I put off this post (and many others like it) for months because I don’t have an on-staff photographer in Portland and hiring Kaitlin to come over at 6 am to shoot me do the most mundane things just felt dumb. So here we go – get your pin button ready and settle into a journal-style entry where I just go on and on and on about my morning and life because I can’t just do a normal morning routine post without evangelizing or filling you in on my life. So here goes. First off, I joke that I want to design a non-denominational “CTR” ring – a ring on your right ring finger we wore growing up Mormon that reminds you to “Choose The Right”. The idea is that you know the difference between right and wrong, but sometimes that little reminder can help you hold your ground or shift you toward making the choice that is better for you. My morning routine has gotten so solid over the last four years, but some days I still need the push to make the good choice to maintain my mental and physical health. There are two sides of me, battling for lifestyle dominance, and lately (the last three years) “Bone Broth Emily” is winning. This is the really healthy version of me that started in 2018 (the OG Souptember) when I realized that I could squash life’s chaos/anxiety by implementing a stringent healthy routine (which starts most Sundays with a roasted chicken supper, making my own bone broth for the week). I’ve always worked out, that’s not a problem (y’all if you are in your teens or twenties start a habit of simply moving your body in a way that feels good to you NOW). But I never used to prioritize sleep, downtime, home-cooked meals, and then yes, I love to have a drink or 3. Now I don’t always stick to being Bone Broth Emily (I’m an enneagram 7 and love to have fun) but since lockdown when I had more time for good old-fashioned self-reflection. It’s been a very, very clear pattern that should surprise no one. When I make healthy choices I’m mentally and physically much happier, which produces a better parent, a better leader, and a more supportive partner, who can handle more stress, in better ways, which helps me make better long-term choices, have clearer priorities, and enjoy a more full life, etc. Obviously, the opposite is true – when I’m in a less than healthy pattern – with an overscheduled work and social calendar, extroverting too many hours a day, on camera too much (which I find depleting if it’s not for the right purpose), burning the candle at both ends, skipping workouts, eating chips and salsa for dinner, drinking too much wine, I slip into anxiety and feel panicked and then I want to quit my job, move to the mountains and home school my kids (as if that is any sort of good solution for us). It’s all so obvious and I’m not the first person to be realizing this, but it’s so crystalized now after 4 years of a more solid routine. When I break it (outside of holidays and vacations of course) I suffer. It’s SO BORING to talk about, but it absolutely works for me. It all starts in the morning and what you are about to read is the solid mon-Friday of a normal/good work week (Not a big shoot or travel week).

Before I tell you this treasured “Bone Broth Emily” morning routine, it should be clear that I am very privileged to 1. Work from home – i.e. no commute, 2. Work for myself and avoid scheduling anything before 9 am, and 3. Have a very supportive partner who honors this routine (and has his own). This might not be doable for a lot of people so please don’t compare or think I’m telling you this is the best/only way to be “healthy”. We moved here to slow down and I’m holding on tight to that goal, but I know that a lot of people have to live a faster-paced life with a lot of things not in your control. Maybe you can relate to it, or glean something from it anyway, if no, hopefully it’s entertaining. It involves an ice bath, so there’s that…

Wake Up – No alarm (Ideally) Usually Between 6-6:30 am

I wake up with the sun which is crazy early in the summer for sure, and late in the fall/winter – making my schedule more erratic year round. Old Emily would set an alarm to work out at 5 am, or work before the kids woke up – but that was when getting them ready was more of a two-person job. Bone Broth Emily knows that sleep is far more important than almost anything, so I try really, really hard to not set an alarm before 6:15 to ensure I get as much of it as possible. This might be also an age thing. Brian and I LOVE getting into bed right after the kids, around 9, and we read for an hour or so and I’m asleep between 10-10:30. So the fact that I’m still sleeping in til 6 am is pretty incredible and I’m not messing with it. Of course, I wake up a couple of times throughout the night – mostly work-related rumination and so dumb. I actually recently (during lockdown) started taking 2.5mg of a THC Indica gummy to help and it absolutely relaxes me without me feeling any of the bad side effects I used to hate associated with weed (munchies or paranoia). I historically hated anything to do with pot and it took doing some experimentation during Covid to find that I love a tiny dose of fast-acting Indica for bedtime. Anyway, that’s all to say that sleep has become very important. But if I have a shoot or know my day is going to be crazy I’ll set my alarm to ensure that I get at least the first part of my routine in.

