We’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19. It’s not uncommon to feel drained from watching the never-ending news reports, statistics and graphs, and to wonder when life will be normal again. That’s why we’re turning our thoughts to things that will keep us cozy during these long dark days and entertained through a cold-weather quarantine. And who better to help you find the best and brightest products and services than your friends at Fresh Chalk?
Working From Home
COVID has many of us schooling and working from home, and staying warm by the blue light of your screen can be a real challenge. Whether you’re typing your day away or plugged into a meeting, these products are designed to keep you warm and alert while you work.
Keeping a Presto Heat Dish under your desk is a great way to keep those toes toasty through your workday. “I love having this heater underneath my desk,” says Fresh Chalk user, Gina Tran. “It provides focused heat to my body rather than typical air heaters that have to warm up the entire room.”
The Brigenius Rechargeable Hand Warmer is a nifty little product that is great for keeping your hands warm after a long day of typing. Fresh Chalk employee Meredith Fife says, “My husband put this hand warmer in my stocking last year. I thought it seemed a bit ridiculous at the time, but I quickly changed my mind. I loved having it for long walks to and from the train stations and it was great to have in our cold office in January. It's a great little gift.”
If you’re in need of some apparel to throw on and keep you warm, The Ritter Vest is that cozy solution. Fresh Chalk user John Magliery says,“Soft, warm, and utilitarian, the Ritter vest is at home at work in a professional setting or on a weekend, with multiple pockets (including hidden pockets for things you don’t want to lose like your airpods). It’s got a wool feel but is not itchy, and it’s good for a wide range of temperatures. This is my favorite vest.”
Games and Puzzles
With Americans across the country stuck at home this year, demand for jigsaw puzzles and games has surged; the appeal during a wintertime pandemic isn’t hard to piece together (get it?). Here are some local shops that sell games, puzzles, and other indoor entertainment to keep the whole family entertained while you’re cooped up inside.
Annie’s Art and Frame sells a lot more than their names sake would lead you to believe. Follow their Instagram page to find all their great new puzzles and pick up the best ones the moment they come in. They also have a fantastic selection of games for kids and adults that will keep everyone busy while staying inside by the fire. For an added bonus, Annie’s also gives back to the community. “They donate beautiful frames to my charity of choice,” Shannon Garbaccio says, “and for that they have earned my undying respect.”
There’s just something about living in the PNW rain shadow that makes you want to curl up with a good book. Elliott Bay Book Company is happy to help you indulge with any genre of book you can think of. Fresh Chalk employee Brooklyn Benjestorf says, “They have amazingly knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful staff, and their selection of books is amazing. I love the big open air design of the shop and (pre-COVID) would sometimes stop by just to peruse the stacks and hang out.” Elliot Bay is currently taking appointments for those who want to set up a socially distanced session to browse, otherwise you can place your order online to pick up at the store or have it shipped directly to your home.
Blue Highway Games specializes in board and card games for kids, families, and enthusiasts. They have a library with hundreds of games open for you to try at any time. Fresh Chalk user Tom Laramee says, “They have a dizzying array of games for people of all ages. You'll likely find yourself spending a lot more time in there than you planned.” They also host free game nights on Saturdays from 7-11 in store, but they are currently suspended. Visit their Facebook page for more details.
Another way to fill the days that stretch ahead is by learning something new. Fresh Chalk user Andy Makar suggests trying a Master Class. "When COVID first arrived, we had to get creative with how we spent our time since we were all locked down. Master Class had a ton of classes to learn about new hobbies and skills including Writing, Dog Training and EVEN a Mixology class. My wife has become an amazing mixologist featuring adult and kid-friendly concoctions."
Even though the rainy days of the PNW don’t exactly make for a winter wonderland, there’s still plenty to do and see outdoors—you just need the right gear and clothes to keep you warm and dry while you do it. As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
Blundstone Boots are a must, according to Fresh Chalk user Christina Nelson. “Once fall hits, I live in my Blundstone Boots. Blundstones are super comfortable, lightweight and durable, making them the perfect shoe to walk to the office or trek around town in. The foot bed molds to the shape of your feet, making them even comfier each time you slip them on. These are my favorite boots for any occasion!”
