Lidia Bonilla launched a product that still has a stigma in today’s society, but we’re warming up to it. Learn about what brought her there, how she’s dealt with pushback, and of course, how we’re both faring in isolation and quarantine.
TAMAR: Hi, everybody, it’s Tamar. And we are in the craziest of times right now. It is the middle of March 2020. And if anybody knows what that means, that means we are all listening to this at the comfort of our own homes. Crazy, crazy time that got to go into that and how that affected me and how that affected my guests Lidia Bonilla, she is here and she has her own amazing story to share. But I guess we’re doing a little bit of a deviation from our standard podcast just because of what we’re doing with our world right now. But I definitely want to talk about her story as well. So hi, thank you so much for joining.
LIDIA BONILLA: Hello. Thank you for having me.
TAMAR: Yeah, introduce yourself. Tell us where you are right now, where you would normally potentially be right now. And how what’s going on your world?
LIDIA BONILLA: So, I am in Brooklyn, New York, that’s where I would normally be. I did want to visit my family in Miami. However, my mom is going to be 81. So, it wouldn’t be in her best interest for me to stroll in, given what we’re dealing with health wise. But normally, I would be working from home. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m looking outside the window. Not many people passing by, one person running.
TAMAR: What neighborhood in Brooklyn are you in?
LIDIA BONILLA: I’m in Fort Greene. I’m two blocks away from Fort Greene Park.
TAMAR: So, it’s quite busy where you are.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, it’s usually quite busy. There’s a high concentration of dogs in this neighborhood. So normally, there would be a lot of people walking their dogs. And that’s pretty much what you see now. People who just have to get out to walk their dogs and people that are out.
TAMAR: Yeah. So, I will go into this situation. So, I’m in Westchester and I actually live in the only containment zone in the country. I have actually been in quarantine since March 3, I have not been able to even leave my property. If I had a dog, walk it, cannot even walk on my sidewalk. And I guess we consider this area the first cluster of community spread. And I ended up becoming symptomatic about a week ago, have tested positive for Coronavirus. But thank God, I will say I had been great. I’ve been feeling amazing. I’ve had minimal symptoms, but I had all the symptoms. But they were not made massive or major for me to have otherwise discontinued my life. Except for the fact that if somebody were to get it from me, it would be socially irresponsible and it would be very damaging, potentially lethal to some other individuals out there. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go outside for real another month. It’s crazy, crazy times right now.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: But I and my husband had the quarantine initially for my community. This is before the rest of the world really started doing that. Earlier this week my husband was supposed to go to Florida , to Disney World for a company retreat type of thing. I think there was a 50th anniversary. And that was cancelled. So, he, besides the fact that it was canceled, still had a flight, he had a canceled trip. It’s unreal. But there’s also some silver lining to me personally, because we’re so socially connected through the internet right now that it’s not as painful as maybe potentially otherwise. If this was like 15 years ago, I don’t even think the information would be disseminated to send us home. But we wouldn’t have each other right now through social media in the way that we do today. We thank God we have fast internet and lots of groups. And thankfully, I guess the evolution of Facebook groups, if you will, has come to a point where we are truly congregating on like-minded matters, versus just broadcasting our own feeds, like we can join hyper local groups and big topic minded groups. We’re in a very, very good place right now. So, people are handling this in stride. People say that’s not the word you should use, and perfect. I got to say, for me personally, it’s perfectly valid word for my life because I do feel like I am able to take it in stride. And I’m able to tolerate it, isn’t as isolating as it could be even like a year ago before the evolution of Facebook groups and the way that they are and WhatsApp groups in the way that they are now. I think it’s the perfect time for this to happen. And I hope that people do see the silver lining in that.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: Anyway, how have you been faring over there?
LIDIA BONILLA: For me, it feels eerily familiar. Because about 2008, so about 12 years ago, in the midst of the financial crisis, I was trying to sell a house that I renovated. The idea was to flip it, and we were going to make all this money, and it was going to be great. And it didn’t happen that way. And one day, literally, the world shifted. And I didn’t get the memo, I was still waiting for things to go back to some sort of normal. I was in this beautiful home that was really stunning, because it was new, newly renovated, and I couldn’t find work. And I hated the house, I hated it because it broke up. I thought, oh, it broke up my relationship and I just didn’t get it, the world change. And so, I was just in bed or anxious painting the house. And I was just really, really stressed out.
