mom style | summer picks for toddlers.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mom Style | Summer Picks for Toddlers Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s hard to believe that Jamie and I are no longer moms of infants, but instead, two super curious, super adorable toddlers! (I could swear we were just pregnant??) Things are definitely a little (okay, A LOT) different than they were last summer when we had our babies, so we thought it would be fun to share our recent favorite baby products. Here’s what’s getting us through these long, hot days:

Mom Style | Summer Picks for Toddlers Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Ann-Marie’s Picks:

+ Swimsuit // I gotta say, shopping for baby swimsuits is one heck of a lot more fun than shopping for mommy suits! I’ve found some really cute ones at Baby Gap and Janie + Jack.

+ Toes, Ears, & Nose // We’ve been reading to Briar since she was only a few days old, but books are just now becoming her activity of choice. She is especially fond of this cute book, complete with flaps and fun illustrations.

+ Sun hat // Getting Briar to wear a hat is always an exercise in trying to distract her before she notices something is on her head, but this sun hat is in constant rotation.

+ Ban.do Watermelon Bag // So technically this bag is designed to be a cooler, but from the moment I saw it, I knew it would make for the perfect diaper bag! Not only is it ridiculously cute but the waterproof liner is ideal for keeping spills and odors at bay.

+ Beco Gemini Baby Carrier // I’ve talked about my love of baby carriers before, but I have to say, I love that this particular model allows me to safely wear Briar facing out! I’m a stickler about protecting her hips and Briar is a stickler about making sure she doesn’t miss a moment of the action, so this Beco Gemini is a win-win!

+ Triangle Blanket // This adorable hot pink / tan / black waterproof blanket from 7 A.M. Enfant is perfect for throwing in Briar’s diaper bag and spreading out on the grass.

+ Dapple High Chair + Toy Cleaner // Having a hungry, hungry toddler means lots of snacks eaten in her high chair. Since I don’t want to pull off and scrub down the tray every time Briar eats, I spray a little bit of this natural, baby-safe cleaner on it and call it good.

+ Gold Saltwaters // Now that Briar’s main mode of transportation is walking, it’s paramount that we have little shoes on her little feet when we go out in public. These baby Saltwaters are easily the cutest things I’ve ever seen…!

+ Bumgenius Cloth Diapers // We’re a little late to the cloth diapering club, but I am happy to finally be a part-time member! Even though we still use disposable diapers the majority of the time, having a few cloth diapers on hand helps ease the environmental and financial guilt of traditional diapering, plus it ensures that we never run out! I also love how these well-designed diapers can pass as bloomers during these unbearably hot summer months.

Mom Style | Summer Picks for Toddlers Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Jamie’s Picks:

Mini Lunch Bag // I’ve used this bag since my pumping days! My breast milk stayed chilled on the long commute home from the clinic. Now, each morning I pull it out of the freezer and fill it with Luna’s meals for Grandpa Day Care.

+ Hot Pink Bathing Suit // This hot pink suit with yellow pom fringe caught my eye right away. Luna loves birds! Her face lights up when she points to the little birds on her suit.

+ Sunglasses // Luna loves a good pair of shades. Target has adorable inexpensive sunglasses so I don’t feel bad when a pair gets broken.

+ Maracas // Luna lives for music! She’ll find the beat and rhythm in anything. She dances and sings daily. She definitely dances like no one is watching, although she prefers to be watched. Her grandmother sings with her all the time. They are currently going through an old western song phase. Luna’s father will slow dance with her in the middle of a busy restaurant. I’ll turn the music up and rolled the windows down during our car rides. I love seeing her lips move and head bop in the backseat mirror. I hope her love for music and dance contuinue to grow.

+ Sandals // I don’t like to spend too much on Luna’s shoes so when I found these darling sandals on the clearance rack at T.J. Maxx, I scooped them right up! If she’s anything like her mother, she will live in sandals.

+ Baby Fedora // From day one, Luna has loved wearing hats. Luckily, this means we don’t have to apply so much sunscreen to her face. This makes Luna very happy.

+ Sippy Cup // Spill proof! Yes, please! I never leave home without a sippy cup full of water. It always finds its way to the bottom of my diaper bag, upside down of course.

