Category Archives: Personal

Photo Diary: Everglades Adventure

Chet and I went on a day-trip adventure into the everglades last week! On a whim, we decided to drive from our apartment in Miami to Everglades City and stop at anything that looked cool along the way. The drive is just under 2 hours and takes you through Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and protected land of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Below you’ll find pictures from the stops we took to and fro’ Everglades City. Above is an alligator just chilling on the side of the road. As they do.

Note: I didn’t snap any pics in Everglades City because the mosquitoes were HORRIBLE. We mostly toured from the comfort of the car. However, the town is ADORABLE and we had a delicious lunch HERE. I had a crab cake sandwich because a sign in the little town square told me that Everglades City is the stone crab capital of the world! It did not disappoint.

Hiking in South Florida? That’s right! We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve and found it marks the Southern Terminus of the Florida Trail. It is one of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. (the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail are others) and runs from down here in the Everglades all the way to Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach, FL. (About 1,100 miles.) Now I really want to thru-hike it!

The Miccosukee Indian Village had a surprising amount of tourists about for a random weekday morning. We perused the gift shop and checked out some of the attractions. (Still not sure how I feel about the dude in jorts below.) Curious for a non-touristy look into reservation life, we also went on a walk through an adjoining neighborhood. (No pictures out of respect for the real lives and real homes we encountered.) Needless to say it was an interesting wander and I’d love to learn more about this tribe.

We also stumbled upon THE SMALLEST POST OFFICE IN AMERICA! Apparently, the Ochopee post mark is much sought-after. People travel to this tiny office to mail themselves a card just to get the mark. Wish I’d known to bring along a post card!

Bugs! L: The size of my index finger. R: The size of my whole hand. Everglades wildlife ain’t playin’ around.

 

Unfortunately Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe, which was literally just chillin’ in the middle of nowhere, was closed for the day. But how fun does it look?! I really think this place is worthy of a return trip!

One thing you should know about me — I WILL stop a car to explore an abandoned building. RIP Everglades Kayak Tours.

Another nature center (not sure if it was on preserve land or the national park) with tons of info about wildlife and the history of the everglades. Below are a couple pictures taken on the back deck outside the center. They had this book for sale which I’m still kicking myself for not buying. Note the tannins in the water. (They make it look like sweet tea!)

Have you ever been in this part of Florida? What did you think? I already want to go back! (And retire to Everglades City…but maybe just in the winter because I’m a wuss about mosquitoes.) 

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April Resolutions — How Did I Do?

Happy May, 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 April…

April Resolution #1. Spring clean my closets and drawers. 

I don’t know what it is but every Spring I get this terrible, insatiable urge to THROW EVERYTHING I OWN AWAY. Is that weird? Maybe it is something to do with the natural rhythms of the seasons. Hoarding everything away in a little nest during the Winter and then purging once the weather starts to get warmer. Whatever the case, my space starts to feel cluttered.

Instead of tossing stuff willy nilly, this year I evaluated what areas needed decluttering the most and focused my efforts. I hadn’t done a proper Kon Mari (ie. throw everything you own on your bed and go through it piece by piece) clothes clear out since moving to Florida and it was high time. So I definitely wanted to tackle my closet and dresser. Organizing my desk drawers has been on my To-do list foreeever, and so has our linen closet. So those went on the list too.

How did it go? Well, I Kon Mari’d the HECK out of my clothes and was able to rid my room of TWO TRASH BAGS full. (It still boggles my mind where this stuff comes from!) All the drawers are done…save for one pesky desk drawer that accumulates crap no matter what I do. (But doesn’t everyone have a crap drawer? Isn’t that like a law of LIVING?)

The linen closet still hasn’t happened. But there’s always this month!

 

Going forward: Declutter the dang linen closet! Oh, and actually transport those two trash bags that are in the trunk of my car to a donation location.

April Resolution #2. Examine spending habits through the lens of happiness. 

Recently, I signed up for a FREE Money + Happy Bootcamp through one of my fave blogs — Yes and Yes. The whole thing was chock-full of helpful advice about how to navigate spending habits while staying in tune with what brings you joy. (Sound helpful? You can sign up in the sidebar of the site.)

One exercise that really resonated with me asked us to take our bank statement and go at it with three highlighters. Pink, yellow, and green. The pink highlighter was for regrettable purchases. The yellow highlighter was for necessary purchases (like bills and groceries). And the green highlighter was for those purchases that brought about happiness.

Since taking the mini-course, I’ve kept up this highlighter rigmarole and have found the visual wildly helpful. And since I had data for the entire first quarter of the year, I thought April was the perfect time to crunch the numbers, evaluate how I did, and decide if there were changes I wanted to make going forward.

