Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

backyard camping + kohl’s giveaway.

Posted on: Friday, July 22, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

I grew up camping fairly often, both with my family and with Girl Scouts, and I have incredible memories of sitting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and waking up to fresh air. There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors, yet for some reason I’ve become that person that values warm showers and air conditioning over tasty s’mores and sleeping under the stars. However! I am determined to give camping another go simply because I know Briar will absolutely LOVE it. That girl has never met a pile of dirt that she didn’t love and I owe it to her to give her as many outdoor experiences as possible.

So while I warm up to the idea of spending a few nights in nature, I’ve decided we can tackle the next best thing: backyard camping! In partnership with Kohl’s, we pulled together our camping essentials and “roughed” it in the backyard for a fun-filled adventure.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

First things first: coffee!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Using the impossibly cool blue enamelware percolator + mugs from Stansport, I was able to enjoy a fresh batch of coffee while Briar enjoyed a cold mug of milk.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Things were off to a very good start.

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We put together a little dining area and enjoyed popcorn made with Stanley’s 13-piece prep and cook mess set. Briar was all about the popcorn situation. She loved sneaking in bites and scooping spoonfuls back and forth between the bowls using the big ladle (which she quickly adopted as her own).

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Cheers to dining al fresco!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

The ciao! baby portable high chair proved to be super helpful when it came to feeding this little gal. The cup holder kept her water bottle close at hand and the easy-to-clean surface was perfect for quick clean-up after polishing off a whole bowl of popcorn!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

In addition to acting as the perfect makeshift table, the Stanley 30-quart cooler kept our beverages nice and cool during a blazing hot summer day.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Okay, how awesome is this tent?! I love the retro feel and was pleasantly surprised with how roomy it was inside! It felt very Moonrise Kingdom. Briar was also a big fan of turning the LED lantern on and off, on and off…

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

We quickly made ourselves right at home and read Briar’s favorite stories by the light of the lantern. It was such a relaxing evening and I loved having that cuddle time with my girl outside while a cool breeze blew through our tent.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Our first camping experience was a success! I’m feeling a little more confident now about taking our adventures on the road to a more remote destination. Three cheers for the great outdoors!

 

Now it’s your turn to stock up on camping goods! Click HERE be entered to win a $50 Kohl’s gift card! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 8/1/16 at 11:59:59 p.m. PT. Open to legal residents of the US/DC who are 18+ yrs of age. For full details see Official Rules. Good luck! Winners will be contacted on or about August 8th.

Thank you to Kohl’s for collaboration on this post. I was compensated and received products from Kohl’s Camping department for my review, but all opinions and experiences are solely my own.

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mama + baby top knots.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was pregnant with Briar and trying to imagine what she would look like, I always envisioned straight dirty blonde hair with enviable bangs and a tiny top knot. While I was right about her hair color, I certainly never would have guessed that we would be blessed with a super curly-haired gal! It’s still a bit of a mystery as to where those curls came from (we suspect it’s John’s side) but now I can’t imagine Briar having anything else!

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

Her hair has grown like crazy over the past couple of months which means it is long enough to put into a tiny little ponytail worn on the top of her head, the same way I put up my hair. And the best part of all is that Briar is finally allowing us to put her hair up and leave it there all day. Before now, she would instantly pull out any ponytails, headbands, or barrettes…girl just wanted to be free!

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

I get such a kick out of seeing her hair up because she look a entirely different person, albeit a very grown up person! Plus, I would be lying if I said I didn’t love having a matching hairstyle as my babe. I keep thinking I want to cut my hair even shorter (I’m in full-blown MOM MODE), but then I think, nope, you need enough hair for a top knot! We’ll see…

Mama + Baby Top Knots | Ann-Marie Loves

As for now, it’s matching top knots for the two of us!

summer in the pool.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

With summer in full-swing here in Southern California, we are spending our days underwater. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that summer is, well…not exactly my favorite season. It’s especially tricky to get through those endless heatwaves while pregnant and constantly sweating. Speaking of sweating, I have a theory (and please chime in and let me know your thoughts!): people that DON’T sweat tend to love summer while people that DO sweat tend to despise the summer. I mean, it makes sense right?

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

But I digress!

