Books (Lots of Books) Are Key to Justina Blakeney’s and Her Family’s Bedtime Routines
A nightly soak is also essential.
Published Feb 9, 2020 12:00 AM
We spend a third of our lives asleep—that means our bedroom is the most lived-in space in our homes. It’s the room where we start and end our days, and that’s why the rituals that happen there are extra important. In The Wind Down, we’ll be exploring the nighttime routines of people we admire and taking their advice to make the moments just before bed feel our best.
“I really do cherish those last few hours of my day,” says Justina Blakeney. The Los Angeles–based designer, author, and founder of Jungalow has, after all, practically made an art out of extra-comfy evenings. One thing is constant: Blakeney; her husband, Jason; and their seven-year-old, Ida, always end their nights with a good book.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t also enjoy some good TV or a soak in the jacuzzi too. Here, Blakeney shares how the whole family eases into the end of their days.
Close up shop: I work less than two blocks from my home, so I walk or bike back, usually right around 5 pm, and my husband and daughter are waiting for me.
Get comfy: The first thing I do when I get home is take off my bra, and then my shoes. I change into cozier clothes—usually a hoodie, sweatpants, and slippers. We just launched a line of organic cotton loungewear, which I’ve been rocking. It feels so good on my skin. After that, we start thinking about dinner. Sometimes I cook, sometimes my husband cooks, sometimes we order in, and sometimes we walk to a local restaurant or cafe and eat out. We’re pretty spontaneous.
Kids first: By around 7:30 pm, we focus on my daughter’s bedtime routine. She brushes her teeth and puts on jammies. Ida loves bathing—we have a jacuzzi and an outdoor shower that’s so nice in warmer months. She’s got big, curly hair like mine, so it does take quite a while to comb it through. It’s a nice mommy-and-me thing that we do together. We use the hair towel from Pattern Beauty, which is great for curly hair.
Story time: We get in bed with her, and she chooses who gets the honor of reading her stories that night. Ida could sit and listen for literally hours. Up until the end of last year, I would read to her and she would ask for a “lay with me.” But I would fall asleep—and then have no “me” time at all. Now, after storytime, we do kisses, cuddles, and I’m out the door. She can either go straight to sleep or do her own reading, now that she can do that too. We try to have Ida in bed by herself by 8:15 pm. She has her own light and usually goes to sleep with it on, which my husband or I will shut off before we head to bed.
Solo session: After that, it’s all about me. A lot of times after she goes to sleep, I’ll hop in the jacuzzi and unwind for a half hour.
Skin saviors: I love a lot of the Osea Malibu line, like the Ocean Cleanser Face Wash and True Botanicals Nourishing Cleanser. I’m a true believer in alternating products. My body responds better if it doesn’t get the same thing every day. Also, because my skin and hair get very, very dry, I tend to use oil-based products. Josie Maran Skin Dope, which has a mix of hemp oil and argan oil, is a recent favorite.
Screen dream: Once I’m done with my skin routine, I might watch TV, read, draw, or hang out with my husband and have a glass of wine. I just finished the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which was great. I love movies and shows that take me out of my reality and that I can get lost in—escaping into a totally different world is part of the fun. I also watch a lot of YouTube. I’m a news junkie, so I watch all the late-night shows, both news and news commentary. And I’m a big fan of period dramas.
Required reading: I really enjoy fiction, but I never have a long enough block of time to get into it, unless I’m on a trip or vacation. I do read a lot of business and money-management books before going to bed, like Making Websites Win, which is all about—so boring!—getting your conversion rates up. I geek out on that stuff. I’m also a huge magazine junkie and will buy 20 shelter magazines from all over the world. I speak a lot of languages, so sometimes if I feel a little rusty, I’ll pick up, say, a French Vogue, to keep me sharp.
Next-day prep: Sometimes I’ll throw a couple of sweet potatoes in the oven because I like having that as a snack during the day—they’re so healthy and filling and delicious. It’s easy to set the timer on the oven so that the next morning they are baked and ready to go.
Not-quite midnight snack: If I’m feeling snacky in the evening, I love tropical fruit and usually have mango or pineapple. I try not to eat anything too heavy. Lately, I’ve also been making a ginger turmeric tea with walnut milk.
Best bed: My favorites sheets are from Matteo and Parachute. We switch out our bedding fairly frequently—we rotate different things, depending on the vibe we want. I’m a duvet girl and usually have a quilt on top for the added weight. We have a lot of blue bedding in dreamy patterns—birds in flight is one of my favorites—and the Japanese-inspired Rhythm Quilts that I designed.
Perfect pillow: I love a cold, bouncy pillow. We keep throw pillows on our bed, too, but we just shove them to the floor. It’s more for the vibe. I’ll often get the most expensive thing at IKEA—like, the top-of-the-line pillow. It’s still affordable but also actually really good.
Minimal maximal: Even though I’m such a maximalist, oftentimes that comes through in patterns. We have printed wallpaper and bedsheets, but besides that, we have hardly anything else in our bedroom. It’s very clean.
No alarm needed: I have a very good internal clock; I wake up at the exact same time every single day and it pretty much has never failed me.
Lights out by 11 pm!