Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

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??





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

getting back into regular blogging.

Posted on: Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m in a good season of life right now as a mom and as a creative. Like I’ve mentioned before, as soon as Briar began sleeping through the night and her daily nap subsequently became a consistent thing, I felt like myself again. Sleep is hugely important in my world and even though I had grown accustomed to interrupted sleep with a baby, I hadn’t fully realized the toll it took on my whole life. I was basically running at half speed! Now it’s no wonder my creativity took a serious nosedive and my general outlook on life was, well…dim. I say all this knowing that I’m about to reenter another sleepless season, but this time I have the foresight to know that this too shall pass. That one day I will put both of my kids down for bed, turn off the light, and know that I have a good ten to twelve hours before they will wake up again. My baby is almost TWO and I swear to you, I feel like John and I just brought her home from the hospital. Time flies.

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

So anyways, back to blogging.

A few months back, I had a super productive weekend in which I took photos for blog posts and sponsored Instagram posts way ahead of time (with lots of help from my husband) and I felt SO GOOD about myself for the whole week after. I knew then and there that I needed to take advantage of having John around on weekends, not only for watching Briar but for taking photos of me that I could use for upcoming projects and posts. Now it’s become a regular occurrence. I keep a running list of blog posts I want to write and photos I want to take. Then on Fridays, I’ll write out the blog posts that I want to shoot over the weekend in my planner and prepare ahead so that my time and John’s time is used wisely and we can focus on more important things…like taking Briar swimming! I love sitting down at the computer on Sunday night and editing all the photos from the weekend and dropping them into blog post drafts (with the words to be added later). It has become one of my favorite weekly rituals as it not only helps me feel like I’m staying one step ahead but it also keeps my creativity humming consistently.

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve also really been enjoying the challenge of partnering with various brands to create occasional sponsored content. Of course I love being compensated for my time and ideas but I also really love having to push myself to create posts that feel in line with my own style and voice while showcasing another brand. It’s an exciting creative challenge, for sure! I get pitched potential collaborations on a regular basis but I’ve finally come to the point where I refuse to work for free, UNLESS it’s for a product that I would already be buying or for a really good friend / cause that I believe in. Like everyone else in this world, I have bills to pay, and sadly I can’t pay for them with free shoes. I don’t say this to sound pompous or self-serving; I say this to empower anyone who is in a similar boat as me. It’s taken years and a lot of encouragement from others, but I’ve finally realized that I deserve to be paid for my time and effort, just like every other non-blogging professional. I want the same for you!

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

But most importantly, blogging on a regular basis has been FUN. I’ve been writing about the things that interest me instead of worrying about whether my content is on trend or what I may have written about in the past, and it has definitely helped to keep the momentum going. I’m sure my pace will slow down over the next couple of months, but for now, I am enjoying this creative challenge all over again!

P.S. What kinds of posts would you like to see here?

mama + baby top knots.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was pregnant with Briar and trying to imagine what she would look like, I always envisioned straight dirty blonde hair with enviable bangs and a tiny top knot. While I was right about her hair color, I certainly never would have guessed that we would be blessed with a super curly-haired gal! It’s still a bit of a mystery as to where those curls came from (we suspect it’s John’s side) but now I can’t imagine Briar having anything else!

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

Her hair has grown like crazy over the past couple of months which means it is long enough to put into a tiny little ponytail worn on the top of her head, the same way I put up my hair. And the best part of all is that Briar is finally allowing us to put her hair up and leave it there all day. Before now, she would instantly pull out any ponytails, headbands, or barrettes…girl just wanted to be free!

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

I get such a kick out of seeing her hair up because she look a entirely different person, albeit a very grown up person! Plus, I would be lying if I said I didn’t love having a matching hairstyle as my babe. I keep thinking I want to cut my hair even shorter (I’m in full-blown MOM MODE), but then I think, nope, you need enough hair for a top knot! We’ll see…

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

As for now, it’s matching top knots for the two of us!

santa barbara museum of natural history.

Posted on: Monday, July 18, 2016

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was one for the books! On Friday, my mom and Briar and I took our third trip to Disneyland for the week (had to maximize my annual pass until it expired!). Then on Saturday we went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (more about that below!). And finally, on Sunday my mom and I saw the final showing of Beautiful at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Whew!

Now onto the museum. First of all, I have no idea what it is, but the lighting in Santa Barbara is always incredible. Every time we’re there, I can’t help but stage a photo shoot. My mom and brother came with, so it was extra nice to pass the camera to them and sneak in a few family photos. Here are some of my favorite captures from the day:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

I was more than happy to let John chase the toddler around while I took photos ;)

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Not too shabby for a 29 week bump photo backdrop, eh?

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar was not so sure about the real-life dioramas – haha!

