mid-week round-up

We’ve made it to Wednesday, folks! If you’ve got a long weekend on the horizon you may find it a bit hard to focus these next few days. I hear ya! I’m hoping this weekend provides a lovely summer send-off. As for last weekend, we met our friend Chad in Nashville and attended a film festival. So fun! Do you have any end-of-summer plans coming up? Tell me below! xoxo

Forget sun signs. Your zodiac is whoever won best actress the year you were born.

The ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic orphanage.

5 things to do when you feel overwhelmed by your workload.

The distracted state of the union.

From successful criminal defense lawyer to…chocolatier?

Inside a radical experiment to transform the lives of incarcerated women.

Farmworkers are dying from extreme heat.

How Disney’s caricature-esque women came to define “the fairest of them all.”

The airport prank that has people understandably riled.

Related: Travel Tips for Airports

Puerto Rico’s year of fighting for power.

Pictures from an abandoned theater.

Related: Urban Exploration as a Cheap Hobby

Time to stock up on autumnal craft supplies.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — A Pocket Letter Inspired by Children’s Book Illustrations and Gift Ideas for Dudes.

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Sunshine Blogger Award Q&A

sunshine blogger award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an accolade given by one blogger to another in recognition for work that they find creative, inspiring and positive. I was super honored to be nominated and leapt at the chance to join in the fun!

The rules of the award are:

  • Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Recently, Finding Delight was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by my sweet friends over at Sweet Tea, Science!

Meridith and Rachel are the masterminds behind Sweet Tea, Science. They are Kentucky gals like yours truly (we all went to Western Kentucky University) and sassy scientistas. They blog about their lives in the STEM-world as they complete their PhD’s. (Rachel in Ecology and Meridith in Statistics.) Some of my fave STS posts include:
Public Speaking Hacks for Scientists
What’s in Her Bag: International Conference + Honeymoon Edition
Day in the PhD Life: Statistician 
Guide to Graduate School Grief
Field Work Flashback
You can also follow Sweet Tea, Science on Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.

The ladies of Sweet Tea, Science asked the following questions:

How do you take your tea?

Sweet, of course! But I’ve switched from sugar to stevia. 😉

What motivates you to blog every week (or as often as you blog)?

I genuinely enjoy doing it! There have been times throughout this little blog’s life where writing posts has had to take a backseat…but I think keeping a full editorial calendar is fun and I don’t beat myself up if not every idea comes to fruition.

Long before Finding Delight was a twinkle in my eye, I kept an online journal for 4 years — from my junior year of high school through my sophomore year of college. I really liked having a place to share about my life where I could connect with other people doing the same. I enjoyed knowing that someone would read what I wrote. I felt like it was the perfect creative outlet for my little introvert heart. Blogging is just my flashier, more grown up version. 😉

From a more practical standpoint, I work as a freelance marketing consultant and web content manager. My blog is a great way for potential clients to get to know me (freelancing is all about selling yourself alongside what you can do!).

What’s your favorite way to keep in touch with folks that have graduated/moved away?

While I love snail mail and social media, nothing beats taking an hour long walk through my neighborhood while on the phone with a bestie.

Where would you like to travel to next? Is it for work or pleasure?

Savannah, GA to meet my nephew! Besides that, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and Australia.

How has a mentor inspired you to take a risk? Or how have you inspired yourself?

A mentor gave me the push I needed to start this blog! During a conversation about how I could get to where she was in her career, her biggest advice was to start a project that would encourage me to write every day, as well as practice design, branding, and marketing. Finding Delight was born shortly after!

At the time, sharing about myself on the internet felt like a HUGE risk! I thought, “My life isn’t all that exciting. Will anyone even care? What if no one reads it.” But, of course, that wasn’t the point.

What is your favorite post you’ve written? Link that post! Go you!

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened…
How to Eliminate Decision Fatigue
A 30 Day Mantra Challenge (+ FREE activity guide)
and all the posts about my wedding.

What is your favorite post someone else has written? Link that post! Go them!

