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 Miami, FL. 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.

Savannah Bound! (+ a few links)

I’m off to Savannah, y’all! This Saturday, my dear friend Katie is marrying the love of her life! I can’t wait to celebrate such wonderful people in such a beautiful city. We’ve got a pretty packed schedule so I won’t be ’round these parts much until next week. I’ll be too busy drinking copious glasses of rosé and gushing over how beautiful my BFF looks in all her wedding-wear!!! (But feel free to follow me on Instagram.)

Here’s a few links before I go…

A course called Dolly’s America at the University of Tennessee is devoted to the life story of Dolly Parton + music, history, and Appalachian pride. Sign me up!

An archivist uncovers LIFE magazine’s mysterious quarter.

Light-skin-tone emojis are used far less often in the U.S. than their darker counterparts. Does shame explain the disparity?

Inside the underground anti-racist movement that brings the fight to white supremacists.

This adorable Jyn Erso cosplayer handed out Death Star plans to every Princess Leia.

Hope you have a great week! xoxo

Advertisements

Found: A Perfect Warm Weather Dish

orzo salad andie mitchell

Doesn’t this orzo salad recipe sound delicious? It would be perfect to whip up a big bowl on Sunday evening and munch on for lunch all week long. Or to bring along the next time you need to contribute a side! So fresh and zingy. It just seems like the most fantastic warm-weather dish.

Do you have any summer dishes you’re itching to bust out? It’s almost that time again!!!

P.S. A few other warm weather favorites that also fit the bill — Chicken Pad Thai Salad and Greek Quinoa Salad.

(Image by Andie Mitchell.) 

Do you play board games?

A few items on my FIND MORE DELIGHT LIST (namely “24 hour digital detox” and “play a super involved board game”) have me wondering — Do you play board games? And if so, what are your favorites? They always seem like a fun way to “log off” and spend a random evening with a partner or roommate. (But then I forget I think that and just turn on Netflix for the millionth night in a row.)

And what about when you have a group of friends over? Do you bust out a game or just sit around and chat?

In high school, my friends and I loved Balderdash and Scattergories and Taboo. These days, everyone seems to be into Cards Against Humanity…but I just don’t think it’s that fun. Alternatively, I think this game looks promising. As for “super involved” games–Settlers of Catan and Risk seem to be go-to’s but are there others I should look out for? (Like has anyone played this?) All suggestions are greatly appreciated!

P.S. Looking for games of a different sort? I recommend taking a trip to the arcade on rainy Saturday afternoons!

14 Ways to Take Meaningful Breaks

As the queen of leaving projects to the last minute, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to settle in for the long haul without losing my mind. I think we’ve all been there. (Especially if you’re someone who enjoys working under pressure.) The rest of life got in the way in the weeks leading up to a deadline, and you find yourself chained to your laptop with a marathon’s worth of work to tackle.

My secret to making it out unscathed? Meaningful breaks.

Choose an amount of time (like 45 minutes to an hour), set a timer, and start ticking things off the to-do list without stopping. Then, when the time is up TAKE A BREAK (like for 15-30 minutes).

Related: A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17 ]

Below, I’ve listed 14 meaningful breaks that I find helpful to cycle through as I hammer away on a project.

Take a shower.

This is especially helpful if you didn’t get a lot of great rest. Showers are like liquid sleep! Use a body wash like this one and breathe in deep. Massage your scalp as you lather up your hair. Get that blood flowing to your brain!

Fill up your water bottle.

Gotta stay hydrated! Fill up your favorite vessel and take time to drink as much as you like as you stare into space. Feelin’ fancy? Add some fruit or cucumbers or herbs and get a lil infusion action going.

Watch a YouTube video.

Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off for a few minutes. But turning on the TV or firing up Netflix may distract to the point of disaster. YouTube to the rescue! There’s a zillion different kinds of content to choose from (Cats! Makeup tutorials! Hydraulic press! Cooking miniature meals!) and most are a reasonable length. Go nuts for 10-15 minutes and then switch that brain back on.

Make a list of the day’s accomplishments.

I’ve mentioned this before, but a “shit I’ve already done list” can sometimes quell the panic of a seemingly insurmountable “shit I still need to do list.”

Eat a snack.

Go fix yourself something healthy to eat!

Love on your pet.

Taking care of someone else for a few minutes is a great way to snap out of it if you’re feeling like EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. So if you have a pet, go make sure they have food and fresh water. Take them outside to run or toss around a toy. Get out their brush for a lil grooming sesh. Give them lots of pets.

Head to your closet for a costume change.

