Category Archives: How to’s

5 Ways to Incorporate Mantras in Your Daily Life

When we think about mantras it’s easy to imagine a pretzel-legged yogi, chanting in near-coma calm, a look of transcendence on their face. Maybe there’s a Tibetan singing bowl involved, maybe the lights are dimmed.

But what about those of us who need the power of positive thought so we don’t slam into a pedestrian in a fit of road rage on our commute? The folks who want to harness their affirmations so they nail an interview, not transcendence?

I think mantras have a place in OUR mouths, too!

Remember: A mantra has the power to drown out excess noise – like negative thoughts about traffic and bad interview results – to help you quell the accompanying emotions – such as rage and fear.

Often, the situations in which we experience the most excess noise are the very times we can’t commit to a 30-minute meditation practice. But we can still turn to a mantra to guide us through.

Here are a few ways to incorporate mantras in your daily life…

1. As you prepare for your day. Laying in bed after your alarm sounds is a great time to set an intention for your day. Then, you can repeat the intention throughout your morning routine to infuse the mantra in every step of your preparations, setting yourself up for greatness! As you brush your teeth, blow-dry your hair, prepare your coffee pot, and pull on your shoes–repeat your mantra. Try: Today, I will choose happiness. 

2. During your work out. Whether you’re rolling out your mat or lacing up your sneakers, there’s definitely an opportunity to infuse a little mindfulness in your fitness plan. Mantras can be a great motivator (even Nike uses “Just do it!”) but they can also serve as an opportunity to give thanks for the strength and power your body holds. Try: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

3. In quiet moments of solitude. Sometimes your mind needs a quick reset in the midst of a hectic day. When you stumble into a second of peace – kids finally napping, you’re alone in your office for the first time all day, or hey! a bathroom stall (I’m not judging!) – use the time to focus your thoughts in a way that will serve you. Try: Taking a long, hard look in the mirror reminds me of who’s boss. 

4. When negative thoughts creep in. We all have our negative thought triggers. Whether yours comes from road rage and interview stress like the examples above or perhaps as a result of fear of public speaking, a toxic relationship holding you back, or just reading the news each day, mantras are a powerful solution. Instead of trying to silence these thoughts (impossible!), use new thoughts in order to transcend them. Try: I am filled with positive actions.

5. Before you fall asleep. After a long day it’s nice to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Instead of the thought spiral that can lead to sleeplessness, identify those things which truly served you in positive ways today. Did you know the happiest people do this daily? Jump on board! Try: I am thankful for [fill in the blank!].

Will you try these out? How do YOU incorporate mantras in your daily life? 


In this multi-week series, #MantraMania, I’m going to lay the ground work for you to make mantras a part of your life. Here’s what you can expect from the series:

  1. Do you use mantras?
  2. How to Incorporate Mantras in Your Daily Life
  3. Revealed: People Share Favorite Mantras
  4. A 30 Day Mantra Challenge to Welcome Positivity, Productivity, and Self-Care (+ FREE activity guide)
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50 Ways To Save Money (With Minimal Effort)

Some of my most popular blog posts on Finding Delight are all about How To Ball On A BudgetAnd why not? Everyone would love a little help in this department. Which is why sharing ways I personally save money (with minimal effort) is something I’m happy to do!

As the holiday season approaches, saving that extra bit of cash for all the costs that go along with the time of year becomes a necessity. Presents and parties and vacations…OH MY!

With the impending holiday expenses in mind, I put together a few of my favorite money saving ideas. Pick and choose a few of these simple lifestyle changes to implement and you’ll be well on your way to a nice little monetary stockpile. However you choose to spend (EGGNOG FOR EVERYONE!)…well, that’s up to you!

 

Shopping

Check second-hand stores first.
If that doesn’t pan out, hit the clearance racks.
Check the weekly circulars for the best deals.
Shop your pantry before shopping the store.
Make a weekly grocery list and stick to it.
Shop the periphery of the grocery store.
Don’t be afraid of the generic brand.
Sign up for rewards programs and do your homework about the benefits.
Buy seasonal items during their off-season.

