Archive for the ‘Ask Tobi’ Category

What’s Your Style?

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bill blass

As I think more about how to create spaces that are authentic to my client’s personalities, wants and needs, but bring the best of what I have to offer to the table, I thought I would pose a question to all of you…

Do you know your personal style? And is it consistent from your wardrobe, to your home, to your hobbies, parties, or lifestyle activites? Do you have a signature style in all that you do and can you describe what it is?

Here are 3 fun photos that I found on Pinterest that I think tell a similar story and might just get you started in defining your Authentic style in all areas of your life. They could just be the work or style of the same person, don’t you think?

pink and red

table to room


They are all fun, flirty and don’t take themselves too seriously, right? Oh, and let’s not forget the daring use of color and pattern.

Can you be consistent in your own style? Do tell!


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Fun Video Interviews from Lamps Plus!

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Just yesterday I was sharing on my monthly #DesignerMBA Twitter Chat how important it is to know what your goals are for building authentic relationships at industry events! And one really fun and exciting connection I made at the Design Bloggers Conference this year was Lamps Plus — they are a team with such great energy!

They interviewed me about my advice to new designers, what I have going on in the near future, and how I approach lighting in my designs. To get my answers, see the video below!

And for a bit of extra fun, they asked a bunch of designers what rules they love to break! I give my answer in this video, along with lots of other designers including Susanna Salk and Scot Meacham Wood who are joining me for Design A to Z in May, back by popular demand! Listen to what everyone said:

I hope you enjoyed these! Tomorrow, I’ll be bringing you the things I’m most excited about as I depart for High Point market!


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Ask Tobi: Holiday Frazzles

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Q: Hi, Tobi. I’ve been really enjoying your self-care message, but I have to admit that it has been really hard for me this holiday season to take care of all of my own needs in addition to the needs of my houseguests, my family, my pets, etc. It seems like I should be putting all of these things first because it’s Christmas and to do otherwise would be selfish. Can I get your input on this? I’m a beginner in my self-care journey, so this is my first holiday trying to reprogram my way of doing things.


A: Don’t worry! It’s NOT too late in the holiday season to start taking better care of YOU!

First of all…don’t start getting down on yourself for falling off the self-care wagon as things got busier and more hectic; just get back on! The last thing we need is you beating-up on yourself about not taking care of your own needs.

The SAME THING happened to me just around Thanksgiving this year. I was feeling like there was more to do than I could get done. I was feeling the “old me” creep back in as an impatient, irritable, over-committed mom, business owner, designer, and daughter.

And you know what happened?  Thanks to my health coach, Julianne, I realized what I was doing. And I stopped dead in my tracks and made a different choice. Or several different choices that would help maintain my calm and happy existence.

It really is as simple as that: just making a different choice. But so often we don’t believe we have a choice. We don’t believe we have any option but to do all the things we have already over-committed to. So we do them anyway with frustration, or resentment, or even anger. And that’s not what giving or sharing or caring for others should be like.

But you see, it is REALLY as simple as just using the 4 Ds. I heard about the 4 Ds on Oprah a few years ago; she tell us to “Delay, Delete, Diminish, or Delegate,” and I add to that my 5th D…”Do” it and get it over with. Just only have to decide which “D” applies in each situation and then take action.

So two days before Thanksgiving, I jumped into action and I immediately delayed or deleted several things that just weren’t making me happy. I postponed a photo shoot and interview right off the bat. Although I was VERY honored to be included in the feature, I just couldn’t squeeze it into my schedule without multiplying my stress or taking time away from my family. So that one got pushed back until Spring….1 down, several to go.

The next thing I did was call my husband AND a sitter and made arrangements for me to go to yoga TWICE! That’s right, I was feeling stressed so I went Tuesday night while my husband helped me get my daughter to dance and Wednesday morning for an hour while my daughter played with her FAVORITE teenage sitter even though I had tons of things to do to prep for Thanksgiving.

This is a BIG shift for me because my old pattern was to cancel everything that would help my mental or physical health like yoga, working out, or massage when life got busy. I thought those were the last thing I had time for which I now see was so counter-intuitive to staying healthy while busy. But NO MORE! Now I will take care of me FIRST before anything else, especially things that don’t have to be done.

