This Creative Director Thrives off Peppermint Tea and Family Time

Brian Anderson, the principal and creative director for advertising agency the Perception, gets through days of meetings thanks to morning tea and time with family.


As the principal and creative director of an advertising agency, Brian Anderson takes a LOT of conference calls. Tea and family time help him recharge. / Photograph courtesy of Brian Anderson

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected].

Who I am: Brian Anderson (@banderson_29), 42

Where I live: Currently, we live in Delran, New Jersey but will be moving to Cinnaminson as of Friday!

What I do: I’m a principal and creative director at a branding and advertising agency called the Perception and the proud father of two amazing little girls, Dylan (11) and Sophia (7). It’s tricky to keep a balance between life and work, but the backbone of this family is my wife, Lauren. I have a saying that “sometimes life interrupts life,” but as long as your team is strong at work and your family is strong at home, anything is possible.

What role healthy living plays in my life: I believe healthy living is paramount; it drives your attitude, your perseverance, and energy throughout the day and in life. That said, it’s sometimes a little crazy for me having two daughters who are active in sports while also running a business, and being a husband. Fitness and healthy eating are not always front and center for me. I try to get four days per week in for working out. Some weeks, it doesn’t always work out like that, but I adjust.

Health memberships (and what they cost):

  • Nike Training app — $14.99 per month
  • Peloton — $39 per month
  • Planet Fitness — $10 per month

Monday

Despite a long Monday, Anderson completes a Peloton spinning class (and preps for Monday Night Football). / Photograph by Brian Anderson

4:40 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I hit snooze and my wife is ready to put the pillow over my head for waking her up.

5:10 a.m. — I quietly go downstairs and make peppermint tea with raw honey. I always like to enjoy some alone time in the morning before everything gets hectic. I drink the tea while I go through my emails and plan for the day ahead.

7 a.m. — I go back upstairs to check in on my daughters and make sure they are getting dressed for school. As always, my wife is already on it. Since most of the hard work is done, all I really have to do is tell them to stop dancing in the mirror and come downstairs for breakfast.

7:35 a.m. — Breakfast courtesy of my wife: steel-cut oatmeal, sliced apples, raw honey, and a glass of Wegman’s freshly squeezed OJ (a.k.a. “Liquid Gold”).

8:05 a.m. — I’m trying to stay more hydrated lately, so I grab a water bottle before heading out the door to drive to the city.

8:45 a.m. — I’ve arrived at our office in Northern Liberties and am immediately slammed with emails.

9:30 a.m. — Quick conference call with a recruiter.

10 a.m. — I get right off my call and go straight into a production meeting. While in the meeting, I have more peppermint tea with, you guessed it, raw honey.

11 a.m. — Annnnd more client calls.

12:47 p.m. — I run out to grab lunch from OneShot in NoLibs. They have a crazy good charred corn summer salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, pickled red onions, and crispy chickpeas. I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast, so I also get the chicken salad ($16.50).

2:30 p.m. — I’ve been back in the office and now have a development team conference call. After this, I’ll be heading into Jersey for another meeting, and then home. This day is nonstop!

6 p.m. — I get home and do a quick, 20-minute Boss Up! Peloton ride with Ally Love.

6:30 p.m. — I chug a giant glass of water, which is so refreshing after that ride.

6:45 p.m. — Dinner at Harvest with the family. We love their apps and order a bunch. We definitely recommend the kung pao cauliflower wings, jerk chicken flatbread, Korean BBQ chicken lettuce wraps, and mahi mahi fish tacos ($63.50).

8:15 p.m. — I attempt to help Dylan with her math homework, but she wants “Mommy” to do it with her, so I take the free time to do a Nike Training Club workout (Full Body Circuit) for 25 minutes.

8:45 p.m. — I sit down with my laptop to answer some emails and watch a little Monday night football. I make it to about 9:15 p.m. before I am out like a light.

Daily total: $80

Tuesday

Anderson’s wife, Lauren, whips up some turkey meatballs with spinach and pasta for a tasty dinner. / Photograph by Brian Anderson

5:27 a.m. — I must have not set my alarm correctly, and I wake up abruptly realizing I’ve overslept.

5:30 a.m. — I run downstairs for my peppermint tea with raw honey. As you can see, I cannot live without honey (is that a good or a bad thing?). I do some quick billing and accounting before showering and getting ready for work.

8:05 a.m. — Since I have a late start, I grab an apple and a banana to eat in the car.

8:25 a.m. — I take a minute to call my mom…gotta check in!

9:30 a.m. — We have a standing team production meeting, which is mostly spent mapping out the rest of the week, discussing hot projects, and setting up kick-off calls.

11 a.m. — While I am on a conference call, I have a handful of unsalted mixed nuts and a big glass of water since I am craving more sustenance.

12 p.m. — Packed my lunch today: turkey and cheese on rye with a little bit of olive oil and mayo, plus an apple, a MadeGood bar, and a bottle of Hint water.

12:30 p.m. — I am on and off conference calls until about 4 p.m. today.

4 p.m. — That was a lot of calls. Now, time to work on a new business RFP.

5 p.m. — I leave the office to watch my youngest daughter’s soccer practice. Go Sophia!

