I’ve concocted a list of 10 things that make me happy and might help you. Many of them are free (or I offer free alternatives).
Over on the Parasol Protectorate Group, Gentle Reader, I put a Chirrup Special to the vote.
As you can see: stuff making me happy narrowly lost out to books making me happy. So I thought I’d do a blog post of the stuff, while sending the Chirrup the books. (That sentence makes sense in someone’s universe.)
Simply put, here’s shizz to cheer you up!
Disclaimer: It works on me. Might not work on you, but I’m not in your head, so how can I judge?
Ayako & Family Jam
A darling friend gifted me with a box. The hanabi plum blew my tiny mind. The AB actually declared it “almost as good as my mother’s jam.” Which, let me tell you, is VERY high praise. They are a Seattle operation who survive at farmer’s markets, so your support right now would be most welcome. (I intend to try every single one of their plum flavors.) They have a sampler gift set, too.
I tried this chicken marsala recipe recently
It was tasty and easy. It’s one of the few that doesn’t require cream and is better spiced than my experience with this dish. I added onions along with the mushrooms and used Chianti instead of Marsala and it was delish. Also we don’t eat salt, so I added a little mustard and reduced balsamic glaze to finish. This recipe would work with firm tofu (I’d not dredge it but sear in soy sauce first). Next time I’m going to try it with dark meat chicken and half the butter.
Take Free Cooking Classes With Michelin Star Chef Massimo Bottura
I also recommend this excellent blog: Nom Nom Paleo. (I’m not paleo but some of these are so good I just add lots of veg). Her Indian lamb curry recipe is probably one of our favorite dishes. More…
Gail’s Favorite Recipes to Cook & Bake (Miss Carriger Recommends)
Sex Education on Netflix.
This show is a work of true genius, it’s charming and funny and warm and honest while also managing to be this strange fantasy alternate high school experience. Don’t be put off by the title, it’s not super sexy, and it’s not super camp high school drama, either. It’s something truly special.
Check out my YouTube Channel for not just my own Live Q&A sessions, but lots of lists with fun videos that I love, so you might too.
For example, here’s Alan Cumming singing Taylor the Latte Boy
Coconut Milk Body Scrub with Exfoliating Gloves.
My favorite Fiji scrub seems to be no more, so I tried a new coconut scrub. It’s salt based (I prefer sugar, doesn’t sting after shaving). I was skeptical of the weird “scrub gloves” that came with. Well I loved it. Particularly the weird gloves. Who knew? (If you don’t like coconut I also love Giovanni Hot Chocolate Sugar Body Scrub.)
Certain persons have been trying to get me to try Poshmark for AGES. In desperate need of replacement flats I went on to see if maybe someone was selling my old favorites there, the Mia Nomad. And lo there they were. So exciting. I got two pairs, and some Miz Mooz flats and a cute teal cashmere cardigan. The sweater has arrived and I LOVE it. On the other hand, one of the the flats got cancelled on me. I might have liked a ton more but I am trying to be good.
I recommend using Poshmark to buy replacement items for items/brands you already know you love/fit. Since there is basically no return.
In line with above, I’ve been playing dress up in my own wardrobe. Using this as an opportunity to go through and clean out, but also just to look pretty and swish about the house in a cape. Why not?
Also, you can always SELL on Poshmark, if you have the time and goods to list.
Octopus Hanging Dryer
I hang dry my clothing. I don’t believe in dryers except for sheets and towels. I have two of these Octopus hangers for, as grandma would call them “my smalls.” They work great and are awesome space savers.
The perfect phone tripod
UBeesize 51″ Extendable Tripod Stand, heavy duty aluminum, lightweight, and so much more stable and easy to use than my old one. I’ve been using this for Lives, Zoom, and Hangouts.
If you’re home schooling may I remind you that you can get the educator’s guide for the Finishing School from me for free. A lot of other education/workbook authors offer PDFs via their websites. PDFs you can print out at home.
The Popster on Facetime
I taught my 80+ year old popster how to Facetime. Well, to be fair, I was freaking out because I couldn’t get hold of him. Tried calling him the regular way, no answer. Desperate, I tried Facetime. He picked it up because it was something new and confusing. I have never seen someone so joyful about something so simple in a long long time. “You’re right there, in the palm of my hand!” It was charming.
The Mum on Hangouts
Guided her via a landline. Finally connected her to Hangouts, but could only see the top of her head.
Gail: Mum, tilt the phone.
Gail: MUM TILT THE PHONE.
Mum’s hand comes into view holding the land line above her head.
Gail: The CELL phone, Mum.
Skype with Friends
I’ve been doing Skype or Zoom “write ins” with some of my author friends and others trapped at home. It’s almost as good as the real thing.
Bonus – Quick Picks from Previous Posts
Here’s a few things that I have mentioned before that might help you survive self isolation or quarantine.
Upbeat, Funny, Escapist Podcasts (all FREE)
- All Fantasy Everything
- Ask Me Another
- Go Fact Yourself
- Judge John Hodgman
- No Such Thing As A Fish
- Pop Culture Happy Hour
- Rule of Three
- Troubled Waters
- Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me
Some of these might not have new episodes right now, but the back eps are great!
Pretty-up your environment
- Ridiculous Ruffled Ball or Sunflower Accent Pillow
- Octopus Tentacles or Realistic Silver Birches Wall Decals
- Expandable End Table (write from the couch)
- FREE option? Rearrange the furniture. Put stuff into storage. Organize the garage or basement. Pull out the Christmas lights and just hang them for fun. Make yourself a blanket fort.
Check out more on my Writer Wants & Education Pinterest Board
- Twinings 1706 English Strong Breakfast or Hot Cinnamon Spice or Thai Tea
- Cadbury Selection Box of 10 Full Size British Chocolate Bars
- Soft Warm Cozy Fuzzy Socks
- FREE option? Make a point of dressing in your favorite clothing, soft and fuzzy. Cashmere, fleece, cotton, silk, satin, whatever that is. Indulge yourself in texture.
Take care of your body
- CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash & COCOFLOSS
- SpaPure Georgia Peach Bath Bomb
- Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
- FREE option? It’s okay to take a break and not do anything constructive right now. I give you permission, in case you needed it.
I hope some of these things help!
Incidentally, from LifeHacker:
- You Can Still Order Whatever You Want on Amazon
- You Probably Aren’t Going to Get COVID-19 From a Package
Take care of yourselves,
- Want updates of things making me happy? Chirrup members get them monthly, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
- Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!
BOOK DE JOUR?
Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!
Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.
It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!
- Defy or Defend featuring Dimity
- Need to know what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.
Gail’s Daily Tea Party
Tisane of Nifty
My office, in isolation…
Five SFF Books With Dogs (and Dog-Adjacent Individuals) as Key Characters – Bumbersnoot made this list
Quote to Sip
Tags: Gail Carriger Recommends
Thank you for all of these great ideas! I am especially grateful for the free options, too, especially since they will tide me over until Amazon can actually manage to deliver some of the purchase options! Thank you so much!
You are so very welcome, I am glad I could help!
Thanks so much for the efforts to cheer us up! I am reading your books as fast as the ebooks that I haven’t already read are available at the library.
I love that one of your favorite teas is Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice! I fell in life with it while working at Barnes & Noble.
If you ever want a super funny (and a bit tawdry) podcast to lighten the day, Nicole Byer has one called “Why Won’t You Date Me?” It sounds sad, but it’s really funny (very sex positive, she has a diverse group of guests, lots of Queerness, and she talks some about the importance of being happy with yourself first and also the importance of mental health). Sorry if a recommend is presumptuous. I more thought also if someone reading saw the comment too!