ready as we’ll ever be.

Posted on: Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts on Being Ready for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Getting way more than my money’s worth out of that Anthro tank top!

Aside from “when are you due?” and “you’re taking the drugs, right?”, the most common question I get asked these days is “are you ready?” AM I READY? Is anyone ever ready? Sure, we have all of the necessary baby gear. The car seat base is secured in the backseat. My hospital bag is packed. We have attended all of the birth / baby classes and taken copious notes. We have mapped out the fastest route to the hospital. But are we READY? Oh gosh. I don’t think we will ever be fully “ready.”

John and I are both going into parenthood with a healthy sense of fear. We have no idea what to expect and we’re not even trying to pretend like we do. But ironically, I feel confident in our lack of total self-assuredness. I know that it will keep us on our toes. It will push us to expand beyond our comfort zones on a daily basis. It will require us to grow not only as parents but also as a couple and as individuals. It will reshape our lives, but in the very best way possible.

Here’s how I know we can do this (whether or not we feel 100% ready): we already love the heck out of this little girl. We haven’t even met her yet, but we are already determined to do everything in our power (and then some) to give her the best life possible. I always thought it would be difficult to give myself entirely to another person, but after being pregnant, I have no problem putting this tiny gal’s needs before my own. It’s not even a question. It’s just a way of life.

We’re ready when you are, little one.

diy custom frame mats.

Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2014

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys, I won’t even begin to tell you how ridiculously expensive it is to have an annual pass to Disneyland. It’s beyond the point of ridiculous. But in spite of the steep price point, John and I continue to renew our passes year after year, because, well, we love it! And soon we will have another person to take along with us (for free!), so of course, we’re in too deep to quit now ;)

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

Last year all annual pass holders were sent a calendar booklet complete with vintage prints from all of the big attractions and something told me that I should hang on to it for future use. Well, high five to me, because when I rediscovered the booklet while cleaning out my office the other day, I knew that three of the pages would be perfect for nursery decor! The only problem was that the dimensions of the pages didn’t exactly lend themselves well to traditional frame sizes.

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

So, I had to get a little creative. I went through the frames that I already had on hand and realized that if I used this simple white IKEA frame and made a custom mat with my Cameo die cutting machine, I could easily accommodate the prints! Boom. That was all it took to get my wheels turning…

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

To make the custom mat, I measured the prints and then created a slightly smaller-sized rectangle in the Silhouette Studio software and centered it within the 8.5 x 11″ paper allotment.

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves
DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the mats were cut out, I turned the prints over and adhered them to the backs of each mat using scotch tape (washi tape would probably work well too!). Then I popped each print into the frame and mapped out where I wanted to hang them on the wall.

DIY Custom Frame Mats | Ann-Marie Loves

Initially, I was reluctant to hang anything above the crib given the high likelihood of earthquakes, but I managed to find a few workarounds. First of all, these frames are super light and the covers are made of plastic, not glass. Secondly, I pulled the crib away from the wall so that should the prints fall, they won’t come in contact with the baby. And thirdly, I wreak more havoc simply by running my clumsy body into things than any earthquake could ever cause, so maybe I’m the one who needs to be baby-proofed? HA!

diy wedding guestbook box.

Posted on: Thursday, July 24, 2014

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

When I designed the guestbook cards for our wedding, I knew I wanted to do something untraditional with them, but honestly, I didn’t have a clear vision of what that would be. Flash forward several months later to when I stumbled upon an old recipe box at the thrift store and instantly knew what to do with those cards!

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

During our wedding, we used a thrifted wooden cassette tape holder to house the cards that our guests so sweetly filled out during the reception. When we got back from our honeymoon, we had the BEST time reading them, so I am thrilled to finally have an easily accessible landing place where we can revisit those happy memories whenever we like! Here’s how I customized the box:

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Cameo die cutting machine (bet you didn’t see that one coming! ;)), I cut out two liners for the insides of the box and the word “Guestbook” for the lid from printable gold foil. Sticking each of the liners down took a little finagling (and reapplying), but I love the way it adds an extra layer of visual interest every time the box is opened.

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

I then lightly applied the word “Guestbook” to the lid, making sure it was on straight before I pressed down to secure it into place. The good thing about this gold paper is that it’s sticky enough to hold up once enough pressure is applied to it, but not so sticky that you only have one shot to get it right.

