Our Year at Home: Key Quarantine MVPs

Mar 18, 2021

Today marks exactly one year since San Francisco issued a Shelter-in-Place order that has kept us working from our respective homes. It’s been a year (and an emotional roller coaster)! While we miss gathering in our office and being together, we’ve amassed some pretty inventive ways to make it through.

Some of us picked and put down projects (I’m lookin’ at you, quarantine embroidery hoop!). Some of us optimized our spaces and homes. Some of us perfected the mundane creature comforts around us. I was curious about the things that people have discovered and recommend, so I asked The Key team to share their quarantine MVPs.


Waresa: Quarantine gave me the opportunity to rekindle my love for hula hooping. I started out with the typical thin hula hoop that I was familiar with and used in grade school, but soon upgraded to a weighted hula hoop that added some flair and excitement. It’s about three pounds! I hula hoop for brain and screen breaks! You will most likely catch me dancing and hula hooping at the same time!

Sarah: After so much time behind the computer, I decided to make a goal to disconnect from technology as much as possible and pick up a book more often. I purchased my first ever book light (I know, I'm late to the party), and wow. This little thing has made it so much easier to read in dim lighting, specifically in bed. Plus, it's cute, lightweight, and inexpensive -- I love using it!

Binta: Quarantine has been the impetus for my recent participation in competitive water drinking. My trusty, half-gallon motivational water jug has been a key factor in me meeting my daily water goal. I do this while wearing elevated athleisure wear from Banana Republic Factory and Nasty Gal. Cute, comfy clothes make me feel better because even though I may look a bit more put-together, I still feel like I’m wearing pajamas, and that is a vibe.

Kira: I love my Yosuda stationary spin bike. I use the Peloton app for rides, so it gives off the illusion that I’m riding on a Peloton bike for way cheaper. I enjoy cardio to feel good and stay in shape, and since I don’t always feel like jogging, the bike has been great. Oh yeah, and I also got an Aussiedoodle puppy, Frankie, who brings so much light and laughter into my life.

Tess: Signing a lease on my own studio apartment and being able to create my own space has helped me immensely. I’ll be using this list to make sure it’s stocked up with the right goods!


Cindy: I bought many things during quarantine that I usually wouldn't have ever thought to invest in otherwise. For work, my second monitor has been a godsend for more than just media list building. It helps me multi-task and reference multiple documents at once.

This past year felt like the longest mental plank ever, and to help me distress, I have started picking up hobbies like embroidery, stationary/ journaling, and exercise that have helped me unwind. Buying a barbell and massage gun (I purchased a Theragun, and it's great!) has been the best investment for my physical health. Headspace has been keeping me zen.


Kat: My homemade mask chain is my must-have. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve left the house only to quickly turn around to retrieve my mask. With my nifty chain (made from my daughter’s extensive bead collection), it stays firmly strapped around my neck for easy access! Get your craft on and DIY! Beads & String, Clasps)

Tisha: My Electric Milk Frother has been an absolute lifesaver throughout the pandemic. It whips up a quick and delicious latte in a matter of seconds, saving me money and allowing me to get my latte fix from home!

My AirPods Pro earbuds have made working from home with two roommates (in a less than spacious apartment) so much more manageable. They are noise canceling and fit comfortably so I can have them in my ears all day for meetings, at-home workouts, and FaceTime calls with my family. Plus! The Key introduced a new national Disaster Relief Benefit in November that covered the cost, so I never had to worry about splurging during the pandemic.


Angie: I have always wanted to have a green thumb and be a plant mom, and quarantine has allowed me the time and energy to do it right! I currently have lovely succulents, a couple of jade pothos plants, and an orchid thriving at my desk and around my apartment! Being stuck inside for a year has been rough, but seeing my plant babies flourish has been such a high point. Next on my list are some snake plants, which I plan to pick up from my favorite little nursery in Berkeley, Flora Arte.

JP: Since I like variety, I’ve gotten really good at working from different spots in my house (the couch, the bed, the comfy chair) and I credit this to my computer lap desk. It’s big enough to fit my computer and a notebook, has ventilation holes for my laptop to breathe, and there’s a slot to hold my phone. Being mobile gives me options as I chase the sun from room to room.

My other quarantine MVP is food-related. I’m vegan (as part of the vegan code, I am obligated to say this every chance I get, right?) and this is the year that I’ve learned how to cook beans. I’ve had a lot of practice experimenting with different cooking techniques and recipes, using a dutch oven (a lucky thrift store find) and the freshest beans I can find. My favorites come from Rancho Gordo (Napa, CA) or Palouse Brand (Palouse, WA). I can confidently say that I’ll never need canned beans or store-bought hummus again!

Isabel: My home gym setup has been a lifesaver for my mental health during the pandemic. My brother and I split the cost of a full squat rack, weights, and a bench he found on OfferUp, and it’s truly allowed me to level up my workouts and clear my mind at the end of the day. I also bought roller skates recently, which are super fun and force me to get outside.


April: I got a pair of Bearpaw fuzzy slippers as a gift, and I have worn them every day since! These slippers keep my feet warm while working from home. Not only are they comfortable, but they are affordable and come in all sorts of fabulous colors.

Julia: Thankful for all of our streaming media subscriptions that are keeping our household entertained (and thank you Key PR for the stipend!) HBO Max, Disney+ and Hulu have been life-saving. Plus without the Paramount+ app, I’d never have discovered that the Real World New York cast reunited!

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