How Not To Be A D*ck When Coming Out Of Quarantine

After 95694845 days of quarantine (I lost count), our collective #QuarantineClub efforts have not been in vain. And now I’m actually seeing other humans IRL (yay!) out and about. We’re getting our lives back in this so-called “new normal” and cautiously doing all right in Phase 3 with non-essential businesses opening up. Parts of New York are allegedly even entering Phase 4, but that seems too good to be true.

The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be within our reach, but remember—it’s a marathon, not a sprint. All things considered, we can keep up our momentum so long as a few bad apples don’t f*ck over the entire cart. Unfortunately, parts of the U.S. are experiencing just that—sheer amounts of stupidity (i.e. COVID-19 parties… seriously, WTF Alabama??).

Extreme cases aside, I understand that at this point, you’re saying to yourself “omg, I’m so over COVID-19. O-VeR. IT.” And I get it. 2020 is canceled. The pandemic was not exactly what we wanted for summer. But think about how the frontline workers must feel? My close friend Mira MacLeod, a Registered Nurse who works in the COVID-19 ward of a major Toronto hospital (which was also the same converted facility used to treat the first SARS patients) said, “hell (lol) I’M OVeR IT. If anyone has COVID fatigue, it’s me, girl.” 

So for her sake and for every one of these caregiving heroes, when it comes to our collective health, reckless behavior is inexcusable. In fact, it’s NOT okay when you decide to be a d*ck by not wearing a mask in a shared public space and jeopardize the lives of others. Additionally, I honestly feel like the warm weather must be frying off some of the common sense in some people’s brains. I guess when you throw sunny skies and balmy weather into the mix, it’s like everyone suddenly forgot that there’s still a deadly pandemic in our presence which, may I remind you, still has the power to come back to bite us again (like it did to South Korea and their second wave) and force us back into our homes.

In light of people filling up their social calendars once again and taking to the city streets, the Department of Health released some guidelines on how we can all be safe when gathering together and dining out. However, what these documents neglect to state or inform us about is how the heck these rules will be consistently enforced. Mayor Bill de Blasio is essentially telling us all of this is based on “trust” and calling people out when you see them breaking the rules. Basically like “if you see something, say something.” While that’s definitely one way of approaching it, despite reporting the situation, the damage will have already been done.

Dr. Sidney Chiu, an emergency doctor at North York General Hospital, reminds us that we must each do our part and continue to take initiatives in safeguarding our community. Furthermore, we made it this far in flattening the curve—let’s not f*ck it up folks! Here are useful guidelines to keep in mind:

When In Doubt, Wear A Mask

MacLeod says that if you want to be safe, you should wear a mask indoors—even if the business doesn’t state that it’s mandatory. “You should be wearing one in confined spaces like at the grocery store, on the transit system, or at a retail store—places where you’re touching a lot of things.” You should be wearing disposable rubber and/or plastic gloves for this as well (think clothing items, transit railing, etc).

Wear A Mask When Walking On The Sidewalk

MacLeod says her major pet peeve is when people don’t walk around each other on the sidewalk: “It irks me that some just don’t care and/or take liberties. They walk by you in close proximity, and this is particularly troublesome when there are small children nearby.” As a mom of two kids, this is especially triggering for her. So she advises that when you see someone approaching, go around them, if you can. Remember, social distancing means you should be six feet apart, which is further than you think.

There Is Still NO Vaccine

“Just based on how I’m seeing some people behave, I think many believe that the pandemic has mostly passed—and that’s certainly not the situation. The reality is that although we’ve passed the first wave, we are constantly at risk of new cases,” MacLeod says. She adds that precautionary measures should be as routine as checking for your wallet, phone and keys before leaving the house. “A mask, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer (making sure that it contains 60-95 percent alcohol), and disinfecting wipes should all be a part of your ‘toolkit,’” which means that these items should be considered part of your “new normal” for the foreseeable future. If you’re forgetful, a good strategy is to set up a daily pop-up alert on your phone to remind yourself of these essential items. Or consider keeping it all in a stylish bag near your door. 