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I gathered all of our cards together and placed them in the box. (Love the designer humor from Sarah!)

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Many of our guests not-so-subtly encouraged us to jump onboard the baby train ASAP. We took the hint ;)

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

And now our guestbook cards live happily on the bench in our living room!

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

If you’re currently in wedding planning mode, I encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to components such as guestbooks! Don’t worry about what everyone on Pinterest is doing (easier said than done, I know!) or how your ideas will come across to your traditionally-inclined guests. The more you can tailor the details of your event to your own personal tastes, the more your wedding will feel like you and your fiance. And isn’t that the whole point? :)

 

workspace wednesday | tying up loose ends.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Workspace Wednesday | Ann-Marie Loves

So as it turns out…I’m still pregnant! Ha! The salad didn’t work, but that’s okay. I’m more than happy to take advantage of a few extra days of sleeping in, cleaning this house from top to bottom, and tying up loose ends on the project front. It definitely feels counterintuitive to be cutting back on my workload and allowing myself to take a little bit of a break. I can’t remember the last time I did that since graduating college in 2009…!

While I wait for this baby to make an appearance, I’m magic eraser-ing the heck out of every surface (what is in those things, anyway?), trying to figure out where I want to hang these prints, learning awesome ideas for kids’ crafts (I can’t wait for her book!), writing the last handful of thank you notes, going on short power walks, squealing over these adorable mini TOMS that my friend Sarah gifted the babe, and trying to wrap my brain around what’s to come. It’s a good week, baby or no baby. Hope yours is going swimmingly as well!

the week of my due date.

Posted on: Monday, July 21, 2014

Caioti Pizza The "The" Salad | Ann-Marie Loves

Signing the book at Caioti Pizza.

Well, I’ve finally made it to the week of my due date. And by finally, I mean ALREADY?! I swear this has been the fastest pregnancy of all time. It feels bizarrely surreal, but at at the same time, incredibly exciting! John and I keep looking at each other and saying “yeah, so we could totally have a baby this week.” W H A T.

In an effort to move things along, I tried the famous “labor-inducing” salad at Caioti Pizza in Studio City last night. It was awesome and even if it doesn’t do the trick for me, it was wonderful to squeeze in last minute one-on-one time with my husband. There are moments that I temporarily mourn the loss of our lives as a twosome, but after almost ten years together, I am SO READY for the next chapter in our ongoing adventure. John is SO READY. And hopefully, sometime this very week, the baby will be SO READY.

P.S. As I head into full-on baby mode, my posts here may get a little infrequent. Once the baby arrives, I plan on popping in sporadically, but not on a regular basis for at least a few weeks OR until I figure out what in the world I am doing. (Whichever comes first.) Stick with me. I promise it will be worth the wait ;)

maternity shoot | style me pretty.

Posted on: Friday, July 18, 2014

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

It’s always a surreal experience to see your own face on a well-known blog and yesterday was no exception, thanks to this little feature on Style Me Pretty.

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

Last month, John and I had the pleasure of being photographed by Nicole of Sorella Muse Photography for a maternity shoot and it’s so much fun to finally go through the pictures and marvel at this fleeting stage of life. I remember thinking that I looked huge a month ago. Ha! Try 39 weeks, Ann-Marie ;)

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

We started the shoot by letting Nicole work her magic in the nursery and our bedroom (who knew our early evening light could be so magical?) and then strolled along picturesque Green Street, followed by a trip to City Hall (of Parks and Rec fame) for the ultimate Pasadena photo. I have no idea where we will live when future little ones come along, but I’d love to get an iconic shot of each city that we have babies in.

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

It’s a crazy thing to watch your body grow and change as each week goes by. I will readily admit that I don’t always love the way I look while pregnant, but I am so grateful that my body is doing what it’s doing, even without my consent. There are much bigger things to worry about than puffy cheeks and swollen feet. Like, for real…when is this kid coming? ;)

stamped canvas pouch.

Posted on: Thursday, July 17, 2014

DIY Stamped Canvas Pouch | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | via Dear Lizzy DIY Stamped Canvas Pouch | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | via Dear Lizzy

Yesterday my stamped canvas pouch tutorial was shared on the always-inspiring Dear Lizzy’s blog! Hop on over to check it out :)

workspace wednesday | makeshift photo studio.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Aside from the fact that I love clean-lined white furniture, a big part of the reason that I wanted this dresser for the office / nursery was because I knew it would make the perfect makeshift “photo studio.”

