March Unboxed: Beauty Box 5

You guys! I recently got my second box from Beauty Box 5 and would love to share the contents, if you’re game. In case you missed my last post, Beauty Box 5 is a subscription service that sends 5 new beauty products straight to your doorstep each month.

The boxes are $12/month ($10 if you order quarterly and $9 if you pay for the whole year!) and are guaranteed to include at least $35 of product. The brands are a mix of drugstore tried & trues, innovative indie, and deluxe…and from what I’ve seen of past boxes (yes, I’m low-key obsessed with unboxing videos on YouTube, lol) the majority of products included are full size. Oh, and did I mention FREE SHIPPING on U.S. subscriptions? Ka-ching!

Here’s everything that was included in the March box! 4 out of 5 of the products were full size for a total retail value of about 50 buckaroos. Let’s take a look…

sweep lash helperLash Helper from Sweep (Retail: $9.99)

This innovative tool helps to perfectly place false eyelashes. Since getting those suckers on seems to require surgical precision, it’s no wonder such an instrument would prove beneficial. (I’d still probably stab myself in the eye.)

 

sweep lashes

Lashes from Sweep (Retail: $15.00 for set of 5)

These false lashes, in the “ELISA” style, are natural-looking and beautiful. Since falsies aren’t really my thing, I’m tucking these (and the accompanying tool) away for a future giveaway. #KeepYourEyeOut

 

Lash Primer from Manna Kadar (Retail: $24 for full-size)

I’d never tried a lash primer before receiving this product but it totally works! The creamy formula provides a nice base to increase volume. Very helpful for cheap mascara users. *raises hand*

 

bellapierre cosmetics glitterCosmetic Glitter in SPECTRA from Bellapierre (Retail: $15)

This would be really fun to add on top of eyeshadow for a night out. Extra glam! The accompanying card also recommends adding a little to a bubblebath for additional, all-over sparkle.

 

prestige cosmetics eyeshadowTrue Metals Eyeshadow in PEWTER from Prestige Cosmetics (Retail: $9.75)

I’ve been highly devoted to a bronze-y eyeshadow the last few months and I’m excited to switch it up with this new metal tint. This product is my stand-out fave of the whole box!

 

Which product would you be most excited to try out? Do you have a favorite makeup subscription service? I would totally recommend Beauty Box 5 (even if you’re product clueless like me!). 

*Note – This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Finding Delight. 

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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.

mid-week round-up

Hola! How’s everyone doing this week? We booked an Airbnb for our friends’ wedding next month. It’s in Savannah, GA and I’m getting increasingly excited about returning to that charming, southern city. Have you ever been? Any recommendations? Have a wonderful rest of your day, and enjoy a few links on me…

16 weird forgotten English words we should bring back.

Related: Are you a word nerd?

Amanda Knox shares what romance in prison actually looks like.
“Prison is an isolating place. You’re forcibly removed from your homes and support network. You’re deprived freedom of movement, of social interaction, and of time. You’re forced to submit to total surveillance and control by strangers, alongside strangers. But relationships help keep us sane, even if they’re forbidden or not ideal.”

5 tips for capturing magical everyday moments.

50 everyday acts of rebellion.

A book to help you kick the plastic habit.

Photographer Claude Cahun resisted the Nazis, escaped death, and created great art.

Martha Washington’s diamond ring. (It has a secret locket!)

To listen to NPR today — and really for most of its 47 years — is to listen to the voices of women.
“The centrality of women’s voices in establishing NPR’s distinctive sound serves as important context for thinking about the cultural and political significance of the network today. Given the unprecedented role that gender politics played in the last election, it might be worthwhile to reflect on the role of women’s voices in making public radio so threatened and, perhaps, threatening.”

How to bathe like an 18th-century queen.

Related: The 5 things that turned me into a shower lover.

Thank you (Yes you!) cards.

I planned my wedding in 5 days. You could, too.

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments.

P.S. I’d like to start sharing a few links throughout the week, too. Follow Finding Delight on Facebook so you won’t miss out! 

Rules for Female Friendships

Roxane Gay, writer and feminist hero, shared this great list on Women’s News a few years ago. Have you read it? It outlines the rules for female friendships and offers a healthy dose of reality for those folks who believe, for whatever reason, that lady-friends need to be competitive and catty. These rules, especially, are such important reminders…


2.
A lot of ink is given over to mythologizing female friendships as curious, fragile relationships that are always intensely fraught. Stop reading writing that encourages this mythology.

5.
Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.
5A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1.
5B. If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.

12.
If a friend sends a crazy email needing reassurance about love, life, family, or work, respond accordingly and in a timely manner even if it is just to say, “GIRL, I hear you.” If a friend sends you like 30 crazy emails needing reassurance about the same damn shit, be patient because one day that’s going to be you tearing up Gmail with your drama.


