Episode #23: Things To Do At Home

Hi everyone. Wow, WHAT AN INSANE FEW WEEKS … wow wow. This is our first episode since we’ve been self-quarantining, so we decided to spend this episode talking about things to do at home. We’ll chat about what’s on our to-do lists, how different our experiences are (with and without kiddos at home) and share some stuff that sparks joy during this challenging time.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Show Notes:
-We mention Episode #22 (our Airbnb biz episode), which is pretty ironic since our business is one of the many businesses that is hit pretty hard by the quarantine (we’re not complaining, just acknowledging how WEIRD the timing of that episode may have seemed).

10 Things to do while we stay home: 

Elsie: Catch up on those half-finished books and projects. Watch any Oscar movies you never got around to watching.

Emma: Deep clean or organize something. Maybe something fun and something less fun?

Idea- If you clean out craft supplies, leave some on the porch of one of your friends with kiddos. 🙂

Elsie: Work on a personal goal you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Em and I are each trying to write a book right now, so maybe this is our big chance???

Emma: Go on walks and work out at home. Or dance with your kids if they won’t leave you alone (cough, cough).

Elsie: Make a list of memories you want to do as a family or in your home. Date night at home, baking cookies, picnic on the porch … etc.!

Emma: Make routines and rituals daily to help your health. Call friends, call your grandma, take your vitamins, do a face mask. These small things help.

Elsie: Eat your meals in a “fun spot.” This is more a tip for people with kiddos, but it’s something that has helped us to feel the special feelings, even in the midst of a big move.

-Here’s a link to my gathre mat that we love for picnics (and art). They are wipeable and really last.

Emma: Cook or bake something for fun!

Emma’s favorite no-bake cookie recipe. Also, these four-ingredient cookies are really good!

Elsie: Make a list of creative projects you want to do. I LOVE THIS SHIT. It really helps me. Watercoloring is so fun. And I’m still enjoying working on my Curated Closet Workbook.

Emma mentions her love of Clover Robin’s collage art and also her book.

Emma: Limit your time consuming news and social media.

Listener question: We chat about ways to reduce the number of harmful ingredients in your home. Here are a few helpful links:

Elsie’s green mattress
-For “cleaner” cleaning products we love Seventh Generation.
-Diffusing essential oils 95% of the time, and only using candles on occasion.
-Opening our windows every day.
-If you only want to do one simple thing, spray your perfume on your clothing NEVER on your skin. 🙂
-Here are a few links to green posts: 25 Clean Living Posts, Why Clean Beauty Matters, Elsie’s Clean Cosmetics Favorites … more posts here.

Thanks so much for listening!!! Please leave us a review if you listen via Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Big news: We decided to launch MINI EPISODES this week. Starting today, there will be a full-length episode (this one!) and also a mini episode, which is under 20 minutes! We hope it brightens your week! XX- Elsie + Emma

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 23 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to A Beautiful Mess podcast. With many of us staying home right now due to the Coronavirus, we thought it would be a good time to do an episode full of ideas for positive and productive things to do at home. A lot has happened since we last recorded a few weeks ago and our last episode is actually, I think, the most ironic placement of an episode ever since we did a business of Air BnB episode for episode number 22, dnd then since then, because of the virus and the quarantine and all of that, our air BnB businesses are, you know, like decimated at the moment. Yeah. So it’s definitely one of those businesses that is temporarily shut down and we’re kind of just eating a loss with it. And we feel lucky that it’s not ruining our lives or anything, but it sucks. And we really do feel for all the people who have temporarily, hopefully only temporarily lost or aren’t able to work.

Emma: Yeah, for sure. I mean, a lot of people have it way worse than us. So we’re not complaining. But we did want to give a little update on that because that was the last episode that came out. So we feel kind of strange not to acknowledge that it felt very weird when it went up was one of the first…it was like right after the first weekend we started quarantining and I was like, this is such an awkward episode to go up right now. Because I was like…nobody is going to be staying in an air BnB or interested or even thinking about buying an airBnB you know? One of our, two of our BnBs are Disney BnBs and the Disney parks are closed for, you know, the foreseeable future. So yeah, it’s definitely one of those businesses that’s hit pretty hard and it’ll be fine eventually, but at the moment…very bad.

