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  • The Reset w/ Megan Collins

“My parents always took a bath together every night, which I’ve found to be really scandalous whenever I tell people, even now!” says Megan Collins, founder of men’s lifestyle site Style Girlfriend. “Maybe that’s part of what normalized baths as a ‘thing’ for me. It’s just what you do at the end of the day, y’know?”

Between running her own business and running around New York, she finds quiet moments in her stylish studio on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to relax, cook and yes, indulge in an end-of-day bath.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

On a recent Saturday morning over everything bagels and matcha (a New York mix if ever there was one), we caught up with Collins to talk about tuning the world out in a city that never turns off, the myth of guilty pleasures and the ever illusive work-life balance.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

Okay so, what's the first thing you do when you’re “finally home” after a long trip?
Whenever I get home from a trip, I love unpacking. Like, I love unpacking the same way tweens love Harry Styles. Well, maybe not the exact same way, but the process of pulling everything out of my suitcase and putting it away in its rightful home is very soothing to me. I like that I get to be reminded right away of whatever new trinkets I’ve picked up on my travels, or to rediscover the stash of my mom’s homemade granola I tuck in my bag after visiting home in Wisconsin. I can’t go to bed without my suitcase totally unpacked and stored away. Just the thought of digging through a half-unpacked bag the next morning for clothes to wear gives me hives.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

And once you’re unpacked and settled, how do you unwind and reset?
I’m not much good at it, but I like to cook. I’m sure there’s a clinical diagnosis for this, but when I’m working I need absolute and total silence, and when I’m doing literally anything else, I need, like, at least three things happening around me at a time.

So when I cook, I put music on my speakers, and then pipe a podcast out of my iPhone in the kitchen. It’s usually something political, because the times we’re living in are legit bonkers and it’s good to stay informed. I’m also really into Homecoming, a scripted podcast with Oscar Isaac playing a soldier who’s had his mind erased by the government and Catherine Keener as his therapist. I’m sure I’m not doing it justice, but season two is out, so you can go and listen to the whole thing now. It’s wild.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

What about rituals or habits that you know are guaranteed to help you de-stress or relax?
I’m a big bath taker. I broke up with a boyfriend however long ago and we’d been living together. His place (ha, always ‘his’ place...probably indicative of why it didn’t last?) only had a shower in the bathroom, so when I was looking for my own apartment after the split, that was my deal breaker. Would I have liked high ceilings, great light, huge closets, and a tub? Yes, but everything other than the tub was negotiable.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

My parents always took a bath together every night, which I’ve found to be really scandalous whenever I tell people even now, but maybe that’s part of what normalized baths as a “thing” for me. It’s just what you do at the end of the day, y’know? I don’t always take one, but if I’m stressed, I’ll make the time even if it’s late and I’m exhausted and I have to get up early or whatever. A few drops of essential oil in the water (I’m partial to Aveda’s chakra-balancing blends, which yes is totally hippie dippy, but hey, I live in NYC…I’m allowed some coastal elite bubble bullsh*t, right?), a magazine perilously perched on the lip of the tub and I’m good.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

Do you have a favorite spot in your home to relax…other than the tub?
Oh yes—my bed is very multifunctional. I’ve never had a headboard before because I live in NYC and therefore barely qualify as a grownup, so that’s nice. I also just really like my bedding, and the whole room has great light so I’ll get work done from there.

I cut the cord years ago, so I’ll watch Netflix or Hulu on my computer (right now, You’re The Worst is a favorite), and I’m not above a good midday nap when I’m working from home.

If you have an entire evening free at home, how do you spend it?
I don’t really believe in the term “guilty pleasure” because it means you’re supposed to be embarrassed of the things you enjoy, but if I had one, it would be boxed macaroni and cheese. And not the fancy Annie’s Organic kind; I’m talking Kraft, like, in the shape of the characters from Rugrats or Spiderman or whatever. I’ll throw in a little spinach to feel healthier and catch up on a show. Then comes the aforementioned bath and a decently early bedtime. I usually wake up at 6 or 6:30 a.m. to write undistracted for an hour before going to the gym, so getting enough sleep is the only way I don’t feel resentful when my alarm goes off.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

You work hard and often late—and sometimes from home. What do you do to maintain a work-life balance you're happy with?
Or are you working towards it still?

I’m definitely still working towards a sustainable work-life balance situation. I realized pretty recently that my conception of what an entrepreneur “should” be was kind of messed up. I felt like you had to work crazy hours and be sort of chained to your computer. Just slogging through life. For reasons best left unraveled by my therapist, I’m now at a place where making time to work hard is great, and making time to hang out with your friends, or work out, or down a bottle of wine with a cute boy is also great. So I’m slowly unwinding myself from the mindset that I have to kill myself for my job. Now I’m trying to work smarter, not harder.

How are you doing that? It seems like it would be hard to turn off completely when everything is on your shoulders.
A part of that is making a decision to shut down your computer—and stop checking emails—after a certain point in the evening. I recently read a really good book that helped me shift my mindset on this. It’s called Deep Work, and a friend who’s a director and runs his own production company recommended to me. The expression “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” is so true, but at some point there’s such a thing as too much stuff on your plate. Bandwidth is real and especially in New York we hit our limits on it way too often, usually without realizing it.

I also deleted Twitter and Instagram off my phone for a while to kind of have a fresh reset. Even though social media has crept back into my life since, it was a good reminder that I don’t always have to be totally connected.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

Do you have any favorite things that make your place feel especially like "home?"
I became really obsessed with juju hats after seeing a picture that Rashida Jones put up on Instagram of her bedroom where she had three of them hanging on the wall. They’re made by tribal artisans in Cameroon, where they’re still worn in traditional ceremonies. I wrote something about them on Style Girlfriend and got a bunch of flak from some commenters who called it cultural appropriation. But if we couldn’t take pleasure in objets’ d’art from around the world, all we’d have on our walls is framed photos of our dogs.

And one last thing—who should we interview next?
Sara Zucker, a total beauty guru and one of my favorite people to follow on social, and Mark Byrne a travel writer and spirits start-up founder.

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Photo: Tom Kubik

Shop Megan’s Couch
The Burrow Sofa - Navy Two Seat High Arm
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