Tag Archives: pandemic

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Hello everyone! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so it’s time to do some shopping for your significant other. Today, we are going to look at some of the classic gifts you can give as well as some more unique ideas to woo your loved one with this Valentine’s Day. All right, love birds, let’s get to it:

LEGO Sets:

Have you guys seen the new botanical LEGO sets?! They are amazing and you could give your SO a LEGO bouquet of flowers to assemble together. How fun is that? LEGO also has some awesome sets of famous city skylines world wide. Perhaps you could pick a romantic city that you’d love to visit together? In my opinion, LEGOs are a two part gift because it’s so exciting to receive a set but it’s even better when you put it together… together! I love building with LEGO with my boyfriend and just one set can have you hooked on a brand new hobby – I know that was the case for me. 🙂

Pictures, Please:

For one of my client’s birthdays, he simply requested a picture frame with a picture of me and him in it. I was so touched by this and it is a gift that you really can’t go wrong with. Frame a picture of you two together and include a letter of why that moment was special to you. Sometimes, it’s the simplest gesture that is the most effective and I, for one, would love a gift like that too.

Lock Down Date Night:

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not safe to go with the classic “night on the town” date so create a date night at home, instead. Cook a delicious meal, get all dressed up, and enjoy each other’s company. For activities, you can play games, pop on a rom com, or just reminisce on your relationship while sipping champagne. Johnny and I had a lock down style date for our one year anniversary and it is one of my most loved memories with him, despite just being in our apartment. ❤

Subscription Boxes:

Has your partner always been interested in trying Hello Fresh, Ipsy, or Stitch Fix? Subscription services are one of the gifts that keep on giving and every month will bring a new treat for your SO. This is also a fun gift because it will help break up the monotony of lock down life with something monthly to look forward to. Pick out the perfect box for your partner’s interests and you can keep having Valentine’s Day for several months to come.

At Home Spa Treatments:

After a long year of pandemic problems, maybe you and your SO just want to relax this Valentine’s Day. If that’s the case, why not bring the spa to you? Provide an assortment of products from face masks and body scrubs to deep conditioning hair treatments, nail care kits, and essential oils. Make sure you have big fluffy towels or robes too! Couples that pamper together stay together and you are both going to feel like a million bucks after your spa treatments are complete.

We are going to have to get creative to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year but that’s okay! Enjoy each other’s company and safety at home with the ideas above and have your best V-Day yet. ❤

What are you going to get your SO for Valentine’s Day? What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Keep Your Home Healthy During Quarantine

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How To Keep Your Home Healthy During Quarantine

Right now, you are probably growing used to spending pretty much all of your time at home. Rather than being a place that you spend your evenings and weekends; your home is now your gym, workplace, and everything else besides. During the quarantine, you may have spent time perfecting your work from home set up, trying to keep yourself entertained, and the majority of it trying to stay in touch with friends and family via Zoom.

One thing that you may not have considered is whether your home environment is beneficial for your health. As everyone is spending far more time at home, it is more crucial than ever to make sure that your home helps your health rather than damages it. Here is how you can ensure that your home is as healthy as possible so that you can quarantine in the knowledge that your home is the best place to be right now:

Deal with Damp:

Dampness is a common problem in many homes and can cause health problems if it is left untreated. Mold and mildew are things that no one wants to see in their house, especially when you are spending all your time there. Ensuring that your home has adequate ventilation can help reduce damp, but if mold and mildew have already developed, you will need to remove them effectively. Using a bleach solution or proprietary mold remover should help clean off the mold and kill the mold spores. Remember that you will need to take care when using these treatments.

Clear the Air:

There is nothing more important than the air that you breathe, but it is easy to forget that you can play a part in improving the air quality in your home. Breathing in low-quality air can lead to a range of health problems and cause some potentially serious issues. Asthma and allergies can flare up when air quality is compromised, and your HVAC system could be causing these issues.

If your HVAC system is not maintained by a reputable air duct cleaning specialist such as DUCTZ, it can cause a range of problems. Over time, dust and dirt collect in your air ducts and if they are not cleaned regularly, then they will be spread throughout your home every time you use your heating and cooling system and pollute the quality of the air that you breathe.

