Does Your Morning Routine Need a Makeover? We Asked Around…


From the Archives

I’m always curious about how successful women set themselves up for their day, so I reached out to a few local superstars (in every age range from 30’s on up) about their morning routines. Mine is here, too; less of a routine and more of a habit! 

Renee Adams, River Barn Air Bnb

Renee owns one of the most successful, experiential Air BNB’s in the area. Her Essex property was recently featured in Conde Nast Traveler.

Disclaimer: the following is my ideal way to start each day but there are many variables at play including my two children (under the age of 5). When things go sideways, which they often do, I hold onto the little things I can incorporate in an effort to stay grounded.

6am – wake up, immediately drink room temp water with either  Sakara’s Beauty Water Drops or lemon. Every few days I’ll take a shot of acv, especially if I’m not feeling 100%.

6:15am – spending time doing whatever I’m into at the moment, currently –  Gabby Berstein’s 21-Day Manifesting Challenge. I also use  Calm’s app to do a Daily Meditation or play Wordle along with 5 minutes of journaling in my  Year of Zen Journal all while sipping on  Deep River XYZ blend with a scoop of  Vital Protein collagen powder.

7am – workout, I switch between  Peloton cycling, SkyTing TV Yoga or a brisk walk outside while catching up with a friend or listening to a podcast.

8am – I  dry brush every other day before jumping in the shower. Some go-to skincare routine products include  SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF (daily) and their  Triple Lipid Restore 242 (both very pricey but have found them both to be game changing for my 40 year old skin!)

8:30am – kids are out of the house so I’ll use this time to prep anything for lunch/dinner that day, pour myself another cup of coffee and make a shake for breakfast (usually  Sakara’s Organic Protein + Greens Super Powder or  Parsley’s Health Rebuild Protein Powder).

9am – off to the races, my work day begins!

Chelsea Wade, A Good Home | Stay at a Good Home

Chelsea runs her own organizing business with an emphasis on minimalism and style.

On a typical morning, I wake up by 4am. There is something about the early hours of the morning that are so peaceful and productive to me. Everything is quiet (my phone included!) and it’s just me. I see it as my self-care time to set me up for a good day ahead. The first thing I do is head downstairs into the kitchen to feed my dog Floyd and let him outside. While I’m waiting for him, I brush my teeth with my Quip toothbrush and Hello toothpaste, then rinse with Hello Mouthwash.

Next, I’ll head to a small bonus room off our kitchen and stream a 20-40 minute Pilates/Yoga workout from Melissa Wood Health with my Bala Bangles, followed by a 5-20 minute meditation of hers. I’ve had a membership to Melissa’s subscription services since 2019, and I just really love what she has to offer- low impact, effective workouts and positive energy. After my workout, I go through my skincare routine. Right now, I use Tata Harper’s Superkind Softening Cleanser, Concentrated Brightening Essence, Superkind Fortifying Moisturizer, and Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil. Once I apply my face oil, I’ll take my Mount Lai Jade Roller out of the freezer and roll my face for a few minutes (in the evenings, I’ll use their Gua Sha tool). I’m a little bit OCD where I have to use one individual brand at a time in my skincare lineup. I like to switch things up, but I’ll commit to the entire brand each time. I’m passionate about my personal health, and that extends to the ingredients I put on my skin as well.

Once that’s finished, I’ll make a cup of coffee with Oatmilk and three raw sugars or maple syrup. Over coffee, I’ll open my laptop and go through my inbox, answer the emails I can send a quick response to, and manage my social accounts for A Good Home. I try not to dive too deep into my day at this point (because, well, its 5:30am after all), but I do like to get ahead of the day and at least set my intentions for it and prioritize what needs to be accomplished.

By 6, my husband will be making his appearance, and we have what we like to call our “morning meeting” to catch up on the latest things going on and need-to-knows. Shortly after, I’ll make a green juice. My recipe is 1 bunch of celery, 1 cucumber, 1 green apple, 1 lemon, and a piece of ginger.

Erica Tannen, The E List

I’ve worked to break my old habit of getting up around 5:30, grabbing coffee, and immediately opening my laptop (yup, I’m a bit of a workaholic!). However, if I wake up with a decent sentence forming in my head, I still run to the computer lest I forget it! When I had my daughter, I cherished these early morning hours before the household was up. It wasn’t until the pandemic (oh, and my daughter is now 27) to realize I didn’t need to do this anymore!