Emma: Yep, not good. Not good. Okay, well let’s talk about staying home and stuff we’ve been doing since we’ve been staying home. How many days have you and your family been home now? Because…Elsie’s is in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m in Springfield, Missouri. And so there has been a little bit of, you know, like we’re not from New York City. So I think some people have been in self-quarantine a little bit longer than us. So anyway, just kind of interesting to put it out there now.

Elsie: Right. So for me, I think this is the 11th or 12th day that we’ve been home. And it’s not that we haven’t left our home at all because we have gone…we had to move. So we’ve been at our old house a few times and just doing bare essential things. But our yeah, our kids have been home all of those days except for two. And yeah it has been tricky. What about you?

Emma: Yeah. Yeah. We’ve been home I guess eight days now. And pretty…I’ve pretty much been home. I did go to the grocery store for the first time yesterday….

Elsie: What was it like?

Emma: We were just out of a lot of stuff. It was…well I tried to go during a non-peak time, because I was hoping, you know, to keep myself away from people as much as I could. I don’t think I have anything, but I still am all for the self-quarantine. So anyway, I went on like a Monday afternoon and it was still surprisingly packed. So I had to be really careful and I had brought my own little wipes to wipe down my cart, both when I got there and when I left. And, you know, just being like super, super cautious. But it was sad. But I feel like everyone was very, like trying to stay away from each other and also being super polite and super like, “hi, how are you?” From a distance, very Midwest, Midwest friendly at it’s peak. (laughs)

Elsie: Good.

Emma: So, yeah, it was totally fine. But I was really anxious to do it. I don’t know. I yeah, I was really just nervous. And when I got home, I like scrubbed myself and I just felt very like I was like, maybe I’m being overly cautious. I really can’t tell, but I’m just feeling very anxious. And I’m such an introvert.

Elsie: No you’re doing the things you’re supposed to do. It’s supposed to feel like a little bit over the top or an overcorrection if you’re doing what’s required.

Emma: Yeah. Just following what’s been said in the news to do. But yeah, I’m such an introvert. I feel like my everyday life isn’t all that different because I just I work from home already and we don’t have children. So we haven’t had children home, obviously. And yeah, I just I guess I am less social than I really realized because I watching everybody else, I’m like, oh yeah, my life is relatively the same.

Elsie: Yeah, I think we’re both a little bit jealous of each other. Like you probably like, wish you could play with the kids…

Emma: I do.

Elsie: But I probably wish I could have a day off. (laughs)

Emma: I do. I’ve been like FaceTiming my nieces like crazy and I that’s not like me saying “it looks so easy, Elsie! It must be so easy to work full time AND watch your kids. “

Elsie: No I know!

Emma: I don’t think that. But yeah, I do. I’m like, oh man, I wish I could go visit my nieces, but not gonna do that for a while, obviously.

Elsie: Yeah. Nova’s really, really, itching to go to Missouri.

Emma: Missouri!

Elsie: (sighs) All right. So. So we’ve been feeling pretty unsettled, pretty anxious, which I think is normal because everything happening in life right now is not normal and has never happened in our lifetime before. So I had a session with my therapist the last day I went out, two Fridays ago, and she gave me the best advice. She said the best thing you can do for your family, but also for your community right now is to try to figure out a way to make your home a place where you want to be. Because we had just moved we had moved like five days before that. And I was kind just melting a little bit. That our house didn’t feel like home. It didn’t feel comforting at the time. We didn’t even have like a sofa yet. And it just felt like we were trapped in this…and it’s since gotten a lot better because I’ve been taking her advice. And every single day I’m finding ways to make it more cozy and to help our kids feel more cozy. And I’m so glad she said that because it was definitely the most needed advice at the time.

Emma: Yeah, I think that’s great advice from this time and lots of times, but especially for right now. So we’re gonna go through five things each that are things you can do while you’re staying home. And these are specifically for kind of like adults, not necessarily things to do with your kids. We’re gonna do some bonus stuff for kiddos at the end of the episode.

Elsie: Yes, I have a list on my phone. I’m just going to kind of like read it.

Emma: Yeah. Yeah. And this is just adult stuff, mental health stuff, you know, all that. Alright.

Elsie: Yeah. I feel are kind of everyone in the universe is saying these tips right now. So I hope that there’s something in here that you either haven’t heard yet or you just haven’t tried yet. Because yeah, we’re all looking for a way to distract ourselves, entertain ourselves and make life feel normal in this very strange time. So five tips each. All right. So my first one is catch up on those half finished books, half finished projects. You know, everyone has one. Even like the movies, like the Oscar movies from last year, we have two that we never watched. And we just are like, well, OK, now’s the time.

