Name: Tis Leigh
City: Los Angeles
Day: Recruiter/Employer Branding Specialist
Night: Trivia Hostess, Writer, DIY Landlord, and Amateur Aerialist
While no two days are identical, I start every morning the same way: enjoying some quality time with my partner and our small-but-mighty animal circus, reading through my custom News section on Reddit, checking on the stock markets together, and making tea - Chai for me, Oolong for him. While those steep, I brush my teeth, indulge in my thorough skincare regimen, and put makeup on, depending on what the day will look like. If I know I'm going to yoga, hoops, or silks, I'll either go without any makeup that day, or just run some color through brows and add mascara - nothing that I can easily sweat off. All of this happens with a steady stream of political talk shows in the background - my favorites are Samantha Bee, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. By this point, my partner's usually packed us some granola for the road. I clean out the tea strainers and pack our go-mugs, feed the cats, and wrangle our dog Oski for her morning walk before heading to work. (Just kidding: she's always by my side, so no wrangling required!)
After our morning walk, Oski and I have a fairly quick drive to work - at least by Los Angeles standards. Usually, I spend the time on the phone with one of my out-of-state sisters or listening to NPR. Any time I'm in the car, I try to check in with friends or family that aren't local. Starting this habit has kept me close with the friends I can't imagine losing track of and has helped build previously loose family ties. More than anything, doing this consistently has made it become an impulse: Oh, I'm driving. I should call Grandma to just say hi! Let's face it: it's never a bad idea to call your grandparents.
My work day is run via my handwritten planner (what can I say? I'm old school) and punctuated by two things: teas and dog walks. I start every morning by turning the prepped tea I'd packed into a latte, and sip on it while drilling through my emails and reviewing my calendar. I'm fastidious when it comes to my planner and use it for everything from day-to-day tasks to progress towards greater goals, to anything that I'm specifically grateful for that day. Nothing is ever really done until it's marked complete. After a while, the act of listing gratitudes and checking off tasks becomes meditative and even rewarding! As an added bonus, tracking my wins has provided ample ammo over the years when it came time to assess my performance or ask for that raise. Another added bonus: tracking gratitudes has a huge mood-boosting effect. Anything from Oski's good behavior to working a job I truly love, to just having air conditioning or two-day shipping is fair game. Speaking of gratitude, I'm so grateful I can bring Oski to work with me. Every day, I make it a point to unwind between meetings by tossing some of her favorite toys around the office. Petting animals reduces cortisol levels and increases oxytocin, so she's been a positive boost not just for me, but for my equally dog-friendly coworkers.
I always bring my own lunch, whether it's leftovers or meal prep attempts. While those heat up, I take Oski out for a quick walk and practice Mandarin on Duolingo. Just 3 minutes of sustained daily practice over the past 4 months has actually gotten me, well, not "conversational," but close to passing! My office is also extremely holistic in terms of taking care of their employees, so we have great opt-in programs every day at lunch. 4 days a week, we have in-house yoga classes, meditation, or HIIT classes onsite led by professionals, as well as employee-led practice sessions for Mandarin, public speaking, salsa dancing, or whatever else someone has decided to put together. I opt into our yoga sessions, Mandarin, and public speaking. All other days, I enjoy my lunch in the local dog park and let Oski get to know her "coworkers”.
I believe in rewarding myself for small accomplishments throughout the day - think of it as a "Better Yourself Tax". If I accomplish things that are good for my mind, body, or professional self during my off-hours, I reward myself with something small. For example, by the end of the day, I'm usually itching to get to the studio to practice aerials. This is great, hard work for my body (and an incredible high for me, no pun intended), and is worth some self-congratulations. For me, that may be an episode of Brooklyn 99 while I cook dinner. On nights where I'm not going to the studio or hosting pub trivia games, I'll bring a small list of to-do's home with me and make sure those are done before rewarding myself with a glass of Chardonnay, or my partner's famous (to me) ramen. Tonight's to-do list? Bathe Oski, water our indoor jungle, finish a chapter, and review rental applications for potential tenants. Then, I'll enjoy that glass of Chardonnay!
By the time my partner and I are both home, we'll play some relaxing music and talk. Another Oski moment: no night is complete without our final walk. My partner and I will take her out together some nights, or I'll take her for a quick walk alone and rush back up to him. After that, I'll enjoy a nice, quick shower and we share my favorite parts of my skincare regimen together, floss, and brush my teeth.
Weekends are always filled with lists of projects and things that I can later reward myself for, but my favorite of those rewards is the farmer's market by my house. No Saturday morning is complete without walking Oski to the market, gathering my favorite peanut butter and some fresh veggies, and maybe another plant for that indoor jungle. I usually have one or two events with friends, whether it's hosting movie nights at our place or going to the local Star Wars themed bar, or seeing a live show. I'll also make it a point to visit my parents once every weekend - it sounds absurd to most of my friends, but spending an afternoon with them or just meeting for dinner is so easy and brings joy into my life. Another can't-miss ritual is using my favorite at-home peel from The Ordinary. It's filled with retinoids and acts as a great once-a-week exfoliant. I've gotten my partner using it with me, so for 10 minutes a week we look like we've smeared blood across our faces and necks. Silly, but truly great for our skin.
High Brow Ritual
The most expensive ritual I have is taking my mom out to get our nails done. While we don't do this every weekend, we try to do it once a month or so. I pick her up and we go to her favorite local nail salon, where they know her favorite colors and bring her green tea, and we just talk about everything from work to romance to real estate. I come from a big family, and when I was young, having time just with my mom was a very big deal. Now, as an adult, it's nice to stay connected and treat her to something special every once in a while. It's definitely expensive, but this ritual is sacred to me.
Low Brow Ritual
Playing with numbers. I'm focused on becoming financially independent by the time I reach 35, so I tinker with personal finance apps all the time. It's not always a good look, especially because there's an awkward stigma around money. But so be it! We should all be financially literate and feel empowered, not restricted or uncomfortable, when it comes to understanding how to build wealth. I check Mint just about everyday to make sure my spending aligns with my goals and values (and budget!), and my partner and I are huge stock market nerds. I use a whole slew of tools to guide my decisions, whether in the stock market or with real estate. While it may seem a bit like overkill, being proactive and taking control of my financial life means that I'm no longer so stressed about what the future holds.
One of my side projects is writing for my own website, Tis But A Moment. While I'd like to say I write something new every week like clockwork, life has a habit of bringing inspiration in bursts and then leaving you for months, desolate and lacking anything worth writing. They say you should write a little bit every day, but realistically, I binge on writing for a week every month or two and schedule those posts out, then wait for inspiration to strike again. Writing daily, or even weekly, would probably be great for me. I just haven't consistently done it!
Oh man, there are a million questions! Any favorite subreddits I've never heard of? Any advice on getting into more consistent writing or striking inspiration more predictably? Any thoughts on keeping your dog happy, exhausted, and fulfilled in an office environment? Any thoughts on finding bulk loose-leaf teas that taste amazing? Any favorite personal finance tools, or ways you've brought personal finance knowledge and discussions into your lives and into the support you offer your loved ones? Any suggestions on how best to use time after an early retirement? And finally, any favorite spots in Japan or France? Those are my next big trips! Message me @tisbutamoment.
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