It’s impossible to make sense of this crazy moment in time we’re all living through.
For many people, it means a lot of suffering—illness, the loss of loved ones, and the loss of jobs and livelihoods. For others, it means heroism—healthcare workers clocking insane hours and grocery store clerks working overtime to keep food on the shelves, both while putting their own safety at risk. For many of us, though, doing our part to “flatten the curve” simply means… staying home for what feels like an eternity.
In our house, Mike’s on non-stop Zooms and calls, Spencer’s finishing his first year of university on his laptop, and Annie is working on her guitar skills and missing her friends’ hugs. (Man, how good was the timing on her bedroom makeover now that she’s there full-time?!)
With all of us together, I’ve been focusing on embracing the slow down the quarantine has forced on us. That means painting, reading, dog (and teen!) haircuts, lots of good cooking, yoga… and, of course, cuddling. It feels a bit prescient that I had already started edging towards a “less tech at home” ethos.
But less tech doesn’t mean no tech. I remain eternally enthused about gadgets that make our home lives easier and simpler. And at this moment in time, when we literally can’t get out of the house, those are even more necessary. So, I’m sharing the home tech essentials that are keeping my family healthy and sane during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joovv Red Light Therapy
This little light panel (pictured above) follows me around the house: If I’m reading recipes at the kitchen table, doing my morning skincare routine, folding laundry or stealing away for a little meditation moment… I’ll take it with me and get a blast of red light while I’m at it. Joovv light panels use medical-grade LED panels to deliver the concentrated light our skin cells crave (and are starved for, now that we’re all spending more time inside), without heat or UV rays that cause sun damage. Purported benefits of infrared and red light include a decrease in inflammation, and a boost to muscle recovery, skin health and better sleep. For me, I’m finding it gives me a bit of an energy boost in the middle of the day, and helps combat the emotional cocktail I get from watching the news.
Red Light Therapy DeviceJoovv$695Shop Now
Molekule Air Purifier
Every time I read more about these virus-carrying “droplets,” my mental state takes a dive. The idea of improving the air quality in our home definitely makes me feel safer. While most purifiers won’t be able to grab germs, THIS one uses uses technology that not only traps things like viruses, it destroys them using UV light. The company even says its own research shows it effectively captures smaller pollutants like bacteria, viruses, black mold and harmful VOCs. I can’t say it’ll kill COVID-19 for sure, but it helps me feel a bit less stressed out when it’s on and running.
I’m lucky to have some friends at Breville and over the years I’ve been gifted some of their great small appliances. But honestly, I’d buy them a thousand times over: They’re a permanent fixture in our family’s life. The milk frother is in heavy rotation as each family member arrives in the kitchen to make their morning latte (mine and Annie’s is turmeric, Mike and Spencer like matcha). And it’s become a new quarantine tradition each weekend to get 10 lbs. of oranges from our local farm and juice them in this citrus press… something I would never have thought I had the time to do but now, why not? Lastly, Breville’s “3X Bluicer” lets you go back and forth between juicing and blending with one space-saving device. Feeling like an immunity-boosting ginger-turmeric shot? Juice it. Want a protein-packed veggie smoothie to follow up your live at-home workout class? Blend, instead.
Humidifiers have legit wellness benefits. Research has shown they can help create an environment in which it’s harder for flu viruses to survive. The key is keeping them clean so they’re not pushing dirty water into the air; I like this Dyson model because it self-cleans. And again, if you’ve got dry air, they just make breathing a little easier… which may help you get the most out of that quarantine meditation practice?
Pure Humidify+CoolDyson$799Shop Now
Brod & Taylor Dehydrator
Months of staying home with a family of four requires a lot of snacks, and I’ve been making plenty in my dehydrator. Think dried apples, zucchini chips, and pineapple spears. I fell in love with this model because it works so well and, when the apocalypse is over and you need counter space for things like entertaining, you can fold it up and store it.
Sahara Folding Food DehydratorBrod & Taylor$349Shop Now
ZIIP Beauty Microcurrent Facial
Hoo boy, I’ve been lusting after this little device for a while, watching countless YouTube videos and trying to decide if it was worth it… and then the pandemic hit and gone were my regular facials and here was a lot of time to devote to skin care experimentation. So I splurged and my ZIIP Nanocurrent device arrived in the mail! Slather on the conductive gel (which is a treatment in itself!) then sync this device to your phone and load in treatments that can solve any skincare problem from pigmentation and acne to firming and lifting. I’m partial to the lymph drainage treatment, as well as the one that makes my eyes look a bit less tired. ZIIP founder (and celebrity esthetician) Melanie Simon will walk you through each treatment in a video you load in the app— and if her porcelain skin is my “after” inspiration, I’m hooked.
Nanocurrent Device and Gel KitZIIP$480Shop Now
We’re obviously trying to limit visits to the grocery store as much as possible, and the Almond Cow helps by making it easy to make our own nut milks at home. I also love that it cuts down packaging waste, so you don’t have to abandon your eco-living goals while living through a pandemic. Almond milk is just the start: we’ve been making cashew, hazelnut, and coconut milk too.
Plant-Based Milk MakerAlmond Cow$195Shop Now
Aarke Sparkling Water Maker
My Aarke serves a similar purpose—it allows me to have an unlimited supply of sparkling water without going to the store to buy (potentially plastic) bottles. Not to mention, it’s a gorgeous addition to my countertop (and comes in pretty colors for yours, like brass, black and copper). I think it helps keep us healthy, too, because it gives everyone a special drink option that feels like an upgrade from water but isn’t something sugary. Plus I’ve recently discovered a couple CO2 canister recycling programs that make it easy to do it all online— no store visits required.
Sparkling Water MakerAARKE$219Shop Now
Casetify UV Sanitizer
Bonus: I don’t have one of these, but I really, really wish I did right now. This might just be the most helpful tech available in the face of coronavirus. Essentially, you put your phone in it and UV light kills 99.9 percent of the germs living on it. As you can imagine, demand for the product is very high right now so ship times are long, but the company is also donating all proceeds from purchases to GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. (FYI, they don’t have a way to test if it kills the coronavirus, specifically, yet.)
UV SanitizerCasetify$120Shop Now
Until I can get my hands on one, I guess I’ll continue to go through approximately 1,000 Clorox wipes per day. Anyone else in the same boat?