Category Archives: Style and Design

Round Up: Throw Pillows

A new season is nigh! And if you’re anything like me, new seasons have you jonesing for a home decor switcheroo.

This call toward updated interiors is especially strong for me in the transition from winter to spring. Something about the temperatures rising, the days getting longer, and hearing birds chirping outside my window every morning makes me want to throw open the curtains a la Cinderella and get to work redoing my whole home with pretty colors, lighter fabrics, and dainty decor.

Unfortunately, I only want to spend a Cinderella budget on these updates (and I don’t have any adorable mice to help me)…so I’m always on the lookout for home decor pieces that pack a big visual punch without a big price tag. One of my favorite items for this? Throw pillows! Obviously we can’t change out our sofas for spring or buy brand new bed clothes every year…but pop a few new pillows around the home and VOILA! These pieces have a brand new look.

Below, I’ve scouted a few of my favorites…

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Which would you choose?

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Our Weekend Stay in a St. Petersburg, FL Tiny Home

As promised, below are some photos from a recent weekend trip to St. Petersburg.

Unfortunately, our stay in the tiny home we rented from Airbnb wasn’t as pleasant as we had hoped. Because this is my first bad experience with an Airbnb rental, I thought I’d go ahead and share about it, too.

As you can see from the pictures, the tiny home was super cute. It was decorated in a “Little Havana” style and there were lots of little touches throughout — vintage books, tropical throw pillows, stenciled floors…you get the idea. And it was small…which of course, is the point (and the appeal) of booking a tiny home.

However, of all the Airbnbs I’ve stayed at, this one was by far the dirtiest. The coffee pot was covered with a film of gunk. The window sills all had a layer of dust. There was a wad of dirty/wet paper towels the size of a house-cat in the tub. Not cute!

Because it was nearing bedtime by the time we started to notice all of this, we decided to tough it out. (Upon arrival, we’d tossed our bags inside and headed out to explore, get food, etc. As ya do!) And honestly, I thought it was still livable…just not getting a good review.

Oh but then dear readers, I climbed into the bed. And it STUNK. The mattress was putting off an odor that was part cat pee, part body odor. Also…NOT CUTE! Yet, and I hate to admit this here…I slept in it. Well, sleep is a strong word for the situation. I laid in it for a night.

Not wanting to go for round 2 on sleepless nights, Airbnb was contacted and we were able to cancel // get a refund for the rest of our trip! Praise be for good customer service on Airbnb’s end. Not so much on the end of our hosts, though. They were out of town… Something I think I’ll be more aware of prior to making any future bookings through Airbnb.

So, while I was super excited about experiencing tiny home living…by the end of my trip I was shacking up in a Doubletree king size bed. C’est la vie! *shrug emoji*

And the happy ending for the story? Once the hosts were back on site and saw the tiny home, they realized their cleaning service had def been doing them dirty (har har!), apologized profusely, and issued us a FULL refund. Thanks dudes! Can’t say I’ll be back (or link to any of your properties here, sozz!) but I won’t slam your review section with ALL the sordid details.

Onto the pics…

The Takeaway…

If we hadn’t been paying a pretty decent cleaning fee… and had there not been any available/comparably priced accommodations nearby, we probably would have just made it work. But we were and there were.

If your Airbnb isn’t up to snuff or you feel like it isn’t quite what was advertised, communicate with your hosts and get Airbnb involved if needed. They may have a solution that works for you but you’ll never know unless you ask! Airbnb requires photo documentation and gives the host 2hrs to come up with a plan. (If the host has multiple properties, sometimes they’ll move you into another one of their own.) However, if they can’t come up with a satisfying solution, Airbnb will cancel your booking and issue you a refund. The more you know!

Some St. Pete places I CAN endorse…

Karma Juice Bar & Eatery
The Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge
BellaBrava
St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
Museum of Fine Arts
Savory Spice Shop

Ok, thanks for making it to the end of this somewhat ridiculous post. Here’s a picture of us enjoying golden hour in downtown St. Pete before you go. 🙂 (…just to prove we actually had a good time and aren’t just fussy lunatics lol)

Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? Have you ever stayed in a tiny home (or do you LIVE in one full-time!)? Do you have any Airbnb HORROR stories? I’d love to hear about any and all of the above! xoxo 

Some of My Favorite Life-Changing Products (in case you need more gift ideas…)

December is a popular time for bloggers to share favorites from the year. Today, I thought I’d get in on the action and gush about a few products I’ve found to be especially life-changing. I think any of these would make a fantastic gift, if you’re still looking for ideas, but they also get the Beth Berger stamp of approval as a doodad that has added value to my life in some way. Here we go…

1. Tom Bihn Synapse 19
I’ve talked about this backpack a lot on this blog, and for good reason. The design is absolutely genius and will keep everything you need to carry organized. It doesn’t matter if you’re flying somewhere for a weekend away or just heading to class, this bag is super fun to pack!

2. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens
Fine-tipped marker pens are my key to writing neat and fast. Plus, with all the colors these pens come in, it is super easy to create color-coded systems in my notebooks and planners.

3. Tangle Teezer hairbrush 
Ok, seeing is believing with this bad boy. And I certainly didn’t trust the fuss before trying this hairbrush out for myself. I have long, fairly tangle-prone hair and with just a few swipes of the Tangle Teezer all my knots are taken care of. Witchcraft? Probably.

4. Instant Pot
I thought the crock-pot was a thing of beauty and convenience until I cooked beans…FROM DRY…in a matter of minutes with the instant pot.

  • and steaming basket and silicone cover, too
    If you really want to up your IP game, this steaming basket is how we make a protein and a veggie side in one fell swoop, and the cover is great for saving leftovers to reheat the next day!

5. 8-days-a-week planner
A to-do list is only half the battle for me. Once I’ve planned out everything I need to do for the day, I like to take it one step further and plug those to-do’s into a schedule. This planner has the whole day laid out in half hour increments which allows me to see where things can go. I love this puzzle approach.

6. Nomatic compression cube
I’ve tried a ton of packing cubes and this one is by far my favorite! Not only does it slot perfectly down into my Tom Bihn backpack, but the fact that it is two-sided gives me an extra level of organization.

7. Whirly board
This has been SUCH A FUN addition to my workouts over the last couple months. Not to mention a really fun way to get in an active break in the midst of my work day. I just peel myself away from my desk, hop on the board for a few minutes, and PLAY. Bonus: Makes me feel like a badass skater/snowboarder chick.

8. Mask brushes
I try to do a mask every Monday evening. (Set it and forget it self-care FTW!) When I started this ritual, I was just using my fingers to gloop on the masks…which is fine. But then I discovered mask brushes and it was a total game changer!

9. Minimalist wallet
Sometimes I just don’t have a need for a huge billfold and I want to slap a few cards together, throw them in my back pocket and GO. This is the wallet I use for those times. Plus, it even comes with a little spot to tuck a key! Love it.

Do you have any life-changing products you think I should check out? Leave ’em below! 

P.S. The entire 2018 Holiday Gift Guide!!!

Gift Guide 2018: Fathers, grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles and any other jolly gents!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to conclude my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the final installment. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at various price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

National parks pass to encourage visits to beautiful places (over 2,000 federal recreation sites to choose from!). (National Park Service, $80)

A one year subscription to a magazine you know he’ll love. (Amazon, $24)

Everyone’s favorite classic gaming system so he can challenge family members to beat his high scores. (Nintendo, $60)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Because he loves winding down with a good novel and a fine glass of port. (Amazon, $12)

A box filled with all the fixins a true grill master needs to whip up deliciously grilled meats, fish and veggies. (Taste Trunk, $49)

Eliminate the travel “head-bob” once and for all! (GOSLEEP, $40)

Designer fragrances shipped straight to his door (bonus: he gets to choose the scents!). (Scentbox, $45 for 3 mos.)

A glimpse back in time, this functional art would make the perfect addition to his cozy study. (Modern Artisans, $110)

Because he has a bowl of popcorn nearly every night. (Amazon, $27)

A classic pair of jammies. (L.L.Bean, $70)

He thinks music still sounds best on vinyl. (Amazon, $25)

P.S. More gift guides for jolly gents (2016 and 2017) and here’s the whole 2018 gift guide shebang! 

Gift Guide 2018: Brothers, boyfriends, best dudes, husbands and any other groovy guys!

‘Tis the season of giving! Today, I’d like to continue my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the third of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at a variety of price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

A fun print, because he needs to spruce up the walls of his office and this will conjure fond memories of a recent vacation. (Hello!Lucky, $20 + cost of frame)

A night out at a local axe throwing club…wait, did I say AXE THROWING? I did.

