My mom got me this book for Christmas years ago and it took me forever to get to. I have no idea why because it was a super quick read and I totally loved it. I found myself turning down lots of pages (always a good sign) and I was captivated by Maya Angelous writing style. She is able to keep her words simple, but still descriptive and inspiring. I'm a nerd and there's nothing I love more than good use of vocabulary paired with simplicity. I had a teacher in high school who made us cut to be and to have verbs out of our writing. At the time, I thought she was evil and insane for forcing us to figure out how to write without these essentials, but then you discover... not soooo essential. There are other ways, better ways, simpler ways. I am not strict about eliminating them completely these days, but I still bear in mind not overloading my sentences with unnecessary words.

Anyways, more about the book... It was more of a self help, inspirational, quick read- perfect for the start of 2014. It will make you feel light, loved, and ready to embrace 2014. I highly recommend it! 


Here's a few of my favorite quotes:


“Let's tell the truth to people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avaoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.” 

“We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.” 

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” 


Have you ready any great books lately? Which ones?






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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!





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Hello, Blowfish B.log readers! Today I thought I would follow along in Lindsey's footsteps and share what's been going on in my life lately - insta style!

Recently my fiancé Scott and I hopped on a plane to visit his family in Louisville, Kentucky. We had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia and I so wished we had more time to get out of the airport and explore. Next time, Atlanta!

One of the first things I noticed when we landed in Louisville was how green everything was -  like heaven to this desert rat! This Magnolia tree outside of Scott's grandparents' home caught my eye and I couldn't stop admiring it during our whole trip. 

We did a lot of driving during our trip and passed by this cute building a couple times a day - You Go Girl!

Stopping at local coffee shops was definitely on our "to-do list" while in Louisville, and the Blue Dog Bakery definitely did not disappoint.

On our way out of the Blue Dog Bakery we were stopped by a local street style photographer and were asked if she could take our picture - talk about super sweet and flattering!

While in Louisville we were also on a mission to find the best local donuts. We were directed to Nord's Bakery and were in donut heaven!

We spent our last night in Louisville in the cutest 1920's home watching Big Easy Express and talking about going to concerts with Scott's very hip great aunt.

Louisville really won our hearts and we can't wait to go back some day! Do you have any summer trips planned? We are hoping to take at least one more trip before the summer ends!

Thanks again for having me Blowfish Shoes, and until next time!

-Chelsea xo


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 If you haven't heard, we are currently celebrating summer with a fun Instagram Photo Contest. All you need to do to enter is post a pic to Instagram with #BFSUMMERLOVIN. Easy enough, right? There are plenty of flowers, so much sunshine & lots of summer moments to capture- so start snappin!

We are having so much fun looking through all of the photos so far!

Here are some of our favorites...


Aren't these fantastic!? Ok, NOW GO ENTER!!! #BFSUMMERLOVIN




Beautiful photos! And awesome shoes. Can't wait to own a pair.
July 16, 2013 - 16:05 - Twitter - Facebook

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Hello, friends! This is Ilene (aka illy) from Much Love, illy again and wanted to chat about a little something that has been on my mind lately. Actually, it's been on my mind for quite some time now but it wasn't until Mother's Day that I put it into action. So this past Mother's Day, I decided to hand write and mail cards to not only my Mom, but also two two other special mothers in my life - one to my sister who is expecting her first child this summer and the second to one of my close friends who is a single mother. I have always loved snail mail, sending and receiving them. One of my favorite childhood memories was writing back and forth to my penpal in Canada or to my best friend back home in South Carolina when my family and I moved to Japan. But thanks to the technology, the art of note-writing has been cut abruptly short. Birthday greeting can be easily posted to a Facebook wall. Congrats can be tweeted, and photographs sent via Instagram. And I am not anti-technology at all (look for me on just about any social media outlet and I am so there), but in a way, I think as much as those venues of salutations can be just as thoughtful, the value of the hand written note card is only raised to further heights. After writing those cards and mailing them off, I could not help but feel good to make someone else's day in an unexpected way. And I felt even better when I heard back from them, saying how much they loved their cards. My sister said I even made her cry (tears were most likely courtesy of pregnancy hormones, but I will take credit with my card, too). And because of those three notes, I decided that I would make note-writing to friends and family and more regular occurrence - whether for specific holidays or just because. It's one small way to make somebody smile, letting them know that you believe that they are special and loved. And everybody needs a reminder like that, don't you think?