LIDIA BONILLA: And it took years really of personal development work and different things that I’ve done to realize, wow, there’s moments in life when things shift. And it’s either you’re going to get on board or you’re not. And last week, actually on Thursday, I had cancellations and things. It was a speaking engagement I was supposed to do that was cancelled. Other opportunities either on hold, postponed and postponed indefinitely. And instead of being panicked about it, the next day, I just woke up and said, yeah, I was starting to go into overthinking, what in the world changed? That’s it, it shifted. And it’s either you’re going to get on board with it or not. So, what are you going to do?
LIDIA BONILLA: And for me, it’s been a very powerful place to stand because I’m able to have conversations with people about what they need, how I can be best of service to them, and not worry about myself. I just need this sort of obsession you get when things are taken from you, or it appears like things are taken away from you.
LIDIA BONILLA: And so, I’ve been very connected, I feel spiritually very productive, and positive and optimistic. It sounds strange given what’s happening, but it’s really been a testament to my mindset about it.
TAMAR: Yeah, I have to say that I have been if you ask me how I felt about this, about three or four years ago, would be the worst thing ever for me.
LIDIA BONILLA: Right?
TAMAR: I really do believe that my mindset has improved knowing that we are literally all in this together, maybe as a global community . This is a global community. This is not as it used to be my 700 to 1000 people in my neighborhood who were all self-isolating because we came into contact with the first case of community spread in the country. But now I have partners in Pakistan, and I have friends and family, Israel, we are literally all doing this together. Things could be a lot worse. And yes, the financial uncertainties are certainly there. But I think and I hope that we can derive strength from each other. And hopefully, we can also isolate responsibly, so that we can get out into the wilds sooner rather than later. But we do have to do what we need to do now. The more people go out and put other people at risk, the more we’re going to have to stay indoors. So, those people walking their dogs right now, hopefully, they’ve maintained social distance, and then they’re staying home. And I’m not going out anymore. I see. So, few cars here, but then again, I’m literally in the center of everything. I just hope that people, everybody, all communities, all towns, all religions, all beliefs, every person, they’re sitting there, and they’re being smart about what they need. And they’re just minimizing contact with as many people as possible than staying indoors, not be irresponsible about this, really important that we need to take this and recognize that if we don’t act as a collective, then we are going to have problems and we’re going to be paying for them. And we’re going to make people who are really struggling to be a lot worse for them. So, it’s interesting because we’re doing this to protect the health of people who are immunocompromised and elder and might be at risk. I think we’re also doing this for the financial security of businesses all around us, the sooner we stay home and make sure that the virus is kept at bay, and dies out in our own bodies, the sooner we can go out and resume business as usual and all that other stuff. And I don’t know, if you hear my kids, that’s just the nature of my business, my world right now, for them to go back to school. But this is what we have. And we have to make it, we have to, do the best we can and make the best of it. But like I said, things could be substantially worse. We can be completely shut down and not connected socially.
LIDIA BONILLA: Right.
TAMAR: We’re very lucky and we’re in a good place.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah. And it’s interesting you mentioned like, what we have, because I, even before this started probably mid last week, because things have moved quite rapidly, at least here in the New York tri state area. So, I wrote a list of what do I have, what do I want, and what do I need. And was despite in my head was dealing with a lot of fear and going on to do this and do that, and I don’t have this and my money’s tight. And I had a lot more than I thought, as far as what was in the what I have column. And what was also very comforting was that as time went on, the days went on, what I needed and wanted was moving to the what I have file. So, I started to make requests of people and sort of get out of my comfort zone. I got I can do it by myself type of person. And that really doesn’t work in this environment anymore because you could literally perish, something, could happen to you. So, I started to ask people for things and people have been more than happy to support. So, I’m still keeping that list and moving things over and going wow, isn’t this amazing? I really do have what I need to really derive. A lot in life looks different.
TAMAR: Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So, I guess we should go into your story because I think you have kind of started to share it. Yeah, the objective of the Common Scents podcast besides the fact that we’re in some uncertain times, and we did take a little bit of a tangent from the typical topics that I discuss here is the story of about rising above the ashes. And I think attitude is important here. And I think we’re showing that you’ve risen above the ashes. But tell me a little bit about your story, what you do and how, where that came from?
