Category Archives: How to’s

10 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Chet and I got hitched a year and a half ago, and I loved every moment. (You can read all our wedding posts HERE.) It’s a relief when wedding planning is over, but it’s fun to think about what nuggets of knowledge I might pass on to couples in the throes of it. Those Spring and Summer weddings will be here before we know it! I think the thing I loved most about our wedding is how personal it felt. And that’s what I would encourage you to consider if you’re working on yours — find as many ways as you can to infuse the day with what and who you love, your personality, and the way you would truly do things. After all, it’s no one’s day but you and your partner’s! Here are ten easy ways to do so…

Create a wedding website

To curtail the number of questions you’ll no doubt get asked by guests, consider setting up a wedding website. This is the first element, besides your invitations (if you have ’em!), where you can really highlight your personality as a couple. There are tons of platforms that allow you to create a completely free website. Here’s a look at ours.  We included information about our venue, times, and listed a few housing options for the weekend. But we also included some information about ourselves and our relationship. One friend of my family remarked that watching our ceremony felt that much more personal because she had gotten to know Chet and our story a bit better before the big day.

Get creative with ceremony setting

If you’re not married (hee!) to having the ceremony in a religious setting, get creative. Consider lots of options, not just the ones that have hosted weddings on their property before. It never hurts to ask! Consider getting hitched in your backyard, at a museum, a library, or your favorite park where you got engaged. Plenty of spaces hold special meaning besides churches.

Gather your favorite folk

They say you’re the average of the people you spend the most time with and it’s kinda fun to make your guest list a reflection of that. A healthy mix of family, friends, and mentors who have seen you grow up, fall in love, and shape you into the couple standing before them. Sure there are some folks you’ll have to invite but don’t let them overwhelm the list. Gather your favorites as a reflection of YOU.

Make moments to play

I was beyond grateful to have someone in our corner who passed along this nugget of knowledge to us. And doubly grateful that this person was not just a dear friend but also our wedding photographer! She whisked us away for a couples shoot before the ceremony that felt more like an adventure than a check mark on the day’s to-do list.

Buck tradition (if it’s not your thing)

Keep the traditions you like and buck the ones you don’t. Nothing personalizes your wedding like setting your OWN traditions. And hey, they might stick! We totally loved that my brother and sister-in-law walked down the aisle together and decided to do it too.

Have a friend officiate

What could be more special and memorable than having a beloved fried officiate your wedding? Their words will ring so much more true than someone’s you hardly know. And more importantly, they can offer more than stock advice because they’re more familiar with your story and their words can paint a more accurate picture of you to your guests. Just have them hop online and get ordained!

Choose meaningful readings

This was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning but I’ve had friends tell me it was their LEAST! It can be a bit daunting to find the right words…especially written by someone else. Consider a broad scope of favorites (poetry, essays, excerpts from novels, etc.) and then read new material specifically for the occasion. You might find one perfect reading that does the job or you might want to include a bevvy! Then enlist some of those favorite folk to perform with gusto!

Write your own vows

The easiest way to really put your own stamp on your wedding is to write your vows…or even your whole ceremony! Create the structure you want and write it in your own words. If it feels daunting, remember formality doesn’t have to be the name of the game. Your vows can be written in the form of a letter or a simple conversation.

Serve your favorite food

If you’re known for loving a certain kind of food or your partner is famous for always baking certain type of treat, why not include it? I’m a firm believer that food can be an important part of one’s story. And often times the food we actually like is far cheaper than what’s offered on a catering menu. (Says the girl whose husband lovingly made 2 giant pots of gumbo the morning of their wedding while she just worked on getting pretty, haha!) Have a cookout style feast with burgers and hot dogs if that’s your jam. Serve slices of pie instead of cake. Mix up your signature cocktails. You followed your heart, now reward your belly.

Show off your last name

Finally, a super cute idea if you’re stumped for favors is to find a way to show off your new, married last name. We gave out Chet’s family’s signature seasoning – Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown. Google to see if you can find any products that share your last name or get crafty with a DIY or customize some meaningful trinket. Your guests will hold your new name in their heart when they look back at the item (or use it!).

Are you planning a wedding? (Congratulations!) What ways are you planning to personalize the experience? Already married folk – What advice would you give someone just setting off on their wedding planning journey? 

P.S. All photos above were lovingly captured by my wonderful friend and wedding photographer – Carrie Guggenmos of Sur La Lune Photography. She’s the best in the biz!

