The sanity list: 47 discoveries which were getting us through the pandemic – more way of life


The most productive object approximately 2020 is also that it’s over. The second one-best (and perhaps third-, fourth-, and fifth-best) is up for debate. The pandemic forced us to rethink our day-to-day routines and find some level of sanity amid the chaos, so Bloomberg Pursuits polled the newsroom to root out the most productive pandemic discoveries: new services and products and products and activities that brought us delight, that improved the day-to-day-to-what-day-is-it-again of our lives.

There were baking suggestions, of class lesson (“rosemary bread that functions as dessert, breakfast, and afternoon snack”). And, yes, puzzles galore (“you’ll be able to dive out and in, so it’s great for a break from screens”). But there are also YouTube playlists whether you overlook the background chatter of an office, robot bartenders, and potties for your pet. There even is a pet. There are games that still make Zoom a joy, and a tea that drinks like a beer. How approximately an app that can assist you with your trees—and your tree pose? Scroll on through. 

Foliage Field Guide

With the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Edition, I have learned the difference between a sycamore and a London planetree, between a black oak and a white oak. I will be able to spot a sassafras leaf. I stop on walks and stare upward. (I at all times did that, but now I have an excuse.) —Peter Coy, economics editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Sonic Escape

I loved working in coffee shops before the pandemic. It wasn’t just the cozy setting and caffeine fix but the sounds I thrived on: the soft chatter, the whirring of espresso brewing, the crackling of unfolding newspapers. Thankfully, YouTube is full of endless hours of this auditory ambiance. Stuck in WFH purgatory, I slip on noise-canceling headphones and sonically transport to my neighborhood café or any number of soundscapes that brought me focus pre-Covid-19: a engaged office, a shushed library, a clacking train. No YouTube clips will ever replace the consolation those environment given in person, but they certain whip the isolated silence of my apartment. —Austin Carr, technology reporter, Bloomberg News

CBD Mask Sprays

This new product from a CBD fundamental oil company sounds gimmicky, and you are going to have strong opinions approximately the ones you don’t maintain. But they’re a super smart idea: Incentivize wearing a mask by spraying it with a pleasant scent. I love the sugar cookie one, which is made for kids and has a warm, comforting spicy scent. It makes me in truth wish to put on my mask. —Kate Krader, Food Editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

Swedish Lawn Game

I’m not big on lawn games, I live in a fifth-floor apartment. But when my pod-mate introduced us to Kubb in April, it quickly became our favorite way to spend quarantine weekends in the park. Suddenly, I’m noticing lush grass, worn paths, shady trees—and how they have an effect on my toss. The next challenge? Snow. —Lindsey Rupp, digital editor, Bloomberg News

Snail Mail

The entire screen time at the height of the pandemic was once exhausting. While I missed my family and friends, the very last thing I wanted to do after work was once another Zoom call. I started mailing handwritten letters over the summer and got personalized stationary from a native shop. Writing an old style note was once not only therapeutic, it was once a fun way to surprise loved ones. —Jacqueline Davalos, reporter, Bloomberg News

Keurig for Cocktails

Every time my mom and I press the button on this gizmo, the Bartesian, we’re at the bar with Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Our hack: We use the cocktail pods with soda water on dry days, and we still feel we’re at the beach sipping Long Island Ice Teas. Now, that’s a pandemic vacation. —Amanda L. Gordon, reporter, Bloomberg News 

Streaming Road Food

I steadily organize my travels around food and, particularly since moving to Asia, Road food. So when I first started watching Netflix’s “Road Food: Asia”, I used to be worried it might be merciless, all things thought to be. But it was once soothing. After each and every episode, I chose one featured dish as inspiration to cook myself. —Megan Hess, mobile editor, Bloomberg Media

