It’s no secret that we are feeling the full range of the emotional spectrum while the world faces a pandemic and even while most of us are planning to come out of quarantine, we’ve been through the emotional and sometimes physical ringer. Some of us have been scared to go to work each day, we fear for our own health and that of our loved ones, some of us grieve the loss of our freedom to roam and travel, some are facing an unexpected sense of loneliness, some of us are just stir crazy, some are facing the sadness of losing a loved one; and the majority of us are starting to feel the most universal emotions of them all - Zoom fatigue!
What are the antidotes to all of this? While socially distant walking, podcasts, workout videos, yoga, tai chi or binging on a box of Oreos might spark a moment’s joy, so might a yummy cocktail or other splurge. Give yourself permission to laugh; enjoy an hour chatting about something fun that isn’t COVID-19 related. Here’s some fun topics that pull from happier days to fuel a socially-distant driveway happy hour or social hour at the park, or your next slightly chilly family bonfire, after all we don’t have that many blockbuster stories after being socially distant these last few months:
Time to celebrate those Spring blooms outside your kitchen window! Until now spring may have been synonymous with Zyrtec; instead have one of these crowd pleasing cocktails.
- Hats Off Julep - This will take you back to your one horse race. At Saratoga, wishing it was the Kentucky Derby perhaps?
- Moscow Mule - Just because you aren’t at a metropolitan bar doesn’t mean you can’t channel your younger self. Turn on your favorite song and sing along!
- Spring Sangria - This is perfect for sitting in your old slightly ripped tailgating chair and reminiscing about that one time you studied abroad.
For some of us, Spring is long gone and the 80+ temps have hurdled us from what was just March ( I swear!) to the dog days of Summer. Whether you are trying to soak up all the UV on your patio, neighbor’s pool, or roasting marshmallows at a local campsite - these drinks are for you.
- Strawberry Basil Spritzer - Take yourself to a picnic on the Charles River or to your childhood beach spot. This drink takes me back to the Mohegan Bluffs in Block Island.
- Watermelon Margarita - This one doesn’t need an explanation, we know why Margs are great :)
And for when your mood matters more than the temp outside…
- You just got dumped. Cue up a bottle of wine in your wine caddy, your favorite cozy T-shirt, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, a box of tissues, your favorite pet or stuffed animal, and a date with the TV. Feeling better already?
- When you need an after work pick-me-up. it’s been a long, long Friday at work, your boss was a total nightmare, and you have two huge suitcases under your eyes. Ahhh… delight yourself in an Espresso Martini, a Cold Brew or Bold Kombucha Tea, wipe your face down with some refreshing toner or other skincare products – a quick pick-me-up to make you feel alive.
- To make a blah day a celebration you can do a few low cost ways to cheer yourself or a loved one! Buy a Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold Brew, a Dragon Fruit smoothie (put it in a coconut bowl, there’s some great recipes in our Vegan cookbook too), rent a kayak or an electric bike, muddle the mint for a tasty mojito or buy yourself a new bag.
- In desperate need of a date night that isn’t watching Netflix? Plan a romantic day-time date, Italian style. Toast and cheer each other on your rooftop or patio, and don’t forget to bring your Piper and Dune wine cups! It started with a huge advertising campaign, and now it’s imprinted in our minds; sun’s out = Aperol Spritzes all ’round!
The point is we’ve all been through a lot. We’ve been on toilet paper rations, we can’t wear our favorite red lipstick because it sticks to our face mask, and we miss giving our friends a hug… it’s okay to indulge once in a while!
Explore What Excites You!
Sarah and The Piper and Dune Family
P.S. FLASH Sale on all Modern Sprout products, Save 25% - No Code Required. Valid now through 5/30/20!
Staying at a large all-inclusive resort is probably not happening for me in the foreseeable future. Staying around crowds of other people sounds a bit anxiety inducing given the COVID scare. Give way to the 2010’s break out travel star - airbnb - staying in a rental property sounds much more appealing. Alternatively, ever since I watched the Hallmark movie ‘Nature of Love’ I’ve been itching to go glamping (no making fun of me for being a Hallmark fan!) Tranquility, thinly veiled as simplicity, describes the way a hygge mountain escape would make me feel. With the Hallmark movie peaking my natural curiosity, I decided to do some research to find out if my hypothesis was true, are people planning to camp more often after the quarantine? According to a KOA study, prospective campers will increase by about 10%, so it looks like some of you will be joining me on my next yurt excursion!
Truth be told, Matt’s family were the real campers. Generations of his family loved to go camping in tents, R.V.’s and trailers. Their endearing stories over the years have slowly made me appreciate what camping has to offer. My family was more of the hotel or resort types, but don’t count me out! I did actually camp as a kid and Matt and I took our children camping (albeit in the air-controlled comfort of our R.V.)
Growing up, I camped in the many acres behind my friend Mike’s house where half of the neighborhood kids joined in the fun. It was exciting, a touch scary at times (hearing wildlife), but always memorable. Then there was my first family camping trip with my mom and brother in Cape Cod near Race point Beach in Provincetown with my Uncle Brian and my cousins. My Uncle had a bread truck that he used like an RV. I recall that we were supposed to park in the campsite next to him, but because they were oversold, that did not happen- wrecking my mom’s plan to share my Uncle’s supplies. I was 16 and I brought my best friend Tracey along; we were excited, we had our own 2-man tent. Thinking back, I don’t think we ever laughed so hard trying to sleep with the torrential rain; the wind, and thunderstorms were so strong that our tent collapsed. The drowned fabric laid on our faces, soaking us from head to toe. That storm was fierce, but screaming from her tent, my mother instructed us to stay put insisting the storm would pass quickly. Completely drenched and exhausted, Tracey and I decided to go against her instructions, and after about an hour we got up and walked over to my mom and brother’s tent to see if their glacial 4-man tent was any drier. Much to our surprise we found their tent empty and both were fast asleep in our huge Buick Estate Station Wagon, all dry and cozy. We could not believe it; they folded the three rows of seats down and made a super lounge in there and their tent was perfectly dry! We rode out the storm in our own tent after dragging a couple of folding lounge chairs inside- do you remember them? They cost about $8 at the time, they were made of metal with those thin plastic straps weaved into the frame, they folded into three parts for portability. Whatever happened to them? They were probably toxic in some way! Anyway, that was the first and last camping expedition with my family.
