Category Archives: Personal

What I Read in September

September was a wonderful reading month for me! I read an 850-page Stephen King novel and still managed to knock out 5 other books over the course of month. I read one 5 star book and the rest were 4 stars! Everything I read was entertaining and captivating — just what I needed in this millionth month of social distancing.

I try to keep my reading fairly diverse in terms of genre as my tastes run the spectrum. Excited to say there are no repeat genres this month! My reads included a historical fiction, a romance, a literary fiction, a memoir, a sci-fi, and a horror/thriller.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Passed along to me by my mom

What I thought: Honestly would love for my official title to be Book Woman. 🙂 This was a very well done and thoroughly researched historical fiction based on the Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s. We follow our main character Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry, as she delivers reading material to her impoverished neighbors in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. I adored Cussy and all the hill folk who came to rely on her deliveries — such a fun cast of characters to read about.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: The Book Drop subscription’s Books for Bubbly

What I thought: A great own-voices romance with a fun behind-the-scenes of a TV show premise. Although appropriately fluffy, it also dealt with some more serious topics that can go along with a life of fame (lack of privacy, consent on set, PTSD, etc). The main conflict might be difficult for some to buy–and I had my apprehensions–but by the end I thought it was handled well enough to win me over. This was a very enjoyable (and steamy) read! If you love the show Jane the Virgin then you should 100% give this book a go.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Audible

What I thought: I’m so happy this was chosen as the inaugural book for the Read ‘Em & Weep book club!!! I had seen a LOT of middle of the road reviews for this one from many Station Eleven lovers who felt this didn’t live up to Emily St. John Mandel’s previous work. Honestly, I was just planning on skipping it. But this was a rare instance of required reading saving the day because I absolutely loved it! I don’t recommend this book to folks who enjoy dipping in and out of novels. There’s just too much going on and too many characters to keep up with. I went in without reading any synopses (all I knew was hotel + ponzi scheme) which I think added to my enjoyment as I wasn’t waiting for anything to happen and was surprised when things did. 🙂 Overall – damn, can Emily St. John Mandel write.

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Books and Crannies

What I thought: A very short read, but it packed a lot of insight and important topics into 96 pages. Shraya explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl. She proposed how we might re-imagine gender for the twenty-first century and cherish what makes us different. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty and am happy to have this little powerhouse of a book in my collection.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Library

What I thought: What a wild ride. I thought this would be the perfect book to kick off the fall season and I wasn’t wrong. In case the title didn’t clue you in, this book is centered around the Kennedy assignation. A portal to the past has been discovered and our main character, Jake Epping, is tasked with traveling back to stop Lee Harvey Oswald. However, the portal can only deliver time travelers to one specific day in September of 1958 — no matter how many times they pass through. So the book really kicked off in the perfect month for my reading experience. Then, the first half of the book follows Jake as he tries to stop a tragedy from occurring on Halloween night — more perfect fall vibes! After that first mission, the book slowed down and took it’s time getting to the fateful day in 1963 which was my reasoning for knocking off half a star. But the ending was worth the journey!

 When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Library (Library Book Club pick)

A truly terrifying story. I encountered several reviews prior to reading that warned to go into this one expecting a horror and I agree. The thriller classification might throw off expectations a bit. However, I didn’t have the same issues with pacing that others had (maybe because I just read an 850-page Stephen King so this felt remarkably speedy in comparison lol). I also had no problems with the romance thrown into the heart of this otherwise creepy book — this is a genre debut for Cole who normally writes romance — it didn’t feel out of place and it was well-executed. Overall, a super relevant book thematically and an enjoyable reading experience.

What was the best book you read in September? 

P.S. Check out some of the other books I’m hoping to get to this season!

FALL TBR

Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my FALL TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I post my seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the September sunshine glowing and the pumpkin spice making it’s triumphant return, it’s safe to say fall vibes are upon us!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…

FICTION PICKS

Own Voices Romance –

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

This new release romance was sent to me by The Book Drop.

Book Club Pick – 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

A story about a ponzi scheme, written by the author of Station Eleven.

Time Travel – 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

A whopper at 849 pages but I’ve heard it’s one of King’s very best.

Literary Fiction – 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I’m a sucker for family dramas told over decades and this one spans five!

New Release –

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

After Homegoing, Gyasi’s books are an auto-buy for me! Picked this one up as soon as it came out.

