Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

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.

camera love.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I got to play with this amazing workhorse of a camera and this fantastic zoom lens and I. WAS. OBSESSED. I took as many photos as I could (mostly of my favorite moving target) and decided that I need this camera in my life permanently.

Camera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

And speaking of my favorite moving target, she will be one on Saturday. ONE. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry?

want what you want.

Posted on: Thursday, July 30, 2015

Want What You Want | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday I took myself on a solo date to my favorite coffee shop in my favorite city (I’ll give you one guess where that is!), listened to inspiring podcast episodes (this one, this one, and this one), and really allowed myself to dig deep. In doing so, I came to the startling realization that IT IS OKAY to want what we want. In fact, if we don’t acknowledge our deepest desires, how in the world will they ever come true?! When I think back on my life, there have been a few key moments where I am positive that I manifested my dreams. For example!

- After I graduated college at the onset of the recession (when I couldn’t even get a seasonal part-time job at the mall!), I was hell-bent on working in the scrapbooking industry. I had absolutely no idea how it would happen or what I would even do or how I could possibly find work in a Utah-based industry when I was a California resident. But everyday I would go on walks while listening to The Secret on my iPod (2009, y’all) and imagine being paid to play with paper until I could literally feel it in my bones. Fast forward to July 2010 and I was living in Orem, Utah and working as an in-house scrapbooker / product designer at American Crafts.

- I have always dreamed and journaled and talked about living in two of my favorite cities: San Diego and Pasadena. Both of those dreams have come to fruition.

- And finally, at the beginning of my senior year in high school, I kept a post-it note on my shelf (where I would see it as I put on my makeup everyday) with the Christina Aguilera lyric: “day by day, I’m going to get my way.” Within a matter of weeks, I started dating John (now my husband!) and a few months later, I was accepted into my college of choice.

I know this all sounds hokey and woo-woo and quite possibly, huge coincidences, but I truly believe that our thoughts create our reality. I’ve spent way too many days over the past year caught up in a fog of fearfulness and uncertainty. There have been some particularly dark moments where I could barely get out of bed, I was so terrified of what was around the corner. Having a baby in my life has filled my heart with more joy and pride than I could have ever dreamed (seriously, I could burst at any moment), but it has also brought a lot of my inner demons to the surface. I’ve gotten lost in the mindset of “this is not how it’s supposed to be” or “I should be at x-place by now and I’m only at y-place.” While I still have lots of work to do, my focus is much clearer now. I’m finally allowing myself to want what I want and to be completely at peace with those desires, no matter what others may think of them.

 

This our life, you guys! We have to open ourselves up to the possibility that AMAZING THINGS WILL HAPPEN if we work hard and trust that the universe has our back.

Have you ever manifested any of your dreams? I’d love to hear about it!

adventures at underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Having grown up in Ventura County, I’ve been on many a trip to Underwood Farms in Moorpark. However, it had been years since my last visit and Briar had never been before, so John and I (along with Jamie, Kareem, and Luna!) decided it was high time to revisit the farm. We had an awesome time (despite the heat) exploring the grounds, visiting the animals (how amazing is that horse!), and digging in the fields for ripe strawberries and olallieberries. Sadly, Briar was developing a double ear infection that day (unbeknownst to us at the time), so she wasn’t her normal cheery self. But that’s okay…we’ll be back for Halloween festivities come October!

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

thoughts on baby weight.

Posted on: Friday, June 12, 2015

Thoughts on Slowly Losing Baby Weight | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ll be honest: the baby weight has not exactly fallen off.

Half of it disappeared without any effort on my part (thank you, nursing), but the other half? Well, that’s on me. The surprising thing is, I don’t mind as much as I thought I would. Sure, there are many days when I wish I could be back to my pre-baby size, but the majority of the time, I’m just in awe. Not only did I create and sustain another life, but I’m continuing to feed that life. WITH MY BODY. I’ve come to realize that this is an incredible gift that should never be taken for granted.

Even though I’m still hanging on to a little extra weight, I feel great. I love taking Briar for walks, throwing her up in the air, and getting on the ground and playing on her level. I love that I’m back at my favorite gym, taking my favorite classes several times a week, and keeping up with the rigorous routines like I did pre-baby. I’ve been working out consistently since I was fourteen, so exercise is a huge part of my life. I went on daily walks all throughout my pregnancy and even picked them back up about a week after I had Briar (although the first time I stood up and tried to walk after giving birth and being stitched up, I thought my workout days were officially over! HA! #thingstheydonttellyoubeforehand). I’m also enjoying lots of leafy greens, whole grains, and of course, red wine (and Friday night margs!) shared with my favorite company. Of course, there is plenty of room for improvement, but I honestly do not have the mental bandwidth these days to be as disciplined as I once was. I know that this is a very short season of life and I would rather focus on how amazing it is be Briar’s mom instead of how amazing it would be to have a flat stomach again.

I am very aware that the things I say about my body will be the filter through which Briar sees her own body, so it’s extra important to me to set a good example for her. Life is meant to be enjoyed, thigh gap or not.

just the two of us.

