Archive for the ‘The Traveling Designer’ Category

Taking a Trip but Enjoying the Journey

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I am taking a short trip today to my parent’s lakehouse to enjoy family for this holiday weekend. And just this morning one of my daily email subscriptions I have spoken about to you before, en*theos, got me to thinking about journeys or more importantly our life’s journey.


The email included an article by Ran Zilca that referenced the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu script considered to be one of the most important texts in literature and philosophy and it also referenced the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism. Both of these works are familiar to me because they are often referenced in the practice of yoga and by my favorite spiritual thought leaders including Wayne Dyer. And it is actually on my “to do” list to read them both in their entirety–I guess you can say it’s on my bucket list.


And that brings me to the point I am trying to make here. We spend a lot of time thinking about our future. What we want to cross off our “bucket list” or even what we “should” be doing in this life. And we often get more preoccupied with the destination we are trying to get to rather than enjoying the journey. And sure, we have all heard “Enjoy the journey”, or “the journey IS the destination”. But I can’t say that it really sunk in for me until this morning. Here’s what what Ran said that gave me my Ah-ha!

(from the Bhagavad Gita)…
You have a right to your actions,
but never to your actions’ fruits.
Act for the action’s sake.
And do not be attached to inaction.
Self-possessed, resolute, act
without any thought of results,
open to success or failure.
This equanimity is yoga.
It’s hard to find text that encapsulates so much wisdom in so few words. Inner peace comes when your reward is simply being proactive, liberated from preoccupation with future results.  You just go on the road and enjoy the ride, leaving your comfort zone to face the challenges of being out there. When you do that, results follow, but perhaps not the way you’d expected. As Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism wrote in the Tao Te Ching:
the more we don’t desire something,
the greater the chance of getting it,
and all the more exciting.


So there it is…another epiphany for me. It’s not just about enjoying the journey while still keeping your eye on the ball of the destination. It is forgetting the destination completely and the reward itself is just taking the journey.


Talk about living in the present! Can you do that? Not sure that I can, but my heart and my gut sure want to try. Can you begin to practice creating your goals simply for the joy in the journey itself? Can you write a book because you really are fulfilled by writing, not because it will make you loads of money and bring you fame? Can you design a room even if it is never published because of the sheer joy and fulfillment of creating a successful and meaningful space? Can you get healthy and change your habits just to make yourself well and whole each day, not to fit into a certain dress or swimsuit or impress another person?


I recently read in The 4-hour Work Week this profound statement…

“Time without attention means nothing, so value attention over time.” 


It made me think of my daughter. And it made me realize that just being with her and not giving her my undivided attention (which I have done so many times) because I am working, or on my phone or iPad, is the same as not being with her at all. In fact, it is actually worse, because it reinforces to her that she is less important than all these electronics. Or she is less important than the person on the phone. And why would I ever want her to think anything is more valuable to me than she is? Yikes! What a gut check, right?


So I think all these ideas come full-circle for me today. It is not just about enjoying the journey. It is about being 100% present in the journey knowing all the while that if nothing comes from the journey but the journey itself, it was more fulfilling than any future result we could ever imagine and strive for. And if valuing those on the journey with you by giving them time AND attention is your only success, then what a blessed life you have had. It’s like the Tao Te Ching says…The more we don’t desire something, the greater the chance of getting it and all the more exciting.


Will you enjoy the ride? Will you leave the “baggage” of your past and your future and just live for today giving both time AND attention to the people and the moments that are most important to you?


Remember my resolution for this year to “Collect Moments, Not Things”. Well things are the destination and the moments are the journey.

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend with family and friends and hoping you enjoy the ride!


Tobi Signature


And for those of you design-lovers here are a few AMAZING rooms that leave the “baggage” as gorgeous elements of design and not limiting beliefs that hold us back. Enjoy…









p.s. To see all these great room images and travel inspired photos visit my Pinterest Boards called Destinations and Trunk Love. And while you are there, feel free to daydream about all the amazing places you want to travel and visit in this life, simply because the journey would fill your soul! Bon Voyage.

A Road Map to Summer

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What’s the ultimate way to get to know someone? A road trip, of course! I mean you can learn A LOT about a person when you spend a few hours together in a car — everything from what’s on their iPod (Glee, Katy Perry & Adele) to how they take their coffee (with creamer, thank you!).

