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What to Cook, Play, Watch, and Listen To At Home While You Might Be “Social Distancing” (Or Just Being A Homebody :))

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Well, this weekend might be one that you lean into your inner homebody. I basically always do this on the weekends anyway, so I won’t say “NO” to that encouragement. I’ve vacillated almost daily about how to write about the Coronavirus mostly because there is conflicting information or just a lack thereof and I’m not a scientist. But just like the rest of the world, we are concerned about its spread and taking reasonable precautions to ensure that we don’t worsen the spread to those with compromised immune systems. We need to try our best to protect each other because we are in this together, even if we aren’t necessarily together 🙂

It’s also pouring for 10 days in LA (what is this, OREGON??) so it seems like a good time to hang out with family, build forts, cook, snuggle and be together. You could call this “social distancing” or just being a homebody – either way here are some ideas of what to watch, cook, play, listen to and do with kids (or grownups) while at home this weekend. And if you want something to read (that you have been asking for) come back tomorrow for my “Why I decided to go back to church, even though ….” post.

But for now, let us recommend to you our favorite at home go tos…

What To Watch

From Jess: I think laughing is very important so I watch a lot of comedy. Taylor Tomlinson’s new comedy special, Quarter Life-Crisis, really did the trick last week. I also know that rewatching shows like Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, etc. just make you feel good. I have probably rewatched both of those shows an unspeakable number of times but I always feel better after an episode or two (or ten). NO SHAME in the rewatching game.

From Emily: Uh, Jess, no one knows the art of “the rewatch” like me. Felicity, Veronica Mars and Sex and the City are my actual friends, and I can’t not watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Devil Wears Prada and The Proposal (wait, and Dirty Dancing, The Notebook , Definitely, Maybe, The Talented Mr. Ripley – I’m a real talent at “the rewatch”).

From Caitlin: Y’all, I LOVE my HBO Now subscription. Catch up on Westworld before season 3 comes out on Sunday. (And also, has anyone else watched Avenue 5??? I can’t tell if I just love the set and costume design or if I actually like the show. I think it’s growing on me though — does anyone else have thoughts? 

From Julie: Sometimes you just need to feel like a child again and Netflix got the hint cause Hook is available and now you know my evening plans.

Also From Julie: Now more than ever I have needed a way to relax. So my sister sent me this yoga video which I have made a part of my morning routine. It’s a good reminder to take a deep breath and get in tune with your body. The video is about 30 mins and easy to follow, so skip the gym and pull out your mat or a towel with me.

From Veronica: My two favorite movie genres are romcoms and Disney movies because what else is there, am I RIGHT? Anywho, here is a list of my favorite movies to watch on a day in! They are heartfelt, funny, emotional and everything you could possibly want to bundle up on your couch or bed! Also, if you have seen these movies multiple times like me, they make for good background noise if you are trying to work 🙂 When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything, Aladdin, The Aristocats, He’s Just Not That Into You, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

From Ryann: My boyfriend and I started watching  The Chef Show a few months ago and I am so happy we did. It is so entertaining but also relaxing, plus I love Jon Favreau and he is a gem in this. It’s a travelogue series with him and Chef Roy Choi (who trained him as he was filming the movie Chef) and all I can say is it is GOOD and heartwarming and probably my favorite cooking show ever.

Also From Ryann: In other more important news, Good Fellas (my favorite movie) is back on Netflix and if you haven’t seen it like most of my coworkers (shame!!) and if you liked the Irishman even a little bit, WATCH IT.

What To Listen To

You may or may not remember we did a HUGE roundup of our favorite podcasts. Regardless we hope it’s a treasure trove of endless entertainment. Now for some new ones…

From Emily – I’m hooked on Monica and Jess (it’s under Armchair Expert if you subscribe to that). And speaking of Dax, the episode with Whitney Cummings was incredible. Their vulnerability is only matched by their confidence and hilarity, and the levity they can bring to any subject keeps you very entertained (plus I learned so much about AA, and ironically I think I might be addicted to talking about podcasts that talk about therapy).

From Caitlin: My new favorite podcast is The Alarmist, where host Rebecca and guests analyze history’s disasters to figure out what went wrong and who is to blame. Episodes range from Mad Cow Disease to the Burr-Hamilton duel to Y2K to the Irish Potato Famine. (My personal, more fun favorites? “HOME ALONE: WHO IS TO BLAME?” and “THE BREAKUP OF BRAD & JENNIFER: WHO IS TO BLAME?”

From Sara: If you’re wanting to cozy up and listen to something real decadent and romantic (but you’re also a Harry Potter nerd), this is my favorite book on Audible right now.

