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Calming Night Routine

After sharing my tips and suggestion for waking up early, I thought an updated nighttime routine post was in order. It’s hard to wake up early unless you get enough sleep, which means going to bed early. This is my calming night routine that helps get me ready for bed so that I get a good night sleep.

Wind Down: I have an alarm that goes off at 8pm. Whatever we’re doing, we stop and start to prepare for bed. The TV goes off, the laptop gets closed, the phone goes down.

By setting this specific time to begin our winding down, we avoid the trap of “just one more episode” or “as soon as I finish this last thing.” Those excuses can go on forever, so put yourself in a position to not be able to make excuses.

Yours doesn’t have to be 8pm, I know that’s early for a lot of people, but it gives us time to go through our nightly rituals.

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{Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser + VanityPlanet Cleanse, Exfoliate & Massage Ultimate Skin Spa System}

Lights: Right at 8pm, when all the electronics go off, I also start to dim and turn off lights. When you body receives light, it thinks “daytime!” because for a millennia, we didn’t have lamps and TVs, and light meant the sun was out which meant you were supposed to be awake. {If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, you should read Lights Out}

So start to get your body ready by dimming lights and if you use your phone or a notebook to read, download a red screen app like Twilight that can help filter out the light.

Rituals: My nighttime skin care routine is very calming and just by starting it, I begin to feel relaxed. The movements of applying the products are connected to my nighttime routine, so my body starts to loosen up immediately. I’ve especially found that I LOVE using my VanityPlanet Cleanse, Exfoliate & Massage Ultimate Skin Spa System with a gentle cleanser like Caudalie’s Instant Foaming Cleanser,it is a perfect, relaxing little ritual.

The smells of your skin care products can be very relaxing as well as the movements of applying them, or you can set up an essential oil diffuser and try lavender or a sleepy time formula.

Relax: Calming myself down each night is two-fold, I need to relax my body and turn off my brain.

  • For my body I like Epsom salt bathes, stretching, and taking a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm.
  • For my mind, it’s all about meditation. There’s really no substitute. You can more about that here if you’re interested.

Do YOU have a calming nighttime routine?

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Pampering Yourself & Self Care

Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

One of my favorite sayings is: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” And it’s true. We get so busy trying to conquer our hectic lives that we’re just going through the motions, we don’t stop to think about how we’re feeling, what we need, or how to better ourselves. I’m a huge fan of journaling, sometimes that’s how I actually figure out what I’m feeling. I start my day with a gratitude journal and affirmations, a trick that my mom taught me in college, and it helps me set intentions for the day. It’s also a daily reminder that my needs matter and shouldn’t just be an afterthought.

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Another way that I like to promote self-care, is through a bit of pampering. For me, a bath is where it’s at, but I know that’s not for everyone. Here’s a list of ways that you can give yourself a little love and help renew your mind, outlook, and body.

  • Spa day – Get a facial or a body treatment. Relax, enjoy, and renew.
  • Skin Care – For me skin care is essential, but it’s also a way that I like to pamper myself. I go through a relaxing, rejuvenating routine that smells and feels great. It’s a way to give myself a little love every day.
  • Massage – I live for massages and highly recommend enjoying one for relaxation or for therapy when you’re in a heavy training or racing mode. They are a lifesaver!
  • Shopping – Finding great new activewear is always a favorite pastime of mine {Nordstrom is carrying Sweaty Betty now!} and I never shy away from some quality Real Real browsing time.
  • Workout – Working out is a stress reliever. Even if you’re feeling stressed or tired, it can energize you. Go for a run, head into a class, or go work out your stress on a boxing bag.
  • Bath – Give me Epsom salts, a bath bomb, or bath oils, and light a candle, and I am happy for hours!
  • Sauna/Hot Tub – No distractions, just focus on your breathing and expel those toxins.

Reminder – Taking the time to do any, or all, of these things doesn’t make you a bad mother, or a bad wife, or bad employee, or a bad anything. Sometimes you need to prioritize yourself so that you’re a more understanding, calmer, happier human for the people around you.

Do YOU have a go-to pampering routine?

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Spring Cleaning | Tips & Tricks – Part 1

I live for Spring Cleaning.

That may seem like a weird statement, but I find it truly cathartic to go through my closets and cupboards and donate things that I’m not using, or put them on Poshmark, or throw away items that can’t be repurposed or mended. Since I’ve been in a minimalist state of mind the past year or so, I’ve been spending time regularly cleaning things out and trying to keep everything as simple as possible. But I find that I’m still excited to dig into everything for a deep cleaning this Spring.

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{This romper is an example of something that I put up on Poshmark after a closet clear out! I had forgotten it was even back there.}

First up, and usually the most challenging, is the closets.

  1. Step one – Check sizes and condition of your clothing and accessories. Here’s where you round-up the items that aren’t being used in your closet. If you’ve never worn something because it’s too big or a pair of shoes never gets used because they pinch or if you broke a belt and keep meaning to have it fixed, pull all those items out and go through them. If it’s something that you truly love and will either find a way to use or have fixed, create a pile. If you’re never going to use it or if it isn’t fixable, decide whether it should be sold, donated, or thrown away.
  2. Step two – Clear out your Fall & Winter clothes to make room for Spring & Summer. For some that means moving things into storage or another closet, for others, it means swapping the back of the closet for the front. Be sure to be gentle with storing certain items – I like to polish boots before they’re returned to their boxes, make sure overcoats are on the appropriate hangers (to avoid those stretched out shoulders), and I put books or other items inside handbags to help them keep their shape.
  3. Step three – Go through everything. Every hanger, box, shelf, and cupboard should be reviewed. Here’s where you find pieces you forgot about, things you’ve never used, items that you forgot to return etc. Now it’s time to pass judgment. If you haven’t used it in a year, it may be time to let it go. If you don’t like the style or the trend has passed, time to let it go. If you can’t remember why you bought it, time to let it go. And so on and so forth.