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Given the dresser’s close proximity to the window and the fact that it’s so easy for me to clear an open space by removing the changing pad, I’m positive that even after the baby arrives and starts napping in her crib, I’ll be able to quickly and easily utilize this space for all kinds of photography purposes. (P.S. How ridiculously cute are those hand-knitted teddy bears? $0.79 each at the thrift store…!)

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m a big believer in making use of what you have! There’s no need to invest in fancy studio equipment as long as you have access to a clean white surface and plentiful natural light. And even though I hate the look of those terrible vertical blinds that came with our apartment, I love that they allow me to control the amount of light entering the room so I can photograph at all different times of day. #silverlining

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Of course, my only problem right now is the giant bump that seems to photobomb all of my overhead shots – ha!

P.S. You can read so much more about my tips for creating eye-catching compositions and taking blog-worthy photographs in my e-course Styling | Shooting | Sharing!

thoughts on diy weddings.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve always known that my wedding would be comprised of handmade details. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. That being said, I had no idea just how much work those handmade details would take. Hours, days, weeks, months of work. But was it worth it? 100 PERCENT YES.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

John and I decided to tackle as many projects ourselves as possible, for both creative + financial reasons. Many things were never even a question of asking for others’ help, including our paper goods (save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, etc). In the end, there were many projects I didn’t get around to (wine labels, programs, paper flowers, the list goes on…), but really, no one but me knew the difference. I had been told this by various people throughout the whole planning process, but of course, I didn’t listen. Some things you just have to learn for yourself!

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza's Wedding | As seen in Wedding Magazine

I will admit that seeing our hard work pay off in the forms of a wedding blog feature and a magazine spread were pretty awesome, but seriously. As cliche as it sounds, the best part of all was that I walked away with a husband at the end of the day. He’s the best and I couldn’t be happier that he stuck by my side despite all my crazy wedding ideas and late night crafting and art directing. We managed to pull off the wedding of our dreams, which was topped only by the honeymoon of our dreams.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

And now…we’re having a baby and the DIY madness has been reincarnated in a brand new, equally as passionate form. Once a DIY’er, always a DIY’er!

full term!

Posted on: Monday, July 14, 2014

Full Term! | Ann-Marie Loves

Being full-term means:

My wedding ring no longer fits my finger (which is good for my skin since I’ve recently developed an allergy to it! GAH.)

Trying to finish up last minute projects as fast as possible.

I’m never too far from my bottle of Tums. Heartburn continues to be the one constant throughout my whole pregnancy. (Maybe it’s because she has a full head of hair?)

Getting up in the middle of the night for the umpteenth bathroom trip and realizing “OMG, I’m going to be awake at this hour every night!

Savoring these last few weeks of being pregnant. Despite minor discomforts along the way, I have LOVED this experience.

Riding waves of being super tired and waves of being super energized. I never know what each day (or rather, each hour!) will bring.

I am much smaller and more able-bodied than I thought I would be at this point (which is not to say that I’m by ANY MEANS small or super able-bodied in comparison to others; just different than I imagined).

Visiting the doctor on a weekly basis.

My belly button is officially inside out.

Being on high alert for any signs of impending labor (“Is that a contraction? Is THAT a contraction?”). So far, no real signs.

Writing the shortest birth plan of all time:

  1. Walk into hospital pregnant.
  2. Walk out of hospital with a healthy baby. All the rest will be figured out when I get there!

The shape of my bump sadly does not allow me to use it as a table for food and drinks. The drop-off is far too steep.

Drinking lots and lots of water, from the time I get up to the time I go to bed.

Trying not to dwell on the logistics of actually popping this kid out. Oh lordy.

Wondering when (if?) the waddling stage will begin.

My hands fall asleep ALL. THE. TIME. I get that weird prickling sensation not just when I’m sleeping (although that’s the most common time), but also when I’m in the middle of a hand-intensive task. Um, hi, I was still using you?

Getting more and more excited everyday! All these months of planning, dreaming, shopping, decorating, worrying, and reveling are about to pay off in a BIG way.

Hoping for a happy, healthy baby above all else.

I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m doing it.

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