I like to capitalize on the surge of productivity I feel as soon as I wake up…which usually means I’m in pj’s and then *whoops* several hours have gone by. So a simple costume change if you’re in my boat is to just go get dressed. But you can also change from your everyday clothes to workout clothes if you plan on working out later. Change from uncomfortable clothes to comfy ones. Or switch it up for a change of pace in the aesthetics department.

Handle a “personal admin” task.

You can’t press pause on life because you’re under a deadline. Reply to an email. Pay your phone bill. Grab groceries. Schedule that dentist appointment. You get the drift.

Work up a sweat.

One time, during a looooong (and boring) day of work-from-home projects, I did 10 push-ups/10 sit-ups/10 squats during every break. Not only did the time FLY by…but I was sore as heck the next day. Ha! For a less crazy approach, go for a jog outside or queue up a 30 min HIIT workout on YouTube. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch out.

Have a solo dance party.

Put on your favorite song and jam like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. Repeat until you’re sufficiently pumped.

Tidy up a little.

Just like with the “personal admin” tasks, tackling a quick chore or two will feel like you’re accomplishing something…even when your BIG accomplishment for the day is hours away. I like to do the dishes or make my bed. (Which also helps to make your space feel more productive.)

Chat with another human being.

Working on a project solo can start to feel really isolating. Pick up the phone and catch up with a friend or meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee.

Switch up your surroundings.

Usually if I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to pack up and head somewhere new. It’s amazing the second wind you can achieve just by heading to a second location!

Go for a walk.

Fresh air! Natural light! Even if you only circle the block, you might just have that break-through “A-HA!” moment once your legs are pumping and your mind is allowed to wander a little.

Over to you! What are your favorite ways to take meaningful breaks in the midst of a marathon work sesh? Share below!! xoxo 

P.S. 4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired and Let’s Talk Personality (Tests).

My Dream Living Room in 10 Easy Steps

living room inspiration
You know how when Oprah was touting The Secret, she told us we could turn our dreams into reality through the power of vision boards? Yeah? Well, sometimes I log onto Polyvore.com and next thing I know “OOPS!” several hours have passed and I tell myself…“You did it for Future-Beth’s dream home, kid. Someday she’ll thank you!” 
With that in mind, here’s my latest living room VISION BOARD. Peacock blue + neutrals + mid-century modern + mixed metals and woods. A dream room which, through 10 “easy” steps, could easily be turned into a home decor reality…

1. Dramatic, floor-length curtains.

I love these affordable panels from Target in a slate grey.

2. Over-sized prints – framed and hung prominently.

Something about pairing a raw, black & white photograph with a more ethereal and colorful, Impressionist-inspired painting makes me feel like the room is balanced.

3. Pretty details to create added interest.

Wouldn’t this botanical print from Refinery Paper Co. look sweet hanging by a brass binder clip? And wouldn’t it be fun to DIY a decoupage ampersand? Yes and yes!

4. Long sofa for streeeeetching out.

A three-seat sofa in a pretty peacock blue, please and thank you.

5. Upright lamp to shed light on the situation.

I like tall lamps with a long arm to create some depth. I also like not having to rely on harsh ceiling lights when I’m trying to get cozy with a good book.

6. A side table aka landing pad for morning cups of coffee and evening cocktails.

The pattern created by the metalwork on this side table mimics the interlaced fingers in the black & white photograph and that’s no accident. Drawing coordination inspiration from elements other than color is a favorite decorating tip of mine!

7. Funky armchair.

Normally asymmetry would drive me bonkers…but this chair has so much personality!

8. Geometric rug, featuring colors to tie it all together.

The gentle blue wave pattern adds a relaxing element.

9. Flickering candles and potted plants for added ambiance.

I love these simple lanterns with cut-out stars and succulents in a small copper planter.

10. A stunning marble coffee table.

Because I really hope marble never goes out of style!

Do you ever lose hours on Polyvore or Pinterest planning out your dream home? Would any of these 10 elements find themselves featured in your dream living room? Got any great resources for home decor inspiration? SHARE BELOW!!!

P.S. Cool Poster Round-Up! Cute Guest Room Round-Up!

mid-week round-up

Hi friends! What’s new with you? I finally watched a few more Oscar’s endorsed films over the weekend — Lion and Arrival. Highly recommend if you still haven’t seen them! Monday I was glued to my computer screen as I watched the results roll in from the National Forensics Association’s national tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Huge congratulations to the students and coaches at Western Kentucky University for taking home the win! I was a very proud Hilltopper. (And may or may not have gotten a little misty-eyed when the news broke that WKU closed out debate finals…as well as when 3 females from the team took top 3 in After Dinner Speaking. #4sup4ever)

I could gush about forensics forever but I’ll get to the links…

Unarmed. Not wearing a seatbelt. Running away. Police are more likely to shoot if you’re black. 

