“WOW. I can’t believe how huge you’re getting!”. The first time I heard those words, “shocked” would probably be the best word to describe my reaction. I think I was around 16 weeks along, excited that my bump was getting big enough to be noticeable and feeling healthy again after finally getting back to a regular exercise routine following a very lethargic first trimester. I certainly didn’t think I was huge at that point, maybe just a little out of place and uncomfortable in my rapidly changing body. After that initial shock wore off, the next step was to complain to my husband about how insensitive people could be, to which he responded (bless his heart) that he was sure it was meant as a compliment.
Since then, I’ve had many similar remarks directed toward me, from close relatives to near-strangers alike. Whether it’s a surprised look from a spin instructor when I tell her I’m only 20-something weeks along, or an unsolicited comment about my “getting fat” from my well-meaning grandma, I’ve been surprised by the lack of filter there’s been from other women about my body since I’ve gotten pregnant. But what’s perhaps made me even more uncomfortable than the words themselves has been the sense of guilt I’ve had about feeling annoyed by the comments at all. Surely I’m just being too sensitive? Or maybe it’s my responsibility to be self-assured enough to know these things don’t mean I’m not doing a good job with carrying this baby?
As women, I know we all struggle with being comfortable in our skin on some level or another. While I’m generally quite happy with how I look provided I’m caring for myself through exercise and diet, being pregnant has brought it to a whole other level: I’ve never felt more vulnerable, and each week seems to bring on new, sometimes uncomfortable, surprises. The other week I discovered what looked like veins all over my softening thighs and the sides of my butt. After deducing that they were actually stretch marks, I spent a better part of the evening in front of the mirror observing them, trying to accept these markings and telling myself that they were a byproduct of a very good thing my resilient and capable body was doing. Admittedly, it was hard.
We work so tirelessly to eliminate the standards of beauty that have been set for us in our daily lives, and I know many of us would never dream of making comments about a woman’s size in any other circumstance. So why does it seem like that all goes out the window when she becomes pregnant? Whether a mama-to-be’s belly is too big or too small, whether she’s gained too little or too much weight… why does is it seem like fair game to say whatever one wants at this time, especially when the range of what’s healthy is so large, and there are so many differences to be celebrated especially now? Where does that come from?
I’ve been asking myself these questions for the last few months now, all while working to love my body during this exciting, and often emotional, stage of life. I don’t know the answers and I’m not sure that I soon will. But when Knix reached out recently and asked if I wanted to do a shoot while they were in Vancouver, I was quick to say yes (after just a small bit of hesitation). The Canada-based brand celebrates bodies of all sizes, using a large variety of models and staying away from any re-touching in their images. And while these photos capture a lot of the “imperfections” I’ve noticed about myself, I’m so grateful to have them to keep and look back on. Stepping out in their underwear at 28 weeks I felt liberated, strong, and dare I say it – beautiful.
PS. From now until July 31, Knix is offering my readers 20% off their entire site. They only have sales semi-annually so this is a great opportunity to support the brand and pick up some thoughtfully made, quality underwear. Just click through to shop using these links if you’re in Canada or the US, and use code herwaisechoice20. My favourite pieces are the 8-in-1 Padded Evolution Bra and the Racerback Evolution Bra (which is thick enough to wear to the beach or lake!).
The longer I’ve been a consumer, the more I’ve come to realize the importance of supporting smaller, locally based brands. In addition to the fact that there’s typically a great story and a passionate, hardworking, most often female founder behind these companies, I also love that smaller brands tend to put a lot of heart and soul into doing fewer products really, really well. I first discovered Vancouver-based Luna Nectar maybe a year ago, shortly after I started regularly using lash serums. While the one I used at the time did make my lashes grow, I had no idea what kinds of ingredients were in it and one of the side effects is that it made my eyelids splotchy and red (more than a little alarming considering they’re my eyes!). Their Moon Boost was advertised as a 100% natural, vegan, cruelty free brow and lash serum that actually worked, so it obviously piqued my interest. I purchased a tube and pretty quickly the redness disappeared, but not the length and thickness of my lashes. I’ve since re-stocked three times and continue to use it on the regular.
Fast forward to a year later, and Luna Nectar has recently launched a second product to their line up. Heliophilia is a multi-use skin and hair serum, and after trying it out for a few weeks I’m happy to report that I love it just as much. My skin has always been on the drier side during the winter, but this year it’s extended well into the spring and summer. I’m not sure if it’s the pregnancy hormones or just a byproduct of age, but I’ve been noticing little dry patches on my cheeks that get worse if I don’t hydrate well or treat my skin properly. Heliophilia is a rich oil that smells amazing and feels so luxurious, and I love that when I’m feeling tired I can just use it as a one-step solution during my evening skincare routine. Even when using this alone, I wake up in the morning and the dry patches will have essentially disappeared! At $46 for a 30ml bottle, it’s not inexpensive but it’s definitely a fair price considering all of the good stuff it’s packed with (full ingredient list here).
