What books would you paint on a staircase?

Here’s a fun thought experiment for your Tuesday…

Recently, my mom texted me the picture above and asked, “If you were going to paint a 13-step staircase in your home, what books would YOU include?” 

After great and labored consideration, here is my list (although I feel like it could change tomorrow–or maybe even in 10 minutes!):

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Christy by Catherine Marshall
Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Which 13 books would YOU choose??? Please indulge me and leave your answers below. I so love finding out what books resonate with people (especially enough that they would paint the spines of said books on their staircase!!).

*Photo and idea found here.

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3 Items Every Young Professional Needs In Their Desk Drawer

With online social networking opportunities just a mouse click away, it can be easy to forget about the power of putting pen to paper. We shoot off an email, find a new acquaintance on LinkedIn, or tweet that keynote speaker at our conference how spectacular their talk was.

While I do think the internet has opened up a whole new realm for staying connected, I also whole heartily believe in some other more face-to-face (or snail mail-y) methods. Which is why I encourage all young professionals to keep 3 very important items in their desk drawer: BUSINESS CARDS, PERSONALIZED STATIONERY, and THANK YOU NOTES. 

And what better way to encourage yourself to USE said items than to pick out versions you totally love!? My go-to? Basic Invite – the beautiful online stationery shop based out of St. George, UT whose passionate team has been creating the perfect card for every event (and stage of life) since 2006. The site offers a TON of templates and then allows you to customize EVERYTHING.

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail.

Business Cards

If you’re going to exchange emails and phone numbers with a potential client anyways, why not streamline the transaction with a cute card. Hand them out at meetings and conferences, sure. But think outside the box too! (And think inside the box…as in those boxes where you throw in a card and hope for a free lunch. 😉 )

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample so you can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before you ever have to place a final order. This is a great option to make sure the final product is totally brand aligned before ending up with a big bulk amount.

Personalized Stationery

If you want to take that extra step with a client, co-worker, or mentor; jot a few lines and stick a stamp on it! This can be especially helpful if you’re sending out physical product or need to convey information that you would like to stand out (and not get buried in an over-crowded inbox).

Basic Invite is just as colorful with their envelopes as they are with their stationery. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to envelopes so mail stands out even before it’s opened. While I chose to stick with classic white, going for a bold and branded color would be a fun way to stand out in a mail pile!

Thank You Cards

Nothing beats a hand-written thank you card. And honestly, as a young professional, no action or gift or leg-up is too small to fire off a quick paragraph of gratitude. Have a huge stack and send liberally!

If you have to send out a huge batch (think: after a large work event or wedding), you can use Basic Invite’s free address collection service to request addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing. Score!


Those are my three must-haves when it comes to professional stationery, but Basic Invite has a ton of other great uses for your work and personal life. If you’re an entrepreneurial hustler looking to get the word out about an upcoming event or special, they offer designs for promotional postcards. Throwing a party? Design your own custom party invitations or birthday invitations. The options are limitless!

Do you keep a collection of professional stationery in your desk drawer? What’s your favorite way to network? Let me know! And don’t forget to check out Basic Invite for perfectly customized stationery. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Finding Delight!  

(em)POWER(ment) WALKING

My current fitness line-up involves a healthy mix of yoga, body-weight strength and flexibility training, ballet, and pilates. But my favorite way to get in a little movement has, and will always be, a good ol’ fashioned walk.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of my walks as EMPOWERMENT sessions. Here’s how:

For about the first two-thirds of my outing I listen to a podcast that gets me fired up. It could be about politics, business, or holistic health. (Call Your Girlfriend is one of my faves and I totally recommend it as an empowering walking companion!) Then, for the last third, I pump up the jams and my pace and just STRUT. IT. OUT. Think: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Fergie feat. Nicki Minaj. (Go wild, do you, etc.)

What streams through your earbuds when you go for a walk (or jog)? Do you like to get in a little learning with a podcast or do you prefer carefully curated playlists? Leave some recommendations of favorites below!! 

P.S. How to ditch your gym membership and how to make your own fitness challenge (for totally free).

