Monday, May 18, 2020

4 Ways I have Saved During Quarantine

It’s no secret that this quarantine has caused us to spend more in certain areas such as groceries and takeout, deliveries, power bills, phone bills and maybe even internet, but with the quarantine also comes cut backs. No different from everyone else, I have had to come to the harsh reality that COVID has and will continue to disrupt a lot of my plans. For me though, while the news of things being rearranged is a difficult pill to swallow, I have to be happy about some of the benefits (mainly financial) that the quarantine has provided. 

The look you give when you said that there were no more packages to
come but the the delivery guy is at the door.

Here are 4 ways, I have contributed to the savings in my household during the quarantine (that also justifies some of my spending ): 

Beauty (savings of $450 monthly) 
I’m no beauty specialist, nor am I the town’s hot girl, but there are certain things that are very Essential to me personally and professional and appearance is one of those things. From the $125 every two weeks to get my feet and hands done to the $45 bi-monthly for my daughter’s wash, treatment and style, weave installations and the replenishing of makeup as needed, we have saved over the last two months about a thousand dollars, simply by staying home and being quarantined. While this is certainly a celebration, my husband reminds me daily that when we are all clear, the first place I need to go is to the salon. 

Maternity Wear ($500+) 
The quarantine period started in my sixth month of pregnancy. At that time, I had only put on three additional pounds and my baby belly barely showed. I was still wearing my regular clothes with the exception of some items. Due to COVID, I’ve had the privilege to ditch purchasing maternity wear with the exception of a few comfortable bras. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how expensive maternity clothing could get, so for us this was a huge win! 

Coffee ($30 weekly) 
Have you ever really sat and think about the amount of money you spend on simple things like coffee? Neither have I, until now. If you know me, you know of my love for coffee. It’s another one of those essential items that I felt I couldn’t live without, or so I thought. Firstly, being pregnant has restricted caffeine intake (😫) but beyond that, once the lock down orders were issued, Starbucks was one of the first businesses to be effected. This resulted in me making a shift to decaf coffee made at home which is not quite the same. My mom suggested switching to teas while pregnant and trying out different flavors and I have to say, I think I’ve been converted! Mint Tea and lime is my morning and evening time favorite and I have grown to love and appreciate green tea. 
Oh to coffee again 

Babymoon Cancellation ($3k+) 
I was so excited about my babymoon. Mainly because, with my first child I didn’t have the opportunity to do it and the idea of having one last hooray before baby’s arrival definitely sounded like something I needed. Two weeks after the lockdown orders were issued was our planned Island getaway. While we weren’t traveling out of the country, we booked an island hop to Cat Island with an exclusive villa on the beach. We would have had a concierge team to fill our villa daily, beach tours, couples massages and sunset dinners. While I’m super bummed that this trip had to be cancelled. I am happy that we were able to save these pennies so that once  baby is here, we are able to go as planned or do something bigger,  where I wouldn’t be limited to what I can or can not eat, I would be able to drink endless cups of champagne and dance until I’m weak. 
Where we would have spent our babymoon 

Don’t get me wrong, while we have saved quite a bit during COVID, we have also had to spend. From the increased grocery bills to preparation of baby’s arrival inclusive of all the things we would have typically been gifted at our shower, to keeping the LO’s entertained, Amazon and local online businesses have been our best friends ! 

As for me, I believe in balance, while it’s important to save and make sure bills are paid, it’s equally important to enjoy the frivolous joys of life, like the mini shopping haul I did because I realized that my closet needed more shirts or the ridiculous amount of baby clothes that the child probably will be too big to wear or the face products that I will add to my collection of things I never use. If ever in doubt, remember all the areas where you saved and be as responsible as possible during this time.  How have you saved during this pandemic? What things are you cutting back on? 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Balancing Work Life & Mom life Amidst Quarantine

Last Friday, as apart of the Mother's Day message from my daughter's school, the administrative team dropped hints that in September (the new school year) chances are, homeschooling would continue. To take it even further, they gave us new resources that we would be using effective today, in preparation for our "new normal". After reading the communication, cuss words followed. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and the homeschooling because of COVID has not been THAT bad, but do I want to continue into the new school year, heck no! 

Honestly, I think that we haven't been doing too bad. All homework assignments are being turned in (whether late or not) and I am keeping my composure every day. Even if it means sending her to her room to watch Netflix, while I take a much needed break. Again, surviving, but definitely not prepared to continue for an even more extended period. Between homeschooling my 8-year old daughter, trying to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for me to remain valuable to my company, preparing for the arrival of my son (yup 4 weeks to show time) all while trying to keep my new marriage together (my husband's love language is quality time ), sis was not prepared for this to be my new norm. 

On Saturday, I spent most of the day trying to figure out homeschooling options in The Bahamas, to the point where I were I became obsessed. I realized that perhaps I was overreacting a bit and took a step back. Sunday morning, my awesome little family woke me up to lots of love. From breakfast in bed, to a clean kitchen and washed clothes, both of them got up super early to make sure my day was made. I had two naps for the day and the weather made it a perfect, stay in bed and cuddle experience (thank you May showers). They truly put my mind at ease. 

                          Today, I am in a better frame of mind: as they say, a Sunday well spent, brings a week of content!

