how i imagined it to be.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So much about these last few weeks did not go as I had envisioned.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that my baby would come early. At 41 weeks and 6 days, she certainly had other plans.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the doctor I had seen my entire pregnancy would be the one to deliver my baby. She was not (even doctors need to take family vacations). Instead it was the most amazing, encouraging doctor who totally went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of. He’s truly the best (and definitely the person I want to deliver all my future babies!).

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I would go into labor naturally and John would have to rush me to the hospital in the middle of the night. Instead, I was induced in the middle of the afternoon on a random Thursday. I had a doctor’s appointment at 11 am and by 2:45 pm, I was hooked up to pitocin and starting my 17 hour labor.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that labor would be blindingly painful from start to finish. While it was painful at times, the rest of it was amazingly peaceful and relaxing thanks to the dream drug known as the EPIDURAL. I was able to sleep and allow my body to do what it needed to do without my interfering. The craziest thing is, while I remember certain parts being excruciating, within hours of giving birth, I couldn’t even tell you what the pain felt like. The amnesia is REAL.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined I would burst into tears of joy upon meeting my baby for the first time. While there was certainly intense joy, I was primarily overcome with a different emotion: RELIEF. I remember seeing Briar as they placed her on my chest and saying “OMG! It’s a baby!” and feeling so relieved that she was finally out. It was a magical moment, tears or no tears.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that staying in a hospital would be scary. Instead it was completely mundane, if not boring. All of my nurses and doctors were incredible, but being stuck in a cramped little room for two days was enough to make John and me go stir crazy.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that John and I would have a black-haired baby. Ha! Not quite. Briar was born with light brown hair and a full head of blonde highlights. With each new day, her hair gets blonder and blonder. Look at my pale genes go!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the recovery process would be brutal. Periodically it’s super uncomfortable and inconvenient, but for the most part, it’s completely manageable. P.S. I discovered that Boppy pillows aren’t just useful for nursing, they’re also the perfect shape and size for new mamas to sit on ;)

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the exhaustion of caring for a newborn would render me useless in all other areas of life. Thanks in a VERY LARGE part to my doting husband, I’m tired but not entirely beat. By alternating nursing with pumping, I’m able to split the workload with John and get in 3-4 hour stretches of sleep at night. Whenever I find it particularly hard to get out of bed for another feeding, I remind myself that this phase is short-lived and eventually I will sleep again.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that breast feeding would be painful. I was totally right…and wrong. The first few days were rough. I started to dread feeding time as I braced myself for the pain of the baby latching on. But after strictly pumping for a day or two and giving my poor chest a much-needed reprieve, I was ready to try traditional feeding again. And what do you know…it wasn’t painful anymore!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I wouldn’t enjoy the newborn phase very much. Instead, I love love love it. I want to keep my little one a tiny seven pound human as long as possible! ;)

P.S. Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes! John and I are having the best time being parents to our sweet little Briar!

she’s here.

Posted on: Friday, August 15, 2014

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

A week ago today, this little one was placed on my chest and our lives changed forever. John and I are overwhelmed with love — serious love — for our Briar and are enjoying every beautiful, magical, exhausting moment as a family of three.

diy greeting card box.

Posted on: Thursday, August 7, 2014

Greeting Card Box DIY | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I recently put together a tutorial on how to create a landing spot for all of those well-designed greeting cards that I amass at a rather alarming rate (and then have no idea where to store!). You can see the full shebang over here via Dear Lizzy. Enjoy!

Card Box | Kraft Cardstock | Cuttlebug Die Cut Machine | Project Life 3 x 4″ Cards | White Thickers

august limited edition rubber stamps.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

So much of these past few weeks have not gone as I had anticipated, but I’m making the best of it! My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, I’m getting as much rest as possible, and I’m still burning through my to-do lists on a daily basis. So really, win-win ;) Thanks to the extra time I was given, I was able to put together five new limited edition stamp designs for the month of August:

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

01. Hip Hip Hooray | 02. August | 03. This Is the Best Ever | 04. Hello Sunshine | 05. I’ll Drink to That

You can find these stamps + more over at my shop! xo

in my bag | hospital edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Now that I’m convinced this baby is going to happily inhabit my body from now until the end of time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase what’s in my hospital bag. You know, just in case it ever gets put to use.