Nice Girls vs. Kind Women
Handmaids, Hospitals, and the Pageantry of the Newborn Nursery Window
My Sister’s Home Makeover
You’re Totally Allowed to Buy That Latte
I Talked to a Woman for 4 Hours on the Train

Where do you do your best blogging work? What sort of environment?

At my desktop computer – although I’m known to fire off a few paragraphs into my phone notes when inspiration strikes. Here’s a look at my desk set-up. It has stayed pretty much the same since our move to Alabama…except now, instead of being about a foot away from our bed, I have my very own home office!! *trumpets*

What is that one productivity tool (app/website) you enjoy using for your blog?

I’ve recently started using Asana which has really helped me visualize larger projects as a bunch of smaller tasks as well as keep track of deadlines. I enjoy assigning due dates to my goals (even when they’re totally arbitrary) because it helps me stay on track. Plus, sometimes a unicorn flies across the screen when I mark things complete–and I’m all for that!

What is a big career challenge you have overcome?

I think narrowing the scope of what I wanted to do. Starting out, I faced two big personality traits; 1) interested in everything, and 2) decisionphobe. That meant I was excited about a lot of possibilities, but would stall out in planning mode. Once I realized I can be interested in things without needing to make money doing them, I had a lot more time to build a career around things I was actually good at.

If you could only read one book, over and over, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I don’t want to live in a world with only one book! (Perhaps that would be enough incentive to start writing my own!!) I don’t often re-read books because my reading list is just too long for circling back around! But if I had to, I would choose one of these.

My Nominations:

  1. A Silent Observer
  2. This Curvy Life
  3. Views From My Garden Bench
  4. Little Things With Jassy
  5. The Barefoot Angel
  6. Katnapped
  7. Em Busy Living
  8. Dreamer Achiever
  9. Chaus’ Adventure
  10. Miss Portmanteau
  11. Hello Whitney

My Questions:

  1. How did you first get involved with blogging?
  2. Besides the comments section, where do you chat and connect with other bloggers?
  3. What’s the hardest blog post you’ve ever written? Was it worth it?
  4. What’s your favorite book?
  5. What three goals are you focusing on right now?
  6. Where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?
  7. What are some positive things blogging has brought into your life that you didn’t expect?
  8. Is there a post you’ve always wanted to write but never have? What’s holding you back?
  9. What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?
  10. Is there someone who doesn’t have a blog but you would read every thing they published if they did?
  11. What have you recently achieved that you’re super proud of?

6 Ways to Use PicMonkey

If you need to edit photos, make graphics for your blog or social media accounts, or just want an awesome template for an Instagram post, you need to check out PicMonkey!

I’ve been using PicMonkey for years. I rave about it to friends and clients. But I’ve never written a dedicated post about this sneaky lil blogger hack.

So, in case you’ve never heard of PicMonkey before, it is an online image editing tool that is super user friendly and perfect for all my influencers, bloggers, entrepeneurs, and marketing mavens out there! What can you create with PicMonkey? SO. MANY. THINGS!

Here are 6 ways I use PicMonkey for my blog, clients, and personal life…

1. Photo Editing

I love snapping photos on my adventures! Before I pop ’em into a blog post, many of them get a quick edit in PicMonkey. Because my posts aren’t super photo-driven, Photo Shop just doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment at this time (and I don’t really have time or the desire to learn how to use it — just being real). So this is a great alternative! I usually crop or straighten my photos as needed. Then, adjust the exposure and color. Sometimes I’ll sharpen them, too. Here are a couple images I edited with PicMonkey…

2. Invitations

There are a ton of templates available to make custom invitations for everything from birthdays and graduations, to surprise baby showers and special promotional events. Chet and I actually used PicMonkey to create the “Save the Date” cards for our wedding!

save the date with picmonkey

3. Graphics

I manage website and social media content for several of my clients. PicMonkey is a great way for me to quickly create a graphic for their blog posts or online newsletters. All I do is keep a spreadsheet with each of my clients, which PicMonkey fonts are suitable for their brands, and any HEX color codes. All I need is an image and bada-bing, bada-boom–I’ve got a custom graphic!

everything you need to know to find your blogging niche

4. Cover Photos

Social media cover photos are a fun way to show off a bit of personality, as well as cross-promote across different platforms. I usually opt for a simple look, but I recently created this Twitter cover photo in PicMonkey and thought it was pretty cute! There are a ton of templates available and there’s no going back and forth to get the right size for the right platform.

