Melissa Ben-Ishay is the founder of the wildly popular cupcake brand Baked by Melissa–and a prime example of turning obstacles into opportunities. After being fired from her job as an assistant media planner in 2008, Melissa called her brother, who encouraged her to “Go home and bake your cupcakes; we’ll start a business out of it.” And so they did. Famous for their signature tie-dye, miniature, wrapper-free creations, Baked by Melissa now has fourteen locations, and ships nationwide. We asked this baker and businesswoman what a typical morning in her life looks like. She shares her routine below.

5:00 – 5:30 A.M. Wake up, check my email and all the texts I missed while I was sleeping (I go to sleep early). I usually do this while I’m still in my bed. If I have the chance to wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed before my kids wake up then it’s a win. I wear minimal makeup, just Nars concealer and Hoola Bronzer….and the occasional mascara when I’m feeling fancy – right now I’m obsessed with Milk Makeup’s KUSH mascara – and yes, I bought it at first because of the name ;).

6:00 A.M. Feed my 10-month-old and give my 3-year-old breakfast; most of the time she begs for a Perfect Bar, which I’m fine with. It’s packed with protein and good stuff and she likes that there are chocolate chips in it. Pour myself some Chameleon cold brew, which I always have in my fridge because I can’t start my day without it – and turn on Sesame Street so I have time to pack lunches and school bags, get dressed and out the door. We try to limit screen time to when it’s absolutely necessary and I’m sure any working mom would agree that the morning routine is absolutely one of those times. Plus, it’s Sesame Street, so it’s educational.

7:00 A.M. Walk my girls to school – it’s about a mile. We have the best time and it’s one of the highlights of my day. And when I say school I really mean daycare. We didn’t plan to send both kids at such an early age but after our nanny didn’t work out, we had no choice and now we love it so much. I think it’s so good for them – it’s harder for the parents this way but totally worth it. Then I get on the train and head to work. I use my train time for myself which means listening to music and reading the news or thinking through and writing myself notes to solve my latest challenge (work or personal).

8:00 A.M. If I’m lucky I’ll catch the 8:00am Bar Method Class that I’m newly obsessed with. I used to start my day boxing but the Bar Method is my new favorite workout. It’s chill and relaxing and I feel sore afterwards, which I love. The owner was also kind enough to add a class for me because none of the other times worked with my schedule, so now I have the extra obligation/push to get there, which I need. Being a working mom of two kids under three is a workout by itself but Bar Method is what I do for me, which I’ve learned is essential and good for everyone.

8:45 A.M. Meet my CEO, who’s also one of my favorite people for coffee, walk together to the office, catch up, and plan for the day ahead. We often stop at our Union Square Baked by Melissa store to check in on our latest offerings and say hi to our teammates. And who doesn’t want a cupcake for breakfast? It’s just a bite ;).   

9:00 A.M. I’m at the office before 9am most mornings. I’m always one of the first to arrive. As soon as I get in I say hi to whoever is here, shoot the shit a little and then get right to work creating upcoming product lines, cupcake flavors, product assortments and more. I’m a morning person and work best before everyone arrives and the excitement of the day sets in and shifts my focus to meetings, calls, photoshoots, and more.