6 Things To Look Forward To While Sheltering In Place

It’s day 38 of self-isolation and I’ve run out of closets to organize and cakes to bake. While most of my days are structured around working remotely, I’ve discovered that I need to schedule a few downtime activities in order to:

  • help me differentiate between business hours and leisure hours;
  • minimize the time I spend lazing around eating the results of my latest baking experiment; and
  • give me weekend plans to look forward to even though Saturday and Sunday will, of necessity, be spent in exactly the same place as the rest of the week.

Here are some engaging activities that I’ve found helpful in expanding my free-time horizons.

1: Virtual Museum Tours

It’s always fun to take a few minutes to (remotely) swing by The Louvre  and see what’s up with the Mona Lisa or to have a virtual visit with a triceratops at the American Museum of Natural History.

In the Garden State, many museums have also created virtual tours for culture-starved art aficionados. Montclair Art Museum, for example, allows visitors to its website to hear from the artists themselves. Watch as Federico Uribe discusses his work.

Wow, this piece must have taken a lot of time and effort. (Montclair Art Museum Federico Uribe: Animalia)

2: Virtual Garden Tours

While nothing beats a pleasant afternoon wandering through beautiful gardens, at least we’ve got the next best thing available to us. Many organizations around the state, including The Keyport Garden Club are offering online tours.

So lovely – a stop on a previous Keyport Garden Walk.

3: Planning and Planting My Own Garden

Seeing such beautiful gardens inspires me to make the most of my own. I have more time to think about and plan a garden – to pore over Pinterest pics or the websites of my favorite magazines.

I think this is the year to include some ornamentation in my garden. Photo: Patricia BurkeDesign NJ June/July 2017 Landscape: Susan Cohan, APLD


It’s a bit early in the season, but when it’s time to start planting, I’ll be able to purchase plants at one of the many New Jersey garden centers that offer either delivery or curb-side pickup.

Glenwild Garden Center & Nursery in Bloomingdale offers curbside pickup.


Cicconi Farms in Jackson Township offers local delivery and curbside pickup.


Secluded Acres Farm & Garden Center in Rio Grande offers parking lot pick up and home delivery.

4: Learning With A Friend:

Interior Designer Kelly Wearstler explains how to make the best choices for our homes at MasterClass.com. (And the site is offering two-for-one membership right now!)

Kelly Wearstler

5: Bingeing Design Shows

I plan to work my way through the HGTV lineup. (House Hunters International has me dreaming of post-quarantine travels.)  I also like a good podcast, and  A Well-Designed Business”, offers insight on both interior design and business. Hosted by LuAnn Nigara of Livingston-based Window Works, the podcast features Nigara speaking to interior designers from across the country. It’s a great way to learn the nuances of interior design and the ins and outs of running a business.

Lu Ann Nigara

6: Reading Design Books

Even under normal circumstances, I love a good read. Now there’s lots of time to spend happily leafing through the pages of design books.

For those who, like me, enjoy a sneak peek into the lives of the rich and famous, “May I Come In,” published in 2018, is a dream come true. In it, author Wendy Goodman visits the homes of notable personages and shows us interiors that reflect the personalities of their occupants.

Wendy Goodman is a design enthusiast and a magazine editor.

New Jersey native Anthony Baratta’s first solo book was published in February 2020. “Decorate Happy” puts Baratta’s inimitable style on full display – with color and energy to boost our spirits during these challenging days.