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Spring Shopping Ideas

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Spring Fun

Spring has sprung! Well at least it’s officially here, even if it’s still a little (or a lot) chilly where you live. So even if you aren’t enjoying warm temps and flowers blooming in your area, these Spring-inspired beauties will get you in the mood. And I don’t know about you, but a little retail therapy is always a great idea to ring in a new season.

Happy Spring and Happy Shopping Y’all!










  1. Echo Madira Embroidered Square Decorative Pillow– Punch up the color of your spring décor with these cute coral embroidered throw pillows!
  2. Outdoor Greek Key Embroidered Pillow, Sky Blue– Now that winter is finally over, we can start enjoying our outdoor spaces again! Decorative pillows like this classic Greek Key embroidered pillow can bring your indoor style outside!
  3. AERIN Gardenia Rattan Body Cream– This moisturizing body cream blends florals with a rich amber to create a scent with the perfect spring feeling even if it is still a little chilly outside!
  4. Emile Henry Ruffled Pie Dish– You all know my daughter and I love baking! Maybe it is time we bake a pie in this lovely yellow ruffled pie dish!
  5. kate spade new york Ballpoint Pen– Use a cute orange and pink pen with gold accents to take down all of your spring to dos!
  6. ‘Mini Motif’ Oven Mitt & Potholder– Love this pair of potholder and oven mitt with a cute floral motif in apricot! Many wouldn’t believe it, but orange is actually my favorite color!
  7. Regina Andrew Ceramic Quatrefoil Lamp– Brighten up your home this spring with this fun blue and white ceramic lamp, complete with quatrefoil design and acrylic base!
  8. Milton Lane Small Lanie– This fabulous mint green purse is the subtle color you were looking to add to your spring wardrobe! The clean lines and perforated leather are elegant and super feminine!
  9. Pickard Color Sheen Dinnerware Collection, Blue Gold– Pull out this gorgeous dinnerware collection for your next dinner party! The gold accents add a glamorous touch, and you can monogram them!
  10. Williams-Sonoma Spring Stamp Cookie Cutter Set– My daughter will need a set of these spring themed cookie cutters for all of her new baking! Cute butterflies, tulips, and bees are perfect for your spring treats!
  11. Monogram Metro Watch– How fun is this blush and gold Kate Spade watch with a monogram? Personalize this timepiece as a great gift for your best friend, or yourself!
  12. Classic Nylon International Carry-On– Pack for your spring fling get away with this bright watercolor floral carry on piece! A great addition to any luggage set, this piece could travel easily as your carry-on to Paris or your weekend bag for Memorial Day!
  13. Deandra Cat-Eye Sunglasses– Spring is here and the sun is out! These fabulous mint green cat-eye sunglasses are sure to add some personality to your spring wardrobe!
  14. Born to Fly Idiom Bangle I love this multi colored gold plated and enamel bracelet with a great spring message inside!
  15. All That Glitters Cocktail Ring– A bold white and gold cocktail ring looks great from daytime to night for a fab spring Soiree!
  16. Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh Blush– A fun and fruity scent with hints of pink grapefruit and rose! Even the pink bottle topped with flowers would be lovely spring décor!
  17. All in Good Taste Tea Kettle– There’s nothing quite like relaxing on the back porch or cozied up reading a good book with the perfect cup of tea! The fresh color of this kettle will make your beverage seem extra spring-like.
  18. Floral Large Spiral Notebook– Jot down everything you need for spring cleaning, your new garden, or your must-have new wardrobe pieces in this beautiful floral notebook!

Gift Guide: Cooking and Entertaining with your Valentine

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Cooking and Entertaining

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Yes, 2016 is already flying by. And though I’ll be sure to buy some gifts and make a few “sweets” for my Hubby, it’s my 10-year old Valentine that I love cooking and entertaining with most. She’s my kindred spirit when it comes to the kitchen,  and we especially love baking for any and every holiday and special occasion. In fact we’re busy planning our Valentine’s menu as we speak. And these are a few of our favorite Valentine-inspired items that could help make our “Love-ly” celebration even better.

