Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

estate sale tomorrow!

Posted on: Friday, November 21, 2014

Estate Sale This Weekend! | Ann-Marie Loves

My sister-in-law and I are holding an estate sale tomorrow in Ventura County and we will be selling ALL of our good stuff! Like, all of it, you guys. Glassware, linens, wedding decor + supplies (we were married in 2012 + 2013 so it’s all modern!), baby gear, afghans, wall hangings, home decor, women’s clothes + shoes, crafting supplies, and much more! If this sounds good to you, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you the address. Have a great weekend!

100 days of briar.

Posted on: Monday, November 17, 2014

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday marked 100 days of life for my favorite sunshine girl! ONE HUNDRED DAYS. The baby that I thought I’d be pregnant with for-ev-er is already well into her third month of life. Whoa.

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s been:

100 days of changing diapers.
100 days of snuggling her close.
100 days of fragmented sleep.
100 days of balancing work and motherhood.
100 days of sharing her with friends, family, and Instagram.
100 days of being a mom.
100 days of seeing John as a dad.
100 days of nursing.
100 days of wiping down spit-up messes.
100 days of keeping a pacifier (or five) on my person at all times.
100 days of admiring her tiny little features and big blue eyes.
100 days of trying to figure out which direction to comb her hair (the jury is still out on that one).
100 days of coming up with new nicknames.
100 days of swooning over her funny little noises.
100 days of doing load after load of baby laundry.
100 days of wanting to give her the best life possible.
100 days of attempting tummy time.
100 days of swaddling Briar into a tight little burrito.
100 days of watching a newborn turn into a smiling, laughing, always-active baby.
100 days of wondering about her future.
100 days of playing dress-up (except for that whole summer situation when all she wore was a diaper).
100 days of sending John hourly updates on Briar’s activities.
100 days of snapping photo after countless photo of my growing baby.
100 days of being a family of three.
100 days of laying in bed at night and going through all the iPhone photos I took that day.
100 days of feeling overwhelmed with an equal mix of worry and elation.

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

100 days of life with our Briar Soleil.

28.

Posted on: Friday, November 14, 2014

28 | Ann-Marie Loves

Photo by La Rousse Photo

Twenty-seven was full of surprises, some of which were amazing and some of which were challenging. It was a year of tremendous growth on nearly every level imaginable. But mostly, it was the year of the BABY. Such a beautiful, crazy ride.

Here are my favorite moments from 27:

1. Briar Soleil. She singlehandedly made 27 a year that I will never, ever forget.
2. Celebrating one year of marriage and ten years of togetherness with my wonderful husband.
3. An impromptu trip to San Diego.
4. Meeting my beautiful niece Luna just an hour after she was born.
5. Blogging regularly for the first half of the year. (I’m determined to get back on track!)
6. Taking Briar to Disneyland for the first time.
7. Decorating a nursery.
8. My baby showers.
9. Daily walks around town.
10. Enjoying lattes from Float, Copa Vida, Jones Coffee Roasters, and Abricott, just to name a few. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE Pasadena?)
11. Feeling the baby kick. There’s nothing else quite like it.
12. Writing four different e-courses (Styling | Shooting | Sharing is still my fave!)
13. Contributing to Elise’s fantastic podcast a handful of times.
14. Finding out Briar was a girl…!
15. Weaving!
16. Sharing our big news with our families.
17. Reliving our wedding on Green Wedding Shoes.
18. Dying over Parenthood! How had I never seen this show before?! Also, Veep was pretty killer.
19. Having a whole new reason to thrift.
20. Trading in my VW Bug for a family-friendly Honda.
21. Downing watermelon like there was no tomorrow.
22. Reading Money, A Love Story and Great with Child; two books I know I’ll revisit time and time again.
23. Listening to this tiny voice all day, everyday. Music to my ears.
24. Reading about my blog in a magazine.
25. Designing holiday stamps while listening to Anthro’s holiday playlist in October. It’s never too early!
26. Making a tutu for my little bunny.
27. Watching my #briarsoleil hashtag on Instagram grow and grow!
28. Discovering my favorite role yet: motherhood.

I’m so excited to wake up tomorrow morning as a 28 year old with my daughter and my husband by my side. I have a good feeling about 28…

as of late | november edition.

Posted on: Monday, November 10, 2014

As of Late: November Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Loving: Jessica Murnane’s One Part podcast! Ah, so good. I’ve been binge-listening all week and can’t wait for the next episode. (P.S. I know everyone and their mother is dying over Serial, but I’m so not a murder mystery-kinda gal. Should I still give it a whirl?)