I pin-pointed a few trends. I got a clear picture of how much I’m spending and on what (as well as if the “what” brought me joy or regret).

 

Going forward: I will continue to go through my bank statements with highlighters every month and examine the results more thoroughly each quarter. I’ll try to get my pink purchases down and my green purchases as up as my bank account will allow. 😉

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

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Four 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!

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

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!

Photo Diary: Miami Seaquarium

As you may remember, item numero uno on my More Delight List was to visit Miami Seaquarium. I wrote about our experience (and the complicated feelings that came along with the visit) yesterday, if you’d like to take a look. However, today I thought I’d share a few pictures.

First up, the reef aquarium…

…then a stroll through the tropical fish aquariums.

The manatees bear a striking resemblance to a cat I know. (And I kept thinking of the British tourists we met on Biscayne Bay who called them floating baked potatoes. Ha!)

The crocodiles and sea turtles were happily sunning themselves…

…with views of downtown Miami right across the bay.

Then we saw Lolita the Killer Whale. [Read more HERE.] (Can you spot the Pacific White Side Dolphins in mid-air 2 pictures down?)

Flamingos just chilling on one leg! Aren’t they prettiest shade of salmony-pink?

“They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than liiiiightning…”  [Side note: The house where the trainers and employees hang out is a replica of the house from Flipper the TV show. I would have snapped a pic but there were a couple of gals in wet-suits eating their lunch on the front porch and I thought it would be a little rude.]

Have you ever been to Miami Seaquarium? Do you have a favorite day trip activity in your city that brings you joy? I’d love to hear about it! 

P.S. More fun photos — Biscayne National Park and Historic Savannah, GA!

Me, My Husband, and the Killer Whale: A Love Story

My husband proposed to me on a birthday trip to the aquarium. His birthday, to be exact. Moments after proclaiming- “Of course I’ll marry you!”- we were walking through tunnels, a few inches of glass separating us and gallons upon gallons of water. Fitting surroundings for the float-y feelings I was experiencing. I’ll never forget how the blue light from the tanks cast a soft glow over my husband’s smiling face.

So, this Valentine’s Day, I decided to go “experiences over stuff” and tucked a little note in with his card promising a newly-married aquarium excursion.  It seemed more than appropriate given our history and the fact that he works on his own tanks in the evenings after work — constructing beautiful aquascapes for little sea friends to swim around in and reading books on how to be the best amateur aquarist around.

This is all to say, my BAE loves him some sea creatures…and the magical places that hold mass quantities of them hold a special place in my heart, too!

Full disclosure before we get any further: I remembered my husband mentioning, before we moved to Miami, that he thought the aquarium here had orcas, a potential deal-breaker for us to ever visit.

You see, like just about everyone else in the world who saw the film, Blackfish shook me to my core. It convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that orca whales do NOT belong in captivity. They have families. With special whale languages(!). They swim tremendous distances. Why would we pluck them out of the sea, stick them in a tiny tank with strangers they can’t communicate with, and *wam-bam* that’s the rest of their lives?!

After seeing this movie, I started many conversations (with unassuming friends and family) with, “How many trainers do you think have to die before Seaworld realizes killer whales are just that? Killer. Whales.” (I can be a bit extra sometimes.)

I cautiously turned to Google, which revealed: the Miami Seaquarium houses one orca whale. A female named Lolita.

Buuuut I wanted to have an adventure at an aquarium, *said in my whiniest “I-want-things-MY-way” voice*, because my husband loves aquariums and I love my husband. Ignorance is bliss, right? Surely a killer whale in an aquarium is better than a killer whale at Seaworld. Maybe she’ll have a carefully curated living space. (Like the smaller sea creatures do.) Maybe her presence is more for educational purposes and less for entertainment wow-factor. These were my excuses.

When hubby’s Spring Break hit, we headed to the aquarium, turning a blind eye (for the time being) to Lolita’s existence.

All told, we had a blast exploring the exhibits at Miami Seaquarium. Any day I get to spend experiencing something new with the one I love is a good day. But, as you may have guessed, this is where the story becomes more about the whale. Even in the midst of the greatest love stories you can still feel your heart break. And that day, with all the love I felt for this man by my side, my heart broke for the whale.

I’ll back up a bit. My naive assumption that Lolita would be living a simple life, available for casual viewing? Not so correct. Instead, twice a day, the gates are rolled up on the entrance to her aquatic arena.

We strolled in for her afternoon performance and chose a seat in the stands. She was already in view, head bobbing just above the surface.

