Monday Must: On Mornings
THIS IS AILA MORIN, CURRENTLY LEADING MARKETING, CREATIVE, PRODUCT AND E-COMMERCE AT MERIT. BETWEEN BUILDING A TEAM REMOTELY AND MANAGING A RAPIDLY SCALING BUSINESS (THAT LAUNCHED INTO SEPHORA LAST MONTH!), SHE’S SHARING HOW SHE KEEPS HER FOCUS AND STARTS HER DAY FEELING CALM AND PRODUCTIVE.
Prior to 2020, my morning routine was waking up after my alarm, then half an hour of chaos followed by an Uber to the office and a Venti Latte. I decided early on in the pandemic to re-prioritize my mornings, since they’re really the only time in the day I have to myself before I’m in meetings. I don’t have a set stop time (work can often bleed into the evening), so I keep my start time consistent so I’m as productive as possible. I wake up at 5.30am; at first it was because of jetlag, but I’ve just kept to the routine because it gives me a few hours prior to align myself before the day begins.
SCHEDULING AND SET-UP
Contrary to what every expert advises, I check my email first thing in the morning. The team at MERIT is split between New York and LA, so I clear out any urgent emails and confirm my meetings for the day. Knowing what I have coming and where I need to bring value helps me to center throughout my morning, and I have time to process and be thoughtful prior to jumping into the day.
I live in West Hollywood, and there are trails and hikes hidden everywhere in the hills. I usually start my day with a hike up Harper Monkey Trail to the top of Runyon Canyon, and listen to podcasts on the way. Depending on my mood, I switch between WSJ What’s News, What A Day (Crooked Media), How I Built This, or Armchair Expert with Dax Sheperd. When I get home, I generally do 20-40 minutes of pilates. Melissa Wood Health is my go-to; her routines give you that satisfying muscle soreness without taking too much time, and the focus on core strength balances the tension from hiking uphill.
I don’t skip breakfast, ever. For me, it’s the most important meal of the day because lunch is often at my desk during meetings. Currently, I’m making iced coffee with Moon Juice Spirit Dust, Alfred’s Chaggachino Blend and macadamia milk; I was an adaptogen skeptic before I tried this combo. It makes me feel calm and prevents caffeine jitters. I pair it with a giant smoothie (spinach, more adaptogens, vital protein powder, banana, avocado, blueberries), a bottle of Kombucha, and scrambled eggs and avocado. I drink everything over the course of the morning so my blood sugar stays stable and I continue to feel hydrated.
Pre-2020, getting ready felt like a chore. It involved a blowdryer, layers of makeup, and a lot of outfit indecision. These days, I’ve distilled my routine to what makes me feel good. I always have fresh eucalyptus hanging in the shower so it feels like a spa, and I have a speaker in there so I can keep listening to my podcast or music. I use a gua sha every single morning, and this one is my current favorite. I pair it with a facial oil, and focus on relieving tension throughout my face and scalp. It’s helped with tension headaches and TMJ, and helps with circulation to the skin. My current body routine favorites are Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, Necessaire Body Exfoliator and Klur Body Oil.
Makeup is the fastest part of the routine - less is more, especially if you’re investing in your skincare. I usually wear The Minimalist (currently in Bisque because I’m tan, but usually in Dune), Flush Balm in Cheeky, Brow 1980 in Brown and Shade Slick in Pink Beet. I keep my work wardrobe streamlined and tend to wear an oversized button down and loose jeans (key word loose), then throw on a bunch of jewelry so it feels intentional.
What’s your take on mornings? Let us know in the comments below and share photos of how you spend the am with us by tagging us @itsmaryyoung.