Sweater // Jeans
Do you think you’ll have a different outlook on life or your industry after COVID-19?
I think I already do have a different outlook on my life. And I was already having thoughts about the industry for the past few years and this is only accelerating that.
As for life, most of what is changing is on the very personal side of things so I don’t want to get into the details. But I’m really taking everything into account and evaluating what’s important. Mike and I always have a lot of conversations about what we want (pretty much every long car trip we do like big life talks, ha), but even more so now as we’re trying to plan for the future. Well, planning right now is hard because we don’t know what is going to happen over the next few weeks, months, and year(s). So I guess I should say we’re thinking about what we want our future life to look like.
In terms of the industry, I’m not going to lie, ultimately I think it’s going to be a good thing. I think brands are going to be smarter with who they partner with and how the partnerships look. Brands (and audiences) will hold influencers (which are small businesses whether people want to admit it or not) to higher standards.
Did you end up keeping the Gucci bucket bag?
I returned it. I bought the bag online sight unseen and didn’t love it in person. I thought the cream part was canvas but it was leather and super stiff. The bag also hit at a weird part of my hips, even with the strap as small as it would go I thought it was too long. I was bummed because I really thought it had potential to be a “forever bag.”
Can you share your quarantine daily routine?
We’re really sticking to a Monday-Friday schedule and then a more relaxed weekend schedule. For Monday-Friday, I have been waking up between 7:30 and 8. (I haven’t set a single alarm for wake ups… I don’t hate it.) I make coffee, tidy the kitchen (empty the dishwasher, spray the counters, etc.), let the dogs out, feed the dogs, etc. Mike and I take turns doing the coffee so if he made the coffee he just brings it upstairs. I honestly have been jumping into work, from bed, in my pajamas…. for hours. At first it felt special and now it’s just become my norm. Kind of lazy but as my motto has become lately, “sure, why not.” I try to get through DMs from the night/day before that I missed, get through my emails, and write my blog post for the next day.
I either workout around 11 then shower or skip the workout and shower. I eat something for lunch, sometimes with Mike if he isn’t in meetings. Then in the afternoon, I’ve been filming videos, shooting photos for my blog/Instagram/campaigns, and editing photos/videos. It takes a lot longer because I’m doing everything myself. Getting photos for one thing can take at least an hour and videos are much longer (though I’ve really been enjoying the outlet!) As long as it’s not pouring, I take another break in the afternoon to walk the dogs which usually gets me to 4 or 5pm…. and then I call it a day as far as work goes. I’ve been doing some personal non-work writing from then until dinner.
Mike and I eat dinner together every night and that usually entails an hour or so of prepping in the kitchen. Mike does most of the cooking, but I sit at the island to talk. We watch an episode of a show together… and then I typically go upstairs to get in bed early to needlepoint and/or read.
How has it been transitioning to working with a S/O at home?
Mike worked from home at least once a week before this, so it wasn’t a huge transition. And we have a two story house with plenty of rooms for the two of us, so we have our own space for sure. The hardest part is when I have to shoot a video, I have to plan it around his work calls so I can have “quiet on set.” Our house is old and creeks when you walk so Mike has to be outside or sitting at the desk with headphones on… not moving or typing. But otherwise, he’s usually downstairs and I’m usually upstairs and I really can’t complain.
How is learning French going?
Honestly great. J’adore DuoLingo! It’s such a routine for me at this point that sometimes I don’t even realize how much I have learned. When I first started I really struggled because I know some Spanish from taking five years of it in high school/college…. at some point I stopped thinking the Spanish word first, which has been surprising! Also, now I’m in the habit of repeating French words in my head as I am doing things around the house. (“Je suis dans la cuisine maintenant.” “J’ai deux petits chiens.”) And I am hearing French everywhere now… movies, tv shows, songs. I can’t fully understand everything but I just try to listen for words I do know for the context. Like there’s a lot of French in A Little Princess!)
Am I fluent? FAR FROM IT. But it’s really fun to learn without being graded.
I’m a new homeowner– what are some household-essentials you swear by?
