Creating a Job Around What You Love

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Many of us have a desk we spend time at, with a computer on top of it and everything we enjoy using in the drawers below. While some folks may consider their desk a sanctuary, others may count down the hours until they get to clock-off. No matter the position you’re in, there’s something you love to do. Whether that’s a bit of knitting after a stressful day, or taking beautiful photographs in your spare time, there’s a lot you can get out of your passions. So make sure you do! It’s time to capitalize on your hobby and start creating a job around what you love. Let’s chat about how…

Dedicate a Website to Your Passion

Websites are getting easier and easier to make because of all the wonderful information you can access (for free!) out there. There are entire free programs dedicated to teaching the world about coding, so you’re in for a win when it comes to designing your own website. And you’re going to need one!

Websites make sure all of your information, content, and products are kept in one neat place for people to find. If a customer has to chase you over multiple media channels, they’re going to give up at the first hurdle. It also presents your business as a little less legitimate at the end of the day; having to follow a digital trail does not instill a sense of security for people’s payment details!

Write Up Some Goals

Your goals are what will keep you churning out quality content and products you enjoy making for months and years to come. Set a short term goal and a long term goal for your business and put systems in place to achieve them. Keeping sight of how you want your life to look in six months, 3 years…even ten years(!) will keep you from stagnating, and your passion will stay your passion.

So maybe you want to reach $500 by the end of the month. If so, make sure you work as much as you can towards that one goal. I’m talking laser focus! While it may feel like a drop in the bucket towards the annual salary you’re used to, when you’re first starting out it’s a milestone. And it’s absolutely achievable. AND it will give you a lot more motivation to keep going and start bringing in an amount with a few more zeros.

Always Look to Expand

At the end of the day, expansion is simply another goal to reach towards. If you’re making enough money to support yourself in the field of your passions, perhaps it’s time to set your sights higher. But what if you don’t have the funds? What if you’re not sure whether you can make the right amount of money to hire on someone else or pay for a marketing campaign?

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of funding sources out there that pay out and pay off. Ladies, consider taking out a women’s small business loan with a trusted company; it’ll keep you motivated to keep earning, and can give you the leg up you’re looking for. Sometimes a small amount of debt is worth it to keep the headaches of financial uncertainty from straining your passions!

Creating a business around your passion is a fun step forward in total self employment. Would you try it? Have you? Tell us about it!

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Five Great Poetry Books!

Are you a fan of poetry books? They are my very favorite when I need to mix things up between lengthy novels and dense nonfiction! I love how the language bounces around the page each in their own unique way and they’re so much fun to read out loud.

Here are 5 of my favorites…

Babel by Barbara Hamby

Hamby’s poems drift across histories and continents, from early writing and culture in Mesopotamia through the motion-picture heaven that seems so much like Paris, to odes on such thoroughly American subjects as hardware stores, bubblegum, barbecue, and sharp-tongued cocktail waitresses giving mandatory pre-date quizzes to lawyers and “orangutans in the guise of men.”

Favorite poems: Vex Me, The Tawdry Masks of Women, and Ode on My Mother’s Handwriting.

 

Skid by Dean Young

 In Skid, Young’s fifth book of poems, social outrage vies with comic excess. He embraces the autobiographical urge with fury and musically lush exclamations. Whether through the dark facts of mortality or the celebratory surprises of the imagination, these poems proclaim vitality and alertness, wasting nothing. Young’s poems reveal his faith in the genius of calamity and the redemptive power of fun.

Favorite poems: Sources of the Delaware, Whale Watch, and Troy, Indiana.

 

Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson

Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born a few years after Jane’s death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche.

Favorite poems: Phil’s Photos, Serials, and The Burn.

 

Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney

The poems in Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. 

Favorite poems: Red Velvet, Thunderbolt of Jove, and Segregation, Forever.

 

New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry

In New Collected Poems, Berry reprints the nearly two hundred pieces in Collected Poems, along with the poems from his most recent collections―Entries, Given, and Leavings―to create an expanded collection, showcasing the work of a man heralded by The Baltimore Sun as “a sophisticated, philosophical poet in the line descending from Emerson and Thoreau . . . a major poet of our time.”