Buy Nothing Groups

These hyper-local Facebook groups have sprung up all over the world with the intention to curb consumption and knit community. Today, I met a chocolatier who lives around the corner and responded to my ISO for 1/4 cup of black cocoa—it’s it seems that sold out far and wide because of Covid-related shortages—that could be the most neighborly object I’ve ever done. (Run to the neighbor’s house for a cup of sugar, but make it social media.) I also gave absent our old puppy supplies to someone newly fostering down the Road. My native chapter has also started the use of the group to address food insecurity in our community, offering up the fruits of our stress baking or, more simply, pantry items that are going unused. I love that it’s a way to live more sustainably—I check with the group before buying anything that I’ll only use for a twinkling of an eye (like a scooter helmet my toddler is certain to reject)—and also to meet neighbors all over a time that’s another way so isolating. —Nikki Ekstein, go back and forth editor, Bloomberg Pursuits


While we wait for science to save the day, I’ve been turning to Scientist. The music producer, born Hopeton Overton Brown, made a string of early 1980s reggae albums that are slow, pretty, and drenched in echo. I’ve never liked mellowness such a lot. —Max Abelson, reporter, Bloomberg News

Dungeons & Dragons

We started playing this in earnest over Zoom with myself, my two sons (aged 8 and 12) and my college friends and their kids who live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London. It’s been great and a wonderful way to connect and have fun, too. There’s all sorts of campaigns; we started with one from a starter’s guide. One of my sons is a rogue, my other is a half-elf wizard, and I’m a fighter.  —Matthew Leising, finance reporter, Bloomberg News

Beer Without the Calories

One of my favorite breweries doesn’t in truth make beer. Hoplark HopTea’s unique take on tea has the same hoppy taste as my favorite craft brews, but without the calories. A $45 a month subscription will give you access to a special 12-pack each four weeks (and other discounts). They also inventory these awesome teas at Whole Foods. —Michael Leibel, social media and audience development editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Tony’s Chocolonely

It was once in point of fact the “outworldliness” and “extraordinariness” that drew me to Tony’s Chocolonely, breaking my monotonous routine of being confined to the same four walls. The chocolate bar became my day-to-day pandemic staple in the grimmest lockdown days and just as the intensity of working from home asked for some feel-good sugar kick. The wrapping’s psychedelic colors and irregular pieces transport you to Willy Wonka’s world. And the chocolate itself—rich and smooth, with ordinary flavor combinations ranging from dark milk pretzel toffee to white raspberry popping sweet—would make for an exploration. Its mission-driven maker works directly with West African farmers to produce chocolate that’s 100% slave free, making it a completely guilt-free pleasure. —Agnieszka de Sousa, food & agriculture reporter, Bloomberg News

Bike Share

In some way, I spent most of my life not knowing how to ride a bike. New York’s lockdown gave me time to change that with a Citi Bike membership. Zipping around in a bike lane is a pleasure instead of a chore—I haven’t taken the subway since March. Now my sister’s learning, too. —Annie Massa, making an investment reporter, Bloomberg News

A Litterbox Alternative

We became pet owners for the first time shortly before the pandemic, adopting two kittens that brought us great delight—but their litter box did not. Then I stumbled upon Kitty’s Loo, an amazing device that trains your cat to use a human toilet. No more buying litter, never touch a scoop again, simply flush absent as the law of evolution intended. But it takes time to train them, and you want to be present so as to reward them with treats when they use it (and be around to clean up when they don’t), so WFH was once the easiest possibility. Our kittens learned to use it in approximately three months. Next, we’re hoping to train them to pull the flush lever. —Natalie Obiko Pearson, Vancouver bureau chief, Bloomberg News

Used Library Books

My son already had a sizable library of great children’s books, and then came the pandemic. Let’s just say we’ve had such a lot of reading opportunities these past few months that we needed a couple of new titles. Along with supporting our beloved native bookstore, I’ve expanded his collection with an assist from I try to shop for only used hardcover titles, most of which are decommissioned library books still in good condition. They cost just a few bucks apiece, ship for free, and feel great in your hands. —Joel Weber, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Hoka Running Shoes

An unforeseen consequence of my zero-commute WFH existence has been quite a lot of walking. I force myself to receive out of doors and walk whenever imaginable—all over convention calls, Zoom calls, whenever I don’t want to kind while talking. That means I’ve been logging a minimum of six or seven miles a day. That also means I needed much better footwear, and the savior of my knees and ankles has been my twosome of Hoka Bondi 7 running shoes. (I still aspire to run. Sooner or later.) They’re super comfy and have maximalist padding. Not for everyone. But for anyone of a sure age prone to joint pain, these shoes are worth it. —Jim Aley, features editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Moka Pot

