Sarah's Needful Things: Quarantine Edition | Haute Macabre

Sarah’s Needful Things: Quarantine Edition

In spending so much time at home–and I already spent 90% of my time at home!–I’m really learning to appreciate the mundane, boring stuff that has been contributing to making my days feel “normal;” those ubiquitous, maybe invisible items that you don’t give a second thought to because they are so ingrained in your daily routines– but if you think about it, they’re really the MVPs that are central to the pattern and structure of your day.

What follows are a handful of things that have kept me going lately, they may be a little boring, but I can’t deny that for all that, they are also buoying, and working hard to keep me afloat. And for that I am thankful.

In the comments, be sure and let me know how you’ve been surviving this weird time and we’ll compare similarly humdrum notes!

Electric tea kettle + trusty mug + regular Starbucks coffee subscription. Ok, so it’s not like I drink a lot of coffee. I have maybe a mug and a half’s worth every day (typically the second serving gets cold midway throughout my morning and I just dump it out.) But I’m not drinking it all day long, or anything like that. It is, however, a big part of the rhythms and ritual of my mornings, and the day wouldn’t start as pleasantly without it.

I am very much a creature of habit, and this is one thing I will not compromise on. Wake up. Wash face. Start coffee. Check Fitbit and see that so-n-so finally synced up overnight and now she’s at the top of the leaderboard for the workweek hustle, instead of me. Dammit, so-n-so! Why do you do this every week? I thought I was winning! Anyway, that’s how my morning goes, and I need that comforting routine right now more than ever. We have two dozen packages of coffee in our pantry at the moment, just in case. I would not exactly say that I am hoarding the stuff…but I guess the evidence would suggest otherwise. The wriggly octopus mug is a gift from Japan, from a dear, dear friend.

TomboyX bralettes. Even in the midst of an apocalypse, I will not go braless. To a lesser extent, I don’t even sleep braless. I know what’s in my future, and it’s basically two boobs that look like a pair of firehoses that you gotta carefully roll up and tuck into your bra (I know this because I helped with my grandmother with this intimate task in her final years) and listen, I do not like the way my unfettered, fleshy firehoses feel knocking against my ribcage, so I keep them encased in soft, breathable cotton at all times.

They are pictured here with my favorite Aggretsuko socks to jazz the photo up a bit.

Shout out to all of the various tubs and tubes and tins and pots of creams and lotions and moisturizers that I have tucked in every corner of the house at this point in time. All this hand washing has got my poor hands in a dither, all sad and crackly and withered, so slathering on some sweet-scented relief every hour or so is a literal balm for the senses. Current loves: Feral body cream from Balefire Apothecary, which is a deeply earthy, dour forest hag scent, but in the very best way, and String of Pearls hand and body lotion from Paintbox Soapworks, which smells of petrichor and fresh, floral incense.

Samples of stuff and things! Now is a great time to play with your skincare and beauty and perfume samples. If it’s a stinker or if it fucks you up–who cares! You aren’t going anywhere, and no one’s seeing your face anyway! As it happens, though, my skin is looking better than it has in ages. Normally my skin is pretty sensitive but through a spate of good luck, I seem to have chosen the samples that are really agreeing with me. I really liked this Superfood Spinach and Kale cleanser and the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream, both from Youth to the People. Another thing I really, really love, that was suggested by our Jo, who always recommends the good stuff, is this Potent-C Vitamin C Power Serum by Peter Thomas Roth. I’ve always been afraid that vitamin C serums might inflame and freak my face out too much, but this one seems to be okay, and I think it might even be working toward brightening my skin a bit. It’s got a weird fragrance…sort of like bandaids and wintergreen Lifesavers…which after a time it starts to smell a little clove-y to my nose? But since I realized that it is possibly, maybe, working, I don’t mind it so much.

Also the apothecary discovery box from AltarPDX, which was a fun treat, and which contains the first natural deodorant I’ve tried that actually works. I don’t see it on their site anymore, but it is this one, from Wildist.

