Archive for the ‘Outdoor Living’ Category

A.W.O.L. Blogger!

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Hello, there!

I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a few days, but I want to give you a quick behind-the-scenes peek at my 12-hour day of shooting yesterday with everyone’s favorite garden guru, P. Allen Smith! We filmed some great conversations for his shows, Garden Style and Garden Home, and we also had a lot of laughs.

I have more to tell you about our shoot coming up soon, but here’s a taste for now!

Tobi and Allen 1 Tobi and Allen 2 Tobi and Allen 7

More soon!


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Keeping Promises to Yourself

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Hi Everyone! I hope you had an amazing weekend like I did and if you are a mom…Happy belated Mother’s Day. I spent some precious time with my daughter this weekend planting flowers on the patio and getting our outdoor spaces up to snuff. And then we spent almost every other waking (and a few sleeping) moments outside enjoying our handiwork from our loungers under the umbrella, in the hammock, or dining in our outdoor dining space. Our garden is really a place where my whole family replenishes so we are grateful for this time of year and the chance to be outdoors.

And while I was out “digging in the dirt” and reviving some of my house plants from their long winter’s nap indoors, I had an epiphany. I realized that the years that my houseplants aren’t thriving from their winter experience, neither am I. What I mean is this: if I am too busy to care for my plants (some of them almost 20 years old) then I am also too busy to take care of me.

And although I have gotten healthy over the last two years, it is still a really slippery slope when I get off-track of caring for myself so that I can care for everyone else during the really busy periods in my life. And caring for myself doesn’t mean just staying slim. Through the last 3 VERY busy months, I’ve been pretty much in control of my weight, but not my health. So now my diet is full of junk again, even though it may not be over my calorie count. And my back, hamstrings, and hips are a disaster from falling off my yoga regime. And my stress level has been high again because I haven’t been doing my cardio regularly to get all those toxic thoughts and energy out. In other words, I wasn’t keeping my promises to my houseplants or to myself.

Which reminds me of a great idea that was mentioned in a recent business conference I went to. The speaker said something profound. He said, “What would happen in your life if you just kept all the promises you made to yourself?” WOW!! Did you hear that? “If you just kept all the promises you made to YOURSELF.” Not to other people which we tend to be more accountable to, but if we only changed one thing and did what we told ourselves we were going to do.

This is HUGE, people!!!! We spend years creating our own self-doubt and insecurities and then top it off with poor health, bad backs, and diseases because we do not keep promises to ourselves. And we lose trust and faith in our abilities to accomplish things because we no longer believe our own thoughts, because we are constantly NOT doing what we tell ourselves we are going to. LIGHTBULB!!!!

I think changing this one habit this year could actually make you become the person you want to be. And I think becoming extremely careful with what we say we want to do, if we really have no intention of doing it, which is the all-important second important part of this equation.

So to start you and I both off on a great note this Monday, let’s do this together. Let’s make a list of all the things that we keep telling ourselves we are going to do. Then let’s pick three of them and actually keep our promises. And for now, let’s let all the others go. It takes baby steps to make a new habit, but I think if we can start having faith in ourselves again, and can see that we REALLY can do what we say, that our whole lives will start to change.

Are you game? Join me today. What are your 3 promises you will start keeping right now? Leave me a comment if you are willing. I think if we put it out to the Universe it’s not only keeping a promise to ourselves, it’s keeping a promise to each other.

Here are my three:

1. Keep my yoga practice at least 3 times a week NO MATTER WHAT!

2. Be true to a healthy, not just low calorie diet, even when I am busy.

3. Put my “Tobi Time” in the schedule for relaxing and replenishing first and sticking to it with no exceptions, even when I have more work to do than I can possibly accomplish that week.

Now tell me…What are your three promises? Tell me and write them down and post them at your desk, on your mirror and everywhere else they can help you keep your promises.

I am excited to walk this path with you.


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Savoring the Last Drops of Summer

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Happy Friday friends! With school back in session and Labor Day looming, I think it may be time to admit that summer is drawing to a close.