From Ryann: Bachelor nation, I am talking to you. I know this season is over (good riddance!!) BUT we have a lot coming up so please join me and start listening to favorite recap podcast: Bachelor Party.

From Jess: I believe these podcasts have been mentioned before but they deserve a second shoutout. I love love Monica and Jess Love Boys. It’s fascinating and very relatable whether or not you are looking for a relationship. And I also really love Sibling Revelry with Kate and Oliver Hudson. As someone who hasn’t always had an easy sibling relationship, it’s so inspiring to listen to these stories and has made me want to nurture my relationship with my sibling. 

Also From Jess: This sounds silly but I have hands down (wink) regained my love for Dashboard Confessionals. I saw that an old friend of mine when to a concert on her instastories and it made me immediately want to listen. The nostalgia it brings up is the best. So whether it’s Dashboard or some other band you haven’t listened to in years, I promise it will make you feel oddly happy and dare I say, hopeful.

What To Read

I (Emily Henderson) just finished Where the Crawdad’s Sing which I put off reading because it sounded so boring. It’s very much not boring, in fact, it’s good and riveting and I couldn’t put it down. It’s not one of the beloved books written for bored housewives like most of my secret favorite books, so guys, I think I just read lit-er-a-ture again.

From Caitlin: Probably 90% of the books on my shelf are non-fiction, but Daniel Pinkwater is my all-time favorite author and this collection of his books has been a go-to for me for 20 years. It’s fun, escapist and a great read for both kids (I first read it in 4th grade!) and adults (I last read it like, yesterday!). Also, someone on Amazon described it was “Chicken Soup for the Smart Mildly Nerdy Teen’s Soul,” which feels really accurate. 

From Julie: Reese Witherspoon is going to make this book, which is all about the importance of friendship, into a movie and I am so excited. My sister aka my best friend recommended it to me and now I am recommending it to you!

From Ryann: I’ve recommended my favorite book The Secret History before but it’s worth mentioning again. If you haven’t picked up a good book in a while, I implore you to get it, read it, fall in love with it, and then promptly discuss it with me. (Emily loves it too).

From Veronica: I wrote a paper on the book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers about 3 years ago when I was first experiencing high-stress volumes. It helped me understand how stress affects our everyday lives and acted as a comfort for me knowing that there’s an entire book full of information on the subject.

What To Cook

Before we get into all of our delicious recommendations of new recipes, here are some of our favorite soup recipe posts that people LOVE: How Soup Changed My Life (& Body)…Really | Healthy (and SO Hearty!) Beef and Vegetable Stew | A Vegan Chickpea and Roasted Cauliflower Curry Soup | Fast & Simple Veggie-Packed Vegan Pho | Homemade Bone Broth & Chicken Meatball Veggie Soup

From Emily: I will be cooking all weekend, which I usually do, with chicken stock simmering all night from tonight’s roasted chicken. There was, however, a run on kale and spinach at the grocery store, because when pandemic, LA knows what to hoard. Like all the keto ice cream was gone, which I didn’t know was a thing until I saw it in everyone’s carts along with kombucha. I smirked and laughed until I looked in my own cart and well, I wasn’t much different (I was reaching for the baby kale after-all).

From Mallory: My boyfriend and I are newly obsessed with Alison Roman on the NYT cooking channel. We recently made this creamy cauliflower pasta and HOT DAMN. Oh, and if you are baking, bake these magic bars and your tastebuds will thank you.

Also From Mallory: I know it’s technically almost spring and whatnot but not but this tea is comforting, relaxing, and makes me feel very very cozy.

From Julie: Nothing says comfort food to me like vegetarian chili and this recipe has been around since 1996 so you know it’s a keeper. 

From Sara: This is the coziest, curl up, stay home, and feel better chicken soup I’ve made. (I, Emily feel, that Sara might be forgetting my chicken soup recipe that I always make the team, but game on, Sara – love Emily).

Also From Sara: Hey, if you’re stuck inside for a few days, WHY NOT BAKE? Bon Appetite (my personal religion) has just released a HUGE baking guide – almost like an online baking class, with several recipes to bake in order as you progress in your skills, along with supplemental articles to make you a better baker along the way.

From Ryann: I’ve had this recipe pinned for MONTHS and I believe this weekend is the perfect one to try it out. Nothing says comfort like mushroom risotto right??

What To Wear (To Be Super Comfortable)

From Caitlin: My mom bought me these LL Bean slippers for Christmas after I tried hers on and fell in love with their super soft and squishy footbed.

