mid-week round-up

Hello friends! Do you have big plans this weekend? We’re going on a day trip to a nearby state park, and we’ll also be stopping by a flea market. Who knows! Maybe I’ll find something I can’t live without. Either way, after a bunch of project deadlines this week, I’m ready for some weekend diversion! Hope the rest of your week is super sweet, and here’s a bit of reading material…

The story behind Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

[Related: 5 reasons I can’t get enough Dolly.]

Being a mother and a champion was a crazy dream.

How fairytales are told in other tongues.

[Related: Our storytelling minds.]

These millennials got new roommates.

Anytime young people get together, the pics start flowing.

The Japanese secret to a longer and happier life.

Russia is reopening an investigation into the world’s greatest mystery.

Cute kimono for lounging poolside.

Historians have largely discarded the lie that the “frontier” was an empty Eden waiting for American expansion—but not David McCullough.

[Related: The Pioneers by David McCullough]

As thousands of taxi drivers were trapped in loans, top officials counted the money.

Homeless mom’s letter to NIMBY supporters.

A Fab Five favorite writes a new memoir.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 9 Insights from Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky and How to Spend Your Time Helping Others.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

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Book Club: The True Memoirs of Little K Pt. 1

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I’m unveiling Book #5 in the Finding Delight Book Club. Can you believe we’re already this far into the year?! If you’re new to this series, I’m reading 12 books and sharing about them with you here. I plan to post 4 times for each book. This month’s pick is The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp.

For the full book list CLICK HERE. I’d love to have you along for the ride!

“So whatever you think of me, don’t pity me. I had a beautiful life. I was loved, admired, feted, copied, mocked, treasured, and feared. I am one hundred years old and I am no longer afraid of anything.” 

Synopsis

The year is 1971 in Paris, France and ninety-nine year old Mathilde Kschessinska begins to recant the story of her life. In what feels like a different world, she was the self-centered, flirtatious, determined “prima ballerina assoluta” of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. She remembers a time when the Russian court was inextricably linked to the ballet. And vice versa.

As she carefully reconstructs each chapter of her life, her conquests and failures, we are given box seats to view the very stories that would change the course of history, both for Russia and the world. We witness how Russia evolves as she progresses from girlhood to “tsar-crossed lover” to old woman.

Expertly researched, The True Memoirs of Little K is based on real events and real people. But it reads like a fairy-tale narrated by a woman who has seen it all: the greatest love, heart-breaking loss, and the crumbling of the Romanov empire she so desperately wanted to belong to.

Initial thoughts 

Determined to a fault, Mathilde Kschessinska jetés her way out of the wings and finds herself smack-dab in the middle of the Romanov stage. As a popular ballerina she steals the hearts of THREE members of the imperial family, including the future Tsar himself, Nicholas II. Her life, written as a dictated memoir, opens with the splendor of imperial life as seen through the eyes of someone close enough to taste it. A famous ballerina. As years pass, she sees Russia go from full of lavish traditions to full of upheaval.

I’ve been going through quite the historical fiction phase as of late, so I’m finding Sharp’s novel fascinating and powerful. The portrayal of Mathilde as a woman whose links to “scandal” will forever overshadow her abilities as a dancer is one too easily recognized in our society. I’m excited to see how her character evolves as the book unfolds and the imperial court deteriorates.

While I do think the style is very effective (and makes me truly believe Kschessinska was speaking!), the book’s lack of dialogue could be annoying for some. This absence doesn’t upset me, but I do sort of miss it as a way to build out details within the narrative. Without it, the narrator relies a lot on introspection and long-winded asides to explain historical detail. However, the latter is where Sharp’s research really shines through!

I feel like I’m learning a HUGE chunk of Russian history, but the medicine is going down with a spoonful of sugar because I also get a ballerina’s love story.

Read this if you’re interested in: Russian history, ballet and the lives of Russian prima ballerinas, the Romanovs

Read this if you loved: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, The Romanovs by Robert K. Massie, Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Keep a lookout for Part 2! It’ll be hitting this site next week.

