The Products, Recipes And Other Hacks That Helped Us This Week (May 25-29)

Our editors share what's keeping them calm, productive and entertained during coronavirus social distancing.

There’s no “right” way to navigate the coronavirus pandemic — everyone lives and copes differently. That said, fostering a sense of community may make getting through this time a little bit easier.

Enter this weekly guide. Every Sunday, we’ll bring you a short list of products, routines, workouts, recipes, apps and other things we tried the previous week that are making life easier during this universally stressful time.

Take a look at this week’s suggestions from our editors below.

Activity Recommendations

If you're going to be outdoors, you may as well turn it into a learning experience.
Kristen Aiken/PlantSnap Plant Identification
If you're going to be outdoors, you may as well turn it into a learning experience.

Find out the names of all the beautiful plants along your walk.

Now that I’ve got a little more time to enjoy walks outdoors, I find myself gazing at gorgeous blooming trees and wondering what on earth they’re called?! It’s been driving me crazy, so I downloaded a free plant identification app that’s been truly eye-opening. In the photo above, for example, I snapped a photo of a gorgeous pink tree in the park and was immediately told it’s flowering dogwood. The app I used is called PlantSnap Plant Identification, but there are plenty of other similar free plant ID apps you can try. You’ll find yourself appreciating your walks in a whole new way. ―Kristen Aiken, Senior Editor, Food & Style

Learn a new skill through a virtual course.

By the time you’re reading this, I might be embarking on my new career as a chef. (Just kidding.) This isn’t a groundbreaking suggestion at this point, but we finally decided to sign up for an online cooking class. Ours was a pasta-making course, taught by a chef in Italy. If cooking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other virtual courses you can take in quarantine ― from wine tasting to language classes. It gives you something to look forward to; we did ours on a weekend and it broke up the monotony of the week and made it seem like our time off work was a tad more exciting. ―Lindsay Holmes, Senior Wellness Editor

Product Recommendations

Food boxes that save you a trip to the store.

Since I’m still trying to avoid grocery stores while sticking with some semblance of healthy eating, I subscribed to a new meal kit box. I’ve tried several in the past, but this time decided to give Green Chef a shot. I was able to score a pretty significant discount on my first few boxes, and I like that they offer several dietary preferences and creative recipes. So far, there haven’t been any disruptions to the contents of my boxes due to the pandemic and everything has come on time. Plus, I like that I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner every night. ―Casey Bond, Money Reporter

I’ve become obsessed with food deliveries from local purveyors or farms during this year of our discontent, and I wanted to mention a few services that I’ve loved, both because of the quality of the products, and their reliability during this tough time: Walden Local Meats delivers high-quality meats, seafood and other farm-fresh items. I love how they add info about the farm or even the boat where your seafood came from. OurHarvest delivers great produce, pantry items and dairy products from local farms. Rustic Roots does the same in specifically the NYC, Long Island and Westchester areas. And Misfits Market is a great source of slightly misshapen or small-batch produce that still tastes wonderful. So it’s a good way to reduce food waste. ―Kate Palmer, Head of HuffPost Life

Face masks that are soft and functional.

I never thought I’d have a strong opinion about fabric face masks, but 2020 wins again. I hadn’t landed on one I love until I bought these babies from Marcellamoda. I love the soft material, metal nose forms, and slot for filters. Here’s to the weirdest summer so far. ―Kate Palmer

Recipe Recommendations

Sadly, the cute dog does not come with the cocktail if you make it at home.
Lindsay Holmes
Sadly, the cute dog does not come with the cocktail if you make it at home.

A refreshing cocktail that almost makes you feel like you’re on a beach.

I’ve always been a “throw a shot of vodka into a glass of club soda” kind of drinker if I have a cocktail at home. However, this lockdown has made me appreciate the art of a well-crafted drink. We’ve been trying a bunch of different recipes (margaritas and mojitos and martinis, oh my!) but this Strawberry Basil Bourbon Splash has been my favorite by far, and I’m not normally a bourbon gal. It tastes like a vacation in a glass. It’s light yet flavorful. Highly recommend. ―Lindsay Holmes

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