2016 album.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Tuesday! I’m writing this blog post as one baby kicks me in the ribs, the other baby tries her hardest to hit the power button on my laptop when she thinks I’m not looking, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plays in the background. Real life, y’all.

I’ve received a few questions regarding the printer I use for my photos, and honestly you guys, it’s a cheapo HP Deskjet 2130 that I bought on Amazon for $40 last year. Seriously. I’m a firm believer in maximizing the printer you have (no matter how basic or how fancy) by choosing the right settings for photo printing and using quality photo paper. I find that printing my photos and printables at home is a million times easier than ordering prints from a store because I can customize the size of each picture exactly to my liking AND squeeze in more creative time, as a result.

Here’s my latest pages that I made for my 2016 album:

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

I have so many BasicGrey supplies that I’ve completely forgotten about and am now realizing are perfect for Briar pages. I’m guilty of only wanting to use the latest + greatest products on my projects, but this industry moves too fast to keep up! I love the colors in this line and am so happy to have rediscovered the Spice Market line from a few years back.

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

Supplies: Studio Calico Page Protector / Patterned Paper / Die Cuts / Gold StaplesBlack Pen

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

This particular page was completely inspired by the “Wish This Could Last Forever” card from Push Print Studio. I adore the colors and I knew I had the perfect photos to fit the sentiment. I made the little four-photo collage of Briar’s many cheesy faces in Photoshop and then threw in the photo of John wearing Briar’s sunglasses (much to her delight). Those two crack me up.

Supplies: BasicGrey Divided Page Protector / Journaling Card / Floral Patterned Paper

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

And as always, my little photo assistant needed to sign off on the project before I posted. She approved ;)

32 weeks + pinkblush giveaway!

Posted on: Friday, August 12, 2016

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

32 WEEKS! Okay, that feels insane typing out that number. Life feels like such a blur these days, I kind of just want to freeze this moment so I can catch my breath!

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday and it was estimated that he’s currently about five (!) pounds! Everyone seemed a little surprised by how big he is at this stage, but no one more than me. Thankfully my doctor reassured me that all will be well and if he’s starting to get too big, we can induce at 39 weeks. I have to say, the idea of knowing I might have an induction date is a relief to me. I was induced with Briar and it went swimmingly (despite my former fears about the process). So who knows what will happen? I’m trying to relax and trust that it will all work out. Easier said than done, of course ;)

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

This baby is definitely much more up in my ribs and my hip bones than Briar ever was, so the sensations are totally new to me. I woke up yesterday with my stomach completely shifted to the left side…so crazy! I’ve also noticed a shift in my energy for the better after my last blood test signaled my iron levels were low. Thanks to the combination of prenatal vitamins and iron supplements, I’m feeling much more energetic these days than I was before.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

In terms of dressing this ever-growing bod, well, it’s all about the maxi dresses. I now have four dresses from Pinkblush (including this one that I’m wearing in the photos!) and believe me when I say they have been my best pregnancy investment. Not only are they super comfy and easy to wear but they don’t scream maternity so I know I’ll continue to get plenty of use out of them long after our bub arrives. Being massively pregnant at the height of the summer is not exactly a walk in the park (in fact, there are no walks in the park happening because IT’S. TOO. HOT.), so keeping my wardrobe simple is a huge help.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I keep wondering what, if anything, I’ll want to do differently this time around and all I can think is that I want to ENJOY more.

The hardest phase with Briar was definitely the first few weeks. In hindsight, I wish I would have relaxed and enjoyed those early days where she just wanted to sleep, eat, repeat. I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night so I could make sure she was being fed every 2-3 hours (per the pediatrician’s orders) and it felt so counterintuitive. She was nearly impossible to awaken and I was a zombie myself, so I’m honestly not sure if much was getting accomplished. However, once Briar began steadily gaining more weight and the doctor was pleased with her progress, things got a little easier. Breastfeeding became second nature, getting things done while holding or wearing her started to feel normal, and I began to grow my confidence as a capable and loving mom. I’ve also seen the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to sleep deprivation. It took over a year to get Briar to sleep through the night but now she can easily put away ten glorious hours and I barely remember what life was once like! I know it will be challenging. I know I’ll feel the same frustrations I felt the first time around. I know there will be growing pains and lessons to learn and adjustments to make. But I’m not stressed about it.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m well aware that these last few weeks are going to fly by, so I’m doing my best to enjoy every moment + milestone!

P.S. Leave a comment below to enter to win a $75 gift card to Pinkblush!

UPDATE: The winner is Nicole Norman! Congrats! E-mail me and I will get you squared away with your gift card! xo

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diy play dough for toddlers.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

I have loved many stages of Briar’s baby and toddlerhood (6 months and 18 months were particularly sweet) but this current stage at two years is a whole new version of fun! Not only is she able to tell me (in full sentences, no less) what’s on her mind, but her attention span has lengthened considerably! Now I can sit her down at the table with an interactive activity in front of her (i.e. coloring, sorting pompoms, etc) and let her play for extended periods of time while I get work done on the computer. It’s kind of unreal just how self sufficient she is! So naturally, I decided that play dough would be an excellent activity to have at the ready.