This past week Country Living came out with their list of 50 Things To Do This Summer in 50 States. While I may not be able to get to all of them in the next three months, I can guarantee you this is a list I’ll be saving, pinning on my travel boards and going back to for years to come. I mean, how could I resist a caramel factory in Colorado or a Lobstermen’s co-op in Maine??

I think one of the reasons the list is so juicy is because it comes straight from the mouths of local residents in each of the states. Who better to tell you where to shop, eat or sleep than a local, right? Speaking of locals, I was honored to be selected as the Arkansas representative for this list. If you’re wondering what I selected, click here to see what I like to do on warm summer days in central Arkansas.

Want to see who’s headed where? Follow the Twitter stream #50states for your own virtual tour of the U.S.

Happy Trails!
xo, Tobi


High Point Highlights

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Hello Friends!
Welcome to day three of my travel journal. If you were here on Monday and Tuesday, you know I had the chance to recap my adventures at the Arizona Design Center and the Design Leadership Summit in Marrakech.

Today I want to share a few highlights from my trip to High Point Market last month. First of all, I just love High Point’s tag line — “The Next Six Days That Matter.” Isn’t that great?!? And in many ways it couldn’t be more spot on. High Point is one of the most inspirational experiences both because I get to see new products and because it’s a great opportunity to catch up with other people in the design industry. I get to see all my designer friends (like my friend Phoebe Howard above with her new Collection for Sherrill Furniture), my favorite vendor executives and creatives, and lot of the top Magazine Editors.  High Point has really become as much social as a shopping destination.

You may remember that while I was in Marrakech my good friend Cheminne Taylor-Smith, who is the VP of Marketing at High Point, visited the blog to share her insights on what would be hot at market this year. Wow– was she spot on or what? Take a look back at her post and see what you think…

As I mentioned, while I was in North Carolina I once again had the opportunity to be a Style Spotter at market. I shared all my favorite finds and trends like this gorgeous Orange Lillian August Chair on this Style Spotters Pinterest board. Here are a few of my top finds…

Isn’t this Chevron wall art by Selamat Designs cool?


I adore this fabulous Teal side table from Hickory Chair. You know I’m a color gal!

This turned bed from the “hot off the presses” Phoebe and Jim Howard’s new collection with Sherrill is absolutely dreamy…

And of course, I was thrilled to once again have my fabrics in the Hickory Chair Showroom along with my pillows and lighting from the Tobi Fairley Home Collection.

I was so honored to be the reigning style spotter this market and I couldn’t be happier that my sweet friend and fellow designer Traci Zeller took home the trophy this year!! She spotted this gorgeous new Thomas Pheasant side table from Baker…isn’t it fab?!? Congrats Traci, I love passing the torch to you!  Go check out her Style Spotter board to see what Traci thinks will be trending in 2012.

In addition to my 24 style spotter picks, I curated about 100 more great finds from market that you won’t want to miss including this great green spool chair from C.R. Laine. You can find them all, along with my finds from other recent markets on my Pinterest board “My Market Finds!”

Stay tuned for some of my favorite picks from the KBIS/Visions Conference in Chicago coming tomorrow, and I’ll even share a bit about my 10th anniversary trip that I squeezed in with my hubby while visiting Chicago.

xo, Tobi

Design Inspirations of Marrakech

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Hi friends,

You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear about my recent trip to Marrakech, Morocco for the Design Leadership Summit and I’m excited to say….today is the day!

My trip started with a much-needed glass of champagne and a relaxing flight to Madrid. I have to admit I relish the times when no one can reach me by phone and I am not able to be on the internet. Two movies and a few hours of sleep later I was in Madrid, and then on to Morocco.

The whole experience was an adventure beginning with my stay at the lovely Four Seasons Hotel. Having only been open a couple of months, this brand new property was a lovely representation of Moroccan customs and decor.

We were greeted with Moroccan mint tea and there were gorgeous flowers and Moroccan design elements EVERYWHERE I looked.

I was in Morocco for the Design Leadership Summit and I was privileged to be one of the speakers during our sessions at the Four Seasons. I was asked to give a brief talk known as a “moment of inspiration.”