+ Mexican Blanket // This particular blanket was a lucky thrift find and now it comes with us everywhere. It’s always in my trunk waiting to be pulled out at every park stop. (Similar blankets here!)

+ Babyganics Baby Sunscreen // I’m very particular with the products I put on Luna. Minimal organic ingredients. The less ingredients, and ones I can pronounce, the better.

Mom Style | Summer Picks for Toddlers Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

But if we’re realllllly being honest, here’s our secret to staying cool while keeping our cool as the moms of two toddlers. Cheers!

P.S. Our first Mom Style post!

briar’s first birthday party album.

Posted on: Thursday, August 27, 2015

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Since having Briar and accumulating a never-ending supply of baby paraphernalia, I’ve been much more conscious about not bringing extra “stuff” into my life. I used to raid the Anthro sale section for cute housewares and hit the thrift store for awesome deals on home decor, but I just can’t do that with the same abandon anymore. So when I spotted this three dollar binder in the dollar spot at Target (knowing it would be the PERFECT catchall for holding the cards and photos we have from Briar’s first birthday party!) I went back and forth over whether I needed it. I walked with it all around the store and almost put it back, but in the end, it came home with me.

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t spend any longer than two hours on the project and I certainly held up my end of the bargain! Armed with a few basic supplies, I whipped out an entire mini album in a single naptime. BOOM.

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

To keep things simple, I only used the cards and envelopes that Briar received as the pages to the book; no extra patterned paper necessary. I was then able to quickly add them in with the help of my handy dandy Crop-A-Dile tool. Here are some of my favorite spreads from the book:

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

This project could not have been easier! It feels great to have Briar’s first birthday party documented and in the books (literally). I’m so glad that three dollar binder found its way home with me.

SUPPLIES: Kelly Purkey Wood Alphabet Stamps // Gold Foil Thickers // Gold Foil Number Stickers // Washi Tape // BasicGrey Aurora Element Stickers // Amy Tangerine Transparent Stickers // Enamel Dots // Die Cut Shapes // Tape Runner // Crop-A-Dile

 

as of late | august edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

As of Late | Ann-Marie Loves | Card by Goldpress Paper

Wanting to frame this adorable hand-lettered card from Goldpress Paper!

Feeling incredibly grateful for my health after a bout with food poisoning last week. Also, it makes me think I may not be THAT ready for first trimester nausea again ;)

Reading The Year of Magical Thinking after renewing my library card on Monday. So far, I really like it!

Listening to The Momo Show nonstop. Also! I have a title for my future podcast series. I’ve told a few people about it already and I’m excited to get the wheels in motion.

Walking now more than ever thanks to the encouragement of my new Fitbit! Late night laps around the house to reach 10k steps is a daily occurrence.

Eagerly awaiting the end of summer (not until late October for Southern California), but still trying to enjoy “summery” moments: feeling the A/C on my face as I shower, having so many hours of daylight to shoot photos, taking Briar swimming…I guess summer’s not that bad. Actually, yes it is.

Rewatching Parenthood and feeling all the emotions on a deeper level now that I’ve been at this parenting gig for a whole year.

Planning upcoming photo shoots and feeling total excitement, which is how creative projects should always feel!

Loving everything ban.do at the moment! I seriously love my new Florabunda planner (I FEEL SO ORGANIZED!) and the watermelon cooler bag that I turned into Briar’s new diaper bag. Give me all the kitsch.

Reveling in happy memories from the bridal shower that we threw for my dear friend Janelle last Saturday. I’m beyond excited for her big day.

Thinking ahead to the holidays! We have a few good Halloween costume ideas up our sleeves. Let’s see if we can execute them before October 31st at 4pm…

Loving Elise’s Get to Work Book videos. I love to get inside the minds of super organized + efficient people.

Treating myself to iced coffees from the Starbucks drive-thru every few days. Yes, I could totally save money by making my own iced coffee at home, but there’s nothing quite like somebody handing me my drink through the window of my air-conditioned car. Also, it keeps Briar contained for five minutes and that is NO SMALL FEAT.

Hearing good things about this book and adding it to my wish list.

Living by this quote from Danielle LaPorte: “Focus on the energy of the solution.” BOOM.

briar’s first birthday party invitations.

