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.
View all posts by Beth Berger →
When I share about great YouTube channels here on the blog, it’s usually something I’ve discovered fairly recently. Today I want to share about an old favorite. Kirsten Dirksen has been posting videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small homes, backyard gardens, alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life on her YouTube channel for over a decade. I’m pretty sure my discovery of her videos pre-dates this blog!
Dirksen’s videos are always calming, fascinating, and beautifully produced. She showcases what ordinary life is like in these extraordinary abodes and asks the inhabitants really insightful questions. Admittedly, I’m a big fan of any content about tiny homes or that offer home tours. But none that I’ve come across really dig into the philosophy behind the living spaces quite like this one.
Here are some great tours, if you’re down to watch —
And this tour of a 90-square-foot apartment in Manhattan was my introduction to this channel. A decade old and honestly…it holds up! 😉
What YouTube channels did you discover years ago and still love? Tell me in the comments below!
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed everyone’s life in some way. Whether you or a loved one have battled through the virus or you’re just spending way more time at home, jobs and careers are the main parts of our lives that have been upturned.
25% of U.S. adults say that they, or someone in their household, have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s a massive statistic. Even if you haven’t lost your job, there’s no doubt that your career will have been affected somehow. Maybe you’re working from home. Maybe you’re working less because of restrictions. Or maybe, the pandemic has put your career into perspective, and you know it’s time to try something new.
However you’ve been affected, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The world is at your fingertips with an absolute plethora of learning options moving online. Now’s the time to embrace it! You can retrain, add to your arsenal or even explore working from home options that might not have been viable before.
Today, we’re going to look at a few ways that online learning can change your career for the better. There’s a possibility for everyone, no matter your skill level or the size of your wallet.
Retraining may be the most obvious way to make the most of online learning options. If you’ve lost your job, retraining can be a brilliant way to move your career forward. Especially if the pandemic has hit your field of work particularly hard. The best way to start is to use online guides that help you navigate degree options available to you. It can be a real minefield with a wide range of degrees and qualifications on offer. Utilizing these guides means you can identify the path you need to take to get to your desired end goal.
It’s also crucial to find out precisely what you want to do. Make a list of what you enjoy doing, what skills you already have, and what career path you’d fancy doing. Remember, don’t just think about the money you’ll make; enjoying your job sounds cliché but can change your life.
This comes from a place of privilege, though. Not all of us have the level of financial security that allows us to explore our dreams. If that’s the case, think about finding a balance between what you want to do and a good pay packet. Or, instead of retraining, think about bumping up your CV instead to make yourself more hireable. (Check out the “Add to your repertoire” section below.)
Once you know what you want to do and have figured out the path to take, you’ll want to choose the best course for you. Did you know the top Colleges in the U.S. now offer online versions of their classes and degrees? There’s a vast offering out there that’ll fit your budget and needs.
Add To Your Repertoire
Taking the time to retrain in a new work field isn’t always the best option available for us. Maybe you don’t have the freedom to take time away from family obligations to concentrate on courses. Or you might still be working and can’t commit that much time to learn.
If that’s the case, finding some simple, cheap, and quick courses that make your CV shine is a great place to start. If you’ve lost your job, then these courses will help you stand out from the crowd and help you get hired fast. If you want to go in a new direction, they can help you gain expertise in your new field without long term commitment. There’s a massive amount of these simple courses available, so try using a website that brings many of them together in one place. It saves you spending hours sifting through them on Google.
If you’re really squeezed for cash – thanks to the pandemic, who isn’t – some websites even offer free courses and financial aid. So you don’t have to feel like there isn’t anything you can do. You don’t have to stay trapped in a job you hate. Nor do you have to feel like your skills aren’t up to par.
Explore Unused Skills
Suppose you’re looking for something totally different or want to bump up your current pay. In that case, you can explore your unused talents! Pretty much everyone has some skill that they don’t use for money. Many of us like to keep them for personal hobbies, but if you decide you’d like to take that further, it couldn’t be easier.
Maybe you have an Arts degree or can write like Shakespeare; there are apps available to help you find freelance work. Try something like Fiverr for a quick way to sell your skills online.