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

All of this is to say, Briar and I are living in the pool. We wake up, have breakfast, and then immediately throw on our swimsuits and sunscreen and head outside for a dip. I am not usually a huge fan of hanging out in the pool all day (I always feel like I could be doing something more productive), but Briar’s infectious love of swimming and my need to cool down + let my pregnant body feel weightless for a bit is really turning me into a regular pool-goer! We did mommy + me swim lessons in May and while I wouldn’t say she is a proficient swimmer just yet, her skills continue to grow and impress me everyday! It’s so awesome to watch these tiny little people morph into capable humans.

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Plus, the very best part of all is that the time spent in the sun + the water almost always leads to Briar taking a looooong nap in the afternoon (sometimes she will sleep as long as 3.5 hours…!). And that, my friends, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving.

Briar’s Swimsuit // Briar’s Sunglasses // My Sunglasses

how i found my new normal with productivity.

Posted on: Friday, July 8, 2016

Change of Workflow | How I've Found My New Normal With Productivity | Ann-Marie Loves

My workflow these days is definitely a departure from what it once was. Before I had Briar (and even right up until she turned one), I was pretty lax about the structure and schedule of the day as a whole. I would work when I had the time or the inspiration, but if there wasn’t a firm deadline looming in my near future, I let the flow of the day dictate the amount of work I churned out. While this sounds great in theory (and for the most part, it worked for my past lifestyle), I always felt a bit all over the place. I’m not a planner by nature and the idea of a rigid schedule usually turns me off, but as I’ve gotten a couple of years of self-employment under my belt, I now understand the value of planning and setting goals.

Nowadays, a few things are different:

  • For one, Briar has become a consistent napper and I can almost always count on her to nap between 1-3 hours in the afternoon. I can’t even tell you how big of a game-changer her daily naps — and the fact that she sleeps through the night! — are! I use her nap time to really buckle down and focus on getting things done, especially tasks that require minimal distractions. I am also very lucky to have my father-in-law watch Briar for a few hours 2-3 days a week, which allows me to either work from home or to work with Amy in her studio. As much as I cherish my time with my baby, there’s nothing quite like time away from her to really make me appreciate just how much I love her and want to be with her.
  • Secondly, I’ve become a devoted planner user. I’ve always loved planners and agenda books (pretty sure they were the highlight of my school experience), but I haven’t been as consistent about using them regularly as I am now. I started last summer with a Ban.do planner (the spiral bound version) and absolutely loved it, but then when I saw that the new Get to Work Book was launching, well…I couldn’t help but finally order one for myself (and I’m so glad I did!). As a designer, I find that using beautifully-designed products enhances my experience, so I am more than happy to open up my GTWB each morning and set goals for myself. Every week, I like to write out all the things I know I have to get done and then fill in more information as it becomes available to me. In the mornings, I’ll make Briar and myself breakfast and while she is entertained for a few minutes, I’ll write out my to-do list for the day in my planner. I absolutely love this ritual and find that it really does help me set the tone for the entire day.
  • Finally, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t be the night owl that I once was. I used to be able to stay up wayyyyy too late and crank out work during those quiet hours, but I just can’t do it anymore. After chasing a toddler around all day (and growing another baby), the last thing I want to do at night is sit down and work. This realization has given me the push I need to get as much work done as I can during the daytime so that my nights can be free for relaxing with my family and getting to bed at a relatively normal hour. I find that I am much more productive when I set those clear boundaries for myself, plus, it plays into my theory that mini goals are really the most effective way for me to get things done!

I realize my life will once again get turned upside down when the new baby arrives this Fall, but this time I feel much more prepared to make adjustments as I go and use the tools I’ve set in place to work to my advantage.

P.S. I wrote an e-course on productivity called Make It Happen!

nana + briar bake chocolate chip cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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We’ve been staying with my parents while we figure out our next move and while it’s not always ideal, there are definitely some perks. Case in point: Nana’s famous chocolate chip cookies! Last week while I was at work, my mom sent me photos of Briar helping her bake cookies (while wearing her new apron, of course). First of all, I couldn’t get over how cute Briar looked, but secondly, it totally opened my eyes to all the new things we can do together now that she is almost two years old! (I need to remember to include her in more activities!) So yesterday, Briar got back in the kitchen to help Nana with another batch of chocolate chip cookies and this time I was there to capture the process:

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I was so impressed with how serious and focused she was! I am not a huge fan of baking (I am a huge fan of eating baked goods, however), so here’s hoping she takes after my mom and carries on the chocolate chip cookie legacy!

weekend trip to san luis obispo.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like a physical change of scenery to boost my mood and give me a fresh perspective. This past weekend, John and I spent a night up in San Luis Obispo and we had the best time. We’re both big fans of the central coast and SLO is the perfect mix of relaxing and stimulating.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

On the way up the coast, we stopped off in Santa Barbara for a quick coffee break at The French Press. I love having a running list of coffee shops to visit everywhere I travel! (What’s your favorite coffee shop? I want to add it to my list!)

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Scout Coffee is a must if you’re anywhere near San Luis Obispo. It’s nestled in the perfect spot downtown and has the cutest decor and some of the best lattes I’ve tasted! I kind of want to move in.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Apple cider at the Apple Farm…it tasted just as good as it smelled! It was a pretty chilly weekend up in SLO so a warm drink hit the spot.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been on a major pot pie kick lately so it was a no-brainer that I would order one at the Apple Farm. Oh man, it was good. 

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

So happy to travel through life with this guy. We were reminiscing about different memories throughout our relationship and we came to the (startling!) realization that this year will mark twelve years together. TWELVE! I have no idea where the time has gone but it’s been an amazing adventure.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Spring in SLO is gorgeous. Everything is in bloom and it’s not too hot yet and it makes me want to move up there ASAP! We saw a young family of four going for a bike ride around town (mom was towing the baby and the dad was sharing a cool tandem bike with the little girl) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I suddenly had serious aspirations to BE them one day soon! Now I just have to convince John to move with me to a cute small town where we can live out my bike riding dreams…

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

We stumbled upon Avila Valley Barn while driving around and it was such a good find! I stocked up on fresh peaches, John picked up a chipotle ketchup, and we ordered an olallieberry-flavored lemonade to share (so good!). I always feel like spontaneous detours make for the best memories.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

slo-Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling large and in charge these days. This striped maternity dress from Target is getting lots of mileage! And of course, I can’t seem to take off my denim jacket either. Basically, I wear some version of this outfit every single day.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

One night away from Briar is the perfect amount of time to reconnect with my husband and make us miss that little bub! Thank goodness for willing babysitters (aka Nana + Papa) who take such good care of Briar so we can enjoy our trip worry-free :)

take more photos!

Posted on: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

This girl loves her Minnie Mouse stuffed animal that she handpicked from Disneyland and makes sure to grab her before jumping out of bed. She waits for me open my eyes in the morning and then says “hi mama!” and gives me a big kiss.  She wears any outfit that I put on her but refuses to have ponytails / clips / headbands in her hair. She often turns to me and says “ug” which means “hug” which means I’m in heaven. She calls for her pacifier like it’s a lost puppy dog: “paaathi?paaathi? paaathi?”She is constantly running into things, tripping over toys, and head-butting everything in sight, but for the most part, she doesn’t seem to notice. When asked how old she is, she exclaims, “two!” (she’s one). When I get the camera out, she heads straight for the lens and says, “cheeeeeese!”

I took these photos a few weekends back as the three of us were playing outside. I almost always have my phone at the ready to take a picture or video of whatever cute thing she is doing, but busting out the big camera is a less frequent event. I’ve decided that this needs to change. I love having a fresh batch of RAW files to edit and then go through a million times over with John. Briar is changing at warp speed and I want to make sure to pause time every now and then so I can look back and remember how much she loved blowing bubbles and being thrown in the air by her daddy and wearing her oversized hat. She is pure sunshine at twenty months old and I never want to forget it.

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Take Lots of Photos! | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s Outfit: Sweater // Floral Romper // Rain boots

first trimester | the second time around.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 6, 2016

First Trimester | Round Two | Ann-Marie Loves

As excited as I was to find out I was pregnant, I braced myself for the inevitable onslaught of first trimester nausea and exhaustion. And right on cue, it reared it’s ugly head on the day I reached six weeks. It’s funny, though. I always imagined that having to care for a toddler while trying to get through those first trimester symptoms would be impossibly difficult. In reality, the opposite turned out to be true! I don’t know if it’s because my tolerance for discomfort has gone way up since having Briar or if it’s the fact that I simply didn’t have the time to focus on how terrible I felt, but it seemed much more manageable this go around (thank goodness!). I think I also have a much better perspective on the fact that this too shall pass and all the fun parts of pregnancy (baby kicks! not having to suck it in! ultrasounds!) were right around the corner.

