Monday, March 23, 2020

Resources to find #funthingstodowhilesocialdistancing

As I was putting the final touches on this blogpost to publish later today, Massachusetts Governor Baker has just issued an Emergency Order for non-essential workers to Stay In Place effective noon tomorrow through April 7.  It is now more timely than expected and is something I have been working on over the past week just in case this occurred.  

As most of my clients and friends know I like to be proactive. When I grew up my parents would not let me go out with friends until I finished my chores.  Thus I was always ahead of the game with getting them done.   In addition, I was a Girl Scout leader and raised 3 kids which also explains my motto of always being prepared.   I have recently been putting these skills to use while exploring all modes of life one can do from their socially distanced space.  I have prepared this information below. 

Please note: This list is for #funthingstodowhilesocialdistancing and does not include any COVID health resources.  These are best available from your local Community Health organizations. I will add to this as I learn of more ideas but this is compiled over the past week and should cover most bases.  

Errands done from home to save and free up your time
Online food delivery-they will personally shop and deliver ShipT,  Instacart you can have curbside pick up or delivery RocheBros. Some of these services are on overload and may not have easy delivery slots. 
Need a new book, puzzle or game- you can order these online and either pick up outside the store or have delivered for fee Ind├ępendant bookstores-Wellesley Book Store

No need to go to the Post Office just set up online-

Need dog/pet food you can order online 

Entertainment/Movies to watch:
Instead of going to live theater check this Globe article for online resources Watching Theater
Also for live streamed music/concerts check here
Love Music Festivals- check these out; or on Instagram at @stayathomefestival. 

Virtual Travel:
Instead of traveling to a real destination you can stream a movie and then go on tour to the film's location.  check this article
Its cherry blossom time and instead of going to Washington DC this spring you can see them here.

Facebook-stay connected but beware of fake ads etc,  I would try to use other tools as much as possible as do not trust potential exploitation from them.  Look at tools such as Zoom and Facetime-you can have actual group meetings -try a lunch date with friends, happy hour, bookclub.

Yoga apps such as Yoga Studio
Meditation such as Buddify 
5 at home workouts featured in the WSJ
Train for a virtual 5K with Prevention Magazine
Join Gretchen Rubin 20on20 Walk Group

Inspirational / Spiritual:
Gretchen Rubin-daily Instagram chats at 4pm
check your local synagogue/church for streaming of services

Kids/family activities:
Listen to stories and do related projects from children's author Kate Messner through her site Read, Wonder and Learn
For some online and new Game ideas
How about making a photo book online?  You can create one and go through old photos on one of the apps such as Snapfish
Keep your kids engaged on current events with free NYI weekly news quiz -maybe reward them if score well

Online virtual exhibit at the Reggie Lewis Museum Click here for a link to an exhibit donated by my family.  (Stearns collection)
Virtual Shakespeare
Google has partnered with Art Museums worldwide that you can visit virtually on a site called Google: Arts & Culture
Boca Raton Arts Museum has a program for kids called Keep Kids Smart with Art
See a virtual art exhibit hosted by The Cotuit Center for the Arts called BLUES
Classical Music lover here's the BSO online

Outdoor activities:
Places to go around Boston
Neighborhood walk
Drive around and look at architecture/old houses

Spring Cleaning and Home Maintenance:
For the practical or one who enjoys doing things around the house how about getting an early start so you have more time to play.
This is a great time to declutter, clean and get your home ready for spring. I have prepared a Home Maintenance checklist and am happy to send you a copy if you email me:

I continually am posting new ideas on my Facebook page @wendybcb (Wendy Bornstein Coldwell Banker Needham) and use the #funthingstodowhilesocialdistancing.  I invite you to visit and like this page.  Please feel free to share any new suggestions there or below in the comments section as well.  Thank you and stay healthy.  We are all in this together.  

Friday, March 20, 2020

A Mini Retreat in Your Socially Distanced Home

What are your plans this weekend?  What would you have said three weeks ago if you were given the opportunity for a quick getaway where the only thing you had to do was nothing ie:  no carpooling or errands to do.  You are offered a time to just relax and spend time by yourself ( if self-quarantined) or with loved ones in a private location without distractions.  

Fast forward to today.  We are all stuck in our homes and social distancing.  Each day can look like the next without any break in routine.   No matter your religion either Saturday or Sunday is shabbat, a day of rest and a time to break away from the monotony of everyday and spend some time toward inward thinking.  

My proposal is to set the stage for this same overnight retreat in your head.  You will spend Saturday in an isolated cabin away from it all.  To truly enjoy this experience you need to prepare ahead of time.

 Suggested items to have available include:

- an exercise mat and some work out clothing.  
- a reading device or media to be able to watch local movie releases on demand.  
- favorite toiletries 
- comfortable fun clothing and a dress up dinner outfit
-2 to 3 bottles of wine
-a prepared home cooked dinner

Take some time to pamper yourself. The rules are to keep the news off, put your phone away except for emergencies and resist social media.  

Its time to leave all your work and negativity behind.  

Here is a proposed itinerary but you have the choice to make it your own.  The only suggestion is to break away from the routine you had all week. 
Saturday afternoon-If its nice out you may go for a walk around your block and then come inside and either read or maybe do a puzzle. 

May be do a mediation app or just listen to some nice music.  

In late afternoon you are a bit hungry and can have a healthy protein snack of cheese and nuts while preparing a nice Italian feast for dinner.  

Saturday pm-Prepare a nice home cooked dinner,  Pour some wine and enjoy the candlelight ambience.  After dinner you retreat to a comfortable couch to watch a first run movie on demand or stream a show you haven't had time to see.  

Sunday am-Do an online yoga class.  After the class you will treat yourself to a self spa day.  You can take a long shower or bath, smell incense,  polish your nails, and give yourself a facial. 