Food

Pack your meals for work and school.
Always have a water bottle on hand for free hydration.
Brew your coffee at home and learn to make your indulgent Starbucks order.
Buy from the bulk bins so you’re not paying extra for packaging.
Batch cook big meals in your crock-pot.
Get into the habit of meal planning.
Find a cookbook you love and cook your way through it.

Appearance

Give yourself at-home manicures.
Color/straighten/curl your own hair. Or let it go natural.
Create a fitness plan that doesn’t involve a gym or costly classes.
Set up a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Make your own beauty products.

Travel

Stay at an Airbnb.
Stock your kitchen-away-from-home so you can prepare meals instead of eating out.
Give yourself a daily allowance (in cash) while you’re away so you don’t go overboard.
Bring along all your lingering gift cards to treat yo’self.

Entertainment

Bust your boredom. 
Cancel cable and pick a streaming service instead.
Cancel print subscriptions and subscribe to a few email newsletters instead.
Make a list of cheap date night ideas you think sound fun and cycle through.
Host a game night for your friends.
Get your books from the library.
Go out for brunch or coffee or happy hour cocktails instead of dinner.
Start an articles club.

DIY

Consider making gifts instead of buying.
Dollar Tree is a great place to pick up cheap craft supplies.
Learn to mix your favorite cocktails.
Create your own cleaning products.
Check for tutorials online before paying someone else to do your home improvement projects.

Utilities

Call your cell phone/internet/utility provider and ask for a cheaper rate.
Turn off the lights when you leave the house (or the room for that matter).
Don’t go crazy with your thermostat.
Carpool with your colleagues.
Make payments on time.

Savings

Kick it old school with a penny bank for your loose change.
Automate your payments and savings plan where possible.
Keep a spending diary.
Read budget blogs for free financial information and resources.
Challenge yourself to a no-spend day once a week or a no-spend weekend once a month.
Look through your bank statement for any recurring costs and consider canceling whatever they’re attached to.
Research any discounts you may be afforded through your work/school/memberships.

What lifestyle changes have YOU implemented to save money? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

 

DIY: Polaroid Display

On our recent mini vacay to Delray Beach, we brought along an old polaroid camera. We had gotten it at a flea market a few years back and I never really thought it would function (I just wanted it as a funky bookshelf accessory). But lo and behold, Chet found a way to get it working and we took a roll of beach-y, vintage-vibes snaps.

I really wanted a way to display this special roll of film. Each of the pictures make me happy and I love that they look like they could have been shot in 1977. (#nofilter just an old ass camera, lol)

Here’s what I came up with and instructions in case you wanna make your own!

What you’ll need:

  • a frame
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • thick twine or rope for hanging
  • thin twine or yarn for stringing across the frame
  • mini clothespins
  • sandpaper if your frame needs a lil distressing

And how it all comes together:

The most important part of this project, in my opinion, is to find a frame that fits the vibe of your polaroids. I found this one on clearance at Home Goods. The light blue, antiqued look really goes with our beach-y, vintage-looking polaroids. You could probably find a great frame for your own photo display at a thrift store or maybe you have one sitting around your house! If you’re going for a distressed look, you could always paint and then sand to let a little wood peak through.

Once you have your frame, take out the backing and glass. Lay out your polaroids to see what arrangement will work best. Then, measure out some twine and string it across. Secure with hot glue.

Next, cut some thick twine to attach to the top of the frame for hanging. Depending on how heavy your frame is you may need to staple down the ends.

Finally, clip your polaroids on with some adorable mini clothes pins.

Hang on the wall and admire your finished product…

I’m totally obsessed with how this turned out and love displaying our tiny collection of beachy polaroids! Have you completed any DIY projects lately? I’d love to hear about them. ❤ 

P.S. Have you taken my Finding Delight Reader Survey yet? What are you waiting for!

Batch Cooking on the Whole30: Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

After a couple weeks in the trenches, my biggest tip for navigating a Whole30 is to be prepared. It’s so important to have meals and foods in mind that you can turn to at a moment’s notice. That way you won’t hit the drive-thru or reach for the non-compliant convenience foods stashed in your pantry.