LIDIA BONILLA: So, what do I do is I’m a pleasure strategist. I help women create the loving relationships and fulfilling careers they wish they had in their 30s. I’m also the founder of a product brand called The House of Blue which create elegant and functional storage products for sex toys or adult toys. And in spite of all that, I’ve also had about 20 years of banking experience working in different aspects on Wall Street. So, I’ve had a few transitions, and none of them as intentional as the one that I’m making now.
TAMAR: So, explain how that happened. How did you evolve, where, give me your trajectory. And what kind of motivated the next step in your career path?
LIDIA BONILLA: So, what always motivated my paths or my shifts have been a calling or knowing that there was something more . It never really started off very concrete, that was something that will be bugging me nagging me sort of something that I should be pursuing but not really clear on what it is. And then I would sit and be with it by the journaling, writing. So, a number of times it’s been travel, when I left my first and only full time job I ever had in banking, I traveled for like eight months. And then I landed on being a consultant, as a compliance expert. At the time there was this need for compliance, given that, banks had to step up their investigations right after 911, kind of hyper awareness around terrorism, fraud and things of that nature. So, I stepped into that, and I was like, whoa, this is not what I was supposed to be doing supposed to be doing something more creative. And then I had a product and I came across an idea for creating a product for storage products or sex toys. But I did a lot of research for it. And I knew that I felt like, something that would be pretty big and it scared me a bit. So, I traveled, which is probably not entrepreneurship from financial perspective, not the best thing to put up and I took like a month-and-a half, and I went to Morocco, Barcelona, and Paris and London, everywhere I went, I was looking for my product. What I want, what I wanted to create, I can find it. I was like, okay, I can find it in Paris or London, it’s probably a good idea that I do this. And I did that for about five years, we launched on Kickstarter, we were the first adult brand that was approved on Kickstarter, really creating a path for other adult brands to do the same. Create the product, was successful and inside of that I realized my gravitation towards community and creating community. So out of a conversation with another founder in the same space by the name of Polly Rodriguez who runs Unbound right now, we created the women’s next tech, which really started off as a networking event. And it really now has blossomed to being in the conversation or thought leadership around sex and technology, and now it’s a not for profit and just women I’ve just done incredible things with. And now my other shift is that I realized that I was hiding behind the product I created. And then I’m also actually more.
I’m worth more than the product as far as what I have to say and what do I have to offer. And I said to myself, am I really going to create other products? People give me product ideas and I don’t know. And I said it’s really time to just complete this. And inside of that what I created was an opera because I am about community and sharing with others and how I can be of service to others. Is that, okay, great campaign around this call permission to pivot, where people can share their pivot stories, or their longing to pick from pivot from something to another? And how do you do that? How do you do that responsibly? How do you do that in a way that best serves you and also deal with the risk of change going from something that where you really know to something that perhaps you don’t know at all, or not know as well as you would feel comfortable with? So, I hope that answers your question.
TAMAR: Yeah, all good answers. But it does take some further questions.
LIDIA BONILLA: Okay.
TAMAR: So, the first question that I have is, you say you want to be creative and then you create this products. Where did that idea come from? Number one, and two, maybe you can probably tie into the question here that I have about just the nature of this particular product. And given the fact that the pleasure industry is just really slowly evolving, but there’s still a tremendous amount of stigma. So, you have found challenges just in persevering in the face of these particular naysayers and negativity in the industry. I know that, for example, there was an issue with CES and CES might have prevented some brands from even presenting or winning an award. I forget what it is, I’m sure you are a little more familiar with talking about how are you facing these challenges because I think that obviously, this industry is ripe for disruption. One hundred percent, you’re in the right place, but I’m sure you’re still dealing with that on a consistent basis. Or maybe you’re seeing it taper off. What has been your experience on that? And how did you decide to do it?