Favorite poems: Planting Trees, The Dance, A Poem of Thanks and The Country of Marriage.

P.S. Bonus: Found Footage by Maggie Woodward is a newly found fave written by a dear friend. You should check it out, too!

mid-week round-up

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I hope you all are having a love-filled day! How are you celebrating the holiday? Of course today is the middle of the week so must of us are spending the day working. But do you have anything special planned? Chet and I are having a nice dinner at home and will exchange a few surprises. (Eeee!) But for now, here are some links you may want to peruse…

How much an out gay Olympian could mean to a kid now—or to a 34-year-old who’s been waiting for it his whole life.

Related: Winter Olympics Netflix Marathon

A glimpse at Appalachia’s feminist protest music.

This bedroom wall is so magical!

The easiest crusty bread recipe ever. Yum!

My trusty (and super cheap) mini backpack has about had it. Should I upgrade?

Related: Backpacks make for happy backs. ❤

A new report finds that slavery is mistaught and often sentimentalized—and students are alarmingly misinformed as a result.

Small wonder that films about female friendships have traditionally fared so poorly with critics. Look who’s writing the reviews.

Related: Rules for Female Friendship

More and more Americans experience eviction, and gentrification is partly to blame.

Related: Slum Lords aka The Hell of Renting

A brief history of how women got tricked into shaving.

Should I do 100 squats every day for 30 days?

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Are Busy Phillip’s IG stories making anyone else want to get a rebounder?

Finally, if you have Le Tote, they are having an AMAZING end of season sale. (And if you don’t have Le Tote, you should sign up. <-use that link and get your first tote on me. Seriously!)

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Weekend Uniforms and The Reading Habits Tag.

Travel Inspiration: Rural England

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When you think of England, what do you imagine?

Do you imagine the busy, bustling, metropolitan streets of London?

Or do you imagine beautiful lush green hills and glorious countryside?

Where you fall on the above largely depends on your exposure to England as a whole. While I’ve explored a bit of England in my younger years, I’ve only ever been in London as an adult. There’s no doubt that London has its upsides, and is a worthy travel destination in and of itself, but today I thought we’d focus on the other side of the spectrum. 

Away from the bustle of London lies some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Rural England is a wonder that has inspired thousands of writers, artists, and poets. And it is still proving inspirational. Lately, I’ve been seeing lots of blog posts and YouTube videos from my favorite UK content creators about their excursions into the countryside. And you know what? Rural England is now pretty high on my Travel Bucket List! Below are a few options I’ve researched that I want to check out. Come along, let’s begin our computer screen vacay…

The Peak District

The Peak District is, as the name suggests, a mountain range. The “Peaks” (as they are locally known) are a collection of hills, mountains, and rugged terrain in the county of Derbyshire, in the East Midlands.

The Peaks are a true natural wonder, and are mostly unspoiled thanks to their protected status. I could walk, hike, cycle, go boating, or just explore the adorably quaint villages and towns that are dotted through the area. Tourism is common here, so I wouldn’t be out of place, and I’d never run out of glorious views to delight over. 

The Home Counties

The Home Counties are a collection of counties that lie just outside of London, so I could easily fly into the capital and then take a road trip to the countryside. The counties included in the “Home Counties” description include Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent. (Say those out loud and you’ll sound like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, lol!)

It seems I won’t struggle for things to do in the countryside. As well as delightful local events and displays, the Home Counties are also home to some of the most beloved royal palaces that would be well worth a day-trip in my opinion: Windsor Castle, Hever Castle, and Oxford Castle (pictured above) are all found in the Home Counties. And I’m nothing if not very interested in the British Monarchy. 

The Jurassic Coast

Finally, if I fancied seeing rural England by the seaside, then the Jurassic Coast surely won’t disappoint. The “Jurassic” description comes from the many ancient fossils that have been discovered in the area; who knows, I might even stumble across a specimen or two for myself! (When I was little I wanted to be an archaeologist for a time so this is right up my street.)

