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About a year ago, I decided to get good at painting my own nails. I was spending too much money on mani-pedis and I thought I'd rather put the funds towards growing my polish collection. For a few months- every time I wanted to get my nails done I went and bought a new nail polish color instead until I compiled a decent selection. In doing this, I've learned that the old 'practice makes perfect' saying is pretty spot on- though more like, 'practice makes pretty good' in this particular case. I decided to test my skills and got some of the girls together at the office and painted their nails for the holidays. It was so much fun!
I tried out a few different designs and it got me excited to keep changing up my nails from week to week. I'm personally not a fan of the bright red and green, it's just a bit bold for my tastes, so I chose to use more subtle pastels and deep winter hues, then added some metallics and sparkle for the finishing touches. I really just eyeballed the glittery tips, but if you're more of a perfectionist than I, you could always try taping off the design as well for cleaner lines.
Here's some pics:
This design makes me think of snowy days and snowflakes- agreed?
Focus on the wreath, don't mind the smudge. Pretty cute, right?!
Can you tell I was inspired by candy canes here?
Not sure what to do with those xmas tree scraps? We went to pick up a tree for our office holiday decorating party and couldn't bear to part with the extra scraps of pine. We decided to make a little holiday chandelier to put up in our ecomm office! It was super quick & fun and now we have some extra smells & cheer wafting through the office. Quite lovely.
Here's how to do it:
1. Go get a tree!
For us LA folk, that means drive over to the nearest lot. Though, I would definitely recommend you walk through the forest and find a few fallen branches, if that option is available.
2. Save your scraps. Duh!
3. Gather your supplies.
For us we had some string & candy canes lying around, but feel free to get creative. Gold glitter, fun ornaments, or popcorn garland would all make excellent chandelier flair.
4. Layout your branches & decide on a shape.
I ended up taking some of the scraps and breaking them in half until I was able to get them in a nice arrangement. You can get creative with the shape of your chandelier depending on where you want to hang it and what you're going to jazz it up with.
5. Tie together your chandelier with some holiday ribbon, yarn or string.
6. Add flair.
We added candy canes and then added some hand crafted snowflakes. If you've forgotten how to make your own snowflakes, click here for a quick tutorial.
7. Hang it up.
Make sure your connection is sturdy, or you have your tree hung over a safe space. Be wary of falling branches!
Last week I shared my tips on saving money this holiday season, and one of my tips was getting crafty wtih your wrapping. Well, now I'm back with a quick & simple tutorial on how to make cute & festive wrapping paper for next to nothing!
We used butcher paper, stamps & ink, but you can sub butcher paper for newsprint, or recycled paper grocery bags! You can also use potatoes dipped in paint or ink if you don't want to buy stamps! We spent $50 on all the supplies and wrapped up 60 presents with tons of supplies to spare.
Step 1: Measure out & cut your paper
Step 2: Stamp the paper with festive stamps or designs! (We did a lot of snowflakes & jingle bells!)
Step 3: Wrap it up
Step 4: Add some string & your done!
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 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.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about holiday shopping. Crazy how it always sneaks up on us so quickly, but I find it's best to take care of business rather than procrastinating. There's nothing I love more than the satisfaction of knowing my holiday shopping is done while all my friends are scrambling.
We know it's not easy, which is why we're helping you out with some great ideas for you, for mom, for your sister & for your friends!
For you, because you're special! The WANDERLUST backpack is one of a kind. Whether you're headed to class or out to the shops, this backpack will fit all of your belongings and keep you looking cool.
For mom, because she's given you the gift of life. The GLO flats are festive in the red cord fabric and they are super duper comfortable. The round toe and cushioned footbed will keep your mom on her feet and looking hip.
For your sister, your second hand, the IDRA wedge is where it's at. Get her a wedge that will make her stand out at holiday parties, out on a date, or out on the town! She'll love you for this, even more than she already does.
For your BFF, the INSPIRE scarf. This scarf is lovely and festive, and fits any budget. Perfect for grab bags & secret santas as well!
Videos are the best. Can we agree?
Just incase you didn't know... Blowfish has product videos featuring our key styles each season! These videos aim to you an up close and personal look into the style of the shoe, and how to outfit it! So, if you're curious to learn more about Silvia, Alms, Bilocate or more... make sure to check out our YouTube channel!
Here's a few:
You can see the rest of our product videos, here!
