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The Morning Routines of 6 Successful Birmingham Women

by: Lauren Helmer - Style Blueprint
published: October, 25th 2016


http://styleblueprint.com/birmingham/everyday/morning-routines-6-successful-birmingham-women/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=privy&utm_content=birmingham

 

 

The Morning Routines of 6 Successful Birmingham Women

We’ve gathered a cross-section of successful women from a wide range of industries, and we asked them to share their morning routines thinking that we might unlock the secrets to their shared successes through some magical, unknown morning trick. The truth, like life, is much more complicated, personal, inspiring and funny. Whether an acclaimed novelist, the senior project manager of a major general contracting firm, an expert wedding planner traveling the world to stage weddings, a one-of-a-kind style coach, a freelance writer-blogger-teacher extraordinaire or the president of a high-growth investment firm managing in excess of $1.2 billion in client assets — these dynamic women’s morning routines each have a nugget of wisdom or ingenious trick that will inspire and motivate you, make you laugh and enrich your own sunrise agenda.

The Morning Routines of 6 Successful Birmingham Women

Shannon Spotswood

Occupation: President, RFG Advisory

Shannon Spotswood is President of RFG Advisory, a high-growth wealth management firm headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in St. Louis, Shreveport and Naples, as well as 38 advisors managing in excess of $1.2 billion in client assets under advisement.

Shannon Spotswood is President of RFG Advisory, a high-growth wealth management firm headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in St. Louis, Shreveport and Naples, as well as 38 advisors managing in excess of $1.2 billion in client assets under advisement.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Before I leave the office each evening, I review my calendar for the next day to begin thinking about the mix between to-dos and strategic execution. I’m working hard to adopt a time-blocking strategy where I am intentional in the way I organize my work day. It’s easy to find yourself in the whirlwind where you look up at the clock and it’s 5:30 p.m., and all you’ve done is react and respond to in-bound requests. Each day I strive to carve out time to move strategic initiatives forward, and I’m finding this requires a game plan for the day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I’m a big believer in visualization and that once you commit a goal to paper, you better get busy getting it done! Every day I read a plaque in my bathroom that reads, “Dare to Dream a Little Bigger, Darling.” I actually bought it for myself when we moved from San Francisco to Birmingham. I was taking this huge leap of faith and leaving behind a fully realized life. I decided that to make the move fulfilling, I needed to pursue a new bigger dream. The second, is a clipping from Investor’s Business Daily titled “10 Secrets to Success.” My favorite is #1: How you think is everything. Attitude counts!

How do you choose your outfit?

I’ve massively simplified my wardrobe and now buy almost exclusively navy, grey and black clothing. I wear a dress most days — only one decision instead of two! — and add some interest with pretty shoes and accessories. I couldn’t live without red heels and tailored blazers. Something about a red shoe makes every outfit a little more interesting.

Alarm goes off at:

5:04 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

I eat the same thing for breakfast every week day — whole grain toast with almond butter, half of a banana and chia seeds. I wash it down with a whole milk latte and a green juice.

First order of business:

I work out most mornings and find even 20 minutes of stretching or cardio makes a big difference to my energy level throughout the day. It’s hard at first to build that 5 a.m. workout into your life, but after a year of doing it, I can’t imagine it any other way.

Second order of business:

One of the highlights of my day is driving my kids to school. It’s a couple of minutes every morning for us to each play DJ and touch base before everyone heads off. I don’t often pick them up from school, so this time is particularly important to me.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Every morning the first thing I do is meet with my business partners — RFG’s CEO and CIO. We are a high-growth company of 38 advisors managing in excess of $1.2 billion in client assets under advisement, and it’s a hugely exciting time of change in our industry. We spend 15 to 30 minutes daily, catching each other up and discussing our strategic goals. I’ve managed to wean them off of the obligatory 5 minutes of talking football, so these meetings have gotten a lot more efficient!

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I wish my answer was meditate, but it’s drink coffee!

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I’m a working mom with three kids. I often have to travel for work, and my husband also has a busy professional career. So, we have a Sunday family meeting to coordinate calendars, plan play dates, discuss upcoming tests, carpool schedules, etc. My husband and kids participate, and each one has a printed calendar at the end of the meeting. This hour has been a game changer for me. I no longer feel like I’m playing catch up and scrambling to stay on top of our dynamic family schedule.