No Hugging Or Shaking Hands

“This is tough, understandably, because we are by nature, social creatures,” explains Dr. Chiu.  He adds that “in lieu of physical touching, air hugs/air high fives, or toe tapping is better than exposing any part of your body to someone else. You just don’t want to run the risk.” As a friendly reminder, he says that COVID-19 is spread through droplets and/or physical contact. “Just think that when you’re embracing someone and that close face-to-face, any number of things could happen: coughing, sneezing—even talking and breathing could aid in transmission.” He adds that what could then theoretically occur is that even though it appears that “nothing happened” during the hug, since you effectively touched that person, you could then absentmindedly touch your mouth, nose and eyes, thereby spreading the virus.

Just Because They “Look Healthy” Doesn’t Mean They Are

“We always assume there are obvious visual cues to someone being ill. However this is certainly not the case when someone is asymptomatic and can transmit the virus to you,” says Dr. Chiu, who adds that these individuals may not even be aware they have COVID-19. “So for your sake, it’s better to err on the side of caution and to wear a mask whatever the social situation may be.” Another scary and not-so-fun fact from him: “the chance of a test detecting COVID-19 is very low if you are asymptomatic, and it is unlikely to be helpful in determining if you have COVID-19 if you have zero symptoms.”

Invest In Anti-Technology For Your Sunnies

Dr. Chiu says that “I’ve heard some people complain about their sun/glasses getting fogged up due to the mask wearing.” To remedy this, he says to do the following: “mold your mask to the bridge of your nose, tighten the mask, or simply invest in some anti-fog spray or wipes which will do the trick nicely (and you should be prepping all of this before you leave your home).” This is an overlooked issue but an important one, and he explains that “you want to minimize the amount of time touching your face. If your glasses are fogged/smudged, etc and you’re constantly readjusting them, you’re increasing your chances of exposure.”

Invest In An Automatic Soap Dispenser

When returning home, immediately wash your hands with hot soapy water before doing anything else (the CDC advises you do this within 20 seconds of entering your home.). To avoid contamination, MacLeod advises people to get one of those automated hand soap dispensers.” Additionally, she says that bar soaps are a big no-no because bacteria and germs CAN survive on them (ewwww).

And in terms of venturing out in the world à la Oh, The Places You’ll Go Post-Pandemic (!), here are a few tips and best practices to be mindful of in the following social scenarios:

Restaurants/Patios

If available to you, always opt to use the restaurant’s QR code, which allows you to see the menu on your smartphone rather than touching paper. An exception to this is if you have a visual impairment and require a hard copy.

Wearing a mask while dining in a patio/restaurant space isn’t required (cuz um, how else can you eat that food if your mouth is covered?!); however, you should absolutely wear one when walking to your table and using well-ventilated washroom facilities (which are 99% of the time located inside of a confined restaurant space). 

Another food-related issue is regarding pick-up and take-out: you just grab the order and go. Don’t linger and/or congregate on the sidewalks.

Hosting Gatherings/Cookouts

The CDC recommends that if you’re welcoming people into your home for, say, a BBQ cookout (specifically an outdoor space like the backyard) to consider keeping a guestbook of attendees for contact tracing needs. Disposable but recycle-friendly cutlery, plates, and cups should be used in lieu of the silverware you have at home.

Parks/Beaches/Outdoor Venues

Both Dr. Chiu and MacLeod say that if you can, visit these spaces on a weekday when it’s less crowded. “Because it’s an outdoor setting, it’s technically safer than, say, a shopping mall because these types of places are conducive to offering more room and fresh air.” For any communal seating (such as park benches and beach chairs), use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes prior to use. 