One of my go-to, make-at-the-drop-of-a-hat dinners for as long as I can remember is spaghetti. But, on the Whole30, a quick perusal of my grocery shelves put a kink in that plan. Most jars of pasta sauce contain sugar. So, stashing a few jars for quick week night meal solutions? That’s out for the time being.

Next best thing? Batch cooking my own! Here’s how I did it…

What you’ll need:

2 lbs of ground beef
3 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
2 onions, diced
1 10oz package of frozen spinach
2 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of lemon juice
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

    

And how it all comes together:

– Heat your oil in a skillet over med-high. Add onions and cook until translucent.

– Add ground beef and cook through. Once the meat is no longer pink, drain the fat and add it to your slow cooker.

– Add the rest of your ingredients and give it all a good stir. Leave it to cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8) and stir a few times throughout to make sure the spinach is well dispersed. (Sneaky micronutrients!)

– Serve over zoodles and sprinkle with nutritional yest! Save the rest for the freezer and pull it out the next time you need dinner in a pinch. Enjoy!

P.S. Other Finding Delight recipes

How to… (one dozen super rad things I think you should do!)

how to do one dozen things

Y’all!

We’re in the dog days of Summer down here in South Florida. Heat index over 100 and daily afternoon thunderstorms that arrive out of nowhere and leave just as quick. It’s pretty bananas. So, Chet and I are escaping to Delray Beach for a few days. I’m going to sit my butt on the beach (with a couple good books + an iPhone full of podcasts), eat conch fritters, drink rosé, and soak in some #saltlife vibes.

I’ll get back to posting ’round these parts next week. But since you’re already here, why not stick around and check out some posts I pulled from the archives! Here’s how to do ONE DOZEN super rad things…

How to start a fascinating conversation with a friend (or stranger).

How to use stickers to stick to your goals. 

How to make a super cute calendar from burlap.

How to use jars for DIY wedding decor.

How to create the perfect care package. 

How to take meaningful breaks during long projects. 

How to give your office a style upgrade.

How to tap into the power of self-care.

How to work on your female friendships.

How to practice styling photos.

How to dance more.

How to pack for a weekend away in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week and I’ll see you back here soon! 🙂

P.S. If you have any posts (how-to’s or otherwise) you think I should tackle when I get back, LEAVE  YOUR IDEAS BELOW! Thanks. 

How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

how to make your own fitness challenge

Today marks DAY 5 of my 10-Day Ballet Challenge and I’m LOVING it! Ballet is exercise that I enjoy, and although it’s a work-out it doesn’t feel like work in the same way that some exercise does. And as someone who easily succumbs to decision fatigue, I love waking up and knowing my work-out for the day is already sorted.

So, maybe you’re not so keen on living out your ballerina dreams but still find the idea of an at-home fitness challenge a little bit alluring. I’m here to help! (TBH, planning is half the fun of these things!) Below are the steps I followed to make my very own fitness challenge and YOU CAN TOO…

Decide on the length of your challenge.

I love yoga too much to spend too many days away from my mat. I decided on 10 days sort of at random. If you get bored easily or are just looking for a way to mix up your routine, a week or two is a great time-frame. Of course, I LOVE the 30 day yoga challenges I’ve completed so you could always just go for it!

Choose the type(s) of work-outs and exercise you’d like to include.

I chose ballet because it’s a work-out I love but I only incorporate it into my normal work-out regimen a few times a month. I wanted to challenge myself to more. Maybe you have something similar in mind. If not, think about the types of work-outs you enjoy. Pilates, HIIT, Hip-Hop, Cross Fit? And you could totally go for more than one type! Perhaps you want to cook up a Tabata/Theraband Challenge. Go for it!

Head to the internet for free resources.

Jump on YouTube, Pinterest, or your favorite fitness blogs for work-outs and inspiration. Watch entire videos to make sure they’re a good fit for your fitness level and preferences. Save your favorites! When else can you watch a ton of fitness videos without feeling guilty for not following along?

Create a list of all your work-outs.