Lastly, the serum has 6-in-1 benefits, so in addition to moisturizing your skin here are a few other uses it boasts:
• Assists with eczema, roseacea, atopic dermatitis, and other skin conditions relating to TEWL (transepidermal water loss)
• Slight bronze glow (able to be washed off with water)
• Hair moisturizer/repair/frizz tamer – for all hair types – straight, wavy, curly.
• After sun care
• Assists with fading scars and stretch marks (I’ve tried this in small quantities on my growing belly, but because it’s a small bottle I tend to save it for my face)
• For men – beard oil/after shave oil
This one is definitely staying on regular rotation in my skincare cabinet!
Ahh colour; my old friend. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while – and by a while I mean years – you’ll know I wore a wholelotofit back in the day. Brights on brights, colour-blocking, bold accessories, there was no limit to where it could go. For a long time now I’ve tried to put those days way behind me and have stuck exclusively with neutrals or muted colors that work like neutrals (think denim and army green), but something about this Everlane striped shirt dress changed that. I’ll be honest: when I first tried it on I was seriously hesitant and was set on sending it back, but it definitely grew on me. I’d forgotten how fun colour can be and what it can do to for an outfit. While it’s definitely too soon to say, perhaps it’s a start of a new chapter?
One of the first things I did when I learned that my body would be growing rapidly over the next nine months was to browse Pinterest for maternity style inspiration (duh). However, while there were certainly no shortage of outfits to be browsed, I didn’t actually find much that excited me or that I felt aligned with my style. If I’m being honest, the result is that I’ve spent most of my pregnancy so far feeling uninspired and living in leggings and oversized tops. While there’s nothing wrong with that, lately I’ve been wanting to experiment a little more with different silhouettes. I’d gotten pretty used to dressing my pre-pregnancy body, so it’s been interesting, albeit sometimes frustrating, to take risks and try new looks. I’m not quite sure this particular outfit worked (I’m used to having a little bit more of a waist in high-waisted trousers!), but it was a good reminder to myself that I can have fun with style regardless of the current state of my body.
Hello from 23 weeks! I’m finding it hard to grasp that I’m now about five full months into this pregnancy. After spending the first half of it wishing the weeks would go by faster, now that we’re here I feel both nervous for the big changes ahead and also a bit sad that, very soon, it’ll no longer be just Brian and I. The hormones probably play a big part in this, but everyday has definitely been a mixed bag of emotions these days.
I’ve also begun to feel a little more at home in this rapidly changing body lately. It’s likely because I’ve had more energy to exercise and eat better in the last couple of months, but I’ve also been learning to dress in a way that’s more true to my style in spite of the bump. Perhaps it’s easier now that warm weather is here, or because I’m in that second trimester “honeymoon” phase, but I think I’m finally getting in my groove and feeling more or less like myself. I fully expect it to get harder as I continue to grow, but for now I’ve happily found that I’ve been able to wear a surprising amount of my pre-pregnancy clothes, like old summer dresses, looser button up shirts (Everlane and Madewellmake my favourites), and some elastic waist skirts.
In terms of additions to the closet, my maternity leggings have been a lifesaver and are definitely the most worthwhile, comfortable investment I’ve made. I’ve also picked up a few things that aren’t “maternity” in a larger size, including this COS jumpsuit. It’s really flattering on the bump and is super easy to take off for a one piece, which is great — and probably TMI, but much needed with the current state of my bladder. I’ll also be able to wear it post-baby and can alter it down the road if needed.
I’m looking forward to continuing to share my pregnancy style with you, and some lifestyle changes as well — including what I’ve done to update my skincare and exercise routines during this season. In the meantime, I’m starting to think about what I’ll need once baby gets here and want to keep the list minimal (I’m trying really, really hard not to fill our home with baby things). If you’re a mom and have experience in this regard, I’d love to hear what you actually needed for your newborn. Lastly, if you’re not a mom, I do hope you’ll stick around; I hope the content I create will continue to be of value to you, too!
