Ani + Wren is a modern maternity clothing store that stocks clothes that you can wear before, during or after pregnancy. The store caught my eye because, well, most of the maternity pickings around here are fairly depressing and I liked the idea of being able (i.e. actually wanting!) to wear maternity clothing beyond the nine months. Plus, the stuff is gorgeous and clearly the ladies behind it have good taste.
So I reached out to find that Ani + Wren are actually Lani and Lauren Levy. They are super-friendly sister-in-laws that were so generous with their time to answers all my questions. What they said both surprised me (going to be checking out that body moisturizer!) and inspired me. Lauren had three kids in three years and she just has so much going on! That energy!
Read on for their favourites in beauty, fashion and everything else that matters…
LAUREN: I am the mom of three little girls (3.5, 22 mos and 9 mos) and I co-own a store in Toronto called Ani + Wren with my sister in law Lani. We curate collections from contemporary and maternity brands that work before, during and after baby.
LANI: I am the Ani of Ani + Wren. I have been married for one and a half years, recently got the cutest golden doodle on the planet named Rex, love to travel with my husband and family, and I am obsessed with my three nieces, Romy, Gemma + Ella (Lauren’s kiddies).
What is your daily beauty routine?
LAUREN: I started using these products called Riversol – they are for super sensitive skin. I love it – they are really moisturizing and they don’t make me break out!
LANI: My skin was perfection until I hit the age of 25, and then I was blessed with hormonal acne, FUN! In order to keep my skin under control, I use really basic products like CeRave AM and CeRave PM.
Do you get any special treatments?
LAUREN: I just started getting these amazing treatments from Clarity Med Spa with Linda (she is amazing!). They are phototherapy skin treatments that help with some redness and melasma that I got from my pregnancies.
LANI: I got facials every week before my wedding, but I am kind of over them now. I use my Clarisonic every night before bed. I find that helps clear my skin.
Do you wear makeup and if so what do you do?
LAUREN: YES! Lots of it 😉 I love Georgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Diorshow Mascara, NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna, and I am in love with Clé De Peau concealer. I have tried them all and this is the best … I pretty much have blue under eye circles so I need something heavy duty!! It’s not cheap but it works (and it lasts forever). I also just picked up Dior Addict Hydra-Gel Core Lipstick in Delight – it’s a super soft pink. It looks very natural with a hint of colour.
LANI: Who doesn’t? I copied Lauren and got the Dior Show Mascara, which I love as well. I am obsessed with Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer. It gives the perfect glow, and is light as a feather so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a pound of makeup
How do you ramp things up for special occasions?
LAUREN: For special occasions I like to get my hair or make-up done!
LANI: Ditto – I love a good blowout, but I never like the end result, so I end up re-doing it myself. It’s the annoying perfectionist in me.
Any favourite products you can’t live without?
LAUREN: My new current obsession is Kevin Murphy’s dry texturizing spray Doo.Over – it’s in a pink bottle and smells incredible. Whenever I use it people always comment on the scent! Plus it adds really nice texture to your hair (aka I can skip a shampoo or two…)
LANI: I naturally have curly frizzy hair, so I am huge fan of Kérastase Maskeratine conditioner and Bain Fluidealiste shampoo. It smells divine, and really helps to control my locks.
What’s your favourite drugstore find and/or what is your biggest splurge?
LAUREN: I found this incredible body moisturizer by Moroccan Oil at Shopper’s (in a blue bottle). It’s so rich and the smell is amazing!
LANI – So they sell St.Tropez now at Shoppers #optimumpoints.
Do you carry anything around in your bag?
LAUREN: My bag is a dump site for my children – essentials are: Kleenex (someone always has a runny nose), Sugar Lip Balm (it has a bit of a tint to it and is really moisturizing), snacks (my kids are snack freaks … I always have granola bars, pretzels, etc. to eat! and lollipops for meltdowns), S’well water bottle (makes me drink more water!) and gift cards (I always receive them so have tried to be better about actually redeeming them!).
LANI – Trident Bubble Mint Gum, some type of moisturizing lip gloss, and a KIND bar, because I can get hangry.
What do you do to style and care for your hair?
LAUREN: I just chopped it off… it looks best with a little wave in it from the curling iron. I try to be low maintenance about it … I really have no time to spend on my hair! Plus I get a keratin treatment every six months, which helps to tame the frizz!
LANI – Keratin straightening treatment is my newest best friend, I get it done twice a year, and it has vastly improved the state of my hair.
Did you adopt any beauty tips from your mom?
LAUREN: Don’t colour your hair… it will ruin it! Although I just got some highlights (ssssshhhhhhhh!!!!)
LANI – STOP PICKING YOUR FACE!
When do you feel your best?
LAUREN: Right after a nice long shower (which is pretty rare these days!)
LANI: After a great workout!!
How do you like to start your day?
LAUREN: With a big cup of coffee and kisses from my girls!
LANI: With a shower.
How do you like to end your day?
LAUREN: With some trashy TV.
LANI: With a shower – OCD much
Do you have a beauty philosophy?
LAUREN: Always take your make-up off at night, use a good moisturizer and drink lots of water!
LANI: Do what makes you feel good. If you want to go all-natural, that’s cool. If you want to get Botox, do it. Just know when to stop.
How do you get a good night’s sleep?
LAUREN: Sleep train your kids, invest in good sheets, make your room pitch black, don’t keep the house too hot.
