Entries Tagged as 'celebrate'

hello 2015.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello 2015 | Ann-Marie Loves

The more years I see, the more I realize that I can’t put a blanket statement on any particular year. Or anything, really. (Except cookie dough. I am ALWAYS down for cookie dough.) Each year is filled with it’s own share of victories and losses that help to mold you into your future self. But if I’m being honest, 2014 was a DOOZY. It was more powerful and life changing and terrifying than I ever could have predicted. I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed out in my life. Needless to say, I’m happy to put it in the past (insert peace sign emoji here).

My families rang in the new year in a beautiful home in Cambria overlooking the Pacific Ocean…all while the majority of the group battled various flu symptoms (I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere). Despite our rocky entrance into 2015, I’m already feeling a sense of lightness and peace for the new year. There are big life changes on the horizon, but my main focus for 2015 is to stop and  savor the little things that make life so wonderful. I spent way too much of last year in a state of panic over the unknown that I often lost sight of all the amazing things that were actually happening. This year, I have grand plans of enjoying craft coffee everyday, taking tons of Zumba classes, finding any and every excuse to meet up with friends, allowing others to help me, taking more photos, sleeping in if it feels good, working on more “just for fun” projects, and getting down on the floor and playing with my baby as often as possible. Ever since Christmas, Briar has been hitting milestones left and right (rolling all over, grabbing at everything, sitting up) and it’s been a huge wakeup call for me to enjoy each and every moment, not just of her life, but of mine as well.

It’s gonna be a good one. I can feel it.

easiest christmas card ever.

Posted on: Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

Given the fact that I just had Briar’s birth announcements made a few weeks ago (did you know I had a baby?), the idea of designing, printing, addressing, and shipping Christmas cards felt like an insurmountable task. But! As I was experimenting with gift tag ideas using my new digital brushes, I realized that it would be SO SIMPLE for me to bust out a quick holiday card design. Beyond simple, actually.

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

I started by dragging one of my favorite Instagram photos into Photoshop. Since it was already cropped nicely into a square, I left it as is.

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

Then I chose the “happy holidays” brush and stamped it on the center of the photo. Next, I added a text layer with the words “Love, The Espinozas” to finish it off. Three steps and I was done.

I decided that I would make just enough copies for our immediate families (knowing that they would appreciate a Briar pic more than anyone else), so I grabbed some photo paper and printed them out at home. So easy. So fast.

(If you have any questions about how to use my digital brushes, let me know!)

holiday gift guide for guys + free printable!

Posted on: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

Despite the inevitable madness that ensues each November / December, I love the holiday season.

I love the decorating. I love the baking. I love the music + movies. But what I really love is dreaming of the perfect gifts to give to all my loved ones. The girls on my list are always a breeze to shop for. The guys, on the other hand? IMPOSSIBLE. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself struggling to come up with ideas for them, year after year! So when Kohl’s approached me about putting together a holiday gift guide for guys, I knew just the person to recruit for help: my husband! (After all, that’s what husbands are for, right?) Thankfully, John was more than up to the task.

Here are twelve of his top picks for guys:

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Boat Shoes | 02. Classic Fit Sports Coat | 03. Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch | 04. Solid Twill Cardigan | 05. Mini Jambox Speaker | 06. Tapered Leg Jeans | 07. Hybrid Chino Pants | 08. Aqua Dress Shirt | 09. Plaid Casual Button-Down Shirt | 10. Keurig Coffee Brewer | 11. Nike Toki Low Sneakers | 12. Sherpa Hoodie

Thanks to this list, I won’t be racking my brain at the last minute for the perfect gift for all the wonderful men in my life. (Thanks babe!)

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

To help you get a jump on your holiday shopping, I designed a free printable for you to take with you (whether it’s to the mall or your computer!) so you can stay organized in style. Click HERE to download!

