needs even more than that, is to learn how to make yourself feel like a rockstar all by yourself.

And no, I’m not kidding or being funny. I am telling the truth. But more about this novel idea of being responsible for your own happiness in a bit.


First, nothing makes people less happy than to compare their perception of themselves to their perception of others.  And yes I said perception because I know very few people are able to be honest and objective when comparing their own lives to the lives of other people they admire or are inspired by or are jealous or envious of. Honestly, doing any sort of comparing at all usually doesn’t pay off.


I’ve talked about this before but social media definitely makes not thinking of what other people are doing, where they are traveling, what their homes and bodies and spouses and children look like, very difficult. It’s always in our heads. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media for many reasons. But it’s hard on you sometimes if you are not very confident and happy in your own life and your own skin to see the successful “version” of life being played out for everyone on Instagram or Facebook.


But here’s the thing. Everybody has something. EVERYBODY! Everyone has the GREAT in them and everyone has things they would love to change. And Happiness and Joy (they are different you know) come when you focus on your gifts and your talents, your strengths and your skills, instead of focusing on other people and what you think they have.


If you want to be truly happy, then you have to believe that it doesn’t matter what others are doing. Focus on your own stuff. Period.


Now that doesn’t mean not to be happy for others or ignore them all together. I find that the happier I am for everyone whether it’s my friends or my competitors, it always comes back to me in positive ways. Jealousy is the #1 killer of Happy. So first be happy for others joys and successes. But mainly, happiness comes from striving to be the best version of you that you can be. 

And yes! Learn to be happy for yourself. Learn to give yourself what you need to feel good every day. It may sound silly but I do this all the time. If I design a gorgeous room for a client, I stand back and smile and say “Dang I’m good! I should have been a designer” and then I laugh because I am one. But I feel all warm and fuzzy and proud inside. And I know I am good at what I do.

And when I cook a great meal or bake a yummy cake and I take a bite, I don’t say “this is so-so, I’m not that great in the kitchen”.  Nope, I usually say, “Wow this is fantastic. Man, I’m a great cook” and my family all smiles and says “and a humble cook too!” and we all laugh. But you know what? I believe it. I am a good cook.

It’s not arrogant to give yourself validation. It’s not stupid to tell yourself where you are remarkable. It’s not conceited to toot your own horn as long as you are kind to others in the process. It’s called confidence.  And if you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to?


So here we go–what are you great at? Cooking, singing, grocery shopping, being a friend? What are your skills? Negotiation, conversation, design, entertaining, sports? What do you love to do? Knit, travel, collect, organize, work, golf. You see we are all so very different and we are all great at something–actually lots of things, even when we think we’re not.


And if we practiced reminding ourselves of what we are great at on a regular basis, instead of feeling inferior all the time and comparing to others, think of how far we could go towards reaching our potential. And think of the happiness and joy we could find. And think of how we could influence others for the good.


You have to find happiness and joy in the day to day. There isn’t a magical day when you will be standing on the other side of the fence and the grass will suddenly be greener. You see what you haven’t noticed, is your grass is already green. And when you water your own grass the possibilities are endless.

I know my grass is green and I am grateful. I know I work in my “Sweet Spot” as a designer and consultant everyday. I know that I am good at cooking and entertaining so I do it often. I know that I am a pretty good writer, and a great organizer, and good business person. I know where my strengths are and I keep them honed by using them.  I enjoy being me and I enjoy using my strengths and talents to benefit and share with others. And that gives me confidence. That makes me comfortable in my own skin. That makes my grass green.


The more you sit around and think about how inferior you are to everyone else, the more miserable you will become. And the more you take action using your strengths and talents to make the world and other’s lives better, the happier you will be. My daughter and I cooked every single day of her Winter break and we shared dozens of meals and baked goodies with others. It made us happy. We were proud of our food. And it tasted great! When is the last time you took action with one of your strengths or talents to make yourself proud and bring joy to others too? That’s the secret sauce for Happiness. It’s where the grass is as green as can be.


So here’s my question again…Are you happy? And if not, what could you do today to find joy while using your gifts? Can you cook a meal for others like I love to do, that you can be proud of? Ok you hate to cook and you actually can’t boil water…no worries! Can you help your child learn a new sport that is your forte? Can you organize your closets and stand back and look at your handy work and have so much less stress because you and your family will know where everything is? Can you volunteer or teach or lead others? Can you write a blog or a book? Can you take photographs, or be a good listener, or help someone move to a new house? What can you do?