My mom made homemade play dough for my brother and myself when we were younger so I was excited to give her recipe a try for my own little one. There are so many cool play dough recipes on Pinterest but the reason I prefer this recipe is that it is completely edible. When Briar gets a little bigger and less inclined to put everything in her mouth, I definitely want to try the recipes with hair conditioner and glitter!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s what you need to make toddler-friendly play dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring

Begin by stirring all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients, add in drops of food coloring until you reach your desired hue.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, add the mix to a non-stick pot and stir it over medium heat on the stove until you reach a play dough consistency. (This took about three minutes for me.)

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, remove the play dough from the heat and let it cool. Once it’s no longer too hot to touch, knead it with your hands and introduce it to your toddler!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

It took Briar a few minutes to get accustomed to the feeling of play dough in her hands, but once she was acclimated, she loved it!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

We showed her how to roll the dough into balls and attach pieces together and poke holes in it with our fingers.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

She was a quick study ;)

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you are finished playing with your play dough, store it in an airtight container for future use!

as of late | august edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 9, 2016

As of Late: August Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I have a TWO YEAR OLD. What in the world.

Watching the Olympics every chance I get! I really hope Los Angeles wins the bid for the 2024 games so that we can try to get tickets!

Wishing I could buy the whole Cat & Jack collection for babies at Target! I’ve already snagged a set of baby boy socksfox pants, and this colorful cape for Briar, but I kind of want it all!

Buying lots of these applesauce squeeze pouches for Briar but finding myself eating just as many as she does! They’re so good on a hot day, especially when refrigerated.

Discovering new-to-me blogs and really loving The Merrythought! Gorgeous photos + killer DIY ideas.

Beginning to feel the scramble to get everything ready for baby. It’s an exciting madness but a madness, nonetheless.

Loving the One Part Podcast interview with Laura Miller of “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” fame.

Getting excited for the holiday season. This is the time of year that always feels like it drags on for-e-ver, but once we’re over the summer hump, the next few months fly by!

Enjoying my full nights of sleep while I still can. Here’s hoping baby number two likes to sleep. A LOT.

Digging the new Stories feature on Instagram! I have no idea what will become of Snapchat but I’m along for the ride.

Wanting to try these five recipes using only $10 worth of ingredients from Trader Joe’s. They all look so easy and delicious!

Looking forward to my 32 week ultrasound this week. I have a strong suspicion that he might be sideways (yikes!) so I hope I’m proven wrong!

Camping out in air conditioned spaces as much as possible. Whose idea was it to be super pregnant in the dead of summer??

 

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briar is two!

Posted on: Monday, August 8, 2016

Briar is Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

My baby is two! TWO. All I can say is, the days are long but the years are short.

I think back to individual moments that have made up the entirety of these two years: holding Briar for the first time, never-ending nursing sessions, waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night to comfort her, wearing her around the house as I learned to juggle work and baby, watching her roll / crawl / walk / run for the first times, holding her hand as we cross the street, reading her favorite stories over and over again, and having little conversations throughout the day.

Some days have felt incredibly long and draining but those are almost always followed up by days peppered with unannounced kisses and lots of laughter and long naps. It’s one life lesson after another (including some that I have to learn time and time again). It’s moments of intense joy and pride for the little person I am privileged to raise as well as overwhelming frustration and despair. It’s moments when John and I catch each other’s eyes and wonder how we got so lucky to have Briar as our own.

These past two years have been a wild ride complete with highs and lows, but what an amazing experience! I remember feeling pretty sad when Briar was about to turn one. I questioned whether I had savored her first year enough or if I had squandered it with worry and quiet desperation. This time around, I feel at peace with the passing of time. I truly believe that I was much more present for her second year (which sometimes meant leaving her with a grandparent for the day so I could appreciate the time we had together even more). I feel like this past year was when I found my footing as Briar’s mama and could finally appreciate each moment as it came (most of the time) because it goes by so fast. I can honestly say that I had so much fun this past year!

Two years in the books. What an adventure.

diy heart crayons.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is at the age where she is constantly requesting to draw. “Colors? Colors” is what I hear on repeat until I break out her box of crayons and colored pencils and let her draw to her heart’s content. It’s a super exciting phase of life (my little crafter!) so I’ve been dying to make heart-shaped crayons after spotting a few tutorials on Pinterest.

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

The process is pretty simple: you take existing crayons and melt them down into multi-colored crayons using nothing more than a mold and an oven. Easy, right?

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

So I stocked up on two boxes of Crayola crayons at Target and took advantage of Briar’s nap time and the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey to peel off the labels. This was definitely the longest part of the process but I barely noticed because, hello, Teresa just got out of prison and was reuniting with her family! I was riveted.