What are your thoughts on note writing and snail mail? 
Did you have pen-pals growing up? 
Do you know of someone who could use a little note to brighten their day
As always, thanks for having me Blowfish Shoes! Much Love, Ilene (aka illy)

I have been scrolling through posts. This one is my favorite. I love making my own cards and giving them to ppl I care about. I had pen-pals growing up. I even checked out to send mail and/or care packages to those in the service who don't receive much mail from back home
September 10, 2013 - 15:37 - Twitter - Facebook

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Hello, Blowfish B.log readers! Chelsea here again, back to share some tips for making your graduation today the best it can be!

With graduation approaching fast, I've found myself thinking back to when I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in 2011. At the time I was SO excited to finally be done with my Journalism degree, but at the same time was a bit sad to be leaving a beautiful school and sweet classmates behind. However, knowing that I would be starting graduate school in the fall, and realizing that my classmates were only a text/phone call/tweet away, I eased my fears of what post-graduation life would be like. This time around, my emotions are running high once again, but I truly know that post-graduation life is going to be amazing and I am so ready to celebrate!

1. Wear comfy, low-heeled shoes! This was a big one for me, and something that I am so thankful that I did. I wasn't afraid of falling on my face when I had to walk across the stage to get my diploma, and I still had my shoes on come the end of the evening (when many other graduating ladies had tossed their's to the side). 

2. When it's time to line-up to walk out and get your diploma, get in line quick so that you don't have to wait a long time and let the nerves sink in anymore. Plus, afterward you get to watch all of your classmates get handed their diplomas from a comfy seat.

3. It's ok to be nervous, but realize that this moment is something you have worked SO hard for and you deserve to enjoy it!

4. When you walk out onto the stage and get handed your diploma, take a second to look out into the crowd and smile! All of your family, friends, classmates, and professors are watching!

5. Enjoy the experience! Take in every moment you can, and just have the best day ever!

I would love to hear if you all have any other tips or tricks for graduation day? And if you're graduation, please let us know what you're getting your degree in!

Congrats, fellow graduates! We did it! 

Thanks again for having me Blowfish Shoes, and until next time!

-Chelsea xo

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Hello, Blowfish B.log readers! Chelsea here again, back to share with you all about the pre-spring fever I've recently caught!

Even though it's only February, and we still have a few more weeks of winter left (says Punxsutawney Phil), it seems that spring has already sprung in Phoenix. The weather has been unseasonably warm, flowers are starting to bloom (and my allergies as well), and the area is gearing up for another busy season of spring madness. Phoenix is not only home to the Cactus League (spring training for multiple baseball teams), but is also home to so many neat concert venues - many of which just announced some amazing spring shows! So in honor of my early spring fever, and the handful of shows just announced that I couldn't be more giddy about, I've made two mood/inspiration boards that will hopefully inspire you as well.

The Tugo's
from the spring collection are right up there at the top of my spring wish list, and I think they would be perfect to wear out to an evening concert. I'm also in love with this pretty, tribal print dress from LuLu*s, and these accessories from Modcloth and LuLu*s as well. I would to wear something like this outfit to the Local Natives show I plan on attending in April in Tucson!

The Quite
are also on my spring wish list, and would be super comfortable to wear around town on a swarm spring day( along with this pretty dress and accessories from LuLu*s)! I'm also planning on going to see The Postal Service (ECK!) the same week as Local Natives, and think this would be the perfect outfit to wear to the show. From what I hear Jenny Lewis, of the now defunct band Rilo Kiley, will be planning with The Postal Service and I definitely think this is an outfit that she would approve of!

Do you have spring fever yet? What are you most excited for this spring? Which style from the Blowfish Shoes spring collection is at the top of your wish list?

Thanks for having me Blowfish Shoes, and until next time!
xo, Chelsea 


Looking for a pair of black

Looking for a pair of black mid calf slouch motorcycle type boots. I have them in brown and want them in black. I can't find them anywhere.can you help me?
February 22, 2013 - 21:14 - Twitter - Facebook

I like these blogs, keep

I like these blogs, keep posting pics on how to style with your shoes.
February 22, 2013 - 20:55 - Twitter - Facebook

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images via pinterest

Hello again! One of my favorite style icons has to be Lana Del Rey. This amazing songstress is not only talented but also has a great sense of style. She can be girly, quirky & vintage-y but can still dress a bit street. I'm all about contrasting styles to create something that's unique & all your own! Want to get Lana's look? 

Here's how I'd do it!

1. White sweet heart crop top

2. Blue maxi skirt

3. Neutral Palmona flats by Blowfish

4. Heart Sunglasses

5. Chain Necklace


How about you guys? Who's your style icon?