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, so I’ll answer your first question, how it happened. So, remember, I said that I have this house and I renovated and blah, blah, blah. So, I eventually sold that house, and I moved into like a one bedroom apartment. So, I had all this stuff. And I also had the emotional baggage of what it meant, and all that. So, I had all these things in boxes, and I couldn’t find anything in and so I was like, I’m so sick of this, that I can’t find anything. So, I’m going to hire a personal organizer. And she came to my house, she was in my bedroom, looking through different drawers. And then she came across that door, the joy that every woman has in her bedroom
that she didn’t like, and I was just like, far of course from her. But then I said, where do people put these things? And she said, well, there’s nothing in particular, you can put them in plastic bands. And, I want something prettier than that. And I started to look for something because I like good design, and I like things to be pretty and all that and I just couldn’t find it. I remember taking jewelry boxes, and taking the insert out and putting the toys and didn’t fit. And so, one day I said forget it, move on to something else I was trying to do in the house. And so, I was working on this bank project that was really draining me. And not far away was Babeland sex toy store and I said, my vibrator broke. I’m going to go in there and get a vibrator. And as I was walking out, I just said, why wouldn’t you have storage products and sex toys? And she went, no, but we get that question all the time. And I just looked at her. And I said, well, I’ll make one. And she was like, hey, it was really strange. And then I never forget, I was outside the store. And I posted on Facebook, I said, where do you put your sex toys? Where do people put their sex toys, and some people didn’t want to comment directly. So, they sent me DMs. And we’re like, oh, I put them in like this, and I put them under the bed and all these wild places people put them. Wow, there’s really something to this. And then I just follow the breadcrumbs really of what my spirit was telling me to do. And started to talk to more and more people and I went to a trade show to get ideas. Because one thing I didn’t understand about is that I knew that going into something like this was like a new baby, I was like I had done real estate development for like two-and-a-half, two years. And that took everything. And I said, oh, if I go into something else, this is a big deal. So, I sort of took my time to get into it. But once I was into it, I was all in. And to your point, that’s when I also realized, oh, the stigmas and just the number of limitations that people in this industry face, particularly if you’re a small business and two, if you are woman founder, if you’re female founder. One thing that I got when I went to my first show was how male dominated the industry was, and dominated by some very conservative people politically and I was like, well, this is bizarre. So that also led me to want to create community around this and just to give your audience an idea about the limitations. For example, we cannot advertise on any, just almost any form of social media. We cannot buy Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Pinterest pins, different places where you may want to speak or what have you. They’re like, oh, are you going to be here talking about anything attached to sex? People think that that’s all you are. And that’s all you’re ever be. And you can’t speak that they’re obtaining press, getting on to do a show is hard. It’s challenging. It’s challenging for any brand. But definitely, I’ve been told, no, we don’t talk about sex. And that’s not happening at 7am. And so, there’s just a number of places where you can advertise these things that are available to other brands. I’m like, oh, yeah, just do a bunch of Facebook ads, and you’ll be great. No, that’s not a reality to people in this industry. And I would say, though, that’s been quite challenging. It also developed me, and it developed these women also in this industry, some of these women, like Polly from Unbound or the most resourceful, strong, you can’t kick me, you can’t get me down type of woman because of all these challenges. So, they suck. It’s difficult and at the same time, it’s what shapes you.
TAMAR: Yeah, I can imagine that there’s an interesting play here on parenting. Yeah, when you were saying that your personal professional organizer person saw your toys there I guess it’s good that it wasn’t kids.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: And it’s unfortunate that in the morning that’s a conversation that the frazzled parents would probably want to have. I think it’s completely identifiable, regardless of the hour of the day.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: Yeah. And I think in due time the people out there are going to warm up to the idea. I think that taboo topics I’ve seen in my lifetime, you’ve seen in our lifetime has become more mainstream but it does take some time. And I have certainly heard the stories what you basically said that this is a male dominated industry, women are typically locked out but I’m hoping for your sake and for everybody else who’s in a similar boat that there will be that opportunity, soon over the next couple years hopefully not longer than that but I feel like the reality is, it will probably take a little more time that will become more normal and an accepted conversation and advertising would be effective, I don’t see why it should not be.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah. There’s a risk for these brands, and when I say brands like the social media, Facebook, Instagram is no different. There’s a risk that goes along with putting out or allowing for a taboo topic when it comes to female sexuality. Females, women owning their bodies, women owning their pleasure, it’s still a very jarring thing. You can look at it from a political perspective. A woman running for president is still an issue, women have to fit all these different biases in order to be quote unquote likable, electable, and so on and so forth. Nothing to do with sex toys, but these are women owning their bodies, are looking at the last Super Bowl and performance of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, and they said, I read that the Federal Trade Commission got the most complaints ever about performance because people were so, and including women. A lot of women were offended that these women would be so okay with just not flaunting themselves but just so okay in their body. So, okay, and who they are culturally; so okay, and in really in what they have to say and who they are. It’s offensive to people who are actually living small lives.