We also post a Lookbook for each new collection. Here's our fall Lookbook, if you haven't seen it yet:
Love it? Subscribe here for more!
These videos are just as new for us as they are for you, and we'd like your feedback! Please comment below with what you'd like to see or how we could improve our current videos. We value your opinion and would love to hear your thoughts!
I wrote recently about getting back into reading and such since moving into my own apartment. Well, I'm back again to inform you that I've added painting to my repertoire. My background is in visual arts and I used to spend a great deal of time sketching, drawing and painting, but since moving to Los Angeles life has been crazy, responsibilities abound and fostering my imagination hasn't been #1 on the priority list- and well, enough was enough. Imagination is pretty damn important.
The hardest part of doing anything for me is just starting. Anyone know the feeling? I want to run... but putting on running shoes and walking out the door is the most difficult step in the process. I want to paint, but you're saying I need a canvas?! Where are my paint brushes?... literally, one year later.... getting started is HARD. But, alas, I started. Thankfully, I delayed getting a kitchen table because my kitchen is serves me much better as a makeshift yoga/art studio. I'll sit on the floor and eat off my coffee table, thank you very much. Dinner parties? No thanks. I'd rather not invite my friends over to come spill red wine on my carpet. It's bad enough I have to live with carpet.
So anyways, #endrant and back to what I was talking about... Painting again has been incredibly cathartic. What I love about painting is the malleability. My paintings often start off as one thing and then end up something completely different... There are no mistakes with painting, just add another layer. Pen & ink? Prepare to start over. Again. And again. Or at least in my case... you may be a coordinated line maven. Props. I am just trying to keep the paint on the canvas so I don't lose my security deposit. Sidenote: If I have a garbage disposal that's just as good as a slop sink, correct?
Here are some snippets of what I've been working on. You may notice what I am talking about when I say my paintings often start as something... and then they turn into something else... (I killed the owl [insert blushing & eyes popping out emoji here])
After spending one morning this past weekend engrossed in painting, I stepped out for a bike ride and had an epiphany. I saw a woman doing some street art that was incredibly inspiring and for a moment, I felt discouraged. I felt discouraged because in my mind her painting looked better than mine. Recognizing this feeling and it's impetus, I came to the conclusion that it doesn't make my art any less valid. Duh, I know- but it's normal to feel discouraged, or defeated before we begin. That's why starting is so hard! Am I right? Raising awareness, recognizing these tendencies and rising above them is what makes life challenging, difficult, and rewarding- all in one. See? Even sans kitchen table, I'm capable of grownup insight.
Do you have any creative outlets? How do you find the inspiration to get started and the will to finish? I try, but I'm still learning, so I'd love to hear what works for you! Comment below!
So, I spent this past weekend at FYF Fest and for those of you who haven't heard about it, it's basically a baby Coachella situation in downtown Los Angeles. This year featured an amazing lineup of some bigger artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Bloody Valentine, TV on the Radio, Washed Out, Solange... as well as some of the lesser known indie guys like The Oh Sees, Toro Y Moi, Ty Segall & Yo Lo Tengo. I had an amazing time with my longtime gal pal, made some new friends and heard some great music.
This past weekend also marked one year since I moved to Los Angeles, which made me all nostalgic and got me thinking about how I ended up where I am... In my college days (back when I had a fair amount of free time) I loved discovering new bands & making playlists to share with friends. This obsession blossomed into a music blog called In A Town Close to Indiana, which was a musical wine list of sorts. I posted a new song every day and described what it smelled like, tasted like & paired best with (really nerdy, I know, don't judge). When I graduated and the job market for Interior Designers was at an all-time low- I unleashed my inner entrepreneur and dove into the music scene. I ran chicago.com/music, which featured local bands and shows, and started up a management, booking & promotions company called Chicago Beats. On top of that I played in a band that performed at local venues. A couple years and a lot of stories later, I decided I liked music more as a hobby than a career. My experience with building a website, branding, and promoting musicians via the internet and such is what shaped my resume and landed me the job at Blowfish Shoes. One year later, Los Angeles feels like home and working in the fashion industry bodes better for the neurotically punctual being that I am.
That being said, after all this self reflection I realized I miss discovering new music and sharing playlists with friends, so that inspired me to make a playlist just for you. It's your lucky day. Listen on, my friends...
After indulging in all this awesomeness, you might ask where I find all these new jams. It's not a simple answer (this playlist took me three days to create, edit & approve), but I've taken some time to spell it out for you. My hope is that you will take my advice and go on to impress all of your friends.