Let's face it, we all have our moments where we feel like we are not doing enough. That was my moment, but now I am back. I was reminded by my husband of all the amazing things I have been able to complete for the house, on my job and even creatively, despite being on lock-down. As he said "this may have been your most productive season yet". So here are a few tips for how I have been able to balance and manage work life/ mom life and wife life during this season: 
  1. Be Realistic: Realistically, I can not do it all. I don't even try anymore at this point. I know what need to be done, I set up a task list based on priorities and I complete what I can when I can, leaving anything extra for the next day. There was a time in my life when I would be defeated if I didn't complete a task on my list for that specific day. Now I am comfortable knowing I am not super human and I can not do everything in a day, even if I tried. 

  2. Communicate Often: As simple as this may seem, this has made all the difference in my success as home-school teacher, employee, wife and parent. At the start of every new week, I send a weekly recap to my boss reporting on what has been done, outcomes and results and what I intend to complete for the upcoming week. She loves this, because rather than hunting me down and wondering if I am working, I give her the confidence that I am not at home catching up on trash T.V. all week long (although some days I am). I communicate with my daughter's teacher daily. From sending feedback on the new apps that the school is using, to asking questions about the assignments, I do not let days pass without connecting with her. I communicate with my daughter what her assignments are for the week and we discuss the best ways to tackle them. Finally, I communicate with my husband all day every day. My hubs really has become my best friend. He is my safe space. I share my frustrations with him and my joyous moments, the wins and the L's and it really creates a sense of comfort  that I appreciate. 

  3. Set Boundaries: At the beginning of all of this, I was getting work calls all hours of the day. People assume because we are not in office, it means that they can call and send emails at anytime and get immediate responses. Nope! Just as there are boundaries in the real world, there are boundaries in quarantine. I can not tell you how many video calls I have denied, like seriously, what happened to regular voice calls?! Setting boundaries can be difficult but in the long run are the best way to maintain your sanity. 

  4. Know when to switch roles: Remember you are playing the role of teacher, mother and wife, but it is key to know when to turn off roles and pick them back up. The first two weeks of quarantine, I was so focused on my daughter doing school work and not falling behind that I drilled her daily. She was frustrated, I was frustrated and ultimately the entire family was frustrated. Our evening dinners were not as animated as they usually are and we often went to sleep exhausted. For me, knowing when to turn off teacher mode and get into loving parent and wife mode was key. 

  5. Have Fun: Yesterday, in my daughter's Mothers Day speech, she said to me, she wished I could home school her for the rest of her life because these past weeks have been the best. She said she likes her teacher, the work is hard but I help her through it and the lunch lady (me) has been on point. HAHAHA  Fun is now an element that we include in every day learning, from baking to swimming, to picking flowers and even building tents around the house, including fun and excitement in our days allows her to release extra energy and not become overwhelmed with what is happening around her. 
At the end of the day, our kids will not remember COVID-19 and its economic impact on the world as we know it, what they will remember is how they felt during this time and the things we did to keep them going. Work life is tough, throwing homeschooling on top of it and entertainment can seem impossible, but with some planning and adjustments I guarantee you it gets better. 
Friday, May 1, 2020

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi My Mama Bees, 

So before we even get started, let's be real, COVID-19 has completely come in and messed up all of our plans for the beginning of 2020 hasn't it? I am an expecting mom, so for me, I can truly say, every single thing that I thought I would have been doing in Q1 has been either cancelled or placed on hold. Be that as it may, the show still has to go on and we simply have to adjust. That is the rule of thumb for motherhood right?!

This is certainly a first, moms all over the world are spending Mother’s Day in quarantine. While typically,  this day rarely is any different from every other day as a mom, I thought it would be great to get the ball rolling to ensure that my fellow mom friends here in The Bahamas are able to be honored and celebrated on our special day, despite COVID 19. With just under two weeks, to pull any of this off requires planning, so dads, husbands, boyfriends and kids, it's time to get to work!

Here are some awesome Mothers Day gift ideas that you can arrange for your moms to enjoy this Mother’s Day:

  • Something Sweet
    If mom is anything like me, nothing says I love you like a sweet treat and luckily for us, there are a few sweet options currently opened during the weekdays with delivery! My personal faves are Puffee Cotton Candy and The Boutique Cake. From champagne flavored cotton candy to macaroons and cute cupcakes, these local vendors can make mom's Mothers Day super sweet!!
Yummy goodness from Puffee Cotton Candy 

The Boutique Cake 
  • Allow her to put up her apron for the day
    s I mentioned, preparing for Mother’s Day this year will require a bit of planning, but I know that you can do it! There are several restaurants opened that are offering delivery as well as curbside pick up, here are a few of my favorites:

    - Titan Hospitality (The Steak Dinner is to Die for!)
    - The Island House Booze & Bites has a robust menu with so many options!
    - Sushi Rokkan & Prego in the Old Fort Shopping Center both offering curbside pick up
    - Outback Steakhouse
    I'm sure there are much more, but I want to list the locations that I know are open and are offering not only good food but awesome service despite what is happening!!
  • Tingzzzz
    I’m sorry but I’m a mother who LOVE gifts. Yes, cooking me breakfast and providing it in bed is fun and cute, but I’d like to feel special too! Gifting is always a yes! Here are some cool ideas that are affordable (considering the current economic climate), fun and mom will love!! Don't forget, although outside is technically closed, online ordering is still very much open and many local businesses are coming up with creative ways to get there products and services in your hands! 
Can be found at Shop The Red Box Bahamas 
There are so many options to choose from and so many local vendors who are willing to customize things to fit your budget and needs. Although we are stuck in side, let's remain safe but together. Wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day!!!