as of late | april edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As of Late | Ann-Marie Loves

Gorgeous florals by The Design Hunters.

Reflecting back on such a fun Saturday night spent dancing myself silly at a family wedding. I have absolutely no shame. NONE.

Marveling with amazement (and terror) at my baby who army crawls all over the place. Baby proofing is now in full-effect!

Watching the season premieres of Veep and Silicon Valley on HBO GO. Cable, what’s that?

Listening to episode after episode of The Girl Next Door podcast. I think “shoot the breeze-style” pods (new abbrev) are my favorite style of pod. P.S. A list of my favorite shows!

Learning so much (and laughing so much) from Laura Miller! I discovered her show Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. on Tastemade and can’t get enough of her quirky yet approachable take on healthy eating.

Raising my glass to this Truthbomb.

Pulling the trigger on a brand new camera…! A big mama one…! No turning back now.

Enjoying the longer stretches of sleep I’m getting at night! I’m sure that I’m jinxing this, but Briar seems to have turned a corner with all the new solid foods in her diet. Girl can suddenly put away 9-10 hours a night! (insert all the prayer hand emojis!)

Loving three recent purchases from Target: reusable silicone squeeze pouches for Miss Briar “don’t even try to feed me with a spoon” Espinoza, Happy Yogis yogurt + fruit snacks (Briar and I share them!), and this banana print baby romper that just about made my life.

Ordering a bunch of prints and revisiting an old friend: scrapbooking.

Feeling pleased as punch with my new favorite nail polish color (currently adorning my fingernails).

Wanting to try this strawberry basil farro salad. (And then follow it up with key lime bars!)

Wearing this black jumpsuit every other day (or is it everyday?). It’s so comfy AND it’s nursing friendly. All the things that I care about in my life.

Looking forward to a trip down to San Diego this weekend! It’s been way too long and I’m way too excited.

Working on my photography website as well as dreaming up a baby / kids-related shop (think prints, invitations, decor, and more!) that will debut shortly. Yay for new adventures!

list of favorite podcasts.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Favorite Podcasts | Ann-Marie Loves

It seems as though there’s been a sudden wave of new podcasts to hit the scene (or maybe I’ve just gotten better at finding them?) and I LOVE it. Podcasts are my jam. They keep me company while I’m driving, walking, washing dishes, or doing any other activity that allows me to zone out for a bit.

Here are my favorite podcasts that I turn to time and time again:

Business / Creative

The Lively Show
Elise Gets Crafty
One Part Podcast
Raise Your Hand, Say Yes
After the Jump
Being Boss
Smart Passive Income
With Purpose
Accidental Creative
Our Style Stories

Conversational

Joy the Baker
Girl Next Door
The Art of Simple
The JV Club
Here’s the Thing

Spiritual / Personal Growth

Tara Brach
Sarah R. Bagley
Tranquility Du Jour
The Wellness Wonderland
Hopeologie

Narrative / Human Interest

Serial
This American Life
RadioLab

Motherhood

The Longest Shortest Time

Comedy

How Did This Get Made?
Nerdist

I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting my own podcast for quite some time and I’m thinking 2015 is the perfect year to set that plan in motion. We’ll see how it goes!

P.S. Any good shows that I’m missing? Do tell!

happy place | pasadena.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m pretty sure the secret to happiness is this: waking up and deciding on a whim that your day must include a spontaneous adventure. Then, pursuing such spontaneous adventures. That’s exactly what Briar and I did yesterday, after realizing that it had been far too long since we last visited Pasadena. So I buckled her into her car seat and off we went!

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

We hit up some of our favorite spots: a latte and toast at Lavender + Honey, a little shopping at Tiny Universe, and a walk through some of the most charming neighborhoods in town. There’s something about getting out of the house and being in a beautiful place that energizes me and puts me in a fresh frame of mind. I need to do this more often…

how to do disneyland with an infant | part two.

