Sunday, 11 November 2018

I'm Pregnant!

Well it's been a hot minute since we last chatted, hasn't it? After many years of blogging daily or at least a few times a week, I lost my passion and wanted to take a step back to focus on some other aspects of my life. Truth is, blogging is a lot more work than it probably seems! I found myself getting stressed about meeting brand deadlines, or posting about products that I wasn't truly excited about. But, I have been missing my creative outlet. So, Beyond Blush is now going to be updated as often as I like, without worrying about numbers, stats, PR, etc. Plus, I've got some really exciting news to share with you...

I'm pregnant!! 


Baby Onesie Pregnancy Announcement

This is by far the most exciting time in my life, and I love the idea of having a little online diary to share my pregnancy journey with all of you. Dylan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in August, which also marked a decade of us being together. We always knew that we wanted to have children, and late last year we decided that 2018 would be the year that we tried to turn that dream into reality. We finally found out that we were expecting on September 13th, the day before we left on vacation to London and Dublin! Needless to say, we were both over the moon excited, and it made our vacation that much more special. 

London Eye Pregnancy Announcement
We used this photo to tell Dylan's parents that we were expecting!

Black and White Pregnancy Announcement

Movie Poster Pregnancy Announcement

I'm really excited about this journey into motherhood, and I hope you enjoy the occasional pregnancy update! For any other moms out there, I'm open to advice advice that you have for me! Leave me a comment with your newborn must-haves, products that you wish you didn't splurge on, or favourite maternity jeans (I'm 12 weeks now, so I'm not quite needing maternity pants, but I'm hoping that my bump pops soon!).  

xo Laura

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

3 Days in Porto

At the end of our magical week and a half in Lisbon back in June, we boarded a train and headed to Porto. I didn't really have any expectations for Porto, and after absolutely loving Lisbon I was hoping that the end of our trip would be just as amazing. Well, as soon as we arrived in Porto I knew that this city was special.

Porto is a much, much smaller city compared to Lisbon. I think that three days was the perfect amount of time for Dylan and I to explore the city. However, if you don't have much time, I think that you could easily take in the city in 2 days, or even 1 if you're just passing through.

Day 1

After checking into our Airbnb and freshening up, we headed out to explore the city. Our apartment was right in the city centre, making it the perfect home base. Right around the corner was Igreja do Carmo, which has a beautiful blue tiled wall, and it was certainly a good indication of the beauty of Porto.


Igreja do Carmo Porto

My top priority for our time in Porto was to visit the Dom Luís I Bridge, and I'm sure that it tops most traveller's Porto itineraries. The two story bridge connects the cities of Porto and Gaia over the Douro River. We walked across the upper level of the bridge, stopping to take in the views of the river. We crossed over to Gaia, and bought some super cheap churros and ate them in Jardim do Morro. It was a beautiful early Summer afternoon, and it was really nice to just sit back and enjoy the sunshine.

Dom Luís I Bridge Porto

Douro River Porto
View of Porto & the Douro River from Dom Luís I Bridge

We then crossed back over the bridge and explored Porto a bit further. We stumbled upon a Fado performance, where locals were sitting on church steps and the singers were on an apartment balcony. At this moment in time I felt completely immersed in Portuguese culture, as Dylan and I listened to the beautiful Fado music, and danced in the streets of Porto. 

Fado Music Porto

Day 2 started off with a visit to Mercado do Bolhão, a fruit market. I picked up some local produce, and Dylan bought some olives, which locals seemed to be snacking on. 

Mercado do Bolhão Porto

Mercado do Bolhão Porto

Livraria Lello was Dylan's must-see spot in Porto. This bookstore is so popular partly because it's absolutely stunning, and partly because J. K. Rowling spent quite a bit of time here while she lived in Port in the 90's. We passed by this bookstore a few times before we finally realized that it would always be busy, and that we should just face the crowds and go in. You do need to buy a ticket to enter Livraria Lello, but you can use the cost of entry towards a book, which both Dylan and I ended up doing. The red winding staircase is stunning, and the wooden details add to charm of the shop. I've read online that photos are prohibited, but this definitely wasn't the case when I visited in June 2017. 

Livraria Lello Porto

Livraria Lello Ceiling

After wandering around the city for the afternoon, we found our way to Park Palacio De Cristal just before it closed. We were able to walk around the front of the park, and we caught sight of a few wild peacocks before they flew into the treetops for the night. I knew that I wanted to explore the park further, so Dylan and I vowed to return the next day. 


Park Palacio De Cristal

Day 3

As promised, we returned to Park Palacio De Cristal in the morning, and we spent a few hours slowly wandering throughout the park. There were peacocks, chickens, roosters, ducks, and more. There were quite a few momma peacocks with their babies, which were incredibly adorable. The park is beautifully maintained, and offers beautiful views of the Douro River. 

Park Palacio De Cristal

Park Palacio De Cristal


We then strolled back over to the Douro River, where we decided to buy tickets for a river cruise. There were a few different companies offering boat rides, and we just went with the cheapest option as we weren't too picky. Our boat ride lasted about an hour, and it was a great way to see the city from a different view point. 

Douro River Cruise

Once we were back on land, we spent a few hours browsing the shops along the Douro River, picking up souvenirs for our family and friends back home. We crossed the city for our last dinner in Porto at Lupin Restaurante, where we ordered vegan versions of Porto's famous francesinhas and pastel de natas for dessert. I'm going to be sharing my top vegan restaurants in Porto in a separate blog post, but Lupin was definitely a stand out! 

