Jubilation

July 3, 2011

I went to see the Cirque du Soleil show Alegria last night. This is a little taste:

It was so amazing that I have a renewed appreciation for what the human body can do. It kind of makes me want to do some yoga, and at least get to the point that I can reach past my knees…

It was also a great excuse to dress up, but sadly, I didn’t get any pictures, except for this bad one of a delicious meal at a Mediterranean restaurant from before the show:

Casbah

Fried jibneh (cheese), falafel, and spinach pies

You can listen to the soundtrack here, which is awesome. The theme song reminds me a little of Lady Gaga, particularly the chorus of Alejandro. But this just might be my favorite. I don’t know. I can’t decide.

Alegria!

On the plane during recent flights, I alternated between reading “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life,” by Francine Jay, and imagining what I want my next home to look like. I recommend the book; it’s all about achieving that excitement you feel when you first move into a new place and it’s still empty, when the open space is inspiring and exhilarating, before you fill it up with all your things. It’s really a call for a different life style: looking at your belongings with a new eye, being more aware of how stuff gets into your home, letting go of items you don’t absolutely need or love, defining yourself in ways other than by what you own, and creating–and maintaining–a peaceful (beautiful, functional) dwelling.

These rooms from the Haven in Paris vacation rentals are what I’m sort of longing for right now (and not only because they’re, you know, in Paris). I’d have a little more art and decor, but not too much more. And have I mentioned that I need* hardwood floors? Minimal decor seems to work so much better with pretty floors.

*I use the word “need” loosely and excessively in this entry. I do not actually need these things, other than to achieve the images in my head.

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

When moving back in with my parents last month, I ended up selling more furniture than I anticipated on a last minute whim, including my sofa and an armchair. Patrick and I also sold our dining set and a few other things, and he and I split up the remaining furniture, a process that was very smooth. The truth is, I didn’t want to keep much. I like the thought of a fresh start, and I want fewer things overall. Even the stuff I did keep, currently sitting in a storage unit, is more than I need, but I’m waiting to see what my next living situation is like to decide what stays and goes, depending on size, layout, whether or not I live with someone else, etc.

Basically, the furniture I have left is:

All the items in this very IKEA-fied little reading nook. I will most likely change the color of the chair cushion to something more neutral.
Clean house after a party

Chair and footstool- IKEA, oak bookshelf – 2ndhand IKEA via Craigslist, white shelf – IKEA as-is section

This chair–happily, I’ve chucked the old cushions and will definitely be having new ones made.

New chair

Chair – Craiglist

This dresser, which I’m on the fence about keeping. If I do, it’s getting cleaned up.

Bedroom

Dresser – Craigslist

This small Danish table/bench (I love it).

My Home

Table/bench – Ebay

This even smaller side table.

Rearranging

Side table – found on a curbside!

This little green [bedside] table (guess I’m okay on small tables, huh?).

Around the house

Bedside table – Pier 1

The desk and shelves in this picture, which I have no attachment to.

My Home

Desk and shelves – IKEA

Not pictured: An oak IKEA Expedit bookcase I never assembled.

So what I make of all of this is:

  • I have a lot of brown wooden stuff, and I want to balance it out with upholstered pieces, glass, metal, other colors, whatever
  • I want to change my chair cushions to more neutral colors
  • I will not need everything I have above, and could probably do without some of the small tables and one of the chairs
  • I will need a bed, sofa (white or very light), small dining table (probably white), and some rugs (I still have the white shaggy one in the reading nook)
  • I need to phase out the oak IKEA stuff
  • I don’t want to be too theme-y, including overly retro or vintage
  • Color-wise, I want to be much calmer this time around than I was in Gainesville (despite the fact that this completely contradicts recent entries I’ve posted). I want a lot of neutrals with green as my main accent color. I’ve been inspired by this image from Anthropologie since 2005!

Anthro spring 2005

and I still have these curtains, which I love:

New curtains

I cut down on my decorative items as well but still have plenty to spread throughout my next home. I think I’ll be pretty selective about that process too, though.

…And this concludes today’s over-analysis of how I will decorate my next hypothetical place.

