"April distance brings May existence." I saw this quote on Instagram recently and thought it was a very cheeky, clever twist on an old saying for modern times. We're approaching the end of week four of social distancing here on Long Island where things don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon -- my fears of actually getting sick are much higher than they were initially and it's been hard to stay upbeat while doing the same things day after day after day.
I thought I'd keep things light here on the blog by sharing what I've been up to in an effort to stay connected with everyone and hopefully inspire some of you who may be looking for new ways to pass the time.
barre3 15-day free trial - You may remember that trying a barre class is on my 2020 vision board. But I was secretly nervous about going to a class alone as a first-timer since I've heard barre is VERY hard and I can be a bit of a fitness wimp. I'd never even considered doing a virtual class until stumbling upon this free trial in a newsletter (guess there are some benefits to being quarantined after all 🤷). I've been loving barre3 so far because they tailor recommended workouts based on your profile, you don't need any fancy equipment to get started and it works -- you will feel a burn for days after just one class.
Just Dance Now app - Now you can play the beloved game with any internet-connected device using your phone as a controller, no gaming console needed! While the app itself is free, you really only get two free songs a day as you're building up "coins." But still, I'd be willing to pay the $6 for a 1-month VIP pass that gives you unlimited songs -- just need to try it out for myself first and make sure I'm not too rhythmically-challenged. 😂
A good old-fashioned walk outside - I've been doing this almost every day (as long as the weather cooperates) for a mood boost. Especially with spring officially upon us; the blooming flowers bring such a smile to my face.
Love for the Elderly - thanks to @patti_hoban for introducing me to this amazing organization that collects homemade cards to distribute to elderly communities across the globe. Since anyone 60+ is considered high-risk for coronavirus and must practice social isolation, this is an even more meaningful time to write a letter to a stranger who might be feeling very lonely right now.
Catchafire - this organization connects volunteers to critical nonprofits who are most in need of support as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19. Whether your expertise lies in business strategy, data & analytics, design & media, finance, HR, management, marketing, or software & IT, you can volunteer your skills virtually by dedicating just an hour of your time for a phone call or working on a full-length project. I'm planning to get involved in the coming weeks to keep my writing skills sharp and help a good cause -- a win-win.
Tiger King - if you haven't seen this Netflix docuseries yet, where have you been?! But seriously, when people say this is stranger-than-fiction they are dead accurate. It's a very addicting escape into an alternate world where people right here in America raise exotic animals in private zoos, run low-key cults and con artist schemes, and harass each other on social media to the point that a bitter rivalry turns into a murder-for-hire plot involving the FBI. Obsessions with big cats apparently run deep. If, like me, you zipped through this in a matter of days and are craving more, it's coming! Another episode from Netflix will be available Sunday, Fox will be airing a TMZ special and Investigation Discovery is working on a sequel.
Little Fires Everywhere - Based on the must-read New York Times bestseller by Celeste Ng, this new Hulu series stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who are also both executive producers for the show. Plus my girl Anna Sophia Robb plays baby Reese! 🤩(They did SUCH an amazing job casting the mini-mes for each of the characters IMO). Really enjoying it so far and it's been hard to wait for each new episode to drop on Wednesdays.
Know my Name by Chanel Miller - The Girls' Night In book club pick for March, this memoir details Chanel's experience as the 2015 Stanford sexual assault survivor formerly only known as Emily Doe. It's a very powerful read that I couldn't put down.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - an old classic that I had for whatever reason never read in school, I was inspired to pick this up after seeing the remake of the movie in December. Still plugging away but making good progress now that I'm stuck at home.
Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry - a little something for professional development that I recommend to anyone wanting to brush up on the basics.
Upwork - With the job market at somewhat of a standstill, last week I signed up for this platform that connects freelancers with clients in an attempt to pivot in a new direction where I can put my writing skills to use on a flexible basis and get paid (wish me luck). Any other freelancers out there have any tips for getting started in the industry??
Pandemic - My boyfriend is affectionately known in our circle as a huge board-game nerd, so it's no surprise that he ordered this game for us. With one glance at the instructions it seems like it would be very complicated, but it's actually not once you dive in! I like how it's a collaborative game so everyone either wins or loses together -- your mission is to try to save the world by curing four infections before you run out of time or resources. Apparently there's also an app version.
Psych - This is a really fun phone-based game that you can play at a party or virtually with friends. Everyone must anonymously answer funny questions about the other players (i.e. What's the weirdest thing that Meghan has in her pocket right now?), and then vote for their favorite response... the person who tallies up the most points at the end wins! I found out only recently that the game was created by Ellen DeGeneres' team which makes a lot of sense since it's hilarious.
List of popular games from Girls' Night In - check this out for even more fun ideas!
#GetDressedStayHome challenge from @jesskeys_ of The Golden Girl blog - Someone on Facebook recently said "the more I stay home the more homeless I look" and I couldn't agree more. I've been seriously struggling with maintaining a normal routine of getting dressed while in quarantine -- if I do make it out of my pajamas on a given day it's only because I'm in a sweaty workout outfit. I was super excited to see that a blogger I follow has started an April style challenge to encourage everyone to take up a renewed interest in their closet, all while raising money for healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19. So far I've put together three outfits but the real challenge for me has been simply taking the #OOTD photo! I'm so awkward in front of the camera. 😆
Outfit 1 - A little bit rock n' roll + A pop of red; Outfit 2 - A little bit preppy + Prints, prints, prints!; Outfit 3 - Inspired by Tiger King + Inspired by a movie (Cheetah Girls!)
Make your own mask - Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC)'s guidelines issued last week, I've started wearing a homemade mask upon leaving the house to run essential errands like picking up medication at the pharmacy. You can make your own no-sew mask using a bandana by following this how-to video from a local Port Washington shop called The Wellground. PSA: I found it very difficult to breathe with this on! Real Simple's video on this incorporates the use of a coffee filter, might need to try that and see if it makes a difference.
Is it ethical to shop online right now? - This is a question I've been grappling with. I always find myself more tempted to shop when I'm bored or anxious, so under the current circumstances it's been a double whammy. Since my financial future is uncertain right now, I've been holding off on purchasing things I don't need... but it can be overwhelming when almost every brand is having major flash sales to stay afloat. Here's a few interesting articles with expert advice from HuffPost, CNBC and Marketplace that I recommend for anyone still debating this issue.
Rose, thorn, bud
To wrap up how life is looking right now with a quick reflection exercise: my high would be reading outside on the patio during the beautiful weather we experienced last Saturday, my low would be having a meltdown over my job fears while reading the paper, and for what I'm most looking forward to, that would be breaking my 40-day fast of giving up sweets and baking a carrot cake for Easter this weekend.
What about you -- how are you holding up and spending your time? I'd love to hear what's been on your mind and how you've been surviving this unusual crisis.
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