Archive for category Motherhood

This will come as no surprise…

…but my blogging days are over. I have been agonizing over writing this post for a couple months now, and putting it off, but with a to-do list a mile long that never gets shorter, it’s time to finally cross this off the list.

Though I don’t feel like I owe anyone an explanation, I always wish for one when a blogger I follow stops posting – I guess that’s my need for loose ends to be tied. So here I am. Because I find this a bit emotional, I’m going to (try to) make this short and sweet.

Though there are bloggers out there that are super women that can find time to both blog and being a mother, I personally cannot. While I was on maternity leave, it was entirely possible, and though my posting slowed down, it was more because I was barely washing my face (at first, anyway), let alone wearing makeup. And once Elena started napping well, I took those moments of downtime to do the same. But since being back to work, finding the time to do much of anything is extremely difficult. And now that Elena’s older and only needs one nap a day, on the weekends we’re pretty much flat out the entire day. In the evenings, I get about 2 hours after she goes to bed to ‘relax’ (which usually involves watching a TV show or YouTube vid while simultaneously cleaning / packing a lunch / doing minor DIY renos around the house (I’ve painted 4 rooms by myself) – OR, spending time trying to plan our wedding, which is in 3 months, eek!) before I pass out from exhaustion around 9:30pm. All this to say, blogging is the last thing on my mind – I just don’t have a slot in my day where it fits anymore.

For a while, I felt guilty about feeling this way, because I could potentially throw up a post here and there – I mean, I have time to somehow paint my nails every week, so I must have some time, right? But as any mother will know, you start getting very selective with how any free time is spent – if you get 15 minutes of every day to do what you LIKE (not have to do), you want to fill it with something that gives you the most pleasure. Unsurprisingly, for me that’s often beauty-related – I still take the time every morning to apply my makeup (there are many tricks employed to keep Elena busy, mind you!), and as mentioned I paint my nails religiously every Sunday and Thursday. That doesn’t sound all that crazy when you read it, but it’s easy for people to judge – back in April when I was at the dentist she said to me ‘Wow, your nails are painted and you have a small child, you must have a lot of time on your hands!’ (to which I replied in my head ‘FUCK YOU, LADY’). The judgement actually kind of shocked me, because here was this woman who herself had two children – doesn’t she understand what it’s like? How you take any moment you can that seems like ‘free’ time to do something for yourself so you can keep your sanity? Huh. Guess not. In any case, after that comment I stopped feeling guilty about how I spent my alone/down time (because truthfully, I just felt pissed off after that), and realized that everyone manages those moments differently. We’re all just trying to survive.

Long story short (is anyone surprised I couldn’t help myself from babbling on?), blogging no longer feels like a ‘me’ outlet anymore. PR samples only gave me stress because I felt like I needed to post about everything that was sent my way. Coming up with original content was a HUGE challenge because the blogosphere is so saturated with other blogs doing the same thing over and over (and many of them doing it SO much better than I!). Rather than feeling like I was sharing my passion for beauty (which is still going strong, as ever), I got bogged down by all of it and this wonderful outlet became just another chore for me on my never-ending list.

So here I am, and here we are. I’ve been blogging for 8 years (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and sadly it’s time for that chapter to close. I don’t feel regretful or conflicted though; I met some fantastic, amazing, wonderful people who enriched (and still enrich) my life in so many ways. Most of those people I’ve never met in person yet I feel such a kinship with them – it’s so weird how you can connect via social media or on someone’s blog and the friendships endure even if you are the most absentee blogger around. It makes me smile, and it makes me feel like it’s OK that I won’t be blogging anymore, because I still have those connections and that’s really what it was all about for me, anyway.

If you still want to keep up with me, I’m most easily found on Instagram – though it’s often full of pictures of Elena, I still plan to post snaps of makeup and skincare stuff that’s rocking my world – I mean, I still troll Sephora.com on a daily basis, so that beauty-centric part of me is never going away! Oh, and if you tune in around September 10th, you’ll likely see photos from the wedding (and of my MOST AMAZING DRESS)!

