All posts by Beth Berger

About Beth Berger

Hi there! Finding Delight is a lifestyle and lifelong learning blog written and curated by me in Alabama. Along the way, I attempt to tackle the rough real world with books, budget-livin', brainpower and all the beautiful stuff you can find when you really look. Won't you join me? The true delight is in the finding out.

3 Things That Can Ruin Moving Day (If You Let Them!)

3 things that can ruin your moving day*This post may contain affiliate links.*

It’s a bittersweet feeling when something familiar comes to an end. The transition from elementary school to the challenges of junior high, the last episode of a long running TV show, and even the end of a really, really good book can all provoke powerful emotions in us.

Moving from an old home to a new one is no different. No matter how much you love the prospect of your new home and neighborhood, it’s normal to feel more than a little apprehensive.

As much as you might be looking forward to making memories in your new home, meeting your new neighbors or facing the challenges of your new job, it’s more than likely that you’ll experience a few jitters about moving day. I know I did when we moved from South Florida to Alabama earlier this Summer. 

After all, a lot can go wrong. (I’ve moved enough times to know that firsthand!) But if you face potential risks head on and take steps to counter them ahead of time, you can look forward to a stress free and exciting moving day…

Bad movers –

Quite possibly the biggest threat to a harmonious move are bad movers. Whether they steal your possessions and claim they got “lost in transit” or simply don’t take proper care with your beloved fine china, your precious collectibles or your beautifully varnished mahogany wardrobe — a bad mover can make the already stressful experience of moving nightmarish. Do your research. Check out mybekins.com as an example. You should look for a company that is well established with years of experience and offers a solution that’s tailored to your personal needs. 

The weather –

Weather can make an easy move harder and a hard move intolerable, so it’s vital that you take steps to prepare for all the possibilities:

  • Hot weather means that you’ll get tired faster as you lift, carry and move heavy items from your home to the truck and back again and may put you at risk of heat stroke if you spend a lot of time in the sun. Do your best to take breaks and always stay hydrated.
  • Cold weather on the other hand can tighten your muscles and increase your risk of pulled muscles, sprains, slips and trips. You may feel goofy but a quick warm-up routine can go a long way to keeping your body safe during a cold-weather move. 
  • Rain can lead to problems on the road, reduced visibility and water damage to your possessions. I don’t really have any specific advice here other than to BE CAREFUL and take it as slow as needed to stay safe. It seems like every single time I move it decides to rain!

Improper organization –

Finally, a lack of organization can make moving day into an exercise in pandemonium. If your move is to go smoothly a good deal of planning and prep work needs to be in place before you even load your first box into the back of your car. Measure doorways and furniture in advance, ensure your moving truck has proper access to your building and make sure that your items are packed safely and properly. Write up a schedule for the big day and don’t be afraid to come equipped with Plans B, C, and even D! Things are bound to go wrong but prior preparation prevents poor performance! 

I’m curious – Do you have a nightmare moving day story you’d like to share below? Let’s learn from each other’s mistakes!

P.S. After you move, here are 8 tips for settling into a new home!

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This one small thing helped curb my procrastination…

Dearest reader – I must confess something to you. My whole life I have fallen victim to a pretty bad habit. PROCRASTINATION. I just love putting stuff off. Maybe you do too? Well today I thought I’d share something that has helped me drastically reduce my procrastination practice…

how to stop procrastinating

I started timing myself. Doing, like…all types of things. Things I didn’t want to do. (Like chores and lengthy email responses to clients.) Things I did want to do. (Like read a couple chapters of a book.) Stuff for work and stuff for this very blog.

I would start the timer. Do the task. Stop the timer.

Ok, ok. I know that sounds a little quirky…or maybe downright weird. Maybe you’re picturing me at my desk dressed like a high school gym teacher with an old school stop watch hanging around my neck. Well, a) phones and computers have timers so no need for a stop watch, and b) STAY WITH ME…

When I decided I wanted to curb my procrastination, I tried to identify what was causing me to put stuff off in the first place. And I found that usually it was because, in my brain, whatever I needed to do would just take too long. It would be a whole thing…an ORDEAL.

“Why start now? What if I can’t finish?”
“I’ll just edit this copy tomorrow when I have more time…”
“Oof, do a load of laundry?! That’s gonna have to wait until the weekend.”

For whatever reason, my conception of time was on the long side.  Like, for EVERYTHING. Mostly for things that didn’t sound appealing…but sometimes for things that did! (I’m lookin’ at YOU self-care!)

