AM/PM: It’s Morning

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members share our morning and evening rituals.

Before we start, I need everyone to know that when I asked Riese Bernard – CEO & founder of this website – what I should take pictures of as someone who didn’t consider themselves to be a routine-haver, she suggested I take a picture of my sink, the toilet, and my prescription medication. That’s it. Those three things. That was the suggestion of someone who, as my boss and close friend, I thought wanted me to thrive – to take three pictures that capture what I imagine a morning routine in prison looks like and make it into an entire post.

“Seen worse from you!” – Some of you.

Of course, this was a genius move on Riese’s part because it forced me to really examine my mornings. And it turns out I do have a routine – it just so happens to be an incredibly boring one. Here it is: I get up, put on coffee, take my dog out, drink a big glass of water with a little apple cider vinegar, floss and brush my teeth, wash my face, and then moisturize. That’s phase one.

looking into a backlit magnifying mirror is one life’s great equalizers

My skincare regime is pretty minimal. I use black soap for a cleanser and then coconut oil for a moisturizer. This may change as my face and body start their “lean in” initiative with gravity, but it works for now. Black soap is great because it doesn’t have drying agents, and, well, you know the deal with coconut oil by now. Slather it on your body and hair, cook with it, eat it, throw it at a bank, etc.

Between flossing and brushing with toothpaste, I brush with activated coconut charcoal powder for a natural alternative to teeth whitening. My parents spent a considerable amount of money on my mouth and its goings-on as a child, and so I can’t in good conscience not do everything in my power to keep the enamel I flush with coffee and wine on a consistent basis in the good shape. FineVine’s charcoal powder had over 800 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.5 stars, and after a couple of months of use, I’m also a fan!

Because I work from home, where I go for phase two depends on whether or not I need to start working right away. If it can wait, I’ll put on music or a podcast (lately I’ve been listening to Spiritual But Not Religious from Twitter dreamboat @frenchielaboozi) while I make a breakfast. Relaxed Breakfast is usually a combination of yogurt, honey, granola, and fruit. If work is pressing, I’ll grab something to eat that isn’t at all conducive to productivity and is instead a reward for putting forth the bare minimum amount of effort. Like rainbow cake.

there was a time when riese and i had a rainbow cake surplus and ate it daily and now she amazon primes them to me otherwise i’ll lose it

This all might be a different story if I went into an office everyday, but I don’t, and so to quote my ex’s dad, “It ’tis what t’tis.” This doesn’t mean I never leave the house. I do leave the house! And when I do, my makeup is also pretty minimal.

matte lip in “praline”, concealer, masc, brows n’ eyes, cover

I’m a firm believer that the makeup industry is a scam and that they all use the same five ingredients but just market them differently, and so for the basics I go real basic. E.L.F Cosmetics, which stands for “eyes, lips, face,” does a pretty good job at embodying this idea, and does it for so cheap that it’s basically free. Oh, and then I have this Rimmel London foundation that’s as invested in coverage as I am, which is low to low-medium.

Okay, that’s it. Then I stare at a screen for the next ten hours. XO

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. But at what point during the day do you do mainline crackship fanvids and brainstorm on article ideas?

  2. But we never even saw the dog!
    There was a serious lack of dog pictures for this morning routine.

  3. It took me a really long time to figure out that “masc” was short for mascara in that photo caption. I was really excited about a make up product called masc. it seemed like something I should own

  4. Okay, but rainbow cake for breakfast sounds pretty legit (mind you, my “breakfast” this morning consisted of a handful of M&Ms as I was running out the door).

  5. In theory coconut oil is genius. But then, there’s the dog. Dogs lick faces. Coconut oil + Dog = many more licks. But everyone knows dog slober is the best moisturizer anyway ^__^ Can we bottle it, add a 600% markup, and then appear in Vogue?

  6. hi as another health care professional I would like to advocate that you not brush too soon after ingesting apple cider vinegar, to minimise the eroding away of your acid-softened expensively-maintained enamel with the brush. brushing is not always good! lemme know if you want more details

    • I would like more details please. I suspect… I’m suspicious of what I know about dental health.

    • in general the best way to counteract the effect of acids you have ingested (fruits, juices, beer, wine, soda, sparkling waters) is to rinse with plain water afterwards and then let your saliva do its thing, it has buffers in it. then ideally leave it at least an hour before you brush, if you must. the combo of brushing on acid-softened enamel wears it away even more.
      I don’t know about consuming baking soda.. not an expert on that.

  7. How did you get used to the active charcoal teeth scrub ? It seems like it would make an absolute mess and be terrible to clean up.

    • the charcoal powder is a commitment to a lifestyle change that consists of cleaning your sink and possibly floors 3 times a day

  8. As a health care professional I would like to commend you for employing rainbow cake as a breakfast option.
    The most honest way it is meant to be eaten.

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