Emma: My first tip is to deep clean or organize something in your home. So I have two things that I’m actually working on this week. And one is fun and one, it’s not fun. But they’re both going to feel really good when I’m done with them. So the fun one is every year, at least once a year, I try to clean out what I call my craft closet, which you all know what I do for a living. So I know not everyone has a craft closet, but anyone who has like an area of your home where projects or whatever, things kind of accumulate, that’s my area.

Elsie: Everyone has that.

Emma: Yeah. That’s my area is my craft closet because I always think, oh, I don’t want to throw that away. I might use it later. And, you know, I don’t ever want to be wasteful. But once a year, I do try to go through the whole closet. And if there’s anything this time, normally I donate to like homeschool moms in the area, but this time I will probably be waiting to do that so that, you know, I can continue to keep my distance.

Elsie: Maybe you could leave some boxes on some people’s porches because honestly…

Emma: Yeah!

Elsie: I’ve never needed craft supplies for my kids more and my whole life than I do right now.

Emma: Well, that’s a great idea. I’m gonna text all my friends after this and be like, hey, I’ve got a whole bunch of yarn, who needs it?! (laughs) Drive it, drop it off at their house. Yeah. So that’s the fun one. And then the not as fun one, I usually do around this time of year, usually I wait until we’ve turned in all our taxes. So that’s usually April. So I’m doing it a little early this year, but I clean out my file cabinets. As a small business owner, I have a lot of…we save a lot of stuff digitally, but I still also have an insane amount of paperwork that I kind of save throughout the years. And every year I go through it and kind of clean it out because, you know, I don’t need, you know, 15 years of bank accounts printed off like, you know, it’s time to clean some of that out. So that one’s not quite as fun, but it always feels really good once I’m done with it. So those are my deep cleaning organizing projects for this week.

Elsie: Yes. That’s, I think a deep cleaning project is the ultimate comfort. So I did my makeup over the weekend and I forced myself to try on like all the lipstick and all that and like just throw away the extras. I usually give my friend my extras, but since this time it’s kind of weird with germs and stuff, all of that just went straight into the garbage. Just this once. But anyway, it felt very good, like washed all my makeup brushes. I love that! OK. So my second one is work head on a personal project that you’re passionate about. So if you have anything in your life and then I both are trying to write a book this year and I definitely think she has a strong advantage over me by not having the children (laughs) during quarantine. But it’s still fun even for me with…I’m not hopeful I’m gonna like write a whole book in the next month or anything. But I mean, I haven’t even turned in my proposal yet. So I can at least work on that. So, yeah, it feels like a good challenge it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but haven’t, you know, forced myself to complete it. So…

Emma: Yep.

Elsie: And I can’t wait to read your novel Emma. I know all of the podcast listeners as well are now invested in this novel and we can’t wait.

Emma: I’m making a lot of progress on it. I don’t know. There are so many days. I’m like, oh, I feel like this is kind of good. And then there’s a lot of days where I’m like, oh, this is so boring and terrible. So I’m like, I don’t know why you’ve told everyone you’re doing this, because people are going to want to read it. That was so stupid. Emma. But I’m like, Oh, well, at least it’s gonna make me finish it.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: Whatever. Maybe it’ll turn out good in the end. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Elsie: If you never would have told people you might not have even finished it.

Emma: It’s true, yeah.

Elsie: You can always improve something you don’t like about it. But getting a head-start I think is like the hard part.

Emma: Yeah, I think I’m having a week where I’m like down on myself about it. Anyway, it’s fine. I’m still enjoying writing. All is good. All is well in the world. Okay. My second thing is to go on walks or workout at home. But make it fun. So you know, I am in the Midwest, so going on walks and still being able to keep a distance is very easy for me. And the weather has kind of started to warm up, although it’s also still kind of cold, still kind of rainy, but it’s at least like not freezing temperatures. So I’ve been going on a lot of walks and actually Trey has been going on walks with me, too, which has been really fun. Because he’s usually not a home during a day but he’s working from home. So we’ve been going on walks and it’s actually nice. I’ve seen a lot of our neighbors out on walks, too, and everyone’s like, great, just cross to the other side of the street and just wave. But it’s like kind of fun to see everyone out. But also, I’m really enjoying working out at home. I think it’s kind of nice to take a break from the gym. I usually go to the YMCA and do like body pump or other classes and it’s been fun to kind of do my own version of that at home. I usually listen to a podcast while I work out, which is probably weird. I think a lot of people need music to pump themselves up, but I like to listen to like, you know, my murder podcast while I’m just like lifting weights and jumping around like that. So yeah. So find a way to make it fun for you, whatever that is. And that could be cool music. It could be a podcast. It could be taking a break from your usual like kind of hard work out to do something more fun like dancing with your kids. I just think finding a way to move your body really does… Like it’s science. It changes the endorphins and the chemicals inside you and it can help you feel a little bit better.

