Staying Busy to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay!

staying busy to keep the winter blues at bay*This post may contain affiliate links.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping, we’re starting to become limited with our options for things to do outside. At this time of year, there are no warm ‘golden hour’  walks at 8 pm, dinner in the backyard after work, or sunny picnics at the weekend. It’s all about heading indoors, keeping cozy and finding things to do indoors instead.

I’m all about that winter hibernation, hygge lifestyle…BUT! One thing I’m NOT about? Being bored. I’ve gotta remind myself at this time of year to stay busy. That (and daily doses of Vitamin D) are tantamount to keeping the winter blues at bay.

Here are some ideas for those looooong winter nights (and snowy weekends, too)!

Have a movie/ tv day

When the weather is bad and you just want to relax, a movie or tv day (or evening) is a perfectly acceptable choice. (Don’t let the haters tell you otherwise! LOL) With all the streaming services out there, chances are you have more options than you could ever work your way through. Plus, if you have a niche interest you want to explore, a snow day is a fine time to scratch that itch. Go down the rabbit hole of beauty tutorials on YouTube. Fan of anime? Binge watch as much as you want on this website. Even if you don’t normally indulge in too much tv (can’t relate), a bit of escapism when the weather outside is frightful never hurt anyone. I’m sure I’ll be queuing up Survivor to escape to tropical islands all winter long! 

Related:
18 Movies to Watch When You’re Hibernating
TV Recommendation: Westworld
The 7 TV Shows I Can’t Wait to Watch
6 True Crime Documentaries For Your Inner Detective

Discover a new hobby

Hobbies are important for people of all ages. They help you to build your skills, stay productive when you have free time, and can give your life purpose too. So many of us fall into the ‘work, eat, sleep, repeat’ cycle, especially in the wintertime when heading home from work in the dark. But hobbies can give you something to look forward to on that cold and dark commute home. They also allow you to connect with other people, and maybe even get you out of the house once in awhile. 😉  You could start a new craft from home, write a blog, or attend classes at a local library or community center. Even if your new hobby will be done from home, you can still find ways to connect with others online. Starting a podcast with my friend Katie has been such a fun hobby to pursue. There’s always something to do and lots of sweet peeps online who are just starting out, too! 

Related:
3 Things to Remember When Your Blog Becomes a Side Hustle
In Search Of: More Delight!
How to Make Time for Books
A Spring-Themed Pocket Letter

Work out

During the colder months, it’s easy for a healthy lifestyle to fall by the wayside. With less time spent outdoors we’re naturally less active, and warming comfort foods are a far cry from the light, fresh salads we enjoyed over the summer. However, you can still live healthily without depriving yourself, and there’s no need to go running in the rain every morning before work! Gyms tend to be quieter at this time of year, and if you head down to your local gym or fitness center you might even have the place to yourself depending on the time of day! You can work out and enjoy a steamy sauna afterwards which will make you feel great. Not down for the gym? You can always workout at home. There are plenty of workouts (FO’ FREE) online. If you have a Wii fit, ballet barre, weights, or any sort of exercise equipment–throw it in the mix!

Related:
How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge
The “All You Need is a Clock” Workout
Found! The Greatest Exercise Video Ever
My 10-Day Ballet Challenge

Do you guys have a plan for staying busy this winter? 

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mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? We kicked off Monday night with a documentary screening about the opioid crisis and heard from the director a drug rehabilitation program in nearby Decatur. It was an enlightening evening. The weather has been very cold and rainy so I think I’ll just hibernate until we hit the road for our Thanksgiving festivities! If you’d like to click around on some links I’ve been enjoying, go right ahead…

The 10 most popular beer brands in the world.

A roller skating girl gang? Sign me up.

Doctors respond to NRA with gruesome photos of treating shooting victims.

Turkey and stuffing meatballs sounds way more delish than plain ol’ turkey for T-giving.

Genius travel hack.

How a woman becomes a lake.

Meet the Progressive Liberal, who’s body-slamming his way through Trump country.

The 2018 midterms were huge for women candidates. Here’s how they could change policies.

The name of this podcast made me LOL.

A Harvest Punch cocktail for November.

Follow me on Instagram.

Follow my podcast on Instagram.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 10 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Wedding and A Birthday Trip to the Tennessee Aquarium.

The 5 Part Money-Hustle

*This post may contain affiliate links.

The hustle. If you aren’t doing it at the minute, then you’re either really comfortable with your finances, or you just haven’t figured out how!