Posted on: Thursday, June 11, 2015

Our Pre-Baby Lives | Ann-Marie Loves

The other day I was looking through photos on my hard drive and stumbled upon a forgotten folder I (cheesily) called “Just the Two of Us.” When I was pregnant, I had made a conscious effort to document our lives as they were. John and I both knew our days as a twosome were numbered, so I wanted to capture those leisurely days for us to look back on in the distant future.

Our Pre-Baby Lives | Ann-Marie Loves

Well, that distant future is now. I sent John a few of these images and quickly texted him, “Remember this??”

Our Pre-Baby Lives | Ann-Marie Loves

His response: “Oh, how we were missing something in our lives and we didn’t even know it.”

Touché, husband. Touché.

mom style | moms of infants edition.

Posted on: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve decided that the next best thing to having my own sister is having a sister-in-law who also doubles as one of my best friends. Over the years, Jamie and I have grown super close. So close, in fact, that aside from our husbands, we were the first people each other told about our respective pregnancies! Jamie and I are opposites in many ways, but we also have a ton in common, including being new-ish moms to baby cousins (born three weeks apart!).

Having infant daughters has naturally changed our personal styles a little bit, so I thought it would be fun to share the products that each of us uses on a daily basis.

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Ann-Marie’s Picks:

+ Fedora Hat // I am such a hat girl and I wear this Cotton On fedora entirely too much! Similar hat here.
+ MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick // I bought this lipstick in Elegant Accent for my wedding and still wear it as often as possible. It’s just the right shade for enhancing my pale skin without being too overwhelming.
+ Top Knot // Styling my hair is easily my least favorite beauty task (I’d rather shave my legs!), so more often than not, you’ll find a giant bun atop my head. This also means I have a million and one ponytails floating around the house!
+ Rings // The only jewelry pieces that I wear every single day are my wedding ring and a handful of super thin silver bands that John picked out for me on our honeymoon. I feel naked without them! Similar rings here.
+ Poncho // Wearing this poncho instantly makes me feel pulled together AND it is the ultimate cover up for nursing! Similar poncho here.
+ Backpack // A few years ago, I switched from using a standard purse to using a small backpack. This bag carries everything that I need for myself and Briar, plus it keeps my hands free.
+ Dry Shampoo // My hair errs on the oily side of the spectrum (GAH), so I live and die by my Suave dry shampoo.
+ Sunglasses // Okay, if I could only have ONE accessory, it would be sunglasses. Whenever I find a style that I love, I stock up on them knowing that they WILL be dropped or sat on or left behind somewhere. This tortoiseshell pair is my current favorite.
+ Red nail polish // Whenever my nails are painted, I feel more motivated. Strange but true. Tigerlilly is my go-to shade.

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar and Luna are finally at the stage where they interact with each other…so much fun to watch!

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Jamie’s Picks:

+ Humble Hilo Bag // This bag is so versatile. I mostly use it for my diaper / day bag, but it’s big enough to be used as an overnight bag, too. I switch between the shoulder strap and handles.
+ Striped Shift Dress // I love the length of this dress and it’s non-formfitting cut. The stretchy material makes it nursing-friendly plus you can never go wrong with a black and white stripe. I’d choose a dress over any other type of clothing any day of the week. Similar dress here.
+ Royal Jelly Body Butter // This body butter does wonders for my dry hands and my under eye area. It’s thick and creamy, relieving dry and itchy skin. I’ll use this alone or mixed with coconut oil.
+ Nail Polish // I’ve worn OPI’s Mod About You off and on for the last ten years. I feel that it complements my skin tone. It’s my go-to color.
+ Coconut Oil // I have found that coconut oil works best with my skin type. I like how light it feels on the skin. It’s gentle and doesn’t make me break out. I use it all over my body, not just on my face.
+ Lace Bralette // I found my current favorite lace bralette at a small clothing boutique near my house for $4.99! It’s soft and stretchy making it nursing-friendly. I also like pairing it with a loose fitting tank. It’s looks much prettier peeking out of a tank than a regular bra does. Similar bralette here.
+ Curling Iron // A large barrel curling iron is my must-have for my hair. It’s not every day that I can wash and blow dry with a little one yelling for Mama every two seconds. When my hair is oily and I don’t feel like putting it up in a bun, I turn my curling iron on and do a few loose textured curls. Spray it with some Big and Sexy hair spray and I am ready to go.
+ Sandals // These Target sandals are comfortable and light, plus they pair well with a maxi dress or jeans and a tank. I live in sandals.
+ Black Mascara // Any black Revlon mascara that makes it into my cart these days is my favorite. I love the look of long lashes. Instant glam!

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Moms, what are your must-have items?

as of late | may edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

As of Late | May Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Embracing this idea from The Alison Show! Such a smart workaround for getting out of your own way.

Crafting almost every single day. It feels good to be back!

Looking forward to the launch of U-Jam classes at my gym next week! Has anyone tried it before?