Scheduling regular HVAC maintenance to ensure that your system is working correctly and that your air ducts are kept clean is the best way to enjoy good air quality in your home.

Try a Deep Clean:

Deep cleaning your home is an excellent way to freshen it up and remove any potential health hazards. Deep cleaning removes the dust that can cause allergies and aggravate eczema-prone skin. Having a thorough deep clean of your house will also help to eliminate any harmful bacteria that could be lurking on your surfaces. A freshly-cleaned, healthy home will make staying in it a far more pleasing experience.

Make your home even safer to be at during the pandemic by following the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Feeling Blah? Change Things Up!

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Feeling Blah? Change Things Up!

Hey! I don’t know about all of you but, some days, I just feel totally blah. The weather is gloomy, COVID-19 makes me so worried, and the state of the world is very stressful. It’s also easy to feel even more down and out when all of your normal activities with friends, families, and clubs have been postponed until safer times. I’m sure that all of us are itching for a big change and, until that happens, it’s up to us to keep ourselves positive and motivated. Small changes that you can accomplish, despite everything going on, can really help perk you up. So, how about trying the following:

Your Furniture Layout:

If you’re getting sick of being in the exact same living room or home office that you have been confined to for months, switch it up! Rearrange the furniture, hang up some new art work, or create a photo collage with all of the pictures that you’ve been meaning to get developed. It won’t be as nice as a complete change of scenery like going to the beach but it will make the space you’ve been stuck in different and that’s all that matters.

Your Hair:

Perhaps you’re not bored with your location but your appearance. I know that I desperately miss getting all dressed up but, since there’s nowhere to be, the concept of “looking nice” has been long forgotten. If you are interested in changing up how you look, then now is the perfect time to try that new hair style or color that you have always had in the back of your mind. If it doesn’t turn out exactly how you want, it’s no matter – your hair will be back to normal by the time it’s safer to be in public.

Your Perspective:

Whenever I am feeling blue, I try and think about all of the good things that happened to me even though I am at home. For example, last week I went grocery shopping and I told Johnny that despite everything going on I’m thankful that I have him, a fridge and pantry full of food, and a roof over our heads. It’s important to still remember all of the positive things that you have no matter how small they are. If nothing else, be thankful that you are safe at home and preventing your loved ones and perfect strangers from becoming sick.

Your Hobbies:

I think that all of us can agree that watching Netflix or your preferred streaming service is a universal favorite hobby right now. But, getting lost in TV every day is doing your mind and body no favors. Dedicate at least an hour per day to work on your mental and physical wellness. Take a walk around the neighborhood, meditate, or call a friend. I know everything is so monotonous right now but you have the tools to help break that cycle if you choose to use them.

Your Goals:

Creating new goals for yourself can be an exciting way to fill free time and it’s even better when you begin accomplishing them. Make yourself a dream board with all of the things that you want to achieve in the next year or so and work on making it happen. Once you have an idea and a plan, all that needs done is for you to carry it out. What will you be putting on your dream board?

Changes big or small always help me shake away the blahs and I hope that some of the ideas above help make you feel better too!

What do you do when you have a case of the blahs? What are you thankful for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pandemic Worthy New Year’s Resolutions

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Pandemic Worthy New Year’s Resolutions

Hello! I, personally, never make New Year’s Resolutions. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t help you come up with yours! I’m sure it feels difficult to set goals when leaving the house isn’t the best option so how about some ideas that you can accomplish from the comfort of home? Like the following:

Doing workout videos:

If losing weight is one of your goals, then there are a plethora of work out videos online that you can do from your living room. From yoga and Zumba to simple stretches, there is sure to be something that works for you. Maybe some of the trainers at your local gym even have classes recorded! Start with one or two classes a week and continue adding on from there once you feel ready. Hey, just one half hour class is an awesome achievement if it’s something you’re not used to. And Netflix isn’t going anywhere, I promise. 🙂

Caring for indoor plants:

If you want to improve on your green thumb, try caring for some indoor plants until it gets warm enough to garden outdoors. Not only will they beautify your space but they will help clean the air as well as give you something productive to do. Check out Pinterest and create a photo worthy succulent garden. Or grow some herbs indoors to use while you test out new recipes. It feels good to take care of a plant and help it grow and it will be exciting to track its progress every day.

