Hi, I’m Nicole, and I’m a workaholic.
I spend most of my days running my raw cat food shop in Oakland called RAWR and most of my nights designing product packaging, photographing shows, or photographing/writing here. I have a deep passion for everything on my plate and hold a high standard for work that goes out into the world with my name on it. While realistic perfection within my work is important to me, running on 3-4 hours of sleep night after night is not sustainable.
So I’ve been making a lot of adjustments.
It starts with my surroundings. I schedule my phone to go on Do Not Disturb everyday from 9pm-7am, and I generally stop working around 10pm, unless I have no other choice. After that, no screen time is allowed unless its media on the tv with the backlight lowered almost all the way. I switched the bulb out of my lamp to a blue one mainly because I thought it would look neat, but it turned out to be much more useful than a cool look.
I like winding down with media on Netflix, but I don’t like sitting in the dark while watching television, unless I’m in a theater. The contrast between the brightness of the TV and the darkness of the room hurts my eyes. Since switching the bulb to blue, I’ve found that being immersed in blue light totally relaxes me, which makes falling asleep happen 40% faster.
Even when I’m relaxing, I’m all about efficiency.
My go-to makeup remover is the Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Balm from It Cosmetics. I like it because it gets all of my makeup off quickly, even glitter and waterproof mascara. It’s easy to wash off and leaves my skin feeling hydrated, but not oily. I like to follow up with a gentle cleansing milk like this one from Vichy or this one from Bioderma, just to make sure my skin is happy and clean.
My favorite skincare product to reach for ever is the Aromessence Neroli Hydrating Night Balm from Decléor. Scents relax me more than anything, and this balm really makes me stop and unwind. It sends a signal to my brain that’s like “now entering Low Power Mode”. Just like clockwork, my eyes get all droopy, and I smile a sleepy grin.
I have such a hard time explaining what exactly it smells like, but it reminds me of the cult favorite Lait-Crème Concentré from Embryolisse, but much richer in texture and scent. It smells herbal and like the ingredients are clean (which they are). It reminds me of being at a spa and getting a massage. It hits all the right notes.
Ingredients: Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Dipteryx Odorata Se
Now that I’ve looked up the ingredients…that’s exactly what it smells like. It’s the kind of scent that makes you forget about where you are for a minute. It’s very, very lovely. While visiting my parents, I gave some to my mom, and when my dad asked for help in the kitchen she said, “I can’t right now. My hands smell delightful.”
It is a true balm, and you don’t need much product. I like to warm it up between my fingertips and massage it into my skin. It melts in and the scent lingers for a few minutes. Afterwards, I use the Aromessence Neroli Hydrating Oil Serum that’s also by Decléor. Whenever I use this combination, the next morning my skin feels hydrated and supple.
Decléor is a French aromatherapy skincare brand inspired by Chinese medicine, so all of their products have specific uses beyond anti-aging, moisturizing, etc. Total bonus points there, Decléor.
The last thing I do almost everyday is light some incense. My favorite scents for just before bed are Cypress Eucalyptus, or burning a stick of Patchouli and Amber together. I’m basically Pavlov’s dog. Whenever I smell those combinations I’m instantly like, is it bed time?
Well, is it?