Archive for the ‘Saturday Bliss’ Category

Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Cluttered Life, Cluttered Mind

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I just spent a week doing manual labor. Yep, I worked my Spring Break away doing Spring Cleaning and I may be a bit tired but I feel so energized! Thanks to the help of my super-duper packer Amy, we opened EVERY single box of my belongings that is stored while we are renovating our home and I purged about half or more of those items.  Amy then repacked the things that made the cut so they are ready for my move in a few weeks. Plus, they are all organized by which room they will live in at the newly remodeled house.

I then headed back to my condo and I cleaned out and organized all our closets, drawers, and discarded many things I don’t need from our kitchen. We are living with what we thought was the bare minimum in our condo during our renovation. Still, I was able to get rid of many boxes of things we have hardly used while we have been here for the last 7 months.

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This sort of organizing isn’t unusual for me. Typically, I clean out and discard more than once a year in smaller ways and at least 1 BIG purge every year or two. It brings me joy. I did a huge week of organizing before we moved out of our last house two years ago and then got rid of a lot when we moved out of our current house back in the fall to start the renovation. But this time, the organizing was different thanks my learning the Kon Mari method designed by Marie Kondo. Last weekend leading up to my planned Spring Break Organizing Extravaganza, I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and it’s sequel, Spark Joy. I have had these books on my kindle for a while, but I am SO thankful that I made time to read them before I tackled my belongings this week.4

Yes, I am an organized person for sure. I love to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I even splurged extra cabinetry in my remodel because I would rather have built-in storage that functions perfectly, than spend that same amount of money or more, on furniture and organizing gadgets that are far less functional when it comes to storing and organizing our belongings.

But now that I used the Kon Mari method (soon to be paired with my dreamy new cabinetry and closets), my yearly purging may get to be a thing of the past! Yes, Marie Kondo says that if you use her concept of only keeping things that truly “Spark Joy” in your life, that you will never again lose control of your home and your things. And you won’t have to waste precious time organizing in the future.

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I have to admit, I can already tell a difference in my thinking. I am much more hesitant to buy things that I don’t TRULY love, because I don’t want to have to find a place for them. I also really enjoyed touching everything I own last week, deciding which things to keep, and making plans for storing those items in a place where I can get to them easily. I have confidence that I will actually use everything I kept and not just for special occasions.

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Can you imagine this kind of organizing in your life? The interesting thing is that we are creatures of habit and we tend to use and wear the same things over and over. So it’s really sensible to use Marie’s method of getting rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. She warns you of the “I might need this one day” way of thinking. And she’s right. Why keep random tools, gadgets, kitchen items or clothing and store them for 2, 6, or even 14 years on the off chance you may need it. She reminds us that if we do, many times we won’t be able to find what we need when we need it anyway, and we would just go buy a replacement. So why not trust getting rid of things now, since we will probably buy what we need later if a need arises. This way of thinking can free us of years of storing things and surrounding ourselves with clutter for not much benefit or more likely, to our detriment. And It’s probably not even a cost savings to have it on hand for a “once every 10 year use”, right?

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I don’t know about you, but clutter makes me crazy. And even if you think things bring you comfort, what if you are wrong? What if the stress, anxiety, and tension in your life could be eliminated by removing the “things” that don’t bring you joy and that clutter your home and your mind. Wouldn’t you be happier if you could always find what you were looking for in your home? Think of how much time and energy you would save.

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When I have physical clutter in my life, it equals mental clutter for me. And I don’t like that. I prefer to be sharp and focused so I can be my best every day. And when my home is tidy, I enjoy it and my family so much more. Plus I find myself going the extra mile to do other things that bring me peace and joy, like lighting a candle or bringing home fresh flowers, cooking home-made meals, and sitting down at the table together as a family. This all happens more when my home is beautiful and tidy and clean. It’s important. And it nurtures me. It fills me up.

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Honestly, nothing makes me happier than being completely organized and knowing where all my things are for living, entertaining, and traveling. In my mid 20’s I had a time when I let things get a bit out of control for me with my closets. And one day after spending what seemed like an hour but was probably 5-10 minutes looking for the mate to one of my shoes, I swore I would never again get that stressed out just trying to get dressed for work. So I got organized.

