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.


Dresser – Craigslist

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

My Home

Table/bench – Ebay

This even smaller side table.


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.

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
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
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

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

Etsy inspiration
Tuscany, Italy Travel Poster
Jhill Design

The next three items are from High Street Market:

Etsy inspiration
Vintage McCoy green greek key planter

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

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

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.

Spring Break Wish List

March 4, 2011

Never mind that I have papers to grade, two fifteen-page papers and one ten-page paper to write, a survey to edit, cleaning and packing to do, and oodles of other stuff to get done…


I’m not sure I have ever needed a week off so badly, even just to catch up on work (but also to lounge around the house, go to the pool, and hopefully have some fun!). Now here’s a wish list of what I’d like to be wearing over said break. Most is F21 so obviously pretty cheap…and therefore all the more tempting. Sigh.

Wish List
Wish List
Love the back.

Wish List
I may buy these.

Wish List
I’ve been wanting a bright pencil skirt for a while now.

Wish List
Probably wouldn’t get much wear out of this, tbh, but it’s so pretty.

Wish List
I’m in a red kind of mood lately.

The next shoes are not from Forever21, but shoes.com and zappos.com. Honestly, I don’t buy shoes anywhere else without checking those places (and 6pm.com) first these days. They usually have what other stores are carrying, but with lots of reviews, more ranges in color, quick shipping, and sometimes better prices (6pm.com definitely has good deals but a more limited range of sizes and colors since it’s the Zappos outlet, I believe).

Wish List
My favorite sandals I’ve seen this season. Franco Sarto has become my favorite brand for shoes, I’ve decided.

Wish List
More red. I love high heels with platforms and from reading the reviews, these are supposed to be pretty comfortable and walkable.

Not pictured: Ballet flats. I just want a new pair. Don’t have any in particular I’m in love with, I just like them classic and comfortable. I’m also loving a lot of the retro looking clunky platforms and wedges out there right now but I already have two pairs that have this style covered.

There are tons of things I love on Etsy, as usual, but the thing about Etsy is A) shipping costs add up quickly if ordering from more than one seller, and B) you just don’t have the ease of returning things if you don’t like them in person/they don’t fit. So unfortunately that’s kept me from ordering much from Etsy lately.

…I just remembered that today is the deadline to order my cap and gown for graduation. I guess that has priority over my spring break wish list, but I can’t say I’m thrilled to fork over the $70 for it (coincidentally, all of the above items from F21 add up to $70 as well). Update: Turns out my parents will cover the cap and gown (and hood). Thanks mom and dad!


January 22, 2011

I love, love, love this video. Sigh, it’s scenes like this–and practically every old movie I watch on TCM–that makes me want to cut my hair, but I know that when I cut my hair I won’t style it most of the time and even when I do I won’t look like they did.

However, the first two purchases (clothing-wise) that I’ve made this year would fit into Gwen Stefani’s Cool world, so that makes me happy.

You know what else inspires me? Blogs. Bloggers. Do you guys talk about blogs to people “in real life”? Cause I do…a lot. Blogs have replaced a lot of other forms of media for me, mainly magazines, I guess. So many of them, you, inspire me, so thank you! (I’ve also come to the conclusion that there are just a few blogs who construct such perfect lifestyles that I usually come away feeling jealous, and although I don’t like that about myself, I’ve slowly stopped reading them.)

Lately I've been ordering more and more products online as I get pickier about my purchases–like, say, wanting stainless steel cookie sheets and I can't find them anywhere in town, dammit. And not only is the internet shopping world, obviously, vast and amazing, but reading online reviews and seeing pictures from online reviewers has been soo helpful. So thanks again, online folks. For all your help. It means a lot.

30 for 30: Day 8 and a swap

November 21, 2010

Patterned skirt: 30 for 30

How can I phrase this? I swapped another item from my original 30. If you’ll recall (and I’m just sure you do), the only skirts I initially included were these:

30 for 30 picks

Almost identical, right? Well the issue was that I had recently cleaned out my closet, purging almost 50 items from my wardrobe, including nearly all my skirts. Apparently I no longer like the type of skirt I had gotten used to buying, mostly bohemian-style, long, loose, and worn low. But I wanted to incorporate skirts into my 30 for 30. I’ve only worn the pleather-y one so far. So, um, I’m swapping the other one with this patterned skirt. Which, er, I bought. At a consignment store. For $3.50. Yesterday.

Gah. I cheated. No beating around the bush. But I’m giving myself a pass (isn’t that nice?) because I’m getting rid of so many other clothes (they’re still in my house waiting to be gotten rid of), because I’m still sticking to 30 items, because this skirt was second-hand, and because it was $3.50 on a half-off rack out in front of the store.

Bad Toni. Bad. Don’t I look sorry?

Patterned skirt: 30 for 30

This is what I wore to go to the movies with some classmates today. [Earrings and belt also from the consignment store. I love these finds! Purse: Thrifted, previously.]

I quite like today’s outfit. I thought about wearing a colorful cardigan but the weather is still in the high 70s and, besides, I ripped it in the midst of tucking and untucking. Ugh. Luckily, just yesterday I saw a clothing repair shop so I may bring it there, along with my favorite blue vintage dress that desperately needs some TLC.

My Scottish Outfit

September 28, 2010

My Scottish outfit

Yes, more pictures of myself! And there may be others on the way, as I have been cleaning out my closet, trying to think of new ways to wear old clothes, and I’ve recently bought a few items online (a vintage dress and vintage heels from Etsy, a coat from Old Navy, and boots from Amazon). All very classic pieces that I don’t regret buying, unless they don’t work out “IRL.”

I may have a garage sale soon. There’s a whole rack of clothes in my living room right now alongside a bunch of shoes and a small amount of home decor-type stuff that I can’t wait to get out of the house. I already donated many items to the local hospice thrift store a few weeks ago, but much of what’s left is very good quality–including brand new pumps from Urban Outfitters I’ve never worn but somehow never returned when they didn’t fit. As far as clothing goes, I am chucking anything that isn’t flattering on me, no matter how good of condition it’s in. There are just things I subconsciously avoid because I know they don’t fit well or aren’t my style (or whatever), even though I barely admit it to myself. No longer.

The boots, tights, and necklace I wore today are all from my trip to Scotland.

My Scottish outfit
You can see what the curls from yesterday look like a day later.

Life is so crazy that I can’t possibly keep up with my to-do lists each day, but I’m feeling inspired by my work nonetheless and extra excited to be applying for a government fellowship and Teach for America in the next few weeks.

On an unrelated note, the food situation ’round the house has been really good this week: Patrick and I have been eating at home almost 100%, and eating well. That could have something to do with the fact that he returned from a visit to his family bearing a huge container of a hearty homemade soup, vegetarian empanadas, and cheese and olive oil from Croatia. But I also made the pesto pasta last me for three meals (I don’t mind repetition) and I baked muffins. I’ve also been making simple breakfasts and preparing things like hot chocolate at home instead of buying them on campus. So yeah. Feeling a bit proud of that.

Now to read five articles and do a discussion posting before I go to bed. And it’s 9:00 already :/