5. Collages

I also use PicMonkey to create collages. This is how I first discovered PicMonkey — googling an easy way to include multiple photos in a single image. Below, you’ll see a collage I created for my About page as well as the format I used when I was making monthly favorites posts.

6. Brand Boards

Finally, who doesn’t love a good inspiration board??? If you want to put together a cohesive vision for your brand, then I highly recommend checking out the brand board templates on PicMonkey. As an example, I put together a board for Finding Delight. This is to help guide my aesthetic and posts for Fall 2018 and the sort of vibe I’m hoping to convey with my content in the upcoming season. This one is for my personal use, but this is also a great tool for sharing the feel of your brand with others or creating media kits for companies who want to partner with you.

finding delight fall 2018

Have you ever used PicMonkey? What are your favorite features?

A 12 Day Workout Challenge (Inspired by Social Media Favorites!!)

–> This is your daily reminder that you don’t have to spend a fortune on fitness to come up with fun and challenging workouts. You just have to know where to look, make plans and show up for yourself! <–

Here's the deal, I'm a set it and forget it kinda girl. (As you'll know if you've been around these parts for a bit…decision fatigue, BE GONE!) So, the first time I found a 30 day yoga challenge on YouTube it was like angels circled up around my yoga mat to sing an Alleluia chorus. For 30 days, I didn't have to think about my workouts. I just unrolled my mat and hit play!

For me, yoga challenges have a lot of appeal. I love batch decision making. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel once I've hit the last day. AND I LOVE THAT THEY'RE FREE! #ballinonabudget I decided it wouldn't be so hard to create them for myself! With all types of workouts!

[BALLET CHALLENGES I’VE DONE — HERE and HERE!] 

And since I just finished one such challenge, I thought I’d share the details here with y’all!

12 day workout inspired by social media favorites

For this challenge, I thought about who had killer fitness #GOALS on my feeds. I settled on Madeleine Shaw and Britney Spears.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Britney Spears’ Instagram is one of the most amazing gifts bestowed upon us. I knew I wanted to include one of her workout posts. I CHOSE THIS ONE.

I’m obsessed with Madeleine Shaw’s cookbooks and her healthy lifestyle videos on YouTube. But she’s also a badass yogi and I’d never done one of her yoga videos. Her voice is the most calming thing on the planet so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. And lucky for me, she had just put out 7 days worth of yoga! 

Creating this challenge was shaping up to be easier than anticipated. A whole 7 days already sorted! But now I needed to convert Britney’s post into a workout:


IT’S BRITNEY, BITCH
~25 Minute Workout~

Equipment:
2 sets of dumbbells (one lighter, one heavier)
and 1 kettlebell (or heaviest dumbbell)

30 Seconds Active, 15 Seconds Rest

Overhead shoulder presses
(w/ lighter dumbbells)

Plank rows

Hold wheel pose
or modify:
bridge pose or camel pose

Warrior III w/ weighted row
left leg extended

Warrior III w/ weighted row
right leg extended

Overhead shoulder presses
(w/ heavier dumbbells)

Kettlebell overhead press
left arm

Kettlebell overhead press
right arm

Hold splits on the left side
or modify:
pigeon pose or half splits

REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES

Cool down stretch!


Now that we’ve got the Britney workout figured out, let’s lay out the 12 day plan!

Day 1 It’s Britney, Bitch
Day 2 Yoga 1
Day 3 It’s Britney, Bitch
Day 4 Yoga 2
Day 5 IBB
Day 6 Yoga 3
Day 7 IBB
Day 8 Yoga 4
Day 9 Yoga 5
Day 10 IBB
Day 11 Yoga 6
Day 12 Yoga 7

Congratulations! You made it!