Name: Gin Phillips

Occupation: Novelist

Novelist Gin Phillips' books have received critical acclaim from such publications as The Washington Post, USA Today, Elle magazine, Oprah.com and O Magazine, Yahoo News, CNN.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson Sun, New Orleans Times Picayune, NPR, Marie Claire and the Los Angeles Times.

Novelist Gin Phillips‘ books have received critical acclaim from such publications as The Washington Post, USA Today, Elle magazine, Oprah.com and O Magazine, Yahoo News, CNN.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Jackson Sun, the New Orleans Times Picayune, NPR, Marie Claire and the Los Angeles Times.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I’ve gotten more and more fond of lists over the years. I feel much better about the morning if I have a to-do list ready to go before I wake up. It makes me unreasonably happy to cross off each item.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

Not sure if this counts, but I like to open the bedroom blinds and stare out at the yard and the city view for a full minute or so before I’m even fully out of bed. No matter the weather, it’s always lovely.

How do you choose your outfit?

Since I work from home, not much time goes into outfit selection. I do change out of pajamas as soon as a wake up — pajamas do not help with productivity.

Alarm goes off at:

7 a.m. if I’m taking my son to school and 8:30 a.m. if I’m not — I like to stay up late.

What do you do for breakfast?

A cup of coffee — or three — and a honey-peanut Luna Bar. I’m in a bit of a breakfast rut.

First order of business:

Coffee.

RELATED: Birmingham’s Best Neighborhood Coffee Shops

Second order of business:

Check email and at least scan The New York Times and Washington Post.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Every day is different. Some mornings I settle into working on a manuscript 10 minutes after I wake up. Sometimes I’m doing research. Sometimes I have a bunch of book-related emails to answer. Lately, I’ve been trying to get back to editors to give them thoughts on whatever they’ve sent me to approve — book flap copy, cover ideas and a new title for my next book.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I yell at my dog for barking at absolutely nothing.

Once you get started with your work, what do you tackle first?

I’m not a morning person, so I like to start with the easiest, fastest tasks first. Anything that requires complex thought I prefer to save until after 10 a.m.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Start with something you enjoy doing — even if that’s just a short reply to a friend’s e-mail. It sets a better vibe for the whole day.

Name: Neillie Kirk Butler

Occupation: Owner & Executive Planner, Mariee Ami Wedding Planning Studio

Neillie Kirk Butler, Owner and Executive Planner of Mariee Ami Wedding Planning Studio got her start working for Bloomberg in New York City, planning such events as the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Her unique skill set has grown into a full-fledged wedding planning studio. She and her talented team of planners travel the United States and sometimes the globe to create the weddings of their brides' dreams.

Neillie Kirk Butler, Owner and Executive Planner of Mariee Ami Wedding Planning Studio got her start working for Bloomberg in New York City, planning such events as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Her unique skill set has grown into a full-fledged wedding planning studio. She and her talented team of planners travel the United States and sometimes the globe to create the weddings of their brides’ dreams.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Yes, I respond to any quick, easy-to-answer emails, find my son Bruce’s backpack and lunch box and have them ready in the kitchen, look through my calendar and make sure I have everything I need for any meetings and that our nanny has any info she needs to take care of Bruce the next day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I check my calendar and email the minute my eyes open. This usually triggers my brain to focus on a few specific issues for the day, and I play through those specific issues while I am getting ready or exercising. I use the few minutes in the car on the way to the office as my quiet time, thanking God for the amazing opportunities he gives me each day and asking for patience, knowledge and the best resources to serve our clients and my amazing team.

How do you choose your outfit?

If I am meeting a new client or going to a country club, I dress up, and if it is a typical work day, I try my best to choose something the young girls at the office will think is cool. Keeping up with the ladies is a tough task!

Alarm goes off at:

6 a.m., but to be honest I am not a morning person. My sweet husband always has to bring the coffee to my bedside!

What do you do for breakfast?

I am a grab-and-go breakfast eater. I love a banana or PowerBar.

First order of business:

I sit down at my desk and look through emails and tackle any urgent matters first. Then, I look at my task list, which is organized by due dates, and tackle them one at a time.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

My position at work is to put out any “fires” that randomly pop up in the wedding planning world. I won’t wrap up my day until all fires have been addressed and put out.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Wedding Planning

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have to take my son to school or I just feel off for the day. Being a working mom, I really appreciate this time with him. I am not the one to pick him up, so seeing his teachers and his little friends gets my day started off right.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

There is only so much time in a day. Don’t overwhelm the “to-do” list. Keep it short!