Everything he needs for the perfect sh*t, shower, and shave. (Dollar Shave Club, $5 starter kit and $33.75/quarterly if you want to keep him stocked by way of subscription)

This incredible sleep mask that won’t put pressure on his peepers and encourages restful REM sleep. (Manta Sleep, $30)

Stock the bar cart with a bottle of his favorite bourbon so he can mix up boulevardiers all winter long. (Total Wine, $35)

Christmas-themed slime for ooey-gooey stress relief. (And because he’s still a kid at heart.) (Amazon, $13)

With notes of white cedar, juniper and fig, this candle will cast a soothing outdoorsy scent in his home. (Mersea, $55)

Everything he needs to make juicy, delicious truffle burgers. (Amazon, $62)

A book that will chill him to the core. (Amazon, $10) (This one looks fascinating, too…if he’s not up for something so scary right before bed time!)

A gorgeous overcoat to keep him warm on business trips, plus a pair of super soft gloves tucked in the pockets. (ASOS, $119)

A visual tribute to some of the greatest hip hop songs of all-time, using the periodic table as the framework. Cool and nerdy, just like him. (Etsy, $79)

Because if watching 30+ seasons of Survivor has taught him nothing else, it’s that nothing is more versatile and necessary than a good buff. (And this one is super warm for all those non-island outdoor adventures.) (Etsy, $15)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the guys in your life!

Gift Guide 2018: Mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, aunts and any other sophisticated gals!

‘Tis the season of giving! Today, I’d like to continue my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the second of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at a variety of price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

Print physical copies of her most-loved Instagram snaps (think: grandkids, her pups, and recent family vacations).

New walking shoes because she believes in the power of a daily stroll around the neighborhood. (Amazon, $73)

As Isak Dinesen says, “The cure of anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea,” and this scent will remind her of being by the ocean. (Mersea, $32)

Maybe a bit of an unconventional gift, but nothing says “I love you” like turning someone on to a natural deodorant that actually works, amirite? (Native, $24)

A bucket of Maltesers, which makes any movie watching experience more enjoyable…even if you need a rather LARGE purse to sneak them into a theater. (Amazon, $25) Pair with a DVD or tickets to see a new film, just the two of you!

This  journal has so many sweet prompts to help build an attitude of gratitude! (Erin Condren, $12)

A scarf for all her future travels that comes with a neck pillow hidden inside. Genius! (Sleeper Scarf, $35)

Her door would look so whimsical decked with this cheeky wreath. (Target, $25)

You both agree with the Washington Post, “There is no one quite like Barbara Kingsolver in contemporary literature.” (Amazon, $19)

A food photography class, so she can slay the social media game and showcase the spoils of her culinary prowess. (Creative Live, $74)

Finally, a cozy long-sleeve tee with a powerful message to always be considerate of others and try to make the world a better place — something she embodies entirely. (Cents of Style, $30)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the moms in your life!

Gift Guide 2018: Sisters, girlfriends, best friends, wives and any other lady loves!

‘Tis the season of giving! Today, I’d like to kick-off my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the first of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at varying price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

Schedule a wine tasting or take her for a flight of beers at your favorite brewery and give her the gift of not having to make a decision.

2018 has been a *LONG* year — but you know what’s kept her going. (Cents of Style, $40)

She finally has a backyard and is already daydreaming about fire-pits and fireflies. (Wayfair, $59)

A collection of sheet masks for luxurious self-care weekends or to tuck in her roller bag for some pampering at the end of a long day on the road. (100% Pure, from $6)

Nail polish in 6 seasonal shades that will glow, shimmer, and shine! (butter London, $36)

A unique bracelet that is equal parts effortless and statement piece. (Moorea Seal, $54)

Champagne chocolate truffles…need I say more?! (Taste Trunk, $6)

For pinning on her winter coat as a (not so) gentle reminder to passersby that her third eye is WIDE open, y’all. (Hello!Lucky, $12 – 100% of the proceeds go to the ACLU!)

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel that reads like pure poetry. (Amazon, $14)

A non-electric portable slow cooker (what?!) to make her planet loving heart soar! Oh, and works wonders for tailgating, too. (Amazon, $35)

Because who doesn’t love a dress with POCKETS? And this one is especially sweet and comfy. (Jane, $25)

P.S. Looking for even MORE inspiration? Full gift guides from 2016 and 2017. Enjoy!