As I prepare to become a mother in a few short months, I’m both excited and anxious about how my identity is going to inevitably shift. Will I be able to continue pursuing my career? And what about hobbies, self-care, my husband, my friends? Don’t get me wrong: I’m planning on diving fully into this new role and committing to giving my child everything I have. That being said, I also don’t want motherhood to consume me and become my entire life. While I hope that, one day, my grown child(ren) will say I was a good mother to them, I also want them to know that their mom had other things that she was fully passionate about, as well. If you’re reading this as a mother and taking offense, please don’t: I’m mostly saying all of this to hold myself accountable because I know the above won’t come naturally for me.
Prior to getting pregnant, I’d been longing to become a mom for some time, and to be honest found myself feeling a little behind. I’m turning 30 this year, and while I know that’s still relatively young in this day and age to have a child, I was often subconsciously comparing my life to those who were already there. A big, unhealthy part of this definitely came from the plethora of messages around me that painted motherhood as one of the ultimate accomplishments of a woman, with everything from well-meaning relatives asking when it would be “my turn” to the perfectly curated, beautiful lives of families on Instagram. I know better, at least in my head, than to let that bother me – but I think I inherently felt like I’d really have something worthy to hang on to when I became a mom.
I’m so grateful that we have a baby on the way in just 20 more weeks. That being said, I now feel both a responsibility and desire to do everything I can to fight the above sentiment. As we rightly celebrate the sacrifice, love, and care of the mothers and mother figures in our lives this Sunday, I also acknowledge those for whom this day brings a complicated mix of emotions: those who long to be moms, those who aren’t sure, those who have broken relationships with their mothers, those who have have lost a child. The role of a mother is beautiful and so much more complex than what I could say in a short blog post, but I want to remind both myself and all women that our place in this journey doesn’t ultimately define us or make us any more or any less.
PS. If you’re in Vancouver looking for something to gift to that mother, mother figure, loved one, or inspirational friend in your life – might I suggest a bouquet of flowers from locally-based Bloom Assembly? These very talented women created the beautiful arrangement I’m carrying, and they’ll be hosting a pop-up shop at West Elm Granville this Sunday from 12-4pm. Today’s also the last day to pre-order an arrangement for pick up that day (and you can get 10% off with my code ‘herwaisechoice’)!
When I initially thought about the prospect of having a child, one thing that crossed my mind is that it’d likely mean a need to adapt my wardrobe into something a little more practical. That being said, I certainly didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. As mentioned in my previous post, I grew out of my pre-pregnancy pants pretty much immediately after I found out we were expecting, so it’s been an interesting sartorial journey lately to say the least. And, since I’m aware that my body will continue changing rapidly for some time, I’ve tried to be slow and intentional with purchasing new clothes. In light of that, my wardrobe currently has two pairs of pants that fit: bamboo maternity leggings, and this soft pair of stretchy, jersey joggers. I’ll probably eventually add a couple more pant options to my closet as the pregnancy progresses (and will definitely be pulling out the dresses when it gets warmer), but for now I’ve been styling my outfits around sweats, or at least pants that look and feel like sweats every. single. day.
In an attempt to add some polish to these super casual looks, I’ve been relying heavily on things that do still fit, like jackets, bags, and of course: shoes. A pair of chic flats can do wonders to pull even the most basic of looks together, and so I can’t stress the wonders of a comfortable, good-looking pair enough. Of course, a truly walkable, stylish shoe is hard to come by, so when Everlane recently sent a pair of their new Day Gloves to try (they officially launched today!), I curiously put them to the test to see if they’d make the grade.
It’s been getting harder and harder to hide, so I thought it was high time to give you guys a bit of a life update: Brian and I are expecting our first baby!
I’m now about 16 weeks along, and to tell you the truth it still feels surreal most of the time. Although I’ve always wanted to be a mom, being pregnant is so different from what I expected. At the heart of it, I’ve never felt more out of control of my body or more in awe of it at the same time, and I’m starting to experience just what a miracle this whole process really is.
The first trimester was honestly pretty rough. Just a few months ago, I was probably the healthiest I’d ever been: I was finally in the habit of exercising about 5 times a week, and for the first time ever my diet had cleaned up enough that I actually enjoyed vegetables. Almost as soon as I got pregnant, the thought of anything other than grilled cheese, burgers, and french fries made me sick. I was also so tired that I was sneaking down to the empty warehouse for naps during my breaks at work, so exercise was undoubtedly the last thing on my mind. To add to that I’ve sort of been an emotional rollercoaster, and let’s just say I’m grateful to have a husband who’s as patient and kind as mine is.
Symptoms have settled down a lot in the last few weeks, save for an odd day here or there where I feel all the full blown first trimester symptoms all over again. It’s also starting to feel real as the bump becomes more evident (though to be honest, I still can’t fathom the thought of birthing a human being). We’ll be renovating and moving this summer as well so things are going to be overwhelming, but we’re so grateful and excited to get to move into this new life stage.
