Read, Watch, Buy: Recommendations From A Year in Quarantine

Prior to March 2020, I kept my days and evenings pretty full. Between an office job, school pickup, and evening activities, by the time the day was winding down I pretty much had an hour or so to try to relax.

Once the commute to work stopped and going back and forth to activities stopped, I found myself with a lot more of this evening time to finally catch up on things I wanted to read and watch. In this year, I’ve read so many great books and seen so many great shows, movies, and documentaries. I’ve also found products that I fell in love with.

Below are some of my favorites that I experienced this year:

Read, Watch, and Buy: Recommendations From Quarantine

A woman reading



My standby comedy favorites, guaranteed for a laugh, became more important this year than ever:

I have A many more on my to-watch list that I haven’t gotten to yet: Fleabag, Dead to Me, Normal People, Pen15, The Wilds, Derry Girls, The Great, and more. I better get that TV fired up!


I also had time this year to think about how to streamline my life, so I could spend more time on things that are important or joyful. I came across a lot of items that helped facilitate this, and items that just helped make my life better in some way.

  • Schwinn Ic4
    This was one of my splurges of the year, but so far I’ve found it to be worth it. I got it in October and have used it consistently since and still look forward to going on rides. I use it with the Peloton app, which is $12.99/month. I also did take advantage of the 0 percent financing offer for this purchase.
  • Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
    I bought this on Prime Day and am still so glad I did. It’s finally helping to kick the time and expense of the “I’ll go through the coffee shop drive thru and get a latte!” phase I’ve been going through for years.
  • Miroco Milk Frother/Steamer
    I also bought this on Prime Day and it adds the perfect touch to my at-home lattes.
  • Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
    I wish I bought this earlier. I have thin hair and this helps create the perfect bouncy blowout. I’m terrible at using hair tools and even I can’t screw this up.
  • L’Oreal Blow Dry It Quick Dry Primer Spray
    I bought this at the beginning of last March, and was so excited about how much time it would save me in the morning going forward. Well, I only ended up with a few more days of a normal morning routine before the shutdown . . .but it seriously shaved minutes off my hair drying routine for that week. It’s the first product I’ve used that actually notably cuts down on drying time.
  • Tinkle Eyebrow Razor
    Another item I wish I discovered years ago. This helps keep my unruly eyebrows groomed in between waxing appointments, which was especially important during the shutdown!
  • Fairy Tales Tangle Tamers Super Charge Detangling Shampoo
    The hair salon I took my Kindergartner to recommended this and it’s seriously been a game-changer at our house. My daughter has tangly, fine blonde hair and nothing seemed to help the knots. This has saved a lot of tears in our household, and it washes out without any residue.
  • Muffin Top Pan
    Shout out to fellow writer Susie for this one. This muffin top pan makes the perfect egg for a breakfast sandwich.

It’s been a long year in quarantine. What are some of your favorite reads, watches, and items?

Related: Check out more COVID-19 related content from Iowa City Moms!

Things to Keep in the New Normal

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Brigette lives in North Liberty with her husband Brian, energetic daughter Kate (October 2014) and their two cats, Penny and Olive. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Brigette came to Iowa City to attend the journalism school at the University of Iowa, fell in love with the area, and decided she couldn’t leave. After meeting Brian while working at the same Iowa City restaurant in college, they got married in August 2015 in the heart of downtown. She works full time in project management and as an employee of the Core Fitness Kids Club while finishing her MBA at Upper Iowa University. In her free time, she drags Kate out garage sale-ing, tries to keep up with her reading list and runs, lives for Hawkeye football season, enjoys a good meal on a patio, runs her Bachelor/Bachelorette bracket with her family and friends, and of course, chases her daughter around the pool and the park.


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