Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

New House Diary and 1st Find at the Farm

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Hello Friends! I hope you are settling into this new year and you’re getting excited about what the next twelve months will bring to you.

tobi art

One of the biggest things on my agenda for 2014 is the design of my new home. We moved in about 3 months ago but I was quite busy late last year and just didn’t have time to get in my design work room and decide what our new home’s design would entail. To be honest I haven’t even totally unpacked or hung anything on the walls.

So the fun starts now and the best part is I am going to bring you along the design process with me and even let you weigh in on some of my decisions. Fun, right?

So every Thursday starting today, I hope you will join me for my new series New House Diary. We’re going to talk home goals, floor plans, paint colors, furniture, kitchen design, closets and so much more. You name it, if it’s in my house we will cover it.

One of my favorite decisions I’ve made about this house is that I am going to take my own sweet time to get it just the way I want it. It’s going to be a process that involves blending old and new, reproductions and antiques, remodeling and repurposing and none of these decisions can happen overnight.


I plan to be more mindful than I have ever been before, filling my home with quality and craftsmanship. I’ll be inspired by some of my favorite things like these vintage grapes a gift from my best friend that remind me of my great-grandmother. Maybe they’ll just be my leaping off place for the whole shebang. What do you think?

tobi table

I will blend existing pieces (like these familiar items from my last home) with new products and antiques for a unique mix that represents my family and me and the things most important to us. We will have a “NO FILLER” philosophy. Meaning if it is not something we truly love, it doesn’t get a home in this house. And I will be explaining my motivations for the design each step of the way. Like why that 70′s wood paneling just has to go.

tobi new living

So for today before I get busy planning what to do with all the things that don’t work in my new home (because although it will do for the moment, you can see my stuff just doesn’t work the same in this house), let me tell you my Tobi’s Top Ten things I DO love about my new digs. Here we go…

1. The lot—it is spacious (almost an acre) on a gorgeous corner with a large front yard and set on the golf course in the back. The land alone was worth buying the house.

2. The layout. My neighborhood (which is our neighborhood of choice) was developed in the 60’s and 70’s initially and most of the houses are traditional two story with 8 foot ceilings and the master suite upstairs. But not this one. We have a spacious Master suite on the main level and our Living Room and Sunroom both have 9 foot ceilings which is a bonus.  With large spacious rooms, about 1000 extra feet than our last house, and great traffic flow, this house is perfect for the entertaining and social lifestyle my family and I love.

3. The pool—a 30 year old concrete beauty, my vision for it is reminiscent of some of my favorite old Hollywood hotels like the Beverly Hills Hotel. I can already see us sipping cocktails lying on chic black and white loungers, can’t you?


4. My daughter’s room. Basically a second master suite but upstairs, this room is the perfect place for my young lady to grow for many years. It’s spacious with an en suite bath and a sizable closet. What more could my little glamour girl ask for?

5. Can you say sleeping porch? Or at least it will be once I screen it in and spruce it up. I can‘t wait to spend many Spring and Fall days here relaxing, reading and napping with a view of the pool and the golf course.

sleeping porch

6. My yoga and meditation room aka the second guest room. Yep, my new massage table is right at home in this space and I can’t wait to make it a serene retreat for keeping my mind and body healthy without leaving my house.

7. The oversized garage—what a convenience after squeezing into our last one for 7 years. My hubby and I have plenty of room for our cars plus lots of great additional storage. A real luxury.

8. And speaking of storage…how about not one but two walk-in attics. Yep, no more climbing a wobbly ladder carrying arm-fulls of stuff. It’s just opening a door and walking right in to my easy-to-organize dreamy attics these days. What a relief!

9. The gorgeous colonial exterior. Yes, I need to tweak the scale of the architectural details a bit, but that’s the easy part. The overall style is classic, beautiful and timeless.


10. And finally it may sound silly, but I LOVE my hot water spout at the kitchen sink. Not a convenience that I would have thought to include but when I make my daily cup of tea in less than a minute, it’s a real treat. Though the kitchen needs a major over-hall, this is one little feature that will make an appearance post renovation.

