From redefining self-care to constantly visiting the grocery store, this is what life now looks like for DC-based Lani Inlander.
Three months ago, a typical day for local stylist Lani Inlander consisted of taking her young boys to school, swinging by several clients’ homes for consultations and perfecting the art of properly curating one’s closet. Now, as the global pandemic continues with phase two of reopening the region possibly on the horizon, the founder of consulting company Real Life Style has found a way to balance it all, embracing the struggles with the wins.
Here, the esteemed style maven shares exactly how she’s stayed connected with clients, adapted a steady routine and found time for self-care in the midst of a global pandemic.
On a now-typical work day:
Oh my! My kids have always been in full-time care while my husband and I worked full time. I have a home office for myself and my employee, but most days we were running around between clients’ homes and retail stores. Now, like everyone else, I am just home with my kids, trying to get things done in between the cracks of home schooling. The majority of my business previously came from in-person client appointments. Since quarantine, my business is coming from virtual styling sessions, my blog and my on-demand e-course.
On what shopping looks like today:
Groceries! Do you know how much boys eat? Managing the grocery list and ordering from different vendors is truly exercising my shopping skills. The big purchase I just made was a silver Cannondale bicycle so that I could stop borrowing my husband’s when I wanted to ride with my kids, and we can now go on true family bike rides. It also feels good to support Conte’s Bike Shop, a local chain of bike shops. This was my 10th anniversary gift in place of the trip to Turks and Caicos we had to cancel. My chic bike helmet purchase also helped support a woman-owned startup, Thousand, which is donating helmets to bike couriers delivering essential supplies … Getting exercise and giving myself permission for leisure during quarantine has been a struggle for me. Bike riding solves both of these issues!
In general, I’m shopping less. My shopping was rarely out of need but more out of lust … Not being in the retail stores has removed all temptation. Of course, I am constantly online shopping for my clients and my blog, but I don’t feel as tempted by that for some reason.
On her new favorite item to shop for:
Masks! I ordered the Marine Layer masks but they haven’t arrived yet. I’ve been stalking Etsy for the right Liberty of London fabric mask, which I haven’t found yet. However, I did find a minions mask for my 6-year-old, which I considered a major shopping score, especially because it fit him perfectly. I did buy some masks from my local tailor in my power color. One of the most useful items I’ve had, and suggest other people purchase, is my Bose noise-canceling headphones. They work wonders to block out my family when it is my turn to work and my husband is watching the kids.
On the importance of self-care:
I think we have to redefine self-care for the moment. For me, small acts of self-care are using my favorite hand-painted cup from IndiBlossom to drink water throughout the day, making myself a really good cup of coffee every morning, burning nice candles at my desk and always having a stash of high-quality dark chocolate.
Larger acts of self-care include making sure that I am pacing my workweek, rather than overloading and overwhelming myself; forgiving myself for giving the kids’ pasta three nights in a row because it is easy; and writing in a journal most nights. I’ve also been forcing myself to reach out and connect with friends and family more, even though I’m so busy working and taking care of the kids and house. I have a standing Zoom call once a week with a group of moms that allows me to connect with other women in a similar situation. I’ve been struggling with getting to sleep on time and getting out for fresh air every day, but I feel so much better when I do.
On WFH attire:
I’ve been living in all of my Athleta City Pants, Uniqlo jeans and drapey tees, long sweater coats and mink sport slides. When I have a virtual styling session, I pull out the color, like my Nora Gardner ponte jacket in a bright red-orange color.
On must-shop sales of the season:
I’ve been especially obsessing over the discounts on the Nordstrom site, but I encourage everyone to check out their favorite brands’ sites often, since things seem to change every day. Also, I would encourage everyone to shop their favorite local boutiques, which are now having sales to clear out their spring and summer merchandise.
On finding silver linings:
My family has gotten what I always knew we desperately needed: more time together at home. Before the stay-at-home order, I was always trying to balance my work schedule and the kids’ activities with plain-old quality time at home to just be. It wasn’t working at all. Weekdays were super stressful. I’m not saying it’s all baking cookies and quality time now, because I am still working from home and the kids still fight with each other, but the lack of rushing to and from in the mornings and evenings is such a relief. Some mornings we stay in our pajamas and I read Harry Potter out loud to them for an hour.
On the outfit she plans to show off post pandemic:
My bright blue dress from Roman, my favorite NoVA boutique, catches my eye every time I open my closet door. The dress is not something I feel comfortable wearing around my kids, so it will not come out until I can leave the house again. Although I may pull it out for a virtual styling session and put it right back in my closet if this goes on much longer.