Posted on: Thursday, August 20, 2015

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

With an active toddler, a busy workload, and a million other things I need to get done these days, I decided to save my sanity and send out Briar’s first birthday party invitations via e-mail. As much as I love paper and sending out physical happy mail, I knew it was way more important to spread the word about the party ASAP than to worry about packaging / addressing / stamping, etc. Plus, I figured if anyone (i.e. grandparents) really wanted a hard copy of the invite, they could easily print it out themselves. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, it’s to avoid needlessly overcomplicating simple tasks whenever possible!

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

However, just because I sent out the invites via e-mail, it doesn’t mean I scrimped on design. If you remember back a few weeks ago, I happily spent an afternoon hand lettering Briar’s name and then scanning it in and formatting it in Photoshop. I also was super picky about the photo I wanted to use, so it took many a photoshoot (and many bribes with treats!) until I was able to capture Briar just the way I  had envisioned. Once I had my photo, my handlettering, and my text in place, it wasn’t hard to pair them all together to create the finished product.

http://annmarieloves.com/2015/07/13/briars-first-birthday-invitation-progress/

If you’re planning on sending out an invite via e-mail, here are a few tips for making sure you get your message across successfully:

Make sure your file is sized appropriately. I have made the mistake of sending out GIANT files before and as a result, many people were not able to open the file. This time around, I made sure that my file was small enough to easily open and read.

Include your message in the body of the e-mail. Just in case your recipients can’t (or choose not to) open your attached image / PDF, include all the information from the invite in the body of the e-mail. Also, be sure to create a catchy, informative subject line so that people open your message promptly.

BCC. If you plan on sending your invite to multiple recipients, use the bcc function of your e-mail to quickly reach everyone without having to worry about the dreaded “Reply All.”

Include links (if necessary). The benefit to mailing out an invitation via e-mail vs. snail mail is that you can include appropriate links (i.e. registries or wish lists) in the message. While I wouldn’t recommend sending out wedding invitations or maybe even shower invitations through e-mail, I think it’s a great option for birthdays or informal gatherings.

 

workspace wednesday | share your voice.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Share Your Voice | Ann-Marie Loves

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of sharing your voice, even when the market seems like it can’t accommodate one more person. I have fallen into the trap of “there’s no more room for me, so I’ll just sit on the sidelines and watch others shine” way too many times to count. I’ve convinced myself that this world has enough bloggers / photographers / Instagrammers / designers / podcasters already, so why would anyone care about my point of view? When I type it all out like that, it makes me feel sad! I would never ever tell a friend that there’s not enough room for her at the table, so why would I treat myself that way?

But after a recent workout class, I had a radical change in perspective…

Here’s what happened: Zumba is my favorite workout and it has been for a few years now. There are three teachers at my gym who are amazing in their own unique ways, but there’s one in particular who is INCREDIBLE. He’s the type of teacher who fills a class every single time. In fact, I have to get to the gym a half hour before each class just so I can reserve my spot! He’s one of those teachers who makes a challenging workout feel like play…I smile and laugh the whole entire sweaty hour. During his class on Monday, I couldn’t help but think, “I am SO GLAD he is sharing his gift with us!” He could easily dismiss the idea of teaching since there are so many other people out there doing the exact same thing as him. He could talk himself out of getting in front of the class for fear that people may not like his style (and the truth is, some people don’t!). He could come up with a million and one reasons to stay home and avoid the hassle of creating a workout routine, finding the right music to dance to, and then memorizing it all so that others can follow along. But the thing is, he doesn’t. He shows up, day after day, week after week, and brings so much light and joy to his loyal students. His innate knack for motivating others to work hard while having a great time is CONTAGIOUS.

The moral of the story? THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR YOU. Even though your point of view may not align with every single person on the planet (nor should it!), it will absolutely align with some people. So please, share your voice! The world needs to hear from you.

