A Week in the Poconos Life of the Founder of Rae’s Roots Wellness Teas
Joanna Linton, who co-founded United by Blue and founded Rae’s Roots, is currently renovating a motel in the Poconos with her family, Schitt’s Creek-style.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where I live: Washington Square West (though currently in Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos)
What I do: First and foremost I’m a mama of two, doing my best in this wild pandemic climate. I’m the founder of Rae’s Roots, a brand of adaptogen-based wellness teas for moms, and a co-founder of United By Blue. I’m currently renovating a 1950’s motor lodge called The Rex up in the Pocono Mountains. It’s a lot and I’m loving it, but the only way I’m able to manage it all is by making sure I keep self-care a priority in my life.
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What role healthy living plays in my life: The concept of healthy living didn’t really sit with me until I experienced my own postpartum. Caring for a newborn and toddler was really challenging for me and I fell into a depressed emotional state. In other words, I was sad all the time and didn’t take care of myself whatsoever. I kept giving and giving, never giving anything to myself. Instead of giving my body time and grace, I got sad and frustrated. It took me seven months and four trips to the E.R. after physically becoming ill from stress to finally realize I couldn’t care for anyone else until I first cared for myself. This was when the idea for Rae’s Roots was born — but more than that, this was when the foundation of putting myself first was brought forth.
If there is anything that I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that self-care can’t be bought. Self-care is so much more than a massage or facial (though that can be a part of it, of course). It’s more of a series of decisions to be more disciplined and prioritize your mental and physical health. It’s about the little changes and differences that add up over time so that they become a part of your life rather than a to-do in your life. As a young parent, that’s much easier said than done, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to do as much as I currently am without maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Health memberships (and what they cost): When it comes to workouts, I love variety. I really have a tough time doing the same workout every day, so I currently subscribe to:
Peloton for $39/month. It’s been hard for me to find a way to sneak cardio in during the colder months so I’ll occasionally hop on the bike, but for me the real gem is Peloton Yoga (Kirstin is everything – she’s the most supportive friend you’ve never met). In fact, I didn’t really do any yoga prior to Peloton but their approach, cues and sense of welcome really encouraged me to pick up yoga as a regular practice.
Obé Fitness for $27/month. I love this for all the variety of classes they offer, but my favorite class — especially for moms who are expecting or postpartum — are their barre classes
Brrrn for $10/month. I discovered glider boards as an alternate way to get cardio in and then I discovered Brrrn and fell in love. They are a studio in NYC but recently started offering at-home classes with their own line of boards. Their board itself is pricey ($230) but it’s a really good workout. If you’re interested I would recommend getting a less expensive glider board on Amazon so you can see if you like this type of workout before purchasing their board.
Kira Stokes for $15/month. When I want something for weight and resistance training, I turn to Kira. She’s a celebrity trainer and her workouts are hard, but in the best way possible. It requires some general equipment (weights, barre ball, resistance bands) but you’ll get a lot of use out of them.
6 a.m. — If I’m not up before my kids, the day will literally get away from me. So I’m up to sneak in a quick Obé workout (with my girl Michelle B.) so that I’m done by 7 a.m., which is usually when the kids wake up.
7 a.m. — Breakfast with the family, which for me includes eggs and lox. I’m not a big breakfast person but I know that if I don’t eat now, I will overeat (typically junk) later in the day. I get the kids ready for school and we are out the door by 8 a.m.
9 a.m. — Back at home, I immediately head to our hot water boiler for my morning cup of tea. I love how tea can be incredibly calming. The ritual of making a cup and settling down at my desk centers me — almost like I’m priming myself to be ready for all the chaos that will inevitably come.
11 a.m. — I have my weekly touch base with my mentor who has been helping me learn about the consumer products industry. Today we mostly chat about competitors, what they are up to and what I can take away from it all.
3:30 p.m. — I head out to pick up the kids from school. I surprisingly wasn’t hungry for lunch but I snack on a Dark Chocolate Nut and Sea Salt Kind Bar. We stop by the grocery store on the way home. We have been essentially cooking every meal at home and unfortunately are always missing one or two ingredients. I’m trying to get better at meal planning.
5:30 p.m. — Dinner is salmon and spinach — so simple. When I’m not in the mood to cook, my go to meal is something with salmon. It’s versatile, easy to cook and incredibly healthy.
7:30 p.m. — Kids are in bed and I’m back to work, this time working on layout design for the motel. I’ll probably work for another two hours and try to make it to bed by 10 p.m.
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime
7:30 a.m. — Feeling fatigued and out of it. Baby girl woke up four times last night so I am barely functioning. I know that the only way to battle this feeling is by really being cautious about what I eat today, because poor eating will have me going down a spiral. I don’t have enough time to workout, but I force myself to eat some yogurt and granola.
8:30 a.m. — My husband drove the kids to school today, since I’m interviewing a potential marketing agency to help me launch some new products with Rae’s Roots. The call goes an hour over what I expected, but the owner is a mom herself and when moms get talking …
11 a.m. — When your husband is the CEO of United By Blue, you get outside. A lot. Because he knows how sluggish I’m feeling today, he pushes us to take a mid-morning walk/hike outside to a nearby waterway. It works.
12:30 p.m. — Homemade curry chicken salad (made with rotisserie chicken) over lettuce for lunch.
2 p.m. — Head over to see how renovations are coming along on the motel. We are currently living in one part of the original motel while the other sections get renovated (No, I have not seen Schitt’s Creek ... yes I know I need to). Parts of the motel need a complete overhaul, including the foundation, so I’m eager to see the progress.