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had all the labels peeled off, I broke up the crayons into small pieces and laid them in an old IKEA heart-shaped silicone mold (similar one here!) that I had on hand. I tried to keep the color palette for each crayon pretty analogous, mostly for my own visual benefit ;)

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I baked the crayons in the oven for 20 minutes at 235 degrees and then took them out and let them cool down for a bit. After awhile they were still kind of runny, so I popped the mold into the fridge for about 10 minutes and that seemed to do the trick. (Next time I’ll probably leave them in the fridge for even longer just to make sure they completely harden because they were still a little pliable when I popped them out of the mold.)

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar immediately took a liking to her new “colors.”

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Clearly there was lots to talk about!

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m fairly certain that I enjoyed this project just as much as she did! It was an easy, mindless task that yielded the cutest crayons! I can totally see myself replicating this DIY with different molds for different occasions.

Next on our crafty to-do list: make homemade play dough!

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these three things: podcast edition.

Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2016

These Three Things: Podcast Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

On Wednesday, John and I took advantage of our upgrade eligibility and bought ourselves new phones. Even though we’ve had iPhones for years, there’s nothing quite like a brand new toy with 64 gigs of free space just waiting to be filled up! In fact, one of the first things I did (aside from download all the apps I had to delete from my last phone for severe lack of space) was take a 40 second video BECAUSE I COULD. Oh man, I feel like I have a whole new lease on life! And of course, having all this free space also means that I can take advantage of the podcast app and subscribe to allllll my favorite podcasts.

Here are three episodes that I listened to my commute yesterday:

Bitch Sesh. I could write a novel about how much I live for this Real Housewives-themed podcast each week…my love for Casey + Danielle knows no bounds! So I was particularly thrilled to find out that I could listen to the recording of their live show in LA from a few days ago, especially since I was SUPER bummed about not scoring tickets to it in time (luckily I snagged one for their next show in August!). Oh man, it did not disappoint. I barely noticed any 405 freeway traffic because I was too busy laughing hysterically.

Young House Love Has a Podcast. I recently discovered this podcast and was psyched when I realized their latest episode was focused on sponsored posts. My mind was BLOWN with how much Emily Henderson commands for a single post…so inspiring! This is a must-listen for any bloggers or social media influencers looking to gain more insight into the mystery of paid posts.

One Part Podcast. I adore this show and really enjoyed the latest episode with Julia Turshen. I find Julia to be so endearing and relatable, plus Jessica is always a gem.

What are you guys listening to these days?

baby boy clothes.

Posted on: Thursday, July 28, 2016

My quest for cute baby boy clothes continues! Here are some of my favorite recent finds:

Baby Boy Clothes | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Mustard Cardigan. This Mr. Rogers-esque cardi is killing me with cuteness! I love everything about it.

02. Lace Up Moccasins. I am fully aware that shoes for tiny babies is impractical but I fully do not care. I looooove these little baby moccs!

03. Puppy Pajamas. Our baby’s wardrobe is heavy on the neutrals, so I’m making a concerted effort to bring in more pops of color. These puppy pajamas are beyond adorable and I love the shade of green.

04. Striped Pocket Romper. I love when a single item of clothing works for both top + bottom. Plus, how perfect is that tiny little pocket?

05. Bear Onesie. I’m not normally one for cutesy graphics but this hipster bear is just too much.

06. Striped One-Piece. John and I are determined to take our kids to the snow this winter and I know this striped one-piece would keep our little guy nice and warm.

07. Hooded Grey Cardigan. One can never have too many hooded cardigans, especially when they’re this cute.

08. Geometric Print Leggings. Finding cute boy leggings has been challenging, so whenever I spot a well-designed pair, I am thrilled to no end.

09. Raglan Sleeve Bodysuit. This onesie comes in a few different colors and I’m pretty sure I should just buy all of them. I adore this look.

baby boy album.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Remember when I said that Briar has become my biggest motivator for keeping up with my ongoing scrapbooks? I totally wasn’t kidding!

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

She pulls the albums off the shelf and drops them in my lap every chance she gets so that we can go through them together. I not so secretly love it :)

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

So in an effort to keep her happy (ha), I realized it was high time that I added another page to our ongoing baby boy album.
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

This spread is all about shopping for baby boy gear. What I once thought to be a hopeless endeavor (so dramatic) has quickly become my new favorite challenge! (Related: I may or may not have done some damage on clearance items at Zara for our little guy yesterday…)
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Initially I wasn’t going to use this family photo in the spread, but after playing around with it for a bit, I decided that the overall design needed something substantial in the bottom left corner.
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

For the right page, I used one of my favorite design tricks: adding a title over an image. Also, I ran out of “O” letter stickers for that particular green font, so I had to get creative with the wooden embellishment. I think I actually like it more this way than if I had had the full alphabet!

Supplies: Project Life Page Protectors // Amy Tangerine Project Life Journaling Cards // BasicGrey Flair Badge // Green Chipboard Thickers // White Letter Stickers

You can see more of this album here!

early motherhood in one sentence.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Early Motherhood in One Sentence | Ann-Marie Loves

“I do feel that as my children grow [they’ll] be able to join in the problem solving side of things, but for now I feel mostly like a cruise director, keeping everyone blissfully occupied while constantly on the look-out for icebergs.” – C. Jane Kendrick

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