LANI: I need 7 hours, and preferably a king bed to myself (I am the lightest sleeper and between the my husband’s snoring and my dogs barking, I tend to wake up every hour.)
Do you have any funny or cute tips you swear by?
LAUREN: No but if you do please share! I have always wanted to try one of those at home facemasks made of avocado and honey …
LANI: Primer seems like total BS, but it legitimately works, and helps to keep your make up on all day.
Any cringe-worthy beauty moments of the past?
LAUREN: A spray tan mishap when I went away on my first trip with my now husband … I was orange and streaky and ended up dumping a bottle of nail polish remover on my body to remove it… it was gross!!
LANI: Pants splitting at work is always fun.
Has there been any moment in your life you felt especially beautiful?
LAUREN: On my wedding day … it was incredible!
What do you love the most about your look?
LAUREN: My look is pretty transitional – meaning it works with the kids but also looks put together enough that I can run to a meeting or into work. It’s polished but not too over the top.
LANI: My style is pretty timeless, I am all about the basics and I am somewhat of a Neutral Nancy. If it’s not white, grey or black I won’t touch it.
Do you have any favourite items of clothing that you return to time and time again?
LAUREN: My plaid Rails tops and denim shirt (from Bella Dahl) both carried at my store (Ani + Wren). They are super soft and comfy but still look great and put together.
LANI: My Autumn Cashmere sweaters are my current obsessions. They are comfy and cool, and work both with jeans or leather pants. Also available at Ani + Wren.
Do you have any favourite jewelry?
LAUREN: I really love delicate gold jewelry – my favourite piece is from The Right Hand Gal (a Canadian company that we carry at Ani + Wren) – it’s got my three gals initials on it and it’s really beautiful!
LANI: Hermes Cape Cod wrap watch.
Where do you like to shop for fashion?
LAUREN: I LOVE to shop!! Obviously Ani + Wren is one of my faves 😉 My favourite in store designers are Rails, Bella Dahl, Autumn Cashmere and Elizabeth and James. I also have a pretty bad shoe addiction … right now I love anything from Adidas and Golden Goose to Aquazurra for something a bit dressier! And I still think Zara has the best jeans!!
LANI – Some of my fave shops are Ani + Wren, Intermix, Shopbop.
Have you read anything good lately?
LAUREN: It’s so hard to find the time to read … but I was recently away and read The Girl on the Train – such a good, quick read.
Lani: Who Do You Love: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner. It’s a decent read – I am sucker for any love story.
Is there any music you’re really into lately?
LAUREN: Bieber’s new album!!
LANI – I think I am late to the game but I am currently obsessed with Sam Smith, he has the voice of an angel.
Do you have any favourite galleries or museums?
LAUREN: I take my kids to the ROM in Toronto all the time. We have a family pass there so it’s so easy. They have a whole area dedicated to interactive kids exhibits (with a play area). It’s the perfect winter activity!
LANI – When I lived in NYC I was blown away with the Dinosaur Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. My mother-in-law dragged me there one Saturday afternoon, and I was so impressed. I mean seeing up close the 4-foot long jaw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is pretty exceptional.
What do you like to make at home to eat?
LAUREN: I love to cook but I have to find recipes that work for both me and my husband and the kiddies (I am not making separate meals for everyone!). I cook a lot of fish, grilled chicken and rice-based pastas. I try to get my kids involved in the cooking so they see what goes into their food and have an appreciation for it.
LANI: Nothing, I hate cooking. I’ll go over to Wren’s for home cooked meals. I die for her meatballs.
Is there anything you make to eat or drink that makes you feel amazing?
LAUREN: I always feel better when I eat lots of fruits and veggies – I use to completely cut out carbs but now with working out (and running around after three kids) I realize that’s not realistic. I try to eat whole grains or brown rice for a healthier option and cut out sugar midweek – but weekends are fair game!!
LANI – Salads, Salads, Salads
What kind of exercise makes you feel best?
LAUREN: I started recently working out at a little boutique gym by my house – it’s called Ultimate Athletics and it’s amazing! I have a trainer there who is a mom so gets the “post preggo” body and what I need to work on. Plus the gym is a block from my house so there are no excuses!!
LANI: I am a gym whore. I love doing all different types of workouts to switch it up, and I feel like that’s when I see the best results. When I was living in NYC I was at SoulCycle everyday, and I’m so sad it’s not in Toronto yet. I love my trainer Vlad from Ulitmate Athletics. He also teaches a badass spin class that I go to Wednesday nights.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
LAUREN: I am pretty addicted to online shopping! It’s something I can do once the kids are in bed … and I don’t have to worry about what I look like. My faves right now are Zara Kids and Adidas (can’t resist a good pair of sneakers!!)
LANI – I am guilty of shopping as well. I don’t have the same online shopping fetish as Wren, but when I need to blow off some steam there is nothing better than a shopping spree.
What advice would you give your younger self?
LAUREN: Stop worrying what people think …
LANI: Don’t worry about a thing, because everything little thing is going to be all right!!!
What’s the favourite thing about what you do?
LAUREN: I get to make women feel beautiful and confident everyday.
LANI – Couldn’t have said it better Wren 🙂
Where are you happiest?
LAUREN: I’m happiest with my husband and three girls … cuddling in bed, watching a movie, eating pizza … the little things!
LANI: At home with my husband + dog, OR VEGAS, I love Vegas!!!
Thank-you Lani & Lauren! I have an even longer wish list now!