Are you going to be making sweets and treats for your honey this year? My little and honey and I would love to know your favorite “sweet” recipe.

Happy Cooking and Baking, Friends!








  1. Red Dublin Iced Beverage Glasses – Fun red glasses with starburst pattern facets cut into the surface are a great touch of sparkle to any holiday dinner!
  1. Ruffled Heart Dish –Baking is one of my daughter and my favorite things to do together. We could make such sweet treats in this Williams-Sonoma heart shaped dish! Bring on the Pies.
  1. The Cast Iron Way to Cook – This cook book has all of the great recipes I’m looking for to start using my new cast iron Staub pot! Are you looking for a fun way to spice up your dinner routine? From comfort food to international cuisine, this book has it all!
  1. Pink Square Baroque Dinnerware Service – Pretty in pink and oh so fabulous! This baroque style dinnerware set is beautiful to display and so easy to use at any dinner party! I happen to think it’s extra sweet for Valentine’s day!
  1. Cast-Iron Heart-Shaped Dutch Oven – If you’ve stolen someone’s heart, maybe it’s time you give it back- with this cast-iron heart-shaped dutch oven by Le Creuset! I bought this exact pot about 20 years ago in college as one of my first real pieces of cookware and I still use it today.
  1. Valentine’s Day Apron – Cook in style this Valentine’s Day with this apron from Williams-Sonoma. Isn’t that tiny little heart accent adorable?
  1. Cold Hands Warm Heart Mug – Kate Spade’s thermal travel mug is a fabulous gift for the chic girl always on the go this Valentine’s day. In fact, anything Kate Spade is the way to this girl’s heart!
  1. Red Tea Kettle – I love adding a punch of color with useful kitchen tools, like this red tea kettle! And a bit if relaxing chamomile could be the perfect recipe to relax on the day of love this year.
  1. Crown Tuscan Pedestal Servers – I love hosting family and friends for any holiday or event and I also collect cake plates and stands! So what better way to serve up sweet treats this Valentine’s Day than on this pair of blush pedestal servers!
  1. Personalized Guest Towels/Buffet Napkins – I love to add a personal touch to any party I host, like this set of monogrammed guest towels/buffet napkins! Those little red details and monogram are classic and fun.
  1. White Dinnerware with Red Trim ­­– Just a hint of red, like the trim on this dinnerware set from Williams-Sonoma could be the perfect accent to your holiday décor! The great thing about buying dishes with a hint of red is they are also great for birthdays, all the summer holidays, and then again on Christmas. So these are a great purchase.
  1. Valentine’s Day Mini Silicone Spatulas – Valentine’s Day is the a great opportunity to get into the kitchen and bake all of the mini sweet treats my daughter and I love! This set of mini silicone spatulas from Williams-Sonoma would be great for icing and batter alike!
  1. Red Acrylic Tumbler – A large jewel tone acrylic tumbler would be a great addition to any colorful tabletop! I’ll take a set of these “jewels” for Valentine’s day, please.
  1. Valentine’s Day Towel – Such an easy piece of décor to add for the holiday, this Valentine’s Day towel from Williams-Sonoma is a great gift for your baker or even a lovely hostess gift or surprise for any of your friends with a kitchen.
  1. Le Creuset Shallow Oven – I love entertaining! This shallow Le Creuset oven is designed for smaller meals and easily transitions from oven to table while looking fabulous in red!
  1. Let’s Chill Drink Cozy – The Let’s Chill drink cozy from Kate Spade is the stylish way to keep your drink cool this Valentine’s Day! Looking pretty in pink (and red) this striped drink holder is a festive way to celebrate with your favorite canned beverage.
  1. Pink Stoneware Cake Pan – A beautiful blush pink stoneware cake pan to bake a cake for that special someone is definitely on my list. My husband’s favorite cake is a chocolate chip pound cake and it would look so pretty in this spiral design.
  1. All You Need Is Love Glass Tray – A simple little trinket tray to serve your fresh baked sweet treats at your next gathering! I’m making French Macaroons this weekend for the first time and wouldn’t a couple of them look cute served on one of these tiny trays?


