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BWBreakfast Club: Paris vs. NYC Edition

What’s that first je ne sais quoi that gives successful French femmes their flair and how do American women start their days with star-spangled spunk?

Bonjour, morning!

Kickstart your day with these motivational morning routines from inspiring women on both sides of the ocean. What’s that first je ne sais quoi that gives successful French femmes their flair and how do American women start their days with star-spangled spunk? We spoke to some of our favorite females from Paris to New York City who spilled the coffee beans and told us what gets them feeling happy, healthy, and ready to take on their action-packed days.

So, what do these trans-Atlantic talents have in common?

They wake up early.

They wake up at a set time daily, which reinforces their circadian rhythms to keep their bodies’ clocks running consistently and in turn, boosts energy levels, focus and mood.

“I really feel good with 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep, and I naturally wake up the same time each day,” explains Latham Thomas. Robin Berzin, likes to start her days at 6:30 a.m.

Over in Paris, Emma Sawko starts her day at 6:30 a.m., and Elodie Garamond at 7:30 a.m.

Latham Thomas
They quiet their minds.

On both sides of the ocean, these successful women make sure to schedule time to bathe in a sea of tranquility and quiet their minds in whatever way works best for them.

Berzin likes to wake up extra early before her young son wakes up: “I build meditation into my morning routine. While the dogs are playing in the dog park, I take a moment to be without my phone and meditate while I look out over the water at the Statue of Liberty. It’s the perfect way to center myself before the craziness of the day begins.” She adds:

Meditation has transformed my ability to relieve stress, have a healthy body, and achieve my goals in my career and love life. It’s like cleaning out and rearranging the closet in your head.

Sawko prefers her meditation in movement. “I clear my mind by hiking in the mountains or swimming in the ocean. It’s active meditation – that’s how I recharge and get ideas.”

Thomas also makes her meditation a moving moment: “I thank God before I place my feet onto the floor. I hold space for mindfulness and the tone of my day. I believe in movement daily; I don’t make a specific exercise window. So that means a long morning walk and sometimes a walk to my appointments.”

Garamond sits for 20 or 30 minutes of pranayama and meditation.

Elodie Garamond
They love liquids.

You are what you… drink? Liquids hydrate, cleanse and detoxify the body – particularly first thing in the morning to nourish the body’s cells, cleanse the organs, and energize for the day ahead.

Berzin kicks off her day with un café, as long as it’s organic and fair trade. “I love a double shot of organic espresso. Sometimes with oat milk, sometimes black. I opt for espresso over drip coffee because it has less caffeine and a smoother buzz. The antioxidants in coffee and a small amount of caffeine have been shown to have some limited positive impact on brain health.”

Thomas starts her day with water followed by her own homemade tonic made of lemon, lime, ginger, tumeric, apple cider vinegar, trace minerals, filtered water and honey:

This is a deeply nourishing tonic that also prepares my digestive system for breakfast. All of my birth clients love this tonic.

Over in France, Sawko also swears by her own magical mélange of liquid superfoods. She’s replaced coffee with a blend of warm, homemade almond milk, raw chocolate, guarana and maca. “It’s delicious and gives me crazy energy!”

Garamond starts with warm water, then filtered coffee, and then later on a matcha with collagen.

They fuel up with a healthy breakfast.

They all make sure to start off with a healthy breakfast, but keep things light and easily digested.

Blend it like Berzin: “I’m pretty religious about making a smoothie with Parsley Health Rebuild Protein. It has 26 grams of vegan protein that’s been optimized with branched-chain aminos and also contains a complete multivitamin. I usually add ¼ cup of frozen organic blueberries, unsweetened coconut milk, and a dash of cinnamon in the winter. Most people—myself included—are low in vitamin D, so I also add a few drops of Parsley’s Vitamin D3/K2 to support my immune system and bones. This smoothie is super filling, so I feel full and energized all morning.”

Thomas also likes to make a smoothie bowl with acai, blueberries, cacao nibs, goji berries, Anita’s coconut yogurt, and Yin Power Powder by Sun Potion. She tops it with granola, usually homemade.

Sawko makes her breakfasts a family affair. “I make homemade smoothies and seasonal porridges for my kids, so I enjoy them too!” When she’s in work mode, she takes her meetings to her own expanding empire of all things wellness – Wild & The Moon. Her favorites? “A protein shake, acai bowl, pancakes, or a blueberry scone!”

