Chasing Davies

April 7, 2020

Surviving COVID Quarantine - Tips for what to do!



 
Like many others, I've experienced a wide range of emotions over the last 3+ weeks of quarantine so far. Thankful that we have a home and jobs, sorrow for those struggling, longing for my old life back, missing my family and friends, anger for having to cancel trips and other plans, fear for the unknown, sadness for my kids when school got cancelled, and so on and so on. 

But more that anything, anxiety for all the things above and the unknown of this situation still to come jumbled up at once .  For me, it's helped to not pay too much attention to the news and to take one day at a time. I'm choosing to be concentrate on the thankful feeling and think about all the things I can do vs. can't do. 

While my husband and I compete for the quiet spots in the house for our work meetings, and the kids are starting to get the hang of virtual school in-between kind of plying together/mostly fighting, we are finding a rhythm and comfort in other activities to make the most of the time home together.

Here are a few things that we have been doing:

1. GO OUTSIDE

Work outside
Eat outside
Walk outside
Draw with chalk outside
Draw on your friends' driveways
Nap outside

Just stay away from other humans outside.

Getting outside has been my personal saving grace, and I can tell it helps my family, too. Even when the weather has been cold, we bundle up and go on a daily walk.  



2. EXPERIMENT

On a Zoom happy hour with some friends, we were talking about some at-home products to take the place of services we often get done elsewhere. We decided that we should each try something (that we can order online for delivery) and then we can share our findings!

This is the time when you can hide (or strategically position yourself) behind your computer, so a little experimentation isn't so scary.  Now is the time to take chances!

I have never done at home tanning/tanning lotion. And now with the sun peaking out, my pale skin is glowing and no one will see if I mess it up - I'm going to give it a try (I'll report back). I did some research, and found that St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse was the easiest to apply for beginners (read: hardest to mess up).

One of my friends is going to experiment with at home hair care to cover her roots and another friends is testing out some at-home manicure products. 

{I also took this time to test a new hairdryer and skincare products!}


3. VIDEO CHAT (sometimes)

I dove headfirst into video chatting with all my friends, co-workers, family every day and night at first.  And while that is really helpful and makes me feel good to connect with my loved ones outside my house, I'm getting sick of staring at a screen! 

So, I pulled back a bit on the quantity of additional screen time activities outside of work and am focusing in on quality time each week (not every night). I'm loving Zoom best for video chat. Google hangouts is too walky-talky,  FaceTime is running slow for me, and WebEx is glitchy for me.

Blue blocking glasses have also been a new purchase that I feel like is helping me. I was starting to have a constant headache after so much screen time, and since wearing these glasses (only $15 and come in a lot of colors) most of the day, I haven't had a headache (so that's a win in my book!).

{Blue Blocking Glasses, $15, come in lots of colors}


4. DO SOMETHING NEW

Take up a new project or skill, like try a new type of art or dance. Maybe a house project you've been putting off or better yet, a new skill, just for fun.  I know we are all learning some new skills for thriving in this new WFH, virtual school facilitator and keep everyone alive stage - but something else, something purely for fun...

Even better, learn something with your kid(s)/family/partner.  I haven't done this yet. Trying to get into our new schedule with virtual school and work, but I have two ideas on my mind:

1. Learn to play the Ukulele (tons of free lessons on YouTube + relatively inexpensive to get the instrument if you don't already have one. We already have one!)

2.  Stop motion with Stop Motion Kids Camp (for kids and adults). I plan to do this with my son!

My friend has been working on her Tarot Reading skills - which can be done on our virtual happy hours, so already very useful and interesting for us all.

@fflowks

5. DUPE YOUR KIDS

...into doing things that helpful, but also while having fun. This is the ideal time for me to brush up on my creative parenting skills. 

For example, we have a lot of big trees in our neighborhood/yard, so a lot of sticks laying around.  If I asked the kids to pick those up, they'd complain all day and probably hardly actually do it. 
So, instead, I gave them the idea that they could build a house out of sticks!  That's all I had to do for them to get to work collecting allllll the sticks into a pile! Success.

I have also resorted to paying them to be outside. Well, paying them to clean out all our flower beds free from dead leaves, which happens to be outside. They are outside using energy, we get to get work done quietly, AND the yard work is getting done! It's a win-win situation.

And finally, my kids came up with a "secret family language" (kudos to them for this idea) that is keeping them busy writing notes in this language. Busy + practicing spelling in a new way! Win-win.

6. COOK MORE

This could also fall under "experiment" or "do something new" but I've been using this time to get a little more actual cooking in vs. just warming up dinner in the microwave. Get creative with pantry staples and items that can be more easily found in the current landscape. 

I had gotten two new cookbooks for Christmas and just ordered another one to keep my creative juices flowing (while being healthy), but you can also find a wealth of recipes online! 

My favorite cookbooks are Skinnytaste, Sheet Pan Suppers &  Skinnytaste One & Done (for Instapots, crockpots, sheet pan meals, etc)


7. ORGANIZE

Something, anything... small or big... it'll help! I've been cleaning out closets and drawers when I need a break from all the screen time for something more hands on. Seeing the progress relatively quickly has been encouraging for me.

My favorite storage containers for organization:

  
These cute drawer storage tins made it even more fun to organize!



What are you doing to stay sane?

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March 21, 2020

Amazon It List: Quarantined Edition

 




It is a weird, scary, anxious time for all on planet earth right now.  Without getting too much into my feelings about it all (at this time), I wanted to share some items that are helping us get through our quarantined life (or those that I'm ordering and considering due to to our new found life of doing everything from home). 

As of now, Amazon is still shipping, so here is my "Quarantined Edition" of the Amazon it List!  

