I haven’t always been a “morning person.” Even now, I’m not sure if I actually qualify, since I’m naturally a night owl who transitioned to appreciating weekday early hours after getting a dog who loves a long morning walk almost as much as she loves salmon. Throughout high school and college, I was a bona fide night owl and successfully went through my entire college experience with only one class before 10:00 AM (which I begrudgingly took my senior year, only because it wasn’t offered at any other time and I needed it for my minor).
Ten years and one global pandemic later, my favorite time of the day is early morning just after waking up, when I know I have the whole day ahead of me and nothing on the calendar for a few hours. Establishing an actual “morning routine” instead of just getting out of bed and grabbing my laptop has truly been one of the things keeping me sane during quarantine. That being said, I still feel my most creative late at night, and so many of my best ideas come to me while showering after the sun has gone down. Is anyone else a strange hybrid of morning and night person? Just me? Here's how my mornings have looked recently:
6:45 AM: Alarm goes off, wake up, hit snooze, fall back asleep.
7:00 AM: Alarm goes off again, and I’m awake for real this time. My phone is already conveniently in my hand from silencing my alarm, so I open the mail app and scan my personal email inbox for all my favorite newsletters. I read the New York Times’ ‘The Morning’ every day without fail. Sometimes I’ll skim it for five minutes, but more often I’ll spend almost half an hour going through the entire thing and clicking all the links to stories I find interesting. A few other favorites I’ll stay in bed for are Haley Nahman’s newsletter, 'Maybe Baby,' NYT’s ‘Race/Related’ on Saturdays, and Refinery 29’s ‘The Mention’ (although this one arrives in the evenings, so sometimes it’s part of my evening routine). As my last step I’ll check Instagram, do a few quick scrolls (unless there’s something exciting going on!) and hop out of bed.
7:30-7:45 AM: I’m out of bed (finally) and take five to 20 minutes to brush my teeth, wash my face, change, and do my hair and makeup if I feel inspired.
Hair: I’m a night shower-er, so the first thing I usually do is assess my hair “situation” when I wake up. Does it look like birds could nest in my hair today? Is my cowlick acting up? Where do we fall on the wavy-straight scale after falling asleep with slightly wet hair? All of these questions usually inform what I do with my hair in the mornings–these days it’s either a slicked-back ponytail or just simply straightening my whole head with a flat iron if I’m feeling a little fancy. My sister sent me a big ‘ol box of Ouai products for my birthday, and my favorites to use in the morning are the Dry Shampoo, Heat Protection Spray, or the Finishing Creme (for those days it’s extra clear that I need a haircut).
Makeup: I didn’t really wear makeup from mid-March to July, but I decided to start “trying” again in August literally just for my own personal sanity–I was starting to feel like a cave troll going most of my days without ever seeing another human being IRL. I use Glossier’s Stretch Concealer under my eyes and on my chin, a tiny dab of Armani Luminous Silk foundation on my nose, and top it off with Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder all over. I finish with my new favorite drugstore product, Maybelline Brow Extensions, a swipe of Nars blush, Glossier Lash Slick mascara, and if I’m feeling really hyped, my favorite Nars eyeliner in the bronze-y color I’ve been wearing since college. It’s kind of amazing how much eyeliner helps my overall look as I’ve gotten older–it’s really the only thing I’ve noticed that has changed about my appearance since turning 30–I really do notice how my eyes seem to disappear into my face when I’m not wearing it.
Outfit: These days I’m still usually wearing yoga pants or comfy shorts with a Free People tank or big sweatshirt, depending on the weather. Sometimes I’ll throw on jeans and a cute top if I’m feeling super awake in the morning, but I’ll be honest–I’m not a “true” morning person, so that only happens maybe once or twice a week.
7:45 AM: Here comes the fun part, where my morning routine turns into a bit of a “choose your own adventure” story based on these two questions: Is Alexa here? Are we walking to Starbucks today?
7:45 AM: Alexa is here!
On the absolutely thrilling occasions that Alexa has slept over, we’re out the door by 7:45 for our 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. She’s usually a Very Patient Girl while her mom gets ready, but sometimes she starts howling and chasing her tail while I brush my teeth so I’ll skip the whole hair and makeup hullabaloo to get my girl out the door closer to 7:30. This is by far my favorite way to start the morning: listening to a podcast with my pup as we walk about a mile round-trip before the neighborhood has really woken up.
7:45 AM: No Alexa, but we’re going to Starbucks.
I usually reserve Starbucks days for Tuesdays and Thursdays, but every once in a while you’ll catch me going rogue on a random day when I really need it. I order a grande decaf Americano (and JUST MAYBE I’ll also get a croissant) with the Starbucks mobile app and head out the door for the 15 minute walk. If it’s Tuesday, I’m listening to Haley Nahman’s podcast (which you can get if you’re a paid ‘Maybe Baby’ subscriber, which may I say, is super worth it). On Thursdays, I usually listen to ‘Bachelor Happy Hour’ with Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, which also comes out on Tuesdays. I love starting my day with a walk, and Starbucks gives me a reason to stretch my legs in the morning when Alexa isn’t around.
7:45 AM: No Starbucks for you today.
If it’s not a Starbucks day, I proceed with my “normal” morning routine, which sadly does not involve a walk or leaving the house. I’m in the kitchen by 7:45 heating up water for my coffee and doing all the dishes from the day before. This is a routine I didn’t discover until some point this summer, and it has changed everything for me. I used to get so upset every night by all the dishes that would pile up from eating/making three meals plus snacks at my house each day and not having a dishwasher, which I haven’t had to deal with since I was 23. Having to do 15+ minutes of dishes as part of my wind-down routine every night was making me incredibly anxious and unhappy, but leaving my dishes for the morning and doing them while I wait for my coffee water to boil has been a major game-changer for my sanity.
8:15-9:30 AM: Now that I have my coffee, I sit down at my desk and start my workday. I usually begin by finishing the podcast from my walk or starting a new one (a few others I like to listen to at my desk are ‘Code Switch’ or ‘How I Built This’ and ‘Group Chat Realness’ by Venita Aspen and Sophie Gold), then listen to folklore by Taylor Swift and skip the last six songs. I read emails, check my calendar and Asana tasks for the day, work on any time-sensitive projects, and chat with Jess, Cass, and Lauren (the newest member of our team!) around 9:00 AM.
9:30 AM: My morning “ends” with eating breakfast around 9:30 or 10:00 AM. I’m one of those people who feels absolutely ill if I eat first thing in the morning, so I don’t. I’m a pretty low-maintenance breakfast kind of gal, preferring something I can “assemble” versus something I have to cook. Right now my go-to breakfast is either cereal (Cheerios + Kashi Original + almond butter + almond milk) or oatmeal with chia seeds, honey, cinnamon, and almond butter. I’m definitely guilty of eating the same exact thing (or rotating between two) for a few months straight, and then getting totally sick of it and switching to something else. I have a feeling next up will be English muffins with almond butter (are you sensing a theme? I’m honestly just weirdly obsessed with the almond butter I buy...), but I guess we’ll see what happens when we get there.