[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Hanna C. Howard guest posting on the site today! She’s talking all about her quarantine splurges. Take it away, Hanna!]
On March 17, 2020, two things happened that I had never experienced before: I gave birth to a human being, and my city went into quarantine. Truly the weirdest St. Paddy’s Day of my life, and I would say the months following have continued to be pretty bizarre. Like most people, I’ve spent them wondering what I should be doing to cope in a healthy way, and like most people I have turned to the internet for help.
Specifically, the part of the internet that is always happy to take your money.
I’m no stranger to online commerce. For the last ten years, I’ve run an Etsy shop selling hand-painted literary and geeky quote mugs. But pandemic life has thrown internet-reliance into high gear, and were it not for my long practice of thriftiness (art-as-profession doesn’t tend to fall into the ‘lucrative’ category), I might have been in real trouble. Quarantine + hours of nursing a baby = online spending DANGER.
To my husband’s relief, I didn’t lose my head and blow our savings on the entire Pottery Barn Teen Harry Potter collection. But I did splurge on a few things that have made a small, smile-inducing difference to this time I’m spending in quarantine with a new baby and a debut book release on the way.
We have a lot of them already (surprise, surprise), and at any given moment I’m salivating after at least a dozen more, so I usually try and exercise some restraint. But Quarantine seemed to demand an influx. A few highlights from what I’ve bought: Summer of the Great Grandmother by Madeleine L’Engle, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segel, and A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow.
I was a bit late to the planting game this year, since I couldn’t dig in the dirt much while nine months pregnant, and the first month or so of our son’s life passed in a sleep-deprived haze. But once the fog cleared, I realized our vegetable garden was an empty dirt plot, and that if I didn’t act quick, we wouldn’t have so much as a tomato from it all year. So I hightailed myself to Etsy, where I found a lovely shop called TheGardeningWorld, and proceeded to buy a deeply satisfying number of vegetable and flower seeds. Now our tomatoes plants are as tall as me, our herbs are thriving, and we have butternut squash vines taking over the world. And I am so grateful.
Okay, this one isn’t actually what you’re thinking. I’m not ordering drool-worthy Anthropologie dresses while trapped at home with no place to wear them. But I have done some online shopping to effect a little postpartum TLC, because the unavoidable truth is that the post-baby body is not one that leaves a woman feeling very much like herself. That, combined with a trapped-at-home lifestyle, very little outside help, and reduced sleep can leave a gal feeling down even without the help of postpartum depression. In order to cope with a body that feels all wrong, some new clothes were in order. Specifically, high-waisted yoga shorts, and some loose, breastfeeding-friendly dresses. Practical, but also (critically) things that make me feel capable, supported, and more like me.
As we are all learning, there’s no perfect way to navigate a pandemic, and the internet is not always helpful (I’m looking at you, depressing NY Times daily email). But there are some good things out there, too, and some of them are worth splurging on. Buy the ones that make you saner, happier, and that spread a little love to both you and the people who make them.
About the Author:
Hanna C. Howard spent most of her childhood wondering how she might avoid growing up, and eventually solved the conundrum by becoming an artist and a writer. She considers tea an essential food group, has more books than shelf-space, and thinks the ultimate geek triumvirate is Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, their two Disreputable Dogs, and one cat skilled in the Martial Arts.
Find Her Here:
Ignite the Sun by Hanna C Howard, out now!
Once upon a time, there was something called the sun…. In a kingdom ruled by a witch, the sun is just part of a legend about Light-filled days of old. But now Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the Light – or lose everything trying.
Sixteen-year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. That’s because Queen Iyzabel shrouded the kingdom in shadow upon her ascent to the throne, with claims it would protect her subjects from the dangerous Light.
The Darkness has always left Siria uneasy, and part of her still longs for the stories of the Light-filled days she once listened to alongside her best friend Linden, told in secret by Linden’s grandfather. But Siria’s need to please her strict and demanding parents means embracing the dark and heading to the royal city – the very center of Queen Izybel’s power- for a chance at a coveted placement at court. And what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of Light, alongside a ragtag group of rebels who could help her restore the sun…or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.