Action=Happy. Action=Green.

Good luck using this secret sauce to make your own pastures as green as they can be.

And speaking of green, today’s recipe is for my green smoothie. I drink these every morning before I go face the world to share my gifts and talents.  So give it a try.







green smoothie

Tobi’s Favorite Green Smoothie:

1 banana sliced and frozen

1 cup of almond milk (unsweetened, 30 calorie, non GMO)

1/2 cup of blueberries (you can add other fruit–strawberries or peaches work great too!)

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (not frozen)

1 Tablespoon ground Flax seed

1 Tablespoon ground Chia seed

Mix well in your favorite blender (which for me is a Vitamix) and enjoy making your health a little greener too. Cheers!


Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Reviewing Your Goals Daily

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Celebrate every tiny victory! (2)

Happy Saturday, Friends! And Happy 2016.

I haven’t been as great at blogging on weekends in the past several months (aka all of 2015). And I don’t like that because my posts and topics on the weekends are really some of my favorites. There’s nothing I like more than pouring a second cup of coffee and writing a post while still in my PJ’s.

So why wasn’t I blogging? Well it’s because I have been too busy working on my 4 product lines. Or I was doing client work on Saturdays because during the week I was working on product lines. Or maybe because I was designing my own home each Saturday because during the week I was working on product lines. Or another reason was I was resting on the weekend because you guessed it!  Yes, I had been working on product lines.

Ha! Can you see that there was a theme to 2015? I really put out some significant work and achievements in 2015 but that didn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.

Celebrate every tiny victory! (4)

So today on this first Saturday of 2016, I wanted to blog with a new title. I wanted to call today Saturday’s Secret Sauce. Why? Because I do a ton of reading and studying in the areas of business and self-help. I take lots of classes and courses online about business and about life. And often times in the realm of these books and courses you hear mention of “the Secret Sauce”.

What does that mean, you might ask? Well here’s a definition from one online source. “Secret Sauce is that elusive quality that makes something distinctive or special. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you know it when you see it.”

Oxford Dictionary defines it as “A special feature or technique kept secret by an organization and regarded as being the chief factor in it’s success.”

So for Saturday’s Secret Sauce, two things come to mind. First, a blog on one of the things that I think is the “Secret Sauce” to a great life. And for me that means a life of reaching my goals, cherishing family and focusing on my health. And secondly, I think this is a fun place for me to share one of my favorite recipes, because a lot of you know (maybe because you follow me on Instagram) that I LOVE to cook. My daughter loves to cook too and we are always whipping up yummy recipes sometimes from cookbooks, sometimes from Blue Apron, and sometimes old family recipes from my mom or my grandmothers and great-grandmother. So here’s a fun way for me to bring together two things I really love…self help and cooking.

Today for Saturday’s Secret Sauce I’ll keep it short and sweet (with a little savory mixed in, too!)

Celebrate every tiny victory! (3)

As I come off a week of reviewing my 2015 accomplishments and writing my goals for 2016, there is one thing that I think may be the Secret Sauce to success for me more than anything else this year and it’s this–You will achieve your goals if you 1.) Write them Down and  2.) Review Your Goals Daily if possible, and a minimum of a Weekly review.

Why do I think this is so important? Well I realized that I didn’t revisit my goals, particularly my health goals, on a regular basis last year or maybe ever really. I have always written my goals down. But I noticed I just checked in maybe once or twice over that 12 month period. And staying on top of my health and wellness was one area where I fell short last year, so I have to imagine what that area of my life might look like with daily focus.

Now just to be clear, I am lucky that I am in good health. I don’t have any major health issues or disease that I know so many people deal with. But I didn’t eat as clean as planned. I put on a few pounds that I feel better without, and I had too much sugar and my joints are screaming at me because of it.

In analyzing my year and thinking of what would have made a difference for me in reaching more of what I set out to, I realized that if I had been reviewing my goal to be healthy daily, there would have been a MUCH greater chance I would have decided to eat better or not let my exercise fall off on days I was tired or when I was traveling which are my two biggest goal killers. Often times, it’s the out of sight, out of mind scenario that keeps me from doing what I planned. I just literally don’t think about it because I’m busy. Or I let other negative thoughts creep in like–“I’m too tired” or “I don’t feel like it”  or “It’s too hard to do this when I travel” that keep me from being my best.