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Suffice to say, our slow reintroduction phase after our Whole 30 sorta went out the window as Hurricane Irma blew into town. (We evacuated on Day 31…yikes!) So I’m trying to get back on track and figure out what permanent dietary changes I want to make moving forward. I’m planning to make a pizza without cheese tonight. I’ll let you know how that goes (sorta feels like blasphemy!). I’m also plowing my way through this book, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some links for perusal purposes…

Inside a quiet revolution in the study of the world’s other great kingdom.

Michael Twitty’s new book explains how the story of Southern food is the story of the African-American experience, starting with slavery.

Related: Order the book HERE.

Reclaiming my time.

Dude. This book looks like SUCH a page turner.

Related: Book Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Melania Trump, hurricane heels, and the artifice of fashion.

When we experience art, we feel connected to something larger. Why? 

On the ground in Pyongyang: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?

101 ways to cheer yourself up, if you’re down in the dumps.

Hurricane Irma: historic and harrowing.

Related: Hurricane Irma: What I Learned & How to Help

The bad science behind campus response to sexual assault.

Academics uncover 30 words “lost” from English language.

My favorite mascara.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Are you a word nerd? and A College English Teacher’s Take on Last Chance U.

Hurricane Irma: What I Learned & How to Help

After our stint as Hurricane Irma evacuees, we are finally back in our apartment and slowly returning to normal. We are beyond lucky. Our home is intact, my car is right where I left it, we are happy and healthy. Many can not say the same.

As we made the drive back to Miami, Chet and I reflected on a few takeaways from the past couple weeks regarding Hurricane Irma (in general), our evacuation (in particular), and how we would apply them to future preparedness efforts.

Lessons learned…

1. Fake news. Social media ran rampant with false information before, during, and after the storm. Emotions are already running high and stress levels are at their peak. Make sure you’re following a few trusted sources and ignore the rest until you can verify them.

2. Predictions are not certainties. Irma didn’t make up her mind on a path until she was barreling through. Sometimes you gotta make moves based on possibilities and pray it was for nothing.

3. Bring bedding. Kind of random but I’ll remember this for any future evacuations. We ended up staying at a sparsely furnished cabin at a campground in Lake City, FL as we made our way out of the state. It was a bring your own bedding situation but luckily the campground sold us sheets and a towel. If you’re evacuating, it wouldn’t hurt to toss some blankets and towels in your trunk just in case. You never know where you’ll end up staying!

4. Gridlock traffic isn’t fun. We were on the highway during the largest mass evacuation in United States history. And it wasn’t fun. At one point we were in stand-still traffic for over an hour, 6+ lanes across, no cell signal. It was claustrophobic and panic-inducing. Make sure to have food, water, and a first aid kit in the car when you choose to get out of dodge.

5. Mike’s Weather Page FTW. The Weather Channel is exhausting and alarmist. Mike analyzes data and gives you the facts. We love him!

6. Expect to stay. Returning too quickly after a natural disaster is a bad idea. Wait for word from public officials that it is safe to return. Our social media feeds let us witness a ton of folks who tried to head home only to be met with road closures, no gas, and floods.

7. The right time to talk climate change is NOW. 

Honestly, I could probably share a ton more but for now, I’ll leave you with this —

How to help victims of Hurricane Irma…

Donate to UNICEF. They are focused on getting children back to school in Irma’s wake.

Donate to SPCA. They give shelters and rescue groups support to help animals affected by natural disasters.

Donate to The Miami Foundation. They support recovery and rebuilding on the ground in Florida (especially in marginalized communities) as well as in small Caribbean island nations and territories, including Antigua & Barbuda, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.

Volunteer to assist the affected through Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). They are registering volunteers to assist with relief efforts in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

As soon as affected areas get back on their feet, VISIT. Chet and I decided last night that we want to head down to The Keys as soon as humanly possible. We want to support the businesses that rely on tourism dollars. They have a long road ahead of them and many local businesses and jobs are at stake. We want to stay at a hotel, eat meals in local restaurants, and buy a gift or 2 from a local shop.

I know it’s easy to think of the areas who found themselves in Irma’s path as vacation destinations, upper class playgrounds, and landing pads for rich retirees. Surely such folks had the means to weather this storm, right? But the huge number of working class people, who largely labor in tourism/service industry jobs, don’t. Their livelihood could be adversely affected long after the detritus of Irma is cleared.

And I’d love to know…

Have you had a first-hand experience with a natural disaster? What did you learn? What organization do YOU recommend donating to?