Posted on: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yesterday I shared my best tips for bringing an infant to Disneyland and today I’m sharing the details of what I pack for my seven month old.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Food + Supplies. Like I mentioned before, Briar is now at the age where we can alternate nursing with feeding her solid foods. The combination of the two makes for a pretty smooth Disneyland day. For a seven month old, I pack a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag of Cheerios, a banana, and a small bowl and spoon. The Cheerios are great for keeping her entertained while the adults eat or we wait in line. The banana is great for multiple meals throughout the day (I only cut off a small portion each time, mix it up in her bowl with a little water, and feed it to her with a spoon). I chose a banana over other fruits and vegetables because it comes in it’s own container, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and can be easily mashed up. I also pack a small sippy cup that I fill with a little bit of water so she has something to drink when eating solids. And then of course, I bring two bibs, because it’s easier than changing her outfit fourteen times a day.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Toiletries + “Just In Case” Supplies. The thing about babies is, you never really know what they’re going to do while at Disneyland. Will they have gas? Will they soil their clothes within the first five minutes? Will they (god forbid) get sick? Since I’m never sure what’s coming down the pike, I like to come prepared. For a full day at Disneyland, I bring a minimum of ten diapers and a travel-size pack of wipes. I keep these necessities (as well as a waterproof changing matsunscreen, and a million pacifiers) in a small zip bag that I throw in my backpack since I’m usually the one that takes Briar to the restroom.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

In addition to the immediate necessities, I pack a nose bulb, Boogie Wipes, gas drops, and Tylenol. Since I hope not to use these things but still like to have them on hand, I put them in a Ziploc bag and keep it in John’s backpack (where all of our non-immediate items hang out). I should also mention that I always have a bottle of Babyganics hand sanitizer in the pocket of our stroller caddy, because, well, GERMS.

P.S. In case you forget any of these items of simply don’t want to bring them, you can always purchase them through the Baby Care Center on Main Street.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Clothes. So here’s the part of the packing where I inevitably lose track of time…baby clothes are just too cute! For a warm day at Disneyland, I bring two extra onesies, two pairs of leggings, a sweater or sweatshirt, extra socks, pajamas, a floppy hat, and sunglasses. I like to keep Briar’s outfits as fuss-free as possible, so I avoid anything with too many snaps or buttons. If I’m really on my game, I’ll change Briar into her pajamas before we head home so the transition from car seat to crib is as seamless as possible. I should also mention that I always pack at least two plastic bags (shopping or Ziploc) in case any items of clothing get wet…or worse (EEK).

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Carrier. I have a Boba wrap (shown above) and an Ergo and I honestly love them both equally. The Boba would be great if you want to pack light and plan on wearing your baby most of the day, so you don’t have to tie / untie the several yards of fabric over and over again. That’s what I used when Briar was two months old and just a tiny little thing. On the other hand, the Ergo is perfect if you plan on keeping your baby in the stroller during the majority of your trip since it can be easily taken on / off and stashed in the stroller storage compartment when not in use. I also find that it’s much easier to nurse in an Ergo than a wrap because I can loosen the straps quickly and snap the hood in place for extra privacy. No matter which carrier you prefer, this is one of the most important items you can bring to ensure a successful day at Disneyland.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Toys. Disneyland is bright! And colorful! And stimulating! But sometimes it’s nice to have some familiarity on hand to keep your baby from completely losing her mind. I always bring Briar a handful of her favorite toys, but the clincher is, they have to be able to hook on to her stroller by way of this wonderful teething necklace. Not only do the toys remain in her stroller (and not on the ground), but she can also chew on the beads and soothe those poor little gums.

With a little planning and prep work, taking an infant to Disneyland is completely doable! I cannot recommend it enough!

how to do disneyland with an infant | part one.