I casually assumed that this must be her “performance space” and that she probably had some other enclosure where she lived the rest of the time. But, as we waited for the show to begin, I realized the logistics of that were unlikely.

“Does she live here? All the time?” I asked Chet.

“I think so,” he gently responded.

I would later learn the tank measured only 80 feet across. In the wild, whales swim about 75 miles a day.

Lolita was the star of the show. Along with two Pacific White Sided Dolphins and three wetsuit-clad trainers, she showcased a variety of tricks. And I’m not gonna lie…seeing a 7,000 pound animal flying out of the water like that was majestic AF. Yes, I took pictures. Yes, I oooh’d and aaaah’d and clapped in dumbfounded amazement. But I also listened…and what I heard disturbed me…

The show’s rhetoric was interesting and careful. It painted the ocean as a scary, dangerous place for whales to live. Whales out there (you know…in their natural habitat) were riddled with pollution and had laughable life expectancies. Lolita, in comparison, is HEALTHY, healthy, healthy. Seriously, they used the word “healthy” to describe her about 42 times. By the end I was like, “ok, ok, I get it. She’s super lucky to live in this tiny tank with humans who love her!”

But is she? Here’s her story and you can decide for yourself:

Lolita was captured off the coast of Washington state in 1970 and sold to the Miami Seaquarium for $20,000. She joined another orca, a juvenile male named Hugo, who was captured two years prior. Luckily, Hugo was a member of her natural community of Southern Resident Orcas and they got along great! Although they mated many times over the years (at one point they were going for it so hard that shows had to be cancelled!), they never produced any offspring. In 1980, Hugo died of a brain aneurism likely caused from his habit of bashing his head against the sides of the tank. Since the death of her companion, Lolita has had no other interactions with her own species.

So I guess you’re wondering, would I ever return to the Seaquarium? Knowing what I know now? Probably not. Do I regret going? Well, that’s tough. I’m grateful for every piece of my love story–even the bits that aren’t so beautiful. Even the chapters that involve falling in love with an orca. And even the parts where I have to admit to my readers that yes, I paid money to see a killer whale in captivity.

Lolita is part of my story now, so I’m all the more invested in securing her a “Happily Ever After.” Luckily, activists at Orca Conservancy are hard at work on a translocation and reintroduction plan. I will do everything in my power to help them.

Starting with donating the amount our tickets cost, and telling you this —

The Southern Resident Orcas, the community to which Lolita belongs, is one of the best known and studied marine populations in the world. Returning Lolita to her natal-pod (known as “L-pod”) within this community could secure her happy ending. Although she has lived for over forty years in the smallest killer whale tank in the United States(!), she is in remarkable condition. This, coupled with the fact that she still vocalizes in the calls used exclusively by her pod, makes her an ideal candidate for reintegrating into the wild population. While she could not boost the endangered orca population directly (Lolita is no longer of breeding age), another healthy female introduced to a matrilineal population would go a long way in making sure young orcas, the care of which is usually a shared responsibility, are reared to adulthood.

(Read the details of her specific plan HERE and donate HERE.)

Lolita’s “Happily Ever After” hangs in the balance. She’ll have to capture a few more hearts, maybe breaking a few in the process. Scientists believe her mother still swims off the shore of Washington state. I hope for their happy reunion.

As for me and my husband, we have it easier. Our “Happily Ever After” is up to us. Up to us to go on adventures together and learn lots. To shape and shift our view of the world in the process. To love each other hard. Even when our hearts break over things we think we can’t change.

…And to write them into our love story because we still want to try.

In Search Of: More Delight! (+20 ways to find it)

Hey guys! The other night I was clicking around on a few favorite bloggy-type sites (as ya do) and was struck by how many bloggers feature lists of cool things they want to do in the coming year or before they turn a certain age. What a great way to challenge yourself to mix it up. Plus, the added benefit of blogging = a)accountability, but also b)sweet content each time you check an item off the list!

Basically my blog was green with envy and I needed to hook her up with a list POST HASTE! But wait a minute, I thought to myself, we’re already 2.5 months into the new year and my birthday is FOREVER away. Can I really just put together a list like this on a random Tuesday??

Short answer: Yes. When you write the blog, you make the rules.

Long answer: I created this blog to encourage myself to keep looking for, and FINDING, delight. Actively searching for life’s unexpected pleasures is something I try to do on the daily. But making a list of things I expect to bring me joy works too. I don’t need to feel bad about not having an “occasion” to set myself up for delight. I can just make a list and start checking things off!

