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It's been one year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and it's safe to say that life is significantly different than what it was like this time last year.
In February of 2020, I went to Florida and stood in massive crowds at Disney World — these days, the idea of being in a room with two people outside of my bubble makes me feel anxious. Adjusting to carrying hand sanitizer in every purse I own, learning what face masks work best and when the best time to hit the grocery store is has been a learning experience that we've all had to go through, but I've found a few things that have helped me along the way.
From little products that make my day better to pricier items that are worth the investment to keep myself busy and entertained, I've rounded up a few items that have made me feel better (or at least a little cleaner or functional) during this time.
Take a look below at what I've been leaning on for the past 12 months.
Before COVID-19, I worked from home on a regular basis, so getting out of the house for my daily caffeine fix was a little way to take a break and maybe sit in a coffee shop for an hour or so. After about a month of lockdown, I decided to Google "how to make cold brew," and lo and behold, it is incredibly easy to make. I bought a French press, some grounds from the grocery store, popped in some boiling water, and let it sit overnight in the fridge once it had cooled down.
The next day, I put some ice in a glass, got out my reusable straw, and poured myself a big ol' glass of cold brew — and it was delicious. Unlike other French press's I've had, this one is made of glass and metal, so it hasn't cracked like the plastic ones I've used to brew up my java in the past.
I can't believe I used to spend almost $4 every single day on something I can make for myself!
SHOP IT: Amazon, $33
I used to be a full-face of makeup kind of person, but the idea of putting on 10 different products every morning only to spend the entire day by myself started to wear me down. I began to embrace my bare-faced look, but unfortunately, the dreaded Zoom calls show every single blemish on my face and definitely made my under-eye circles look worse than they were.
Instead of putting on foundation and concealer, I started using this CC cream before jumping on calls and it made me feel a lot better about my appearance. It's full coverage, so it hid anything unsightly happening on my face, and it's oil-free, which is great for my greasy skin. Zoom calls suck, but this has made me feel a little more confident and comfortable about my on-screen presence.
SHOP IT: Sephora, $52
After finishing all of my books and bingeing all of the Marvel movies on Disney+, I finally got on board the Nintendo Switch Lite fad, and I'm sad I didn't buy one sooner. I'm not really a gamer — the last console I had was a GameBoy that I played Pokemon on when I was 12 — so I wasn't sure if this was something that I would really be able to get into, but I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining I found it.
The first game I purchased was called Cooking Simulator, which is exactly what it sounds like. I legitimately spend hours putting together my restaurant and serving food. My first customer gave me a one-star review (rude!), but I now have a stellar rating and plenty of happy customers. I realize this sounds a little crazy, but it's oddly addictive as well as soothing. Gotta find a way to pass the time somehow!
I have gross feet. I usually would get a pedicure every two months or so to deal with them, but since I haven't been able to do that, I had to find a way to fix them myself. While browsing Amazon, I came across this foot file that has a whopping 48,000 ratings (!!!) and since it was only $9, I decided to give it a try.
Guys. This thing literally grated the dead skin off of my heels like it was parmesan cheese (I'm so sorry for that visual). You can use it in the shower, but I prefer to use it on dry skin so I can see how much I'm shaving off and that I don't accidentally shave off too much (you need to keep some of your callouses or your feet will hurt when you put on your shoes).
It's a little thing, but the ability to make my feet look a little more presentable makes me feel a little more put together as a human being, which is all you can really ask for these days.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $9
With my screen-time at an all-time high, I noticed that my eyes were super tired at the end of the day. One of my friends mentioned that they'd tried a pair of blue-light blocking glasses that had dramatically improved their life, so I decided to give it a go. I found a super-cute pair that has more than 36,000 five-star reviews and bought them through Amazon Prime.
I wear them while I work, while I'm scrolling on my phone, and while I watch Netflix or YouTube on my laptop. I've noticed my eyes are less tired at the end of the day and that I fall asleep easier at night after wearing them all day. I accidentally forgot my pair at my parent's house recently, and going a few days without them was so bad I had to order a second pair for the sake of my eyes. If you've never worn glasses before, it might take a day or two to adjust to the feeling on your face, but if you're like me and are on screens all day, you might want to give these a try.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $27
Dry shampoo has become an important part of life since lockdown. I won't lie, my personal hygiene hasn't been the best lately, and washing my hair seems like a lot of work sometimes. No matter how greasy and gross my hair is, this dry shampoo makes my hair look squeaky clean, gets rid of any smell, and gives it some volume.
I'm not proud to say this, but using this product lets me go about seven days before needing to wash my hair. I don't often go that long between washes, but for the days you don't have the motivation to deal with your mane, it's a lifesaver.