First Trimester | Round Two | Ann-Marie Loves

But while I waited for the fun parts to arrive, I turned to my trusty old friend: CARBS. And when I say carbs, I means carbs. Bagels, pasta, bread, saltines, sandwiches…whatever it took to settle my stomach. I’m definitely not proud of my food choices at that stage in the game, but I swear to you, they are the only things that actually work. That, and avoiding the horror that is coffee (thank goodness that phase has finally passed!). I also tried out Sea-Bands (bracelets with plastic beads that push into the pressure points on your wrists) and found them to be helpful. Additionally, I reminded myself that the first trimester is not the time to make things happen, so I cut myself some slack and rested whenever I felt my energy flagging. There was many a nap and many an early bedtime during those first thirteen weeks and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt about it! I felt nauseas for two weeks straight (morning, noon, and night) but in the grand scheme of pregnancy-related torture, it was a walk in the park. Speaking of walks in the park, I am constantly out of breath this time around…you would think I haven’t exercised in years! I’ve also sadly become allergic to my white gold wedding ring much earlier in the game with this baby than with Briar. I feel naked without it but I know it will go away the very second that the baby is born (pregnancy is the weirdest).

With all that said, the first trimester was totally manageable and I am SO GRATEFUL for that. My minor complaints are just that: minor. I am thrilled to be into the second trimester and can’t wait to find out if this baby is a boy or a girl in a few short weeks…! OH EM GEE.

2016 album | day in the life.

Posted on: Monday, April 4, 2016

Day in the Life | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago when I saw Ali Edwards say on Instagram that she would be hosting her Day in the Life series the next day, I was sold! I haven’t done a Day in the Life project in years and I figured it would be the perfect addition to my ongoing 2016 album. Luckily, it turned out to be a work day for me so there was plenty of activity to photograph and include in my book.

Day in the Life | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I am running low on BasicGrey Capture page protectors (RIP), I decided to tap into my stash and try out some Studio Calico Handbook pages. The holes don’t exactly match up with that of my album, but it’s nothing my Crop-a-Dile can’t fix! Easy peasy. I knew I wanted to include as many photos as possible without using too many pages, so I chose my favorites, resized them in Photoshop, and added a little journaling before printing. It definitely takes a lot of prep (and a lot of math!) to plan out the pages ahead of time but I love how it streamlines the actual crafting process and makes the spread look much more pulled together.

Day in the Life | Ann-Marie Loves

Day in the Life | Ann-Marie Loves

For the “AM” side of the spread, I featured snippets of our morning, including: breakfast, Briar watching her favorite show, my beauty essentials (living and dying by that dry shampoo, y’all), and finally getting out the door to head to Culver City. In addition to the journaling that I added to the photos via Photoshop, I also used a sheet of BasicGrey multicolored Highline letter stickers to create time stamps for the 3 x 4″ images.

Day in the Life | Ann-Marie Loves

For the “PM” side of the page, I included photos of: the 405 freeway, different shots from working in Amy’s studio, a quick run to Trader Joe’s to pick up essentials (Puffins, spicy hummus, and black bean rotini. You know how it is.), the sunset upon arriving home, and snuggling up in bed with Briar to read her a few books before bed (and yes, I realize her bedtime that night was super late!).

I’m so glad I successfully captured and documented my day. It’ll be so much fun to look back on next year when life looks very different than it did in March of 2016!

Supplies: Studio Calico Handbook Page Protectors // Gradient Paper // Hot Pink Polka Dot Paper (from Target) // BasicGrey Alpha Stickers // Seven Paper Puffy Stickers // Amy Tangerine Shaped Paperclips // Semi-Glossy Photo Paper

thank you!

Posted on: Friday, April 1, 2016

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Happy Friday! Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my last post…I loved reading each and every one of them. I’m now in the second trimester and feeling pretty darn good. My energy is returning, my creativity is making a comeback, and exciting things are on the horizon. Today Briar and I are headed to Disneyland and are looking forward to a fun day at our favorite place! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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