I highly recommend investing in good cleaning supplies. Go for lightweight, easy to use items that you won’t dread having to lug out of a utility closet. I love our Dyson and it’s a breeze to whip around the house vacuuming. And I just got a new steam mop.
I had always had small tool-kits but they were physically small because I was in apartments and not really doing much. I bought a tool box and filled it with a great hammer, tape measure, screw drivers, wrenches. I bought a ladder, a power drill, etc. It always shocks me how often we need to do something around the house and I’m glad I have the right tools on hand!
What’s something you expected to miss during quarantine but don’t?
I thought I’d miss going into the city, but I really haven’t at all. The last time I went in was for a work event in Grand Central and I was so on edge because, even though nothing had been shut down yet, I knew it was only a matter of time. (I was opting out of handshakes or hugs or touch door handles and people definitely thought I was nuts at the time.)
Going into the city for meetings and to see friends had been a normal part of my weekly routine though, so I did think I’d miss it. I haven’t though really at all.
How did you know you were ready to move in together? Buy a house together?
I got a LOT of questions about this. The first year Mike and I were dating, we were not living in the same state. He was at a law firm at the time so we were only able to see each other Friday night-Sunday and it was a lot of driving between NJ and Connecticut. It doesn’t seem like that far, but on a Friday afternoon, it could take up to three hours with traffic. By December, we knew we needed to try living together because we got to that fork in the road, so to speak. Since he’s from NJ and practices law in NJ and I had zero roots in CT, I moved to NJ in March 2018.
I hated the apartment we moved into and we knew going in that it was a short-term option. Our lease was up March 2019 and in January we had the “do we find a new apartment” or “should we just go ahead and buy a house” conversation. We went the house route figuring if we were going to do it eventually we might as well save the money and not rent for another year. Luckily we were able to go month-to-month while we went through the home buying process. And we moved in last June.
Let me just say… I’m so glad we moved to the suburbs when we did. Mike and I say it every day during quarantine how f*cking grateful we are.
What are you looking forward to the most once things reopen?
So…. I think we’re a ways away from things reopening, at least to the point where they were before? It’s hard to say what things are going to look like and when. But I think the small things at this point: being able to pop into a grocery store for a couple of items (I hate grocery shopping but apparently it’s something I really miss– it shocked me), going out to dinner with Mike for date nights, having friends over for game nights, being able to see Mike’s nieces, being home ALONE (lol), getting the dogs groomed, working from a coffee shop just because I want a change of scenery…
Bigger things: going to Florida to see my family, having the option to travel somewhere if I wanted to, having less anxiety, being able to actually make plans for the future
What’s something you’ve learned about yourself since quarantining?
I really like my own company. I’ve always been a homebody, so that part isn’t a surprise. I miss hanging out in person with friends and I miss the gym and that kind of social normalcy. But I haven’t had an issue with filling my days. I enjoy reading, I’m having fun learning how to sew, needlepointing has been wonderful.
I think there are times in my life where I didn’t really like myself, mostly from debilitating anxiety, but now? I don’t think I had really been forced to address the fact that I have come a long way and do like myself now. It’s been a nice realization.
How many square feet is your house?
It’s three bedrooms and just over 2,000 square feet.
How do you keep yourself motivated to read, meditate, and workout?
All three are things I enjoy doing so that helps.
Reading: I struggled at the beginning of quarantine to get into reading. I think it was a headspace issue. I was anxious and distracted. Now I’m focusing on books I’m highly interested in, even if they’re “fluffy” and setting aside time every night to read for at least thirty minutes. (I always end up reading more.)
Meditating: This is more of a “need” to do than anything else. I try to do ten minutes a day, but sometimes if I’m really not feeling it, I’ll do a three minute exercise and say that was good enough. I actually find myself meditating frequently, even if I’m not doing a guided meditation with my Headspace app. I’ll count my breaths in the shower; I’ll do a grounding exercise while waiting for the coffee to brew; I’ll put myself to sleep by checking in with every part of my body, I get into a good groove while walking the dogs and find myself in a meditative state. The more you practice, the more you’ll find yourself able to slip into it like muscle memory. It’s changed my life.