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

I know, I know. The thought of taking an infant to an overpriced, overcrowded, overstimulating environment makes some people break out in hives. I totally get it. But I can also confirm that despite all of those things, it is 100% WORTH it. I’m a big believer in taking Briar (almost) everywhere I go, and as a result, she’s become my laid back, highly adaptable co-pilot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about taking an infant to Disneyland:

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Plan meals ahead of time. Briar is now at a perfect stage where I can alternate nursing with solid foods, which makes the whole day so much easier than when I had to stop and nurse her every two hours. For a half day with a seven month old, I packed one banana (along with a small bowl and a baby spoon) and a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Both of those foods lasted quite some time and kept Briar thoroughly entertained and satiated. I also packed a sippy cup that I would fill with water so she could take a few sips (slash pour the rest all over the place) whenever she had a solid food meal or snack.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring the stroller AND the carrier (and grandma). When it comes to getting around and keeping your baby happy, you need options. Now that Briar is old enough to sit up and face forward in her stroller, it’s like a whole new world for her (and me!). We have a Britax B-Agile which I absolutely love because it’s lightweight, folds up easily, the seat can be adjusted upright or laid down with a simple pull, and the shade is huge (meaning my pale baby is safe from the sun / given privacy during naps). The stroller does the bulk of the work throughout the day, but when it comes to taking Briar on rides, nursing her on the go (it can be done!), or calming her when she’s fussy, that’s when the carrier comes in handy. I usually bring the Ergo, but I also love the Boba wrap as well. However, if I’m being honest, the best transportation of all is in the arms of Nana…always bring Nana ;)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Skip the tram and walk. If ever given the choice to walk or ride, I always walk, because, well, I just like walking. However, this is particularly handy when you have a stroller in tow. The walk from the parking structure to the park gates is approximately 10-15 minutes and is much easier (in my opinion) than waiting in line for the front seats of the tram and having to fold / unfold your stroller. Consider it your warm-up for the walking marathon you are about to embark upon.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. This place is amazing. There’s a private nursing area with comfy chairs, there’s a diaper changing station, there are high chairs, there’s a place to store your pump…Disney has thoroughly thought out the baby situation. I think my favorite part about it is being able to sit in a quiet, air-conditioned space with my little one, free from any distractions. Other great (semi-private) places to nurse: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the train, the back corner of Hungry Bear Restaurant, the Haunted Mansion, or any ride that you can wear your baby in a carrier.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring comfort items. Since Disneyland can be incredibly stimulating, it’s nice to have comfort items at the ready for when your little one needs a reprieve. I always make sure that we have several pacifiers on hand (at least half of them end up on the ground), small toys that can be attached to the stroller, and a few lightweight blankets for nap time. Whenever Briar has had enough, I’ll take her to the Baby Care Center for a little peace and quiet or I’ll lay her in her stroller and pull the shades down so some of the noise and lights are blocked.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Ride those rides! There are SO many rides you can actually take babies on. I have had an annual pass for years and I had no idea how many rides babies could board! I’m not just talking about Fantasyland rides, I’m talking about the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and any others that do not have a height restriction. The other great feature Disneyland offers for parents of babies is a Rider Switch Pass. Let’s say you and your significant other want to ride Space Mountain: you simply request a Rider Switch Pass when you get in line and then both of you can alternate riding with watching the baby. Win win, right?

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Pack lightly. Babies require a lot of stuff; the packing list alone can be intimidating! But it’s important to keep in mind that if you bring too much into the park, you’ll spend the whole day schlepping big bags in and out of crowds and lines and tight spaces, and really, that’s a huge buzz kill. After a handful of trips to Disneyland with Briar, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for John and me: I bring my everyday bag (similar to this) to carry all the immediate essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers) and John brings a bigger backpack to carry the less immediate essentials (spare clothes, the camera, a bowl + spoon for Briar). We also utilize the storage underneath the stroller for bulky items, like the Ergo or our sweatshirts. Whenever we need to park the stroller to get in a ride line, we don’t worry about leaving anything behind because we keep almost everything on our person already. If you want to carry even less, you can always rent a locker or store extras in your car for later. (Tomorrow I’ll share all the details of what I pack!)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Roll with it. I’ve decided that you can look at bringing babies along to Disneyland in one of two ways: you can either look at it as a major hassle OR you can choose see it as a wonderful adventure for the whole family! I choose to view it through the latter perspective. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on, but it’s always worth it in the end! (Plus, babies are free until they’re three!)

our pasadena home.