This looks like a fun read if you’re feelin’ wanderlust-y.

Related: My seven travel tips for airports and planes.

People waste years trying not to waste hours, says best-selling author of Moneyball.

Yesterday’s Taco Tuesday inspiration.

After watching Lion, I immediately donated to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. You should too!

Will circular runways ever take off? 

A new generation of hoarders has emerged — and they’re mobile.

A journey from Real World to homeless shelter.

Love Scandal? Create your own hit, prime-time show with Shonda’s help.

Quick, somebody “Saaave” Miami from Estrella Insurance’s sexist ads.

What it’s like to be a cheesemonger.

Related: Don’t Hide Your Hustle.

Take a hair quiz and get personalized shampoo + conditioner sent straight to your door.

P.S. Still feel like reading? Check out these Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Three Fun Office Updates and Book Review: Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace.

A Whimsical Round-Up

Honestly feeling too tired today to do anything but Google whimsical woodland gentlemen. And wouldn’t it be a little selfish of me to NOT share my findings? Obvi.

Here are 5 items you should probably purchase if you, like me, low-key wanted to marry David the Gnome when you were little because his main form of transportation was a FOX and he slept in a cupboard!

David the Gnome Tea Towel – $8.00

The More You Gnome Zen Garden – $29.99

Gnome Planner Stickers – $2.75

Rolling With the Gnomies Mug – $14.99

Cheeky Gnome Wrapping Paper – 5 sheets for $15 

Now I really want to DIY a dupe for that gnome zen garden. Maybe Dollar Tree still has fairy garden accessories for sale.

Ok, time to return to productivity and the far-less-whimsical real world. But no need for you to do the same! In fact, go ahead and click the “David the Gnome” link up top. You’ll be rewarded with 26 episodes of gnome shenanigans! You’re welcome.

(Illustration by Rien Poortvliet.)

March Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy April, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out past months HERE.) Here’s how I did in March…

March Resolution #1. Up my comment game on other blogs. 

I read, or at least scroll and skim, a RIDICULOUS amount of blog posts each week. As I mention in my very first post ever, I’ve been a fan of the medium since the early days. I had an online journal in the early aughts and, when that faded into obscurity, I followed several lifestyle bloggers with cult-like consistency.

When I was settling on resolutions, I tried to find a balance of betterment within every aspect of my life. So when I reflected on how I could make positive changes in how I approach blogging, I realized I need to stop being a lurker and start joining the conversation. (Not to mention, according to The Secret, you get what you give. And I’m tryin’ to get more blog comments, too. #keepinitreal)

So in March, I joined a few blogger Facebook groups and have tried to engage with folks as much as possible. We trade comments and brainstorm collaborations. It’s been a lot of fun!

There are still a TON of blogs I visit on the regs that I don’t often (or ever) comment on. I hope they’re happy to let me continue lurking. Haha!

Going forward: I’ll continue to stay active in the blogger groups I’ve joined. I’ll find a few non-group, new-to-me homies and resolve to comment on their posts with regularity. I’ll respond to the comments on my own posts when I want to keep the conversation going!

March Resolution #2. Keep fresh flowers in the house. Don’t scrimp on the anticipation aspect of travel. 

Yes, I switched this resolution mid-month. Whoops! But hear me out… When planning out each month’s resolutions in my journal I thought committing to a nice grocery store bouquet of flowers on the regular would be a worthy pursuit. Fast forward to every time I went grocery shopping in the first week or so of March and I realized I needed to scrap this idea. As I picked up and put down bouquets and mulled over price tags, I came to the conclusion that these colorful blooms just wouldn’t bring me enough happiness to justify their expense. And I’m ok with that.

So! Did I accept defeat and call it quits on having 2 resolutions for March? NOPE! Back to the drawing board.

Knowing that I had two upcoming trips in April, I chose to work on something that I’ve recently noticed about myself. I’m not so good at the anticipation aspect of travel. It’s like I know I have an upcoming trip but I tell myself NOT to think about it until the time draws near. This means I’m missing out! According to a 2010 study,  just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it.

I think shying away from anticipation is a holdover from college speech & debate. We traveled to so many tournaments throughout the year that there wasn’t really enough time to put a whole lot of thought into the process ahead of time. We just packed our suitcases and off we went. And then we did again the next week.

