Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: February 2015

Meet Emily from EmilyFinta.com.

Emily Finta blog

I'm Emily, a graphic designer from Michigan with a passion for making blogs look amazing. My blog is my space to share about my life and dealing with social anxiety, all my favorite forms of entertainment (music, movies, TV, YouTube, etc.), things I've been designing as well as a few tips, and occasionally a DIY project!

Get your feet wet with these posts:
Thoughts on the Psych Finale
Social Anxiety & the Opposite Sex
101 in 1001
My Top Dream Travel Destinations

What 3 words describe you?
Creative, Quiet, Passionate

What inspired you to start blogging?
When I was in college, I was struggling with making friends or at least friends that liked the same things that I did (makeup, fashion, YouTube) and I just wanted to have a way to express myself without being judged for liking certain things.

What's your favorite part about blogging?
I'm sure it's what everyone says but I love "meeting" people all over the world. The blogging community is amazing!

What blogging tips would you give to someone just starting out?
I would try to customize you blog as much as you can so you stand out, there are so many tutorials out there that even if you don't pay someone to design you can make your blog look pretty good on you own. Also, try to comment on as many blogs as you can (making sure they aren't generic comment) but don't put your blog link in the comment because it annoys some bloggers. They will find other ways to follow your blog if they want to.

What are three things you want to accomplish in 2015?
I'd love to move out of my parents house especially since my little sister is going off to college, which means I'd also have to find a new job because there aren't many apartments around me. I'd also love to find that friend that I can talk to about everything again. Ever since my best friend moved away it hasn't been the same!

What song are you currently obsessed with?
Definitely "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk The Moon, you just can't be sad when you are listening to it.

What's your favorite book?
The one that's the most on my mind right now is Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line because I just finished reading it, but I really loved reading The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
That's a hard one, I would love to be able to go to every country if it was possible. Right now, Italy is on my mind the most even though I've already been there. I lived there for a month studying abroad and I miss it like crazy. I had crazy dreams about going back for 6 months after I got home and still do occasionally. Plus the pizza and gelato is incredible, and you can't find strawberry gelato anywhere in Michigan.

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
I'd love to live as Ingrid Nilsen for a day because I've always wanted to make YouTube videos and that was I could see what that life would be like! 

Where is your happy place?
The cottage we have up north in Michigan, we just always have so much fun and it's hard to stress about anything while I'm there.

Name 5 things that make you happy. 
Psych (the tv show), listening to music, being around friends and family, designing anything and blogging.

For more from Emily, check her out on:

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#BlissfulBookTalk: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

blissful book talk
I'm so excited to bring you the first book review for my new series, #BlissfulBookTalk. The book for February was Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, and I must say, it was a really fun read. As I've said before, I love reading celebrity memoirs, and this was actually the first celebrity memoir that I've read that wasn't by a female. It definitely did not disappoint.

I used to read the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was younger, and I loved the structure of them because you were basically controlling how the story was going to end. If you've never read the Choose Your Own Adventure books, it's written in a format where you read a few pages or a chapter, and at the end of those few pages, it will give you a few choices of where to go from there. Depending on which path you want to take, you turn to that page, and the story continues. It's so interesting and fun, and it makes you feel like you're really part of the story.

Neil brought that same vibe into his autobiography. The beginning pages were the background of his life and career, and for those pages, I just continued flipping the pages and reading because I was really interested in his early life both before and at the beginning of his career. I didn't know much about Neil before reading this book, so I wanted to really dive into it with some good background information. 

Once I got past the meat of it, I started having a little more fun and choosing different paths. Neil lived a fascinating life, and each section led to a part where I questioned whether the story could possibly be true or not. I loved reading about him coming out to the media because it's crazy to think how people think they're entitled to personal information about people's lives. Sharing personal information with the people around you is hard enough, but when you're famous, and the media gets involved, things can get pretty nasty. It's always interesting for me to read about these things from the view of the celebrity, because as fans, we usually just get the gossip that splatters on the front of magazines in the grocery line. 

I also loved reading about Neil and David first meeting and falling in love. There was even a section where David penciled in his part of the story, which I thought was so adorable. I loved reading his little notes, and you can tell that they really love each other and just completely vibe off of one another. 