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How to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Hey guys!

Today I thought I’d share my tips and tricks to stay healthy during the holidays. I know it can be hard when there are Christmas treats at every turn and the holiday spirits are flowing (if you catch my drift;) ). Not to mention, it’s a super busy time of year! Sure all the shopping and parties and traditions are fun…but they can cause things that keep you on track the rest of the year, like exercise and meal prep, to take a back seat. So, here are some ways we can all have a healthy, happy holiday!

  1. Sneak in exercise. Walk wherever you can. (To and from work, to a friend’s house who lives near by, or from the very back of the parking lot.) Always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  2. Prep some foods on a Sunday or Wednesday to use throughout the coming days. Cook a protein, roast some veggies, and make a big pot of rice or quinoa. Cook once, eat twice (or as many times as humanly possible)!
  3. Find a few fuss-free, go-to recipes that you can make when you’re super busy and running around. Here are a few of my favorites for inspiration. 
  4. When eating out, opt for the cleanest menu items — protein + veg, fish, salads. Substitute a veggie side or a side salad for fries and pass on the bread. Dress salads with oil and vinegar.
  5. Treat desserts as a special goodie for special occasions and not a free-for-all for the whole season. So, have that slice of cake at your company Christmas party but don’t munch on Reese’s christmas trees every afternoon when you need a pick-me-up.
  6. If you’re out and about and feeling stressed out, resist the urge to head straight to the kitchen when you get home. Instead, go to your bedroom and put on some comfy clothes, run yourself a hot bath, or practice a little yoga. 
  7. Savor and enjoy all the delicious foods of the season by eating mindfully and slowly.
  8. Enjoy warm cups of tea. Licorice Root tea can help curb a sweet tooth, Ashwagandha tea is great for mental and physical fatigue, and Peppermint tea will cure an upset tummy.
  9. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go so you can be sure to drink plenty and stay exceptionally well hydrated. You’ll be glad you did if you find you’ve had one too many glasses of champagne on New Year’s Eve!
  10. Give yourself a lot of love!

I always love to hear from you so please leave a comment below and let me know YOUR favorite tip for staying healthy during the holidays! xoxo

Holiday Giving: Welcome Baskets for Refugee Children

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share an idea with you all in case you’re looking for a way to give back this Christmas. Imagine arriving in a new country with a few suitcases and a whole family looking for a new start. Organizations that assist with refugee resettlement are always looking for donations of household items for the families they help. Reach out to one in your area. Many accept “baskets” that you can create with a number of items to help a refugee family get settled in their new home; such as a Kitchen Basket (with cutlery, coffee pot, etc), Cleaning Basket (with cleaning supplies), Hygiene Basket (with personal care items), or Linens Basket (with towels and blankets).

However, if you know of a specific family, either through the resettlement organization or your church, why not create Welcome Baskets for all the kids? This is an awesome alternative to Operation Christmas Child (a popular way to give back during the holidays that’s also, in my opinion, a little sketch and misguided). Shopping for children is a lot of fun, and shopping for children who recently arrived in our country with little can make a BIG difference.

Here’s an example of a Welcome Basket I recently put together —

First, consider the ages of the kids you’re shopping for. Next, make a list of a few items to hunt for. You’ll want a mix of practical items and fun stuff you think would make them feel more welcome in their new home/country. Finally, hit up stores like the Dollar Tree, CVS, and Target for affordable finds.

This basket is for a little girl who is 3. I found this perfect purple basket at Dollar Tree and filled it with…

  • a bar of soap
  • a pack of colorful band-aids
  • play-doh
  • cotton swabs
  • sippy cup
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • a pack of construction paper
  • barrettes
  • stickers
  • tooth brushes
  • a pack of socks
  • a plate
  • tissues
  • a night light
  • and a magic towel

If you’re making several baskets you can stop here (all of these items were under 20 bucks), but since I’m only putting together a couple, I’ll probably also include a doll/stuffed animal, a coloring book, and a pillow with a set of pillow cases. For older children you could fill a backpack and include more school supplies!

Anyways, I hope you’ll consider gifting some items to a local refugee resettlement organization this holiday season! These baskets are a lot of fun to make and if they can help welcome a child, then I believe, they are certainly in the spirit of Christmas. 🙂

Getting Your Car Road-Trip Ready

Sponsored post.