2018 Holiday Gift Guides: COMING SOON!

The Finding Delight gift guides for 2018 are right around the corner! The first guide, for Sisters, girlfriends, best friends, wives and any other lady loves! will go up this Thursday. I’ll update this post with links as each gets posted, but until then, I wanted to give you a run down of when to expect each guide. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Gift guide for lady loves! (Coming: Thursday, Nov 29)
Gift guide for sophisticated gals! (Coming: Friday, Nov 30)
Gift guide for groovy guys! (Coming: Tuesday, Dec 4)
Gift guide for jolly gents! (Coming: Tuesday, Dec 11)

+ this year I’m going to do a round-up of some of my favorite life-changing products that I think would make FANTASTIC gifts (just in case you’re still looking). This will drop after the others!

And in case you’d like to get a head start — here are my gift guides from 2016 and 2017!
Eeps!!! It is my favorite time of year. *3 cheers for gift guides*

Do or Don’t: Command Centers

The offending wall. (She’s naked!!!)

One HUGE advantage to our little home in Alabama is that I have a dedicated home office. I love having a space for my desk that’s not about one foot away from where I sleep (like it was in Miami!). I also have a closet (for overflow crap), some drawer storage for craft supplies, a book shelf, and a comfy chair by the window (mostly for my cat/office assistant lol).

But one piece of my home office puzzle that I haven’t quite figured out yet? One big, blank wall. I have my desk against one wall, and all the others either have a door or a window, but then there’s a HUGE blank canvas on the other side.

I’ve been picking up pieces here and there for a potential gallery wall…but then I stumbled upon an idea on Pinterest. A command center! Many examples that I found seemed to be more geared towards household/large family management, yet I think they could be adapted to fit a freelancer’s needs! What do you think?

Here are 5 inspiring examples…

(From Beneath My Heart)

(From The Happy Housie)

(From Sarah Rosemary)

(From The Idea Room)

(From Simply September)

What do you think? Have you ever made a command center? Do you think having one in a home office would be helpful?

3 Tips for Brides-To-Be

3 tips for brides to-be

Planning a wedding can be incredibly overwhelming. For one thing, there’s a TON of wedding advice online detailing all the things a bride “must” do. And then there’s a whole host of other folks IRL who will happily weigh in with their opinions.

How many traditions can there be for ONE day? Do we have to complete every DIY from that “Happily ever after…” Pinterest board? Why does everyone want to make this about THEM!? AAAAH!

It’s enough to make a gal wanna call the whole thing off and head for the courthouse! But I believe everyone can plan the wedding of their dreams . Sometimes it just takes a little bit of strategizing…

So, for all my brides-to-be out there, here are my 3 favorite tips to help you cut through all the noise: 

  • Use traditions as a gentle guide not a do-or-die road map. You can have that walk-down-the-aisle moment of your childhood fantasies without needing to be escorted by a parent. You can cut your cake or not. Your first dance can be in the midst of your ceremony. Talk to your partner about what traditions are important to you, which you’d rather skip, and if there’s room for adaptation. You get to create your own version of the day. 
  • Choose three financial priorities. If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, figure out your priorities before diving in with checkbook in tow. Once you’ve picked your big three, you’ll have a clearer picture of what elements you feel ok splurging on and which you can DIY. For example, music didn’t rank in our top three priorities so we went for an mp3 player plugged into a rented speaker to jam our reception playlist. However, if it ranks in yours, you may want to hire a professional DJ or a local string quartet. I wanted a bouquet made by a local florist but if this detail is something you’d rather save on then, by all means, hit up that Pinterest board girlfriend. 
  • Find ways to involve family and friends that go beyond a wedding party. Sure you may want to have your nearest and dearest standing beside you as you proclaim your love, but I’m guessing these folks have a fair few talents besides looking pretty in pictures. The pieces of your big day will hold so much more sentimentality if they were constructed by the people who love you.  Ask them to do a reading or MC or braid your hair or help you pick out table runners. If folks in your life are chiming in with a whole bunch of opinions, they’re likely coming from a good place–they might just be unsure of how to help. Give them a role to fill!

At the end of the day, wedding’s will never go completely as planned. There will be some detail that completely slips your mind…a last minute change or addition you didn’t plan for. But by choosing meaningful traditions, spending on the details most important to you (and saving on all the rest), and getting your nearest and dearest involved–your big day is sure to be a beautiful success!

(Photo above: Sur La Lune Photography)