This election year is marked by unprecedented challenges. Beyond intense political discourse and concerns over election integrity is the ever-looming presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It can’t be avoided.
In the same way that the COVID-19 outbreak upended all aspects of our daily lives — from working in an office to going to school — how we vote has changed as well.
This has left voters with many questions about how best to cast their ballot on November 3, including how they can vote safely if they choose to do it in person.
First, assess the risks
Dr. Anne Monroe, MSPH, an associate research professor of epidemiology at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, said that deciding to vote in person this fall — as with everything — bears consideration and weighing how much risk you’re assuming.
It boils down to your comfort level with assessing whether your local jurisdiction has put in place the needed precautions.
It also matters whether you personally feel you have been safe and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19 prior to voting, and what your comfort level is with entering a public space, Monroe told Healthline.
“Very few activities carry zero risk other than sitting at your home alone,” she said. “For everybody, it involves examining what their own health status is, what the status is of their community, what the transmission rate is, whether they have vulnerable individuals in their household, whether or not their children are back in school, or they have been going back out to their offices.”
“It bears a lot of questions to ask yourself,” Monroe added. “How do you stay healthy and how do you do everything you can to make sure your vote is counted? It’s a lot to balance and a lot to process.”
Assessing your personal risk ahead of time can help you feel more at ease with the decision you make.
Become familiar with your official polling place guidelines
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its guidelinesTrusted Source for election polling locations during COVID-19.
As with the recommendations for other public gathering spaces like restaurants and gyms, polling places are expected to regularly disinfect surfaces. They’re also expected to provide signs marking where voters should stand and walk to avoid crowding and maintain proper distancing.
During the current pandemic, a lot of people are using their extra time cooped up at home to do thorough cleaning of junk stored in their closets, attics, garages and basements and to redecorate and upgrade existing spaces or to expand and enhance their outdoor living spaces.
I am on that bandwagon and recently, I decided to finally upgrade the drab first floor guest room in my home which my daughter has been staying in as her personal bedroom. It lacked design and looked pretty rundown.
I wasn’t going to do it alone. My daughter had to put in some sweat equity into this project. I let her pick out the base color.
When I was a kid, my favorite color is purple and my daughter also considers that shade one of her faves so she decided that she wanted to have the walls painted purple. Purple is a color or royalty and is associated with celestial beings like the stars and the moon so we gravitated to that theme for the room.
The total cost for the remodel: $500! Can you believe that?
My first investment was on good quality paint so I invested in the PPG Timeless brand which can cost up to $100 per gallon but gets great reviews because you only have to use one coat.
The paint has a primer built in and is supposed to go on even and smoothly so you do not need to apply a second coat at all. It was a little bit pricier than basic paint but still reasonable at $50, after shipping and tax for the gallon.
Next: Paint essentials!
Home Depot sells a reasonably priced paint kit that comes with a tray, liner, a couple of brushes, rollers and an edge brush for about $15! That’s a steal and while not professional quality, it was perfect for a small DIY job in a home.
Furnishings and Accents
We decided to keep some of the existing furnishings in that room or use some of the items I have picked up from Christmas bazaars and thrift stores here and there. Pre-Covid era, I used to like to purchase items that are heirloom quality or top quality when I see them when out and about thrifting or visiting yard sales on the weekends.
For example, I got the lamp and curtains in this photo above from a consignment shop nearby for about $7 each, or $15 total and I purchased the Ikea desk second hand for $20 from a local seller using Facebook Marketplace. It was in perfect shape!
I had previously purchased a used office chair from the same guy and he offered me the desk though he hadn’t listed it at all. Sweet!
In lieu of just an accent wall, we decided to paint the entire room purple.
Unfortunately, we discovered when we were done that the deep eggplant color was too overwhelming and too dark. My daughter and I decided to balance the dark wall with white or light colored linen and decorative accents.
I got a bed in the bag at Marshallsfor about $60 and it included two accent pillows, a comforter, a flat sheet and fitted sheet, a sham pillow and a pair of pillow cases. We got it in queen size which is the size of the bed in that room. Kohlsalso sells these bed in bags for twin, full, queen and King sized beds starting about that the price I paid as well.
We diluted an entire wall by purchasing a white tapestry linen in a paisley print to drape that side of the room. It was only about $20 and was a popular brand, Ralph Lauren though Dormifysells plenty starting at just $11 for quality linen!
We let the celestial print in the bedding and tapestry drive the the theme and hung accent string lights from the ceiling and framed the wall and artwork framed in white with lights. The lighting also helped soften the dark colored purple walls too.
DIY Dresser Update
There was dark furnishings in the room before that we moved them out and to further lighten up the room via furniture, I decided to DIY spray paint a brown dresser in the room white. It was a bit of task because I did not have an electric sander and did not put enough energy sanding it with sand paper.
As you will see if you watch my video documenting the makeover, it was initially, a disaster because the first coat of chalk spray paint I purchased just ran over the sheen of the original paint job. Ugh!
I went to YouTube and found a video of a young lady, Desia Jean,who painted her furniture but who decided to skip the step of sanding it down first. I followed her lead and learned from her mistakes and subsequently, headed back to the store to pick up two more cans of semi gloss and that worked!
I really liked how the final paint job turned out. The paint was distributed evenly and without the blotches and sheer patches that were visible in previous coats. Phew! I had to have patience and trust the process!
