“I’m very much a homebody,” Kai Avent-deLeon says over the phone from her grandmother’s house in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy—a ten-minute walk from her own restored brownstone apartment, where she and Che, her one-and-a-half-year-old son, have spent the past three months in quarantine. As the woman behind the plant-based restaurant and boutique hostel S,T Eat & Stay, and the concept shop Sincerely, Tommy (recently featured in Beyoncé’s directory of Black-owned small businesses), Avent-deLeon has embraced the past months as a rare opportunity to rest and recharge. “Sometimes living in New York, the idea of slowing down or sitting with yourself comes with the pressure of outside factors, whether it’s work or errands, so I’ve enjoyed having a break from everything,” she says.
Of course, Avent-deLeon, who is working on opening a wellness retreat space in Grenada, is no stranger to self-care, which, she notes, has long been a priority. “I put myself first above everything,” the entrepreneur says. “I’m very protective of how I spend my time, especially now being a mother.” While her days are varied—she might be fulfilling the recent onslaught of Sincerely, Tommy web orders, or fundraising for Building Black Bed Stuy, the committee that she co-founded to protect and preserve the Black community in her neighborhood—evenings follow a routine of sorts: after having a Prince and Sade-fueled dance party with her son, who she puts to bed at 7 p.m., she turns her attention inwards: “I take those few hours to do my thing,” she says—be it meditating, journaling, reading a few pages (she’s currently alternating between The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, The Four Agreements, and Mindful Parenting), or working out, which, she adds, is “just something I won’t compromise on, even if I’m busy all day and it means [exercising] at 11 p.m.”
Below, Kai Avent-deLeon sounds off on more of her nighttime routine and essentials, from crystals to the ultimate linen sheets.Photo: Courtesy of Kai Avent-deLeon / @kaiaventdeleon
What does your bedroom look like?
Minimal, neutral, and my own.
What’s on your bedside table?
Everything sacred [such as] some crystals, a sound bowl, and books.
Do you look at your phone at night?
I try not to, but as of late I have been. My sleep cycle has changed a lot since the mandatory quarantine.
What are your favorite Instagram accounts?
@deandrepage, @nandi.naya, @black_power_blueprint, @joydarlinginnit, @siku.store, @alfredascinema, @orendatribe, and @the.kraal.
What is your nighttime beauty routine?
I use Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 as well as the Creme Masque Vernix and the Creme au Collagene Marin, and shea butter as a body moisturizer. I also meditate before bed.
Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix
What is the last thing you check on your phone before you go to sleep?
Pictures of my son.
Do you set yourself a bedtime?
I used to. Lately, I fall asleep when I feel tired.
Do you have any before bed rituals?
Yes, but I keep those sacred. I believe in the power of ritual to invoke power to whatever we are calling upon or for, so I keep them close to me.
Is there a scent that helps you relax and fall asleep?
I love doTERRA oils. Breathe and Lavender are my favorites.
doTERRA Breathe Essential Oil Respiratory Blend
What are your favorite pajamas?
What are your favorite sheets?
I love my linen sheets from Velvet Valley.
What is the best kind of blanket?
My eucalyptus comforter from Buffy.
Sunlight or blackout blinds?
What sound do you wake up to?
My son talking to himself or laughing when he wakes up, which wakes me up.