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I appreciate every single one of you who stopped by and read and/or commented on posts – you guys are the BEST! Be sure to stay in touch, ok??? ❤ 🙂

xo Latoya

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OPI New Orleans Spring | Summer 2016 Collection – and something a little different

Well hello to those of you who still stop by my blog! It’s been quite a while, no? It’s true that a lot has gone on in the past month (Elena started at a day home and I returned back to work – eek!) but I’ve had opportunity to post, I just haven’t been feeling like it. I’m pretty much over READING beauty blogs let alone write one! It’s just the same old, you know? I’m so not interested in reading/writing reviews, and as I’m being particularly restrictive with my purchases (as usual, in an effort to reduce/streamline), I’m not too keen on reading about the new NBT (Next Big Thing) because that just creates WANT feelings and that’s not going to help my cause. But there’s always this desire to write, and to connect with people – and I’m still obsessed with beauty, as always – so even though I’m not feeling like doing the usual ‘thang’ I have been thinking a lot about writing *something*, so here I am 🙂

I realized a few weeks ago that I haven’t given you guys any details on our upcoming wedding (which will be in September!). So I thought maybe I’d give you an update on that and maybe add in an update about Elena as well because hey, she’s cute! Since I happen to have the new Spring/Summer collection from OPI, the theme of which is New Orleans, I figured I’d throw in some swatches of the shades for some visual interest and to kill two birds with one stone. Multitasking: it’s the way to go!

*Note: If you have any questions about a particular shade, such as it’s formula or on possible comparisons, let me know! I will gladly accommodate 🙂

OPI Take a Right on Bourbon swatchOPI Take a Right on Bourbon

Planning a wedding while on maternity leave was quite fortuitous, because I was able to get all my vendors in place without any hassle – phone calls and day meetings were a cinch, so I was able to methodically research (which, admittedly, aside from the photographer, was minimal – I am SO not a bridezilla!) and meet with each service provider to ensure it was a good fit. Also, because I started securing people early (we set the wedding date 15 months in advance from when we got engaged), I had no issues getting each vendor that I wanted, so YAY!

OPI Let Me Bayou a Drink swatchOPI Let Me Bayou a Drinkso pretty!

In August, I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, Elena and 2 of my bridesmaids (the 3rd lives in Ottawa). I though I’d found the dress at a popular shop in the valley called Tatum’s (it seems to be where the majority of my friends have purchased their dresses), but then I truly found THE dress when we spent the better part of the afternoon at Chester & Felicity, a bridal shop here in Halifax. I can’t go into detail – I want it to be a surprise! – but OMG guys. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DRESS EVER!!!! I knew it when I first tried it on, but of course it was the most expensive dress of all of them so I held off. I came back a 2nd time with my mother and aunt to try it on again, and was instantly smitten all over again. My aunt, being like a 2nd mother to me my whole life, was gracious enough to offer to pay, so even though it’s still beyond what I think is reasonable to pay for a dress you’ll only wear once, I just had to have it. Seriously, just WAIT until you see this baby. SO. DAMN. AMAZING.

OPI Suzi Nails New Orleans swatchOPI Suzi Nails New Orleans

Of course, once the dress was picked, it was time to make sure my bridesmaids looked fabulous too! I did a wedding makeup in December, and the bridesmaid dresses were STUNNING and totally unlike your usual bridesmaid offerings. When I asked where they were from, I was told David’s Bridal, so that’s where we decided to look. My maid of honour had twins in October, so of course we waited a bit before going dress shopping, but by January she was (already!) looking great and we wanted to make sure the dresses were ordered in plenty time, so off we went to David’s to look at the selection. While they had a lot of your standard bridesmaid dresses, they also had several that were much more sophisticated and stylish, and we found the perfect choice – a long, Grecian-style one-shoulder dress with a defined waist and a sultry yet tasteful slit up the side. I really wanted the girls to have different color dresses, mimicking the colors of the sunset, and we lucked out – the dress comes in gorgeous shades of fuchsia, berry and plum. SO excited – they are going to look H.O.T.!

OPI Humidi-Tea swatchOPI Humidi-Tea

One of the last vendors I hired was the florist – we just met at the end of February. The company, Barefoot Blooms, is a florist and flower farm that embraces organic and sustainable farming practices, with flowers and greenery coming from their own garden and greenhouse. I really like the idea of utilizing local flora, being someone who prefers organic and local where possible anyway, so this seemed like the perfect fit. My visual for the bouquets is unstructured and a bit wild, so I think this also works with the kind of arrangements they specialize in. The reliance on local flowers also mean that the bouquets and arrangements won’t be finalized till close to the wedding, because our unpredictable weather means that the season for a certain type of flower may be affected. So, aside from the sole flower I know I want (dahlias), the rest is a bit up to chance! Which I kind of like (because I’m haphazard like that).

