I’m A College Essay Coach, Make $150k, & Spent $784 On My Wellness Routine This Week

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Today: a woman spends her week balancing her workload, motherhood, and her self-care.
Age: 53
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Occupation: College essay coach
Salary: $150,000/year

Day One 

6 a.m. — My son is in high school, but since he’s a junior he doesn’t get a parking pass until next year. Which means I get up at 6 a.m. every day so I can drive him. After my alarm goes off, I shuffle into his room to wake him, then head for my bathroom to start my skin-care routine. It consists of four different steps: hydrating cleansing foam, a serum, a moisturizing cream, and SPF 40 with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Afterwards, I do my daily legs-up-on-the-wall routine — a yoga inversion pose that’s supposed to help with circulation. It’s also supposed to be a great way to zone out and meditate, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t use the five to 10 minute window to scroll through TikTok before I head downstairs to grab a cup of Starbucks French Roast from the Keurig and make my son’s lunch.
By 7:06, I’m yelling for him to come downstairs and by 7:08 we’re out the door. And yes, I’m still in my pajamas and UGG slippers, because why change when I don’t have to get out of the car?
8:30 a.m. — I work from home as a college essay coach. And since the Common App opens in a few months, my clients are starting to show the first signs of panic. So before I put my editor hat on for the day, I decide to get some mental clarity by squeezing in a quick workout on the AeroPilates reformer I purchased a few years ago. I scroll through YouTube and land on Melanie Lopez’s 30-Minute Centering Flow. Turns out, it’s just what I need, leaving me feeling somehow relaxed and energized at the same time. When I’m finished, I head into the kitchen to replenish with a slice of Dave's Killer Organic Powerseed bread smeared with avocado. Then I grab a Pitaya Foods Organic Dragon Fruit Smoothie Pack from the freezer and get to work blending it up.
6:30 p.m. — My daughter’s home from college for the summer, so after an exhausting afternoon of shuttling my son around and reading essays, I retire my blue-light glasses and join her for a meandering walk around the neighborhood with our Havanese. We chat about the Maymester course she’s taking, her summer internship, and what to make for dinner. Since my son is studying for finals at the library and my husband has a meeting, I get a free pass from cooking. Instead, my daughter and I shred up some leftover grilled chicken and make giant salads with romaine, avocado, feta, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. Then we curl up on the family room sofa to dig in while watching James Holzhauer crush Jeopardy Masters — the perfect way to end a Monday.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two 

7 a.m. — My son has a free first period today, which means I get to sleep in until 7 a.m. This is huge. It also means I lose an hour in my schedule, so after rolling downstairs for my caffeine fix  — Starbucks French Roast with a splash of oat milk and two Truvias — I grab a chocolate mint Zone Perfect bar to munch on while driving him to school. The later wake-up time means the nearby Goodness Bowls is already open, so while I’m already out, I head over and order my fave Power Hour salad — mixed greens, rotisserie chicken, avocado, cucumber, apple, cranberry, almond, chickpea, tomato, goat cheese, and chia seeds, with vinaigrette on the side — so I can have it later for lunch. $16.49 
12:30 p.m. — I’ve never been the type of girl who schedules exercise. Since I work from home, I just kinda throw it into my routine whenever inspiration strikes. Today, I’m feeling like I need it around lunchtime, so I fuel up with an AminoLean Berry Alixir — yes, I was influenced by Alix Earle — and I have to say, it’s quite delicious. Then it’s back to the reformer to try Upside-Down Pilates’ Level 2 1-Hour Workout. It's intense, and I’m in a full sweat, so I hydrate with lots of water, then hop in the shower and douse myself in the Bamford Geranium Body Wash I copped online after falling in love with the scent during our spring break trip to the 1 Hotel in Nashville. Feeling refreshed afterwards, I’m ready to dig into my previously purchased Power Hour salad and get back to work. 
3 p.m. — Time to pick up my son from school and take him to get his haircut. He debriefs me on his day in the car, reminding me that it's Tuesday — which means I’m making turkey tacos for dinner. Since I failed to buy the ingredients ahead of time (even though we do this every single week) I drop him off at the salon then hightail it over to the supermarket to scoop up turkey meat, taco shells, iceberg, petite diced tomatoes with green chiles, shredded cheddar, and guac. Once home, I prepare everything ahead of time so I can squeeze in a little more editing before dinner. $41
7 p.m. — The tacos, as always, are a huge hit. I’m so grateful to have both kids under one roof — a rarity now that our daughter’s in college — so I have a huge smile plastered on my face the entire night.
Daily Total: $57.49

