Posts Tagged ‘Work-life Balance’

2017 Year in Review

Posted by

It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost the new year. 2017 is done. And equally hard to believe for me is that this is my 10th year of sitting down on December 31st and doing a comprehensive review of all the things that I experienced, accomplished and celebrated over the last 12 months. One of the first things that comes to mind today is that this means my blog is also almost 10 years old. Wow, those years went so fast though I can hardly remember life before this blog.

For this 10th anniversary of my year in review, I am doing things differently. And that’s because these days, I am running my whole life a lot differently than I did 10 years ago. Yes, my life is even far different than just 12 months ago. Previously my year in review was the place that I highlighted all my business successes big and small, because I was admittedly a workaholic and my business was really what I thought about more often than not.

These days, my business is only a part of my focus and it shares the spotlight with my family and other meaningful experiences. Novel idea, I know. But I am committed to a balanced life and I am having more success with that than ever before. So this year, my year in review is a wonderful mix of things to celebrate across all parts of my life.

2017  was a BIG year with some dreamy, BIG, work stuff. But I intentionally curbed many of the smaller things at work to leave more space for what matters most. My mantra for the year has been “Say no to the good, so you can say YES to the Best!” And maybe that’s why I believe 2017 is my best year yet. Let’s take a look.

First and foremost, I completed my home renovation this year. Can you say Hallelujah? I cannot tell you how exciting it is to no longer be working on my own project. It’s always harder to do your own home, especially when you’re a designer and you have to fit it in around all your other projects. But this baby is FINISHED!

And having my home all beautifully designed and functional is adding so much joy to my life each day, especially since I now work from home, too. My design studio is on the back of my house with a gorgeous view of my pool and the golf course beyond, which makes for more relaxing days at the “office”.

This was also the year I became a columnist with Traditional Home magazine. The features kicked off in January and I wrote an article for every issue this year that chronicled my home renovation. From planning the floorplan layout, to selecting the colors, to designing the kitchen and baths, we covered it all. If you missed any of it, you can find it all on the Traditional Home website here.

The pool and outdoor areas of my home were featured in the summer issue of Traditional Home as part of my column, and readers really seemed to love this feature. My family and I especially enjoyed many hours by the pool from March all the way through December thanks to a few resort-style outdoor heaters and that great new fire pit.

In the December issue of Traditional Home, I finally got to showoff my entire home renovation all dressed up for Christmas. Having a column with one of the top national shelter magazines for an entire year was definitely a dream come true and I am grateful to Traditional Home and all the team that worked with me to make this happen. It was BIG!

My own home renovation wasn’t my only celebration with Traditional Home this year. In April my work graced their cover with one of my favorite client projects.

In addition to the column on own home renovation, the April issue showcased a beloved Farmhouse project that I have been dying to show you. And getting the cover for this project was the icing on the cake.

Also in April, the Pandora’s Manor Showhouse opened in High Point North Carolina. I designed one of 6 bedrooms in this lovely boutique bed and breakfast, with some of the country’s biggest names in Interior Design including Thom Filicia, Barclay Butera, Alexa Hampton, Celerie Kemble and the guys from Madcap Cottage.  This amazing property is all sponsored and owned by Eastern Accents. What fun it was to use my Tobi Fairley collections for Duralee, CR Laine, Woodbridge, Soicher Marin and New River Artisans all in this room.

We even had a super fun “designer sleepover” in our Pj’s at Pandora’s Manor, each spending the night in the rooms we designed. Eastern Accents spared no luxury on us that week, we even had celebrity chef’s cooking our meals. We were spoiled and it was great fun. Thank you Eastern Accents for this fantastic experience.

2017 was also a big year for my product lines. I launched my second full collection with Soicher Marin art company in April.

I expanded my outdoor collection with Woodbridge Furniture from the soft launch last October.

And I launched my new rug line with New River Artisans company. You can see products from all these collections in my home reveal too. How exciting to bring my own furniture and home accents to my own house for my family and me to enjoy for years to come. Definitely another dream come true! (P.S. Stay tuned for more product line announcements in 2018!)