I give this book a 4 out of 5. I have so much more to say about it, and you can find some of my thoughts in my latest vlog:

I also share the next book for #BlissfulBookTalk in my vlog as well, so if you want to read with me, be sure to check it out (psssst...it's a book by John Green!) and use the hashtag #BlissfulBookTalk to share your thoughts, quotes, questions, etc. on social media!

endless bliss book reviews

choose your own autobiography by neil patrick harris book
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books

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Pump Up the Jam(berry) + a Giveaway (CLOSED)

jamberry nails
If you're anything like me, then most of the time, your nails are bare because painting your nails every week can be daunting. As much as I love having a splash of color on my nails, I somehow manage to chip them after just a few hours. It doesn't matter if I'm using gel polish or if I put on a million top coats. I always seem to chip them. You'd think I was working at some labor-intensive job, but no. I work a typical 9-5 and sit at a desk all day, so how they chip so fast is an unsolved mystery to all.

Thanks to my lovely blog friend, Emily, I've discovered Jamberry, and I'm seriously obsessed. I can spend just 15-20 minutes putting Jams on my nails, and I don't have to worry about doing my nails for at least two weeks. This is every lazy girl's dream!

I'm going to share this tutorial with y'all, but I ask that you don't judge me too harshly. I don't have a hairdryer, so I was forced to use another heat source known as my oven. Yes, I used my oven to heat these Jams, and I placed my hand in the oven after placing the Jam on each nail. Again, I ask that you don't judge, because the struggle is real, and I don't believe in using hairdryers. 

Here's all the materials you'll need plus a hairdryer (or oven, obviously not pictured):

jamberry nails tutorial

1// Place the Jam over your finger and decide which one is closest to your nail size.

2// Use the stick (I bought some shish kebob sticks for $1 at Wal-Mart) to remove the Jam from the sheet. Don't use your fingers. 

3// Use the scissors to cut the Jam in half. Place one half of the Jam back on the sheet.

jamberry nails tutorial

4// With your Jam on the stick, use your heat source to loosen it up a bit. When I put it in the oven, I waited for the Jam to start curling.

5// Place the Jam on your finger, and rub it so it's sticking nice and tight. 

jamberry nails tutorial

6// Cut off the excess using the scissors.

7// Use the finger nail file to file the Jam to the shape of your nail. Make sure you do downward strokes so the Jam better sticks to your nail.

jamberry nails tutorial

8// Place the Jam near the heat source and rub it in a little more to make sure it really sticks.

9// Continue until all of your nails are Jammed out.

10// Admire your handy work and share your nails on Insta so your friends will be jealous.

jamberry nails tutorial

jamberry nails tutorial

jamberry nails tutorial

I'm obsessed with Jamberry, and I can't wait to order more! If you want to learn more about Jamberry and get some of your own, check out Emily's site! If you're impatient and/or want to try before you buy, enter the giveaway below, and you could win some Jams of your own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are your favorite Jamberry designs from the website?

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary set of jams for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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7 Ways to Fight the Winter Blues.

7 ways to fight the winter blues

Louisiana has somehow managed to (for the most part) skip winter until yesterday. It started sleeting, and the roads were horrible, and I understand that people in the north have to deal with snow and all that madness, but down south, we really don't know what to do about it. We don't expect sleet or icy roads, and when there's even a hint of it, everything pretty much shuts down. 

The icy weather has me in a bit of a funk because I feel like I should be out in the world doing things. I'm due for a phone upgrade, and I wanted to go get a new phone after work yesterday. Speaking of work, I'm working on a project, and that's been put to a bit of a halt since the sales team was sent home yesterday. I've been wanting to go shopping, and I'm never in the mood to go shopping, so I'm sure the feeling will pass. I'm also sure my bank account will be happy.

I say all that to say I need to pull myself out of it. I think two paragraphs of complaining will do. This is Endless Bliss after all. One of my favorite quotes ever is this one by Marilyn Monroe: 

marilyn monroe quote keep smiling

Here are a few ways for you to wash (or defrost) away the winter blues:

What's bothering you (aside from the gross weather)? Whatever it is, get it down on paper. If you keep a journal, write it all down there. If you don't keep a journal, get out your laptop and start a Word document or get out a blank sheet of paper and let your frustrations flow out of you. You don't even have to keep the paper. You can ceremoniously delete it off of your hard drive or burn it or shred it and let the pieces fly through the wind. Whichever method you choose, writing it all out can help you feel better.

This is my favorite thing to do when I'm feeling blue, because getting lost in a good book is the best temporary escape from reality. Whether you choose a new book, a classic, or your faithful old favorite, take out your most comfy blanket and let yourself get lost in a book and escape from your troubles. 