At the beginning of the pandemic, when so many social activities were curtailed, I had more time on my hands. It’s taken a while to intentionally change my routine, but lately, here’s what I do:

I still get up early and fire up the Mocca Master with Ashlawn Farm’s French Roast. It’s a single-use coffee maker, and I attempt to have only one cup of coffee, but I often go back for a second. Most days, I write in my journal, a habit I picked up again in March 2020, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a fascinating document of the pandemic from day one, proceeding through shock, horror, and resignation. When I first shuttered our Chester shop, I thought the whole thing would be over in a couple of weeks.

I’m lucky to have an incredible vista straight out the kitchen window. I watch the sunrise (and usually can’t resist snapping a pic or two). The science continues to point to reminding yourself daily what you’re grateful for, and I give it a go, although it’s generally the same list of family, friends, and health (and the sunrise!).

My morning beauty routine is wanting, for sure. I wash my face with water, swipe at it with Origins A Perfect World toner (I think I’ve used this product for 20 years), and slather on Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream. I LOVE this moisturizer! Those in the know have been touting hyaluronic acid for a long time now, and I have no idea if it works or not, but it keeps my ridiculously dry skin from turning prune. I’m also into Origins Ginseng Eye Cream (feels like an instant brightener), and occasionally (after a rough night’s sleep), I slap on some of Peter Thomas Roths Hyaluronic Hydra-gel Eye Patches. I’ve talked myself into the fact that they reduce my under-eye puff. No matter, they feel GREAT!

I’m usually at work by 7am these days, and I’m a firm believer in “eating the frog.” I do any creative work or writing first thing when I’m at my freshest and save the endless emails and boring administrative chores until afternoon. If I’m really struggling to string two words together, I set a timer so I won’t leave my seat for thirty minutes, no matter how bad the first draft is. Just get it on the page and spruce it up later.

Working for myself and at home affords me great flexibility. Breakfast is around 10 am and consists of Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt in clingstone peach or mango. I’m addicted! And maybe a piece of fruit before I climb onto my Peloton. There are a number of distressing things about my recent spinal surgery, but one of the worst was breaking my 88-week streak on my bike. Yes, I’m still in love with it, and even when I don’t feel like riding, I make myself because I KNOW the endorphins will kick in, and I’ll sail happily through the rest of the day.

Colette Harron, Realtor

Colette Harron is a top real estate agent at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Essex and is well known for listing and selling the Katharine Hepburn Estate, a record-setting sale in Middlesex County. 

Every day, I wake at 5:30am, wash my face, brush my teeth, and apply a True Botanicals plant-based serum and radiance oil. I never skip a large glass of hot water with fresh lemon juice. To prepare for my always busy days, I meditate for 20 minutes to center myself. Next, I see what’s in store for the day by checking my emails and appointment calendar on my iPhone (which everyone knows I’m never without!). Exercise provides the energy and boost I need to deal with the complicated routine of a real estate agent, and I never miss my twice-a-week workout with personal trainer Susan Nelson at Funktion Fitness. I also go to Flow in Essex for Pilates twice a week.

When I return home, I whip up a blueberry and pea protein smoothie. My kitchen table has a stunning view of the river, and I enjoy my first cup of coffee while watching the birds. After a hot shower, I leave for the office, and I’m always there by 9:30 every morning.

Jennie Fresa, Copal Clean Beauty

Jennie Fresa is a Makeup Artist, Holistic Esthetician, and Certified Health Coach (and EXPERT brow styler!). She owns Copal Clean Beauty in Madison.

I started 2022 focusing on routines over resolutions. It’s said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  A morning ritual should be a sacred time that empowers you to go through each day with intention and clarity. Designing a morning that aligns with what feels right for you is imperative, so be sure to create a space that resonates with you rather than simply following a routine that works for someone else. Remember, what works for me, may not work for you, and that’s okay. When Erica asked me to share my routine with her readers, I immediately said, “Yes!” Yes, because these small, simple rituals that I’m about to share have completely changed my life in the best way.  Since starting a disciplined morning routine I’m happier, less stressed and more productive. I hope you feel inspired by one or all of my rituals. Whatever you choose is perfect for you and will create a snowball effect of intention and positivity for the rest of your day.