This workout challenge was awesome! A daily commitment of 25 minutes that, combined with nice long walks, felt like the perfect dose of fitness. Each workout made me feel strong, energized, and flush with endorphins. The “lower weight-more reps” approach in the IBB workouts made for a fast-paced session that I paired with pump up jams. While Madeleine’s yoga was calming and grounding. A perfect pair!

What do you think? Let me know if you give it a try! xoxo
And do you have any ideas for future challenges I could put together. I love a challenge CHALLENGE! And I’d be sure to share it here. ❤

List 6: Favorite Words

A new series in which I share lists which I hope will help you to get to know me better. Why? Because I started this blog what feels like forever ago and there’s bound to be some new faces peering in once and awhile! So 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! (+ it’s the summer and I can give myself some grace when it comes to not posting overly-elaborate blog posts.)

dictionary favorite words

My favorite words are…

pompadour //
because it’s just so silly sounding

facetious //
because humor in serious situations is the story of my life

unequivocally //
because it sounds so much like what it means

resist //
because of this poem

y’all //
because second-person plural (and Kentucky)

crevasse //
because KREV-iss is crevice and kruh-VOSS is crevasse

disparate //
because why say different when you can say disparate

atoll //
because they’re a gosh darn natural wonder…see also: lagoon

summit //
because my inner voice is often a sherpa telling me to keep my eye on the prize

vanquish //
because it sounds so old-timey, dramatic, and REGAL

fierce //
because obvious reasons

wherewithal //
because it is extra

& any adverbs that end in -ly like certainly, knowingly, definitely, happily, and frequently // because I over-use them (but I’m trying to learn not to)

Tell me a few of your favorite words in the comments below! xoxo

[And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 
LIST 3
LIST 4
LIST 5]

mid-week round-up

Happy Wednesday!! How’s everyone’s week going? Although we had yucky weather all weekend (keeping us out of any water), we still managed to have a lovely time soaking up the last days of summer. We ate at a new restaurant, explored, hit up an arcade (I love a good pinball machine!), and watched this wacky movie (have you seen it?). Now it’s back to the grind with a productive week. But before I get tucked in with work, let’s link…

My name is Josie Totah–and I’m ready to be free.”

Paying the stereotype tax in poker.

The importance of Beyonce’s Vogue cover.

The royal family was really into horoscopes.

Carmen Sandiego and the importance of feminism in edutainment.

Chet says I would love this book. Have you read it?

The photo book that captured how the soviet regime made the truth disappear.

21 simple things to try when you are bored.

Related: 30 more boredom busters!

Can the woods fix what ails you?

Related: 8 necessities for long hiking treks!

How cops investigate the murders of transgender women adds insult to injury.

This trailer made me cry. (I loved the book so much!)

Get Pinterest-perfect designs with PicMonkey.

P.S. Plus a few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Wedding Planning with Mason Jars and Movie Recommendation: Woman in Gold.

P.P.S. Do you have a Twitter? I’d love to follow ya! This is me.

How to Find Job Satisfaction (even if you haven’t found your “dream job”)

how to find job satisfaction*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Even in the midst of your dreamiest of dream jobs, work can still seem like a chore. Something you have to check off your list along with mopping the floors and getting your oil changed. They call it “work” for a reason, right? And when you haven’t landed your dream job, or still aren’t sure what that ideal occupation even is, finding motivation can be that much harder.

But everyone deserves job satisfaction in their career, whether waiting tables at the very beginning of their ascent or as CEO on that top rung of the ladder. It’s all about attitude, outlook, and a dash of discipline. 

Not too long ago, broke and in debt, I found myself back at a store I worked at when I was 18. Seven years down the line, it felt like a giant step backwards. But by figuring out the tips below (and trust me, there were times I resisted them), I realized I could find satisfaction in my work…no matter what I was doing. This is the attitude that gets you noticed and helps you to make moves. Sure I’d gotten knocked down a few steps, but climbing back up…and then beyond…was so much easier when I enjoyed showing up at work every day and did my best.

So, let me share the tips I utilized to do so…

Being The Best

No matter what your job, you’ll always enjoy it more if you focus on being the best. Whatever, I’ll say it…winning feels good. Does this mean you have to work yourself to the bone? Not at all. There’s always ways to work smarter not harder, no what I mean? You just have to find that willingness to be ambitious.

