I never thought I would experience a pandemic in my lifetime, but here we are. Sheltering in place feels surreal – sometimes it’s still hard to believe that we’re actually even in this quarantine, and that it’s been over a month with no clear end in sight.
But to be very honest, I don’t really mind sheltering in place. Especially right now while I’m pregnant – I’d rather be extra cautious. Colin and I have barely left the house since the quarantine started in LA. We’ve only left the house a handful of times to take our cars on short drives and to go to a couple doctor’s appointments. We’re really careful about distancing ourselves from people and we make sure to wear our masks whenever we step out of our car. We’ve managed to not leave the house for takeout, cleaning supplies, groceries, none of that.
We of course miss our nephews, family and friends, and it’s tough not being able to be around them when we’re so excited about our bun in the oven. But as hard as it is to not see our loved ones, or have a night out after work or on weekends, I feel like when this is all over, we would regret not taking the time to savor this slower, simpler life where we’re cooking more meals at home, tackling personal projects, focusing on self care, whatever, without the distraction of fomo.
So here are the ways we’ve been avoiding going out as much as possible, and what we’ve been doing to not only keep sane, but also really thrive and take advantage of this time we have at home.
We get all our groceries delivered via Instacart, Target (using Shipt), Tender Greens, Weee! and Amazon. I used to use Amazon Prime Now a ton but it’s been difficult getting a delivery time. I found that checking back every now and then on Instacart and Target has worked out pretty well- I’ve been able to get same day deliveries from both the last couple times I made orders.
The issue with using services like Instacart and Target is that sometimes the store just doesn’t have what you ordered in stock. I had a tough time getting milk and half and half in my orders, so the way I’ve gotten around this is ordering these dairy items from 7 Eleven through Door Dash. Door Dash has been offering free delivery on lots of local places, so if you have a 7 Eleven in your area, that’s the way to go to get half and half for your coffee.
Tender Greens has also been a really convenient alternative to getting groceries- you can order online or use their app. They have a few different fruit, veggie and pantry boxes to choose from, and you can buy a decent amount of pantry goods like flour and pasta, as well as meat and dairy. You can also get a lot of their restaurant items in larger portions like a pint of their delicious tomato soup, salad dressings, and loaves of their amazing sourdough bread. Use code Trach27340 to get 20% off your first order.
Weee! is another awesome resource – it’s an app that specializes in Asian grocery delivery, so you can get Asian snacks, produce and sauces. I’ve ordered Korean pork belly and fresh shiitake mushrooms from here.
We do still use Amazon a lot for non-refrigerated pantry items, and also specialty items, that we know we’ll consume regularly or don’t mind getting in bulk. I’ve subscribed to 3 different kinds of sparkling water- it’s unbelievable how much we go through each week. And I recently bought a large order of Siete tortillas and chips because we love them.
Hot Tip: Since we’re trying to limit the number of times we have to buy groceries these days, so you’re probably buying everything you can possibly think of each time you shop for groceries and every day is becoming a race to use up some type of fresh produce before it goes bad. To get your fresh items, like herbs, to last a little longer, try storing them upright in a jar of water in your fridge versus piling them in the crisper drawer. Keep the water in the jar shallow, so only the bottoms of the stems are immersed. I’ve kept my cilantro fresh for over a month storing it this way.
When this quarantine first started, the thing I had the most anxiety about was where we were going to get food. The last place I wanted to go being pregnant was the grocery store because that’s where everyone else would be. I found myself stressing about what we had in the fridge and the pantry 24/7. At one point, I had consolidated all the little butter packets we’d collected from random restaurant breakfast takeout/leftovers into my Le Creuset butter dish thinking “I better not waste these” since butter, or any food, was a precious commodity. But after being in quarantine for nearly 2 months now, I’ve realized that whenever we get a little low on food, we can just order our dinner on Door Dash (or Postmates or Uber Eats) rather than stress about how to transform our leftovers and 3 sad wilty vegetables into a passable fried rice.
One last thing on food. I know everyone is baking a ton of banana bread right now but my FAVE resource for baking treats right now is @Ryupure – my cousin Kat introduced me to her instagram when quarantine started, which is filled with amazing recipes that are clean, simple and healthy. I’ve tried her sweet potato brownies, cinnamon toast cereal bread and healthy ice bath fries… and I’ve loved every recipe. My husband Colin is very sensitive to grains and sugar and he’s been able to indulge in the brownies and cinnamon bread with no tummy issues. You can also get her super affordable $7 ebook that has even more healthy recipes- I just bought it this morning and can’t wait to try some more of her savory dishes.
Cleaning and Paper Supplies
So toilet paper. Who ever thought that out of all things, toilet paper would become the white gold of our lifetime. It’s the first thing people started stocking up on, and the last thing you can find on Amazon, during this quarantine. I had one package of toilet paper (maybe a 12 pack) and another 12 pack in my garage when this madness started a little over a month ago, so nothing crazy. And so far, we’ve just started on our second package. So I don’t really understand this fear over not having enough toilet paper, but I know I’ll eventually need a refill. So here’s where I’ve been able to find toilet paper online! Grove Collaborative… Hallelujah.
The toilet paper find was quite the gem, but I also love all their products because they’re clean, non-toxic and environmentally-friendly. Grove Collaborative is also the only place I’ve able to find cleaning wipes online. I was also happy to discover that I can get baby supplies like diapers and baby wipes delivered too. Some of their items do go out of stock, but you can sign up to get notifications when things are back in stock through their app.