This post was sponsored by Kohl’s, but the ideas + opinions are all my (and John’s!) own. For more ideas on what to buy this season, check out Kohl’s holiday gift guide here!

one year.

Posted on: Monday, October 27, 2014

Ann-Marie + John | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Photo by Katie Pritchard.

John’s and my first year of marriage will forever go down as the year we packed as many major life events into 365 days as possible. We got married. We went on an amazing honeymoon. We moved to Pasadena. I got pregnant. We bought a new car. We had a baby. Life was / is C R A Z Y. I’ll admit that packing so many things into a single year was stressful. Draining. Overwhelming. And yet, so incredibly rewarding.

Yesterday marked our first anniversary as a married couple. One year down, one hundred more to go…

desert bunny baby shower | part two.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

My idea of the perfect party involves breakfast food, a laidback atmosphere, a fun outfit, and great company. Thanks to my good friend Val and my amazing mom, my second baby shower fit all those criteria and then some. Aside from the awesome theme (desert bunny for the win!), I think that my most favorite part of all was that Val made this event a mother / daughter celebration. Even though my friends and I still see each other fairly often, seldom do we get to spend time together with our precious moms in tow. It was such a great way to bring everyone into the mix and celebrate the next generation of moms + daughters!

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves


Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Gorgeous tablescapes and a chance for me to put my wedding glassware to use again!

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

black and white striped skirted onesie?! You’re too good to me, Janelle.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

I was also the lucky recipient of so many incredible handmade gifts that my daughter and I will treasure for years.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Bunny garland, hand-dyed cheesecloth, and painted desert plants! DIY elements never go unnoticed by me.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Trying to stay cool in the shade. (Again, whose idea was it to have a summer baby? ;))

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

My wonderful mom, my amazing Espinoza family, and my gigantic 35 week bump. I never realized just how pregnant I look until I went through all my baby shower photos over the past two weekends…WHOA THERE.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

I was so caught up in the moment that I failed to take all of the photos that I wanted to get, but this is one I will always cherish. I’ve grown up with a tight group of nine girls and learned so much about the mother / daughter relationship as a result. I can say that all ten moms (including my own!) are the epitome of unconditional love and selflessness. If I can be HALF as good at motherhood as they are, my daughter will be one lucky gal.

desert bunny baby shower | part one.

Posted on: Monday, June 23, 2014

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Invitation designed by JayAdores

Despite the fact that my heartburn has reached a whole new level of crazy and my feet + ankles (okay, kankles) have grown about four sizes overnight, I feel completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of my closest friends and family members. This past weekend marked my second baby shower and much like the last, it’s hard for me to articulate just how special it is to be surrounded by loved ones who already have such a vested interest in Baby Espinoza without ever having met her…! I received some incredible gifts, but truly (and as cliche as it sounds), the best gift of all was the presence of so many of my favorite people packed into my parents’ backyard on a warm Sunday afternoon. Having a baby really is the best. Heartburn, fat feet, and all.

P.S. More photos to come!

baby showers are the best.

Posted on: Monday, June 16, 2014

Baby Shower No. One | Ann-Marie Espinoza

How gorgeous is the Espinoza gene pool?? Holy moly, I chose well! ;)

Bridal showers are fantastic. They are the perfect excuse to wear a tight white dress, indulge in cocktails with your best friends, and squeal over latte bowls, lingerie, and linens that help to get married life off on the right foot.

But then there are baby showers.

I never realized just how truly special these kinds of get-togethers are until I had my first one this past Saturday. Since my sister-in-law and I are both expecting girls this year, our amazing family threw us a beautiful backyard double shower to celebrate the forthcoming members to the Espinoza clan. I love that baby showers are not just about the moms-to-be, but more importantly, they’re about the new lives that will be here before we know it.

