“My brain is like a web browser with too many tabs open, often when I'm trying to fall asleep.”
Somewhere between running her own creative agency and travel blog, Roxana remains an unrelenting world adventurer at her core. When she’s not living the nomadic life, she calls the West Village of New York home. We caught up with Roxana in her beautiful apartment, curious to find out how she unwinds and recharges for her next project or adventure.
I'm Roxana Inès Gray Saidi and I live in the West Village. I’m the founder of a creative agency, Rx Social, and I also have a travel and food site, Rx Sojourn. The two are kind of like sisters. One is precocious and Type A; the other is a bon vivant, wanderlust type. However, both are keenly passionate and fun.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING DURING THE DAY?
I'm actually averse to routine, which I think stems from living in 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 can hole up in my apartment in cashmere sweatpants.
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??
HOW DO YOU DRESS FOR A PERFECT SLEEP?
I like vintage t-shirts or pajama sets. Someone somewhere once 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 through social media. I retired that a few years ago and it has 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, the ever 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.
ANY FAVORITE BREAKFAST/BRUNCH SPOTS?
In LA, Nate 'n Al’s, Gjusta, and The Fountain Room at the Bevery Hills Hotel. 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 campaign ideas or travel pieces came into my mind at 4 in the afternoon.
WHAT IS THE MOST SPECIAL SPOT YOU’VE EVER SLEPT IN?
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 river engulfed by trees.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS WHEN WE SLEEP?
My brain and body thanks myself 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 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?
Sadly, 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 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 WANT 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.
“I'm actually averse to routine, which I think stems from living in a few countries that don’t view bedtime, wake-up time, breakfast time, etc. as seriously as Americans do.“
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