P.S. I just listened to Elise’s latest podcast episode and I loved her guest Caroline Burkle’s quote: “Your strengths can benefit someone else’s strengths.” Perfect.

staying present in motherhood.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

From the moment you find out a baby will soon be joining your life, it’s hard to keep yourself from constantly fantasizing about the future. What will my baby look like? What costume will she wear for Halloween? How are we going to pay for college?! In fact, most of last year, I made all of my decisions based off of the timeline of “Pre-Briar” and ‘Post-Briar.” Pre-Briar life meant attending loud concerts on a whim, spending a whole day of working without interruptions, and sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I COULD. Post-Briar life means lining up babysitters when I want to go out, squeezing in work during naptimes, and not sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I HAVE A BABY. I think it’s only natural for moms to be preoccupied with the future; after all, we’re the ones steering the ship!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

However, I am now on a mission to stay in the present moment as often as possible and enjoy each fleeting second exactly as it is. Sure, it’s not always how I envisioned it would look or feel, but that’s all part of the fun, especially as a mom of a young toddler. Briar is growing up SO FAST (so fast, you guys!) and I want to live every minute with her, instead of wishing for a more “perfect” scenario or mentally plotting out the distant future. This is why I am now bucking my to-do list for a short time everyday and really allowing the both of us to enjoy time together.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend, we spent some time outside so I could work on her scrapbook and she could play with her toys. Even though we were only going out in the backyard, I found it was so handy to pack up my craft supplies in a Creative Options’ Two Tray Box and Briar’s toys + books in a fabric Craft Caddy.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s caddy was filled with all of the essentials for briefly occupying a girl on the move: her favorite books, her BlaBla doll (whom we named Olivia), her gold Saltwater sandals (should she decide to venture off the mat) (which she immediately did), and plenty of Cheerios!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

My box was stocked with all the essentials for a crafty gal: neon pink ink, sharp scissors, wooden alpha stamps, colorful pens, and lots of washi!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Our joint playtime was certainly not perfect (as it turns out, mom’s “toys” are way more fun than Briar’s toys!), but it was a great way for the two of us to spend some structured quality time together. Plus, when it was time to go back inside, all I had to do was pick up our caddies and our mat…no extra clean-up necessary! Life is good, you guys. Let’s embrace it just as it is!

P.S. For more ideas on how to incorporate Creative Options’ products into your life, be sure to check out their Facebook page, Amy Tangerine’s blog, and this fun video!

santa barbara zoo.

Posted on: Monday, August 17, 2015

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week marked Briar’s third trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and this particular time was easily the best one yet. Twelve months is a really fun age for taking her places. She’s generally agreeable (assuming there’s an endless supply of snacks on hand), she’s super easy to entertain (hello, car keys!), and allowing her to explore her world on foot (she’s a walking gal!) is such a treat to watch. There’s also the whole not-having-to-nurse-her-every-other-hour thing that makes the whole trip so much more enjoyable than it was during her first trip at three months old.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

While I always feel a tinge of guilt to see caged animals, there’s nothing quite like being face to face with a wild creature whom I otherwise would never see. This gorilla was AMAZING.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

My mom and I packed a lunch at home so that we could enjoy a picnic on the huge grassy hill overlooking the ocean. (I mean, life is really hard.) It was the ideal place to let Briar roam free and test out her sweet new walking skills. She was also really into eating all of my food, opening and closing the cooler, and climbing her stroller. Toddlerhood is a contact sport!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves
Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Did you know that flamingoes get their pinkish hue from the brine shrimp that they eat? I thought that was a fascinating tidbit! Also, they’re from South America, which I was also (embarrassingly) unaware of until last week. Everyday is a new lesson!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Since the zoo is not only a great place to see animals, but a GORGEOUS place to hang out, my camera gets plenty of action while we’re here.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

For Briar’s first birthday, my parents gifted us with a year-long membership to the zoo, so I have no doubt that there will be plenty of fun adventures in our near future! (P.S. Thanks Nana + Papa!)

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

And just for the heck of it, here’s a photo of Briar and me from her first trip to the zoo, way back in November. Can you say TINY BABY? Oh. Em. Gee.

diy wooden cacti.

Posted on: Thursday, August 13, 2015

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

While brainstorming ideas for Briar’s birthday party a few months ago, I kept mulling over different ideas but always came back to the theme of “summer fun.” Truth be told, I never wanted to have a baby in the summer. When I was growing up, I always felt bad for the kids in my classes who couldn’t celebrate their birthdays during the school year. I also worried that my child would be super old or super young in comparison to her fellow classmates.  Plus, it’s HOT…way too hot. Needless to say, it was a road I didn’t want to go down. But as we all know, things don’t always go according to plan (whoops!) and as a result, I am now the proud mom of an August baby. So in the spirit of embracing Briar’s summer birthday, I wanted to throw a party for her that would embody all things related to summer and warm weather. My sister-in-law actually came up with the idea of incorporating cacti into the decor and I instantly jumped on the bandwagon!