So I thought – “Let’s nip this temporal uncertainty in the bud once and for all!”

How long did it actually take to do the dishes and compile monthly analytics reports for clients and post fun Instagram stories? *Spoiler alert* Way less time than I initially thought! Suddenly there was less of a foreboding excuse looming nearby when I needed to get something done. I didn’t need to wait for that mythical 3 hour chunk of free-time later in the week. I had 10 minutes NOW.

how to stop procrastinating

Recently, I was doing some work for a client as I waited for a flight in the Lexington airport (free WiFi yay!). The gate agent came on the PA and announced that boarding was about to begin. A quick wave of panic washed over me because I still needed to create and schedule an email to go out to my client’s email list. My brain immediately tried to shift the work to later. “I’ll just have to buy WiFi at my layover airport, ” I thought. When I realized…WAIT. I know this will take me twenty minutes, at most! I’m in boarding Section 4… Let’s DO THIS!

Because I KNEW I could get it done in the allotted amount of time, I had no reason to procrastinate. I just banged it out and boarded the plane when I was done. (And subsequently spent my whole layover reading an awesome novel!)

Will this work for everyone? Maybe not. Your procrastination might be caused by a completely different thought-spiral than mine. But just in case you find yourself pushing things back in your calendar (and back…and back again…)–GIVE IT A TRY! The results may surprise you. Now, go be productive! You’ve got time.

How do you deal with procrastination? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. The one small thing I do every day to put myself in a good mood…

List 4: Today’s Playlist

A new series in which I share lists which I hope will help you to get to know me better. Why? Because I started this blog what feels like forever ago and there’s bound to be some new faces peering in once and awhile! So 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! (+ it’s the summer and I can give myself some grace when it comes to not posting overly-elaborate blog posts.)

today's playlist finding delight

Today’s playlist…

Laughing With by Regina Spektor
You Don’t Know Me by Ben Folds
New Rules by Dua Lipa
Junk-Drawer Sorrow by Frontier Ruckus
Level Up by Ciara
Want Some More by Nicki Minaj
Wildflower by Dutchkid
Shout by The Isley Brothers
Partition by Beyonce
Tee Pees 1-12 by Father John Misty
Feel Like Dancin’ by RuPaul
Come and Get Your Love by Redbone
Stronger Than Me by Amy Winehouse
Acid Tongue by Jenny Lewis
Back to You by Selena Gomez
Missing U by Robyn

and forever and always,
any and all songs from Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers’ VAN SESSIONS.

Plus the podcasts —
Household Name
Call Your Girlfriend
and Trillbilly Worker’s Party

Note: I have about a million podcasts in my subscription feed but I’m HORRIBLE at finding new music…I just listen to the same stuff over and over again (or to whatever’s on the radio #FMLover4Lyfe), so…

Tell me what music you’re listening to in the comments below! I’ll be sure and add it to my playlist tomorrow. xoxo 

[And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 
LIST 3]

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this Wednesday? Is it feeling like a classic “hump day” to you too? (Certainly not helping anything that it’s storming where I am!) Oh weekend, where ARE you already? Anywho, hope the rest of your week flies by, and in case you feel like sneaking in some cheeky reading when you *should* be working…I got ya covered…

Ido Portal teaches famous athletes how to use their bodies in entirely new ways. But is it all snake oil?

Here’s what it looks like when you write a book as if it’s a TV show.

Related: Binge-Worthy TV Shows

17 real-life would-you-rathers.

On repeat. (Also, very into the choreography in the video.)

Peace, love and photo editing. Get your pics groovin’ in no time with PicMonkey.

How people in 50 different countries find their zen.

Related: The Power of Self-Care

This soap is freaking adorable!

These planners are the hit if you’re headed back to school soon.

Related: A fun planner hack!

This story made my jaw drop…

…then I listened to this podcast, which told a similar tale, and was like WHAT THE WHAT?

Why must we force female superheroes to wear terrible red wigs?

Page-turner alert!

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Coffee Date! and What’s Your Favorite Podcast?

Our Cotton Anniversary Couch (+ a 2nd Anniversary Gift Idea Round-Up)

cotton anniversary couch

Hey friends! Chet and I recently celebrated our SECOND YEAR of marriage and we marked the occasion with a….couch?! That’s right, in honor of our 2nd anniversary we replaced our old (and very worn) Ikea number and got the absolute BABE of a sofa pictured above. I mean it IS fabric and there’s probably some cotton in there somewhere, right? (IDK I’m not a textile expert or anything.)

