How We Are Staying Safe and Sane in the Age of Quarantine | Staff Article

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As the days of quarantine due to the novel cornoavirus continue to pile up, it is all too easy to lose track of oneself, let alone what day of the week it is. This holds equally true for the Ones To Watch staff who currently find themselves under a lockdown in Los Angeles that is set to continue at least until the end of April. 

So, what exactly do we do when stuck at home for the foreseeable future? Play a lot of Animal Crossing and finally learn to cook with the leftovers in our freezer. This is how the Ones To Watch staff is staying safe and sane in the age of quarantine.


Island Escapism 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons could not have arrived at a better time. Amongst my friend group, the latest entry of the popular franchise is the first foray into the series for many of us, myself included. 

The part-life-simulator, part-resource-management game populated by adorable creatures gives a virtual space for us to visit each other's houses, exchange clothes, and create our own a little oasis on a deserted island. It is the antithesis of the current state of the world. More than anything, this far too charming video game has served as a crucial bit of island life escapism in these uncertain times we currently find ourselves. I also now have the freedom to spend three hours making a rendition of the lofi hip-hop study girl in Animal Crossing, so there's that.

-Maxamillion Polo

Cheez-Its, White Claw, and Home Decor

I don't even know what day of quarantine we're at anymore, but mine has consisted mostly of extra toasty Cheez-Its and the new flavors of White Claw (tangerine, ily). It's been a hard health balance, because I feel like I'm working out more with all the IG Live-stream Hot 8 Yoga classes but the amount I've been boredom-eating has easily quadrupled. So… I'm over here being proud of myself for getting on my yoga mat, then quickly disappointed after my four Domino's pizzas get delivered.

On a brighter note, I moved into a new house during the past two weeks! If you think about it, quarantine is probably the best possible time to move because you have no option but to unpack the 5,000 boxes staring at you as you turn on Animal Crossing. 

-Paige MacDonald

Anime and Virtual Connections

Anime. Lots of it. Recently “borrowed” my buddy’s Hulu subscription and they have a ton of great ones. Currently rewatching Yu Yu Hakusho. What a classic. Aside from that, I recently bought Animal Crossing and that’s always a chill time. OH! Lots of facetime. I actually call my friends like every 30 minutes. They hate it. But they love me so it’s fine. Ah ha haaaaaaa…  Y'all ever just lie down in bed and wonder what your next show is going to be?

-Green Lee

Chopped: Quarantine Edition

Chopped: Quarantine Edition - how I now approach all meals during quarantine. Whether it's using the ingredients in my cabinet that I would normally never touch or only having access to short ribs and Turbot because everything else is sold out during my weekly supermarket runs, I am definitely ramping up my culinary game. Watch out Le Cordon Bleu, you've got some tough competition.

-Hayley Henning

Foreign Films

Oh the age of social distancing, a time where we as humans are forced to confront the very real limits of our physical and mental capacity. While millions look for ways to better themselves in our newfound reality, I've decided to use my solitude to finally dive into the world of foreign film.

Gone are the days I limit my cinematic consumption to a single language. I shudder to think of the stories I have missed due to an unjustified aversion to subtitles. With humanity in a rare moment of global unity, what better time to engage with international narratives?

This quarantine season, I pledge to broaden my scope.

-Alec Wing

Waffles and TikTok Dances

With the world going on pause, and most of humanity taking time to stay in their homes and avoid the madness occurring, I've taken it upon myself to focus on becoming the best person I can. I've decided to master my chef skills without completely running through my quarantine stock. 

Some of my dishes include an ice cream waffle sandwich, bacon-wrapped sausage Links on a waffle, or anything that tastes good with waffles. I've also decided to start learning as many TikTok dances as possible to impress my peers when I'm back in the office. Stay safe. Stay wildin'. Wash ya hands kids and isolate.

-Joey Leggitino

Fresh Air

We constantly get lost in our screens - for fun, for work, for idling hours that just seem to fade away. But as the word "lockdown" becomes more pervasive and "stay home" grows synonymous with "stay safe," fresh air has been the solace of my quarantine. Simply stepping outside my front door for a nice brisk walk around my neighborhood has proven more grounding than nearly any answer I've found by way of my newsfeed. Connect with the sun.

Also, connect with your loved ones. A phone call, a video chat, any form of truly engaging goes a long way right now during this bizarrely universal phenomenon. We're all home, we're all washing our hands. When you think of someone, call them. Rarely do we know that the person at the other end is (likely) as bored and as openhearted as you are when you make the call. 

-Alexa Schoenfeld

Running and Rom-Coms

Running and rom-coms. That's pretty much all that's been occupying my time during the lockdown in LA. As someone who has an unhealthy obsession with SoulCycle, I've been trying my best to fill the void by running outside and using Aaptiv, a workout app that has guided outdoor runs. I've also been binging rom-coms at an embarrassingly high rate. My top five on Netflix to watch if you want a reminder of how single you are: Set It Up, Life As We Know It, He's Just Not That Into You, Her, and Valentine's Day.

-Rachael Jansky

Bon Mots & Bon Appetite

I’d love to post that I’ve read these books in the week since I’ve been social distancing, but these are old music adjacent favorites that will serve you well. All are available on Amazon and kindle if deliveries in your area are delayed: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, Kill Your Friends by John Niven.

I am no gourmand, so trust assured all I recommend is easy, especially if your prior version of cooking consented of warming things up. What you really need are the right tools, and short of martial law, all are available at your local major supermarket, Target, Walmart or the like.

Vacum-Sealer: If you, like me, hated cooking primarily because common recipes created a meal for four-plus people and you don’t want to repetitively eat said meal for days on end, the vacuum sealer is your solution.

Sous-Vide: This process essentially allows for the most difficult part of cooking to be waylaid, cooking at the right temperature for the right amount of time. How about a device that heats up water to exact temperature and then turns itself off when it’s done, its apocalyptic cooking done right. Paired with the vacuum sealer above (although most freezer quality plastic bags work as well), veggies, fish, meat all cook perfectly to the time needed. For flavor, a quick sear, broil or bake makes the ingredients indistinguishable from professional restaurants. Voilà, you are a chef.

-David O'Connor

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