What's in My Hospital Bag | Ann-Marie Loves

  • Faux Leather Bag. I found this bag months ago at Forever 21 knowing that it would make for a stylish diaper bag. Turns out, it’s also been a great bag for weekend getaways, overnight stays at my parents’ house, and now, a place to house all of the items I think I will need during my (hopefully!) short stay at the hospital. This is just my personal bag; John has his own and the baby has her own. Clearly we don’t mess around when it comes to spending a few nights three miles away from home ;)
  • Electronics. Camera, iPhone, chargers. All the important things we will need to document this exciting time!
  • Nursing bras. I picked up a few soft nursing bras at Target that were relatively cheap and can translate from daytime wear to sleepwear easily.
  • Nursing-friendly tops and nightgowns. Apparently, easy access is what this whole postpartum fashion situation is all about! Luckily, I found some pieces that are super comfy AND cute, whether or not the rest of me looks like a hot mess.
  • Granny Panties. I’ll admit that I resisted spending money on giant undies for quite some time, but once I got home and gave them a whirl, I was kind of in love. They’re so comfortable!
  • Bathrobe. This item was a tip from my good friend Elise and I imagine it will come in handy long after we leave the hospital. I found mine at Target for a great deal, so I won’t feel bad about getting it dirty and throwing it in the wash on a regular basis.
  • Gap Supersoft LeggingsI know I keep mentioning these leggings over and over again, but seriously, they’re the best. This particular style is perfect since the waistband is low rise and won’t get in the way of lingering baby bumps.
  • Toiletries. Deodorant, makeup, toilet paper, lotion, several tubes of Carmex, shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, razor, toothbrush + toothpaste, etc. All the key ingredients to making a sterile hospital room feel more like home.
  • Snacks. I really love the team of doctors that have been taking care of me these past nine (or in my case, nine hundred) months for countless reasons, but one of the biggest factors is their forward-thinking approach to labor and delivery. They buck tradition and encourage moms to stay hydrated and energized during the whole process through easy-to-digest food and drinks. I eagerly took their advice and stocked up on lollipops, granola bars, mints, and gum for John and I to snack on as the hours roll by.
  • Domino Magazine. To be honest, I have no idea if I will have the time (or the energy!) to read a magazine during my hospital stay, but I thought I would bring it in case Instagram can no longer hold my attention (as if!).
  • BoppyEveryone needs a Boppy, right? Mine is currently sitting in the backseat of the car, decked out in the cream + gold cover I purchased off Etsy.
  • Etc. Hospital registration forms, insurance card, birth plan, pillows, car seat…all the fun stuff.

Now if we could just get this party started…

i heart anthology magazine.

Posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

Earlier this year, I treated myself to a subscription to my favorite print magazine, Anthology. Previously, I had always purchased the publication at Anthro, but I finally decided that receiving a copy in the mail would make reading it extra special. Turns out, I was right. My first copy arrived on Monday and I am in love.

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

Like I mentioned in this episode of Elise Gets Crafty, freelancing has definite benefits, including being able to write off inspiring reads as research materials when tax season rolls around. And let me tell you, I definitely turn to this publication time and time again for creative and business inspiration!

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

It’s magazines like this one that make me grateful for print, especially since my growing collection of back issues makes for a fun visual display on my living room bench. Paper, you guys. My love knows no end.

Last Day for July 2014 Stamps! | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

P.S. A friendly reminder that today is the LAST DAY to purchase any of my July 2014 rubber stamps! They will be gone by midnight :)

photoshop actions!

Posted on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

As a longtime user of Photoshop actions, I’ve been wanting to create my own set for, like ever? And really, there’s nothing quite like the impending arrival of a tiny human being to light a fire under my butt to get such things done! I decided to start with a group of “basics,” if you will. These are the kinds of editing treatments that I apply to all of my photos, whether they’re for my blog, my shop, or personal projects.

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

Here’s what my sample image looked like straight out of the camera:

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

…and here it is when the six unique actions included in the set are applied:

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

This set includes:

No. 01: The Basics  | No. 02: Warm It Up | No. 03: Cool It Down | No. 04: B+W | No. 05: Fade Away | No. 06: Color Pop

Here’s why I love actions:

- With a single click of a mouse, you can elevate a dull, lifeless image into a refined, polished photo that you will be proud to share with others.

- You can always dial back an action by clicking on the various steps (in the History palette) to achieve your desired look.

- Mixing + matching actions is a fantastic way to create your own look.

- Even with the same action, every photo will look completely different, so the possibilities are truly endless!

Ann-Marie Loves | Photoshop Actions | Basics Vol. 01

P.S. From now until next Wednesday (8/6), you can save 30% off your purchase of this set of actions using the code: ACTIONS30. Enjoy!

P.P.S. Don’t forget that this Thursday, July 31st is the last day to purchase any of the July 2014 stamps before I retire them forever! ;)

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? :)

 

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