Sending warm and powerful thoughts to anyone who needs them. xoxo

mid-week round-up

Hi folks! Sorry for the radio silence but the past week has been crazy! Last Wednesday, it started to become quite clear that Hurricane Irma was going to make a direct hit on Florida. After the 11 am models came out, showing the possibility of a Miami landfall, we loaded up the car and hit the road. The traffic was insane! And gas and hotel rooms were scarce. (You can read where we ended up spending the night on this Instagram post.) About 28 hours of driving time later, we FINALLY reached our destination. Crazy to think we were part of the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. The devastation in Florida will be long-lasting and I’m so grateful we had a safe place to go to weather the storm. Now we’re just waiting around to make sure our return trip is as uneventful as possible. (There are lots of reports of road closures due to flooding and gas shortages.) In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been reading…

An Australian snake may have evolved all-black scales to cope with pollution.

On gender specific toys and stereotyping children.

If you’re in the market for a studio apartment in Budapest, this one is ADORABLE.

30 Autumn blog post ideas to curb your bloggin’ writer’s block.

Seven days of heroin. This is what an epidemic looks like.

27 of the best books to read this Fall.

Perfectly imperfect. (Cents of Style sent me this bracelet recently and I love it!)

People are shaming Kate Middleton for her pregnancy and it’s actually so offensive.

If you’re a Southern gal or guy gone vegetarian and have a hankering for comfort food, this cookbook has got you covered.

How to enjoy working on the weekends.

What Dreamers gained from DACA, and what they stand to lose.

To understand rising inequality, consider janitors at two top companies, then and now.

P.S. A couple Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and Weekend Uniforms: Dressy, Casual, and In the Middle.

What I ate during week 4 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 30 of the Whole30! (oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!) I’m planning to do a full write up about the experience (and maybe a food diary post about the reintroduction phase) but for now…

Here’s what I ate on Week 4:

Day Twenty-Two

Breakfast – Coconut Chocolate RX bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, chicken, salami, broccoli, carrots, and macadamia nuts, and strawberries
Dinner – Baked tilapia, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew with coconut/almond creamer

Day Twenty-Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Plantain chips and guacamole, hard boiled egg, strawberries
Snack – Chicken and salami roll ups, apple
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Baked chicken and sweet potato
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Four

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, salami, hard boiled egg, guacamole, and topped with plantain chips, and strawberries
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Twenty-Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and strawberries
Snack – Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Handful of cashews and freeze-dried pear
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Six

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, hard boiled egg, pickle, and home-made dressing, plantain strips and 2 dried figs
Dinner – Hot dogs and sauerkraut
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water

Day Twenty-Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and served with salsa, handful of almonds, freeze-dried tangerine
Snack – Blueberry Muffin Lara bar
Dinner – Hot dogs with sauerkraut, plantain strips, unsweetened apple sauce
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew coffee with nut pod creamer

Day Twenty-Eight

 Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Chicken jerky, plantain strips, and Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Tilapia, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

For more Whole30 food diaries CLICK HERE

July Unboxed: Beauty Box 5

Hi friends! I recently received another box from Beauty Box 5 and would love to share the contents, if you’re game. In case you missed previous postsBeauty Box 5 is a subscription service that sends 5 new beauty products straight to your doorstep each month. And I know, I know. Today is the last day of August and this is my box from July but I actually didn’t receive it until this month (there were some shipping issues).

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 so far 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 July box! 3 out of 5 of the products were full size (+ they sent me a free makeup brush because of the shipment snafu!). Let’s take a look…

luseta beauty argan oil hair masqueArgan Oil Hair Masque from Luseta Beauty (Retail: $29 for full size)

This is the perfect product to restore hair after a summer full of sun, salt, and chlorine. It also protects against future heat damage and smells amazing!

 

Line & Seal Eyeliner in PLUM from Styli-Style (Retail: $6.50)

I’m not usually an eyeliner girl but something about this pretty plum color makes the whole thing feel a bit more approachable. It has a gel-like formula and glides on smooth.

 

manna kadar illuminatorGlo Illuminator from Manna Kadar Cosmetics (Retail: $29 for full size)

I don’t think I’ll be mixing this with my base (too much dewiness for me) but I love it dabbed on cheekbones for a subtle shimmer. Gotta hold on to that summery glow!