Elsie: I need to try that because I haven’t worked out even one time since the quarantine started.

Emma: Yeah just dance with your kids or something. If you can’t get them to like leave you alone long enough (laughs).

Elsie: I’ll do it this week. Yeah, it’ll definitely have to involve them.

Emma: It’s also good for your immune system to continue to exercise. So you know.

Elsie: That’s true!

Emma: Yeah. Anyway, that’s my second one.

Elsie: I love it. Inspiring. Okay. So my third one is make a list of special memories that you’ve been wanting to do either as a family or at home. And for us, since we just moved, it’s like making our first memories in our new home. I think this is a really good one because it kind of like changes your perspective from feeling trapped to feeling like you have an opportunity. And I know that it’s hard. I’m not trying to downplay. I feel a little self-conscious, like talking about the positive sides of, you know, the positive effects of us all staying home, because I know that it’s like a very challenging time for most of us or all of us. You know?

Emma: Well the situation is not positive and no one’s saying that.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: It’s a dangerous virus and we’re taking it really seriously. But I think finding ways to fill your time with positive activities is a very good thing.

Elsie: All I’m saying is, take the opportunity like make it into an opportunity for yourself because you have all these hours anyway. And my kids were watching TV this morning. Like there’s nothing wrong with letting your kids watch TV. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy. I’m not trying to, like, make it sound like we’re building things out of cardboard 24 hours a day, cause we’re not. But, you know, if you want to do some, just make a list and try to do something every couple days that’s special and meaningful and is making a memory together. Whether it’s like somehow having a date night at home or having a picnic on your porch or having a special meal, baking cookies together, anything like that. I think it just makes it feel like we’re turning lemons into lemonade, I guess.

Emma: Yeah. And I think too, like, I like how you said it. It doesn’t have to be like you’re building stuff out of cardboard 24/7. It’s like just pick one or two things each day. It could be 10 minutes of a special memory and that’s it. And the rest of the day was hard and you were anxious or you had kids and they were crying, you know. But just the little things, because happiness is like fleeting little moments every single day. It’s not a 24/7 thing ever for anyone, no matter who you are.

Elsie: I really feel like Instagram and social media could probably be more weird right now than ever because you’re like looking around at everyone doing all these cool, fun things. But don’t forget that everyone is crying in their bathroom. Everyone is, you know, trying to figure out what they’re going to do with something in their business or their personal life that’s really messed up right now. So, yeah, trying to make the best of it, but also try not to compare yourself to anyone else because it’s probably not real anyway.

Emma: Yep. My tip number three or idea number three, whatever is to make routines and rituals every day that are around the things that you need to do. So some things that you might need to do if you’re very social, you may need to call friends. You might need to set up some Skype date, some face times, whatever. So make that into a ritual where you do that like four o’clock. I call my grandma because I know she goes to bed early.

Elsie: Aw that’s so sweet.

Emma: You know, also like I have a little routine in the morning, whereas I’m making coffee. That’s when I take my vitamins. And it’s just like a quick little two second thing. But it’s that I know I’ve done that every single day and I can feel like even if I get stressed later and just eat a box of mac and cheese, at least I took my vitamins that day. I’m not saying that’s a healthy diet. I’ll just say. You know, at least you have that. And I also think it’s great to have a little routines around, like doing a face mask or washing your face really well or doing some yoga, just stretching, especially if you’re still working from home and you’re on your computer all day, like just finding little things that can help you to breathe and just kind of like snap out of it a little bit and like not be on your phone too much. Because I think right now, you know, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely over consuming the news. I’m like checking the like how many people in my state have the coronavirus thing every day. And I think it’s great to stay informed. But I also think finding some routines that help you kind of breathe and step back from that can be really helpful right now, too.