OPI Crawfishin' for a Compliment swatchOPI Crawfishin’ for a Compliment

So, thus far, stress levels have been very low while planning the wedding. I’ve only recently felt a bit of pressure to get our invites out – with 6 months to go, according to etiquette I actually have plenty of time, but since we didn’t send Save the Dates, I feel like sending the invites earlier is appropriate. We’ve opted to utilize a wedding website to track RSVPs, so I had to put in some effort to get that set up (finding photos of Ryan and me is HARD! Since he’s away 2/3rd of the year, we have hardly any to account for our years together). But finally I think it’s ready to go, so once we get the last of our addresses, we can move forward and send the invites out! THEN I think things will really start to ramp up.

OPI Got Myself into a Jam-balaya swatchOPI Got Myself into a Jam-balaya – love this shade!

Wait! There is one thing I’ve been dropping the ball on that it’s kind of important – the HONEYMOON! We are planning to go to Iceland for the ‘moon, right after the wedding, but aside from knowing the location I haven’t done much to plan it. This needs to get done! Once I get the invites out this will be at the top of the to do list 🙂

OPI She's a Bad Muffuletta! swatchOPI She’s a Bad Muffuletta! Gorg. See it here with matching lips!

On the Elena front: she’s learning new things all the time and it’s just so fun to watch 🙂 She’s not walking yet, but she’s doing a lot of standing up and peering over the coffee table at me or pulling herself up to cling to my legs lol.

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I’m in no panic, she already leaves a path of destruction wherever she goes, and I know that’ll only increase tenfold once she’s walking! I didn’t walk till 15 months myself so I can’t judge anyway. Ryan, on the other hand, walked at 9 months (!) – must have been much more motivated that Elena and me haha.

OPI Spare Me a French Quarter? swatchOPI Spare Me a French Quarter? 

As I mentioned, I started back to work, on March 1st. I wasn’t feeling stressed out about the return, but I wasn’t sure what to expect once I got back and how I’d feel. Perhaps because of that, it’s ended up being totally fine! The transition couldn’t have been easier – I started a new (acting) assignment right away, so I’ve been busy learning the ropes, and it’s been really nice to see all the old faces. I really like my colleagues and I know most of the people in our building since, as you know, I’m kind of a social butterfly, so it’s been nice to be back. Ryan happened to be home from work the first week I was back too, so that helped – he drove me to and from work and though I tried to handle the routine with Elena on my own (since I have to do it when he’s away), it was helpful in case I needed just a bit of assistance for those first few days.

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I miss Elena and spending our days together, but it just makes the time we DO have that much more precious. She’s adapted to the new routine (she goes to a day home) pretty well too, so that helps. And I think it’s a great opportunity for her to spend time around other babies/toddlers and gain a bit of independence. We have to let them grow up, even if we don’t want to sometimes!

OPI I Manicure for Beads swatchOPI I Manicure for Beads – sorry, I slept on this mani (as I wore it for a few days); the color is actually really pretty!

She’s had a doozy of a cold this week (classic kid who goes to day care), so it’s been a bit of a tiring week (Ryan went back to work Wednesday am), but she’s finally starting to get better and seem like herself again. It wasn’t all bad though – I got to get in some major snuggles, which I miss a lot!

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This kind of thing happened all the time when she was much younger, but after about 6-7 months she just always slept better in her crib. While I’m thankful for that overall, I do still wish she napped on me here and there – it’s one of my favourite things to do 🙂

OPI Show Us Your Tips! swatchOPI Show Us Your Tips! – beautiful shade, but needs so many coats!

I’m not sure if you can tell in the previous photos or not, but Elena is still small – like, less than 14lbs small. She was truckin’ right along and gaining weight for quite awhile, but in the fall it slowed down to almost nothing, and she’s been hovering between the 13-15lb mark for months now.

IMG_5319That’s Elena with my friend’s 4 month old baby (!!), who is essentially the same size.

I try not to stress about it too much, because she seems like a very happy, healthy baby, and she has a great appetite, but of course as a mom you can’t help but worry a bit. So we’re seeing a paediatrician on April 1st to get her checked out to make sure there isn’t anything going on. Apparently there is a term they use for babies like Elena, called ‘Failure to Thrive’ which just means they aren’t growing as fast as your typical baby. A woman from work said her daughter (who is now 25) was only 18lbs when she was 2 years old, and I think that’ll be Elena – she’s just wee. That’s all (I hope) there is to it. It does make her extra cute!