 

seraphine botanicals lip crayonQuince + Crimson Crayon from Seraphine Botanicals (Retail: $24)

This is a one stop shop product perfect for travel because it can be used as lip AND cheek color. They’re not lying about the long-lasting part either. This stuff is made to STAY.

 

Nail polish in COPACABANA CORAL from Nanacoco (Retail: $3.95)

I definitely have time for one last round of BRIGHT polish before I start pretending Miami actually has seasons and opt for more autumnal hues. My toes will be pool ready in no time!

 

BONUS: Cut the Crease brush from BB5

I was super excited to receive this extra treat as I’ve been wanting to get a new brush for eye makeup. SCORE!

 

 

For sneak peeks and monthly product info, follow Beauty Box 5 on Instagram.

Overall, I love that Beauty Box 5 includes self-care treats – like the hair mask and nail polish – alongside makeup I’d never think to try and end up loving (I’m looking at you purple eyeliner). 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.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, my loves? As my Whole30 winds down, I’ve been researching ways to bring pizza back into my life in a less gluten-y, dairy-filled fashion. Have you ever tried making a cauliflower crust? It just seems like so much work! Might have to load up on the pre-made version on our next trip to Trader Joe’s. (Can you tell I’m missing celebratory Pizza Friday’s??) Hope your Wednesday is wonderful, and here are some links for your mid-week enjoyment…

The Duffer brothers thought they’d flamed out in Hollywood. Then they came up with Stranger Things.

Another post-Whole30 baked good I’m itching to make.

How the Ikea catalogue cracked what ‘domestic bliss’ means in different cultures.

The bunkers built to survive an apocalypse.

For families divided by the border, there is one place where they are allowed to come together–almost.

Society would be worse without gossip.

Related: I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened.

A book about a futuristic Joan of Arc that looks right up my street.

Texas prisons ban books by Langston Hughes and Bob Dole – but ‘Mein Kampf’ is ok.

Behind the scenes with YouTube’s De’arra and Ken 4 Life.

How cute are these PJ’s?

A resistance led by celebrities will always be bullshit.

Millions of bananas arrive every week in NYC. It takes a lot to get them from the boat to the bodega.

P.S. A few Finding delight posts you may have missed — Recipe: Banana Nut Baked Oatmeal and Simple Cure: Drink More Water.

P.P.S. Hop on over to my Finding Delight Reader Survey! I’m planning new content and would LOVE your input. Thanks a mil! xoxo

DIY: Polaroid Display

On our recent mini vacay to Delray Beach, we brought along an old polaroid camera. We had gotten it at a flea market a few years back and I never really thought it would function (I just wanted it as a funky bookshelf accessory). But lo and behold, Chet found a way to get it working and we took a roll of beach-y, vintage-vibes snaps.

I really wanted a way to display this special roll of film. Each of the pictures make me happy and I love that they look like they could have been shot in 1977. (#nofilter just an old ass camera, lol)

Here’s what I came up with and instructions in case you wanna make your own!

What you’ll need:

  • a frame
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • thick twine or rope for hanging
  • thin twine or yarn for stringing across the frame
  • mini clothespins
  • sandpaper if your frame needs a lil distressing

And how it all comes together:

The most important part of this project, in my opinion, is to find a frame that fits the vibe of your polaroids. I found this one on clearance at Home Goods. The light blue, antiqued look really goes with our beach-y, vintage-looking polaroids. You could probably find a great frame for your own photo display at a thrift store or maybe you have one sitting around your house! If you’re going for a distressed look, you could always paint and then sand to let a little wood peak through.

Once you have your frame, take out the backing and glass. Lay out your polaroids to see what arrangement will work best. Then, measure out some twine and string it across. Secure with hot glue.

Next, cut some thick twine to attach to the top of the frame for hanging. Depending on how heavy your frame is you may need to staple down the ends.

Finally, clip your polaroids on with some adorable mini clothes pins.

Hang on the wall and admire your finished product…

I’m totally obsessed with how this turned out and love displaying our tiny collection of beachy polaroids! Have you completed any DIY projects lately? I’d love to hear about them. ❤ 

P.S. Have you taken my Finding Delight Reader Survey yet? What are you waiting for!