Celebrate every tiny victory! (5)

I am a big goal setter. I have been for years and I accomplish a lot so I think it works for me. But how do I set myself up for even more success? This year my secret sauce is going to be reviewing my goals daily. So I already have them written in a journal and also on my iPhone. And I scheduled a time in my calendar for daily review, plus I set a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget.

There is NO WAY I am letting this daily goals review discipline fall off my Calendar this year and I know I will be healthier at the end of 2016 because of it.  Thankfully, right next to my goals this year, I am writing down in my journal what excuses I might come up with to not be healthy, or not work out and if I am looking at my list daily, I will have a hard time letting my excuses keep me from my goals. I’ll likely grin to myself when I read those excuses as I was just about to use one of them and then I’ll drag my “I’m too tired self” right over to my treadmill or out to meet my Walking Buddy Brandy and we’ll make it happen in spite of my excuses.

So there is it friends. My first thought about the Secret Sauce that will make me my best this year. In the comments below, let me know if you think this might be the secret sauce for you to reach your goals this year too!

And while you are pondering my Short and Sweet advice, here’s something Savory for you to dive into to get your Veggies in this year.
mom's veggie soup

Mom’s Veggie Soup:

1 pound of Ground Beef ( I use the 95% lean version to make it healthier)

Chopped Cabbage (I buy the slaw mix at the grocery store so it’s already cut up and oh so easy!)

1 onion small diced

1 can of Rotel

1 package of Frozen Soup Veggies

1 package of Frozen Gumbo Mix Veggies

Tomato Juice (46 ounces)

Water (I just add about a cup, but you can decide the perfect consistency for you)

Sugar (about 1/4 cup but you can also use Splenda or Stevia if you prefer.)

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Brown your ground beef and drain it. Add in the cabbage and onion and cook with the drained ground beef so it starts to soften (1-2 minutes), add in all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for at least an hour. Then enjoy. I love to make a pot of this in my Staub 5 1/2 quart Cocette (it’s the perfect size and you can get yours here!) and eat it for my lunch for an entire week. Yum!

Happy Saturday, Happy Goal-setting and Happy Cooking! xo,

Tobi Signature






New Year’s Shopping Guide

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During this, my favorite time of the year, I am busy preparing my goals and resolutions and plans for an exciting 2016. I am giddy with excitement about moving closer to my best self in the coming months. And I am working on making the New Year my best year yet.

To be the best Me I can be, I have a major goal of putting myself first next year. This is something I find really hard to do, do you? Well in that spirit of self-care and healthy living, here is my shopping guide for a fabulously healthy 2016. These are the things I need to be my best and I hope they will help you be your best too!

Meet me back here later this week for my tips on writing resolutions that work, goal setting and my word of the year for 2016.

Happy (and healthy) shopping friends! xo,

Tobi Signature






1.Columbia Fleece Vest–Layers are a must for working out in Arkansas weather. It can be 70 degrees at Christmas like this year and 20 degrees in March. You just never know. So having some great Columbia fleece vests in my favorite colors are perfect for layering on cool mornings or freezing afternoons for my walks. I got a white one for Christmas and can’t wait to wear it.

2. Northface Thermal Leggings–To be my best and most healthy self, I have to have a “no excuses” mentality for exercise. And thanks to these awesome Northface leggings, even on cold days I am hoofing it to stay in shape.

3. Fitbit Charge–Take your fitness to a whole new level with the fitbit Charge. I have been using a fitbit for years but this new model has all sorts of amazing features including a clock so you no longer have to double up your fitbit and your watch, they are now all in one. And if you get the Fitbit HR, you can keep track of your Heart rate too so you ensure you are exercising at your optimum level.

4. Nike Leopard or Snakeskin Running Shoes–How do you make exercise fun? Well for me it’s by wearing fun workout clothes and shoes (yes I am a shoe girl even when it comes to athletic ones!) So why not jump on the trend of leopard and Snakeskins we are seeing all over the runway and bring it to our workout gear. They even have the leopard print in sizes for your kids so you can keep them active and healthy too!