Elsie: Yeah. OK. So the only other experience of my whole life that felt in some way similar to this is when we went to China to adopt our kids because we spent a lot of time in our hotel room and for different reasons on the different trips, we weren’t able to like get out a lot and do a lot of things. And we were very like confined. And it’s crazy. It like brings out the skin care person in me. Like every single time I become like a crazy skin care person. So I guess it’s like the one good thing about it. It’s like I’m obsessed about drinking water I’m obsessed about doing a mask almost every day and then doing like a full night routine with like three step serums and all this stupid shit. But it just makes me feel better. So.

Emma: I drink like ten cups of tea a day and they’re like all herbal. But I’m just like, oh, is this like my I’m like, oh, I’m feeling a little bit anxious. I think I’ll go make a cup of tea. That’s like what I do.

Elsie: I feel that too. Tea. Woo! Okay my fourth tip is eat your meals in a different spot. This is actually something we have to do because our dining room table did not translate and the person who bought our house bought both dining room tables and we don’t have a dining room table. So what we have is like a little kids table, which has been super fun because they have their own little table. And then we also have been eating on the porch and we’ve also been eating on the floor. So we have those like big those gather mats that are kind of like, I think they’re made of leather actually and they’re really, really wipeable, they’re the perfect picnic mat. So, yeah, even if you have a dining room table that you can totally use. I think this is just a fun one. One day Jeremy made a fort for the kids. So anything you can do to just kind of mix it up. And as often as you can just walk outside and breathe fresh air, have your coffee outside or whatever, have a drink at the end of the day, whatever makes you happy. I’ve been taking my baby out there and she’s been asking for it. And I just hold her and walk around the porch and we both go (sigh) and it feels so good.

Emma: That’s adorable. Oh, Goldie, sunshine baby. Ok. My fourth tip is to cook or bake something for fun.

Elsie: Woah I love that!

Emma: I love baking and cooking. So this is part of my regular life. But I think now that we’re home, this is a great time to kind of like find something interesting, too. And even if you’re like, I don’t want to do super advanced baking, that’s not my thing. It’s like you don’t have to. You can make no bake cookies, whatever. I also think it’s really fun to get creative with what you already have in your pantry. You know, you’ve probably noticed, but there are some things out of stock for whatever reason. (laughs) And so it’s a good time to get creative with what you already have and maybe use up. Maybe you bought some weird flour a year ago and you haven’t really used it all. Now might be a good time to like find some recipes online or experiment a little bit and, you know, find something fun to make.

Elsie: I yeah, I love that. We’ve been making a lot of baked goods and it’s very fun to do with the kids.

Emma: Yeah, I kind of use it as like a reward for…

Elsie: It makes me happy.

Emma: When I get other things done. Like I had these bananas that I was waiting for like five days for them to ripen every day, I would look at em and be like, not yet, but pretty soon it’ll be banana bread time. I was like, so excited. Now I’m like, waiting. I’m like, okay. As soon as we finish that banana bread loaf, I’m gonna make no bake cookies because we’ve actually, I’ve had a hard time finding flour. So we’re all out of flour. So.

Elsie: I had a no-bake cookie fail last week. So maybe…do you have a recipe on the blog? Because maybe I need to do that one. Yeah. Did you. Did they get too crusty or were they…

Elsie: I used almond butter instead of peanut butter. And I found out that peanut butter is a very big part of the flavor. And then I’m pretty sure that my sugar was actually some kind of alternative sugar. But it’s no way to…there’s no way to know for sure cause it was like rehomed in a new little container. But they tasted super sweet and super weird and horrible. Jeremy and I both agree, they were the worst cookies we’ve ever had in our entire life. So yeah…

Emma: I’ve never made them with almond butter. But I don’t know about the sugar.

Elsie: I just don’t buy peanut butter as much and Jeremy is so in love with his peanut butter that I thought he’d be mad if I used it. So I…

Emma: I do buy extra peanut butter if I know I’m going to make some because Trey is the same, he’ll get a little bit annoyed if he’s like, hey, where’d all my peanut butter go? I’m like, Oh, well, I made those cookies. So…(laughs)

Elsie: Yeah. It’s a source of protein.

Emma: Yes, exactly. That’s how it is for him too he’s like that’s my protein. I’m like, OK, well those cookies have protein now. (Laughs)

Elsie: Yeah. I definitely want to do a redo so you can share with me your and our listeners your favorite no-bake cookie recipe ’cause I’m sure everyone would appreciate not having a fail like I did.