TAMAR: Yeah, that’s absolutely crazy. But I feel for you, in particular your products, like, it touches upon the taboo topic, but it also makes those type of products in a place where it’s safe. So yes, I reserve a Catch-22 specifically for you. But yes, you’re making it, even though it’s a normal thing. It’s still taboo, but you’re protecting that taboo nice without compromise, like compromising the integrity of the situation. It’s a weird dynamic, especially for you.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, it is. It’s outside world.
TAMAR: Yeah, I really do hope for your sake that you start to see an evolution with acceptance in time The Super Bowl Halftime Show and all those contested topics. That’s there’s no turning back and I do think that we as a society will eventually embrace these. I don’t know even what the word is, these challenges. It’s not a challenge these very normal things. It’s phenomenal. I don’t know what it is.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: Human nature, this human nature. Like, we don’t need to be wearing these big poufy dresses like we’re in the 1900s, early 1900s anymore. Yeah, let’s go scantily clad and bet, well, not on the best scantily clad. It seems that people are still struggling with that. But let’s realize that this is who we are. And there’s still an element of modesty. But your thing is actually taking upon modesty and making sure that it doesn’t become embarrassing. It’s don’t say, come and find something in your drawer, and then walk out when you’re having a dinner party and saying, you don’t want me.
Yeah, that’s exactly what happens out there. Like Wired magazine. But anyway, let’s talk about this topic. And let’s talk about the other elements. I mean, we talked this product was clearly a self-care product, and I’m sure I don’t want to talk about you and putting it out there. But I guess, what do you do for self-care in general, and making sure that you stay sane and above water with dealing the stigma of the industry, the taboo of the industry and just for yourself and making sure that you stay seen? And even in this moment of time, given the fact that we’re in certain isolated times right now, what are you doing to stay afloat?
LIDIA BONILLA: Well, what I’m doing to stay afloat, I really create myself with who I say I am and what I’m about. So, who I think I am, what I say about myself, literally creates my reality, and I really do believe that. So, in these times, what I’ve done is got grounded and really what is all this war, what am I here to serve? What is this really about? Because it’s not about getting likes on Facebook, or something vain like that. I mean, people are dealing with real things, and I’m more connected to serving people than about what’s happening. So as far as self-care, I’ve taken more time to meditate. I’m doing journaling, I’m speaking to people, and speaking to people versus texting, this is like so key, you really do have to in order to get someone’s communication and get where they want, what’s really happening. You have to get on the phone with them and be able to hear a person’s voice versus just getting a message from them because I could just straight up lie in text message. How are you doing? I’m great. Not sure. And just being straight about when I am afraid or when I’m anxious. And just being with that versus going to do something about it, like you ran out of snacks. I was like, you know what, I’m not going to get any more snacks. I’m just going to be with what it is. And that’s it. I don’t eat potato chips to get through this because it could be once and then I could leave and I gained 20 pounds and then what. So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing, that’s my really getting connected to myself and people in my life and why I’m here.
TAMAR: Nice. Yeah, I definitely agree with that positive vocalization as well, just hearing what you’re saying. I mean, I can see you’re going just fine.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: I was saying if I do this several years ago, I don’t think I would have had the same attitude. But I think that once you say your body and they talk about this, and a lot of these like self-help books, but the reason for that psychologically, make a comment and you say this is going to be what’s my reality. I’m very happy about this. Your brain is going to figure out how to be happy about this. If you’re not, you need to actually convince yourself, not convince yourself. We believe it. You need to actually have it in your mind that you’re going to be fine.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, it’s really standing for possibility. Many times, it’s standing for something that you may not see or doesn’t make sense, given the circumstances that actually could happen at some point. But it’s what and also what it’s not. I’m definitely not a Pollyanna person. I’m happy and when I’m not, I’m straight about when I’m not happy. I’m straight about when I’m feeling fearful. I’m straight about when I’m feeling sad and upset. It was Monday when I just felt energetically off, and I felt like crying and I didn’t understand why do I feel like crying. So, I took a bath and not pushing anything away because whatever you push away comes to the surface anyway.