So what’s happening with the blog in the next little while? Well, prior to getting pregnant I always thought I’d be able to make do with most of my wardrobe for the majority of the nine months. I was quickly and swiftly proven wrong: my jeans started feeling uncomfortable, oh… maybe 4 weeks in, if I’m being generous?! Thanks to my first trimester lifestyle I’ve probably gained about 15 pounds already, and although I may have created the illusion of being a stylish pregnant person here, most days I’ve just been living in my maternity leggings, oversized Hatch tops (which by the way, are currently on sale at Shopbop with code EVENT18 and a great investment if you are/are planning to getting pregnant), and comfy sneakers. it’s honestly been a little hard to feel good about myself, especially since I know I have quite a while to go, but I’m reminding myself of the privilege of growing a life and that as long as baby and I are healthy, everything is A-OK.
I’m hoping that, especially as it gets warmer, I’ll find more joy in learning to dress my changing body. I aim to continue utilizing what I can in my wardrobe, and to invest in new pieces with intent, looking for clothes that make me feel good and will be practical both now and beyond. I know that “fewer, better things” might be harder with a big life change, but I want to take on that challenge especially in a world where a new baby often means acquiring so many new things. We’ll see how this goes!
And of course, since this is entirely new for me, if you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see (or not), please let me know as well!
Jacket | ALLSAINTS (3 years old, similar currently 25% off with code EVENT18!)
Sweater | TOPSHOP (4 years old)
Skirt | Aritzia
Shoes | LOQ (from last season but I love this brand + highly recommend this leather pair or the mule version for spring – they’re currently on sale with code EVENT18!)
Ever since Brian and I went to Bali for our honeymoon a few Novembers ago, we made it a goal to travel somewhere warmer each year during the gloomiest months of the winter. With the non-stop Vancouver rain and both of us having some form of seasonal affective disorder, we thought it’d be a great annual excuse to get out of the city and get refreshed while spending quality time together.
This past winter we spent five nights in LA, a city that’s close enough to not have to take too much time off for, but also far away enough to escape and get some much needed sun. This post has been a long time coming, but I’ve finally come around to gathering some of my favourite highlights from the trip. And, since I’m always curious about what people pack to wear on vacation, I’m also sharing a few essentials I packed into my carry-on at the end of the post. Enjoy!
One of my favourite things to do while traveling is to simply spend slow afternoons wandering around neighbourhoods and popping into stores or boutiques that catch my eye. Though it’s very rare for me to buy anything, I find a lot of happiness in taking in well-curated shops and discovering the small businesses in a city. Here were a few standouts for me:
Abbot Kinney Blvd | This quintessential LA street is the kind of place I’d probably frequent on a day off if I lived in the city. It’s a mix of high end, contemporary designers with a good amount of independent local shops, and while the neighbourhood is buzzing it somehow has a small, intimate feel to it. It’s also got some great coffee shops and restaurants, and I was super excited to find Cuyana, one of my long time favourite brands here!
Arts District | We only had a few quick hours in the Arts District before we had to fly home, but I could’ve easily spent an entire day here getting lost among the galleries and shops. If I make it back to LA this will be on the priority list! In a short amount of time, we had coffee at Blacktop, a hotdog at Wurstküche, and browsed cool shops like Alchemy Works and Apolis, who happened to be having a sample sale on the day.
The Boutiques (in general) | There are so many great boutiques in LA, and my travel companions graciously drove with me to a few stores that I’d scoped out on Instagram beforehand. We didn’t even scratch the surface, but some of my favourites included County Ltd., Tortoise General Store, and I also liked visiting all of the Crossroads Trading stores, since we don’t have resale shops that are nearly as good here in Vancouver.
Along with neighbourhood wandering, I also love to eat! I’m very fortunate that my parents took me to a lot of new countries while I grew up, but they tended to see meals as something to get out of the way instead of a means to experience culture. Food is without a doubt one of the best parts of a new place for me, and there are never enough meals in a day to try everything on our list. Because of that, I’m grateful to have married someone willing to indulge with me in this regard. Here’s the food we had that’ll stick with me for some time:
honey hi| Breakfast is my favourite meal to dine out for, but it’s not an extravagance we take part in a lot here at home. One of my favourite parts of being on vacation is getting to try out new breakfast place each day. We stumbled upon honey hi because we stayed in Echo Park, and I loved the breakfast bowl so much here I came back for it twice. Imagine my happiness when I found the recipe online here after coming home!
Uovo | This is amazingly simple, good, traditional pasta that I still think about often. It’s uncomplicated and fresh, and because the kitchen prepares just one dish at a time you have to be patient for your food. It’s more than worth the wait, and since our visit it’s essentially become our standard for Italian food – we haven’t been able to find anything quite like it in Vancouver.
Tacos Tumbras a Tomas| I knew I had to eat some good tacos while in LA, and this was a lucky find in Grand Central Market after a morning at the Broad museum. One $3 order of the tender, juicy carnitas was enough to feed two people – definitely delicious food at an incredible value.
Rossoblu | We actually went to LA with friends, but on the last night Brian and I wanted to go out on a date and we found ourselves here. I believe it opened last year, so it’s a newer restaurant and it was memorable to me because the space was energetic yet romantic, the service was excellent, and food was unpretentious and delicious.
I tend not to prefer spending a lot of time doing explicitly “touristy” things, but many of these sights do get the popularity they do for good reason! Here’s what was worth most seeing for us:
The Broad | Though we’d initially lined up here to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors, I personally enjoyed the exhibits upstairs just as much, if not more. The building itself is stunning, and is the perfect place to house the contemporary art. I’d still recommend seeing the Infinity Mirrors, but keep in mind that you’ll have to get there early, line up for quite a few hours and that each room has a 30 second limit (which, although understandable, isn’t quite the ideal set up for pondering eternity in my opinion).
Griffith Observatory | This classic tourist spot is typically where people go to see stars or a great view of the city, but I honestly just really liked the beautiful building itself. Its clean shape and thoughtful details really drew me in, and I’ve posted quite a few photos of it on my Instagram lately.
The Homes (in general) | Another highlight for me was simply walking around and seeing all of the homes. I’m not talking about the big Beverly Hills mansions here, either: my favourite abodes were the uncomplicated, small bungalows and modest one-story homes I saw all around me – I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like living in them.
CARRY ON ESSENTIALS
I grew up overpacking for vacations, but in the last few years I’ve been much more inclined to bring just the essentials and re-wear fewer things as often as I can. I didn’t want to check anything in for this trip, so I decided to just pack a carry on for our five night trip. The weather was pretty tricky: it was shorts weather during the day and you really needed a substantial warmer layer at night, so I layered my heaviest, warmest clothes on the plane and packed the lighter layers away. Here are a few pieces that were essential during our travels…
AYR Denim Jacket | I’ve gotten quite a few comments about how “cool” I look in this jacket, which I’ll freely admit that I love to hear, because I rarely feel like a cool person. It’s perfectly oversized without being sloppy, and the cut and style somehow adds polish and edge all at the same time.
Everlane Backpack| This backpack goes with me pretty much everywhere these days, and it was perfect on our trip. It goes with absolutely everything, is lightweight, and multiple compartments mean it’s easy to keep everything organized.
Frye Sneakers| I’ve worn these sneakers so much that I got a back up pair for when my first ones are worn out. I never do that, but these are just that good. I love that they’re clean, sleek, minimal, and ultra comfortable. My feet are wide and flat, and I can walk around in these all day with no issues whatsoever.
Acne Jensen Booties | Since they’re heavy, I wore these booties on the plane and they were my go-to whenever I wanted to dress up a little bit while still being comfortable. The pointed toe is flattering and the pebbled leather feels luxe and durable.
Karen Walker Sunglasses | Good accessories are essential while traveling, and these now-classics provided sun protection while adding a pop to the simplest of outfits.
Have you been to LA? I’d love to hear what you enjoyed and what I may have missed out on! If you have any suggestions for our winter trip this year, please also share them below!
As a 5’3 (and a half, on a good day), pear-shaped petite, I’ve always tended to go by certain rules and guidelines when getting dressed. My goal has often been to wear something that looks flattering and makes me taller and slimmer than I am: always nip in the waist, balance a flowy top with fitted bottoms, and vice versa. In the last year or so, though, I’ve found myself craving more risks with silhouettes and wanting to try different combinations… especially as my closet itself has leaned out. Maybe it’s something that’s come with age, but I’ve also been wanting to wear outfits that primarily make me feel good as opposed to wanting to appear a certain way. I’ve been wearing a lot of looks like this one lately: oversized silhouettes with easy and comfortable pieces, using funky accessories like a circle bag andblock heel pumps to modernize an otherwise classic look.
P.S. I don’t usually post a lot of shopping/
deal-related things, but a lot of the pieces
I’m wearing here are currently up to 25% off
during Shopbop’s sale over the next three days.
It’s a great opportunity to save a bit of money
if you’re looking to purchase a considered, special
piece or two for spring (my much loved A.P.C Half Moon Bag is included in the sale!)