Combine everything you found with any existing favorites and make a master list of all the work-outs you want to complete on your challenge! Note: You don’t have to have a work-out video for every day of the challenge. One day might include a 5-mile jog or a circuit of body-weight exercises. Just make sure to include those on the master list too!

Arrange the work-outs within your designated time frame.

This part is like a puzzle! For my 10-day challenge, I took my 2 longest work-outs and put them on Days 5 and 10. Spread out your harder challenges–placing them at the end of the week or every 5 days or however you see fit! Then arrange your other work-outs as a lead up to the more challenging days. Make sure you take note if the work-out is focusing on one part of the body. You might not want to work out arms three days in a row! If your challenge is longer than 10 days, consider incorporating a rest day or an active rest day. (Exp. 21-Day Aerobics Challenge might include “go for a walk” on days 7, 14, and 21.)

Announce your intentions.

Accountability! I feel like I’m way more likely to finish out my ballet challenge because I blogged about it. You might be the same. Let some people know what you’re up to, either IRL or on social media, so you follow through.

Keep a Fitness Challenge Diary.

This is a new aspect I’m trying out and so far I’ve found it helpful. You can record your progress, how you got on with certain work-outs, and what’s working and what’s not. Great to have on hand when you create your NEXT fitness challenge. 😉

Celebrate your success!!!

Completing a goal you set for yourself is the best feeling! Why not reward yourself? Need some inspiration? I love this list — 23 Ways to Treat Yo’Self Without Buying or Eating Anything.

Have you ever completed a fitness challenge? Would you consider creating your own? What types of exercise and work-outs would you include? I’d love to know!!!

DIY: Paper Flowers on Canvas with Home Made Luxe

home made luxe subscription box

I love craft tutorials. I love pinning neat DIY’s to my Pinterest boards. I love watching YouTube videos where the creator whips up a clever craft. And sometimes I love hauling my butt to the craft store, loading up on supplies, and parking myself in front of a project.

But here’s the thing. I’ve pinned so many projects to Pinterest that sometimes I’m not sure where to begin. The nearest craft store to me is basically a nightmare. A lot of my craft supplies get bought, used for one project, and the extras sit in my closet for months on end.

So when I heard about Home Made Luxe I was anxious to give them a try! Home Made Luxe is a monthly subscription box containing all the materials you need to make a beautiful home decor project. No need to fight my way down the crowded aisles at my local Michael’s. No need to scour my Pinterest board for the perfect craft. Everything just shows up in a box, including detailed step by step instructions and a link to video instructions as well. Score!

craft

Let’s see how I fared with my May box from Home Made Luxe…

All the supplies and instructions arrived neatly packaged (and even included a handwritten note just for me!). The May box included everything I needed to create a trio of paper flowers on gold painted canvases. As I put mine together, I thought it might be fun to give you a little tutorial on how to make your own! But without your very own Home Made Luxe subscription you’ll have to scavenge the supplies on your own. 😉

What you’ll need: 

home made luxe supplies

The picture above shows you everything my box included (+my cat’s butt) –

  • Heavy cardstock
  • 3 8×8 canvases
  • Gold paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paper flower templates
  • Glue Sticks
  • and a paper drop cloth

Not included in the box but also needed –

  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Pencil

and how it all comes together: 

home made luxe painting

Step one. I applied a first coat of gold paint to my canvases.

Step two. I used the provided paper flower templates to trace and cut out the petals and center of my flowers. Each flower needs one center and about seven petals of each size.

Step three. Second coat of gold!

home made luxe paper petals

Here’s everything I needed to start constructing my paper flowers – 3 centers + 21 large petals + 21 medium petals + 21 small petals. Note: This is the part of the project that takes the most time…or maybe just feels like it takes the most time because it’s the most boring. Luckily, I was watching the Netflix reboot of Anne of Green Gables as I traced and cut. 

Step four. I used a glue stick to roll back the edges of each petal and then cut a slit about halfway up.

Step five. With the curled parts facing back, I overlapped one side of the slit on top of the other and glued in place with my glue gun.

home made luxe hot glue gun

Step six. Flower assembly time! I glued the large petals together at their sides to form a circle. Next, I glued the circle center in the middle. Then I glued the medium and small petals down by their ends to form a layered effect.

