A Creature of (Bourgeois) Habits: A Day of Work

A Day of Work zooms in on the daily routine and work habits of Autostraddle team members. Read about the coffee, the cats, the Slack meetings, emails and minutiae that makes Autostraddle go.

Every morning, there are 10 minutes where I’m half-awake, where I straddle dreamworld and real life. I can hear the sounds of birds and cars rushing, but it’s unclear if the sounds are happening in my dreams or if they’re actually outside my window.

Lately, I’ve been in a funk. I’ve slowed down a bit to really listen to myself, understand what I need to be well. I brush my teeth and stare at myself, or I look out my window until the electric toothbrush says it’s done.

The biggest thing I care about, as a person living with Eczema™ and as someone descended from the tropics, is moisturizing. So I apply about 36 serums from The Ordinary, Cerave lotion (cream if it’s fall/winter), and La Roche-Posay SPF 60.

On days where I have the time, I take the 20-minute walk to my favorite cafe, order a latte with macadamia milk, fresh orange juice, and a grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and smoked bacon. I get this almost every single day. I am a creature of obsession.

Purple flowers on a plant with long green leaves.

The neighborhood flowers are definitely queer.

Similarly, I go through phases where I listen to the same artist or song every day. Right now, it’s Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman (Metro Remix).” The repetition of the beat is somehow soothing, and the lyrics speak to the feeling of experiencing a womb period in one’s life. A crossroads. A juncture. A pivot point. A transition, if you will. (Also, #FreeBritney.)

I make my way to my three email inboxes, mostly responding to media requests, meeting requests, pitches. I have to build momentum to bigger tasks, so watching unread emails dwindle is a great warm-up.

Xoai sitting at her desk writing in her notebook as light streams through the window.

This was totally candid, I promise.

At some point, I pull out my yoga mat to do cardio and lift weights, shower, and then begin to edit pieces from trans writers. I do my best to be as thoughtful as I have time for because so few of us get opportunities for feedback and training in our craft. This is where Autostraddle differs from other publications. A key part of my position is helping trans stories make their way into the hearts of the public. I want you to support trans writers today by joining A+.

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My favorite thing about my studio apartment is the light. Sunlight is so important for my productivity and my mental health. The way my window is positioned also makes sure I’m well-lit for meetings and interviews with trans creators, like when I spoke to the folks behind Trans in Trumpland!

This is where I enter the part of my day that is The Void. Where I have back-to-back Zoom meetings for sometimes up to five hours. I try to stay hydrated and make it to the evening, when I reward myself with a cocktail. My go-to right now is Yola mezcal, Harmless Harvest coconut water, and a whole star anise for fragrance. (This article is not sponsored, but if you’re a brand representative, reach out to me.)

A bottle of mezcal and a cup of coconut water. The light refracted through the bottle creates a rainbow.

This bottle of mezcal really said “gay rights.”

In the evening, I feel more creative. This is when I’ll work on writing articles or on my screenplay. I’ll do this until 9 or 10pm, before I repeat my skincare routine and lull myself to sleep with a book or a YouTube rabbithole.

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xoai pham

Xoài Phạm is a Vietnamese trans person who descends from a long legacy of warriors, healers, and shamans. Her life's work is in dreaming new futures where we are all limitless, and she makes those dreams a reality as a poet, essayist, editor, and collaborative educator. Learn more about her work here: xoai.co. Catch her on Instagram @xoai.pham and on Twitter @xoaiwrites.

xoai has written 22 articles for us.


  1. My wife always make fun of me that I get the same things, but what’s wrong with knowing what you want?

    I’ll have to get the things to try that cocktail, it’s sounds delicious!

  2. wow deeply moved by that order, i love a hearty first meal. also blown away by how much you do every day and your creative drive – so many people are lucky to benefit from your work!

  3. this column is extremely validating and also challenging in a good way for me to give myself back some structure i had before pandemic & i let it all hang out.

    also if you’re reading this & not an A+ member, and you buy get yourself $4 or more worth of snacks each month (I do more than that! I love snacks!!!) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE join A+ for the love of rainbows!!!!

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