But chances are, you’re open to makin’ a bit more…or at least doin’ more with what you make. So let’s chat…

The Drive

You first need to dig deep, and find the drive to do this. If you don’t have the motivation to make more, you’re never going to do it. So, how do you tap into the motivation when you just don’t feel you have it? What if all you’re managing at the moment is the drive to come home after working as little hours as possible, and settling in with takeaway for the night? Does that not just sound like the easy life? Well, sure. But it certainly isn’t sustainable. So focus on the future life you want for yourself. What do you want your life, and the life of your family, to look like in 6 months? 5 years? 10? 

The Career

We bet that when you think of a job that pays a lot, you’re thinking about a high end job. A business owner perhaps, or a doctor. But there’s no need to box yourself in, newbie hustler. No need at all! Now that your drive is fueled by a vision of your future life, what path will your career need to take to get you there? Talk to your superiors at work about the best ways to get on this upward trajectory. Figure out what it will take and make a plan. Will you need further education? More clients? A stronger networking hustle? 

[Related: Check out Ultimate Medical Academy for a list of online courses that could put you on the right path towards a career in medicine.]

Then, consider ways to grow your side hustle, too. Who says you can’t piece together a career out of multiple parts!

The Savings

You gotta make your money work for you! You might be eating out all of the time rather than doing a weekly shop. You might be a sucker for buying designer clothes, when you already have a wardrobe full of them. Hustling means learning how to manage your money effectively. Make sure that you’re using technology to help you. There are apps out there for planning literally all points of your life, and they’re really good at planning your money, too. If you have a set budget to follow, with automated savings, it makes money managing a breeze!

The Passion

You really do need to love your work, or you’ll never fully enjoy the money you’re hustlin’ so hard to get. Now that you have your budget in order, you have a better idea of how much money you need to realistically bring in to sustain your lifestyle and set aside for the future. This allows you a bit more freedom to follow your passions, to make career decisions on more than where the money is. Remember: You need to make sure you’re actually happy earning the money. Your hustling journey continues, but now it’s about more than money…you don’t get comfortable, you just start hustling for YOURSELF. 

The Daily Grind

Finally, even at the most passion-project of jobs, work is still work. And they call it work for a reason. You’re still going to have to learn to push through the daily grind. 

[Related: Make sure to take meaningful breaks throughout your work day.]

Hone interests outside of work…pursue passions that have nothing to do with a hustle…practice self care. Happy hustlin’!

What does your current hustle look like?

Book Review: The Wine Lover’s Apprentice by Kathleen Bershad

The Wine Lover's Apprentice

As y’all may know, I am a self-professed WINERD. Of course I love drinking the stuff, but learning about wine can be just as pleasurable! Do you agree? When we were living in Miami, I even worked part-time on the occasional evening and weekend at a wine store in our neighborhood. I learned a tremendous amount about wine and the industry, and it was so much fun to interact with people from all sorts of walks of life who were so passionate about the subject.

But of course, any life-long learner will tell you there’s always room for more knowledge! Which is why, when I heard about The Wine Lover’s Apprentice: Words of Wisdom for Would-Be Oenophiles by Kathleen Bershad, I JUMPED at the chance to grab a copy.

This book decodes the world of wine so that when you encounter a wine review or a new bottle, or even a tableside aficionado, you’ll understand…and even feel enough in the know to offer your two cents!

Author Kathleen Bershad is a wonderful guide throughout. And no wonder, with over 15 years of experience in the food and wine biz, she really knows her stuff! She has worked as a food writer and restaurant reviewer and now runs her very own consulting practice – Fine Wine Concierge. She earned her Sommelier Certification from the American Sommelier Association.

The first part of the book delves into everything you need to know to consider yourself a true wine geek. Everything from tasting notes to storing to picking out the perfect bottle at a shop or restaurant.

The rest of the book is reserved for a tour of the world by way of wine regions. Starting with…

Which makes this book a perfect companion if you’re looking to expand your palate. Read up on a region, hit the wine store to stock up, and REPEAT.

What’s so wonderful about wine is that there is always a story behind each bottle. And where the wine comes from is a great starting place for that story! Before you know it, you’ll be busting out wine facts to your dinner guests like it’s nothing!

It’s Bershad’s hope that once you make it through her book, you’ll “become empowered to know what’s in a bottle, be able to make an educated guess about its flavors, and help change the culture to make drinking wine what it should be―relaxing and fun.” And I think she succeeds! Of course, I would add you should definitely make your way through the chapters with a glass of something in hand!

This book is perfect for anyone who loves trying new wines and wants to up their overall knowledge in an effort to become one step closer to a tried and true oenophile!

If that’s not you, perhaps you know someone you would classify as a WINERD. This book would make a wonderful gift! Pair it with a bottle, a beautiful stemware set, or even a lovely bottle stopper. Christmas is right around the corner!