I’m competitive anyways so I’ve always got my eye out for opportunities where I can beat people (in a gracious way! obvi.). If you’re not, think about the rewards that motivate you most and focus your energies on receiving those rewards specifically. I’m very motivated by words of praise but you might be motivated by public recognition or money or learning something new! Speaking of learning something new…

Educating Yourself

Even the poopiest of jobs can teach you valuable lessons for later in your career. Dive in! Seek out specialized training, put yourself forward for educational opportunities, and tap the knowledge of co-workers. I pride myself on being a life-long learner outside the work place so I relish any opportunity to learn “on the clock.” Depending on your job this could be anything from taking 30 minutes a day to read industry news, signing up for a wine pairing class, or taking part in an online accredited MBA program in your free time if your company is footing the bill.

My rule of thumb whenever someone asked me “Do you want to learn how to do x, y, or z?” Say YES. A downside to working jobs that are more about paycheck than career path? Monotony! But the more you diversify your skill sets…the less bored you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have!

Finding The Value

Finding the value in your job will not only make your daily effort feel worth it, but could also spark passion. How is your work or your company helping people? What are you doing for the greater good? How are you making an impact? Spend some time connecting the dots here. My retail job at a cooperative grocery store prided themselves on keeping the majority of every dollar spent in our local economy. So, I chose to focus on this value. My efforts were always fueled by a desire to promote local farmers and food. I became super passionate about it! And before I knew it, I was working in the marketing office instead of out on the floor…and I still work in marketing today! 

Keeping one eye on the value is a great way to maintain focus when you’re feeling less than pleased about going in or your boss is angry or some task feels pointless. Not to mention, communicating the value YOU provide is an awesome skill to have in an interview setting, hint, HINT.

Do me a favor – Tell us your job in the comments below and the #1 thing you do to find job satisfaction. Thanks!

P.S. Wanna read more of my career tips? CLICK HERE.

The Broken Places

ernest hemingway quote - the broken places

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” -Ernest Hemingway

How you fill those spaces created by life’s hardships is up to you. Maybe you grow fiercer. Maybe you grow braver. Maybe you simply learn something new.

To me, believing I’ll grow strong in the broken places is what gives me the audacity to TRY. Try again, keep going, choose joy, fail gracefully, repeat and repeat and repeat.

Vulnerability is a measurement of courage, not weakness.

I choose to fill those spaces inside myself that Hemingway calls broken with pluck…a little bit of determination…memories, happiness…and the knowledge that the sun always rises again in the morning.

What about you? How do you fill in those spaces that the world breaks open? Chat in the comments!

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!

This post was sponsored by BBBGEM, a custom jewelry store whose white gold wedding bands, morganite wedding sets, and rose gold moissanite engagement rings are nothing short of stunning. Thanks for supporting the brands that support FINDING DELIGHT! xoxo

(Photo above: Sur La Lune Photography)

List 5: Weekend Goals

A new series in which I share lists which I hope will help you to get to know me better. Why? Because I started this blog what feels like forever ago and there’s bound to be some new faces peering in once and awhile! So 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! (+ it’s the summer and I can give myself some grace when it comes to not posting overly-elaborate blog posts.)

madison al sur la lune photography

This is the last weekend before my professor-husband’s Fall semester starts. We plan to make the most of it!

Weekend goals…

Take a bunch of photos for social media.

Finish a book or two.

Explore Decatur, AL.

Spend some time in water.

Try a new restaurant.

Work on a new side hustle project.

Send out cards to a few pen pals.

Laugh a bunch!

Note: I’ve been tracking my days on the Daylio app for a little over a month now. (Have you ever used this app?) Something that always seems to be present when I rank a day as being “THE BEST”? Doing anything new — going somewhere I’ve never been, trying a new food, starting a new book, etc. etc. Trying to set my weekend goals accordingly! (I guess I love an adventure!!)

Tell me what you plan to do this weekend in the comments below! xoxo
(Photo above: Sur La Lune Photography)

[And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 
LIST 3
LIST 4]