Emma: Yeah. I’ll link it. Yay. OK. Number five, make a list of creative projects. So if it’s fun for you. Like disclaimer: if it’s not fun for you and it’s just pressure, don’t do it. But for me, it’s kind of the best part of the quarantine so far, cause I’m even tired of eating carry out now or whatever, eating delivery, like that part was really fun for like five days. And then I was like, OK, but making stuff…

Emma: You should still do it perodically, though to support your small businesses.

Elsie: No, oh totally. Sorry. I didn’t mean…

Emma: I’m the same way, though. I totally know what you’re saying. I’m also like, OK, this is more takeout than I normally eat in my real life. But also I’m worried about all the restaurants in town, you know? So I totally get it.

Elsie: Yeah. And there’s so many cool places doing cool things. And yeah, I definitely want to support it. But yeah, after about five days, it wasn’t like as emotionally exciting to me just because we were doing it so much that anyway, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

Emma: No no it’s cool. I think everyone’s in the same boat. It’s also one of those things too. Like it gets expensive. So you’re like trying to balance in your mind, like, I want to do this and support. Also, I have to think about my own finances. Like there’s a lot of complicated things about it. I don’t think that’s weird. I think everybody’s in the same boat or trying to navigate these kind of complicated, weird implications of the quarantine.

Elsie: Right. OK. So the tip number five is make a list of creative projects. This makes me insanely happy. It’s the only thing that is my sort of like escape right now because. Yeah, the kids and trying to work in all my extra time and at night like it’s just been really tricky. So anyway, I bought a watercolor set right before we moved. And as soon as I realized we were stuck at home, I broke that out and started doing watercolors. It was so fun. I haven’t done watercolors and probably like 10 years. And it was so fun to just try something different and try to have a creative outlet. And also, I’ve still been doing that Curated Closet workbook that we talk about all the time. If you are interested, this is probably a great time for you to order the workbook or you can look on her website. If you don’t want to order anything and just get the basic principles of what it is right from her website. And anyway, I’ve been doing that. And that is definitely feeling like a creative outlet because it’s sort of that time of year when it’s almost springtime. So I’m starting to think about spring clothing, but it’s not quite yet. And it’s exciting because winter kind of drags and it rains for like three or four months here in Nashville. So anyway, those are my creative projects.

Emma: Yeah. I was trying to find more things to do with like what I had in my house or things I’d been meaning to do. And on that same note with the creative projects, I had recently bought this book from this gal I follow on Instagram. Her name is Clover Robin. She’s a collage artist, I believe in England somewhere. Anyway, I’ll take her in the show notes at abeautifulmess.com/podcast But I got her book. I was at an art museum and I saw they had it and I was like, oh, my gosh, I follow this girl on Instagram. This woman. I want to buy her book. So I bought it. And I was. Oh, this would be a perfect time to I’ve really been wanting to get into collage, like making collages because I used to do that in high school and I loved it. And it’s something you could do with old magazines. You can also, like, paint your own pieces and rip them up and make little scenes of, like recreate like photos from vacations you’ve been on or just little scenes. And it’s really just fun and random and it doesn’t have anything to do…I’m not going anywhere with it. You know what I mean? I kind of like artwork where I’m like this isn’t for anyone. I’m not even going to display this necessarily anywhere. This is just something really fun to make. And so that’s one thing I’m kind of doing right now is I’m making like mini collages. And they’re very inspired by Clover Robin’s book. So it’s they really kind of look a lot like her work because I’m just getting into it.

Elsie: I can’t wait to see that book! Nice.

Emma: It’s really cool. Yeah, but if you can’t get out, like, you know, I know our libraries are closed right now or if you can’t order the book, check out her Instagram because she shares a lot on there about her process and you can see a lot of her work on there. So she’s rad. Anyway. My fifth tip is actually something not to do, which I was like, oh, I don’t even know if I should say this. I think we’ve kind of already said it a little bit. But basically, I think it’s very important to stay informed and very important to stay connected to your friends and family. But if you’re like me, you might be feeling a little bit of the need to like. I’m definitely kind of over consuming social media and news right now because I’m feeling anxious and I’m feeling like I want to know what’s going on. I want to know if everyone’s OK. And I think that’s really good. But it’s also like I could feel it. I get in kind of a bad mood or I feel more anxious once I get off my phone or off my computer. So I’m like, OK, you need to limit the amount of time. It’s good to stay informed, but you need to only allow yourself a certain amount of time of that each day. And then you need to go work on your novel, make a collage, go on a walk with your husband, because other than doing what you can do to help, you need to just chill because there’s not really anything else to do. And I think feeling helpless and feeling…

Elsie: I totally agree.