A Cup Of Coffee – Like Immediately

I understand the irony of talking about how healthy I’m being and then starting the day with a stimulant, but I live for my morning coffee and enjoy it so much and would give up almost anything first. Despite loving coffee and living in the PNW, we are not “pour over” people, NO. Brian sets the coffee maker the night before for 5:45 am and it’s ready by 6 am when I get up. While I would love to enjoy a leisurely 1/2 a cup while I read the news, the dogs don’t exactly let me do that (they start barking to go out which can wake up the kids). So I’m immediately off to…

6:30 – 7:30 am Walk Dogs – AKA The Most Important Thing I Do For Myself All Day

Two things have to happen at the exact same time – the kids have to get up, dressed, fed, and out the door and the dogs have to get walked (we can’t just let them out due to the yard being a dirt pit and they’ll come back totally covered in mud). I could just take them for a 15-minute walk but frankly, I love/need and have gotten used to a 3-mile walk (about an hour) every morning. I’m very, very spoiled and grateful. I have my coffee, a podcast, two adorable pups, and rain or shine I truly love it (when it’s pouring the schedule shifts, but last year there were very few mornings that were pouring, and walking in drizzle is totally fine for everyone except my hair). I usually try to get out of the house by 6:15 am so that I can be back by 7:15 am to help the kids get out of the house by 7:45 am but if I get a later start Brian takes care of it all which I’m also endlessly grateful for. He’s also a morning person but likes to wake up slower and would rather be with the kids around the island, making their lunch, than be outside moving his body up hills. We have also found that he does the morning routine better/differently than I do. Sometimes parenting together, when you have different energies and different ways of doing things causes more stress when you try to make them work together. I’m usually extremely distracted by what I have to do for the day and am obviously very capable of getting my kids out the door, but he’s just honestly better with their routine. I find myself sitting there making lists of what I have to do in my head, super distracted which isn’t very helpful. I always see my kids in the morning, but sometimes it’s just 15 minutes or sometimes I walk with them to school with the pups. And yes I set out my clothes the night before, including my apple watch (gotta track those steps!), my reflector vest (which looks VERY COOL – opposite), shoes, hat, poop bags, and headphones. It’s a thing, but I can usually be out the door in 5-7 minutes even in the pitch black. Admittedly walking the dogs before sunrise can be a little odd at first, but you guys, watching the sunrise, being outside in nature when the energy is so calm, moving your body amongst the trees – I’m telling you, once you start doing it you might crave it like I do. This routine started in lockdown when we got the dogs and I honestly think it helped stave off any seasonal depression when we moved up here. I prioritize it higher than working out or showering.

Oh, but I’m not done proselytizing about the importance of a long morning walk. This is also when I listen to my more educational podcasts – all my friends are with me. My go-to’s are Brené Brown (so glad she is back), Adam Grant, Simon Sinek, Malcolm Gladwell, and of course, Armchair Expert with Monica and Dax. I love true crime series and some comedy but tend to listen to those on my night walk (I often repeat this walk at night) or I binge on weekends. That’s all to say that if I don’t get in the rest of the routine that’s fine because this hour is the most important to my mental health and sets up my day for more success.

8 am – Quick Peloton or Apptiv

Back from my walk I drink my second cup of coffee and try really hard not to check my email because depending on what lies beneath, it can throw off the routine with more urgent matters. So I’d say 3-4 days a week I try to almost immediately jump on the Peloton or do a 20-minute strength training workout. Yes, the walk would be considered enough, but I’ve found if I also push myself a little more then MAN I’m feeling good. Recently I’ve shifted my working out goals to simply 20 minutes, every day, no matter what. And what I’ve found is that 20 minutes is SO EASY to fit into the day (again I work from home and my kids are older). Hillary Kerr inspired me with her goal of working out 365 days in a row. Could I do an hour every day? Of course not. But I certainly can do 20 minutes and have only missed a few days since my birthday. So I usually do a 20 or 30-minute Peloton class with Cody or Sam Yo, or if I don’t feel like hard cardio I’ll do my Aaptiv app and do a 20-minute strength training with Akeem or Pilates with Jenny. Sometimes this is skipped in the morning, then right before lunch I’ll pull myself away from the computer like I’ve been grabbed by some alliance force and shove myself into a quick workout. It’s annoying, but I’ve never ever ever regretted it. Sometimes if I have less time I’ll do a 7-minute workout that includes jumping squats. It’s that burst of cardio that changes the day because of the endorphins and dopamine it gives. Speaking of dopamine…

Followed By A Cold Shower Or Ice Bath (!!!)