Don’t you love that?  Rule 5B reminds me of Ann Friedman’s Shine Theory (“Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.“) With these rules and theory in mind —

What female friendship can you work on today? What powerful lady can you welcome to your circle? LET’S SHINE, Y’ALL! 

Check out these books by Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist, An Untamed State, and Difficult Women. Listen to Call Your Girlfriend – a podcast for long-distance besties – hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow.

P.S. Other fabulous ladies I’ve blogged about — Naomi Shihab Nye and Corita Kent.

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Amy, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Amy’s story. Her clients are the teeniest of tiniest and she helps parents regain the sanity that comes with a good night of sleep. She has a strong background in maternal and child wellness and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. Let’s check out her hustle!

“An Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, what in the heck is that?” Well, for starters, that’s me, Amy Douglas of Baby Sleep Central. I get that question a lot when I excitedly announce my career of choice. In a nutshell, I help sleep deprived parents of babies and toddlers take back their sleep. This involves helping little ones learn to love the act of sleeping, while also uncovering any potential issues that could be bothersome or disruptive to children. Boy, I know what you might be thinking… “Sleep is so boring!” To the contrary, I can talk sleep for days and my head starts spinning with wild ideas when I connect with new clients. I was once an exhausted parent myself. My first born was anti-sleep (or so I thought) and preferred to throw angry parties in his crib about 10 times each night. Flash forward to today – nothing brings me greater joy than helping families like mine restore their sleep. And not just in my wonderful city of Columbus, Ohio, but all around the world. So how do I accomplish this? Well, there are no two days alike, but let’s take a recent Friday as an example!

7:30 – 8:30 am – Wowzers! This day has me out the door early (so much for working from home and making my own perfect schedule – ha!). I find myself in a nearby suburb picking up some tasty gluten-free pastries for a local pediatrician’s office. They’ve recently been referring sleep deprived parents my way, and I’ve been wanting to thank them properly. Eh, doctors eat pastries, right? Too late, I’m here with the staff and they seem really excited. Phew!

9:00 am – In the last half hour I’ve rushed home to relieve my husband, so he can get to stepping! He mainly works out of our home, but he is very diligent with timing – that’s the key to success my friends! It’s a preschool/daycare day, and I’ve gotten the kiddos fed, dressed, and out the door in quite a jiffy. I won’t get to spend much time with them today, so I hug them long and hard at drop-off. Don’t worry, tomorrow I have a plan for us to bake and decorate sugar cookies. Geesh, what’s up with me and the sweets today?

9:30 am – Driving to Powell, Ohio while listening to my favorite Podcast: Momcast. I was a guest on their show last week discussing sleep hacks, and man – I wish I had one of their sultry radio voices. I sound like a chipmunk in comparison. Hey, at least I had a ball!

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – These 2 hours are spent doing something I especially LOVE to do. Once a month I visit my favorite local coffee shop and host complimentary mini-sessions with parents and professionals. This allows me to give back to the community and offer free tips and advice when I can. But more importantly, this time is for individuals to give me a glimpse into their world. I often hear personal accounts of how lack of sleep affects day to day activities, influences parenting decisions, and even impacts careers or relationships. Sleep deprivation has no boundaries, folks. The info shared is confidential, but it dances around in my brain as I determine if we’re a nice fit for each other for future consulting services.

12:00 pm – Commuting back home. Borrrrring.

12:30 pm – Nourishing my body with real food. Soup and salad, though it may be hard to believe me based on my documented love for sugar.

12:30 – 2:00 pm – Did I mention I am a part-time student? I spend this time submerged in my Abnormal Psychology textbook. I’m inching closer towards a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. It’s certainly a work in progress; taking 1-2 classes at a time will have me there in about 100 years. Never give up, folks!

2:00 pm – Yes, time for an appointment! I have a follow-up call with a family I’ve previously helped. Baby was sleeping through the night, but due to recent illness and holiday travel, they feel they’ve veered off course. It happens. And I advise them how to get back to a good place with sleep – for once and for all!

3:00 pm – Catching up on social media and e-mail responses. 12 messages have been ignored for hours, eek! After further review, it’s not bad – a couple new client inquires, and a few spam too (boo)!

4:00 pm – I’m back at it again! Driving 20 minutes north for an In-Home Sleep Consult session. Some people like driving; I’m not one of those people. I’m anxiously awaiting the invention of the flying hover-board and thought we would have that by 2017.  

4:30 – 6:30 pm – I’ve arrived safe and sound. Dearest toddler is in and out of his parent’s room all night long. He’s lost his blankets, he needs another drink, and he’s too tired to sleep. Yep – you read that right! I have a real soft spot for the toddler crowd. I go easy on him, and help his parents create a gentle plan they can self-implement. No question goes unturned before I head back home to see my family.

