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The holidays are my favorite time of year, but it can also be expensive if you're living on a tight budget. With parties, gifts to buy, houses to decorate... etc. The expenses can be a bit overwhelming. I've been getting really into recycling, repurposing and making as much as I can by hand this year, so I am here to share a few ideas on where you can make some adjustments and save some of those precious dollars. :)
1. Make your own wrapping paper.
With Pinterest, there are a plethora of DIY gift wrapping ideas. I usually save any gift bags I get throughout the year and for any gifts that fit better in a box- I make my own wrapping paper. This year, I have been saving all of the butcher paper that comes as packing material in my Amazon Subscribe & Save deliveries. (Yes, I'm totally obsessed with Amazon) It's a little bit crumpled, but I figure this will add to the 'rustic' look. I plan on tying these up with some red twine and a sprig of rosemary. I expect they will smell and look quite lovely.
2. Recycle those boxes into a Christmas tree.
If you are going home for the holidays or can't afford a tree, there are plenty of ideas to get the feeling without dishing out big bucks for a tree that's really going to create a lot of mess for a short amount of time. I love this idea for a cardboard Christmas tree! I've been saving my boxes (I just break them down and store them behind the couch with the spiders) and I plan to just paint the tree when I'm finished! They kept the cardboard look, but I personally am tied to the whole green tree thing...
3. Learn oragami for some DIY ornaments.
My family is coming to Palm Springs to celelbrate Christmas this year, so my Mom asked me to come up with some ideas on how to make our rental house look a bit festive so we didn't feel totally disconnected from the spirit of Christmas while lounging by the pool. I've always wanted to learn to make oragami, so I got this book from amazon that came with paper & holiday inspired oragami how-tos. We're going to learn to make these as a family, and the nerd in me is really excited about it.
4. Gift your friends something handmade.
No one wants to be the only friend not participating in the gifting rituals of Christmas time, but there are ways of giving without breaking the bank. This year, I got a canning kit (Yes, from Amazon) and I am planning on making a bunch of caramel sauce & canning it with some red bows on top. This way I will fulfill my dreams of learning to can AND all my friends and family will have a little something sweet to ring in 2014 and I'll still be able to pay my rent come January.
5. Eat in when possible and never turn down leftovers.
There are going to be some holiday celelbrations where you end up going out and spending money on some food and drinks. Expect that- and try to cut out eating out when you're alone. Pack your lunches. Stay home, make soup, drink tea and your bank account will bless you with a much larger available balance. Another sneaky little tip: If you attend a holiday party, stick around and help the host clean up! When you're putting away the scraps and the fridge is full... don't say no when they insist you help eat the leftovers. ;)
all images via Pinterest.
I can't believe it, but Hannukah is here and Christmas is just around the corner. You know what that means? Non-stop holiday parties. As much as I love parties, it can be stressful figuring out what to wear to all these functions. We've put together some shoe & outfit ideas for you that will have you looking fabulous and keep your feet happy on the dance floor. Whether you're looking to impress at work in the Ingrid, show off some leg in the Idra, or keep it casual in the Genista, we've got just the shoe for you!
Feeling like a Turkey after that Thanksgiving Feast?! Well, I don't know about you, but I sure am! Don't fret- I've got 5 ways to get you back lean and in shape. Here's how I got back in action!
Yoga is a great way to calm down and slim down. Don't have a membership to a yoga studio, don't worry! I take advantage of Youtube's many free videos and all I need is my laptop, yoga mat, and small space in my living room. Here you can find a cool 30-minute yoga video to enjoy right at home! http://youtu.be/KU2uj7W08wo
Have a Hike!
Hiking is not only an awesome way to workout but it also gives you the chance to enjoy the outdoors and take in all the beauty fall has to offer. I like to hike with friends, that way I can interact with company and nature. But don't forget to put on a good pair of hiking shoes and climb those calories away!
Shop Till You Drop!
Shopping is one of my favorite things to do, so why not add some cardio to the mix. I like to get to the mall early when its a bit quiet and walk while window shopping. Also I choose to take the stairs instead of the escalator or do some extra squatting when picking up an item i've been eyeing off the shelf. Scouring for that parking spot closest to the entrance, how about trying to park a little further and carrying your items instead of pushing them in a cart. Get more ideas for shopping while shaping here.
Go For A Run!
Running is my favorite workout, there's no extra workout equipment needed and its great to get off the couch and out the house every once in a while. Running can be very theraputic, so if you need to clear your mind after Thanksgiving chaos, just tie your laces and hit the pavement.
Juice it Up!
Can't even think about food after stuffing your face all week? Well, what about juice?! Juicing is a great way to cleanse your body or jumpstart a weightloss regimen. Juicing allows me to experiment with my favorite fruits and veggies and create a not only delicious, but healthy drink! Here's just one example of the many juicing recipes you'll love:
I hope I've shared some good ideas to help motivate you to work off that turkey!
*Images via pinterest
I don't know about you, but we love DIY projects over here at Blowfish. There's something really satisfying about making something with your own two hands, not to mention it usually ends up costing about a fraction of the price when choosing this route.
After we had so much fun making our own Halloween decor, we got an idea to make a chalkboard wall for the office. This way we can write fun notes to eachother or make sure to keep major deadlines front and center to keep us focused! The project was really simple and we are really enjoying playing with chalk. You know, like proper grown ups. ;)
1. Gather your supplies. (All you need is a wooden board, chalkboard paint, a paint brush and chalk!)
2. Paint your board. (We needed two coats.)
3. Let it dry.
4. Whip out the chalk. Draw a border, write some inspiring messages, it's up to you!
Pretty simple, eh? Will you give this a try?
Happy November! It's me, Ilene (aka illy) of Much Love, illy back with another post for you good people! Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? Lots of writers make it a goal to write their novels from start to finish. There is even a website that brings all of these writers together. I have some friends that have taken part with it and have said nothing but good things about it - because the challenge makes you just write your heart out without editing or criticism. Just write! As a writer myself and a lover of books of all kinds, I thought it'd be fun to talk about some of my favorite writers (from my childhood and recently) and the novels that they wrote:
John Green and The Fault in Our Stars. A good writer understand people - how they think, how they feel. That is John Green. I read this book in two days, feeling every bit of raw emotion that it exuded. And if you pick this one up, be sure to grab a box of Kleenex, too. You're going to need it.