Saturday’s Secret Sauce: The Grass Isn’t Greener

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So how Happy are you? Yes, that’s a deep question isn’t it for a Saturday Morning? So I hope you’re on your second cup of coffee. But I’m serious. Are you happy? Do you feel joy and fulfillment every day? If you answered yes, congratulations! But if you didn’t, do you know why not? And are you looking for that “Secret Sauce” that would finally help you love your life more than anyone else’s?

In my job and personal life, I deal with so many people every single week in all different cities and even from different countries. And it is easy to see that many people just aren’t that happy. People are grumpy and stressed and cynical and sad and definitely insecure.  There are a number of reasons I think people are generally unhappy, but I think the main reason is often that they are comparing themselves to others. You know, the Grass is Greener syndrome?


Insecurities and a general lack of confidence is epidemic these days in both children and adults. I’ve always had a healthy dose of confidence which I credit to my parents because they gave me so much unconditional support both as a child and now as an adult. They are my biggest cheerleaders for sure. But I know that so many people don’t have this kind of support system and it really takes a toll. Everyone needs someone to make them feel like a million bucks. But what everyone needs even more than that, is to learn how to make yourself feel like a rockstar all by yourself.

And no, I’m not kidding or being funny. I am telling the truth. But more about this novel idea of being responsible for your own happiness in a bit.


First, nothing makes people less happy than to compare their perception of themselves to their perception of others.  And yes I said perception because I know very few people are able to be honest and objective when comparing their own lives to the lives of other people they admire or are inspired by or are jealous or envious of. Honestly, doing any sort of comparing at all usually doesn’t pay off.


I’ve talked about this before but social media definitely makes not thinking of what other people are doing, where they are traveling, what their homes and bodies and spouses and children look like, very difficult. It’s always in our heads. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media for many reasons. But it’s hard on you sometimes if you are not very confident and happy in your own life and your own skin to see the successful “version” of life being played out for everyone on Instagram or Facebook.


But here’s the thing. Everybody has something. EVERYBODY! Everyone has the GREAT in them and everyone has things they would love to change. And Happiness and Joy (they are different you know) come when you focus on your gifts and your talents, your strengths and your skills, instead of focusing on other people and what you think they have.


If you want to be truly happy, then you have to believe that it doesn’t matter what others are doing. Focus on your own stuff. Period.


Now that doesn’t mean not to be happy for others or ignore them all together. I find that the happier I am for everyone whether it’s my friends or my competitors, it always comes back to me in positive ways. Jealousy is the #1 killer of Happy. So first be happy for others joys and successes. But mainly, happiness comes from striving to be the best version of you that you can be. 

And yes! Learn to be happy for yourself. Learn to give yourself what you need to feel good every day. It may sound silly but I do this all the time. If I design a gorgeous room for a client, I stand back and smile and say “Dang I’m good! I should have been a designer” and then I laugh because I am one. But I feel all warm and fuzzy and proud inside. And I know I am good at what I do.

And when I cook a great meal or bake a yummy cake and I take a bite, I don’t say “this is so-so, I’m not that great in the kitchen”.  Nope, I usually say, “Wow this is fantastic. Man, I’m a great cook” and my family all smiles and says “and a humble cook too!” and we all laugh. But you know what? I believe it. I am a good cook.

It’s not arrogant to give yourself validation. It’s not stupid to tell yourself where you are remarkable. It’s not conceited to toot your own horn as long as you are kind to others in the process. It’s called confidence.  And if you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to?