So there you have it. My favorite things about this new place we call home. Now it’s decision time. I’m off to start designing. Meet me back here next week for another edition of New House Diary and see what revelations I’ve had.

Oh and by the way, I may just find some FABULOUS antiques for my new abode next week in Atlanta during 1st Find at the Farm. Don’t know what that is?

FFF Invite Postcard Moov_Front_ps

Well maybe it’s because you’re still in full-on holiday mode, or maybe you’re already back in the swing of things and missed our announcement, but today I want to give you a little reminder that next week, on January 7th, you’re invited to join me at the Antique & Design Center’s very first Atlanta Antique show: 1st Find at the Farm. I will be speaking on how to work with antiques for interiors that look fresh and timeless, just like my new house. I’ll be speaking and then touring and then dining, and YOU can join me for the whole event! And you can see in person whether I find any antiques for my new home design. Or even help me pick some out.


Here’s how to get a MOOve on and join me at what is sure to be a glamorous, fabulous, and fun evening:

Interested and excited, but missed all of the details in my first announcement about the event? CLICK HERE.

Ready to help me look for finds for my new house? To buy your ticket for my talk plus a shopping tour and dinner with me, SIGN UP HERE.

If you’re an antique hound and a designer who’s ready to hit this new event just before Atlanta Market, learn more about 1st Find at the Farm and the amazing antique dealers who will be showing their goods. Just CLICK HERE.


Tobi Signature




Oh, and I haven’t forgotten our resolutions and dreams. They are still on their way, so hang with me. We’re going to jumpstart this year over the coming days and weeks together. Thanks for allowing me a moment for a few dreams about my house. ;)


Talking Antiques at 1st Find at the Farm

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Olivier Fleury

Olivier Fleury

So: You love great design. But. Have you really explored the wonderful world of antiques? Antiques are such an amazing way to add texture and depth to your designs.

Art & Antique Hunter

Art & Antique Hunter

If you’ve been to the Antique & Design Center of High Point during your treks to High Point Market in the past few years, then you already know it is the number one place to go for forward-focused design, gorgeous antique furnishings and fabulous art.


Olivier Fleury

And, now, the Antique & Design Center is launching an exciting new event to kick off their debut at the Atlanta Market this January 7-8th! It’s called 1st Find at the Farm, and I am truly honored to be the featured presenter at such a highly-anticipated event!

If you love design–and you love antiques–but aren’t quite sure how to bring all that love together, please join me at 1st Find at the Farm on January 7th. That afternoon, I’m going to be speaking on a topic that I hope will really reinvigorate your designs and give you a fresh perspective on mixing pieces of different ages–and with different histories–in your work. My presentation is called “Finding Inspiration in the Mix: Layering Antiques Into Your Design for a Fresh Look.”

FFF Invite Postcard Moov_Front_ps

Following the lecture, you’ll also get a chance to walk through the show with me, and afterward we will get to rave about our favorite finds over a private dinner. This part of the show (my presentation, tour and dinner) is RSVP-only, so grab a ticket before it sells out!

And the setting for this show is going to be truly spectacular! Imagine: Many of the top antique dealers in the U.S. showcasing their most stunning pieces out on the rolling hills of the Broder Family farm, just minutes from downtown Atlanta. Talk about “Finding Inspiration in the Mix,” try this country/city combo to break you out of your rut! Good music + good food + gorgeous setting + great design = perfect combination!

The whole thing promises to be 100% AMAZING, and you definitely don’t want to miss it! To purchase your ticket in advance–and to get all of the event details–visit the event website.


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Happy Memorial Day!

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I think this was quite possibly the perfect weekend. The beginning of Summer. Time with Friends and Family. Bar-B-Q and Bubbles.




This weekend I had Farm Time.



Followed by some Lake Time.


And then I had Hammock Time in my Garden…all in one weekend.


Now I am enjoying some quiet time with a little Watermelon, a cool glass of Pellegrino, and the cool sounds of Dean Martin, Harry Connick Jr. and other Ultra-Lounge tunes helping me wind down.


