Lockdown 2.0: The Ultimate Night In
Well, this is awkward. Things aren’t going exactly as we’d hoped, to say the least. The return to some shred of normalcy is suddenly far out of reach. The scramble to clear out the toilet paper aisle is beginning all over again. In many cities, outdoor dining has been suspended and a curfew has been set. I don’t know about you, but we’re having deja-covid. However, we’re one quarantine older and wiser and we’ve all found our lockdown style by now. If it’s possible, let’s not allow this time to be as daunting and anxious. So we’re here to give you something to look forward to. We’re going to walk you through what we’d call the Ultimate Night-In. Grab your significant other, a member or two from your quarantine pod, or just yourself… surely you’ve gotten good at being alone by now.
5:00pm: Get Comfy
As far as we’re concerned, your workday ends now. So switch that “do not disturb” setting on Slack and take off that designated zoom meeting blazer and maybe also your bra. Honestly, if you’ve even managed to put on a bra during this time, you’re an overachiever and you deserve this. Make sure whoever is joining you knows the dress code: sweatpants, sweatshirts, and fuzzy socks. No heels or crop tops allowed. That being said, being comfy can still mean being chic. The following brands accomplish both goals with beyond reasonable price points. New quarantine, new wardrobe. Right? RIGHT?!
*A seriously cool, comfy, and functional collection by comedian Amy Schumer.
*Classic and sophisticated neutrals that you’ll even be able to wear out once all of this over.
5:30pm: Make Yourself A Drink
Whether you’re drinking alcohol, La Croix, or some immunity-boosting, crime-fighting turmeric tonic, a ritual evening beverage sipped in a state of relaxation tells your brain it’s officially “me time.”
While we can’t all live like Cameron Diaz, we sure as hell can try by drinking her new brand of organic, biodynamic wine, Avaline. Not only is it delicious, but there are also zero added sugars or dies which are what give you the infamous wine headache. Available through Drizly or Harry's Wine (<<links).
If you’re skipping the booze, try Kin Euphoric mocktails which contain serotonin-producing superfoods and delightful botanicals like hibiscus and ginger. Find these at Whole Foods.
6:00pm: Set The Tone
We may be stuck at home all over again, but let’s not underestimate the value of creating a completely different vibe throughout your space with something as simple as music. Re-create the sultry mood of a dimly lit bar, an elegant romantic restaurant, or even a hipster dinner party with the following playlists that strike just the right tone for an immersive night in.
"Sexy Dinner Party" by Delaney Rowe on Spotify
"A Single Vibe" by Alex Delany on Spotify
6:30pm: Dinner Time
The ultimate night-in calls for the ultimately culinary experience. While tee-ing up Postmates (now Uber?) is easy, these recipes are just as easy and far less expensive. Okay, okay… maybe not just as easy. But Postmates doesn’t leave you with leftovers to dive into with a spatula at 10pm once your friend leaves. Not to mention that cooking something food-coma-worthy is the perfect activity to prime you for a few hours of screen time. More on that later. These recipes are among the reigning champions in the simple, delicious, and cheap category.
Wine-Braised Chicken Thighs with artichoke hearts
*Expect a bright, tangy flavor profile that’s grounded in warming, comforting dark meat and crispy chicken skin. Recipe by Alison Roman from New York Times Cooking.
*If you’re looking for something vegetarian with the sophistication of a traditional French ratatouille but the indulgence of a bowl of carbs. Recipe by Sarah Jampel from Bon Appetit.
Seafood Okra Stew with black rice
*For when you’re an adventurous eater but a lazy cook. A spicy, cajun one-pot dish that will trick your friends into thinking you’re fancy AF. Recipe by Alexander Smalls from Food & Wine.
7:00pm: Pamper Yourself
Getting “pampered” used to mean time-consuming manicures, over-priced massages, and painful waxing treatments. We’re now living in a world where these indulgences simply aren’t as accessible anymore, and maybe for the better! The opportunity to be pampered is waiting for you right at home, in your pantry. With a few simple ingredients, we know you already have, you’ll be feeling luxurious in a matter of minutes. Just like Cameron Diaz. And go ahead and refill your drink right about now.
Brightening Superfood Face Mask
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Raw Honey
Combined ingredients in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of the mask on your face and leave for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and a cleanser. Oh, and don’t use a white towel. Turmeric, while healing and delicious, stains absolutely everything.
Hydrating Refrigerator Hair Mask
3-4 Egg Whites
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Combined ingredients in a small bowl. Massage through dry hair. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner. Make sure to rinse really well or else you’ll end up smelling like a vinaigrette.
8:00pm: Movie Time
You don’t need to convince me that watching The Parent Trap for the four-hundredth time is a good idea. It is. However, the Ultimate Night-In is about creating a memorable experience that separates it from every other night-in you’ll be having over the next few months. Challenge yourself to watch something completely new and current. You need something interesting to talk about during your FaceTime happy hour with your extended family with whom you have nothing in-common, don’t you? We’ve got you:
Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti.
*An existential romantic comedy accurately described as Groundhog Day meets Wedding Crashers. It’s funny, smart, and will quickly make it onto your “re-watchable” list. Available to watch on Hulu.
Sh*thouse starring Cooper Raiff and Dylan Gelula
*There’s a reason why an endless amount of charming, indie, coming-of-age movies get made: because they’re the best type of movies. This one made a huge splash at all the festivals and you’ll be the friend who knew about it before it became huge. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
10:30pm: End Your Night With A Moment of Gratitude
Take a hot bath. Listen to a podcast. Call a loved one. However you choose to wind down, take time to reflect, and express gratitude for the privilege of a night-in. Not everyone has such a luxury. Let’s remember that the Ultimate Night-In is, ultimately, the Safest Night-In. So wear your masks, social distance and take care.