You see a lot of ads for Grove Collaborative on Instagram and I remember looking it up before but never signed up because I saw it was some kind of subscription service and I just didn’t think I’d need cleaning supplies sent to me regularly. Boy was I wrong. All I do during this quarantine is clean. I clean my kitchen every single day now. Also, I thought the subscription service would be expensive but it’s really not – you basically pay $19.99 a year and that covers your shipping so long as you order a minimum of about $40 ish dollars worth of stuff each time. And you don’t need to make an order every single month, you can adjust your ship dates out as far out as you want. If you want to try it out, the link I gave above and here will give you a free 5-piece set on your first order.
Something fun I’ve also been doing is making my own homemade non-toxic cleaner. I got the idea from Weelicious on her Instagram stories. All you do is fill a mason jar with lemon peels and orange peels, and top it off with vodka. Let that sit for 2 weeks, then pour the liquid into a spray bottle. This is perfect for me since I can’t drink while I’m pregnant anyway and I actually hardly drank even before I was pregnant – so great way to use up old vodka from your bar cart.
Colin and I have been trying to use less paper towels even before sheltering in place. Aside from the few rolls we have in the house, we only have one extra package of paper towels in the garage and we haven’t had to break into it yet. For any regular cleaning, we’ve always used rags or dishtowels. And for meals, we’ve been using cloth napkins. I keep a bin outside where I toss the dirty towels and napkins and launder them about every 2 weeks when the load is big enough. My favorite cloth napkins have come from World Market, and we use practically anything for cleaning rags – cut up old towels, t-shirts, leggings, whatever.
I am of course in a super de-clutterring mood because we need to make room for a nursery in our house and Colin and I currently occupy both our spare bedrooms for our at-home offices. This can be a whole post in and of itself. But how we’ve been able to declutter without leaving our house, and without just blindly throwing everything into the garbage, is by donating our clothes and shoes on ThredUp and selling stuff on Poshmark.
For ThredUp, you just print a free USPS shipping label from their site, pack up all your stuff into a box (needs to be less than 30 lbs at a time), and leave it at your door for the mailman to pick up. Poshmark is definitely a longer process to sell your stuff, but I love it because you don’t need to really interact with anyone once someone buys your item – there’s no scheduling a time to meet or anything like that. You just print out a shipping label, pack up your item and leave it for the mailman to pick up.
I’ve been using Poshmark for years, and since it does take time for your stuff to sell, I like listing items that are hard for me to part with even though it doesn’t fit right or feel right or whatever. As silly as it may sound, it gives me give a chance to make peace with getting rid of the item and you can set the price of what you’d be comfortable with letting it go at. And more often than not, even with pieces I thought would be so hard to give up, once someone offers you even a little money for it, it seems pretty easy to let it go. There’s just something different about wrapping up a dress you once loved and sending it off to a new home where you know it’s wanted that feels better than throwing it into a bag, onto a pile of other bags in a truck, where you don’t know if it’ll ever get used again. Use code TRACEOFNEON to get a $10 credit toward purchases when you sign up.
In the last couple years as things would get more stressful at work, I discovered how necessary it is to invest time and energy into self care. I thought that this quarantine would give me loads of time for nothing but self care, but I feel like I actually have more chores than normal now – I spend a lot more time picking up around the house, doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen. But that’s okay because having a tidy home is definitely part of self care. So I do need to make a conscious effort to carve out time for stuff like working out and my skincare routine.
Since I’m not going out anywhere after work, having a comfy uniform to put on when I’m done working has helped me differentiate work time from personal time. I am obsessed with this loungewear set. It is the softest, most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn. It’s getting too hot in CA to keep wearing this, but it was so warm and cozy when the weather was cold. I have it in both black and tan.
I have not been so good with my night time skincare routine because I get really tired in the evenings being pregnant, so I make sure that I consistently get in a really solid skincare routine in the morning. I am religious about spraying on a hydrating mist, then applying moisturizer, eye cream and sunscreen after my shower. I have all my go-to products in a little tray in the bathroom for easy access, so this whole process only takes a couple minutes.
Quarantine is also a great time to use up those sheet masks that you’ve been hoarding since Christmas. I always have a stack of sheet masks on hand and rather than saving them for a super special spa day to myself, I’ve been indulging in them regularly.
At-home workouts are something I want to get more consistent at. I try to work out twice a week and get up and walk (mostly in my backyard, not really comfortable with walking out in public even with a mask on) throughout the week. For workouts, I use the Tone It Up app – I loved this when I was preparing for my wedding. They post a free workout daily, and you can pay a small monthly charge to view their other workouts, but the subscription is currently free right now which is so amazing. I’m taking advantage of the prenatal workout program.
This is the perfect time to knock out some of those personal projects that we never had time to tackle before quarantine. A few of mine include writing more for this blog, making room for our nursery, fine tuning my wardrobe, and crafting for fun. I’ve been working on a wall hanging for our baby’s nursery but I also love the idea of crafting without it needing to be productive. Last weekend, Colin and I spent the day outside with painting on scrap cardboard. We laid out a blanket, had some snacks and took our bearded dragon out with us to bask in the sun. It was one of the best days of quarantine.
What have you guys been doing during this quarantine that has helped you feel like you’re thriving? I want to know everything!