6:30 pm – Picking up fast food for the kids. Hey, I’m not perfect. Wendy’s it is! I get nuggets (that’s “chicky nuggies” according to my 2-year old) and I’ll round those out with steamed carrots and blackberries from home for a complete meal. Voila! Praying my husband already ate, because I forget I own a crock pot sometimes.

7:00 pm – And, he is amazing. He not only picked up the kids from daycare with his tight schedule, but he’s also prepared dinner for us both. We eat, talk about our day, and we laugh. Always.

7:30 – 8:30 pm – Connecting with my kids for a bit before my husband and I divide and conquer bedtime duties. The toddler wants rocked by Daddy, and the almost 4-year old is in full on diva mode wanting his mass-sausages (I don’t have the heart to correct him to say massage. Before long he’ll be saying it the right way. And I’ll be so sad!). They are great sleepers, and we won’t see them again until 7:30am.

8:30 pm – Circling back to social media and unfinished email business. (Follow Baby Sleep Central on Facebook & Instagram for free sleep tips and some laughs!) There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

9:00 – 11:00 pm – Sometimes this chunk of time is spent video conferencing with clients in other countries (Australia later this week!). That pesky time difference sometimes has them waking up to my going to sleep. Tonight, is NOT one of these nights! Instead, I get to relax with my husband. I make a very tough decision to “put my phone to bed” at 9pm, and not look at it until morning. We watch This is Us on Hulu (please tell me you all watch this) while I draft out a new blog post.

11:00 pm – Aww, shucks. It’s bedtime, but I was going to prep some cookie dough in advance. Nothing a little Pillsbury can’t fix in the morning. It’s off to Sleeper’s Town I go, and I rest my head on lavender sheets. Tomorrow is a new day –  a slower one for work, but much busier with the ones I love.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Amy! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work with parents or cater to teeny-tiny clients, too?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

mid-week round-up

Good morning my delightful friends! How are you today? We started watching Big Little Lies last night. What an all-star cast! The characters are super compelling but I’m not sure if I’m in love with the format just yet. I’m certainly hooked enough to keep watching though! Tomorrow we’re headed to the aquarium and I CAN’T WAIT! Hope you all have beautiful days, and here are a few things you may enjoy reading…

The politics of conspicuous displays of self-care.

50 things you need to eat in Miami before you die.

I NEED this In Omnia Paratus poster in my life!

The true story of the American work force as told by nine folks in the trenches.

How to become an adult. 
“Suddenly realize that you are now older than your parents when they got married, older than your parents when they had a kid, maybe older than your parents when they had you, even. Notice the ages come and go at which you had always told yourself you would have various little boxes checked, see them fading behind you like road signs, and feel a mix of disappointment and empowerment: “No, I am not the person I promised myself. Yes, I actually like this person better.”

French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu has taken a unique opportunity to correct public misperceptions about the life of Mama Cass.

Related: Adding California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas and The Papas by Pénélope Bagieu to my Amazon Wishlist.

Also Related: Five Great Graphic Novels!

To the women of America — A warning and a rallying cry from Poland.

Betsy DeVos and the history of homeschooling. 

Never been to Tokyo? Here’s a crib sheet of stuff that is useful for your first trip. #goals

The baby in the plastic bag. #longform

A call to travel abroad…in your own country.
“I was a foreign correspondent for many years, work that involves the shedding of assumptions and absorption in place. To see what’s over here, you have to let go of what’s over there. Scott County, for coastal metropolitan Americans, is a foreign land. In a fissured nation, there are fewer and fewer moments of genuine encounter between rival tribes, each confined in its ideological canyon. So what could bring the country together, usher Brooklyn closer to Scottsburg?”

Working while female. 

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Carol Rossetti’s Colorful Illustrations of Female Empowerment and Winter Wardrobe Pieces.

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!

A great conversation starter…

Imagine: You’re catching up with a dear friend over a mug of something warm. You’ve already run through the past week and a half of activities, all the annoying things your boss has said recently, and your thoughts on a new-to-you podcast. You’re not ready to part ways just yet but…topics are waning.

What do you do?

May I make a recommendation? Why not ask…

What’s the best thing you’ve won?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to ask more thought- or conversation-provoking questions, and this one has quickly become a favorite.

Ask your partner when you’re out on a date. Ask your co-workers in those just-got-to-work moments when no-one wants to actually start working just yet. Ask all the guests at a dinner-party and go around the room taking turns telling all. (Hey, it’s not bragging when everybody’s doing it!)

The answers may surprise you.

And YO! There’s no reason I have to keep my convo-startin’ questions IRL, is there? So I wanna know, dear reader (THAT’S YOU!): What’s the best thing you’ve won? COMMENT BELOW and tell me everything. 

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!