Sunday early afternoon- have a nice brunch!!

Hope you are inspired to get away.  Our imaginations can make our reality a positive and fun experience.  I am trying to use mine to think outside the box.  Shabbat Shalom.  

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham who loves blogging, reading, walking her dog and thinking outside the box to make the world a better place. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The world of reading at the tip of your fingers

As most of my blog readers and friends know I love to read.  I enjoy all types of book and find that a really good novel can be almost like a mini vacation transporting me from everyday life to a th expanded outside world.  As many need to shelter in place or social distance this is a great way to broaden your horizons.   For those who also share the love of reading or may want to learn how to have better access to reading materials please read below:

I just participated in a motivational Instagram group chat hosted by  Gretchen Rubin.  For those unfamiliar with her she is a great resource and authored The Happiness Project and Outer Order, Inner Calm as well as several other books.  I have read many and subscribe to her daily podcast and newsletter.  During the chat, she launched a virtual book club for the listeners and suggested reading  Love, Loss and What I Wore by Ilene Beckman.   The first date of this bookclub will be April 1.   It was recommended to buy the book at a local bookshop.   She reminded listeners that due to the COVID crisis many small businesses will be forced to close their doors and it important to do our part to help them stay in business.  

Coincidentally this morning I got an email from one of my favorite local brick and mortar bookstores, WellesleyBooks  informing customers that they were temporarily closing but would have online ordering available with easy pickup or mail delivery.  (Likewise in today's Boston Globe there was an article siting area Indie bookstores also offering curbside pickup and delivery.) I went to their website for more information and noted that their monthly lunchtime book club (April 6 which is canceled) featured the book Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver .  After reading about the book description I was inspired to start a virtual bookclub with my Next-door online neighbors.  Since my local bookclub isn't launched yet I went ahead and ordered the Beckman book for now so I can read it by April 1.  

I read both physical and online books.  I always keep a book on my kindle and on my phone kindle app as sometimes I am stuck somewhere and have wait time to read. I am fortunate to have local bookstores near me and often try to buy my physical books through them vs Amazon.  

For those who do not have local bookstores nearby or just prefer to read on a device I thought I would share online ways to read books.  - here are some great apps you can download.

Bookshout, Kindle and Books are apps where you can purchase content.

The Overdrive app connects you with your library to be able to borrow downloadable books.

Libby is the platform the borrowed books can be accessed on as well as various reading apps.

Goodreads is an app building a community of readers where you can make book recommendations and share books you have read.

Lastly we all have books sitting on our shelves at home.  Now is a good time to clean your home and get organized.  Chances are you will find books you forgot you had or never got around to reading.   

No matter the source of your reading materials there are so many books to read.  Think outside your box and try a new genre such as  fiction, non-fiction, professional development , educational material for students, spiritual and motivational books and much more that you haven't had time to read before!! Be an explorer from the socially distanced book resource at the tip of your fingers.

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  Like the books she reads, she is only a click away if you have any questions about your local real estate market during this time period.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

ReCLUTTERing our Decluttering by Panic Shopping

I have written several posts about decluttering and downsizing and through most of my posts have tried to un-cover methods to get rid of things we don't need.  As the outbreak of COVID-19 is threatening pandemic proportions I am seeing the antithesis of this behavior and now have a greater appreciation for the hoarding mentality.  See BBC article on the psychology of panic buying here.  (It is my understanding that if exposed to COVID it is recommended to self quarantine for 14 days.)

There is something innate to our behavior that can make us become hoarders.  Can't we agree it is comforting to surround ourselves with a stocked pantry of favorite foods?  Our inner survival instincts drive us to buy in excess in fear of potential shortages.

Lines at the supermarkets and big chain warehouses have been out the doors.  There are shortages of hand sanitizer and cleaning products as people buy whatever is remaining.  This is creating a huge shopping frenzy as noted in Fortune Magazine here.  I am guilty of this too and have thus stocked up on non-perishables that could exceed a good 30 days.  I bought extra vanilla extract and chocolate chips yesterday in case I need to bake emergency toll house cookies.  I am also well supplied on paper goods but do we really need a that much toilet paper? (see Forbe's Magazine  )  Although comforted and well positioned I have recluttered my cabinets with things I don't necessarily need.  One does have to ask.......did the risk of buying three months worth of toilet paper at Costco outweigh the chance of exposure to a COVID carrier?  I guess I won't know this until 14 days pass and I still remain healthy.  (See added link re : Toilet paper stockpiling)

Consumers are irrationally stocking up on things they probably don't really need in fear of it not being available.  Once COVID passes will we realize we overbought and need to start the declutter process again?  At a recent meeting last week with a social worker, she suggested we all slow down a bit and take a deep breath.  She recommended I buy an app called Buddify and when I feel a major impulse or impending stress to take a walk or do a 5 minute guided meditation.  Perhaps we all need to do this and stay calm.  Perhaps we get a quick adrenaline rush of comfort by overbuying things we may already have adequate supply of.  

Like other viruses and health issues COVID will too come and go.  Most of us will be fine if we take the recommended health precautions.  Let's all calm down a bit and think rationally when out shopping.  Take inventory of what you really do need in at home in case you are quarantined.  But don't overdo it.  I came home from my Costco run only to realize I already had 3 boxes of Post Raisin Bran after buying a new box while there.

As one who has shared posts about declutting perhaps we need to remember that today's impulse buying may be tomorrows clutter.  There are shortages of things for no reason.  There are others who may really need some help with their food supplies.  If you realize you have excess that is not needed please remember its always welcome to donate to a local food pantry and to help those in need.  

Wendy is a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys writing, talking and helping people by sharing her unique insights into the local area around her.