Originally the co-founder of a fashion and beauty blog, Haute in Texas, Aquila Mendez-Valdez and her blogging co-founder, Kelly, recently went their separate ways (amicably). Haute in Texas is now Aquila’s baby (second to her adorable toddler daughter, of course!) and in addition to fashion and beauty, she now blogs about motherhood and her life in Texas. Aquila works in public relations, is married to a member of the Mexican Basketball National Team, and is currently working towards a master’s degree. It’s all part of the, “ crazy ruckus that is her life.”
I always have to ask my fashion blogger mamas this question: How can moms avoid the frump and stay fashionable?
I wrote a post about this called Dressing like a Mom, but it was way back when I had only been a mom for four months. My daughter is about to turn two in January, so I already look back on that version of myself as a bit of a newbie. My tips would mostly remain the same if I wrote another post about this now, but I think now I can see that it does get easier. Those first few months, you’re lucky to have time to brush your hair. Now, I can occasionally spend a little time on me. It is amazing, though, how efficient you become with your time once you’re a mom. Pre-Cora, I could have plucked my eyebrows in 10 minutes. Post-Cora, I can shower, paint my toenails, do my makeup, AND pluck my eyebrows in 10 minutes. It’s just the nature of the beast, I suppose.
I also think being a mom makes it all the more important to find what makes YOU happy. If you feel fabulous in yoga pants and sneakers every day, go for it. If it makes you feel luxurious to have your nails painted and heels on, by all means have at it. In the end, what matters is that your children (especially daughters) look at their mom as someone who is comfortable and confident in her own skin, whatever that means. My daughter is going to become who she becomes, personal style and otherwise, but no matter what I want her to own it, to feel content with who she is.
How did you get started with blogging? Has your blog changed much since the beginning?
I started blogging a few times in college, but nothing really caught on. Doesn’t everyone have that one class where they’re required to start a blog? Then, in 2011, I was working on my master’s, married, and had just moved to Texas with my husband. My dear friend from college, Kelly, was also a newlywed and a Texas newbie. I happened to watch an Oscar de la Renta runway show live and felt so inspired, so creatively motivated. I threw the idea of a fashion and beauty blog out to K and we both hit the ground running. It wasn’t until this past year that we decided to part ways (on friendly terms of course) since she had moved to Atlanta and I was focused more on blogging about motherhood. With that being said, I’ll always be grateful to her for encouraging me to go for it, and to push myself to use this space as a creative and personal outlet.
What’s the best beauty product you’ve ever reviewed?
I haven’t put too much effort towards sponsored posts or giveaways, probably because I’m picky about the brands I work with, and I don’t blog often enough to attract the big names. But of all the products I’ve come across since blogging, probably the Clarisonic face cleansing brush has been the most life-changing. After I became expectant with my daughter, my face went completely haywire. They say if you’re having a boy you have that pregnancy glow, and if you’re having a girl she steals your beauty. For me at least, that superstition made me 100% positive I was having a girl! I hesitated to buy the Clarisonic since it’s so ridiculously expensive, but it ended up being the only thing that could save my skin. The older I get, the more I realize you get what you pay for, and your skin is not an area that should be shortchanged!
What is your favorite (or most highly trafficked) blog post you’ve written?
I get a lot of Pinterest re-pins and traffic to my post on breastfeeding: 5 Rookie Mistakes That COULD Have Ruined Our Breastfeeding. Some people may think that’s too personal of a topic, but judging by the amount of clicks the article receives, it would seem a lot of women go through the same struggles, and that makes it unequivocally worth it to me. I’ve found that it’s so much more rewarding to write about one’s life and the highs and lows that come with motherhood, rather than the superficial beauty and fashion posts that used to take up all of our time. I still love those things, but it’s much more in perspective now.
Speaking of superficial, a lot of people also find our blog by searching for a beachy waves DIY spray that my friend Kelly posted WAY back in the day. I still can’t master the perfect, just-left-the-coast look, so there’s no judgement on my end. If you’re in the same boat, that article is, Do it Yourself Beach-Wave spray!
Who are your favorite fashion bloggers?
Oh man, this is so tough because there are so many fabulous ladies (and gents) out there. I love following the fashion bloggers who make you feel like their lives are so lovely, like it’s something to aspire to. I think that’s why I’ve never done personal style posts, because I just don’t think my style is that glamorous. I love Sea of Shoes, and her mom, Atlantis Home. I actually booked them to attend a women’s conference I was working in 2011, and I was completely starstruck when I met them in person. They are just so surreal to me; their lives seem so idyllic. I also follow Cupcakes and Cashmere, and Man Repeller. They do a great job of mixing in smart, well-written pieces, sharing recipes, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Some fashion bloggers can come off as snobbish or stuck-up, and it’s easy to do when you’re wearing only designer duds 85% of the U.S. population will never own. I would rather follow someone who I would want to be friends with, not someone I’m intimidated by. I hope I’m that kind of blogger as well.
Photo Credit: Brandy Perez