Rain jackets are absolutely essential in this region and Mountain Hardware Ozonic Jackets are like a water resistant armor that can help keep you dry even on the rainiest of days. “I bought this jacket in preparation for a rainy backpacking trip and it totally delivered,” says Meredith. “I stayed dry in 24 hours of serious wind and rain.”
Little Footies Boot Dryer is a great product for keeping your boots, shoes, hats, and gloves dry at all times. If you exercise in the mornings, this baby will quickly dry out your soggy tennis shoes and prevent mildew from setting in. It also comes in hand for those occasional snow days when the kids go out and then come back in to warm up before heading back out again. “My kids know to come home and put their shoes on this if they want dry shoes for the next day,” Meredith says.
Safely visiting with friends and family during COVID is a huge challenge, and Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater provides glowing warmth so you and yours can enjoy some quality time outdoors, even when it’s cold. Chris Manderino says, “I hate being cold more than just about anything. During outdoor kid sporting events, Mr. Buddy is my best friend.”
Cozy Up Your Space
There are lots of ways to cozy up your house and actually enjoy hunkering down in these cold winter months. A few textiles, some decor, and holiday smells can make your home so comfortable, you might never want to leave.
If you have bare floors, now is the time to add a rug, even if it’s just a small runner next to the the bed for your bare feet to make those dark mornings a bit more bearable. Driscoll Robbins can help you select the perfect area rug for any space in your home. Sara Eizen says, “If you're in the market for a quality rug this is the place to go. Their customer service is fantastic. Love that they'll bring the rugs to your home and let you live with them for a couple of days.”
Freshening up the walls with new art is a quick and easy way to give your space a little facelift. Seattle has an amazing local art scene, and plenty of dealers who showcase local and international artists. Davidson Galleries has a wide variety of original prints that can add life to any wall. Fresh Chalk CEO Liz Pearce says, “I was looking to purchase some art for my new house and found this gallery through online resources. If you want original work but can't spend a fortune, Davidson is a good option. They also have an extensive collection online.”
Besides having ornamental value, candles have been known to effectively bring about an energy shift in any space. Bring some much needed cheer into your home with Evil Queen Candles and tap into those good vibes that we are all so desperately need these days. Jessica Graham says, “Evil Queen candles smell amazing—my favorites are "Can't Adult Today" (smells like fruit loops!) and Literally Dead (apple cider and crunchy leaves).”
Warmth in Your Hand
No winter is complete without a warm beverage in your hand. Whether it be coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, these are some great products to make sure your belly is warm during those cold nights.
From ginger coconut to root beer tea, Steepologie has you covered. They even have a selection for anyone suffering from a sore throat or sniffle. “I love a good tea in the winter,” says Meredith Fife, “and Steepologie has a great variety so that I never feel stuck with the same old tea. They even ship to your home!”
Keeping drinks warm is tricky when in the cold outside, and the Ember Coffee Mug connect to an iPhone app to hold its temperature (125F) for a minimum of 70 minutes. What a concept, right? If you’re a coffee drinker who misplaces your coffee only to find it cold 15 minutes later, the Ember Coffee Mug is the solution to your problem. Nancy Gillespie says, “This mug keeps my coffee at the perfect temperature even if I have to walk away for awhile.”
If you're not a mug fan, the Bodum Coffee Glasses can keep your drinks hot without one. Lindsay Pederson says, “Before anyone else in the house has awoken, I brew and sip coffee in utter quiet. It is pure magic. And these double-wall mugs are part of the sensory awesomeness of that moment. I love how I can drink a mug of coffee without a handle, because the double-wall glass protects your hands from burning. And I love how it looks like the coffee is suspended in thin air. It's a work of art.”
As we social distance this winter and stay home for a change, it doesn’t have to be the coldest and darkest of winters. We want to know about your favorite products and services helping you enjoy the winter indoors. Leave a recommendation of your own to earn good karma and share your COVID winter survival tips with the Fresh Chalk community.