Published on April 26, 2020

The_Wind_Down_NoriaMorales_02 Pin It
Courtesy of Noria Morales
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 explore the nighttime routines of people we admire to make the most of the moments before bed.

Noria Morales knows how important it is to wind down after a long day of work. After years editing for such publications as InStyle and Glamour and heading up collaborations and influencer marketing at Target, she partnered with her friend Sarah Robinson, raised $2 million in seed funding, and launched The Wonder, a members-only club for families in New York City.

The Wonder was built out of the duo’s own experiences: As a mother of two boys under age 10, Morales was constantly searching for a retreat for her and her kids. And it makes sense that the space she created—featuring a play area with interactive installations, library, café, and more—is a reflection of what she values at home.

With a demanding work schedule, Morales looks forward to evenings with her family, which are filled with reading, cuddling, and—on some nights—the accidental sleepover. Then once the kids are in bed comes ‘me’ time: skin care, wine, and challenging herself to cook more (even if that means heating up premade meals from Trader Joe’s). Here, Morales shares how she chills out.

Get comfy: Nighttime starts when I get home from work, around 7 p.m. My sons, who are 7 and 8, are already bathed and in pajamas—we love Petit Bateau—so the next 90 minutes are really about quality time. I like to change immediately into cozy clothes—i.e., a supersoft pair of sweatpants, like these from Outdoor Voices; a tank top or T-shirt; and my favorite cashmere sweater from Vince that’s like a blanket with sleeves.
Story time: My favorite nights are when we pile into the bottom bunk with a book—right now we’re really into graphic novels such as Amulet and Five Worldsand read a few chapters. Then it’s cuddle time. Each boy requires his own cuddle, and it’s a whole thing; I have been known to fall asleep in their beds. Sometimes I tell very long, often made-up stories; I have templates, like the “pirate story,” and just go from there. I also like to tell them about when they were born (they love that). Storytelling really calms my kids down. I give them back scratches, and they both sleep with a whole menagerie of animals—the softer, the better.
Five-minute meals: Once my kids are down, which is around 8:30, I spend the next hour in the living room working, catching up with my husband, or reading The New York Times. If I don’t inhale dinner standing up in the kitchen, I’ll have a civilized dinner with my husband. I’m trying to cook more, but it’s usually food that takes minutes to prepare, like cheese quesadillas with scrambled eggs and an avocado salad. Recently, I’ve started buying more from Trader Joe’s. The turkey Bolognese sauce is awesome, or I will prepare the vegetable fried rice and jazz it up with sriracha and an egg. If I order in, I get sushi. With dinner, I usually have a glass of wine, unless it’s Friday night—then I’ll have a dirty martini. If I’m not feeling 100 percent, I’ll do mint tea. I’m also obsessed with Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding and, after the kids are asleep, I will sneak a couple of big spoonfuls. It’s so good.
By the light: We keep the lighting in our living room low and warm, and I’ll light a candle. Right now I’m loving Le Labo’s palo santo candle; it’s really relaxing. In the wintertime we’ll light a fire in our fireplace.
Skin saviors: At 9:30 I head upstairs to get ready for bed. I immediately start my routine, because if I get into bed first, it’s lights-out. I shower in the morning with Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood Bath and Shower Gel, so at night I just clean my face with Neutrogena Micellar Water. Sometimes I apply Drunk Elephant Babyfacial. I always heavily moisturize: My favorite thing to use is Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil. I brush my teeth with Marvis toothpaste and floss with Cocofloss. It’s the best. Then I brush my hair and braid it and take out my contacts and put on my glasses. Occasionally I’ll take Olly Sleep Vitamins. Often I’ll agonize over wrinkles or gray hairs for a few minutes and wonder if it’s time to color my hair.
Best bed: Our bed is super-luxurious and just a delicious experience. It’s a king-size feather bed, with white sheets from Parachute; a Company Store duvet; and lots of big, fat, fluffy pillows. On my nightstand is a Hay tray, some candles, a piece of sage wood, pictures of my kids, a small dish of hair elastics, and a Muji mini humidifier.
Keep it cool: I like my room to be cold, so I’ll often open one of the terrace doors to let fresh air in and click on the overhead fan. Then I turn on the humidifier—I drop lavender and rosemary oil into it and it smells so good, but also signals that the day is done—and put my phone on silent and do not disturb. At this point, 9:45, I am in bed. Yep, 9:45. I usually read a couple of chapters of a book on my phone (I just finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead), check Instagram one more time, get sucked into some ridiculous puppy video black hole, and by 10:30 I’m asleep!