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But the last 2 years while we were living in our newly purchased home that was dated and in dire need of renovation (but waiting for me to have time in my schedule to take on the project), I was reminded of how stressful and depressing a disorganized and dysfunctional home can be. We had old cabinetry without adjustable shelves that our dishes would hardly fit in. We had a giant garden tub that could fit 10 people, but a tiny master bedroom closet with only room for my husband’s things. I stored all my clothes upstairs but slept downstairs. My daughter’s room had no storage to speak of, so the corners were constantly stacked with toys and stuffed animals and art supplies and clutter. Many days this lack of design and function made me want to SCREAM!

But it also made me aware of and grateful for the peace of mind that a well-designed and organized home can bring. Interior Designers and Organizers are NOT a luxury. They are an investment in quality of life.

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And now thanks to Marie Kondo, I have taken my organizing habits to a higher level than ever before. And while I haven’t moved out of our temporary condo living, I am already feeling the pleasure of my hard work. I lay in bed at night dreaming of how much easier it will be to get moved back into our home. I smile at the thought of enjoying all my favorite design books in my new study, all my gadgets and tools in my organized kitchen and easily setting the table to entertain friends in the dining room. And even better, I dream of my new closet (that’s not that big, but is downstairs off my bedroom) being just the perfect size for all my things.

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So I believe that being organized is the secret sauce to a well-lived and stress-free life. I agree with Marie Kondo that tidying up is truly life-changing and magical. And I hope you will try it for yourself. I know it will be life-changing for you too.

Happy Spring Cleaning Friends and Happy Easter! xo,

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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.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Thoughts: Writing your way to Success!

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toes in the sand

(“Toes in the Sand” is where my big ideas come to life!)

This blog post is a little bit about balance, a little bit about rituals and a little bit about living your dreams with a dose of healthy living mixed in.

partnerships

(2015 has made dreams come true with designing 4 Product Lines for amazing partners!)

It’s been a while since I brought you a personal post. In fact it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done much blogging at all. And I miss it. Blogging is one of my favorite ways to express myself, to share design ideas, and to encourage others in business and life. I have been blogging for 7 years now and when it’s not a part of my daily life, I definitely feel a void.

Thermador Video

(Spending time “Shouting from the rooftops” of my love for Thermador Appliances)

Speaking of feeling a void, I feel a bit of a void in my goals for the future. There are a few holes.  This whole year I have been working on “birthing” some new ideas and projects but I have had many exciting design jobs and responsibilities that have kept me from bringing these ideas to life. I know there is a bit of a shift in direction that I need to take (because there always is a shift we need to take to be our best) and I am very excited about these new ideas that I think will take me in the right direction over the next few years of my business and my life. But I am having a hard time finding hours in my days to get these BIG ideas on paper.

client remodel

(One of many exciting Client projects in the works this year)

I’ve thankfully been so blessed with more fabulous client projects this year than ever, I’ve been knee-deep in launching 4 licensing collections, I’ve held the 2 most successful and impactful sessions of my Mastermind Consulting program we’ve ever held, I’m thrilled to be the new Brand Ambassador for Thermador because I have loved their products for SO long, and I have continued designing my own home, which those of you who have designed your homes know how hard this is. I think mainly because designers never have time to get to their own projects. It’s the old “Cobbler’s children have no shoes” dilemma. And Yes! We are finally gutting the kitchen and bath. How long have I been saying that, right? And that requires me temporarily moving out of my house soon because it’s about to get really dirty around here when the demolition starts.

CR Laine

(My CR Laine upholstery debut was a BIG moment this year!)

And yes, all of these things that are happening in my life right now are dreams coming true! But just like I teach in my consulting programs, the time to develop new client relationships is when you have clients, instead of waiting until you have none and try to find some quickly just to pay the bills. The same is true for dreams and ideas. You can’t wait until you have accomplished everything on your list and find yourself feeling lost and directionless to think about the next steps. The best way to keep your momentum going and stay happy and fulfilled is to challenge yourself with thinking about where you are going while you are already happy and fulfilled with your current goals and dreams. It’s not about not enjoying where you are today, it’s more about knowing where you are heading. Because I know from experience, if you don’t have direction, you are going nowhere.

thermador time

(One of our most successful Mastermind Sessions yet! It was all about Financials but we had some fun too!)

So what do I do when I need to make things happen? I write. I write my thoughts and feelings in my journal. I fill up legal notebooks of design ideas and creativity. I write blog posts. And just this week I saw this interesting article and study from NPR about the power of writing.

beach time

(My Happy Place. Where is your Happy Place?)