I’m still a far way off from the entryway of my dreams as you can see above, but I just had to share this lil home decor update anyways. So in love with this couch, you guys!

[Related: Check out all my posts about our wedding HERE.]

couch leg on the corner of a rug(Please disregard the staple that was left behind from the packaging which I carelessly forgot to remove because I was too excited but thankfully got rid of before it impaled anyone’s ankles, AHEM!)

I also gifted Chet with a pair of shoes and he got me 5 lovely hosta seedlings that we planted in our backyard along the house. Year 2 was pretty terrific!

Now, in honor of this marriage milestone, I thought I’d round-up a few “Cotton Anniversary” gift ideas. (Just in case you’re not buying the whole couch as cotton option, lol!)

 

2nd Anniversary Gift Ideas:

Pajamas,
Neck Tie or Scarf,
Bathrobes,
Apron,
Hammock,
Plant Hanger,
Throw Blanket,
Table Cloth and Napkins,
Decorative Pillows,
Bed Sheets,
or Your Wedding Vows Printed on Cotton Paper.

Have you celebrated any fun milestones lately? How did you mark the occasion? 

Act Locally: 5 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Neighborhood

how to make a difference in your neighborhood*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Have you ever heard the phrase THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY? I’m a big believer in the idea that making changes on a global scale can (and should) start close to home. Do you agree?

Because we moved this summer, I have a whole new town to get to know. And with that, comes some responsibility.

I want to make a difference at this NEW local level…but how do I get started? 

You might be in a similar boat. Lately, I’ve been brainstorming ways I can “act locally” to make a difference in my new community. So I thought I’d share some of my ideas and I hope you’ll share yours in the comments below!

5 ways to make a difference in your neighborhood…

Support a Local Nonprofit

Do your research about local nonprofits who are working to make your community a better place. If you find one that supports a cause close to your heart, look into ways you can support the organization. Send in a donation or volunteer your time. Be sure to sign up for their mailing lists (or add them on social media) so you can stay in the know about their upcoming events and new ways to participate/show your support!

Volunteer Your Time

Along with volunteering for those nonprofits, you could also volunteer your time to help a local community service. There might be quite a few in your neighborhood that can’t afford to employ full-time staff and rely on the help of volunteers. Think: Staffing for your local library’s book sale, eating lunch with students at the neighborhood elementary school, or maintaining the walking trail at the park up the street. Whether you can offer an hour of your time or an entire day, the community will be grateful for your service.

Work FOR the Community, Not Just IN It

Re-frame your professional relationship with your neighborhood. Your community shouldn’t just be a location. Consider ways you can make the community a better place through your work. Network with other local businesses and professionals and brainstorm ways to lift up this place you all call HOME.

If you’re looking for a new career or are just starting out — there are lots of jobs and careers that focus on helping your community and the people who reside their. Social work, teaching, working in healthcare, and first-responders are all great options to explore. 

[Related: Wilfrid Laurier University now offers an online master of social work that you can work towards at home. Check it out!]

Be a Good Neighbor

Like it or not, you are in a relationship with your neighbors. So it’s best to do what you can to make that relationship a good one. Respect their property (and, honestly, their view of your property; ie. don’t leave your outdoor space lookin’ like a hot mess!), help them out when you can (without expecting anything in return), and treat them how you’d like to be treated (as in, don’t mow your lawn at 6am on a Saturday if you don’t wanna listen to their loud music at 1am on a Thursday–ya dig?). Also, check in on elderly neighbors and keep an eye on kiddos playing outside. It takes a village and all that.

Take Care of the Environment

No one likes a litter-bug! If your local area has a litter problem, consider organizing a clean-up or litter pick. Round up a few of those neighbors (who all love you thanks to the tips mentioned above) and head out with the aim of clearing up some of the mess. You could also lead the charge on setting up a community compost. Composting not only transforms waste into soil (which you could use for a community garden!), but it also cuts greenhouse gas emissions from the breakdown of organic matter in landfills. 

Other ideas for taking care of the environment in your ‘hood:
* Grow or make your own food and organize swaps with your neighbors.
* Advocate to make your community more walkable and bikeable.
* Shop local and join a CSA.
* Plant trees.
* Keep your lawn-care eco-friendly.
* Team up with local officials to create more green spaces (or preserve those that already exist).

Alright babes. What would you add? I’m all ears. How do you make a difference in YOUR neighborhood? What are the ways you act locally to impact the world? Tell us!

My Latest Le Tote (+ Outfits)

I’ve had a subscription to the clothing rental service – Le Tote – for over a year now(!) and I realized I’ve never done a dedicated post about it. What the what!?

