Friday Night Light is a series that commemorates the act of winding down and the personal routines that we keep in the privacy of our third-floor walk-up. This week, I wrote this myself.

Or Gotham

Editorial director, dessert person, dog enthusiast
@or.jpg

My Friday nights are very precious to me. That's why I started this series. The rituals we uphold say a lot about who we are.

Being at the helm of Very Good Light brings me a tremendous amount of pride. On a Friday evening, you can find me tinkering around — writing, editing, designing artwork, exploring flights of fancy. A strong, balanced work/play ethic is essential for all makers who care a whole lot about what they do. (Don't forget the play!)

I usually have some sort of personal project going on, too. I “maintain” an Etsy shop, The Or Store, just to peddle off weird things I’m making. I recently bought the domain orsonsbakery.com, as an Easter egg, despite it being a branding nightmare. ("Who is Orson? Does this establishment actually sell baked goods?") While running this shop is a necessary creative outlet for me, it also stresses me out, so I have to shut it down a few times a year just to tolerate it. I shouldn’t admit this, but I never check my Etsy messages because they give me anxiety. If someone messages me after ordering, I just assume they have a problem and just send them a refund. I'm not cut out for it.

My latest endeavor is a croissant phone grip. I buttered and photographed a croissant and had it printed onto acrylic. It was then laser cut to match the contours of the pastry. (Here’s a fun story. I’m purposefully not using the word P*ps*ckt to describe this phone grip because the last time I did on Etsy, the P*ps*cket legal team sent me an injunction.) Every time I make something, I think, “who the hell will buy this?” And then someone buys it. I feel fortunate in that way.

The account login I was stealing no longer has a VH1 subscription, so I can’t watch Drag Race like I used to. I’ll flick around through my remaining streaming apps (also with stolen logins) and try to find something spooky to watch. Some of my favorites are Sinister, The Ruins, and Dark Skies. I also love the Final Destination franchise. I’ll get on a kick and watch the same scary movie 10 or 20 times. I never get sick of them.

I have close to no interest in savory foods, so my dinners are usually nondescript and functional rather than delicious. However, my dog, Orson, and I have dessert every single night. He likes blackberries, frozen apple sauce, and bananas sliced into coins. I like anything with Cool Whip. We like to wrestle and play tug of war.  

My skincare involves lots of layers of moisture — thin to thick. Good Light Cosmic Dew to wash my face in the shower, then the Moon Glow Milky Toner on damp skin. La Mer The Treatment Lotion over that. Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Serum follows, then I seal it in with Supernal Oil Serum. I’ve started being more gentle on my skin recently, moving away from using a ton of actives. I’m not exactly sure why, but my skin is all the better for it.

I replaced my shower head with a detachable one to make dog baths a little easier, and it’s improved my life an unquantifiable amount. I like to just stand in the wide stream of water and sway. I always listen to music in the shower. Right now, I’m listening to Taeyeon’s new album, INVU. I like Kiana Ledé, too.

I've never heard anyone else say they do this, so I'll write it here. I can't stand flaky lips but think lip scrubs are painful. At the end of my shower, when the dead skin has loosened up, I just rub it off. Go at it for a few seconds. It just pills right off. Try it!

My hair routine is equally layered — Gisou shampoo and conditioner, followed by K18 and Olaplex. Then I’ll seal it in with the Supernal face oil because I have this idea in my head that I break out less if I use a face oil (instead of a hair oil) on my head. Hair oils always have coconut oil, which gets on my pillows and gives me cystic acne. So far, my theory tracks. One day, I'll give you a full hair routine. I'm just still figuring out what to do with it.

Around 11, I’ll make my way to my bedroom. On my way, I’ll do exactly four pull-ups on the bar hanging in my hallway.

I’ve been trying to get into “fancy” candles lately. I find it so hard because the smells are always so elegant whereas I am not. Quiet, a collaboration with Joya and The Museum of Peace and Quiet, is downright lovely, though. The notes include jasmine, saffron, cedar, powdery amber, and oud — but to me, it smells like a well-worn sweater. I wish it came in perfume form. Before that, I was working my way through a stash of eight Bath and Body Works Toasted Vanilla Chai candles from winter.

I recently got a massage tool from Costa Brazil. It’s like a giant gua sha tool that has the exact dimensions, finish, and appearance of a knife that weighs as much as a laptop. In fact, whenever I see it out of the corner of my eye, I think it is a knife. I run it up and down my neck and shoulders to knead out my knots, of which there are many. People are always trying to convince me to get massages but I don’t like being touched by strangers, so this works perfectly for me.

(A quick note on the power of escapism: During Season 1 of the pandemic, I used the Costa Brazil Jungle Firming body oil.  I remember that, in some way, through their imagery or the experience of their products, I felt like I was somewhere else other than trapped in my apartment for three months straight.)

Around midnight, I’ll put a Snoozecast. It’s a podcast that tells bedtime stories in a very hushed, whispered tone. If I haven't taken my meds, 3mg of melatonin, and brushed my teeth, I’ll do that now. I use one of those nano toothbrushes. The bristles are very dense and very soft. From afar, it looks like a singular bristle rather than hundreds of smaller filaments. I started using it last year when I was worried about my receding gums. When I asked my dentist if they were sanctioned by the ADA, he said he wasn’t sure. “Keep using it, and we’ll see in six months.”

On Saturday mornings, I still wake up pretty early. I’ll have two cups of coffee at home. (Maxwell House Dark Roast, non-dairy creamer, and two Splendas) and work for a little bit. Orson and I will go out for breakfast a few blocks away. I’ll get the French toast, and he’ll try to eat cigarettes off the sidewalk.


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