First and foremost, if you’re reading this post, I hope that you are staying safe and healthy. Things are so topsy-turvy at the moment, so doing something as seemingly normal as writing a blog post feels a bit strange – but this is how I’ve always found a way to make sense of things and to connect.
Eric and I are currently 12 days into self-isolation in the wake of Covid-19. And while the orders for Los Angeles to shelter in place only came through last week, we decided prior to that to make the choice to self-isolate at once. In many ways, this is a lot easier for us as we both already work from home. It made the decision the logical one, especially since we know that most households don’t have the privilege to remain at home during this. It hasn’t exactly been business as usual here – as freelancers, we work from job to job, and understandably some of our jobs have been cancelled, particularly those relating to travel. In fact, had things gone according to plan, Eric and I would currently be in India (out first time!) and then leaving in a few weeks for a shoot in Tuscany. Of course, having to lose those jobs was hard, but we still feel lucky that we have each other, we have our health, and are able to be home and safe.
I’ll not drone on too much about all of that. I’m sure you didn’t come here to have to read about all things related to Covid-19, so I’m hoping my blog post today can be a bit of a respite from that. I wanted to share some of what Eric and I are up to at the moment around the house, as we are spending so much time here. From the recipes we’re loving to some of the organization and design updates we’re making, it’s going to be all things home around here at the moment.
Recipes We’re Loving
Truthfully, we already eat most of our meals at home already, so while this hasn’t been a huge change, it has meant trying to find ways to be more creative with the ingredients we do have on hand. We did a shop when we got back from Ireland as we had bare cupboards before the trip, and have made a few short trips out to gather some other necessities. Other than that we have been home 24/7 and using what we have.
Thank GOD Eric is a great cook – if you watch on stories, I’m sure you’ll have noticed that while I do help, I’m often the one in charge of pouring the wine or helping to plate. I’m not as good as he is and don’t have nearly as much patience in the kitchen. So I will say that being in isolation with Eric has been a real help because if it was just me it would be a LOT of grilled cheese and popcorn dinners.
One of the first things we made upon getting back and staying in was fresh bread. Unfortunately most of the US had the same idea and cleared out most stores of yeast. We don’t have a huge pantry and I don’t like to have more than we need, so it’s meant adapting when things sell out as we don’t have our own personal mini-mart in our kitchen. So when the yeast was gone, Eric made his own sourdough starter so we could have access to fresh loaves. This is our first time attempting it, and while we’ve always meant to try a sourdough recipe, we never found we had the time. We certainly don’t have that excuse now, so Eric spent a week getting the sourdough starter ready. Feeding it (I swear) and going through a lengthy process to get it ready to go. Finally, on Sunday, we were able to bake 2 beautiful loaves of sourdough bread using a recipe from the Tartine Bread Cookbook.
I had a lot of requests to share the recipe, so I asked Eric for it. He laughed and said ‘there’s not really a way to share it’. That’s because in the Tartine Bread cookbook, there is a full 27 pages dedicated to baking this loaf. But, don’t be alarmed! It’s mostly because they go step-by-step to really teach you what it is you’re doing. Once you do it the first time, it will be a LOT easier the second time onward. I’m including a link to the cookbook because I think it is important to support the source it came from, and while there is a link to the hardback book, I would encourage saving the money (and an overburdened postal service) and ordering the ebook for download. There are so many great recipes including this one, and you’ll soon be able to make your own breads at home with it.
Of course we have been making pasta, and our favorite cookbook for that is American Sfoglino. It’s another incredible book that takes you step by step through many different pasta shapes and types. Most of the recipes call for few ingredients, and while they do take some getting the hang of, they are really fun to attempt, particularly if you’re finding yourself at home more. Click this link to be taken to a page to order the ebook (or a hardcopy if you need) so you can start making some of the pasta recipes you’ve seen me share. One of my favorites is the recipe for cestini – the little envelope pasta you’ll see below. The ingredients are SO simple, and it is fun to be able to sit together in the kitchen with a glass of wine and make a big batch. Some for now, some to freeze.
And some of the digital recipes I’ve been loving are listed below. To be honest, it’s been a lot of comfort food at the moment, and I’m choosing to be okay with that. It’s been nice to have a tasty meal to tuck into at the end of the day when worries start to creep in, and I don’t really feel like denying myself that anytime soon. Plus it’s been good to find recipes that use ingredients I have on hand that can then be frozen for later use.
I’ve seen a lot of people posting on stories that a key way to stay motivated when working from home is to make sure to get up every day and get dressed and ready. And while I totally want to do that, to be honest, I haven’t most days. On the days that I have done that it feels WONDERFUL. I highly recommend putting on something that makes you feel pretty and like the world is a bit more normal.