When the coffee shops shut down I resorted to my dusty vinaigrette press for a couple of weeks before a indistinct reminiscence from a hiking commute saw us buy a Bialetti Moka Pot, a stove top coffee maker. It’s the nearest object you’ll be able to get to espresso coffee without an espresso machine. The brewing process has turn out to be a cherished morning ritual, in conjunction with sipping the steaming cup of coffee that results. —Tom Metcalf, finance editor, Bloomberg News


Keen for an indoor hobby that could turn out to be a lifelong hobby, I downloaded the app a couple weeks into the pandemic. I used to be fairly young the final time I had attempted to play chess, so there was once (and still is!) definitely a learning curve. The app has lessons, puzzles, drills, and even live games you’ll be able to watch. You’ll be able to also play against the computer or a friend. I got my mom and my boyfriend into playing as mannered, and it’s proven to be a great activity if you’re across the room or across the country from one another. The Queen’s Gambit hitting Netflix this fall was once icing on the cake. —Hannah Levitt, finance reporter, Bloomberg News

Virtual Escape Rooms

Since we ran narrative approximately escape rooms going online this spring, I’ve beaten a handful of virtual versions with a few friends who are god-level escape artists. Whether you’re a crossword puzzle or Jeopardy! person and can take care of a bit of cooperation, they’re a fun step up from Jackbox games that can make you are feeling, for an hour or so, as whether you’ve also escaped our rolling global hostage crisis. Plus, you’re steadily supporting a small commerce that badly needs the help. —Jeff Muskus, senior features editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Fresh Bread via Instagram

Traveling huge distances for excellent fresh bread is completely fair, and I would absolutely have dedicated to a commute to shop for the sourdough at Neighborhood Bread. As luck would have it, the two bakers in the back of the commerce, which was once set up on Instagram after both missing their pre-pandemic jobs, deliver their excellent English muffins, cardamom buns, and focaccia themselves. A couple of months into it, the almost unattainable luxury of fresh bread delivered to my door still hasn’t, whether you are going to forgive the (unforgivable) pun, grown stale. —James Tarmy, arts columnist, Bloomberg Pursuits

An Amazon Alternative

I joined a book club so I would be reading anything else but the news after work. It was once the Black Lives Matter protests, when the Buy Black lists were going around Instagram, that after all broke me of my Amazon cheapskate-ness, and I started ordering via The way it works, it can choose a particular bookstore (Black-owned, queer-leaning, one in your hometown, whatever), and then the full benefit from your purchase goes to them; or you’ll be able to just shop and it goes into a general slush fund that’s evenly distributed back to save these small businesses. Yes, it’s more expensive, and no, shipping isn’t “free,” but it’s fast, easy, and one small step toward putting my money where my values are. —Justin Ocean, deputy editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

’80s Card Game

After exhausting pretty much each card/board/puzzle game we could find, my brother came home with this $5 card game from the 1980s. Phase 10 certainly has twists, We get additional competitive and just when you think you’re approximately to move ahead, someone trips up your game plan. We will be able to play for hours, and we at all times laugh. (Also, it helps we’ve got Johnny Drum bourbon in our glasses.) —Margaret Sutherlin, audience development editor, Bloomberg Media

Coffee Bean Subscriptions

I started ordering fancy coffee beans all over lockdown as a mini splurge. That upgrade in quality gave me something to look forward to each morning to break up the day-to-day slog of all things 2020. And now it’s turn out to be a staple of my new WFH routine. Completely worth it. Bonus: You’re helping out a small commerce at the same time. Many places, such as  Square Mile (in the U.K.), now do subscriptions and will ship to you; in the U.S., there’s Time and Tide. —Sarah Muller, deputy managing editor, EMEA, Bloomberg News