So here goes…

  1. Visit the Miami Seaquarium – Planning to check this one off THIS week!
  2. 10 Day Ballet Challenge 
  3. Rent a Surrey Bike
  4. 24 Hour Digital Detox 
  5. Mini Near-to-Home Vacay/Stay-cay – Don’t need a day’s drive to justify renting an Airbnb for the weekend. 
  6. Take a MOOC – Totally left-field subject matter encouraged. 
  7. Go on a Boat Tour or Day Cruise – Zip past Miami mansions and watch the sunset over the skyline or BETTER YET…head to the Bahamas for the day. 
  8. Complete a Whole 30
  9. Dine at a Posh Indian Restaurant
  10. Finish a Loom Knit Project
  11. Go Geocaching 
  12. Play a Super Involved Board Game 
  13. Plant an Herb Garden
  14. 30 Day Pilates Challenge
  15. Make a 3-Layer Birthday Cake
  16. Memoir Month – Challenge myself to read as many as possible before the calendar page turns.
  17. Support the Performing Arts at FIU – A night at the theater or ballet? Yes, please!
  18. Create a Piece of Art for Hanging 
  19. Visit a New City
  20. Eat Conch Fritters – When in Rome! 

I’m so excited to get started!

What’s on your “In Search Of: Delight” list? Do any of the items above strike your fancy? Which would you most like to see a blog post about? I’d love your thoughts!

February Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy March, 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 my first month HERE.) Here’s how I did in February…

February Resolution #1. Cut down on correspondence response times. 

I’ve developed a really annoying habit over the years. All too often, when receiving a text message or an email (especially one that most definitely warrants a response), I wait to respond.

Truth be told, in my earlier years I had a bad habit of popping off notes and emails when I was way too angry to approach them in an effective (read: sane) way. And so maybe in an attempt to slow my roll on that habit, I wandered into the territory of taking my time with ALL my messaging.

So here’s what happens: I get an email. Obviously I read it pretty much as soon as it hits my inbox (because let’s be real we’re all attached to our phones and laptops). ….And then I let it sit. Even when it just warrants a couple sentences that I could easily fire back and be done with! Sometimes I even create a bullet point on my daily To-do list JUST TO RESPOND TO THAT EMAIL.

And I’ll bet you can guess what else sometimes happens. Yep. I forget to respond…completely. *cringe*

Now, this problem mostly existed in terms of personal, as opposed to professional, messaging. But sometimes those lines are blurred, and a responsible/healthy approach in BOTH realms seems like a worthy pursuit. I don’t want to let an email with a potential client get buried in my inbox anymore than I want to hurt a friend by not responding to their text for days on end.

This month, my approach has been pretty simple. If I can respond to an email or text right away…I do. But Beth, you might be asking, does this mean you’re constantly interrupted throughout the day? Well dear reader, I too had similar worries. But they were unwarranted. Because this new approach also involves checking my phone and my inbox at set intervals throughout the day. Instead of constantly. Life changing, y’all.

Going forward: I’ll continue to respond to messages as soon as I can (with the understanding that not every email needs to be perfect, just sent). I’ll check my messages less frequently. I’ll gently check back in with slow responders because HEY, I’ve been there.

February Resolution #2. Ask more thought- or conversation-provoking questions.

Similar to Resolution #1, Resolution #2 is all about relying on technology less in order to communicate MORE. Hear me out.

I believe the art of conversation takes practice. And I kinda think past generations were more aware of this then what we got goin’ on presently. So many of the conversations I find myself in revolve around Person A telling Person B about something they saw in an article online or heard about on social media. Not really opinions or insights so much as, “Well, I read about XYZ…” (Do I sound like an old fuddy-duddy yet?)

I think that as water-cooler communicators and happy hour orators, WE CAN DO BETTER. I know I can do better.

So this month, in an effort to spark more enlightening and entertaining conversations, I resolved to ask more thought-provoking questions. I’d much rather find out about where you were during the O.J. Simpson car chase or ask you what you think your dreams would be like if you were blind (<– real convos I’ve had recently that were AWESOME!) then hear about how tired you are today or what so-and-so tweeted. (Spoiler Alert: We’re ALL tired and I don’t actually care.) 

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss the things we consume online. I LOVE sharing information! But I want FOLLOW-UP questions. What did you think about it? How can we apply this information to our lives? Do you *gasp* disagree? When it comes to everything going on in our (broken) world right now, I want a CONVERSATION not an echo chamber of information.

Going forward: I’ll remind myself that good conversation takes practice and that little inquiries are a way to foster fun communication. I’ll ask follow-up questions. I’ll answer them, too!

Alright friends, onward to March!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Two 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!

What Did You Do With Your Wedding Photos?

what did you do with your wedding photos?

