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I tend to make lofty resolutions and then I get discouraged because I can't stick to anything. This year, I decided to keep it clear & simple with tangible and realistic goals. I'm so excited to tackle 2014; hoping to learn a lot & focus on breathing a little deeper.
My 2014 Resolutions:
Keep reading & get a library card.
One of my resolutions from last year was to read more, and I actually did a pretty great job. I ready probably 10-12 books this year, and next year I hope to keep the momentum building and read even more. I also have been meaning to get a library card, so that's high up on the priority list for 2014.
Learn to can.
I love cooking so much that I constantly have leftovers. I'm pretty good about freezing them & cutting down on waste, but if I could can, then I would be able to free up some freezer space and have ready-to-go meals, soups & sauces. These kinds of things make great gifts as well!
Brew some kombucha.
I. love. kombucha. Don't love that it costs $4 per bottle. So, as I've been getting into cooking, canning & all things crafty, I think kombucha is definitely something I can figure out in the coming year.
I did not camp in 2013. I'm not happy about it. I will not allow 2014 to succumb to this same sad fate. Dear tent, get ready!
Learn to crochet.
I really want to be that crazy 20 something with a bag of yarn at the airport, just making serious progress on a lovely handmade scarf. Is there something wrong with that? I hope not, because Mr. 2014, it's going to happen.
Definitely journal. Maybe a book?
Make a photo album.
I've been doing a great job at using my camera and taking more pictures this year, but I hate that the only real gallery of edited photos lives on my Instagram. I would love to make a real live scrapbook/photo album this year.
I did get back into painting in 2013, but I only finished one piece. I want to change that in 2014. I have a piece I just started, and one in mind for my BFFs wedding gift, so I'm ready to beat the 2013 tally.
Exercise 3-5 times a week.
I'm certainly going to try. Some weeks it won't happen, but I'm prepared to forgive myself. Also, hikes and bike rides count, so there's that.
What are your 2013 resolutions?! Comment below!
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:
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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!