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May 09, 2020

MAMA-MUSE: JESSICA AQUINO 
(@jessmegan)

For a lot of my friends, 2020 is going the be the year their first baby is born. For a while it seemed like every week, I received the news that a friend was pregnant! So I mean it when I say a lot. Considering the current situation, I am thinking about them often. Experiencing their first pregnancy during a global pandemic is definitely not what they had planned for... Yet, it seems like they have learned to let go of their expectations and are navigating this new reality with a sense of appreciation for the little things. 

I wanted to explore this topic a little more with Jessica Aquino, a Montreal-based influencer who I love. We connected in the very early days of harly jae and I have enjoyed watching her day-to-day since. She has this way of making ordinary moments so special and comforting. 

Below is our interview with Jess. She wears our Milos dress. 

harly jae x Jessica Aquino

1. Tell us a little bit about you, your work, and in what chapter of your life you are in right now?

I'm in a funny stage right now. To make a long story short, I have been working in public relations, events and influencer marketing for the last 4-5 years. I've always been career-oriented, if I can put it that way. 2019 was an incredible year on the professional (and personal, of course!) level. I was fortunate to travel for work and live incredible experiences. But just before the start of the pandemic, I left my full-time job as the Integrated Communication Leader at L’Oréal Canada. Becoming pregnant changed my perspective on the 9 to 5 lifestyle. Especially because I worked in the city and live in the suburbs so commuting consumed a lot of my time.

Since then, I’m self-employed and have kept myself quite busy with different types of contracts related to content creation and projects around the house. My fiancé and I already had an office at home before the pandemic, with our respective workspaces so we live quite well with this new “work-from-home” situation. Although it’s a pretty big change for me. 


harly jae x Jessica Aquino

2. What has been your routine to keep you sane during this pandemic (at least up until you were put on bedrest by your doctor last weekend)?


I’ve always been an early bird. I like waking up early, when the world is still asleep. I usually get up between 6:30-7:30 so I can keep a certain routine. What keeps me sane during this pandemic is that we had so many projects going on with the house: from renovations in our laundry room to decorating a guest room and our little girl's nursery. That kept me really, really busy. Until my body sent me a sign that I had to slow down. Since then, it’s been a little bit harder mentally because I like to be active but I take this time to do other stuff, like writing in my pregnancy journal, writing blog posts about our home renos (that will be available shortly!), etc. As funny as it might sound, bedrest is the perfect “excuse” to actually slow down.

3. This is your first pregnancy, I'm sure there are many ways in which the pandemic is changing the experience you had in mind. How are you adapting to this new reality?

    Living a first pregnancy during a global pandemic is certainly a very unique experience. I’ve always had a positive and beautiful vision of pregnancy, even if the first trimester wasn’t easy on me. It’s hard not to see anyone (except via Facetime) and I’ve always wanted to live my pregnancy in a certain way and experience different things to be fully prepared. I had in mind to take prenatal yoga classes and connect with other moms-to-be. I know that there’s a lot of alternatives like online classes and etc. but I guess I didn’t find the time or motivation before I was put to bedrest. We’re still planning to start our prenatal yoga classes online in the upcoming weeks and I’m really excited about this!


    harly jae x Jessica Aquino
     

    4.You seem to have an incredible relationship with your mom, what is the key to a healthy mother-daughter relationship that you hope to nurture with your own daughter?

    I do have a really good relationship with my mom. She’s a kid at heart and sometimes I have to say that I feel like the roles are reversed (haha). I figure skated for 15 years at a competitive level and I think that the fact that she was always there to support me is what created that strong bound between us. She took me everywhere for these competitions and I will be forever grateful for everything she did and still does for me. I really want to have a similar relationship with my daughter and I hope I’ll be able to give and teach her everything I was lucky to receive and learn from my parents.


    harly jae x Jessica Aquino

    5. Most excited to be a mom for...

    Everything and anything. Becoming a mom is the most beautiful gift I could’ve asked for. Nic and I always wanted to build a family, have a little baby. I know that it’s going to be hard sometimes. I know that I’m not gonna be perfect in this new role, but I’m for sure going to do my best. Always. I would say that I’m excited to bond with our little one. To tickle my daughter's tummy when I'm changing her diaper. I can’t wait to watch her grow and to help her become who she wants to be, whatever that is. I’m excited to see her smile, crawl, and walk for the first time. Pretty much excited for everything and every little step. It’s crazy and pretty incredible to love a tiny human so much, a little being who’s not even born yet. Feeling her little kicks in my belly is magical.


    harly jae x Jessica Aquino
     

    6. I love watching all the cooking you do, what has been your favourite thing to make during this time? 

    I think like most of the people in quarantine, I tried to find new hobbies. I always enjoyed cooking but with a 9 to 5 job, let’s be honest, it’s a bit harder during the week because you get home around 6-7pm. I’ve had more time in the last 2 months since I work from home and I get to decide what my schedule looks like. I kind of rediscovered my passion for baking and I looked for recipes that are pretty simple, healthy and good for the baby.


    harly jae x Jessica Aquino

    7. You & Nic are tackling many renovation projects in your new home, tell us a little bit about the process, your inspiration, and how you get about getting things done!

    I don't even know where to start! We always had in mind to buy a house and renovate it. Simply because in the neighbourhood where we live, there is no land for sale or if there is, it is very expensive. I also like the character that older houses offer, even if ours is not "so" old (still, it was built 15 years ago). I’ve always enjoyed watching home improvement shows or seeing “before and after” photos on social media. It’s so impressive!

    Nicolas is a handy guy and even if it’s not his full-time job but more of a hobby for him, he is super resourceful and detailed oriented. We wanted a project we could both work on. Initially, we were planning to do a “flip”, so to buy, renovate and resell it right away. This is our first home and we put a lot of love and energy into it in less than a year. I know it will be difficult when the day comes when we are going to move, but it will be for a bigger project. We are planning to stay here for about 3 years.

    One thing I can say is that it is gratifying to see the end result, after all the work and energy invested, and having literally lived through chaos. I am mostly proud of him. I will never say enough how impressed I am by how much he can accomplish. He never stops so it's thanks to him that all these ideas have been able to (and will) come to life. We have so many plans for the house. It keeps us very busy especially because we are trying to get as much done as possible before our little one arrives in early August.


      harly jae x Jessica Aquino

      **
      Thank you for your generous answers, Jess! We are so excited to meet your little one. xo

      Shop Jess' dress here.

      HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OUT THERE! :)


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