The Jurassic Coast is shared by the counties of Devon and Dorset, so there’s plenty to see and do when not exploring the stunning coastline. As well as the cities of Bournemouth and Weymouth, I could also head into the nearby Cranborne Chase Area of Natural Beauty and delight in exploring the verdant terrain.

Have you ever ventured outside of London to explore rural England and all it has to offer? Which of the three areas above has you itching to plan a trip? I’d love to hear! I’m ready to pack my bags. 🙂 

P.S. Fancy some more wanderlust? Check out another computer screen vacation.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: FOR HIM

If you’re looking for a treat for a special dude in your life, here are a few fun ideas…

If he loves hitting the town…

Burgundy Pants
Target
$16 (on sale now!)

…because SEASONALLY APPROPRIATE!

 

 

 

If he loves sipping tea…

Tea Nest
Modern Artisans
$14

…because you love him to the MOON and back!

 

 

 

 

 

If he loves day-dreaming at his desk…

Chicago Print
Minted
Starting at $21

…because LAKE MICHIGAN!

 

 

 

If he loves admiring his growing collection…

Vinyl Record Storage
Urban Outfitters
$79

…because VINYL OBSESSION!

 

 

 

If he loves all things British…

Cadbury Selection Box 
Amazon
$13

…because British Cadbury is the BEST CADBURY!

 

 

 

If he loves making a statement…

Felt Letter Board
Amazon
$20

…because CUSTOMIZABLE! 

 

 

 

If he loves traveling the world…

Oxford Travel Backpack
Osaka Owl
$50

…because it will become his TRUSTY SIDEKICK!

 

 

 

BONUS: Check out the awesome cards from Hello Lucky. …because doesn’t everyone want to receive a sweet note on Valentine’s Day? (I especially like this one and this one. And this one made me laugh!)

P.S. More gift ideas for guys!

Which would suit YOUR dude? (or which would you like to receive?) Do you and your partner swap gifts for Valentine’s Day? What are you getting them? Spill!! ❤ 

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: FOR HER

If you’re looking for a treat for a special lady in your life, here are a few fun ideas…

If she loves hitting the town…

Red Dress
Lulus
$64

…because BELL SLEEVES!

 

 

 

If she loves sipping coffee…

Gnome Mug
Modern Artisans
$33

…because GNOMES!

 

 

 

If she loves day-dreaming at her desk…

Little Bird Desk Pets
Modern Artisans
$20

…because WHIMSY!

 

 

 

If she loves admiring her growing collection…

Wine Rack
The Shelving Store
$62

…because ORGANIZATION!

 

 

 

If she loves all things French…

Beret
Moorea Seal
$26

…because TRES CHIC!

 

If she loves making a statement…

Smash the Patriarchy Hoops
Moorea Seal
$82

…because HELLO?!

 

 

 

If she loves traveling the world…

Airplane Quilt
Belle & June
$84

…because it will remind her of all her journeys and COZY!

 

 

 

BONUS: Check out the awesome cards from Hello Lucky. …because doesn’t everyone want to receive a sweet note on Valentine’s Day? (I especially like this one and this one. And this one made me laugh!)

P.S. One of my very favorite Valentine’s Day gifts.

Ladies – Which would you like to receive? Do you and your partner swap gifts for Valentine’s Day? What are you getting them? Spill!! ❤ 

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, darlings? While January seemed to drag on forever, February is already flying by. #ShortMonthProblems It will be Valentine’s Day before we know it! Are you planning anything special? I’m trying to do little Valentine’s-inspired things throughout the month to make each day feel special (with some Mardi Gras themed things, too!). Fresh flowers, photo projects, baking treats, and sending out cards have all found their way onto my February calendar. 🙂 Hope your week is extra sweet, and here are some links I scouted just for you…

12 months of self-care in a helpful month-to-month guide.

Related: 10 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self Care

Here’s how Ed Sheeran made 2017’s biggest track.

Iranians asked #Where_Is_She? Suddenly, it seems she’s everywhere.

Jaclyn Friedman sparks a culture-wide rethink about sex, power and what we accept.

How to not die in America.

Wouldn’t it be a delight to grow up in this colorful Dutch farmhouse?

Anatomy of a wild & crazy Saturday night aka breakfast burritos for two.

Related: Breakfast for Dinner

DIY: Wool ball diffuser for the car.

Have you ever tried a yoga wheel? I’m obsessed with mine.

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Who invented the microwave oven?

A real “very stable genius” doesn’t call himself one.

Packing for 10 days away at a meditation retreat in a Tom Bihn backpack.

Related: What’s in my Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — The 5-4-3-2-1 Packing Method and 5 Blogs I Love.

8 Necessities For Long Hiking Trips

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No matter how much you love hiking, there’s no denying it demands a lot of your body and mind. Still, I really love hiking. However, I’ve been in some sticky situations over the years. So I thought it might be fun to use these past experiences and share my tips about what to bring along on your future hikes – J.I.C. (just in case!) Take it from me, if you’re planning a long-duration hike, your preparation has to be on point.

You need to carefully examine the supplies you are taking with you to ensure you truly have everything you need for a long hike. If you’re hiking for an entire day — or longer — your supply needs are very different to the supplies you need for a quick jaunt. By preparing ahead of time, you can focus on enjoying yourself, safe in the knowledge your trusty backpack contains everything you could possibly want.

So, what should be in that trusty backpack of yours?

#1 – Medication

If you’re going to be hiking for a day or more, you need to consider your medication needs. If you take prescribed medication, then that needs to find a place in your backpack– use a small pillbox if you don’t want to bring along your entire supply.

You’re also going to need a supply of over-the-counter medicines, especially if your hike will take you awau from civilization. Standard pain medication and antacids are a necessity, as is high-SPF sunblock.

You may also want to consider taking along some water purification tablets. There’s always a risk that you’ll get lost when hiking for a long period of time; in such a scenario, you’re going to need to drink water, and water purification tablets are a light and inexpensive way to make sure you’re drinking clean water.

#2 – Foot supplies

Anyone who has ever been hiking will know that foot sweat (ew!) is a real concern. It’s not a particularly pleasant concern to discuss, but it’s an issue many hikers face, so yep — we’re gonna go there.

You should take along a foot balm, preferably something cooling, to help soothe your feet after a long time walking. You may also want to take an anti-chafing powder, especially if your hiking boots are not the best fit. A spare pair of compression socks is vital, too; you’ll likely need a change of socks for any long-duration hike, so shop today to nab a backup pair. I’m a very recent adopter of the compression sock life and I can tell you from experience, they are a GAME.CHANGER.

Finally, it’s always helpful to take blister treatments along with you on a hike. I’ve been super susceptible to blisters my whole life so this is always front of my mind. While compression socks and good hiking boots can lessen the chances of blisters, they are still possible, and nothing will make you feel miserable faster than experiencing a jolt of pain with every step. Blister Band-Aids and medical tape are an essential in my hiking bag. 

#3 – A flashlight

Even if you’re hiking in the height of summer and plan to be back well before dark, a flashlight in your bag won’t hurt. If something goes wrong, a flashlight will make all the difference, allowing you to keep moving through the night rather than being stuck sitting while you wait for dawn.

The best choice for a hiking flashlight is a wind-up one. These might be somewhat irritating to use but they are safer than batteries, which can run out. If you’re thinking you could just take spare batteries along in your rucksack, a) um, heavy, and b) batteries can cause fires when stored together at close quarters. It’s far safer to opt for a wind-up version, and spend a little time winding it up with a decent charge prior to departure.

#4 – A knife or multi-tool

A small knife or a multi-tool, like a Swiss Army Knife, is an essential component of your long hike planning. You can use this for cutting food you have bought, preparing firewood, and a variety of other tasks you may need to perform in an emergency situation. Knives are light and can be slipped into a spare pocket of your rucksack, so there’s no reason not to take them.