Dom Luís I Bridge at Night

After dinner we headed back to the Douro River to see the Dom Luís I Bridge by night. Porto is such a delightful city by day, but it's absolutely charming by night. I felt very safe in Porto, the locals were incredibly kind and welcoming. Dylan actually accidentally left his wallet on a bench after we finished eating lunch, and a local construction worker ran it over to us! While Lisbon is a fun and vibrant city, I was definitely always aware of my surroundings, and even had to swat away a pickpocket for the first time in my life! In contrast, in Porto I felt a sense of security and calmness that comes naturally with a smaller city. After a busy 10 days in Lisbon, it was really nice to end our vacation in Porto. 3 days was the perfect amount of time for us to leisurely explore Porto, recharge our batteries, and get ready for the transition back to working life. 

Porto Portugal

I went into our time in Porto with almost no expectations, and I'll be honest: Porto was a bit of an afterthought once I already planned out our time in Lisbon. However, I'm so, so glad that we were able to squeeze a few days in Porto into our Portugal itinerary.

Have you been to Porto? Did you love this charming city as much as I did?

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Feeling Fancy

In my day to day life I tend to stick to jeans, tanks, flowy dresses, or something equally as comfortable and laid back. However, I do also love dressing up for special occasions. I normally don't wear heels, but a few years ago I saw these stunning heels at Call It Spring and I just had to have them. To be honest, I haven't worn them too many times, as they are quite high and I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to heels. However, these heels are just too gorgeous to sit in my closet! So, for my last date night with the hubby I strapped on these beautiful heels and paired them with a feminine dress from Tobi.

Feeling Fancy

Feeling Fancy

OOTD Feeling Fancy

This shift dress from Tobi is super feminine and chic, and I absolutely love the sexy back detail along with the bow detail at the neck. This soft rose colour will work well year round, but it's also available in a stunning merlot that would be great for Fall & Winter. 

OOTD Feeling Fancy

OOTD Feeling Fancy

OOTD Feeling Fancy

OOTD Feeling Fancy

OOTD Feeling Fancy

Dress: c/o Tobi 
Heels: Call It Spring (old)

What are your favourite date night looks? Are you more of a heels or flats girl?

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Monday, 2 October 2017

OOTD The Future is Female

Can you believe that it's already October 2nd?! The weather here in Ottawa has been up and down these past few weeks, but right now we're experiencing a few beautiful sunny days. The heat wave has subsided, and sweater weather has now officially arrived. Although I'm already dearly missing the Summer heat, I do have to admit that I'm enjoying getting a bit cozier this Fall.

OOTD The Future is Female

The focal point of this outfit is this statement tank from Dynamite. As soon as I saw it in stores I knew that I needed it - and it was on sale! The tank top is quite simple - white with thick straps and a tie front detail. I absolutely love the "future is female" print on the front. If you're looking for a feminist statement tee, then I think you should definitely check out this one before it's completely sold out.

OOTD The Future is Female

OOTD The Future is Female

Since we are transitioning into cooler weather, cardigans are a Fall wardrobe staple. This black & white aztec print from Tobi is a great transitional piece, and I love the way that front cascades down. I actually wore this cardigan to work the other day and received a ton of compliments! Plus, it's only $26!

OOTD The Future is Female

I've never really been one to wear leggings as pants, but then I found these thicker leggings from Zara. There's absolutely no risk of these leggings being too thin or see through, so you can comfortably wear them as pants. Additionally, there are reinforced seams along the knees, which an a slightly edgy feel.

OOTD The Future is Female

OOTD The Future is Female

And finally, we have the velvet ankle boots! I already own these boots from Call It Spring in black faux leather, and as soon as I saw that they were now available in velvet I just had to have them! I wore these booties to a wedding this past weekend with an LBD, and they absolutely completed my outfit.

Velvet Ankle Boots

Tank: Dynamite
Cardigan: c/o Tobi 
Leggings: Zara
Velvet Ankle Boots: Call It Spring

What's the weather like where you live? What are your Fall fashion essentials?

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Saturday, 23 September 2017

August 2017 Empties

Once again, my empties post is long overdue! But, better late than never, right? August's empties are mostly skincare products, with a few beauty bits thrown in!

August 2017 Empties

Live Clean Refreshing Facial Wipes - I normally don't use makeup remover wipes, but on lazy nights I have to admit that these do come in handy!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir - Once upon a time, this was one of my favourite skincare products. Sadly, Caudalie is not cruelty free, despite their claims to be against animal testing. 

Korres Fig Body Butter - If you're looking for a thick, creamy body butter, then look no further than Korres body butters! The fig scent was really nice, and I'd love to have this product back on my nightstand. 

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara - I think that this was my first time trying out a Stila mascara! I really enjoyed the volume that I got from this formula, and even though it wasn't waterproof it was still extremely budge-proof. 

Lancôme Liner Plume in Noir - At first I enjoyed this liquid liner, but then I started to notice how quickly it would smudge, especially in the warmer weather.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer - For a drugstore concealer, this formula was pretty good. However, Maybelline is not cruelty free, so I will not repurchase.

August 2017 Empties

Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia - This mini purse spray was really handy to take with me on the go, and the floral fragrance was perfect for Summer. 

Lush Don't Look At Me Fresh Face Mask - This face mask is a newer one from Lush, and it absolutely won me over! I loved that it offers a light exfoliation yet it's still fairly gentle. 

Saaboon Utility Deodorant - This is probably the best natural deodorant that I've ever tried! Dylan also loves this formula, so it's a fantastic unisex product. 

OPI RapiDry Spray - Oh man, I didn't realize how long I've had this product for! Years!! But, it truly does help speed along nail polish drying time. Sadly, OPI isn't cruelty free, so I won't repurchase. 

Live Clean Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo - I liked using this clarifying shampoo about once every two weeks, just to help remove product buildup. I loved that this product is fairly natural, sulfate free, paraben free, and vegan. I already have a backup bottle!

August 2017 Empties

What products have you been using up lately?

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