Marveling: at my tiny little person and her ever-growing repertoire of tricks. This one cracks me up.

Launching: my next great adventure this month! So many feelings about it. Most of which involve excitement. Some of which involve anxiety.

Turning: 28 on Saturday! I asked John if he thought that sounded old (he’s 4 months younger than me ;)) and he said “no, but it does sound like an age where you should have your shit together.” Yeah, so not there…

Laughing: over photos from Briar’s first few weeks of life…she was never wearing any clothes! #summerbabyproblems

Speaking: of birthdays, this hat and this coat are totally on my list. Oh, and maybe this chair. Also, is it weird to want baby clothes for my b-day? Because regardless, I so want these dachshund-print leggings for Briar.

Splurging: on overpriced lattes these days. It’s my one big vice that makes me way too happy, especially since Pasadena is chock-full of awesome coffeehouses.

Craving: this healthy cake that my friend Heather made! It was unbelievably good.

Hoping: for cooler weather. But really, what else is new?

Trying: to get to bed before midnight, like I did in my days of yore. We’ve dropped our morning bottle feeding now that Briar is sleeping longer (7 hours is her record!!). Fingers crossed it will stick!

Wearing: Briar in the Boba Wrap every single day because a.) it’s a guaranteed nap, and b.) it’s the best feeling in the world.

Knitting: baby leg warmers and a baby beanie. Because why the heck not.

Enjoying: the fact that after a long day of relatives loving on my baby, I’m the one that gets to take her home. Gah, I love that girl.

Remembering: how much I love burning candles, especially now that the sun sets so early. This one is a favorite!

Reintroducing: Christmas music back into the fold. I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE HOLIDAYS, I JUST MIGHT EXPLODE.

workspace wednesday | work at home mama.

Posted on: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Workspace Wednesday | Work At Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m not the first person to admit this and I certainly won’t be the last, but here goes: working from home while caring for a baby is tough.

It’s not so much that caring for a baby is hard, per se. I mean, if you break down all the components that going into parenting an infant, they’re pretty simple, albeit tedious. Trying to do long division in my head is hard. Trying to push a baby out of my body is hard. Trying to get from one side of Los Angeles to the other during rush hour is, well, that’s just impossible. What’s been the most challenging part of  working at home with an infant is that I just can’t seem to see a single task all they way to completion. My life has become one long string of half-finished (sometimes three quarter-finished, if I’m lucky!) tasks. And it drives me b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Workspace Wednesday | Work At Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

Whether you work at home or away from home, you just can’t win. I freelance from home which is an amazing gift in so many ways, but I also feel like I’m never “done.” I’m forever battling with a nagging feeling that there’s always more that I could be doing, more opportunities that I could be pursuing, more money that I could be making, etc. It’s a guilt-inducing feeling that I just can’t seem to shake. On the other hand, I can’t even wrap my brain around how difficult it would be to have to go to an office everyday and leave Briar with someone else. My heart shatters into a million tiny pieces just thinking about it. (Hats off to all you mamas who do this! You’re stronger than I’ll ever be!).

Workspace Wednesday | Work At Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

So needless to say, it’s a daily struggle. In the (almost) three months that I’ve been a parent, I’ve learned a TON. Every single day I learn something new about my roles as a mom, wife, daughter, friend, freelancer, blogger, housekeeper, social media user, bill payer, etc, and I’m positive that I still have so much more to learn.

Here are a few things that have helped me balance work + baby:

“Out of Office” response. Right after I had Briar, I put the “out of office” (or in my case, maternity leave) auto reply setting on my Gmail account and it helped to ease my guilt over not responding to e-mails in a timely manner. I contemplated leaving it up until Briar went to kindergarten (or maybe college?), but I caved and turned it off the other day. I’m nowhere near caught up on e-mails yet, but maybe one day…

Make lists. Before Briar was born, I could easily keep dates, appointments, and assignments neatly filed in my memory. These days, I can barely remember if I washed my hair or not while I’m still in the shower. Yeesh. I’ve realized that writing down what needs to get done is the only way anything will actually get done.

Ask for help. We spend most of our weekends back home with our parents these days and I can’t even tell you how wonderful that has been. There’s no shortage of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends who generously give their time + energy to our sweet girl, which frees me up to get a few things done, catch up on sleep, or better yet, do nothing at all! I’m not usually one that feels comfortable asking for help, but in this case, I will take alllllll the assistance I can get.

