My Top 20 Quarantine Favorites That Spark Joy

9 min read by  •  Time Visited: January 2021

We’ve relied on everyday home essentials and pick-me-up’s more than ever this past year in quarantine. Not only are we home due to the lack of travel, but also (many of us) working from home full-time and limiting non-essential outings. Everything from kitchen gear to technology to entertainment is included. They are items that we’ve recommended to friends and family, make our lives at home better, contribute to our overall wellness and self-care, and ultimately spark joy.

1) Drinking tea daily

I wrote about 9 healthy teas you need to try and have truly enjoyed the routine of drinking tea every morning when I wake up, some mid-afternoons as a pick-me-up and every night about an hour or two after dinner. I’m drawn to mostly herbal tea, green tea, and the occasional matcha. I also love Four Sigmatic lattes (chai, matcha, golden turmeric) and their Mushroom Cacao Mix for the taste + adaptogens.

2) Exclusively wearing comfortable clothes

I’m still obsessed with these classic wardrobe items that I will pack when traveling resumes. They make me actually want to change out of pajamas when I know I’m not going to leave the house or see anyone that day.

3) Working out at home

Melissa Wood Health above all others was my most consistent at-home workout favorite. It’s only $9.99/month, doesn’t require any equipment, can be done anywhere, and only takes 8-45 minutes with most classes around 20 minutes (my perfect sweet spot). The series of workout classes through her app offers a perfect variety of slow, controlled, low impact movements combining yoga and pilates to sculpt long lean lines throughout the body. Don’t be fooled because they BURN! Close behind are MadFit on YouTube for HIIT and strength workouts, and the 45-minute yoga classes I’ve taken for free through work twice a week. I’ve also found my perfect workout time is before lunch – I’m fully awake, have had and digested breakfast, and enjoy the opportunity to take a mid-day, refresher break without feeling guilty.

4) Selling on Poshmark

If you’re looking to make some extra money with minimal effort, consider selling new, unused and previously worn items on the Poshmark app. I’ve done really well with it this year once I got into the groove of it, and have since gotten many friends hooked too!

My top tips are make sales are:

  • Enable push notifications and share your items to applicable Posh parties
  • Try to share your items at least 1x/day
  • Take clear pictures in bright, natural light
  • Include measurements and material details
  • Price fairly but on the higher end of being fair so you can make private offers to likers

My top tips to fulfill the orders are:

  • Buy a simple printer (if you don’t already have one at home) to print the shipping labels
  • Order clear label sleeves on Amazon for the shipping labels you’ve printed. Before I did this, I was asking UPS for label sleeves and they’d hand me a stack for free.
  • Keep tissue/packing paper, bubble wrap and shipping bags that you receive to reuse the supplies.
  • Grab the USPS priority mail flat envelopes next time you go to the Post Office – they’re free!

I keep those supplies in a large shopping bag in my closet. I’m lucky to a quick 5-10 minute drive away from the Post Office, and that they have a big bin at the counter for drop-off packages – in and out!

5) Earning cash back with Rakuten

If you do a lot of online shopping and don’t have this extension button on your internet browser, you’re missing out on free money! I’ve been using Rakuten for years (it was previously eBates) but have made more this year than usual. There are some other apps like Honey, Ibotta, etc. but Rakuten has worked best for me.

6) Reusable water bottles

I’ve been on the reusable water bottle kick for a few years now and love it. It turned me into someone who didn’t drink enough water and doesn’t really like drinking water to carrying it around with me everywhere. I have one by Corksicle and another by MIRA that I alternate. Bonus: less dishes! Does anyone else feel like they’re running the dishwasher every day working from home with their roommate/significant other?

7) Magic Spoon cereal

I first discovered Magic Spoon cereal from Kelly LeVeque, who I’ve followed for a few years now. As my family will tell you, I’m obsessed! Their slogan, “healthy cereal that tastes too good to be true” is spot on. It’s high protein, low carb (keto-friendly), 0g sugar, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free and has no artificial colors or sweeteners. I’ve tried every flavor they have, with my favorites being cinnamon and blueberry. Their seasonal flavors are amazing as well but they sell out quickly. Honestly, there is not one flavor I didn’t like or wouldn’t re-order, so you really can’t go wrong. Highly recommend!

8) Fab Four smoothies with a Vitamix

Speaking of Kelly LeVeque, her “Fab Four” smoothies and approach to food has been another favorite for years with this year being no exception. I’ve read a ton of her articles, her book Body Love, and listened to numerous podcast episodes with her (she now has her own podcast). She’s super smart, truly looks into the science, and therefore is trustworthy in my opinion on giving health and wellness advice. The Fab Four is “the perfect mix of Protein, Fat, Fiber and Greens.” Check out some of her recipes here or use her philosophy to create your own!

To make my smoothies, I love the Vitamix! We got these Vitamix cup attachments this year that make a serving size, which otherwise ends up being too much because it’s hard to measure.

9) Making the switch to natural deodorant

What better time to switch to a natural deodorant than now when you’re home more than usual? The best I’ve found that actually works for me is the Kosas Chemistry Deodorant in Serene Clean, which uses an AHA serum applied via a rollerball to tackle BO and skin health without aluminum. You can read my full review and experience on my new beauty Instagram page, @adventuresinbeauty_.