Contemporary Classic – 

Brazil by John Updike

I’ve been wanting to read a book set in Brazil and choosing one by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author felt like a safe pick.

Young Adult Sci-Fi –

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Continuing on with the second book in this series.

Saw the Movie – 

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I finally saw this movie recently and loved it. Excited to revisit the story (and Italian villa).

NONFICTION PICKS

Memoir – 

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

The book itself is tiny and cute but the story packs a punch as it explores a trans artist’s relationship with masculinity.

True Crime – 

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This one sounds fascinating and is an important piece of American history.

Over to you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And I’d love for you to share some of the books you plan on reading this fall in the comments below! 

P.S. I read a total of 22 books from June – August and read everything from my Summer TBR except for The Aviator’s Wife.

5 Ways to “Clock-Out” When You Work From Home

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Working takes a lot out of you, and a job can be very demanding some days. You must take the time to rest and recover so that you can return to your duties the next day full of energy and motivation. But it can be difficult to transition from a work mindset to a recovery mindset when working from home. 

Below are four of my favorite ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work and signal to my mind and body that work is over and rest has begun. Setting aside this leisure time right after I wrap up for the day is crucial for me to enter the rest of my evening in a state of calm. Then, I can return to my desk the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

1. Pull out the Coloring Books

One way to relax after a long day of work is to grab your favorite coloring books and put your feet up. Invest in a variety of books from https://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/coloring/ so you can mix it up and choose different designs to work on. You’ll be creating a masterpiece while allowing yourself to rest and relax. Coloring is an activity that’s fun and beneficial for kids and adults alike. It’ll take your mind off all the stress and strain from your workday almost instantly.

2. Take A Warm Bath

You may also want to put taking a warm bath on your list of ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work. It’s your chance to unplug from technology and relax your muscles and brain from thinking. Put some bubbles in your bathtub and grab your favorite book that you can get lost in for a while. You might also want to put on some soothing background music and meditate while you’re soaking in the tub. You’ll feel like a new person when you get out of your bath and you’ll feel in a calm frame of mind. It’s an excellent way to relieve any stress you’re feeling in your body as well.

3. Watch A Movie

Another idea for how you can “clock-out” after work is to watch a movie. Pick one based on what you’re in the mood for and will keep your attention. It can be entertaining to watch a favorite movie of yours or to pick a new one that you haven’t seen before. Make a delicious snack or dinner and curl up on the couch in your comfortable clothes and a warm blanket to help you relax. You may even end up dozing off or falling asleep if you’re that tired and worn out. Nothing wrong with a nap!

4. Go On A Walk

You may not think of exercise as relaxing, but it is if you choose the right activity. Going on a walk is an excellent way to burn a few calories, reduce your stress, and calm a racing mind. Call up a friend so you two can catch up about what’s been going on in each of your lives. It’ll be relaxing to spend some time in nature and have someone who cares about you on the other end of the phone. You’ll feel so much better after getting in some steps and being able to get anything that’s bothering you off your chest to your friend.  

5. Read A Book

You might also want to consider reading a great book. Perhaps there is a novel that you have been recommended but you haven’t managed to get around to just yet. Or, maybe there’s a book that’s been on your shelves for months but you haven’t cracked the cover yet. Perhaps, you have read some beautiful short sayings and now you’re interested in discovering the source. Whether you’re learning about a different part of the world or escaping into fantasy, books are the perfect way to relax and escape.

But I want to hear from you! What are some ways you “clock-out” when working from home? Are there any aspects of working from home you’re struggling with?

P.S. Need one more “clock-out” idea? How about an at-home workout. 

SUMMER TBR

Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my SUMMER TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I thought it would be fun to start posting seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the sun shining outside my window and a massive longing to ditch work and head to a beach somewhere, it’s safe to say summer is upon us!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…

I’m going to start with my fiction picks and then jump into the nonfiction. This is a 60/40 split which I feel is pretty spot-on with where my reading preferences currently lie. I also incorporated lots of different genres so there would be a little something of everything I personally enjoy reading!

FICTION PICKS

Contemporary Fiction – 
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Nothing says summer like a story set on a deserted island.

Science Fiction –
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

This is an older title that I’d love to get to this year.

Dark/Hard-Hitting Contemporary Fiction –
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Ordered this one from Books and Crannies!

Horror – 
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

I love reading Horror in the summer — it’s a throwback to my youth when V.C. Andrews and the I Know What You Did Last Summer books reigned supreme.

