July 28, 2020

My Favorite Quarantine Things

On the Meter 'O Maintenance, I am definitely on the lower end of the spectrum; I'd say I'm about a 5.5.

I usually visit the salon about once a year for a trim--and in the last couple years, even that has been on the wane; I do schedule a professional pedicure once a month; I don't belong to a gym or yoga studio, so I workout at home; my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white or coconut cafe misto at Starbucks, or an americano at Biggby.

And then Covid-19 swooped in and changed all that.

All of a sudden I--along with the majority of the American population--was forced to at least attempt to recreate our favorite comforts at home.

My Achilles heel, however, is--and always had been--online shopping, so I at least had that going for me.

Here are the items that have been my ride or dies...and why I love them so much*:

NESCAFE CLASICO Dark Roast Instant Coffee (Amazon.com, $4.98) 
I think I might know what you're thinking: Eeewww. INSTANT coffee? Gross. And, besides, that is so 1985. I used to think that, too. But the thing is, I had never even experienced any instant coffee...so I didn't really know that to be true. But a yearning for greater convenience--and a growing distaste for storing K-cup pods--wore me down. And then Covid-19 arrived on the scene and, suddenly, I did all my shopping online...and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Nescafe is the OG instant coffee brand--and for good reason: It tastes good. And then I learned that coffee drinkers all over the world swear by this brand, so I figured they all can't be wrong. So I bought a jar and fell in love. Add to the mix the cost savings: One tsp--I sometimes do 1 1/2 tsp if I want it super strong--and 6 oz. of hot water makes one cup of coffee. It's made of pure roasted coffee beans without additional flavors, preservatives or chemicals--and because it's stored in a glass jar it possesses a strong shelf life. Wanna know how many cups are in one 7 oz. glass jar of Nescafe? One hundred. I may never return to brewed coffee again. 

Fiber One Protein Caramel Nut Bars (Amazon.com, $3.09) 
These bars are low in calories and carbs and high in protein and fiber. Protein builds muscle and fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer. And these bars taste amazing, making them ideal for a snack or dessert.

Caldrea Multi-surface Countertop Spray Cleaner (Amazon.com, $9.51) 
I first became aware of Caldrea while browsing a Cleveland gift shop back in 2017. I simply bought this countertop spray as a thank you gift for my mom (who was watching Scotty and Kennedy, which allowed The Hubs and I to escape town for a few nights). I also bought one for myself because this spray smelled that good. Among the ingredients are a vegetable protein extract that quickly removes odors. Two quick sprays of this stuff will leave a clean aromatic cent wafting through the room for a good while. Plus, this surface cleaner is effective on all non-porous surfaces.

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm with Colloidal Oatmeal (Walmart.com, $16.44)
Every single person in this house suffers from dry, itchy skin. The wintertime is the worst--and whatever moisture our skin retains during the summer months is immediately zapped from swimming in our pool. This stuff works wonders. It's thick, creamy, and leaves no greasy residue. And when the kids slather it on after their evening shower, their skin is still moisturized throughout the next day.

12" Mongoose Expo Scooter (Walmart.com, $164.75)
The Hubs bought these for Scotty and Kennedy, and after he assembled one, he had me try it out for a spin. (This a big, sturdy scooter, and the weight limit is high enough that it can support a medium-sized adult.) After a couple trips up and down our driveway, I was like, Damn, I want one of these! So The Hubs bought me one, too. Riding this bad boy burns my quad muscles to all hell, but that's a good thing...right?

Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch (Amazon.com, $19.95)
This tiny wonder is easy to use and has become a staple during my at-home pilates workouts. I program my work times, reps, and rest intervals by pressings a couple of buttons. I love this thing.

Care me Powerful Electric Foot Callus Remover (Amazon.com, $25.59)
Oh, boy. This thing right here! When I entered quarantine in mid-March, I had just had my regularly scheduled monthly pedicure. But when April rolled around, I could grate cheese on my heels, and my feet were beginning to look more and more like hooves. This Care Me is a little worker bee that makes my feet as smooth as a baby's bottom.

essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers (Amazon.com, $7.70)
When it comes to nail polish, I am as basic--or as classic; depending on how you view things--as they come: I like pale tones in the hue of off-white with a hint of pink. I've been wearing this color on my fingers and toes since my days as an auto show model, and will continue to until I die. This is an MVP of the nail world, if you ask me. 

Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Hair Gel (Walmart.com, $2.98)
The journey to embrace one's natural curls can be a rocky one--at least it was for me, anyway. And when I added this product to my curly hair routine back in 2016, I had finally found my groove: It's inexpensive, sold almost everywhere, and it plays well with a whole host of leave-in conditioners (aka doesn't cause those pesky white flakes). The only drawback is that this gel contains protein, which can be too much of a good thing, so I only use this gel about six months out of the year or until my curls appear to misbehave. Whichever comes first. 

Angel Refillable Eau de Parfum 1.7 oz (Ulta.com, $120)
Like the nail color ballet slippers, this, too, is a holdover from my auto show days, when I wore Angel and nothing else. With dominant notes of bergamot, tropical fruits, vanilla, caramel, and patchouli. This scent is unmistakable, and love it or hate it, if you're familiar with this fragrance, you know exactly what I mean. I cannot tell you how many times someone has stopped me on a subway, in an elevator, or in the grocery store to inquire about the identity of this scent. When I became pregnant--and then nursed Scotty and Kennedy back-to-back, I took a hiatus from wearing anything scented for obvious reasons...and then I began teaching yoga, and wearing perfume is a big, fat, no-no. But, then, you know, quarantine. And I needed a pick-me-up...who didn't. After my nightly shower, I'd spritz this on and feel brand new.

OPI Nail Polish, Don't Bossa Nova Me Around (Walmart.com, $8.15)
I bought a bottle from a drug store clearance bin eons ago and forgot I had it. It's a great, versatile summer toenail color.

SiriusXM SD2 Portable Speaker Dock (BestBuy.com, $139.99)
Now, mind you, in order for this dock to work, you need to purchase a monthly/yearly SiriusXM subscription, which, in our household easily pays for itself: The kids listen to the Kidz Bop channel, my favorites are Calm (from the makers of the Calm app) and Urban View, The Hubs occasionally listens to an array of sports channels and Back Spin (old school rap)...and our entire house jams to Eighties on Eight!

*This post is in NO WAY sponsored. I didn't receive one dime--or anything else, for that matter--for highlighting these products. I bought them with my own money. I chose to include these things because I simply like them.

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