10) Consulting with experts & at-home COVID testing

From virtual doctor visits and at-home COVID testing to skincare consultations, I feel so grateful for certain aspects of modern society that allow us the ability to access expert feedback from the safe comfort of our home. For at-home COVID testing, I recommend Pixel by LabCorp. It’s covered by most health insurances, really painless, quick and easy to do, and in my personal experience, reliable in terms of the accuracy of the results. Note, it is not a rapid test. From the time you order it to the time you get the results emailed to you, I’d say it takes about 5 days on average. For skincare consultations, I personally chose and loved the Renee Rouleau consultation (pay it forward and give them my name “Ariana Voyer” if you try it out – they have a referral program)! I had Jessica and she was super thorough, stayed on longer than she needed to, and followed up with a super detailed email. They incorporate what you are currently using in your routine – it’s not so focused on THEIR products.

11) Receiving phone alerts from The New York Times App

I receive push alerts on my phone from this app every day with breaking national and world news. If I’m interested in more information, I click on it. If I’m not, then I don’t. It’s as easy as that! They’ve also had outstanding Coronavirus coverage with interactive maps and statistics. The Morning Newsletter and Weekend Briefing emails from them are also great if that’s more your speed.

12) #WFH lap desk

Whether I’m working, lounging, or browsing, I’m often sitting on the couch or one of our chairs in the living room. Finally buying a lap desk was a game changer. Shout out to Carly to helping me pick this one! I’ve been super happy with the quality, look and feel of it.

13) AirPods

My boyfriend has used his AirPods daily since he got them over a year ago, but I never felt the need to buy them myself until working from home. Recently, I finally ordered the AirPod Pros for the noise cancelling feature and love them! I got them on Amazon because they were $50 off (cheaper than other retailers) but now I see they’re only $30 off, so keep an eye out!

14) Neck & back massager

This neck & back massager was a very recent purchase but we are equally impressed and obsessed. Those insane 30,000+ reviews don’t lie! I love people rubbing my back or giving me a neck massage – anywhere, any time. This massager makes it feel so realistic, like someone’s hands, and has great features such as optional heat, different strengths, and various kneading motions.

15) Journaling my wine tastings

The top 20 wines I drank in 2020 as a result of journaling my wine tastings is available for your reading pleasure here on the blog, but something I didn’t include in that post is our electric wine bottle opener. It’s so incredibly easy to use and worth every penny. You’ll never want to go back to the manual corkscrew once you try this (or something similar) – I am sure of it! P.S. Don’t use this on a broken cork. We tried recently and it almost broke the electric opener – oops!

16) Binging TV shows

I know I’m not alone in this, but I have never watched more TV in my life. We have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, YouTube TV, and Disney+ so the options are endless. In addition to following the news coverage of the big, historical and political moments this year, my favorites shows included:

  • The classics – Seinfeld, Frasier, Cheers, The Sopranos, West Wing, Monk, Friends, The Office, Sex & The City, Antiques Roadshow
  • The food shows – The Great British Baking Show, Taste The Nation, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner with David Chang, Master Chef, Master Chef, Jr., Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, Top Chef, No Reservations, Parts Unknown
  • The guilty pleasure reality TV – Alone, Queer Eye, The Voice, Married at First Sight, 90 Day Fiancé
  • The comedies (our favorite category) – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, 30 Rock, Schitt’s Creek, Ted Lasso, The Great
  • The rom coms – Younger, The Bold Type, Emily in Paris, Modern Love, Dash + Lily, Bridgerton
  • The dramas – The Morning Show, The Queen’s Gambit, Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, The Undoing
  • The action – Jack Ryan
  • The horror – Stranger Things
  • The documentaries & talk shows – David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, This Guest Needs No Introduction, 7 Days Out, Tiger King, Becoming with Michelle Obama

17) Lighting candles

The number of candles I’ve bought in the past year is almost embarrassing, but we truly loved and are continuing to love lighting them. To be more specific, some favorites included Homesick Florida, Candlefish #30 & #37, Thymes Frasier Fir, and Bath & Body Works Candles including Leaves, Marshmallow Fireside, Harvest Gathering, and Tis The Season. We love the festive seasonal scents in particular, if you couldn’t tell. Every single one of these packs a punch to fill the room (even as a single-wick), which we prefer; best for open living spaces, not small rooms.

18) Slip silk pillow cases & scrunchies

Ever since I discovered the Slip brand during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale about five years ago, I’ve been hooked. I have tried so many silk pillow cases and not a single one has lived up to the Slip ones. I’ve had to repurchase them a few times from not washing them correctly in the past, but it’s worth every penny. They go on sale and come in value sets on sites like Nordstrom, Skinstore and Anthropologie, so keep an eye out for those if you’re interested in trying it out. More recently, I’ve also become obsessed with their silk scrunchies. I’ve always been a scrunchie-wearer at home since I have long, color-treated hair that is fine and fragile despite having so much of it! This isn’t an at-home item, but I love their silk face masks too!

19) Night pillow

Many bloggers/influencers I follow have raved about the Night Pillow (and the Night brand in general) over the past couple years. After struggling to find the right pillow for me, I took the plunge and have been really happy with it! I also love that it comes with a silk pillowcase.

20) Weighted blanket

When you’re sick, cold, anxious, or can’t fall asleep, consider trying out a weighted blanket. We have this gravity blanket in 15 lbs, which I think is plenty heavy enough. The navy color is gorgeous too, and the cover super soft!

As I was finishing this post, I thought of more and more at-home favorites I felt I had to mention, so I wrote m Quarantine Favorites, Part II! I also included what I’m looking for in 2021. Check it out!

I’d love to know what some of your at home favorites are so I can make some new discoveries in 2021. Comment below 🙂

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