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When I think about successful people, all roads seem to point back to the effectiveness of having a proper morning routine in place. And why shouldn't it? Our mornings literally set the tone for the kind of days we intend to have -- "intend" being the operative word. If you look into any CEO, entrepreneur or business owner, the intention they pour into creating a purposeful morning routine truly seems to be what separates the basics from someone with a boss mentality.
For those of you who aren't familiar with what a morning routine is, it is a set of actions you perform in the morning before you start your day. For those of us with success on the brain, it has become increasingly popular to finetune your mornings in a way that starts you on the right foot, cultivates mindfulness, and helps you to maximize productivity to ensure you are ready to conquer your to-do list when it's officially grind time.
I don't always do my morning routine, however I do notice a distinct difference in my day when I am intentional about completing my routine versus when I'm flying by the seat of my pants and just trying to get things done. During the former, I am at ease, I am happier, there is more of a flow and a sense of effortlessness as I move throughout my day. But the latter? I feel overwhelmed, tense, short with people around me, and chaotic energy charges everything I do or don't get around to doing for that day (or days if slacking off on my mornings is a pattern for a few days at a time).
If you want a glimpse into what a perfect morning looks like for me, routine included, read on below.
Photography by Taylor S. Hunter
An integral part of beginning your day on the right note is waking up well-rested. In a generation that proudly touts how grind season involves "no sleep", let me just say, I'm proud to be a contrarian. Sleep is important for memory, learning, stress relief, immunity, improved mood, better interpersonal relations, and more. While a lack of sleep could potentially prove detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Operating at E isn't a vibe, and certainly shouldn't be a wave for anyone.
Any given night, I aim to sleep for 7-8 hours. As of late, my quality of sleep has been just as important as the quantity of sleep I get. And lately, I have been achieving incredible restful nights of sleep thanks to my new Tuft & Needle mattress (read more about that here). Creating a space that invites sleep is a great foundation for achieving a lot of it. So, if you don't love sleeping, think of ways to make your bedroom more inviting -- be it removing technology, changing your bed frame or buying a new bed, or investing in a new mattress. Your peace of mind will love you for it.
Sidebar: Secure the bag and the mattress by using this link when you purchase your very on Tuft & Needle Mattress. In honor of Cyber Monday, T&N is offering $300 Off T&N Hybrid Mattress, $200 Off Mint Mattress, and 15% Off Furniture & Accessories.
After drinking a glass of room temperature water, because hydration is key, I really like to force myself awake once my alarm does its thing. One of the best ways to facilitate that is to go to the bathroom, wash my face, and brush my teeth. There's nothing quite like the wakeup call of a cool splash of water to your skin. And ever since Evelyn From The Internet put me on to the fact that you should wash your face for 60 seconds to allow products to truly do their thing, I've been humming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song as my official time clock.
I bounce between two cleansers depending on what I feel like any given morning, so sometimes it's Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser and other times it's Mario Badescu's Glycolic Foaming Cleanser. Then, I use Mario Badescu's Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, followed by Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 and then some tea tree oil (diluted, of course) if I have any blemishes I want to go away.
Writing is an important part of my day-to-day but as the managing editor of xoNecole, I don't often get as much time to write personally or creatively. Journaling has become an intersection where my purpose and my passion can meet, and it's great to just write and the only intention being to get closer to self. Admittedly though, I used to have a tricky relationship with journaling. I'd only journal if I had something I was upset about or needed to vent over. In making it a daily practice, I've found it beneficial to do morning pages where I allow streams of consciousness to flow, spill out, and fill three pages at the top of my morning. I learn a lot about myself in those moments and find some of my best ideas.
If morning pages aren't your thing, you can definitely get reflection time in through a gratitude list, writing down your intentions, or just gathering your thoughts for what your to-do list might look like for the day ahead.
I think it was Stephen King who said, "Read a lot, write a lot" and it's a definitely a quote to live by, especially if you're a writer. The writers I respect most tend to have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books and are constantly consuming other people's words to ignite sparks that will allow them to more strongly create their own. I've been on a self-help wave for the past year and have recently peeled open Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life by Ruby Warrington. We're all about the vibes outchea. I try to read at least 1-2 chapters every morning. One of the most satisfying parts of reading for me is being able to highlight the things that resonate with me the most. I find this habit to be incredibly therapeutic.