And don’t forget — if you want the full reading list CLICK HERE. You’ll basically become a card-carrying member of the Finding Delight Book Club! ❤

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to, sweet friends? Chet and I went to Mississippi over the weekend to visit with his mom and family friends at a lake. It was so serene! We ate a bunch of delicious food, caught some fish, and enjoyed good company. Hope you have a splendid week, and here are some links I thought you might want to check out…

12 performers show what it takes to make it in New York City.

There are two types of airport people.

[Related: Travel Tips for Airports and Planes]

Who is Cliff Wife? Everything you need to know about the wife who fell off a cliff.

In Venezuela, a glamorous career becomes a means of survival.

A subculture of teenage hobbyhorse enthusiasts now prance in public.

This perfect summertime adventure bag is on sale!

25 famous women on the moment they ‘made it.’

Measles for the one percent.

7 reasons why your online reputation is important.

Jeff Goldblum pivots to beauty influencer.

What did NXIVM want in Mexico?

[Related: Episode 2 of Uncovered the Podcast]

A reusable coffee cup that doesn’t take up much room in your bag!

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Thoughts on Woman Code by Alisa Vitti and 5 Ways to Float a River this Summer.

List 14: My Favorite Posts

I started a LIST SERIES in Summer 2018 and decided to keep adding to it here and there. These posts are kinda like an introduction (or a reintroduction for those who’ve been with me since the jump!). A nice to meet ya, so glad you stopped by, now STAY AWHILE! Why lists? Because I love making ’em! Enjoy…

A collection of posts I love on FindingDelight.com…

Apple Pie Oatmeal
Gift Guide for Brothers/Boyfriends
Cycle Syncing Meal Ideas
Date Night in a Box
Easy Ways to Personalize Your Wedding
In Pursuit of Female Road Narratives
Grief, Facebook and Ambient Awareness
My Healthy Lifestyle Intentions
I Have a Podcast!!!
My Julie/Julia Theory
Life Skills Every Adult Should Know
Why I Love the Library
9 People Share Their Favorite Mantras
Delightful New Orleans Wedding
On the Rooftop of the World
A Pocket Letter Inspired by Children’s Book Illustrations
Quick and Easy Meal Plan for One
How I Track My Reading
My Top 10 Skin Care Staples

Do you have a blog? Link a few of your favorite posts below. I’d love to check them out! xoxo

[And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 
LIST 3
LIST 4
LIST 5
LIST 6

LIST 7
LIST 8
LIST 9
LIST 10
LIST 11
LIST 12
LIST 13]

Book Club: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace Pt. 4

Hi friends! I’ve been super busy the last few weeks and the blog has definitely taken a back seat…but don’t worry — reading has not!

For consistency’s sake, I wanted to have a part 4 on this book. Butttttt I just don’t have time to write up a full-on reflection. SO! I shall direct you to Parts 1 – 3 on Last Night I Dreamed of Peace — here, here and here. I’d love if you’d check them out!

Also, since reading this book club book, I’ve also devoured Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Either would make for an awesome summer read if historical fiction is your jam!

I’d also like to announce that the next book I’ll be discussing in this series is *drumroll please* THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF LITTLE K by Adrienne Sharp. Nab a copy and follow along, why dontcha?! It’s a fictionalized account of the real life Russian ballerina who was the mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II.

Want the full Finding Delight Book Club reading list?  CLICK HERE.

How To Use Tech To Advance Your Job Search

Over the last few years, the landscape for job hunting and recruiting has changed massively. The way recruiters look for candidates, the way companies seek out and headhunt potential employees, the way that people look for jobs, the way they apply, and what impresses both parties have all been influenced by advances in technology.