The main reason I haven’t is that we’ve been getting up to a few projects around the house, namely, getting our living room finally ready. Last week (or was it the week before? I’m losing track) I shared the our front sitting room + dining room reveal. A few of you messaged to ask ‘but where is the TV?? Aren’t you bored?’ – the answer to that is, the TV is currently in this funny addition that was built on the back of our house in the 1980s. It’s off of our kitchen heading out to the backyard, and the previous owners had it set up as a children’s bedroom.
I’ve shared some of the updates on a vlog where we replaced the wonky sliding glass door and teeny window with some antique pieces we found at salvage yards. I haven’t shared the final reveal because we still have plenty to do (and a bit of a delay given the current situation) but it’s getting close! We ordered paint from this amazing company called ‘Backdrop‘ and all of the supplies we needed arrived so quickly. They have a very curated selection of colors and everything about the company feels so cool. We chose the color Moonstone for the back living room, and have been working on getting the whole room painted and ready.
I’ll admit, it’s been very nice to have something as distracting as painting to do. We’ve been listening to podcasts and just plugging away at getting the whole room ready. We bought some antique looking trims and decor pieces that will go around the windows and doors to give it a bit of a Parisian apartment feel, and I’ve really enjoyed putting headphones in and getting into the detail work of getting shoe pieces ready to put up. I hope to be able to share a reveal of that room soon, but rest assured – we have a TV! Or else I’d have gone mad already.
Finding Comfort at Home
While I do want to keep this post light, I’d be lying if I said being at home this whole time has been easy. I’ve certainly struggled with anxiety and feeling just generally unmotivated and scared. And I’m learning to be okay with feeling things as they come, but also in keeping myself calm. I feel lucky to be able to have this home to isolate in and have been taking the time to make it feel as comfortable as I can. That’s meant doing some organizing and cleaning, lighting a candle, and maybe picking a few flowers on a walk to put in a vase. Anything to remind me that my home is a safe place.
Another big thing for me has been making sure to have a little snack when I need. I was feeling so cranky and general blah the other day, and it took me the longest time to realize that I just wanted a little indulgence. So I put the smallest amount of cheese (I’m trying to save it!) on my prettiest plate (why not use it now, no need to save for a special occasion) and put on a vintage nightgown to have a little snack. I sat on the from porch with a glass of wine, no phone (no looking at the news either!) and watched the people walking their dogs or going for a jog. It felt like a real treat, so I’m trying to give myself those moments when I need it. Just a change of scenery or space and a moment without waiting for the next scary news update.
Another big source of joy for me (and Eric too!) has been all of the extra time we have with Mops. At 11 years old she mostly snoozes and naps throughout the house, but she really seems to be enjoying having us around. She’s certainly been getting extra attention and treats, and we are making it a point to take her on walks together. We leave our phones at home and take her on a good long walk twice a day. It’s really good for all of us I think, and while we are mindful of avoiding people, we have noticed that our neighbors are walking more and more too. I think we all need it right now.
Sprucing Things Up
As I mentioned above, I’ve been tackling some at-home projects I’ve been sitting on. Nothing major and definitely not putting too much pressure on myself, but it has been nice to tick things off of my list. A big thing for me was setting up this little ‘cleaning station’ in the kitchen near our washing machine. I’ve always had an idea to create a home for our natural cleaning brushes and supplies, and finally put the plan into action.
We had this shelf in our last two places as a sort of spice rack, but to be honest it never really quite made much sense. So Eric sanded the wood and repainted the metal part to transform it into a shelf for cleaning supplies. On it I have some brushes and tools from Helen Milan courtesy of my friend Whitney Leigh Morris. I love her blog and she has been a big inspiration for me towards learning to be more sustainable. Especially now that I am at home, I’m trying to be as responsible as I can. We wipe down all of our surfaces frequently, but are using reusable cloths that we wash. And then rather than dry them and use too much power, I use this drying rack.
And finally, the last thing I’ve been getting up to at home is creating content. It feels strange to be shooting photos, but it really does take my mind off of things. I love to execute a concept from start to finish, and while I’m not sharing as many different locations as I normally would, being able to post a photo and engage with you on Instagram means a lot to me. Please know that during this time, every single comment, every single like, and every single message means even more to me. Social media is my job and your support means a lot – even when I’m not able to work as much as I normally do. Plus it feels like a lifeline, and a way for me to connect with you.
So in that vein, if you can, please leave a comment below and let me know how you’re doing. Are you enjoying having blogs, vlogs, and photos as a bit of an escape? Did any of my tips or writing help? Anything you’d like to see? I’m here for you, and you mean the world to me. Stay safe.