Chet and I got married a shocking seven (!) months ago. My, my how time flies! I posted about a bajillion Facebook albums when we first got our photo files. We also made books with some of our favorite snaps for family members. But now I’d like to finally tackle something for ourselves.

So, I’d love to know, what did you do with your wedding photos? Did you curate a collection of the best and make a book? (Websites like Artifact Uprising and Pinhole Press have stellar reviews!) Did you make a massive album to stow on your coffee table? Print stacks and stacks for a shoe-box labelled “WEDDING”?

And what about for displaying on your walls? We have a three-photo picture frame in our hallway that displays 3 of my faves. Do you have larger prints hanging on your walls somewhere? Tell me everything!

I’ll be honest, part of me wants to completely shirk the idea of a printed-on-the-page photo book in favor of placing each individual photo in an album like this one. Is that crazy!? I love how beautiful the wedding books are with their lovely spreads and high-quality paper. But I’m also the kid who would haul the photo albums up from her grandparents’ basement every chance she got. The pages crinkled in that plastic-y way, the bindings creaked. The weight of all those photos and memories rested heavy across my thighs.

Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to tie the physical representation of one of the most important days of my life to all those other albums–filled with births and birthdays, family vacations and Christmas mornings?

Anyways, I am nothing if not the MOST indecisive person on the face of the planet, so PLEASE–tell me what you did with your wedding photos in the comments below! 

P.S. What’s that? You’d like to SEE my wedding photos!? You’re in luck…
The Bridal Luncheon
The Rehearsal Picnic
The Venue
The Details
Getting Ready
Bride + Groom
The Ceremony
Family + Wedding Party
The Food
The Reception
Note:  We are lucky beyond belief to have so many beautiful images from our wedding weekend thanks to Sur La Lune Photography. Even if they weren’t our BFFs I’d be obsessed with their work. Have a look for yourself! 

January Resolutions – How Did I Do?

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Happy February, 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. Here’s how I did in January…

January Resolution #1. Notice when I’m partaking in unproductive screen time and pick up a book instead. 

Have you ever set an intention to minimize time spent in front of screens? ME TOO. And guess what…that sort of vague resolution has never worked for me. How much is “too much” screen time? What if the time spent in front of the screen is bringing me joy or earning me money? I need something that gets a bit more to the root of the habit I’m trying to change.

For me, that’s tapping in to when I know I’m being unproductive on the computer. It’s noticing when I’m scrolling mindlessly through my social media feeds on my phone. And then offering myself a solution–pick up a book.

So how did this new take on an old resolution work out? Not bad. But not as well as I’d hoped.

I found a great “red flag” for unproductive screen time. It’s a little embarrassing but I’ll share it with you in case it might be helpful:

When I visit websites or apps in a rotation. (*cringes*)

If I’m checking my phone and I look at my email…and then Instagram…and then Facebook…and then Snapchat…and then find my way BACK TO MY EMAIL. OH MY GOD, PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE BERGER AND PICK UP A BOOK.

That’s a habit I took great strides in eradicating in January. However, around the 20th of the month (hint, hint) my screen time started to ramp up again. But that might not be such a bad thing. And it hasn’t all been unproductive.

Going forward: I’ll continue to monitor my social media // website loops. I’ll keep a book close by. I’ll take mental health breaks away from my devices when the news becomes to much.

January Resolution #2. Yoga every day. Take the day off if my body needs it but not when my mind tries to talk me out of it. 

I’m low-key obsessed with Yoga With Adriene and her January challenges are always a great excuse to start the year off on the right foot.

I’m also someone who sticks to exercise when I make it a daily habit. If I planned to work-out 3 times a week that shit would never happen. 30 minutes of yoga (nearly) ever single day on the other hand? That I can do.

Sure, I sometimes try to talk myself out of this practice. Especially when I’m feeling grumpy or lazy or “not in the mood.” But here’s the thing. I never feel WORSE after I do it. I usually feel better. So, this month, I didn’t let my mind talk me out of working out.

I did, however, allow myself space to sit days out if my muscles were too sore or if I’d had a crazy, long day of work. I also didn’t force myself to practice yoga if my body wanted another workout. (Um, hello!? Sometimes ya gotta do this one.)

When I did show up for a quick flow? I felt like I was showing up for myself. My body nourished, my mind calmed.

All in all, I rolled out my mat and practiced 30+ minutes of yoga 25 times in January.

Going forward: I’ll continue to show up for myself on the mat. I’ll take note of when my mind is trying to cheat me from gettin’ something good. I’ll incorporate other types of exercise (or other yoga instructors) into the rotation.

Alright friends, onward to February!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? One month 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!