Sometimes, all we need is a good rant session. Call up your best friend or your closest sibling or your significant other or your dog and just talk it out. When I'm frustrated about something, I like to warn the person that I'm not looking for a solution; I just want to express myself. Who in your life is a good listener? Get together with them and just talk it out. You'll feel much better.

I love to let my woes disappear with some sushi, Chinese food, or Ghirardelli milk chocolate sea salt and almond squares. Even if you're on a diet, change your cheat day if you have to. Sometimes, a little comfort food will go a long way and help you feel better.

My drink of choice is a nice glass of bubbly moscato. Allow yourself to indulge in your drink of choice, whether it's hot cocoa, a fruit smoothie, vodka soda, or a reliable cup of Joe. Let the drink flow through you and feel your winter blues melt away.

...or just a movie/TV show marathon in general. Get lost in your favorite TV show or watch all eight Harry Potter movies back-to-back. Watch a string of comedy movies or your favorite FRIENDS episodes (that's what I'm currently doing). Watching TV is a great way to distract yourself from the frightful weather.

In true Taylor Swift fashion, shake your troubles away. Blast your favorite tunes, dance around the room, sing at the top of your lungs, and just forget about it. 

shake it off taylor swift gif

What are your favorite ways to fight the winter blues?

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Ultimate Cash Giveaway.

It's time for another giveaway! I'm seriously jealous that I can't win this one, because, I mean, who wouldn't want $600?! Good luck!

Prize: $600 Cash (via Paypal)
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 3/19 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
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Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) by Rob Thomas (Book Review).

Being a long-time fan of Veronica Mars, I was excited to finally be able to read the second book that takes place after the Veronica Mars Movie. In Mr. Kiss and Tell, Rob Thomas continues Veronica's story with another mystery surrounding the Neptune Grand hotel. After a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted by someone on the hotel staff, Veronica is brought in to disprove her story and help the hotel save face, but of course, in true Veronica Mars fashion, she ends up diving deeper. 

One thing I loved about this book was there was more LoVe in it! If you're a VM fan, then you know what I mean. 

I've been Team Logan for a long time, but this book may have changed me. I'm actually disappointed in the direction that their relationship is headed, and I'm eager to see where their love story will lie in Rob's next novel. I'm sad to say that I'm starting to cheer on other men from Veronica's past. I've always loved Piz, because he's just adorable and perfect in every way, but in this book, we actually got to see a lot of Leo. I feel like Leo deserved more credit than he received in the battle for Veronica's heart. I've always liked him, and I was happy to see more of him in this book. 

Let's talk about Weevil for a second. In the last novel, we were left with Weevil being accused of attacking one of the wealthy people of Neptune, and that story continues in Mr. Kiss and Tell. I have to say that even though Weevil was never one of my favorite characters, I always respected him, but he lost a lot of that respect in this novel. He gained some then lost some, and I guess that's all I can say without giving away any spoilers. I'll just say that I'm not on Weevil's side, and I don't agree with the ultimate decision he made. 

Now, the mystery. I actually really enjoyed the plot of this book, but it took me awhile to get to the end. I actually had an advanced copy of this book and had every intention of reviewing it before it came out, but the plot was a bit slow for me, and I ended up just finishing it a couple weeks ago. I thought the mystery was very interesting, but I didn't find myself really diving into the story and letting it engulf me. I remained almost emotionless during the whole novel, and if you've read any of my book reviews in the past, then you know that the more a book stresses me out, the more I love it. I didn't find myself that stressed while reading this book, which left me procrastinating to finish it. 

Because this book did involve my least favorite word in the world (rape), we did get to take a few horrible trips down memory lane with Veronica and the brutal assault from her past. While it was sickening to think about it, I felt like that should have given Veronica more mojo to try to patch this mystery up ASAP, but she actually almost gave up on the case at least twice because she was feeling defeated. She eventually got her groove back, particularly once Leo got involved. Oh, Leo. 

One thing I loved about this mystery was that it was so different from mysteries I've read in the past. You are kind of told who did it toward the middle of the book, and the rest of it is Veronica, Wallace, and Mac trying to figure out how to prove it. They go through great lengths to solve this mystery, and it goes to show that if you want to be a P.I., you better have friends that are geniuses and also have connections.