I got new drawer pulls at the home design store that had a Victorian look to them for about $2 a knob (or $8 total) to tie in with the purple, mystical, celestial theme I was going for with this room makeover.
Luckily, I had already purchased some framed crafty cloth art work with green and purple in them which tied in well with the color scheme.
I went to Lowe’s and purchased a lamp shade a rustic old lamp we had in the basement for about $30 and we kept a steel grey side table that was in the room before because it blended in better with the new aesthetic than the old wooden chest and side tables that were in the old version of the room did.
Decorating the Walls
While we were shopping for the linen and accent pieces, we found a large canvas sketch of a woman’s back and I thought it matched perfectly with a framed sketch of a ballerina’s back I had in my first apartment after college.
I fetched my old artwork from the basement and hung it up next to the white canva and framed it with the star string lights. Together, the grouping matched perfectly.
We got three other pieces of white framed artwork that cost about $15 each.
Finally, we picked up a couple of accent area rugs in white with a print and a light gray one at TJ Maxx for about $20 each and found the same brands online for similar price or slighty higher so I felt I got a steal, as usual!
I got wooden letters from the home modeling store and painted it white with the left over spray paint. The cost of the letters were abour $30 and the Command strips ran us about $20 for a few packs to hang up everything.
I got replacement blinds for about $40 for the pair at Home Depot as you can see in the video, the ones in the room in the before images was beat up and a hot mess!
The total output for the entire project is about $450 and maybe a little more. We love how it came out and it is a far cry from how it looked before! You’ll see it in the video of the project below but first a few other photos:
During her first official baby bump reveal this week, model GiGi Hadid said that she’s kept her pregnancy private because it is”not the most important thing going on in the world” among topics like the coronavirus and subsequently the Black Lives Movement.
In an Instagram Live share on Wednesday, July 15th, the first-time mom-to-be replied to fans who wanted to know why she had not discussed or posted about her pregnancy before.
“That’s a reason that I felt that it’s not really something that I need to share apart from with my family and friends. Obviously a lot of people have lost lives due to [the] coronavirus that was in the beginning of quarantine and still happening,” Gigi said in the video. “And then we moved obviously into the reemergence of the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement, and I thought that our presence on social media should be used for that.”
By the end of the brief but very transparent video share, Hadid opened up and lifted the top of her Holiday the Label pajama top to reveal her baby bump. [by the way the $245 PJs are sold out!]
“There’s my belly y’all,” she commented in response to some fans who earlier accused her during a Live Instagram with V-Magazine that she was hiding her pregnancy with her flowing tops.
“Like it’s there, it’s just from the front it’s different,” she laughed.
The model also used the occasion of her first reveal this week to plug her ‘Gigi Journal Part II’ which features 32 exclusive pieces of art and writing from around the world that Hadid handpicked from over 20,000 submissions. The selected works make up the visual and written pieces inside, though Hadid painted the Journal’s cover art printed in two special types of ink—solar-activated and glow-in-the-dark.
“The 64-page, limited-edition hardbound book channels a multitude of current issues—including but not limited to global public health crises and black Americans’ ongoing struggle for equality,” the sales page on V-magazinereads about the $55 journal. “V hopes that the Journal’s diverse content, from creative writing to miniature sculpture to protest art, will not only encapsulate our current moment, but also help to initiate change. With Gigi as Guest Editor and Creative Director, this breakthrough special edition is a labor of love and a true keepsake.”
A percentage of proceeds to be split among four organizations: Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the ACLU, and Campaign Zero. Hadid will match the proceeds with a personal donation.
Gigi Hadid explains she’s keeping her pregnancy private for now and shares a little look at her bump: “There’s my belly, y’all. Like it’s there.” pic.twitter.com/kV6dmiJYcb
She ended the video by revealing that she has been journaling about the pregnancy, taking photos and plans to share the journey later with her fans.
“I just am not rushed to do it, and I feel like right now I just want to experience it, and I write in my journal a lot,” she said. “and I just don’t want to worry about waking up everyday during my pregnancy and like worry about having to like look cute or post something.”
Hadid’s mom Yolanda Hadid revealed during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in April that she is expecting a granddaughter and that her daughter’s due date is in September, adding that the “silver lining” of the coronavirus is that she and her loved ones are “able to be home and be together and really experience it day by day.”
YOU CAN’T GET GIGI’S PJ’s THAT ARE SOLD OUT BUT CHECK OUT THESE OTHERS:
“The energy of the home is so important because we’re all cooped up in here together, the emotions are running wild, everybody wants to make a break for it,” Luckett shared over the hour long ITV session. “And then me, I’m trying to prepare to bring a life into the world,” the celebrity mom added. “I’m also thinking about career stuff, and then just being a new mom.”
She talked about having to go to doctor’s appointments alone because of hospital restrictions regarding the novel coronavirus.
“The doctor’s appointments are weird,” LeToya, who stars in Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN TV show Greenleaf, admitted. “I’m there by myself,” the celebrity mom said. “I’m doing sonograms by myself. You can’t have anyone with you. My husband can’t come with me.”
She is hopeful and happy that the stay home orders have allowed her to spend more time with her family, musing: ““I can finally be still and enjoy my family, enjoy my babies, enjoy the growing baby inside of me.”
Luckett is also step mom to Walker’s 7-year old daughter Madison from a previous relationship.