My morning routine: How I get up before 5 a.m.

Photo by Benjamin Combs
Photo by Benjamin Combs

Let me tell you folks, I love to watch a good sunrise. Why? Because that means I got to sleep in. Four days a week at 5:30 a.m., I’m trekking across campus with nary but a street lamp to guide me. Though this paints a rather dark picture (literally), after about three months of waking up before the sun, I would say I’ve perfected a painless morning routine.

10:15 p.m. – The night before is actually when a large amount of my morning is planned. At this point, I’m trying to wind down a bit before hitting the hay and do so by choosing my outfit for the next morning and packing my school bag. By organizing ahead of the morning rush, I avoid any mass confusion and save time.

A major point for me at this time is choosing my clothes for the next day. Hazy and sleepy-eyed, I wouldn’t trust myself to put together a trendy combo in the early a.m. This year I’m making the conscious effort to dress semi-professional during the weekdays. Look sharp, be sharp. So, prior planning prevent poor performance (thank you high school guidance counselor for that nugget of wisdom).

10:45 p.m. – Hopefully I’m in bed. Because my head is hitting the pillow around the same time some of my roommates are hitting the books, I wear a sleep mask to block out any extra light. After a final just-in-case-you-never-know check of my alarm, I’m on the expressway to dreamland.

4:45 a.m. – The ungodly hour is upon me. The alarm is ringing. My roommate has recently taken to the odd habit of jumping out bed, thinking it’s her alarm that is sounding off. No, no, dear. Go back and enjoy your two and a half more hours of rest (you lucky son of gun).

5 a.m. – After brushing my teeth and checking my phone (Facebook, Twitter for any news updates overnight), I hit the shower. My current favorite face cleanser is by First Aid Beauty as it doesn’t dry out my skin and the soft lather is welcoming in the morning. I follow up with my Boots Extracts Brazilian Nut Body Wash and if it’s a hair washing day, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration shampoo and conditioner.

5:15 a.m. – Out of the shower. Time to get dressed, put in contacts, moisturize (Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer), conceal (you don’t get up early without bags underneath your eyes, so I use Maybelline’s Fit Me concealer in the shade Fair), powder (obsessed with NYX’s Matte, Not Flat powder foundation). Throwing on some strawberry Chapstick, I’m feeling more like a real person. The final touch is approximately three spritz of Daisy perfume by Marc Jacobs.

5:35 a.m. – Made it to the TV studio. Unlock doors and begin making coffee (AKA LIFE).

7 a.m. – If the show is coming together well, I’ll take a few minutes to refill my coffee and eat a breakfast bar. If not, I’ll try to grab a yogurt parfait after the show around 9 a.m.

8:30 a.m. – Show time! The seconds before we countdown to live is my favorite part of the morning. Everything we’ve practiced and put together prior to this is all happening now. If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, check out our show’s Facebook page, Cedar Valley Today or follow us on Twitter, @cvtoday.

8:45 a.m. – Show is over! The team gathers for a break down of highs and lows and then I boot up the computer to send out story assignments for today’s crew.

At times, the morning can seem rushed, unforgiving and dark. But through organization, coffee and good attitudes, I’ve learned mornings are full of potential for those who wake up for it.


With age, comes wisdom: 22 things I’ve learned

Photo by Ian Schneider
It is what it is. It was what it was. Photo by Ian Schneider

While it’s absolutely true that birthdays only come once a year (shockingly just like Christmas and every other day of the year), the days and lessons learned in between continue to tick upwards.

And so, in the spirit of my 22nd birthday, I have prepared 22 bits and bobs I have learned over the 8,030 days I have inhabited the Earth with all of you. Strap in people because it’s about to get real.

  1. Birthdays should be celebrated! But every other day should be too.

A small bit of gratitude for something each day goes a long way. Recognizing this has literally been the accumulation of 22 years of living and I probably had a better grasp on it when I was three than I do now.

2. If you have five minutes, call your mom, dad, grandparent, dog.

Not all at the same time, of course. If you love someone, include them in the breaks and spaces of your time.

3. The person with the longest arms should always be taking the selfie.

So simple, and yet…

4. Know that a text is for quick communication, a phone call is for a conversation.

Let’s save our generation from a wave of early onset carpal tunnel syndrome.

5. Just in case, get a passport.

Even without any stamps in it, having one allows for the possibility.

6. Know how to make good coffee.

Everyone knows someone that needs coffee (note: it’s not “likes.” It’s “needs.”) Life is too short for bad coffee.

7. Be the person who has a Band-Aid, Tylenol, gum, and bobby pins with them at all times.

But don’t hand out hair-ties. You’ll grow bitter after you’ve given all yours away.

8. Everything in moderation. 

Life is a balance, in every aspect. Laughing often and crying too keeps you level.

9. Make sure your alarm clock is set to A.M. not P.M.

If you take one thing away from this list, this is the one! Life-saving move, right here!

10. Carry your computer charging cord with you at all times.

11. Same with headphones.

12. Ditto for cell phone cord. 

Basically, don’t be that person who can’t do anything because they let their computer/phone die.

14. Know that sometimes when your mom asks, “Is that what you’re wearing?”, she’s probably in the right. 

It’s hard to admit, but 80 percent of time it’s true.

15. When your mom says to wear a coat, boots, mittens, etc., she’s probably correct.

Mom > Weather Man

16. You don’t have to contour your face.

Make-up guru Bobbie Brown told The New York Post, ““As a beauty expert, I believe in individual beauty, and it’s just not my aesthetic. We don’t need to be contouring like the Kardashians.” Also, you can more effectively use your time.

17. If you think something is worth doing, recognize it’s worth doing well.

If you’re going to put in the effort to doing something, make the end product something you can be proud of. This motto helped me evaluate my priorities with the quality of work I was turning out.

18. Dress for the position above you.

Person: “Why are you dressed up today?” Me: “Because there isn’t a reason not to.” Dress sharp, feel sharp, perform sharp.

19. If it’s green, it’s probably good for you.

This applies to nature, food, and sometimes, money.

20. When others are talking, try not to interrupt.

It says you think what you’re saying is more important than anything anyone else has to say. That’s gross.

21. Always know the names of the president and vice-president, state governor, and names of your significant’s other family members.

Knowing your way around current events and issues looks #flawless at any age. The Skimm can help with that. Sadly, there is no Skimm Guide to your S.O.’s redwood of a family tree.

22. Lastly, be prepared to learn more every year.

This list will probably be entirely new next year and with additional advice. And that’s how it should be.

And so, dear reader, what have you learned with time and age? Leave your advice in the comments below.