One of my favorite things about my design work this year is that I had 5 of my most favorite former clients of all time start new projects with me. It felt like the best year of design ever and you will see lots of these beautiful spaces revealed next year. From family homes in Arkansas to a family-owned business headquarters, to a condo in Dallas and a beach home in Florida, we are working on fun spaces for these clients that have been a real joy this year!

A great honor I received in 2017 was being inducted into the Sheridan High School Hall of Fame and giving the keynote address to their graduating seniors at the annual senior banquet. How exciting to be able to come back home and share the highlights of my almost 20-year career in design and consulting with these young men and women who are just getting started on their own paths.

This year was one of transition for my consulting and coaching businesses in the best of ways. I loved hosting my Mastermind group in Dallas in the Winter and then at my own home in the Fall. What fun showing a group of other designers how I live and work in my new space, and treating them to a seated dinner in my dining room with fabulous celebrity chef, Donnie Ferneau!

I also hosted the last in-person session of my Designer MBA Course in California in early Summer at the fantastic Thermador headquarters in Orange County, California. I have hosted classes, courses and mastermind events at this amazing facility for 3 years now and Thermador always treats us like royalty. Thank you Thermador, for your amazing hospitality and all the delicious food cooked by fabulous chefs on your outstanding appliances. Being there with you was definitely a highlight this year!  And for those of you who have been waiting to take my fantastic Designer MBA course, you still can. And all-new version of it is coming to the online world in 2018.

My consulting and coaching business is my major focus for next year (more on that soon) and so I enjoyed concluding the way some of my courses and programs have worked for the last 8 years to make room for my most exciting launch yet, happening in just a few weeks in mid-January.  If you want to take your business AND your life to the next level in 2018, you are going to love masterminding with me and getting my top tips and my most popular programs all online (some taught live) and at THE most affordable price yet! And one of my favorite parts is my courses are no longer just for designers, and heres why…

To bring all of you my best next year, I wanted to take my own coaching and consulting skills to the next level. So 2017 was a year of education and training for me. Those of you who know me know that I am a lover of knowledge and learning. And in July of this year I completed a 12-month health and wellness coaching certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to help me teach all of you how to better balance work and life. Lack of balance is the main challenge I hear from designers and entrepreneurs each year, and it’s been true for me too. So I wanted to be equipped to bring solutions to this challenge for both you and me, and now I’m ready!

To take it a step further, in December I was certified as a Life Coach and a Weight-management Coach from the Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo. I would say of all the courses, classes, books, seminars and learning I have gotten in my life (and I have completed a lot), this training was the single most life-changing program I have ever been a part of.

I cannot wait to bring my knowledge of nutrition, health, wellness and life coaching to my consulting business next year. This training has resulted in my biggest personal shifts yet, and I am incorporating these ideas for wellness and balance into all my interior designer and business coaching offerings next year. You won’t believe the results you are going to get!

And on a related note, I have just tackled the redesign of my website and online education site that is launching in just a few weeks. So that was a huge part of my 2017. I don’t mean I am just doing a refresh. I have literally redesigned my entire brand, mission, vision and goals to align my Interior Design and Business Coaching businesses with a holistic approach to wellness and balance. It’s been a labor of love with web designers, photographers, copywriters, strategy consultants, online marketing and products gurus and more. And I feel like we have blended all the things that inspire me the most into a simple and straight forward approach that allows me to help people design their homes, their businesses and their lives to create more health, wealth and joy.

And speaking of balance and joy, there was a lot of that this year for me too. I made room for my big goals this year for work, and worked those in around my main priority…my personal relationships.

It’s been years since I really traveled with my husband for his work, since I have been too busy traveling for mine. But in 2017 we made trips for his job (he’s an amazing attorney) to Scottsdale and Boston, plus a fabulous 15th wedding anniversary trip to dreamy Aruba and a fun family vacation to Seaside, Florida.

Working so hard isn’t worth it, if you can’t spend time with those most important to you. And this year, I definitely did that!

Working from home has also allowed me the most special time with my daughter. I love that I am here when she comes home from school each day. I love being here for those important moments when she tells me about her day. I love that I don’t miss her volleyball tournaments, tennis matches and school performances. And possibly the most special little moments, are in the carpool transporting six or eight 13 year olds to practices.

