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How To Avoid a Video Chat Faux Pas

Since we’re all faced with this new reality of connecting from home through technology, my friend Jen Kirsch FaceTimed me to chat about how to avoid mishaps on your video chat. The article is in the Toronto Star today, click below to read.

The print version, available today!

Read on the Toronto Star

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been more social than normal. FaceTime, Houseparty, Zoom, Google Hangouts, it can be exhausting! During the first two weeks o(f isolation), I was video chatting with several people a day!

Tips for Video Chat Success:

  • If using a phone, get a tripod or stabilize the phone (simple iPhone tripod, or tripod with a ring light)
  • Check your wifi settings, faceTime needs wifi, if you’re in a limited wifi area, data might be your best option
  • Wear something presentable for your meeting ex. casual attire for work, a shirt when chatting on Houseparty, maybe something spicy for a date or friends hang. Pants optional and not required.
  • Log in to the video chat early to check your lighting
  • Brush your hair or wear a hat
  • If in a big group, someone should be leading the chat ex. boss, host, or person having a birthday
  • I personally like lip gloss and mascara for daytime
  • If using Zoom, change your background with something fun or download one of these nice design ones to give your home a makeover (or hide the mess!)

Find more tips in the Toronto Star article! Have a great day!

Casie Stewart, signature, iPad Pro.

Day 25: New Ways

Wow, 25 days! If I didn’t have this diary, the days would have meshed together into weeks and I would have no clue what number it was.

I didn’t make the brownies or go for a run yesterday as planned. I put my workout gear on first thing in the morning and never made it. Y’know how that happens? BUT TODAY, I did a Peleton workout, a bit of yoga, and joined Sean for 4.5km on his route and it was so nice. Not far from here are tennis and basketball courts I had no idea about. I’m not particularly good at either but maybe it’s time to practise?

We went out to get supplies yesterday afternoon which took a couple of hours. It’s a 20-minute drive anywhere from the cottage and Walmart is about 45 minutes. The stores were civil and pretty well stocked. We wore masks and had hand sanitizer for our hands. We both changed our clothes as soon as we got home.

BFF Quarantine but make it fashion

Today I used leftovers to make fried rice for lunch and we all sat at the table. For dinner, we made a delicious roast chicken with vegetables and salad. I’ve been really loving the food processor Sean’s parents got last summer. It’s so useful! I tried out a brussels sprout caesar with spinach and it was SO GOOD. I tried one at a restaurant ages ago so I found one on Pinterest and gave it a try. I made a board of some things that are inspiring me right now with recipes, garden tips, and natural fabric dyes.

This is such a new weird way of life!

Day 24: Lake Life

This morning I woke up and really felt like I needed a workout. Sean was up before me (as usual!) and suggested we go for a canoe.

We had to take a bunch of stuff out from the basement including the hot tub, which we might set up later today. I am so happy it’s finally getting warmer, we’ve been waiting for this. The sun has such an influence on my mood, it always makes me feel like everything is ok.

The first canoe of the season is always pretty magical. We were hoping to be the first ones on the lake but there was a rower passing by before we set out. Saw a few other canoes out later in the morning. There is still a bit of thin ice across the lake but most of it is all melted. There were so many birds out singing in the sun.

Today I am making sweet potato brownies, pasta salad, and tuna salad. The other day I made this great granola recipe and I made a another batch yesterday. It’s so easy and we’ve all been enjoying it for breakfast or a snack. I’m planning to go for a long run today and get in a yoga class in the afternoon. I’m hoping it’s warm enough to do it outside!

Video: First Canoe of 2020

Day 23: Seasons Change

The lake melted yesterday! We’ve wanted to be here to see it happen for years. In one day, it goes from being icy to flowing water. It’s beautiful. Sean set up a timelapse to capture it and I took photos throughout the day.

Today is Monday and the TDSB starts online classes for students with assignments due end of the week. We’ve got Em set up on a desk in the master bedroom so she has her own workspace.

Cut My Bangs!

I caved and trimmed my bags yesterday. I like to dry cut with them combed straight, then use the electric shaver to get a straight line, and clean up with good scissors. I’m so glad to have grown my hair out last year, I can only imagine I’d be about to shave my head right now. I love having my hair done at Sassoon but luckily, I’ve got a lot of experience in cutting my own bangs so I’m happy with the result. No disasters!