Here’s my morning Ritual: I always wake up at the same time every day, at 6am.  The first thing I do once I wake up is drink a glass of lemon water.  Aside from the obvious hydration benefit, lemons are high in flavonoids which helps regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress on your body. Lemons are also high in Vitamin C which aids in digestion.  This is a great way to kickstart your engine. 

Here’s my recipe when I have a little extra time (otherwise just room temperature water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is perfect):

1 8oz Glass of Water
Fresh ginger or a teaspoon of ACV
2 Drops of Lemon EO or a 1/2 lemon juice
A dash of turmeric  

After my lemon water, I brew some organic coffee.  I love having a hot cup in the morning. While my coffee is brewing, I do a 15 minute meditation.  My meditation changes from day to day.  Some days it includes an oracle card reading (I’m loving the moon deck).  Other days, it’s a guided meditation on the CALM app.  And, some days it’s just sitting quietly on my yoga mat and thinking about what I’m grateful for.  Whatever I decide on, I always set up an altar that includes either Copal incense or Palo Santo to cleanse the space and energy around me. After my meditation, I do a quick 5-10 minute stretch making sure that I always, at the very least, touch my toes.  At 7am, I head outside for my daily 30 minute walk (this is a great way to get your Vitamin D levels up). I also use this time to learn something new on one of my favorite podcasts.  Currently, I’m rotating The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman, On Purpose with Jay Shetty and School of Greatness with Lewis Howes. Around 8am, I have my breakfast that usually includes 2 hard boiled eggs, a handful of blueberries and some seaweed. Next, is my morning beauty routine followed by a fresh juice (that we make and refrigerate in advance) before I head out to work around 9am. Beginning with intention allows me to have a greater sense of vitality. Learning to set time aside for myself each morning has a profound impact on how I handle what may come my way throughout the day.  I hope you will find a beautiful ritual and start a morning routine this year – you deserve it!  Need some help cultivating a morning routine that’s right for you? Send me an email at I’ll send you some more ideas and my favorite juice/smoothie recipes! 

Jennie Fresa: Holistic Esthetician  |  Clean Beauty Advocate | Certified Health Coach 

Carol Adams, Owner Ashlawn Farm Coffee 

Carol started roasting coffee on her farm in Lyme 20 years ago and the business has grown exponentially to include a robust wholesale clientele and the fantastic cafe in Old Saybrook (where roasting currently takes place).  

My alarm goes off at 6 AM, and I usually go through two snooze cycles. My coffee arrives from my loving husband at about 6:30. At that point, I take a few sips, head to the bathroom, and turn on the running water for the Maine Coon cat, Dusty, waiting by the bathroom sink. Then I fight for a toothbrushing space at the sink with the aforementioned Maine Coon cat. I leave the bathroom and take a left to peek into my son‘s room to make sure that he is getting ready for the middle school bus and that he is feeding the cats in the laundry room, and that he will be on schedule to get his goat and chicken chores done.

I go downstairs and make a lunch/snack for my middle school son, usually peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a juice box. I get him out the front door and on the bus just before 7 AM. I empty the dishwasher and make an espresso. Then I throw on my overalls and my boots, go outside, go up to the hayloft and throw down a few bales of hay. I whip out my Swiss Army knife, slash open the bales, and distribute to the horses.

There may be some variation in this part of the routine. They may get grain or other nutritional additives. I then check the horse water trough and fill it if needed. Some days they get brushed in the morning. Today I will be sure to work with them for a while because the Farrier comes tomorrow, and I want them to stand well for him. I’ll take a walk through the barn and peek at the steers and cows. Chris will be coming soon from Four Mile River Farm to take care of them. Then I do another check on the chickens and the goats and maybe tend to some outdoor farm needs.

When I return to the house, I vacuum the kitchen, wash the dog prints off of the mudroom door, do some laundry, tidy up, and then wash up, groom, get dressed, give the dogs some treats, check that the woodstove is full of wood. As I’m walking out the door to start my workday at the Cafe, I always put sunglasses on my head in hopes of a bit of sunshine!