APRIL EDITION – FAVORITE QUARANTINE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING PRODUCT FINDS TO HELP YOU ONE WAY OR ANOTHER TO COPE WITH THESE SELF-ISOLATION DAYS A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
Well, another month has rolled around (i.e. for those who are still keeping track, I certainly am)…
I saw this meme and thought it was funny, even though it doesn’t quite resonate with me (nor is the irony completely lost on me) —
“2020 is a very weird year. It had 29 days in February, 500 days in March, and 6 years so far in April.”
As I have been saying, I am just trying to do the best I can given the circumstances and trying to make the most of it!
On that note, I hit a major milestone in April, something I hadn’t expected to happen (at least not this soon)…
The below is what I shared on my Instagram account and I think that it is apt to share here too, not to show off my accomplishment, but to make you rethink about where and how you have been spending your own time, energy and focus, and to give you that push you need to pivot as needed…
Please note, this isn’t exclusive to social media, Instagram, Pinterest, and the likes (pun intended), but it speaks to one’s outlook and approach towards life in general. I hope you have a takeaway in here that pertains to your own life!
“READ ALL THE WAY! ✨ Who here is so frustrated & so tired of this oh-so-royally-f*****-up IG & its senseless algorithm? ❌ If you are, then you aren’t alone sistah, almost 95% of folks who use this platform for business are (including me!). But this isn’t a rant sesh (mind you, I love IG for all the good it offers, including connecting with you all, building a community, etc) ✅
99% of the accounts that seem to grow on IG are ones who are hosting endless giveaways (good for them) &/or the ones who are in some kind of ‘elite’ clubs (won’t get into that here) 🤐
I feel terribly sad & genuinely upset when I see accounts who actually share extremely valuable content not gain any traction whatsoever! 😢 Makes me so mad, but I am not going to dwell on it and waste my time and you should not either! Instead, I did this & HIT A HUGE MILESTONE yesterday (swipe right) 👉🏼 💃🏻
Ask yourself, why do you do what you do❓For me, it is about making an impact/difference (including at times sharing a product to make your lives a little easier) & reaching as many people as possible through the content I create. Sure, Instagram offers ‘Instant’ gratification (the likes, the numbers, the BS) but when that does not happen (even if it does happen always think about your WHY?) PIVOT (current circumstances or not!) IG is not the be-all & end-all 🙅🏻♀️
Hence, I have been majorly scaling back on the time I spend on IG (I am sure you’ve noticed) & I have been investing that time on other things that ‘move the needle’, & in turn make an impact! 💯 Sure, I can’t connect with people on @Pinterest the way I do on IG but is my content making an impact over there? 1000% yes! ✨
I had neglected Pinterest for far too long (despite knowing it’s benefits), but this year my goal was to work on it & reach 1M views by end of 2020 (& my stretch goal was 2M views). When hubby & I read each other’s goals in Jan, he was quite skeptical (as he should be) & asked me if I was being realistic? I said ‘YES, I know what I need to do, I just need to do it’. But even when April 2020 came around I hadn’t done much, I was at less than 200K views.
But I had all this amazing content available on my blog (not my words, but my readers). I have been tirelessly working on the blog to bring more value to you all. Now all I had to do was execute on Pinterest, so I did it, I was shocked when I saw my Pinterest stats yesterday, beyond elated even, I can hardly contain my excitement, not because of the numbers, but because hard work does pay off! I still have way more work to do, but boy is this a great start or what!?
So, always START WITH WHY, do what you need to do, and get over what you cannot control, including this F***** up IG! 🙌🏻”
For anyone curious about my Pinterest account, I was under 200K even during the 2nd week of April but reached 3.6M monthly views by April 30th!