Step seven. To make stamen for the center (or is it the stigma?), I used half a sheet of cardstock, folded it in half and cut down the fold, creating a comb pattern. I made six of these “combs” in total and glued them shut.

Step eight. I rolled them up (2 combs per flower), gluing as I rolled, to create these.

Step nine. These I glued in the center of the paper flowers.

DIY paper flowers on canvas

Step ten. And finally, I glued the completed paper flowers on the center of the gold canvases! My trio of paper flowers on gold canvases was complete. 🙂

Now to decide how to style them. They’re such a fun statement piece hanging on a wall!

And I love how this one looks as a centerpiece on a shelf. Ultimately, I’d like to hang them all side-by-side in my bedroom. Such a fun 3-D pop!

If you’d like to try Home Made Luxe, and I so encourage you to do so, you can purchase a subscription HERE. If you’re like me, you love to craft but don’t always have the time to gather supplies…or your indecisiveness about WHAT to craft leaves you project-less altogether. Home Made Luxe solves this conundrum! It truly is Pinterest delivered to your doorstep.

What do you think? Do you love making crafts and DIY’s? Would you ever try a subscription service to facilitate the hobby. I gotta say…so far I’m pretty into it!

craft

A great conversation starter…

Imagine: You’re catching up with a dear friend over a mug of something warm. You’ve already run through the past week and a half of activities, all the annoying things your boss has said recently, and your thoughts on a new-to-you podcast. You’re not ready to part ways just yet but…topics are waning.

What do you do?

May I make a recommendation? Why not ask…

What’s the best thing you’ve won?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to ask more thought- or conversation-provoking questions, and this one has quickly become a favorite.

Ask your partner when you’re out on a date. Ask your co-workers in those just-got-to-work moments when no-one wants to actually start working just yet. Ask all the guests at a dinner-party and go around the room taking turns telling all. (Hey, it’s not bragging when everybody’s doing it!)

The answers may surprise you.

And YO! There’s no reason I have to keep my convo-startin’ questions IRL, is there? So I wanna know, dear reader (THAT’S YOU!): What’s the best thing you’ve won? COMMENT BELOW and tell me everything. 

10 Super Creative St. Patrick’s Day DIYs

thai-restaurants-1

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, lads! Which means, there’s still time left to get your house kitted out for the ensuing festivities. Whether you’re planning on guzzling green beer on an epic pub crawl, dancing a solo jig in your kitchen as you whip up a batch of Irish soda bread (eaten slathered with Kerrygold butter, of course), or marching behind the band in your local parade — they say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day so you might as well get in the spirit and celebrate with the best of ’em.

If you’re in a craftin’ mood, I’ve rounded up 10 super creative DIYs for you to whip up in honor of the holiday!

For your front door…

Lucky Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Wreath

For your mantelpiece…

Lucky Penny Letter Display

For your belly…

Dublin Coddle

Guinness Cheddar Biscuits 

St. Patty’s Day Rice Krispies Treats

For added flair at parties or parades…

St. Patty’s Day Hair Pin

Sparkly Leprechaun Shoes

For your sofa…

Felted Wool Spring Poppy Pillow

For giving as gifts…

Rainbow Mason Jar

Pot o’ Gold

And because I can’t stop at just ten…this would look cute hanging on your wall and these chocolate covered four-leaf clover cookies look delicious!

Éirinn go Brách!

P.S. If I had all the time in the world, I would do crafts every day! Here’s where I pin all the projects my DIY-loving soul wants to do. I especially love DIY that is budget-friendly, upcycling-minded, or results in something that makes life a little simpler or the world a little bit more beautiful. You too? Come hang out with me on Pinterest! 