7 p.m. — I have my last call of the day with a client, Althea of Althea’s Almost Famous. She sells awesome Jamaican jerk sauce, which is a “top secret” recipe!

7:30 p.m. — Finally back at the house from soccer, and we sit to down to dinner courtesy of my wife: delicious turkey meatballs with spinach and capellini pasta. Plus, I’m drinking another giant glass of water.

8:30 p.m. — We put the kids to bed and chat about our days.

9 p.m. — Back to my email and then it is time to hit the lights.

Daily total: $0

Wednesday

Though tired, Anderson makes it to Planet Fitness for a late-night lifting session. / Photograph by Brian Anderson

4:40 a.m. — The birds are up, so I am too.

5:10 a.m. — You know the drill by now: downstairs for some peppermint tea with raw honey, while I check those emails.

6:30 a.m. — I get the girls up this morning with music from Alessia Cara. They both wake up with a smile instead of the normal growl. Dad win!

6:45 a.m. — I untangle a hair tie that was matted in my youngest daughter’s hair. I thoroughly brush it with lots of detangler and the help of a wet brush and give her my signature hair style, “the Bun.”

7 a.m. — I make breakfast for the ladies and myself: egg white and American cheese omelets on rye bread.

7:30 a.m. — Lauren gets the girls on the bus, I take a quick shower, and then I am out the door.

9 a.m. — I get to the office, get settled, and hop on a planning call with a client to review the fourth quarter and 2020 budget.

11 a.m. — I am hungry! I grab two handfuls of unsalted nuts and a bottle of Hint water while I answer my emails.

12 p.m. — I have a team lunch at Hungry Pigeon with our art director and production director. I have the watermelon salad with a BLT and an unsweetened iced tea. Yum ($74.24).

1:30 p.m. — Time for an afternoon full of lots and lots of phone calls.

3:45 p.m. — I leave early to catch Dylan’s first school soccer game. They crushed it. 6-0!

5:15 p.m. — Time to pick up Sophia from aftercare with Dylan and head home. I help the kids with their homework, while Lauren makes one of our favorite meals, tacos.

8 p.m. — I really don’t want to, but I drag myself to do a quick workout at Planet Fitness, where I focus on my chest, back, and abs.

10 p.m. — Home and lights out!

Daily total: $74.24

Thursday

Anderson treats his entire team to lunch from Goldie. More tahini shakes, please. / Photograph by Brian Anderson

4:40 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I get ready to grind.

5:10 a.m. — Downstairs to check my emails with some peppermint tea and raw honey.

6:30 a.m. — I wake the girls, shower, and get ready for work.

7:30 a.m. — Out the door and on my way into the city. I take a white peach, an apple, and Hint water for an on-the-go breakfast. I listen to the podcast, Masters of Scale, during my ride.

9 a.m. — Starting this morning with a two-hour website review call.

11 a.m. — Straight from the call into a PR strategy meeting for the agency.

12 p.m. — I order lunch for the office from Goldie. I get the falafel salad with pita tops, but I end up not eating it because I forgot to have them hold the beets and I HATE BEETS. I only eat the pita and falafel and I am starving for the rest of the day…the team, however, is very happy with their choices ($53.77).

12:30 p.m. — We have a marathon of conference calls all afternoon, so I’m on the phone until about 5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. — Quick change, and I head out to meet a friend and client at the launch party for Authentick in Rittenhouse. We stay for an hour or so, and then head up to The Four Seasons for a quick drink. (My friend kindly pays.) What an incredible view!

11:30 p.m. — Given the lunch that I had and the lack of food throughout the day, I am starving, so I stop off for a quick Burger King Impossible burger before bed ($5.59).

Daily Total: $59.36

Friday

After a week full of calls and meetings, Anderson spends Friday morning with his wife and this delicious-looking breakfast sandwich. / Photograph by Brian Anderson

6:40 a.m. — The birds chirp, but I let myself sleep in a bit today. My bed is just too comfy.

7 a.m. — Get out of bed, a little sluggish from my late night.

8:30 a.m. — Breakfast with Lauren at Bagelati in Cinnaminson. I get the bacon, egg, and cheese on a plain bagel ($8.36).

10 a.m. — I have a consultation at Kremer Eye Center. I’ve been wearing glasses for more than 10 years and I need them when I am designing and looking at the computer all day. But I want to know if Lasik is right for me.

11 a.m. — After my appointment, I head to Starbucks for a new business development meeting. I get some tea — are you shocked? ($3).

12 p.m. — Another long afternoon of conference calls. Oof!

4 p.m. — More work-related tasks. Gotta love the digital life (but really, I do).

5:30 p.m. — I head over to watch Sophia’s soccer practice. She’s got a big game on Saturday, and it should be a good one.

7:30 p.m. — We have a pre-birthday dinner for my wife’s sister Ashley at her house, and we all help make some homemade pizza. Ashley’s husband, Blake, and my three-year-old niece, Jules, are rolling the dough. I have to say they’ve got some fresh mozzarella skills.

10 p.m. — Home and in bed with the lights out. It’s been a long week, and we have a full day of soccer in the morning!

Daily Total: $11.36

Weekly totals

Money spent: $224.96
Workouts completed: 3
Cups of peppermint tea consumed: 6
Hours spent on conference calls: I don’t want to know