Emma: Yeah, feeling helpless and guilty is a lot of what’s like inside of my head right now because I’m like, oh, so many people have it so much worse than me. Oh, I wish I could do more. Why is my job so silly and trivial? But, you know, I imagine a lot of people are feeling that way. Where you’re like, I wish I could do more. I feel bad that everyone’s going through such a terrible time. And I just think I’m kind of like getting in that place where all the sudden that turns into a little bit of like self-hate for kind of no reason, because that doesn’t help anyone for me to hate myself…

Elsie: I have that too. I internalize other people’s problems in a way then doesn’t help them at all.

Emma: Yeah. So I’m like, this doesn’t help anyone. So you should stop doing this. It’s just hurting you and it’s not helping them. If it’s helping someone, great. But it’s not. So it’s just a little loop that I’m putting myself through.

Elsie: It’s good to remind yourself.

Emma: Yeah. Get out of that a little bit. So, all right. Let’s move on to a bonus ideas, ideas for kiddos.

Elsie: All right, cool. So I just made this list after I went to my therapy and she was like, you know, do this, do this, do this. So it says positive things to do at home. And then under that, it says me time. So for positive things to do at home. And this is just a note from my phone, by the way, anyone can do this. Build forts with boxes, picnic on the porch, bake cookies, find a new walking trail, which I really need to do that because I want to get out of the house even if it’s raining I don’t care. Cook dinner with Nova. Read stories, ABBA dance time, make a spring bucket list with Nova. And then for me time it says organize a drawer, closet space, unpack boxes, go for a run alone, work on the Curated Closet workbook call or face time Emma. Call grandmas. So ok, man. This is such a weird episode. All right. Should we do the listener question before we go?

Emma: Yes. I loved Elsie sharing the chemical free mattress she selected. I would love to hear suggestions for other chemical free home things.

Elsie: OK. So I feel like I have to say this and I’m sorry if it’s annoying. But everything has chemicals. Water is a chemical. Right? So.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: But what we mean is like harmful ingredients or like things kit that can negatively affect our air quality. And yeah, mattress is a huge one because you sleep on it all night and you’re breathing in the ingredients it’s made from. OK, so I will link the mattress. Biggest changes that we’ve made at home are we swapped out all of our cleaning products for cleaner options. I can link a few of those. We use candles once in a while, but we only use them on special occasions or occasionally. My husband loves candles. He’s candle person, candle guy, as they say. So I don’t want to.

Emma: Do people say that?

Elsie: Yeah!

Emma: OK cool cool.

Elsie: Yeah. You know, our friend Jordan, he’s a candle guy, too. It’s a thing.

Emma: I’m a candle guy, too.

Elsie: So, yeah, I mostly use essential oils to make our house smell good, but we occasionally still use candles, just not as often. The biggest thing this is a huge one, is once a day we try to open our screen door or our window for 30 minutes or whatever just to let the house get some fresh air and breathe. That’s a huge way that everyone can improve their air quality. Outdoor air is always cleaner and healthier than indoor air. Always. So just let that outdoor air in. And anyway, I’m not a purist. I’m not perfect about it. I think if you’re going to just swap a few things, just try to get rid of artificial fragrances, things like Febreeze or candles, if you can swap them for more natural ingredients and try, if you are not wanting to swap any of your makeups, makeup or personal care, if you’re just going to do one thing, then spray your perfume on your clothing, not on your skin. Do you have anything you want to share?

Emma: Not really. I mean, we did a whole episode about our skin care routines.

Elsie: Oh yeah, we’ll link that!

Emma: And a little bit about the natural makeup. So we’ll link that in the show notes. I think there’s more information in there about like…

Elsie: We can actually link a lot of things in the show notes for this topic because it’s a topic that we’ve blogged about pretty extensively and we’re really passionate about it. There’s lots of different categories and places where you can switch to options that are closer to nature, but also never feel bad or feel shame about it because we’ve only been replacing things for a couple of years and a lot of people just don’t know. Like it’s a relatively new topic.