Name: Javacia Harris Bowser

Occupation: Founder of See Jane Write; freelance writer; teacher at Alabama School of Fine Arts

Javacia Harris Bowser is the self-made businesswoman behind See Jane Write, blogger behind The Writeous Babe Project, freelance writer and Early American Literature teacher whose passion for empowering women and girls drives her not only to grow her company, but also to help people courageously unearth their true voices.

Javacia Harris Bowser is the self-made businesswoman and blogger behind See Jane Write, freelance writer and Early American Literature teacher whose passion for empowering women and girls drives her not only to grow her company, but also to help people courageously unearth their true voices.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Each night before I go to bed, I use my Day Designer planner to plan out the next day. I make a list of everything I need and want to do, listing the things that I must do in the “Today’s Top Three” section of my planner. I then take that list and schedule when I will do each task. I also choose my outfit for the next day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I try to read a devotion and some scripture each morning and write in my prayer journal. I always have so much on my mind that I have to write my prayers in order to stay focused. I think God understands, though.

How do you choose your outfit?

I choose my outfit based on the weather, my mood and what I have to do that day. I’m a teacher, so I always need to be comfortable, but I’m also a boss babe so I also need to be cute. If I have a networking event to attend or a See Jane Write event to host that evening, that will usually dictate what I wear.

Alarm goes off at:

4 a.m. Yes, I know you probably think I’m crazy, but I take that old saying about the early bird to heart. My alarm is an instrumental version of Beyonce’s song “Yonce,” and when my alarm sounds, the message on my phone reads: “Beyonce would get up.”

What do you do for breakfast?

I eat two hard-boiled eggs and a bowl of cereal every single morning.

First order of business:

I wake up at 4 a.m. so that I can work on blog posts, freelance stories and See Jane Write business before I head off to my teaching gig. Next I shower and get dressed, usually while listening to more Beyonce songs like “6 Inch Heels.” Then, I eat breakfast and spend some time reading scripture and writing in my prayer journal.

My morning doesn’t feel complete, unless:

I have to spend some time dreaming or my morning doesn’t feel complete. Let me explain. This isn’t a task that’s ever written in my planner; it’s something that happens organically. Every morning I take a few moments to jot down ideas, plans and goals that have come to me overnight. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Get up early. It will change your life. You will be amazed at how much you can get done each day when you start working while the world around you is still asleep.

Name: Susan Stabler

Occupation: Senior Project Manager, Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors

Senior Project Manager Susan Stabler has been with Brasfield & Gorrie for 13 years, where she has managed several hundred million dollars of healthcare construction. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, Susan serves as an encouraging mentor and inspiring role model to other women — and men — looking to grow in the construction field.

Senior Project Manager Susan Stabler has been with Brasfield & Gorrie for 13 years, where she has managed several hundred million dollars of healthcare construction. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, Susan serves as an encouraging mentor and inspiring role model to other women — and men — looking to grow in the construction field.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I typically make a fair attempt at ensuring that my three children have something clean to wear to school for the following day. This usually means a mixed-bag load of laundry gets thrown in the washing machine somewhere around 10:30 p.m.

Alarm goes off at:

5:05 a.m. and 5:10 a.m. On a good day, I’m out of bed by about 5:10 a.m. and head to the shower as quiet as a ninja, so as to not wake anyone before I get dressed. On a bad day, I hit snooze about six times and its 5:30 a.m. before I stumble to the shower, waking everyone up in the house as I trip over Legos, lightsabers and the Minnie Mouse guitar that always somehow ends up on my bedroom floor.

First order of business:

I attempt to get myself ready prior to waking anyone else up. This plan is typically foiled by my 3-year-old little girl who most mornings walks into my bathroom and creepily plasters her face on the shower door at about 5:30 a.m.

How do you choose your outfit?

I start by thumbing through my clothes, 85% of which are all from three children ago that no longer fit, and I finally reach the small section of weather-appropriate tops to choose from. One-third of them are wrinkled — please, I’m not about to break out my iron — and one-third of them I wore last week. There are very few options left in the remaining third, so I determine the status of clean pants and bingo, we usually have a match!

Second order of business:

Grab kids’ clean clothes from laundry room, and wake up remaining kids. Supervise the oldest to ensure he actually puts on underwear, then battle the 3-year-old on which shoes she simply must wear today. She wins. Stick a toothbrush in everyone’s hand. Someone ends up revolting, and at least one typically leaves the house with toothpaste spillage covering the front of their shirt. Oh well. Solid attempt.

What do you do for breakfast?