OPI Rich Girls & Po-Boys swatchOPI Rich Girls & Po-Boys – another fave!

I think that’s the update on Elena in a nutshell – I mean she learns a new skill what feels like every day, but overall nothing major has happened lately (like learning to walk or starting to really talk). She’s just a joy, really, and I am just trying to be present with her every day and take it all in because it goes by so fast!

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I mean c’mon – how cute is this kid!!?!

OPI I'm Sooo Swamped! swatchOPI I’m Sooo Swamped!

So there you have it – a bit of a life update plus a bit of polish fun! I’ve been pretty impressed with the OPI collections lately, I will say – there’s always a few shades I end up loving, and the formula is often on point, with a lot of cream shades being that creme-jelly hybrid that is such a pleasure to apply and wear. It makes it hard to keep my polish collection in check – though I have to tell you that I managed to get the number down to 50 this week!!! I’m quite impressed with myself, especially considering that every few months I receive another 24+ bottles from OPI that I have to weed through. You should SEE the giveaway pile!

So now – what’s new with everyone else!?

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3 makeup products every new mom needs

During my pregnancy, I resisted the urge to buy many new makeup items, because I figured I wouldn’t have any time to really wear makeup (for a while, anyway) once the baby was born. I wasn’t wrong – especially while in the hospital I didn’t wear a lick of makeup, and most days I’m lucky if I wash my face more than once. But there are times, like when you have non-familial visitors, or when you actually venture (briefly) out of the house, that you want to look just a bit less worn out and sleep-deprived. In those moments, a handful of makeup items have been helping me boost my lacklustre appearance to semi-normal, with the minimum amount of effort and time (because honestly, when you have any ‘free’ time, you want to spend it catching up on sleep!). The trio I’ve been relying on for this purpose is concealer, bronzer, and lip stain.

new mom makeup

The Clarins Instant Light Concealer in 03 and the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Tan have replaced the two NARS Creamy Concealers I’d finished in January. Both are nice concealers with medium coverage – the Tarte offering is quite tacky and moist, and I find the creamy finish looks youthful and deflects light, helping me makes look less tired; it also is a very good match for my skin. The Clarins version, a lightweight concealer with a second-skin-like quality that’s currently having a HUGE moment in the blogosphere, also brightens the eye area and is suitable for other parts of the face as well (love it around my nose), but the shade is just a hint too light and grey to be perfect for me. I like and use both for similar purposes but they yield slightly different results due to their different formulas. Neither are holy grail as I still can see my dark circles peeking through…but I’m not convinced anything will obliterate them completely, anyway. #pipedream

new mom makeup

I’ve been having an on-off love affair with NARS Laguna Illuminator over the past 6 months – originally when I bought it I thought it the perfect bronzing product for someone who is already…brown (lol), just giving me some illumination with a hint of golden color. But the small specks of glitter in it really turn me off, especially in the summer when the sun is shining. However, in the dead of winter when most days are dreary and grey, this has been a go-to to perk up my skin or warm up any foundations I have that are a touch too light or cast a grey pall over my skin when worn alone. Right now, it’s been a quick way to both give my skin some much-needed color plus add back some radiance – it can be blended with fingers in seconds. If I have a few more minutes to spare, I’ll layer a bit of Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder (previous review here) on top for extra color and glow.

new mom makeup

Finally, the last touch to my quick and dirty perk-me-up routine is a bit of lip color, which can be applied on the go at any time, like when you’re trying to manhandle your baby into submission lovingly carrying your wee one around. A lip stain is a good choice if you can’t manage reapplication, though I find a low-maintenance lip product is probably the one item I CAN find the time to slap on here and there, so I always have something (often just balm) handy. YSL’s Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique is a good option because it leaves color behind even as it wears, and is a soft shade that doesn’t need a mirror to apply.

If I have a full 10 minutes to do my makeup, I’ll throw on some mascara and groom my brows a bit – but the luxury of that much time occurs infrequently. I could never understand before becoming a mother why other mothers never had enough time to do things that take just a few extra minutes, but now I get it; it’s because those ‘few extra minutes’ could be spent, oh I dunno – brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, EATING, daydreaming about sleeping. I’m learning how to do so many things with just one hand, it’s getting quite impressive. I thought I was an excellent multi-tasker before; I am a WORLD CLASS, GRADE-A MULTI-TASKER now!

IMG_0306Gratuitous photo of my sweet little girl

Do you have any time-saving makeup tips? To all the moms out there – how did you manage your time?

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