Forgive + forget. There are many days as of late that I feel less than stellar about myself. Between the unfinished tasks, the number of e-mails that begin with “my apologies for the late response!,” the fact that I still can’t wear half of my closet, the fear that I’m not paying enough attention to Briar (thereby ruining her life), and the unconventional hours I keep…gah. I just want to wake up and be GOOD at life. I mean, is that even possible? Until that day comes, I’m trying to focus on what I AM doing right and let the guilt fall by the wayside. #easiersaidthandone

Keep your eyes on the prize. Being a mom is the best thing ever. Despite all the stressing and worrying, I derive so much joy from my wild-haired little one that I can’t help but want to work hard so I can give her the best life possible. When she goes to college one day, I won’t remember all the e-mails that went unanswered. I won’t remember the dishes that were left in the sink overnight. I won’t remember all the minutia that momentarily consumed me. So keep your eyes on the prize, Ann-Marie. Eyes on the prize.

Moms, how do balance working with parenting?

 

how to sleep when you have a newborn (and a giveaway!).

Posted on: Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn | Ann-Marie Loves

My biggest fear about having a baby (aside from, ummm, how the heck is she going to come out?!) was that I would never sleep again.

You see, I come from a family that fiercely guards their sleep. And when I say fiercely, I mean fiercely. On weekend mornings, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Morris family will be sleeping in as long as possible. There’s no way we willingly forgo an extra second of our precious sleep for anything less than a life or death situation. (Kidding!) (Kind of.). So needless to say, I was a little worried about what would become of my tried-and-true sleep habits.

The first few nights after Briar was born, there understandably was not a lot of rest going on. Between a hungry baby and a sore mama, those two nights in the hospital were the exact opposite of restful. Then we got home and that first night was utterly exhausting. I was having one heck of a time getting comfortable with nursing and being that Briar was underweight, I needed to feed her every two hours. It seemed like as soon as I fed her and climbed back in bed, it was already time to get back up and repeat the cycle again. I began to worry that this phase of life was going to be the death of me.

But ironically, the struggle with nursing totally saved me. Since I needed to plump up an underweight baby and I really wanted to let my body heal a little bit, I pumped exclusively for two days straight. It was a lot of work, but man, it gave me a sense of freedom knowing that John could give Briar a bottle and I could get a little extra sleep. We alternated middle-of-the-night feedings so that we both could be semi-rested and present for our new baby. We fell into a great routine that kept my sanity intact (and my eyeballs open).

When John had to go back to work a week after Briar arrived, we came up with a nice little feeding schedule: I would handle the middle-of-the-night feedings and he would give Briar a bottle before heading to the office. Since I work from home, it didn’t matter how long Briar and I slept in in the morning. I soon realized that it was easier for me to stay up late (2 to 3 am) and then sleep straight through until 10 or 11 am than it was to wake up every couple of hours in the middle of the night and feel groggy. So that’s how we do it: stay up late + sleep in.

The main reason I do it this way (aside from the fact that I’m naturally a night owl) is because John feeds her between 6-7 am everyday. If I were to go to bed earlier, it would defeat the whole point of having my husband take a feeding. I’ll admit that there are days when Briar and I don’t get out of bed until noon, but maui wowee, I’m a much better mom + wife when I have a nice chunk of sleep under my belt.

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn | Ann-Marie Loves

Here are the keys to my personal sleeping success:

Let someone else feed the baby. Pumping has been a LIFESAVER for me. Not only did it help me to plump my tiny little newborn back to a healthy weight, but it allows me to get a longer stretch of sleep than most new moms probably get. Pumping a bottle every single day takes a little extra effort, but being able to sleep 6-7 straight hours? WORTH IT.

Learn to nurse while laying down. Oh man. Once I realized that I didn’t actually have to sit up to feed Briar, I felt like I had a new lease on life. After John leaves for work in the morning, he lays Briar next to me in our bed and I sleep until she wakes me up for another feeding. Given the convenience of already having her in bed, that morning feeding is a breeze! Of course, I still have to get up to change the inevitable diaper, but it’s much easier to go right back to sleep afterwards.

Find good TV shows to watch. The secret to being able to stay awake until 3 am? Jimmy Fallon. Parenthood. Gilmore Girls.

Have breakfast ready to go. When I get out of bed in the morning, Briar is usually hungry again, so I’m left with only one free hand to make breakfast. (Have you ever tried to make oatmeal + coffee with one hand while nursing a 10 pound baby in the other? Not so seamless.) Thankfully, I just discovered the wonderful world of crock pots, so I’ve been finding all kinds of awesome breakfast recipes that I can put together the night before and eat as soon as I get up. The same thing goes for my coffee. A little prep work goes a loooooong way.