But now! I’m leaning into the planning and anticipation of travel. Googling, asking for recommendations, packing lists, “to-do before I leave” lists, etc, etc!

Going forward: I won’t try to trick myself into thinking my trips are spontaneous…I’ll relish in all the happiness they can give me before I even embark!!!

Alright friends, let’s keep things going in April!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Three months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!

mid-week round-up

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we ended up spending last week at home instead of in Louisiana. Boo! However, I did manage to get in some solid beach-time, do a little retail therapy, and devour the book Big Little Lies. (Have you watched the HBO adaptation yet? So good!!!) I’ve also been a busy little craftin’ bee! I made a few wreaths for a friend’s upcoming wedding, along with some Easter decor for the apartment. So I guess our cancelled trip wasn’t a total wash! What have y’all been up to? I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and here are some links for you to enjoy today (or bookmark for later)…

Equal pay is widely understood to be a feminist issue. So why isn’t the Fight for $15?

Related: The 78 Cents Project is a pro-bono resume consultancy
aimed at eradicating the gender wage gap.

The Pope Francis Laundry for homeless opens at the Vatican.

Stories from the almshouse records — women’s lives in in 1790’s NYC.

Stickers for every season. #obsessed

The place of food security in the battle over healthcare.

Budget freezer meals for the slow-cooker and oven!

Solid April line-up from Book of the Month.

Face massages are like pilates for your cheeks. (I’ve gotta start doing this! I feel like I carry a lot of tension in my face. Is that a thing?)

Related: How to make a baking soda face mask.

17 Spring looks with 12 clothing items you probably already have in your closet.

9 podcast episodes worth discussing.

Related: 8 podcasts to check out on your next road trip.

Curfews, sports, and understanding kids’ brain chemistry have all helped dramatically curb substance abuse in Iceland.

P.S. 2 Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 6 True-Crime Documentaries for Your Inner Detective and For the love of DOWNTON!

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

Hi guys! Last week was a lesson in rolling with it when plans change unexpectedly. Chet and I were planning on spending a few days in his hometown in Louisiana (I could almost taste the poboys and frozen daiquiris) before he presented at a conference at the local university. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare (and even bought new books at the airport bookstore for our journey!) But after delays at the gate, delays on the tarmac, and delays on the phone as we tried to figure out if there was any possible way we could get to Louisiana…we ended up in a Lyft headed back to our apartment. *DOH!*

Even though we didn’t make it to our destination, I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into my travel bags anyways. I felt like my one-bag packing mojo was pretty spot-on this time around and I’d kinda like to have a post to reference the next time I’m traveling for 2-3 days by plane. And maybe it will be useful to you as well!

[CLICK HERE TO HAVE MY ONE BAG TRAVEL CHEAT SHEET SENT TO YOUR INBOX!!]

As always, I’m a forever devotee of my Tom Bihn Synapse 19. The newest member of my packing accouterments entourage is the Tom Bihn Side Effect, an awesome place to store all the little things you might need access to without having to sling a backpack off your back (See also: purse). It’s a great, little companion for my Synapse. 🙂

So without further ado, here’s what I packed for a 2-day (+travel days) trip to Louisiana by plane…

In my Tom Bihn Side Effect 

Large Compartment

  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Small notebook
  • Headphones
  • Plane Tickets

Front Compartment

  • Keys
  • Pen
  • Chapstick

In my Tom Bihn Synapse 19

* click HERE for a break-down of the Synapse 19 pockets *

Main Compartment

Deep Center Pocket 

  • Liquids bag –
    • body wash
    • perfume
    • face wash
    • toothpaste
    • and BB cream
  • Deodorant

Shallow Center Pocket

  • Lara Bar x2
  • Kindle charger
  • Advil

Bottom Compartment

  • Sandals

Left Pocket

  • A ziploc bag full of trail-mix
  • Phone charger
  • Pen, Sharpie pen, Sharpie

Right Pocket

  • Tom Bihn stuff sack
    • feminine products
    • tweezers
    • razor
    • and hair ties + bobby pins
  • tooth brush
  • and a ziploc bag with 4 face wipes

Now that you know my travel essentials for a weekend away by plane, maybe it’s time for you to start planning a trip of your own!! If you’ve got something in the works, or are just feeling especially wanderlust-y, go ahead and CLICK HERE! I’ll send you a little cheat sheet of the info above (a bit more generalized, of course) so you can keep your bag light without forgetting a thing. Print it off whenever you need to take to the skies, and cross off the items as they get tucked in your pack. Happy travels!

[CLICK HERE TO HAVE MY ONE BAG TRAVEL CHEAT SHEET SENT TO YOUR INBOX!!]