Scheduled video chats:

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that family and friends do not get to see each other as often as before. If this is something that you have been down about, then pencil in scheduled video chats with those you miss. It is the next best thing to hanging out in real life and it feels nice to have something to look forward to marked in your calendar. I live for my FaceTime dates with my besties and this reminds me that I have to schedule some calls, myself!

Fostering/adopting a pet:

If you have always wanted a furry, scaley, or feathery friend to keep you company, then there is no better time than the present – especially if you are working from home. Do your research and visit a local animal shelter or rescue organization for your new best friend. If you are not ready for the full time commitment of a new pet, then fostering is also a great and much appreciated option.

If you love animals but cannot commit to having a pet, you can also help local shelters by providing old blankets or towels, food, and toys. Organize a community drive and help make a difference.

Work on a new/old hobby:

As always, the New Year is the best time to learn a new hobby or get reacquainted with an old one. Set aside a half hour every day or few days to work on a hobby that is fun for you. It’s impossible to be good at something overnight but the improvements that you will make with steady practice will help motivate you to keep working at it. Learn a new language, paint that picture from a tutorial, or try your hand at Photoshop. Practice makes perfect and by 2022 you will be amazed at how far you’ve come!

Get inspired with the tips above and carve out some time at home to begin working on your goals!

What are your resolutions for 2021? Have you been sticking to them so far? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Keeping Your Life Running Smoothly Mid Pandemic

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Keeping Your Life Running Smoothly Mid Pandemic

2020 has been a true testament to events happening that feel completely out of your control, which can make life seem so overwhelming. But, it’s good to remember that there are plenty of things that are one hundred percent up to you despite all of the craziness that happened in 2020 and still continues. If you are feeling a bit lost right now, anchor yourself with doing the following to get you back on track and keep you there:

Get things done:

Time does not stand still and nor can you. It’s important to take care of problems as they arise instead of brushing them off. Get any appliance repairs that need done fixed immediately, get your oil in your car changed, have your computer looked at if it runs slowly when you are working from home. Holding off on essential fixes will just give you even more stress in the future.

Create a daily to do list:

So much free time and a lack of a set schedule is enough to make a lot of people feel anxious. If this sounds like you, then map out your day with a to do list. Having an idea of what you’re going to do each day can be a lot less stressful than making it up as you go along. Be sure to pencil in some time each day for self improvement through exercise or a hobby. There is also nothing wrong with scheduling in TV time once all of your tasks are complete, either!

Talk it out:

Is there someone in your life who you feel immediately comforted by when you speak? Sometimes, all you need is to hear the caring voice of a friend or family member to get yourself centered. Have a weekly phone call with that person and catch up as well as confide about anything that’s bothering you. Your mood will be improved by the time you hang up and you won’t feel as hung up about previous stressors.

Add variety:

Every day might be feeling exactly like the last and it can feel like you’re never going to get out of the cycle of work, Netflix, repeat. So, it’s up to you to add variety into your life. Try your hand at cooking something brand new for dinner with ingredients you have never tried, watch a film in a foreign language, explore a different hiking trail, or read a book outside of your favorite genre. It might not seem like much but changing up small things can make a really big difference.

Keep yourself going in the right direction with the advice above because smooth and steady wins the race… Or however that saying goes!

 

Pandemic Problems: Is Your Home Haven On Rocky Waters?

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Pandemic Problems: Is Your Home Haven On Rocky Waters?

For years, the human species has adhered to the fact that no person is an island. With that in mind, we’ve put ourselves out there and generally socialized as much as possible. In the last year, however, that advice has very much changed and, for many, this shift hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition. Luckily, as we seek new ways to communicate, many of us are finding that we can get by with far less extroversion than we’ve been led to believe. Unluckily, a failure to take care of your island could soon see your mental health suffering regardless.