Sports Radio

I started listening to sports talk radio back in March, which is obviously ironic since, mannered, nobody was once playing. The irascible Joe Benigno—a famously testy, long-suffering, die-hard blue-collar fan—emerged as my go-to voice on WFAN 101.9 FM in New York. “The toy store is closed,” he said in his broad New Jersey growl the day after the NBA season was once put on hold. Instead of March Insanity, he and his co-host Evan Roberts devised a separate tournament, The Benigno Bracket of Pain, which forced him to rate, steadily hilariously, which sporting event had caused him more grief over time: the Mets’ business of Tom Seaver, say, or the double-overtime Jets loss to the Browns in the 1986 playoffs? Leave it to a lifelong Jets, Mets, and Knicks fan—inoculated by tragedy, accustomed to distress—to help put things in perspective. —James Gaddy, editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

Down Dog App

The Down Dog app has saved me this year. They had a sale early on in the pandemic and for $40, I’ve been ready to practice five days a week since March. I’ve missing 30 lbs, even with my pandemic-break baking habit! —Aeriel Brown, photo director, Bloomberg Businessweek

Gardening, With a Virtual Assistant

Going full-on geriatric, I tackled the mysterious plants lurking in my back garden, which I’d uncared for ever since moving in seven years ago. Though my late father was once an avid gardener, I am a neophyte. I used to be ready to identify and research what was once what by taking photos with this handy app called PlantSnap. I went quite snap-happy this summer in search of new plants all over a vacation in Cornwall. I killed a couple of hydrangeas along the way and puttered around obsessively battling slugs, but I now realize the difference between rhododendrons and azaleas (sort of). —Stephanie Baker, senior creator, London, Bloomberg News

Audible Subscription for Celebrity Memoirs

All correct, so there’s no subscription to Audible specifically for celebrity memoirs. But I recommend that’s what you use it for. I’ve found that I’m so addicted to tuning out with podcasts approximately the news, I need an escape from my escape. And listening to a celebrity prattle on approximately themselves is like listening to an old friend jabber for a couple of peaceable, stupid hours. Start with Tina Fey, Rob Lowe (seriously), Mary-Louise Parker, Mindy Kaling, Michelle Obama, Jessica Simpson, Demi Moore, Tiffany Haddish, Jessi Klein, and Carrie Fisher. —Chris Rovzar, editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

Child’s Bike Seat

People in Berlin bike far and wide, and plenty of parents have extraordinarily fancy bike contraptions for transporting kids. (Every so often three at a time!) So far, we have only a traditional Hamax bike seat for our two-year-old, and that’s been great for making excursions while avoiding crowded public transportation. But how much fun would it be to have this kind of e-chariots? —Caroline Winter, reporter, Bloomberg Businessweek

Catan Over Zoom

I learned to play this Monopoly-meets-Game of Thrones board game while staying with friends in Vermont in February, and bought my own set when I got back to Australia. Right through the pandemic, the four of us (Christy and Eric in Vermont, Katja in New York, and me in Melbourne) have got together over Zoom and FaceTime to play for hours all over their Saturday evenings/my Sunday mornings. Every of us duplicates the board, and we debrief approximately the pandemic, life, and our choices of food and beverages. It’s turn out to be the spotlight of our weeks. —Jason Gale, senior editor, Bloomberg News

Homesick Challah

I moved with my circle of relatives to Hong Kong at the tail end of 2019, and it’s an understatement to say that this isn’t the in a foreign country adventure we’d anticipated. Covid-wise, we’ve been fairly fortunate, but even knowing how naughty things are at home, there’s plenty we overlook, including Saturday morning challah french toast. (Turns out challah’s not a staple of Hong Kong bakeries; go figure.) Then a friend pointed me to Joan Nathan’s challah recipe, first published in the New York Times in 2001. Working from an office generally gets in the way of Friday bread-baking, but working from home, even at a desk under my son’s loft bed, has its advantages. I halve the recipe so I will be able to bake it in my tiny counter-top oven, and there’s still plenty left over for vinaigrette toast. —Janet Paskin, senior editor, Hong Kong, Bloomberg News


As lockdown wore on, I may have realized three martinis in a night isn’t one of the simplest ways to make time hurry faster. That’s when I switched to just vermouth on ice. Not that rancid bottle of Dolin Dry that went with my gin (retain your vermouth in the fridge, kids!), but fancier, more craft brands such as Lo-Fi Aperitifs Gentian Amaro, a red wine-based bottle which totally changed my opinion of vermouth—so brisk! so complicated! so refreshing! Before long, I had bought up my native store’s provide, falling in love with bottles like Cap Corse Mattei Blanc, Cocchi Americano, Casa Mariol Vermut, and Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero d’Or. And I’m still discovering more. —Justin Ocean, deputy editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