Keep a bedside basket of necessities. I keep a small basket on my nightstand that contains burp rags, extra pacifiers, and snack foods, so I don’t have to get out of bed to grab these items.

Go with the flow. While I would love to have a more conventional sleep schedule, I know that these odd hours won’t last forever. So I’m doing what works best for myself + my daughter, right here, right now. I feel incredibly lucky that Briar is an easygoing babe (for the most part ;)) and that John is a hands-on dad and that my work schedule is super flexible. The combination of those three things makes my life so much easier.

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn + a Breast Pump Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves

In the spirit of getting some shut eye, one lucky reader will win an Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump! Even if you’re not currently nursing, this would be a great gift to a new mom who could use an extra pair of hands to feed her babe. To win, simply leave a comment below letting me know what kind of baby-related posts you’d love to see here in the future. The winner will be announced next Friday (October 31st). Good luck!

UPDATED: And the winner is…Whitney! Congrats! When you get a chance, shoot me an e-mail with your shipping address and the pump will be sent your way :)

diaper bag essentials | infant edition.

Posted on: Friday, October 10, 2014

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Before I had Briar, I imagined that packing a diaper bag for a Trader Joe’s run would mean packing her entire closet and a whole case of diapers. You know, just in case. Fast forward to the first time I left the house with her in tow and I instantly realized I really only needed a handful of essential items. This is part of the reason I switched from using an oversized bag like this to a striped canvas purse that I’ve had for years (shown above). Not only is this bag smaller and easier to throw items into, but it also fits nicely in the compartment under the stroller or hanging from a Mommy Hook. GAME CHANGER.

Briar’s diaper bag is always packed and ready to go with these essential items:

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Diapers. Obvious choice, yes. I still don’t have a particular brand that I buy from consistently, but these adorable Honest diapers get the job done pretty well. I always keep at least three on hand for short trips.

Wipes. When we’re at home, we use soft paper towels and a small water bottle to clean Briar during changings, but for on-the-go purposes, we use travel-size packs of Honest wipes. The resealable packaging makes it perfect for diaper changes on the fly.

Portable Changing Pad. Since we’re not always near a restroom, I pack a portable changing pad for clean-ups in her stroller, on the ground, in the trunk, or anywhere else, and then throw it in the laundry when we get home. (P.S. plastic bags are perfect for storing these kinds of soiled items in the diaper bag until you get home!)

Hand sanitizer. I think hand sanitizers are pretty self-explanatory but such a crucial part of the diaper bag experience ;) This travel-size option from Babyganics is my favorite.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets. I am POSITIVE that one can never have enough of these swaddle blankets! We use them for everything from swaddling to draping over the car seat to protect Briar’s eyes from the sun to covering up while nursing to keeping her warm when we go out on evening walks. The versatility factor is top notch.

Squeaky toys. Typically Briar is NOT a fan of diaper changes, unless we can distract her with a noisy toy, such as this adorable squeaky elephant or anything with a chime inside of it. Distractions are KEY.

Cloth rags. Given the fact that I have a spit-up baby on my hands, I could really use a lifetime supply of these cloth rags. I have them stashed all around the house and keep at least two in the diaper bag at all times.

Pacifiers. This is the one item we don’t DARE leave home without. Against the advice of our baby class nurses and everything we read about newborns, we introduced these NUK pacifiers on day two and haven’t looked back since. They calm Briar down in an instant which makes for one happy family ;)

Change of clothes. My poor summer baby still has yet to experience cold weather, but for chilly nights + overly air conditioned public places, a light sweater is important to have on hand. This particular sweater was a Baby Gap find and I will most likely cry the day that she outgrows it…that’s how much I love it! I also have two onesies in my bag because this girl is the queen of multiple daily wardrobe changes!

What are your favorite items for your little one(s)?

as of late | october edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

As of Late | October Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Dying: to make my own pompom rug. P.S. I totally love Liz’s blog!

Adding: more craft supply grab bags to the shop. I have waaaaay too much stuff! More stuff than I will ever use. Take it off my hands and put it to good use, would ya? :)

Putting: Briar in this ridiculously cute onesie from Baby Gap (shown above), even though it’ll be months before she really fits into it.

Watching: Jimmy Fallon every night.

Feeling: more scatterbrained than ever before. Note to self: write things down.

Spending: weekends with family, where there’s no shortage of people who want to hold the baby. Thank goodness for them!

Loving: every single page of this book. The styling, the crafts, the colors…spot on.