Our homes have gone from being places where we sleep to being our entire worlds. In many cases, the landscape simply isn’t prepared for this level of usage. That’s bad news for your happiness and efficiency throughout these lock down days, and it’s something you need to address. To help you do that, we’re going to consider three common problems that could be leaving your home lacking:

You haven’t put a personal spin on things:

If you’re used to spending just a few hours at home, you may not have ever done much with the space. That needs to change sooner rather than later now that your home time hours have extended so much. Something simple like decorating to your tastes or framing a few personal snaps could make a huge difference to helping you settle despite what’s happening outside of your four walls.

There’s no space to breathe:

A cluttered home has never helped with mental health, and certainly won’t now. Sadly, getting rid of a mess is harder than ever at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can keep putting it off. There’s no excuse to let clutter rein free when you consider that skip bin hire is still available, and companies have taken significant steps to keep it safe. By investing sooner rather than later, you can get rid of all of the rubbish that’s been building up through lock down. With space to play with, you’ll soon feel like you can breathe again despite continued restrictions.

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You haven’t split the space:

Lastly, your trouble may be due to something as simple as a lack of segmented spaces. With many working from home, splitting work and living areas is fundamental. It also pays to have daytime and nighttime spaces to break things up. Even in a small flat, changing furniture or lighting could be a split enough from day to night, etc. If you have the space, though, keeping each room for a different purpose could soon see you feeling like you’re traveling a whole lot further than you actually are.

We may have been existing solely at home for a while now, but this is still a difficult adjustment to make. Ease your passage by considering these home issues and doing what you can to get your island right at last.

Featured Image By: Pexels

3 Things That Keep Me Sane

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3 Things That Keep Me Sane

Hello! Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnny and I have essentially just been in our apartment other than work and groceries. No one is saying that it is not monotonous AF but it is for the best and we will continue doing our part in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. With continuous days at home, it can be hard to work up the motivation to do much of anything. But, setting goals has always helped me move forward with what I want to accomplish and completing these three tasks every day has kept me from going totally stir crazy:

Writing Every Morning:

Whether it be on a work day or the weekend, as soon as I take my morning shower and ready myself for the day, I sit at the computer and prepare a scheduled post to publish. I never thought that I would be able to keep daily content coming when there is literally nothing to do. I have surprised myself and think that I am even better at my craft now because I have learned to draw inspiration from all of the little things that now make up my day.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I complete a post during this pandemic because it really can be difficult. However, lifewithlilred has been dedicated to creating daily content for the past several years and not even COVID-19 can stop that! Starting my morning off with a goal already checked off of my to do list makes me feel ready to take on the rest of the day and keeps me motivated to do it again tomorrow.

Practice Languages:

One of my favorite hobbies is learning new languages and every day I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech on Duolingo. In fact, I am on an over eighty day streak of daily practicing and I have never even come close to that before. This Christmas, Johnny got me Duolingo Plus to help me continue practicing my languages in a more efficient way and it has been awesome. No adds and unlimited hearts, baby!

I like to set aside at least an hour every day to work on learning new languages and I feel proud of the huge steps that I have taken in each one that I practice. I definitely feel like I have gotten better in all of them – particularly German and Czech and I never thought that would happen! I feel excited to learn more each day and I can’t wait to get to a one hundred day streak!

Read:

The last thing that I like to do every day is read. I have always been an avid reader and I enjoy it even more now because I feel like I can escape my apartment and join the characters from the book in their world. I try to read at least thirty to forty pages plus in whatever book I am working on each day. I love the feeling of excitement I get every time I crack a book open because I know I am going to be transported on an adventure. However, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a book and starting a new one even more. 😀

I am currently reading a delightful book called Miss Benson’s Beetle by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Joyce. It has been a nice palette cleanser from the psychological thrillers that I have been reading so definitely be on the lookout for a Lil Red’s Book Club review of it soon!

Once I complete these three tasks every day, I give myself permission to play all of the video games or watch all of the Netflix that I want. Hey, everyone deserves a treat after accomplishing their daily goals, right? 🙂

Do you set daily goals for yourself? Have you improved on one of your hobbies during the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Ideas To Fill Your Free Time With

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5 Ideas To Fill Your Free Time With

It’s safe to say that, at the moment, we all have more free time than we ever have had in the past – especially if you are unable to work due to the restrictions that are currently in place or are on furlough. That’s a lot of free time to account for! Back in normal times, you may have spent evenings or weekends with friends and family, going to different events or meetings, or just being out and enjoying different activities. With all of those options depleted, we all need to be able to find new ways to fill our free time. Here are five ideas to inspire you:

1. Reading:

If you know that you usually spend a lot of time watching Netflix or different TV shows and movies, maybe you want to shake that up and choose to read, instead? Reading can be really relaxing, it can help you to expand your horizons, and it’s enjoyable too. It also allows you to have an adventure with the characters in your book!