Color Hungry

April 17, 2011

So much color this morning! I could spend hours looking at images from Elle Decor India:

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

Elle Decor India

These next images and links are from other sources:

Color

Color

Both via Once Upon a Tea Time, here and here.

I just discovered this blog and I already know that I’m going to become an addict. In fact, the two images above aren’t that realistic for my own decorating but I will probably reference this post in the future. It incorporates furniture similar to some mid-century modern pieces I already own without overdoing the MCM feel. For example, the next two images:

Once Upon a Tea Time

Once Upon a Tea Time

The next picture isn’t too over-the-top either.

Style at Home

Via Style at Home

Via Artnlight

Via Artnlight

Other nice links:
Your Tea Time
The Plum Tree

Darjeeling Dreams
Colours Dekor
Bliss
79 Ideas
Rajee Sood
A Cup of Chai
The Colours of Life

I also have some recent additions to my Etsy wish list that I’ll save for another post.

PS: I am still clueless about this stuff, but I did manage to join Bloglovin’! You can follow me here, I think.

Creativity 101

April 13, 2011

The summer of 2009 was a creative time for me because I was moving, which meant months of thrifting (and scouring Craigslist) and dreaming up decorating ideas.

Additionally, despite being in grad school, I took an introductory photography class for fun. Today I got the urge to browse through some of the pictures I took for that class since I’m looking forward to getting back into taking more photos again after a few months of, well, not.

To be honest, I never really got the hang of that class; I haven’t shot manually since then because I didn’t fully understand what I was doing, I messed up on a lot of the assignments on our final photo field trip, and overall I can’t say I was a shining star in the group. But at least I attempted to put some effort into my technique and it really was fun.

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Read the rest of this entry »

Dreaming of Portugal

April 5, 2011

I’m about to either a) pull an all nighter or b) go to sleep and wake up in a few hours very stressed and very screwed.

So what do I do about it?

Post some pictures of Etsy decor, obviously.

This is the kind of stuff I’m thinking about lately, with the caveat that I would pair it–and not necessarily all of it–with the wood furniture and neutral textiles I already own. Sort of organic. Relaxed. Colorful. Happy. Less retro/glamorous/MCM/vintage/or even shabby chic than I’ve been drawn to in the past. I’m still enamored with the same styles I’ve posted previously in recent months (here, here and here–if you scroll down), and what I’ve decided about my taste is that if I keep coming back to something–despite the constant influx of images and styles and sounds and ideas I encounter daily–I must really, really like it. (That goes for a lot more in my life than just art and design.) The point is, this small Lisbon, Portugal apartment, which I’ve posted before, is exactly where I’d like to be right now. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so stressed out, but all I want is a home that feels peaceful, cheery, and organized. Preferably with open windows, balmy weather, curtains gently blowing in the breeze, and nothing to do but read a book for pleasure, or maybe nothing to do at all…

By the way, I must thank Etsy’s “Get the Look” feature for giving me a lot of great ideas lately. [Edited to add: some other inspiration has come from An Indian Summer, as I’ve previously mentioned, Rang Decor, and LA in Bloom, which I’ve also posted about before after falling in love with this Closet Visit (I was happy to find additional photos on Design*Sponge too).]

So, some of the items I bookmarked on Etsy this morning include:

Etsy inspiration
Follow Your Dreams — 5 X 7 ART PLAQUE — Ready To Hang
Steven James Keathley
$12.50
I’d love a large painting by this artist, but a small print would be nice too.

Etsy inspiration
Mixed Media Stained Glass Mosaic Art Mirror Blue and Yellow
Low Bridge Artworks
$145
I had a hard time picking a favorite mirror from this shop and I’m still not convinced I was able to.