Here’s the link one more time!

Are you a fan of wine? Do you like learning about it or just drinking it? (No judgement! haha)

Commenting on Blogs

I talked recently about a habit I’m trying to break, but today I’d like to share a habit I’m trying to pick up (or at least become better about!)

Commenting on blogs.

And generally being more supportive and “vocal” about the online content I engage with. Because the keyword there is engage, right? I have this blog. I have a podcast. I work remotely for clients who need help with marketing and web content. So, I’m constantly consuming online content. But often times, it’s just that…consuming, not engaging with.

I guess, initially, my motives are a little selfish. I feel like I should interact with blog posts (and other content) the way I want people to interact with mine. But, I think it’s more than that:

– I want to be encouraging to people I think are doing rad things online…
– I want to feel like we’re all in this together (see also: work remotely. y’all are my co-workers, mk?)…
– …and honestly, I want to do my part to make sure this is happening.

But sometimes that sort of very public, online love-fest feels overwhelming to me. It is so much easier to be a lurker. To feel uncomfortable about admiration or networking or a comment that doesn’t really add all that much to the conversation other than — “wow, this was really fun to read!”

So, I’m seeking input…

What do you think? Is this an area you’re awesome at? What advice would you offer? TELL ME EVERYTHING!

Fall At-Home Date Ideas with Date Night In Box

It’s that time of year again. By the time I’m done with work for the day, it’s already dark outside. The last thing I want to do most nights is bundle up and head back out into the cold. But on the flip side, spending every night ’til Spring binge watching TV shows on the couch isn’t exactly my idea of the greatest love story ever told. So, what’s the middle ground?

Here are a few fall-friendly date ideas that you and your partner can enjoy from home…

1. Cook dinner together while you listen to tunes

Sure, you gotta eat EVERY night but a lot of times that can mean divvying up the labor, grabbing something on the go, or heating up leftovers. For an at-home date night, consider planning something special and then cook together. You can pop a bottle of wine, chat at the table as things are in the oven, and…

 

 

 

…don’t forget the tunes! Pop on a fun playlist that you can enjoy in the background as you cook. Music can really set the tone for the evening so pick songs for the vibe. Romantic, fun, can’t help but sing along — you get the idea.

2. Get cozy & make a craft

You don’t have to go wild with supplies, but putting your heads together to make something is a great way to spend an evening…and looking at the finished product will always make your heart swell. Chet and I spent several weeks one summer figuring out how to turn vintage books into notebooks and the ones we kept bring back such wonderful memories.

Pictured above are the materials we used to make a Christmas ornament (the ink pad was for thumb prints and the ballpoint Sharpie for writing important-to-us dates) and a little tea light candle. Who knows!? If you enjoy a craft enough, you can always consider batch-making a few more…holiday gift-giving is right around the corner! (And that candle was so easy to make, I’m thinking everyone is gonna get one in their stocking this year, lol)

3. Engage in a little friendly competition

 

Playing a game is another great, screen-free option. A lot of games are geared for more than 2 players but do a little research to 2-person games the two of you can get behind. This dice game is a lot of fun! I also can endorse backgammon (though I’m terrible at it, lol), Trivial Pursuit, and Rummikub.

 

 

4. Curl up on the couch with a movie

Ok, ok…so curling up on the couch is SOMETIMES allowed! You’ve Got Mail is the perfect Fall film after all. Other cozy options? Autumn in New York, Good Will Hunting, October Sky, Practical Magic, Remember the Titans, The Blind Side, and When Harry Met Sally.

Plus, checking this one out of from the library with the intention of watching during a fall-themed date night felt way more romantic than clicking something from the queue, ya know?

Wanna leave the planning out of your at-home date nights?

You get all of the above (& MORE!) with a subscription to Date Night In.

Date Night In is a custom created, memorable date night subscription experience that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Each box includes interactive activities with ambiance, materials, and suggestions on  how to get the most out of your date. DNI’s highest priority is to help customers connect with their partner. 

And the best part? You don’t have to plan a thing! Everything you need to create a meaningful and romantic date night is waiting for you on your doorstep each month.

 

 

Interested in enjoying a monthly date night from the comfort of your own home? Consider a subscription to Date Night In Boxes. Every month features a new theme for you and your partner to enjoy! 

P.S. Here’s a look at last month’s box.

mid-week round-up

Well, here we are again, ladies and germs! Yesterday was Election Day here in the U.S. and I cast my first ballot in my new home-state of Alabama, watched a lot of news coverage, and gave major side-eye to some of the results. There were some beautiful victories last night but still so, so much work to be done. And on we fight. Hope the rest of your week looks promising, and here are some links for your enjoyment and entertainment…

A new book by one of my very favorite authors.