After dinner, we finished Unorthodox and How To Fix a Drug Scandal, both good shows. Today we made coleslaw, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pie dough, and another round of Instant Pot rice.

If you aren’t making rice in your Instant Pot, you are missing out, it’s so easy. Add 1 cup of rice to 2 parts water or broth in the pot, a bit of butter and salt, set to cook on the rice setting (10 or 12 min depending on pot size), and voila, the BEST rice!

Good song for today!

P.S. TUESDAY IS FULL MOON! See some of my rituals in this video from the fall. I’m going to do a few of these today including writing some thoughts & intentions on paper & burning in the fire.

Day 22: Make Something Each Day

Yesterday I made granola, a chickpea lentil curry, spicy roasted chickpeas, roast potatoes, and Sean made meatballs. I spent some time drawing on my iPad and decided to test out my old Crimper. It still works!

The granola was a recipe from Pay Chen in The Kit. I modified for what I had and MY GOD IT IS DELICIOUS. I forgot how much I love granola. I am now a forest dwelling, yoga lady, who makes her own granola. I am not surprised at all.

Em made a mask from an old bathing suit and we went through my art supplies. I did Soca Yoga and some stretches while watching movie in front of the fire. TY Amy for the reco, great class!

There was an Amber Alert to stay home that came thorough our phones. This is the second time it’s happened, the last alert was for anyone who had travelled outside the country. We have not left the compound for one full week and Sean is planning to get supplies Monday. I’m gonna stay here with Em while he goes out. We made the strategic decision for him to go during the week so people who can’t go M-F, can have the weekend. We have a running Google doc with everything we need for the house and he will wear gloves, a mask, and change clothes as soon as he gets home. Aside from some groceries, need a part to fix the washing machine.

Made a pavlova for Jake Gold’s birthday party on Zoom. We don’t have birthday candles so a big one had to do. It was BYOC – Bring Your Own Cake, everyone lit candles and sung HBD at the same time. Welcome to life in the year 2020.

Sean and I started Unorthodox on Netflix and I feel asleep on the couch around 9:30pm.

Day 21: Reality Check

The news today is a very sobering reality of just how intense this situation is. I have been watching the live news reports on CP24 from 1 pm-3 pm and my chest is tight with anxiety. It is hard to believe the world we are living in, it’s not a movie or simulation, this is real life. It’s heartbreaking. Ontario alone could see 15K deaths and over 1M cases have been recorded around the world. Today I sent a couple of invoices for the last round of work I did and to be honest, I’m not sure what’s next?

This Day in History: Covid-19

The Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic was declared on March 11, 2020. I am putting this information here as a reminder to look back on one day when this is all over (it has been floating around on Facebook). Premier Ford said we are looking at 2 years for this to fully be over and once the first round of the virus starts to ease up, we could see a second and third wave.

  • There are now 11,283 Confirmed Cases in Canada on this day with 173 deaths.
  • Gas prices are at a record low 68 cents. 
  • School cancelled since March 13th until May 1st (kids aren’t likely going back until September)
  • Self-distancing measures on the rise.
  • Tape on the floors at grocery stores and other stores to help distance shoppers 2m from each other.
  • Limited number of people inside stores, with 1 per family, therefore lineups are outside the store doors.
  • Hand washing stations in the Store Entrances and Pexi-glass barriers installed around the Cashiers/Check-out
  • Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
  • Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
  • Entire sports seasons cancelled.
  • Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
  • Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
  • No masses, churches are closed.
  • No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 5 or more.
  • Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
  • Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.
  • We are to distance from each other.

In Canada:

  • Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
  • Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
  • Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels, no hand sanitizer.
  • Shelves are bare at times and most are being re-stocked nightly.
  • Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
  • Government closes the border to all non-essential travel, calls Canadians home and makes it mandatory to self isolate for 14 days.
  • Stiff Fines and Jail time for price gouging on essential items.
  • Fines are established for breaking the rules.
  • Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
  • Press conferences daily from Prime Minister Trudeau.
  • In Ontario: Premier Ford gives daily updates on new cases, recoveries of Covid 19 and any new Bylaws/Rules
  • Government incentives to stay home.
  • Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.
  • People wearing masks and gloves outside.
  • Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.
  • Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.
  • 1,600,000 applications for Employment Insurance as people go without.
  • Government has made a CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) available for families that don’t qualify for EI with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

That’s all for today. I need a break from the internet.