Seeing: more of my friends now than I ever did while pregnant! So much fun. Getting out of the house takes forever and a day with a baby in tow, but it’s totally doable (and totally necessary).

Thinking: that Emily Henderson + Target = the best collaboration EVER. I love the first video in her styling series!

Using: my Boba Wrap nonstop so the dishes can be cleaned while the baby can be snuggled and the mama can feel good about her life.

Rejoicing: in the return of daily walks. Even though it’s still way too hot here, walks are the answer to early evening fussiness for Briar and stir craziness for me. Plus, having a stroller to haul all my stuff (water, keys, iPhone, baby) has taken my walking game to a whole new level.

Pulling: the trigger on this lens as soon as I finish this post! It’s been in my cart for weeks, but something about this moment feels like the right time to go for it. Just in time for Briar’s first trip to the pumpkin patch!

Becoming: adept at nursing while walking around the house, while making breakfast, while answering e-mails, while packing orders, while eating meals, while cleaning up, while doing just about everything. It’s crazy for me to think back to the first few days when breastfeeding was SO HARD and involved approximately 36 pillows to get just the right position. I’m beyond grateful for how it all worked out.

Trying: to wrap my brain around the fact that in just a few weeks, John and I will have been married for a whole year. W H A T ?! Excuse me while I replay our wedding video four million times…

Watching: Jimmy Fallon every night.

Taking: steps towards a new career path. It’s been a dream of mine for years, but something I haven’t had the guts to really go for…until now. Eeek!

Collecting: recipes for my new crock pot! Any suggestions?

Trying: to decide what Briar should be for Halloween! Gah! The pressure is on!

Moving: in slow motion (or so it feels), but enjoying the change of pace. October, I love you.

artful blogging.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

Whenever I’m asked to package my blog into a neat little description, I always struggle a bit. I mean, really, what is this blog about? I talk about everything from wedding planning to productivity to crafting to having babies. There’s no single topic that drives my blog; it evolves as my life evolves.

 

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

Blogging is like exercising: the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Coming up with things to blog about is definitely the hardest part of the process, but also the most rewarding. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finish a post that I am proud of and then wake up excited to go look at it again the next morning. 2014 has been a good year for me, blogging-wise. With the exception of an informal “maternity leave,” 2014 has been the year that I committed to posting on a daily basis. It has been the year that I’ve found my blogging stride + style. It’s the year that I’ve pushed myself as a creative, both through photography + writing.

Even though I have been blogging in various capacities since I was in college, I feel like I am just now getting started.

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

You can read more about my thoughts on blogging in the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging magazine :)

August 2014 Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

P.S. Today is OFFICIALLY the last day to stock up on my August limited edition stamps. Yes, I realize I totally skipped over the month of September (whoops!), but a certain little someone was stealing my attention away. Plus, I wanted to give you extra time to snag my most favorite stamp I’ve ever designed ;)

 

pumping for the win.

Posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

The first few days after Briar was born, the two of us struggled with nursing. Oh man, we struggled.

My tiny little peanut of a daughter turned into a ravenous piranha anytime she sensed food was close at hand, leaving my chest a little (read: A LOT) sore. Then we began having latching issues. Then John and I found out that Briar had lost nearly 10% of her birth weight and we were instructed to chunk that baby back up…STAT.

Enter: my Ameda pump.

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Talk about total game changer.

Suddenly I was able to feed my child on a regular schedule. I was able to measure just how much milk she was consuming. John and I were able to alternate middle of the night feedings since he could give her a bottle of pumped milk. And selfishly, I was able to take a break from painful feedings for a moment while still keeping my milk supply up.

Within two days of every-two-hour feedings, we plumped our Briar girl up another six ounces. S I X. I’ve had many proud moments in my life, but hearing that number as the pediatrician laid her on the scale is a top contender for proudest moment. When the doctor left the room, John and I high-fived. Teamwork! Thanks to the pump, we were no longer in the scary red zone of infant weight loss. I now had a little more wiggle room to regroup and give nursing another shot…

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Fast forward six weeks and we’ve got a pretty solid rhythm down. Nursing now feels like second nature, but I still pump a bottle every single day for John to give to Briar before he heads off to work. This not only allows for some important father / daughter bonding time, but it also lets me get in a 6-7 hour stretch of sleep! (Unheard of, I know!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that pumping has truly been the key to surviving the newborn stage.

This post was sponsored by Ameda, but the ideas + opinions are all my own. Ameda + United Healthcare have recently teamed up with Target to offer moms the ability to pick up their breast pump at their local Target pharmacy! You can find out more about this collaboration here!

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