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“We have chosen to live in NYC, but we need to take breaks. We need some weekends to sleep in and just chill out.”

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Rachael and Hugh invited us to their bedroom in the Lower East Side in Manhattan on a early fall Morning. The lovely creative couple was in high spirits and revealed their day- and nighttime habits to us. They are both running their own companies and we were curious about how they balance work, sleep, and relaxation.

OCTOBER 2016
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
INTERVIEW:
VM
PHOTOS: CAIT OPPERMANN

Rachael: I am an absolute early bird. My best time of day is 7am to around 2pm.

Hugh: “I love to cook breakfast.  My favorite thing to do is open the fridge, and see what I can make with what’s in there.  Ray is a sweet-tooth, whereas I’m all about the eggs, so usually we’ll have a yogurt, followed by something savory.“

I'm Roxana Inès Gray Saidi and I live in the West Village. Prior to moving to this little slice of heaven, I lived in LA for a long time. I am the founder of the creative agency, Rx Social, and I also have a travel and food site, Rx Sojourn. The two are kind of like sisters; one is very precocious and Type A, and the other is a bon vivant, wanderlust type, but both are extremely passionate and fun.

What are you doing during the day?
I'm actually routine averse. I’ve lived in quite a few countries that don’t view bedtime, wake-up time, breakfast time, etc. as seriously as Americans do. Sometimes my day is sprinting from meeting to photoshoot to three more meetings to drinks, and other days (regretfully far fewer) I stay in my apartment in cashmere sweatpants contentedly creating as much as I can.

Where do you sleep best?
In bedrooms with blackout shades and soundproof glass. And crisp, clean, scented sheets. (S/o to Casa de Uco in Mendoza, Argentina for really nailing this one.)

Do you have any rituals before going to bed?
Since I travel so much my facialist, Kariné Kazarian, who is like a favorite aunt, makes me promise to do a face mask every night. I try but, like I said, I'm a little anathema to rituals! I usually eat some dark chocolate before bed... Or cold pizza since that's basically all I ever have in my fridge. This sounds crazy, but I sleep better with a snack in my tummy. Oh wait, does wine count??

Do you care about what you wear for sleeping?
I like vintage t-shirts (usually dresses on me) or pajama sets. Someone somewhere told me if you get rid of all those work-out/freebie/whose-even-is-this shit-that-somehow-became-your-PJs that your life will drastically improve. Seems to be working.

Describe your bed in 3 words.
Read the sign. (FYI neon sign above my bed reads: this must be the place)

What time do you usually get up?
I’m all over the map. I’d love to be a punctilious sleeper like Arianna Huffington. I usually wake up and first try to figure out what time zone I’m on. That’s the indicator of when it’s time to get to steppin.

How does your alarm sound?
"Superfreak" by Rick James. Not true, but I wish it was. By tomorrow it’s going to be that or “Do You Wanna Funk” by Sylvester. Highly recommend...

What are the first things you do in the morning?
I definitely don’t miss the days of immediately reaching for my iPhone and doing the squinty one-eye scroll thru social media. I retired that a few years ago and it’s made ALL the difference. Now I make coffee at home and sometimes think about how I could be having warm water with lemon and meditating for 20 minutes, but I’m not quite there yet.

Do you like having breakfast?
I rarely ate breakfast before I moved to New York. Now I go to sleep looking forward to it. Bagels, eggs, ubiquitous avocado toast... Sometimes I'll wake up craving something sweet so I'll go off the deep end with a Nutella brioche from the bakery next door, Mah Ze Dahr. On some occasions, I like to make shakshuka or breakfast burritos with chorizo, avocado, and crispy potatoes.

Breakfast/brunch spots?
In LA, Nate n Al’s, Gjusta, and The Fountain Room at the BHH.
In NYC, Buvette, Egg Shop, and in the atrium of The Nomad. I’m still trying to find a dingy diner to call my own here.

What time of the day are you most productive?
There are two specific times: At the very beginning and at the very end of the day. Sometimes as late as 1 or 2am. Being your own boss has its perks, right?!? Joking. I but can say not one of my best travel pieces or campaign ideas came into my mind at 4 in the afternoon.

What is the weirdest or most special spot you’ve ever slept in or fallen asleep?
Three places immediately come to mind. This villa in Bali was otherworldly. It was so sprawling that we had our own spa room with massage tables in our villa—and only two of us were staying there. The second is out in the open bush in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Hands down, one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences of my life. And third and most recently at this Japanese Ryokan in Izu outside of Tokyo. The word “tranquility” must have been invented there. And the BED. It was literally a cloud cantilevered over a rushing river engulfed by trees.

What do you think happens when we sleep?
My brain and body thanks herself for the reprieve from myself?

Do you think you get enough sleep?
My brain is like a web browser with too many tabs open, often when I'm trying to fall asleep. So, nope I probably don't! The upside is I operate well with just 6 or 7 hours of sleep. One weekend night I like to bump that up to 10 hours because... New York City, man.

Do you remember your dreams?
I rarely remember my dreams. The only time I truly remembered my dreams consistently was when I lived in South Africa and was taking medication to protect against malaria. I didn't know until I moved back to the states that nightmares were the number one side-effect of the meds. Luckily I just assumed I was having wild action-packed thrillers as my dreams for all those months.

In some other dreams I know how to speak foreign languages I've never studied and can solve incredibly complex math or science problems. When I try to exercise them in real life it usually derails very quickly.

How many sheep do you count?
Oh, no no. Sheep are for sleeping in, not counting.

What do you wish to dream about tonight?
Traveling to new places with people I love while doing some good and having a lot of laughs along the way.

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If we have time I like to have breakfast together, it’s a nice chance to catch up during the week.

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