#5 – A compass

Even if you tend to hike with apps and GPS rather than maps, a compass is another essential emergency item you’re not going to want to be without. Take the time to learn how to use the compass, then tuck it away in a pocket of your rucksack. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but if a situation does arise, you’ll be glad you’ve got it on hand.

#6 – A waterproof map

A compass alone can be beneficial when you’re out on a trail for a long period, but to really make the most of it, you’re going to need a map to work with it. Ideally, you want your map to be waterproof– you can either buy a pre-waterproofed map of the area you’re visiting, or laminate a standard map for yourself.

It’s wise to take a map for a wider area than you’re planning to hike. If you get lost, you could get off course, so you might wander into wider areas. A map that shows both the area you’re intending to hike to and an extra ten miles in each direction is ideal.

#7 – Protein food

It’s unlikely you’d set off on a hike without food, but it’s important to find protein-rich food to help sustain energy during a hike. While I always crave salty chips, high-protein food can keep delivering the nutrients you need and help to satiate hunger. There are plenty of super packable protein bars on the market, or you could opt for something homemade by following these protein snack recipes.

#8 – A quickly-assembled tent

Even if you’re not planning on camping, you might want to take a tent along with you. As most of this list has made clear, hiking is unpredictable, and much of your backpack needs to be dedicated to supplies that can keep you safe and comfortable if something goes wrong. A simple, quickly-assembled tent is the best way to ensure your safety and prepare you for any eventuality. Ya know, J.I.C. 

Do you enjoy hiking? What are YOUR must-pack necessities? I’d love to hear! xoxo

P.S. Prefer to read about hiking? I have a 4 part book club series exploring Wild by Cheryl Strayed!

My Favorite Super Bowl Moment

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? I spent the evening with a few folks, and honestly, by the time the game started we were still busy discussing all things Kylie Jenner. We even asked that the game be turned down so we could watch her birth announcement video a second time.

But then this happened…

Please someone tell me what red is in Gisele Bundchen’s wine glass! I’d totally buy a bottle…(even though her hubby’s team didn’t win.) She is all of us. Haha!

What was your favorite Super Bowl moment? 

A Rustic Bohemian Inspired Balcony

Ol’ Punxsatawney Phil just predicted 6 more weeks of Winter. Yikes! But down here in South Florida it’s the perfect temperature to lounge outside. In the Summer months, it’s way too hot to think about hanging out on our balcony. But now that the days are getting longer, and there are more hours of sunlight to take advantage of, it’s the perfect place to be. I guess you could say Phil’s decree is a GOOD THING for us. (Sorry guys!) Bring on the additional balcony weather!

In honor of this auspicious Groundhog’s Day, I thought I’d do some make-believe interior decorating. I’d love to give our outdoor space a makeover in a Rustic Bohemian Style. Our balcony is narrow, but runs the whole length of our apartment, and is completely screened in (no bugs!). The view is mostly of other buildings but when the sun sets, there’s still lots of colorful sky to behold. Oh, and of course palm trees a’plenty!

Here’s what I’d add to give the space a boho reboot with a touch of rustic charm…

A terra cotta and brass moon to hang on the wall and watch over us.

A set of roman shades to keep the afternoon sun out of our eyes (and nosy neighbors out of our business).

A wooden bowl to store a stack of limes for evening gin & tonics.

A throw pillow or two to make furniture feel like a cozy oasis.

A couple of planters shaped like cubes to house our plant friends.

A thrift-store-find side table that we can “antique” with a coat of paint and a few squares of sandpaper.

A gaggle of colorful tealight holders to really set the mood.

And an outdoor sectional that’s just as comfy as a living room couch (with a much better breeze!).

What styles or spaces are inspiring YOUR interior design daydreams? I’d love to hear! 

[IN THE MOOD FOR MORE MAKE-BELIEVE? A PALM LEAF PRINT INSPIRED BEDROOM!]

P.S. Are you following me on TWITTER? Let’s connect.  🙂