5:30 p.m. — I’m so grateful to have been accepted into this fall’s Philly Startup Leaders Founded in Philly accelerator. We meet (virtually) every Tuesday where a Philly-based founder speaks about various topics. Tonight we are talking about what metrics to track for your business and setting measurable goals. Dinner is leftover chicken parm over spinach during the meeting (with video off while I eat, of course).
9:30 p.m. — Off to bed.
6:10 a.m. — I’m up and feeling pretty good after a solid night’s sleep. I’m feeling good enough for a 40-minute Brrrn workout, which is rare. In the beginning I was slipping and sliding all over the place but after a few months, I’m starting to really feel the benefits of the workout.
8 a.m. — It’s my turn to drive the kids to school and we sing along to Raffi on the way. I eat an RXBar on the way home.
10 a.m. — I sit down with my husband to review deck options for the motel. We are really focused on the customer experience. We’re looking to build a space that encourages experiencing the outdoors, so conversations about decks, treehouses and cedar hot tubs are a daily occurrence.
11:30 a.m. — New packaging artwork for the tea for Rae’s Roots came in so I’m reviewing everything before I take it to print. Lunch is a tuna salad sandwich. I love Safe Catch tuna not only for its sustainability but also for its low mercury testing.
2 p.m. — Kids are home early today and we go for a walk with their wagon. Grateful to have the open space to be able to walk around freely without masks. We don’t see one person while walking around the area.
4 p.m. — I have an urgent email that I need to get back to, so it’s TV time for the kids. Mom guilt creeps in, but I do my best to shut it out. TV time will forever be one of those things everyone has an opinion on — my thought is … do what you got to do, mama!
6:15 p.m. — Dinner is shakshuka and is delicious. It’s actually really easy to make. We just used with whatever veggies we had leftover in the fridge.
8 p.m. — Back to work. On days when the kids are home earlier, my work day is cut short so I know it’s going to be a longer night. I respond to emails, have a call with a factory in China, write captions for next week’s social media and pick out bathroom tiles for the motel.
12:30 a.m. — Bedtime.
7 a.m. — I slept in a bit and the kids are already up. My husband makes breakfast and gets them ready. I’m feeling a bit groggy with no motivation to do anything hard, but I push myself to do 20 minutes of slow flow Peloton Yoga, which afterwards feels rejuvenating. It may not have been the workout I wanted to get in, but I’m proud of myself for getting something in. Breakfast is oatmeal with chia seeds.
8:30 a.m. — I love the Crock Pot. We use it at least once a week — particularly on days when we know the afternoon/early evening will be chaotic. I grab beef from the freezer, chop up some vegetables and throw together all of the ingredients for slow cooker beef stew.
9:20 a.m. — I make my morning tea (today it’s a matcha green tea by Smith Tea) and get settled at my desk.
1 p.m. — I sit in on a Tory Burch Foundation seminar, which is a great resource for any female entrepreneurs. This was one was about turning your customers into a community, which is very fitting for the brand I’m building.
2 p.m. — A bit of a later lunch than I would have liked, but I make myself a lox salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.
4:30 p.m. — Check in on the progress in the motel. My son takes the opportunity to use some plywood as building blocks.
5:45 p.m. — Beef stew turned out delicious. I put it over a bed of spinach. It’s really hard for me to get leafy greens in my diet so I do my best to sneak it in where I won’t directly taste it.
8:30 p.m. — I have over an hour call with a best friend. It feels rejuvenating. With everything I have going on, being able to talk about nothing and everything is refreshing. I try to schedule a call with a different friend once a week. It helps keep me in check mentally in this pandemic environment.
6 a.m. — Because yesterday was a lighter workout, I go with Kira today for a 30-minute resistance training workout. I have never had such a deeper love/hate relationship with resistance bands! I guess the only thing I can say is that they work.
7 a.m. — Breakfast is scrambled eggs and avocado. It’s one of my go-to breakfasts when I don’t feel like eating anything. It’s filling, it’s healthy and it gives you energy.
10 a.m. — With my tea in hand, I dive into website copy for the next few hours. I will be updating Rae’s Roots website in the near future and it is a lot harder than I thought. Sharing my story, writing product descriptions — it’s taking me a lot longer than I expected. Much appreciation to all the creative writers out there!
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is a nutella and peanut butter sandwich. Sometimes when you’re in the mood, you’re in the mood.
2 p.m. — I need to take a break. I am so deep into writing that I can’t think straight. I go and bother my husband for a while and then clean up the kitchen. It oddly makes me feel refreshed. Then it’s back to writing.
4 p.m. — Kids are back home and it’s unseasonably warm, so we go out for a family hike. We wear our neon since it’s hunting season. I don’t get as much work done today as I wanted to and it gives me a bit of anxiety to stop work early, but these are the moments I really force myself to realize a hike would be better for me than responding to these last few nagging emails.
6 p.m. — Dinner is ramen with bok choy, egg, and oyster mushrooms. It looks fancy, but really it’s all thrown and cooked together.
8:20 p.m. — On Fridays I like to do a deeper skin routine. My skin is really dry, especially in the winter, so I typically throw on a face mask. By Nature has been a favorite of mine recently and can be found at Target. I’ll use a few face serums and oils that should only be used once a week for deeper treatment and end with an overnight mask.
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime. Weekends with the kids can be exhausting so I know I’ll need every minute of rest I can get!
Walks and hikes outdoors taken: 3
Online workouts completed: 4
Poconos motel design discussions: Many!