I hope your weekend was amazing, too. And I hope you took a little time to remember all the troops that have fought for our Freedom so we can live such a glorious life. Without them, we wouldn’t be living the American Dream!


Tobi Signature



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.

Living the Dream! Gratitude,Clarity and My “Normal” Life Begins Again.

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Well, I could not be happier to be home for a while from my crazy travel schedule. I love my job, but the trick is to make sure I love my life. And isn’t it funny how life has a way of reminding you that you are not as “fancy” as you think you are? I mean Monday I was partying with Martha Stewart and now, not so much.


Two days ago…my first day back in the office in so long I could hardly remember what it looked like, I had a tag-a-long 7 year old because before I could even get to work, her school called to tell me she was sick. Yep! One Dr’s appointment later, she has a virus and sore throat so home she’s been ever since. And THEN, I completely forgot an appointment with a client while I was caring for my little honey. LORDY! I can’t remember the last time that happened. Guess I will be kissing their “tushy” for a while because it was TOTALLY my fault. Ugh! How embarrassing!


And so is the “Dream” life of a working mom, right? It happens! But the interesting thing is that this is exactly the life I want. The life that allows me to enjoy and experience everything the glamorous worlds of design and travel have to offer paired with cuddling an achy child, smelling her Hello Kitty Strawberry Shampoo scented hair, and fighting off a 7 month old Shih Tzu who is eating our sock-clad feet as we watch a plethora of Nick Jr. TV shows until we all fall asleep in “mommy’s bed”. And even cleaning up the messes I make when I forget appointments or get behind with client work and having to make it up to clients who hopefully as mom’s themselves, will understand.


I am a lucky woman. I really do “have it all”. And yes sometimes it feels overwhelming. But mostly it feels amazing. And I wouldn’t trade any piece of my life…the good, the bad or the hectic, for anything else. I am clear on that. Yes, there it is.  CLARITY! Bam! I am CLEAR that I am living my Dream Life. I’m not waiting until someday to make that happen. I am living it NOW.


What about you? Are you living the dream? YOUR Dream? Are you even clear on what you want in life? Do you know whether you love the life you have or are you always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else? Or telling yourself…”one day”?


I think very few things are as important in life as Clarity. And as I work with other design clients, designers and creatives in both my design and consulting businesses, I find that clarity is scarce. Most people don’t know what they want. And they are listening to what other people want for them.

But wait…most people probably do know, but are afraid to say it. There it is…FEAR. That ugly little thing that keeps us from getting real clarity and having the courage to go after our dreams.


What are we afraid of? Fear of saying what we want out loud because someone may judge us, or worse yet, laugh and ridicule? Fear of saying what we want out loud because then we might actually have to work hard to make it come true? Fear that if we choose one thing or a few that we want, we might have made the wrong choice and we will have regret, so better to just do nothing about reaching our dreams instead.


Well I don’t think you need a reminder that Life is Short. So what will it take to make you reach for your dreams? Money? Time? Guts? All three? Probably all three, yes! But isn’t everything worth taking the chance? Nobody ever regretted going after their dreams, but many people regret not even trying to have the life they envision.


Just this week, I took a big leap towards my next set of dreams. You see, you can’t make it all happen alone. No one ever succeeded by themselves.  I have surrounded myself with amazing people who invest in my visionary thinking and support the actions it takes to make my dreams come true. It is astounding the kind of talent I have in my life and I just added one more.


So today, I am grateful for normal life (for better or worse), motherhood and nursing a sick little girl, the AMAZING and dedicated ladies of Team Tobi (Brooke, Ashley, Bebe, Stephanie and now Cheminne), and mostly for Clarity and for the guts to follow my dreams.


And yes, my “Normal” life ain’t so normal. But it’s amazing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not leaving anything on the table at the end of this life. I’m going for it all. Full board. No holds barred. It’s on!


Will you join me? What are you waiting for? Life is Short.

Tobi Signature