As John and I unpacked our car full of baby gifts last night, we couldn’t help but revel in just how lucky our daughter is to have such an incredible group of people who already love her so much. I often look back on our engagement and our wedding and think about how I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore fulfilling than they were in that moment. Ha! I was so naive. I am here to report that having a baby takes the concept of fulfillment to a whole new level.

So what if my body’s nowhere near as fit as it once was or I can’t enjoy a glass (or three) of wine just yet? Everyday of pregnancy is a welcome reminder that there are much more important things in life to celebrate :)

we’re having a…

Posted on: Friday, February 21, 2014

Baby Girl Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

I may or may not have (desperately) hoped for a girl. In fact, John and I had our daughter’s name picked out about five minutes after we found out I was pregnant. It felt right from the very beginning. Regardless, I never had a gut feeling about what the baby was. I didn’t have any vivid dreams until the day of the gender reveal ultrasound. But I did know that I couldn’t let myself get too attached to the idea of a girl, because knowing my luck, it would be a boy. And of course, I would have loved that boy to pieces. But something about having a baby girl seemed undeniably appealing and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

I prayed for a healthy and happy baby (occasionally requesting it be of the female variety) every night. I made a wish for a girl every time I drove under a tunnel with my breath held. I hoped on every fallen eyelash, on every full moon, on every superstition I could think of, that this child maybe, just maybe, be a little girl. Admittedly, this makes me sound incredibly selfish and ungrateful. After all, shouldn’t I just be thankful to be able to start a family and not concern myself with the details? YES. I absolutely believe that. But man! Pregnancy has a way of taking your thought process to a whole new level of obsessive.

Baby Girl Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

At my 12 week appointment, I was able to take home some decent shots of the baby, including one in particular that had us analyzing certain body parts far too closely. Clearly, we had no clue what we were looking at, so we recruited the opinions of just about anyone and everyone with a pair of eyes. And as it turned out, they had no clue what they were looking at either. Needless to say, the suspense was killing us!

So I made an appointment to have an ultrasound at 17 weeks.

Baby Girl Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I went back and forth over whether we wanted to have a gender reveal party (all the cool kids are doing it these days) or whether we wanted to find out privately. After much thought, we decided on the latter. Even though it would have been fun to have a little party with our closest family + friends, it was so much more “us” to celebrate privately.

During the appointment, I was SO NERVOUS. John, of course, played it cool as usual. Once the tech confirmed the sex of the baby, she wrote it down on a piece of paper and tucked the note into an envelope with plenty of photos for safekeeping. We guarded that thing with our lives. That night, we went out for a late Valentine’s-slash-gender reveal celebratory dinner at an Italian restaurant here Pasadena. After ordering our meals, we finally worked up the nerve to open the envelope. I was incredibly anxious so we agreed to look at it at on the count of three (dramatic, I know). As we opened it up, I was fully expecting to see the word “boy” spelled out. Imagine my surprise (and sheer joy) when I read “girl” instead. Ahhh, I want to remember that moment and that feeling forever!

Baby Girl Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

The baby girl we had been pining for was no longer just a distant dream; she was real and she was ours.

ann-marie loves.

Posted on: Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, even when I was single. I’ve never viewed it as day reserved only for romantic love, but instead, a day to celebrate all the finer things in life. Like paper goods and chocolate-covered everything. So in the spirit of celebrating love, I made a list of nine things that hold a special place in my heart year-round:

Things I Love | Ann-Marie Loves

1. Crafting. Having a lifelong hobby-turned-career that still brings me tremendous satisfaction year after year? I’ll never stop making things.

2. My husband. Okay, so maybe that was an obvious choice, but I really do love this kid. No one makes me laugh harder. No one makes me smile bigger. No one makes me prouder. We’re in it to win it.

3. Decorating. Having a place to furnish, organize, rearrange, and shop for is quite possibly the greatest domestic joy I know. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go thrifting regularly ;)

4. Our baby. He/she may have been a total surprise, but it’s the best surprise we could have asked for. And now that the second trimester has rolled around, I’m really digging this pregnancy thing!