Day Three 

6 a.m. —  I wake up feeling sluggish from all the sodium in last night’s taco seasoning, so I try to do my legs-on-the-wall pose for a full 15 minutes, but only make it for nine. It really does relax me, though, and I follow it up with a big glass of water infused with fresh-squeezed lemon that I sip while throwing together my son’s lunch. Once I’m back from dropping him at school, I make a 12-ounce cup of coffee using the Keurig — adding a dash of cinnamon today, because why not? — then sit on the back patio with a blanket and dig into Irene Smith’s new memoir, The Golden Ticket: A Life in College Admissions Essays. $16
9 a.m. — The book is so good I hate to put it down, but I do anyway so I can start going through emails while munching on two slices of Dave’s Killer Bread topped with Justin’s peanut butter.
5 p.m. — Since my son had a 2 p.m. orthodontist appointment and I had to pick him up early from school, I never got a workout in. I decide to do one now, opting for another one of Melanie Lopez’s restorative 30-minute reformer classes. My husband’s already home, so when I run upstairs after for a quick shower — grabbing a Berry Elixir on the way — he offers to grill us up some burgers while my daughter defrosts buns and corn niblets from the freezer. Once I’m back downstairs, I pull together a mixed green salad with lots of veggies and dress it with Jennifer Fisher Universal salt, some olive oil, and vinegar. The four of us dine outside because it’s a beautiful spring night. My husband and I sipping on some lemon cucumber mint Stateside Vodka Sodas — they’re bubbly and delicious and quite possibly my new favorite boozy beverage. 
8 p.m. — Time for Survivor! Our whole family’s been watching the show for close to 10 years now, and I truly believe my kids have learned so many great life lessons from it, like teamwork, problem-solving, the importance of socializing and strategizing, and how sometimes, the best person doesn’t win. After the episode’s over and we’ve dissected every moment, I head upstairs to put on my Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask, then get in bed to wind down and finish my book. 
Daily Total: $16

Day Four 

6 a.m. — I wake feeling cranky, which usually means one thing — PMS. Ugh. After rousing my son, I pour myself a tall glass of lemon water and down two Fem Rebalance capsules, one B-Complex Plus, and one Vitamin E Softgel, all prescribed by my doctor, to ease symptoms. Because I’m supposed to take them with food, I snack on a SkinnyGirl Hazelnut Cookie Bar as I drop my son at school.  When I get home, I smear on some Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40 and head out for a long walk with the dog to clear my head before I start work. 
1 p.m. — I’m finished with essays for now, so I change out of my ubiquitous sweats and go meet a friend at Sweetgreen for lunch. We order salads and a side of roasted sweet potatoes with green goddess ranch ($12). It feels so nice to be out of the house and socializing on this gorgeous spring day, so when we’re finished eating we continue our gossip and catch-up sesh at the Starbucks across the street, until it’s time for me to head back to the high school to pick up my son. Once I’ve dropped him at home, my daughter and I go get our brows threaded ($20). The slight pain is totally worth it because I feel so fresh and clean afterwards. $32
7 p.m. — I’m still feeling cranky and not in the mood to make dinner, so we DoorDash some sushi. We eat while discussing the disaster that has become the college admissions process — my favorite topic and my son’s current least favorite topic. After dinner I get an email from a client who’s made edits on her essay. I pull out my laptop and give it a quick read, then settle in with my husband to watch the latest episode of Love & Death. Elizabeth Olsen steals the show and deserves an Emmy and you can’t convince me otherwise. $38
Daily Total: $70