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

The highlight of Briar’s day was definitely exploring the “Museum Backyard” where she was able to play with dirt, rocks, and water to her heart’s content. I loved watching her get down and dirty in her dress and I really enjoyed this sentiment that was tied to a tree:

The Backyard is a space for children to learn. Expect trial and error. Give your child a chance to meet challenges and assess risk. This is how kids develop self confidence. Let them figure things out for themselves. Problem solving is good for kids. It’s another way to develop self-confidence. Your choice of words can make a big difference. Instead of “be careful” which expresses your fears, tell your kids to “be smart” or “be aware.” Cuts, bumps, and bruises are a normal part of childhood. If your child has an accident, don’t panic. Children read you! When the child is calm, ask “what did you learn?” They will tell you. Expect children to learn from their mistakes. Don’t pass your fears on to your kids. Nature is amazing and kids are naturally curious. Allow them the experience without your judgment. Relax and let your kids decide what they want to do. Kids that experience non-structured play in natural settings are smarter, happier, and healthier.


summer in the pool.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

With summer in full-swing here in Southern California, we are spending our days underwater. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that summer is, well…not exactly my favorite season. It’s especially tricky to get through those endless heatwaves while pregnant and constantly sweating. Speaking of sweating, I have a theory (and please chime in and let me know your thoughts!): people that DON’T sweat tend to love summer while people that DO sweat tend to despise the summer. I mean, it makes sense right?

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

But I digress!

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

All of this is to say, Briar and I are living in the pool. We wake up, have breakfast, and then immediately throw on our swimsuits and sunscreen and head outside for a dip. I am not usually a huge fan of hanging out in the pool all day (I always feel like I could be doing something more productive), but Briar’s infectious love of swimming and my need to cool down + let my pregnant body feel weightless for a bit is really turning me into a regular pool-goer! We did mommy + me swim lessons in May and while I wouldn’t say she is a proficient swimmer just yet, her skills continue to grow and impress me everyday! It’s so awesome to watch these tiny little people morph into capable humans.

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Plus, the very best part of all is that the time spent in the sun + the water almost always leads to Briar taking a looooong nap in the afternoon (sometimes she will sleep as long as 3.5 hours…!). And that, my friends, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving.

Briar’s Swimsuit // Briar’s Sunglasses // My Sunglasses

as of late | july edition.

Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2016

As of Late | July Edition.

Missing the Joy the Baker podcast! Come back, Joy and Tracy!

Speaking of podcasts, I’m adding a few new ones to my queue thanks to this list.

Wearing this bracelet on repeat.

Making the most of my Get to Work Book now that it’s finally July. Briar took a highlighter to the cover the other day and I nearly cried. So dramatic but I really love that planner!

Planning a mini family vacation in celebration of Briar’s second birthday. Instead of spending money on a party, we figured we would go on a trip instead. It might be our last hurrah as a family of three before her brother comes along!

Adding this striped maxi dress to my cart. Okay, and maybe this pair of reversible pants for the little guy. Annnnnnd while we’re at it, these popsicle jammies for Briar.

Looking forward to the Olympics!

Setting a goal to blog every weekday this month (and possibly after!) and am feeling really motivated and inspired about it!

Living and dying by my new favorite dry shampoo. I use it waaaaay too often in lieu of actually washing my hair (the worst task ever), but I love the texture and body it gives me!

Feeling overheated and sweaty at all times these days. There’s not enough swimming pools and air conditioners in this world to cool this pregnant lady down!

Agreeing wholeheartedly on this article about what it’s like to be an introvert.

Going to miss Disneyland when our annual passes expire this week but am more than happy to take the hot summer off. (Have I mentioned that I’m always hot?)

how i found my new normal with productivity.

Posted on: Friday, July 8, 2016

Change of Workflow | How I've Found My New Normal With Productivity | Ann-Marie Loves

My workflow these days is definitely a departure from what it once was. Before I had Briar (and even right up until she turned one), I was pretty lax about the structure and schedule of the day as a whole. I would work when I had the time or the inspiration, but if there wasn’t a firm deadline looming in my near future, I let the flow of the day dictate the amount of work I churned out. While this sounds great in theory (and for the most part, it worked for my past lifestyle), I always felt a bit all over the place. I’m not a planner by nature and the idea of a rigid schedule usually turns me off, but as I’ve gotten a couple of years of self-employment under my belt, I now understand the value of planning and setting goals.