And what do I do when you feel stuck even to the point of writer’s block? I go to the beach! I just spent two glorious weeks there reading, studying and writing and that’s why my ideas are begging to be put on paper. But what about when you have an idea on the “tip of your brain” that you can’t quite get organized or fleshed out and a beach vacation or “your happy place” isn’t in your immediate future. Or when you need to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle? Or when you are designing or dreaming of a creative idea? Do you write? Do you make yourself be disciplined and write even when you feel stuck? That’s what many of the most successful people do. They write no matter what!

woodbridge table

(The “Ellison Cocktail Table” in my Tobi Fairley for Woodbridge Furniture Collection)

It’s funny how I sometimes forget this important practice of writing. When I am engaged in many things, I sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees as far as remembering to write my thoughts down. And ironically when I am in the zone of creating and developing big ideas, it sometimes feels like I fill up enough journal pages of paper that it could make a whole tree. Do you sometimes finding yourself forgetting to do the simple daily rituals and practices that make your life a success? It happens to all of us.

Or maybe you don’t forget, but you are afraid to write things down? Does that make them “Too Real” for you? Is it scary that you may have to actually hold yourself accountable to your wildest dreams if they are on paper? Or are you insecure about writing because you think you aren’t good at it and you over-analyze and judge yourself and your thoughts when you put them on paper?

beaching it

(Dreaming of my future to the sound of the Waves and then writing it down makes it happen.)

Well think of it this way. You could be holding yourself back from your business success including becoming financially free. You could be keeping yourself from being your most healthy and happy and best version of you. And you could be letting time pass you by and you could be finally living the life you only dream about.

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So give writing a try. I am off to write about my gratitude for all that has happened this year. And I am off to write about my big ideas, my home design, and my progress on The Whole 30 because I am on day 7 of 30 days to resetting my healthy lifestyle. And it doesn’t hurt that I will be relaxing by my pool while I write and enjoying this gorgeous day. What can you do to make yourself take up this powerful practice of writing? It works for me and I believe it will work for you too.

Happy Saturday!

xo,
Tobi Signature

Saturday Bliss: How Do I Do It All?

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stella

How do I do it all? That is one of the most often asked questions I get. It is usually followed by “So you are still doing Design work even though you are a business consultant, teacher and speaker now?”

The answers are 1) I don’t do it all and 2) YES! I am STILL a designer. Not only an interior designer but now a product designer.

nate dbc

Last month at the Designer Bloggers Conference, It was interesting to hear Nate Berkus say that he is also inundated with the question “So, do you still do Design Work?” Yes everyone, Nate and I are both still designers.

nate-berkus-speaking-at-bloggers-conference

But of course, neither Nate or I can do it all. No one can. Accomplishing all I do in life takes a lot of help. It’s no secret that I surround myself with an amazing team, I happen to have a crazy supportive family and a fabulous teen-aged young woman to help me with my daughter each week. It literally takes 6 stellar employees, an amazing accountant, my husband, my mom, my dad, my housekeeper, my teen-aged sitter, my aunt who helps me with my all important errands and laundry and anything else I need help with, my business consultant, several companies we outsource business tasks to, and I still don’t accomplish all I set out to each day.

girls at dbc

And then there are the top-notch companies I am partnering with to design products, and create online content who have amazing teams that are an extension of me and my team. And let me not forget a hand-full of dedicated and loving friends who pick up my child in a pinch, or let me drop her off on a snow day as I am jetting out of town, or let her spend the night when my plane is late and my husband is out of town too and those who let me bring her with me and stay for a night or a weekend. Which by the way my daughter thinks is the best thing since sliced bread. A trip with mom or a sleepover on a school night, are you kidding!?!?

soicher collection

But at the end of the day, I love my life. It is never boring. And though I don’t do it all, I do a LOT! You may have noticed that my blogging has been sporadic for a few weeks, well that’s because I was designing 2 product lines, and putting finishing touches on a third. I was designing the showroom at High Point Market where my new products will soon debut. I was designing many fabulous homes that I have the privilege to be working on at the moment. And I was spending important time with the people I love. So there is always some part of my lofty list of to do’s that doesn’t make the cut in my 24 hours each day and lately that was my blog.