3 Ways to Pack Your Tom Bihn Synapse 19

in-the-metro

As you may have guessed from previous posts (like this one and this one), I’m low-key obsessed with my Tom Bihn backpack. I could regale you for hours with info about all it’s features. It is just so. dang. packable. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding…

So, instead of tell you about all the versatile pockets and roomy compartments, I’m gonna walk you through a few of my favorite ways to pack the Tom Bihn Synapse 19.

how-to-pack-tom-bihn-synapse-19

The Pockets:

1. Main Compartment

2. Shallow Center Pocket

3. Deep Center Pocket 

4. Left Pocket

5. Right Pocket

6. Bottom Compartment

For 1 Bag Air Travel:

1. You’ll be amazed at how many clothes will fit in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 with the help of a packing cube (or two). The double-sided packing cubes are genius if you want to keep your clothes organized (think: tops on one side / bottoms on the other OR day clothes on one side / loungewear on the other) or separate dirty and clean.

Your laptop or tablet will fit comfortably in this compartment as well.

2. This is the perfect space for all the small bits you may need readily available while up in the air. Tuck in your earbuds, your favorite lip balm, and a snack.

3. Slide your toiletry bag down in this front pocket and you’ll have no qualms about pulling it out when you go through TSA. This one from Tom Bihn has clear sides and was designed as a 3-1-1 toiletries bag for air travel. There’s plenty of room inside for all your essentials.

4. This side pocket has a space for your writing implements so you might want to tuck in a little notebook as well. It’s also a great place to stow a small flashlight, your sunglasses, and a collapsible bag.

5. Think of this as your electronics pocket! There’s plenty of room for a camera and there’s an additional pocket along the lining that’s perfectly sized for a phone. Clip a clear organizer pouch to the O-ring inside and fill it with your various chargers. No need to frantically search for cables that have made their way to the bottom of your bag!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment will hold a pair of sandals or flat shoes, a pashmina to keep you cozy when the plane gets cold, and a collapsible poncho if you’re headed to a rainy climate.

For Working On-the-Go:

1. As this is the largest compartment, this is where your bulkiest items will go. If you’re working on-the-go this probably means your laptop as well as any notebooks, folders, and books you may need.

2. Slip in a pair of earbuds that will cancel out any annoying noises you may encounter. You could also keep a stockpile of business cards tucked in a fancy holder.

3. Amazingly enough, this pocket was designed by the folks at Tom Bihn as the perfect place to hold a water bottle. This is great for keeping weight distribution even and totally cuts down on spills. You could go with a classic or class it up.

4. Store your pens, memory cards, and a wireless mouse in this convenient side pocket.

5. The other side is perfect for all your chargers. Again – one of the clear organizer pouches would be perfect for corralling them all. And don’t forget to throw in a snack bar or two! It’s hard to work when  you’re hungry!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment is a convenient location for your wallet. And it’s wide enough that it will accommodate a billfold style design. Don’t need that much space for your wallet? This is a great place to store an umbrella, as well!

For Having Outdoor Adventures:

1. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just urban exploring; you’ll want to have a few essentials in your Tom Bihn Synapse 19! The main compartment is a great place to store an extra layer of clothing, in case it gets cold, and any equipment you may need to bring along. (Think: camera or video gear, tools, DRONES!)

2. Safety first! Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit. Buy one or make your own out of an Altoid can. Making your own allows you to really customize the contents for your particular adventure.

3. Again, the Deep Center Pocket is the perfect place for your water bottle. Toss in a bandana, too. They have SO MANY uses. (Here are 25.)

4. This is a great place to keep sunscreen and bug spray close at hand. You might also want to toss in a multi-tool or your eating utensils. Spork? Chopsticks? 3-piece cutlery? Your choice.

5. If you’re venturing away from civilization, it may behoove you to reserve this pocket for “I can pee anywhere!” materials. Think: tissues, wet-wipes, anti-bac, etc. Of course, these could come in handy for other purposes, too!

6. Finally, pack a lunch! This bottom compartment will ensure your sandwich won’t get squished amidst all your other equipment and it’s spacious enough to accommodate an adventurer’s appetite! The menu, of course, is up to you.

Where would you take your Tom Bihn backpack? Do you have a favorite travel accessory you recommend to anyone who will listen? Tell me about it below! 

P.S. A Tom Bihn-accompanied trip — Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette, LA