My husband and I just got back from a Thanksgiving road-trip to St. Petersburg. And since moving to the far reaches of the world (read: Miami), long-haul treks in the car seem to be our new normal. Whether it’s getting out of the way of impending hurricanes or heading out-of-state to spend holidays with family, we’ve covered a lot of miles in the car.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for getting your car road-trip ready. Winter holidays are fast approaching and you might want to load up your car with presents and hit the dusty highway. But I would encourage you to make a list and check it twice to ensure you reach your destination stress-free and safely!

  1. Check tires. First, check the level of wear to your tires, and the level of air inside them. For wear, you can make this assessment yourself if you feel comfortable or have them checked out by a professional. For air, consult your car’s manual for the recommended pressure and use a gauge to test if your tires comply. If you don’t have a gauge, most gas stations will have one available.
  2. Check fluids. Brake fluid, oil, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant can all be checked by popping the hood of your car. Almost all cars allow for easy access to check these fluids and should be clearly indicated on their caps. If you are in any doubt how to check these levels, you can always consult your manual or a mechanic.
  3. Test lights. Grab a buddy and check to make sure all your lights are working. Test the headlights, brights, turn signals (front and back), as well as brake lights. The last thing you want on your trip is to get slapped with a citation for a light being out.
  4. Clean and organize. Next, clean out the interior of your car and make sure all windows and mirrors are wiped down and clear. Place all your important documents in an envelope in your glove box. Consider other items you might want to have close at hand, like tissues or sunglasses, and stock your car accordingly. Grab a designated trash bag to keep your floorboards from getting overrun by trash and use bins to corral items that might roll around and cause a distraction.
  5. Prepare for emergencies. Finally, invest in emergency preparedness items to keep in your trunk. You can create your own kit based on the time of year and landscape of your drive or you can purchase one like THIS or THIS. Items to consider: Jumper cables, water, blanket, first aid kit, tools, flashlight, and energy bars.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle that meets all your road-trip needs, hop on over to CARS.COM. This fantastic resource is full of info on all sorts of models.

How do you get your car road-trip ready? What do you think makes a great road-trip vehicle? Share in the comments below!

DIY: Autumnal Tissue Holders

Ok gang! I’m comin’ at ya with a super simple DIY today…but it was just too cute not to share!!!

It’s no secret that I love podcasts. I listen to them while I do my chores and when I go on walks. But sometimes, ya girl wants to binge listen. And when I binge listen to a podcast, I need something to do with my hands. (Are you the same way?) So the other evening, I wanted to dive into a podcast people have been raving about — Dirty John. And I knew I’d probably get sucked in. Inspired by some gorgeous felt I’d recently purchased, I decided to whip up some autumnal tissue holders as I listened. Perfect for throwing in your purse to combat the change-of-season sniffles, I thought! And the perfect level of difficulty for when your mind is with more pressing matters. Like who the heck this mysterious man, John, really is.

Admittedly, this is a craft suited for an elementary school student…but HEY! It was a great quiet time activity for my true crime binge. If it’s not already obvious how these came together, keep reading and I’ll give ya the deets.

What you’ll need: 

  • felt, cut into 6×6 squares
  • embroidery thread
  • pins
  • needle
  • scissors/pinking shears
  • buttons
  • tissues
  • ruler
  • sharpie

And how it all comes together:

Take a 6″ x 6″ square of felt and fold the left and ride side in to the center line. Use pins to secure in place so the folds stay down.

Measure 1/2″ down from the top and make a mark. This is where you’ll sew across. Use a ruler to draw dots across the entire line if you want to make sure to sew in a straight line. (You can eye ball both these steps if you prefer.)

Now choose your embroidery thread and sew the top closed. Make sure to start and end your stitches from the inside of the holder so your knots aren’t visible. Repeat the measuring, line drawing, and sewing on the bottom.

If you have pinking shears (I didn’t have any on hand), you can cut the ends to give it a fancier look!

Finally, finish it off by sewing a cool button or felt shape above the opening.

You’re ready to put the tissues inside! Just get a pack of travel tissues, remove them from their packaging, and stuff ’em in your own (way cooler!) holder.

Finito!

I don’t know what it is about these little guys but I’M OBSESSED. Do you have any fun felt crafts you’d recommend? (I have a whole stack of the stuff!…and more podcasts to listen to!)

P.S. Other DIY’s you might enjoy — Polaroid Display and Fabric Pumpkin.

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)

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.