5. Massage Bolster–In a moment you will see my great link for an in-home massage table in fabulous fashionable colors. And if you go the route of having a massage room all your own, a bolster for propping up your ankles and knees is the best way to make your at-home experience seem like a professional one.

6. The Best is Yet to Come Journal–Journaling has been a lifesaver for me to relieve stress and get in touch with my innermost self and writing down what I really want out of life. That’s why I love this encouraging quote from old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Because I really do believe that the best is yet to come for us all, so why not remember that in your daily journaling exercises!

7. Pebble Journal with 3-ring Binder–I love to keep one journal for my thoughts and another for my gratitude for all my many blessings. I am crazy about this 3 ring journal because you can add pages to it. So when you have boundless blessings like I believe we all do, you can add more space to write them down.

8. Pajamas–one of the most important parts of healthy living is getting enough sleep. I think a great pair of Pj’s is the perfect excuse to go to bed earlier this year and these pretty black and white ones will help us sleep stylishly.

9. Sleep Mask and Memory Foam Pillow–Being comfy and relaxed is an important part of your sleep routine too. How about this fabulous Memory Foam pillow so you are comfy and wake up feeling great? And it’s paired with this fab sleep mask with built-in headphones. They’ll keep it dark in your space any time of day and allow you to listen to relaxation yoga or meditation tunes so you drift off easily to your happy place and stay there all night long.

10. Yoga Bolster–Yoga has been a life saver to me. Particularly Yin-style yoga. I get my cardio by walking out in nature and breathing in fresh air and for me yoga is about stretching and restoration. So for that I need great props like this oversized rectangular bolster.

11. Yoga Blocks–Getting into some of my favorite Yin yoga poses require the help of yoga blocks. So add these to your tools for staying healthy this year. You can also do some amazing before bed stretches and release all the tension from your neck with a great yoga block ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep.

12. Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel–Nothing annoys me more than slipping on my yoga mat. That’s why I love my Yogitoes Yoga Mat Terry Towel. It makes your mat comfy and slip resistant all at once. So now you can Nama-“stay” on your mat!

13. Calypso Massage Table–Massage is a must for my healthy lifestyle. I try to get at least one a month and more if time and budget allow. Having an in-home massage table and home massage space is one of the ways I squeeze massage into my busy lifestyle. So when I can’t get to the spa, my massage therapist can come to me.

14. Yoga Strap–To really get deep stretches for my hamstrings to counteract all the sitting at the computer that I do (and sitting on airplanes too) a great yoga strap can really help. I’m not as young and flexible as I used to be so my yoga strap is one of my BFF’s these days! 

15. Personalized Yoga Mat–And to add a little fun to your yoga time, how about a personalized yoga mat. I love the idea of having my name on it, but even better an inspirational quote that makes me want to be on my mat everyday. Whatever it takes, right?

16. Yoga Blankets–If restorative yoga sounds good to you, creating a sanctuary for your practice is a must. For me that means a lovely and quiet place, lots of candles and several cozy blankets for helping with stretches or covering up during Savasana and lingering just a little bit longer than usual.

17. Massage Table Sheets–Making your massage table especially soft can help you get to your happy and relaxed place faster that normal. I love these high thread count massage sheets from Wamsutta that really help me have sweet dreams while getting my massage on!

18. Massage Table Electric Warmer–I don’t know about you but I get chilly easily. I am known to use an electric blanket on a chilly summer night (even if it’s chilly because my hubby is blasting the A/C), and I am the same way during my massages. So having an electric warmer for your at-home massage table is the perfect way to make sure you are cozy and relaxed every time.

19.Fitbit Scale–I’ve been using a Fitbit cardio step counter for years. But now I am ready to take Fitbit’s capabilities to the next level with their scale that measures weight, body fat and BMI. It can be programmed for up to 8 different users so my family can use it too. I am thinking this might be one of the things that keeps me most accountable in the new year!

20. Vitamix Blender–Oh how I love my Vitamix. It’s the way I get my fruits and veggies in everyday with my regular morning Green Smoothies. I have tried other blenders and trust me, there is no comparison with the Vitamix. So if you haven’t tried this amazing blending machine, I highly suggest you do. It will help you get your smoothie on all year long.