Fast forward to my twenties and camping with Matt. He knew all the tricks and how to properly camp, and what to bring. We camped everywhere - in Old Orchard Beach Maine, Block Island, Narragansett R.I., upstate New York, and lots of other places- usually with our friends Dan and Janine. Matt and I camped along the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to Quebec in his sketchy white Astro cargo van too; but the older I got, the less I liked packing and unpacking all the stuff required to make it a comfortable experience. So, when my son Patrick was a baby, we bought an RV; I could leave all the “essentials” on board and we were ready to go at a moment's notice. That lasted until Patrick's sports schedule was so ridiculous that we had no time to travel- you may have experienced a similar problem. Today, glamping seems like a nice marriage between luxury, comfort, and being in the great outdoors. Check out this list of top glamping sites in America, they look amazing.
So before your next camping or glamping experience, pick up a few things to make your time a little more pleasurable. Perhaps a beautiful new outdoor blanket,a duffle bag, a backpack, maybe some Piper and Dune Silicone cups - and don’t forget one for your dog! An SOS emergency kit is essential or maybe a few 6 in 1 utensils? I also love the idea of packing a fun activity like our small stargazing, cloudspotting or music writing notebooks. Of course you will want a comfortable new T-shirt, a new hat and comfy socks too. Camping is always better when you have a few little trinkets or gadgets.
Stay healthy and Explore What Excites You!
Chris and The Piper and Dune Family
As companies learn that business can be conducted via Zoom calls and their employees can be trusted to work remotely, they might decide their pricey Manhattan and Boston office rents are no longer required- or at least they can get by with much less square footage. Some companies may even decide to move south where costs are less. Some organizations that were previously reluctant to allow employees to work remotely were forced into this experiment as a result of COVID-19. Most Human Resources executives have been championing the idea of workplace freedom and embrace the idea to encourage cultural change in their companies. Leadership everywhere is curious to get management feedback on the effectiveness of working remotely. I suspect a mix of office and remote access will win in the end. Whatever the result, change is inevitable.
Like companies, cities will likely have to re-invent themselves too, especially places like New York where people tend to congregate in groups and are frequently packed in tight spaces together- this will all change because sadly, experts are still forecasting that the spring 2020 pandemic is not over, and we will once again be in lock-down.
While companies and cities are rethinking their plans for a post COVID-19 environment, have you thought about your own life’s choices- where to work, where to play and where you want to call home? Families, even college students, are rethinking their life’s decisions. Was living at home so bad that they should continue to incur more debt by paying for room and board? Even universities are thinking about what a post COVID period might mean to them. A professor of mine at Quinnipiac (yes, I take Graduate classes) co-authored an article about the future of colleges and universities that you might find interesting; things are definitely changing - like it or not.
Are you a city-dweller suddenly in search of being around less people and desiring more fresh air? If you answered yes, I don’t think you are alone. Or, if you love the city and want to stay, you might be thinking of a new neighborhood with more parks or where you can find a little more living space. My mom and my brother Darrell are Realtors for Coldwell Banker in Southbury, CT. Darrell commented yesterday that “the market is severely limited by inventory; in the past two weeks we have seen a tremendous spike in buyer interest; people have a pent up demand and they are getting anxious to make a move. Also, June is traditionally the best month to buy a home, further amplifying the need for more inventory. Couple the timing with low interest rates, and it’s a seller’s market.” The traffic is coming from people living in New York that have decided to relocate to Connecticut or to buy a second home in the area. I saw this demand first-hand when a friend listed and sold her house within 48hours after a bidding war, so if you are thinking of selling in western Connecticut, now might be the time!
For others, we find ourselves painting the insides of our houses to make them feel alive again, refinishing furniture, hanging new prints or creating a new appealing bar area with new bar accessories - did you know cocktail hour is back as a result of COVID-19? People are taking a few minutes to find a routine in their day, to relax and talk to one another. My brother Paul who sells wine and spirits shared this NY Times article with me; it made us laugh as we fondly recalled “happy hour” as kids. At 4pm everyday our Great Aunt Norma, a retired Lieutenant Colonel (Army Nurse) who fought in the Korean War, would literally scream “happy hour” to alert us that it was time to gather around. She’d have us pick out a cocktail napkin from her stash and determine our beverage of choice. She would serve us all at the same time, and she delivered our drinks to us on a beautiful tray. She always made it such a fun event, even as children we were served Shirley Temple’s with a perfectly garnished cherry on top.
So, wherever you call home, whatever you choose to do, I hope you delight in your space, your routine, and your journey. We all deserve the freedom to relax and enjoy our lives anywhere and anyway that makes us happy. Don’t forget to visit our website for lots of fun items for your home, for you, and for your whole family; we’re getting new things every week so check back often.
Explore What Excites You!
Chris and the Piper and Dune Family