A newlywed nest in NYC.

How to work with friends and not make it weird.

Vegetarian pumpkin pot pie.

How to use up leftover Halloween candy.

You should probably be dressing your salad twice.

Sad animal facts.

Why this 33 year old mom pretended to be a high-school cheerleader.

Upon visiting the city that made her family refugees, Ana Barić encounters old wounds and alternate realities.

Royal family fandom.

[Related: Follow Elizabeth Holmes on Instagram.]

Easy weeknight dinner recipes from home cooks.

This Melissa McCarthy story just might cheer you up.

And a new episode of Uncovered the Podcast. (Which also might cheer you up, just sayin’!)

P.S. Plus, here are some Finding Delight links in case you still wanna keep reading stuff on the internet — World Cup Half Empty or Half Full and Cooking Up a Taste of Home.

P.P.S. Did these links offer you some much-needed entertainment? Consider buying me a coffee!

The “All You Need is a Clock” Workout

the "all you need is a clock" workout

So, I’ve been getting more and more into HIIT and kickboxing workouts…

…I know, I know — WHO AM I?

But, 20 – 30 minute blasts have been fitting the bill for me in a lot of ways. (Especially on Mondays and Fridays. Getting all my aggression out with a sweat sesh is a nice way to bookend the work week, ya know.)I try to incorporate these workouts a few times a week and reserve the rest of my fitness energy for yoga and long walks.

And because you KNOW I like to keep things as simple as poss (and eliminate decision fatigue, hello?!), when I stumbled upon this idea it was too good to pass up.

All you need is a digital clock (HI! there’s one on your cell phone!) and a list of 10 exercises.

So, let’s start with the list. This can include anything from push-ups and crunches…to pistons and burpees (if you’re feeling that CrossFit vibe)…to cross-jabs and front kicks (if you wanna get out aggression a la kickboxing).

Jot down 10 moves from 1 to 0, like this:

1 – Jumping jacks
2 – Squats
3 – Cross, jab
4 – Kettle bell swings
5 – Crunches
6 – Side-to-side leg raises
7 – Overhead presses
8 – Front kicks
9 – Hook, elbow strike
0 – Bicep curls

Next, let’s look at that clock! If the time is 07:45, take the first 3 digits to get the number of reps, and the last number to get the exercise. So in this case you would do 74 crunches. 12:22 is 122 squats, 2:19 is 21 hook, elbow strikes. You get it?

Then, all you have to do is determine how long you want your rest time to be in between moves and how long you want the overall workout to last.

Get some music pumping…and BINGO, BANGO — “All You Need is a Clock” Workout achieved!

What are your favorite ways to exercise? Would you try this workout?

P.S. The “It’s Britney, Bitch” Workout.
P.P.S. Tried this workout and loved it? Consider buying me a coffee!

Ballin’ on a Budget Mini Tips

ten ballin' on a budget mini tips

I have a whole series on the blog that highlights strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET by way of ditching — ie) ditch the bare cupboards, ditch the gym membership, etc. Today, I’d like to build on this BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET theme with a new series. My favorite budget mini tips. The last series included posts that proposed something for all of us to ditch, in order to free up line items on our budgets, and offered a 4 week plan on how to implement. These mini tips are things you can implement RIGHT NOW. Like, straight away, as soon as you read them!

Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you!

Here are the first 10 MINI TIPS

1. Automate Payments and Savings Whenever Possible

You KNOW I love a “set it and forget it” option. If you’re able, schedule your bills so that payments are automated. This will save you time, but it will also save you from accidentally incurring any late fees. Similarly, set up a fixed amount that will come out of your paychecks and get whisked away right into your savings account.

2. Price Compare with Amazon

A lot of household and personal care items are available on Amazon. Before impulse purchasing at the grocery or drug store, pop on that smart phone and check out pricing on Amazon. It’s a 30 second search that could save you quite a few bucks. And if you have Prime, you’ll have your items lickety-split anyways.

3. Find Ways to Winterize Your Home

If you live in an area that actually sees seasons, do a little research about how to best keep the heat in and the cold out. Every house and apartment is different so do a quick walk around your space looking for ways to winterize. Performing an audit on your home each Autumn can help you devise a plan for the coming Winter and allow you to purchase certain items before it gets too chilly.