From Julie: I recently replaced my robe with this one and it’s one of the softest things my hand has ever touched. If I ever feel stressed out I immediately go home and throw it on, instant relaxation.

Speaking of robes, remember this robe review we did? And in that same category, Emily also talked us through her favorite pajama sets.

From Veronica: I am about to introduce you to the BEST blanket to cozy up with. Brought this baby home one weekend and now it’s always a fight to the death between my roommates on who gets to use it when we’re all huddled in front of the TV.

From Mallory: The moment I felt this sweatshirt I knew I had to purchase it.

From Jess: I just bought these joggers and I love them. They are affordable ($20), so comfortable and are a nice break from my black or gray collection. 

What To Do With Kids:

I (Emily) feel like I have talked extensively about what to do with kids to keep them entertained and happy. I’ve even asked you all for advice and ideas and rounded them up to create this sizable list. I also think that scrapbooking is a great activity when you are huddled at home so here is a post where I made “scrapbook” shadow boxes with the kids. But please, don’t forget hide and go seek. We played for an hour and a half recently at the mountain house. Also give them string and tell them to make ninja traps all over the house – it kills hours.

What To Do With Friends (or Partners)

From Sara: We were introduced to this game by Arlyn, and it’s SO fun. We could go for several rounds. And if there’s just two of you, this is mine and Mac’s favorite two-person game.

From Caitlin: THE CRAZY CAT LADY GAME IS THE BEST. Plus, it will not ruin any relationships (a la Monopoly). It’s fun for all ages (and also a great gift for your feline-loving friends, just for future reference!). 

From Ryann: My boyfriend and I are senior citizens and love to play good old fashion dominoes. If you don’t have a set in your home yet, I implore you to get one and start challenging all your guests to play. It’s so fun especially if you are competitive (like me:)).

From Veronica: My roommate swears by the game Phase10 and she is freakishly good at it, and this is the funniest card game where you get to pick your friends’ perfect partners.

We also realize that a lot of people’s jobs and small businesses are being affected so shop small and local when possible. And from one former waitress, I know that industry is being hit right now so if you go out to dinner or drinks and its within your budget, maybe overtip this weekend. Another great idea is to buy gift certificates to the restaurants to use later, but at least supporting them now.

Ok, well that’s it from all of us today. Hope you are excited to dive into some of these recommendations. But most importantly wash those hands, don’t go out if you don’t feel well, try to enjoy this time cozied up and hopefully, the anxiety will diffuse a bit. And as always, thank you so much for continuing to support us. I hope that we can provide some much-needed comfort and design escapism in the coming weeks if you need it (reveals are coming Monday and Tuesday of Sara’s house!!). If you guys have any other suggestions on how to help – both the businesses being affected as well as, well, help in general – please leave in comments. xx

Fin Mark
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DTiz

I love the podcast “every little thing”. Lighthearted but still informative and entertaining while they answer listeners’ questions about factual emergencies by interviewing experts. Like how do nail polishes get their name and is our idea of cavemen really what they were like? And who first wore pants? And who made the scrunchie (spoiler: she sounds amazing!)

Emily

Two more podcast recommendations: Limetown, which is so so so so good, and decently made into a Facebook Watch series. I haven’t watched the series but the podcast is amazing and everyone should listen to it. Also This Podcast Will Kill You, which is two young female epidemiologists (I think) discussing infectious diseases and while I am not a doctor nor in the medical field, it is strangely fascinating and I can totally get lost in it.

Veronica, if you’re looking for another super cozy blanket that you (and your roommates!) will love, you should try our super soft, cotton throws! Pretty designs, Turkish cotton, many colors, washable…everyone can have their own! 😉

https://shopantiochia.com/collections/throw-blankets

those look super cozy! thanks!

Tina Schrader

I love this post so much! The part where it says Monopoly can ruin relationships…haha. Yes, I suppose crowding Vermont Avenue with those red houses does not endear one to others — am I even remembering the game right? It’s been so long since I’ve played. I love all things spooky, so if anyome else is, too, the “Unexplained,” “Unexplained Mysteries,” “Dark Histories” and “The Vanished” (not technically “spooky” but haunting all the same in a different way) podcasts are great. And I love the game recommendations — and I commend you, Emily, on the fact that you have your kids play games that don’t require “stuff” or that require the use of imagination (not that games with manufactured items are bad; I just love the good old-fashioned ones, too).

karen

The restaurant gift certificate suggestion is a great one!

