Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Need to Go Back to Work

I'm starting my new job on Monday! It's been a glorious month-long break from the general stress of life, but I'm honestly really ready to get back to the grindstone. I'm one of those people who doesn't really know how to relax. I craft because it's fun, but also a productive activity. I sometimes feel guilty if I'm just watching a show and there's not a crochet hook or a needlepoint in my hand. (Hi I'm Claire and I have a problem.) This break, though, has been totally different. Today I'm confessing how I've been spending my time during these past few weeks.

Catching up with the Kardashians: I've been binge-watching my way through seasons 6 and 7 this week. The episode where Scott keeps calling Kris pretending to be Todd Kraines? I was crying from laughing so hard. 

Gaming: I've never been one to spend hours playing a video game. I played Nancy Drew computer games in middle/high school, but I feel like that doesn't really count. I've recently discovered how mind-blowingly addicting gaming can be. Saints Row 3 has been on screen nonstop. I never understood how Ryan could spend so many hours playing a game, ("Don't you want to do something else? Like a productive hobby?") except I get it now. It's taken our relationship to a whole new level. 

Wine: I feel like this one doesn't need an explanation.

Watching The Office Final Table Read: Excuse me while I cry for 1 hour and 17 minutes. (Thanks wine.) 

Online Shopping: I discovered E.L.F. makeup thanks to Kallie's amazing E.L.F. eyeshadow tutorial. Within 10 days, I had ordered from their website twice. Damn sales! My favorite products so far have been the Matte Lip Color and the Pressed Powder. (It's always been challenging for me to find a powder that is light enough for my ghost-like skin, but this one matches perfectly!) Anyways, after I placed these orders, I immediately unsubscribed from every retail email list that I was on. I need to start getting paid again before I place another online order!

How do you like to spend your time away from the office?

Linking up with Kathy today! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Silver Linings (No Playbook)

Remember back in April when I announced that I would be starting a new job at the beginning of May? Well, I haven't started yet. For one reason or another, my start date was pushed back and then pushed back again. I was really bummed out at first. I had mentally prepared myself to start working 40 hours/week 20 days ago, and let's be honest, I was looking forward to having a little more money coming in. I already knew where my first paycheck was going to go. (Hello beautiful Day Designer!) In short - my plans changed. 

I don't like change. I'm a planner. I like knowing when things are going to happen in my life. I write them down and expect them to happen. Crossing out my start date in my planner not once, but twice, well, I was beside myself. I wasn't thinking about the positives, only that my plan was not happening accordingly. (Drama queen over here. aka Type A personality.) 

With the exception of having to dip into my savings account, this little vacation has actually been quite the blessing. I've been able to focus on my May Session class without having to pull 12+ hour days. I've painted my nails so many times. I've seen friends and visited home. I've finished How I Met Your Mother. I've read so many books. I've relaxed

At the end of the day, no matter how much I plan and schedule, my life is not going to match what I write in my planner. There will be hiccups. Life will get in the way. (Or HR in this case.) I didn't know it at the time, but this little vacation was the absolute best way I could have spent my May. I'm learning to roll with the punches and enjoy life as it comes. (aka learning to not be such a drama queen.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

My First Vlog

So I did it. I vlogged. I vlogged about my Influenster Venus VoxBox. This is the third take - in the first two I dropped the razor on the table and my phone went off and whoops. This one is better though. Enjoy! 

As I said, I would like to do more vlogs in the future, so if you have any suggestions of topics that you would like to see, please let me know! 

And if you are interested in joining Influester, I will send you an invite! You can see other boxes that I've received since joining in January here and here. Just leave a comment or email me! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My First Blate

Does it count as a blate if you've known each other for eight years? Rachael and I decided yes. 

Although we didn't go to the same high school, Rachael and I met each other in high school through a mutual friend. I seriously think I spent more time in her hometown than I spent in mine. 

Junior year prom!

Random bonfire
We fell a little out of touch in college (typical) but I still read her blog religiously. (Not sure if you knew that, Rachael!!) It finally worked out that we were home at the same time, so we decided to get together for coffee. We browsed all around Barnes and Noble looking at travel books, dieting/self help books, and spiritual books. We bought matching copies of Joyce Meyer's The Confident Woman Devotional. I oogled over her Whitney English Day Designer.

It was so great to get together and catch up, although now I'm realizing that we didn't take any pictures while we were together! Whoops. Just look at the pictures above and picture us older, wiser, and without bangs. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Turned Off

This past weekend, I drove up to Cleveland to visit my mom for Mother's Day and to spend some time with my dad and my dog! My dad's house doesn't have internet, or cable, much less a tv. It sounds superficial, but I used to dislike staying there because I didn't have access to anything! I would get bored really easily. I would feel left out of social media even though I could get it on my phone. I was just a mess. 

This trip, I decided, was going to be different. I packed my current Jodi Picoult book and my Kindle. I packed dresses and new makeup that I've been wanting to play with. I made plans with Rachael go on my first blate. (More on that tomorrow!) I tried to limit the time spent on my phone. Instead of the usual feelings of sans-technology stress and withdrawal, I felt relaxed. Instead of wasting my time on Facebook, I read 1 1/2 books and daily devotionals. I was more engaged in conversation. I was present.

