I believe in the power of mornings. It makes sense, right? How you chose to start your day is a huge indicator of how that day will go. I may be biased (I am a total morning person), but there is nothing better than a calm, productive, and invigorating morning.

I recently read an interesting article on the morning routines of various successful women on www.mydomaine.com. Hoping to be a #GirlBoss, I was curious to learn about how current #GirlBosses start their busy days. Creepy? Maybe. Inspiring? Absolutely.

At DFS Creative Concepts, our fearless leader is our head #GirlBoss. Not only is she our Founder and Principal, but she is a wife, a mother, a friend, an innovator, and a mentor. Dorothy Freeman Self truly does it all. How does she start each day prepping for all that’s on her agenda? Keep on reading.


Caroline Tucker: So, Dorothy, let’s start at the very beginning. What time do you wake up?

Dorothy Freeman Self: At the last possible second. With a nearly three-year-old boy, I will do everything possible to sleep as late as I can. I lay out my clothes and his clothes the night before (he’s not a morning person either, thank goodness), get everything laid out on the make-up counter, hair products and tools ready to go. I pack his school lunch the night before and fill his school backpack. So we literally wake up at the last possible second, both of us get dressed in about 17 minutes (yes, I have this down to a science), and then we go to preschool and work. Mornings are not my bag.

CT: Gotcha. But, come on, what time do you actually wake up?

DFS: This sounds weird, but I actually wake up when I sit down to my laptop in my cozy little office, turn on Spotify, and listen to classical music. It helps me plug through the 50,000 emails I get overnight… And there’s nothing more invigorating than checking things off a list or filing emails away. Sure do wish I felt the same about my personal email address – that’s just a disaster. Never email me there.

CT: Noted. What’s your first thought in the morning?

DFS: What day is it? Followed by, “Only X more days of waking up early.” A great friend of mine growing up was SUCH a cheerful morning person. As we navigated middle and high school together and we’d carpool, he’d always greet my scowls with “Cheer up! Only X more days of wakin’ up early” (in his thick Southern accent). I’ve always felt like that was a positive way to spin things.

CT: I love that. Coffee or tea?

DFS: Tea. I don’t really know much about coffee so I feel insecure at coffee shops. I always say “Just give me coffee, the black kind without all that creamy stuff or designs, whatever flavor is the most normal.” Coffee also makes me jittery, while tea can be soothing in the morning. I do try to stay away from sodas unless there’s just really nothing else out there.

CT: By the confident way you order at the Village Grind (the coolest coffee shop down the road from our office), I would have no clue of your coffee insecurity. 😉 Any morning mantras?

DFS: HAHA. Yes, I love Village Grind. They’re so sweet they get me. Everyone go there right now. As for morning mantras: “You’ve got this. Nobody ever got anywhere by giving up.” I don’t know where I heard that. But that is prominently in my line of vision all day, next to a cherished photograph of a former newspaper publisher who I feel is one of the best mentors I’ve ever had. My second mantra is “Do it for her.” That’s one I created for myself. A beautiful young woman I advised for 4 years, who had such a bright and promising future ahead of her, passed away unexpectedly on July 6th, 2015. I was devastated, and to this day I think about her. I know she is with me. I keep her photo and that quote to the right of my desk because she honored me with an award at the end of her college career. I miss her every day, but I know that she is blessing me, my son, and my husband with her loving heart. And it also reminds me that one person can make a difference in the life of someone else, whether it’s to help guide a younger woman or to learn from her.

CT: That definitely helps explain your heart for mentoring all your DFSCC girls. What’s your go-to #GirlBoss breakfast?

DFS: I’m not a big breakfast eater, to be honest. I love a great early lunch though. I feel like breakfast gets in the way of me answering emails and tending to clients and employees, so I usually just opt for a good lunch around 11-11:30… And then it’s just ON. I will say that Two Chefs has the very best dill tuna salad, and Soby’s on the Side has the best chicken salad (on a croissant). So I usually rotate. Creature of habit.

CT: As am I. Tell me about your outfit selection process (you always look FAB).

DFS: Well, thank you! It’s all about what’s easiest. I’m going to let you / everyone in on a secret. I find pieces that work for my mom life and my work life, and try to make sure the two are one in the same (as much as can be). Then I try to plan on Sundays what I will wear all week (Again, to maximize morning wake-up time). But generally, I love putting things together that showcase a little bit of creativity, a little bit of fun, a little bit of interest, and of course at least one statement piece. Whether that be shoes, a bold print, or accessories, something needs to be a bit bold.

CT: Readers, let me tell you, nobody rocks camo jeans with a floral print tunic better than Dorothy. How much time does it take you to do you hair and makeup?

DFS: 5 minutes. Translucent powder from La Bella Donna, blush from Walgreens (whichever is on sale and fits the skin tone), eye shadow from Naked Palette 1, 2, or 3, and whatever lipstick is in my purse (applied in the car, again to save time). I could do better, I realize this.

CT: Are you a morning or night shower gal?

DFS: Night. Who wants to go to bed with the day all over you? I like using lavender Epsom salt from Walgreens (Can you see a theme here? I live at Walgreens.), I soak for about 20 minutes or until my toddler comes in and starts asking what’s going on, and then I feel clean and refreshed to sleep. Also, morning showers would mean I have to get up earlier and we already know how I feel about that.

CT: Re-freaking-tweet. Any favorite morning car jams?

DFS: Oh, rap. Not kidding on that one either. We’re talking like the kind of music college and NFL football players warm up to. Except this one time I pulled up to my child’s preschool with Outkast blaring (he loves it too, don’t worry), and when the carpool mother of the day opened the car she was decidedly shocked. Understandably so, I would think. I call it “MORNING GRIND” and it really helps to wake up to “get pumped up” music. Then once in the office, it’s classical all day. I mean, talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.

CT: Outkast! Great choice. Tell me your favorite part of your mornings.

DFS: Morning hugs from my child, dropping him off at school (and realizing that I actually made it out of the house in one piece), and finally making it to work to help build a legacy for him such that he can one day say “My mommy did this for me, so that I could value how hard women work.” I want to make him proud and respect women in the workplace. Plus, you can’t beat those end of the day body slam hugs where he runs up to you and in one huge run-on sentence says every single second about his day and what he did and that he loves you and that “You look pretty, Mommy. I’m proud of you.” (Not sure he knows what that means, but I’ll take it!)


Well, there you have it. I still will never know how Dorothy does it all, but I have a feeling her regimented morning routine (especially car rap) has something to do with her success.

Do you have any morning routine tips? We’d love to know!