Motherhood is THE most important role I have. I recall several years back telling my own coach “If you think I will be one of those moms who volunteers at recess or drives carpool, you’re crazy!” But now I would give up every magazine cover or client to be here for these moments as a mom. And the best news is that with all the changes I’ve made to my business this year and my impending launch of a much bigger presence online, I can do BOTH!

I even made time for friends much more than ever in 2017. From hosting my ladies bible study group, to girlfriend nights for dinner and drinks, to date nights with other couples and my hubs, to Razorback football games and a weekend at the river, I had a lot of meaningful time with friends this year. Here’s a little pic with our friends visiting from Washington, DC and our fishing trip on the White River. I LOVE fishing. I know that’s hard to believe for a girl like me who loves fancy stuff, isn’t it? But the joy of being out on the peaceful waters with eagles flying overhead, and one of my dearest girlfriends by my side was perfect! And it was even sweeter when we caught more fish with our guide Danny, than the guys did.

Moments with true friends are so important to me now more than ever, probably because I am often reminded that life is so short. I was reminded of that this year when I lost my talented friend of 25 years, Todd. He was an event planner extraordinaire and I love this photo of him. It’s how I’ll always remember his smile. And the way he signed every hand-written note…”Smile, Todd”.

Another of my favorite things this year was doing a LOT of entertaining in my home especially during the holidays. My husband and daughter are super social, even more than I am.  We love to share our home and our cooking with friends and family.

In December alone we hosted 5 holiday parties and 2 dinner parties and we loved every moment of nurturing others in our home. One of my favorite things to share with my little family of 3 is our love of entertaining, and I know this home will be the backdrop for our events, big and small, for years to come.

The year of 2017 will go down as one of the great ones in my book.  And 2018 is going to involve some of the biggest changes I’ve made in years. Stay tuned for some big announcements, the launch of my new website and very exciting all-new consulting/coaching offerings  and a year hyper-focused on making my biggest personal contribution to the world that I have ever made. I am on a mission to make a difference in the lives of others including my family, my clients, and designers and entrepreneurs around the globe. I couldn’t be more excited about what that will look like next year.

Thank you my friends, for taking a look back at 2017 with me.

And a special thank you to Traditional Home, my licensing partners Woodbridge Furniture, Duralee Fabrics, New River Artisans, Soicher Marin, CR Laine Furniture, all the vendors that partnered with me on my home renovations, Eastern Accents, Thermador, my fabulous photographer Nancy Nolan, my videographer Leonard Chamblee, my builder Richard Harp, my landscape Designer David Munsey III, my own coaches and mentors, my amazing interior design and consulting clients, all our workrooms, subcontractors and vendors that help us create great designs, my fabulous Tobi Fairley Design team, my web designer and consultants, my amazing friends, especially my family and so many other people who helped make my 2017 great! And a big Thank you to all of you who follow my blog.

Cheers to 2018. I believe it’s going to be my most exciting year yet!





4 Ways to Survive the Holiday Chaos

Posted by


This time of year can be magical and special, but if you’re a small business owner like me, it can also be stressful, frustrating, and insane. Interior designers especially know what I mean because half of our clients want us to transform their homes into a showpiece in the 2 weeks before their guests arrive for Christmas.

It can be hard enough to balance your work and your personal life on the best of days, but it is incredibly hard to do during the holiday season when everyone wants something from you right now. What can you do? I have 4 ways for you to keep the crazy at a minimum so you can enjoy the best of the holiday season!


1. Remember to say no. You can’t say yes to every client request and you shouldn’t say yes to every event or party that comes along, too. There’s only so many hours in the day, and only so much of YOU. Say no to the good to make room for the great! Choose wisely so you can give your very best to everything that you say YES to.

2. Buckle down early. Put your head down and focus on your work in the first two weeks of December, so you can really let go and enjoy yourself with family and friends during the weeks of Christmas and the New Year. You don’t want to be the one at the office on Christmas Eve, so keep your eye firmly on work so you can get all of the tasks on your list completed and checked off. If you aren’t an early planner, make it your goal next year to do your client gifts and cards in October so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.