Recently, I found myself chatting with a client who works as a headhunter about this very thing. She said she often found herself marveling about the drastic changes in her industry just over the course of her career. While older generations would advise people to just “go pound the pavement,” it is without question that you need to be using technology to get a job these days. She said, “pounding the pavement may show that you are a well presented, well spoken, smart and ambitious person, but the chances of being able to talk to the right person during a face-to-face cold-call are slim to none.” 

“Applying online is not the only way to utilize the technology we are now so lucky to have access to, there are many more ways to broaden your job search and increase your chances of getting a new job.” Eager to know more, I asked her, “LIKE WHAT?”

Here are a few of her technological tips:

Clear Up Your Social Media

You’re going to Google the person interviewing you aren’t you? So, don’t think they’re not doing the same to you! They are. Today, potential employers will actively search your social media profiles to have a look at you, so make sure you are representing yourself well online. Have your LinkedIn profile up to date, your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram clean  (or at least update your privacy settings).

Apply On Apps

Apps are everything now, so get all the job apps available and make sure your CV is on them and your profile is up to date. That way when you’re on a train or sitting in a bar while your friend has abandoned you for the bathroom (or a cute guy), you can have a quick look, and if your dream jobs pop up you are always ready to apply instantly.

Get Interactive

It’s all about making a good first impression but also about standing out, and you can use technology to do this. Why not make your CV interactive? For example, you could make a video or create an animation. It’s far more effective than a piece of paper and also, as mentioned before, this will show your prospective employer that you are well presented, well spoken, smart and ambitious … just in the form of a video. It also shows that you think outside the box and that you use your initiative.

Network Online

The social networks are out there, so use them. LinkedIn is the obvious one when it comes to business and careers, but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can work well for connecting with people and networking. If there’s a particular industry you want to work in, then follow people who also work in that industry, connect with them, engage with them. Then, you can eventually suggest meeting for coffee to pick their brain or find out  how you could help each other out in some way.

Any tech savvy folks out there with tips to add?
Are you currently searching for a job? How have you used technology to bolster your approach?
SHARE BELOW! xoxo 

Book Club: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace Pt. 3

If you enjoyed reading Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, or feel like you’re not done learning the lessons it initiated, here’s what I recommend…

Continue Reading:

Books –
The Sorrow of War
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places
Catfish and Mandala

Articles –
How the North Vietnamese remember the conflict 40 years after the fall of Saigon
Vietnam’s female spies who helped change the course of the war

Continue Watching:

YouTube Videos –
Viet Cong Tunnels and Traps
A Vietnamese Soldier’s Perspective
The Vietnam War’s Agent Orange Legacy

Documentary –
Chau, Beyond the Lines

Movie –
Dung Dot // Don’t Burn

Continue Listening:

Podcasts –
UnFictional – The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram
What is Agent Orange?

Continue Experiencing:

Field Trip –
Visit The Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University

Stay tuned for Part 4! And if you want exclusive book club content (incl. the full reading list and FREE printables) sent straight to your inbox — SIGN UP HERE

Found! The Perfect Striped Dresses for Spring

It’s Friday! To celebrate the end of the work week, let’s do a bit of online window shopping, shall we? I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect dress for spring and my eyes keep getting pulled in the direction of stripes. There are so many options that are colorful, airy, and fun…and the stripes feel a little less expected than a floral print. What do you think? What prints are you feeling drawn to this spring?

If you’re in the market for a STRIPED DRESS, here are 5 options I found from one of my favorite online shops, Lulus

Option 1

Brooklin Pink Multi Striped Button Front Mini Dress

Option 2 – 

Sun-Shiny Red Rainbow Striped Midi Dress

Option 3 – 

Binx Green Striped Short Sleeve Shirt Dress

Option 4 – 

Peppermint Green Striped Shirt Dress

Option 5 – 

Kersee Olive Green and White Striped Midi Shirt Dress

Which would YOU choose? xoxo

Book Club: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace Pt. 2

(Photo Credit: http://www.news.zing.vn)

Let’s learn a bit more about Thuy’s remarkable diary and the journey it took to publication, shall we? Dang Thuy Tram, born in Vietnam in 1942, was a young doctor. During the Vietnam War, she worked for the People’s Army of Vietnam and Vietcong as a battlefield surgeon, clinic supervisor, and medical teacher. On June 22, 1970 she was killed by a patrol from the US 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment while fleeing from a clinic that was undergoing repeated attacks. She was 27 years old. The last two years of her life are chronicled in her diaries, published as Last Night I Dreamed of Peace.