You can bet your bottom dollar that if I commit to anything for over a year it has the Beth Berger stamp of approval. But, in case you’re curious, let me tell you why I love it so much…

I. hate. making. decisions! Ok…so that probably wasn’t the reason you were expecting. I also love clothes, love having new things to wear, and…truth be told…HATE shopping. Le Tote curates a bunch of cool clothing items and accessories for me to add to my virtual closet. Then they select a few of these picks and ship me a box of goodies. I wear them once or twice, return and repeat! So I get new outfits on the regs without any of the work. Score!

[MORE DETAILS and FAQ’s HERE]

Where does my hatred of decisions come in? Well, not only do I not have to shop and decide what to buy…but I also don’t have to make as many outfit decisions. I just pair my Le Tote pieces with my preexisting, streamlined wardrobe and I’m out the door!

Here’s my most recent tote + a few of the outfits I put together this week to show ya what I’m talkin’ about…

Le Tote Haul —

Embroidered Blouse from Octavia

Tie Knot Tee from Summer & Sage

Stitch Detail Pants from Hayes

Fabric Ball Necklace from Ava

Turquoise Short Pendant from The Sak

Le Tote Outfits —

With this haul, I was able to put together a couple more casual outfits as well as a few biz-cas options. Now I can send back the pieces (no laundry necessary!) and wait for my next goodies to come in the mail. (Did I mention I also love mail? Add that to the PRO column, lol.)

Outfit #1

Outfit #2

Outfit #3

Outfit #4

Oh, and if you fall in love with a piece you can purchase it at a pretty deep discount for the quality of item you’re receiving! (Remember: these items have been worn by other ladies out there. So the discount isn’t due to quality, it’s because they’re used. Which I’m kinda into, but others might take issue with.) I try to keep a pretty minimal core wardrobe but there have been a few pieces I couldn’t let go of — like a high quality pair of yoga pants, a denim jacket, and that sweet lil red purse pictured above!

Anywho, enough of my rambling! If you have questions about Le Tote, please feel free to drop them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them/give you my honest opinion.

AND if you’d like to check out Le Tote for yourself…

Click here to get your 1st Le Tote box FREE! 

P.S. Let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this. I’d be happy to share future totes!
P.P.S. Fuh real tho…go get a free box! xoxo

List 3: I’m Looking Forward To…

A new series in which I share lists which I hope will help you to get to know me better. Why? Because I started this blog what feels like forever ago and there’s bound to be some new faces peering in once and awhile! So 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! (+ it’s the summer and I can give myself some grace when it comes to not posting overly-elaborate blog posts.)

I am looking forward to…

Meeting my nephew in person.

Autumn.

Exploring new-to-us places in Madison/Huntsville/Decatur
with my husband.

Finishing a few writing projects I have in the works…

…and launching another project I’m working on with my BFF.
(*More on both of these soon!!!)

Organizing my craft supplies.

Learning all the best routes in my new hometown.

My birthday.

Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

Tell me what you’re looking forward to in the comments below! xoxo

[ And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 ]

The 10 Most Recent Additions to My Reading List

what to add to your reading list summer 2018

I’ve talked before about my stupidly long reading list, so today I thought I’d share some books I’ve recently added!

Whenever I hear about a cool book on a podcast, read a great author review, or a friend recommends a page-turner they just finished; I’m quick to jot the title and author down. Now, if only there were a few more hours in the day that I could devote to tackling my list!

Here are the latest additions…

1. The Year They Tried to Kill Me: Surviving a Surgical Internship…Even if the Patients Don’t by Salvatore Iaquinta, MD
A follow-up read to my binge watch of ER.

2. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Seems right up my Downton Abbey alley!

3. Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life by Carol Decker with Stacey L. Nash
 The author’s interview on this blog post really struck a chord. 

4. The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
Another addition thanks to an author interview. This time on a podcast

5. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD
Always down for a good pop-sci read and this one’s cover is especially cheeky. 

6. Night Moves by Jessica Hopper
Recently devoured a couple novels by Emma Straub and she recommended this book/author!

7. Educated by Tara Westover
EVERYONE is talking about this book.

8. The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky by Jana Casale
The way this story is structured sounded interesting to me. 

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Feels like an important read given the current state of things. 

10. Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
This book is the most ME sounding thing ever and it is set in Kentucky!

