Alyssa J Freitas

March 21, 2020

Reporting Live from Self Isolation

I didn't post a blog post this past Wednesday. Pretty sure that's the first week I've missed in about 5 years. But these are not normal times. These are global pandemic, coronavirus panic, social distancing, self isolating times.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! This is what has been going on during self isolation
A shot of me, sans makeup, 2 weeks into self isolation going to pick up takeout dinner from our favorite restaurant, marveling at the empty streets

I've been watching people fall into despair and become very hopeful. I've been watching my colleagues demonstrate resilience and compassion. I've been watching my friends and family try to find a "new normal." And I've gotten even closer to my guy than I thought I would be even a few weeks ago.

To say it is strange times in our memory is true. To say it's strange times for the world is not true. We're not going to do a full on back in time post because I don't want to make any unfair comparisons to what we're going through now or try to minimize what's happening by saying we've been through it before.

Here's the high level information. We had a series of "great plagues" in the 1600s, we had another plague sweep through in the 1700s, cholera and typhus hit hard in the 1800s, the Spanish Flu in the 1900s (admittedly, of great significance compared to the others based on total number of deaths - up to 100 million people died), and now here we are.

It's troubling and I am sure we're going to look back and wonder "Why didn't we do x, y, z? Why did we wait to do a, b, c?" Right now as we're living through it, it's hard to offer any advice or reassurance that doesn't feel like too little or too much. Stay home, wash your hands, don't touch your face, and so on.

Instead, I'm just going to give you a stream of consciousness post because I truly can't come up with a topic or nice list that seems appropriate. Ready? Good.

The Met is closed, and may be closed until July as of now. As you'd imagine, this is a blow to the girl who spends nearly every weekend there, losing herself in the galleries. Instead, you can check out the digital offerings here.

Boooooookkkksssss. Let me tell you, I'm going to have a nice roundup of everything I'm reading coming at you real soon. My Looker bookclub is going to virtually meet and I'm so excited.

FaceTime phone calls are through the roof. I'm catching up with friends as I would normally on the weekends and that's been fun. Can't wait to actually for new experiences to talk about and have together though.

Work has been a bit strange. My day to day interactions are good, but I'm trying to figure out how to navigate this time reaching out to new prospects. Things have slowed and I am concerned about what that means for all businesses, my own included. It is exciting that I'm officially a Googler now and I can't wait until we can get back in the office and I can feel like I'm in the movie The Internship. And yes, we did wear the hats.

Hanging out with Joe has been great. I knew that I liked spending time with him. I didn't realize that I like spending all of my time with him. In all seriousness, there isn't any one I'd rather be quarantined with. If we were writing our own vows, I feel like I had to include that 😂

On the wedding front, we don't have much more to do other than pray that things get better before then. We did book our flight to Italy for our honeymoon already not sure that that can be salvaged. We're lucky that it's still a ways out, so we'll see what happens!

Alright, that's pretty much all I have for ya. I hope that everyone is safe, going out only when they need to, and are happy with whoever they are quarantined with. You know, the sort of hopes you have to have in 2020, apparently.

How are you doing? What are you up to?

-Alyssa J

March 11, 2020

4 Tips for Phone Minimalism

Sometimes it feels like I've already written about all of the minimalism/organization/productivity suggestions out there - or at least someone has somewhere. And other times I have a few ideas that I feel like sharing, which is what you are getting today!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are some tips to help you manage your phone like a minimalist

Since so much of the clutter in my life and mind has to do with my phone - who I'm corresponding with, where I'm going, what still needs to get done on my to do list - I've been working on ways to optimize what I can do on my phone. This post is going to be a sort of catch all of the recent adjustments I've made, and I hope it inspires you to make some of your own.


So, I'd already made major strides in the notification department. I didn't have notifications for anything except texts, phone calls, and emails...but the emails were really bringing me down. I had already gotten to the point of only having badges, nothing popping up on the screen, but I recently took away all email notification. And you guys, it's made such a difference! I check my email less frequently on my phone, and I haven't missed anything important. I used to want to check constantly to clear away that little red dot, but now it's always cleared away.

Declutter contacts, text messages, recent calls, voicemails, photos, etc.

It is so cleansing to go through old contacts and conversations to remove people you're no longer in contact with and truly don't have a place in your phone. For many people this may be minor, but you may not even realize what a weight is lifted off of you when you can easily find what you're looking for instead of scrolling through clutter.

Streamline your note taking apps

One of the great things about always having our phones with us is that we are never without our notes (or calendar - I'm a big proponent of going as digital as you can). But, it can be far too easy to still end up keeping information in a bunch of different places. Whether that's text messages to yourself, your notes app, to-do app, the list goes on, there are so many potential places you can leverage. 

My best advice is to separate work and personal. For me, I keep all of my work notes in Evernote and all of my personal notes in the native Apple Notes app. My to-do list lives on my calendar and I'll shoot myself a text message as a reminder if there's something I want to go back to later. This method works for me, but play around to see what you like best. Have a place for everything and put everything in its place. 

Set up Screen Time (and actually listen to it)

Instagram is where I spend a good chunk of my time on my phone. I decided to limit myself to 25 minutes every day and have been sticking to it (unless I'm putting up one of my Instagram series, like The Met and Best Hot Coco in NYC). This can be used to help you be more mindful about where you're spending your time on your phone and just make you more aware in general.

Like I mentioned, these are some small changes that have been on my mind recently as ways to improve your experience on your phone and improve your focus and productivity. As always, less is more!