Emma: Yeah. I think of it too. Kind of like eating organic. Like I think it’s great to buy organic as much as you can. Sometimes you can’t. For various reasons. Also a lot of times like you might be eating out at a restaurant, you have no idea if they have organic or not. Also, maybe now and again you have a hankering for like, I don’t know, Cheetos and Oreos. And you’re like, well, I’m just, you know, not a purist here. So but, you know, I think it’s obvious you don’t want to be eating like that every single day. And in the same way, I think it’s good to swap a lot of stuff in your house to safer ingredients or just less, you know, harmful things. But it’s not a hundred percent pure thing.

Elsie: I dqon’t think so. I think you can drive yourself crazy really quickly if you think about it in an obsessive way. But there are lots of things that you can swap that work just as well and are just as nice and are inexpensive. And so I will link to a few of the articles we’ve read about them.

Emma: Great.

Elsie: All right. Well, before we go, we just wanted to say, please leave us a review if you’re enjoying the podcast. That would mean so much to us. This week, we are doing something really special and we’re launching mini episodes, something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while. And we decided that since it’s quarantine time, we’re just gonna go for it now. So each week you will be getting a full-length episode like you have and then episode that is half as long. So under 20 minutes and our first one is up today along with this episode.

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  • Your podcast is one of the things I do for myself, it brings me joy! Please don’t underestimate the importance of your job right now. I used to listen on my way to pick up my toddler from daycare. Now that we are all home I’m carving out special time to listen. I’ve listened to all of the episodes and have used a lot of your ideas (love the curated closet!). I appreciate how intentional you guys are about having creative outlets.- it’s really inspired me to do the same.
    One topic I’d love to hear about sometime is tattoos- how you came to get yours, advice you have for others, how do you know when to pull the trigger and get one, etc.

  • Hi Elsie and Emma,
    I’ve just finishing listening to this podcast episode and one thing that struck me the most was the guilt and sadness you expressed about not having a “useful job” that can help people during this pandemic. The timing of this episode is quite eerie, as I had been thinking about writing to you anyway before it aired. I’d like to share a different perspective with you.

    I am a doctor living in Australia. At the moment, we are lucky to have much fewer cases of COVID 19 than areas like the US. However, one of the most heartbreaking and frustrating things I have witnessed during this pandemic, is many members of the public’s unwillingness to stay at home. Working in the health system, I know that without excellent social distancing, it is only a matter of time before our hospitals become overwhelmed, and both patient’s and health care workers lives are placed at risk.

    We know that the best thing anyone can do to reduce the impact of the pandemic, is to stay at home. The truth is, healthcare workers are not the “front line” of the fight against COVID 19, we are the last line of defence. The real front line is every single member of the public, who has the capacity to reduce the number of cases simply by self isolating or quarantining themselves.

    With this in mind, PLEASE DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF WHAT YOU DO in giving people skills, advice and resources to make their home a place they want to be! Not to mention the many tutorials and ideas for children you provide, which are probably keeping many parents sane while their kids are off school.

    We’ve all seen the memes and heard the phrases “saving the world by sitting on the couch/ watching Netflix”. What blogs like yours offer is an alternative to this proposal. Imagine if we could emerge from this period of social isolation as more engaged parents, more creative, literate and innovate human beings? That to me, sounds like a job worth valuing.

  • Loved hearing all these fun ideas! One note: quarantine is different than shelter-in-place or stay at home orders. Quarantine means you are not making contact with ANYONE outside your house and not leaving your house (I.e. not picking up takeout). I think it’s important to get these terms right as there’s so much confusion around the facts right now. Thank you for keeping things positive!

  • I normally aspire to reach Emma-level coolness, so today is so exciting because I actually totally relate to you in this episode! Stocking up on books and coffee to continue your usual self isolation is a real mood. Thank you both for the encouragement! Stay well!

  • Wish I had stocked up on baking goods before this began, the store is sold out of essentials! But so many great ideas in this post to survive boredom!

    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  • I love the free little library. I’ve been culling a collection of my own books I’d like to use for a FLL once we can share things again. Do you have more info on the build of this design?

  • Great episode! Totally needed this! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I think I’ve organised every cupboard I wanted to in this house during self-isolation and I am not mad about it at all! I’ve also been cooking nicer meals as I have time to think and actually put some effort into it and that feels lovely too.


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