LouAnn

My rewatches: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“If the apocalypse comes, beep me!” — seasons 1-4 — I really hate the introduction of Buffy’s “sister” so I only rewatch select episodes of seasons 5&6, and season 7 is garbage so I don’t rewatch any of it) and Veronica Mars (seasons 1 and 2 only).

Lately, though, I’ve been rewatching the Great British Bake Off. There is nothing more relaxing — in the midst of chaos and paranoia — than watching people bake and get upset over a flat genoise sponge. 😉

Autumn

Everyone on it is so sweet too, even to each other! And if you end up liking it, Masterclass is good too because two of the original hosts (Paul and Mary) bake the challenge recipes themselves and give you tips along the way.

Hannah

Can I recommend “The Great Pottery Throw Down”? It’s just as sweet and lovely and British, and one of the judges cries when he’s happy about how good the pottery is. 🙂 There are episodes on YouTube.

KatieV

I am always looking for more podcast recommendations, so thank you! And my husband and I are watching Parks and Rec for the first time (I know–where WERE we when it was first out?) and adore it so much.

Also a copy editing note: there is no apostrophe in Crawdads (Emily’s book title–it was a FANTASTIC read, btw).

Suzanne

I recently listened (and relistened) to the audiobook, “The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern. She also wrote “The Night Circus”. They are great for fantasy lovers who like beautiful prose that transport you to other worlds.

Harry Potter is great to listen with kids. Jim Dale is the best narrator. We also loved listening to “His Dark Materials” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

I love that I can listen and do other things that require moving around from housework to crafts.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m thinking of starting the Bon Appetit baking series.

Jim Dale is the best narrator!!

Autumn

My fave podcast is Mousetalgia because I’m also a sucker for everything Disney (lookin at you Veronica!) The hosts are super funny and have everything from movie and book reviews to interviews to silly games like “If churros and dole whips were hanging from a cliff, which one would you save?” Also, the Chef Show with Roy Choi is so good!

Oooo, i’ll have to check that one out! thanks, Autumn! also, i would save churros in a second 😉

Thank for this light and encouraging post! The most uplifting thing I have read all week!

We are watching Parenthood for the first time and are OBSESSED. And I love the idea of tipping extra. Thank you!

So glad you liked it! 🙂

judy

Us, too!

Lynn

Another Daniel Pinkwater fan here! His children’s books were the first ones I bought for my kids. I love them all.

YAY! Truly he’s such a special writer. I think Borgel is my all time fav of his. EVERYONE PLEASE LET YOUR CHILDREN GROW UP READING PINKWATER BOOKS!

Jo

Great post. Thank you. And where is that outstanding sectional from in that first pic. Xxzooo

Jo

Amazing post!!! And where is that delicious sectional from in the first pic !! Xxxxxoooo

Emily

Off topic, but do you guys have any thoughts on Sixpenny’s leather sectional options? We’re in the market for a new sectional, preferably leather, trying to find something that will hold up to wild preschoolers and dogs. We don’t have a lot of good furniture stores anywhere nearby to see things in person and shopping online is nerve-wracking at leather sectional prices…

Jan

How about compiling a list of watch-it-again movies with wonderful homes/houses?
Practical Magic; The Holiday; It’s complicated; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (movie and TV show); Father of the Bride (classic and newer versions) etc.

Is anyone going to take this time and do some at-home décor projects or home organizing projects? My master bedroom closet is in serious need of cleanout and reorganizing!! 🙂

THE HOLIDAY !!!!! so good

Kira Mead

The podcast Heavyweight with Jonathan Goldstein (formerly at This American Life) is so incredibly good. Smart, touching, interesting, authentic stories.
https://gimletmedia.com/shows/heavyweight

LJ

One of my favorites! His narration is hysterical, but the stories have me in tears sometimes. So amazing.

Em

Love this post! Those gray pants Emily is wearing with the Converse are amazing – can you share where they’re from?

Susan Derrera

And hat/sweater/t-shirt!

Lucy Diaz

Thanks for sharing all of these tips! And can you please share details on the gorgeous day bed in the photo of the playroom?

laura

what about a “What to do by yourself besides reading and screen time?”

I live by myself. :/

Suzanne

When I lived alone (before the Internet), without a TV, I listened to a lot of music and crocheted. I also wrote in my journal and baked. Of course, baking is not great when you’re the only one eating it, and it’s not like you can take it to work, if you’re working from home.

Janice

Jigsaw puzzles, walking/exercise, cooking, gardening

Reehana

I’m obsessed with Alison Roman too! Her cauliflower pasta is amazing, but her chocolate chunk shortbread cookies are life changing! I’m a total cookie fiend, and ever since discovering her recipe last year, I haven’t made any other kid of cookies!

