Cory Ohlendorf (he/him)
Editor in Chief, Valet.
Endlessly curious, lover of language, candle enthusiast, and skincare aficionado
"My week is always full. It’s heavily scheduled but rarely hectic. Leading the team at Valet is a dream job for me, because it scratches all my itches, professionally speaking. I get to meet cool people, introduce our audience to interesting brands, and test new products, all while still getting the opportunity to write stories myself and experiment with new ideas.
Just before the pandemic, we launched a morning newsletter, The Daily Valet, that offers everything you need to start your day: the latest news, a little shopping, and some good vibes/motivation. I think the timing was perfect because the newsletter really took off. I still write every one myself, so I jokingly refer to it as my 'after-dinner job,' since I need to write it later in the evening to make sure the news is up to date each morning."
It’s 6:00 p.m. What’s the first thing you do?
"Six o'clock on Friday is quitting time! There’s no newsletter to write, so I’m done for the day, which means going out to dinner. I try to eat clean throughout the week. I cook every meal at home, actually, and really enjoy the process of making menus for the week and experimenting in the kitchen. But the weekend, for me, is all about indulging.
I live near the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles, so if I don’t have reservations somewhere, this is my go-to dinner spot on Friday. It’s casual and easy — you can just walk around and look at what others are eating or let the smells wafting from the food stalls guide you. The market has everything from Malaysian noodles and seafood to fried chicken and Cali-style tacos. Plus, there’s an old-school donut joint, which means I’m bringing back a box for dessert.
I’ve definitely developed some rituals that signify a shift from work to play. Especially when you’re working from home, I think those are incredibly important. Otherwise, it’s easy to get glued to your phone or pull open the laptop to answer one more email.
I’ll start by lighting a candle. I never burn them during the day. Too indulgent? Too relaxing? I’m not sure. It just feels like it’s against the rules. But I really enjoy candles and how the aromas can put you in a specific mood. When I’m feeling flush, I’ll happily shell out for Diqtyque’s Feu de Bois or D.S. & Durga’s ’85 Diesel, two of my all-time favorites. But they’re also a little like setting fire to money. When I’m being more financially responsible, P.F. Candle Co. and Brooklyn Candle Studio make wonderful options that come with zero guilt.
Another ritual is mixing a cocktail at the end of a workday. It’s less about getting buzzed and more about taking time for myself and reveling in the little details. Nothing fancy or complicated. A classic Negroni, the champion of the Italian aperitivo, is my regular drink and perfect to sip before dinner. It’s simple, just three ingredients—gin, Campari, and vermouth—stirred and finished with a twist of orange peel. As Orson Welles famously said, 'The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.'"
What’s the highlight of your Friday evenings?
"Because I don’t have much time to watch TV on weeknights, Friday is my evening for binge-watching shows and streaming the movies I’ve been hearing about all week. Right now, I’m finishing The Dropout and rewatching the adorably charming anime Kotaro Lives Alone (Have you seen it? You must!). I’ll pop some plain popcorn in the microwave and sprinkle on some furikake—more salty/sweet balance—and I couldn’t be happier."
Why is it important to relax and find time for yourself?
"I work a lot. I’ve been doing Valet for over a decade, and it’s always consumed a lot of my life. But you have to find time for yourself and what you value. I can give a lot to my job throughout the week, but come Friday night, that time is mine. Sometimes, I want to camp out on the couch and watch TV all night. Other times, I want to put on some good music, run a bath, slap on a sheet mask, and groom myself (recent discovery: cuticle oil)."
"My morning routine is quick and downright basic. But my evening skincare routine, especially on a Friday night, is a little more involved. I start with a serious cleansing. Dermalogica’s Pre-Cleanse Oil Cleanser is really good at getting gunk out of your pores. And lately, I’ve been using Goop’s Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser, which gets your face nice and smooth so a mask can really get to work. Then I’ll do Ole Henriksen’s Cold Plunge Clay Mask, which calms inflammation and reduces oiliness during warmer months. After I rinse off the mask, I pour a little of Good Light’s Moon Glow Toning Lotion into my hands and press it into my face. I don’t know why I do this, but it’s how toner gets applied when I get facials, so I try to bring that energy back to my bathroom, and it seems to be working.
The last step is kind of a multiple-choice—depending on what I feel my skin needs. I use a prescription retinol from Hims—it’s mixed with azelaic acid and niacinamide (I think that makes it gentler on skin). Sometimes I finish up with Wonder Valley’s Face Oil, which uses extra virgin olive oil as a hero ingredient. Other times, I use CeraVe’s Night Cream because it’s really rich and moisturizing and you can use as much as you want because it’s only fifteen bucks."
"Before I hop into bed, I make sure my alarm is set for the next day (because without one, there’s no telling when I’ll wake up) and, if I’m being honest, probably scroll through social media one last time because the addiction is real. Then I apply some lip balm and hand cream and turn on my white noise machine (troubled sleepers know what I’m talking about)."
What are you looking forward to on Saturday?
"Getting on my bike and going for a long ride. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten more and more into cycling, and Saturdays are the ideal time for me to get out there and enjoy a nearly phone-free day out in the fresh air. There’s something meditative about the repetitive action of pumping your legs over and over again that really lets the mind wander and decompress. Forty or 50 miles later, I get home completely wiped, but I also feel calm and at one with the world around me."