Posted on: Friday, March 27, 2015

Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves
Pasadena Living | Ann-Marie LovesPasadena Living | Ann-Marie Loves

From the moment I first toured this apartment, I was sold. The dark wood floors, the huge picture windows, the large room sizes, and the unmistakeable Pasadena charm that I had been searching for. I loved scouring the local thrift store or the Rose Bowl for unique decor pieces. I loved creating weavings and wreaths and statement walls. I love arranging and rearranging whenever the mood would strike. When we first moved in, we had no idea we would soon be adding a third person to the mix, but planning and decorating a space for Briar turned out to be my favorite decorating task of all.

We had a good run here. I can’t wait for the next place!

workspace wednesday | staying sane while being a work at home mama.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Staying Sane While Being a Work at Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

Being a mom is hard work. It’s incredibly fulfilling, but it can also be incredibly draining as well. Add working from home on top of caring for a baby and whoa, things just got a little trickier. Here are some tips for staying sane that I’ve learned over the past seven + a half months:

Ask for help. For so long, I resisted asking for help from others. I had this terribly backwards mindset that if I asked for help, it meant that I was admitting weakness. Ha! Well, the joke was on me. Ever since we moved closer to family and friends, I’ve been taking others up on their offers to watch Briar and in turn, have not only felt better about my workload, but about my mental state as well. I also think the stimulation Briar gets from other people and other environments is good for her! After all, I’m sure she’s tired of seeing my face 24/7. I’m not ashamed to admit that I need my tribe.

Combine efforts (but not too much). There’s a certain glorification to being able to do ten things at once…and I don’t buy into it. That being said, there are certain ways to “combine efforts” (if you will) in order to make myself and Briar happy at the same time. For example, I’ve learned to answer emails while pumping. Listen to inspiring podcasts while taking the baby for a walk. Wear Briar in the Ergo or the Boba wrap while shooting photos. And when necessary, nap when the baby naps (and eat when the baby eats, and do laundry when the baby does laundry ;)).

Capitalize on nap time. From about five and a half months on, Briar has been taking consistent daily naps. Each day is a little different; sometimes she takes one nap, sometimes she takes three. But no matter the quantity, the girl is finally napping for at least an hour every single day. After so many months of infrequent power naps and no semblance of a schedule, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself when she started napping everyday! Initially, I kept anticipating that she would wake up after twenty minutes and we would be back at square one (feeding, entertaining, not getting work done). But now I’m beginning to really capitalize on that time to myself and use it for good.

Work out. Whether I make it to the gym or I simply take Briar for a brisk walk around the neighborhood, being active is still one of my favorite ways to burn off stress and get refocused. It’s all too easy to put off exercise when there are e-mails to be written, dishes to be washed, and toys to be picked up. But to me, exercise is a non-negotiable. I need that release or else…bad news bears (just ask my husband).

Let it go. There are many things I will not accomplish at this stage of life. I may never fully tackle my inbox. I may forget about projects and deadlines. I may go a week without blogging. I may make stupid mistakes that I wouldn’t have made pre-baby. I may not be making as much money as I possibly could. I may never strike a balance between working and raising a baby at the same time. I’m slowly learning to give myself grace and accept the fact that I am doing the best than I can do at this stage of life.

Whether you work from home or you leave the house everyday, how do you stay sane?

briar at seven months.

Posted on: Monday, March 23, 2015

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

I realize I am beginning to sound like a bit of a broken record here, but seriously, seven months is where it’s at.