Loving these April Favorites? Then check out my other monthly favorites post:
TOP 10 QUARANTINE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING FAVORITE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, THINGS FINDS – APRIL EDITION
I had such a hard time while deciding which of these 10 things should go first – which of these make sense anymore? (if you know what I mean), I just had to stop overthinking and get right to it…
Last month, I didn’t really get a chance to read an entire book, I know, how ironic!? Especially given how much everyone else is binge-reading books (among doing all.the.things) with all that ‘extra time’ on hands now (hmm, is that right!?). So no book recommendation from me this month.
But… I, on the other hand, have mostly been all consumed in listening to (watching even) as many podcasts as I humanely can (while working and doing all.the.things).
And instead of doing injustice to you all by sharing only a handful of my favorites here (which BTW is already an impossible task, how could I possibly pick a few!?), I put together a whooping list of 50+ podcasts to get you all started.
Go on, binge away! And I bet that you just can’t stop at one 😉
2) Compartment Glass Containers (Bento Box)
First things first, let’s be honest… How many of us are eating way more than normal? Not because we are hungry but just because…
I most definitely am, mostly snacks, just because…
It seems that the most amount of workout many people are getting is from the computer/phone to the fridge to the pantry and back. I am not judging or trying to offend anyone, simply stating facts from what I have been reading in most groups.
Anyho, time to take control of that mindless eating.
These compartment glass containers are a huge help – plan your meals and snacks ahead and pack them in these portion control containers so you know exactly what you are consuming and how much.
I am not telling you to obsess over it but it is always good to be mindful of what you put in your body (if not, a bag of chips will disappear in less than 5 mins, just saying).
I used to pack lunch for the hubs during pre-quarantine days in these containers, and now repurposing them to be smart about eating during quarantine. These are also eco-friendly, microwaveable, and dishwasher safe.
I am a blogger and us bloggers typically shop way more than others, that’s just the truth, and that’s also kinda part of the job!
But even I have barely shopped for anything-fashion that isn’t absolutely essential in the last 2 months (1. I mean, where am I going to wear all these outfits to? Cuz we never know if it will be Summer, Fall or Winter by the time this is all really behind us. 2. Given the circumstances and the huge negative impact it has had on my business, I do not have the heart to spend more money).
Just being real with you all…
I am sure many are in the same boat as me and hence I don’t feel like talking about/promoting unnecessary products right now! Honestly, be mindful of where you are spending your hard-earned money, now more than ever, you never know what the future holds.
But, I am making an exception for this skirt, because, if there is one piece of clothing that I would buy in a heartbeat then it would be this. I wore this skirt in Palm Springs and let me tell you, it was a day of compliments galore (and I am not exaggerating).
I also have this skirt in yellow (I mean, this pleated skirt already has all.the.colors, but yellow is dominant in that just like blue is in this). And I bought them both right before Alt Summit (i.e. good ol’ pre-quarantine days).
Love how vibrant this pleated skirt is – it screams Spring/Summer, Fun, Happy, and all the good feelings! So if you need some cheering then this skirt might just do the trick! Colors do have a positive impact on your mood.
This skirt is flowy, the material is soft and lightweight, looks great on any body, and you can dress it up or down.
Full credit for finding Heather Robertson’s workouts goes to the hubs.
The hubs and I love doing home workouts and we try to switch them up every so often. Last Fall, he found Heather’s workouts and we both really liked them.
This year she launched a FREE 12-week program. I was halfway through this program and I hurt my back (not cuz of her workouts but for unknown reasons), and have been eager to get back on track.
“Heather Robertson is a certified personal trainer with over 13 years of experience. Known on YouTube for her “no fluff, just tough” at-home workouts.” And I completely agree, her workouts are neither easy nor super hard (like the beach body ones, especially Insanity or P90X), they are well-balanced and about 30-40 minutes.
Her workouts include HIIT, strength, cardio, tabata + full-body sessions and will challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone.
I love Heather’s philosophy – “Balance and consistency are key in achieving a level of health and fitness that is both sustainable and enjoyable.”
Even though I shared about a bunch of free workout resources in this post. It somehow slipped my mind to include Heather Robertson’s workouts, probably because it needs an exclusive mention on here.
