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Quarantine Q+A -- Lee Vujnovich

How one of OC’s most talented and passionate graphic designers is balancing work, motherhood and challenges in the time of coronavirus — and what we can learn from her approach.

For more than 20 years, Lee Vujnovich has been designing modern, clean and effective marketing campaigns and materials for some of Southern California’s biggest names in real estate, retail and hospitality, while also helping to support some of the OC’s most beloved small businesses and community groups in their marketing efforts, as well. Chances are, you’ve seen and been influenced by her work and now I think you will be influenced by her relatable and at times thought-provoking answers to our Quarantine Q+A. Q: What about the current quarantine situation have you liked best - if you had to pick something to like?

LV: I have to say that rest has been a huge deficit for me for years. With my daughter now home instead of in full-time middle school and 16 hours a week of gymnastics, I am not running around the way I used to. And, I can sleep in if my body needs it – what a concept! Q: What about quarantine has been the most challenging for you and why? LV: I miss being able to get out and be with people. I run my business from home, yet am also a very social person. The ability to socialize has been vital for my sanity. That has been a challenge for me to accept and work around. Q: Have you learned anything about yourself during this time? What? Anything surprising that you didn't know about yourself before?  LV: I have learned that I have been on a hamster wheel for a VERY long time. Wake, work, carpool multiple times a day, work, make dinner, get my daughter ready for whatever she needs, maybe see a friend, sleep, repeat. I didn’t realize that was my pattern, and as I leave it behind, I am able to really look within and create a new normal, one filled with self-acknowledgment, abundance and gratitude. And I am working on the part of me that resists doing what is good for me. That one is a biggie for me! Q: Where have you been turning for inspiration during this time? LV: I am so blessed with a TON of amazing friends so am able to pick up the phone, text or zoom any one of them when I need to. That ability to connect is so good for me. I am also pretty good at looking inward so have done some meditating (“some” being the operative word!) and read only the messaging that promotes a positive outlook. I do not look at the news. Probably seems naïve to many, but for me it is protecting my sanity and I have a wonderful tribe that fills me in where truly needed. I am particularly interested in anything to do with higher thinking about health and wellness, and not because of our current pandemic, but for my own longevity. Q: How has being in quarantine affected your work?  LV: Seeing as I work from home anyway, I don’t have that adjustment like many have right now. My biggest change though would be that I can work straight through the day and not have to get up and carpool, etc. My wonderful clients have kept me busy, which is a huge blessing in these times, so that has allowed me to focus and remain calm. I am far more organized in my day as well. With an uninterrupted day, I also have more time to organize the “life” stuff that always took a back seat to the grind.

Q: Quarantine cuisine - any new or old favorites you've been enjoying more during quarantine? What and why? I have ordered out a little more these days from some local restaurants in order to support our community. As for cooking at home, I do that pretty much every night for my daughter so that has stayed, for the most part, the same. I think the difference is that we eat more plants. Having time to cook, as opposed to ending the frantic day with pushing out a dinner, allows for more prep time. I am looking at a farm box right now to get more fresh fruits and veggies in our home! Q: What is your quarantine cocktail of choice? LV: That is a loaded question, no pun intended! It depends on mood and weather. I like an Old Fashioned that is not too sweet when it is cold outside, a jalapeno olive vodka martini, red wine or a nice rose. I also like mixing Topo Chico with a nice tequila and a splash of all natural margarita mix for something refreshing! Q: Are there more holistic lessons that you hope society/our culture/the world will take away from quarantine (after it's over) -- things we've learned as a society during this time? LV: Yes, many things, but one overall is to SLOOOOOW DOOOOOWN. We do not need to be so “busy.” There is nothing so pressing that needs to tie us in knots. And by slowing down, health rises, our own and the earth’s. We will spend less, love more, connect more, waste less, and be in gratitude as opposed to the constant red zone we have learned to hold so close. Q: Favorite music during this time? LV: If I listen to music, I am inclined to put on an Amazon music station based on Coldplay, Stevie Nicks, or Jack Johnson, and the occasional yacht rock station. I like music that doesn’t take much to listen to – good vibes music. Q: Any tip/s you can share with others that have made this time more bearable for you? LV: Be in gratitude! By being in this space, it allows our minds to focus on what is good, how this time could benefit us in the long run and take us out of the hopelessness the information overloading can create. To be able to turn things around in our minds, our hearts will follow. We need to give ourselves a break from the “noise,” from fear and also from feeling like we are not doing enough. Gratitude is always a place to go to get out of negative thoughts and mindsets. I also think setting a routine is a helpful tool. We can get a little lost with no schedule, it can feel like the days are bleeding into each other. That said, a strict routine can be stressful as well, so it is important we set realistic expectations for our day that include productivity as well as rest and time to connect with others whether on zoom, text, phone, or those in our own home. I also like to do little things for those I love as a form of connection. Q: If this COVID quarantine "thing" was a character in a movie, what would he/she/it look like and what would be his/her/its traits? Hero or villain?  LV: I don’t think this quarantine is a villain. I think it just “is.” I believe we are handed these moments, challenges, and it is up to us how we perceive them and what we do as a result of their existence. Relating that to a movie…maybe “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith. I feel like this time is like the cards the main character was dealt - poverty, single parenthood, homelessness. Very challenging times that could conceivably leave a great feeling of hopelessness and overwhelm. The main character, however, seemed to use these hardships and very trying experiences to hold tight to an unwavering perseverance for a better life. Which he ended up having…true story. Q: What will you appreciate more after quarantine is over? LV: The ability to be with the people I love – to be in the same room with them! Even something as simple as being able to open the door for someone or have it held for me – to be close to people again. To be in the mix in my community. I would also love to be able to get out of town again. I am looking forward to a change of scenery. Q: Any book, podcast, movie, YouTube, Instagram accounts, albums or any other recommendations you have during this time?  LV: I like to mix it up, so I rotate Oprah, Dax Shepard, Brene Brown (to name a few faves) for a personal feel and have a few entrepreneurial and creative podcasts in my library for tips and inspiration for my business. As far as things to watch, I like “Little Fires Everywhere” (a new Hulu drama), “Making the Cut” (I love a reality show that pushes talented creatives to their max!) and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop Lab” about testing alternative healing practices.

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