Young Adult Romance – 
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

A little fluff in the summer never hurt anybody.

Historical Fiction –
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I loved this author’s book Alice I Have Been so when I spotted another of her titles at a thrift store I had to pick it up.

NONFICTION PICKS

Memoir –
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

I love reading memoir no matter the season and this one has been getting so much buzz.

Political Nonfiction –
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

This book was recently recommended to me and looks extremely powerful.

Mountaineering Nonfiction –
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Honestly my favorite nonfiction genre…so I had to include something from this category!

Historical Nonfiction –
A Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport

…and rounding out my list with a dose of the British monarchy. Perfection!

Over to you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And I’d love for you to share some of the books you plan on reading this summer in the comments below! 

P.S. Check out some of the books I own. 

September Playlist

Do you want to take a peek at what I’ve been listening to lately? I’ve shared my SEPTEMBER playlist  below!

Admittedly, I usually turn to podcasts when looking to fill moments of silence. But lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more balanced with what I pop into my earholes! It’s not that I don’t like music, it just takes so much work to find music I LOVE. Whereas listening to a podcast or NPR just feels like a sure thing. (Hello, yes…classic enneagram 9 here. Nice to meet ya!) 

So that’s all to say, I took a lot of care to select songs that resonated with me and I plan to jam to them all month! Maybe you’ll like ’em too! Give it a listen and let me know what you think. xoxo 

 

P.S. Pop any suggestions for my October playlist in the comments below. I’m slowly but surely expanding my repertoire beyond FM radio and old mix CD’s from a decade ago. Please and thanks!!

The Best Souvenirs

Now that summer is coming to an end, and all the travel that goes along with it, I’d love to know…Did you pick up any fun souvenirs on vacations this year? 

When I was a kid, souvenirs felt like SUCH a necessity. Visiting kitschy shops at beaches, amusement parks, and roadside attractions felt like a cruel joke if I didn’t at least get to select ONE item to come home with me. The allure of some magnet with my name on it or a toy representative of the past day’s adventure too difficult to resist whining about.

Nowadays, souvenirs fall into that careful balance of knowing I don’t need any additional tchochkes cluttering my home, but also wanting to take out an insurance policy on fleeting travel memories. With that in mind, I’ve developed a few categories of purchases I employ when looking to commemorate a trip…

Little things to tuck in a memory box, like a postcard or patch, are a go-to of mine. Not a huge investment, so I feel ok that it’s only going to be admired in those days I’m feeling extra nostalgic and pull down the box to sift through my collection of random ephemera.

But I don’t mind splurging on a high-quality consumable. A bottle of wine local to the area that can be uncorked months later. A lotion with a scent to transport me back to our travels. A candle from a sweet seaside shop or a box of local chocolate from the corner store.

And speaking of chocolate, let’s go ahead and put cooking ingredients in a category all their own. Something like a beautiful bottle of local olive oil, whole bean coffee from a cafe you fell in love with, or a couple teeny tiny jars of spices that easily tuck in your backpack. I also love this as an option if you’re tasked with bringing back a goodie for a co-worker or family member. A friend of mine gifted me a little tin of paprika she bought on a trip to Hungary and I thought about her and her adventure every time I sprinkled it in a dish for months to come.

Finally, there’s what I consider the daily item. These I reserve for truly special trips. I want to be transported to those memories frequently, so something like a piece of jewelry or a scarf fits the bill. For a lower budget option, I would go for something like a coffee mug or a small print I can transport carefully home and frame. Basically an item that I can seamlessly incorporate into my daily life…not one that is emblazoned with the city or attraction I visited. Those seem like a good idea in the moment, but then get shoved to the back of a closet.

Which of these categories do you normally go for? Have your own strategy when it comes to souvenirs? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

P.S. This would be a fun way to commemorate your trip once you’ve returned home!

The Purchase that Saved the Summer (+ a cocktail recipe)

When we moved to Alabama, I was so excited that we’d have a backyard. Coming from a big city, where it was starting to feel like we were living on top of our neighbors, I was excited for the extra space. Our first summer here, we hung out in the backyard a bit. Did some grilling, sat outside chatting with friends, even planted a few things. But the mosquitoes were pretty horrendous. In a true case of “the grass is always greener,” I started to miss our screened-in balcony in Miami.