3. Schedule some ME time. Find one hour here and there to get a massage, meditate, take a yoga class, anything to calm your mind and help you relax and recharge. It will make you better able to deal with clients and to enjoy your family!

4. Check out completely. On those days that you’re supposed to be off with your family, turn off your phone and be present with your family. The world won’t end if someone can’t get in touch with you. Take a deep breath and enjoy the season.

I hope these tips help you keep the magic of the season first and foremost as your goal! Let me know what you love about the holidays in the comments section below!








A Significant Review

Posted by


Can you believe that we are already halfway through 2015? The time is flying by, as it always does, but it just seems to move faster the older I get. I think it’s so important to slow down our “busyness” every now and then and review or look back to see how far we’ve come.

At the beginning of the year, I decided on a word for 2015, and that also set an intention for my year. My word, as you can see above, is Significance. My intention was, and is, to go for Significance as in Intention, Meaning, Essence, Magnitude, Heart, Soul, and Spirit. All the things I choose for 2015 must be “significant” or important – really important to ME. They should touch my heart and fill my spirit. That has meant being VERY 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.


This is such a HARD thing for us, particularly for those of us who are women, to do in our lives. We’re either saying “yes” to every single thing at work because we think it will make us more successful, or we’re saying “yes” to insignificant things out of guilt or a false sense of obligation. In business and in life, we think there will be some judgement held against us if we say NO. So instead we find ourselves saying yes and as a result, we’re frazzled, burned out, and crazy!

And the problem with saying YES to everything, is that we cannot be SIGNIFICANT – we can’t really make a difference if we’re stretching ourselves so thin that we’re about to snap. You may remember that one of my favorite quotes is “You have to say no to the good, so you can say yes to the GREAT!”


Now – how am I doing with my intention so far this year? Well, I have definitely started saying “no” more often. And I have found great joy in reaching MAJOR goals that I’ve wanted to achieve for years…Significant goals! I launched my first product lines with CR Laine and Soicher Marin, and I also unveiled Tobi U, my online learning center for designers and creatives. It is incredible to see those dreams come true.

I’ve also been able to take my mom and my daughter on my business trips, which makes that travel much more fun. My top priority is family, and the only way I can be really happy is to make sure I am there for all the important things at home and then take them along every chance I get. I know I will look back on the significance of having the people I love with me for many highlights of my career and hopefully they will, too.

But yes, I could do better in some of the other areas, like finding time to relax and spending more downtime with friends. And I just happen to be taking care of those two things this month with a fun trip to the beach in Florida with friends and family! And I know my work will be more significant when I get back because I will be rested and refreshed.


The best thing about doing this mid-year review, though, is that it refocuses our attention on those goals that we’ve set for ourselves. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the daily challenges and responsibilities of life, that we forget what we really wanted this year to be. And we find ourselves falling into old habits that are not aligned with our intentions at all. We can often find ourselves missing out on the fabulous forest we desire because we can’t see past those pesky old trees!

So far on the BIG things this year, I am doing really well. Knocking them out of the park to be exact. And now that I have given myself a little check up, I can re-adjust some of the details in my life so at the end of 2015 I can have all those little things whipped into shape, too. Because it’s the little things that can often have the biggest impact, isn’t it?

I just need a few tweaks and then I can truly say that I lived with SIGNIFICANCE this year. So how are you doing with your 2015 goals? Let me know in the comments below! Meanwhile, I hear the beach calling my name!








Self-Care Saturday: Making a Mental “Shift” for a Healthy and Profitable Life

Posted by


Your success, whether in your business or in your personal life, is completely dependent on what you believe. You could be just one mindset shift from the success you dream of in all parts of your life. It was true for me just a few years ago and today I am realizing so many dreams that my mindset was keeping me from. Here’s what I mean… tobi before and after

It’s been two years since I finished losing over 30 pounds and almost 2 years since I revealed my getting healthy process here on the blog for all the world to see. It took me almost 2 years to lose the weight, 18 months to be exact, and thankfully I have kept more than 30 pounds off to date. And trust me, the keeping it off is much harder than losing the weight.