Luckily, I have collected a few images to remind me of the sun, the water and the lush, green outdoors when the first chilly nights of fall and winter arrive. These are a few of my favorites…

[from my Beach Blanket Bingo board]

[image from my Cottage Style board]

[image from my Fabulous Outdoor Rooms board]

[image from my Glorious Gardens board]

[image from my Farmhouse board]

I hope you’ll take the time to kick back and enjoy one of the last weekends of this fabulous season! And don’t forget to save a few images like these your own boards!!

xo, Tobi

[top image via google]


Fresh Outdoor Furniture from Serena & Lily

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I hope you all had a very special Mother’s Day weekend!

I am one lucky mom who got to spend the weekend away at the lake with my loved ones. We got to soak up lots of sunshine and fresh air. It was so refreshing and reminded me of all of the reasons I enjoy the outdoors — like reading my latest book club title, entertaining friends and just soaking up the sun! Outdoor living areas make all of it possible, so today I wanted to share some of my favorite picks  from Serena & Lily’s fun new outdoor collection…

I love the navy and white woven backs and seats of the Riviera Side Chair. What a great way to add a colorful splash to your al fresco dining set up!

How about these teak Sling Chairs?! Perfect for ocean or pool-side lounging!

The prints on these outdoor pillows are fabulous! It would be fun to have a few sets of these and change them out for different occasions. You can get a closer view of all the pillows and throws here.

I have to say that their new Sundial Chair is the hit of this collection. It’s perfect for creating a cozy conversation area. The lounge chair also swivels 360 degrees! What kid (or adult!) wouldn’t love that??

And last but not least, the whimsical Hanging Rattan Chair. This chair wraps around you like a hug and creates a place to slip away to for a little solace. Perfect to hang under your favorite shade tree for a summer time reading spot!

Hope you enjoyed these finds. How are you sprucing up your outdoor living area this year?

xo, Tobi

Quick, Colorful Spring Container Gardens

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Today I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite home and garden experts here to share some spring planting tips. P. Allen Smith is a good friend of mine and I’m always inspired by his lush gardens and floral arrangements. I can’t wait to use this tips in my own yard this spring! xo, -Tobi

Hello Tobi’s readers,
It’s great to be back with you today!

Just as stylish accessories bring a room to life, gorgeous planted containers are the finishing touch for every garden. The trick is to be generous and pack your containers full of blooms.

It all starts with some interesting containers and good potting soil. Choose container themes with either complementary colors or monochromatic tones of the same color for the best effect. Be sure to mix leaf textures to lend visual interest creating sumptuous living flower arrangements in pots.

Here’s a quick, fragrant and fresh spring container grouping made with several different sizes of white-washed tin buckets brimming with paper whites, green amaryllis and a couple succulents in white-washed terracotta pots ready to bring indoors to use at my next dinner party.

Now don’t forget to water. Regular watering and fertilizing will make the container plants produce lush growth and profuse blooms all season long.

This casual vignette on my back porch features differently sized containers spilling over with shasta daisies, several herbs, purple nemesia, chartreuse heuchera and variegated ivy attended by a tall watering can which is ready to keep this grouping from going thirsty.

Pour the potting soil into a bucket and add a little water to moisten.

Fill your container about ¾ full with potting soil.

Take the plants out of their pots and arrange them in the container as close together as you can. Work potting soil into the spaces between the plants.

Water the pot. Fertilize the container with a water-soluble organic fertilizer according to directions.

I like a tall, upright container to best show off the mounding and cascading forms of these plants.
Check soil moisture daily. During the summer you may need to water every day.
Choose complementary colors such as yellows and blues, or monochromatic selections such as shades of pinks, whites, blues, or yellows, or try earth tones in the fall.
Elevate pots on supports or wheeled platforms to allow for drainage; to prevent mold and staining of surfaces.
Empty pottery containers before a hard frost to prevent cracking.
Combine trailing and spilling plants with airy filler plants. In larger containers, add tall vertical grasses or climbers on supports.
I like to mix up textures by using ruffled plants, big leaved, narrow leaved, and stiff, spiky plants as well as combine small and large flowers with foliage plants.
To keep the container looking spectacular, promptly clip off dead blooms.
For more containers ideas, get my book P. ALLEN SMITH’S CONTAINER GARDENS, where I can show you how to create a beautiful container garden in a matter of minutes with step-by-step planting instructions.

Happy Gardening!