The Projects Our Editors Have Been Doing at Home

When you’re spending a lot of time around the house, it seems only natural that you’ll eventually hit “the projects stage.” After all, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch. Whether you’re throwing yourself into yard work, repainting and moving furniture, organizing for the thousandth time, or just honing some new skills, the possibilities for at-home projects are pretty close to endless. Our editors are far from immune to this. Here’s how we’ve been keeping busy at home.

 

Because I’ve been sitting at home staring at my walls 24/7, I decided it was the perfect time to spruce up my space to look a little prettier. This past week, that meant finally splurging on the mirror I’ve been ogling for months. I was so excited about how it would transform my entire apartment, I hung it up within seconds of its arrival to my doorstep (OK fine, my boyfriend did all the work) and I have not stopped staring at it since.

Wall space is incredibly important; it’s the first thing that catches the eye and can make a space appear bigger or cozier (depending on what your space needs). I’m spending my extra time at home filling my walls with pieces that make me happy to look at. Next up in Josie’s Wall Makeover, Stay-At-Home Files: finally getting my gallery wall up. 

 

 

About a year ago, I completely redid my resume with the helpful tips I learned in my last two semesters of taking InDesign classes. I purchased the entire Adobe Creative Cloud for college and found InDesign to be the easiest platform (well, at least it was after a few semesters of layout design). However, I haven’t touched InDesign in about eight months at this point, and I don’t predict I ever will again. Not to mention, the price of the entire Adobe Suite is not exactly in my budget anymore (shoutout to my student loans!). But I do use Photoshop often for work and even for life, and I remembered at the beginning of that our Course Director Kelly used Photoshop to do all of the resumes in our Land Your Dream Job course. Photoshop on its own is only $10 a month, which I can totally handle for how much I use it, compared to the $40 I pay for a ton of programs I never use (aside from the occasional Lightroom, but the iPhone app is free!). So, I embarked on a journey to pull all the data and design from ID to PS.

It wasn’t as seamless as I expected, but it’s still been pretty easy. Now that the resume is over there, I’ve been hard at work updating my job history, my skills, and my education (since I hadn’t looked at this since I graduated and landed my job here—yay!). It’s going to feel so good to have an up-to-date resume when this is all over to share with partners, colleagues, and mostly just my family who always ask what the heck I do for a living.

If you’re new to Photoshop, luckily Kelly also has you covered with a full course on Photoshop that is currently 15% off! And I swear by our Dream Job course! 

 

 

 

Despite all odds (including my strong affinity towards microwavable pizza rolls), I’ve been using this extra time to cook some yummy homemade meals. Pre-isolation, I stuck to my three go-to dinners (frozen cauliflower pizza, ground chicken with taco seasoning/sweet potato/rice, and spaghetti) but to everyone’s surprise, I’m jumping out of my comfort zone and trying some delicious recipes from my favorite food bloggers. 

My top-rated so far are these sticky sesame chicken meatballs, this Instant Pot creamy Italian pasta, and these Szechuan noodles with sesame chili oil. I previously held a very stubborn mindset that I am not a good cook, and feels so good to prove myself wrong. I guess I’d call myself a living success story illustrating that you can truly do anything you set your mind to. Boom.

 

 

Being an active thrifter, I hoard a ton of graphic tees, jeans, sweaters, and accessories, and honestly, I just haven’t worn some of them recently. So lately (I mean, every other day) I’ve been clearing out my closet and drawers, cleaning everything I don’t want, and listing my items on Mercari. It’s been super easy and convenient because who doesn’t want to sell their items and get money for it? It can be time consuming having to lay out your clothes and take photos of each item and write in the description, but at this point, I feel like I’ve got a routine down and it’s been going pretty well. In the past week I’ve sold almost $100+ worth of items and it’s made me and my bank very very happy.

 

 

 

I have organized every drawer in my entire house. If The Home Edit morphed into a cult, I’d be considered a level OT 8. It started off so innocently with plans to optimize the space in my shared closet—and now I have alphabetized spices. And because I know you’re a tiny bit curious, the jars are from Amazon and the labels are from Etsy.

After releasing the death grip on my label maker (only because of delayed shipping from The Container Store), I decided it was time to focus my efforts on the outdoors. I planted an herb garden which I promptly had to dig back up and relocate to separate pots after my dogs thought I had created a personal suntan bed for them. Once that debacle was over, we (I say “we” but really I forced my husband into this) started the process of making a stock tank pool in our backyard. Click here for a visual. I may be at home all summer, but I’ll still be in the water drinking a cocktail. I’ve also spent so much time with my favorite Peloton instructor that I’m convinced we are actual bffs.

Some weeks are productive and fun while others are discouraging and it’s hard to get out of bed. Don’t beat yourself up or compare your time at home to others. Try to focus on the positive, no matter how small it is, and give yourself grace. One of the best things I’ve done for my mental health is to take week-long social media breaks. I delete the apps from my phone and only redownload when I feel ready to join the conversation again. 

 

 

Listen, for the first two weeks or so of social isolating, I didn’t do a thing. Mostly I cried or slept or just snuggled on the couch with my space heater aimed directly at my face, re-watching Orphan Black. And it felt nice to let go of any type of expectation; to just float for a while. But eventually as I adjusted, I started feeling a bit more energized and ready to take on a task or two. I also have a freelance design business and lately I’ve been expanding my front-end coding repertoire and having fun seeing what magic I can make with HTML and CSS and a lil javascript. If you’re interested in learning the basics, now is a great time. I usually throw on a show in the background and dig into the code for a few hours as a break from the news or anxious thoughts. I highly recommend Codeacademy, which is free (yay!) and has great tutorials that let you test and try in real time. I’m also a huge fan of CSS-Tricks, a searchable site with tons of great tips on making the most of designing with CSS and outlines a lot of cool tricks I’ve used on many of my client websites. And if you’re looking to learn and explore pre-made bits of code (think fun styles for buttons, checklists, animations, etc.), CodePen is an open source platform with tons of great examples to build upon.