Note: Be brutal! I used to have a terrible habit of hanging onto things I didn’t use or want, just because I didn’t want to get rid of them. Like holding onto a dress because some day Letting Go of Your Fantasy Self post I might fit into it. Or keeping a pair of heels that I physically couldn’t walk in, because they were beautiful and had a designer label. If you need some help on this front, check out my Letting Go of Your Fantasy Self post.

You can also check out Minimalist Challenge | Closet Cleaning with Poshmark & The Real Real for more suggestions and recommendations to get you cleaning.

Stay tuned for the next post in this Spring Cleaning series – Tackling your kitchen!

Do YOU love Spring Cleaning as much as I do?

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After Work Routine | How to Destress

I’ve shared my nighttime rituals and my morning routine with you, so next I thought I’d tackle my after work routine. In particular – How to destress after a long day.

Whether you’re in an office, working from home, chasing the rug rats around, or job hunting – You reach a point each day where you need to stop, relax, and decompress.

While everyone’s go-to tool for relaxing may differ, here are some of the things that help me each day.

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Walking: After work, the very first thing that I do is walk home. I’m lucky to live in San Francisco, a city filled with avid walkers, and I’ve always lived within a few miles of the office. While the exercise part of walking is great, the real reason I’ll never give up this ritual is that this is my decompression time. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I listen to audible. But I turn off my brain and use this time to recover from the work day and get back to myself.

Cleaning: I’m one of those people who can’t concentrate, let alone function well, if I’m surrounded by a mess. The first thing that I do when I get home is put away the things that I had take out for the day – Coat, handbag, gym bag etc. Next I head into the kitchen and put away the dishes from the night before. I prefer to skip the dishwasher so they’re out on a drying rack from our last meal.

Working Out: I usually workout midday at the office, take a class immediately after work, or head to the gym in my apartment building after I get home. Working out is an integral part of my lifestyle – It helps me control my back pain, keeps me healthy, and improves my sleep. If I don’t wear myself out over the course of the day, it’ll take ages to fall asleep.

Cooking: My main form of therapy is cooking. And baking. I love nothing more than putting on a book on tape and tuning out while I spend some quality time in the kitchen. I do this on Sundays for my meal prep and I do it most days after work. It can be as simple as chopping vegetables or baking chocolate chip cookies – It’s meditative.

Eating: I love food so my reward at the end of the day is a giant plant-based meal. We try to eat together each night and that’s our catch-up time. No phones or distractions. Just us and the food.

Relaxing: After dinner and before I start my nighttime routine, it’s time to relax. The activities vary depending on what I’m in the mood for. If I’m super sore, I’ll head to the bathroom for a long Epsom salt bath. If I’m feeling lazy we’ll watch a TV show with the cats climbing all over us. And if I have work to do, I’ll take out my laptop and get it over with before bedtime.

How do YOU destress after work? Any tips?

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Healthy Habits | A Starting Point

Making better choices and trying to fill your day-to-day lives with healthy habits is a big part of the message here on Moi Contre La Vie. While I’ve always written about fashion, food, and fitness, the main focus of this blog has shifted from fashion as the primary subject to being more focused on food, fitness, and healthy living.

The questions that I get most are about getting started. Where do I start? What’s your number one tip for beginning a healthier lifestyle? What do you suggest for someone new to the gym?

And these are all great questions!

The key to living a healthy life is realizing that there isn’t a magic pill or a secret path to your goals, it’s all about choices. The small choices you make every day add up. No one choice should make or break you, but you want to aim for making more good choices than bad ones.

So where do you start?

ANYWHERE.

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As I said, a healthy, happy lifestyle is made up of small choices, so every time you make a good choice, you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Here are a few great choices that you can make, to help you get started towards meeting those goals and achieving those dreams!

Sleep – This is going to be at the top of any list. You need sleep – It’ll improve memory and productivity, it’ll improve your dietary choices, it’ll improve your workouts and recovery.

If you have trouble going to sleep, check out these posts for some suggestions: Nighttime Ritual, Tips to Decrease Stress & Help You Sleep, and Confessions of a Former Insomniac.

Water – This is another one that I’m sure is drilled into your head whenever you open a magazine or read a blog post or watch a YouTube video.

And yet, people still don’t drink enough water. I know multiple people who regularly tell me that they just “don’t like water.” Well, I’m sorry, but that’s no excuse. You NEED water, so drink it. You can make spa water by adding fruit and herbs if you want to keep it fun. We keep a jug of cold water in the fridge with a lemon slice and either mint or ginger.

Find what works for you and start drinking!

Move – Beginning a workout routine can be intimidating. Where do you start? What should your goals be? But the reality of it is that you just need to start. My first suggestion is always to start with walking, it’s a great way to get your body moving and gauge where you are fitness-wise. Slowly add longer and more frequent walks and then you can graduate to gym sessions, workout classes, or jogs. It’s all about creating a foundation and building on it slowly but surely.

Goals – Setting goals for yourself is a great way to stay motivated. Try not to make the goals too big or too dramatic – It’s all about baby steps. You’re not going to change your life or become an Ironman over night. It’s about small, sustainable changes. So keep that in mind when you start writing down your goals – Rather than “run a marathon,” maybe it’s “run a 5k.” Rather than “cook every night,” it’s “eat out less often.”

What’s YOUR top healthy living tip?

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