Garamond likes to lighten up with her daily mix of fruit that she twists with lemon, agave and fresh bee pollen.

Emma Sawko
They sweat it out.

“Sweating first thing makes me feel happy, alive, and accomplished,” Berzin explains. If she can squeeze in time before her morning meetings and leave her young son in her husband’s care, she likes to do an hour of yoga at Kula Yoga or Sky Ting Yoga in NYC. “I’m finding lately that if I don’t get my yoga or workout done in the morning, it’s harder and harder to fit it in.”

Thomas, a certified yoga teacher who often gives classes, prefers her own at-home workouts. “I have a rooftop area with a perfect space to practice yoga and move in the sunshine. When it’s warm, I can go out onto the roof to jump rope.”

Sawko swears by workouts every morning, whether it’s one hour of yoga with Klara Puski or boxing in the Tuileries gardens and at Temple Noble Art. “I have trouble starting my day without it; it’s a habit I started when I was a child.”

Garamond also likes to squeeze in yoga or fitness classes at her Tigre Yoga locations all over Paris, in Deauville and most recently Lyon.

Their beauty routines are more than skin-deep.

For these inspiring women, radiance isn’t just about what they put on their skin, but also about what they do during their morning routines.

Garamond’s favorite beauty routine? “Big hugs, singing and dancing with my kids!” She also uses Odacité essential oils for a daily face massage with a pink quartz gua sha.

Sawko’s routine also goes beyond her pores: “Working out, a homemade breakfast, and coconut oil all over my skin!”

Berzin also takes her skincare routine very seriously, but sticks to the basics: “I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty, but when I’m looking for a new skincare product, I like the brands carried at CAP Beauty because they’re all natural.”

She adds, “What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your mouth. The skin absorbs most of what it comes in contact with, and anything that permeates the skin gets delivered straight into the bloodstream. So you can imagine what years of slathering on skincare products with chemical ingredients, additives, and harmful toxins does to our bodies.”

Thomas is also a fan of all things natural beauty. She starts with Tata Harper’s Regenerative Cleanser for her “polished glow” and floral mists by Tata Harper or Pholk Beauty’s Honeysuckle and Rose mist. She also loves Siren Serum by Leahlani Skin Care, as well as their Bless Beauty Balm.

Her other beauty secrets for that famous mama glow include: Yes to Cucumber facial wipes and ORGAID Anti-Aging Sheet Masks. “I keep them in the fridge. After cleaning my face, I place one on and let my skin soak up the moisture.” She tops it all off with her signature glow ritual’s Glow Potion – a silky oil that she lathers on after showers or baths.

They lead by example.

These female entrepreneurs all run their own companies. So how do they motivate their teams?

“I allow them to lean into their strengths,” says Thomas.

Berzin likes to continually return to the roots of the unique whole body approach to healthcare she started years ago: “I continually remind myself and my team about the thousands of people we are helping every day. The opportunity we have to help thousands more as we grow is what drives me and my team forward.”

Garamond treats her team like a close-knit family:

I share a lot with them: ideas, projects, visions, as well as doubts or disappointments. We all feel like we’re a part of the same family spirit.

Sawko also lets her own passion guide those around her. “Energy is contagious and I think I have a lot!” She adds, “When you’ve found your place in the world, everything aligns, energy circulates naturally and becomes magnetic. The vibration of being who you are and doing what you love is magnetic. You will align everything you need in your life with that energy.”

Robin Berzin
They motivate with mantras.

Voilà! Your morning mantra breakfast of champions is served. Here are some wonderful words to live by:

  • Ra Ma Da Sa.” –Elodie Garamond (“Sun, Moon, Earth, Infinity.”)
  • “Stay Soft.” –Latham Thomas
  • “Faites que le rêve dévore votre vie afin que la vie ne dévore pas le rêve.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry via Emma Sawko (“Let your dream devour your life so your life doesn’t devour your dream.”)
  • “When you take care of your body, you unlock your life.” –Robin Berzin

Artwork by Vahram Muratyan

Rebecca Leffler

Rebecca Leffler is a writer, journalist and wellness consultant. She is the author of best-selling French book Green, Glam & Gourmande and follow-up title Green, Glam & Happy. Her book “Très green, très clean, très chic: Eat (and live!) the new French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season” was released in 2015. Follow Rebecca at Lafleurparisny.com.

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