4. Incorporate Affordable Recipes You Love to Eat 

If you stumble upon a meal you’ve made yourself that was both, super budget friendly AND delicious, don’t just leave it as a one off! Work that sucker into your meal rotation. Even if you don’t meal plan (which if you’re trying to save money you totally should!), you can still choose to have the meal every week or every other week. That is, until you get sick of it and have to find a new “cheap meets yummy” favorite…

5. Shop the Produce Section

Everyone knows, if you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve gotta focus your grocery shopping efforts on the periphery of the store. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you need to spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Start in this section, get all the deals you can, and then build out your buggy from the rest of the departments.

6. Ask for Cheaper Rates

My belief is that it never hurts to ask for what you want. And if you’re ballin’ on a budget, you want things to be cheaper. Ask for student rates, AAA discounts, special deals, etc. When your cell phone bill goes up, call and see what can be done. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

7. Have a “Buy Price”

Create a little cheat sheet listing food and household items that you like to have in stock. Then, do some research to determine the best sale prices for these items in your area. These are their buy prices. Then, when you’re checking out a store’s circular or see an item on sale, you can refer back to your sheet to see if it’s the right price to stock up.

8. Use Open Source Software

There are so many options out there. If a software isn’t necessary for your work, look into the free versions before plunking down your credit card.

9. Feed Your Freezer

If you double one meal a week and stick the extra servings in the freezer, you will have a plethora of ready-to-go options in no time! These “defrost and heat” meals are perfect for busy (or lazy) nights and will keep you from hitting up a restaurant or take out option.

10. Buy Only What You Need at the Grocery

This hearkens back to the importance of a meal plan, but at the very least, attack your grocery shopping with a PLAN. Make a list, check it twice, and STICK TO IT.

Thanks so much for reading! I know tons of you have your own favorite budget tips – what other advice can you share? On the other end, what aspects of budgeting do you find most difficult? 

P.S. My top tips on getting control of debt.

The Healthy Habit of Hydration

*This post may contain affiliate links.

We all strive for good health. We drag ourselves to hit the treadmill even when our every instinct screams at us to crawl back into bed. We eschew unhealthy foods and make the effort to cook nutritious yet delicious meals, even when we’ve had a hard day’s work and the allure of the take-out pizza is almost impossible to resist. We do our best to get the sleep our bodies and minds need to function optimally. 

There is, however, one aspect of our health that many overlook. Something that’s an intrinsic part of overall health. Staying hydrated. While many of us understand the importance of hydration, fewer of us take active steps to ensure that we’re hydrated. Quite simply, most of us aren’t drinking enough water.  

Let’s chat about it…

But water is so boriiing!

It’s generally recommended that we drink 2 liters of water per day. While other beverages contribute to this, one must bear in mind the caloric content of the non-water options and how these may offset an otherwise balanced diet. Just as we can make poor dietary choices when we’re hungry, we can also make poor choices with our drinks when we’re thirsty, reaching for a sugary juice or a diet soda (which has health issues of its own) to quench our thirst. The best way to remedy this is to invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it by your side at all times. Keep it on your desk at work and top it up every half hour (it’ll do you good to get out of your seat once in a while anyway). 

“But water is so boriiing!” I can hear you all thinking! Well, the good news is that if the idea of drinking plain old tap water is anathema to you, there are plenty of flavored waters which use natural ingredients and eschew the harmful additives that make diet soda so problematic. (This watermelon water is a fave.)

When you glug your way to 2 liters a day you will reap a wide range of health benefits, including…

Healthy immune function

We’re surrounded by many kinds of bacteria. Most of them are fairly benign, but some can lead to serious health problems. As the weather gets colder, many of us will be at risk of exposure to a nasty array of bugs and viruses. Fortunately, good hydration supports healthy immune function through the production of lymph. This fluid runs through your body collecting bacteria and transporting them to the lymph nodes where they are duly eradicated before they can cause harm.

Ridding your body of toxins

Another way good hydration keeps us healthy is by supporting kidney function. As most of us know, kidneys are vital in flushing toxins out of your bodies through your urine. Thus, the more water you drink, the better equipped you are to rid your body of potentially harmful toxins. This also helps to boost your immune system as your bodies’ resources aren’t getting used up helping out your kidneys.

Facilitating cognitive function

We all know that mental fugue that comes with not drinking enough water. Staying hydrated allows for better conduction of electrical impulses through the body, especially within the brain. When we stay hydrated our brains feel more alert and aware. Thus, staying hydrated is essential for those whose jobs require them to be alert and make quick decisions. (I would argue this is all jobs, right?)

What’s more, regular hydration helps to boost your brain’s production of melatonin; an essential hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. So, the more water you drink, the more restful your sleep.

So, there you have it. Get in the healthy habit of remaining hydrated wherever you go and your body will thank you!