Individual Appointments (Including, But Not Limited To, Dental And Medical Offices, Nail Salons, And Hair Salons)

Ensure that it’s not a walk-in situation, and whenever possible, book your appointment in advance. If you’re feeling uncertain, ask what sorts of protocols the business or service has implemented, such as adequate HEPA filters/ventilation, PPEs, and plexiglass barriers to minimize the risk of exposure. When you do arrive for your appointment, wait outside and arrange for the staff to text or give you a call when they’re ready for you. Lastly, if you know you have to fill out any documentation, bring your own pen—don’t use the communal ones supplied at the office/salon. 

Final Thoughts

With all the news and Karen-shaming, I’d like to think that the majority of us are better than that. However, we’re all human and can still be prone to slipping up once in a while. So I recommend screenshotting this handy color-coded infographic to act as your “pocket guide” if you are ever uncertain about venturing into a specific social situation. It’s nice that we can FINALLY see our loved ones IRL again, so let’s not take any of it for granted and remember to be considerate of each other by adhering to these practical and safe protocols.

Images: Gustavo Fring / Pexels; Giphy (2); Twitter / @saltymamas

The Best Cute Winter Accessories That Are On Sale Right Now

It’s officially 2019, which means it’s time for the cliche “new year, new you!” (*Insert energetic fist pump*). In alignment with the new and improved you, one of your goals is probably to be more proactive and less reactive. (Okay, maybe it isn’t, but you should def add it to your list.) For example, you should make the decision to start working on your summer bod NOW rather than wait until the first time you put on a swimsuit come summer. But I’m not gonna be a hypocrite and lecture you about going to the gym. I can, however, use my shopping expertise to help you be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to looking good while staying warm during this season’s inevitable winter storms.

Consider this: in 2018, you would have pushed off buying winter necessities until it was officially -30 degrees and your fingers were at risk of frostbite. You’d then probs try to just pop into your local CVS to quickly grab a pair of gloves, and end up buying some fugly overpriced and poorly-made generic ones. But 2019-you is better than that, and would never have such an experience. The new you is smart and prepared, and is going to take 20 mins out of your day to go order some super cute sale winter accessories right now. Don’t wait until you’re desperate and have to buy those knockoff Burberry ones from a homeless guy with a black trash bag filled with other sh*tty counterfeit goods. Don’t leave yourself desperate; 2019-you is definitely not desperate. You’re confident, prepared, and definitely not using Snapchat maps to casually show up to the same bar as your ex.  ‘Cause, like, you’re not desperate, remember???? REMEMBER. 

1. Scarves

Scarves are my favorite winter accessory, because they require minimal additional effort while providing a maximum additional layer of warmth. You can legit throw them on as you’re running out the door, or easily toss them in your bag if your overly selfish, and frankly terrible at his job, Uber driver won’t turn down the heat. To guarantee extra warmth, go Lenny Kravitz style and get a super-sized one that’s so big you could legit mummify your whole body with it. Seems dramatic, but I’m dramatic, so touché.

Free People Dream Maker Stripe Scarf – $39.95

Urban Outfitters Extra Large Knit Oblong Scarf – $29.99

Free People Dreamland Chunky Knit Cowl Scarf – $39.95

Zara Plaid Scarf – $22.99

2. Hats

Winter hats not only add warmth to your outfit, but they also add style. You can even select your winter head accessory based on the vibe you’re going for that day. Like, go with faux fur earmuffs when you want to look chic as hell, or a cool beanie when you want a more edgy, cool girl look. Stock up on a few different styles of winter head accessories to ensure you have the perfect match for every mood! Just be aware of hat hair. If you’re going on a first date, maybe don’t wear a beanie. There’s simply no sexy way to wrangle and tame your hat hair post-beanie. Go with the earmuffs instead.