A Guidebook for Griffith Park

A new book approximately one of The usa’s largest urban parks from the founder of Despite the fact that I’ve lived close this Los Angeles oasis for decades, it led me to parts I didn’t realize, from a remote wooden bridge on the Hogback trail to the peak of Bee Rock, a surprisingly arduous climb. “Discovering Griffith Park”  is stuffed with history as mannered, from Playboy’s Hugh Hefner saving the Hollywood signal to the complicated life of Griffith J. Griffith, park benefactor and attempted assassin. —Chris Palmeri, Los Angeles bureau chief, Bloomberg News

Pirate-Themed Game

The least-expected silver lining of the pandemic has been Forgotten Waters, a witty and beautifully designed pirate-themed role-playing board game. Its online extension let me gather with my old Toronto crew for some grog-guzzling, booty-looting, and over-arrrr-ticulation. —Jeremy Keehn, features editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Vinyl Records

The screens—online school, scrolling Twitter, streaming music and movies. What a relief late in lockdown to have come late to vinyl. For more than a decade, I’ve driven past a faded Seattle record store called Golden Oldies. One evening, I walked by and left with an armful of LPs. They’re marvelously tactile, resolutely non-digital—and they do sound better. I play them on a basic Audio-Technica AT-LP60X  but now find myself wondering approximately the Fluance and the Denon and the 2M Ortofon Blue needle … —Peter Robison, senior reporter, Bloomberg News

Walking, Walking, Walking

Restricted to a small circle around our house in London, needing to receive absent from the place where I now both live and work, I rediscovered the delight of walking. Early in the morning in the half-light, at nightfall, on sunny days, rainy days, windy days. Slowing down and watching the seasons change, tentatively and then more effusively greeting other walkers, feeling a somewhat bloody-minded shared sense of purpose (particularly on days when the ground is slippery and the wind cuts through you, no matter how many layers you wear), finding a connection to where I live. Every so often listening to a podcast, occasionally just the sounds of the park. Walking could also be … free. —Rosalind Mathieson, executive editor, international government, Bloomberg News

Native Pet Rescue

Having a new furry friend to help occupy time, thoughts, and energy all over the pandemic has been a lifesaver. Westminster Dog Show, here we come! —Hannah Elliott, car columnist, Bloomberg Pursuits

Posh Candles

We all need a bit more light in this year, so I started buying candles. My go-to brand has been Posh Candle, which make soy-scented ones. They come in jars that carry such inspirational phrases as “Black Girl Magic” and “Boss Lady” that have relaxed me all over and after engaged work days. If I’m burning it or just leaving the cap off, the candles fill my apartment with aromas such as brown sugar, lemon, and eucalyptus. What’s more, the company was once founded by a Black woman. —Jordyn Holman, retail reporter, Bloomberg News

A High-Def Projector

When the film theaters closed in March, I tried to watch films on my laptop, but all I could think of was once how much better they would have been on the big screen. In July, my wife gave me the Epson Home Cinema 1060, a marvelous device enabling me to project streaming movies on the wall of my study. I mined the Criterion Channel for the works of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, China’s Jia Zhangke, and Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-wai, to name a couple of of my pandemic crushes. I became totally addicted. It was once only recently that I realized that I don’t have to watch an improbable film each evening. But how approximately tonight? —Devin Leonard, project & investigations reporter, Bloomberg Businessweek

Making Dutch Babies

Yes, I realize, everyone became an Instagram-worthy chef all over lockdown, but my skills in the kitchen are limited, and the pandemic wasn’t going to change that. So when the New York Times told me in May that I needed just five ingredients to make a Dutch baby—sometimes called a German pancake—I used to be intrigued. Turns out it’s easy to make, forgiving whether you’re imprecise with your measurements, and open to alteration. Add apple pie spice to the batter? Why not. Top it with honey? Certain. What approximately marmalade? That works, too. Bonus: It looks pretty impressive popping out of a cast-iron skillet.—Daniel Taub, finance editor, Bloomberg News

