Oh March, what a helluva month! (Anyone else feel like their blogs and journal entries nowadays feel like the beginning of a badly-written teen post-apocalyptic novel?)
March felt ten years long this year and normally I would be ecstatic about that because my birthday month has always been my favorite month! However this year it feels amazing to just have finally “advanced” to April.
It definitely was not the March we were anticipating or hoping for, but here I am persisting with my “Monthly Roundup” series because this is the kind of stuff that is absolutely fascinating to keep record of and be able to look back on! (Fair warning this blog is a bit of a novel…)
March started off normally enough- me falling face-first into this new world of branding and my nose constantly stuffed into a new business book. Absolutely stunning weather that encapsulated the epitome of Spring and me breaking out the skirts and silky blouses and sandals for the first time this year!
I helped my sister move in the pouring rain and Shadow had his first vet's visit. I started washing my hands obsessively at work that whole first week of March when the stories of the cruise ship bringing Covid-19 to the states started emerging and Coronavirus really started becoming a legit concern. The first stories of toilet paper hoarders began going viral.
I remember helping my Nana with her church’s International Dinner on Saturday March 7th. I remember that day being the first time I’d been in a public setting where Coronavirus had been addressed. Normally about 200 people attended from the church (each volunteer like my Nana had a “country” like England and were required to make 200 bite-sized food samples for guests- we made scones), however maybe 75 people showed up.
The pastor was very adamant about wearing gloves and only having the food preparers hand out food to guests. It was the first time I was seeing first-hand the effects and the terror caused by the spreading virus in big groups. Everybody still sat close to one another though and seemed to feel secure with the precautions taken with the food handling.
That following Tuesday the 12th my wedding planner friend Risa and I attended our local Tuesdays Together meeting for a fabulous marketing meetup but with severe caution - no touching and trying to stay in the back row as much as possible. In hindsight probably not a great decision, but we used our best judgement and until that point and only gatherings of over 1,000 were banned.
That Thursday gatherings of 250+ were banned in California and I ventured out to Walmart like a crazy person. If for some reason this thing became bigger than we thought, I wanted to be prepared (without stockpiling)! I saw first-hand that literally the entirety of paper goods were completely out of stock (not going to lie- seeing that in person really made the reality sink in even more) as well as all of the water and ramen all having been cleared out. I loaded up on an assortment of canned soups, boxed dinners and fruits and veggies. I was a nervous wreck by the time I finally got out of Walmart, sanitizing basically my entire car before and after groceries.
We cancelled all of our weekend plans including a birthday party for Damon’s sister and a couple of meetups with photo friends just to be safe. Thankfully Damon had decided the week before that he wanted to start an at-home gym so we had regular shipments of equipment being delivered and for us to set up that weekend!
Things get bad...
And then -pardon my language- shit hit the fan real fast that Monday, March 16th.
Over the course of two days the Bay Area was put under “stay-at-home” orders and hundreds of businesses in Sacramento had been closed...and my part-time job at the gym was not one of them. I was faced with the decision to go into work or not. Rationalizing that I could wear gloves and have members check themselves in from behind the front desk consoled me a little bit.
I got a total of 93 phone calls during my 4 hour shift that day asking if the gym was still open. An equal 50% of them were relieved and happy that we were still open (what the heck, people!? I understand exercise is important but a small gym is a breeding ground for a virus!) and the other half wanted to cancel their memberships. We were the only gym still left open in the area and two others closed that very afternoon while I was working. By the time I left at 5pm we’d had to close the cafe, kid’s care and saunas but the club itself was still open.
It’s amazing how quickly everything happens in the matter of a couple days -and then in a couple of hours. Every 10 minutes there was a new development- new info, more questions and changing circumstances.
I left work comforted in knowing that there was no way we’d still be open by my next shift on Friday.
The next morning (St. Patrick’s Day!) I went into my videography job to film a message to our teachers and students and was the only one in the office. I got a call at 11am that the gym had closed and that I should apply for unemployment. I spent the next two hours trying to navigate the overloaded website and managed to submit an application.
Governor Newson officially announced the “stay-at-home” orders going into effect at midnight so I stopped at Michael’s on the way home in an attempt to get some last-minute supplies for stay at home projects to occupy me for who knows how long!
And guess what? I have not stepped into another building other than my house since then.
