Spotlight on our Staff: Quarantine Edition

Like many around the globe, Portland Downtown's small but mighty staff has had to quickly adjust to staying (and working) at home. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our new normal – and we wish you the very best as you adapt to yours.
What are you reading / watching / listening to now?

CASEY: I could watch the Food Network 24/7/365. My favorites are Chopped and Guy's Grocery Games . Pandora is my go-to music app and my musical tastes are pretty eclectic, from Björk to Bonnie Raitt to Rufus du Sol . I'm usually a big bookworm, but my recent bandwidth has me sticking to magazines: Oxygen , The Sun , and Mindful are my current subscriptions.

AMY: I was sad to find the library closed nearly three weeks ago, which is where I typically get all of my reading material. Casey came to the rescue with an office lending library, so I'm reading  Work is Love Made Visible , a collection of essays compiled by one of Casey's mentors, Frances Hesslebein. 

TAFFY: I'm reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and just finished Euphoria by Lily King. With no library to access, a friend and I are doing a book swap this weekend, leaving the bag of books in the garage for 24 hours before digging in! I'm watching Ozark , season 3 and keeping up with my favorite TV shows on Hulu. I tried Tiger King , but I'm not seeing the allure yet! Music? Whatever artists play on Bonnie Raitt Radio, 90's Pop Radio (a result of raising children in the 90's!) and Zac Brown Radio.

ADAM: Unlike Taffy, I was completely drawn into the crazy world of Tiger King . As to how quickly I binged the entire series: I plead the fifth! For music, I'm digging Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves. With songs like Slow Burn, Oh What A World, and Lonely Weekend, its wistful tone is spot-on for these times. For books, I'm revisiting one of my favorite cookbooks: Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat.
We've all had to adjust to working from home. What's your best #WFH tip?

CASEY: Because so much of what we are doing now revolves around screen-time, I created a very analog weekly calendar with paper and pen. The calendar includes things like 'take a break', 'digital detox', and 'check-in with parents'. It hangs on my refrigerator and I 'reward' myself with a sticker every time I accomplish a task. It keeps me motivated and accountable.

AMY: Sticking with a work-day routine! It would be so easy to turn into one of those memes representing home meetings without the camera on, but I've been religiously preparing for the day as though I am going to the office. It helps that we have 9:00 AM staff meetings three days per week, so that has been my deadline for being ready to start work for the day. OK, maybe I was wearing yoga clothes during one Zoom meeting...

TAFFY: Follow a schedule! I get up to my alarm, get dressed for work, and commute downstairs to my "office". Our tight work family stays well connected and productive with 3 staff meetings each week, which has been terrific.

ADAM: When working from home suddenly became our reality, I gave my spare room the ole "presto change-o" treatment. I converted my dining table into a desk, plopped down an area rug, staged some lamps and plants, and – voilà! – a home office was born. My Zoom background still needs work, though!
It's important to laugh when we can. Do you have a current favorite meme?
Outside of work, how are you staying active / busy / sane while hunkered down at home?

CASEY: My spin bike is my go-to exercise. Best impulse buy ever! I got it on sale as a refurbished bike on a couple of years ago. Since I used to be a Spin instructor (fun fact!) it's easy to put together a routine. I also take my dog Koji for long walks, which is good for both of us.

AMY: My morning yoga practice is critical to beginning the day ready to face whatever challenges may come. I've also been very active on the peninsula trails close to home, either walking with colleagues and friends (air-kissing only), or breaking in my new running shoes - it's that time of year! And, yes, I made a vision board.

TAFFY: I'm wearing out the pads on our dog Biscuit's feet due to the many walks we take every day. Luckily he loves walks because he's a very social 11 month old and he gets to see his neighborhood doggie friends. If the leashes are long, they get to play a bit! I'm cleaning out and reorganizing closets, talking with friends and family, and having frequent Zoom happy hours. I mean, it's a way to stay connected, and to celebrate getting through another day, right?!

ADAM: Baking! My recent accomplishments include Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chunk Cookies and an epic three-tiered Carrot Cake . I just hope my long walks counteract the calories!
How are you supporting small businesses in your community during this time?

CASEY: Supporting nonprofits is my jam, so I've donated to Maine Public , Portland Trails , and Mayo Street Arts , as well as the no-kill animal shelter where I adopted Koji (my dog) and Samson (my cat) in 2014. Last week, I attended a virtual Yin yoga class through Rosemont Wellness Center . I've also purchased food from Rosemont Market , which is offering curbside pick-up, and have had some delicious to-go lunches and dinners from The Local Press and Sur-Lie . Portland Downtown has partnered with the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and other organizations on the Pay It Forward Maine campaign, so we're doing all we can to help our local businesses through this challenging time.

AMY: Since returning from India this winter, I have been sticking with an Ayurvedic mostly vegan diet, which means cooking all of my meals as fresh as possible. I actually don't have any canned or frozen food at home! Fortunately, there are many restaurants downtown that make fresh delicious food ( Portland Food Map !), so I've been able to add a little variety to my typical routine with curbside pick-up. The Green Elephant and Ada's have seen me a bit, and OTTO has slices ready to go! I was disappointed to have missed Portland Stage's  Native Gardens , but enjoyed watching their recorded production with my virtual ticket!

TAFFY: I donated blood this week, have purchased restaurant gift cards for gifts or future use, order frequent take-out from various Westbrook and Portland eateries and I have pre-paid for some local services I use that are temporarily on hold. We need our small businesses!

ADAM: Last week I got scrumptious curbside pick-up from Dizzy Birds Rotisserie and this week I have my sights set on Figgy's . Also: my dad sent me some awesome canned cocktails – and hand sanitizer! – from Maine Craft Distilling . I'm so grateful for our local business community – and I look forward to the brighter days ahead. Hang in there, everyone!