I took that opportunity to tell the story of what brought me from Arkansas, to the national design community and eventually landed me across the world in Marrakech. I even had an exciting special guest video appearance by my friend and fellow Arkansan, President Bill Clinton! He addressed our group of top architects and designers, noting that we were in “one of his favorite cities,” Marrakech.

We were also addressed by the popular blogger and my social media friend, Maryam Montague author of the gorgeous blog “My Marrakesh” and upcoming book, Marrakesh by Design. I loved having the opportunity to finally meet Maryam in person and see her beautiful presentation about the design inspiration of this Northern African city she calls home.

In between sessions we had the chance to venture out into the markets–including the Medina, which is the main public shopping area in Marrakech and the Souks, which are smaller individual shops.

There was so much color inspiration in the Medina. I enjoyed taking lots of photos and shopping with my designer friends there!

One evening we dined in an old sugar factory. It was such a lovely setting. Another night, we split up in to small groups and ate at various Riads, or guest houses, many of which are now small hotels.

Our final night began with drinks in the Majorelle Gardens owned by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge.

And the rest of the evening was spent driving in Hummers through the red city of Marrakech out 40 miles into the desert to a breath-taking dinner under the stars.

There were oriental rugs and candles lining the stairs to the top of a mountain for cocktails. Then we experienced authentic native music, camel rides, henna tattoos, and dined on Moroccan fare!

Aside from all this fabulousness, we did enjoy a bit of free time. During one of these periods, we ventured to the gorgeous hotel la Mamounia for drinks. Trust me, this is definitely a sight not to miss!!

Other fun sights included sneaking a peek at a few camels, monkeys, and unfortunately snakes and their charmers along the way. The people of Marrakech were also a highlight, as they were a very kind and welcoming bunch that were intent on making sure we loved their city.

This trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience in many ways. To see all my photos from the trip, you can follow my Marrakech Pinterest Board here, and check out my Instagram (@tobifairley) feed with hashtags #Marrakech and #DLS2012 .

I hope you’ll come back the rest of this week to hear about my travels to High Point Market and Chicago for the KBIS/Visions trade shows and a little celebration for my 10th wedding anniversary.

xo, Tobi

Arizona in Springtime

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Hi Friends,

Well, as promised, I am spending this week bringing you up to speed on all the exciting things I have been seeing and doing this spring. To kick off the recap of my many travels of late, let’s start with my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona in late March.

I was thrilled to be asked to be a keynote speaker at the Arizona Design Center for Spring Market. Even better that it fell right in the middle of my daughter’s spring break, so she and my mom (my two favorite traveling partners) could tag along.

We stayed a few days at one of my favorite resorts and spas, The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. You know it’s a good place when you check in on Foursquare and the tips/recommendations were left by none other than Tory Burch! And though I was there to give a talk to Arizona designers entitled “The Power of Using Social Media to Build your Design Brand,” I was on a mission to relax and enjoy some family time along the way.

The Arizona Design Center was great! The designers were so welcoming, including Sylvia Lorts, owner of the beautiful Alexander Sinclair showroom where I saw this gorgeous Greek key table. Sylvia is also part of the family who owns Lorts furniture.

After my talk and the lovely luncheon hosted by Sylvia and her team, I had a bit of time to venture into the Design Center’s great showrooms.

My daughter loved testing out this great “pod” from Dedon’s collection found in the Inside/Out showroom.

Here are just a few of my favorite finds from Alexander Sinclair, Ebanista, and Century Furniture.

You can see more of them on my “My Market Finds” Pinterest Board.

And we also found plenty of time for relaxing by the pool…

Going for hikes around the Sanctuary and on Camelback Mountain…

And getting services at the AMAZING Sanctuary Spa, doing yoga in their fitness center, and just having grandmother-mommy-daughter fun in the sun!

And many of our meals were experienced right on the Sanctuary premises either in their great Elements Restaurant or sitting around the pool wrapped in one of their signature lime and white striped towels. I am a HUGE fan of their Bento Boxes for lunch…so fresh and delicious!

Find more of my photos of our time at the Sanctuary on my Instagram feed #ArizonaSpring2012 or follow me, @tobifairley.

If you get the chance, you must visit both the Arizona Design Center and the Sanctuary Resort and Spa.  I definitely plan to visit them both again soon.

Stay tuned for more of my travels tomorrow when we head to Marrakech, Morocco!

xo, Tobi