I lost my second job the next Monday and now a lot of us are all in similar situation stuck at home- at least most of my fellow industry small business owners and creatives are, and we're trying to figure out how to best help our businesses at home and stay motivated and positive.
However, I still have friends who are essential workers at Amazon and at grocery stores. My dad is still required to go into work at the county and at this point I’m definitely leaning towards the opinion of “no work is better than work” as every day the death count and the number of infected peoples in the U.S. rises.
It’s absolutely hard not to worry about them- about everything going on, but when this happens I like to think of a quote by the wise Newt Scamander:
“My philosophy is that worrying makes you suffer twice.”
Worrying is not going to help or change anything, it is literally just wasted energy. I have my own personal battle with anxiety but by training myself to immediately stop thinking when I start worrying, I’ve slowly been able to alter the route my thoughts take!
In this particular case of Covid-19, I have turned to social media and instagram in particular to take solace in the community and share all of my projects and inspire other creative stuck at home to do the same! In fact, I’m working on a very special project to help small business owners and entrepreneurs with content creation at home (but that’s just a little bit farther off from being announced just yet!)
So I am staying busy with photo projects, my personal branding photography rebrand, arts and crafts, writing blogs, playing copious amounts of video games (anyone else obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons!?), getting creative with my cooking (I literally haven’t been out to eat in 3 weeks...as sad as it is, this is a huge accomplishment for me!), establishing a new workout routine I’m actually sticking to, lots of walks around the neighborhood, playing with Shadow, and finding ways to celebrate my birthday!
My 28th Birthday
I turned 28 on the 28th and if I’m being honest this “Golden Birthday” was one I’d been excited about my entire life. Most people celebrate their Golden Birthdays when they’re too young to remember, but not me! I’ve been waiting a long time for this. So to have all of my plans ripped away from me was a little disappointing.
I know there are much bigger concerns for the world though, so I put on a smile and continued to plan my birthday! With just a few changes. I actually wrote an entire blog with ideas on how to Celebrate a Birthday in Quarantine if you or someone you know is having to spend theirs stuck at home!
I woke up and got dressed and made myself presentable on my birthday and got ready for a virtual breakfast with my entire family! (No, that was absolutely no small feat, let me tell you!) We chatted and caught up with one another and Damon made me delicious birthday crepes while everyone sang “Happy Birthday”!
And then Damon came in with another surprise- he made me a birthday scavenger hunt that I could do while the whole family “watched.” He made a series of clues spelling out “Happy B-Day” placed throughout the house and it was so much fun! He said he used up his creativity for the year and I don’t blame him- it was super entertaining and definitely something I recommend if you have someone at home with you to hide the clues!
We spent the afternoon watching one of my favorite shows ever, Chuck, and playing Rocket League. The best birthday present ever arrived (groceries hahah) so I could finally pig out on my birthday and have a Dr. Pepper and a frozen pizza for dinner.
I hosted a second virtual party with my friends and had so much fun talking with everyone! You know video chat isn’t the same but I’m the first to admit that it’s a damn good substitute. I still got that “hit” of social interaction that I get from being around people in-person and just for a minute I wasn’t sitting alone at my living room table with birthday decorations hanging in the background that I’d set up for myself.
I got another round of “Happy Birthday” and some birthday brownies (we didn’t have enough eggs for cake) and then I jumped on Netflix after that and hosted a Netflix Party to watch A Series of Unfortunate Events the movie!
It wasn’t a bad birthday, guys. Can’t say it was the best but it was definitely still fun and definitely still memorable! Words can’t express how much I appreciate everyone showing up for me and if you want more ideas for quarantine birthday celebrations check out this blog!
March finally comes to an end…
And now here we are in April. Last week was much of the same with virtual Yahtzee, a super fun self-portrait shoot, starting new TV shows, Zoom yoga with friends, being endlessly entertained by our kitty Shadow and phone calls with friends and family.
Although all things Coronavirus are getting worse and I continue to share the newest medical updates and recommendations for people to stay safe, I will remain positive! And if you all ever want to chat please find me on instagram as that’s where I am most active at the moment! It can be business, it can be about books or TV shows, I’m down for any sort of interaction!
Please stay home, stay safe and stay positive, friends. I am here for you, however I can be!
Onwards, to a better month!