Alex

Thanks for the link up to the kid ideas from your original post. I was just thinking about that since I am in Seattle and my kids school is closed for several weeks (possibly months).

Julie

First I really liked this post, acknowledging the craziness of what’s happening without adding to “internet overload”. I like the suggestion of gift cards to restaurants and businesses!

I’d like to add with schools closing around the country, some college kids are not allowed to stay on campus but cannot go home (too far, not safe, not available, etc) so if you have a spare spot to sleep [and can vet the college student], that’s a very practical way to help. In other areas with lower income families, a school meal is their only consistent food source, so locally there have been some crowd funding online efforts to start helping get meals to students (from elementary to college), while schools are shut down.

Thanks Emily and team for this post!

Thank you for sharing this! There’s a lot we can all do to help at this crazy time

Hi Emily! I run an art subscription box called Classy Artist Box and we offer one-time art project packs and also monthly subscription services for ages 3 – 103! Would love to be added to your list or an updated list of fun things to do while stuck home!

A little more about us: I am a licensed art teacher and I started ClassyArtistBox.com last year! Each month we send out an art lesson in a box, with written instructions, and all supplies needed! We offer our monthly members exclusive access to corresponding video lessons and also give 3 extra reference photos and extra canvases or paper (depending on the project) in order to help our subscribers get creative on their own!

If this sounds like something you would like to add to your list of boredom busters for this weird time when we are all basically in self-quarantine, please let me know! ❤️

Sincerely,
Kellie Witzke

Laura

If you like Parks and Rec, the Office, etc- try Schitt’s Creek- it’s fantastic!! Funny and sweet at the same time. It’s on Netflix…

And for podcasts- it’s totally R rated and not family friendly, but “My Dad Wrote a Porno” is hysterical. The host’s father literally wrote and self published a (terrible) erotic novel and the host and two friends read it and pick it apart chapter by chapter. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

Michelle Horgen

Oh wow, thanks for the suggestion. Sounds perfectly hilarious.

i’ve heard great things about Schitt’s Creek! that podcast sounds great, too! thanks for the suggestions, Laura! 🙂

Beth

My current favorite podcast is “How to Fail with Elizabwth Day”. She’s a British journalist who interviews very successful people, (everyone from film and pop stars to authors and scientists to the Hot Priest!), and talks with them about their failures and what they learned. Fabulous!

And if you like rom-coms, costume dramas, classic literature, etc then definitely rewatch the classic A&E version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth. It’s six episodes and will make a rainy weekend by the fire a real pleasure! Bake some shortbread, put on a pot if tea and curl up with a blanket!

the Hot Priest!! also, love Colin Firth, so will definitely have to check that out this week!

judy

Last week, the hubs and I became astonishingly obsessed with, of all things, a jigsaw puzzle! Our sweet grandson, 13 years old, had gone to the bookstore with his mom (our lovely daughter) and purchased a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle for us, “G. & Glamma”. The puzzle, when completed, is a picture of the front-ends of 28 colorful vintage Volkswagen buses. He (Spencer) and Mom dropped by with his surprise, Spence was delightfully proud of himself and his gift. He told us the puzzle “jumped off of the shelf” into his hands and spoke our names to him. Neither of us ever worked a jigsaw puzzle in our lives and within days, we were hooked..held captive by 1000 pieces of brilliant Volkswagen buses. We’ll be keeping ourselves socially distant while grooving on our new found hobby!

Amazing Stuff. You have mentioned all the important points in the blog. I just stumbled beside your blog. I will definitely suggest your blog to all of my friends. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

ally

hi emily, thank you guys for all these suggestions!!! you mentioned a show a few weeks ago that both you as parents and your kids enjoyed… i can’t remember what it was though… do you? hoping you might! maybe it had a male host?
my kids are into the new lego masters show right now… inspires some good lego building!

Hey Ally, I think you are talking about John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch on Netflix. Hope this finds you well! xx

Chelsea

Great post! Thanks for the recommendations. I just finished The Girl With the Louding Voice last night and it was SO good! It is a beautiful, inspiring story. I also recently read A Woman Is No Man and it was equally fantastic. Both of these books were fascinating, beautifully written, and had courageous female characters. Another fun book I recently read was Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Jessa Murphy

I am SO HAPPY Ryann mentioned The Secret History under “What to Read”. My favorite book I have read as an adult and no one I have told about it has ever heard of it!! I even tried to loan it to a friend who I thought would like it and she never read it. I’m not alone!

milo

Thank you for these! Fun to think of all the cozy things to do 🙂

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