TAMAR: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s funny, you say? It’s also the fact of the matter right now.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: What it is today? Today is Sunday. Yeah, I don’t even know, Sunday to the 29th. I’ve been in quarantine since Tuesday, the third and it’s the 19th of March right now. It’s 16 days, 17 days. I don’t keep track of this anymore. The school itself here is trying to make a lot of structure and to your point about getting on the phone and making sure you talk to somebody; I think that’s really important. I just want to give a shout out to my kids school. And they’ve been doing an amazing job of having zoom classes for the children so that we can see each child in their own house in their own environment. It’s absolutely amazing. And it keeps us connected. It’s me personally, it’s a little challenging, but thankfully, I have a dual monitor setup here. And you can hear them in the background. They’re like, this is the recess. They’re running outside and writing little cards in the background. But yeah, we are literally connected to each other. And I have one monitor for one child. And then the other monitor I’m working on in the same computer. So that’s there’s a challenge that I have. But at the same time, I’m glad as a parent that I can sit here with my child, it keeps me closer, connected. Maybe I should be more isolated from my children, especially because my children tested negative but I’m the only one who actually has tested positive. But at this clinic, I wonder if I’ve been exclusive for the last couple of days that I’ve been symptomatic and have had the Coronavirus and they haven’t gotten it yet. Are they going to get it? I don’t know. But we do thankfully, I don’t know if I say thankfully this point. But thankfully the kids are not going anywhere. But yeah, right outside on the driveway, which is where your central noises, citizens but anybody else at risk, hopefully this passes for me, this passes for everybody, and you’ll be able to get through it. Yeah.
LIDIA BONILLA: I’d say the other thing is to make requests. I’ve seen a number of posts that people were like, okay, whatever needs money, if you need 100 bucks, I’ll open Venmo for you that, like there are people that are in the ready and if they’re willing and able, want to support and you just got to say that you need support.
TAMAR: Right. I will say that there was a donor who was actually willing to give necessities to families yesterday in my community: toilet paper, diapers, adults and children diapers. And then there was this one item on the bottom, dairy chocolates. The first day that it was announced that we would quarantine they go by prize for chocolate. And I only ended up not getting anything. But yesterday I saw this request. I said, people less fortunate and I don’t feel ready and I have to say, though I’m in isolation even longer, I probably should have taken him up on it. It was too late because the forum a minute after I read a book checked avatar a minute before it checks. And you got to do it sometimes for sanity.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, it’s anything really, and I talk a lot about this because one of my favorite topics to talk about is pleasure. And pleasure could be anything for me, it’s like, popping, bubble wrap, that is fun, it’s satisfying. I’m painting my toes for you. If it’s eating chocolate, it’s eating chocolate. It’s just there’s a line between pleasure and addiction. But it’s all here to support you being alive in us. And that’s fine. That’s great.
TAMAR: Yeah, I do feel like I do need to draw the line. And that was actually the thing I want to talk about you talking about, I guess, food consumption. And yeah, I probably am gaining 20 pounds under these circumstances. I will say that for me, I have a very strict structure in general, like I would go to the gym, and then I would intermittent fast work. My intermittent fast is actually 23 hours, some people do the 18 hour fasting and then six hours of eating. For me I only eat one meal a day. It’s so mad. And I have not been able to do that under the circumstances here to the point for several reasons. Number one, I feel like I have to support the businesses that are potentially going to fail if they don’t have any patrons and in helping these restaurants stay afloat. And number two is very different when you’re at home and you have your kids every single day. So, for me personally, it’s been staring at my heartstrings and my hunger pangs, but also maybe for me Coronavirus. I’ve had either lack of appetite or ravenous hunger, and that’s a symptom or whatever. But I did have lack of appetite, which is very typical in these times. One of the other symptoms I have is lack of smell and taste, which is not a common communicated symptom. But I will say that definitively it is a symptom, a number of people in my community tested, thought that they actually lost their sense of smell and taste from testing. And I hadn’t tested for a long time, I was supposed to, I signed up Wednesday, March 3 to be tested. March 15 was when I finally went to the testing site that was open here. And the only reason why I was really prompted to do that is because somebody had asked us, as anyone who tested thought that it was a result of just having a test and they said, has anyone who tested negatively gotten their smell back. And I realized, wait a minute, I didn’t get a test at all. So, I’m basically the control here. And I don’t have the sense of smell and taste. Oh, that must be obviously a clear sense here. When I’m watching a personal fragrance spread, so not being able to smell is a little dense.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: So, I will say that this has been for the first time in a year plus I hadn’t worked for them. Why?
LIDIA BONILLA: Wow.
TAMAR: It’s literally self-pleasure. It’s for me, good for myself and if I can’t smell it, how can I benefit from it?