girls at CR Laine

But in the midst of it all, there is always fun. There is always down-time. Or at least my version of down-time. There were the 3 snow days spent at home earlier this month, working from my bed in my Pj’s cuddled with my 10 year old and my lap top and her lap top and my pup Izzy. And maybe you’ve seen all those yummy meals posted on Instagram that I’ve cooked and treats I’ve baked for my family and my friends.

blue apron

Last week was a fun trip across North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia for Spring Break with my mom, daughter and niece.  We made a fun visit to see my furniture line prototypes and had a yummy Macaroon tasting for treats we are serving at market all color-coordinated to my designs for CR Laine. That was followed by 4 fabulously relaxing days hiking, and biking, and playing Corn Hole and Bocce Ball and roasting marshmallows by the fire and breathing in fresh mountain air (Aaaahhhhhh!) at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and the Barnsley Resort in Georgia .

biltmore

I’m a “Creative” or probably more accurately a Creator. I create. It’s what I do. It’s not by choice. It’s innate. It’s genetic. I have a drive to “Do”. And I don’t know how not to. I can’t turn it off. It’s not optional. In the same way I need oxygen, I need to “Do”.  It is my lifeblood.

I recently saw this very interesting article about people just like me. You can read the  Creativity article here. But these are a few of my favorite excerpts…

“No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”

“Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time.”

Wow, it’s like I have finally found an understanding of who I am. The article even goes on to say that our saying “No” to other things in order to create makes other people think we are “aloof, boring, impolite, unfriendly, selfish, anti-social, uncaring, lonely and an arsenal of other insults. But “no” is the button that keeps us on.” Yes, often saying No to things that seem fun and frivolous to others in lieu of creating is what fills my deepest needs. 

Snowday sleding

Many weeks of my life someone tells me “Don’t work your life away, slow down and enjoy your life and your family because it will all be gone before you know it.” But what I want to respond is this. I AM enjoying my life AND my family. Creating makes me enjoy my life and my family every day. In fact, I think I squeeze more life out of life WITH my family by my side than many people who think about “one day” what they will do with their life. My daughter is happy and well adjusted and a whole lot like her mom–a lover of travel and a girl who follows her heart!

Banana Bread

Why is it that keeping a busy schedule and working seem mutually exclusive from enjoying life and family? Why is it that enjoying family in peoples’ minds means being at home every moment and available just in case something my family needs may come up. I haven’t missed a single elementary school homeroom party 4 times a year for the last 7 years. I spend many a weekend cuddled with my daughter watching movies, or baking together or walking on a gorgeous day in our neighborhood with our pup and picking daffodils. I spend 6-8 weekends each fall going to College Football games with my family, my parents and my brother and his family. And those weekends are all about cooking and sitting fireside and laughing and telling stories about our childhood and lots and lots of football.

mom and me

I take a two-week beach vacation with family and friends each year and I take about 3-4 more vacations with family throughout the year. My mom and I go on about 8-10 fun trips together every year and yes they may be for work but for the 2 of us that is SO much fun. Designing Fabrics in New York and filling in the days with shopping and fabulous restaurants–seriously, what mom-daughter duo wouldn’t love that? And for me to be able to make so many special memories with my mom while she and I are both young and healthy is the best. So for me it’s not about just being with family, but the quality of the time we spend together and my family and I are making AMAZING memories every week of our lives!

daffodils

So how do I do it all? I don’t. But I do squeeze the life out of my life. I make most every moment count, even if that means a conscious decision to lay on the beach and read a book or to open an expensive bottle of wine on a weekday with dinner and eat on the good china. I choose to go after my dreams. I do not have FOMO…Fear of missing out. I decide what’s important to me and I make that happen. I follow my heart. I show my daughter that being happy is our own responsibility. And that means different choices for every person. Some people are meant to be Stay at home Mom’s or Dad’s. And thank goodness for those people. Some people are meant to work and travel out of the home and thank goodness for them too. Some people are meant to be moms AND designers AND consultants at the same time.

morning coffee

But the most important thing is to live your life to your version of the fullest and I do that very thing every day. I am not missing out on the important stuff. I am grabbing the important stuff by the horns and riding them into the sunset every week of my life.

valentine's lunch

I am a mom, a creator, an interior designer, a writer, a cook, a baker, a coach, a consultant, a product designer, a teacher. And I am happy. I have joy.

Do you?

Happy Saturday Friends! xo,

Tobi Signature