Ok, now here is where it starts to get super weird (and next level) and if you aren’t familiar with cold plunging you might think it sounds like Goop-y BS, but keep reading. During covid, I started working out on a dock at the mountain house then jumping and swimming for at least 3 minutes every morning, even in the winter. It drastically helped my mood. In the summer it was refreshing, in the winter it is GLORIOUS. I’m now a sucker for all things Wim Hof and the benefits of cold plunging but I’m telling you – it’s a guaranteed dopamine burst for 3-4 hours. It’s really hard to be grumpy afterward (I write that with a grain of salt obviously). I really wanted to keep up the routine here so for now I either take an ice-cold shower or I put three large bowls of ice into our tub and sit in it for 3 minutes. I don’t do this every day, but again 3-4 days a week (either when I need to shower after a sweaty workout or when I’m in a bad mood that I can’t shake). But it should be said that after years of working out I have trained my body to crave endorphins and while I didn’t use to love pushing myself in this way at first, the dopamine and endorphins are worth it. It’s why I love the sauna blanket (that a lot of people can’t handle) or do sprints when I’m anxious. I look forward to it, not because I like getting into a freezing cold shower or bath (I scream every single time) but because the relief after is incredible. Again, it takes my day from OK to Good to GREAT. I also opt for this at night when I want a glass of wine (as I’m trying to not drink outside of fun occasions) – I’ll either do a quick cardio workout, walk the dogs, cold shower, or sauna blanket and boom, the craving is gone. Healthy coping habits, y’all!!

8:45 – Get Dressed…Maybe

Y’all. It’s really hard to put on cute outfits these days and I’m trying to be kind to myself about it. Working from home on a dirty farm means that IF I get dressed in something outside of soft clothes or athleisure, it usually looks like this (on a good day). I rarely feel cute because I don’t leave the property enough to put on an actual outfit (and Portland, TBH has a far more utilitarian fashion culture). I’ve scaled back my closet a lot and curated it to be more for practicality and utility, with the occasional date night or a trip to LA to bring out “Fashion Emily”. My little sister is selling all of my old clothes on Poshmark very soon to help her buy a house:) Like I said before, the outfit above is me on a good day. This has made me being on camera less and less fun as I just don’t want to take the time to try to look good just to talk on instastories. And when I go on camera without getting ready there are always comments that are dumb but bum me out. I also don’t want sponsors to feel like I don’t care and want them to be happy with their content. So I’m trying to figure out a more scheduled routine, like 1-2 days a week where I do my hair/makeup and film a lot for the week so I don’t have to prioritize my looks every day nor put myself in a position to feel bad about myself. WHO KNOWS.

9 am – Email, Work, Meetings, etc.

Every day is different – a combination of emailing, zooming, meetings at the house with subs or the landscape team, and writing. I really need to start carving out creative time or just find better productivity tools for that. Right now, most of my design/creative time comes on the weekend which is slowing down the reveal process. We have team meetings on Mondays and Thursdays for 1-2 hours, shoot mostly on Wednesdays and just trying to keep my calendar fairly free to allow for time to enjoy life with the kids:) The next few months have been historically crazy as a content creator (not the last two years), so I’m really trying to say no to anything optional to ensure that I please my current partners, who I love, and still have time to prep and enjoy all the birthdays (both kids and Brian) and holidays that dominate my favorite time of year – October – Christmas. Right now is when we start to think about gift guide strategy which is always problematic for me (so much consumerism) but how we generate revenue for the slower months. It’s always a struggle to do it in a way that feels helpful, responsible, and yet profitable. Meanwhile, I have to reveal so many rooms that just need 4 little things fixed/installed before we can shoot, and they are things that I can’t do myself so I’m trying to get the styling as dialed in as possible so when they are done we can shoot and show you.

So that’s a little life update along with my morning routine. If you really want to know what’s going on, I found out my cholesterol is not good so I’m doing a 21-day body reset with the end goal of reducing my terrible cholesterol without getting on medication for it. This reset is no joke and is highly restrictive (just vegetables/fruits and some lean meat halfway through – it’s this one – and thus really effective (so don’t try it during the holidays – I had a 3-week window of no travel or fun occasions so I went for it). Anyway, I’ve been highly protective of this morning routine since we moved here last year (less so during the summer, but I even did it in Lake Arrowhead in July) because the simple truth is when I do this I have a much better day, and when I don’t I have a worse day.

My nighttime routine is just as regimented these days, too! Not on the weekends (I’m still an enneagram 7 so I get excited about fun stuff) but Sunday – Thursday our nights are booked solid with our routine and we rarely stray from it. GETTING OLDER AND MAKING GOOD CHOICES IS KINDA AWESOME BUT SO BORING TO WRITE ABOUT!! Thanks for reading ?

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