Etsy inspiration
Compote pedestal fruit bowl… in azure.
Jeanette Zeis Ceramics
$64

Etsy inspiration
Moroccan Bubbles- 30 Graphics- item 10027 (Removable wall decals!)
Byrdie Graphics
$52

Etsy inspiration
Tuscany, Italy Travel Poster
Jhill Design
$45

The next three items are from High Street Market:

Etsy inspiration
Vintage McCoy green greek key planter
$22

Etsy inspiration
Custom made chinoiserie chintz silk throw pillow, 15″ x 18″
$58

Etsy inspiration
Custom made GREEK KEY throw pillow 18 x 18 with down insert — in black, green, or tan
$58

I’m happy to see I’m still loving blue and green after two years–I’ve got plenty of stuff in those colors.

Anyway, s’pose that’s all for now. It’s almost 1am and it’s time for me to, well, work.

PS – I had my Master’s project defense last week, it went well, I took no photos, and I haven’t had a chance to enjoy that accomplishment yet. All in due time.

Inspiring Myself

March 26, 2011

It’s official: I’m defending my Master’s project this week, and considering that my “committee” is comprised of exactly one person, there’s little chance of anything going seriously wrong. I’m nervous but ultimately already feel a huge weight lifting off my shoulders. The semester is going to start winding down (actually, winding down usually involves first winding up, but at least the end is near). Soon I’ll be able to turn my attention back toward, well, myself. I am excited to put more effort into getting dressed in the morning again. To be active and creative. To go thrifting, (attempt to) refinish some old furniture, or at least do some spray painting. To go camping (anyone?), swim in the ocean, visit a new city. To take photos, test new recipes, try out that Bollywood dance DVD, make my own natural cleaning products, write letters…the old fashion kind…no, not email.

Lately I have been feeling that while there is so much beauty and creativity available for consumption via the internet and magazines–inspiration that can be and has been wonderfully life-changing–I long to inspire myself. To live my own inspiration. To experience, to create, to do. Not that I’m completely tuning out of all the sources I normally turn to for eye candy or recipes or decor ideas (I’m looking at you, Emily–I can’t believe I know this girl IRL). Just toning it down a bit until I’m ready to participate too.

Travel is still on my mind almost constantly. I haven’t yet decided what path to take when I graduate. Working abroad is something I continue to dream about. Taking a shorter international trip is a possibility. Or maybe it’s smarter to hunker down, search for a job, and go nowhere. Is the best compromise traveling within the US? I just don’t know. I keep come back to the thought of getting a temporary work visa for the Republic of Ireland (given that the UK is basically out of the question due to restrictions on similar visas). It seems financially risky but at the same time, if I don’t do it (or something like it) now–right after grad school, before starting a career (or, um, family?), and before student loan repayments begin–I probably never will. Sigh. Cue quarter life angst. BTW, a blog I’ve been LOVING–in part because of its honest discussion of said angst (here, for example) and its emphasis on travel–is The Wanderlust Project. On that note, travel blogs, that is, I am SO excited that Kay is finally in India!! and just as ecstatic to discover Lost in Cheeseland.

Busy Bee Seeks Advice!

February 15, 2011

I have had no time to take pictures or write or cook or clean or anything else non-school or work related for that matter. I am just soo busy right now (yeah, I am dying for the day all my posts DON’T talk about how busy I am), but I have been bookmarking inspirational stuff in my Tumblr, like this,

Square America

Square America

so feel free to check that out in the meantime! (Images from the greatest website of all time, Square America.)

I will say this: I’ve got the travel bug, bad, and I’m dying to get out of the country this summer. But seeing as I am a poor grad student living on a meager income and student loans–and I’m graduating this semester–I’m not sure how feasible this is. I’m also really unskilled at managing all the details involved in planning an international trip so I’m drawn to packages and tours from companies like STA Travel or EF College Break (preferably ones that cater to youngish people even though I’m older than the typical college student). Another option I’ve been looking at is using BUNAC’s services and working abroad. I dunno. ANYONE GOT ANY ADVICE/TIPS/FEEDBACK? I guess I should face the monstrous task of applying for my American passport soon, huh.

Remember these photos I took in Scotland? I want to take a whole bunch more in a whole bunch of new places.

DSC_1175

DSC_1174

Scotland

Scotland

Scotland

Now excuse me while I get my butt off the computer chair and uncurl my back from hunching over the keyboard. Bout to go running for the first time in years! Take that, New Years resolutions.