But this summer we showed up with an action plan! We splurged on a pop-up tent (more like a pop-up gazebo…this thing is pretty huge) that offers a bit of protection from all the bugs. It’s proven to be the perfect place for eating dinner, reading a book on a lazy afternoon, and just CHILLING. We’ve even run an extension cord from our kitchen on a few occasions so we could hook up a box fan. Hello, GLAMPING!

Do you hang out outside in the summer? Do you have a porch, a stoop, or do you just head to the park? Let me know in the comments below.

Wherever you’re chilling, this drink would be the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing summer’s evening. Enjoy!

Cocktail Recipe:

Ingredients –
– 1 bottle of Prosecco 
– 1 cup Limoncello
– 1 cup raspberries, muddled & for garnish
– 2 lemons, for garnish

Instructions – 

At the bottom of a wine glass, muddle approximately 4-5 raspberries.

Fill each glass half way with Prosecco, then fill the remainder of the way with Limoncello.

Garnish with fresh sliced lemon and raspberries before serving.

P.S. Other summer faves are linked HERE.

For Your Enjoyment

What are the things you do purely for your own enjoyment? Not the things you are supposed to do, or should, but things you do just because you can?

Here are a few of mine — 

1. Reading fiction

I’m currently reading The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.

2. Taking walks in my neighborhood

I walk to the library to pick up and return books. I walk whenever I’m on the phone. I walk when I want to listen to podcasts or music or my thoughts.

3. Doing face masks

Do you have a favorite I should check out? Always looking for new ones to try!

4. Photographing my cat

My camera roll is literally 98% pictures of Wink. (Only a fraction end up on Instagram.)

5. Watching YouTube videos

Here are a few channels I’ve written about (and still love!): Latasha James, Kara and Nate, and SuperHolly.

Share yours below! xoxo

P.S. If listening to podcasts is something you do for enjoyment, I’d love if you’d check out mine! RIGHT THIS WAY. 🙂

List 15: Recipes to Try

I started a LIST SERIES in Summer 2018 and decided to keep adding to it here and there. These posts are kinda like an introduction (or a reintroduction for those who’ve been with me since the jump!). A nice to meet ya, so glad you stopped by, now STAY AWHILE! Why lists? Because I love making ’em! Enjoy…

Things I’d love to cook/bake/eat…

Simple Sesame Noodles…for a different take on noodle-y comfort food.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa…reminds me of those $1 rice packets I used to live on in college.

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread…I have a slight rosemary obsession.

Chocolate Almond Breeze Smoothie…super simple sweet treat.

Slow Cooker Veggie Pot Pie Stew…so I can set it and forget it.

Brown Butter Rosemary Orange Cornbread…I mentioned the rosemary thing, right?

Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt…a great use for all those Farmers Market peaches.

Honey Banana Smoothie…honey again? Yes. Local honey keeps the allergies at bay!

Broccoli-Cheddar Grilled Cheese…are you sensing another pattern? I like what I like.

Avocado-Bacon Breakfast Wrap…for making brunch at home.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Cakes…love this as a meat alternative idea.

Chicken Schnitzel…always down for a schnitzel!

Tell me what recipes you’ve been yearning to try in the comments below! xoxo

[And in case you’re curious…

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FIN! I’m retiring the LIST SERIES for now, but feel free to read through the archives. 😉 

List 14: My Favorite Posts

I started a LIST SERIES in Summer 2018 and decided to keep adding to it here and there. These posts are kinda like an introduction (or a reintroduction for those who’ve been with me since the jump!). A nice to meet ya, so glad you stopped by, now STAY AWHILE! Why lists? Because I love making ’em! Enjoy…

A collection of posts I love on FindingDelight.com…

Apple Pie Oatmeal
Gift Guide for Brothers/Boyfriends
Cycle Syncing Meal Ideas
Date Night in a Box
Easy Ways to Personalize Your Wedding
In Pursuit of Female Road Narratives
Grief, Facebook and Ambient Awareness
My Healthy Lifestyle Intentions
I Have a Podcast!!!
My Julie/Julia Theory
Life Skills Every Adult Should Know
Why I Love the Library
9 People Share Their Favorite Mantras
Delightful New Orleans Wedding
On the Rooftop of the World
A Pocket Letter Inspired by Children’s Book Illustrations
Quick and Easy Meal Plan for One
How I Track My Reading
My Top 10 Skin Care Staples

Do you have a blog? Link a few of your favorite posts below. I’d love to check them out! xoxo

[And in case you’re curious…

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