Here's how to become a new music discovering savant in 10 easy steps:
1. Get yourself a Spotify account.
If you don't have Spotify, I'm sorry, but you're missing out. It's fantastic. For someone who really appreciates listening to albums in their entirety, it's kind of essential. I personally opt for the $9.99 a month option because I feel better about making my contribution to the musical community, plus it means I have total access to my jams while driving, lounging in my living room, or working really hard (like right now). Spotify allows you to drag & drop songs into personal playlists that you can share or hoard as you please, and if you opt for the paid service, you can make these playlists available offline on your electronic device of choice.
2. Stalk your friends on Spotify.
It's not creepy, I promise. I have a few friends that I know listen to good music and I am always stalking their listening options. (I might cry if a certain someone discovers the 'private session' feature- so I'd appreciate if everyone just kept that information on the DL.) I have discovered some of my favorite new bands using this method, and I've also discovered a lot more of my friends listen to sappy country songs late at night than I ever imagined possible. Also noteworthy: caught an ex flame listening to a lot of Avril Levigne and it really helped in the healing process.
3. Hit up Spotify's Discover feature.
Pandora totally trumps Spotify's radio feature, but Spotify has made major progress on their 'Discover' feature. It recommends artists based on what you've listened to, reminds you when you've forgotten about that band you used to listen to on repeat 24/7, and even informs you when your favorite bands are playing at a venue near you! Very cool, I know. I just found out Alt-J is playing in LA tonight via Spotify's Discover features... but after spending all weekend at FYF Fest a night chock-full of pjs & chapters sounds much more appealing. 25 going on 80... *Face palm*
I think we all got the memo on this by now. Go to Pandora.com and type in your favorite artist of the moment and Pandora will play similar jams for hours on end and you can opt to pay your way to commercial free listening. When you hear a new song you like that you haven't heard before... write. it. down. Look it up later on Spotify and drag it on into your 'new music' playlist.
5. Tell your friends to share.
If you're feeling a little lazy, text your friend who just loves music and ask for help. We all have at least one of those friends, so don't be shy. If you're feeling especially lazy, just copy & paste this message and press send: 'Hey friend! Since you are so ridiculously awesome, I thought you might like to make me a playlist so I can be reminded of your amazing taste in music. Am I right? Looking forward to listening! Let's grab a drink next week!' If they deny your request, remind them that sharing is caring.
6. Take advantage of YouTube.
As someone who does Social Media for a living, perhaps I should not admit that I only recently started using YouTube. Big surprise- I'm hooked. Not only can I make playlists that double as a music video mashup, but their algorithms that pull up a list of recommendations based on what other people who viewed the video you're watching also viewed... they work. While making this playlist, I discovered at least 5 other artists that I'm really digging just by browsing the sidebar. I might be the last person in the universe to realize the wonders of YouTube, but if perchance that's actually you, it's time to jump on that boat.
7. Hit up the Blogosphere.
New music is a topic that comes up with great frequency in the world of blogging. Find some music blogs you like and check in every now and then to see what newness & coolness they have in store. I personally love aurgasm.us; they've got a grasp on the obscure.
8. Get down with Indie Shuffle.
Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of this gem, because I only learned about it last night. (Sidenote: OKCupid hasn't proven very successful in finding a new boyfriend, but for new restaurants, websites, terribly awkward goodbyes & other random facts- it totally wins.) Indie Shuffle is basically a portal into another realm of new music discovery. They employee writers from all over the world to seek out amazing jams just for you. If you peruse the 'about' section you will find links to a lot of cool blogs and music sites that are likely worth checking out. Hop on it!
Sometimes I feel compelled to walk into Anthropologie, park it on the couch and just Shazam on down all afternoon. Please tell me you know what I'm talking about?!... I am a Shazamaholic if there is such a thing. I have it readily available on the home screen of my iPhone so that I can Shazam on the rare occasion that I hear something thrilling on the radio, or in a bar, or store... you get the idea. Download it and make sure it isn't hidden three swipes and a figertap or two away.
10. Pen, pad, or keyboards come in handy.
You might think you'll remember the name of that band you heard on the radio, or that other one your friend told you about, but if your memory is anything like mine... I can promise you won't. Don't fight it- put it in writing and look it up later. This may be the most important piece of advice as you embark on this discovering new music voyage; take heed.
O, and have yourself the happiest of hump days.