If you’re unsure where to start, try an online course directed at creating your own business. It’ll help you navigate everything that’s involved; tax and accounting can be a special kind of nightmare that online courses can help relieve. Skillshare is an excellent place for hints and tips about becoming a freelancer. The classes aren’t accredited, so they won’t find a place on your CV, but they’ll give you some much-needed knowledge. If all else fails, make the most of Youtube. It’s true what they say, there’s a video about everything on there.
The pandemic has hit some of us more than others, and losing your job will only add to its stress. Use this guide to help you concentrate on yourself for a bit and what you want. Then, looking for a new job or career will be a little bit easier than before.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of what’s available – if it was, you’d be here for a very long time! Take the time to find out what’s best for you and your situation. We’re all dealing with different things right now, so all our experiences are individual.
Online learning really can change your career for the better. Now’s the perfect time to make the most of it – especially the free options!
It can be increasingly challenging to find fun things to do when you are stuck at home. However, as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that we all do our part to take care of others – and that means staying at home when possible. However, that does not mean you can’t have fun – especially if you have to celebrate a birthday at home!
With that in mind, here are some great stay-at-home party ideas!
Start the day off by sleeping in
Getting out of bed in the morning is always difficult. So, a great way to start birthday celebrations at this time is to enjoy a few extra minutes in bed. Turn off your alarm clock and ensure you get all the rest you need!
Ordinarily, you may try to be careful about what you eat – especially after the holidays, which are full of delicious indulgences. However, your birthday (or the birthday of someone you live with) is a great excuse to indulge in some tasty treats. Don’t limit the good food until the evening – celebrate all day with a range of delicious meals. Cook your favorite breakfast, order take out for lunch, make the most of your extra time and bake a cake (or two) to enjoy!
You could even take baking to the next level by hosting a contest with your partner, kids, or housemates!
Schedule some calls
By now, you’ve probably attended your fair share of zoom parties. Although you might be getting a bit sick of them, this is a great way to connect with your friends and family if you cannot meet in person. If you can’t face yet another zoom quiz, there are plenty of fun alternatives that the whole family can get involved in. For example, you can turn popular games such as Pictionary or Bingo into virtual versions. Alternatively, there are a range of online games you can take part in – no matter where you are in the world.
Play some games
After your Zoom calls, you might want to play some in-person games with those that live in your home. Whether that means you dust off your favorite board game or download a new game – the choice is yours.
However, you could also go for something a little different and set up a themed cornhole game. Cornhole worldwide (https://www.cornholeworldwide.com/themed-cornhole-games/) have a variety of cornhole games for sale – and they are sure to bring a smile to your face. Remember, to take plenty of photos for your grid!
Dress fancy (or not)
This is your birthday – so how you celebrate it is truly up to you. If you like to dress fancy on your birthday and head out for a meal – why not don your favorite outfit as you head into the dining room? Just because you are indoors does not mean you can’t look fabulous. However, if you don’t fancy getting dressed and would rather have a pajama party – what’s stopping you?
Have you celebrated a birthday in lockdown? What activities were a slamdunk for you?
The pandemic has introduced new ways of approaching your spare time and thinking about your health. As a result, you’ve probably been looking at ways of making self-isolation productive! If we’re brutally honest, Netflix and Chill has become a new way of life in many households. What’s not to like about it? You can sit back on the sofa all in the name of staying safe and healthy.
But have you ever considered that Netflix could be a surprisingly effective source of inspiration? Don’t assume that your time spent watching TV has to be synonymous with laziness. In fact, you’d be pleased to discover that a lot of watchers are turning to the small screen for life inspiration, guidance, and a creative boost. Here are some shows to consider —
Lose yourself into the tidy world of Marie Kondo
Being at home for such an extended period, surrounded by all your stuff, can feel mentally exhausting. Clutter weighs on your mind, and it affects your mood dramatically. Did you know that sitting in a cluttered room can make you feel angry and sad? While if you were to sit in the same room in a decluttered environment, you are less likely to experience negative feelings. Nobody better than Marie Kondo can explain the joys of decluttering. If you are unsure how to start decluttering your home, watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo can provide plenty of positivity. Kondo’s approach sparks joy in the household, which is all the motivation you need to get started.