-Alyssa J

March 4, 2020

Apartment Cleaning Routine (with checklist)

I was so excited to move into our apartment. Number one to live with Joe, of course, closely followed by drastically reducing my commute, having everything I could want at my fingertips, and being in the greatest city on earth. Not too high on the list? Cleaning our own space.
Click to read now or pin to save for later. Here's everything you need to keep your apartment clean!

When living at home I helped keep the place clean, but I wasn't the primary person in charge, and during college I had a bedroom and bathroom, so that was pretty simple. I love to organize and get rid of things, but not clean. Or so I thought. Today I want to share with you our cleaning routine and how I'm actually enjoying the process. And I made a handy checklist for inspiration for you!

Weekly/Every Other Week

Saturday or Sunday mornings are when I do a deep clean. We're talking hands and knees scrubbing kind of clean. 

I start by dusting, including shelves, the baseboards, etc. I throw on some music and use a handheld Swiffer duster. I pay special attention to getting surfaces like the top of our light switches and back of the tv that you wouldn't normally notice if you were just scanning the room. 

After that I vacuum. I like to do this second in case anything fell off any of the surfaces while I was dusting. We have a Dyson we got on sale at Costco and I love it!

I jump into the kitchen next. While we clean the kitchen each time we cook, I'll go in and scrub the floors, the top of the fan, the wall behind the stove, etc. I use Clorox wipes on the floor and Mrs. Meyers multi-surface spray for counters. 

After dusting and before vacuuming, I spray the tub with Scrubbing Bubbles and let that do it's magic so it's ready to be scrubbed by the time I'm coming to the bathroom. I'll scrub the tub, wipe down the sides, clean the floor, empty the trash, clean the toilet (both the bowl and the base), and I clean the mirror. I'll also take everything off of the shelves in the medicine cabinet and wipe each of those down. 

Once a month(ish)?

Some of the less frequent tasks include vacuuming the couch, cleaning the spaces in our heater in the bathroom (I use a q-tip in each slot for that), cleaning the lampshades (with a lint roller), and wiping down the fridge. We have a pretty small space, so it's easy to do everything each week. 

We're good about consistently getting rid of clutter, like mail, and expired food, and such, but I will also pick up items like that during the weekly cleaning process to keep things spic and span!

Here's a checklist you can use for inspiration.

-Alyssa J

February 26, 2020

February 2020 Monthly Recap

This month has been nonstop - especially the last two weeks. I'm writing this from the breakfast table at a hotel in Tampa where I am for a meeting. As my deals at work have gotten further along, I'm finding myself traveling more and I'm simultaneously loving it and getting completely warn out by it. One day at a time!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out what I was up to in February

We started out February going to our friend John and Christina's Super Bowl party. We had a great time and will never forget the chicken wing saga of '20. Don't ask 😂

I got to the Met twice this month, which is pretty good! Once by myself and once with Austen. I've been loving my #findmeatthemet series. It keeps things interesting. There are some new exhibits opening soon, so there's plenty to keep me busy.
Sheetal and I have slowed down on our hot chocolate reviews as our travel schedules have gotten busier, but there are definitely still more places we need to check out.

Joe and I had a sweet Valentine's celebration at a favorite restaurant and have been planning our honeymoon. The romance is off the charts.

Dylan and Maddi came for a visit and we had some phenomenal meals together!

I traveled to Tennessee last week and my coworker and I had to do a road trip between Nashville and Memphis.

For Lady's birthday we went to the NY Historical Society and I got to play president.

All last weekend was dedicated to wedding planning. From getting my dress fitted, to submitting payments to vendors, to shopping for rings, it was action packed. We still have a good amount of items to check off our list, but progress is being made. Once the wedding is over and we come back from our honeymoon I'll do a series of posts about the process. Let me know if there's anything specific you want to know more about!

What have you been up to in February?

-Alyssa J

February 19, 2020

9 Winter Activities in NYC on a Budget

Winter in New York; there's nothing like it. It's magical and festive and all that starts to wear off come February. It's still freezing, but there are no holiday activities to keep us entertained, and you've most likely run through most of your cold weather ideas by this point. Never fear - today I'm sharing with you my the top things to do during the winter that won't break the bank, and won't require you to freeze outside.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are the top places to go in NYC and things to do on a budget in the winter

1. Rock climbing 

You've seen this many a time in my monthly recaps. I love rock climbing and it's the perfect activity to give you a fun workout, not matter what the temperature. I go to Central Rock gym. 

2. Ping Pong, Pool

Going to a bar that has games is a great way to spend a fun winter evening. Ping Pong is my favorite and it won't break the bank to socialize and play to your heart's content. Break Bar is Astoria is a go-to. 

3. Take a cooking class

I've been looking for places to do this in the city and would love any recommendations you may have. 

4. Museums. All the museums. 

As you know, I am obsessed with the Met and can spend days there. I also recommend the New York Historical Society. It's much smaller and you can see the whole thing in a few hours and learn something new! Friday nights are pay as you wish.

5. Explore a new place to read

The New York Public Library system is extensive and there's nothing like reading in the flagship location

6. Host a game night or go to a board game bar

Joe and I love playing board games together and are growing our collection. If you want to try out some new games, head to The Uncommons

7. Comedy show

There are so many inexpensive places to go for comedy shows. You can check out this Meetup page for groups that even give away free tickets. 

8. Movies

If you're a morning person you can check out matinees for a better price and less crowds. You can also watch movies at home and work your way through lists like this.

9. Sample hot chocolate

My friend Sheetal and I are doing an Instagram series on the best hot chocolate places in the city. Check it out here

What activities do you turn to in the cold winter months? 

-Alyssa J