So here we go–what are you great at? Cooking, singing, grocery shopping, being a friend? What are your skills? Negotiation, conversation, design, entertaining, sports? What do you love to do? Knit, travel, collect, organize, work, golf. You see we are all so very different and we are all great at something–actually lots of things, even when we think we’re not.


And if we practiced reminding ourselves of what we are great at on a regular basis, instead of feeling inferior all the time and comparing to others, think of how far we could go towards reaching our potential. And think of the happiness and joy we could find. And think of how we could influence others for the good.


You have to find happiness and joy in the day to day. There isn’t a magical day when you will be standing on the other side of the fence and the grass will suddenly be greener. You see what you haven’t noticed, is your grass is already green. And when you water your own grass the possibilities are endless.

I know my grass is green and I am grateful. I know I work in my “Sweet Spot” as a designer and consultant everyday. I know that I am good at cooking and entertaining so I do it often. I know that I am a pretty good writer, and a great organizer, and good business person. I know where my strengths are and I keep them honed by using them.  I enjoy being me and I enjoy using my strengths and talents to benefit and share with others. And that gives me confidence. That makes me comfortable in my own skin. That makes my grass green.


The more you sit around and think about how inferior you are to everyone else, the more miserable you will become. And the more you take action using your strengths and talents to make the world and other’s lives better, the happier you will be. My daughter and I cooked every single day of her Winter break and we shared dozens of meals and baked goodies with others. It made us happy. We were proud of our food. And it tasted great! When is the last time you took action with one of your strengths or talents to make yourself proud and bring joy to others too? That’s the secret sauce for Happiness. It’s where the grass is as green as can be.


So here’s my question again…Are you happy? And if not, what could you do today to find joy while using your gifts? Can you cook a meal for others like I love to do, that you can be proud of? Ok you hate to cook and you actually can’t boil water…no worries! Can you help your child learn a new sport that is your forte? Can you organize your closets and stand back and look at your handy work and have so much less stress because you and your family will know where everything is? Can you volunteer or teach or lead others? Can you write a blog or a book? Can you take photographs, or be a good listener, or help someone move to a new house? What can you do?

Action=Happy. Action=Green.

Good luck using this secret sauce to make your own pastures as green as they can be.

And speaking of green, today’s recipe is for my green smoothie. I drink these every morning before I go face the world to share my gifts and talents.  So give it a try.







green smoothie

Tobi’s Favorite Green Smoothie:

1 banana sliced and frozen

1 cup of almond milk (unsweetened, 30 calorie, non GMO)

1/2 cup of blueberries (you can add other fruit–strawberries or peaches work great too!)

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (not frozen)

1 Tablespoon ground Flax seed

1 Tablespoon ground Chia seed

Mix well in your favorite blender (which for me is a Vitamix) and enjoy making your health a little greener too. Cheers!


Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, friends. Wishing you a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2016!

Let the Goal-setting begin!









Check Mate with SMW Home

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I am absolutely mad about plaid, and there is nobody who does plaid better in the home world than my friend Scot Meacham Wood. He has just launched his new SMW Home collection of textiles, pillows, throws, and accessories, all featuring his signature looks of tartans, tweeds, and tatersalls!


The fabrics are manufactured in Scotland in factories that have been in business since the 1700s, and the patterns are everything from traditional to slightly punk – with updated colors that are anything but staid!


Scot is a Southerner, like me, and in the South we have strong roots in the UK, which makes many of us committed Anglophiles! But Scot does that modern English gentleman look like no one else, so I’m really excited to see his fabulous fabrics and Victorian-inspired products!

He’s hitting just at the right time, too, as plaid is touted as a HUGE look in fashion for fall and winter. But does it really ever go out of style in the home? No way! As an example, here’s a room I created that combined plaid bedding with a leopard print rug:

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.12.51 PM

Are you mad about plaid? How do you plan to bring it into YOUR home?