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Mother Essentials: LaToya McInnis

Written by Erin Feher

No doubt, everyone’s Mother Essentials are looking a little different these days. And since so many of us are finding ourselves stuck in our PJs a little too often, we wanted to check in with one of the most stylish mamas we know to find out what her Mother Essentials are while sheltering at home. LaToya McInnis is the designer, founder, and creative director of Cocoacentric—an online shop filled with gorgeous jewelry and accessories curated or designed by LaToya herself. A talented stylist and mom to 2 (son Khephren, 15, and daughter Ma’at, 11), LaToya shares her must-have Mother Essentials for hunkering down, right here!

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story. “Being born in the Zodiac house of Leo, naturally I have a fiery, royal, rebellious spirit. After reading A Taste of Power (a memoir of the life of Elaine Brown, the very first Chairwoman of the Oakland Black Panther Party), I felt like it gave me permission to use my lioness quality and make things happen for myself, my family, and in my community. I worked as a Special Education teacher for 8 years in both the public and private sector, and I was a stark advocate for early childhood literacy and the importance of understanding children’s early development. This book helped me to believe in myself and know that I could do and be anything! A few years ago I was blessed to meet Ms. Brown and had an opportunity to share with her the impact her book had on my life.” Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story, by Elaine Brown, $13.38, Amazon

White Stan Smiths. “All day, every day. I’m a classic kind of girl, and I love my Stan’s! My recent purchase was the limited edition Stan Smiths in white and rose gold! These go with everything and always make me look casual but stylish!” Adidas Originals Stan Smith Sneakers, $56, Zappos.

The Four Agreements. “After I had my first child 15 years ago, I read this book and it changed my life, it gave me happiness, and the power to create my own path. Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. This includes love and understanding for the laws of life, nature, and native spirituality. This book leaves you with tools for inner and outward transformation and overall growth.” The Four Agreements By Miguel Ruiz, $6.48, Amazon

Anything Urembo Asili. “Owner Evie Donde is a master at her formulations, her products are top-notch! My favorite is the Body Custard. It’s smooth, hydrating, and delectable!” Body Custard, $45, Urembo Asili.

Black Girl Sunscreen. “This is my favorite ultra-sheer moisturizing SPF. It’s especially amazing for us dark-skinned beauties, without the terrible white residue regular sunscreen leaves behind.” Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $15.99, Target

Iyoba Hair Mist. “This hair mist makes me feel like I am the queen of the Nile. It’s amazing stuff and good for the whole family!” Herbal Hair Mist, $15, Iyoba

Anything White! “I was told a couple of years ago that I should wear more white. Soon after, I began incorporating white into my wardrobe. I wear it when I want to feel renewed and refreshed. It helps me to take a mental reset. So, I wear white as much as I can! My favorite white ensemble is my white high-waisted vintage Levi’s and my linen and crochet flowy blouse from ReLove San Francisco.” Ribcage Straight Ankle Women’s Jeans, $98, Levi’s.

Podcasts. “I love listening to podcasts and recently I was featured on the podcast Mom Unfiltered, which is a place for moms to discuss the seriousness and silliness of mommyhood. Topics like how motherhood has changed you and what would you do differently as a mom. Being interviewed on the podcast was an inspiring experience because I’ve previously never discussed motherhood or become so vulnerable to a complete stranger! Other podcasts I love include Therapy For Black Girls; Small Doses with Amanda Seales; Change Cadet by Dr. Akilah Cadet; The Joe Budden Podcast; and The Breakfast Club.” Listen to LaToya McInnis on Mom Unfiltered

Vintage from ReLove. “I love and mostly wear vintage or second-hand clothing, so it’s no surprise that ReLove is one of my ultimate favorite places to shop in San Francisco for rare vintage and contemporary gems. Some of the most coveted items in my closet are from ReLove! Owner Delila and her team are masters at buying unique, risk-taking, fashion statement pieces that you will adore and keep for a lifetime!” ReLove, 1815 Polk Street, San Francisco.

CLOSET 1951. “The more consignment and vintage, the better! My other fave re-sell palace is Closet 1951, also in my home of San Francisco. It’s owned by the super stylish Ilona. She and her team know her clientele and have some of the best second-hand designer duds in San Francisco. Ilona has styled me for many of my larger jewelry shows, events, and panels. Each time I’m wearing something from Closet 1951, I’ve gotten stopped by street style photographers!” Vintage Dior J’ADIOR necklace, $349.98, Closet 1951

DiarraBlu. “During these at-home times, when I’m mostly lounging around, pieces by DiarraBlu are timeless, comfy, rhythmic, and exciting. Plus, they magically transport me to a tropical getaway or an African safari that I can only dream of.” Awa Kimono, $185, DiarraBlu.

How To Be The ALMOST Perfect Parent. “This book put me in check when my teen and tween couldn’t express their frustration with my parenting style. It’s a simple read that helped me chill out and be myself when raising my children. The book is actually a collection of quotes from teens expressing how it feels to be them, and how parents can express a little more love and understanding! Just brilliant!” How To Be The Almost Perfect Parent By Teenagers Who Know, by J.S. Salt, $13.13, Amazon

Zara. “When fast fashion is a must, Zara is my go-to place to grab something cute quick! If a fashion brand was an attitude, then Zara is my mood! I love their selection and affordability and it’s easy to find something unique that—surprisingly—you won’t see everyone else wearing!” Zara.com.

Pono A Skincare & Waxing Boutique. “This will be my first stop once we can all leave our houses again—it’s my little day spa oasis right in my back yard! Pono, named after the Hawaiian word ‘righteousness,’ is a full-service day spa in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco. It specializes in facials, waxing, and personal grooming, and also highlights small goods such as jade rollers, candles, and Cocoacentric and Harp accessories. The owner, my best friend Debra, has a knack for beautiful interior design and the hands of a goddess—she gives the best facial in San Francisco!” Pono A Skincare & Waxing Boutique, 2860 Diamond Street, San Francisco.

Spotify Playlists. “Simply put, music is one of the few things that can calm me down, or pump me up! I love to dance and I love to make my own playlists on Spotify Premium. I have a collection of playlists based on my moods and my alter egos. My favorite playlists are: Introspec-COCOA; Baddie-COCOA; and Hip COCOA.” Spotify.com.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca AtwoodDana HaimRachel Zoe, and Taylor Jay, Olympian Alysia Montano, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, Partake founder Denise Woodard, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, June & January founder Amy Richardson-Golia, Bubbsi founder Sweta DoshiOakland retail queen Sherri McMullenShahidah Zareef of Bossmom NationJoanne EncarnacionLaTonya YvetteMorgan Walker of Make.doIguehi James, and more!

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