Fancy PJs

Printfresh was once started by Amy Voloshin, a textile designer and fashion entrepreneur, and the site describes its 100% cotton poplin designs as being “inspired by plants, animals, home decor and a penchant for the 1970s hippie and surf culture.” Who knows what that in truth means, but I love its sophisticated, bright designs, in addition to the truth that the pajama pants have pockets. I own a twosome of their Unicorn’s Garden pajamas, which job my memory of the unicorn tapestries that are in the Cloisters, and an indigo twosome of their Bagheera pajamas, which are covered with fierce-looking leopards. —Suzanne Woolley, personal finance reporter, Bloomberg News

Biking for Pleasure

I’ve at all times enjoyed biking as a shuttle, but this year I rediscovered how much fun it is to bike for leisure. My partner and I drove for hours to find a bike shop with inventory, but it was once worth it. I got a Giant Contend AR 1. Each and every weekend we bike some gorgeous Roads in the mountains of upstate New York, the Catskills of Sullivan County. The upsides to biking in the mountains are a large number of; the downsides—the uphill climbs, the Catskills of Sullivan County? —Rakshita Saluja, equality editor, Bloomberg News

Livestreaming Public Radio

Everything got better when I stopped reading Twitter and started to use my phone to livestream the great Newark, N.J., public radio station WBGO. The DJs are the coolest; the whole vibe is completely chill. I swear it makes me a better person. —Christine Harper, editor, Bloomberg Markets

Composting Service

When New York indefinitely postponed its nascent food-scraps recycling initiative at the beginning of the pandemic, it felt like another damning omen of a city permanently changed. Each and every time I tossed a banana peel or teabag in the overflowing trash can, it was once a reminder that a virus was once running rampant and life as we understand it was once on hold. I investigated buying a pile of composting worms for under the sink, but even their army was once too small for the roughage generated by my mostly vegetarian circle of relatives of five. Then I heard approximately Groundcycle, a doorstep compost pickup service started by local New Yorker Vivian Lin in the spring. For $12 a week, her team will pick up your scraps and haul them to native farms to be turned into nutrient-rich fertilizer. For an extra $30, Groundcycle will swap your compost for a bucketful of biological produce from the farms you’re helping. Lin’s team will send you weekly totals showing your tallies of pounds produced (I’m now near to 90) and carbon tons offset. Power-washing my jumble of random veggies has turn out to be a soothing Sunday ritual, and it’s one of the vital small ways I’m making an attempt to combat the helpless feeling the pandemic has wrought. I never thought a bag of turnips would bring me such delight, but 2020 has been a year of surprises. —Devon Pendleton, reporter, Bloomberg News

Frida Kahlo Puzzle

I never thought I’d be into puzzles, and then my husband brought home this 1,000 piece Viva La Vida Frida Kahlo one, and I finished it in a week. It was once so damn satisfying to put together something beautiful, “solving” something while the world out of doors was once so loopy and sad. Bonus: It’s from eeBoo, a woman- and working mother-owned specialty toy company that commissions 100% original artwork. —Bernadette Walker, digital producer, Bloomberg Media

Bottled Bloodless Brew

Pre-Covid, going out to receive a noon coffee with my work BF was once the spotlight of my day. Then the pandemic shut down nearly all of the coffee places in my neighborhood. So I did a taste test of storebought bloodless brews, and Califa Farms is absolutely the most productive: powerful and smooth, the coffee not over roasted. Also, it’s super convenient to just be capable to seize it from your fridge. I want to transition back to supporting my native coffee places, but it’s going to be tough to break up with Califa. —Kate Krader, food editor, Bloomberg Pursuits

A Speakeasy Grocery

This appointment only, in the neighborhood sourced market—Tannat’s “speakeasy grocery”—kept us eating and drinking mannered through the darkest days of the pandemic (with the satisfaction that we were contributing toward keeping both this small restaurant and their native farmers and suppliers afloat). One of the most best wines and cheeses I’ve tasted, all with the white glove service that appointment-only brings. —Alex Gittleson, executive producer, Quicktake News

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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