Discover the relatable Venus of Daegu
Oh My Venus is a romantic tv show from South Korea that follows the journey of a young woman from Daegu, aka our Venus of Daegu, through her weight loss challenge. The show reflects on health rather than weight loss when it comes to beauty. More importantly, it also highlights the need for self-healing, both mentally and physically through exercise and mindfulness. If you’ve fallen off the track in your fitness journey, this show could be your wake-up call as you meet Venus’s coach, the inspirational character who makes health a priority in her life. Perhaps if you already have a healthy approach to fitness, the show can help you understand how some people can develop unhealthy and harmful habits. And for any fitness enthusiasts, it could even be the show that makes you want to become a health coach yourself. After all, as Oh My Venus reveals, watching your clients get strong and fit is the best reward.
Bake your own creation
It came as a shock to fans when Netflix didn’t renew The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t dive into McConnell’s world of quirky creatures and mind-blowing creative baking. McConnell is a talented Instagram influencer who uses her creative skills in thematic baking and styling. There’s something oddly inspiring about her Halloween treats, from a realistic chocolate and peanut butter bone to the mesmerizing house-shaped cake. But, what’s more exciting about this marvelous little show is that it awakens your inner child. Sure, it’s too late for Halloween bakes, but you could certainly apply McConnell’s tips to make a Christmas village cake, too!
In short, it’s hard to understand why the phrase Netflix and Chill has become so popular when, in reality, it should be Netflix and Inspire. There’s so much to discover that you’ll be buzzing with new ideas after a few hours!
Hi friends! Today, I’d like to offer you a few more book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I started a bookish series here on the blog to do just that for YOU. (Here’s part 1!Here’s part 2! Here’s part 3!)
In each post, I recommend books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!
If you loved Ruth Ware’s ability to concoct a setting so compelling it started to feel like it’s own character, you should check out The Winters which transports readers to the Asherley estate. The Winters is a creepy and spooky modern retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca set amongst the wealthy elite in the Hamptons. Much like The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Lisa Gabriele writes an enjoyable psychological thriller that plays out inside a grand house and includes all the twists and turns that go along with strange family dynamics, inheritances, and – of course – murder.
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.
If you tore your way through Suzanne Collins’s dystopian young adult novel about a group of teens representing their districts by fighting to the death on live TV, you should pick up Ryan Graudin’s historical reimagining in which the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan commemorate their Great Victory by hosting a motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. Wolf by Wolf includes everything you loved about The Hunger Games and throws in a dash of The Man in the High Castle for good measure — asking, “What if the Nazis won the war?”
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the Axis Tour and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
Ok, if you’ve read both of these books you may think this is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Anthony Doerr and Dane Huckelbridge are both incredible writers. The prose in both these books is so beautiful and breath-taking, without ever feeling heavy handed. While the plots are quite different, they are similar in that they constantly come up against odds — whether at the hands of war or a plane crash — and yet humanity flourishes. Not to mention there’s a lot of French language interwoven throughout Castle of Water, and that, combined with the writing style and haunting passages about a short-wave radio, made for a reading experience that gave me some serious All the Light We Cannot See vibes. If you liked one, I’m confident that you’d like the other!
For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.
Both of these books are expertly researched, sociological looks at the lives of real teenagers in America. Robbins’s book covers popularity and psychology, while Younge explores gun violence. Quite different subject matter but the execution is similar in it’s careful reporting, meticulous interviews, and thought-provoking conclusions. If you are an educator of or advocate for teens, both of these books are must-reads.
On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you more posts in this series in the future! Do you have any book recommendations for me based on the eight books above? POP ‘EM BELOW!! xoxo
With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, it’s a great excuse to curl up with a truly terrifying tale! Grab a PSL, your favorite throw blanket, and a handful of fun size candies and make a whole dang day of it. To set the mood even further, I recommend popping on an Autumn Ambience video.