NOTE: I still switch up these workouts with others too, including yoga (though I do not see Yoga as a workout, it is much much more than just a workout for me).
5) AT HOME PEDICURE
Wait, wait, don’t dismiss this until you have fully read it. I promise that you do not need more than 5 minutes for this if you don’t want to spend that kind of time.
At-home grooming might be all the rage right now (quarantine days) but I have been at it since my teens. So I am quite proficient in certain aspects of self-grooming (at home) – from facials to mani/pedi to hair removal to even giving the hubs a haircut at home (been doing it since we moved to Seattle, almost 5 years now).
I do go to the salon once in a while cuz duh, who can say no to someone else pampering you!?
But now, all of my skills are coming to the rescue.
Dry skin is a huge problem for me, especially in my foot so I have used these dry heel eliminator and callus eliminator for a really long time and I swear by them. Though I have to admit, I do not take care of my feet as much as I should, partly because I know these will come to the rescue at a moment’s notice.
The callus eliminator is fast-acting and quickly breaks down tough, callused skin on the feet and removes dry, rough skin on feet and heels in 5 minutes. The dry heel eliminator keeps my heels and feet soft, smooth, and crack-free.
Other beauty grooming tools that I use and swear by (most of which I have also already spoken about in detail in my previous monthly favorite finds posts) —
Full Disclaimer: I am collaborating with Amazon, but this is my honest opinion and has nothing to do with the fact that I am partnering with them. I am sharing about Echo Show here on my own will (not part of the collaboration).
Alexa has become my new best friend during the quarantine. She and I have long conversations, we argue from time to time (how could I not when she won’t understand me at times, no matter how unreasonable my questions are!? ;)), she makes me laugh, she keeps me up to date on things, she makes sure that I stay on top of my deadlines, she is always nagging (for my own good, all those dozens and dozens of reminders and alarms I have set after all), she somewhat keeps track of my habits (hmm not sure I want her to keep reminding me of all the times I missed my workouts), she is making me an even better cook…
Well, the list goes on and on and on, but you get the point… and, we are both still trying to learn about each other and understand each other and our needs better. But it has been a fun ride thus far!
Alexa is surely helping me stay sane (and productive) and keeping me company during these unprecedented times!
Full Disclaimer: I am collaborating with Amazon, but this is my honest opinion and has nothing to do with the fact that I am partnering with them. I am sharing about Fire HD here on my own will (not part of the collaboration).
When I have Alexa to accompany me, how could I leave behind my mini-me? We needed something to keep him sane as well, by which I mean entertain and educate.
I first had my eyes set on FIRE HD Kids Tablet last year, I even wrote about it in this post (it did happen that way, his early birthday gift by a few weeks). But the hubs and I held off on buying one for A (for obvious reasons of not wanting to get him hooked onto screen time). However, given the positive impact it has had on A since we got the tablet for him we feel like we shouldn’t have waited until now.
Backstory – up until recently A got very limited screen time at home. He’d only get to watch his favorite cartoon (shows, movies) once or twice a week on TV for about 30 mins. And extremely minimal phone time, except when we are traveling (phone is the only way we can make sure he eats when we are on the road).
So as with many parents, the fear of screen time addiction at home was real for us too, and we simply decided to avoid buying a tablet instead, until recently. Checkout WHO for screen time recommendations for kids based on their ages.
But now that we have the Fire HD for him, even with limiting his screen time to only up to about an hour daily, we see that our little one has learned a TON in such a short period of time (and he only just turned 3!).
The Fire HD Kids Tablet has been great for us to set educational goals (we aren’t too particular about him learning every.single.thing, he is still too young, but we want to offer him the tools and enable him to learn stuff based on his likes and his potential), create screen time limits (of course, there is negotiating, these toddlers hold an MBA degree in negotiation skills I tell ya), etc.