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah, I wear perfume every day, too. I feel naked without two things, perfume and earrings.
TAMAR: Yeah, I will say that I have not been able to benefit from that given the fact that this virus is literally robbing me of that pleasure and it’s super challenging, but thankfully, for those who might have it or will have it, there’s ebbs and flows, days where I have it, there days I don’t, there days that I have like 100.2 and that’s the maximum temperature that I’ve had. The symptoms are very mild, but I will say that they really do come and go. Really, really weird virus but it’s so dangerous for other people. So, I will isolate and I will hopefully hope that my smell comes back and that I can enjoy my perfume in my lonesome, which is totally fine. I’m doing this to help other people.
LIDIA BONILLA: Wow. That’s something.
TAMAR: Yeah. Well, first of all, before we go into the last question, given these trying times, and you have mentioned about the fact that if you need to have chocolate, bordering on letting it become an addiction, right now, there are ways potentially for indulgence to some degree. If you can, potentially give the listeners here, some ideas on how to go through this difficult times and to make sure that they’re still being able to take care of themselves, what would you advise right now, how would you suggest that people stay sane in these uncertain times?
LIDIA BONILLA: What I would say is, I would adjust my viewpoint about it. This isn’t a snowstorm or preparation for snowstorm. You get your snacks, you make brownies, and all this because two or three days this is over, this is a new normal. We don’t know how life will change, and it has already changed dramatically for a number of people. And the thing about taking different action, taking action transforms you. And now that people have taken so many different actions with respect to how they live, they are literally different people. And so, there is no going back to normal, there’s something going to call a new normal, which may not be better or worse than the old normal, it’s just going to be different. So, with that being said, don’t think that this is a vacation. So don’t make brownies every day, or just like Netflix and chill or just try to really soothe your anxieties because there’s going to be diminishing returns to that, the longer you do that. And what I would say is that if you’re noticing, all I want to do is eat potato chips, ask yourself, what is it? What is it that I’m feeling in this moment? What is it right now that I’m dealing with? Okay, I’m anxious about how am I going to pay bills next month? Okay? Can I just be with that versus having to do something and just allow yourself to be with whatever that emotion is, versus trying to transpose it into something, either an activity, like eating or going online, or whatever is that thing that you do. It’s a great practice really on just being more self-aware. And the awareness really will start to shift, it will start to shift your behavior, but at first you have to be aware and not try to numb yourself, because all these things can get numbing. There are ways to numb yourself from what you’re actually feeling. And it’s to give you another thing that I’m hearing from people that they’re missing is structure. You may think like, oh, God, I hate commuting, I just can’t wait to get rid of this job or do something else, like tired of commuting into the city, blah, blah, blah. But that structure actually gave a rhythm to your life. And you may not like all aspects of structure, but there is something calming and centering about having structures. So, I would say, get up at it at a certain time. If you did that before get up, you get whatever that is. Don’t spend all day in your pajamas. Actually, get dressed, maybe not get dressed in slacks, but actually do get dressed, do your hair, put on makeup, whatever the thing is that that would have you go. Okay, this is a different time.
Try not to work in the same space where you rest that it’s hard for some people if you’re living in a small space, but have some separation, your whole house can’t be your workspace and I know it’s challenging with maybe both spouses, or both partners, and a space for working and then there’s children that are on their computers also doing their homework, but try to create some structure. And some, like, we don’t watch TV in the bedroom. No, we don’t work here. So that way you have a place for your mind to settle at the end. of the day. But in essence, this isn’t a big old long pajama party. This is a different way of living and you’re going to have to be rigorous with yourself around creating structures that work for you and your family.
TAMAR: Oh, I was a little bummed about this not being a big long pajama party. (laughter) I want to have a pillow fight after this.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah. Okay.
TAMAR: Yeah, you should have let loose that potential.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yeah.
TAMAR: I guess I want to end on this note. If you can talk to an earlier version of Lidia, what would you tell her? What would you advise her?
LIDIA BONILLA: Oh, my God. Girls that are worried about making a mistake just do it already.
TAMAR: I love it.
TAMAR: Okay. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming.
LIDIA BONILLA: Thank you so much. Yeah.
TAMAR: I hope this gives you a sense of making sure that we still exchange voice communication during this time.
LIDIA BONILLA: Yes.
TAMAR: And yeah, I wish you the best. Stay safe.
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