The Natural State

[Image: Etsy]

Travel has been the name of the game for me this year. I have been fortunate enough to travel everywhere from San Francisco to Chicago to Morocco! While all of these trips have been amazing (and very inspirational!!), I often find that my creative energies are most refreshed and recharged when I am here in my home state of Arkansas — also known as The Natural State.

And why wouldn’t that be true?? I am always intrigued to hear fellow designers say they are inspired by landscapes or trips to their country homes on the weekend. The truth is, I have the best of both worlds because I get to enjoy the amazing city of Little Rock, but can also travel just outside of the city to see beautiful rolling landscapes such as this view of Allen’s home, Moss Mountain Farm…

I can pick fresh berries…

Watch the leaves change (on my way to Fayetteville to cheer on the Hogs, of course!)…

and catch a lakeside sunset all without leaving my beloved home state!!

Having deep family roots here in the state with the added bonus of enjoying all of these fabulous “Natural State” amenities make Arkansas the perfect place for me to feel inspired to pursue my passions and take my design work to the next level.

On July 10 I’ll be sharing more about my experiences growing up and growing a business here in Arkansas on “Tales from the South” popular Southern storytelling hour known as “The Tin Roof Project.” If you live in the central Arkansas area, come out to join us at The Starving Artist Cafe for a live reading of my story and dinner. You can find all the details here. If you aren’t in The Natural State, you will be able to hear the recording on this site later in the month.

Oh…and if you haven’t already checked it out, don’t miss Allen’s appearance on “The Tin Roof Project.” You will definitely be inspired by his story and love for all things Arkansas and Southern!

Be inspired! -Tobi

[Images: Unless Specified Google Images]

More than a Cute Face – Finding Refuge in the Ozark Mountains

The folks in the office are an animal-loving bunch. It’s not uncommon to walk the halls and hear people telling stories or showing off pictures of their furry friends, and reports of a “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” spread like wildfire. It came as no surprise, then, to hear that Rocky Ridge Refuge was the hot topic in the office after my digital manager Mary Ellen and social media specialist Anna Claire made a visit there. But to listen to them talk about this animal sanctuary on a rocky hill run by one woman with an endless supply of patience and love was more than just hearing about cute animals.

Janice with Bazinga

Janice Wolf’s first memory is of saving a pelican in Key West. To hear Mary Ellen and Anna Claire describe it, Janice has been saving animals from abuse and neglect ever since. She keeps up to 60 animals at a time at the northwest Arkansas refuge that she often finds in desperate situations. Through traditional herbal remedies and a local vet clinic she is able to give her rescues a life worth living.

Sweet puppy

Janice’s main project is rehabilitating dogs for adoption, but she has quite the knack for taking in rare or exotic breeds of animals and each of them has a distinct personality. Take Crouton for example- she patrols the walkway in between two fenced areas, but with just a little sweet potato bribery she was more than happy to let the visitors move on and visit the other animals.

Crouton with sweet potato

And what an assortment there was! While the dogs were the first to welcome Mary Ellen and Anna Claire, it was the deer, sheep, and miniature donkeys that really wanted to show off for them.

Baby Deer

Despite their size, these miniature donkeys made a big impression when they started chasing each other and the deer around the refuge pasture. Apparently they only do this when they have visitors, so Mary Ellen and Anna Claire felt very special.

Mini Donkeys

While Mary Ellen talked to Janice about the history of the refuge, Anna Claire thought she’d stealthily visit Wade the water buffalo in hopes of a picture. Turns out that stealth wasn’t needed at all! Wade, like most of the other animals, has long since passed being camera shy and, as Janice puts it, “loves to photo bomb.”


Like Janice’s description of Wade, many of the stories she told were full of laughter and hope – she was sending a puppy out for adoption the very next day, there was a baby miniature horse born earlier that morning, and her beloved capybara had just graduated to a big girl pool! What impressed Anna Claire and Mary Ellen most is that these happy tales come from animals who had been so damaged before finding their way to Rocky Ridge Refuge.


Janice has saved countless animals over the years, and you can help her. If you’re considering getting a new dog, consider adopting from Rocky Ridge – the animals there were some of the best-mannered and family friendly dogs that Mary Ellen and Anna Claire had ever encountered. And if adoption isn’t the right idea for you, consider donating to her cause. To learn more about how you can help Janice and the Rocky Ridge family, visit the Rocky Ridge Refuge Facebook Page or

For more pictures check out the Rocky Ridge Refuge tab on my Facebook page.

Here Come the Bugs!

The mild temperatures of the past winter came at a price and now it’s time to pay up. Bugs. Without freezing winter temperatures to reduce their populations the insect pests in my garden are back with a vengeance. Pest management is going to be tough this growing season, but I’m trying something new that gives me hope that I can stay one step ahead.

AzaGuard® Insecticide and Insect Repellant is a broad spectrum insecticide, nematicide and repellant. Here are a few points that convinced me to give AzaGuard® a try.

  1. It’s organic, non-toxic and safe to use both indoors and out.
  2. AzaGuard® contains the OMRI listed insect growth inhibitor Azadirachtin. This prevents insect growth, feeding and reproduction. It works on over 300 pests including aphids, beetles, grasshoppers, grubs, and whiteflies.
  3. The active ingredient Azadirachtin has a low impact on the environment and no effect on birds or other wildlife.
  4. In addition to being a growth inhibitor AzaGuard® is also a repellant that works on flying insects like house flies.
  5. AzaGuard® controls parasitic nematodes.
  6. I can mix AzaGuard® in my sprayer with other chemicals such as BioSafe System’s fungicide/bacteriacide OxiDate®.
  7. The packaging is designed with the environment in mind. Each spray bottle comes with 3 ampoules of water soluble product providing 96 fluid ounces of spray. All I have to do is pour the contents of 1 ampoule in the bottle and add water. When I that runs out I can mix up more without purchasing a second spray bottle.

If you want to try BioSafe® Systems AzaGuard® in your garden look for it at your local independent garden center or hardware stores such as True Value or United Hardware.