The next thing I did was come home in the middle of the day and get on the treadmill for a run. Yes I had already had a shower for the day. And yes I would have to dress again, but who cares?!? I was feeling over-stressed and I know that working-out is a big stress reliever for me, so I stopped what I was doing and immediately got on that machine for an instant attitude adjustment. It was a GREAT idea with instant results.

Next, I began to examine my feelings and thoughts and realized that they were getting negative for the first time in a long time. So what did I do? I changed them. Just like that. I got out a piece of paper and first started writing down all the things for which I was grateful (yes, there’s that gratitude thing again). I started to count all the blessings that were coming up: a trip to New York with my mom and daughter, a girls’ shopping trip to Atlanta with mom and my sister-in-law that we take bi-annually, going to my daughter’s school Christmas party which she was SO excited about, seeing her perform in our Church Christmas Pageant in a few weeks…the list was endless.

What’s more, I used a visual that I learned in church that Julianne and I have applied to life in general. It is a tree that has roots as deep as the branches are tall. And the concept is that if we don’t take care of Self and get grounded in our lives–stable and secure through self-love, self-care, and healthy living–then we can never grow our branches out to take care of our families, our businesses or the world. So I began reciting my mantra “Roots before Shoots” so I would remember to take care of me (my roots) first and the shoots will thrive.

Julianne reminded me that it’s like the safety precautions on an airplane…put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others. During the holiday season, we all need to be putting on our oxygen masks so we can JUST BREATHE. Then we can be prepared to accomplish all the other things on our plates.

And I believe that YOU can do the same thing for yourself in these last few days before Christmas. It’s a time of peace, not anxiety. Remember that and do what you can to choose not to be frazzled. Best of luck to you; I KNOW you can turn it around.



Ask Tobi: Personalizing a New Construction Home

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Q: Hi Tobi,  I just moved in to a new construction home that I love! However, it could use some personality. I’m particularly at a loss when it comes to the guest bath. Everything is pretty standard—light tan walls, wood-stain cabinetry, a large frameless mirror and tan tile floors. Do you have any ideas to help me make the space more like a home without investing a ton of time or money?

Rhonda; Denver, Colorado

A: Hi Rhonda, Congrats on your new home! It sounds like you have a space you love and just want to bring in a bit of your own style. No problem — that’s why I’m here! Based on what you told me I have a few ideas.

First, the easiest (and usually the most cost-effective) thing to do is add some color with paint. If you have a piece of art you love and want to use in the space, you could start there and then pick a coordinating wall color based on that. If you aren’t quite ready to part with your neutral walls, why not paint your vanity, like one of these cool options?

Frameless mirrors open a whole wealth of options for adding personality. Creating a border around the mirror will give you instant style and add a bit of architectural interest. You can get a big bang for your buck by using a product like Mirror Mate. Find a border you like and you can update your mirror that same day!

After you pick a color scheme for the space, you can also add a rug in this family. I love using Dash and Albert rugs in my projects. They add great color and are super affordable.

Add a some nice guest towels, soaps and voila!

Hope these ideas give you some starting points to add your own style!

Good luck!

xo, Tobi

Ask Tobi: Finding a Rug to Complement the Room

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This question came to me as a follow up to my most recent Designer Mailbag reveal with Modern Chic Home. You can read that full post here, but check out this sketch to get an idea of what Kim is referring to below in her question…

Q: I would LOVE to see what rug you might suggest with that style and room layout? You do amazing things with rugs Tobi. They always make me smile!     -Kim H.

A: Hi Kim! First, thank you for your sweet complement! This is a great question and there are actually quite a few options I could see working in this room. Here are a few of my favorites:

#1 – Indigo Charing Cross Rug from Serena & Lily

#2 – Trimaran Stripe Navy & Ivory Indoor/Outdoor Rug from Dash & Albert

#3 – Navy & Cobalt Feather Rug from Serena & Lily

Who knows maybe our lucky reader, Annie, will even decide to add one of these to her design scheme! Thanks again for the great question.

xo, Tobi