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

With the help of my dad and his carpentry skills, we took a rough sketch of three cacti and cut a huge sheet of wood into party decor.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

In true Ann-Marie fashion, I waited until the day before the party to paint each cactus (the pink flowers shown above didn’t dry in time for the big day), but I’m so happy I followed through with the plan! I painted the cacti using a mix of Handmade Modern craft paints from Target and love the way they turned out. For the polka dots and prickly spine details, I didn’t have a small paintbrush handy, so I just used a bunch of q-tips dipped into the lid of the paints.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

I love the way they helped to accentuate the tribal-print rug and the large teepee! I’m pretty sure Briar could not have cared less about the cacti (she was too busy living that water table life!), but I received a ton of compliments of them from other partygoers, which helped to make the whole creative process worth it.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

Eventually when we have a house with a backyard, I plan on putting the cacti near the cute playhouse (a la Lay Baby Lay!) that I’m going to build for my little ones. But until then, we might just bust them out for every summer birthday party ;)

diy watermelon banner + free cut files.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was in my second and third trimesters of pregnancy with Briar, I could not get enough watermelon. There was not enough watermelon in the world that could satisfy my cravings! It was like clockwork: every afternoon I would get a serious hankering for watermelon, so I would chop one up and scarf it down before heading out on my daily walk. INSANE. I’m pretty certain that Briar is made up of 75% watermelon (the other 25% being the bagels I lived on during my first trimester), so it’s no surprise that she loves watermelon as much as I did. In honor of Briar’s favorite fruit, I decided to make a watermelon banner for her birthday party.

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are basic: neon cardstock, my Cameo die-cutting machine, adhesive, and a black Sharpie pen. I designed and cut out the shapes using the Cameo, adhered them together, and then added seeds with the pen…super simple!

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

I hung the banner behind the teepee and I love the way it added an extra pop of neon to an already colorful scene! It now lives above her changing table where she can admire it (read: try to rip it off the wall) as I change her diapers.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

I created a free download of the watermelon cut files (for use in Silhouette software) that you can find HERE. If you use them and take a photo, tag me on Instagram! Enjoy!

briar’s first birthday!

Posted on: Monday, August 10, 2015

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

On Saturday, we celebrated Briar’s first birthday in my parents’ backyard. I have to say, as excited as I was to throw Briar a party, I was dreading the fact that my little baby was officially making the jump from infant to toddler. I may or may not have cried my eyes out the night before as I was putting her to bed, but by Saturday morning, I felt like a new person with a renewed excitement for all the good things still to come. Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

We had a loose “summer fun” theme for the party, so I made wooden cacti, a paper watermelon banner, colorful tissue paper tassels, and a few other handmade details. I also busted out the cotton canvas teepee, my favorite colorful rug (a Rose Bowl find!), a thrifted rattan horse rocker, and various inflatable toys.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar has never met a baked good that she didn’t like, so to have a whole cupcake to herself? Best day ever. She dove right in and didn’t stop until she was completely covered in frosting.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

My favorite part of the party decor was definitely the wall of Briar photos from her first year of life. I had such a great time going through thousands of photos on my computer, having my favorites printed, and then taping them up on the wall. Being able to see a whole entire year’s worth of memories in one place is pretty incredible. I definitely want to do this every year!

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

However, the real hit of the party was most certainly the water table! Every time I looked over, there were babies screaming and splashing and living it up over at that table. (I seriously think it’s one of our best investments in baby gear thus far!)

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar skipped her nap, ate a whole chocolate cupcake, and got to celebrate her birthday with her favorite people…it was a good day, indeed! But I think the best part of all was that she slept through the night (the whole night!) following the party! I don’t want to jinx anything, but I sure hope this habit sticks!

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has come and gone, but I’m so grateful that we made it this far. John and I can’t remember life before we had our sweet girl!

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