I love Lana del Rey! But I

I love Lana del Rey! But I love Daisy Lowe even more, she's perfect!
February 21, 2013 - 15:44 - Twitter - Facebook

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Oh, February. Such a tease of a month. January is known for it's bleakness and emotional low after the highs and festivities of the previous months. And now February, the time of the year when the sun likes to make its appearance yet still finds a reason to shine without the rays warming up the earth and melting away the snow. Because of this, I still find myself hiding indoors, keeping myself self busy with projects and the regular routine of orders, cleaning up the apartment, cooking hot meals and drinking lots of hot chocolate and coffee.  However, in the midst of the holiday season and the busyness of my most recent move, I forgot the rejuvenating and refreshing experience that a book can bring a person.

If you know me at all, I am an avid reader but through November and December, I hit a reading rut. Happens to the best of us, I admit. However, I have only recently been able to devour a couple new books in the past few weeks and have found my mind and my soul completely refreshed. I needed that more than I realized.

There is nothing like opening up a book (whether on your e-reader or an actual book in your hands) and getting lost in a whole different world. I think our minds and our souls need that break - to hear stories (whether fiction or non-fiction) that we can relate to or escape to.  The words that jump off the page become as alive as your own breathing and your heartbeat.

So if the gloomy winter weather is keeping you indoors or the busyness of life and its pace is nearly suffocating you, grab your favorite cup of hot chocolate (top it with extra whip cream) and that book you have been meaning to read for forever. Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and slip into your favorite PJs as you settle into a brand new world.

Here are some of my favorites that might help you get a kick start on reading:

Fault in Our Stars - John Green

Divergent - Veronica Roth

Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Follow me over a my blog, twitter or instagram where I keep track of all of my favorite reads!

What are some of your favorite books?

Do share! I'm always looking for something new and fresh!

much love, ilene 


Well, I know you've read many

Well, I know you've read many of the books I love (in fact, I discovered some of them because of you) but maybe you don't know "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime". It's a little bit different but oh so good.
February 21, 2013 - 15:45 - Twitter - Facebook

ooer, I just received Casual

ooer, I just received Casual Vacancy for Christmas, but I have yet to read it. I have been reading Catcher in the Rye and The Things They Carried as assignments instead. hopefully I'll get to crack that one open soon. a favorite book of mine is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. it's a young adult book, but it's been one of my favorites since I could read. it's just so clever, I can't stand it! :)
February 18, 2013 - 16:58 - Twitter - Facebook

I am reading The Missings by

I am reading The Missings by Peg Brantley.
February 18, 2013 - 16:20 - Twitter - Facebook

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Hello! Valentina here. Today I’d like to share some thoughts on going to Ireland. I was just in Dublin last week playing some songs and I had the most amazing time. I’m so lucky to have many friends there who take me to the best places. So if you are on your way to Ireland, here are some places you have to visit. 

Whelan’s : Whelan’s is a magical place. I went four times during my ten-day trip and never went home before 3 in the morning... They have several bars where you can order Guinness or anything you wish, and then they have two stages where they have concerts going on all the time! I went to see Nanu Nanu with a friend who knew them. It was great craic (fun)! 

The International : My friend Tony often goes there to play some tunes with friends. When I went it was so fun and casual. Everyone who was sitting around was welcome to join in and sing with them! Furthermore, they have a wonderful Open Mic every Monday called The Monday Echo. It’s downstairs and it’s a lot of fun! 

The Bleeding Horse : If you are a singer, you should go to their Apollo Sessions which happen every Sunday. Open mic. Sign in and sing your song! I’ve done it twice now. John and Fiach who run it are lovely souls. 

The Ruby Sessions : I was lucky enough to play the Ruby Sessions last week with The Young Folk, Danny of The Coronas and Wyvern Lingo. The Ruby Sessions go on every Tuesday in Doyle’s Bar. 

County Cork & County Kerry : Now these aren’t pubs or restaurants. I’m talking about the actual counties out west! Why? Because you will be amazed at how beautiful it is over there! Ireland is so small, it’ll take no time to get there. 

What does one wear to go to Ireland? Well, expect there to be rain at least half the time you’re there. I’d recommend a trench coat, and some good shoes that won’t get soaked. Don’t bring an umbrella with you, just buy one at Penney’s! It’s a magical place. I would pick out some good boots: Makepeace, Mistress, Kaydon, Kanne, Kenessa all seem suitable. And for a night out at Whelan’s go for Colt flats! 


PS. These are only a few suggestions! If you want more, feel free to come over to my blog and ask away. 


Valentina Duracinsky



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