If you feel like binge reading a scary book this Halloween, here are three I would recommend…
The year is 1969, a cultural revolution is taking place, and sex, drugs and rock n roll are at the forefront. Enter a charismatic man (based on the likes of Charles Manson) who lures in young followers desperate to be a part of something larger than themselves and leads them into a life of deception, abuse and murder.
Evie, now in her 50’s, is looking back at her time in this cult as a teenager and the horrific crimes they committed that forever left an imprint on American history.
This is a perfect pick if you’re not especially fond of thrillers or horrors but still want a spooky read that will totally consume you on Halloween. You’ll fly through this one! And it’s that much scarier knowing the story, although fiction, is inspired by true events.
Now, if you ARE up for a thriller, this is an excellent one.
Our main character is a woman whose wealthy and hunky husband, Richard, has left her for a younger woman. After their divorce she went from living a life of luxury to sharing an apartment with her aunt and working a retail gig.
She learns of her ex-husband’s plans to remarry and the book takes off from here. However, the back cover copy warns readers to “assume nothing” and this is especially apt. There are so many twists and turns to this one and the less you know going in the better!
Author Grady Hendrix says in the intro that he wanted write a book that pit Dracula against his mom. Who can resist a premise like that?
If you prefer your scary books to be more on the side of horror and gore…with a pinch of humor thrown in for good measure… I highly recommend picking this one up this Halloween.
A group of southern women, fed up with the stuffy/WASPy book club they’re a part of, branch off and form their own group dedicated to reading true crime novels. Next thing you know a new neighbor is clamoring to join their club and he just so happens to be a vampire. This is a “blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.”
Which of these would YOU choose? Will you be reading anything spooky this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.
Enjoy the rest of your week, ghouls and goblins!!! 👻
I’ve picked up a few new books that I’d love to share with you today! My birthday was last week and not only was I gifted with some lovely books, I also went on a little shopping spree myself. One of my favorite things in the world to do is shop for used books — at thrift stores, second hand book shops, garage sales, you name it. I love finding book bargains! However, the pandemic hasn’t really allowed for that particular hobby to take place. So, for my birthday I decided to treat myself to a haul from ThriftBooks.com. Here’s what I picked up…
The Night She Diedby Dorothy Simpson – This is a British mystery featuring Detective Inspector Luke Thanet. I thought this would be a fun one to read around Thanksgiving or Christmas time because nothing says cozy to me like a procedural murder mystery!
Brazil by John Updike – For some reason I’ve never gotten around to picking up this modern classic even though it’s been on my list forever. I think I’m going to pick this one up as soon as I finish my current read. I just can’t resist the 90s charm of this edition’s cover.
Matildaby Roald Dahl – Just a childhood classic that I couldn’t resist for the price. I love all the illustrations by Quentin Blake and I’m happy to have this in my “formative books from my youth” collection.
The Martianby Andy Weir – Another book that’s been on my list forever. I’ve of course seen the movie but I hear the book is even better. 😉 (Hard to imagine!) I’ve been craving more sci-fi set in space since reading The Sparrow and giving it a solid 5/5 stars.
Call Me By Your Nameby Andre Aciman – I’ve also seen this movie… I’m not one of those people that feels like they have to read a book first. If anything, seeing film adaptations makes me MORE likely to pick up a book after the fact — usually encouraging me to read something I wouldn’t normally be drawn to. I feel like that’s the case with this one. The movie was so beautiful that I want to be re-transported to that world!
Kate: The Future Queenby Katie Nicholl – I recently got it in my head that I want to have a little trio of books on my shelf — Diana, Kate, and Meghan — so that’s what this is for. When you’re thrifting your books on the super cheap, I feel like you can indulge in dumb whims. This is one of mine! LOL
Now let’s look at the books I was sweetly gifted…
The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case – My mom sent this one over to me and it was something I had put on my birthday wish list. If you read my recent blog series on mental health practices based on enneagram types, you know I’m currently pretty obsessed. This is a fantastic resource!