Day Five 

6 a.m. — It's Friday! When the alarm goes off I jump out of bed, knowing today’s the last day I’ll have to get up this least until Monday. I wake up my son and head downstairs to start my coffee-making and lunch-packing duties. Since my days start to feel repetitive by Friday, I often take the morning off to veg out and catch up on my shows — and that’s just what I do after I drop my son at school, settling in with a Berry Elixir to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey.
3 p.m. — My son and I are both huge Marvel fans — during Covid, we watched every single movie in order — so after school I take him to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($30). We snack on Twizzlers ($5), Buncha Crunch ($5) and a large bucket of popcorn ($10) — with buttery topping! —  because sometimes wellness means indulging in junk food to kick off the weekend. $50
Daily Total: $50

Day Six 

8:30 a.m. — It’s Saturday, so I finally get to sleep in. I take some extra time with my four-step skincare routine, then get dressed and pour myself a coffee to-go, because I have a 9:30 a.m. hair appointment. When I was younger, I’d color my hair every three months, but now, it's monthly. I hate having to sit in the chair for two hours every month, but it’s worth it for the head massage at the end — heaven! $185
1 p.m. — I hit up the local Goodness Bowls for the second time this week for a Reef Road pitaya smoothie. It’s an indulgence for sure, but it will hold me over until dinner. Plus, I don’t have time for much else since I need to get over to the high school gym ASAP to catch my son’s basketball game. $13
7 p.m. — I'm having dinner with friends at a modern Italian restaurant we discovered a few weeks ago. I down two Aperol spritzes before our food arrives, then one more once we start digging into our shared apps — grilled artichoke, a couple of flatbreads, and a big caesar salad. I’m already full by the time my branzino arrives, but that doesn’t keep me from attacking the tiramisu and spumoni tartufo we order for dessert. Best part? Now that our son has his license, we have him pick us at the end of the meal instead of Ubering home. $106
Daily Total: $304

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I’m moving like molasses after all the food and drinks last night, but I finally make my way downstairs for a big glass of lemon water followed by coffee. I take the dog out for a long neighborhood stroll to try and shake off my slight hangover. I’m not in the mood for a full workout after, so instead I just do a few stretches on the reformer. When I’m finished, I test out the free Dr. Jart+ Moisturizing Sheet Mask that came with my last Sephora purchase. It smells great and leaves my skin healthy and glowy, which means I’m probably gonna have to go buy it now.
1 p.m. — We take the kids out for brunch and I immediately order a large mocha cappuccino ($4) savoring every sip, then split a big Greek salad and spinach and cheese omelet with my daughter — yum! ($30) I love when the four of us go out for meals instead of just grabbing food in the kitchen. The conversation is always fun, and this kind of quality time with my family does more for my mental health than any workout ever could. $34
8 p.m. — My Eat Clean Bro food delivery arrives ($252) with enough prepared meals for the week. I place these orders about once a month because sometimes a shortcut is the key to happiness, especially when I know I have a busy week of essay-editing ahead. The kids are busy doing the homework they neglected all weekend, so I watch the latest episode of Succession with my husband, then it’s time for my weekly Everything Shower — a term I recently learned on TikTok for something I’ve always done. The Sunday ritual is just my way of prioritizing self-care before the craziness of the work week sets in. First, I let the shower get nice and steamy, then I shampoo with Vegamour HYDR-8 and slather my hair in Baomint’s Deep Conditioning Treatment. While the mask is in, I exfoliate with Isle of Paradise Body Polish Scrub, then ruin all the benefits of doing so by shaving without shaving cream because it turns out I don’t have any. My bad. But I douse myself with Drunk Elephant’s TLC Glycolic Body Lotion after, so I figure it’s a draw. And now that I’m feeling super-clean and relaxed, not even the fact that a new week of getting up in the 6s can put me in a bad mood. $252
Daily Total: $286
Weekly Total: $783.49
Reflection: I’m kind of all over the place with my physical and mental wellness, but I think it’s because I love my job and I love being a mom, so I value those things more than workouts or a strict self-care routine. Because I work at home and spend a lot of time sitting (or truth be told, writing in bed) I do try to make sure I get in something physical every day — even if it’s just a quick pilates workout or brisk walk with my dog. But at the end of the day, helping students write essays and spending time with my own kiddos is what brings me the most joy. So if I have to shave without shaving cream every now and then, so be it.

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