Technology is incredible, but I think it's important to let yourself step away every once in a while. So, yes, I was behind on my planned posts. I had to wait an extra day to "like" my friends' graduation pictures. But the world didn't end like I thought it would in years past. In actuality, the world looks a bit brighter. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dragonberry Screwdrivers

It's finally starting to warm up outside, and that means light, fruity drinks! There are few things I love more than having a summer-y drink outside in the sun. (Usually with a good book open next to me!) A girlfriend introduced me to Bacardi Dragonberry Rum back in the fall, mixed with cranberry juice. YUM.  But can we start by talking about how weird dragon fruit actually is?? 

Freaking weird. 

Anyways, I've had a bottle of this stuff sitting on my shelf for the longest time because I was afraid of mixing it with anything but cranberry juice. I came home yesterday to a very dry house, with the exception of this weird rum. Found some OJ in the fridge. Thought to myself, what the hell, and gave it a go. 

1.) Organize your supplies. OJ, ice, dragonberry rum, drinking glass, shot glass. 

2.) Start with the ice in your cup. Then take one shot of rum (approximately 1.5 oz.) and pour over ice. 

3.) Add some OJ to your glass until the taste of rum doesn't make you gag. Or whatever floats your boat. 

4.) Stir.

5.) Take outside and enjoy in the sun! 

(If you're fancier than me, put all of the ingredients into a shaker, shake like those cute babies in the Huggies commercial, and pour into your cup.) 

I didn't say it above, but I really like how this drink turned out! I've always liked regular screwdrivers, but the dragonberry rum made it extra fruity and delicious. Call me crazy, but it reminded me a little bit of those Willy Wonka Gobstoppers. Bottoms up! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Blog Makeover

Welcome to the newly redesigned Refining Bliss! Things look a little different around here, don't they? There's a story behind that.

About a week ago, I received an email from Rachael at The Rachael Way telling me that I had won a giveaway on her blog and that Rachel from Sunshine and Sinatra would be giving my blog a makeover! 

I love colors and designs of all sorts, and I'm a very DIY type of person. I knit, I crochet, I do all the other grandma things. But, in true grandma fashion, blog design just baffles me. Things don't turn out like I want them to. I can't make myself understand HTML code. There is absolutely no way I could have made my blog look as pretty as Rachel did. 

This was my first time working with a blog designer, but Rachel was amazing. She helped me figure out what I wanted in a blog design and was so accommodating to all of my thoughts and suggestions! Her turn around time was so fast, and I am absolutely thrilled with my new design. Check out her design packages and portfolio here. Thank you to Rachel and Rachael for this amazing design and giveaway! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Last 10

Today I'm sharing with you the most recent 10 pictures that are on my phone's camera roll! (100% borrowing this idea from Rachael!) I'm not including duplicates or the 16 recipes that I grabbed out of various cookbooks over the weekend. Here we go!

1.) The CoverGirl coral nail polish that I received for free after it rang up as the wrong price at Kroger. Love love love.

2.) I posted this picture on Sunday, but I'm including it again to talk about how much I'm loving this book! I love fashion even though I'm not the best at it, and I've loved learning more about Coco Chanel's history, style, and inspirations. 

3 & 4.) These two pictures are from a girls day that I had last week! We spent the day celebrating being done with finals, baking, and (of course) sipping on some pinot. 

5.) From the same girl's day, these Shakespeare quote magnets are on my friend's refrigerator. She brought them back from London on the study abroad trip that we went on together!  

Obviously not an edited photo... blame the wine for the off-center-ness.

6.) I found this on Twitter, and it could not describe my unruly red hair more perfectly.

7 & 8.) Awkward selfie and giant bean burger at Buffalo Wild Wings watching Stanley Cup Hockey. Eating my stress feelings. 

9.) After a day of patio beer drinking, I decided that I needed a koozie immediately. No more of this warm beer business. I looked on Amazon and found these bad boys. (Definitely not what I started out looking for.) I don't have a pool, but how great would these be in the bath??

10.) Getting my exercise on around the neighborhood. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Best Customer Service

After helping my mom move this weekend, I really needed to do something for me. I've slowly been expanding my nail polish/makeup/being a lady collection, and I wanted to pick something to pamper myself after working so hard! I chose two CoverGirl products - Coral Silk nail polish and Professional Super Thick Lash Mascara in Black. (Both were on sale, score!) 

I went to check out, and while the mascara rang up as its sale price, the nail polish did not. I hate being that customer, but I wanted my sale! I said something to the cashier, he did his official price check thing, and said that he would give me the nail polish for free for my trouble! 

I've been in a similar situation before and had it turn out very differently. Instead of checking the price, I've had cashiers argue with me and tell me that I was simply wrong about the listed price. (I'm a bargain shopper; if I pick up an item that's listed on sale, I remember!) I've had cashiers adjust the price, but never just give me the product for free. Shout out to the nice man at Kroger for absolutely making my day! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Moving Day(s)

Remember The Sims? Did you ever get really neglectful with your character because you just wanted them to increase their painting skill and forget to tell them to sleep, eat, or bathe? And then when they were on the verge of death, you weren't sure which one to let them do first?

That was how I felt after helping my mom move this weekend. After a day of packing and another day of more packing and loading, I arrived home nodding off, shaky, and a hot mess.

I chose eating, then bathing, then sleep. One of the hardest
decisions EVER. 
I've always struggled with how to make myself useful when moving myself/helping someone else move. While I like to frequent the gun show, my upper arm strength is basically non-existent.

An oldie but goodie. 
I carried small boxes of books and fragiles while strapping young men and my superwoman aunt carried out 15 heavy boxes, 4 bookshelves, 2 trunks, and a partridge in a pear tree.

If you're looking for me tonight, you know where to find me!

Enjoy your new apartment Mom!