This is Going to Hurtby Adam Kay – Another gift from my mom! This one is a memoir by a junior doctor on the NHS front line. My mom knows I’m drawn to any media about medicine and I can’t wait to dive into this one. I hear it is equal parts hilarious and heart wrenching.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor – Finally, Real Life was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. This one looks AMAZING and comes very highly recommended by many of my most trusted reviewers.
Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Have you acquired any new books lately?
Most of us have been doing pretty much everything from home for the past 6+ months. Being around all our…stuff…ALL THE TIME for that long can start to feel a little overwhelming. It’s a lot easier to ignore clutter when you’re at an office 8 hours a day, exploring the city all weekend long, and traveling for vacations whenever you please. That’s just not our reality right now.
So today I’m going to share a decluttering challenge inspired by the quarantine of the last few months! Let’s get to clearing out the clutter, shall we?
Pick a week and declutter the following —
Day 1 – Your home office space.
Whether this is a dedicated room in your home or not, your living space serving double duty as your working space probably means you’ve acquired some additional stuff. For me, this means scrap paper scrawled with to do lists, meeting notes, and writing assignment outlines stuffed in just about every place one can imagine. Go through all your #WFH clutter and see what can get tossed.
Day 2 – Masks that didn’t work out.
You probably tried a few different types of mask before you settled on your go-to. This is a necessary and life-saving accessory but even still, they took some getting used to. If you have a collection of masks you panic bought that don’t actually fit or aren’t comfortable, pass them along. You know what works for you! And you’ll feel a lot more comfortable about investing in a few more of your favorite version, if you don’t have a drawer full of the cast offs.
Day 3 –Games you don’t play anymore.
Time to evaluate your board games, video games, puzzles, crossword books, etc., etc. Are there board games that could be afforded a beautiful second life if you passed them along to a thrift store for someone else to purchase and enjoy? Could you do a porch swap with a friend and trade them a puzzle or a video game you’ve already solved or beat?
Day 4 – Books you won’t reread.
If you’re like me, all this time at home has really helped you up your reading game in 2020. But also like me, you may have gone a liiiittle crazy on the book buying front. Today is the day to go through your shelves, look at each book, and really ask yourself if this is something you’ll reread or need in your collection moving forward. Books are a wonderful thing to pass along to friends and family members!
Day 5 – Impulse bought hobby items.
In March or April, faced with the prospect of many boring nights ahead, did you decide NOW IS THE TIME FOR ME TO TAKE UP knitting… ukulele playing… cross stitch… cocktail mixing… insert any number of niche hobbies that involve buying crap HERE. Did you, you know, actually take it up? If not, never fear. Today’s the time you can clear out the stuff you bought with the best of intentions. No judgement!
Day 6 – Your refrigerator.
Yes, that’s right. Today it is time to declutter your fridge and freezer! We’ve all been eating at home over the last few months which means more groceries, leftovers, and general chaos in this area of the home. Go through everything and toss anything that’s gone bad or has expired. This is also a great time to create a log of what you DO have so that you can be sure to incorporate these things in upcoming meals. Next time you hit the grocery (or the groceries hit your porch — yay delivery!), add to the log. This practice is a great way to reduce food waste.
Day 7 – Comfy clothes you haven’t worn in 2020.
If there is a pair of pajamas, yoga pants, or fluffy socks that haven’t made it on to your body in the year of our Lord 2020, it’s time to retire them. Quarantine has been the time to shine for comfy clothes! I am terrified for the day my legs become reintroduced to panty hose *shudder*… but that’s neither here nor there. Today is all about decluttering your loungewear and pajamas. Only keep your quarantine MVPs!
Bonus Day – Clothes you wouldn’t reach for if a magic wand eradicated the pandemic.
For a bonus day of clutter clearing, let’s look past the quarantine OOTDs and examine the rest of your closet. What items of clothing would you NOT be super stoked to wear if you could suddenly head to a dinner party tomorrow evening? What would you pull out of your closet if next week you were able to present at a meeting where the attendees could actually see your bottom half? What would get packed in your suitcase if we were able to travel abroad? Ask yourself these hypothetical questions and declutter accordingly.
After many months in quarantine, are you feeling in need of some decluttering? Would you take on this challenge? What clutter categories would you add to this list?