“Last night I dreamed that Peace was established, I came back and saw everybody.”

Following Thuy’s death, her diary was discovered by Fred Whitehurst, a 22 year old military intelligence specialist under strict orders to burn any documents he encountered without military value. He defied these orders. Instead, choosing to follow the advice of a South Vietnamese translator who said, “Don’t burn this one. . . . It has fire in it already.” He kept Thuy’s pages for 35 years, hoping to some day return them to her family.

His search for her family initially fell short. Whitehurst had returned to the U.S. after the war and pursued a career in chemistry, earning a Ph.D. and joining the FBI. Eventually, he enlisted the help of his brother Robert, another Vietnam vet, and the two of them brought the diary to a conference at Texas Tech University, home of a Vietnam Archive, in 2005.

At the conference, they met up with a photographer named Ted Engelmann who was planning a trip to Vietnam for work. He offered to do some scouting efforts for the brothers while there. It worked! Engelmann located Thuy’s mom.

Shortly after finding themselves in possession of scanned copies of her work, Thuy’s family had the diary published in Vietnam. Nhật ký Đặng Thùy Trâm rapidly became a hit. 300,000 copies were sold in less than a year and reviews drew comparisons between the wartime diaries and the work of Anne Frank.

Amidst the success of the publication, the Whitehurst brothers traveled to Hanoi to meet the family and later they would all visit Lubbock, Texas where the diaries were archived. Upon seeing her daughter’s handwritten notebooks, Thuy’s mother said, “Her corpse is in Vietnam, but this is her soul.”

In 2007 Thuy’s diary was translated into English for broader publication and this book would include photographs of Thuy and her family from their personal collection. While Vietnamese readers were huge fans of the book, folks involved were worried American reactions might be mixed, due to the depiction of U.S. involvement in the war and Thuy’s frequent references to the “American devils.”

Regardless, readers found Thuy’s words provided an honest depiction of the realities of war. The deputy director of the Vietnam Archive said, “They contain an emotional element that is typically lacking in official documents.”

“Don’t burn this one. . . . It has fire in it already.” 

Got any thoughts? Leave ’em below! And if you want exclusive book club content (incl. the full reading list and FREE printables) sent straight to your inbox — SIGN UP HERE. Part 3, coming soon!

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this Wednesday? News about the royal baby (ARCHIE!!!) has definitely kept me good and distracted this morning, lol. Anyone else? So happy for Harry and Meghan…and for me, because I love those crazy royals! Haha. But now I’ve gotta snap out of it, buckle down, and get some dang work done! We’re off to Kentucky at week’s end. Hope your middle of the week is proving more productive than mine, but to distract you…

6 surprising things about the royal baby.

[Related: Purebred corgis or NOTHING.]

The magic of estate sales.

Why the world’s best mathematicians are hoarding chalk.

The snake-charming life and tragic death of Grace Olive Wiley.

Menstrual products in the Science Museum’s collection.

How a ‘Brady Bunch’ episode on measles is fueling campaigns against vaccines.

Springtime means I’m brainstorming ways to decorate the great outdoors!

[Related: A Rustic, Boho-Inspired Balcony]

Why women candidates are ruled unelectable so quickly.

Feeling called to purchase some warm weather jammies.

Mike Rosmann left seminary to become a clinical psychologist for farmers.

How to read more books in the golden age of content.

The ‘Baby Dolls’ of New Orleans.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Our Favorite Music Festival and For the Love of BOOKS!