5. Working from home. I can’t stress enough just how much I love this lifestyle. It’s full of challenges, setbacks, and expenses that probably wouldn’t arise with a regular 8-5 gig, but despite all of that, it makes me genuinely happy to live my life on my own terms.

6. My family. I know I might be biased, but I truly believe I have the best family. My parents and my brother are my rocks through thick and thin.

7. My friends. Gosh, I love my friends. Our bond gets stronger and stronger with each passing year and I don’t know where I would be without these girls.

8. Southern California. Sure, it’s overpriced, overcrowded, and the traffic can be a bit of a nightmare. But it’s 80 degrees in February. I never have to dig my car out of the snow. I can visit the mountains, the desert, and the beach all in the same day. There is never a shortage of things to do, places to see, and experiences to enjoy. I am incredibly grateful to live in such a beautiful place.

9. Breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day and the motivation that launches me out of bed in the morning. I could subsist on oatmeal and coffee for the rest of my life!

Valentine's Day Card Printables | Ann-Marie Loves

For all of you later gators (myself included!), Valentine’s Day Card Printables are now 50% off in my shop!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

our vows.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

When it came down to our wedding ceremony, I had no qualms about my choice in groom or my choice in words. But the idea of standing in front of 115 camera-wielding people? TERRIFYING. For months leading up the big day, I would get nervous just thinking about the task that lied before me. So when October 26th rolled around, I was a huge ball of anxiety.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

Minutes before the ceremony, I was hiding out in one of the bedrooms just off the front yard. I could hear the DJ playing the songs that John and I had been putting together for months. I could see all of our guests finding their seats and chatting with their neighbors. I knew that I had no choice but to suck it up and put on a brave face. John and I saw each other plenty before the big moment, and I remember finding comfort in holding his hand before we stood in front of everyone.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

Finally, our day-of coordinator was shuffling the bridal party out the door. IT WAS SHOW TIME. I was all kinds of terrified until I actually got out there and saw everyone smiling back at me. Oh, it’s just our friends + family. A group of 115 people doesn’t look so intimidating when they’re all smiling at you.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

All of a sudden, I was CALM. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so peaceful in front of so many people before. I tried to make eye contact with as many of our guests as possible. I think I may have even said a few hellos as my dad and I made our way up the aisle. Then I took John’s hand and I knew: WE GOT THIS.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

Our good friend Jameel officiated the ceremony and I listened to each and every word he said because I knew he would be hilarious. (He totally was.) Then it came time for the vows. John and I had chosen very early on in our engagement that we would be writing our own vows and not revealing our words until the actual ceremony. While this contributed greatly to my pre-wedding stress, it could not have been more perfect in the end.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

We alternated reading back and forth between each section of our individual vows because we liked the way that it sounded more like a natural dialogue than a formal speech. I loved saying my words out loud. They were straight from the heart and I was proud to share them in front of all of our loved ones. But even more than that? I loved hearing John read his vows. I tried to concentrate on his every word and take mental photos of the way he would look me in the eye, and then nervously turn the page. He was his usual adorable self and I was so happy to be the recipient of his heartfelt words.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

I remember high five-ing over one of my vows. I remember watching the last of the bridesmaids + groomsmen rounding the corner and walking up the aisle. I remember my dad purposely slowing our pace down so as to savor every moment. I remember looking back at our guests as the ceremony was taking place. I remember hearing laughter. I remember my maid of honor quietly reminding me to hand her my bouquet as I took my spot with John (thanks Val!). I remember slipping John’s ring on to his finger. I remember hearing the first few notes of our recessional song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys. I also remember shimmying a little bit..! (Or maybe a lot!) I felt so comfortable and so at peace with all that was happening.

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

Ann-Marie + John | Katie Pritchard Photography

And before I knew it, we were married.

All photos by the amazing Katie Pritchard Photography.

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