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was newly pregnant and begging and pleading with the universe to pretty please provide me with a girl, I had a vision of what my daughter would be like. Well, I’m happy to report that Briar has far exceeded all of those expectations. She’s just…my dream girl. She’s smart. She’s happy. She’s fearless. She’s beautiful. And she’s making my job as her mom so incredibly easy and fulfilling that I can’t help but wonder what I did to deserve such a wonderful little girl.

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Despite the fact that she still wakes up one to two times a night, she has turned into an excellent napper…a far cry from the first month or two when she was awake all day, everyday! Being able to count on her sleeping for at least an hour during the day (and sometimes up to three hours!) has done wonders for my work flow. She also now goes to bed around 10pm, which is a nice departure from those late, late nights-turned-early-mornings back in the beginning. I will admit that although I was hesitant to move her into her own room, it was the best thing I did for her and for me and John. Two months in and we all sleep better being in our own spaces.

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar had her first taste of solid foods at four months, and ever since then, she has tried all kinds of fruits + veggies! She is particularly fond of blueberries, but really, she has enjoyed everything (despite her facial expressions telling a very different story! Ha!). She’s also still nursing regularly throughout the day (and night), which works great for the both of us. My goal is to nurse her to one year, but of course, I’m willing to go shorter or (a little bit) longer, depending upon what she wants to do. If there’s one piece of wisdom I’ve learned over the past seven months, it’s to let Briar lead. She knows what she needs and it’s my job to follow her down that path.

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is officially a girl on the go. She seldom stays in a single spot for too long, thanks to her never-ending rolling and army crawling. Watching her discover her world is such a thrill for me…I had no idea that the smallest things could be so rewarding! Of course, this means that I can’t take my eyes off of her for too long as she is an expert at turning seemingly innocuous situations into high danger! Ha! She is also the proud owner of two bottom teeth, a full head of curly blonde hair, and chubby little limbs. I mean, I can’t even handle the cuteness.

Briar at Seven Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Whenever I feel pangs for my tiny little newborn Briar, I can’t help but think that whatever current stage we are in is so much more fulfilling than those first few weeks that we spent getting acquainted. She’s a real person now, with skills and opinions and preferences all her own.

I couldn’t be more in love with my seven month old sunshine girl.

chia seed bowl.

Posted on: Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chia Seed Bowl | Ann-Marie Loves

As a major breakfast food aficionado, I am always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to start my day. Thanks to this video via Instyle, I recently discovered the magic of chia seed bowls! Not only are they insanely nutritious, but they take less than five minutes to put together…win-win! I also love that I can prepare a bowl the night before so my hectic mornings are simplified. Here’s how I make mine:

Chia Seed Bowl | Ann-Marie Loves

Gather chia seeds (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), milk (any kind), pomegranate seeds, almonds, raisins, hemp seeds, and banana slices.

Chia Seed Bowl | Ann-Marie Loves

Combine one part chia seeds (I usually do 1/3 cup) with two parts milk and stir until evenly mixed.

Chia Seed Bowl | Ann-Marie Loves

Leave the bowl in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours until the milk has been absorbed and the consistency is thick. (The seeds will end up looking gray if you use cow’s milk.)

Chia Seed Bowl | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the chia seeds + milk are ready to pull out of the fridge, add in the toppings and enjoy!

P.S. My oatmeal routine and my daily coffee!

first time for everything.

Posted on: Monday, March 16, 2015

First Time for Everything | Ann-Marie Loves
First Time for Everything | Ann-Marie Loves
First Time for Everything | Ann-Marie Loves
First Time for Everything | Ann-Marie Loves

There are the big milestones in every baby’s life…first time rolling over, first tooth, first word…and then there are the smaller but equally as exciting milestones. This past weekend Briar was able to experience the latter: she encountered sand at the beach for the first time! And in true carefree Briar fashion, she totally loved it (the loud crashing waves, however? not so much ;)). Seeing the world through her eyes is so rewarding! Everyday is a cause for celebration around here.

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