A year ago today I was in San Fransisco attending the Design Influencers Conference. Life was still normal albeit Covid was the talk of the town. All the attendees packed into rooms sitting shoulder to shoulder listing to Nate Berkus and Young Huh give advice to interior designers and home decor bloggers like myself. A group of us went out to eat together, tried each meal, and shared desserts. We used hand sanitizer and awkwardly danced around should we hug, shake hands, or elbow bump.
The following week I took once last trip to Atlanta to speak at ADAC. I was teaching interior designers how to use Pinterest for business. The flight down, pretty much every passenger wiped their seats down, and there was a heightened sense of awareness. A change from the previous flight only a week prior. I stayed at Hotel Clermont and hung out with my friend Michel Smith Boyd. We had dinner at Tiny Lou’s and of course enjoyed a cold PBR at the notorious Clermont Lounge — the oldest strip club in Atlanta. We grabbed a sweet seat at the bar that was pretty much black duct tape with a bit of padding and got a bit snarky.
I remember getting ready for bed, listening to the local Atlanta news. Schools were being closed. People were getting sick. Coronavirus was legit in Atlanta and spreading fast. Back home, there was one patient recovering in a suburban hospital who had recently traveled to China. Things were getting real in the south.
When I arrived at the conference, hand sanitizer was in abundance. There was even a bottle of Purell sitting next to the fruit plate and pastries. We did our best with what little we knew. The Rona was the hot topic of conversation. Before I flew home, I Ubered over to a few of my favorite vintage shops, including Decades (little did I know it would be my last visit before it shuttered for good), and of course popped into Dixon Rye. The airport was empty. And when I say empty, like, there was no one in the security line…just me and the TSA folks. Do you know how eery that feels? Little did I know the world would come to a screeching halt the day after returning home.
The kids were sent home from school. Toilet paper was nowhere to be found. Shelves that used to be stocked were empty.
I ran into a friend standing in line at the grocery store. She was in tears because her daughter was sick, and they thought maybe it was covid. The bars closed. The restaurants closed. Days were filled with press conferences held by the governor. Scrolling through TikTok was my way of unplugging from a world that was being turned upside down. Then the giant naked man with the huge penis started popping up in group texts. I do not know who the genius was that created this nonsense, but I tip my hat to you sir. I’m incredibly grateful for this man.
The parents banded together and planned honk and wave parades. A high school classmate gave virtual guitar lessons to the kiddos.
The Boy made homemade bread every morning. The neighbors gathered for disco driveway parties.
Our pets wanted peace and quiet. And all the big companies got the PPP Loans and my little blog went viral when I spoke about it.
@houseofhipstersCan I move in with you?♬ original sound – chris.arnaudo
Family game night was in full effect. D-Nice was hosting virtual house parties on Instagram Lives.
I started designing my One Room Challenge work from home office space, doubled down on bloggery land, and made the decision to close the shop. As a family, we figured out how to have fun together. Life slowed down…way down. No more weekends full of birthday parties, playdates, gymnastics, and soccer games. The quarantine way of life became a new normal. I, unlike many, embraced the quiet. Even with the murder hornets.
If you’ve read this far, I have a few questions for you. What are the activities or places you learned you no longer need in your life? Have you gone back to the gym, or do you have a new routine at home? Will family dinners stay in this new lifestyle, or will you go back to dining out multiple times a week? We’ve been making everything from tacos to chicken pot pie…which reminds me, I really need to share that recipe here. Being in the kitchen, and making food that doesn’t originate from a box…I love it.
Since I spend so much time in front of a screen, I’ve been reading more magazines…things that are tangible…made of paper. I’ve started painting again. My mental health has come to the forefront of my life. Slowing down has bonded me even closer to my children. Covid came with a lot of sadness, but it also gave me time with my kids. Reflecting back and scrolling through last year’s photos has me oddly thankful for coronavirus. We stayed healthy. We stayed home. Things were kinda boring, but there was a whole lotta good in a really awful year.