Nowadays, a few things are different:

  • For one, Briar has become a consistent napper and I can almost always count on her to nap between 1-3 hours in the afternoon. I can’t even tell you how big of a game-changer her daily naps — and the fact that she sleeps through the night! — are! I use her nap time to really buckle down and focus on getting things done, especially tasks that require minimal distractions. I am also very lucky to have my father-in-law watch Briar for a few hours 2-3 days a week, which allows me to either work from home or to work with Amy in her studio. As much as I cherish my time with my baby, there’s nothing quite like time away from her to really make me appreciate just how much I love her and want to be with her.
  • Secondly, I’ve become a devoted planner user. I’ve always loved planners and agenda books (pretty sure they were the highlight of my school experience), but I haven’t been as consistent about using them regularly as I am now. I started last summer with a Ban.do planner (the spiral bound version) and absolutely loved it, but then when I saw that the new Get to Work Book was launching, well…I couldn’t help but finally order one for myself (and I’m so glad I did!). As a designer, I find that using beautifully-designed products enhances my experience, so I am more than happy to open up my GTWB each morning and set goals for myself. Every week, I like to write out all the things I know I have to get done and then fill in more information as it becomes available to me. In the mornings, I’ll make Briar and myself breakfast and while she is entertained for a few minutes, I’ll write out my to-do list for the day in my planner. I absolutely love this ritual and find that it really does help me set the tone for the entire day.
  • Finally, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t be the night owl that I once was. I used to be able to stay up wayyyyy too late and crank out work during those quiet hours, but I just can’t do it anymore. After chasing a toddler around all day (and growing another baby), the last thing I want to do at night is sit down and work. This realization has given me the push I need to get as much work done as I can during the daytime so that my nights can be free for relaxing with my family and getting to bed at a relatively normal hour. I find that I am much more productive when I set those clear boundaries for myself, plus, it plays into my theory that mini goals are really the most effective way for me to get things done!

I realize my life will once again get turned upside down when the new baby arrives this Fall, but this time I feel much more prepared to make adjustments as I go and use the tools I’ve set in place to work to my advantage.

P.S. I wrote an e-course on productivity called Make It Happen!

nana + briar bake chocolate chip cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 6, 2016


We’ve been staying with my parents while we figure out our next move and while it’s not always ideal, there are definitely some perks. Case in point: Nana’s famous chocolate chip cookies! Last week while I was at work, my mom sent me photos of Briar helping her bake cookies (while wearing her new apron, of course). First of all, I couldn’t get over how cute Briar looked, but secondly, it totally opened my eyes to all the new things we can do together now that she is almost two years old! (I need to remember to include her in more activities!) So yesterday, Briar got back in the kitchen to help Nana with another batch of chocolate chip cookies and this time I was there to capture the process:













I was so impressed with how serious and focused she was! I am not a huge fan of baking (I am a huge fan of eating baked goods, however), so here’s hoping she takes after my mom and carries on the chocolate chip cookie legacy!

27 weeks.

Posted on: Friday, July 1, 2016

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

(27 Weeks is part of my Baby On Board digital stamp collection!)

You guys, I just looked at my planner yesterday thinking that I was twenty five weeks along and was slightly shocked when I realized, nope, I’m twenty seven weeks along! WHAT IN THE WORLD.

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve been looking back on photos from when I was pregnant with Briar and when she was just a tiny newborn and it BLOWS MY MIND to think that we are in the midst of doing it all over again! I swear I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone. I don’t think there’s any “perfect” age gap between siblings, but I’m feeling pretty good about the spacing between Briar and her brother (about 26 months apart). We thankfully have a few key issues ironed out that I was initially worried about (sleeping through the night, weaning, using words to communicate effectively), so that gives me confidence that we can weather this huge life transition with a tad bit more ease than if the two babies were closer in age. But if all else fails there’s always wine, right??

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is learning that she has to be a little more gentle with mama these days and she is doing a great job. We’ve been reading from our collection of “new baby” books everyday (this one and this one are our faves) and I really think she’s grasping the concept of becoming a big sis! We can get her to say “baby brother” quite a bit and she even said his name for the first time the other day…music to my ears!

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

As for how I’m feeling, well, I can’t really complain! The heartburn is kind of insane and my bump is now at the point where it gets in the way of daily activities (i.e. rolling over in bed, bending down to pick something up, breathing) but I swear I’m so preoccupied with other things that I don’t have time to focus on being uncomfortable. Plus, this baby kicks me nonstop and I love watching him make my belly move so much that it makes even the hairy parts of pregnancy all worth it. (By the way, baby kicks are still the most surreal feeling, even the second time around!) I was looking at photos from the last week of my pregnancy with Briar (41 weeks) and thinking “oh my god, do I look like that now?!” Ha! I’ll admit that I feel a bit like a house these days but I know it’s all for a good cause ;)

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy this moment while it’s still just the three of us. We’re taking little family day trips whenever possible and giving Briar our undivided attention. She and I have been hitting up Gymboree and the pool on an almost daily basis and it’s been so much fun to have that quality time with her, just the two of us. I’m so proud of the kind little person she has become and I can’t wait to see her as a big sister!

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

27 weeks in the bag! Holy moly.

(P.S. Cookies are always the best way to convince a toddler to pause for photos.)

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