Set The Vibe
Let me tell you something about aromatherapy, it works. The role that our noses play in terms of scent and which smells trigger and settle which emotions will never be something that ceases to amaze me. Whether it's with my oil diffuser (and some grapefruit oil or lavender oil on deck) or a good-old fashioned candle, the vibe is set by the scent you choose as its signature. Some mornings, I'm known to light some palo santo or sage but most mornings (and days if I'm being perfectly honest), a soy candle stays lit for hours. My most recent favorites have been "Blush Orchid" (pictured above) and "Tea Leaves" by Chesapeake Bay Candle as well as "Calm Down" by Ryan Porter Candle.
I typically start checking the site (xoNecole.com) around this time to make sure everything is running as it should. Are there any posts that I need to update and republish? Are there any new articles that trickled overnight that can get the greenlight to fast-track to being a post set to publish that day? Are there daily news articles that our fabulous Senior Editor Taylor Honore has waiting in the cut for me to review? Are there urgent emails that need returning? So, I spend 15-30 minutes addressing those things before making my way to having my first meal of the day. My favorite breakfast of the moment is either overnight oats with dried cranberries and apple slices, or eggs, spinach, and some sausage. I then prioritize drinking my remainder 1.5 liters of water before noon, as well as consuming my daily supplements by Binto which is a packet of two multivitamins and one probiotic.
After I've done these things, I feel ready to officially start my day and face the whirlwind of my day, well-rested and well-armored by intention and self-care. Now that I've shown you mine, what does your morning routine look like? Share with me in the comments down below.
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Featured image by Taylor S. Hunter
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In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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Featured image by Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
Over the years, actress Keke Palmer has maintained a steady ascend in Hollywood from child star to a blockbuster “Big Boss.” But for her next act, the Nope star is considering the possibility of retiring from showbiz.
Keke Palmer recently discussed her thoughts on a potential retirement from the big screen in an interview with Teen Vogue. With a career spanning 20 years, Palmer feels that the timer for her retirement has officially started, though she doesn't know exactly when it will happen.
"I don't know. I think the timer has started," Palmer shared. "I think it's because I just haven't felt it yet. But the timer, I know that it's around the corner. I don't know when exactly, but it's around the corner."
For Palmer, the notion of exiting a front-facing career in Hollywood comes from her desire to build a long-standing legacy for her son, Leo, and open the door for future entertainers. This includes her media company, KeyTV Network.
"The main thing I want those legacies to be is [a call] to use your power for good, to use what you have to create spaces and systems for other people to thrive," Palmer said. "I just don't believe in holding everything. I don't believe in gatekeeping. I'm not a coward. What would that do? I think it's based in fear. If I'm speaking on it from a compassionate place, I think people, that gatekeep are afraid. So I'm not scared."
Palmer shared that in the past, she’s experienced anxiety related to performing and questions the longevity of a career in the entertainment industry.
“When I was younger, I used to have so much anxiety," Palmer says. "I love to perform, but is that something that can last forever? I think I always would wonder, 'Is it something that times out?' Obviously, you have people that have been acting their entire careers…but I just never knew how I could scale myself."
The Emmy-award-winning actress celebrated the arrival of her first child, Leodis "Leo" Andrellton, on February 25, 2023, with her ex-boyfriend, Darius Jackson. As a new mom, Palmer, 30, reflects on raising her son without fear, establishing boundaries, and cultivating a balance between awareness and innocence.
“I think about my son. I don't want to raise him to be afraid,” Palmer says. “I don't want to raise him to have no boundaries or for him to be naïve either. But I want to raise him to know that if life is a school, get out there and learn.”
She continues, “A part of learning in this place, I think, is to love and to know how to first be unconditionally loving to yourself, so that you know how to love others and be of service to others in a way that doesn't disadvantage them but instead empowers them. That's what I would hope that the legacy is for me. And for anyone that wants to follow me, I hope that's what they see too.”
Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic