Can somebody please pass the virtual mimosa?

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 19, 2020
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Credit: Tara Moore / Getty

Unfortunately, the realities of our social lives have been dramatically changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spreading throughout America.

Even after a few days of staying at home you may start to miss simple everyday blessings like sharing a meal with loved ones or catching up with friends at book club. While there's no replacement for gathering in-person—and the celebratory group glass-clink to toast another book club meeting—technology can help ease some of the stress and sadness of social distancing.

That's why we were excited to learn about the app Houseparty, from our friends over at PureWow, a "face-to-face" social networking service that lets you enjoy virtual gathering with friends. Once you download Houseparty (which is available for Chrome as a web extension, for MacOS computers, and for Android and iOS devices), and open the service, your friends are alerted that you're available and vice versa. From there, kick off a group video chat and hold your happy hour, prayer group, book club, and the like, digitally. Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, so you can also play virtual games directly though the service, like an entertaining card game called "Chips and Guac." (Warning: Once you Chips and Guac, you'll have a hard time prying yourself away from the delightful competition.)

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Personally, I'm bummed over the temporary dissolution of regular Saturday "Crafternoon" parties with a group of friends, where we make candles, soap, jewelry, and more, hosted at a different gal's apartment each gathering. But at least now I'm already brainstorming whether I'll teach the crew how to decorate a journal remotely or opt for a more practical lesson on healthy pantry cooking.

Can somebody please pass the virtual mimosa?