So far A’s favorite things to do on Fire HD Tablet is to go through ABC Mouse and Khan Academy For Kids, listening to stories, and of course, watching Toy Story and Daniel Tiger. We try to limit the number of apps we introduce him to because I think that it should happen gradually (1. So he is focused and doesn’t get distracted by too many things 2. Not to overwhelm him 3. To limit screen time). So we rotate between these few apps daily.
NOTE: We only use screen time to educate or entertain A and NEVER to distract or calm him when he throws a fit or is upset.
8) Trader Joe’s Frozen Opera Cake
Right, I know why, because freezer space is prime space in our home, and it is even more true now! So no other freezer dessert comes home except of course gelato (and occasionally some ice-cream).
Backstory – I have the biggest sweet tooth and desserts are my weakness! And there is some kind of dessert at home in the fridge cuz who has the patience for a frozen dessert to thaw, cuz you want one exactly at the time you want one, right!? (I try to balance it out with healthy options, speaking of which, these heart-healthy bites are to die for!)
But since I have been limiting going to the grocery stores (haven’t been in over a month now), I picked up some backup dessert options i.e. frozen dessert from Trader Joe’s when I was last at the store.
And OMG, this frozen opera cake is the closest to the real deal I tell you! Layers upon layers of deliciousness, HOLY YUM!!! But you have to thaw it to perfection.
This frozen dessert also puts the kibosh on my temptation to eat dessert (at any random hour) just because… cuz it needs to thaw for 4 hrs and I simply walk away. I am beginning to think that this is a good strategy for me, I mean, buying frozen dessert.
I come from the land of Baba Ramdev (for those of you who know who he is, I have watched his videos since I was in, I guess, 5th grade!?) but not until much later in my life did I start practicing breathing exercises. So Pranayama and Kapalabathi are nothing new to me.
The hubs and I do our breathing exercises daily (he is extremely disciplined and does it every.single.day, but I, I do it as long as I am consistent with my routine and do have my off moments/days).
Michaël Bijker’s breathing exercises are a new addition though! Thanks to hubby’s manager, he introduced us to Michael’s videos (so thankful we have such positive influences in our lives!). Once I started watching his videos, I realized that I have watched a few of them before but only in passing but never really paid much attention to them.
But since this time around it came as a recommendation I paid attention and I must say that we both love his videos. First off, he is incredible and I am so impressed with his work and what he is capable of doing (you will know what I mean when you watch his videos) and his explanations about various techniques are to the point.
“Michaël Bijker has been traveling around the world encountering knowledge for his passion for body and mind work, especially Meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong, and breath-work. His teachings have helped many from all over the world. Focusing on training mind and body to help each person to get to know it’s real nature and essence and to free your mind. He now teaches yoga, meditation, breathwork and mind training in Portugal.”
I am eager to dig deeper and learn more from his teachings.
If you are looking for more mindfulness practice resources, then check out some of my previous monthly favorites posts.
Include meditation info, apps, etc.
Quarantine or not, the hubs and I have been doing date night in (aka at-home date nights) for a while now (perks of being parents). So we are no strangers to a date night in.
When we are not traveling, our typical Friday night at-home-dates involved putting our toddler to bed earlier than usual, turning on the fireplace, popping open a bottle of wine, tossing our favorite Trader Joe’s pizza in the oven, and watching a good movie on TV (while indulging in all the yummy goodness, yes, dessert included!).
But now that there hasn’t been any traveling, and we are barely stepping out, I am coming up with newer ways to spice things up in the house for at-home dates.
And now I have a whole list of 31 Unique At-Home Date Night Ideas. Now I just need to find the time to actually execute them all (we have both been exceptionally still quite busy). Anyho, I don’t think that has been the case for all couples, so you tell me which of these is/are your favorite date night idea(s)!?
That’s it for now folks. Please hang in there, we will get through this together… do whatever you need to (don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourselves) and stay as positive as you possibly can given the circumstances. Much love and hugs!
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”