Workout: I’ve struggled the most with this, but finding a workout I LOVE to do has made working out so much easier. I think I was way stronger with the BBG workouts, but it got to the point where I was dreading the workouts. Now that I’m doing barre, I’m so much happier!!
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
How to deal with a friend posting that COVID is a hoax?
The bare minimum would be to mute the posts (you can do this on Facebook and Instagram without having to unfollow/unfriend). This may be a terrible thing to even say but personally this is something I would actually do… I’d have a heart to heart with myself over the friendship. Maybe her posts are simply a lack of education, but maybe they speak to her greater value and belief systems. I have plenty of friends who I do not agree with completely– I think it’s healthy and normal and good to surround yourself with people who have different opinions than you do…. BUT if the values and beliefs are to a point where you are really struggling, I think you have to reevaluate.
Also, this is something I have to remind myself of daily, ultimately you can only control what you can control. If you don’t want to deal with it right now, I don’t blame you. Just mute. Don’t cause waves you’re not ready to deal with especially right now since things are not normal.
Favorite go-to movies?
I watch 10 Things I Hate About You a lot… I love it. I also watch The Intern, The Parent Trap, Little Women, and Princess Diaries frequently too. If I’m in bed and can’t really fall asleep I’ll put one of the movies on or I’ll even put them on for good background noise since I’ve watched them so many times I don’t have to pay attention.
How is COVID impacting your business?
The first month (mid March to mid April) was definitely a transition. I think brands were re-figuring campaigns, learning to work from home as a team, and trying to get a handle on this new landscape. My biggest project ever (twice as much money as anything else I’ve ever done) was postponed and I’m hopeful it’ll eventually work out.
However, I’d say over the past two weeks or so things are starting to pick back up. It’s definitely is a good example of why diversification of product/content, relatability, and agility matters. Campaigns are about the same as they’ve always been for me in spring (a slow period generally for me), but affiliate revenue is up 25% for the same period last year.
I also haven’t had to change my content that much… I’ve always written personal posts, I don’t focus on luxury or super travel heavy content. Sure the lens with which I’m writing is different but I think you guys are used to seeing this kind of content anyway 🥰I thought I was going to have to go down to five posts a week instead of my usual seven but, at least not yet, I haven’t run out of things to post about.
If you could pick any Nancy Meyers film/house to live in which would it be and why?
The Hampton’s house in Something’s Gotta Give… but I’d have it moved to Nantucket ha!! I LOVE the kitchen. I LOVE her bedroom and the office set up. I LOVE the views.
Ann Patchett!!! I would read anything she wrote.
Advice for keeping on top of finances for a small business?
HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT BEFORE YOU NEED ONE. Get a bookkeeper to do your books. Hire professionals who can help you avoid making costly mistakes down the road. It’s worth the investment. Also start a savings account for taxes and pay quarterly estimates. Even with a bookkeeper or accountant though, be sure you’re also fully aware of what’s happening financially so you don’t have any surprises popping up and you know what’s converting sales and what are money drains.
Like maybe you’re a painter and realize that the ads you’re doing on Facebook are leading to a lot of website views but they’re not converting to sales, but doing a (free) Instagram Live showing the behind the scenes of how you created the artwork has fewer website leads but three times as many sales. It’d made sense to invest time and energy and money into what’s bringing you money.
What dynamic do Teddy and Hamilton have?
They’re buddies. They are rarely in separate rooms– while they don’t cuddle they definitely follow each other around the house and play. The best is when they’re outside and they play fight and roll around in the dirt together.
What’s giving you hope right now?
There’s been a LOT of bad out there… but there’s also been a LOT OF GOOD. The more I look for the good, the more I find and that’s been amazing. I’m particularly hopeful about our community. I’m in our town’s Facebook group and it’s incredible how people have come together to support our local restaurants/stores, essential workers, and neighbors. It’s wonderful.