Ted Baker Ear Muffs With Bee Embellishment – $43

Tommy Jeans Color Logo Beanie – $20

FP One Big Slouchy Beanie – $19.95

Stitch & Pieces Blush Knitted Headband – $6.50

3. Gloves

Gloves are a winter accessory that I always put off getting until I’m legit in my car trying to drive and can’t feel my fingers. Um, yeah, not safe. Not to mention, not wearing gloves in the blustery cold contributes to dry, cracked hands, which is NEVER cute. In fact, idk if there’s anything more cringeworthy than the mental image of those sad, thirsty hands. Just get several pairs of these sale gloves right now so you can put a pair in every coat pocket. Ya see, gloves help keep your hands moisturized. Moisturized hands are pretty hands. Pretty hands are feminine. Femininity attracts men. Gloves = Husband. See how easy that was???

Faux Leather Cheetah Print Glove – $19.99

ASOS DESIGN Leather Gloves In Check – $12.50

Alice Hannah Knitted Gloves With Faux Fur Cuff – $29

Zara Gloves With Faux Fur Lining – $12.99

Okay, so there you have it—a complete list of cute winter accessories that are all on sale right now, and that you need to buy now. Don’t be a martyr and wait until there’s legit snow falling from the sky to be crying about how cold your hands are. Don’t be that girl. Nobody likes that girl.

Images: @Free People (3); Urban Outfitters (2); ASOS (5); Zara (2)

Cute Texting Gloves That Actually Work

In today’s world, where we’re all glued to our phones (shoutout to iPhone’s latest update for informing me of exactly how many hours per week I’ve wasted), winter becomes a huge bummer. Not only because it’s f*cking cold out, but also because when you’re actually outside in the cold, you can’t even entertain yourself by responding to the group chat. So like, not only am I cold and miserable, but I’m cold, miserable, and f*cking bored. Among other recent inventions that solve millennial’s first world problems, like hangover patches and selfie sticks, there are now texting gloves that work on your touch screens. However, for a while, these gloves were only available in ugly AF styles. But not anymore. You don’t have to wear fugly gloves that will clash with your adorbs puffer coat just so you can scroll through Insta while waiting for the subway. Instead, get one of these cute tech-friendly pairs and scroll on, but in style.

1. Free People Ladies First Velvet Buckle Glove

These gloves have a very regal Lisa Vanderpump vibe that I’m here for, especially in the rose color that they’re also available in. The statement colors of these gloves are chic AF and will look super glam with all your winter coats. Basically, to the mere mortal eye, you’ll look super classy while texting in these. Little do they know that you’re actually texting your besties about how blackout you’re going to get this weekend. Hey, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

2. Urban Outfitters Knit Texting Glove

These gloves are simple, cute, and will pair seamlessly with all your winter jackets. Their textured knit elevates them from those ugly plain texting gloves your Grandma is always trying buy you from Kohl’s. And, at their affordable price, you could totally keep a pair in your purse or fracket (aka frat jacket) and not have to stress if you end up losing them. So like, they’re great for when you’re waiting outside for the bouncer to understand that yes, this is your ID, you just happen to be on your fourth duplicate. I mean, I never claimed to be the most responsible drunk person. Or, for when you’re waiting for that over-confident frat pledge to let you into the party. Then again, if you’re still going to frat parties, you’re probably not also someone who’s shopping for texting gloves. No offense, we’ve all been there.

3. Lululemon Cross Chill Run Gloves

These gloves from Lululemon have a bit more of a sporty vibe than the aforementioned pairs. But, with their cute herringbone print, they’re still an amazingly stylish option. Plus, since they’re from Lulu (and meant for crazy people who like, actually go for runs in the cold) you know they’ll def be able to keep your hands warm. So like, if you really wanted to, you could text while on your run…but like, who wants to do that? No, like, the running part. Not the texting part.

Our world has come a long way (relative) and so have our texting gloves. Sorry Grams, you can keep that fugly pair from Kohl’s, or like give it to one of my less stylish cousins or something. I’ve got better options.

Images: Shutterstock; Free People; Urban Outfitters; Lululemon
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