[ Plus, just for fun, here are 10 non-book things I’ve recently added to my Amazon Wish List:

An air purifier,
This pillow,
Slouchy denim jacket,
A-line denim skirt,
Reusable straws,
This gorgeous blanket,
A cruelty free mascara,
Magnesium supplement that tastes like watermelon,
Handy-dandy water purifier,
and a straightening brush. ]

Where do you get your book recommendations? Any blogs or podcasts that clue you in to the best reads? (A Cup of Jo and Call Your Girlfriend usually knock it out of the park for me.) 

6 Reasons You Should Be Sleeping More

6 ways lack of sleep damages your personal and professional life*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Sleep is a lot like money; we all want it, it can help in so many ways, but it can be difficult to get. 

It almost seems like everyone I talk to is tired. A few years ago I put the kibosh on making small talk with co-workers about being tired because it felt so non-unique. After all, we’re ALL tired! Right? So much so that it’s weird when you see someone that isn’t yawning every other second.

Not getting enough sleep once or twice per week isn’t that much of an issue, but consistently sleeping under 6 or 7 hours per night will start to take its toll on your life.

Getting adequate sleep every night is high on my priority list but I know there are folks out there who balk at the idea of making it a priority. If you’re unconvinced, here are just a few of the ways your life can be negatively impacted by a lack of sleep:

how does lack of sleep affect professional life

You become forgetful

Are you falling victim to the mind-blank? This forgetfulness could stem from not getting enough sleep for the previous few nights. By not getting enough rest you’re working your brain too hard, and you start to forget things. The science speaks for itself

You start turning up late every morning

What happens when you wake up every morning feeling more and more tired? You turn off your alarms and go back to sleep because your body literally can’t wake itself up. As a result, you oversleep and show up late. You don’t need me to tell you that lateness isn’t a quality most bosses welcome. Hell, even if you own your own business, waking up late can cause you to spend your whole day trying to catch up! Falling out of love with your job is one thing, but persistent tardiness, even at a job you DO love, sends a message to your superiors and clients that you’re not fully committed. 

why you need to sleep more

You lose confidence

Not sleeping? Look out for the dreaded panda eyes. You know what I’m talking about, the dark patches of skin under your eyes that cause even random strangers to start remarking that you “look tired.” (Which, even when well-intentioned, can kinda sting!) Dark circles can leave you feeling pretty down about the way you look. Thankfully, the antidote is pretty simple (SLEEP, girl. Sleep!) and there are even things like the SiO smoothing patches to help counteract the damage that’s already been done!

Your concentration goes out the window

Have you ever tried concentrating on something when you’re tired? Honestly, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. All your brain is telling you is to close your eyes and get some sleep. (Or, you’re just thinking about how tired you are, which takes your focus away from everything else that you should be doing!)

This has consequences in your professional life, but also in your personal life. In a workplace, you can’t afford to switch off and lose concentration. A momentary lapse of concentration is all it takes to do something potentially catastrophic at work. (Not to be hyperbolic but f’real. Sometimes poorly worded emails are a catastrophe in MY book!) On a personal level, your relationships can suffer if you’re unable to pay attention during conversations because you’re so dang drowsy.

You become emotional

Another consequence of not sleeping enough is that you become more stressed and mentally drained. When you’re stressed, it’s almost like you’re living your life on a tightrope and any little thing can cause you to lose your balance. Alongside upping your nightly intake of sleep, work on relaxation techniques every morning and evening, and make time for meditation and deep breathing sessions to keep calm and centered.

You start exhibiting risk-taking behavior

Here’s an article that looks at sleep deprivation and how it affects risk-taking behavior. While the study discusses teen sleeping habits specifically, I think it’s an interesting look at the cause and effect lack of sleep can have on one’s life. Unfortunately, turning to stimulants, like caffeine, to get through a rough day, is certainly not a uniquely teenage behavior. Worth a read!

Convinced you should be sleeping more but not sure HOW? Here are some helpful tips from the article mentioned above:

  • Set regular bedtime hours.
  • Create a peaceful and device-free environment (screens off about an hour prior to turning in).
  • Take a warm bath or shower, not too hot though as that raises the body temperature and it can take a while to cool back down.
  • Keep the routine going throughout the week and weekend.
  • Both physical activity and eating healthy foods has been linked to a more zzz’s.
    From How Teen Sleep Deprivation Leads to Risk-Taking Behaviors, Psychology Today (Jun 1, 2018)

I’m curious, how many hours of sleep do you normally get each night? Do you find yourself falling victim to any of these issues when you start to sleep less? Or do you function just fine without a lot of zzz’s? Let me know!