After everyone is dressed, the kids typically eat cereal at the kitchen island while I pull lots of long blonde hair into pig tails and wait patiently for my breakfast to finish brewing. This routine is often modified into throwing their dry cereal into a to-go snack bag and running out the door with no breakfast for myself, as I’m too late to wait for my breakfast to finish brewing. I’ll just make a quick coffee stop at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Be sure the oldest, age 7, has on his backpack as he walks out the front door to the bus, then scramble to the car with hands full of nap mats, backpacks, show-and-tell items, two girls — ages 1 and 3 — and coffee, maybe. We argue over which DVD plays on the way to school, but usually settle in on some variety of Minnie Mouse and everyone is content as we pull out of the driveway. Drop girls off at preschool, one cries and the teachers have to pry her away as I back out of the door and the other never looks back.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

My morning isn’t actually complete without hearing the words “Welcome to Dunkin’, whatcha drankin’?” And I have to have my only “alone” time of the day while sitting in Highway 280 traffic.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Obviously the Dunkin’ Donuts app, sometimes my Tile app because I cannot always find my keys in a timely manner and my Spotify app for my alone time on Highway 280 — unless I forget to turn off the Minnie Mouse DVD at daycare and only realize when I pull up the office that I’ve been absentmindedly singing M-I-C-K-E-Y alone while driving down 280.

Name: Megan LaRussa Chenoweth

Occupation: Style Coach, Megan LaRussa — Style Yourself Chic

Megan LaRussa is a style coach who has worked with hundreds of women through VIP coaching, informative and fun videos & emails and her online style program, Style Yourself Chic. She assists each client in the process of self-discovery — a transformative process of defining their unique style, cleansing their closets and creating a wardrobe perfectly befitting their personal tastes. Megan teaches her clients to know what to wear and where to shop, how to feel comfortable in their own skin and radiate confidence and effortless style.

Megan LaRussa is a style coach who has worked with hundreds of women through VIP coaching, informative and fun videos & emails and her online style program, Style Yourself Chic. She assists each client in the process of self-discovery — a transformative process of defining their unique style, cleansing their closets and creating a wardrobe perfectly befitting their personal tastes. Megan teaches her clients to know what to wear and where to shop, how to feel comfortable in their own skin and radiate confidence and effortless style.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

My nighttime ritual allows for rest and relaxation before bed. I am someone that definitely needs her eight hours of sleep to function beautifully the next day! My ritual includes Yogi Bedtime tea, my in-depth skincare routine and a quick review of the activities for the next day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

My mentor educated me on the importance of having a morning mantra. I change mine every now and then to reflect my current desires and areas of focus. It’s comprised of phrases that I love saying to myself as I get ready in the morning to inspire and empower me for the day ahead.

How do you choose your outfit?

After reviewing my schedule for the day and the weather forecast, I think about how I’m feeling and what mood I’m in. Am I feeling more classic and understated or more edgy and artsy? Then I select an outfit that complements all of these touch points. Overall, the outfit needs to be practical as well as “me” to take me from my client’s closet to a speaking engagement and beyond.

Alarm goes off at:

7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. — I’m not a morning person!

What do you do for breakfast?

I like to switch it up every few weeks to keep from getting bored. I often enjoy greek yogurt with berries, cinnamon and chia seeds, or hard-boiled eggs, or if it’s an early morning just a Lemon Chia Crisp Oatmega Bar. In a dream world, I’d enjoy a smoothie from Sprout & Pour daily!

First order of business:

I check my email and respond to clients’ emails. Then I walk my two wonderful bichons and head to work out! I love my morning workout routine as it gives me energy for the day.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I review my WunderList app and see what my team and I need to accomplish. I make sure my fabulous team has what they need to meet their daily goals before I switch off my phone for my first client appointment.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I drink a kombucha & check my Instagram feed. I love seeing what happened in the European fashion world while I was sleeping!

Once you get started with your work, what do you tackle first?

My days predominantly consist of client appointments. Before each client appointment, I review their style notes, style goals and our “agenda” for our session together to ensure I am ready to bring them the results they desire. I typically work with two or three clients a day, which is a blast as no two appointments are the same, and I just love spending time with my amazing clients!

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

My sister and Marketing Director, Chelsey Heslop, turned my team and I onto the WunderList app that makes life so much more organized and communication so much more streamlined! I also love my Pandora “Coralie Clement” station for enjoying some relaxing French music while I get ready for my day.

Thank you to Shannon, Gin, Neillie, Javacia, Susan and Megan for sharing their morning routines with us!

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