But it’s not the weight loss that has been the big deal in my life. It’s the mental shift I made way back in June of 2010 which was over 4 years ago. That is when I was feeling awful and working myself to death. I was in my late 30’s and was burning the candle at both ends and in the middle to build a business and be a mom of a young child. I was filling my body with sugar and carbs to have the quick energy to keep working those 14 hour days, I was getting very little sleep and I was doing ZERO exercise. I just didn’t have time, or so I told myself. And when I wasn’t working my day job, I was at home writing this blog in all my other “free time” to help build a business and a following so I could grow my company into something profitable for my family. My intentions were right, but my mindset wasn’t.


Here’s what I looked like in June 2010 and seeing this picture is what made me say enough is enough. When I look at this photo I remember how awful I felt–my whole body hurt, I felt about 20 years older than my 38 year-old self and I was a walking ball of stress waiting to melt-down at any moment. I was SITTING at my desk or on my bed with my laptop for hours every day and there is a reason that Arianna Huffington addressed the top designers and architects in the country last November at the Design Leadership Summit by saying this…”Sitting is the new Smoking”. To be healthy, my body needed to MOVE, not sit!

healthy tobi

Thankfully this is what I look like today. When I look at this photo I see a healthy, happy and much more balanced forty-something gal. But for me it’s not about constantly fitting  into some tiny size of pants. It’s being a healthy size that’s right for me and more importantly feeling good on a daily basis through healthy food, regular exercise, yoga and meditation and a most importantly, maintaining a healthy mindset. Just last week for my Mastermind Consulting Group‘s monthly tele-call, my topic was Stay Healthy AND Make a Profit. Those of you who are entrepreneurs and small business owners like me know that these two things are often mutually exclusive.

your body

It is so difficult to have the time and energy to build and maintain a profitable business and have time to exercise and eat right, not to mention the difficulty of eating and working out when you travel often for work like I do.  And then there are the  many work-related social events where there are always so many things to tempt you like high-calorie foods and alcohol.

In my Mastermind Tele-call last week I spoke about why I believe that being both healthy and profitable not only can co-exist but why I think they actually MUST go hand-in-hand. And why when I made the mental shift that helped me finally get healthy, it was the same mindset shift that also made me disciplined enough to REALLY get my finances in order with my business and become dedicated to taking both my design and consulting businesses to a level of success I had previously only dreamed of. Today I am seeing all the things I have been working for now for over 15 years fall into place and I credit it all to that mindset shift over 4 years ago. the body will follow This week, I was reminded of another successful entrepreneur and business woman who has made this same sort of shift. My weekday morning show of choice is ABC’s Good Morning America. And I have loved watching Tory Johnson, their guest contributor of the Deals and Steals segment, get healthy over the last few years. Tory founded two multi-million dollar companies herself and spends time empowering women like I do, and she struggled with the same challenges of losing weight and getting healthy for years. But she has now kicked her bad habits and kept her weight off too as featured this week on GMA.

the shift

Her book (which I am now reading by the way) is called The Shift. And Tory inspires me to continue to make being healthy a priority in my life. So much so that I am ordering this treadmill desk for my office. Well I have ordered it and I am just waiting for the glass desk top to get re-stocked because Tory inspired so many people this week with her segment that the glass top for the desk is currently sold out. But I can hardly wait to have this desk as another excuse not to SIT all day, every day. 090414AtWork09CJ

So on this Self-care Saturday while I await my new desk,  I am going to take today to re-enforce my healthy habits. It takes time each week to relax, replenish and make sure you aren’t falling off the “healthy mindset” wagon. Yes, it’s self-care Saturday so I am going to the spa for a facial and a massage. I will be doing my daily 3.5 mile walk and I am enjoying healthy food like a yummy green smoothie filled with nutrients for breakfast. Plus I’ll be cooking some healthy recipes with my family this afternoon, all because almost 4 years ago I made a big “shift”.


Do you need to make this shift in your life to become both healthy and profitable? I hope I’ve inspired you to do so and let me know how I can help. Leave me a comment here if you’ve made a similar shift and let me know what tips and tricks for staying healthy AND profitable have worked for you.

I am always looking for new ways to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Happy Saturday friends! I hope you will spend the day being both healthy and happy.

Now I’m off to the spa. xo,

Tobi Signature