Planning a certain baby’s first birthday and excitedly making a wish list for her. I’m thinking a water table and a push cart are in order!

Going out once a week on a date night with my husband and feeling like it’s exactly what we needed for our marriage. Having a third person in our mix is the best thing ever, but sometimes we need to leave Briar with the grandparents for an evening so we can reconnect.

Pumping up my blonde (read: invisible) eyebrows with this and loving how pulled together it makes me feel! I may be late to the game but I’m so happy to be here ;)

Contemplating the idea of chopping my hair….TBD.

Bingeing on the Kardashians because I can’t seem to look away!

Reading The Happy Sleeper and already learning a ton of tricks for getting my daughter to sleep through the night. Remember when I said she could put away 9-10 hour stretches? Yeah. Totally jinxed myself.

Enjoying nine month old Briar. She’s so much fun these days.

Feeling so honored to be featured (in illustration-form, no less!) on Lovely Indeed, with my Briar Bear. Such a treat.

Listening to the Good Life Project podcast on repeat. Incredibly inspiring.

Thinking about deleting my e-mail from my phone. I could really use more space AND less distraction.

Noticing how many cute maternity clothes are out right now! I have zero plans of getting pregnant again anytime soon, but I am tempted to stock up on striped dresses for the next go ’round!

Savoring these last few weeks of cool weather since I know it won’t be back until November. #sweaterweatherplease

workspace wednesday | unstuck app

Posted on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

Two things:

1. I just rediscovered my iPad after letting the battery be dead for several months. Why? Because my post-baby brain is mush.

2. I’M OBSESSED WITH MY iPAD.

So truth be told, it’s not a necessity, but it sure is handy for things like browsing Pinterest in bed (v. important!), watching movies / videos / Vine mashups while I work, and my most favorite use, for playing with the Unstuck app.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon Unstuck, but my goodness, it is a workhorse for the mental warfare I wage daily upon myself. It leads you through a series of questions and exercises regarding how you’re feeling and what is holding you back. The exercise shown above is my favorite part. You quickly go through a deck of several cards and place them in the “So Me” or “Not Me” pile to help get to the root of what is bothering you. Genius.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

I feel like there’s always something holding me back, whether it’s a personal, professional, or relational situation, and Unstuck helps me work through every single problem…sometimes the same problem many times over! It’s kind of amazing how breaking down an issue into small, manageable pieces brings so much clarity.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you’re finished with the exercises, you’re “diagnosed” with a certain behavior style and offered lots of suggestions as to how to get past your mental roadblock. It’s pretty incredible how glaringly spot-on the results are; I always feel like they were written just for me! I highly recommend this app, even if you feel like you are never stuck (and if you’re not, HOW?). Five stars, people.

finding clarity.

Posted on: Friday, May 1, 2015

Clarity about Being a Work at Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

Lavender + Honey // one of my favorite places to escape to.

The other day, as I was talking to my doctor about all sorts of things, namely postpartum anxiety (I’m struggling with this), how we’re balancing work with our respective new-ish babies (there’s absolutely no balance), where we really want to live (I’ll give you one guess what my answer is…), and whether or not he reads his stellar Yelp reviews (he does), I came to two conclusions: 1. I love my doctor, and 2. I need to get out of the house more…by myself.

These past several months of being a new mom have been some of the best but also some of the hardest. I love having a baby, and at the risk of sounding overconfident, I know that I’m pretty darn good at it. I can roll with the punches, be it the constant onslaught of bodily fluids, or the crying jags, or the fact that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since last summer. I can totally handle all the standard baby hurdles with no (okay, minimal) complaints. But there is more to Ann-Marie than just being Mom to Briar, 24/7. And that’s where I’ve fallen seriously short.

I’ve neglected my inbox. I’ve neglected my mailbox. I’ve neglected my work. I’ve neglected my blog. I’ve neglected my goals. I’ve been so consumed with anxiety over the unknown that I have gotten to a place where some days, I don’t even recognize myself. Anxiety is something I’ve never really dealt with before, so navigating my way through the wreckage has been a learning curve, for sure.

However, I’m beginning to realize that if I want to continue to be a good mom to my daughter, I need to be good to myself. And that means, spending time by myself. As a major introvert, alone time (or at least time that I’m not caring for an active eight month old) is PARAMOUNT to my happiness. It always has been, it always will be. I need that time to hear my own thoughts, to decompress, and to refuel my energy. I need that time to figure out where I’m going and how I’m going to get there.

So, I’ve been looking for more ways to leave the baby with John or a family member for a few hours. I’ve been hopping in the car, putting on a good podcast, and treating myself to coffee at my favorite coffee shop. I’ve been getting to the gym and losing myself in the music and the movement for an hour. I’ve been working outside the home at least one day a week (and am even considering picking up a part-time job!). These little pockets of solo time are slowly but surely helping to chip away at the emotional walls I’ve been building around myself for the past several months (or maybe even years!).

I am forever a work in progress, but I’m learning to be okay with that. Like Maya Angelou said, “when you know better, you do better.” AMEN.

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