My tip for handling deliveries in this time: open deliveries outside, throw/recycle packaging away outside, then wipe down contents with lysol before bringing into your home. As always, wash your hands when done.
 
Life At Home 

Not sure about you, but we have stocked up on freezer goods or freezing fresh produce (more than canned foods) so that we can keep eating the fruits, veggies, meats and meals we're used to as much as possible throughout this time. We currently don't have a secondary freezer, and not a lot of space to store one, so I have done some research on small options!

Extra small (that locks, so kids stay out), small and small chest







With lots of home time, my kids are spending a ton more time in comfy clothes (including pajamas). These jammies are adorable, super soft, come in many clothes and with and without ruffled edges and Nora loves this lightweight leopard sweatshirt (great for transition from winter to spring).

During this first week of quarantine, both my kids turned to art a ton. Which I loved. I'm getting some art craft supplies to fuel the next month (?!).




And me? I'm just surviving with my at home coffee situation (I have a full review here), and snacking on these healthy candies

Home Work Life

I know a great deal of you are now working from home and being a stay at home parents - and that's a whole lot of work all at once. We're starting to find our new groove here. But what I still need to figure out is a better longer-than-we-wish solution for a better and more comfortable work space.

You can turn any surface into a desk space with this multifunctional desk pad (a la my dining room table).

And one thing I've learned from working from home 6 days in a row... I miss my office chair/standing desk.  My back and neck hurt.  This chair is very reasonable and highly rated, and this one comes in a cool grey color. But what I'm really contemplating is this standing computer stand on wheels (I can roll it away from my kids!).

Now that I'm starting at screens even more (especially with my social life also exclusively through screens), I'm finally caving on getting some blue blocking glasses.





Stay Healthy

not 100% sold that vitamins do a TON, but they can't hurt. From the research I've read, Vitamin D is super important to support your immune system, and there is some rising research on elderberry. So both me and the kids are leveraging those (adult elderberry one and this kids version also has vitamin d + zinc included)!

Also helping me both mentally and physically is home workouts. There is NO shortage of free working resources online. I honestly love searching YouTube and doing yoga and cardio classes and finding strengthening moves. Some of my favorite local studios have started live streaming, too (I did a yoga class via Zoom with Darling Yoga, and loved that).

Here are some of my favorite home workout equipment (don't need a ton!):



What it saving you on Amazon in this time?

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March 10, 2020

Two Days in Lisbon, Portugal


 

Lisbon, a must. We threw this city on to the end of our Italian adventure (a few days in Rome and another few days in southern Italy) on a whim - and because the Portugal (TAP) airline we were taking home had to stop there anyway and offered a stop over program.  With no expectations or major must-hits, we did a bit of research in order to maximize our two days, but otherwise, set out to just wander and explore. Overall, we were completely impressed!

Day One



We stayed in a simple, but very nice (clean!) apartment that was either walking distance or a short Uber ride to just about everywhere.  So once we arrived and dropped our bags, we set out to wonder. We actually followed along Rick Steve's (free) audio tour, "Lisbon City Walk" which was a great way to get acquainted with the city and see some hot spots right away.

Part of this walk led us along the Tagus River and to the most amazing yellow square (I love yellow!), where I was immediately smitten.  This square, called Praça do Comércio, but also referred to as Terreiro do Paço, and is where the statue of King José is (quite magnificent). 

There are some cute restaurants with patio seating, sidewalk vendors and food stands along the river in this area. As we walked, we stumbled upon a food tasting event and I got the most amazing mini-pot pie type snack (last picture above).  This was my first sign that I might have been underestimating the food of Lisbon.



Later on, we wondered around more looking for dinner. Mostly, I would recommend reservations - as a lot of good places were booked up, but we got lucky and were able to sit at the bar of a well-rated restaurant, Oficio, which was amazing. I'm not sure how they cooked their veggies, but it was the most amazing roasted veggies I've ever had.

Otherwise, other famous Lisbon items are cod and cheese! So we had more of that, too!


Day Two

The next morning we hit the ground running for the ultimate tourist day. First we went to Belém Tower, which did require an Uber as it's a bit further out of the city. We had breakfast and coffee at the cafe near by over looking the tower and then wondered up close to it. We went on a Monday, which is when the tour is closed to tours/inside visit, so we didn't get to go inside.

We decided to do the longer walk back to the downtown area, walking by the Lisbon Cathedral (which was also closed on the Monday we were there, but it was beautiful from the outside!).


We did a ton of walking this day - and after walking from the Cathedral, we headed to the area of Castelo de S. Jorge!  There was a fast moving line, but lots of little shops and restaurants around for a snack while in line.

Once inside the Castle, the views are amazing. So many different vantage points to get a real good look at colorful Lisbon.


 After all the exploring and walking... we sat down to eat cheese, and more cheese and drink some wine. The weather was perfect and views relaxing after the long day on foot. Lisbon loves their white cheese! :)


On our way back to our airbnb apartment, we hit up a DIY wine tasting style place back in the yellow square (Praça do Comércio), Wines of Portugal Tasting Room.  This place was cool because it was super laid back and you could drink what you wanted at your own pace. We tried a few before getting back for a quick rest before dinner.


After a long day of walking and seeing all the major things, we had another GREAT dinner at Versiculo. I stuck to the tried and true of Lisbon veggies, since they were so amazing the night before, and got the grill veggies on a skewer (also came with toasted almond rice) - and they were wonderful!


 Day Three 


Our last day of vacation with a few hours left in Lisbon before our flight, we spent the morning walking around, riding the trolly to see the rest of the city and grabbing breakfast. 

We left Lisbon super impressed and ready to come back again on another stop over if it ever made sense.  And after a full 10 days, we were ready to get home.

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