 

 

 

When all of this first started I had literally just moved into a new place, so I’ve been spending my time organizing and completing it. After spending a few weeks here I’ve had time to feel out what storage I think I need for different areas, and I’ve cleared out a lot of clutter and have had time to get some of my life together.

I also have been taking more photos with my DSLR. I got my camera two years ago and kept putting off really getting used to it, so I’ve watched lots of videos and practiced shooting with different lenses and of different subjects (mostly my apartment and my dog, honestly, who is absolutely the star of my Instagram at this point).

I also have been exercising a lot—something that I’m not pressuring myself to do, but I find makes me feel 100 times less anxious throughout the day. I’ve been loving waking up early to run and have a little bit of time with just me and the world that feels relatively normal.

Lastly, I’ve been spending a lot of time baking. I keep seeing my bananas going bad and getting a rush knowing I can make more banana bread—which I think means I’m officially an adult. I tried to bake a beautiful ombre four-layer cake last week, which was quite a fail (but still tasted yummy!), but I’m learning things every time I try a new recipe and have been having fun doing it–and it’s something I’d never ordinarily take the time to do.

 

 

When all of this first started, I was so, so motivated to do as much as possible. I deep-cleaned (including wiping down individual blinds), I tried new recipes. I’ve long been frustrated with the lack of space in my tiny kitchen—it’s something that I truly can rage about daily—so I finally decided that the best thing that I could do for myself was to take everything out of cabinets and rearrange. I repurposed what I had been using at a toiletry caddy (after a thorough cleaning, of course) into a place for storing onions and potatoes, grains, and sauces, vinegars, and other condiments that don’t need to take up valuable real estate in the fridge. Now, there’s seemingly so much more room than there ever was before. It just took getting a little bit creative (and some free time) to find it.

 

 

I’m not even going to try and deny the fact that up until maybe two weeks ago, all I had done during my free time was cruise through entire series that had been queued up in my watchlists as I sunk slowly into the depths of my couch—and honestly, I don’t regret that one bit.

Things took a bit of a turn recently, when I realized that I’m running out of late night snacks to accompany my Mad Men binge sesh. My 10pm snack cravings are always of the salty-sour-lip-smacking variety, so I go through jars of pickles and sauerkraut like no other. Last summer, I started getting into lacto-fermentation (as the results are delicious and it’s amazing for gut health), but never got a chance to work on perfecting the recipes and method. With all the time I have at home now, I can finally create and steadily monitor my fermentation projects. I had a bunch of cucumbers in my fridge that I knew I wouldn’t eat up in time before they went bad, so I quickly formulated a ~spicy brine~ to turn them into half-sours so that they could be preserved and be of avail for my nightly snacking needs (a true win-win). 

Since then, I have been experimenting with pickling and fermenting more things, with my most recent project being hot Italian giardiniera. Next on my list is an attempt at fermented hot sauce!

 

 

At the prospect of self-isolating by myself in a tiny apartment in a new city, I decided to go home to be with family. Since our team started working from home pretty early on and I initially thought I would only be here for two or three weeks, I packed winter clothes and a total of zero activities to keep me busy save for my laptop and a book. 

While I sincerely wish every day that I had thought to bring my camera with me, or had an idea for an amazing creative project, I’ve been trying to use this time to do some things that have been sitting around idly on my to-do list for a while. 

I started watching some of the shows in my queue like Fosse/Verdon, reading books from my list like A Visit From The Goon Squad, running more, cooking new recipes with my mom, doing a few Skillshare classes, and taking care of some financial things like my taxes. I don’t feel especially productive but it feels like a good start.

 

I’ve never been great in the kitchen—I’ve always had a few basic meals that I make over and over again, rarely branching out into new realms. Now that I have so much extra time on my hands (and so much at-home cooking to do), I’ve made it my mission to try out new things and unleash my inner culinary artist. Some of my favorite things I’ve made thus far include: this Insta-worthy (if I do say so myself) charcuterie board, the perfect avocado toast, delicious at-home margaritas and iced lattes, glazed lemon loaf, and of course, banana bread. 

Another thing I’ve been working on is bettering my hand-lettering and drawing skills using my iPad and Apple Pencil combo. I’ve had them for a little over a year now, and the art of hand-lettering is something I’d really like to get better at (it was even on my list of 2020 goals!), so I’ve been practicing that as much as I can. And lastly—because I can’t possibly be productive all of the time—I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Animal Crossing, trying my best (and often failing) to get at-home workouts in, and working through my list of TV shows that I’ve been wanting to watch. 

 

You can prepare yourself to hate me (I hate me a little bit too)—but I’ve become full-on obsessed with yoga in the last five weeks. My brother and I have both been isolated at our parents’ house, and we’ve both made it a priority to work out together every workday morning before we log on to our respective jobs. We initially decided to incorporate a 10 or 20-minute restorative flow into the ends of our workouts, but we’re slowly but surely getting excited about more active, more challenging workouts. We use the videos on the Peloton app (I miss my spin classes SO MUCH, so it’s nice to still get to see the flawless face of my favorite trainer, Denis) which is currently free for 90 days. When I want to add a yoga sculpt class (higher intensity, a little less stretchy), I love my trusty obé fitness (use our code TEGSPRING for a free month!). As a lifelong cardio-lover, it’s been so soothing and grounding to invest in my body in such a different way!

 

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100 Projects Our Readers Are Doing in Isolation >>