I give this book a 4 out of 5. I thought the first book in the series, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, was a much more fast-paced read with a better story line, but this book moved forward a few of the story lines from the movie that were left dormant during the first book. I'm eager to see what awesomeness Rob Thomas comes up with next!

Are you a marshmallow? 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I Went to New Orleans, and All I Got Were Some Plastic Beads.

new orleans mardi gras

As I mentioned before, I took a trip to New Orleans last week for work. Even though my favorite part of the trip was my bike tour, I still got to do lots of other fun things. I was there from Sunday until Thursday, and with Mardi Gras season in full swing, there was no shortage of fun to be had.

When we got to New Orleans, traffic was horrendous. We ended up having to get dropped off on the side of the street, lugging our bags behind us because our hotel, the Intercontinental New Orleans, was on the parade route, and there was a parade that had already started. I looked a hot mess, but that didn't stop some random guy from whistling at me from his car window. Welcome to New Orleans.

Naturally, the first thing I did after getting ready was go down to watch the parade. The floats were incredible, and people were so aggressive with trying to get some beads. I've actually never been a really good bead catcher, especially when I have a camera in hand, but I still managed to catch some beads without even trying. Mind you, the people in front of me were practically bullying the people in the floats to give them beads and other goodies plus fighting with each other to make sure they got the best stuff. It was a mad house, and it was only 1 pm. There were two more parades after that, but I had to go help with work stuff, so I sauntered up to my room. 

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade
new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade

After doing some work stuff, I went to Pat O'Brien's and had the most delicious shrimp and grits of my life. The grits were fried, and I had never had them like that before. It was so good! We also had some duck bites, which I devoured. The sauce they came with was delicious.

pat o'brien's new orleans

shrimp and grits pat o'brien's

I got up and got ready for a lunch meeting with the person I was giving the social media presentation with. We ate at Trenasse, which is inside of the hotel. I didn't expect it to be as good as it was, but man, I didn't want to stop eating. I had a shrimp and oyster po-boy, aka a "shoyster," and some seafood chowder soup. Both were so delicious.

Later, I went shopping at the Riverwalk. I'm not a big shopper, but I ended up buying a light jacket, two blouses, a headband, and a pair of sunglasses (I forgot to bring a pair on the trip!). I had some wings at a place called Poppy's Time Out Bar & Grill right outside of the Riverwalk. The wings were good, but not great. The service was really good though. Everyone was super nice, even though I felt like the servers were just talking to me because I was eating by myself.

new orleans riverwalk

new orleans riverwalk

poppy's time out bar and grill

Presentation day! I was so nervous, but everyone had nice things to say about my presentation, so I'm grateful for that. 

new orleans
My presentation outfit! 

That night, was the awards night for my company, and there was so much good food! I didn't want to stop eating. 

intercontinental new orleans
The table decor was so cute.

intercontinental new orleans trenasse
Louisiana gumbo with duck, chicken and andouille sausage

intercontinental new orleans trenasse
Fried green tomatoes over crawfish etouffee. I don't even like tomatoes, but I still ate it, and it was delicious. 
intercontinental new orleans trenasse
Smoked braised beef short ribs with pepper jack grits and speckled trout meuniere

intercontinental new orleans trenasse
King cake bread pudding

I woke up super early in the morning for my 9:15 am bike tour. Read all about it and my delicious lunch at The Royal House and dessert at Cafe Beignet here. 

That afternoon, I went with my boss and her sister to a little restaurant called The Market Cafe. I had some gumbo, and it was so delicious. I swear, everything that I ate in New Orleans was amazing. I would live in New Orleans just for the food. After we finished eating, we did a little street shopping, and I bought the usual souvenirs I buy when I travel - a magnet and some post cards.

That night, there was a little cocktail reception before everyone went out to the bleachers for the parade. I thought that watching the parade from the bleachers would be exciting, but I actually prefer being on the ground. It was neat to see the parade from the bleachers, but you could only see it if you were in the front row. Also, they threw more stuff to the people on the ground, and a lot of things were dropped on the ground because people (myself included) suck at catching. That said, it was still fun to experience the parade from the bleachers.

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade

new orleans mardi gras parade
My parade stash

I'm glad that I can finally scratch "Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans" off of my bucket list. I've experienced Mardi Gras in north Louisiana, but they really go all out for it in New Orleans. 

To see my trip in action, you can also check out my New Orleans vlog:

Have you ever been to New Orleans? 

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