workspace wednesday | highlighter love.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Workspace Wednesday | Highlighter Love

Every now and then, I’ll develop a mini obsession with certain office supplies. When I was younger, it was alllll about the Sanrio pencil boxes. Then when I got to junior high, it was alllll about the clear binders that I could decorate with photos + magazine clippings. Then when I got to college, it was alllll about the agenda book (and a stash of spare Scantrons!). Right now, I am alllll about highlighters.

Ever since I saw Elise use highlighters as a way to check off her to-do lists, I have adopted the same method in my own planner (I use the Florabunda agenda book). I love how they allow me to see what I’ve accomplished without having to cross out what I wrote underneath. Plus, hello color! I’ve also been using them as a means for reading books (especially this one!). I find that when I can make a physical note of inspiring passages, the message tends to stick with me longer and keeps my attention focused on the book and not on my pinging iPhone. Highlighters are such a cheap investment (I found a ten-pack at Target for three bucks!) and they make me so happy!

What is your office supply obsession?

as of late | september edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

As of Late | September Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Reveling in all the joy + beauty that took place this past weekend at Janelle + Kyle’s wedding! (I mean, seriously, LOOK AT THIS BRIDE). I was so honored to be a part of it and can’t wait to see the photos + video roll in!

Wearing my new sunglasses and feeling an extra pep in my step. I love new sunglasses.

Laughing at Briar’s two new tricks: kissing on command (she really loves smooching babies!) and bumping her sippy cup against my glass when I say “cheers!” Ahhh, it’s the best.

Using more than my fair share of this amazing (and cheap!) dry shampoo on the daily. Oily hair, be gone!

Deciding that this is the season that I will learn a few new recipes! This chicken enchilada soup and these blueberry muffins are really calling my name.

Getting excited to order new books from Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown, just as soon as I finish up my current favorite read.

Living for the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. I know I mentioned it last month, but I still can’t get enough! It’s smart and funny and it reminds me of the relationship I have with my own girlfriends.

Trying to find a decent pair of shoes for my tiny-footed toddler. She wears a size 2 and I’m realizing it’s almost impossible to track down that size anywhere! Moms, any suggestions?

Enjoying the heck out of this interview. Also enjoying the heck out of her podcast!

Stocking up on cold weather clothes for Briar (even though it’s still a million degree out) and am so excited to see her wear this kitty cat shirt (she picked it out!) and this heather gray one piece.

Wanting to order a new Fitbit band, but can’t decide between this floral number or a solid color

Listening to Christmas music while I type this post, despite the fact that it’s 91 degrees outside, the A/C is running, and it may or may not be socially acceptable to admit such things. (P.S. What’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine is “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole.)

Speaking of Christmas, I can’t wait to start designing some fun holiday-related paper goods. Stay tuned ;)

autumn bucket list printable.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ann-Marie Loves | Free Autumn Bucket List Printable


Even though Southern California is still weeks away from really getting into the fall weather spirit (insert all the crying face emojis here), it’s never too early to start planning out all the fun things that autumn has in store for us! I mean, give me pumpkin-flavored everything and I’ll happily turn on the A/C and pretend all is right in the world ;)

Today I’m excited to be sharing an Autumn Bucket List printable, in partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts. I love to daydream about all the goodness that my favorite season has to offer, including creating Briar’s Halloween costume (so fun!), making an excellent autumn-inspired playlist, and finding that elusive perfect fall candle (any suggestions?). I’m also determined to make this the year that I really master the art of (mostly) healthy comfort food cooking + baking. What’s on your bucket list?

labor day weekend + things i’m loving.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Things I'm Loving | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I know that Briar and I certainly love it when we get John to ourselves for three whole days! (Especially since he gets up with our little one on weekend mornings so I can sleep in – boom!) We spent our three days sweating it out (HOLY HEATWAVE), barbecuing with family + friends, celebrating our niece’s first birthday, working on my new website, and of course, lazing around. Now it’s back to the grind!

In the spirit of easing back into the work week, here are a few things I am loving these days:

+ You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I first heard about this book from Alison on Raise Your Hand Say Yes and I had a feeling I would like it. As it turns out, I LOVE IT. I’m reading it with a highlighter in hand so I can mark up all my favorite quotes (basically the whole entire book). I can’t recommend this book enough!

+ 805 Beer. I used a to be a wine girl, but ever since I got sick last month, the taste of it just doesn’t jive with my taste buds anymore (SADNESS)(And no, I’m not pregnant). So now I’m revisiting beer and really, really enjoying it. 805 is my new fave.

+ Working Out. Okay, this is nothing new or revolutionary, but getting to the gym or going on walks everyday makes everything in my life easier. It really does. Plus, now that I have a Fitbit, there’s extra incentive to stay in motion!

+ Lavender + Honey. This adorable coffee shop is my favorite place to get work done or stop in for a quick honeybee latte + chocolate croissant to share with my little partner in crime. I can’t wait until we move back to Pasadena one day and I can be there all the time!

+ Briar + Luna. Now that these two cousins are both one and walking, they’re so much fun to watch! They love playing together and giving each other hugs and kisses. We are now at the stage where it’s actually easier to watch both of them at the same time vs. one at a time because they keep each other entertained! I couldn’t love these two anymore!

+ Target Lounge Shorts. I’m not much for shorts, but sometimes I need to let my legs breathe when it’s a million degrees outside. So when I found these super comfy shorts at Target, I knew they had to come home with me. I wear them around the house, I wear them out in public, I wear them to bed. They’re the perfect solution for staying comfortable during these dog days of summer.

+ Trader Joe’s Melodious Blend. I recently threw these in my cart on a whim and I am SO glad I did! I can’t get enough of it! The mix of lentils, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes is seriously my lunchtime jam. You can find them in the freezer section at your local TJ’s!

+ New podcasts. I’m pretty sure I could start a blog just on podcasts alone! I’m constantly stumbling upon new shows and happily adding them to my rotation. Lately I’ve been loving Edit Your Life, Call Your Girlfriend, Totally Married, and The Simple Show.

What are you loving these days?

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.

+ 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 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.

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!

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