2. Learning Something New:

Maybe you want to challenge your brain a little more? It could be that you would love to learn something new. Could learning how to speak French fluently be a goal for you? Or how about mastering a new piece of computer software that you have always wanted? This can be a fun and very beneficial way to kill time.

3. Furthering Your Career:

Being on pause from your job can be a bit strange and it can also leave you thinking about what else you want to do in life. If you’ve found that you don’t like where you’re currently at professionally, it will be nice for you to think about what you can do to try and change that or drive your career forward. Maybe you want to earn an mph degree online or learn new skills that will help you to apply for a new job? Sometimes, a career change could be what you need to fill your free time.

4. Something Creative:

It’s always fun to get more in touch with your creative side. So maybe you want to paint something, make something, or sew something? You don’t have to have been into crafts your entire life to turn to a creative pastime and really enjoy it. Why not pick up knitting, drawing, or cross-stitch? There’s no better time than the present!

5. Launching A Business:

It could even be that you’ve always been interested in starting a side hustle. So this could be perfect for you and just what you want to be able to change your career or start something new. Maybe you love baking? Or do you enjoy writing? Or you love the idea of consulting? If you have the time now, why not dedicate some of it towards this? You may find that you not only enjoy it, but it can really take your life in a new direction too.

Use the ideas above to help motivate yourself and turn your time away from work into something equally as productive!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Everything Going Wrong? Let’s Take Care Of It!

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Everything Going Wrong? Let’s Take Care Of It!

We are all under a lot of stress right now given the world’s current state and it is not a great place to be mentally. Especially when you are constantly having “straw that broke the camel’s back moments” when anything else goes wrong. I feel it one hundred million percent so let’s all take a deep breath (Did you do it?) and we’re going to address some common problems and feelings that might happen and how to deal with it with a level head:

Appliances Breaking:

In the words of Bender from The Breakfast Club, “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place”. Unfortunately, this means that things are subject to break and when you notice that one of your home appliances is on the fritz, it’s important to deal with it quickly. We rely on appliances to make things easier for us and hand washing dishes or trips to the laundromat is the last thing you need. Seek out the best appliance repair services and get things back in working order so you can breathe easier.

Difficulty Working From Home:

Working from home is not for everyone and not even being able to leave the house to go to the office can make things very monotonous. If you are struggling with working from home, try doing all of the things that you would usually do if you were to go to the office in the morning. Take a shower, get dressed in something other than sweatpants, fix your hair, and eat a good breakfast. Also try having your lunch or breaks at their normally scheduled times. Sticking to a schedule and checking off everything on your morning to do list will help make you more motivated and add some normalcy to your day.

Feeling Lonely:

Sadly, feeling lonely is very common for people during the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s no wonder why. It’s hard not being able to see friends and family regularly as well as not having much to look forward to. If you are feeling alone it is important to reach out and talk to someone even if you don’t want to. I live for my scheduled FaceTime chats with my friends and it is the next best thing to seeing them in person. Send a text, make a call, or hop on Zoom to see some friendly faces or hear a familiar voice. It will do you a world of good.

Feeling Bored:

Also sadly, feeling bored is very common for people during the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s no wonder why! There is only so much Netflix you can watch, video games you can play, and books you can read until you are officially one with your couch. You need something new so now is the perfect time to begin that hobby you always wanted to try or work hard on your New Year’s resolutions. Take time out of your schedule each day to work on your new skill and you will be surprised at how far you’ve come when things are finally normal again.

These are overwhelming times, indeed, and it is important to know how to deal with problems even when you are so stressed. Think rationally about what you are experiencing or feeling and then make the best decision on what you can do to make the situation better. Let’s do this!