My planner. Which I know I have mentioned before and probably more than once, but I swear to you that I am not a demented planner fiend. Even on a good day, my cellular jellies are loosely held together by stray hair and toast crumbs, and I have really come to rely on my planner to tell me what to do in order to keep my tremulous facade of cohesion from totally unraveling.

This is a bit of a mixed bag, though. As I mentioned this in my Instagram stories this past weekend, while although these days I have got the same amount of hours in my day as any other day in the past, I’ve been pushing myself to be more and more productive, and even after I’ve ticked everything off my list, I am looking for fifty more things to do. I don’t even know what those things might be, but I’m convinced that if I don’t find them and do them, then what good am I? It’s a perpetual feeling of falling behind, and failing, but then there’s the impulse to keep striving and doing anyway…and in my fog befuddled state, half the time the things I’m doing don’t even make sense to me as I am doing them, and I don’t recall having done them at all even immediately afterward. And I am sure that I don’t need to tell you that a pandemic during which time we are all fogged and feeble and don’t know up from down is not the best time to be encouraging anyone’s productivity (or telling them to do anything at all, really.)

So, my plans and my lists, while keeping me on top of things, are also making me a little bit crazy. I will say though… I can’t beat myself up too much about letting all my 2020 personal goals fall by the wayside. They’re getting done and they’re happening. Just…in really strange and not optimal ways, I guess.

The lovely sticker on my planner is from Poison Apple Printshop, and both the to-do list and garden planner are from Open Sea Design Co. I don’t know where the eyeball notebook came from, sorry!

Swedish dishcloths. At the start of this year, we were making a sort of a half-assed effort to be more eco-friendly and sustainable with regard to our home goods and cleaning supplies, etc. But I feel like that idea totally went down the drain (like so many gallons of that cold coffee that I dumped into the sink) once we got into the thick of social distancing and pandemic protocols. It just didn’t seem to be an important priority, in light of other things.

One thing my partner picked up, though, was something we are still using, and really happy with. That would be Swedish dishcloths. I believe they are comprised of a blend of all-natural wood pulp cellulose “sourced from sustainable forests” and “naturally renewable cotton fibers”, and I believe that one dishcloth is meant to replace the usage of 17 rolls of paper towels. I imagine this probably bears a little bit more research when I’ve got the mental bandwidth for such things. I’m spending a lot more time thinking about cleaning my counters and such than I did previously (this is weird, right? I hate cleaning, if you must know) and these are great for that, and many other purposes. If you’re interested in reading more, Treehugger did a little write up earlier this year.

What’s not so great is that while I would love to refer to how much knitting, or reading, or movie watching I am doing… the crazy thing is…I have done these things less and less over the past two months. I am finding them less enjoyable than usual, which is kinda bonkers to me (or maybe not, according to this article. And Book Riot has got a great article on what to do if you can’t read right now.) I started watching The Light House last week and I’ve got about 24 minutes of it, and I just can’t bring myself to care enough to finish it.

Instead, I have been lavishing all of my attention on…my tomato plants. They’re monstrous! I’ve been doing tomato-cam weekend reports on Instagram and that’s been fun! And, of course, lots of cooking. But I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen anyway, so that’s nothing new. But here’s a few recipes I’ve played with and highly recommend! Vegan Caesar dressing for pasta salad, white sandwich bread, biscuits for two, Japanese potato salad, chocolate cake, masala chai, vegan jerky. Do I need to mention Dalgona coffee? I sure fell prey to attempting that one, too, but you’ve probably seen it a million times and we don’t need to link to it.

…And YouTube. I can’t seem to make it through a film, but I am watching tons of YouTube. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I finally started my own YouTube channel (because I told myself in my planner to do it, and it…actually worked? Thanks, bossy past-me!) With regard to content, I reckon it’s basically the same things that you’ll see on every other YouTube channel–reviews, storytimes, hauls, vlogs, etc.– but I wanted to do it my own dang way. A little darker, a little weirder. “Be the weird you want to see in the world!” I thought. Content from the Ghoul Next Door, as it were! And I do hope you’ll join me in my fumbling, lo-fi, weird little journey.

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